The Brothel And The Academic
A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.
20th May 2011
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I don’t know how they appeared in the newspaper but on my computer they were side by side - two articles about recent developments in human sinfulness. One was well known in the ancient world the other was as old as sinfulness itself.
One was a development application to vastly expand a brothel to become “Australia’s biggest brothel”. What a great story for our newspaper to bring to our city! The other article was about the world famous mathematician, physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking ‘branding’ heaven as a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark”.
The article on the brothel pointed out the dubious character of its owner. There was the suggestion of irregularity in betting on dogs and horses. Associations with some publically disgraced rugby league players were mentioned. There was some criticism by a concerned neighbour, highlighting the suburb’s changing character into a family area. There were also details of the latest in fashion and practices in brothels, but it was hard to see if this was supposed to be a criticism or an advertisement.
Certainly, the rest of the article was positive public relations and a free advertisement for the brothel. The rooms and pool tables, the underground parking – all the facilities were explained and the address given. The local community were reported as being pleased with the development, as the owners provide a security guard every night on the street. How good is that, your own private security service! That is better than the Police Department can offer. The clientele were described in glamorous terms: “suits, accountants, lawyers, as well as a lot of top-end celebrities such as movie stars, sports people and rock bands.'' Obviously down and outs, working class, migrants, lonely, unhappy, social misfits or non-celebrity actors, sports people or rock bands do not visit such an establishment let alone mentally unbalanced, drunken, criminal or violent men. And the business is about to achieve the prestige and respectability of being sold to a publically listed company on the ASX. What could be more ‘Sydney’ than simultaneously making prostitution respectable and commerce corrupt by listing brothels on the stock exchange! In our city: money is everything; morality is nothing. I wonder why stock brokers and bankers were not listed amongst the clientele.
The Biblical argument that adultery is worse than prostitution (Proverbs 6:26) assumes society views prostitution with shame and disgust. But there was no shame in the newspaper; the next day they ran a promotional video clip of the brothel!There was nothing in the article of the terrible abuse of women caught in such dire straits as to sell their bodies and souls into this degrading industry. There was nothing criticizing these wealthy “top end” men for their appalling treatment of another human being as an object to buy for their own gratification. The amoral harm minimization argument has permitted this form of slavery to become legitimate, and once legitimate it is moral and its profits shared by the media, advertisers, investors and government taxes. Everybody’s a winner – except everybody involved in this degenerate industry.
It’s reasonable to expect an article about Stephen Hawking to be more uplifting than that of a brothel. He is one of the great figures of our time - a man of impressive intellect but even greater courage. His academic leadership, while being so physically handicapped, is a story which gives hope for the human spirit. Speaking from his wheelchair via a voice synthesizer, exemplifies the wonders of modern medicine and electronics. That we have been able to benefit from a man suffering so much gives hope to all who are afflicted.
The article is about Professor Hawking’s view of death and his negation of heaven. His opinion has less to do with his scientific expertise than his situation of facing imminent death for the last half century. His scientific work leaves him with no necessity to entertain God in his explanation of everything. But the only god that he dismisses is the god of the gaps not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. His view of life after death is not a scientific view, and his eminence as a scientist is irrelevant to his opinion. Other equally eminent academic scientists, hold the opposite view to him on this subject. The media does not ask them because they are not media celebrities. Their opinion is not considered important because it is outside their field of expertise.
The hypothesis that belief in heaven is akin to fear of the dark is not advanced as a piece of psychological research. It is just an opinion of a man – a great man – who like us all, has to consider his life in the light of his mortality. The evidence about life after death that comes from the word of God and the history of Jesus’ death and resurrection is not considered. Stephen Hawking’s conclusion denies the Bible’s statement: “it is appointed unto man to die once and after that comes the judgement” (Hebrews 9:27).
But there’s the rub. The after-life is not only about heaven, it’s also about hell. And it's in Satan's interest in particular to promote the lie that we do not have to face judgement. For while prostitution is as old as the ancient world – known to the Biblical Patriarchs (Genesis 34:31, 38:15), the lie about ‘no judgement’ goes back even further to the origins of sin itself. And while prostitution is a terrible expression of man’s sinful inhumanity, and the dreadful plight that sin places women in – yet it is only symptomatic of sin and not its essence or cause. By accepting Satan’s famous lie of ‘no divine judgement’ on our actions, the whole of humanity plunged itself into God’s condemnation.