Volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis make people more religious according to a study reported by Adam Becket in today’s Church Times. Why? Is it because ‘religious coping provides a stable reason for why people believe in God’?
This explanation is religiously neutral: it tells us belief in God is psychologically helpful, regardless of whether it is true. This post suggests that believers can make stronger claims.
According to Matthew’s Gospel some of the people Jesus healed were moonstruck.
Needless to say, the people who translate the Bible into English don’t use this word. They usually translate ‘epileptic’. But epilepsy is a modern diagnosis. Like most modern diagnoses, it has no ancient equivalent. So are the translators misleading us, and what can we realistically expect from the Bible?
Britain votes again today, for Members of the European Parliament – to the dismay of people who hoped to have left the EU by now.
This post is mainly about identity and British exceptionalism. Is being British a way of being European, or is it different? How do we identify ourselves? Do we identify ourselves in helpful or harmful ways? I conclude with a reflection from a liberal Christian perspective.
The British Government has produced a standard response to opponents of fracking. It takes the form of ten pairs of ‘myths’ and ‘facts’. You can read them here. Friends of the Earth has produced a rebuttal.
I have written on fracking before. This post looks at how the rhetorical use of words like ‘myth’ and ‘fact’ is used to suppress major questions of priorities and divert attention to minor details. I focus on this particular document because it is a clear example of an all-too-common tendency in our superficial society. We spend our time tightening up a few nuts and bolts when we should be asking whether we bought the wrong machine.
Local elections today, and in a few weeks we are, after all, to elect members of the European Parliament. Is this anti-democratic, in view of the 2016 referendum, or is it very democratic as it uses a better voting system than the UK’s biased First Past the Post system?
And we may yet get a second referendum on membership of the EU. Would that be a betrayal of the clearly expressed will of the people, or an opportunity for the people to express their will now that we know more about it? Does the welter of conflicting claims about what is, or is not, fair reveal an underlying awareness that our democracy isn’t democratic? Are there better ways for decisions to be made?