Happy children not atheists

Happy ‘atheist bus’ children are Christians

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Best blog of the week: Ruth Gledhill’s super scoop that the  ‘free and happy’ children featured in the latest Atheist Bus campaign are the children of one of Britain’s best-known Pentecostal Christian families. She adds:

You can just imagine Richard Dawkins trawling through photography websites looking for some kids so cheerful they couldn’t possibly be churchgoers. I think it merely proves what some of us have suspected for some time, not only that God probably does exist, but She has a great sense of humour.

Investigating Atheism at Cambridge

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I’m still getting to know the amazing panoply of people and array of resources that having Cambridge University just down the road brings. The fact that my work gives me lots of legitimate excuses to drop in on them is a weekly source of wonder.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yesterday’s Selwyn Seminar was held in the new Divinity Faculty building,  and what a good move building it has been. (I gather the often-underrated Robert Runcie was a chief mover.)

That prompted me to nose around on the Faculty website, and it’s very good indeed to see that the not only has the dusty old building been replaced but the courses are rather less dusty too. I may be one of those oddities who voluntarily took Extra Greek, but making theological sense of today’s culture makes my heart beat faster as well.

A real gem is tucked away in the CARTS (Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies) section, viz. the website of their Investigating Atheism project.

I won’t spoil the joy of exploration for you: just do take a look and share in the learning.

Pulp Fiction

What’s the pulping of Blackwell’s Encyclopaedia of Christian Civilisation all about? The latest in a current series of news stories about anti-Christian PC discrimination (what’s going on there?), or not quite? What sounds a fair report of the story is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/12/christian-encyclopedia-dechristianise and you can read the actual emails and letters that were sent in Evan Kuehn’s blog at http://nondefixi.blogspot.com/2009/02/blackwell-scraps-encyclopedia-under.html. I did note from Kurian’s blog that he signs himself not only as editor in chief of the encyclopaedia but President of the Forum Against PC Censorship.

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New (old) Bishop

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I had a birthday recently and thought I was starting to feel my age. I felt I got things a bit more in perspective when, after watching David Attenborough’s programme on Darwin, I followed the link to the BBC Darwin page and spotted this little widget. It lets you upload a picture of yourself and devolve it back in evolutionary time. So here is the Bishop of Huntingdon of half a million years ago when Homo Heidelbergensis strutted his stuff. You can try it for yourself at http://www.open.ac.uk/darwin/devolve-me.php

I thought Attenborough’s programme was brilliant TV and good science. As usual, I wish that there was a little more explicit differentiation between creationism (believing the world was literally made in 7 days) and belief in creation (which reads Genesis as theology and accepts evolution as serious science about how the created world developed). And while Attenborough’s points up how one way of reading Genesis can be a platform for human domination of nature, it would have been good to hear too about the thoroughly ecological theology of stewardship and good farming practice, which is probably more current.

 

The End of Faith

end-of-faithI don’t think so. But Sam Harris does, in his new book of that title. He’s part of the Richard Dawkins / Christopher Hitchens ‘New Atheist’ caucus. Read Pete Watkins on him at http://www.damaris.org/content/content.php?type=5&id=763, part of Damaris’ excellent CultureWatch site. You, like me,  can sign up for regular email briefings.

HEADSTRONG BLOOPER BY …

dawkins__02_461124aThe atheist bendy buses are prowling the streets of London as of January 6th. But hey! Theos guru Nick Spencer has helped pay for them and reckons they’ll do God a favour by getting public debate going. Read his ideas at  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/06/religion-atheism1. Meanwhile Bishop’s Blog launches its first competition – to produce a better anagram of ‘There’s Probably no God’ than mine.

Christmas Comments

A fellow bishop who keeps up with the media better than I do drew my attention today to two opinion pieces from the Christmas period, in which sometimes vocal atheists offered some constructive and encouraging comments on both Jesus and on the church. Worth following up.
 
Clive James
Lest we forget, Jesus the man
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7799274.stm
Matthew Parris
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece