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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Good and Evil in Star Wars

Star Wars logo
Read time: 8 minutes

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... there was perhaps the most famous story (with an ardent following) of science fantasy that was ever known! It is an epic tale of good versus evil. But, many people may not realise that it is not the kind of good, or a kind of evil, which they may intuitively have expected. Indeed, while it superficially looks like the stories of good and evil familiar to Western lore, the story of Star Wars is rooted in a much different tradition, where the concepts of good and evil have a unique origin and different meaning. Read more about Good and Evil in Star Wars

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Equip 2018

Equip logo
Read time: 4 minutes

From 29 March until 2 April 2018, I once again had the privilege to attend the Equip Easter Conference at the beautiful Rocklands in Simon's Town. Our speaker this year was Richard Coekin from Dundonald in London. Apart from his involvement with Dundonald, he is also the director of the Co-Mission Church Planting Initiative, which has done incredible work in some difficult mission fields. Read more about Equip 2018

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Responding to the Euthyphro Dilemma

Bust of Socrates
Read time: 8 minutes

Introduction

The Euthyphro dilemma is an argument meant to illustrate a difficulty which theism faces. This difficulty is, from where does goodness come? If something is good because God decreed it as such, we are in a precarious situation where God can command something truly horrible as being good, such as murder or genocide. On the other hand, if God knows what is good from a transcendent source and simply relays it to us, then God is not all powerful, but Himself dependant on abstract, transcendent truths.

The Euthyphro dilemma is the bane of Christian apologists. Not because it is an effective refutation of theism, but because it is a tired argument which has already been refuted many times. Yet, still, armchair anti-theists, and even philosophical scholars, believe that the Euthyphro dilemma is a death knell to theism1.

In this article I aim to undertake to refute the Euthyphro dilemma. The refutation is not anything new, but I aim to do it in a way, possibly novel, where the originator of this argument is turned upon himself. Read more about Responding to the Euthyphro Dilemma

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L'Abri in South Africa

The L'Abri Logo
Read time: 5 minutes

L'Abri is in the process of establishing a presence in South Africa. To celebrate this, a few events were held over the weekend around Cape Town, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a couple; both small workshops. L'Abri South Africa will be based in Johannesburg. Read more about L'Abri in South Africa

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Common Sense

Water drops cause ripples in a bucket of water
Read time: 6 minutes

Imagine living in a small, rural village. You are a subsistence farmer, growing vegetables, and have a couple of nice fruit trees. You also have a handful of livestock. In the middle of the village is a large piece of open land with juicy grass growing on it. Nobody is allowed to build there, because the leader of the village has decreed that this is common land. The intention is that everyone in the village graze their livestock on their own land, but because the properties are small, livestock can also graze on the common land to get enough food to be healthy. Read more about Common Sense

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Is Our Worship Narcissistic?

Hand raised during a praise and worship session
Read time: 5 minutes

"Millenials are narcissistic," we are told. Social commentators, employers, even pastors lament how difficult it is to work with this generation. They continue to struggle to figure out how best to connect with them, because millenials are literally the next generation, and to them the reigns will necessarily be handed. Read more about Is Our Worship Narcissistic?

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Did Christianity Cause the Dark Ages?

Medieval scribe writing at a desk
Read time: 11 minutes

What is in a name? And how does a name influence how we think about the thing that has been named? What conclusions do we draw from a name?

There is a period of time in the history of Europe which is known at the Dark Ages, although these days it is better known as the Middle Ages or, even better, the Medieval period.

A particular picture has been doing the rounds on the Internet which makes the following claim about the Medieval period:

You know, there was another time when science wasn't taken seriously and religion ruled the world. We called it the Dark Ages.

Atheistic Facebook pages and the like are fond of sharing images such as this. But does it hold any truth? Read more about Did Christianity Cause the Dark Ages?

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A Strange Case of Metaphysics

Read time: 6 minutes

Scientists are often not fond of the idea of metaphysics. Physics is, of course, the study of the natural world and universe. Metaphysics is the study of what is really real. It implies that there is something beyond physics and, therefore, beyond the natural world and the physical universe. This is anathema to scientism—that is, scientific naturalism: how dare one assume that there exists something beyond nature, especially since there is no physical and testable evidence of such things?

Yet there seems to be a prominent and curious case of when metaphysics is appealed to when science disagrees with what people want to believe... Read more about A Strange Case of Metaphysics

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Merry Christmas 2017

Silhouette of the nativity scene
Read time: 3 minutes

Sometimes we do not feel like being here. By "here", I mean in this world; on earth. Sometimes we are distressed about big, insurmountable things, like war and famine. Other times, we are personally wronged. These things can make us want to flee; whether to a desolated island, another planet, or even depart this realm completely for heaven. Read more about Merry Christmas 2017

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Resisting Death

Tomb stones in a cemetery
Read time: 7 minutes

The Internet represents all of the interests of mankind. From the sweet to the unsavoury; from the intelligent to the unintelligible; from truth to vivid imagination; from humour to incredible tragedy. A blog on knitting is but a few clicks away from a video about skinning an animal, and a digitised cuneiform tablet from a live stream of a political debate. Every person's hobby and vocation is represented. So it should not be surprising that there are blogs, message boards, and "memes" about nihilism and existentialism. Read more about Resisting Death

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What Kind of Love?

Read time: 8 minutes

What is love?

I do not mean this as a rhetorical question. I want you now to pause for a few seconds or minutes, and answer this question for yourself. What emotions come up when you think of love? To whom does your mind turn? If we were play a word association game, and you are given to word "love" and need to say the first thing that comes into your mind, without hesitation, what would it be? Do you think of your lover, spouse or crush? Are you reminded of a family member, a child or parent, or a really close friend? Do you perhaps think of God and the church? Read more about What Kind of Love?

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Reformation Day: 500 Years Since Wittenberg

Martin Luther nails his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg
Read time: 2 minutes

None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
not give God a ransom for him.
For the redemption of their life is costly,
no payment is ever enough,
that he should live on forever,
that he should not see corruption.

Psalm 49:7–9

Read more about Reformation Day: 500 Years Since Wittenberg

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God Is

"God is Liefde" above a pulpit
Read time: 7 minutes

It is Sunday morning. The small boy is shuffling around on a cold, hard, wooden pew. The service has not yet started; there is still a hushed murmur hanging over congregation as they wait for the dominee (pastor) to arrive through the almost secret door in the wall next to the large, relatively ornate wooden pulpit. The boy looks at his mother, who is staring intently in front of her, and so he also casts his glance forwards and upwards to the still empty pulpit. Like every week before, his eyes again catch the gold coloured embroidered wording on the crimson coloured altar cloth. It reads: "God is Liefde" (God is Love). Read more about God Is

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The Nature of Evil

Stone carved demon
Read time: 10 minutes

On one particular day during my time in primary school, I was in art class1. This alien environment was in a basement, bathed in the strange smells of pastel chalks and powdered paint. But on this day we were not drawing: the teacher had asked us the very inane question of what are colours. "Red", said one, "blue", another, "green", "yellow", "white", "purple", "pink", "black", "turquoise" (ooh!), "brown"... The kid in class who was known for his excellent drawing skills was quiet, until we became quiet. "I think that they are all colours, except for white and black." "What rubbish," thought I. Then he explained that white is the composite of all primary colours (so a kind of super-colour), and black the absence of any colour. The teacher was pleased with this answer, and the discussion continued around primary and secondary colours2. Read more about The Nature of Evil

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The Problem of Prayer

Read time: 10 minutes

Many people—Christian or otherwise—will at some point wonder about the "problem of prayer". The "problem of prayer" asks whether there is any point to prayer: God knows everything, including the future, so why bother to pray? If everything is already predetermined, how can prayer change God's mind?

This problem can be further compounded by a perceived "lack of answers" to prayer.

In this article, I aim to briefly address these two concerns and describe why a Christian should not be distressed about either of them. Read more about The Problem of Prayer

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Christian: Beware Labels

Protesters marching
Read time: 5 minutes

The world seems to be becoming an angrier place. As tensions flare in the U.S.A., other countries become infected as people internalise what is happening there; a kind of life-and-death struggle for the soul of the Western world.

This is, of course, not so, and whether the U.S.A. goes off in a "good" or a "bad" direction, the course of human history has shown us that nothing is permanent and that whatever the outcome, that too, will eventually change.

But despite what happens across the Atlantic, my intention in this article is to warn the reader not to get caught up in this anger. Read more about Christian: Beware Labels

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A Thousand Words Too Few

Read time: 5 minutes

In an age where it is easy to find information—indeed, these days information comes to you unsolicited—and easy to propagate, how carefully do we think about the information that comes to us, and that we share? In this article I explore the pitfalls of "meme" culture. Read more about A Thousand Words Too Few

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