Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is the Bible contradictory on sexuality? | Psephizo

The issue of sexuality is permanently to the fore in the churches, with attendant charges of homophobia and heresy.

Here a recent article by a leading American biblical scholar, Walter Bruggeman, is discussed by Ian Paul.

It is a very constructive piece but some may disagree with Ian.

Source: Is the Bible contradictory on sexuality? | Psephizo

A Creationist from Merica goes to Scotland and gets Hutton all wrong on geology

Henry ford is alleged to have said “history is bunk”. He was right as much supposed history is utter bunk and here is an example about James Hutton who some wrongly reckon to be the Father of Geology and invented the idea of millions of years!

It is a sort of inverted version of the Conflict Thesis of Science and Christianity, and is an example how misunderstanding the history of science leads to all kinds of distortions

Here an American comes out with a load of bunk on Hutton

https://creationmoments.com/sermons/the-birth-of-deep-time/?mc_cid=9e2c97f9ff&mc_eid=251871d2b4&fbclid=IwAR1ZEJMqm_G48c8UdAXZJQCLyudxug1CdP7Pi9y26aMeAXaaRBdpmXrXVLo

Psalm 78:15
“He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.”

I was on an open-topped tour bus, seeing the sights of downtown Edinburgh—the capital city of Scotland. From this vantage point, our guide stopped frequently, to tell us about John Knox’s grave and house, the Royal Mile, and beautiful Edinburgh Castle. At one stop, there were three things to see. To our left was Britain’s ugliest building—the Scottish Parliament. Straight ahead was Holyrood House—where the Queen lives when she is in Edinburgh. And to the right was a cliff face, called Salisbury Crag. This rocky outcrop consists of a lower level of greywacke, topped by several layers of sedimentary rock.

The guide pointed the crag out to us, and said that in 1787, the crag was studied by James Hutton. In fact, the guide said that in 1787, it was by studying these rocks that James Hutton proved the Bible to be wrong.

Why would this guide think that Hutton had disproved the Bible? Hutton invented the concept of deep time; of millions of years. He supposed the unconformity separating the two rock sections must have been formed by erosion, millions of years ago. In fact, this smooth erosion is evidence consistent with a much shorter age. The lower rock would have been laid down early in the Flood, and turned over while still plastic. Powerful underwater currents would have caused the erosion that we see. Finally, the layers of rock would have been laid down on top. This model is fully consistent with the truthful account in God’s word.

Prayer: Your word stands forever, O Lord. Nothing can take away from Your word. We pray that we might submit completely to Your word, that we might not sin against you. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutton’s_Unconformity. Image: Ann Traynor, Creative Commons Attribution, Share-Alike 3.0 Unported.

© 2022 Creation Moments.  All rights reserved.

************************

Now here is a Merican touring England, except of course it is Scotland not England! We have the matey approach saying “I was there like Kilroy so I must be right.”!!

And so Paul Taylor learnt ” In fact, the guide said that in 1787, it was by studying these rocks that James Hutton proved the Bible to be wrong.”

james-hutton-caraciture

I sorta have my doubts whether the tour guide actually said that, or anything like it. Anyway Hutton never ever said such thing!!

In fact two years earlier in 1785 He was writing a summary of his geological views, which contained a summary of perceived religious implications. These he sent to the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Dr Robertson for consideration and comment.

Here is part of it and he never thought he had disproved the Bible!!

May be an image of text

So there’s the first mistake. But he goes on to say

Hutton invented the concept of deep time; of millions of years. 

  Poor lad, he was a bit wrong. It all started in the 1680s in the Llanberis Pass in Snowdonia when Edward Lhwyd reckoned from the numbers of boulders lying on the floor, many had been there before 4004BC. A decade earlier than Hutton the Frenchman Buffon was insisting on at least 74,000 years from cooling experiments. Privately he indicated millions of years. Even earlier Fr Needham accepted “millions of years” and was hardly an atheist. 

In fact, most savants in the 18th century thought the earth was ancient, and the discussion was whether it was millions or hundreds of thousands. By 1787 an old earth was quite acceptable to most educated Christians – if they knew much about science.

To claim “millions of years” was the atheistic idea of Hutton is just nonsense. Yes, he was a deist but his science and ideas of geological time were acceptable to all but the most conservative Christian, even though many preferred a little less time time, that is less than a million but never 4004BC!!

There is no unconformity here!!! He got that wrong too!

It is magma intruded into sandstone as Hutton realised

This is very clear when you read this BGS (British Geological Survey) excursion guide to Salisbury Crags

https://earthwise.bgs.ac.uk/index.php/Arthur%27s_Seat,_Salisbury_Crags,_Edinburgh_-_an_excursion

It says;

The justly famous Hutton’s Section of the base of Salisbury Crags Sill is found towards the south-eastern end of the escarpment, and provided Hutton and his followers with telling evidence in favour of magmatic intrusion in the great argument with the Wernerians in the eighteenth century. Beneath the sill lie well-bedded Cementstone Group strata, alternately red and white. The sill transgresses the bedding conspicuously in two places. At the first the sediment against the transgression is crumpled; at the other a wedge of teschenite has been intruded beneath a block of sediment, rotating it upwards from its original position and partly engulfing it in the sill. At the western end of the section, the teschenite immediately above the contact has been chilled to a glassy skin up to a centimetre thick, which has now been devitrified to a greenish material. Above the glass the teschenite is very fine in grain but coarsens markedly upwards. In the rock-face to the south-east of Hutton’s section large rafts of sediment can be seen high in the sill. The rafts are not distorted and lie parallel to the strata below the sill. Still farther to the south-west, syenitic segregation veins up to 5 in thickness cut the sill.

Scale is very important!

Here is a contemporary sketch in which the scales are all wrong as the men would need to be FOURS TIMES the size for a true scale. However it brings out the magma intruding into the shales.

