Someone recently pointed out a video clip of a guy named John talking about homosexual relationships and the Bible. This is the point where I would normally offer a one-sentence summary of what his central claim is, but I’m not absolutely sure what it is. It has something to do with homosexuality, the f-word (fundamentalists), and consistency. Here’s the clip:
Nice presentation. John doesn’t ever lay out a succinct argument here, but here are some possibilities for how the argument would go:
If you think the biblical passages that speak against sexual acts between members of the same sex apply today, then you should also think that biblical passages that speak about eating (for example) shellfish apply to us today.
“Fundamentalists” don’t think that biblical passages that speak about eating shellfish apply to us today.
Therefore fundamentalists also ought not to think that biblical passages that speak about sexual acts between members of the same sex apply to us today.
Or perhaps it is this:
If any passage in the Bible is properly interpreted in such a way that it does not apply to us as strictly as some might initially suppose based on appearances, then no biblical passage, rightly interpreted, applies to us as strictly as some might initially suppose based on appearances.
Some biblical passages (such as those that speak about divorce) are properly interpreted (according to fundamentalists) in such a way that it does not apply to us as strictly as some might initially suppose based on appearances.
Therefore those same fundamentalists ought to believe that no biblical passage (including those that speak about sexual acts between members of the same sex), rightly interpreted, applies to us as strictly as some might initially suppose based on appearances.
Or perhaps it is this (this will be my last guess):
If you interpret a biblical passage in a way that means that its instruction does apply to us today, then you are logically committed to thinking that all instructions that were ever given in the Bible apply to us today with equal force.
Fundamentalists interpret biblical passages that speak about sexual acts between members of the same sex apply to us today.
Therefore fundamentalists are logically committed to thinking that all instructions that were ever given in the Bible apply to us today with equal force.
The problem is that each of these arguments starts out with a premise that is almost certainly false. [click to continue…]
A number of my Christian friends are drawing attention to a video of British News presenter Martin Bashir taking Bill O’Reilly to task. [Edit: Yes, I know MSNBC is American, but Mr Bashir is British.] I have no problem with people taking Bill O’Reilly to task. His approach to current affairs is not one I admire, to the point where I had misgivings about coming to his defence. But if I had hesitated to do this on the grounds that I do not “like” him, I would be displaying the same partisanship for which I am about to criticise both Bashir and my friends who are giving his comments such a generous review.
Now that I’ve made a blog post since changing the address to www.rightreason.org I feel like the new name has been broken in. But I need your help.
A lot of sites have links to Say Hello to my Little Friend blog posts or podcasts episodes – or just to the main site. If you’re one of those people, it would really help if you could update those links to the new address. www.rightreason.org/etc rather than the old www.beretta-online.com/wordpress/etc. If you use the blog feed, please update this to http://www.rightreason.org/?feed=rss2
But don’t I have the site set up so that the old link will automatically send users to the right page? Yes, so people who follow those links will find the site. However, internet search engines know that those links are out there, and the prominence of a website (and its address) in search results is in part driven by those links, as are other background factors in web visibility.
It will only take a few minutes (don’t bother hunting out old blog posts with links in them), and it would help a lot. Thanks!
A few days ago I got home from a speaking tour in Hamilton, Muriwai Beach, Avondale (for those outside of New Zealand, those two are both in the Auckland region) and Tauranga. Fifteen talks over eight days! All the talks were very well received, and the discussions that followed were excellent.
The overall theme of the talks was faith and reason, unpacking some of the ways in which Christians have used reason to commend what they believe as true, along with some of the implications of Christianity actually being true. The opening talk at a couple of venues was directly about the crucial role of reason within the Christian faith, reflecting on the observation, among others, that “commitment without reflection is fanaticism.” The change of this site’s address to rightreason.org is motivated by this commitment to the reasonable discussion and defence of what we believe and why (whether overly Christian or not).
Against this backdrop, imagine the sense of irony that swept over me yet again when I arrived home, checked my email and read the following message (we’ll call the author J, who has consented to this email being made public).
How can you keep up the pretense that you know about life after death. You mock common sense. You trade on peoples [sic] fears of the dark and the unknown to put forward a controlling elitist superior position.
Reason in everyday decisions must prevail over blind faith
Breaking news! The web address for this site has changed. I’m pleased to announce that I have acquired the address www.rightreason.org. The old URL (beretta-online.com) will still work via redirection, but please update your links if you can be bothered. Links to the new URL will help its visibility in a number of ways.
It was time to just bite the bullet and do it – it’s a better, more relevant name and it’s easier to remember.
The Podcast (and maybe the blog, but I’m thinking about it) is still called Say Hello to my Little Friend, but there may be a few decor changes to reflect the new address.
So remember – If you link to the site, please update your links as soon as you can. Beretta is no more. Long live Right Reason!
Are you going to the 2013 Unbelievable conference in London?
Unbelievable? The Conference 2013 – Jesus: liar, lunatic, legend… or Lord?
Saturday 25 May, 9.30am – 5.30pm, The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 4SD
“Now in its third year, Unbelievable? The Conference is the leading UK event for apologetics and evangelism. Ordinary Christians (yes you!) will learn how to share their faith effectively. We’ll also be marking 50 years of CS Lewis’ remarkable legacy as well as how to engage with today’s ethical and scientific issues in a variety of seminars featuring expert speakers.”
Speakers: Alister McGrath, Amy Orr Ewing, Peter S Williams, Fuz Rana, Dr Trevor Stammers, Kurt Jaros
Every booking of 2 or more tickets will receive a free copy of Unbelievable? The Conference 2012 triple DVD worth £20.
Book in at http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable2013