Q and A – Religion, Faith and Love

Q and A – Religion, Faith and Love


ABC Television’s Q and A program on Monday 1 April featured several faith leaders and an atheist discussing Faith and Love

TONY JONES: Good evening. Welcome to Q&A. I’m Tony Jones and answering your questions tonight: the director of Griffith University’s Islamic Research Unit, Imam Mohamad Abdalla; Singer, songwriter Deborah Conway whose latest recording draws on stories of the Old Testament and her Jewish heritage; atheist, comedian and star of Please Like Me, Josh Thomas; Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge; and an Australian-raised Catholic whose spiritual journey led her to Tibet and to Buddhism, the Venerable Robina Courtin. Please welcome our panel.

A sample of the Q&A Audience tonight: Christian 48%, Muslim 8%, Jewish 6%, Buddhist 4%, Athiest/Agnostic 32%

Here are the questions our panel faced this week. Tell us what your answer would be or what you think our panellists need to say.


Lyn Simiana asked: We all acknowledge for every building there’s an architect, for every book an author and for every painting, an artist. How, Josh Thomas, do you reconcile this with your belief that our planet with all its wonder and diversity, is without a creator?


Lauren Ingram asked on twitter : Deborah Conway, how can you be a “Jewish Atheist”?


Hugh Cameron asked: What happens in heaven? Can one be expelled from heaven?


Arthur Escamilla asked: Would you agree that there is a push to uproot Judeo-Christian values from our society, and to take religion out of the “public square”? If so, what do you see as the cause?


Simon Lenton asked: A question for Mark Coleridge: How does the Church in good conscience uphold the discipline of clerical celibacy when there is and has been widespread sexual abuse by the clergy and subsequent cover-ups by the Church? Does the Church perceive that the benefits of celibacy continue to outweigh the detriment to society and the Church caused by the abuses? Finally, how does the Church justify such a discipline when The Bible says that God himself, immediately after creating man, declared that it is “not good for a man to be alone”?


India O’Neill asked: TIME Magazine World Editor Bobby Ghosh famously stated that Osama Bin Laden’s greatest legacy was changing the definition of the word ‘jihad’ from an internal struggle against vice, to an external struggle against forces that would threaten the faith, which can involve taking up arms. How can the Muslims reclaim the original definition of jihad, and the perception of Islam among Muslims and non-Muslims alike be returned to the focus on ethics, peace and love?


Mohammed El-Leissy asked via video: As a youth worker in the Islamic community I’m in constant contact with young Muslims struggling with same sex attraction. Many of them also dealing with chronic depression as they struggle with a sexual orientation that they have no control over while facing the prospect of losing their family and community if outed. I’ve spoken to many Imams, Rabbis and Priests on this issue and what I’ve heard back is that these people should either remain celibate or get married to somebody of the opposite sex if appropriate. Both these solutions are unrealistic and unsustainable in the long-term. My question is this, especially to the honourable Archbishop and respected Imam – do you feel that this issue has become the Achilles heel of our faiths as we do struggle to provide answers that are sensible and realistic solutions especially in a post modern world?


A questioner from the floor asked: Archbishop, you touched briefly about marriage, we are talking about a socio-legal thing here, I’m not asking for you to ordain over my marriage, for example, but why should your beliefs impact on my ability to be taken in front of a justice and for them to preside over my marriage?

More information about the program, the participants and the questions are available on the ABC’s Q and A website

Download the complete transcript here and on the link to the ABC Website.


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