In fact it was in June 1788 that Hutton discovered the unconformity  at Siccar Point some 30 miles south east of Edinburgh.

The photo shows near horizontal Devonian strata (red) (360my lying on nearly vertical grey Silurian Greywackes (420my)

Angular Unconformity at Siccar Point, Scotland. Siccar Point, Scotland (Photo: Wikipedia “Hutton’s Unconformity”)

This is an article but rather mythical on what Hutton was doing as it is wrong to say ;

Siccar Point is world-famous as the most important unconformity described by James Hutton (1726-1797) in support of his world-changing ideas on the origin and age of the Earth.

https://www.geowalks.co.uk/siccar-point/

By the time Hutton went there many had realised that the earth was ancient decades before. Sadly many repeat myths about Hutton.

Well the author Ken Taylot got things so badly wrong that this is the only reaction

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this is a good book to read;

    2876

Creation Moments is one of the many American Creationist sites and is possibly more inaccurate than Answers in Genesis. It goes back 60 years.

The History Of Our Christian Radio Broadcast

FIVE DECADES AGO, A MINISTER NEAR BOISE, IDAHO, NOTICED A TROUBLING TREND…

Founder Pastor Walter Lang found many of the young Christians in his congregation abandoning their Christian roots after spending a year or two in college. “Could this be happening in other churches around the country?” he wondered. It was. Lang decided to do something about it.

Evolutionary theory, with its godless worldview, was poisoning young minds in Lang’s church. These young people were taught evolutionary theory as fact, with no mention of Biblical perspectives and creationism theories. Lang searched the country for a publication devoted to promoting creationism theories. There was none. That’s when he decided to start Bible-Science Association (now Creation Moments, Inc.)

Lang saw a problem and did what he could to solve it. Today, every Christian creationist organization owes a debt of gratitude to Lang’s vision. We know, however, that his work is not complete. Every day, evolutionary theory is taught in public schools, confusing the hearts and minds of young people. It dismantles the faith the godly parents have sought to instill in their children. Instead of “Train up a child in the way he should go.” (Proverbs 22:6), evolution promotes the secular humanist dogma that “God is dead; religion is an opiate.” In the end, evolution seeks to dislodge God from His rightful place as our Creator and Sustainer.

From Walter Lang’s simple vision, Creation Moments now serves Christian youth and adults alike. We are committed to promote, teach and study creationism theories and the truth of divine creation as revealed in the Bible. It is our goal to build up the Church and enlighten the world to the wonder and the truth of God’s marvelous creation. We hope you will join us in this important mission. Together we can reach the hearts and minds of a lost and needy world!

Since 1963, Creation Moments, Inc. (formerly the Bible-Science Association) has been communicating the truth of creation. That ministry continues today through Christian radio broadcasts, seminars, publications and a bookstore outreach. In 1986 the two-minute international Christian radio broadcast “Creation Moments” was born. “Creation Moments” is one of the top five US syndicated radio programs of five minutes or less. “Creation Moments” is carried on five major networks: Bible Broadcast, Moody, LifeTalk Network, Family Radio and Bott Radio.

I first came across this when it was the Bible Science Association in the 1980s, when I trawled every possible American creationist outfit.

It is a good idea to get your facts right and it is not quite right to make stories up to prove the Gospel

Copper Issues of the Metal Type Make EVs A Poor Choice!

To many environmentalists this blog must be wrong as it comes from a “dodgy” source – Natural Gas Now – an american pro-fracking blog.

However he is absolutely right to argue that EVs will founder on the lack of copper, as supplies and reserves are simply far to low to make the transition and electrify to go for EVs.

Most will not admit to this, but anyone with a little knowledge of mining , and especially copper mining will know that it is essentially correct.

In the UK we could solve the problem by opening up two ginormous opencast mines in snowdonia, one by Dolgellau and the other digging up the whole area around Betws Y Coed.

I claim some knowledge as I worked as a section gweologist in a Ugandan copper mine, surveyed an old mine in South Africa (it was too small) and prospected a few thousand square miles for copper.

Source: Copper Issues of the Metal Type Make EVs A Poor Choice!

What do we do if we think the Bible is wrong? | Psephizo

Of course the Bible is wrong!!

It teaches a flat earth and the earth was created in 4004BC.

Really, that’s only if we don’t consider when and why it was written

Here’s Ian Paul on whether 2+2=5 and all that

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Seriously there’s more too it!!

After all we still read Shakespeare despite his mistakes, especially his history of english kings!

Science hardly gets a mention…

Source: What do we do if we think the Bible is wrong? | Psephizo

‘God intended it as a disposable planet’: meet the US pastor preaching climate change denial

John MacArthur must be my least favourite American pastor. I am quite sure he would not consider me a Christian – and I hope he wouldn’t.

He is a 6-day creationist

He seems to lack love and loathes Roman Catholics and his (per)version is ghastly.

He seems to reject the fact that Creation will be renewed and restored  – the apokatastasis
Here he simply denies any kind of climate change following the steps of earlier Brown evangelicals
https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/07/10/evangelicals-and-climate-change-1990-to-2011/

Primate's Progress

This piece,written in October 2020, seems more relevant now than ever. The Reverend John Macarthur returned to this theme in November 2021, repeating his description of the world as disposable and comparing it to a styrofoam cup

Reverend John MacArthur. Wikimedia

Paul Braterman, University of Glasgow

Every so often you come across a piece of writing so extraordinary that you cannot help but share it. One such piece is a sermon on global warming by American pastor John MacArthur. Full of beautifully constructed rhetorical flourishes, it is forcefully delivered by an experienced and impassioned preacher to a large and appreciative audience.

