Friday, 30 November 2018

Professor Kirke on John Allen Chau

Tim Challies began his article well enough. But when he got to this ...

Fourth, zeal is meant to co-exist with wisdom. Where I think a lot of us are uncertain about Chau is whether or not he exercised wisdom in what he did. That is something that is likely to take a lot more time and a lot more information to discern. ... It will take time for us to learn the facts and then to decide whether he went about his mission in a wise or unwise way.

... I wished he'd instead gone for this piece of advice for us all (us all who are inclined to believe we need to form opinions on far off things we know little about, that is):

"My dear young lady," said the professor..."there is one plan which no one has yet suggested and which is well worth trying."

"What's that?" said Susan.

"We might all try minding our own business..."

- C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The daft things that materialists say

Famous atheist Bertrand Russell wrote - and you'll still here lots of atheists saying the same thing today:
I conclude that, while it is true that science cannot decide questions of value, that is because they cannot be intellectually decided at all, and lie outside the realm of truth and falsehood. Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.
There are very many things you could say in response to that.

The first thing to say is probably that, it's not something that ever was, or ever could be, discovered by the scientific method. And therefore, if we take it seriously, it is not itself part of the body of possible knowledge; and Bertrand Russell himself did not know it. Whoops.

Friday, 16 November 2018


Michael Johnson: "I used to be fastest man over 200m but after my stroke it took me 15 minutes to walk length of hospital corridor."

That's the headline from an interview on the Telegraph website today.

Is Johnson describing something unusual, something surprising and shocking? Not at all. The only thing surprising or shocking about Michael Johnson is his, former, excellent health. In his prime, he was the fastest man over 200m and 400m that the world had ever seen. His physical ability and speed were exceptional. But the other part of the headline; the part about the decline in his health... that's utterly mundane. That part, in some form or fashion, happens to everybody who doesn't die "too early" because of some other tragedy.

Life is a one-way journey, to the grave. And, in the normal run of things, the most energetic bits, the healthiest bits, the peaks of physical health and achievement - these are mostly in the rear-view mirror, and increasingly far in the rear-view mirror.

And in this race, there is only ever one outcome, as far as this life goes: we lose. Eventually, the body gives out entirely: life ends. The time comes when you won't do 200m even if you're given 15 years, let alone 15 minutes, because your body will be in a box 6 feet under the ground.

But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ: death is not the end. Existence is not a short spurt of youth and activity followed by a long, slow decline and then final defeat and death. This life is just a drop in the ocean of eternity. And all the weakness, sorrow, pain and death itself are enemies that Jesus Christ has defeated, when he defeated the ultimate enemy - sin - through his death on the cross. All the sad and bad things are, as Sam Gamgee put it, going to come untrue. We don't need to rage and fight against the dying of the light - taking inspiration, as Michael Johnson now does (and good for him), in the hope of making the fastest possible recovery (this time). The dying of this temporary light is the setting of the moon and fading of the stars, the darkest part of the night, before the coming, glorious and eternal Son-rise.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

The Roman Catholic church now and then - why its central claim is and has always been false

Despite its seemingly endless round of scandals, and despite being ready to admit that it is infested with rotten leaders from top to bottom, many Roman Catholics remain loyal to Rome. They hold on for one root reason: they believe Rome's fundamental claim that the Roman Catholic institution is the church that Jesus founded. Jesus, they believe, founded a successional institution, head-quartered in Rome, whose historical continuity is to be found in a line of Bishops of Rome. Take away this claim, disprove this root claim, and the whole case for remaining loyal to the Roman Catholic church falls away. In this carefully argued piece, Steven Wedgworth demonstrates how that claim is plainly false to both the Bible, and to church history:

Monday, 6 August 2018

Abolishing shame

This article is excellent in its clarity and relevane, concerning the state of modern evangelicalism and the homosexual revolution:

Friday, 3 August 2018

An authoritative Bible must be an inerrant Bible

There are some writers and teachers in the evangelical world who claim that the Bible (when properly interpreted) is not absolutely without error in all matters on which it pronounces.

At the same time they assert that they still, being evangelicals, hold that the Bible is the final authority in all matters on which it pronounces.

This position is logically incoherent. If, on some matter, the Bible proclaims something false, then on that matter, it is ipso facto less authoritative than any other source that proclaims the truth. And thus, the Bible cannot be authoritative in all matters on which it pronounces. A falsehood cannot be authoritative.

Thus it follows, that to proclaim an authoritative Bible is necessarily to proclaim an inerrant Bible. If someone openly says that they do not think that the Bible is inerrant, then they are also saying that they think that on some matters, other sources are a higher matter than the Bible. And, as night follows day, on those matters, the Bible is not the Word of God, and not inspired on those matters.

There are writers and teachers who want to say "A, B, C, D, ...", but then, for now, want to deny that they are heading towards E as the next step. Such are not friends of God's flock. Let us be careful what we believe about the Bible. When someone says that they believe, as you do, that the Bible is the authoritative word of God, but that, unlike you, they believe it has some mistakes, perhaps just small ones, they are self-deceived, and attempting to deceive others too. Either the Bible is the Word of God, or the Bible is a stew of mixed truth and falsehood like every other book in the world. There is no middle ground between these two positions.

Friday, 27 July 2018

When sanity becomes forbidden...

A woman was banned from a gym, because she didn't want to share the women's changing room and showers with a man. It's not a dystopian future from an over-imaginative novel: it's the UK in 2018.

"Hasn't happened to me yet," somebody says, "and besides, I can live with not going to the gym, or I'll just change at home".

If that's our strategy for dealing with 2018, then few of us (should any of us have any daughters, sisters, wives, or care about anyone who does, that is) are going to enjoy 2028 very much. It's only by speaking up and speaking plainly now, that you can stop the juggernaut. The juggernaut doesn't intend to politely stop 10 inches outside your front door, school, or office, etc.

The Cliff

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

PayPal forbid anything they arbitrarily choose to dislike

PayPal recently changed their terms and conditions (explained here, though the link will go out of date), allowing them to forbid use of PayPal on any site that has "activities that relate to transactions involving ... the promotion of ... forms of intolerance that is (sic.) discriminatory".

That's all. No mention of what areas you can or can't discriminate (definition: apply a difference) in.

In other words, it's an ultimate "anything we dislike" clause. Some years ago I was reading an article on the absurd number of new laws passed in the UK in recent decades, and the surprisingly enormous number of things that are actually illegal. The article (in a secular newspaper) was about how the general principle that laws should have a reasonable correspondence to peoples' sense of right and wrong, or that the law should be easy to discover, had been broken. Tyrants everywhere love to make everything illegal... and then enforce that law arbitrarily to favour their friends and hurt their enemies.

Adam Ford has written here recently about the kind of power that Facebook and Google have (and use) to enforce their founders' Californian world-view, and suppress Christian or conservative ideas. Their algorithms and procedures are not neutral, but written in lines with their founders' ideas about what ideas should be promoted, and which should not be promoted. It seems that PayPal have decided to get in on the same game. They've introduced a catch-all clause that could be used to render just about any idea they choose to take exception to as out-of-court... but which is so broad that it couldn't possibly be used consistently. It rules out "discrimination", without limits. But all of life involves discriminating... hopefully, between things that are right or wise, and things that are wrong or foolish, and choosing the former. You can't live life well without discerning the difference and making a choice.

To take a real-world example.... if a pro-life group, campaigning to protect unborn lives, has complaints filed against it for being "anti-women" or "anti-freedom" (which is what the current lying propaganda says), and another pro-abortion group has a complaint filed against it for being discriminatory against unborn lives... then if PayPal follow the route of Facebook and Google, the outcome will be easy to predict. The current "progressive" ideology promoted in Silicon Valley says that to forbid the "right" to end an unborn life is discrimination against women..... but that Christian viewpoints that want to protect lives are discriminatory, even hate-filled (and yes, they also added a clause to forbid that in vague and general terms too). Christians are not tolerated; they are banned, for intolerance.

We now await to see what happens next, and if the outcome is any difference to how things have been with Google and Facebook.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Systematic ignorance - by design

Modern government-run education in the West or influenced by the West teaches people what to think, not how to think.

But as Patrick Deneen, via Justin Taylor, points out at the link below, it's worse than that. The selection of "what to think" deliberately overlooks the history of our civilisation. It is systematically absent.

That's very handy if you want people to uncritically believe a set of new ideas and prefer those new ideas not to receive much scrutiny and opposition.

That's not a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories are plots carried out in secret that only those with privileged access to secret information can know about. The content of government-run education is a public fact, available to the observation of anyone who is concerned.

