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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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St Paul and Premillennialism

in Theology / Biblical Studies

If Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is all true, then premillennialism is false.

My non-religious readers may have no idea what I’m talking about. I can sympathise. I think (but I could be wrong) that this might be the first time I have ever written about this subject at the blog. I stopped thinking about arguments over things like the “millennium,” the “rapture,” the “great tribulation” and the like some time ago. It’s interesting in a way, don’t get me wrong, but after thinking about theology for some years now those things just feel like they belong in the toybox of Christian theology. That’s not to say there are no truths associated with them, it’s just that they remind me so much of sensational books and relatively pointless squabbles between seminary men in tweed jackets with patches on the elbows in journals like Bibliotheca Sacra in the 70s and 80s (not that I was around when these things happened – I was born in 1975). And yet, it’s a serious subject within Evangelical theology and deserves to be taken seriously when coming to terms with Evangelical theology.

The subject of premillennialism was raised in a recent discussion, and I made the comment that I think St Paul’s view expressed in the first letter to the Corinthians (chapter 15), if true, would rule premillennialism out altogether. Somebody asked me why I thought this, and here you are, reading my answer. I’ll unpack the terminology as we go. [click to continue…]

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in apologetics, Heaven and Hell, podcast, Theology / Biblical Studies

The traditional doctrine of hell is surely a major liability in the task of Christian apologetics. Isn’t it? At the very least, the significant tension between proclaiming the goodness and love of God should give you a reason to ask afresh whether or not he will cause the eternal suffering of human beings.

After much ado, the podcast is back. Enjoy!

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in Politics, Social Issues

David Cunliffe is sorry. In fact he is sorry for something that I am guilty of: Being a man. And therefore if it is appropriate for him to be sorry, then I should be sorry too. I should be apologising for being a man.

While announcing a Labour Party policy to spend more money supporting the victims of domestic abuse, Mr Cunliffe made the apology to a Women’s Refuge forum in Auckland.

“I dont often say it. Im sorry for being a man right now, because family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children.” [click to continue…]

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in music, Musings, news

Tim LambesisI had the pleasure of briefly chatting with George Penk on the show “The Forum” on Life FM tonight. The topic was the recent and pubic fall from grace of Tim Lambesis, vocalist of heavy metal band “As I Lay Dying.”

As readers may know, As I Lay Dying is a band that has been around for some time, with their debut album Beneath the Encasing of Ashes coming out back in 2001. I discovered the band in roughly 2004, shortly after the release of their second album Frail Words Collapse, which came out in 2003. The band was openly Christian and was highly regarded within the “Christian Metal community.” That’s not a term I came up with, but one that is used a lot. Each new album released saw them rise higher, until they had attained dizzying heights of success. Their 2012 release “Awakened” was sublime. But things were not well for frontman Tim Lambesis. His marriage had fallen apart, he had disclosed to a number of people that he had lost his faith, and in February 2014 he pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a hit man to murder his estranged wife. He has since been sentenced and jailed. [click to continue…]

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