Wednesday, 22 April 2015

God Does Not Exist

'Consider, for instance, the recent and curious episode of the “God Helmet.” If you have not heard of it before, this was a device that for a time was believed to have the power to induce “religious” experiences in those who wore it, simply by stimulating the temporal lobes of the brain with weak magnetic field emissions. Its inventor was the cognitive neuroscientist Michael Persinger, who began studying religious mental states as early as the 1970s, and who eventually hit upon the theory that all such experiences have something to do with the structure of the bicameral brain. Perhaps, he speculated, a man who finds himself seized by a mystical sense of an unseen presence—God, an angel, an extraterrestrial, a ghost, a fairy, what have you—is merely experiencing a transient excitation of neurons that causes his brain’s left hemisphere to become indirectly aware of the distinct and usually tacit “alternate self” of the right hemisphere.' David Bentley Hart

The results of the 'God Helmet' were roundly dismissed, the effects shown to be products of their own imagination.

As Bentley Hart rightly points out, even if the 'God Helmet' had worked it would not have proven anything in terms of God as no-one in classical theism is denying the reality of how an encounter with God would indeed have an effect upon the physical reality of our brains. But this is not the emphasis of this blog post.

Monday, 20 April 2015

To Vote or Not to Vote?

Should we vote?

The general election is fast approaching here in the UK and I feel bombarded every day by what feels like political pouting, each party seeking to woo us with their political persuasion.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Meaningful Meaninglessness

'We have to break out. We have to accept life in its meaninglessness, its pleasures that serve nothing etc. Because the paradox is that if you take away from life those things that serve nothing what remains is that which is purely fictional, the paradox being that it actually leaves nothing. Everything collapses.' Slavoj Žižek

What Žižek is getting at here and refuting is the idea that everything we do has to serve a purpose, has to meaningful and contribute in some way to our society.

So the constant rhetoric surrounding our political system at the moment is 'those who work hard get rewarded'.  Our worth then is tied directly to how hard we work and if what we do serves a purpose to better the system and society.

Our education system is steeped in this type of thinking as primary school children are put through test after test as though their ability to answer questions on a test paper is reflective of how well educated and valuable they are.

It's all nonsense.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Colouring Beyond the Lines

God will not colour within our expected and preconceived lines of theology, humanity and creation.

Time and again God redefines our understanding and expectations of God's own Self and who we are in our own humanity.

The life and parables of Jesus consistently catch us off-guard, challenging and transforming all that we think we know into a shock and awe of what we don't know.; the Samaritan woman at the well, the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector, the Syrophoenician woman, the prostitute who breaks a jar of perfume over Jesus' feet, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the encounter with the woman subject to bleeding - examples of how Jesus will not colour between the lines of theology, humanity and creation.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A People of Change

'We are absolutely clear; the responsibility for acts of terror rests with those who commit them. But a huge burden of responsibility also lies with those who act as apologists for them' Philip Hammond MP

Here the government propaganda machine is in full throttle removing all responsibility from their own foreign policy and a history of violence within our western political landscape that directly creates isolation, fear, hatred and extreme psychological stress that leads itself to extremist behaviour and ideology.

It is interesting how the government are seeking to silence any who would criticise its current approach to ISIS and fundamentalism by labelling them as 'apologists' for the extremists. Yet being critical of our government and the US/UK foreign policies and facing up to the reality of how these actions create a breading ground for countless 'Jihadi Johns' is NOT the same as condoning the barbaric acts and behaviour of such people.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

'The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.' Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

That old Jonathan Edwards; what a charmer!

This vision of God is one of vengeance, anger, wrath and utter contempt for humanity.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Our Weird Little World

What is the beauty of the Gospel?

The beauty of the Gospel is the beauty of relationship, a letting into our 'weird little world' Someone who really does know us, who truly understands us, who passionately believes in us, who utterly, totally and without condition loves us.

This is what God is like.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Tick tock, tick tock.

Seconds continually scratching at the fabric of time, 'now' being unmasked as 'past', the future being drawn into the present.

Relentless and without favour or regard; tick tock, tick tock.

In ignorance and seeming inevitability we surrender to the sea of time finding ourselves carried by the tide, all around us an apparent outcome of the continuous scratching of time.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Yet in the midst of the stream of ignorance and bliss we notice some who are struggling, no longer resting in the tide of time and inevitability but seeking to find their feet, to stand and walk out of the stream. They are shaking, confused, yet determined. They believe that all does not have to be as it seems.

So they fight to find their feet, the current strong and often pulling their feet away from the ground, yet on they go, fighting, striving until they reach the bank. Pulling themselves out and sometimes dragging others with them, they stand and finally survey their surroundings.

Everything looks different.

Tick tock, tick tock no longer a soothing anaesthetic but a call to transformation, an awakening to a different reality. Revolution is in the air.

Friday, 6 February 2015

A War Prayer

Heavenly Father

Have mercy upon us.

As we look around the world we see violence and destruction, death and decay, hatred and murder.

We watch in horror as bombs shatter lives, leaving behind weeping, rubble, blood and bitterness.

We despair as hatred and apathy leave victims living in fear.

Yet like anaesthetic coursing through our veins we watch on.

We pray for the lives destroyed in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and many others beyond our sight. Forgive us Lord in the West for our own greed and violence that has created further unrest and suffering for those living in these lands. Forgive us Lord for our ideological and political bullshit that furthers the injustice and oppression of people, not just in these lands but in other places across the world.

We pray Prince of Peace for an end to conflict.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Excluded Possibilities

Paul Tillich once said, 'Love conquers...the excluded possibilities.'

2000 years before him Paul said that love never fails.

And before him Jesus said 'Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.'

Humanity is connected in ways beyond our comprehension. We are a collective people where self-imposed and power-imposed and fear-imposed boundaries separate us, yet these boundaries can never extinguish the shared humanity, the collective consciousness, the inter-connectedness that is a reality of our existence.

So we need to learn ways to reconnect, to be brave and go beyond the boundaries to rediscover our common humanity, the image of God in each of us.

And yet we are a violet and rivalistic species, imitating each others desires to the point where we will scapegoat in order to calm our violence. Rene Girard's groundbreaking work on mimesis highlights our innate desire to violently desire to the point of sacrificing those whom we have scapegoated in order to restore peace, at least for a time.