Friday, February 25, 2011

gordon trickett - an ordinary life?

Gordon Trickett died last month. No, I wouldn't have noticed it either had I not read his obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald. But he deserves to be remembered.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

libya: stop the crackdown

Unless you've been under a rock, you know that there's a lot of anti-government unrest across North Africa and the Middle East right now. Libya is especially volatile, with the dictator, Colonel Qaddafi, reportedly unleashing significant weaponry on protesting civilians.

Avaaz is an international human rights organisation protesting this repression and calling for UN intervention to stop the killing. If you want to sign an online petition in support, you can do it here.

Read more about Avaaz here and here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

atheist strategies

It used to be that no-one wanted to talk about God except christian evangelists. But now God has made a comeback, at least as the subject of best-selling books - by people who vehemently disbelieve in him. This is what some people call the "New Atheism".

What's going on?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

horror and forgiveness

When I wrote about forgiveness a week ago, I didn't know I was going to so soon come across a story of deep grief and amazing forgiveness.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

illegal immigration?

an old post (November 2009) revived to support my post yesterday

Photo: MorgueFile

For many years now, Australia has been the destination of "boat people" - refugees or would-be immigrants from troubled lands to the north and west. Decades ago they were from Vietnam, more recently from the Middle East, Afganistan and Sri Lanka.

And for the same period, debate has raged in Australia between those who want to keep out the "illegals", and those who want to offer help to people in distress. Elections have been fought over the issue, and opinions are highly polarised.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

politicisation of asylum-seekers

Australia is a relative rich and peaceful country. Elsewhere in Asia there are many countries which are either poor or not peaceful for some inhabitants (Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka, etc). Migration to Australia, sometimes by the hazardous route of long sea voyages in often unsuitable boats, provides an option for a better life for many people. But it also provides a political and ethical problem for Australians.

Monday, February 14, 2011

diary of hope?

Recent events in Egypt offer hope of a better future, hopefully.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


It is natural to want to strike back when attacked and hurt, whether by violent words or by violent actions. But christianity has always taught the importance for forgiveness and many non-christians are finding it an important part of their lives as they struggle to recover from the effects of deep hurts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

did the universe begin? does it have a cause?

It's an age-old argument - what caused the universe? Some say there is no explanation other than God. Others argue that it didn't begin but has always been, others that they don't know what the cause is, but one day science may discover it.

Jim, who blogs at both Quodlibeta and Agent Intellect, reckons the latest scientific understanding of these two questions is a nail in the coffin of atheism. I think he's both right and wrong.

Monday, February 7, 2011

historical jesus for ordinary people

Most books about Jesus by scholars are long and detailed, with many footnotes. They are not always either succinct or readable.

Most books about Jesus aimed at the ordinary reader don't worry too much about what the expert historians have concluded.

Historian and author John Dickson has always been very readable yet also historically reliable. His latest book hits the mark again.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

is the universe designed?

The facts are not scientifically in doubt. There are a dozen or so physical constants (the strength of gravity, the size and charges of fundamental particles, etc) which control how our universe has developed since the big bang, and if some of them had been even a little different, the universe would have collapsed back in on itself long before now, or flown apart, or have remained a thin soup without stars or planets.

It makes some people think that the probability of all this occurring by chance is so small that it must have been designed. But others argue that the logic is all wrong and probability doesn't make sense in this case. How does the argument go?

Friday, February 4, 2011

the middle ages - more interesting than you think

For many people, history is boring - just a succession of dates and wars. I think it is probably often taught very badly at school.

But here is a history book which is anything but boring.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

is it possible i'm wrong?

Have you ever considered something you believe in and asked yourself: "Is it possible I'm wrong?"

If you're an atheist, have you truly considered whether there might really be a God despite what you think? If you're a christian, have you ever considered that you might be fooling yourself?

How would we ever know if we are really being honest with ourselves?