An Utterly Unsatisfying Answer to the Problem of Evil

Sad woman
Read time: 12 minutes

The problem of evil is perhaps the most pernicious argument against theism. Specifically, the problem of natural evil1. The natural problem of evil asks: why do people (some being good, moral and pious) suffer because of natural disasters, diseases, birth defects, and/or other terrible things. In other words, why do people suffer if no human caused it?

In this article I am going to provide a possible answer to the problem of evil (in general, but as can be applied to both logical and natural evil). Read more about An Utterly Unsatisfying Answer to the Problem of Evil

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For King and Country: Christians and Politics

Ballot box
Read time: 8 minutes

South Africans will soon be heading to the polls again for a national election. With a great deal of uncertainty about the future and the reliability of political parties, perhaps now more than ever before voters are critically thinking about how to exercise their vote.

When an established Christian political party published a comparison of their values compared to those of other competing political parties, they were met with a large degree of scorn and derision. Some complained about the outmoded values which they uphold; others feared that the party wants to institute a theocracy; and others stated that religion should be kept out of politics.

This article will discuss the role (if any) of religion in politics. Read more about For King and Country: Christians and Politics

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Be True to Yourself

Woman wearing a mask
Read time: 10 minutes

Society today values it for one to be “true to yourself”, meaning to express your beliefs and desires without being repressed or directed by others. At the same time, many people have commented on how the world seems more divided today than ever before. People have certainly been divided in deep ways before (and not too long ago either): one nation versus another; one race of people against another; communists versus capitalists. But today—seemingly more than ever before—people truly are polarised. On the left-right or liberal-conservative spectra, more people find themselves at extreme opposites, and those in the middle are derided for not holding to an extreme.

People find themselves at these extremes because they perceive a real danger and threat in the opposing viewpoint, and are either unwilling or unable to see or reason about a particular point from another perspective. Read more about Be True to Yourself

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A Lesson From Ozymandias: On Christians and Culture

Statue of Egyptian Pharaoh
Read time: 10 minutes

The poem "Ozymandias" is about the remains of a statue of the pharaoh "Ozymandias" found in the desert. The inscription on the statue boasts of the pharoah's great achievements and his splendour. The irony is that this statue—which embodies his grandeur—is dug up from the desert sand, which had swallowed the memory of this great pharaoh as well as his legacy long ago. The lesson of this poem is that we should not boast or think too highly of our achievements, as they likely will not withstand the persistent wearing away by the forces of time and nature. Read more about A Lesson From Ozymandias: On Christians and Culture

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Christians Dishonour McJesus

McJesus at the Haifa Museum of Art
Read time: 4 minutes

This has been a dark week for Christians.

A controversial art exhibition at the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel has caused quite a stir. One piece on exhibit is a statue of Jesus on a cross painted in such a way that it looks like Ronald McDonald.

The reactions of Christians have been shameful and lamentable. Read more about Christians Dishonour McJesus

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The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 4

Dr John Dickson lecturing on the Southern Steps in Jerusalem
Read time: 24 minutes

The bus comes to a stop and the doors open. Slowly, the passengers disembark. Some are sleepy, some are groggy from not having had enough coffee that morning, some are simply tired. We had been touring Israel for a week now, and programme has been jam packed, with little time for rest. But suddenly everyone perks up and is astonished at the sight before them: Jerusalem bathed in the golden light of sunrise. Read more about The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 4

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The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 3

Gamla
Read time: 22 minutes

Our travel in Israel took place in October; just past the peak of summer, so that we would be spared the highest of the temperatures (and it still got plenty hot). Israel, like the Cape Town area, gets its rain in winter, as so we were right at the very end of the dry season. And, like Cape Town, Israel is a water scarce region. But, driving north, the landscape changed. We were not in the desert of the area around Masada, Qumran and the Dead Sea; neither did our surroundings look like the dry, but habitable, Jerusalem. No; despite not having tasted rain in months, what we saw outside the windows of our bus were green trees and lush shrubbery. It was not a succulent jungle, to be sure, but here was life and abundance. We were in what the gospels refer to as the land of Galilee. Read more about The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 3

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The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 2

Dr John Dickson at Wadi Qelt
Read time: 22 minutes

In this post, I begin my summary of the Origins of Christianity tour. It will cover my first three days in Israel and two days of the tour, which was focussed on Jerusalem and the area of ancient Judah. Read more about The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 2

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The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 1

Jerusalem at sunrise
Read time: 12 minutes

In October I was privileged to join the Origins of Christianity tour to Israel, led by Dr. John Dickson. This was something which I had been looking forward to and planned for a long time, and it really was an awesome experience! I have already done one presentation of the tour for TGIF Stellenbosch; here I want to document my experiences so that I can share it with more people.

This article will be a general discussion about the tour and my experience of it; after it there will be three more articles which recount the tour on a day-by-day basis. Read more about The Origins of Christianity Tour: Part 1

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When Christians Become Polytheists

Three laughing buddhas
Read time: 7 minutes

Jews and Muslims have for a long time accused Christians of being polytheists. Christians have always denied this. But as an insider to Christianity myself, in this exposé I am going to reveal that Christians may in due time become polytheists and worship idols.

While Christians are often wrongly thought to worship three gods by Jews and Muslims, this polytheist pantheon to which some Christians are drawn is actually legion in its number of deities. It is more akin to the Hindu pantheon, where not all gods are worshipped equally everywhere and some may appear in different forms based on location. I shall be highlighting on a few of the most common gods which can be readily found. Read more about When Christians Become Polytheists

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All the World Is a Stage: Improv and the Christian Worldview

Actors on stage
Read time: 9 minutes

About a year ago I did an introductory improv acting course. I had already been exposed to improv acting through local shows and a work-sponsored social by a local improv company, and it had struck me as something which can be fun to pursue. It certainly was outside of my comfort zone. I was not alone: most—if not all—of my fellow classmates, including professional actresses, had to get use to a very different kind of thinking and expressing ourselves. But our competent teachers eased us into this new experience. What I subsequently learned was that improv acting was both easier and more difficult than I had thought it would be. And at the heart of the difficulty also is a hallmark of the Christian worldview. Read more about All the World Is a Stage: Improv and the Christian Worldview

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Who Do You Say That I Am: The Question of God's Identity

Torah Scroll
Read time: 8 minutes

For thousands of years, philosophers struggled with a particularly abstract, but very important, problem: how can we know what we know? This is called epistemology. Most of us probably don't think about this, but rather take it as obvious or self-evident. But spending a little bit of time on this question quickly reveals its significance. While there were sceptics before him, this kind of thinking led Descartes to a methodological scepticism until he reached a point where he felt that he could not know anything. Descartes resolved this problem for himself with his famous "I think, therefore I am", but even today people struggle with what they know, how they can know, and what they can know. Read more about Who Do You Say That I Am: The Question of God's Identity

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Who Do You Say You Are: A Question of (Self) Identity

Woman in thought
Read time: 9 minutes

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for me to do is to respond to someone who asks "tell me about yourself". That is a broad question. Where does one start? There are so many thoughts, feelings, experiences and ambitions which one has accrued over one's life that it is difficult to distil it into something which won't come across as long-winded or narcissistic.

Tied up in this request is a question about identity: who are you? Read more about Who Do You Say You Are: A Question of (Self) Identity

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Acts 10 Is Not About Food!

A curious pig
Read time: 9 minutes

A couple of months ago I was listening to a sermon by someone whom I respect and whose work I appreciate. He is faithful to the Bible and in building up the church. The sermon was on what it is that sets Christians apart from the rest of the world. He drew parallels with how the ancient nation of Israel was to be set apart (Deuteronomy 14:2). They were meant to live in a way which was distinct from their neighbours—metaphorically as well as spiritually—so that they could be a light to the other nations (Exodus 34:10). The laws given through Moses to ancient Israel was not a way to become holy, but to show their holiness (that is, that they are set apart by God to live according to His will). As such, we do not need to fret over individual laws and what they mean; indeed, as an example, in Acts 10 God abolished the dietary laws of the Old Testament!

Except, that He did not. Read more about Acts 10 Is Not About Food!

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Enough is Enough: Humans Were Not Meant to be Efficient

Smoke rises up from factories
Read time: 10 minutes

If I were to say the title "Cheaper by the Dozen", most people will likely think of the 2003 movie featuring Steve Martin: a comedy about the chaos of a family with twelve children. Few people may know, though, that the story is (very!) loosely based on a 1948 book about a real family of twelve children and their parents, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. Far from the slapstick of the 2003 film1, it was a warm hearted memoir of an interesting and sometimes eccentric family, with genuine humorous anecdotes. Read more about Enough is Enough: Humans Were Not Meant to be Efficient

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Festival of Thought 2018

Festival of Thought logo
Read time: 4 minutes

Last week the Festival of Thought was hosted in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. The festival is a wonderful initiative by RZIM, aimed at students and the business world, to discuss the big questions in life, such as meaning and morality. With more than a dozen local and international speakers, and around 100 events across five metropolitans or campuses, this was a huge effort which was a wonderful opportunity for people to gain some insights into contemporary debates and engage with others in open, honest and civil discussion. Read more about Festival of Thought 2018

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