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All articles in category Cultural and Ethical

February 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Vital warnings

As news broke about Volkswagen’s (VW) illegal practices and consequent disgrace over exhaust emissions, David’s lament for King Saul came strongly to mind — ‘How are the mighty fallen!’ (2 Samuel 1:19). Saul was a mighty man, head and shoulders above his brethren, but he too suffered a fatal fall. There are significant parallels between his downward course and that of many institutions in our society today. In Saul’s case, the fall was the result of personal sin, though he was not the only sinner in Israel. God does punish nations and corporate bodies for institutional sin, but behind it all there is personal sin....

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September 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Loving your neighbour means listening

The old adage goes like this: ‘Convince a man against his will, he’s of the same opinion still’. It seems to get truer and truer. Let me explain. As Christians we are commanded to give a reason for the hope that we have. The aim is to persuade and commend faith in the Lord Jesus. As we do that, we sometimes have to say things that are true but unpalatable. So, take the controversy a few years back about penal substitution, and the Isaiah 53 idea that Jesus in his love bears the punishment for my sins in my place. One of the threads of...

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July 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Abortion and Christian ethics

Every year there is an anti-abortion ‘pro-life’ march in Zurich, mainly supported by Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Liberal Protestants are noticeably absent and even the large buildings of Swiss Reformed churches in the city centre are refused to the marchers, who want a closing indoor rally. In recent years this march has needed police protection, because of violent intimidation (stone-throwing and loud verbal abuse) by a group of left-wing extremists. Such marches have evoked the same responses in Germany and elsewhere. Bleak outlook The signs look bleak for those, especially Christians, opposing abortion. Not only is it practically impossible for midwives whose conscience is against...

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May 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

True democracy?

The BBC's Today programme celebrated 20 January 2015 as 'Democracy day' in commemoration of the first Westminster Parliament in 1265. But some Christians who have lost their jobs or businesses might not think that there is much to celebrate in British democracy today.

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May 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Lovewise

Are you concerned for the purity of our young people? Our children are born into perilous times. Thankfully the threat to their physical health and lives is less than in past generations. However, today there is an urgent threat to their sexual purity from immoral messages which come to them as part of formal education and through the media.

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March 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Personal view: How to watch a ‘biblical’ movie

With the recent release of Exodus: gods and kings, following the earlier Noah movie, why and how should Bible-believing Christians consider engaging with a film based on any Bible story?

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Assisted dying and Christian hope
February 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Assisted dying and Christian hope

Woody Allen, film director and eccentric, once quipped, ‘It’s not that I’m afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens’. Allen captures the fear of dying that seems to infuse many of the arguments in favour of legalising physician-assisted suicide. I have been a clinical nurse specialist in palliative care for most of the last 10 years. It was absolutely never my intention to work with the dying; in fact, my early nursing days were spent carefully avoiding ‘being there when it happens’. I understood, if only as an observer, why people were afraid: the twitch of a woman who...

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February 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Creation and educational policy

The doctrine of creation is well summarised in The Shorter Catechism: ‘The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good’. ‘God’s making all things of nothing’ involves a great mystery. In Genesis 1:1, ‘God created’ is but two words, yet eternity will not suffice to fully understand what they describe. Science has to do with humanly devised methodologies for investigating the physical universe. It will never describe how something originated from nothing. Limits It is important for children to understand the limits of human methodologies for describing...

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February 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Learning disability shock

The nation was shocked in 2011 when the BBC’s Panorama programme exposed the scandalous, everyday abuse of people with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View. There was much hand-wringing from the authorities, and promises that people who were inappropriately housed in private care homes and NHS units away from their families would be found more appropriate care in the community, closer to where they live. Three years on, little has changed. People are still detained in units many hours’ drive from their families. More people are being moved into these units than are leaving. Abuse can still take place behind closed doors. Preventable deaths There have...

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August 2014
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The Christian and fantasy fiction (2)

How should a Christian think of fantasy fiction? Opinions seem to range from extreme caution to enthusiastic promotion. Let us consider now our second question (see also ET, July 2014): what counts as a specifically Christian content? Bunyan’s specifically Christian content hangs on his choice of method — the use of allegory. This is a specific type of fiction which is seldom written today, and neither the Narnia books nor Tolkien’s works are allegories. Allegory Allegory has two typical characteristics (a good introduction to allegory is found in chapter 2 of C. S. Lewis’s The allegory of love: a study in medieval tradition; OUP). First,...

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July 2014
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Personal View: The Christian and fantasy fiction (1)

      How should a Christian think of fantasy fiction? Opinions seem to range from extreme caution to enthusiastic promotion. Of course, when this range of opinions is regarded as a mere matter of taste, very little need be said about it. But sometimes deeper issues either are, or are said to be, at stake. Sometimes, Christians who enjoy fantasy fiction can regard it as more than mere relaxation. Parts of it are promoted, in addition, to the category of edification. This is especially the case, of course, with authors either Christian or perceived to be Christian, most notably C. S. Lewis (The chronicles...

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March 2014
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Abortion on demand

Abortion is back in the headlines. According to a recent front page in the Daily Telegraph, ‘women wanting abortions will not have to see a doctor’ (16 January 2014). The Telegraph’s article confirms that almost 190,000 babies a year are aborted in England and Wales, under the 1967 Act. Around 96,000 women are signed off by doctors to have an abortion without even being seen to discuss the reason for it. What is now being proposed in draft guidance from the state is a further fundamental shift that will ‘erode mother and child protection’, according to Dr Peter Saunders, CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship....

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