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Episode 051: Good Friday 2014

This episode is a bit different from a typical episode of Say Hello to my Little Friend. On Good Friday this year I was privileged to give the message at Broderick Road Chapel in Wellington. It wasn’t recorded at the time, but I’ve recorded it for you as several people said that they would be interested. One of the themes that I look at is the idea that the Gospel is the truth behind so many of the myths we hear.

Enjoy, and have a safe and joyous Easter season. He is risen. :)

Glenn Peoples

 

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The Bible says not to be a selfish, hateful jerk. So you should be progressive, like me. Obvious, right? Well, no. Please stop. Sit down. We need to talk, because you’re hurting our ability to talk about politics in a constructive or loving way when you do that.

I don’t like the attempt to make Jesus into a gun-toting, welfare condemning, war-on-terror condoning hang-em-high Republican. That sort of cultural myopia is just cringeworthy. But if you’re going to condemn it, don’t go and do something just as cringeworthy by saying that to the extent that someone has an ounce of Christian virtue, they’re a left-wing liberal or progressive – just like you. Fundamentalism comes in more than one flavour.

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Free speech and the crusade against Brendan Eich

We know that constitutional or legal freedom of speech was not violated. But lift your standards a little. “Legal” does not mean “good.”

Sometimes, public, ugly spats, cases of abuse or bullying, hate, or division can have the effect of causing misunderstandings – or perhaps just properly understood but really wrong views – about moral and legal issues to come bubbling to the surface of public discussion. The appalling treatment dished out to Mozilla’s Brendan Eich recently has been just such an example. In particular, the issue of freedom of speech and the consequences of the exercise of that freedom have been much discussed. [click to continue…]

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Dear GLAAD

Let us first join with our supporters in saying to you: How dare you? [click to continue…]

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Mozilla vs the open society

So Mozilla’s CEO has, in effect, been forced to resign. He was forced to resign because he believes that marriage ought to be regarded as the union of a man and a woman, and he has in the past donated money ($1,000) to a campaign to have the law in California reflect that belief. He didn’t want to go, but he was pushed, and pushed very hard.

Obviously this is a case of bullying. Obviously this is a case of free speech being stifled,1 and equally obvious (or it should be) is the fact that Mr Eich’s view on what constitutes a marriage is not, in any way at all, an attack on the equality of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.

But what is perhaps worst of all (perhaps, I’m not sure – this sort of bullying is despicable enough) is that [click to continue…]
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NOTES:

  1. Yes, I realise this isn’t an issue for freedom of speech as concerns the US constitutional right to freedom from interference with free speech on the part of the government. No, I am not confusing the two different concepts. []

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Don’t get a degree in apologetics

Seriously, don’t get a degree in apologetics.

These are thoughts that I have been dwelling on for many months now. Then Max Andrews told me that he was going to say it (and he did), so I was happy to offer a brief comment in support of what he was saying. And now I’m going to say it too. Don’t get a degree in apologetics. You shouldn’t do it. Could I be wrong about that? Absolutely, but at this point I’ll need to be persuaded of that. Getting an apologetics degree appears to be something of a new development in Evangelical academia, one that is being embraced with zeal, particularly in the United States. That fact alone means that even if I am dead wrong, it is only healthy that there be a good strong push back against this for the young and enthusiastic to consider before they commit to something like that. But I don’t think I am dead wrong at all.

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Tom Wright and James White on Paul and Justification

Back on the 9th of February 2013, Tom Wright and James White discussed / debated the issue of justification in the writings of St Paul on the Unbelievable? Radio show, hosted by Justin Brierley. The discussion was titled What did St Paul Really Say? Thanks to the efforts of my friend Roy Soliman who transcribed this, the transcript of that discussion is now available here at Right Reason.

The transcript is in the articles section.

And you can listen to the episode over at Unbelievable?

Enjoy!

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Texas in July 2014

In July 2014 I’ll be flying to Houston, Texas, for the first Rethinking Hell conference. I will also be speaking to a class at Trinity School of Theology about theological anthropology and Christology (specifically, how a materialist theological anthropology might work and in hand with orthodox Christology), and in a second public event I will be giving a public lecture at Houston Baptist University on an as-yet unannounced topic related to religion in the public square. (I’ve only put the public events on the picture above.) I’m very excited about this trip and would love to meet you if you’re in the area.

