Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Todd Friel vs The Infidel Guy

I've just finished listening to one of the Infidel Guy's podcasts. A couple of months back the Infidel Guy was on 'Way of the master radio' - a fundamentalist Christian radio station - and was (for lack of a better word) interviewed by Todd Friel (I blogged about it, why not read what I said?). So IG had Todd on his radio show, attempting to turn the tables and find out a bit about this guy.

From the outset, the 'Christian' wanted to pick a fight with the 'infidel'. He was arrogant, rude, didn't answer questions put to him, was antagonistic, didn't actually listen to half of what the show host said, and so on. Once again I am ashamed to be nominally 'on the same side' as this guy.

I'm a Christian, but I don't think it is rational to say that if someone has lived a perfect life in all respects, except for one lie told when they were 6, that they deserve eternal torment. I don't think that a native American, before the time of Columbus, who has never heard the gospel will be judged guilty because he has rejected Jesus. But Todd Friel seems to think that makes perfect sense. I would go as far as to say that it appears that Todd Friel rejoices in the belief that many people will go to hell. The man has no grace! Thankfully his God does have it, even if Todd doesn't understand what it means.

So Reggie, if you're reading this, on behalf of all reasonable Christians, sorry.

A Christian (as I understand it) is someone who seeks to be like Christ, to follow his example and live according to his teachings. If you look at Jesus in the bible, you will find that the only people he got into fights and arguments with were the hypocritical religious leaders. He did not fight with those with other beliefs, but it appears like he entertained them with stories and chatted with them over a meal (in their homes) and was generally nice and courteous to them.

On the basis of that show I would guess that if Jesus was here to talk to IG or TF, he would have a good natured chat with the infidel and would only get into heated debate with Todd!

Monday, June 26, 2006

What happened to Dr Who?

I loved it when Dr Who came back last year. And for the most part the episodes were good. This year it was even better - I much prefer David Tennant to Chris Eccleston. But what happened? The quality of programmes has gone sharply downhill this series. Episode by episode: my opinions:

Series 1:

  1. Rose - Great!
  2. The end of the world - Good!
  3. The unquiet dead - Good!
  4. Aliens of London - Great!
  5. World war 3 - Good!
  6. Dalek - Great!
  7. The long game - OK...
  8. Father's day - Good!
  9. The empty child - Good!
  10. The Doctor dances - OK...
  11. Boom town - OK...
  12. Bad wolf - Good!
  13. The parting of the ways - Great!
So all in all, Series 1 averages out somewhere between good and great!
  • The Christmas invasion - Great!
Great hopes for the next series...

Series 2:

  1. New Earth - Good!
  2. Tooth and claw - Great!
  3. School reunion - Fantastic!
  4. Girl in the fireplace - Great!
  5. Rise of the Cybermen - Good!
  6. The age of steel - Erm, a bit disappointing.
  7. Idiot's lantern - Really quite dull.
  8. The impossible planet - Not very good.
  9. The Satan pit - A bit better, but not great.
  10. Love and monsters - Dull, dull, dull.
  11. Fear her - not watched this one yet...
So what I find is that Series 2, which started well, has sunk lower than any point in Series 1. Russell T., what are you doing?

And I'm starting to miss the good old days of 6 episode stories and villains that were never totally defeated - the Cybermen kept coming back again and again, every couple of series they would be back - they were never totally defeated in the old days. But now the Doctor can take them out in the space of 90 minutes. Oh well, maybe the Series 2 finale will be great again...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Infidel Guy Show - Debunking the Bible

I listened to the Infidel Guy's podcast on "How the Bible Debunks Itself" this morning, and I must say it was one of the most disappointing IG shows that I've heard recently. While I generally disagree with the majority of the guests on the IG shows - they are generally evangelically atheistic after all - I usually find them quite interesting and thought provoking. But the gust on this show just annoyed me. He seemed to have less than half an argument, and thought that it was really compelling, while actually there wasn't much to it.

The guy had been raised in a Christian home, had gone off the rails and done lots of drugs, had 'found the Lord' (his words), got clean and had been a Christian missionary preacher for about a decade, then he realised that what he was preaching was contrary to reason and abandoned his faith. He now promotes atheism by attempting to point out the inaccuracies of the bible.

His story was very much in parallel with the 'deconversion' stories on the IG show that I mentioned once before - somehow he went from believing the bible absolutely to doubting the bible to no belief in any god at all.

I just can't see how anyone can justify doing that leap of reasoning - they start off with an extremely narrowly defined concept of 'God', find something that makes them doubt the reality of that one narrowly defined version of 'God', and leap straight from there to 'there is no god at all...'. Surely the reasonable reasoning process should be more along the lines of: 'OK, so this picture of God doesn't quite work, what does make sense in the light of all I have experienced?'

The one feature that all these stories on the IG show have in common is that each of the Christians who deconverted started out believing that the bible was the inerrant Word of God (with a very rigid view of what that means) and as soon as they find one apparent contradiction in the bible, their whole religion falls apart.

Where does it say that the compilation of 66 books that we call the bible was dictated, word for word, by God and is absolutely infallible? Nowhere in my bible!

The guy tried to use the 4 different accounts of the resurrection to prove his point. Yes, the 4 accounts differ in the details - how many women went to the tomb? was it a young man, an angel or two angels that they met there? when was the stone rolled away? was there a guard on the tomb? etc. But this is to be expected when we have 4 different accounts of an event, written down some 20 to 60 years after the event and where at least two of the authors were not present at the time of the resurrection (Frank Morrison contends that Mark himself was the 'young man' at the tomb in his book 'Who moved the stone'; John's version of the story has 'the disciple who Jesus loved' turning up soon after the women). So we have 4 stories which agree on the main points, but disagree on the irrelevant details - does this mean the event never happened? Of course not, it only means that the books were written by fallible people.

So, all in all, a disappointing programme. Shame.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

24 hour praise people

An old friend of mine has just started blogging. Have a look at - the blog of Rev. Marcus Green. He's just organised and run a 24 hour non-stop worship event in his church. Wow. And even at 3am, numbers of folk there were in double figures.

Marcus was curate / worship leader at St. Michael's Church, Aberystwyth when I attended there in the mid 90s. He wrote the (very good) book on worship, Salvation's Song, which I reviewed in one of my first blog posts.

He has also recently recorded a big-band worship album - 'Every Breath' by Marcus Green Big Band. Its cooool, man. A bunch of modern and traditional worship songs reinvented in glorious big band style. For me the highlight is 'Beautiful One' a Tim Hughes song which is quite popular in our church at the moment - but here it is transformed into a groovy swing thing with excellent vocals from the man who wrote it. You can preview and order the CD here. Go on, you know you want to.