Read The News Release here [PDF]Christianity in Australia is on the decline. Making headlines around the world, its a religion currently facing scandals and dividing public opinion. Christianity has suffered steadily declining numbers, as a whole generation of Australians grow up with no religion*.
In new SBS documentary Christians Like Us, 10 Australian Christians with vastly different beliefs live under one roof for a week to confront the controversial topics of their faith. They will grapple with what makes a good Christian, and the role religion plays in modern life. It follows the critically acclaimed Muslims Like Us, which aired on SBS in 2018.
It's a week of shocking revelations, emotional outbursts and surprising insights as they tackle sexual abuse in the church, abortion, gay conversion therapy and women as priests.
SBS Director of TV and Online Content Marshall Heald said: "Christians Like Us explores what it means to be Christian in Australia in 2019. The 10 participants showcase a diverse range of views, and are each deeply passionate and opinionated about their faith. Through debate and discussion, the series invites Australians to engage with the complex elements of Christianity and the issues currently facing the faith."
The housemates range from fundamentalist to ultra-progressive, charismatic to controversial. Some live their lives by the word of the Bible and others take a more modern interpretation of their faith.
Chris is revealed to be a gay man who underwent years of conversion therapy at the hands of the church, while Marty believes homosexuality is wrong and it is possible to teach gay people to change their gender identity. Reverend Tiffany is an Anglican priest at a progressive church in Brisbane, who is immediately put at odds with Assumpta who, although also Anglican, is very opposed to women as priests and believes women should not be in a position of authority over men.
Daniel is a strict Coptic Catholic who is saving himself for marriage, whereas Jo is a theology teacher and progressive Catholic, who has no issue with sex before marriage. There is also Hannah, who the other housemates are shocked to discover is a Mormon. Most of them don't even consider Mormonism as a Christian faith, so her mission is to prove them wrong.
Christians Like Us reveals topical and charged conversations, emotional debate and at times, conflict in the house. Ultimately, the participants are wrestling with the hardest question of all — in the face of rapidly declining numbers, how can they bring Australians back to the Christian faith?
Christians Like Us is produced by CJZ for SBS.
Christians Like Us airs over two nights at 8.35pm, Wednesday April 3 and 10 on SBS
Join the conversation: #ChristiansLikeUs
Preview screeners and downloadable images available at www.sbs.com.au/mediacentre
*Australian Bureau of Statistics: 2016 Census (Religion data)
NOTES TO EDITORS
Reverend Tiffany is a progressive priest from an Anglican church in Brisbane. She is part of "A Progressive Christian Voice" who advocates for LGBTIQ+ rights and promotes discussions within the church on same sex marriage. She is a strong advocate for women in leadership roles in the church, and believes in change in the Church.
Steve is Agnostic, from a devoutly Anglican family. Steve was abused by an Anglican priest from the age of 10 to 15, and spent most of his adult life seeking justice for this. For many years he was very anti church and called himself an atheist, but is now at a place where he is searching for a faith.
Assumpta was raised a Hindu in a secular Indian family. At 16 she experienced a crisis of faith and abandoned her Hindu beliefs, eventually converting to Christianity at the age of 23. Assumpta is conservative, and believes in celibacy before marriage but is struggling to find someone who holds these same beliefs. She does not believe in abortion or same sex marriage.
Steve is an Evangelical Christian and founder of the RICE movement - Renewal and InterChurch Evangelism — geared towards Asian youth. RICE holds annual rallies in Australia and New Zealand, where thousands of young, mainly Asian worshippers congregate to praise Jesus. Famous American evangelical preacher Billy Graham is Steve's hero.
Jo is a theology teacher at a high school in Sydney, and considers herself to be a progressive Catholic. She is married with four children, and attends a Jesuit Parish. She thinks the Catholic Church should accept homosexuality as a natural thing, and allow same sex marriage as soon as possible. Unlike many Catholics, Jo is also fine with sex before marriage.
Marty describes himself as an outrageous lover of God, and an outrageous lover of people. Marty's worship is charismatic and Pentecostal, led by music and a very informal sermon. He believes in speaking in tongues and faith healing. He believes homosexuality is wrong and it is possible to "teach" gays how to behave. Marty thinks abortion is murder, but he would never protest outside an abortion centre.
Carol is an obstetrician, gynaecologist and maternal foetal medicine specialist at a private practice in Brisbane. Carol has been married for 22 years, and is an Elder in the Uniting Church, giving pastoral care to the congregation. In her role as a gynaecologist, Carol has been performing abortions for many years and believes God is the only one that can judge her actions
Daniel is a 27 year old Coptic Catholic, a faith renowned for their long mass and conservative views. He is saving himself for marriage, and will not watch porn or certain TV programs. He voted no in the same sex marriage vote, and does not approve of female priests.
Hannah is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and very passionate about her faith. She lived in the Philippines for 18 months as part of her Mormon missionary, and feels very strongly about being a Christian. She has felt marginalised her entire life by other Christians who don't consider Mormons to be real Christians. She is conservative in her views, thinking abortion is murder, sex before marriage is taboo and she refrains from alcohol, coffee and drugs.
Chris is a gay Christian, who has always believed in God, but stopped going to church two years ago, when the same sex marriage debate caused a huge rift in the Christian community. Chris was opposed to the scare-mongering carried out by the Christians involved in the No Vote campaign.