Sunday, December 30, 2007

Check out My Blogroll . . .

. . . down the right side under the heading 'Blogs of Interest'.

It's been cleaned up and updated.

I don't necessarily agree with the positions taken by each and every blog listed there. In fact, that would be impossible since some take radically opposite views on issues that I consider important.

But, they are all there because they represent quality.

Check 'em out and let me know in the comments if any strike your fancy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your God." -Martin Luther

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What is 'Turkish Exceptionalism' ?

The dean of Turkish social scientists, the venerable Şerif Mardin, was interviewed by Asharq Al Awsat newspaper recently.

(H/T Erkan's field diary)

Mardin gave his learned opinion on Turkish Islam and seems to have coined a new term echoing Alexis de Tocqueville’s American Exceptionalism .

He is calling it Turkish Exceptionalism. What is this Turkish Exceptionalism ?

Well, according to Mardin, it arises from the observation that :

"[t]he state takes precedence over religion by 'one millimeter'(...) Throughout its history the Ottoman Empire was cautious to distance the religion from the state(...) and was founded on the power of the state  which is a concept that is difficult for many Arabs to apprehend. ".

Actually, to get a complete picture of Ottoman governance and "power of the state" one needs to go further back in history to the point where Turks were a nomadic people constantly advancing and conquering territory. By doing so, one finds a continuous strand from that period to the very present day namely a style of governance marked by expedience.

Expedience requires that one is not diverted too much by abstract notions such as human rights and human values.

The reason the Arabs don't apprehend or see themselves in the Ottoman state is because the latter is based on Turkish not Arab nationalism. Mardin says :"It is important to affirm that the religious orders in Turkey are always related to the Turkish state, (...)" How very true it is that in Turkey Islam is subservient to the state and so subservient to the principle of expedience.

Moving on, Mardin curiously makes the claim that Turks and Iranians are somehow 'philosophical'. It's not clear why or in what connection he interjects this comment but empirical study would probably reveal this philosophical aspect is seldom integrated with governance . Such philosophical traditions, for Turkey, have always been irrelevant to the state. After all, who ever heard of a Sufi Sultan ?

Perhaps what Mardin is really trying to say is that for the Turks (and the Iranians) Islam is not about ethnicity and tribalism since we are dealing with an Arab religion 'revealed' in the Arab tongue.

Sociology is a science based on real facts, real history and real evidence. Unfortunately, these elements are strangely absent from in the responses Mardin has given in this interview.Nevertheless, if we wanted to be as faithful as possible to the most coherent fragments of Mardin's analysis, we would have to conclude that the Ottoman view of the state and religion is to be summarised as a secularism of praxis and of race. Just consider that while racist supremacist parties form the fringe of politics in all Western European countries, in Turkey they are part of the mainstream.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Verse of the Day

"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:26-27)

In Turkish we have a saying : "bir lisan, bir insan" which is translated "one language, one person" and means, in effect, that with each new language you learn you become an additional person.

Is this correct ?

I have lived in 4 different countries, worked in 3 of them and as a result know 3 different languages fluently.

When I do re-connect with old friends and acquaintances who have remained roughly in the same place or culture all their lives it does become very striking to me how much they have had only one type of experience whereas I have had more. Yet, I'm not sure I would call these different cultural experiences (which is our present topic) different dimensions of any sort.

On a fundamental level I really don't see myself as having, as a result of my life experiences reached, some higher level of maturity or some higher level of anything, really. And, I wouldn't say that I have wasted those experiences either in that I have been totally immersed in and savoured each and every one of them. I'm only thinkin' that perhaps all this is a bit over-rated.

And, of course, they are not "different dimensions" because, as the verse says, God "from one man he made every nation of men".

What I do find is that my own cross-cultural experiences which are inherently with me 24/7 are at times quite difficult for me because often times I find I have an internalised socialisation which is different from the environment in which I "live. move and have my being".

Is Paul talking about the same kind of thing here ?

One might go down the route of what postmodernists call the "de-centered self". Surely, Paul is not making some sociological statement but speaking of a sociological reality to highlight another reality for the individual which is a theological one.

