Of course, in addition to Seth Mahiga, many other atheists have come forward to share their conversion stories. During an appearance on a podcast earlier this year, Chet Hanks, son of actor Tom Hanks, detailed how an encounter with God during a day hike in Utah when he was 17 led to his conversion from atheism.
Another former atheist, Lee Strobel, wrote an entire book detailing his conversion to Christianity called The Case for Christ. Strobel, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, had initially sought to disprove the existence of Jesus Christ but ultimately failed to do so and ended up becoming a Christian. In 2017, a film adaptation of his popular book was released.
Like Lee Strobel many former atheists go on to serve Jesus mightily. They know the difference; from a life of hopelessness, no purpose or meaning to life, to knowing God loves them and a vibrant relationship with Him.
Prayer is the language of a love relationship with your Heavenly Father. Prayer is exciting, intimate and joyful. When you discover God answers heartfelt prayers, your life will change forever.
This book changed my life. Love to Pray is all about loving the one to whom you pray and learning to express that love in a continuing dialogue with God. This book will help you discover how to become devoted to prayer as a way of life rather than a duty.
I have assembled this post from a great article by Greg Sheridan in The Weekend Australian, “Respect for women: Society will pay for loss of its Christian ideals”.
As we have moved away from our traditional Judaeo Christian roots our cultural leaders have been telling us now for more than five decades, that we can transition into a neo-pagan culture and this will somehow be good for women. Obviously, when it comes down to survival of the fittest men are going to be the winners. The teaching of evolution in our schools has undermined the very foundation of those Judaeo Christian roots and yet the latest science reveals that this highly complex universe was created. Life itself is built on highly complex codes (DNA) and the laws governing the universe can only derive from a highly intelligent mind beyond our comprehension.
In Australia, this past five weeks, from the shocking accounts of the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins and other disgraceful sexual assaults in Parliament House to the overwhelmingly powerful National Press Club address of abuse survivor and Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, have provided a wrenching examination of the national soul.
The problem with sexual assault lies with men. They are the perpetrators. But all of this — men and women — exist within a culture. And what’s happening to the culture affects what happens to the human beings within the culture.
The progressive orthodoxy, that we used to be overwhelmingly sexist and we’ve made great progress but we’ve still got a long way to go, is only about a quarter right. On some things we have made progress. On most we’ve gone backwards.
My father, and countless men of his generation, did not treat women with disrespect. Nor did the culture mandate that he should. Our culture, right now, has the greatest trouble treating anybody with respect.
We are on the brink of becoming a majority atheist nation. The loss of religious belief in society affects the way we see human beings, men and women. It goes without saying that Christians frequently do not remotely live up to their ideals, but Christian ideals nonetheless have a lot to offer the culture in this moment of truth-telling and contradiction.
Elements of popular culture today work to degrade women, and men as well. This is beyond politics. The big mistake of the Me-too movement is not to become too sharply critical of men, but to turn their movement into a left versus right culture wars battleground. Abuse and disrespect transcend ideological lines.
The astonishing abusiveness of Twitter is dehumanising. While everybody who ventures into that sewer faces some foul level of abuse, it is far worse for women because so often the abuse is sexualised and violent in its imagery.
The ubiquity of ever more degrading pornography propounds implicitly the idea that women are primarily objects. Conservatives should welcome the Me-too movement in its late discovery of pornography’s damage.
John Dickson, the historian and popular Christian author, and presenter of Australia’s No 1 religious podcast, Undeceptions, wrote a book, A Sneaking Suspicion, about Christianity, in which in the first chapter he made a measured, gentle, friendly and wise argument for sexual fidelity within marriage and even a culture of purity. About six years ago, the culture had become so intolerant of this outlook that some anti-religion zealots managed to get it banned from NSW government schools for a month or so on the grounds it was “dangerous” (the ban was later overturned).
Dangerous? Maybe Christianity has some useful things to say about men and women and how they relate to each other. Rodney Stark, the foremost sociologist of religious history, argues in The Triumph of Christianity that it was Christianity’s pro-woman stance which more than anything led to its rapid expansion 2000 years ago.
Paul’s statement of universality in his letter to the Galatians was revolutionary: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Larry Siedentop, the great Oxford scholar, in his history of liberalism, Inventing the Individual, judges Paul’s interpretation of Christian universalism as being directly responsible over the centuries for the evolution of liberalism. Destroying the religious distinction between men and women led eventually to destroying the civic distinction between them.
Given that the problem of sexual assault in particular, and domestic violence, of which there is a plague in Australia, is a problem with men, men could do much worse than look to Jesus as to how a man should behave towards women.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus rebukes male power and patriarchy. In the Gospel of John there is one of the most affecting of all the scenes in the New Testament. A woman caught in adultery is brought before Jesus. The sexism inherent in the ancient world is evident in the fact that the man she was presumably caught with is not brought for punishment. Her accusers want Jesus to command death by stoning, which was the punishment in the law.
Instead, Jesus is mostly silent. He writes on the sand in the ground, and ancient tradition has it he is writing some of the crimes committed by the accusers. He then says: “Let he among you who has not sinned be the first to throw a stone.” The crowd, which had been menacing and unruly and full of that sense of violence a mob can possess, dissipates. I do not condemn you, Jesus tells the woman, go and sin no more.
If you’re not familiar with the Gospels, the best place to start is with Luke. His is the loveliest of the Gospels, because it has the most women in it, and has the most about women. Luke recounts a dinner Jesus attends at the home of a local big shot named Simon. A “notorious” woman shows up uninvited and Simon is furious. But Jesus rebukes him and defends the woman. She is welcome in my company. She is the recipient of Jesus’ love.
There are women, too, of great heroism and agency in the Gospels. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one. She is an activist, an agent of history, she takes charge of her unexpected pregnancy. I have always liked the idea that she gave Luke all his great scoops about the incarnation of Jesus, which would show Mary already directing her story and directing history.
All the way through the Gospels the women are more faithful and more courageous than the men. The first human being to proclaim Jesus was a woman. At the cross, when Jesus was dying, there were three women, among them Mary, and only one man, John. And when Jesus rises from the dead, the first person to see him is Mary Magdalene, who tells the apostles. She is the apostle to the apostles. But with Easter soon approaching, let’s return to how Jesus treats women. As he is dying on the cross, over three hours in the most excruciating death we can imagine, as his body grows cold, as the birds find he is defenceless, as each breath is an agonising struggle to lift his shoulders and grasp some air, at that time, the last words he addresses to a human being are concern for Mary, his mother.
He tells his best friend John to look after Mary: “This is your mother.” Forget the theology of this, look just at the human love that is there.
Part of the Christian sexual revolution was to make marriage, for the first time, an institution of mutual love and respect, which was not the way it was conceived in the ancient world. Perhaps the central word in Christianity is respect, respect for human beings and human dignity. Christianity allowed its portrayal of human sexuality to become way too negative over the past 150 years. But its understanding that sex is really a big deal was a rejection of a central element of the barbarism of the pagan world.
Dr Emma Woods, in a fascinating piece on the ABC Religion and Ethics website, argued recently that just teaching the importance of consent, while obviously absolutely essential, is not enough to get respect back into relationships; there is a need to teach a morality of sexual ethics.
She contrasts the dominant cultural paradigm of today that sex is mainly recreational with the traditional human moral intuition that sex is a matter of great significance. Men’s brains are a little inferior because it’s easier for them to fall into the mistake of thinking it’s just recreation. Women are more hard-wired, according to Woods, to treat sex as something of great significance.
If it is something of no significance then it is naturally much harder for women and girls to say no — not legally or ethically harder, but psychologically. Yet this paradigm ultimately offends the innate nature of humanity.
One of the most important Christian elucidations of human sexuality is the Theology of the Body, which John Paul II, the greatest of the modern popes, produced. It is too little studied and promoted by Christians, even, weirdly, by Catholics. It is a profoundly rich meditation which cannot be easily summarised.
It starts with the inherent human dignity of each person, created in the likeness and image of God. It also sees the sexual relationship as an intrinsically divine element of human nature. Christians understand God as one being, but also, as the Holy Trinity, as a divine community of love. Both the Old Testament and the Gospels talks of marriage meaning that “the two shall become one flesh”. JP II sees this as a divine likeness in humanity to the community of love in the Trinity.
