Listen: Natasha Moore from the Centre for Public Christianity on how important it is to listen to others with differing opinions
Natasha Moore from the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX) and Hope Book Club host returned from her recent Easter holiday to find herself in the middle of a media storm in a teacup.
“It was a little unexpected,” she said.
So what had Natasha said that was so controversial?
An article she wrote for the ABC caught the attention of Sky News commentator Paul Murray, who assumed it was anti-Christianity. The story subsequently featured on ABC’s Media Watch.
CPX commissioned a survey by McCrindle Research to discover what Australians believe about spiritual things, such as God, the soul, miracles, ghosts, angels and whether Christ rose from the dead.
“We were interested in people’s sense of spiritual realities. We just wanted to know what people thought – get a handle on that. And so, I wrote up some of the results and talked about, ‘Hey look, there’s actually a lot of openness here. People don’t really know what they believe. They think there might be something more on the whole.’ It was a pretty gentle piece I think,” Natasha said.
The piece was published on the ABC website and plainly stated the research was commissioned by CPX. However, commentators on Sky News felt that the national broadcaster was casting doubt on the existence of God on the holy weekend of Easter. Paul Murray, Pauline Hanson and Barnaby Joyce were just some of the commentators who condemned the “offensive article”.
In fact, the survey showed that belief in spiritual things is still strong – 69.7 per cent of respondents said they either believed in, or were open to the existence of, the soul; almost 60 per cent believe in, or are open to the idea of, God and life after death.
“We all do this, we all have our narratives in our head of who is likely to say what. Some of those are based on track records, some of them are based on prejudice or bias or assumption,” Natasha explained.
“I wanted to at Easter be inviting people who are not sure what they believe, or who think: actually, I don’t think there is anything except what you can see and touch. I wanted to invite them into a different conversation.”
Nastasha said the experience reinforced how important it is to listen to those who think differently to ourselves.
“We’ve seen what the culture wars do in America and we’re not immune to that. And I don’t think we’re as far down the line as they are, but I think it does encourage us all to actually pay attention to what people are saying… really working hard to hear people who are saying things that we don’t already agree with. Because otherwise how do we ever learn that we’re wrong about something? How do ever learn something we didn’t know already if we’re not willing to listen?”
Read the Natasha Moore’s We asked Australians if they believe in God or the supernatural. Here’s what they said article
Listen to the full interview with Natasha and Katrina in the player above.