In other news, the UK government wants all home educators to register with them, so that it can check up on the standards involved in what they're doing.... ... it'd be funny if it weren't so serious.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

"If I say I am a woman, I am a woman"

David Lewis, a Labour activist, told the Spectator he identifies as a woman "on Wednesdays, between 6.50am when my alarm goes off and around midnight when I go to bed."

"If I say I’m a woman, I’m a woman."

I don't know if he's serious, or if he's a subversive aiming to expose the intellectual vacuity of modern gender ideology, by a kind of reductio ad absurdum. And that's the point... we've now reached the stage where it could be either of those things, and nobody would know the difference. They might be doing it for the comedy value, or in deadly earnestness, and if you want to be popular with the "progressive" crowd, then you'd better not laugh before you've made sure of which.

In the article, one person quoted correctly notes "It is already making the sex category of woman meaningless."

Precisely. If femininity is whatever anyone, anywhere cares to define it as, then femininity is nothing. If detached from biology, from bodily integrity, from all the years of life experience from the womb until adulthood, from the differing ways in which you relate to those who are not female and to those who are female... then femininity does not have anything substantial left to grasp.

On this one, you either have to have your cake, or eat it. You can't have both. Femininity is a real, objective and wonderful thing created by God with a glorious purpose... or, it's nothing. Choose, and don't be mealy-mouthed about it.

Same with "gay" marriage. If marriage is just what a majority of MPs prefer at any one moment to write on some parchment that it is, and if they have the power to change their minds on that whenever the wind changes direction, then it is nothing.

Transexual activists, and homosexual activists, are not creating something new of value; they destroy it. They trade off the value attached to the concept attached to the word "marriage" or "woman" - and then hollow out the meaning from it, replacing it with something different. Something like David Lewis. But only on Wednesdays.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

"If I had known grandchildren were this much fun..."

What the world considers the greatest blessings, is not what the Bible considers the greatest blessings. And vice-versa.

I was looking for things to illustrate the blessing described in Psalm 127:6 - "May you see your children's children".

This one surely takes some sort of prize: "If I had known grandchildren were this much fun I would have had them first."

Friday, 13 April 2018

It's not our goal to avoid tears, because Jesus will wipe them away

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." - Revelation 21:4

We, followers of Jesus, spend far too much time trying to avoid ever having to shed any tears, feel any pain, get too near to any mourning. We don't want to be vulnerable, we don't want to be defeated, we don't want to be broken and needing to be re-made. But there's no need. Jesus will comfort those who need to be comforted, with the comfort that only he can bring. So why should we fear being vulnerable, and getting into the situations, for his sake, where we end up experiencing the death that is in this world because of sin, and crying many tears?

Surely there will be some who stand before him on the last day, and he has to say to them "Every time that I invited you to join me, the Man of Sorrows, in my tears, you said 'no'. And thereby you witnessed plainly to the world that you were not one of mine. You had no tears, and I have no ministry towards you to wipe any away. Now go aware from me, you who would never weep over sin, over this broken fallen world, over what you faced for my sake - go into the place where there is weeping for evermore, and nobody to comfort."

Would you be one of those? Or one of those whose tears the Son of God himself wipes away, when he makes all things new?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

20 years today

Devizes, Wiltshire, 8.22 a.m. Friday April 10th, 1998. Here goes!

Westminster Bridge, London, 7.14 a.m. Saturday April 11th. We've done it, we've done it!

Twenty years ago today. I still thank God for the memories and things learned through that amazing day/night. There's still been nothing like the remotest chance of repeating it, and I still count the cause of that - serving Jesus Christ, and all the responsibilities and blessings (hello family!) it's brought that have taken me away from many things I'd have chosen to do if my life was my own - as infinitely worth it!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Arnauld Beltrame was a disciple of Christ

The French policeman who gave his life to save a hostage in recent weeks
- Arnaud Beltrame - had recently come to Christ. I hadn't learnt that
from the previous coverage I'd read.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Childless fathers, and our rejection of the Fatherhood of God

God the Father made the world to be filled with roles that require the exercise of fatherhood. There are to be fathers in families. There are to be fathers in the church. There are to be fathers in the state. People who will take responsibility, sacrificing their own resources and lives, in order to nurture, care for, discipline and instruct those under their care. Daddies, teachers, judges, police officers, ministers, church elders and pastors, etcetera.

