Global Christian Perspectives – April 1, 2016

… but not April Fool! All serious!

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(prepared by co-host Chris Eyre)

Predictions about the election.I see lots of them, mostly (from my perspective) desperate attempts to envision an election which isn’t Trump -v- Clinton.
From Alan, talking behind his back:-
Having actually spent something over 25 years as a local politician, while I can see that it is challenging to do politics while maintaining Christian principles, it certainly isn’t impossible, and I’d suggest that if we don’t do this, we’re responsible for whatever we get instead…

Elgin’s (fairly) recent post:-
FWIW, it is now decided that refusal to provide services on the grounds of the sexual orientation of the recipient is illegal here (but you wouldn’t get large fines or civil damages flowing from it). We’ve also had a case involving a cake maker.

A solution to Islamic terrorism?
I’m wondering what Elgin thinks of this article:-
I can see elements of this in the UK as well, though our “Mexico” is probably currently the former Eastern Bloc countries which have joined the EU (which may link to…)

From Elgin:- The rise of anti-establishment movements around the world will hit global investment, Wall Street profits and Hillary Clinton‘s chances of winning the presidency, according to a self-described libertarian economist.

Steen Jakobsen, chief economist at Danish investment bank Saxo Bank, believes the “social contract” — the agreement between the ruled and the rulers — is now broken, and this can be seen in the rise of Donald Trump.

Global Christian Perspectives – March 18, 2016

gcp-badgeWhen: 4 PM Central Daylight Time, March 18, 2016

Where: The EnergionDiscussion YouTube Channel

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Proposed Topics

These are not yet broken down into time, and there will likely be more topics before the event.

I’d like to discuss this, but Allan won’t be with us, so it might not be fair:-

I’m wondering what Elgin thinks of this article:-
I can see elements of this in the UK as well, though our “Mexico” is probably currently the former Eastern Bloc countries which hhve joined the EU

I suspect we might want to discuss Elgin’s recent post:-
FWIW, it is now decided that refusal to provide services on the grounds of the sexual orientation of the recipient is illegal here (but you wouldn’t get large fines or civil damages flowing from it). We’ve also had a case involving a cake maker. 


Global Christian Perspectives – March 11, 2016

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Here are the notes:

Wednesday this week is International Women’s Day. A lot of articles recognised this, including this one:-

Thursday this week is the 20th anniversary of the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland, which was the first of two giving rise to the now almost complete ban on handguns here. On my list of things the US and the UK don’t understand about each other (and which we haven’t got to yet) is guns. Why does the States still permit so many handguns when they cause so many deaths? I have in mind this clip too:-

From Henry: Michael Dowd:
I think this would be worth discussing. I’ve had correspondence with Dowd before, some of which was mildly combative. 🙂
Elgin and myself have a lot of disagreements in our recent exchanges about socialism. I don’t know it he has time, but this article from the admittedly somewhat left wing playwright David Hare interests me:-
The thing is, the state I grew up in in the 1950s to 1970s was far more socialist than the UK is today. It had quite a lot wrong with it, as Hare concedes in his article. But it also had a lot right with it, which has been abandoned in the quest for more and more liberalisation of markets. No-one in my generation had to pay for tertiary education (as long as they wanted it and could get a place at an university, granted there were far less places available then than there are now), nor did they have any difficulty getting a job (and lots of people elected not to go to university because they could get very well paying jobs with apparently good job security).  I was incredibly privileged to grow up then; now, my children have crippling amounts of student finance debt as their start point in life and struggle to find jobs at anything more than minimum wage even with a good degree from a good university. Similarly, those who wanted housing could get it at reasonable cost in a large public rented sector; that now largely doesn’t exist, and those without jobs can’t get accommodation and those without accommodation can’t get jobs, and there are people sleeping on the street, which was unheard of in the 1970s except for very small numbers of socially maladjusted people. Those who do have jobs have no security in them – industries are thrown on the scrap heap, and if you want to keep employed you have to keep learning new sets of skills (which these days employers won’t pay for you to acquire, whereas in the 70s they always would).
The entire workforce is only slightly better off than the unemployed and the homeless – after all, they’re typically a couple of paychecks from that anyhow, and they are totally insecure.
I am frankly expecting that unless I fail to live much beyond the three score years and ten (which actually is quite likely given the state of my health), I will see the system break down completely. Either we’ll end up with a populist demagogue leading us who will be effectively a new kind of fascist, or there will be a popular uprising which could produce nearly anything. In either case, I expect a major breakdown in civil order, and for the end result not to be a liberal democracy and not to be espousing any kind of free market.

