Since it is Easter, I thought it appropriate to think about religion for a moment.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to put down the chocolate bunnies or anything and I’m not trying to convert anyone. I wouldn’t call myself a Christian, except in a cultural sense.
However, Christianity is really on the nose with many of us today.
The recent appeal by George Pell is a clear example of this hatred. Say what you like about this judgement, but the appeal against it was upheld by a unanimous 7-0 judgement of the High Court. That doesn’t happen often.
Not only that, but the clarity of the judgement was, in itself, unusual and the High Court is notoriously reluctant to overturn decisions made by a jury.
The investigation and trial now appear to have been hopelessly compromised. In my opinion, the driving force behind this corruption was a hatred of the Church in particular, and Christianity in general.
Conversations I have had with people on the subject seem to confirm this suspicion of a real hatred of the Church by many non-Christians.
That’s not to say that all of this hatred is unwarranted. The Catholic Church was infiltrated by disgusting paedophiles. The church hierarchy dealt with the problem appallingly and I make no excuses for them.
Many innocent children had their lives ruined by the disgusting abuse but to say that this is solely a Catholic, or even Christian phenomenon would be grossly ignorant.
There was a recent case in an ultra-orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne where the accused absconded to Israel.
The Israeli health minister, also ultra-Orthodox, was accused of obstructing the extradition. Israeli media have since said that he allegedly pressured doctors to falsify psychiatric evaluations that would show that Leifer was unfit to face trial.
It’s quite possible that there are other examples from the Jewish faith which haven’t surfaced yet.
And don’t even get me started on the Muslims.
It isn’t just religious groups either. The boy scouts have had their fair share of kiddie fiddlers infiltrating their ranks, yet they just don’t get the same level of hostility as the Christians.
So, since the rest of the media are so hostile towards Christianity, I think it is a good time to remind people of the fact that this religion has some exceptionally positive aspects which are worth repeating.
One of those aspects is a commitment to truth amongst its followers.
As you are probably aware, for Christians, the most important books in the Bible are the Gospels. These four books tell the story of Jesus – the most important person in the Bible.
Christians believe that they can only go to Heaven through Jesus. If they miss out on Heaven, they will go to Hell.
The most important event in the Gospels, is the death of Jesus which is celebrated every Easter.
Just before Jesus’ death, he had a conversation with Peter, his most trusted disciple, which is remembered by Christians every Easter.
Jesus tells Peter that he will soon be taken and killed. He tells Peter that before the cock crows in the morning, that he will deny knowing Jesus three times.
Peter protests that he will never do this. Yet after Jesus is arrested, Peter is accused of being an associate of Jesus on three occasions.
Peter lies and denies this fact. But after his third denial, the rooster crows and Peter remembers Jesus’ words. He then breaks down and weeps, knowing that he has done a really bad thing.
This is a very profound message to Christians. It tells them that they should tell the truth, even when their own lives are in danger.
Of course, like Peter, few Christians will have that level of commitment to truth. They are, however, incentivised strongly to tell the truth and to avoid lying.
To be a Christian, is to believe that telling the truth can be the difference between an eternity in Heaven, or an eternity in Hell.
Prior to the Enlightenment, most Europeans were strongly Christian. In those days, most believed unshakeably in God, the Bible and Heaven and Hell. Christianity was central to the culture and the civilisation of all European nations.
The language of Christianity is still found throughout our laws, our culture, our political and parliamentary systems and our constitutions.
It has been that way for a thousand years.
Has it made a difference? Let’s have a look.
Below are two tables which are taken from Transparency International’s listings of corruption by nation.
Table of Least Corrupt Nations
Table of Most Corrupt Nations
The first table shows the least corrupt countries in the world, the last table shows the most corrupt.
You might notice that of the fifteen least corrupt countries, only Singapore is not a traditionally Christian country, although it was founded and administered by Great Britain until WW2.
Of the 33 most corrupt countries in the world, Venezuela is the only one which is Christian. (although its political leadership has been bordering on Communist in recent times).
If you look at the table, it is also worth noting that the formerly Christian countries at the top of the table are generally declining in the rankings as Christianity declines in their populations.
It would be a stretch to suppose then that this is purely coincidence, since Christian culture heavily incentivises truth telling.
Christian nations are greatly overrepresented at the top of the corruption table and are vanishingly rare at the bottom.
The most visible consequence of this difference is in the economic fortunes of the nations listed. The least corrupt nations are among the world’s wealthiest whilst the most corrupt languish amongst the poorest nations on the planet.
The difference isn’t slight either. Furthermore, it is masked by foreign aid from rich to poor. It is also notable that many of the wealthy countries at the top of the chart, such as Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Denmark and Finland have almost no natural resources whilst many on the bottom are rich in them.
Clearly, honesty is a far more important indicator of economic success than natural resources. Dishonest people find it almost impossible to cooperate to create economic success because whilst honesty is a win-win proposition, dishonesty is win-lose.
That is to say, that whilst honest people can cooperate to build a factory or a business which will power economic success for all those involved, a liar or a thief benefits only himself, to the detriment of his victim. That is why honesty drives economic success like no other factor.
Meanwhile, Christianity in the West is in rapid decline as our elites seem intent on maligning and persecuting Christians and Christianity at every opportunity.
Yet every other religion seems to get a free pass and they are all protected by “hate speech” laws and politically correct dictates.
Judging by the tables above, this may be one of the costliest mistakes we could ever make.