The Bible, Old Testament and New, is full of love, and the celebration of love, human as well as divine. Just read The Song of Solomon. But there is always the sense of the need for restraint, in order to respect oneself and to respect other people. Christian churches need to preach their positive vision of human relationships much more clearly. And the secular culture, racing to the confused and disastrous entropy of its neo-paganism, would do well to listen.
The People who best articulate the answer to the “so what” question of God are the atheistic existentialist philosophers. Nietzsche had the courage to admit that the rejection of God ends in nihilism (existence is senseless and useless). Another, Jean-Paul Sartre, well describes existence without God with the chosen title of his book Nausea and the portrayal of life as “an empty bubble floating on a sea of nothingness”.
Sartre’s study partner, Albert Camus, tells us in “An Absurd Reasoning” (contained in The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays) that a God-less life leads to there being “only one really serious philosophical question, and this is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” It’s what Daryl on The Walking Dead calls “opting out”.
Fred Hoyle, famous British mathematician and astronomer said “the probability of the formation of just one of the many proteins on which life depends is comparable to that of a solar system packed full of blind people randomly shuffling Rubik’s cubes all arriving at the solution at the same time” which of course is absurd. In fact, life without God is absurd.
Despite all of the above most people live their lives as if God does not exist. They do their best to live life on God’s planet, enjoying all that He has provided but not wanting to even know their Creator, in fear that they will not be able to “call the shots”, i.e., be God of their own little world. You only realise how sad this is when you know that our Creator loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place that we might be restored into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:4-6
Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” John 6:44.
Our first job: We need to pray that the unsaved we are connected to will be drawn by the Father.
Our second job: We need to pray that those that hear the Gospel will understand it. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” Matthew 13:19
Our third job: We need to pray that the eyes of unbelievers will be opened so they can see the light. Opening spiritual eyes is, of course, God’s business. But releasing God’s power to open blinded eyes is prayer business, to which God calls us.
Dr. Erik Strandness is a physician and Christian apologist who has practiced neonatal medicine for more than 20 years. He continues to practice neonatal medicine and engage in apologetics through speaking, writing, and blogging. He is passionate about helping Christians understand their faith so that they can effectively engage their critics as well as winsomely proclaim the Gospel to others with gentleness and respect.
This post which I have abbreviated is taken from his excellent article Dave Rubin: Why I’m no longer an atheist published on http://www.patheos.com
Dave Rubin is one of the bright lights of the intellectual dark web. He occupies that unique niche inhabited by the likes of Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray, where the sacred and secular rub shoulders. Tired of living in a contentious world of non-overlapping magisteria, these men seek a parley. They aren’t puppets of a particular ideology but a curious audience who just wants to know who is really pulling the strings.
Rubin, while raised in a conservative Jewish home, considered himself a cultural Jew content to adopt the atheist label. However, things began to change during one of his yearly self-imposed technology sabbaticals when he began to realize that he was no longer an atheist.
Rubin already knew that a political or cultural agenda without a foundation is not only unworkable but dangerous. He recognized that this bedrock must be outside of us because only then can we hope to find universal truth. He acknowledges that the biggest threat to foundational unity is the wrecking ball of postmodernity.
“The postmodern project calls each of us to create our own purpose, live by our own rules, and do what makes us happy. It insists that we become the master of our fates, the captain of our souls. In other words, it tells us we must sail alone. I would suggest that the source of the problem is the original sin of wanting to become like God. Thinking we can create our own personal kingdom without boundaries we also end up with no citizens. We are forced to be king, handyman, and chief bottle washer, which is great as long as you don’t have to fix a broken faucet or clean up after a night of hard-drinking. The world becomes millions of kingdoms ruled by “divine” despots who are constantly stepping across the line and gerrymandering the boundaries of their personal fiefdoms.”
Postmodernism reduces metanarrative to improvisation and instead of being characters in a grand drama, we are reduced to comics taking suggestions from the audience. One group finds their place in the greatest story ever told while the other creates their own personal reality.
