A ‘malicious’ God?

Image result for stephen fry

Stephen Fry, British actor, comedian, sometimes intellectual, and the long-time face of QI was interviewed recently by the ABC’s Tony Jones. Asked about his views on God, Fry raised the question of why an all-powerful, loving god, would create or allow pain and suffering in the universe it had made. It’s hardly a new question, but clearly it’s one that I think all of us, whether believers or not, ask ourselves—and God—from time to time. I must admit, that whenever I hear it asked, I feel a bit uneasy since it seems like a legitimate gripe, and the answers aren’t always clear.  Continue reading

Perfect enough to kill ‘em? Then throw the first stone

firing squad

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I knew who Chan and Sukumaran were, or what the Bali 9 had done to deserve their fate. But that’s the point, regardless of who it concerns, the what of the case (the death penalty) is as ever, up for debate.

The impending executions of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran has caused a flurry of commentary from journalists, doctors, lawyers, human rights groups, and politicians in Australia. Considering this possible overexposure to the case, I cautiously add my 2 cents worth.

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Criticism & prejudice: trying to understand Islam

 

‘Islamophobic!’ is directed at anyone it would seem, who has any criticism of Islam.

In light of the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) in Northern Iraq and its intolerant ideologies, ‘moderate’ and ‘mainstream’ Muslims, as well as many non-Muslims have stressed the peaceful nature of ‘true’ Islam.

Deflecting criticism away from Islam’s holy texts, moralistic commentators—many non-Muslim—often compare the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad to massacres in the Old Testament committed by the Israelites. It is argued that just as ‘mainstream’ Christians and Jews do not act according to many old teachings now, likewise the Islamic world for the most part does not either, and thus certain aspects of their religious texts and traditions can be ignored just as Christians pick and choose those bits of Scripture which suit this time and place.

At face value, this comparison seems fair. Christians—I can’t speak for Jews—adapt their Bible to make it more palatable, so why shouldn’t Muslims?

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Don’t know, do care: engaging a postmodern audience

 

Cross

 

I don’t know that God exists, nor that Jesus died, was buried, and then rose again. I don’t know that the Bible is the Word of God. Yet, I call myself a Christian.

I sincerely believe all of the above, but I don’t know that it’s true.

One might assume that I’m going through a phase of existential angst and serious doubt about my faith, but I’d disagree. To me it’s just part of living out my Christian life.

Why?

Because I believe I can be a faithful Christian, and yet not claim to know the truth.

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Elliot Rodger and the girls

 

To continue riding my current hobby horse of anti-entitlement, and considering current discussion trends, it seems fitting to talk about man’s entitlement to women–well not their minds, (who cares), but their bodies most importantly.

So I have the task of riding (maybe flogging) a horse, as well as jumping on-board the proverbial wagon.

It seems common to label Elliot Rodger as either a psychopath or a misogynist. Surely he’s both. Regardless of that, it has led to a media—social or otherwise—flurry about misogyny and feminism more generally.

I think that can only be a good thing, provided it doesn’t descend into misandry.

So why is it that women can be so easily objectified in Western society? What are the reasons, on a personal level, that lead many men to feel they deserve a woman to look a certain way, or behave in a way they like, or even, simply that they’re entitled to ‘have’ a girl at all.

I agree that institutions like Hollywood have often helped turn women into meat, but it’s a cop out to blame them and the likes of Hugh Heffner for doing what they do: business.

If you don’t like a product you don’t buy it. If the product doesn’t sell, the business goes broke.

Apparently, based on the unchanged role of women (seems to be aesthetic appeal) in mainstream movies, we, the consumers are happy with the product: sex sells. But why? Why is it so easy to change a person into a product for our entertainment?

I suspect it comes back to entitlement. I’m sure many feminist academics have traced the historical roots of misogyny, so I won’t go into detail, but I would argue that in the end it is based on a male assumption that women were created/evolved to be the deserved possession of men.

Now of course I’m not pretending that everyone is included in ‘mainstream’, but by definition, it is the majority of us.

‘I’m not like that’ many guys would say.

And I hope they’re right, but really? Have they never thought that they deserved a girl? Even sub-consciously at the time?

Claiming that men have been socially conditioned to feel they deserve women, may have some truth in it. But that can be used as an excuse for all kinds of behaviour.

This social conditioning  surely came about in the first place based on some entitlement complex that led men to believe that they somehow deserved women, for no other reason one can assume, than because that’s what they wanted.

Regardless of the way society and culture can exacerbate a problem, shifting blame doesn’t fix anyone .

You can’t fix society by simply saying it’s got a problem.