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All articles in category Cultural and Ethical

Article

February 2017
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Britain’s decline and fall (3)

Continued from Britain’s decline and fall (2) Paul Johnson, a perceptive though rather waspish Catholic author and journalist, has pointed out there was something supine and indolent about the Bloomsbury set. He draws attention to their relatively low work rate and their tendency to be critics rather than creators.Certainly, unlike the Clapham Sect, Bloomsbury was not noted for unselfish civic involvement. Its ‘guru’, the eminent Cambridge philosophy professor G. E. Moore (1873-1958) (see also ET, January 2017), once wrote: ‘It is only for the sake of [the pleasures of human intercourse and the enjoyment of beautiful objects] … that anyone can be justified in performing...

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Article

September 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

PERSONAL VIEW: Brexit reflection

‘Vote leave’ supporters seemed as surprised as everyone else that Britons decided to exit the EU on 23 June 2016. At the time of writing this article no asteroid strike had taken place. Even the rumbling Icelandic volcano failed to erupt in disgust.  And there was no earthquake. Or was there an earthquake? In Revelation 11:13, we read, ‘And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven’. There has been no geological earthquake in...

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Article

July 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

What do we really think?

On 13 April, Channel 4 took a deep breath, risked the inevitable charge of being ‘Islamophobic’ and aired on screen its study of UK Muslim attitudes, What British Muslims really think. The broadcaster’s choice of person to front the programme was Trevor Phillips, erstwhile Chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. He had jumped at the chance to be involved. Shocks And what were his conclusions? The programme made the frankly uncontroversial point that many Muslims in the UK do not share the values of their ‘progressive’ neighbours. But Trevor Phillips and co, expected their audience would be shocked by this revelation. How curious!...

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Article

March 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The tribunal

John Fairbrother, a retired primary school teacher who taught in inner Birmingham during the 1970s-90s, recalls a ‘run-in’ with the political correctness of his day. A new head teacher was appointed to the school. She was an advisor to the city education committee on multi-faith and multi-culturism, and picked up the fact that, when I took school assembly, I always did a Bible story or spoke on a Bible theme — like ‘the use of the tongue’ — beginning by quoting words of Jesus from the Bible. At Christmas, I told the story of Christ’s birth, using slides from the Jesus of Nazareth film. With...

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Article

March 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Struck off!

Missioning recently in Oxford, I paused at the spot on Broad Street where Hugh Ridley, Bishop Latimer and Archbishop Cranmer were burned at the stake in 1555. Just a few yards away, Martyrs Memorial, which towers imposingly over shoppers, silently testifies as a permanent reminder of their courageous stand for truth. They refused to be intimidated by the ‘powers that be’ or their employers in the ecclesiastical system. Royalty itself proved impotent when pressurising these faithful men to be silent about their biblical beliefs. Obedience cost them their blood. And yet, a little later, I heard a fine Christian GP say that she never spoke...

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Article

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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Article

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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Article

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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Article

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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Article

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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Article

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

Article

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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