West must resurrect Christian values

by KEVIN DONNELLY ~ WHILE Christmas baubles and presents, tables laden with ham, turkey and prawns and long days at the beach signify what time of year it is, December 25 is also one of the most holy days in the Christian calendar celebrating the birth of Christ. 

An epochal event that changed the course of history. God became man and through Christ’s teachings the world was offered a revolutionary creed based on the conviction to love thy neighbour as thyself, to turn the other cheek and to do good instead of evil. 

Australian captain Tim Paine was wrong to be involved in sexting but to destroy his career lacks Christian forgiveness & charity…
Kevin Donnelly
Senior Research Fellow, ACU

As argued by Larry Siedentop in Inventing the Individual Greek and Roman societies before Christ were based on “the assumption of natural inequality”.

Societies and families were hierarchical where only the few wealthy and privileged men were free to do as they wished.


This was a time when “there was no question of women, slaves or foreign born being included in public life”.

Siedentop, referring to the writings of Christ’s disciple Paul, highlights how concepts like the inherent dignity of the person, the importance of free will and the right to liberty and freedom radically changed the nature of Western societies.

Christianity also introduced concepts like moral agency and conscience. There is good and evil in the world and human nature is such that all are capable of sin but with the birth of Christ there is a strong moral code and the possibility of forgiveness and redemption.

Qualities sadly lacking in politics and social media today where any transgression is immediately pounced upon without any concern about how unfair such condemnation is.

There’s no doubt Australia’s cricket captain Tim Paine was wrong to be involved in sexting but to destroy his sporting career lacks Christian forgiveness and charity.

It’s no accident Western, liberal democracies like Australia are shining beacons in a world characterised by oppression and dictatorial leaders and governments. In China ethnic minorities like the Uyghurs are forced into “re-education” camps and imprisoned.

Many African States are embroiled in tribal conflicts where innocents are slaughtered and in communist dictatorships like Russia corrupt leaders impose an unforgiving oligarchy where opposition figures were poisoned and imprisoned.


While there’s no doubt, in Victoria under Dictator Dan in particular, citizens have suffered because of intrusive and unnecessary government regulations and restrictions as a result of COVID-19, by comparison, we still enjoy a significant degree of liberty and freedom.

The great English poet and cultural critic TS Eliot makes the point Christianity is such an integral and significant part of Western culture that “if Christianity goes, the whole of culture goes”.

Even those who don’t believe in the Bible are heirs to a religion that informs and underpins their way of life.

Julia Gillard, an atheist and when prime minister, stressed the Bible’s value when she argued it “formed such an important part of our culture” and “it is impossible to understand Western literature without that key of understanding the Bible stories and how Western literature builds on them”.

Much of the West’s literature, art, music and architecture can only be fully appreciated and understood in the context of religion.

Great European composers including JS Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Handel and more recently Ralph Vaughan Williams and John Tavener composed music drawing on the life of Christ.

Australia’s novelist Tim Winton is quoted as saying “I am a Christian and I write novels” and the Nobel Prize winning author Patrick White often deals with Christian concepts like temptation and guilt, suffering a redemption and the search for a transcendent and spiritual sense of life.

Painters and sculptors including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and El Greco found much of their inspiration in parables and stories from the Bible. Anyone who has seen the Sistine Chapel, visited Chartres Cathedral or viewed the stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris will understand the exalted and sublime influence of religion.


Given the anxiety, stress and suffering caused by COVID-19 (aka the China virus) and the way governments and health officials have enforced draconian and harmful restrictions on personal freedoms and liberties it’s a good time to revisit the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Not only does Christianity underpin our political and legal systems and act as a balance against authoritarian leaders and government, it also provides comfort and succour in times of anguish and need.

At a time when eastern mysticism and meditation are increasingly popular, Christian prayer and contemplation also provides a much needed source of reassurance that all is not bleak and depressing.

No matter how many presents you unwrap or how much you eat and drink on Christmas day the reality is religion is enduring and paramount.PC

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of ‘Why Christianity Is Good For Us’.

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Former Australian captain Tim Paine (courtesy ABC)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Daily Telegraph. Re-used with permission.
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2 thoughts on “West must resurrect Christian values

  1. There’s no such thing as “turn the other cheek” these days.
    If you feel offended in the slightest – or if you believe anyone else’s feelings have been infringed upon – our secularist society encourages us to destroy the “offender”.
    Dox them, lobby their employer to sack them, vilify them to the point of suicide. And do the same to their family members.
    “Never ever forgive” is our new doctrine.
    It’s now worse than an “eye for an eye”. It’s a “life for a hurt feeling”.

    Thank-you very bloody much, Lefties.

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