For me, as a man of science, it is the most complete compilation of unsound arguments, factual errors and misleading analogies as I have seen in discussions of this subject. But it’s important because climate change is a big election issue this November in the US, where there…

View original post 879 more words

What does it mean to love God with our minds? | Psephizo

The old joke  is that if you need a new brain get one off a vicar as it has never been used. That may be true for some but not all.

In this blog makes it clear that using one’s mind is vital for a Christian, though some regard thinking as optional and other Christians have weird thought processes.

Read on

Christians don’t have to be daft as this!!

No photo description available.

If you think 2+2=4 then read this blog

Source: What does it mean to love God with our minds? | Psephizo

Letter of Christian Climate Action to General Synod 7th July 2022

In 2019 members of Christian Climate Action and others prevented workers travelling by Underground. They did it for the climate and were nearly beaten up.

xr-canning-town

Move on three yeas and CCA have written to General Synod members asking them to back divestment  and support the route map to Net Zero 2030.

Here is the letter and my comments, which are  as “quote , bold, italic” thus .

my comments, which are  as “quote , bold, italic” thus

DIVESTMENT LETTER SENT TO COFE SYNOD MEMBERS

https://christianclimateaction.org/2022/07/07/divestment-letter-sent-to-cofe-synod-members/

A letter asking Church of England Synod members to endorse the Church’s Routemap to Net Zero and urge all areas of the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels before COP27 has been sent to all Synod members ahead of Synod in York this Friday.

The letter, which was emailed to all 467 members on Tuesday 5th July 2022, is reproduced below.

Dear Member of Synod,

York Synod: Routemap to Net Zero Carbon and divestment from fossil fuels

I am writing to you, and all members of Synod, on behalf of Christian Climate Action[1], for two reasons:

  1. To urge you to vote in favour of endorsing the Routemap to Net Zero Carbon 2030 motion being debated at Synod in York this Friday 8th July.

In the words of Archbishop Justin, ‘Climate change is the greatest challenge that we and future generations face’[2]. Scientists are telling us that we have very little time left to act if we want to give ourselves reasonable change of avoiding the worst impacts. Of course, vulnerable communities around the world are already experiencing the ravages of climate change first and worst’[3].

The challenge of Climate Change needs reasonable action not extreme action resulting in disruption and damage. Nor affecting people’s livelihoods.

In UK emissions been dropping since 1990 with the shift from coal, more efficient engines, insulation. From an 80s perspective this is amazing, but there is a long way to go. There are several hurdles.

There is an inevitable lag by industry as changes take years to effect. There is also the danger of simply exporting industry overseas so emissions get recorded there and not by British consumers.

A major problem is the lack of understanding by Joe Public, who often does not grasp the issues, nor how each person must change habits. Protest probably slows this down. 

We are pleased that back in 2020 the Church of England agreed to work toward Net Zero by 2030. It is now important that the routemap that will get the Church to Net Zero is endorsed and put into action as swiftly as possible. Not only will this reduce the Church of England’s emissions, it will also act as prophetic statement and an inspiration to the wider world.

There are many questions about Net Zero 2030. There seems to be a blind acceptance that renewables are the answer, but many are expensive and inefficient. This could lead parishes into bankruptcy. See later comments on renewables.

Many of the suggestions for insulation, efficient lighting are vital and should have been encourage years ago and are separate from Net Zero.

As well as voting in favour of the motion we would encourage you to speak in favour of it during the debate on Friday afternoon to help ensure it is passed.

Beyond Synod, we would also encourage you to do everything within your power to implement the route map in your local context. The motion calls on every Diocese, Cathedral, TEI, school, office and the top 20% of energy-consuming churches, to agree a programme of action to achieve net zero with a clear time frame based on the routemap.

We also note that the routemap does not include the Pensions Board or the Church Commissioners and that they are both aiming for Net Zero by 2050. Whilst the Pensions Board expects to achieve this 10-years early[4], this is simply too late.

According to Professor Sir David King, Former Chief Scientific Advisor: ‘We have 4-5 years to put in place everything to manage civilisation for the next millennium’[5].

King is pro-nuclear, which some object to. His views on Peak Oil in 2010 are now totally out of date as there is no peak.

Yes, things need to be put in place, e.g. increased nuclear, alternative energies, insulation and other mitigatory measures, but to ditch fossil fuels before these are ready to take over will cause untold suffering as many will not be able to afford energy. Blind appeals to renewables doesn’t help.

There is no connection between the routemap and King’s warning.

We would encourage you to do anything you can to push for the Church Commissioners and the Pensions Board to move their targets forward to 2030, so as to align with the rest of the Church of England.

CCA members recently visited Wells Cathedral
  • 2. To ask you to urge all sections of the Church of England to commit to divest from fossil fuels as a matter of urgency.

The burning of fossil fuels constitutes 86% of carbon emissions and is the key driver of climate change.

This is an over-estimate as this diagram shows. It also omits to point out how fossil fuels are used apart from fuel

GHG Emissions By Sector 1200px

In detail  this is in  https://ourworldindata.org/ghg-emissions-by-sector

Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use: 18.4%

Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use directly accounts for 18.4% of greenhouse gas emissions. The food system as a whole – including refrigeration, food processing, packaging, and transport – accounts for around one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. We look at this in detail here.

(The figure of 184% for agriculture excludes use of energy, and it lists what these are.

In May 2021, the International Energy Agency’s Executive Director said: ‘If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year’[6].

This is one person’s opinion and not the general view. No mention of alternative energy and that these are not yet in place.

And in March this year UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres commented it was ‘Madness to turn to fossil fuels because of the Ukraine war.’[7].

A disembodied quote adds little. What alternatives did her suggest?

Yet fossil fuel companies including Shell and Exxon Mobil are currently spending over £100 million per day on exploring new oil and gas[8] [9] [10]. They are continuing to reap the rewards of unabated exploration and production, while falsely promoting the idea that they are investing a significant percentage of their capital on renewable energy[11].