Global Christian Perspectives – March 4, 2016

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Discussion Notes:

gcp-badgeUS primaries: it seems very likely that the candidates will be respectively Trump and Clinton now. Where does that leave us from a Christian, an American and a world perspective? We know Ted Cruz’ perspective:-

Does the mainstream (i.e., liberal) media really want Trump to be the nominee? See link.
In addition, I continue to heard reports of a whole range of stories, some of which are beginning to come out from Trump’s upcoming fraud trial, to mafia ties being readied for after he locks up the nomination.  In a year that in normal circumstances would be diffcult for Democrats, and with such a bad candidate as Hillary Clinton virtually impossible, Trump would be about the only way the Dems could win.

I still have quite a lot of the items where the US and the UK don’t understand each other left over from last week… one of which is that we completely fail to understand why anyone would vote for Trump (whose surname is unfortunately, via the meaning of a brass instrument, also a term for a fart in some areas of the UK… which might lead me to comment on people who emit a lot of hot air which smells bad).

From Elgin:- I am troubled by things such as this. If these are really that dangerous where is the government demanding a recall of all such products? Are these prohibited in the EU?
No, they aren’t prohibited in the EU. If there is a link, it seems to be considered a very very slight one. The situation is different if you consider talc which is inhaled, which I believe can be linked with mesothelioma.
In the last day or two, we have seen tear gas used on two sets of migrants in Europe, one on the Macedonian border (where Macedonia has decreed that they will only accept a very limited number of migrants crossing even considering that they virtually all want merely to transit Macedonia en route for Northern Europe, thus creating a buildup of 7000+ migrants in a camp on the border designed for only 2000) when they tried to storm a gate in the border fence, and near Calais and the tunnel entrance where (with UK prompting) the French have cleared a substantial amount of a refugee camp (called “the jungle”, so not a desirable location) which is composed of people wanting to come to the UK and whom we won’t let in. Meanwhile, there are over 1.5 million refugees currently in Turkey and a similar number in Lebanon, and the flow doesn’t seem to be reducing much. While there is currently an uneasy ceasefire in Syria (not including ISIS and al-Nusra), few people think there’s a long term solution on the horizon. The issue of the Christian imperative to hospitality, particularly to the distressed, is not figuring large in the consciousness of most of the (majority Christian) EU countries. This is accentuated by tear gassing some of them…
Meanwhile, in the UK, the campaigns for staying in the EU and leaving it are just taking off (there’s a clear link, as a lot of people in the UK are paranoid about refugee numbers and think that staying in weakens our position). Both the main political parties are divided, with quite a few prominent Conservatives joining the “Out” campaign, while significant numbers of Labour voters and a rather smaller number of their MPs are not following the traditional internationalist line one would expect of the left (not that much of the Labour Party is very left these days – compare the Democrats in the States). There are issues here a little similar to those in the States of attitudes to the Federal government (the EU in some ways functions a bit like a federal government for Europe), but the main one is trade. Personally, I’m not wonderfully happy about the way the EU operates, but losing privileged access to a market of 55 million people would be so damaging that I can’t countenance exit (and besides that, Norway, which is not in the EU, finds that it has to pay up and regulate itself pretty much as would be the case if it were a member, but without having a vote…). What I fear is that the dislike of even bigger government and the fear of immigrants will outweigh the fear that we’ll tank our economy…

Global Christian Perspectives – February 19, 2016

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(These are simply raw notes and links to help participants follow and prepare for discussion of the topic.)

The likelihood of Saudi Arabia and Turkey putting ground troops into the Syrian conflict:-

It seems to me that Iran is willing to put resources into supporting Shia muslims, Saudi and Turkey are willing to put resources into supporting Sunni muslims; no ostensibly Christian nation is supporting the now rather small Christian minorities in Syria. Have we our priorities right? The big fear is clearly that there is a strong possibility of Russian (and Iranian) backed Assad forces being in direct conflict with American backed forces, Turkey and Saudi both being US allies and Turkey being part of NATO – is this sufficient reason to hold back? This links to as well.

Ted Cruz has said he is a Christian first, an American second. Is this a correct attitude for a presidential candidate? (I would have liked to talk about this with a different flavour of Christian, to be honest!).
and if we’re talking about him, Canada might come up:-

From Henry:- Sometime we should discuss the developing political dynamic in Asia as India moves up and China continues to grow in influence. There’s a potential conflict there as well. I don’t have a recent news story there, though the Facebook internet controversy might play. It has featured in my Google News feed recently, but my news feed may be a bit eccentric. I paid more attention to elections in Guyana, Canada, and the UK than I have so far to the US elections. Like a certain senator from Texas, it turns out that due to a change in Canadian law I suddenly became a dual citizen in 2009. Didn’t realize it until I saw something familiar in the coverage of Cruz’s citizenship.

Also big on my personal horizon (but maybe not relevant in the States) is this development here:-
Henry has made some comments about divestment recently; this, if implemented, would make it illegal for any public body (whether or not it had its own democratic mandate) to pursue divestment here. I also have a major concern that, if implemented, it would leak into potential shareholder actions against companies which seek to follow an “ethical” investment policy.

Global Christian Perspectives

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Proposed Topics:

Again, please note that we post the very raw material to start the discussion. Join the discussion on our Hangout on Air to discuss the topics.

Scientists from the LIGO project have just confirmed actual observation of gravitational waves, predicted 100 years ago by Einstein
This is a very valuable piece of confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity


Australia just cut 110 climate scientist jobs. I find some of the reasoning a bit troubling.

The court’s action is very unusual, but is yet another indication that Obama’s actions are illegal.  This come’s right after the court’s likewise expanding the case on illegal immigrants to include whether the president is following his oath to faithfully uphold the law.  This is with a background of an unprecedented 12 9-0 losses before the court ruling his actions illegal.

Canada will stop boming ISIS:

I’ve been suggesting for some time that just south of Europe is a large area of rather under-utilised land with a LOT of sunshine, and that solar from there would solve a lot of problems. This could be the start of something good. (I deplore our reliance on oil; in particular burning it is incredibly wasteful of a resource, granted the uses of oil in, for instance, production of plastics).
Are there any worries based on this being in an Islamic country? A lot of the relevant area is unstable (Libya in particular).

Steve Kindle has posted a defence of Energion’s publishing policy following some criticism:-
My own take, developed from my time as sysop for the Christianity section on the Compuserve (later AoL) Religion Forum is that we should be able to accommodate all shades of Christian opinion, even (and perhaps especially) those which some find scandalous. Let’s face it, if I didn’t feel that we sometimes need shaking our of a rut  I wouldn’t have linked Exodus 3:14 with Popeye in a blogpost today!

Global Christian Perspectives, Friday, February 5, 2016

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Tentative Topics:

(This week topics were prepared by Chris Eyre.)

Not so likely Trump now, but Cruz?
I know there’s history of people’s pastors views resulting in them being given a hard time, but really?
Also, Cruz has declared himself opposed to the system he’ll have to work with and has been instrumental in stopping it working in the past. Is he a fit candidate?
Plus, and Trump’s comments about Christianity
On the democratic side, we do not see so much mention of Christianity. Is this a good or a bad thing? Is Iowa actually a win for Bernie, and might he get the nomination?

Elgin and myself were talking about methodological as opposed to metaphysical naturalism last week, and didn’t finish; we could return to that.

Also left over was, from Henry:-

“I would also note the posts on a multiplicity of interpretations of scripture as a possible subject if you go to the logic behind it. Steve Kindle posted the ‘Yes’ and Edward Vick was rather hard on the ‘Yes’ position (his post appears tomorrow). Let me give a sample:

That there is a multitude of teachings derived from the Bible should not be taken to imply that none of them is worthy of belief and so the effort to discover which are to be accepted is not a worthy activity. It is the result of bad logic, an example of non sequitur. Does the proponent really mean to suggest that the more interpretations there are the less any are likely to be reasonable? Or, is it not rather the unwillingness to be involved in expending a great deal of effort in the quest?

I would think that would also be a useful topic, even though not so much political. Yet it has an impact on society.”

From Elgin:-

Full circle?  Historically the Democrats have been the party of slavery, segregation, and the KKK. In the 1960s they changed and started accusing the Republicans of being racist for not supporting race based policies.  Are these policies coming full circle?
Allan and Steve Kindle have expressed differing views about atonement theories this week.
I have been very critical of substitutionary theories, especially PSA, in the past; those I definitely think are no longer fit for purpose.

Global Christian Perspectives – January 29, 2016

gcp-badgeNote: This week we begin a new practice of posting this event earlier. That means it gets posted before the topics are settled. We’ll let you know what’s under consideration and you can comment if you want.

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Current Topics:

1st Half:

We talked a bit about Trump last week, I came across the survey that might provide a possible explanation. Might be worth discussing in any event.
Also on that point:-
I think we need to discuss again the Planned Parenthood issue in the light of this report:-
particularly in the light of the fact that a lot of the Republican Party are supporting the defunding of the whole organisation, which provides a lot more services than abortion, which is a minority activity for them.

2nd Half:

Allan and Elgin have just written posts for EDN with contrary opinions on evolution. We should discuss these.