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Growing old but still dying young

in Social Issues

New Zealand’s suicide rate is down. But there’s an unhappy story here about our elderly.

Figures for the year ending 30 June 2014 show that our overall suicide rate is at its lowest since the year ending 30 June 2008. Whether it’s the overall economic environment and direction, hopelessness / hopefulness about jobs or more personal scenarios: Family hardship (or an improvement therein), relationship status, or (hopefully!) improvement in the shape of mental health services, this is encouraging. Mental health and suicide has been thrust into the limelight recently, and that’s a brilliant thing. [click to continue…]

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What right to an opinion?

in Epistemology

Do you have the right to an opinion?

Many months ago I was in a discussion that ended with two people disagreeing and the other one saying something to the effect of “well, this is my opinion and I have a right to it.” I didn’t say this at the time because I was happy for the discussion to end, but my thought was: That’s the problem here. The problem is that you think you have the right to think what you think, whatever that happens to be. You don’t. That’s right, you do not have the right to an opinion, whatever that opinion might be. [click to continue…]

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What I am contemplating

in announcements, career, personal

Those who follow the blog, podcast and my amateur career as a mostly amateur theologian / philosopher might find this interesting. I want to share with you a possibility that I am thinking about. I do things in a pretty transparent way, including what I am planning.

I am seriously considering a Kickstarter project to get a book written. At this stage, however, I simply don’t know if that’s a reasonable or realistic hope – partly because I am neither fully comfortable nor skilled in asking people to materially give to support my endeavours. I really have no idea how things like this are done. It would effectively be a Kickstarter funded research fellowship (sort of) for the purposes of full-time research and writing, culminating in a book for publication. I am not yet certain of the specific requirements the project would need to meet, but my initial investigations confirm that this is a project that can definitely be made to fit. [click to continue…]

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Holy crap!

in Humour

Some people attribute storms and floods in the UK to divine judgement for same-sex marriage. Some people attribute an earthquake in Haiti to an alleged pact with the Devil.

I’m a little more circumspect, but I chuckle at the fact that St Matthew’s-in-the-city, that notorious peddler of crap billboards and liberal theology (and yes, liberal theology is crap) now has its building under threat by crap from the heavens.

I guess God is giving a little something back.

Thus saith the LORD

Glenn Peoples

PS, again, liberal theology is crap, as are St Matthew-in-the-city’s attention-seeking billboards. If you find that mean, it is probably not a sound investment spending any time telling me so. Also, yes I agree it is a shame that such a nice building is being damaged.

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in angry atheism, religion, Social Issues

Why are we all suddenly going to Sam Harris for insight on Gaza?

Intelligent Design advocacy groups are doing it. Some of my Christian friends on Facebook are doing it. People are gleefully quoting some recent comments from Sam Harris about why he doesn’t criticise Israel but is sharply critical of Hamas. Here’s the snippet being passed around like reefer at a Green party conference: [click to continue…]

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Questions about Gaza

in Ethics, Social Issues, World News

Everywhere I look on social media I’m bombarded with passionate stories from every direction about the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. It’s positively wearying, although of course not wearying in any way that compares to how weary the people who live there are weary of the violence. As Jon Snow recalls, actually being there is a horrendously life-changing experience that forbids you from ever forgetting.

From one Facebook user to the next and from one blog to the next, people are wearing their “allegiance” on their sleeve on this one. Not everyone is doing it, mind you. There are some who are expressing the fact they feel genuinely torn. Torn about which side has any moral high ground, torn over just what they can believe in light of the prevalence of propaganda and photographic deceit and so on.

I have thoughts about who I think, on the whole, is the worst in this conflict (I struggle to say that I have thoughts about who is right) and who bears the lion’s share of guilt. I’m not going to preach to you about that, but you’ll probably be able to tell where I stand (roughly). I’m going to describe some facts that I think any of us must accept and I’m going to put some questions out there. [click to continue…]

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in Ethics, justice, Theology / Biblical Studies

When confronted with repugnant crimes against other people – especially those we care about – is it right to take matters into our own hands and violently repay those who have wronged us or those we care about? Is there a particular answer to this question that we can call biblical? [click to continue…]

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