In Friday’s Church Times Andrew Brown quotes an article by John Gray:
With few exceptions, contemporary atheists are earnest and militant liberals. Awkwardly, Nietzsche pointed out that liberal values derive from Jewish and Christian monotheism, and rejected these values for that very reason. There is no basis – whether in logic or history – for the prevailing notion that atheism and liberalism go together. Illustrating this fact, Nietzshe can only be an embarrassment for atheists today. Worse, they can’t help dimly suspecting they embody precisely the kind of pious freethinker that Nietzsche despised and mocked: loud in their mawkish reverence for humanity, and stridently censorious of any criticism of liberal hopes.
I have been interested to read in recent days the questions which have been raised about statins as a 'wonder drug' – including those raised by Jonathan on this blog.
He wrote as someone who had had adverse reactions to the drug. There is controversy about just how widespread such side-effects are (an issue of fact) and also how far they should influence the debate (an issue of value). For him, however, the tendency to rely on such drugs to prolong people’s lifespans raises theological questions. Should we really be so obsessed with prolonging lives at all costs, including the cost of unpleasant side-effects? Might this not be described as a manifestation of lack of faith in a good Creator?
There has been renewed speculation recently over the credibility of so called ‘out of body’ experiences.
These are what some people who have been near death know as various forms of other consciousness, when one sees oneself from a distance, or sees a kind of light at the end of what appears to be impenetrable darkness.
My health has suddenly deteriorated, after reading the latest claim in the debate about statins.
Professor Rory Collins, criticising some articles in the British Medical Journal, claims that the only side-effects of statins are muscle weakness in 1 in 10,000 people and a small increase in diabetes. Otherwise:
We have really good data from over 100,000 people that show that the statins are very well tolerated. There are only one or two well-documented side effects.
Yesterday, our village held a public meeting. There is an EU funded initiative which helps rural communities like ours start up, and later implement, a Community Action Plan.
There were some highly articulate and thoughtful children present who flagged a number of important issues. Some of these were specific to their own needs, such as the lack of adequate play areas and of weekend or after school facilities for younger people. They also contributed to discussions pertaining to the needs of the wider community and of the environment. These children were politically aware. It was clear that they came from a home where people encouraged them to have views and they were still young enough, and good enough, not to have become cynical. They cared about their village with a kind of reasoned passion.