Action Alert October 2009

This is an archived edition of Action Alert.

The Parliament of World Religions

From 3 to 9 December 2009, Melbourne will host the next Parliament of World Religions. This event, which is held every five years, brings together people of all religions from across the world, and the organisers of the Melbourne event are expecting up to 10,000 visitors and are planning some 450 activities to foster the relationships between the various religious groups.  The Dalai Lama (the exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhists) will officially open the Parliament, and the meetings are being coordinated by Gary Bouma and Des Cahill (two of the authors of the Discussion Paper for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Freedom of Religion and Belief Inquiry, an inquiry promoting the acceptance of multi-faith ideas in Australian social policy).

The Parliament of World Religions was first held in Chicago in 1893 with the stated aim of improving understanding between representatives of all religions by holding periodic gatherings without any ‘legislative’ agenda.  Initially, the event was more focused on bringing together representatives of the different Christian denominations, but since then, it has expanded to include representatives of all the major world religions.  The underlying assumption is that all religions are of equal significance, all equally true.  It is inappropriate for the representatives of any religion to suggest that their religion is ‘the only way’, and so the ‘Christian’ representatives who attend are not supposed to mention anything about the uniqueness of Jesus or of Jesus’ claim to be “the way, and the truth, and the life”.

The Melbourne Parliament will have an emphasis on working together for peace, and there will also be an environmental program to encourage a greater awareness of responsible environmental concern.  The Australian Government and the Victorian State Government have each contributed $2,000,000 towards the costs of running the Parliament, and the Melbourne City Council has donated $500,000.

While it may be commendable to work together for world peace and to promote environmental causes, the Parliament of World Religions operates on a flawed premise – that all religions are equally significant and all religions share in a measure of the truth (but do not necessarily have all of the truth) – and, to substantiate that premise, a clear denial of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the God-man, as the one true God who came to this Earth in human form.  Although some well-known Christian leaders are planning to attend Melbourne’s PWR, they can only do so either as ‘outsiders’ who do not support the Parliament’s foundational premise, or as those who have compromised on the truth of the Scriptures on the absolutely vital issue of the identity of Jesus Christ.

What ought we to do about the Parliament of World Religions? Well, firstly, if we belong to a church of a particular denomination, we ought to contact our denominational leaders to find out if they will be attending the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne in December.  If they will not be involved, we ought to commend them; if they will be attending, we ought to point out the flawed and unbiblical premise on which the Parliament operates and urge them to re-consider their decision to attend.

Secondly, we ought to contact our nation’s political leaders to express our disappointment with $2,000,000 of taxpayer dollars being given to the organisers of the Parliament.  While the Federal Government is not seeking to ‘establish’ or promote religion by contributing those funds, and while most politicians would probably think that cooperative multi-faith events would strengthen the ‘fabric’ of a multicultural society, we need to point out that religions are not all the same.  Our nation (and Western civilisation generally) has been founded on a Christian worldview, and this has given rise to a democratic and free society.  In stark contrast, nations founded on other religious worldviews tend to intrinsically lack the freedoms that we take for granted (and which attract many of the citizens of those countries to immigrate to the Western nations).  Write a polite letter to Hon Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600 to express your disappointment about Federal Government funding for the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, and point out that the Parliament does not represent the perspective of Bible-believing Christians.

* * * * * * * * * *

Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?
Psalm 94:16

* * * * * * * * * *

This monthly release is prepared by Pastor Brian Robertson (P O Box 2367, Bundaberg, 4670) to inform Christian people about issues within our society.  “Action Alert” does not promote any one political party, but encourages its readers to be “salt and light” by speaking out on some of these matters.  The views expressed in “Action Alert” are those of the author and are not necessarily those of a local church or a denominational organisation.  To the extent permissible by law, no church or denomination accepts liability for anything contained in this publication and any use made of it.