Browsing articles in "Culture"
Dec 27, 2010
neil

Christianity and media bias

My preferred weekly magazine, in its Christmas special, ran only one article on the Christmas story and they asked an atheist to write it.  It’s called ‘Confession of an atheist: I respect Christianity too much to believe in it.’

Why would the magazine, which is conservative culturally and politically, prefer the view of an atheist for a Christmas comment? Well I guess because it’s a different angle.  And that, my friends, is the problem for Christians when it comes to Christianity and the media.

There exists an inevitable bias against Christianity in the media because the media is always looking for new angles and new opportunities to say new things.

Locked out?

Andrew Marr at a recent internal seminar at the BBC let the cat out of the bag.

The BBC is a publicly funded urban organisation with an abnormally large proportion of younger people, of people in ethnicminorities and almost certainly of gay people than the population at large.  It depends on the states approval at least for its funding mechanism and all this creates an innate liberal bias inside the BBC and I think if we pretend there isn’t an institutional liberal bias of that kind which is much more clearly expressed as a cultural bias than as a party political bias.

And it has always been so. Marr, in his presentation to the September seminar, actually quoted a  parliamentary committee from 1936 which highlights how the old, old story will always be eclipsed by the new.

‘There’s an inevitable tendency in the general programmes of the Corporation to devote more time to the expression of new ideas and the advocacy of change in social and other spheres than the defence of orthodoxy and stability, since the reiteration of what exists and is familiar is not so interesting as the exposition of what might be.’

As Marr pointed out, ‘Any producer, any reporter worth their salt wants to go for newness, challenge, controversy – and the Continue reading »

Dec 20, 2010
neil

No god? No problem?

The philosopher and atheist AC Grayling is writing a book entitled ‘The Good Book: A Secular History’.  In it he joins Richard Dawkins and Christophet Hitchens, amongst a growing list, who insist that you don’t need to believe in God to be good. Every Christian would want to affirm that fact.  Atheists can and often do choose to be ‘good’, whatever that may mean in an amoral universe of ‘blind pitiless indifference’ to quote Dawkins.

But, heres the rub, the thing they don’t want to tell you is that without a belief in God there is no reason to be bad either. In a quite brilliant article the intellectual dishonesty at work in those who will not admit that their creed allows men to be cruel is exposed by Peter Heck.

Here’s just one extract but it’s well worth reading the whole:

Two years ago, their motto was “Why believe in a god?  Just be good for goodness’ sake!”  Last year, they were more direct: “No god?  No problem!”  But this year, as they feebly attempt to detract from the celebration of Christ’s incarnation once again, perhaps it’s a fruitful exercise for our civilization to consider their overtures and weigh the merit of their message.

As far as I can tell, the mantra “No god?  No problem!” has but one minor flaw: the entire record of human history.  It is no coincidence that as German atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche boasted, “God is dead … we have killed him … must we not ourselves become gods[?]” (which, by the way, is the entire basis of humanism dating back to the Garden of Eden), he Continue reading »

Dec 19, 2010
neil

How the world is changing

A few thoughts on this really interesting video:

1.  I wonder what the visuals would look like if we tried to map the growth of the church over the same time period? Certainly it would be much more dramatic with the growth of the church in China and the developing world against the decline in Europe.

2. Is he being wildly optimistic in his prediction that all the nations will head up the graph? As Christians do we share his confidence?

3. As Christians do we recognize and thank God for his common grace? As we reap the benefits of living in times of peace, prosperity and long life do we acknwoldege him or do we enjoy the blessings and fail to thank our creator who has gifted men and women in ways that lead to scientific and technological advancement? What reasons do you have to thank God for in the light of this short video?

4. As a culture why are we no more happy even though we have so much more stuff and live longer, more comfortable and healthier lives? For statistical evidence that we are no happier see for example Oliver James’s Affluenza.

Dec 7, 2010
neil

People are embarrassed to believe in God

People are embarrassed to believe in God so confesses Victoria Coren in an article in the Guardian over the weekend. And so as a believer in God herself she bemoans the lack of quick-witted, thinking, believers able to stand up to the growing assault of radical atheism.

'me a Christian?'

She writes: ‘Lord Carey (previous Archbishop of Canterbury) complained last week that Britain is ashamed to celebrate Christmas as a religious festival. It’s bigger than that: people are embarrassed to believe in God at all. They feel silly.

There is a new, false distinction between “believers” and “rationalists”. The trickle-down Dawkins effect has got millions of people thinking that faith is ignorant and childish, with atheism the smart and logical position

Coren wants Christians to pick up the gauntlet and respond!  It’s time for Christians to expose the illogicality of atheism (after all you simply can’t prove a negative and Dawkins when pushed on the matter in debate with Professor John Lennox admits that he is an agnostic rather than an atheist).  We need to reveal the intellectual poverty of atheism in its answers to questions of morality and to demonstrate the falsity of the claim that religion is to blame for everything by showing how the course of human history and the Continue reading »

Dec 3, 2010
neil

Facebook – Foe?

I’m a facebook fan as I pointed out in my earlier post but there are reasons to be cautious. Here are 13 factors that we need to bear in mind if we want to use this technology for the glory of God.

Don’t waste your life.

Procrastination. How much time is eaten up when we could be getting on with doing other, better things. Work, praying, hanging out with ‘real’ people.
Ill-discipline. How easy is it to stay up late into the night messing around – ‘just one more click’ we say to ourselves – even when friends have gone to bed we can continue ‘virtual friendships’.
Poor priorities. Fifty percent of Facebook users visit the site every day. I wonder whether even fifty percent of Christians read their Bible and pray every day. C.f. Psalm 1.
Addiction. As human beings we have sinful natures that are prone to addictive weaknesses. The very nature of certain technologies may make them harder to Continue reading »

Nov 30, 2010
neil

Facebook: friend or foe?

‘Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire’ so said CS Lewis.

From the printing press to the invention of the internal combustion engine,TV, Personal Computer, Mobile Phone, every culture has had to adapt and adjust to new technology. Maybe you enjoyed watching the Butler struggling to come to terms with the introduction of the telephone in the final episode of ITV’s Downtown Abbey.

Technology often receives one of two reactions either uncritical reception or retreat. I’d like to advocate a third. Perhaps the more biblical position is to recognise that each new technology offers an opportunity: Redemption. Paul put it like this;

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Cor. 10:5

There is no doubt that the internet is changing how we relate and even how we think. Two thought-provoking books on that here and here.

But given that over 500 million people use Facebook (which means if it were a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world!) and given that it is now the default mode of communication for the majority (200 million people check their facebook page once a day).

Facebook

Today I make the case for

Facebook as a Friend – opportunity

How can we use Facebook as a force for good and as a way of building relationships.

  1. Use Facebook to keep in touch with one another: students on holiday, moving on with work,  on graduation.
  2. Use Facebook to get back in touch with those who you’ve lost contact with. I’ve reconnected with old school friends and university friends many of whom Continue reading »
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