The State We’re In: is God the problem or the answer?

worldburn140I’ve just posted here the text of the talk I gave at St Brides Liverpool on 23rd March. It’s over 4,000 words long, so I haven’t included it as a blog post.

It’s an argument for believing in God as a moral authority, derived from the fact that modern western society is completely failing to solve its biggest problems. We are destroying the environment, the rich are getting richer as the poor get poorer, and fears of terrorism drive militarisation. Why can’t we do better?

So it’s moral philosophy with a focus on God as moral authority. Read the article or listen to it here.

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Homophobia and the changing Christian mood

Steve Chalke

Steve Chalke

Is the Christian obsession with same-sex partnerships declining? Outside the churches people are puzzled why it is such a thorny issue.

It is to be discussed (again!) at a conference on 10th-11th April, hosted by Oasis. Oasis is the organisation set up by Steve Chalke, a well-known Baptist minister who has pubicly spoken in favour of same-sex marriage .

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Muslim worship at Waterloo

Giles Goddard

Giles Goddard

Shock horror, Muslims were allowed to say prayers in a Church of England church.

The church was St John’s Waterloo. The Daily Telegraph reported that ‘evangelical clerics were angered’. A flurry of activity followed, with official statements from the Diocese here and here , and the Vicar, Giles Goddard .

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Evil, suffering and Christianity

Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus of Lyons, by Carl Rohl Smith, 1883-84

Can Christianity explain why God allows evil and suffering?

This is the third in a series of three talks I have been giving on why a good God should allow evil and suffering. The first is here . The second is here . If you like the sound of my voice you can listen to it here .

Traditional Christian accounts say God made a good world, but gave humans free will. Evil and suffering result from the human misuse of our freedom. In the early days they also speculated about whether God gave angels free will to sin.

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Evil and suffering, with or without God

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham

This is the text of the second of a series of three talks I’ve been giving at St Brides Liverpool, on the subject of why God allows evil and suffering. The first is here . You can listen to this one here .

These days many people argue that because of evil and suffering there cannot be a god at all.

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Evangelism and witness: about what?

Detail from Caravaggio's The Calling of Saint MatthewLast night I attended Justin Welby’s lecture on ‘Evangelism and Witness’ at Lambeth Palace.

Most of the attenders seemed to be church officers with some kind of evangelism brief. Ed Thornton of the Church Times was there, and over the preliminary canapes he introduced me to another journalist who sang the praises of Justin for at last addressing the declining numbers of churchgoers. I tried rather clumsily to relativise the significance of churchgoing numbers, referring to Linda Woodhead ‘s research on what people actually believed, but it became clear that I was saying the wrong thing: the ‘spiritual but not religious’ generation aren’t being given enough doctrine.

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Is it a good time for liberal theology?

Linda Woodhead

Linda Woodhead

What does liberal theology have to offer, why does it matter, why bother defending it? How can it increase its influence? Should it get more political?

These are some of the questions we discussed at Modern Church’s Council meeting on Friday and Saturday. Modern Church promotes liberal theology.

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Why does God allow the innocent to suffer?

Blake's JobPeople have always asked why God allows evil and suffering. It is such a common question that it has a special name, ‘theodicy’. Couldn’t God have created a better world?

I am doing a series of 3 Sundays at St Brides Liverpool on this topic. The first was last Sunday. Warren played with technology so you can hear it on YouTube .

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Vote for policies

Roman denarius showing voting

Ancient Roman denarius, 63 BC, showing someone voting

Vote for Policies is up and running for the 2015 UK General Election. As in 2010, it gives you a list of policies on each of ten policy areas, you say which one you like best, and at the end it tells you which parties you voted for. It’s a good way to decide how to vote.

In support of this principle, what follows is my own take on voting.

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Who is my neighbour? A commentary

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

I never expected this. I have been studying official Church of England publications for many years. In every case I was at best critical of a number of claims, often totally opposed. I never expected to see something so good that it would positively excite me.

It has come. It is called ‘Who is my neighbour?’ In the introduction it describes itself as

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