Friday, December 31, 2010

why believe?

About 2 billion people around the world believe in christianity. Even if some belief is just nominal, there are still many millions who believe. But why do they believe?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the rich get richer and the poor get the picture?

We all know that there is a wide gap between the world's richest countries and the world's poorest. For a while that gap was widening, but in the past 50 years, many of the formerly poor nations, especially in Asia, have been catching up. The big challenge remains Africa, where many of the poorest nations are, because while more people around the world are getting a fairer share of the pie, things haven't improved much for them

This excellent short video sets it out graphically.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

does religion cause terrorism?

It's a common charge these days. Nobel Prize winning Physicist and atheist Stephen Weinberg said: "for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." And this atheist certainly seems to thinks so: "we see religion regularly used for war, mass murder, terrorism, and even genocide"

Are there any facts on the subject?

It turns out that there are.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

putting Armatree on the map

Armatree is a small town, or village, in central western NSW. It consists of a handful of houses, a large country pub, and a railway siding with grain storage. It has a nominal population of almost 400, but most of these would live on farms in the area around the town. I only know about it because I used to have relatives at nearby Gilgandra.

Armatree is close to the Castlereagh River, a generally dry and sandy stream that occasionally erupts in floods which pour water over the surrounding countryside, revitalising the soil, but also sometimes destroying wheat crops. And that's what happened recently.

But Aussie farmers are a resilient breed, and so three cockies (slang for farmers) from Armatree hit back at the floodwaters with this short video of "Baywatch, Armatree". Check it out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Well-prepared arguments for christian truth

This book (Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig) is the best I have read on the arguments for the truth of the existence of God and the truth of the christian faith.

The arguments between believers and non-believers have hotted up in the last decade,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

japanese prisoners and reconciliation

I visited Cowra in the NSW midwest recently. During World War 2, Cowra was the location of a camp for internees and prisoners of war, including more than a thousand Japanese prisoners. In the early morning of 5th August 1944, more than 500 of the Japanese prisoners stormed the perimeter fences

Friday, September 3, 2010

drug addicts, triad gangs, and one of my heroes

The Walled City of Kowloon in Hong Kong was an accident of history. No-one was sure who had jurisdiction over this area as it was on the border between China and Hong Kong, which until a decade ago was administered by Britain. So police and the authorities turned a blind eye to what was happening - except when bribes were on offer.

Over a decade or two, multi-story illegal building on a large scale led to a 3 dimensional rabbit warren of darkness and squalor, with limited and unauthorised water supply, electricity and sewerage. Gangs, crime, drugs, prostitution and protection rackets grew and thrived.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

is burning the Koran a good idea?

In a month it will be 9 years since Islamic terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Centre in the US, with the loss of about three thousand lives. News reports say a church in Florida plans to commemorate the event by publicly burning copies of the Koran. Is this a good idea? Is it a christian idea?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a surprise for the infidel guy!

They say you should never interview someone unless you know what they are going to say. But in a radio interview last year, the "Infidel Guy" interviewed Bible scholar Bart Ehrman and got a number of surprises.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

who are our enemies?

I spend quite a bit of time on the internet, on blogs and forums, reading and making comments. And it doesn't take too long to find that it is an angrier culture than we find in "real life".

Sunday, July 25, 2010

brain, mind, soul?


What does it mean to be human? Are we no more than the products of our brains (which are in turn just a bunch of electro-chemical processes), or are our minds and our consciousness something more than that? Could we possibly have non-material souls? Neuroscientists generally focus just on the physical side of things, but not all.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

did jesus really live?

Some people think that the Jesus of the gospels never existed, yet the historians (both unbelievers and believers) are almost unanimous that he did.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

in appreciation of martin rees

Martin Rees is a very interesting character. An eminent British cosmologist (a scientist who studies the universe and its expansion from the initial big bang), he is the Astronomer Royal (a largely honorary title) and president of the Royal Society, Britain's most elite scientific organisation. Along with Stephen Hawking, he was instrumental in proving that the universe had not existed forever, but began with the big bang, about 14 billion years ago.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

there is absolutely no evidence for God?

Richard Dawkins is a well known and influential spokesman for atheism and a harsh critic of religion and belief in God. As a well respected scientist, the facts he presents and the opinions he draws from them are taken notice of. But are his facts always well-based?

Monday, June 14, 2010

was Jesus a capitalist?

It is an interesting, strange, and somewhat disappointing fact that christianity today often tends to be associated with right wing politics - the Republican party in the US and the Liberal-National coalition in Australia. Strange, because I have long thought that Jesus' teachings on money and wealth seem much closer to communism than capitalism.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

life and death

I have trouble putting these two news items together.

  • This news report of a sad event where an eight months pregnant woman was hit by a car and lost the child she was carrying. The driver of the car, allegedly affected by drugs at the time, was responsible for the accident, but could not be charged with manslaughter because the baby was not yet born. There has been some public concern over the lack of protection for the unborn child in this case.
  • At the same time, the Herald Sun reports that late term abortions (after 6 months) are increasing in the state of Victoria, with 345 performed in 2007 and 54 babies surviving the procedure and dying some time after birth.

Not sure what this says about what life we regard as human and worthy of protection, and what is disposable, but it seems our society is somewhat confused.

Friday, May 21, 2010

be good for goodness sake

Neuroscience, the study of the brain, is leading to some very interesting conclusions about making choices and morality.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

the baby's born!

Photo: MorgueFile

It's taken longer than a normal birth, almost exactly 12 months in fact, but the new is god real? website and blog have now been launched.

The website has risen from the ashes of the old reason and belief site. I have had to do a lot of work on usability, graphic design (I wish I was better at this!), re-writing, and learning some new coding to provide a little interaction, but I hope the result is streamlined and easier to get into and read. The blog is new, and I hope will complement the website by providing up-to-date commentary on things believers and disbelievers are saying about God. But it'll be a few weeks before the dust settles and it's all working.

This first post is mainly to allow me to test the styles and layout, but at least the baby's born!

Welcome! I hope you come back.