As part of my blog series on Christianity and atheism with Jesse, I’ve responded to his latest post which deals with Pascal’s Wager.
Not directly related to the wager, there seems to be an underlying thread in the post that suggests Christians are in the business of conning people—purposefully hiding the truth. Naturally, Christians are as capable of deceit as the next person, however to imply (unless I’ve badly misunderstood) that deceit is more or less a part of Christian doctrine itself, doesn’t sit well. Basically because there seems to be a lack of evidence for this—with the exception of some tele-evangelists. I think a distinction between individuals and creed is needed. But anyway, that’s taking this conversation down a different path—psychology I guess—and one that can easily lead to playing the man, not the game. Maybe it’s best to move on. Continue reading
Hizb ut-Tahrir. Haven’t heard of them? Well you might soon, they’re giving a talk tomorrow night in Sydney and it’s sure to make the news.
Meaning the Party of Liberation, they are an Islamist (politicised Islam) group who aim to bring all Muslims together to form one state, the Caliphate, the Islamic State. On Friday the 10th of October they will be hosting a public lecture in Sydney which will be arguing against Australia and the West’s ‘humanitarian mission’ to deal with IS.
Having had little ‘down time’ since the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the earlier one in Afghanistan, Australia is heeding the call-to-arms of our strongest ally to take out the Islamic State. While the scope of the ‘mission’ is as yet limited to air attacks in Iraq and to training local Iraqis and Kurds, history would indicate that this ideal situation (attacking, but little threat of being attacked) will be short-lived.
From advising the South Koreans in the early 1950s, the South Vietnamese in the 1960s, the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and the Kurds under Saddam Hussein prior to 2003, conflicts that powerful nations see as vitally important have a way of taking much longer than predicted and necessitating large troop deployments. So don’t be fooled into thinking that the troops will be home by Christmas.
‘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?
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.
Because I believe I can be a faithful Christian, and yet not claim to know the truth.