While one might hope great things for the individual in what Paul describes in the multiplicity of nations "inhabiting the entire earth" it rather comes across here in these verses as an assault or a challenge to the self, the individual.

And, I think Paul does want us to understand there IS an assault to the self built in to the scheme of things since Babel (perhaps) so that man "would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him," with hope since "he is not far from each one of us".

There has to be a denial of self here, definitely, and maybe this is why and how the 'multinational experience' makes one to feel inadequate rather than empowered.

Yet, one can still feel inadequate and still not be de-centered. Are you with me?

Perhaps I should introduce 'love' here at this point. Why ? Because 'love' is a de-centering of self. And for that you don't even need to move to another country, learn another language or learn about Afro-American sub-culture etc. The way love works in de-centering the person is that the person only concerns himself/herself with the welfare of the other person which is the truest and highest definition of love.

So conversely, it is possible to be in a totally familiar environment and still be truly de-centered.

Do you see what I'm getting at ?

I suppose now I have a word for the kind of life I have been led to or into and need to perfect : "de-centered". That's good. It gives me a conceptual hook on which to hang my thinking.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Emotional Intelligence Or Something Else ?

An excerpt from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

** "Don't you understand how Cho's feeling at the moment?" [Hermione] asked.

"No," said Harry and Ron together.

Hermione sighed and laid down her quill.

"Well, obviously, she's feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she's feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she cant work out who she likes best. Then she will be feeling guilty, thinking its an insult to Cedric's memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she will be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably cant work out what her feelings towards Harry are, anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that's all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she's afraid she's going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she's been flying so badly."

A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person cant feel all that at once, they'd explode."

"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have," said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again. **

=====================================================
UPDATE : HERE is a take on emotional intelligence from an investing angle but the sources cited herein also make for a more generally useful resource on this subject.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Royal Institution Lecture by Sir Roger Penrose

Attended this evening.

A mind stretching experience.

Managed to get Professor Penrose to sign my copy of The Emperor's New Mind.

Some notes and key words jotted down during the lecture :

  • icosahedral symmetry
  • crystalline patterns can have rotational symmetry as well as translational symmetry
  • n-fold symmetry
  • Penrose tiles are surrounded by rings of 10 pentagons
  • only 3 kinds of polygons are used to create Penrose tiles : star, jester's cap and pentagon
  • Penrose tiles exhibit a "non-repeating quasi 5-fold symmetric pattern"
  • Robert Ammann solids (3-D tiling)
  • J Kepler (1619) in his book Harmonice Mundi shows tiling patterns that anticipate Penrose tiles
  • Penrose tiles exhibit a "hierarchical structure"(?)
  • Penrose tiles have a connection with fractals
  • there seem to be analogies between the formation of quasi crystals and the superposition principle in quantum mechanics ("non-local choice" is present in both)
  • Penrose tiling uses only two structures : kites and darts

Godliness

The godly man lives in the presence of God and in such place recognises his many weaknesses which leads him to his knees to pray so that he may not be a hypocrite.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Linkestan 2007 11 19

Letting Go of the Past & Water Over the Dam




The Equal And Opposite Reaction : an essay on the Islamic sense of justice which is the cause of hyper-sensitive temperaments in devout Muslims and also among the less religious raised in a Muslim environment.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Jesus


"In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 9:22

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Celal Birader Has Found The First President Of His Fan Club

HERE

Dear James,

You are too kind; and, I am very flattered.


You are probably only seeing Jesus in me as my family will attest to my many faults and failings.

Nevertheless, be assured that the job will always be yours for the asking.

Sincerely,

Celal Birader
Icarus Redeemed

Quote of the Day

"Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular"

- Anonymous

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quote of the Day

"I have avoided referring to my heritage in my work until now. After all, I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life, not Iran, and expressing "pride in cultural diversity" has been too fashionable a movement for me. However, in recent years, as in 1979, when my family immigrated to the United States, I have been confronted by my "otherness" on a more regular basis. As the battles between fundamentalists on both sides of the globe rage on, so do my bicultural conflicts."