But if you’re not able to be at either of these events (or even if you are), there is room for more! If you’re in the Houston area and you are interested in having me come and speak to a group where you are (or even if you’re not in Houston but you are interested), drop me a line! I realise that many colleges are on holiday during the time I will be there, but the dates that are best are the 8th or 9th of July in Houston, or if you’re further afield (especially California, as I will be going to Houston either via LA or San Francisco) we can talk about when would suit.

Glenn Peoples

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Book Review: The End of Apologetics

Myron Bradley Penner, The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013) (Follow this link to get the book in electronic format from Logos.)

Full disclosure: I do not publicly label myself an “apologist.” However, in some ways that’s what I am just by virtue of many of the things that I do and say, and there are others who refer to me that way. At times I defend the truth claims of Christianity against criticisms, and at times I offer reasons for thinking that those claims are true. That is what “apologetics” means here. I have my share of problems with the “apologetics culture,” if I can speak of any such thing. But I appreciate the fact that I can separate apologetics per se from the various cultural forms in which it is expressed.

Myron Penner quite openly does not have this appreciation, or indeed much regard at all for the practice of Christian apologetics. What follows is my review of his book where he explains himself. The review is not exhaustive, so there may well be times where somebody reading this review might note “but you didn’t note that Penner says….” I probably did not. But I have read it, and if I didn’t mention it here it’s because I think that what I do say here takes it into account.

Further disclosure: Given some of my reservations about certain aspects of the apologetics culture, I expected that I might find at least a considerable amount of agreement with this book. But I may as well honestly say that I did not. I disagreed with nearly all of it, and also found it disagreeable (those two reactions are quite different from each other).

Here goes… [click to continue…]

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I’m delighted to announce that in December 2014 the Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology will be published, featuring a chapter from me called “The Mortal God.” The chapter is about how a doctrine of the incarnation might look coupled with a materialist view of human beings. Theological anthropology is about coming up with a view of human persons from a decidedly theological point of view, although there is a natural overlap with philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, theology and biblical studies. Questions about bodies, minds, souls, spirits, life, death, eternity and more are tackled in this sizeable piece of scholarship.

Here’s the synopsis: [click to continue…]

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So What if Christianity is True?

You might accept that there are good reasons for thinking that Christianity is true, but so what? What difference does it really make?

Here’s a video based on a podcast episode. Not everyone listens to podcasts. :)

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If abortion poses a risk to women, then why are some people so offended when others point it out? Why do some even become angry, accusing those who highlight this connection of bullying and vilifying people? Is it really concern over bullying that drives such outrage? Or is the outrage just a front for the opposition to any negative press for abortion?

As some readers may know, Charlotte Dawson, a model and celebrity born in New Zealand but who lived in Australia, was recently found dead in her home in Sydney. Her tragic death was a suicide. Charlotte battled depression and had also endured a very public battle with internet bullies. People are awful beyond words sometimes.

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Consciousness Cuts Both Ways

Sometimes the defenders of dualism are the pot, and their materialist targets are the kettle. Think about the following ways of arguing that we have immaterial souls and see if you can find anything wrong with them: [click to continue…]

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A Plea for Honesty about the Canon of the Bible

Please stop saying that Protestants engaged in a novelty by tossing out seven books of the Bible that until then Christians had always treated as part of it. That is neither true nor fair.

Recently a friend of mine posed the question of whether or not it might be acceptable for any reason to add to the sixty-six books of the Bible. As you will likely be aware, the canon (i.e. the list of books that belong to the Bible) used by Protestants contains sixty-six books, but the canon used by Catholics contains seventy-three books. It didn’t take long for a Catholic friend of my friend to arrive on the scene and to reject the presupposition that the Bible contains sixty-six books: [click to continue…]

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God vs Ancient Potentates

How much like an ancient potentate who boils his enemies in oil is God?

An interview in the New York Times with Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga titled “Is Atheism Irrational?” is attracting a bit of attention that the moment. The attention is deserved, because it’s a very good, succinct piece, pitched at a popular level, representing the sort of presentation of Christian thought that I wish the general public got to see more often, rather than the shallow or misleading tosh that the gatekeepers (editors) usually allow their readership to see.

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