Bishops and governments on Iraq

Observer headline‘Church launches bitter attack on PM's 'incoherent' Middle East policy’, said the Observer on 17th August:

The Church of England has delivered a withering critique of David Cameron's Middle East policy, describing the government's approach as incoherent, ill-thought-out and determined by ‘the loudest media voice at any particular time’.
The criticisms are made in an extraordinary letter to the prime minister signed by the bishop of Leeds, Nicholas Baines, and written with the support of the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Read more ...

Humanity and nature: who is in control?

BushmanIn a recent post I mentioned the fact that the study of anthropology began with nineteenth century atheists who struggled to understand why our hunter-gatherer ancestors all over the world made the same crazy mistake of imagining the existence of gods, for whom – according to those anthropologists – there was no evidence.

Some of the literature of that period was very patronising, with views that today would be considered racist.

Read more ...

Smug Christians and Jewish sacrifices

Ancient Greek sacrificeThere is a version of Christianity, still sadly all too common, that claims to accept everything in the Bible literally as divine revelation and is not interested in information from any other source.

Quite often such Christians positively disapprove of religious insights gathered from other sources. Because this is a hopelessly unrealistic approach to religious understanding it often produces bizarre results.

This post is about one such result.

Read more ...

Blood lines

High Wood cemetery FranceI tried to stay with the commemorative service for World War I at Westminster Abbey which was televised last night, but there was too much talking going on, too many worthy people being interviewed and too much colour. War is fundamentally monochrome, apart from the colour of blood.

I searched i-player for something which might resonate more truthfully with the events being commemorated and came across a sensitive dramatisation of diaries written by people from all the nations who had been caught up in that conflict.

Read more ...

Clergy views on same sex marriages

same sex marriageI’ve had a request from a medical student for information about clergy views on same-sex marriages. I’m posting it here, together with my responses, in case anybody is interested.

The request was for information about:

• ​The views of those who would wish to conduct same sex marriages on church property but are currently not permitted to do so.
• The beliefs of your colleagues who do not wish to perform same sex marriage
• The beliefs of the establishment who does not want to condone same sex marriage
• Whether you think Anglican ministers should be allowed to conduct same-sex marriage on grounds of 'freedom of conscience.'

This is the reply I sent. Let me know if you think I’ve got it wrong.

Read more ...