Max Emadi

Linkestan 2007 10 25

"They demand that we empathise"
: update on the trial and investigation of the Hrant Dink murder

Why they killed Hrant Dink - Maureen Freely

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Personal Reflection on the Armenian Genocide

Is the murder of 6 million Jews 60 years ago worse than the murder of 1.5 million Armenians 92 years ago ?

What about the murder of the unique Son of God 2,000 years ago ?

I understand Rembrandt did a number of self-portraits, as many painters do.

One of them is a portrait of the crucifixion in which Rembrandt appears as the one lowering Jesus from the cross - as if to say "I was there".

Similarly, it was the unique stories of two individuals - that of Hrant Dink and that of Haroutioun Kebedjian which drew me into the "I was there" historical pain and injustice suffered by Armenians.

As a Turk, I probably stand alone (or with a handful of others) and separate from 75 million other Turks in trying to come to terms with this heinous crime.

But, that is where I am. That is where you will find me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taner Akcam weighs in on the Genocide bill before Congress

"(...) For his part, "A Shameful Act" author Taner Akcam acknowledges the force of these pragmatic arguments -- but rejects them.

"Look, we can make a list of reasons why this resolution will make matters worse," Akcam said in a phone interview from his office at the University of Minnesota.

"First, it explicitly politicizes the problem. Second, it makes a historic problem a diplomatic fight between the United States and Turkey. Third, it increases the aggressive attacks of the Turkish government against those inside and outside the country. Fourth, it increases the animosity and hatred against Armenians generally in Turkey. Fifth, it can never solve the problem. It aggravates the problem.

"OK, so we've made this list," Akcam went on. "But what is the answer?

Whoever is against the resolution must show an alternative to the Armenian people. Unless you give an alternative policy, saying 'Shut up and stop' is not a policy. The Armenians don't have any options. As long Turkey criminalizes the past, as long as Turkey kills journalists, as long as Turkey drags its intellectuals from court to court, as long as Turkey punishes the people who use the G-word, as long as Turkey doesn't have any diplomatic relations with Armenia, as long as Turkey threatens everybody in the world who opens the topic of historical wrongdoing, it is the legitimate right of a victim group to make its voice heard."

Akcam dismisses the argument that the time was not yet ripe for the resolution. "You can use the timing argument forever and ever. Who will decide when the timing is right?"

But Akcam argues that a long-term solution requires much more than a U.S. resolution. He says two steps are necessary: Turkey and Armenia must establish normal relations, and Turks must learn that confronting their history does not threaten their Turkish identity, but strengthens it.

This means that Turks should look at the conflict not as a zero-sum game in which any Armenian gain is a Turkish loss, but as a necessary part of the process of becoming a democratic nation. It's an approach to resolving bitter historical grievances called "transitional justice," and it has been effective in helping resolve historical grievances between Germany and the Czech Republic, within South Africa and in other places.

The Armenians, too, need to rethink their approach, Akcam said. In the new paradigm, the Armenian diaspora would present its policy not as being totally against Turkey, but for a new democratic Turkey. "Until now this was a conventional war between Turkey and Armenian diaspora, and congressional resolutions were the effective weapon in this conventional war," Akcam said. "What I'm saying is we should stop thinking in these conventional ways."

The U.S. could play an important role in helping both parties break the impasse, Akcam said, but it is hampered by its lack of credibility in the Middle East. He points to what he calls a "stupid distinction between national security and morality. If you follow the whole discussion in Congress, on the one side you have the moralists, who say that Turkey should face what it did. This doesn't convince most of the people in the Middle East because we know that these are the guys torturing the people in Iraq, these are the guys killing the Iraqi civilians there, these are the guys who haven't signed the International Criminal Court agreement.

"On the other side are the realpolitikers," Akcam went on, referring to the Bush administration and the foreign-policy establishment, like the secretaries of state who signed the letter opposing the resolution. "They say the bill jeopardizes the national interests of the United States, Turkish-U.S. relations, interests of U.S. soldiers in Iraq."

Akcam argues that both elements must be present to have an effective foreign policy. "The fact is that realpolitik, the U.S. national interest in the Middle East, necessitates making morality, facing history, a part of national security. The basic problem between Turks and Armenians is that they don't trust each other because of their history." Akcam's point is that unless the U.S. is willing to look unflinchingly at the region's history, and try to broker deals that address legitimate grievances, it will not be able to achieve its realpolitik goals.

"If America really has a strong interest in its national security and the security of the region, it should stop following a national security concept that accepts human rights abusers," Akcam said. "It doesn't work, it makes things worse in the region. And it supports perpetrators who have committed crimes in the past and are committing crimes today."

( Read More )

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On Satan

"The most popular image of Satan's intention is that he is in a struggle with God for our souls. There is little if anything in scripture to support such a notion. There is no battle raging for men's souls. Such an idea is wrong on many fronts.

For one thing, if Satan is dueling God, a tug of war for our souls as it were, it makes him an enemy of comparable power. We already know that is far from the truth. Satan is powerful compared to us, but worse than a 98 pound weakling compared to God.

The other problem is with God's perfect justice. If we are lost because Satan snatched us, then we are lost for something that is not our fault.

God doesn't send people to eternal damnation because of something that isn't their fault. We stand condemned on our own account, as reprobate sinners.

In my opinion, Satan doesn't care about our souls, and has no use for them.

What Satan wants, what he always wants, is to rob God of the one commodity that God wants, the very reason that He made us. Satan wants to diminish God's glory.

The compelling evidence that Satan is interested in robbing God's glory and not in stealing our immortal soul comes from the book of Job, specifically the two conversations between Satan and God. Let's look at the first one: "

( Read More )

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How Are The Families of Martyred Christians Faring in Turkey Since The Malatya Murders ?

Last Sunday night on the way home from church services, a sad little voice came from the back seat of the car.

“Mommy, I miss my Daddy so much. Can’t Jesus bring him back to us?”

Her mother sighed, and then turned from the front seat to explain gently once more to her 6-year-old daughter, “Esther, Jesus decided to take Daddy to heaven, to be with Him. So we have to wait until Jesus takes us to heaven to see Daddy again.”

The little girl thought for a few seconds and then declared, “Well, if Daddy isn’t coming back, then I want to go to heaven too!”

( Read More )

How Are Christians Faring in Turkey Since the Malatya Murders ?

Turkish Protestants have reported increasing attacks and threats in recent months despite claims by President Abdullah Gul this week that Christians in Turkey are not targeted.

Believers told Compass that threats have increased since two Turkish Christian converts and a German Christian were tortured and killed at Zirve Publishing House in Malatya on April 18. Neighbors have threatened Christian radio station workers in Ankara in recent weeks, and a visitor to Antalya’s Bible Church (pictured above) this summer attacked an elderly member with a chair.

Antalya Bible Church pastor Ramazan Arkan said that he is pursuing four court cases against Rasim Eryildiz, a construction worker who began threatening church members in May.

( Read More )

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Jesus of Nazareth

“Jesus of Nazareth took the total risk of speaking and acting as if the answer to the question were this: when the true God comes back to deal with evil, he will look like a young Jewish prophet journeying to Jerusalem at passover-time, celebrating the kingdom, confronting the corrupt authorities, feasting with his friends, succumbing in prayer and agony to a cruel and unjust fate, taking upon himself the weight of Israel’s sin, the world’s sin, Evil with a capital E.

When we look at Jesus in this way we discover that the cross has become for us the new Temple, the place where we go to meet the true God and know him as saviour and redeemer. The cross becomes the place of pilgrimage where we stand and gaze at what was done for each one of us. The cross becomes the sign that pagan empire, symbolized in the might and power of sheer brutal force, has been decisively challenged by a different power, the power of love – and that this decisive challenge shall win the day.

The question is then posed to us in the strongest and clearest possible way. Dare we stand in front of the cross and admit that all that was done for us? Dare we take all the meanings of the word ‘God’ and allow them to be recentred upon, redefined by, this man, this moment, this death? Dare we address the consequences of what Jesus himself said, that the rulers of the world behave in one way, but that we must not do it like that? (...)

Only so, I believe, can we even begin the task, to which the subsequent lectures will return, of working in our own day with mature, Christian and sober intelligence to address the problem of evil which still haunts the world which God loved so much.”

