Just when I thought it was impossible to be shocked any more…
(HT: Christine Happ)
If an extremist is someone holding extreme views then 5Live presenter Peter Allen suggested last night that holding orthodox Christian values could well label you an extremist.
In a discussion about the Republican primaries being held in Arizona and Michegan conversation turned to the candidate Rick Santorum. Santorum is an orthodox Roman Catholic with conservative views on social policy eg. abortion and homosexuality.
The following is a transcript of the conversation last night between Peter Allen 5Live’s drive time presenter and British broadcaster Simon Conway who hosts the drive programme of Iowa’s WHO radio station (to listen click here and forward to 2 hours 41 minutes).
Peter Allen: When you say he [Santorum]won’t stand any chance that’s because of what, some extreme views he’s got?
Simon Conway: He’s ultra-conservative and those social issues , which is what we refer to them here, would be played up by the Obama campaign in a 1 on 1 and I don’t’ think they would play well because just like in the UK it’s not the traditional conservative and labour voters who decide any election it’s the middle.
Peter Allen: Give us an example of the extreme views on social policies. What is it abortion and stuff like that?
Simon Conway: Abortion is something that does play in the middle here. It’s more about homosexuality his views are very extreme.
It seems to me an unavoidable conclusion that at least some BBC presenters are ready to label Christian views as extreme (not conservative, not traditional but extreme) and it is a very small step indeed to describe someone holding extreme views an extremist.
What makes this language quite scary is that the BBC has advised its presenters NOT to speak of Abu Qatada as an extremist despite the Islamist Cleric having been described by a judge as ‘Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe’.
BBC journalists were told they should not describe Qatada as an extremist. The guidance was issued at the BBC newsroom’s 9.00am editorial meeting yesterday, chaired by a senior manager, Andrew Roy.
According to notes of the meeting, seen by The Daily Telegraph, journalists were told: “Do not call him an extremist – we must call him a radical. Extremist implies a value judgment.”
Now Peter Allen’s description of Santorum may have been a one-off. Only time will tell as to whether Christians in this country will face the same charge of not just holding ‘extreme’ views but perhaps in time joining the number of those labelled ‘extremists’.
What might just persuade our friends to embrace the gospel of Christ? I guess that depends on what we think is stopping them. Our apologetic (defense) of Christianity largely revovles around answering various questions; Are the gospels reliable, what about other religions, suffering, etc…
But Doug Wilson wonders whether we’ve really understood the nature of unbelief? Can I suggest that next time you chat to a self-confessed atheist why not ask them this question ‘Do you hope that God is there?’ and it might reveal the true nature of the problem. Their answer might well reveal that behind intellectual doubts, at it’s heart unbelief is a heart issue rather than an issue of the head.
Wilson takes us to Romans 1 and reminds us that unbelief is really a suppression of the truth because of a hearts desire to rebel against God and his word. People in some sense don’t believe because they don’t want to believe.
What them should we do? How should our theology drive our apologetic? Doug Wilson asks us to aim at the heart in our apologetics because that is the heart of problem. When the Christian community learns to love God by demonstrating a deep gratitude for all that we have received from him that has persuasive power. From a man who debated Christopher Hitchens on more than one occasion its a helpful reminder. And after all wasn’t it Francis Scaheffer who said ‘the greatest apologetic of all is love’.
In this Spectator article Parris is, as always, uniquely insightful on matters of faith and refuses to see the wisdom offered by those who find religion useful without a personal belief in God.
‘As I get older the sharpness of my faculties begins to dull. But what I will not do is sink into a mellow blur of acceptance of the things I railed against in my youth. ‘Familiar’ be damned. ‘Comforting’ be damned. ‘Useful’ be damned. Is it true? — that is the question. It was the question when I was 12 and the question when I was 22. Forty years later it is still the question. It is the only question.’
Looking to be a leader? Ron Edmonson’s 7 Qualities of a Followable Leader is well worth a read…
As a family we have enjoyed reading Sally Lloyd-Jones’ the Jesus Storybook Bible as well as listening to the audio cds in the car. My six-year old knows that ‘every story whispers his name’ because through this Bible he’s learnt that the whole Bible is about Jesus. What’s more he’s getting better at anticipating how each Old Testament story points ahead to Christ.
Here is an excellent blog post by Sally Lloyd-Jones on just how crucial that copernican revolution really is if we are to produce children who don’t read themselves into every story of the Bible but begin to read Christ into every story.
Reading the blog I also discovered that the Jesus Storybook Bible has now also been made available as a Sunday School resource.
(HT: Mim Pike)
Janet Daley in the Telegraph a couple of days ago reflects on why the last week was a bad week for atheism
If you haven’t as yet heard of Jeremy Lin you probably soon will. This article in the Telegraph is as good a place as any to start.
Lin is an evangelical Christian and basketball player who has enjoyed a meteoric rise from zero to hero in a matter of a couple of weeks.
The telegraph reports
‘Lin, if you were not already familiar with this unassuming Harvard graduate, is a 23 year-old of Chinese ancestry, whose first five games as a Knicks starter have redefined sport’s relationship with Hollywood. In that time, he has accumulated 136 points, surpassing Shaquille O’Neal’s league record. But barely a fortnight ago, Lin was still sleeping on his brother’s sofa. Basketball narratives do not come any more fanciful.’
Lin says of his story
‘Anytime something like this happens, a lot of it is out of my control. God’s fingerprints are all over the place. You can try to call it coincidence but 20, 30 things all had to happen at the right time for me to be here. That’s why I call it a miracle.’
For a really helpful post on Lin and whether Christians can play competitive sport to the glory of God visit Barnabas Piper’s blog.
Updated: the post on which my blog-post depends appears to no-longer be available
How should Christians respond to arguments in favour of same-sex marriage? There are many advocates for a change in the law to permit gay couples to marry. After all the argument goes ‘equality should mean equality’.
Peter Saunders chair of the Christian Medical Fellowship has written a blog post outlining Ten reasons not to legalise same sex marriage check it out and think it through for yourself.
Most persuasive for me is argument 9 – Redefining marriage will not stop with same sex marriage
After all ‘Equality is equality is equality’ is surely the foundation for the argument in favour of a change in the law to recognise same-sex marriage. IF equality is equality and IF we are to be free from ‘intolerant, bigoted, discriminatory and hateful’ positions in the debate I wonder whether advocates of a change in the law think that
1) a man should be legally able to marry his sister?
2) 3 or more parties should be free to enter into a marriage arrangement?
3) a muslim should be permitted under British law to have 3 or 4 or more wives?
Having rejected historical or biological arguments in favour of the ‘equality’ argument it seems only logical that those in favour of same-sex arguments will also be in favour of all sorts of marriage ‘arrangements’ between consenting adults.
If anyone can suggest otherwise I’d be happy to hear from them.
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