procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

how's YOUR ethics?

h/t to byron for this ethics test
  1. Jean-Paul Sartre (100%)
  2. Spinoza (78%)
  3. Aristotle (70%)
  4. Aquinas (68%)
  5. David Hume (65%)
  6. Jeremy Bentham (59%)
  7. Nietzsche (58%)
  8. Ayn Rand (57%)
  9. Kant (56%)
  10. Nel Noddings (55%)
  11. Stoics (54%)
  12. St. Augustine (51%)
  13. Thomas Hobbes (46%)
  14. John Stuart Mill (45%)
  15. Plato (41%)
  16. Epicureans (38%)
  17. Ockham (34%)
  18. Prescriptivism (34%)
  19. Cynics (25%)

i think this means that if Sartre were a girl, we'd hook up, and Augustine and I would have had a love-hate relationship. which is probably true (the latter one - i haven't even seen a photo of Sartre, although i plan to read his Dramaten when i find a spare minute)


Terminator Messiah

A few weeks ago i did a thing on Christ-figures in films. Some are more obvious than others, but things to look out for are sacrifice, taking the punishment others deserve, healing, having the initials J.C.; having a beard even seems to cut it in some films.

But for my thing on Heroes on Film, i thought i'd do the Christ-figures in the Terminator films.

firstly, a brief synopsis of the three films (at this time i hadn't seen T3, which filled in a lot of gaps):

  • T1 T800 sent to kill Sarah Connor
    Kyle Reese to protect her because of the child she would bear.
    He would be the messiah of the Humans against the machines
    He ends up fathering a son, called John Connors
    Don’t miss the JC initials
  • T2 T800 now the Cyborg Messiah,
    sent to protect the Human Messiah from the T1000
  • T3 JC now the messiah he was predestined to be

These films deal with Ontological Paradoxes, that is,
An ontological paradox is a paradox of time travel that questions the existence and creation of information and objects that travel in time. It is very closely related to the predestination paradox and usually occurs at the same time. (definition from wikipedia)

c/f The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov, written way back in 1954 - an amazing read if you can get a hold of it (mine's in a box at my parent's place in Canberra if you want to grab it)

“Critic Richard Corliss has...pointed out that the story parallels that of the New Testament, with a soldier from another world (the archangel Gabriel) visiting a woman (the Virgin Mary) to announce that she is to be mother to a messiah (John Connor has the same initials as Jesus Christ). She flees with him into the desert, where an angel of death becomes a protector/father.”

From Holy Aliens to Cyborg Saviours: Biblical Subtexts in Four Science Fiction Films, Anton Karl Kozlovic

In T2 that is.
The Cyborg Messiah takes over from the Human Messiah, taking the fore-front, and the many Christ-references.
with his wounds in his side, his Bullet Holes that Sarah needs, like Thomas in John 21, to check for herself.
The Terminator is killed by the T1000, but is resurrected, and then redeems humankind.

I guess, tho I haven’t [hadn't - ed.] seen it, that T3 is the next step, where the messiah (human John Connor, JC) takes control, on, of course, Judgement day, where he returns in power to rid the earth of evil once and for all.

For those interested, there is a fourth in the tubes, called Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, in an odd tribute to science fiction history (in the End of Eternity), although in all probability this has more to do with the predominant US millenialist theology.

Each generation gets the cinema they deserve.

addendum - coming to Australian television screens is Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which may or may not be any good. it's a nice idea, despite her dying inbetween the 2nd and 3rd movies, unless they give some explanation, like she had to hide herself so no terminator would be able to use her to track John. i dunno.

now for some Christmas silliness - watch this, v.v. funny h/t to locusts and honey

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Clear and Present Word Part II

The second point of Mark Thompson’s observations on the clarity of scripture is;

2/ Christian Theology is unavoidably Trinitarian.

Again, using Peter Adam’s catchphrase, “God’s Words, to his people, by his Spirit, about his Son,” we see that even the most base study of the scriptures requires the foundation stone of Christian Theology is Theos, God – whom we know as he has revealed himself to us – that is, father, spirit, son.

Although questions and debates have come up over time (most importantly with Athanasius’ debates with Arius, and even on this very blog (here!)), the consistent revelation of God, that has shaped and by definition must continue to shape Christian Theology, is at once the unity and distinct personae of the Godhead.

Therefore, when discussing God, when ‘doing theology’, we must deal with him on his terms. It therefore ceases to be Christian Theology when we cease to engage with his special revelation to mankind as it is.

I guess it goes without saying, but the new and captivating debates in what one might even call “secular theology”, seem to revolve around a re-discovery of God, a new reading of Jesus, “the God the Church never wanted you to find”, or similar rot.

It gives people what their itching ears want to hear, but unfortunately a god that is not the God of the Bible, is not the God who gives life, by his Son, as revealed to his people, by his Spirit.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

mere informality

seeing as i just received a new hit on my post from way back when on the informal church i thought it was noteworthy to mention;
a german friend, when asked to compare the evangelical churches in germany with the australian ones, was struck by the informality here.
he said that although he in some ways expected australian churches to be informal, for them to be so informal was a real shock.

the quest remains then to retain the helpful, the welcoming, the revering, liturgy; and to remain free from the stilted, the unhelpful, the deterring, the unthinking formulaity that has so plagued us.

i might have to well to discuss with this friend about the reasons for their formality, versus our informality - though of course informality is rarely the true case (song, welcome, announcements, bible, song, supper - sound familiar?), non-liturgical being probably more accurate.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

a moment of lapsidaisy

why can i not find the word lapsidaisical in any dictionary, online or otherwise???

what's with this place?

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Clear and Present Word Part I

Reflections, in light of the five key points from Mark Thompson’s new book (A Clear and Present Word: The Clarity of Scripture), as well as Peter Adam’s talks at this year’s National Training Event (NTE), all about Receiving God’s Word, Written for his People, by his Spirit, about his Son (check out this, or a shorter version here on youtube for the mnemonic).

Christian theology, at its most basic, is talk about God.

One of the things I struggle with, thinking about writing “theologically”, is what it means to do so.
Questions I have, for example, are “Can a Christian book be untheological?” as well as “how far from the central themes of the Bible do you have to stray before you cease to be theological?”
The second question in particular interests me, mainly because I’m easily sidetracked. For example, using your Strong’s concordance, you could trace every occurance of the word Hittite, and then work out what role the Hittites played in Biblical history, what they got up to, whether there were Hittites who converted to the God of Israel, and so on.
And I would probably find it quite interesting.

But at the end of the day, such talk is probably along the lines of what we are warned about in 1 Timothy 1:4, that is, it is fruitless, idle speculation, and of little, if any consequence theologically. Of course, historians, sociologists etc may be fascinated by this.

Christian Theology, however, is most interested in God. What this word study of the Hittites may teach us of God, I can only imagine. But if that is not the aim, then the searching of, and reflecting upon the scriptures is completely missing the point.

I guess there could then be things we think may tell us things about God, that, midway through the process, we need to actually jettison as unfruitful.

I therefore feel very sorry (and very soon probably empathy) for those doing 4th yr theses, as I fear they may have no choice in the matter...

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Golden Compass (some thoughts)

The vitriol surrounding the next installment in the atheistic euangellion (after Dawkins’ books, his series, not to mention Hitchens and Onfray), the Golden Compass, is surely the sweetest thing to hit the producers’ ears since Nicole Kidman signed on to star in the project.

This is the movie version of Philip Pullman’s novel Northern Lights, part of the Dark Materials trilogy.
In the Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum from the 1st of December (I’ve been a little busy!), Pullman is quoted as saying, ”My story resolved itself into an account of the necessity of growing up and a refusal to lament the loss of innocence.”

That is, he pictures a world, which, when considered from a Religious point-of-view, is full of naughty people, who have discovered how much fun life is, with the church chasing them around and telling them to stop it. He traces this back, as I take it from his comments, to Adam and Eve in Eden listening to the serpent, who actually knew that God was a big kill-joy.

However, respectfully, I think he may be a little skew-if.
Eating of the tree of knowledge gave us not the choice of knowledge as against innocence, but the choice of doing bad as against good, i.e. what we were able to do with our knowledge.

For God isn’t against pleasure, against life. In fact, we are told “taste, and see that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

God wants us to use our knowledge for good.

An obvious example is what we do with radioactivity – we can use it for medicine, to save lives, or alternatively we can bomb the heck out of one another, or at least threaten to, and in the process assemble enough weaponry to destroy the world many times over.

Perhaps Pullman has been hanging out with the Amish?

I say this because it’s logically implausible for the many Christian scientists, authors, futurists to not be condemned as stepping out of the orthodoxy of Ludditism.

I worry Pullman read until the third page of the Bible and never kept going, never saw the problem, the outworking of original sin.
And if that’s the case, then he obviously is unaware of God’s solution to the problem of mankind’s rebellion against him.

So sure, see the film – it sounds sort of interesting – but please know that the paper-doll this film sets up to assasinate, bears no relationship to the God of Wonders who created the universe, sustaining it by his word, and who is worthy of all glory, honour and praise.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 09, 2007

noone thinks big of me?

i've been thinking a bit about this ad, especially with all the wet weather we've been having the last few weeks.
(check out the other RTA ads here)

now, these ads are quite clever, and i even heard of a man suing for sexual harassment after getting "the pinkie" (whether or not he was speeding or exhibiting similar hoon-esque behaviour i'm unsure).

i may be in the minority, but when i think getting sideways, doheys, fishtailing, i'm not thinking voyeurism.
rather, it's a little bit of fun, to slip and slide, knowing you're in charge of a vehicle, that you're throwing about like a BMX, but you don't have to pedal really hard, rather just hit the gas.

i realise this is un-pc, and i in no way advocate this type of behaviour in any place where you may put others in danger, or even scare people.
i'm just saying the insinuation that the only reason one might ever feel the urge to behave such is 1/ because they're insecure with their man-hood, and 2/ that they do it to show off, tho perhaps the case in individuals, not the only possible explanation.


Friday, December 07, 2007

religion and politics (with a back-at-ya twist!)

the ruddite's switch over the election campaign, from christian socialist to economic conservative, seems to say a lot about the state of conservative politics and its relationship to religious belief.

it is therefore with interest that i notice one of the republican front-runners in the US presidential race is a devout mormon.

but the headline for the linked news story says, Mormons won't run my White House, that is, he will leave his religion at the door.

i remember what i considered an outrageous comment from Amanda Vanstone, calling on all politicians to essentially do the same. (see this article, for example)

so how should we feel about one the world's self-appointed sheriff potentially being led by a devout adherent to what has in many places been rightfully given "cult" status?

about as uneasy as with their current president and his self-declared God-given right to wage war as he wills?

perhaps controversially, i would like those in politics to not necessarily wear their religion on their sleeve, but still to be genuine about what they believe, and the way it impacts their decisions.
where their religion causes them to care for the disadvantaged, reach out to the needy, i wouldn't mind knowing about it.

it's far better than finding out that it really only matters when the election looms nearer.

h/t to my dad!

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 06, 2007

smiting or giving over?

we had a talk tonight at Wild Street, entitled "Hotter than Hell - God and Global Warming", which drew upon Genesis 1:26-31, for our mandate to care for creation, as well as 2 Peter 3, reminding us of the Christian expectation, and the way we are to live in the meanwhilst.

my question, particularly regarding global warming, is whether this is a smiting-thing, or a giving-over-thing?

Romans 2:18-32 has the logic of God letting us go, when it comes to sinfulness. that is, he says, "if that's the way you want to live, go for it. see what life looks like without me," the result being death and destruction.

there is of course the examples of God striking down sinful individuals, couples, cities and even the world, which isn't a direct cause-and-effect thing, but a punishment.

so what is global warming? simply the result of our sinfulness? or is there also an element of God smiting us because of our failure to care for his creation?

Labels: , , ,