Leading questions

god is good for youReview by Derek McDougall

Book | God Is Good For You: A Defence of Christianity in Troubled Times | Greg Sheridan

Greg Sheridan is well known as the foreign editor of The Australian, and as a leading advocate of centre-right positions in Australian politics. In this book he has turned his attention to some big issues close to his heart, a defence of Christian faith and some manifestations of that faith in Australia, a society increasingly described as post-Christian.

Sheridan writes neither as a theologian or a scholar of religion, but as a well-informed journalist. While at times one might have appreciated more depth in his writing, his approach is very accessible for a general audience. He has the knack of incorporating anecdotes from his own experience to amplify the general points he is making.

The first part of this work is mainly apologetics as he explains and defends Christian beliefs and argues for their role in forming Western societies.

The second part, Christians, is like another, related book. The focus is on Christianity as part of Australian life, giving attention to recent and contemporary politicians who identify
as Christians.

Perhaps the unifying theme is the way in which politicians have a heightened moral awareness through their faith. Mostly they describe to Sheridan a sense of justice that is enriched through their Christian engagement. It is less clear however as to whether this sense of justice or fairness leads in a more specific policy direction. The views of justice as articulated by the various politicians interviewed could overlap with views coming from non-Christian sources.

Overall, Sheridan has boldly presented his understanding of the Christian faith, together with glimpses of the role of that faith in contemporary Australia.

I would have liked more attention to ecumenically-minded liberal/progressive Protestant perspectives (my own position), but the book certainly provides a good insight into these matters from a more conservative (theologically and politically) viewpoint.

Available from Allen & Unwin, RRP $33

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