Andrew Bolt says he’s not a believer. He calls himself a “rationalist”.
He writes for Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Brisbane’s Courier Mail and Adelaide’s Advertiser.
He also hosts a TV current affairs program on Sky News. His daily blog is one of the most popular in Australia. He “tells it like it is” – sometimes getting in trouble as a result.
But last Thursday, on his program and his blog, Andrew made a startling admission:
“As you probably know, I’m not a Christian. But there is a man who made me think that maybe I’ve been a little too arrogant about that.”
He was talking about Paul Barnett, a retired Anglican bishop of North Sydney (who incidentally has been a great encouragement to FamilyVoice).
Paul Barnett has written A Short Book About Jesus – the Man from Heaven. A year ago he sent a copy to Andrew Bolt.
And Andrew – who almost never reads the stuff people send him – was deeply impressed.
Paul’s book uses evidence, from ancient non-Christian writers, to show the remarkable growth of the Christian faith. After their leader was executed in a most degrading way, a few dispirited followers became the dominant religion in the Roman empire just three centuries later.
Listen to Andrew Bolt’s video yourself. But in the meantime, here is his amazing introduction (slightly edited):
Tomorrow is Easter Friday. That's the day when Christians mark the death in Jerusalem, 2000 years ago, of Jesus Christ.
Now we know from other historical sources that there was a Jesus, and he was executed. We also know that the Romans used crucifixion back then, not just because it was such a ghastly way to die – it was also such a humiliating way to die.
Who could respect a man who claimed to be a leader – nailed up there for days, gasping his last, soiling himself?
So that crucifixion, back then – when to be God was to be powerful and weakness something to be despised – that should have been it for Christ and for his tiny bunch of followers.
But the amazing thing is that it wasn't.
Those followers, who thought Christ was God, ended up believing him all the more. And some wrote that they’d actually seen this man three days later come back alive, transfigured.
Many of us rationalists today find this absolutely incredible and laughable.
But this resurrection, celebrated on Easter Sunday, was believed so much by Christ’s disciples that every single one of them, bar one, and St Paul later, themselves risked their lives and were killed, trying to convert the world into believing in Christ too.
And the miracle is that these people won. At least until now.
There are around two and a half billion Christians. Personally, I'm very glad of that. Because what you tend to find in survey after survey is that they do tend to be people who give more to charity or work more for others. They tend to be better neighbours. Of course, not all – but the data is pretty consistent.
And the more free and democratic societies that we have, where rights are most respected, are essentially Christian societies, or at least founded by Christians.
And that's one reason I worry about the frantic attacks on Christianity in the West, often by people who seem to lack one thing that Christ preached particularly: “Show mercy. Show forgiveness. Be humble. You who are without sin cast the first stone.”
Andrew continues, asking Paul Barnett for more details.
Is this non-believing journalist very far from God’s kingdom?
I’m praying for him.
Peter Downie - National Director