Source : “Evil and the Justice of God”
a series of lectures for 2003 by the Canon Theologian, Dr N. T. Wright
Lecture 3: Evil and the Crucified God
March 17 2003
(written up in retrospect from notes, December 2004)

Quote of the Day

"A true friend is someone who knows you're a good egg even if you're a little cracked."

--Anonymous

Friday, September 21, 2007

Verse of the Day

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

===========================

This was my devotional reading recently.

I could not get my head around why or how God's great desire to 'be gracious to' Israel is in any way connected to Him being a God of justice, which is what the verse explicitly says.

I thought, if justice had anything to do with it, God should smite the Israelites since that is what they 'justly' deserved , didn't they ? (read the entire context of the chapter HERE to see what was going on with Israel at the time).

After praying and asking God to give me His wisdom, He did ! He showed me that it must have to do with the fact that God has covenantally bound Himself to Israel so that it would in fact be unjust if He wasn't seeking to show them 'hanan' every day. God is so great and wonderful !!Ah, but are they (or are we) ready to receive it ?

"Blessed are all who wait for him!"

Response : I wait for you, Lord.

God's covenantal binding of Himself to His people is paralleled in Christ and through Christ :

"[25]Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her [26]to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, [27]and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. [28]In this same
way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. [29]After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— [30] for we are members of his body. [31]"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united
to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."[32]This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. [33]However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Ephesians 5:25-33

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Plantinga on the Sensus Divinitatis

"... Plantinga also speaks of the sensus divinitatis as

“a disposition or set of dispositions to form theistic beliefs in various circumstances or stimuli that trigger the working of this sense of divinity.” [v]

Just as perceptual beliefs like “There is a tree” are not based on arguments from more basic beliefs but arise spontaneously in me when I am in the circumstances of a tree’s appearing to be there, so the belief “God exists” arises spontaneously in me when I am in appropriate circumstances, such as moments of guilt, gratitude, or awe at nature’s grandeur, as a result of working of the sensus divinitatis.

Plantinga emphasizes that God’s existence is not inferred from such circumstances–such an argument would be manifestly inadequate--; rather the circumstances form the context in which the sensus divinitatis operates to produce a basic belief in God.

Thus, belief in God is not arbitrary; it is grounded by the appropriate circumstances and so is properly basic. Hence, if such a model of theistic belief is true, the theist whose belief is produced in the described way violates no epistemic duty in believing and so is justified in believing that God exists. (...) "

[v] Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 173.

(Read More)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Verse of the Day

Hebrews 13:17

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

======

One could debate whether or how authority can be justified.

However, for the purpose of this post I don't want to go there ; but, simply take it as the brute and inescapable fact that it is.

Whether we like it or not everybody has to answer to somebody or as Bob Dylan musically reminds us in all its sundry and various ways "You gotta serve somebody".

"I didn't ask to be born" goes the taunt of a teenager who has just been told he cannot do something. Whether it is a mother or a father, nobody enters into the world not without someone in authority looking down on them.

What I want to explore is how someone who is the object matter of somebody else's 'authority' ought to view himself and that person.

'Obey' and 'submit' is what we are commanded. It probably makes it easier to remember, when we are irritated and unwilling to 'submit' or 'obey' that these people must give 'an account'. If we acknowledge that state of affairs for the one in authority then we can help him or consider how we can help him as far it is in our power to do so.

That insight, I believe, gives us some motivation for our 'obedience' and 'submission' which is also perhaps self-affirming in some fundamental way. It also gives us a framework for discerning the limits and/or the legitimacy of the kind of authority under which we might find ourselves.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

More on Hope (& Love)

This post is a continuation of my thinking on the subject which I started HERE.

In that earlier post, I had been meditating on Romans 5:5 and asking myself the following question :

What is it about having the love of God poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit which somehow guarantees that my hope will "not disappoint" ?

In considering this question, I made the observation of the violent reaction exhibited by Muslims at any threat or criticism of their faith.

I deduced that this severe reaction could have at its root a disappointement of hope as the believer's faith is held up to the possibility of being shown to be false as it comes under threat, criticism or held up to ridicule (sarcasm).