We live in a time in which the Western world is in wholesale rebellion against the Fatherhood of God. It hates the very idea. "Patriarchy" (which is to say, the rule of fathers) is a swear-word in all circles that lead our society. Our society rejects the whole concept of the Father's authority, and consequently of the authority of all the little "fathers" in different walks of life.... whilst on the other hand, setting up false authorities, both too-liberal and yet also oppressive fatherhoods which do not nurture and discipline, but promote both wantonness and tyranny at the same time.

It is interesting to note now how many leading politicians in the West are (if not wanton, abandoning their responsibilities as parents) themselves childless. It is wrong to wildly extrapolate from individual cases. But it is absolutely right to observe a general trend and pattern, and notice when it is being manifested.

One of those fathers who is not a father is Emmanuel Macron. There is no wild extrapolation in saying that no man with any real experience of fatherhood and any wisdom taught by it, would have come out with this piece of bilge:

France is to make school compulsory from three years old, President Emmanuel Macron, has announced, insisting that the earlier children are in class, the higher their chances of success and integration in society.

No sane man who has witnessed three, four and five year olds, and the power and blessing of a present mother and a present father in their lives, could rationally conclude that their best hope in life is to be taken away from the family, and placed in state educational institutions (much less in modern Western ones). The idea that the state should be - on pain of the full force of the law - be the parent of three-year olds, is beyond insane.

“The French Republic was invented in and through schools and it is schools that weave the fabric of our common good,” said Mr Macron, adding that last Friday’s terrorist attack by a French national of Moroccan origin proved there was no point focusing solely on “the symptoms” of a divided society.

Which, being de-weazelised, is to say that if mothers and fathers are allowed to have their children present with them, then this is a gross evil. The atheistic French revolution's goals of complete autonomy from God might be imperilled if parents are allowed to parent, instead of the state taking it over. This alleged "danger", of the strong families, has been identified and attacked by tyrants everywhere.

So, instead of the "evil" of families, the state claims the right to kidnap infants ... for kidnapping remains kidnapping even if an arbitrary number of parliamentarians approve of it and write it down on pieces of parchment, and then lies that all will be well, contrary to all human experience and all scientific study of the value of family life in the early years. To prevent the evils of Jihadist terrorism, they say, all homes must be broken up. Are Jihadists the real enemy, or are homes that remind us in some way of true Fatherhood (and true motherhood)? Look at what laws actually do, not what they are claimed to be an attempt to do. A law requiring the appropriation of all children and breaking up of homes from the age of 3 is not an attack on Jihadists, but an attack on homes, families, mothers and fathers - and on The Father.

Truly, we as a society hate the Fatherhood of the heavenly father, and we hate everything that images it. We do not recognise fatherhood, and when we do recognise it, we wish to be rid of it. Everything that speaks of the created order that came from the Father, and speaks against the all-sufficiency of man and his inventions, must be attacked; the image must be effaced.

However, not everyone welcomed the move.

Sounds promising?

Some parents’ unions who were pushing for an even earlier start to nursery, at two, expressed disappointment.


But how does that actually work out, when you leave aside statist ideology, and the purely theoretical (and wrong) ramblings of people who do not understand or appreciate real-world fatherhood? What if we are allowed to do that for a moment?

“Our teachers have a high university level but their training, which  is too intellectual, doesn’t always correspondent to the child’s needs,” said Mr Cyrulnik.

Which is to say, in absurdly mild terms, that people who are not family mothers or fathers, are not family mothers or fathers, and that they harm children when they wilfully ignore that fact.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The point is corruption

"Jennifer Lawrence wasn't empowered. Jennifer Lawrence was corrupted."

Remember: the viewers of these films are the willing accomplices in this corruption of themselves and of others.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

In Canada, children were taken away because their parents would not tell them that the Easter Bunny was real

In Canada, a taxpayer-funded body removed children from their foster parents, and banned those parents from any future fostering, because said parents, though happy to buy them Easter costumes and organise a chocolate egg hunt round the house, declined to tell them that the Easter Bunny was real. Yes, really.

