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All articles in category Cultural and Ethical

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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March 2014
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The importance of Christian schooling

The Bible commands parents to train their children in accordance with God’s Word. In particular, it places the responsibility on fathers: ‘Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4). This training is to be ongoing: ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ‘These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when...

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March 2014
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The Rhondda today

Life-long Rhondda resident Mike Hansen reflects, post-Christmas, on the huge changes that have taken place in the Welsh Valleys. In a rapidly changing Wales and Britain, another Christmas has come and gone. Christmas is a familiar tradition whose cheerfully commercial paganism is as much a part of our way of life as, say, Easter’s cheerfully commercial paganism. It is a time of welcome respite from the usual tedium of life and work, with recourse to the merriments of family unions, banquets and festivity, and much giving of gifts, all enforced by the conventions of the season. It is a season that nowadays seems to start...

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