Entries from February 2009 ↓

News: Church and the Sin of Homosexuality

Unacceptable sex - any sexual activity outside of a religiously-based heterosexual marriage – is always a struggle for the churches. Homosexuality presents particular problems and acceptance is rarely the solution. The Age newspaper has the story of a gay woman’s visit to a Grace and Sexuality Conference at the Wesley Mission to address sexual problems associated with same sex attraction.

The tone from the Living Ministry is set with:

Brookman (Ron Brookman head of ministry) goes on to explain that God’s image can only be displayed on earth when male and female come together in sexual union within the context of monogamous heterosexual marriage. Anything outside is a sin.

“Desire is powerful, which is why God has given boundaries,” he asserts. “If boundaries were kept there would be no such thing as sexually transmitted diseases … there is no such thing as casual sex … the power of intimacy and sex is a foreshadow of what awaits us in heaven.”

Fortunately the “cure” of homosexuality is simple

Homosexuality is a “handicap” but healing our “brokenness” is as simple as “yielding our lives to Jesus”, he adds.

(Full article here)

Alex McCullie

News: 33% US Believe Scripture As Literal Word of God

According to the national survey of religious belief from Pew Forum 33% of people in the US believe that their respective scriptures are the literal word of God. The highest believing group is the ‘Historically Black Churches’ at 62%. Some of the lowest groups are Hindus, Buddists and Jews. Christian groups dominate the literalists.
(Pew breakdown here.)

Alex McCullie

News: Darwin and Religion and the Fallout

I recommend Darwin The Disturber, an article by well-known US author Susan Jacoby.

I struggle to understand responses of many liberal religious people to evolution. They accept that evolution best explains through physical processes the development of all living things including humans. However these same people want to exempt our sense of consciousness and “spirituality” from evolution by claiming these charactistics result not from naturalistic evolution but from the addition of some mysterious, undetectable force or intelligence.

So for billions of years the evolutionary processes took their meandering, undirected courses and then in the last few minutes, relatively speaking, a supernatural process intercedes to inject humans with consciousness and/or spirituality, that allows us to have a special connection with the divine.

Please give me a break! Ironically I have more respect for the evolution-deniers who attempt to reject the whole idea of evolution. At least they are more consistent in their beliefs even though totally misguided.

Alex McCullie

News: Philosophical Personality Test

Here’s a personality test and feedback run by experimental philosophers from Pittsburgh University and Shreiner University (website). Have fun!

Alex McCullie

News: Charles Darwin and His Letters

Staff at Cambridge University have a web-site with Darwin’s correspondence (see site) and one specific section dedicated to Darwin and Religion (site).

 

Alex McCullie

News: Probably No God Bus Message – You Can Customise

This is the latest amusing twist to the Probably No God message on UK buses. Now you can insert your own message. Check site out here.

I didn’t say it was thought-provoking!

Alex McCullie

News: Latest from Evolution & Religion Front in US – Pew Report

Pew has a series of reports about Evolution and Religion in the US as part of Darwin’s 150 years celebrations (opening summary screen). Evolutionary theory, though accepted by the vast majority scientists in the field, continues to be rejected by many Christians (and other religious believers) in the US as contrary to own religious stories. This is so even though so many religious organisations like the Roman Catholic church have adopted at least a partial acceptance with typically that evolution is part of God’s plan.

Religious leaders now explain that God works behind the scenes through complicated, convoluted evolutionary processes rather than simply creating the species as required. On that basis there’s been a major re-interpretation of scriptures turning readings from literal to metaphorical – the more metaphorical the better if you ask me. Incidently the very large and powerful South Baptist Convention simply rejects evolution outright.

Here’s a denomination-by-denomination breakdown of support (or lack of) across the US:
Click to view article

Alex McCullie

News: Importance of Religion to US – Gallop

While religion is becoming less important to Australians, it still is big part of the US daily life. Here’s a state by state breakdown (10 top and 10 least plus overall) from the Gallop poll article.

Alex McCullie

Click to view article
Click to view article
Click to view article

News: More Young Australians See The Light (or Not)

According to Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper more young Australians are reflecting increased secularisation. To quote the web site article:

In 2006, 7.9 per cent of Australians 65 and older did not specify a religion, compared to 23.5 per cent of those in the 15-34 age group.
An affiliation with Christianity has dropped since 1911, when 96 per cent of people called themselves Christian compared to 64 per cent in 2006.

At first blush it seems surprising that young Catholic people have reversed the overall trend with a slight increase in their religious affiliation. However this is explained by increased migration from traditionally Roman Catholic countries.

Alex McCullie