This case illustrates well a general principle. When a society dispenses with God's laws, it will inevitably become some sort of tyranny, of one kind or another. When man lies that God is a tyrant and rebels against his rule, man soon shows who the true tyrant is. He becomes the real image of the thing he falsely accused God of being. Man's "niceness" - all those super-qualified middle-class case workers, utterly convinced that they have everybody's best interests at heart - become something to fear, to match anything out of the worst totalitarian dystopia. In what mad world does failing to lie to your children about a fictional rabbit become grounds to have those children taken away? In what mad world is it possible to do such a thing without a court hearing in front of your peers? Answer: In the world in which secular humanism is allowed time and space to consistently work its presuppositions out. The world in which, having shunted God's righteous and unchanging laws aside, we're left to face the arbitrary laws of man.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Jordan Peterson, and our comfortable evangelical ghettos

There's an interesting article on Jordan Peterson here.

I posted this comment:

* * *

Evangelical anti-intellectualism and navel-gazing has really hurt us. We have a dearth of Christian public intellectuals. Too many with these gifts have gone ‘in-house’, doing the tour of the Christian conference circuit, where they are lauded and beloved, but not challenged. Or disappeared into the world of academic theology where they debate other academics, but have little impact beyond that sphere – hoping that eventually their ideas will tricked down into the outer world through a long chain of academics and students and eventually people taught by those students. And/or they churn out endless books repeating the same thing, with only very minor modifications, as 20 other people published in the last 5 years. Who is the last major Christian intellectual in the public square who had a platform that wasn’t largely preaching to the choir? C S Lewis?

There are non-Christians, of various sorts, like Petersen, Ben Shapiro, and then Christians with weak theology like Peter Hitchens, who have platforms out in the public square, and who are willing to bring serious intellectual analysis to things. But we evangelicals seem to have built so much comfortable infrastructure, our own private world, our safe haven, that we’re very content to live in it, and talk to ourselves, instead of interacting with the one that Jesus told us to “Go” out into. (Hey, look! A draw for a free Spurgeon bobblehead!).

The article points out, correctly, that we can find all the best bits of Peterson, in books. But the realities of physical human existence and community require more than that. Truth must be embodied. Peterson is very attractive, because he’s not just writing books and throwing them over the fence. I’d say that he’s actually exposing some of our rot. We can see what’s possible – and what we’ve failed to do.

42% of the world's souls are living in unreached people groups

42% of the world's souls are living in unreached people groups.

Jesus said "Go" and "surely I am with you until the end of the age".

"Who will go for us?"

Friday, 23 February 2018


There's a lot of high-quality material here; not 'only' Psalms, but songs, and catechetical songs:

Monday, 12 February 2018

Modern "be like men" feminism is redundant

A comment I just posted on someone else's blog...

* * *

The observation that this post makes, is of wide and general application. When 'feminism' persuades women to behave like men (which is a really weird set of behaviours to label as 'feminism' rather than 'masculinism'), it persuades women to make themselves redundant.

Men already exist.

What women have, that men don't, is femininity. 'Feminism' treats femininity as worthless or pointless. But it is itself the thing that is worthless/pointless. No sane person who appreciates the real virtues of a godly woman would trade them for something else.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Do you agree with Ofsted that evangelical Christianity is dangerous, anti-British extremism?

Do you agree with Ofsted that evangelical Christianity is dangerous, anti-British extremism?

And if not, are you going to do anything about it?

In a speech reported in The Times today, the head of Ofsted used the Christian Institute - which defends nothing more than mainstream evangelical Christianity - as an example of dangerous extremism whose ideas need to be explicitly and deliberately combated by school-teachers.

That Ofsted thinks and operates like this - quite openly, quite explicitly - is is not really news. The aggressive promotion of a particularly intolerant brand of secularism to all schoolchildren under its remit has been normal for Ofsted for several years. They don't expect to be contradicted if they say, and operate, in accordance with the idea that mainstream evangelical Christianity is extreme and dangerous, and that combating it is a child welfare issue.

But it is, unfortunately, apparently still news - or too hard to believe - for large swathes of evangelical Christians and churches in the UK. We are, by and large, quite happy to keep having our children educated under a regime run along these lines, in the naive and wrong beliefs that a) they probably don't mean it, and b) even if they do mean it, it doesn't make a difference to what happens at school, and c) even if it does influence them, then we can undo that fairly easily.

I'm convinced that everybody who claims to believe these things really does. I'm sure there's a large element of fear involved. If we admit that it's really the case, that has implications. It'll involve blood, sweat, and tears - not least in dealing with fellow Christians who disagree with us. And who wants that?

Well, ultimately, we should want it - because we want to please Jesus, and that means, not allowing our children to be indoctrinated into intolerant, aggressive secularism 6-7 hours a day, 5 days a week. We have to choose, and quickly, whilst the window of opportunity is still open for us to do so.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Hilarious/tragic but true: world atheist convention cancelled

The theme was to be "Reason for hope". So really, it seems that the atheists were being ruthlessly consistent.... atheism, of course, has to end in nihilism. "Hope" is an artificial construct, with no objective reality in an atheistic universe. It's just evolution resulting in brain chemistry. There can't be hope for humanity if there is nothing beyond the universe, nothing greater than humanity that can speak into humanity's plight. "Hope" that is generated from humanity, out of necessity, is just personal sentiment, and as such purely subjective. The only objective final goal/destination in the atheistic universe is heat death and nothingness.

Salt and light : the lady who led the fight against Larry Nassar is an evangelical Christian

The appalling case of USA Gymnastics and now-convicted serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar has been in the news a lot today, and in the preceding weeks.

The bringing of this monstrous evil to light stems from the courageous actions of Rachael Denhollander, an athlete abused by Nassar.

You can hear Rachael Denhollander give her story here:

What's that behind her, on the right of the video? A Bible, and a whole book-case of heavy-duty resources for serious Bible study - evangelical Bible commentaries, theological resources, and (familiar to very many Bible college students) "Elements of New Testament Greek" for studying Koine Greek (the Greek of the New Testament).

So, a true and brave Christian lady. Salt and light in a dark world, from Jesus Christ, working through weak human beings, making a real difference. Something the media didn't see fit to talk about, anywhere I've seen, no doubt because by and large, they don't understand it, and can't fit it into any of their boxes. It's not because she kept it quiet, and we can benefit from her clear and gracious testimony. Justin Taylor here records in words and links to the video of her Christian testimony in court as she called both for justice from the court, and personally called upon Nassar to seek and find the grace that is in Christ, that he might find gospel mercy before he faces God's eternal justice:

Update: I found her husband's Twitter account, in which he has a #1689 hashtag in his profile - The "1689" being the principle confession of faith of the Calvinistic Baptists (such as myself). The same Twitter bio gives "Louisville, Kentucky" as home; that being the town which hosts the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he's either a PhD student or has already completed. Here's some of his work, which is explicitly tied in to the Nassar case:

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Cathy Newman versus Jordan Peterson : mismatch of the century

You should definitely watch this, and all of it. You should do so both for all that you'll learn from it, and for the sheer, high-quality humour in seeing invincible ignorance meet with overwhelming force of logic, clarity and (in today's context, courageous) refusal to be cowed by bluster and nonsense. Though, it's a shame that Peterson's powerful and important initial message for men (on which, see here), gets over-shadowed by Newman's failed attempts to turn him into cartoon woman-hater.

You should, before watching it, understand that Cathy Newman is not a thickie reading a list of questions cooked up by some underpaid, overworked beginner in the research assistant role. She's not been set up to look like an idiot. Rather, she is herself a seasoned feminist campaigner, over a number of years, at a national level, pushing her own self-consciously chosen agenda and asking her own questions, educated at Charterhouse and the University of Oxford (where she obtained a first). That's why, as she gets completely dismantled by clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson (either an agnostic, or cultural Christian, according to Wikipedia - at one point almost at the end he appeals to conventional evolutionary theory), it's so very devastating. Time, and again, she (despite having 30 minutes at her leisure to develop however she wished) tries to perform a "gotcha" on him with a simplistic misunderstanding in the guise of an argument or question, in order to trip him up and prove that he's a bigot; time, and again, he exposes the sheer shallowness and lack of factual basis, behind what she's saying. Time and again, she lets loyalty to her cause refuse to let her hear what that's been said, and time and again, he clinically unpicks her confusion. At the end, she's left with nothing more trying to make him responsible for unspecified rude comments made by unnamed people on the Internet. It's that clinical.

The problem in the culture we face is a) that it's pretty rare for campaigners like Cathy Newman to set themselves up like this. Because of their strangehold among the media gatekeepers, they don't need to parade the vacuousness of their slogans in this way; and b) the factors that allow people like Jordan Peterson to still exist in academia (just) unfortunately don't allow them to exist in the same way in contemporary politics (which largely rewards the parading of vacuous slogans). But watching this would be a good start.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Peter Hitchens on "Lady Chatterley's Lover"

"Central London in those days had plenty of grubby shops, which remained open through a mixture of corruption and discretion. They served the rather small numbers who at that time were ready to risk being seen in these quarters. They accordingly charged high prices to clients who were in no position to complain. Their purpose was to deprave and corrupt, and nobody doubted it. This was the underbelly of puritan society, and the tribute that vice paid to virtue.

