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Bishops, Brexit and Bullshit

The Church Times is usually pretty deferential to the leadership of the Church of England, but this time its leader article excoriates all 118 of its bishops for their joint statement about Brexit.

At my local Philosophy in Pubs group we were recently discussing the difference between lying and bullshit. Lying, we thought, is when the speaker knows his or her statements are not true. Bullshit is when the speaker is expected to say something, and is more concerned to perform as expected than to speak accurately. This post asks: is the bishops’ statement bullshit? I would prefer to think not, as I know and respect some of them. But I think it is.

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Faith, belief and climate justice

As a living faith, Christianity centres on two areas of teaching and understanding – what we conventionally call the interrelated doctrines of Creation and Incarnation

The Christian view of the Creation (described in more than 20 differing biblical stories) emphasises that a Creator God initiates a process of life brought about through physics, chemistry, evolution and more, leading to an ongoing Universe which includes, amongst billions of others a planet that we call the Earth. In traditional terms, the Church names this as a creation continua, in which the glory of the divine is to be found and experienced.

This insight has to be at the core of the Christian attitude towards the environment – the whole Creation is godly (“very good”) and is the place where we encounter the holy. Or in other words the Earth is sacred and it is only by living in this world that God is revealed to us. As Tertullian put it, “we know grace through our bodies”.

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Philosophical climate-striking

‘Right now, we are ignoring natural climate solutions,’ Greta Thunberg declares. ‘We spend 1,000 times more on global fossil fuel subsidies than on nature-based solutions.’

A year after the scientific community told us we have 12 years to stop destroying the planet, governments are still carrying on as before. The idea of a Green New Deal is becoming more popular, but it’s not as though governments across the world are adopting it. We know we need to change, and quickly. Why isn’t it happening? This post reflects on our underlying presuppositions about it.

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Democracy needs reliable information

‘Parliament surrenders to the EU’, declares the front page headline of Wednesday’s Daily Express, adding underneath ‘On another shameful day in our so-called democracy rebel MPs vote to betray Brexit’.

The Daily Express purports to be a newspaper, but there is no news in this: it is pure propaganda. This post looks at one necessary condition of democracy: reliable information accessible to voters.

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