But for the Christian the promise of Romans 5:5 is that the Christian hope does not disappoint.

Now we look more closely at Paul's train of thought in Romans. Paul introduces FAITH in Romans 3. The nature, quality or essence of that faith is revealed in Romans 4 by the example of Abraham and climaxes with the words of 4:18 (click to read) where HOPE is introduced for the first time in Romans. It's a faith with an overwhelming strong hope element (as it seems was also exhibited by Mother Teresa).

We then read only a few verses later in 5:5 (click to read) of LOVE.

This is also the first time love is introduced in the letter of Romans to reappear again alongside 'hope' when we reach chapter 8. In order to understand Paul's argument as to why the hope of the Christian is a hope that does not disappoint we have to understand how Paul defines 'love' as he introduces it here in 5:5 in connection with hope.

Thankfully, Paul does come to the rescue and defines 'love' three verses later as follows :

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Understand the implication of this love in your Christian life and your hope will never disappoint. Understand the implication of this love and you will understand what Christians have which Muslims (and all who do not have saving faith in Jesus Christ) sorely lack.

More later, perhaps.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Hope that is seen is not hope" (Romans 8:24)

This article in TIME has some interesting revelations about the inner life of Mother Teresa - about her doubts, her inability to sense the presence of Jesus, about her "dark night of the soul" which lasted some 60 years.

Does that make her faith sub-standard or even defective in some way ?

Some Protestants would be pretty quick to come to that conclusion simply because she is a Roman Catholic. Well, as a Protestant I was told not to trust in my feelings but to believe God's word. Our faith is therefore not in what we can see or feel or the circumstances around us but beyond that. Isn't that after all how Hebrews 11:1 defines faith ?

According to Hebrews 11:1 "faith is the conviction of things hoped for". Faith rests on and thus function in a very closely linked manner with Hope.

THIS particular YouTube video seems to capture the essence of the dubious attempts at humour which go under the label of "Christian satire" (H/T Sophia Kai Arete ).

You might note that Harry Gretzloff most perceptively puts his finger on why people generally get upset at this kind of so-called satire.

He says :"Most people hope that what they believe is true. And anything that threatens that hope is very scary".

One can see how scared or offended people can get angry, and even violent which reminds me of the Muslims reaction to the Danish cartoons about Mohamed or to the Pope's speech . I'm wondering if such offended Muslims are simply exhibiting a reaction to having their hope somehow threatened in the manner to which Gretzloff alludes. Of course, Muslims also seemed to seek out these cartoons and look for opportunities to be offended which is curious. They would then go way over the top in their reaction.

But why is it that Christians seem to have a higher tolerance level than Muslims in witnessing their faith criticised ? I think perhaps the answer lies in Romans 5:5 which says : "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

There are three things to note in this verse.

First, it says "hope does not disappoint us". The Greek word translated here as "disappoint" is sometimes rendered as "does not put us to shame". In the original biblical language it is defined as follows :

"one is said to be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived" (Blue Letter Bible).

Having one's hope disappointed is in effect suffering a repulse which may partially explain explains why the Muslims reactions were often so aggressive.

The reason why Christians are more confident in themselves and Muslims not so in the face of criticisms of their faith is given in the rest of the verse neither of which is true for any Muslim or Jew or any other person who does not have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ :

" because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
.

It might be observed that Jews more closely resemble Christians in their reaction to criticism of their faith. This is because Jews have Scriptural promises given to the Patriarchs about the Resurrection which they limit to the Israelite nation. So they have a sense of God's love toward them as a community if not as individuals or even in a personal way through the Divine indwelling in the heart.

Nevertheless, it is the same God who has made these promises to the Israelites which have found their fulfillment in Jesus Christ and thus in Christians by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The Muslim, however, can enjoy no such confidence or derive no such encouragement from the Koran (which is not the Word of God)or even from God Himself because he has rejected God's testimony about His Son.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Prayer

Lord,

I bring

the poverty of my soul to be transformed by your beauty;

the wildness of my passions to be tamed by your love;

the stubbornness of my will to be conformed to your commandments

and the yearnings of my heart to be renewed by your grace;

both now and for ever.

