Right Reason

The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Advice to Christian debaters and speakers

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I know, nobody has to take my advice. But I think there needs to be more of a discernment process that people (usually guys) go through before deciding that they are going to be a public face of Christian apologetics or theology. Here’s some free advice, which might be worth every cent you paid for it!

“Gay Conversion Therapy” and other things, with David Riddell

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I recently sat down with David Riddell, a Christian counsellor caused a stir a little while ago amid accusations that he practices so-called “gay conversion therapy.”

Ricky Gervais on Religion vs Fact

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A while ago Ricky Gervais spoke with Stephen Colbert about religion. No surprises, Ricky is an atheist and thinks religions are all wrong, along with the natural human tendency to believe in God. But he made a specific line of argument, distinguishing fact from fiction by saying that if you destroyed all holy books (or any other fictional accounts), their content would be lost forever. Facts, however, would be back years later even if you destroyed all the books, because scientific tests would establish them once more.

Is this the right way to think about the distinction? I think not. Whatever proves too much ends up proving nothing at all. This criteria would consign so much fact to Ricky’s waste bin of fiction, including moral truths as well as most facts about history.

Pentecost and the “Promise of the Father”

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The day of Pentecost has just passed. Do you know what it is? Other than the “birthday of the church” or the time when the disciples of Jesus spoke in other languages, what is the significance of the day of Pentecost?

Do you have eight minutes to spare and find out?

Divine Holiness and Hell

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Earlier this month I spoke at the annual conference of the Conditional Immortality Association of New Zealand, on divine holiness and hell. Defenders of the doctrine of eternal torment sometimes assure us that eternal torment in hell is necessary because God is very, very holy. But a biblical theology of God’s holiness actually offers no support at all to this view on hell. In fact, God’s holiness as depicted in the Bible offers more support for the doctrine of annihilationism – the view that God will finally remove all evil and those who commit it from creation. If you have 25 minutes to spare, take a listen!

God vs Government: Churches and vaccine mandates, the court case

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Right Reason now has a Youtube channel. The first video is up, and it features an interview with my good friend Madeleine Flannagan. Madeleine was one of the lawyers who brought the case against the New Zealand Government over vaccine mandates.

Using an academic job as a platform for activism: Auckland University’s Sociology department and the attack on academic freedom

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When is an academic job a platform for you to carry out activism on behalf of your views on gender, punishing students who don’t share your personal opinion? When you’re a lecturer at the Auckland University, it turns out.

Recently, a photo showing essay question options in the sociology department at the University of Auckland has been doing the rounds on social media, and for obvious reasons. The question reads: “What is transgender theory? Why does transgender theory matter? (Essays that take a ‘gender critical’ position on transgender or question the validity of trans identities will be failed)”

Is the Ministry of Education censoring a Christian school with a forked tongue?

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The Ministry of Education is trying to force Bethlehem College, a Christian school, to change its statement of belief – a statement that reflects Christian beliefs. Specifically, they are trying to compel the school to remove their statement that they believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman, on the grounds that this discriminates against those who do not share this view or who are in a relationship outside of this definition. On the face of it, this is a shocking thing for a Government agency to do and an obvious affront to the right of the school to freely state its belief on a matter that is hardly a surprise. This is, after all, the Christian view of marriage. But here’s the thing: The grounds on which the Ministry is trying to make the school change its statement of belief on the one hand, and the reason the ministry is being urged to do so on the other, are quite different animals.

It’s a situation, I think, where a government agency is fronting what seem like reasonable grounds for their demand, while serving a more sinister purpose. That’s how a slightly cynical person might read this situation (and cynicism is perhaps wise in this situation).

In-group: It’s what the OTHER group does

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We have a tendency to think our own sins aren’t that big a deal, or to find ways to downplay them or overlook them, while taking serious issue with those awful people on the other side of ideological divides. I’m something of an Evangelical Christian, and I’m very aware that it happens here in abundance.

Speaking of Evangelicals…. It’s cool to hate Evangelicals. You probably know that. I entered the word “Evangelicals” in a search of Twitter, to see what results I got. I got this:

Now it’s just a tweet, a random individual’s prejudice on display. I know. But everyone who spends time on social media (and doesn’t inhabit a circle of friends numbering in single digits) knows that actually, what you find is an absolutely constant, voluminous stream of a mixture of all sorts: Vitriol, contempt, general slander, obviously unreasonable generalisations, conspiracy theories, revolting claims, and so on. Don’t take my word for it. When I carried out this search, this is what I saw immediately. I did not have to go looking for these. These were among the first results:

Christianity is conservative

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Don’t think that you, a Christian, can avoid the teaching of the historic Christian faith by saying “but that’s just what conservative Christians think.” Christianity is conservative.

It was a year or two ago, and I was having a conversation with a young Christian with an impressive degree of unearned confidence (and let’s be honest, many of us have been that guy at some stage). We had talked briefly about universalism, a view he holds and I do not. Due to the generally unproductive nature of the exchange, I didn’t commit many of the details to memory. I had little hope of a fruitful conversation, I’ll admit, due to his (somewhat justified) reputation among his social media peers for disagreeableness and dismissiveness, along with extraordinary disdain for those he dubs “conservatives.” A couple of comments did, however, stand out to me. They raise an issue that I have often thought about in other contexts.

Apparently people like personal stories, so here goes.

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