"I'm not going to pretend to a faith I don't feel," says Julia Gillard. But she has "great respect for religion," according to the UK Telegraph.
Three quick points:
1) Faith, at least "trust" placed in our Creator, is a matter of facts, not of feeling. The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, for example, is not a feeling. It is either a fact of history or it is not. If it is a fact of history, a reasonable person acts in accordance with that fact; an unreasonable person does not.
2) If the prime minister does not "believe in God," why does she "respect religion"? If a particular "religious" truth claim is false (for example, an assertion that the Easter Bunny is God), why respect it? If a relgious assertion is false, one might hold respect for the misinformed "believer," but "religious" truth claims are the same as any other truth claim. Those which are true ought to be affirmed, and those which are not true ought not to be affirmed.
3) Finally, the epistemology of the Creator as set forth in the information given in the Biblical data rejects the concept that "faith" is merely a private experience in which people can pretty much "believe" whatever they want and feel good about it. That's not faith, it's nonsense. Biblical "faith" is not about a privatized a way of knowing but rather a fact-based way of trusting -- it's a decision of the whole person based on good and sufficient evidence (as Francis Schaeffer often said) that certain propositions about God, man, and the universe are true.
Gillard gets high marks for her lack of pretense. But based on what we have in this report in the Telegraph, what she rejects has little to do with real Christianity, for what she thinks she rejects is already equally rejected, and even more profoundly rejected, by Christianity itself.
The real thing -- holistic commitment based on knowable truth -- so that people might live lives of community with their Creator and fellow man -- has always been much more rigorous and reality oriented that what sometimes passes for "faith" these days.
As for me and my house of free-thinkers, we too have great respect -- for truth.
"Religion Very Harmful to People," by Udo Middelmann