Unfortunately for our postmodern friends, improvisation just becomes a “theater of the absurd,” amusing to watch, but practically useless as a way to understand the world in which we live.
Postmodernism, however, encountered a problem as it wielded its wrecking ball of deconstruction: how could it hold the crumbling cultural structure together while simultaneously trying to destroy it? The answer was the flimsy duct tape of tolerance, a concept that appears quite friendly and inviting on the surface but is fraught with all sorts of difficulties. Rubin weighed in on the problem of tolerance:
Who are the most intolerant people in society right now? It’s the people that are constantly telling you how tolerant they are; that’s the irony – it’s the people that tell you you’re a bunch of racists and bigots and homophobes and the rest of it. And that’s the real bizarre flip that we have happening in society, and I think that is linked to – however, you want to phrase it – either a post-Christian world or a post-Judeo-Christian world or a post-modern world, however, you want to define that.
Postmodernism has not only destroyed political, scientific, philosophical and historical foundations but has ushered in a crisis of meaning. It’s no mystery to our young people that the world is a lonely place. They know they are spiritually broken, but their schools tell them that spirit doesn’t exist. They feel a crushing darkness and then are told to light the divine spark within even though they know that it has always been a fire hazard. Told they are just molecules in motion, they turn to happy chemicals to numb them to the blind pitiless indifference of the universe.
In this digital age, our young people have unprecedented access to sexual partners, mates, and friends? So why are they so lonely? The internet promised us a global village but ended up building a digital monastery. I would argue that the loneliness that plagues our young people isn’t due to a lack of personal contacts but a lack of a cosmic presence. They don’t feel alone in their communities but rather feel alone in the universe.
You can play video games all day, you can do whatever it is to fill up that hole, if it’s an existential hole or a hole in belief or in whatever it is. But there are a lot of ways to fill that hole. Jordan, in my opinion, has given the best set of beliefs that take from a religious tradition and blend what I would say are Enlightenment values or basically secular values, Judeo-Christian values – and he’s blended them in the most effective way.
While Rubin has been outspoken on political and cultural issues, he has been a bit reticent to share his personal thoughts on religion, which makes this Unbelievable? show so interesting. He clearly recognizes that the world has a problem and that problem is due to a foundation that lacks spiritual concrete.
Rubin has graciously given us a ticket to join him on his spiritual journey and while we hope that he makes Jesus the conductor we are grateful that he has let us come along for the ride.
Are our worldviews merely philosophical speculations with no right or wrong answer and therefore with no consequences. No! One of them begins with the basic premise that God does not exist, the other with the premise that He does. They are therefore mutually exclusive therefore one is true and the other is not.
It is essential you know whether or not God exists as there is no third option. How we relate to God is the foundation for our thinking because it determines the way we view our world.
You need to make the right choice, as I pointed out in a recent post there are only two outcomes: eternal life offered as a free gift by your Creator or face the judgement of God and then the second death in the Lake of Fire.
Your choice of worldviews will shape how you live your life on earth. If you believe God exists then you will want to live your life according to His statutes but if not, then their are no restraints on how you live your life, only those imposed on you by society. You are the product of blind chance random mutations. There is no basis for good or evil, right or wrong. There is no hope of life after death. This is all there is so make the best of it. There are no answers to the big questions of life – why am I here , what is the meaning to life, what is my purpose, what is my ultimate destiny?2
Oxford Professor of Mathematics John Lennox says it well: “What divides us is not science… but our worldviews. No one wants to base their life on a delusion but which is the delusion? Christianity or atheism?”
Sadly, I think most people are afraid to look reality in the eye because it may take them in a direction they do not want to go. It is probably one of the great flaws in human character. We stubbornly hold on to our beliefs because it is how we want life to be rather than how life should be as established by our Creator.
Dr. Francis Collins was Director of the Human Genome Project (ENCODE). Dr. Collins directed over 2000 scientists work on ENCODE. It was the most complex biological research project of all time. He has a powerful testimony on coming to faith in God.
“As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics, and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked “What do you believe, doctor?”, I began searching for answers.
