Is God punishing Australia with drought and bushfires?
As an atheist, I cannot agree with that. But in Australia you are allowed to say that, despite much condemnation. See Israel Folau's words below. His beliefs are part of a resilient Christian tradition that sees God's hands in earthly events. Many Christians do, for instance, see God's protective hand in their own lives. And that is a great source of comfort and reassurance to them.
And seeing Bible passages as prophetic of world events is also common. Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists have been doing so for well over hundred years -- and there is always some fervent Christian somewhere doing it. Seeing the book of Daniel as prophetic is particularly common. So what Folau is saying is simply one part of the Christian tradition, a part that is evidence of a fervent Christian committment.
Even Jesus did it. His words in Matthew 24 are usually seen by Christians as prophetic of the Roman invasion of Jerusalem
Sacked Wallabies star Israel Folau’s claim the bushfires that have devastated Australia and left six dead are God’s punishment for legalising abortion and same-sex marriage has sparked a furious reaction.
Dumped by Rugby Australia after warning homosexuals and other sinners they will go to hell unless they repent, Folau has doubled down on the stance in a video sermon posted to the Truth of Jesus Christ Church Sydney.
During the 10-minute recording, the 30-year-old says the timing of the bushfire crisis is no coincidence but only a taste of God’s judgment should nothing change.
“I’ve been looking around at the events that’s been happening in Australia, this past couple of weeks, with all the natural disasters, the bushfires and the droughts,” he says.
He then reads from the Book of Isaiah in the Bible: “The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.”
“The events that have happened here in Australia, in the last couple of years – God’s word says for a man and a woman to be together … they’ve come and changed this law,” he says.
“Abortion, it’s OK now to murder, kill infants, unborn children.”
Folau says he believes the scripture is talking to Australia. “Look how rapid these bushfires these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time. Do you think it’s a coincidence or not?
“God is speaking to you guys. Australia you need to repent and take these laws and turn it back to what is right.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has weighed in and quickly denounced the comments from Folau. “I thought these were appallingly insensitive comments,” Morrison said.
“They were appalling comments and he is a free citizen, he can say whatever he likes. But that doesn’t mean he can’t have regard to the grievous offence this would have caused to people whose homes have been burnt down.
Folau says he is sharing the message “out of love” but he stirred up a hornet’s nest as his comments were picked up by news outlets across the world.
Anglican minister Peter Kurti said Folau was wrong. “If God really was going to punish us for changing the law on abortion (and) changing the law on marriage, it’s the Parliament House in Macquarie St and the Parliament House in Canberra that should have been the target of God’s wrath — not the mid-north coast and south Queendland,” he told Sky News. “If God was angry, God’s aim was off.
“These are outrageous views and they are up there with the religious fanaticism of the Greens. But … we live in a free country and if this is what Israel Folau believes — and he’s not a politician, he’s not voting resources … he’s a preacher talking to his congregation — surely in Australia we want to defend his right to do so even though we can think the views he expresses are completely wrong and offensive.”
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