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in Ethics, Philosophy of Religion

If you’re a Christian, you should hold a divine command theory of ethics, and I’m going to tell you why.

As I’ve indicated before, I hold a Divine Command Theory of ethics. That’s the view (or family of views) in which what is right or wrong is what God commands (or forbids). I hold it tentatively in that I don’t think I have anything personally invested in holding this view. I don’t have to hold this view and I really would give it up if I thought the objections to it were any good. As best I can tell, they are not. I’m going to commit the philosophical sin of peering into other people’s motives, but I think that most non-religious criticisms of divine command ethics are really motivated by the critics’ rejection of religious beliefs, and since a divine command theory involves religious beliefs, it must be false (in the critic’s view). [click to continue…]

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in angry atheism

Once upon a time, in a free country, a private organisation that loves the Bible encouraged private individuals to take their own Bibles to school for their own use in free time, because they love the Bible and because they wanted to remind people that this is allowed.

It wasn’t long before word spread of this decree, and the American Humanist Association asked its friends what they thought of it. This is what the American Humanist Association says about itself:


The mission of the American Humanist Association is to advance humanism, an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces. Advocating for equality for nontheists and a society guided by reason, empathy, and our growing knowledge of the world, the AHA promotes a worldview that encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good. [Emphasis added]

They aren’t old fashioned humanists, the AHA. Old fashioned humanists believed in silly things like God. Isn’t that funny? No, these are modern, clever humanists. It’s fun to call this group AHA, because “Ahaa!” is the sound you make when you’ve had a clever idea. The AHA’s friends are all very, very clever, which is why this is such a good name. Don’t you agree?

This is what the AHA asked its friends: [click to continue…]

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What makes you doubt?

in atheism, Theology / Biblical Studies

Here’s a caricature of Christian apologists: They are people who put on a front of using slick, pat arguments, ignoring, glossing over or oversimplifying real difficulties with their faith. Deep, deep down they know that what they say is full of holes and they doubt the truth of their religious beliefs, but they suppress and ignore those doubts. That will be true in some cases no doubt, but I really don’t think it’s true in general (and I hope you know that this is coming from somebody who has no trouble expressing frustration with the apologetics community when he thinks it’s justified). But we need to work at keeping it that way. What I’m about to do is part of that effort. [click to continue…]

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A centre right government? Where?!

in Politics

I wish people would stop saying that we have a centre right government. What does that even mean to you? As many people will know, New Zealand recently had its general election, and the National government increased its majority at the considerable expense of the Labour and green Parties. A couple of times in recent history I have heard this National government referred to as a “centre right” government. In fact Prime Minister John Key used that term on the night of his party’s election victory. [click to continue…]

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Don’t they realise that we doubt?

in Theology / Biblical Studies

It will come as little surprise that I think a lot of people who have strong opinions on religion, even those who write about religion and get paid for it (unlike some of us!) frequently know much less about it than would be desirable, given how much they say. And one of the things people don’t seem to realise is that doubt exists, even for people of strong faith.

Just yesterday I saw the provocative story title in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby questions the existence of God.” [click to continue…]

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in Politics

This is the most political thing I’m going to post prior to the election (in terms of policy). I’m no tax expert. However, I thought it was time I wrapped my brain around the Labour Party’s proposed Capital Gains Tax (CGT). It would never affect me, for the simple reason that I’m a penniless theologian and philosopher. I wasted my years in University rather than setting myself up for home ownership, so I have no horse in this race.

I’m pretty sure I understand the policy now as much as anyone, having read it as well as a chunk of the discussion around it. It’s wrong. [click to continue…]

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How are Anglicans Different from Catholics?

in Ecclesiology, Theology / Biblical Studies

No, Anglicans are not basically Catholics. So what’s the difference?

Some time ago when I publicly commented that I could easily consider “going Anglican,” one of the comments I got was from a Catholic, telling me that I would have come “half-way home.” Since then as many of you know, I have gone Anglican and when I have told people about it, I’ve heard remarks suggesting that some people really aren’t sure if there’s a difference between Catholics and Anglicans. I’ve had people ask me things like: Don’t Anglicans venerate statues of Mary? Don’t they have confessionals? Don’t they believe in Purgatory? The answer to these questions is no, but I know that there are people out there asking these and similar questions. [click to continue…]

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