Tag Archive | faith

A strange kind of anniversary

FarewellTomorrow will be a significant day for me. On 12th June it will be exactly one year since the Church of England issued an astonishingly and uncharacteristically direct statement against the government’s proposals for same-sex marriage, which left me in shock all day and ultimately turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I don’t want to revisit that right now, but you can read about it here or here if you’re interested.

What makes this anniversary so strange is not knowing how to deal with it. As it was a decisive moment in reaching my current position (which I naturally think is a good one to hold, at least for now), you might think I’d see it as an event that ought to be celebrated in some way. That’s not how I feel about it, though. And not just because the starting point was an illiberal and regressive territory-marking effort. Read More…

Theological certainty is less comforting than you’d think

One of the strangest things about looking back at the past is noticing how certain I was about everything. It’s hard to explain, and people often have a hard time understanding it, but during the period when I really, truly believed, I was absolutely certain that I was never going to change my mind. I felt that I’d finally found the truth, and that could never be undone.

Prayer 3It wasn’t as if I was moving in line with a different worldview, more as if I’d discovered a new fact. People can change their opinions, but why would I ever think that France wasn’t a country, now that I knew it was? I didn’t usually talk of knowing, but that’s what it comes down to – I had special knowledge, and I couldn’t imagine that ever changing. Read More…

Why should I be scared of being proved wrong?

FlashI was following a discussion earlier where the claim was made that science is increasingly getting stuck at certain points, various scientific theories are evidence-free, and that the discoveries of the next century will consign atheism to an insignificant rump, if not oblivion. That was meant to be a taunt, but it missed the mark in a big way.

The arguments entirely failed to convince me, but while I must confess that I’m not particularly keen on the idea that my search for answers might be taking me on a trajectory away from truth and towards some sort of epistemological dead end, I was surprised and slightly amused that atheists were expected to react badly to the idea that evidence might eventually prove them wrong. Read More…

The Curious Incident of the Herald in the Night-Time

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Disc jockey, TV presenter, charity fundraiser, knight of the realm, and now alleged rapist and paedophile, it seems everybody has an opinion on Sir Jimmy Savile. Or as I suppose I should call him, devout Catholic Sir Jimmy Savile. Read More…

Should anyone care about Ed Miliband’s faith?

Ed Miliband made a speech at the Labour Conference yesterday. I’ve been busy enough recently that I wasn’t paying that much attention to it, but he’s made a bit of a stir by talking about his faith. Or possibly his lack of faith:

I was angry. I knew that wasn’t the way the world was meant to be. I knew I had a duty to do something about it. It is this upbringing that has made me who I am. A person of faith, not a religious faith but a faith nonetheless. A faith, I believe, many religious people would recognise. So here is my faith. I believe we have a duty to leave the world a better place than we found it. I believe we cannot shrug our shoulders at injustice, and just say that’s the way the world is. And I believe that we can overcome any odds if we come together as people.

That concludes a passage about his upbringing and influences. It’s all very interesting, but probably not entirely for the reasons he intended. Read More…

Loss of Faith as modelled in Lord of the Rings

Faith – how do you lose yours?

We all try to sustain our existing beliefs. We assess our experiences and new evidence through the lens of what we currently believe, and if we feel that our beliefs are threatened in some way, we find ways to defend or reinforce them. That’s not a criticism, just a statement of fact – we all do it, in all sorts of situations.

I’ve seen and heard plenty of cases of what could be described as people losing their faith. I’m not entirely comfortable with that phrase, as it implies that the faith was a valuable thing (which is up for debate), and also conjures up a strange mental picture of people turning their houses upside down looking for this faith that they lost, but it’s probably the best phrase to describe what I’m talking about. Read More…

Religion, Sport and Tim Tebow

I’m not generally keen on what seems to be an increasing trend for overt displays of religion in the sporting arena. If sportsmen and women believe in God, that’s fair enough. If they constantly mention it in interviews, I suppose I can live with it, although it would irritate me as much as when they’re constantly mentioning their sponsor. And when a sporting career is sacrificed in the name of that religion, as with Euan Murray and Jonathan Edwards (his subsequent change of mind and eventual atheism notwithstanding), I find it very puzzling, although the sacrifice involved is something that I can’t help but admire and respect. I’m just not so relaxed when they bring this onto the field of play. Read More…

%d bloggers like this: