When I found out that Peter Singer had written an article about the Israel Folau’s controversy, I expected the worse. “Oh no, what am I going to be treated to!”, I thought. But when I read this article, I just couldn’t believe it. Peter Singer was actually providing one of the most sensible opinions I had heard on the issue! For those who don’t know him, Peter Singer has been described by some journalists as the “world’s most influential living philosopher”, probably because of his work on the ethics of the treatment of animals.[1] Peter Singer is also a notorious atheist as he confesses himself in his article. “To prevent misunderstanding”, he explains that he doesn’t share Israel Folau’s beliefs: “As an unrepentant atheist, I am among those for whom, Folau believes, hell awaits. But that does not trouble me, because there is, in my view, no god, no afterlife, and no hell.”[2] But Singer’s atheism doesn’t stop him from writing that Rugby Australia scored an “own goal” by dismissing Folau for posting a warning notice in his Instagram account saying that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters.” To help us put ourselves in Folau’s shoes – even if they’re quite big! – Peter Singer uses a helpful analogy by stating that Folau’s post “no more expresses hatred towards homosexuals than cigarette warnings express hatred towards smokers (…) You see people on a path towards a terrible fate – much worse than getting lung cancer, because death will not release them from their agony – and they are blind to what awaits them. Wouldn’t you want to warn them, and give them the chance to avoid that awful fate?” In fact, if Israel Folau is right, one could argue that his post, far from being “hate speech”, is actually “love speech” especially as he writes “Jesus loves you” to explain his post. But if Israel Folau is wrong, I wonder why people are so upset. After all, if there’s no God, no heaven and no hell, why are people offended at all by something which doesn’t apparently apply to them? Would it be because, however hard it is to accept, the truth hurts? The Bible’s diagnosis is indeed that we’re all “sick” and we allneed a doctor, whoever we are and whatever we’ve done. But the good news is that Jesus came to save all who repent of their sins and put their trust in his death and resurrection for their forgiveness and adoption as God’s children. Indeed, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.” (Mark 2:17)

[1]https://petersinger.info/about-me-cv

[2]https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/rugby-australia-israel-folau-firing-free-speech-by-peter-singer-2019-06?fbclid=IwAR27YhYhhf5BHvA2FwIWjvF1_9Z_Rl7wHlQqO9zigcD0SLe0SJytmvaPHOo

Jonathan Chaintrier

Jonathan Chaintrier

French Minister