I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” “Why am I here?” “Why does mathematics work, anyway?” “If the universe had a beginning, who created it?” “Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?” “Why do humans have a moral sense?” “What happens after we die?”
I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist’s assertion that “I know there is no God” emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, “Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”
But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.
For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God’s character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God’s son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.
What about your journey? What worldview do you live out? Does it answer all of the difficult questions of life? When you become a follower of Jesus, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to be your counsellor, comforter and teacher. You will then know God exists and you are one of His children.
Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s most famous atheists, has admitted that eliminating God from the public consciousness would pose huge problems. Dawkins insisted that if religion were to be abolished, it would “give people a license to do really bad things.” The Oxford University fellow said that, without the presence of a higher being, “people may feel free to do bad things because they feel God is no longer watching them.” Dawkins warned that people would feel entitled to do what they like because they no longer need to obey a “divine spy in the sky reading their every thought,”, a description he often uses for an omnipresent God.
Dawkins told of an experiment he came across which intended to find out whether people would be “good” if they felt someone was watching. He concluded from the results that “it seems plausible that, if somebody sincerely believes God is watching his every move, he might be more likely to be good.” “I hate that idea,” Dawkins added. “I want to believe that humans are better than that and would be honest whether anyone was watching or not.”
In response creationist Ken Ham, said, “Dawkins has spent his life fighting God, but still recognises that atheism doesn’t provide a foundation for morality.” “Without a biblical foundation, anything goes,” Ham added. “Who determines what is right or wrong? Everyone does what’s right in their own eyes. Dawkins is admitting that atheism is totally morally bankrupt.”
The Bible tells us how to get wisdom and understanding. The benefits thereof and the danger of not doing so:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.” Psalms 111:19
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1
“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.” Psalms 34:9
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8
“An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes… the words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.” Psalms 36:1-1
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
I’m sure it’s the little boy still hiding in my 57-year-old paralyzed body, but I enjoy trying to pull off a good April Fools Day joke on Mary. In our thirty-two years of marriage, I probably have a 75% success rate.
It can be a real challenge to carry out a successful April fools joke with ALS because I can’t speak so I have to attempt to fool her via email or using my computer’s (no inflection) robot voice (the only “voice” I’ve had for the last twenty years).
As I’m sure you know, April Fools Day and Easter (the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead) fall on the same day this year. The two have not fallen on the same day since 1956.
Are Christians foolsfor believing that Christ was literally raised from the dead?
Atheists, agnostics and those of other faiths, believe it…
What a great video by Ray Comfort. A must for your unbelieving family and friends.
Having to prove the existence of God to an atheist is like having to prove the existence of the sun, at noon on a clear day. Yet millions are embracing the foolishness of atheism. “The Atheist Delusion” pulls back the curtain and reveals what is going on in the mind of those who deny the obvious. It introduces you to a number of atheists who you will follow as they go where the evidence leads, find a roadblock, and enter into a place of honesty that is rarely seen on film. From Living Waters, creators of the award-winning TV program “The Way of the Master” and the hit movies “180” and “Evolution vs. God,” comes the powerful film “The Atheist Delusion.” Executive produced by TV co-host and best-selling author Ray Comfort (Hell’s Best Kept Secret, Scientific Facts in the Bible). Learn more at http://www.AtheistMovie.com
Religious liberty is all very well and all that, but it has its limits in Victoria’s state schools where principals are bound by Ministerial Direction 145.
The determination allows faith-based religious instruction at the principal’s discretion providing no child attends for more than 30 minutes a week, and then only in the lunch break or in the hour before or after school. Parents must complete form CD145 — available in 15 languages — to give consent.
Instructors must be referred to as instructors or special instructors, never as teachers. Teaching material cannot be described as “curriculum” and may only be referred to as “materials” or “program materials”.
The Safe Schools program is different. There is no parental red tape to navigate since Safe School classes are compulsory and will be conducted in every state school by next year.
In summary, parents must apply to have kids study the Biblical canon, but they don’t get asked if they’d like their kids to study OMG I’m Queer, OMG I’m Trans, Gayby Baby, or anything else included in the School Action Toolkit “that explores family diversity in a fun & insightful way”. Principals don’t ask parents, they consult an amorphous entity that the Department of Education calls “the broader school community”. OMG indeed.
