A few brief thoughts on Benedict’s visit

Didn’t get a chance to really share in it while it was happening, but followed at a distance and skimmed some of his speeches. I’m reasonably familiar with, and sympathetic to, his major themes. That being said, a few thoughts:

– Richard Dawkins has replaced Ian Paisley in his role as walk-on-nutter/rentaquote (see this);
– it was good to see Christians out in force, and we should do this much more often;
– I think the tide began to turn against secularism some time ago (in the academy, best part of 30 years ago) but often it takes a while for an event to crystallise understandings that have been brewing for a while. This visit may end up being seen, retrospectively, as the moment when ‘the tide turned’. He hasn’t got Gandalf’s voice, but I was reminded of this

(See also this)

And that’s all I have to say about that.
UPDATE: actually, reading this, I’m starting to think that his attitude is much more hostile than I realised. Hmmm.

A few brief thoughts on Benedict’s visit

Didn’t get a chance to really share in it while it was happening, but followed at a distance and skimmed some of his speeches. I’m reasonably familiar with, and sympathetic to, his major themes. That being said, a few thoughts:

– Richard Dawkins has replaced Ian Paisley in his role as walk-on-nutter/rentaquote (see this);
– it was good to see Christians out in force, and we should do this much more often;
– I think the tide began to turn against secularism some time ago (in the academy, best part of 30 years ago) but often it takes a while for an event to crystallise understandings that have been brewing for a while. This visit may end up being seen, retrospectively, as the moment when ‘the tide turned’. He hasn’t got Gandalf’s voice, but I was reminded of this

(See also this)

And that’s all I have to say about that.
UPDATE: actually, reading this, I’m starting to think that his attitude is much more hostile than I realised. Hmmm.

TBTM20100831

OK – I’m back, and I’m happy :o)
Here’s some things that I’ve enjoyed reading whilst on holiday:
A snatch of old song (or, why I might take up scything)
The dimensions of things (eg Pakistan flood)
Nine challenges of alternative energy
Biblical Christianity is bankrupt
How to save the music industry
Why we shouldn’t be afraid of fear
A philosophical look at penal substitution
How much is left?
Why Green Wizards will get us nowhere (or: Transition vs JMG – a good example of where there is more in common than there is separating)

That’ll do for now.

TBTM20100831

OK – I’m back, and I’m happy :o)
Here’s some things that I’ve enjoyed reading whilst on holiday:
A snatch of old song (or, why I might take up scything)
The dimensions of things (eg Pakistan flood)
Nine challenges of alternative energy
Biblical Christianity is bankrupt
How to save the music industry
Why we shouldn’t be afraid of fear
A philosophical look at penal substitution
How much is left?
Why Green Wizards will get us nowhere (or: Transition vs JMG – a good example of where there is more in common than there is separating)

That’ll do for now.

My attitude to science

(repost – thought it was relevant)
This has come up in the comments again. I thought I’d put together a list of some of the things I’ve written about the scientific approach, rather than retyping the wheel.

Probably the best place to start is this post: The Holiness of Stuart Staniford, as I do see something holy in scientific endeavour (not really surprising as it has such deep theological roots) and I believe it would be a tragedy if scientific research were to be repudiated in our society.

My main problem with science as it is received and worshipped in our culture is that it is apathistic, in other words it is systematically blind to what we most value. If we are to defend what we most value, we must be prepared to topple science from its perch.

That perch is embedded in a particular story. My paraphrase of that story is written up as: the mythology of science.

My longest discussion of science can be found in my Let us be human sequence, and the transcript of the relevant lecture is here.

I think what I would most want to stress is that the great majority of my criticisms of the way science is revered and estimated in our culture are valid independently of any claim for the truth of Christian faith. Which is why sophisticated atheists agree with most of them 😉

“We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered the problems of life remain completely untouched.” (Wittgenstein again)

My attitude to science

(repost – thought it was relevant)
This has come up in the comments again. I thought I’d put together a list of some of the things I’ve written about the scientific approach, rather than retyping the wheel.

Probably the best place to start is this post: The Holiness of Stuart Staniford, as I do see something holy in scientific endeavour (not really surprising as it has such deep theological roots) and I believe it would be a tragedy if scientific research were to be repudiated in our society.

My main problem with science as it is received and worshipped in our culture is that it is apathistic, in other words it is systematically blind to what we most value. If we are to defend what we most value, we must be prepared to topple science from its perch.

That perch is embedded in a particular story. My paraphrase of that story is written up as: the mythology of science.

My longest discussion of science can be found in my Let us be human sequence, and the transcript of the relevant lecture is here.

I think what I would most want to stress is that the great majority of my criticisms of the way science is revered and estimated in our culture are valid independently of any claim for the truth of Christian faith. Which is why sophisticated atheists agree with most of them 😉

“We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered the problems of life remain completely untouched.” (Wittgenstein again)

Does the internet matter?

A train of thought prompted by the Dawkinsnet kerfuffle.

I would say: it matters in the same way any other human activity matters. In the end, it will all pass away into nothingness.

The merit is what happens whilst we are working on it.

The real motorcycle is yourself.

Which is why the crass stupidity of the administrators has caused such anguish. A part of the self has been torn away.

Here is where I would say: only religious language can deal with this phenomena. “Christianity is not a doctrine, not, I mean, a theory about what has happened and will happen to the human soul, but a description of something that actually takes place in human life. For ‘consciousness of sin’ is a real event and so are despair and salvation through faith. Those who speak of such things (Bunyan for instance) are simply describing what has happened to them, whatever gloss anyone may want to put on it.”

Actually, this post is very relevant to the Dawkinsnet situation. I might bring it up front.

Does the internet matter?

A train of thought prompted by the Dawkinsnet kerfuffle.

I would say: it matters in the same way any other human activity matters. In the end, it will all pass away into nothingness.

The merit is what happens whilst we are working on it.

The real motorcycle is yourself.

Which is why the crass stupidity of the administrators has caused such anguish. A part of the self has been torn away.

Here is where I would say: only religious language can deal with this phenomena. “Christianity is not a doctrine, not, I mean, a theory about what has happened and will happen to the human soul, but a description of something that actually takes place in human life. For ‘consciousness of sin’ is a real event and so are despair and salvation through faith. Those who speak of such things (Bunyan for instance) are simply describing what has happened to them, whatever gloss anyone may want to put on it.”

Actually, this post is very relevant to the Dawkinsnet situation. I might bring it up front.