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Category Archives: Politics and sociology
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.
A story in the Daily Mail today caught my attention. Essentially the piece is in the genre “human interest hit job on religious cult,” the cult in this case being “Bigoted Fundamentalist Christianity.” But I noticed it because the strapline included “Guildford County School for Girls,” in my hometown, so I wondered if the youth club that changed her life for the worse might be the one I went to.
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.
James Tour, as many of you will know, is a noted chemist who wears his Christian faith on his sleeve, unashamedly engaging in apologetics alongside his groundbreaking research, particularly that involving nano-particles.
Back in 2015 I wrote about Jorge Luis Borge’s fantastical “Infinite Library.” Read my post to see how Borges envisaged it, and why it proved useless to imaginary readers free to browse its galleries, but unable to gain any wisdom from it. I guess the nearest real-world equivalents are legal-deposit libraries like the Cambridge University Library, housing every book published in Britain since 1662.
I’m about three quarters of the way through a book, the reading of which was prompted by a brief exchange here, and a slightly longer one by e-mail, with GD, whose professional expertise is as a fuel chemist. The book, The Frozen Climate Views of the IPPC (Clintel Foundation, Amsterdam, 2023), is an analysis of the IPCC’s latest report, AR6, by a range of “questioning” scientists including those who have been expert reviewers and contributors to IPCC reports. Such analysis is essential because – sobering thought – almost nobody in the world has read AR6, or any of the other IPCC reports, in their entirety.
YouTube is becoming all tough and militant (terroristic?) about the use of Ad-blockers. If I open a copy of YouTube in a fresh window now, in the time it has taken me to type these two sentences, twenty five ads have been blocked by Firefox. No, twenty six, as I did the full stop. If I actually open a video, pretty soon some threatening message will now flash up tell me it’s evil not to watch them all.
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.
It’s the time of year when churches still tend to have some kind of harvest festival. I was reminded of that this morning both by having to get the songs for our harvest service out to the various musicians, projectionists and so on, and even more by my daily reading happening to be Acts 14, in which Paul and Barnabas discourage the Lycaonians from treating them as gods by reminding them that the true God has revealed himself to them because “he has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Ironically, … Continue reading