But it was the underbelly, secret and shady, not the upper surface, and the frontier between that milieu and normality was well-defined. The trial ended that distinction and tore down that frontier."

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Some ideas believed in the West

This is a general, big-picture hand-out I created for a non-Western audience. But Westerners will find it helpful too.
* * *

Why is it important to understand how Western people think, if we do not live in the West? The fact is that the world-view of the West does not stay in the West. It spreads. It spreads through the media (the Internet, television). It spreads through educational institutions, and textbooks. So, we need to be aware. There are two mistakes to avoid. One is to reject everything, and say “it’s Western!”, as if “West = Wrong”. The other is to accept everything, and say “it’s Western!” as if “West = Correct”. As with everything else, we should test it by the Word of God. God is truth!

Idea A Christian will want to say...
The material world follows scientific laws God runs his world in an orderly way. We describe this, calling different things “laws”, but this does not prevent God from doing something different (sometimes called “a miracle”) if he wishes. The word “law” should not stop us from asking “how” and “why” questions. No “law” can create, or maintain, itself.
The universe is like a big machine. God is not needed. God holds all things in existence. He is present everywhere. Without him, there could not be a universe, or anything.
Science can solve all of our problems
It cannot, because science can only deal with the physical or material parts of problems (not with moral problems, or spiritual problems).
We can choose how we want the world to be, and use science to achieve our choices God’s creation has both a) limits which he has placed on it which we cannot pass beyond (you will never be a cat) and b) his approved ways of living, beyond which we are in rebellion against him, which carries serious and eternal consequences
Religion is only about private opinions. Religion is just about what you believe in your head God is concerned about everything. Since we belong to God, his Word affects all parts of life, everywhere. Christ is the king of the whole universe, and everybody’s final judge.
I should only believe things that science has demonstrated Science has no access beyond the material realm, and is extremely limited in what it can say about many important things in the material realm (for example, one-off events in history), or about their meaning or significance.
Science is opposed to religion If God created all things, then studying his physical world (creation) cannot be something that is opposed to worshiping God.
If two religions disagree, then there is no way to choose between them... and it does not matter. Religion is just about being loving to other people, so all religions really say the same thing. The Bible describes God’s plan for history. It begins with the start of history, and goes through to the end. There is only one world, and the things in the Bible – like the resurrection of Christ – reveal the world’s one true story and destination. True religion must begin with the true God and his plans for his world, not false gods invented by humans, and not with ignoring the true God’s plan.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The heart of the apostle Paul for the people of God, and for the lost

From the book of Romans (much more could be added from elsewhere), the heart of the apostle Paul:
  • 1:8-15 – He rejoices and gives thanks to hear of those who believe. He serves God in his inner-most being, for cause of God's Son. He longs to be able to bring strengthening and blessing to the people of God; to encourage them, and be encouraged by them. He is eager to preach the gospel wherever he can.
  • 9:1-3 - He has great sorrow and ceaseless anguish in his heart, because of his unsaved kinsmen. He could even wish, if it were possible, if he could be cut off from Christ, so that they could be saved!
  • 10:1 – The desire of his heart is that his kinsmen should be saved
  • 11:33-36 - He is astonished by, and exclaims in amazement at the wonders of God's glory
  • 14:21 (compare with 1 Cor. 8:13) - He puts his brothers in Christ above his own preferences or tastes
  • 15:23 – he longed, not just as a fleeting whim, but for many years, to come to Rome in order to serve and bless the Roman Christians 
  • 16:19 – He rejoiced to hear about peoples' faithfulness to Christ
 This is the heart of a servant of God. God looks at the heart, and God's whole law for how we deal with our fellow man is that we should love them from the heart. Now, is this my heart? Is it your heart? Can we find any softness or tears at least to mourn before God, if it is not?

Monday, 1 January 2018

Ryan T. Anderson - responding to the transgender movement

This is exceptionally clear, thoughtful and well-researched:

I fear to pick out one thing among so much helpful information. But one particular tactical tip/reminder is his emphasis that we must distinguish between transgender activists who claim to tout for people confused about their identity, and those people themselves, who will be on a whole spectrum about what they think or believe about the claims being made by the activists.