This may seem a vast sum, but mineral exploration is incredibly expensive. It is expenditure to keep reserves as they are and not declining. One reason for the present high prices of gas/oil is the cutting back of exploration for the last decade.

NB all scenarios include use of fossil fuels beyond 2040 hence need exploration to provide sufficient oil and gas

The evidence against continuing investments in Shell in particular, is mounting. It is apparent that in March of this year Shell took advantage of cheaper Russian oil prices resulting in a public outcry[12].

They have since been accused of using an ‘accounting trick’ to continue buying Russian oil secretly[13]. In addition, we believe that many of the clergy and laity of the Church of England would find it deeply uncomfortable knowing that the Church is profiting from Shell’s ‘highest quarterly profits since 2008’ in March in the midst of a fuel and cost of living crisis.[14].

To say these are the highest quarterly profits since 2008 is both absolutely true and totally misleading and duplicitous. It is distortion by selective truth rather than the whole truth.

Now consider this chart of Shell’s quarterly profits since 2008. 

Shell posts record quarterly profit, lifted by energy price surge | Reuters

It is a duplicitous argument. Note the almost wipe-out of profits in 2020, drop in 2009 and 2016. It is dishonest not to point that out. Further, any following energy issues would have known this, unless they operated on a Conscious bias.

These actions do not appear to be aligned with your Responsible Investment policy established around the two principles of “Respect for People” and “Respect for the Planet”.

It is heartening that 12 Church of England dioceses have, in recent years, divested from fossil fuels and made public commitments not to reinvest[15]. However, 13 dioceses continue to invest in fossil fuels and the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board are thought to collectively hold investments of c.£55m in fossil fuel companies.

We understand that the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board intends to divest from fossil fuel companies that are not ‘Paris Agreement complaint’ by the end of 2023. However, on their current trajectory, it is highly unlikely they will become Parris Agreement compliant between now and then and time is of the essence on this issue.

Why should we believe CCA, with its  record of disruption and Conscious Bias? It is imperative that anyone commenting on this claiming to put forward an ethical argument that they must be fair and truthful in their descriptions. CCA has failed badly.

Every day we fail to take the necessary action results in more impacts around the world and more deaths.

Hard evidence is needed for this statement and claims that every extreme weather event can be put down to climate Change are rejected by most climate scientists. Don’t forget some of the worst flooding in the Lake District took place in the 18th century!!

However there are loads of things we can be doing  apart from divestment and Net Zero 2030. (see Net Zero by Dieter Helm).

Rather than stopping commuters getting on the Tube for work, there is much the churches can encourage and do;

Reconsider  transport, ( I had to smile that at a recent Chapter Meeting when Net zero was discussed, two incumbents drove three miles in their Land Rovers! To be smug, I cycled.)

Use of water, from economy to water butts

Ways in which one keeps warm. This is now very hard for any on a limited income e.g. a pensioner relying on State Pension.

Judicious planting of trees, peat restoration (no mention by churches?) not to mention biodiversity.

Food; the sources need considering

And fun things; I grow rowans from seed to give away. This can also challenge people to think.

We have urged both the Commissioners and Pensions Board to consider the points made above in conjunction with Paris Agreement compliance in their upcoming review of fossil fuel investments.

We urge you to use your influence to encourage the church to divest from all fossil fuels ahead of COP27 in Egypt in November to demonstrate the prophetic voice of the Church for the young, the most vulnerable and the poorest and in the face of the destruction of God’s Creation.

These are emotive arguments, but first CCA needs to put its own house in order, considering both their disruptive activities and Conscious bias of their statements.  

Total divestment from fossil fuel companies would allow the Church and the Archbishop in particular, as he did so eloquently concerning refugees, to speak more clearly on how large fossil fuel companies supported by government are contributing to the increase in global temperatures. It is only by divesting entirely, that he and the Church would not be exposed to the easy criticism from the media that comes from still having investments in oil and gas.

Really. It is only some of media eg Guardian

Perhaps this should also involve total avoidance of fossil fuels! and everything dependent on them;

Mains Water supply, which uses Chlorine which made by a process using natural gas.

Hospital and medical equipment not only PPE Having had a big operation this year I see how much material from fossil fuels used either in equipment, medicines, ppe, dressings etc

Internet! Mobile Phones, PCs  Vast energy (generated from fossil fuels is used.) 

Fertilisers  from Haber/Bosch process. If this is stopped there would be mass starvation

How build renewables without fossil fuel powered machinery ehg turbines on or offshore

Obtaining minerals for “electric revolution”.  To effect the electric revolution double the amounts of Copper, cobalt nickel Lithium and rare earths would be needed. This is an impossible mining problem. (I was employed as a mining and exploration geologist for copper.)

They make several omissions;

There is no mention of nuclear energy, which is a no-no to groups like friends of the Earth and Green Peace. Note the mess Germany is with energy having closed down nuclear.

And then the problems of renewables; they are dependent on wind and sun. There is no backup eg batteries when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind blow. Many assume, wrong, that battery backup is already here. It is not.

Image

When no wind in winter coal power stations have to be switched on!! Also gas-fuelled power stations are at full blast.

Yes , there is a conflict of need to reduce emissions drastically AND tokeep the lights on. If the lights are not kept on, as they may not be this winner, many will suffer and too many will die.

Renewables will not keep the lights on, thus hardship of every kind results.

This is the danger of green ideology

Christian Climate Action

Christian Climate Action is an ecumenical community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. We are inspired by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit.

This is rather arrogant and super-spiritual implying those who disagree are not proper Christians. This has been said on more than one occasion.

I go with Paul 2 Cor 10 vs7

Following the example of social justice movements of the past, we carry out acts of public witness, nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to urge those in power to make the changes needed.

This is a simplistic appeal as it was not case with anti-slavery and other issues eg 19th century. 

What is called Non-violent action is often appalling behaviour, disruptive the lives of others e.g blocking roads, stopping workers travelling by tube to work

 PERSONAL NOTE.

As this only came out yesterday I felt a rushed job was better than no job and given time my case would be better – and better expressed.

You would be very welcome to join us. Our next ‘New to CCA’ Zoom call is on Wednesday 20th July, 7pm.

Kind Regards

Christian Climate Action

christianclimateaction@gmail.com

www.christianclimateaction.org

https://spckpublishing.co.uk/time-to-act


[1] https://christianclimateaction.org

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgsJE2UnGk4

[3] https://www.ipcc.ch/2022/02/28/pr-wgii-ar6/

[4] (https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/press-releases/church-england-pensions-board-10-years-ahead-target-meet-2050-net

[5] “We now have no time on our hands” – In conversation with Professor Sir David King – Business & Finance | Business & Finance (businessandfinance.com)

[6] Pathway to critical and formidable goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is narrow but brings huge benefits, according to IEA special report – News – IEA

[7] Climate change: ‘Madness’ to turn to fossil fuels because of Ukraine war – BBC News

[8]Revealed: the ‘carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown | Fossil fuels | The Guardian

[9]Shell’s Jackdaw gas field given go-ahead by regulators – BBC News

[10] ExxonMobil makes three new discoveries offshore Guyana, increases Stabroek resource estimate to nearly 11 billion barrels

[11] Are the big oil companies serious about renewable energy? | Ethical Consumer

[12]  Shell defends ‘difficult’ decision to buy Russian crude oil – BBC News

[13] Shell accused of using ‘accounting trick’ to keep buying Russian oil (telegraph.co.uk)

[14] Shell Q1 2022 earnings: Highest quarterly profit since 2008 on strong oil prices (cnbc.com)

[15] https://operationnoah.org/featured/press-release-global-faith-institutions-announce-divestment-as-oil-and-gas-companies-threaten-1-5c-climate-goal-with-reckless-expansion-plans/

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Could monkeys type the 23rd Psalm?

Come On Irritated GIF - Come On Irritated Mad GIFs

“There is no lie as good as the precise and well-detailed one.” Thus said Reijer Hooykaas over those who wished to portray Calvin as thick over astronomy. Often a quote by Calvin is cited – but it does not exist!! It is surprising how many well-detailed lies come out in the history of science and faith. These are largely due to the writer being convinced of conflict between science and faith.

Now here is a well-detailed lie about the Huxley-Wilberforce meeting in 1860 over Darwin’s theory of evolution. But before we consider this lie, here’s a summary of that meeting and its context;

In 1859 the response to Darwin was very varied. Some biologists were quickly convinced but not geologists and physicists. It is simplistic to see the controversy as one between scientists and Christians, as some Christians were able scientists as was the botanist Charles Babington of Cambridge, who was soon convinced. But the Revd Adam Sedgwick, who taught Darwin geology, totally rejected evolution as did Lord Kelvin. Virtually nobody, Christian or not, was against Darwin on the grounds of a literal Genesis as the astronomer the Rev Richard Main wrote in 1860, “No educated person today believes in creation in 4004BC”[5].

The problems Christians had with Darwin were not over the age of the earth, but over Design and a concern that the animal descent of humans destroyed any kind of morality, and weakened, if not destroyed, the doctrine of atonement. And now we consider the iconic Victorian “confrontation” of evolution and Christianity – the Huxley–Wilberforce debate at the British Association of the Advancement of Science meeting in Oxford in June 1860. This has been related many times often with non-historical embellishments. Bishop Samuel Wilberforce was well-informed scientifically and during the 1820s he attended Buckland’s geology lectures for three years[6]. Just before the BAAS meeting Wilberforce had written a long review of The Origin for the Quarterly Review[7], which gave the standard scientific objections to evolution concluding with a brief theological comment. This was to be expected partly due to his friendship with Sir Richard Owen, with whom he had probably discussed Darwin at length. Contemporary reports of the debate, which was the result of a paper by Draper, describe how Huxley responded to Wilberforce’s questioning of Darwin’s theory , but according to Hooker in a letter to Darwin[8], Huxley could not be heard and so Hooker felt obliged to speak. It seems that both gave a good showing and that Wilberforce was not humiliated by Huxley, but gave telling arguments against Darwin. It is reasonable to conclude that the Wilberforce affair was well known by leading scientists and others, including many clergy and an allusion to it even makes its way into the childrens’ novel The Water Babies, where the Rev Charles Kingsley mocks his friend Huxley by basing Prof Ptthmllnsprts on him. This is clear as Ptthmllnsprts told the British Association that apes had “hippopotamus majors” in their brains, alluding to Huxley’s demonstration that apes have hippocampus majors thus contradicting Richard Owen. In the story Ptthmllnsprts told the British Association at Melbourne in 1999 that “nymphs, satryrs, fauns, inui etc. etc. were nothing at all, and pure bosh and wind…..Whereupon a certain great divine …called him a regular Sadducee….Whereupon the professor, in return, called him a regular Pharisee…But they did not quarrel in the least…So the professor and the divine met at dinner that evening…and each vowed that the other was the best company he ever met in his life.”[9] This is probably a truer representation of the “Huxley-Wilberforce Confrontation” than any popular account! The sources for this may well be personal conversations as Kingsley had excellent relations with both Wilberforce and Huxley and had met both after 1860. Kingsley was an Anglican vicar who was an early convert to evolution and was quoted in the 6th edition

1869_Wilberforce_A504_001

Figure 2. Caricature of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce from Vanity Fair

 

What is less well-known is that a few days earlier the Rev Frederick Temple (1821-1902), preached a sermon at the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Oxford showing his appreciation of The Origin of Species. He epitomised the learned and liberal Anglican and became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1896. He gave the Bampton Lectures on The Relations between Religion and Science in 1884. Temple had a good understanding of contemporary science and out of his eight lectures, two were affirmative of evolution. He discussed the creation accounts of Genesis which he saw as allegory and finished by writing, “To conclude, the doctrine of Evolution leaves the argument for an intelligent Creator and Governor of the world stronger than it was before.”[10] 122

Rather than give a catalogue of Christians and note their beliefs, these two leading churchmen personify how British Christians reacted to Darwinian evolution until about 1970.  Both Wilberforce and Temple were well-informed scientifically and had much in common. Neither held to a literal Bible with a creation in six days as both were convinced by geologists finding of the vast indefinable, age of the earth. The difference was over evolution, which Wilberforce thought had serious theological consequences, but Temple did not. Wilberforce opposed evolution for variety of reasons. Though of very conservative beliefs, Wilberforce did not take Genesis literally. This needs stressing as 21st Creationists take Genesis literally. Apart from following the scientific wisdom of his day, he also opposed evolution on religious grounds. First he thought that evolution undermined the moral uniqueness of humans in contrast to any animal, hence his possibly ahistorical quip when he asked Huxley if he was descended from an ape on his father’s or mother’s side. To him if human responsibility were undermined there could be no sin and then Jesus’s death as atonement was meaningless. Evolution thus destroyed Christianity. This was, and is, the chief religious objection to evolution. Though he allowed for geological time his interpretations of Genesis 2 and 3 on the Fall were still fairly literalist. Temple was more liberal than Wilberforce and thought Genesis 3 was an allegory so was not so concerned by such objections. In one sense the difference between Wilberforce and Temple has been played out by successive Christians during the last 150 years.

In 1860 most Christians agreed with Wilberforce rather than Temple. Before long most educated Christians concluded that some kind of evolution had occurred and that it did not challenge an orthodox Christian faith. Most did not follow Darwin on Natural Selection but adopted a teleological evolution which encouraged belief in a divine being guiding evolution. This was made easier as most scientists adopted a Lamarckism rather than Darwinian natural selection[11]. Further, most Christians, and also A. R Wallace insisted that God creatively intervened at three points in geological time, viz the creation of life, sentient creatures and, lastly, humans. This was a way of safeguarding God’s direct creative activity and effectively neutralised potential conflict, especially as it protected a non-animal origin of humans.

However Wilberforce and Temple represent the educated Christian and most of those who wrote on the subject had a university education at a time when few did. Short of giving a comprehensive list and discussion of the many writers on evolution and religion, it is best to summarise the situation by stating that most of the more liberal Anglicans and protestants followed Temple. As for the more conservative and evangelical, there was a diversity of opinion[12]. Some did accept evolution, but many did not, though they accepted geological time. Their publications would scarcely have been read by most of the population though some did write for popular church press. Thus when we look for actual examples in the latter decades of the 19th century we will find that this situation was found among the leaders of all British mainstream denominations, whether Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist or Congregational.

Despite the apparent dominance of Scientific Naturalists such as Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) and Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911), several leading scientists were devout Christians who wrote on the compatibility of Evolution and Christianity. Sir George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903)  a mathematician and physicist and recently retired President of the Royal Society gave the influential Gifford Lectures (an annual series of lectures on Natural Theology) for 1891 and 1893 on Natural Theology and argued for an evolution in which God had intervened to create life and then man.[13].

Even those who opposed evolution still accepted geological time. It can also been seen in the nascent Fundamentalism, which was largely American, with some British involvement. To counter Modernism an American businessman paid for the publication of a series of small paperbacks known as The Fundamentals in 1910. Most articles were American, and showed an ambivalence to evolution. Even so two British articles by the Scot James Orr, show that to early Fundamentalists an acceptance of evolution was permissible.[14]

As well as the mainstream churches there were many independent chapels, which were very evangelical. As both the pastors and their flocks had little higher education, most had little interest in intellectual matters and focussed on the death of Christ and the need for personal faith rather than science and evolution.  One of the few who considered evolution was the Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon. He was pastor of a large church in London with thousands in his congregation, He had no formal education but was widely read and his sermons are still published today. He had a very strict view of the Bible and his few writings on the relation of Genesis to science are ambivalent. To consider two, one accepts geological findings and the other insists on a six day creation, but he totally rejected evolution. Spurgeon’s influence on evolution has not been researched[15]. Suffice it to say that there was an anti-evolutionism in Britain as well as the more conciliatory views of the mainstream churches.

180px-Darwin_ape

This taken from by brief history, also published in Streitfall Evolution.

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/evolution-and-religion-in-britain-from-1859-to-2013/

My lie comes from an article written by Russell Grigg for Creation Ministries International – a break-away movement from Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis.

https://creation.com/could-monkeys-type-the-23rd-psalm?fbclid=IwAR2uS-Fu9qkmlbVD6skSwP9MKLLebWHAi2dRSWb3sxPqfUmSXAuA6HmjGKc

Now here it is – neatly typed!!

Huxley then arose and is said to have put forward his now well-known argument that six eternal monkeys or apes2 typing on six eternal typewriters with unlimited amounts of paper and ink could, given enough time, produce a Psalm, a Shakespearean sonnet, or even a whole book, purely by chance that is, by random striking of the keys.

In the course of his presentation Huxley pretended to find the 23rd Psalm among the reams of written gibberish produced by his six imaginary apes at their typewriters. He went on to make his point that, in the same way, molecular movement, given enough time and matter, could produce Bishop Wilberforce himself, purely by chance and without the work of any Designer or Creator.

It seems, from the various accounts of what happened (mostly letters written by Darwin’s followers, as no report on the debate was published by the British Association), that the worthy Bishop did not have an answer to this line of reasoning. This is rather surprising in view of his erudition in the realm of Mathematics. So let us consider some answers to Huxley’s argument—an argument that is still advanced from time to time by modern-day evolutionists—that chance is a better explanation for origins than design.

It is hard not to giggle at this. Great apes have long been able to type, as I am now. But only one of the great apes – homo sapiens! But still it is funny to imagine gorillas or bonobos typing or even monkeys.

Come On Irritated GIF - Come On Irritated Mad GIFs

https://tenor.com/search/monkey-typing-gifs

Despite the so-called Huxley-Wilberforce confrontation over Darwin in 1860 being so well-known no one really knows what happened. All we have a few reminisces which are often contradictory. Incidentally, Wilberforce was never a professor of mathematics as Grigg claims!

But one thing is absolutely clear.

HUXLEY COULD NOT HAVE MENTION TYPEWRITERS AS THEY WERE NOT INVENTED UNTIL 1867.

https://www.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/modelb/modelb_history.html#:~:text=The%20first%20practical%20typewriter%20was,on%20a%20sewing%20machine%20stand.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typewri

Well! that finishes of that article and all the other ideas in it simply crumble to dust.

Huxley never put forward a typewriter analogy , hence Wilberforce, good mathematician he was, thus could not discuss it, let alone refute it.

Grigg then extends his argument to the usual dichotomy of Chance vs Design.

Chance vs. Design

Let us imagine a special typewriter, ‘user-friendly’ to apes, with 50 keys, comprised of 26 capital letters, 10 numbers, one space bar, and 13 symbols for punctuation, etc. For the sake of simplicity we shall disregard lower-case letters and settle for typing all to be in capitals, and we shall disregard leap years.

How long would it take an operator, on the average, to correctly type the 23rd Psalm, by randomly striking keys? To obtain the answer, let us first consider the first verse of the Psalm, which reads: ‘THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT WANT.’

According to the Multiplication Rule of Probability (in simplified form)3 the chance of correctly typing the three designated letters ‘THE’ from possibilities is 1 in 50 x 50 x 50, which equals 125,000. At a rate of one strike per second, the average time taken to make 125,000 strikes is 34.72 hours.

The chance of randomly typing the eight keys (seven letters and one space) in the right sequence for the two words THE LORD is 1 in 50 x 50 … eight times (i.e. 508). This is 1 chance in 39,062 billion. There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year, so the average time taken in years to make 39,062 billion strikes at the rate of one strike per second would be 1,238,663.7 years.

The time taken on the average to correctly type the whole of verse 1 of the 23rd Psalm, which contains 42 letters, punctuation, and spaces, would be 5042 divided by 31,536,000 (seconds in a year), which is 7.2 x 1063 year.

What do we make of that? Not much – just special pleading from a false premise.
BUT it may convince some of CMI’s faithful

Concludes;

The theory that chance random combinations of living matter could produce the Bishop of Oxford, a living cell, or even a single functional protein molecule, whether in time or in eternity, therefore fails on all counts.

It falls down as Huxley never said what they claimed and the whole argument is a straw man. It may convince gullible followers of CMI but is devoid of sense of rationality.

I suppose this could convince some Creationists as they would be unaware of Grigg’s Conscious Bias. It is typical of bad creationist and bad evangelical apologetics.

You cannot make an argument based on a lie.

But we have seen that before,

Perhaps we should ask why Creationists do this!!

Keep Climate Change out of Easter

Several years ago the activist group Christian Climate Change organised a “Fossil-free Advent service”. 

Here they are.

even the hymns and carols were re-written to bring in Climate Change and the horrors of deadly fossil fuels.

Silent Night, Holy Night

When will you see the light?

Arctic melting as temperatures rise

Carbon burning and filling the skies

Churches – think of God’s way

For Christ’s sake please hear what we say

I never know what is the best response to things like that, whether to snigger and ridicule  or try to answer the issues they raise. Over the years I have found the last option an impossible task as groups like this take the most extreme and dismal reading of Climate Change and the IPCC reports. By selection and cherry-picking they present the argument that we are all about to fall over a cliff of climate disaster. If you don’t agree with them you are a climate denier and want to destroy the planet. 

We have moved on from the Fossil-free Advent and now  there are attempts to squeeze Climate Change into the services for every sunday, even when the Biblical passages for that sunday cannot be twisted, sorry interpreted, to say anything about Climate Change or Petrol. A search on the web will turn up ways of bring Climate Change into any biblical passage. Often the interpretations are somewhat forced and bizarre and are trying to get oil out of a stone!! (That is done by drilling.)

There is little in the Bible on the environment as it was simply not an issue two to three thousand years ago. There is much on Creation in both testaments but very, very little on how we should care for it.  We can bring out general principles for creation care from the Bible, but nothing in detail.

This is my short and simple summary of how a Christian should care for creation, but I have only given principles and not examples of need; https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/gods-creation-and-the-environment/

Sometimes attempts to find Creation Care in the Bible gets rather weak. Thus a leading Christian environmentalist argued that the classic verse John 3 vs16 means we should care for creation, because God loved the world and then so should we.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…….

Really!  That is an OK reading by a 12 year old in Sunday School but not an expert! The word “world” often occurs in John’s Gospel and is translated from the Greek word “kosmos”. In Greek kosmos can mean the whole of Creation as it does in Romans chap1 vs 20. However it is used some 70 times in John’s gospel and can mean  the creation, humankind, humans a opposed to God etc. In fact John 3 vs17 uses it to mean (hostile) humanity and not the whole of the natural world. Or take John 18 vs20 when Jesus replied to the high priest. He neither meant the antipodes or anywhere but locally around Jerusalem and Judaea. The use of kosmos in John  18 vs 33 – 38 and John 17 completely undermines this misunderstanding of kosmos.  Even a superficial reading of John and considering the use of kosmos completely undermines the claim that John 3 vs16 is a call for environmental action! That is one thing this verse is not calling for. I have not identified the author but they are a leading Christian environmentalist. But not the same as the Anglican expert on Climate Change who recommends taking garlic to avoid getting covid!!

It is very bad interpretation of the bible to try to squeeze things out of passages which simply are not there. Much of the time if we take a section of some verse, a chapter or even a whole book, they deal with only one or two topics and the other 999 are simply unmentioned. 

In recent weeks in the run up to Holy Week I have seen requests on social media for guidance on how to bring in Climate Change into the appointed bible reading during the Easter period. Considering all the readings which could be used over this period, none bring in Climate Change, even implicitly, and all have another purpose as they are to bring out the meaning of those events from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. If we need to ask, “what do these passages say about care of creation?” The answer has to be zilch and we need to look elsewhere

Yet more and more churches are putting “Climate Justice ” at the centre and thus wish to be able to bring it in to everything in the life of the church. thus Climate Change becomes the controlling narrative and not the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In other words the Gospel is subtly changed in its basis. Initially, one could see, it is Christianity PLUS creation Care with an apparent lack of shift. Gradually certain kinds of Creation Care become dominant, and that becomes the controlling principle squeezing out the core of the faith, though often retaining the words.

 I can hear many say, “Surely protecting the planet is vital?” To which I happily answer YES!! those who know me will know that I do try to protect and care for the planet, whether in economy of use, growing trees to give away, my use of a bicycle, and trying to hold local councils to account by attempting to stop the destruction of flower rich verges.

But though my creation care is integral to my life and faith it is not the guiding principle. That is because faith in Christ includes Creation Care, rather than Creation Care being at the centre, or faith in Christ AND Creation Care. 

Today, Maundy Thursday 2022, we see Green Christian forcing their views on Just Stop Oil on to the remembrance of the Last Supper and the washing of feet. This is misguided, tendentious and judgmental of those who disagree.

May be an image of 9 people, outdoors and text that says "GC Green Christian heenChrleta 18m Just Stop Oil. Christians were involved in the recent Just Stop Oil protests around the country recently. #JustStopOil http:/grencristior.ukjustop.ol On Maundy Thursday, when we celebrate Jesus' washing of the disciples feet, let's commit ourselves once more to sacrificially serving others and God's earth. HDYER Like Comment 1 share Share"

If all is Climate Change and stopping oil then nothing is and everything goes and the claims of both the Christian Faith and the need for Creation Care go out of the window.

The danger of this conflating of issues with major Christian Festivals is that the whole purpose of those festivals is lost. Christians have those in the Christian Year, with high points at Christmas and Easter, to bring home certain central features of the faith. Whether we take a minimalist or maximist view, Christians focus on that aspect, and that aspect alone on the particular day. By doing so reinforces a pedagogic purpose of strengthening Christians on one point and then the other points will dealt at another time. To  photo-bomb these with climate change or stop oil immediately diminishes the purpose of the day and confuses the issue with something else. On this in recent years, many churches have introduced a season of creation in September to fill a hole in the church’s year. 

Thus for the next few days all the focus is on the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection. That is more than enough! Throwing in green issues will only diminish the emphasis on these centralities and ultimately may take over from them.

 On this I am reminded of the events of 1933 and 1934 in Germany when the churches were split down the middle by the Nazi movement. Some Christians went the whole swastika and formed the German Christians. A minority opposed this and produced the Barmen Declaration of May 31st 1934. The essence of that wass for a Christian there was only one way and that is Jesus Christ  – John 14 vs6 was their key text – and nothing should be added to that.

Later Karl Barth wrote on that in Church Dogmatics vol II .pt1 pp172ff, which is very pertinent to this question. Going beyond the horrors of the Nazis, Barth pointed out that the German Christians were only a continuation of what had been going on for decades. Little bits, and in Germany that was German nationalism, had been added on to the Christian Faith so that more and more Christianity was becoming Christianity and German Nationalism. It is now seen with the Russian Orthodox Church and the blatant nationalism of the patriarch and is not very pretty as the Ukrainians have found out.

But saw the events of 1933 as the fulfillment of 19th century Christian thought, which added an “also” to the faith, this soon became “and” and as with the German Christians “only”. He said similar things were happening in Britain, USA, and other European countries. (He could have given earlier examples from the Middle Ages.) 

Thus the German Christians were move from Christianity also National socialism, to Christianity and National socialism and, finally, ONLY National socialism – which was Hitler’s ultimate aim. 

This is a perennial risk for the Christian Church and a rooting of church history will give many examples, but few as bad as the German Christians.

The dangerous trap some environmental Christians are falling into is that they are raising their particular environmental concerns (which often align with the most extreme of environmentalists like Extinction Rebellion) in such a way that the centralities of the Christian Faith are downplayed, and, more worrying, that those Christians who don’t accept them are regarded as rather deficient in the faith, both in Christ and Creation care.

That is not on.

Hence my tirade!

This weekend as Christian we focus entirely of the death and resurrection of our Lord and then, and only then, see how it works out in every aspect of our lives both in love of neighbour and love of creation.

Easter - It's Meaning, History & Holiday Symbols Explained

An Indian delegate at the First Council of Nicaea

Anyone who has gone to an Anglican or Roman Catholic service would have recited the Nicene Creed.

The first version was produced at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 near Constantinople. This was called by Emperor Constantine (who became emperor at York) to get the churches in order. What we say is the revised creed o AD381.

The Council of Nicaea: Resolving the crisis in early Christianity | Sky  HISTORY TV Channel

It is usually assumed that the delegates came from the roman empire but this blog says one came from India. He may not have come for India as it could be Iran. Even so , a long way from the empire. Here it in verse 2

What else he did we don’t know, but it is interesting how scatted the delegates were. I am intrigued whether or not he spoke greek

Something else to undermine Dan Brown’s absurdities in Da Vinci Code.

Source: An Indian delegate at the First Council of Nicaea