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Category Archives: History
I’m not a follower of royal news, certainly not when it involves Mickey Mouse accusations of family racism, and even more when our constitutionally constrained king chooses to speak at COP28, discarding the advice he received for the last such bash, that it would be political to attend, and therefore contradictory to his role to represent the whole British people and avoid politics.
Outside observers like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Andy Ngo (now based in London) point out the perfect storm of violence and cultural disaster now brewing across Europe, not least in England. This has been brought into focus, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, by the crude antisemitism evident in the response in Britain to the current Middle East war, combined with the (to say the least) easy ride given to Hamas amongst our British intelligentsia. One concerning thing, to me, is how these attitudes are shared even by many in the sceptical community.
At the purely geopolitical level, war in Israel is a highly significant and concerning matter. But if biblical prophecy is more than the fairy-tales the New Atheists loved to claim, without investigation, before their own demise as a movement, then war in Israel may be of cosmic significance. I have no intention here of going down the rabbit hole of placing the current situation of Israel in 2023 into the prophetic matrix of the Bible. Instead I want to take a look at the wider question of whether there is a basis for taking that matrix seriously, rather than airily dismissing it like the Gnus’ talk of “your imaginary friend,” … Continue reading
As I anticipated, our Harvest Festival had a significant section on failure of harvests in poor countries and how we need to help, in this case focusing on Uganda – a country where, but for providential circumstances, I might have worked. I voiced my reservations about the anthropocentrism of harvest thanksgiving nowadays in my previous blog, and I won’t labour the point. What I will mention, though, is another near-universal theme in the kind of video we were shown – that it is the poor who are already feeling the brunt of climate change, witness the increasing droughts being experienced by farmers in Uganda.
Our friend Levi introduced me to Rene Girard, whose writings on the way that crowds become mad, set in the context of the Christian message, certainly have something to say about the present experience of cancellation, censorship, and a lot more.
We left the last blog post with a simple “toolkit” from Genesis 1 which, whilst it may not “define” man in the way Aquinas sought to do, certainly describes him theologically in a way that enables us to interrogate the archaeological record for biblically human origins.
I’m not a pacifist, though I own up to two periods of pacifism; the first as young teen, when I was in considerable need of inner peace (to which Christ was the eventual answer), and the second during the nuclear escalation of the 1980s, when the idea of mutual annihilation seemed, as it does now, worse than the alternative of rolling over and becoming Soviets.
Months ago I was put in touch with Rob Rowe, who has a YouTube apologetics channel based in Australia. I heard nothing until yesterday, when on a couple of hours notice he set up a livestream to discuss The Generations of Heaven and Earth, which together with Q&A lasted over two hours. Fortunately I hadn’t forgotten too much of what I’d written.
For Christians (and Jews and others) seeking to maintain the historicity of a first human couple, Adam and Eve, there are really three broad ways to proceed. My aim here is to cast doubt on one of them, from a biblical standpoint, and so I’ll break the usual pattern of such discussions by stating my own position first, and then leaving it to one side!
The Puritans are (and always were) misunderstood as believing that they were morally or spiritually purer than their fellows. But in fact their basic tenet was rather that there is such a thing as “pure religion,” in the sense of the original gospel of Christ and the apostles untrammeled by syncretistic additions from other religions. This, of course, was the basis for the Protestant Reformation. It is (as the first of Martin Luther’s Wittenberg theses stressed) a religion of repeated repentance leading to constant assurance of salvation.