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Old 06-10-2019, 10:35 AM
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Is Fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity A Thing In Australia?


I watch this YouTube channel ("How Ridiculous," kind of like Australia's Dude Perfect). The three hosts, according to their bios, are all youth pastors. Other than one guy making one oblique reference to some point of Christian dogma in a video a couple of weeks ago, they don't inject their beliefs into their videos.

For all I know, these guys could belong to any Christian denomination practiced in Australia, not necessarily a fundamentalist, evangelical one. Are "youth pastors" a thing in Anglican, Presbyterian, or other non-fundamentalist Christian denominations? Or are their day jobs dead giveaways that these guys are fundamentalists?

And to my broader question, is fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity (of the homophobic, anti-science variety practiced in the US) a thing in The Land Down Under?

Last edited by HeyHomie; 06-10-2019 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:51 AM
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Wikipedia's article on Christian fundamentalism has a section on Christian fundamentalism in Australia, although it's flagged.

(I'll note that the terms "fundamentalist" and "evangelical" are not synonymous, but it would probably be a hijack of this thread to hash out the difference between them.)
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:04 PM
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Ken Ham is from Australia.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:49 AM
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Yep, it's definitely a thing in Australia, though not as huge as the U.S. As Darren Garrison noted, Ken Ham is Australian. Hillsong also started in Australia. There are plenty of Christian schools, Christian bookstores, etc. much like you'd find in America.

I won't nut out the differences between fundamentalists and evangelicals, though they are similar enough to more or less fit into the same basket as the heavily Bible-focused ones who likely voted against marriage equality and for the most part tend to hold strong conservative views on issues like homosexuality, abortion, stem cell research, etc. In my experience, "youth pastors" tend to be found more in evangelical brands of Christianity.

As a whole, Australia is pretty secular compared to the United States. There's not really a Bible Belt or anything, though rural areas as a whole are more conservative than cities. Most people who identify as Christian on the census are more likely to be nominal Christians who basically never attend church and just identify as whatever denomination they were baptized as without giving much thought to it beyond a vague respect for "Christian values" without much bothering to read the Bible or anything. There are also plenty of liberal Christians in various denominations but the fundies/evangelical/Pentecostal crowd are a vocal minority.

The Australian Christian Lobby is quite prominent and regularly surfaces its head to complain about laws that restrict their right to fire gay teachers from Christian schools, etc. They love to consider themselves "persecuted" whenever they don't get their way. Conservative Christians are very prominent in the Liberal National Party and a number of minority parties that occasionally win a few seats in Parliament such as Family First. The current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is a Pentecostal and regularly attends church (though I know of at least a couple of former PMs who were either openly atheist or openly indifferent to religion). You also get some crazies like Bob Katter, who once claimed there were basically no gays in North Queensland and said he'd walk backwards from Bourke if he was proved wrong.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
For all I know, these guys could belong to any Christian denomination practiced in Australia, not necessarily a fundamentalist, evangelical one. Are "youth pastors" a thing in Anglican, Presbyterian, or other non-fundamentalist Christian denominations?
They are a thing in the RCC; it's whichever priests are involved in children and youth activities ranging from catechesis to boy-scout-like activities or sports teams.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
They are a thing in the RCC; it's whichever priests are involved in children and youth activities ranging from catechesis to boy-scout-like activities or sports teams.
"Youth pastor" isn't a termininology which would be used by the RCC in Australia. though. Anyone identifying as a "youth pastor" is from an evangelical background, which may or may not be fundamentalist.
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:01 AM
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I belong to an Australian church which describes itself as Evangelical. Here's some characteristics of my church.

* About 95% University educated professionals
* Demographics about average for inner Melbourne, which means about 80% WASP, 20% not, and mostly quite affluent
* Politics - probably about 2/3 Labour/Greens voting, rest usually Libs (right wing, but not as RW as a Republican)
* Position on Same Sex Marriage - divided. I suspect about 50% voted for, 50 against in the recent plebiscite, which is low, but not 'fundamentalist-level' low
* Position on Climate Change - strong believers in human-caused climate change, and our responsibility to mitigate it
* Position on Assisted Dying (the other big cause of the moment) - pretty anti-
* Position on Abortion - barely comes up. Some members have spoken publicly about personal decisions to not have abortions, but there's no organised political action to support restrictions
* Position on Asylum Seekers - appalled. Many members involved in asylum-seeker support projects
* Position on transfolk and gender-fluid - divided. A gender-fluid youth member was attending for a long time - they have drifted off now, but I think it's "because uni life" not "because unwelcoming environment" and their family is still around.
* Position on Creationism ... at least one family are YECs but they're pretty quiet about it. Generally not a creationism-friendly environment

"Evangelical" in this context basically means "in favour of promoting the Christian religion as true and valid". Not Biblically Literalist, not right-wing, but leaning on the conservative side of social issues more than you'd otherwise expect from an affluent educated inner-suburban community. We do have Youth Ministers ('pastor' is a bit of an American-sounding word ... not that no-one uses it, but I think that using it might indicate your church was more in tune with the American version of what 'Evangelical' means)

"Fundamentalist evangelicalism" is still a thing in Aus, but it's not the defining characteristic of the word 'Evangelical' ...yet. It could be that eventually we'll simply leave the word to organisations like Hillsong and Catch the Fire, and start using different words for ourselves. But a lot of the defining obsessions of American Fundamentalism just don't have much traction here
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:51 AM
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My neighbour is a YEC. Somewhat taken aback that such a thing existed here. Now expecting to stumble across a trepannist.
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