A bit of a change

computerOh look what’s happened?

You must have pressed the wrong button.

Only joking.

The website is being changed. I hope all will be working again soon.

Future blog posts will appear on this page. The current blog is here.

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Allah and God

Miroslav Volf has an interesting article on whether Allah is the same as God. In some places, apparently, it matters a lot:

Under the influence of Malay militants, in 2007 the Malaysian Home Ministry decided to enforce the 1986 law prohibiting use of the word “Allah” in non-Muslim publications. The Malay-language edition of the Catholic weekly Herald was forbidden to use “Allah” to denote the God Christians worship. In a parallel move, in 2009 the government also ordered customs officials to seize some 15,000 Bibles because they used “Allah” as a translation for “God.”

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Ama Twirly?

This question is asked of bus drivers between 9.15 and 9.29 am. You have to be over 60 to ask it because you need the relevant bus pass. At 9.30 it is legally valid. At 9.29 the driver will probably let you on. At 9.20 you are pushing your luck but it may be worth a try. Continue reading

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Archbishops, minorities and schismatics

Thinking Anglicans, to which I am grateful for much information, has juxtaposed two items of news which made me reflect on the similarities. One is about women bishops, the other about same-sex partnerships.

Both are stories of majorities becoming minorities and then becoming unpopular schismatics. At each step along the way the amount of respect due to one’s opponents has to be reassessed, and may not last long before it needs to be reassessed again. How will the decisions being made now look in 10 years’ time? In 50 years? Will they look like politically-inspired fudges or far-sighted solutions?
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Atheists support Back to Church Sunday

Back to Church Sunday is 29th September. I’ve always felt uneasy about this particular date in the liturgical year as it may encourage people to think being a Christian is primarily about attending church services, but there is no denying that church attendance figures have been declining over the last few decades.

Help is on its way. From an unlikely source. ‘Why should atheists miss out on all the good things churches have to offer?’ asks Esther Addley in the Guardian. Continue reading

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Art, religion and subversion

My last post, about infrahumanisation, included the remark that religious leaders ‘can draw on well-established moral traditions to resist the political and economic agendas of governing classes’. A similar point is made by Giles Fraser in his recent Guardian column, where he links religion with art: Continue reading

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Marriage and diversity

This is a response to the document Men and Women in Marriage by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, published on 10th April 2013, and available on the Church’s website. The accompanying press release makes clear its purpose, that ‘public forms of blessing belong to marriage alone’, so there should not be public blessings of gay partnerships. Continue reading

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Census and churchgoing

The results of the 2011 census, now published, show that fewer people in England and Wales call themselves Christians. We are still in a majority, 59%, but this is 13 percentage points down from the 72% of the 2001 census. The second largest group is those with no religion (up from 15% to 25%) and the third largest Muslims (up from 3% to 5%).

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Just how nigh is the end?

At the approach to Christmas no shopping centre is complete without someone with a microphone announcing that the end is nigh and we all need to repent before meeting our maker. Gone are the sandwich boards but sidekicks still hand out leaflets.

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