For a glimpse of what a Bill Shorten prime ministership may entail, head to his home state of Victoria where Daniel Andrews’s track record reads like “a wish list for progressives”, according to one fan writing in the Huffington Post, an online journal for readers who find The Age too conservative.
“Australian-first program of medical cannabis? Check,” writes the fan. “A $572 million package for domestic violence, more money even than the federal government spends nationwide? Check. An Australia-first LGBTI ‘pride centre’ and specific gender-diverse health services? Check.”
The OMG list gets worse. “Directly defying Canberra and standing in opposition to cutting funding for LGBTI education program, the Safe Schools Coalition? Check. A huge increase to legal services for asylum-seekers? Check.”
As Paul Kelly reminded us on these pages last weekend, the Andrews government now wants to legalise what it delicately calls “voluntary assisted dying”. Putting poor old Grandpa out of his misery? Check.
Andrews is undoubtedly the most hardline, ideological, left-wing premier to assume office in this or any other state. As Liberal MP Bernie Finn said recently: “This bloke makes Joan Kirner look like a softie.”
A half-century ago Gough Whitlam flew to Melbourne to tell the state’s left faction they were behaving like a bunch of losers.
“We construct a philosophy of failure, which finds in defeat a form of justification and a proof of the purity of our principles,” he told them, raising his voice above the jeers and catcalls. “Certainly the impotent are pure.”
Whitlam was Labor’s first leader to hold a university degree, a handicap many assumed disqualified him from the job. Today the party is full of them, but sadly few have the learning of Whitlam, who graduated long before the education was dumbed down.
Today Whitlam would probably be scratching his head and wondering how it came to pass that a morally vain extremist such as Andrews, armed with the soft-headed philosophy of cultural inclusion, could ever have been elected in the first place, let alone be seen as a serious contender in the polls next year.
Andrews has achieved the seemingly impossible in reconciling the sensitivities of the sophisticates with the day-to-day anxieties of the masses.
He has an army of media minders to run a virtual newsroom, turning out dozens of asinine press releases weekly, whistling to both audiences.
On one hand they are steeped in symbolic concern about the vulnerable, pledged to give a voice to the voiceless, dedicated to restoring fairness and promise to make Victoria a safe place.
On the other hand they boast of jobs precincts, better kindergartens, new school buildings, level-crossing and road improvements, addressing the practical concerns in the regions and outer suburbs.
Meanwhile his government panders to activism by handing out thousands of grants, large and small, to community organisers of every stripe. It pays for the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council’s Multicultural Dinner, hands over a lazy half-mill to LGBTI support groups to counsel LGBTI Victorians disturbed by a plebiscite, and chucks money at the Feminist Writers Festival in recognition of its “important role in challenging sexism and gender stereotypes, and fostering cultural change”.
It embarks on “a creative new approach to reduce homophobia” by subsidising the development of “an engaging digital app that will give players of all ages insights into the experiences of LGBTI people and the prejudices and discrimination they can face”.
The government funds Literacy Leader Induction Workshops to provide every government primary school with “a trained literacy leader”. Just one, apparently, but it’s a start.
And so in countless feel-good ways, announced in countless fawning press releases, the Andrews government funds a growing bullshit industry, employing countless professional do-gooders in meaningless bullshit jobs.
When Andrews boasts of the jobs he has created, he neglects to mention that the taxpayer is paying for most of them. The growth in education, health, welfare and much heavy construction is funded by the state. But when your only work experience is in politics, that probably doesn’t matter.
At best the bullshit industry is merely ineffective, but we suspect the moral harm is worse. The application of identity politics, the constant affirmation of diversity and the pleas on behalf of the vulnerable feed a culture of complaint and entitlement. It erodes the personal virtues of prudence, fortitude and courage by outsourcing responsibility for individual destiny to the machinery of state.
It is customary for outgoing Labour governments to leave a fiscal deficit on the doormat. The moral deficit Andrews is likely to leave behind will be altogether harder to clean up.
Nick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre.