Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Santa for you!

“No Santa for Suri” announced last week’s New Idea as I walked past on the way to catch my train. I was part-way through thinking “That’s because they’re a couple of Scientology weird…” when I realised our kids weren’t having Santa either.

This is because we prefer not to lie to our children. We’d prefer them not to confuse the truth about Jesus being born with a silly myth. I was surprised how much flak I copped for this at work—anyone would think that lying to kids was a good thing.

Besides, we gave them the option. Santa is pretend, and if they wanted to pretend, that was fine. And in any case, our oldest wasn’t sure who to believe, her parents, or her best friend who assured her that Santa was very real.

In the end I don’t think they noticed that Santa didn’t deliver. They got just as many presents and had just as much fun.

And what was the first thing they did on Christmas morning?
They prayed and wished Jesus “Happy Birthday”.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Unmarked

It’s nice to see the Australian Federal Police getting in on the whole black, unmarked SUV thing.

And their weapon of choice? Ford Territory Turbo.

Mmmmm … Territory Turbo.

Updated: They also have white ones.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Boycotting book boycott

I received an email suggesting I join a boycott of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy because of their atheistic content, but I’m not so keen.

For starters I’m not really a fan of censorship, and also I’ve already read the books.

This is ahead of the The Golden Compass movie release this Christmas, which the email quotes someone as describing as “atheism for kids”.

According to the email:

Pullman’s main objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that “my books are about killing God”. He has even stated that he wants to “kill God in the minds of children”. It has been said of Pullman that he is “the writer the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed.”

“So what?” I say.

I quite enjoyed the books—I read all three and stayed very entertained until the end, but the story is ultimately pretty unsatisfying and empty.

The two heroic characters—Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter (Nicole Kidman in the film)—aren’t very nice, but they end up being the winners. I thought this was a lousy ending, because there’s no justice. Both are rotten parents to Lyra (sorry, that gives the story away a bit). Mrs Coulter does some really nasty things—especially to children—and isn’t punished for them at all.

Also, unless you’re Roman Catholic, Pullman’s characterisation of the Church, God, angels and all that stuff is pretty unconvincing. It really is fantasy, even if it’s trying to tell something about the real world. It’s not historical, for starters, but it’s all so … religious. It doesn’t say anything at all about real Christianity, about Jesus or about the God I know and love.

In fact, unless you’re already an atheist, it’s pretty unconvincing.

If Mr Pullman thinks he’ll be able to convince anyone to abandon real Christianity with this stuff, he’s living in a fantasy world. If this is best atheism can offer, and Pullman is the best guy to present it in the best possible way to kids, then atheism must be pretty crap.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lest we forget

This morning’s front-page Daily Telegraph report on the death of Australian SAS sergeant Matthew Locke was headlined “SECOND AUSSIE SOLDIER KILLED”. How soon we forget.

Seargeant Locke was the thrid Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan after Trooper David Pearce earlier this month and Seargeant Andrew Russell, who was killed when his vehicle hit a landmine in February 2002.

There was also some stupid stuff about the Taliban “murdering” Sargeant Locke. I doubt the he would have seen it that way. It is war after all. It’s disrespectful of Sargeant Locke and his comrades to suggest otherwise.

Quality reporting all round.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's still rigged

So I took a straw poll at work. Turns out not nearly so many people as I thought knew how many legs a mosquito has.

Frankly I was shocked. I thought everyone knew.

For the record, it’s eight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's gotta be rigged

I just finished watching the last 10 minutes of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. And seriously, it has to be rigged.

Either the contestants are actors or they're prepped for the show. I can't believe that someone wouldn't know how many legs a mosquito has, and would spend five minutes fluffing around pretending she doesn't know.

So either she's dumb for not knowing, or I'm dumb for watching.

No, wait…

Monday, October 01, 2007

So who’s arrogant?

I saw this amazing video yesterday which was all about how amazing and huge and amazingly huge the universe is. It’s really amazingly hugely amazingly huge.

Which led me to think

  1. astronomy is not the complete waste of time and money I thought it was
  2. atheisim is amazingly, hugely arrogant.

Astronomy is good because it clearly demonstrates how amazingly huge and powerful God is and how small we are. It puts us in our place—especially atheists.

My question is: How can you possibly say “there is no God” when we sit on a tiny pinpoint of rock and water in one corner of an mind-bogglingly vast galaxy? I mean really, how can you?

We haven’t even visited the next nearest planet, but atheists are happy to state with absolute certainty that there’s no God.

Isn’t that the most massive arrogance?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The unforgivable sin as expressed by Andy Prieboy

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

Jesus Christ, Mark 3:28–29

I caught Andy Prieboy’s Tomorrow Wendy on the radio on the weekend and it’s been an ear worm for me for the last few days. I really like the song, but when it gets to the third verse I’m afraid I can’t sing along.

I told the priest -
“don’t count on
any second coming.
God got his ass kicked
the first time he
came down here slumming
He had the balls to come,
the gall to die and then
forgive us -
No, I don’t wonder why
I wonder what he thought
it would get us.”

But God says “jump”,
so I set the time
’cause if he ever saw it
it was through these eyes of mine
and if He ever suffered
it was me who did His crying …

Hey, hey, good bye
tomorrow Wendy’s
going to die.

This perfectly expresses what Jesus is saying in Mark 3. The song gets the gospel right—God suffering and dying to forgive—but rejects the offer of salvation, and even the suffering itself.

So, as Jesus says, God will forgive us everything, but if we call the Holy Spirit a liar and reject his offer of forgiveness as worthless, there can be no forgiveness—we’ve committed an eternal, unforgivable sin.

Which is not the thing to be doing if you’re going to die.

Monday, May 28, 2007

... now with added vitriol

Apparently there is a New Atheism™. What’s new? The atheists hate more people. Now isn’t that nice.

Not content with hating people who believe in deities, apparently they’re really ticked off with people who were content to let those people believe whatever they want.

And I mean really ticked off. My favourite quote, from Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith "some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them".

Yeah, it’s religion that’s the root of all evil.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The new atheism

Yesterday’s Australian newspaper suckered me in with a front page header “The New Atheism”. How can you have new atheism?

“New atheism. Now with even less God!”?

Anyway, after a brief reference to The Da Vinci Code (hardly an atheistic book) The Australian’s article is more a review of the Pope’s new book on Jesus which, no matter what you say about the Roman Catholic Church, is more theistic than atheistic.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Easter dumb bunnies

Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell said it was extraordinary for Mr Iemma to say he was replacing Mr Gibson with Mrs Perry because he wanted another woman in cabinet.

“It suggests that the decision to bypass Paul Gibson and appoint Barbara Perry has nothing to do with the allegations surrounding Paul Gibson,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters.

“That’s like saying the Easter Bunny’s got nothing to do with Easter.”

The Sydney Morning Herald

Uuuumm yeah … so remind me again what the Easter Bunny has to do with Easter anyway?

Seriously, I’d totally forgotten about the whole Easter Bunny thing. It was’t until I picked Skye up from school and one of the mums asked her whether the Easter Bunny was coming that I remembered. Skye just looked at her blankly for a second, dismissed it as just another odd things adults said and cheerfully changed the subject.

I'd much prefer to talk to the kids about Jesus dying and rising from the dead, and they're very happy to know that his death means they can know God. Frankly I'm not sure I can be bothered explaining to the kids how a rabbit with eggs relates to Jesus' death—especially when I've no idea how that works myself.

I'd much rather tell my kids the truth that some a silly myth.

And chocolate is always good, no matter what shape it comes in.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

First day of school

Today was Skye’s first day at school.

She’s our first child, so effectively it was the entire family's first day at school. I took the day off work to go with Skye and the rest of us to school.

In some ways it was anti-climactic. I don’t know what your first day of school was like, but I remember being very excited. I can remember other starts to school years where the new kindergarten kids&madsh;and some of their parents—were crying. It was all a much bigger deal.

Skye had already done orientation last year—three weeks of just the morning at school—and knew her teacher, made some friends, and so on. So really her official First Day was not much of a big deal at all.

This all makes perfect sense. Starting school shouldn’be a big traumatic deal. It should be easy, and calm and fun. Just as it was for Skye today.

She said she missed us though.