This week has thrown the Prime Minister’s religious beliefs into the media spotlight. At a meeting of fellow Christians, Morrison suggested social media could be used by “the evil one” to undermine Australian society and said the internet could be used by the Devil as a weapon.
Scary stuff, for all (believers and non-believers) concerned.
For my summary of the Prime Minister’s beliefs, I have drawn on an article by Philip C. Almond, Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought, The University of Queensland entitled “Fire aspects of Pentecostalism that shed light on Scott Morrison’s politics” published in The Conversation.
Morrison’s Pentecostal Christian faith includes
Miracles: These are central to Pentecostalism. This means that an all-powerful creator intervenes in human affairs. Morrison said, “I have always believed in miracles” on the night of his underdog victory in the last election campaign. It is unlikely that he was speaking metaphorically.
Divine providence: All of history and all of the future is in God’s hands. God has a “providential plan” for mankind. This effectively absolves true believers from any active intervention in the world’s problems. Part of the plan is the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. At this point, all those who have not been born again (Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, and non-born-again Christians) will be condemned to everlasting hellfire.
Prosperity theology; This states that belief in God leads to material wealth. Salvation is connected to material wealth. By implication, this means that the rich are godly, and poor ungodly. The public policy implication of this is that government should not encouraged people to rely on the welfare state. Or, as Scott Morrison would say ““If you have a go, you get a go”.
Exclusivism: “There are the saved and the damned, the righteous and the wicked, the godly and the satanic.” Only those saved by Jesus during a direct experience with him, will be saved. These direct experiences are often found in the church congregation where speaking in tongues is common.
Scott Morrison will know what God wants. Reading his speech, it would appear that he believes God speaks to him, or at least shows him signs.
The idea that an all-powerful creator intervenes in human affairs is profoundly disturbing. It effectively denies the the individual right of choice or right of responsibility. It’s a profoundly defeatist view of the world, particularly when it’s held by someone with Morrison’s legislative power and influence.
What hope for climate change, or any kind of change for that matter, if God is going to intervene and solve (or not solve) the problem?