Amen

Catherine of Genoa, 1447-1510

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

At the Intersection of Nietzsche, Scheler and Girard

"(...)Girard begins from an observation no impartial reader of the Hebrew Bible or the Koran can fail to make, which is that religion may offer peace, but has its roots in violence. The God presented in these writings is often angry, given to fits of destruction and seldom deserving of the epithets bestowed upon him in the Koran—al-rahmân al-rahîm, "the compassionate, the merciful." (...) Thinkers like Dawkins and Hitchens conclude that religion is the cause of this violence (...), and that the crimes committed in the name of religion can be seen as the definitive disproof of it. Not so, argues Girard. Religion is not the cause of violence but the solution to it. The violence comes from another source, and there is no society without it since it comes from the very attempt of human beings to live together. The same can be said of the religious obsession with sexuality: religion is not its cause, but an attempt to resolve it.

Girard's theory is best understood as a kind of inversion of an idea of Nietzsche's.

In his later writings, Nietzsche expounded a kind of creation myth, by way of accounting for the structure of modern society. On the Genealogy of Morals (1887) envisages a primeval human society, reduced to near universal slavery by the "beasts of prey"—the strong, self-affirming, healthy egoists who impose their desires on others by the force of their nature.

The master race maintains its position by punishing all deviation on the part of the slaves—just as we punish a disobedient horse. The slave, too timid and demoralised to rebel, receives this punishment as a retribution. Because he cannot exact revenge, the slave expends his resentment on himself, coming to think of his condition as in some way deserved. Thus is born the sense of guilt and the idea of sin.

The resentment of the slave explains, for Nietzsche, the entire theological and moral vision of Christianity. Christianity owes its power to the resentment upon which it feeds: resentment which, because it cannot express itself in violence, remains turned against itself.

Thus arises the ethic of compassion, the mortification of the flesh and the life-denying routines of the "slave morality." Christianity is a form of self-directed violence, which conceals a deep resentment against every form of human mastery.

That "genealogy" of Christian morals was effectively exploded by Max Scheler in his book Ressentiment (1912). Scheler argues that the Christian ethic of agape and forgiveness is not an expression of resentment but rather the only way to overcome it. (...)"

(Read More)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Linkestan 2007 07 29

YouTube - Barbra Streisand - Woman in Love :
a romantic classic

YouTube - Engelbert Humperdinck - Release Me :
another romantic classic

The Noel Shempsky Marathon :
mrsseverussnape writes :

"About nine months ago, I fell in love with a man here in Boulder. It gloriously didn't work out. As the relationship was fizzling out, I was sitting at home one Friday night watching Frasier, trying to come up with a flaw in this man to help me move on.

Suddenly, my favorite character on the show, Noel Shempsky came on the screen dressed in the exact same outfit that this man usually wears.


Now, for those of you who aren't Frasier fanatics, Noel Shempsky works at the radio station with Frasier and is a delightfully quirky nerd who is obsessed with Roz and Star Trek. He also has a restraining order from William Shatner and lives with his mom.

I realized that this man for whom I had been pining was pretty much Noel's twin, with hair and a British accent. This realization went quite far in helping me get over him.


However, one night, I had a particularly rough week and was thinking about this man again so my friend Lindsay, came over and we decided to have a “Noel Marathon” to remind me what I was really pining for.

During the third Noel episode, I blurted out, “I don't know, I kind of feel bad for Noel. He just needs someone to love him.” Lindsay rolled her eyes and said, “Well, that plan failed.”

So instead of helping me get over someone, I ended up falling in love with Noel. It has now become quite a running joke amongst my friends about how I will end up with someone exactly like Noel. Which I guess is true."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is Fatalism Always a Bad Thing ?

Last Saturday, we were all watching a programme on the the Turkish Fox channel entitled 'Babami Ariyorum' ['I am searching for my father'].

It's a reality show whose premise is about a young lady of about 21 years of age who is about to be reunited with the father who deserted her and her mother when she was only a few months old.

But wait a minute.

It's not that simple and straightforward, you know, otherwise where would the fun be ?

She is actually facing eight men, count'em : eight, seven of whom are actors who are only pretending to be her father. If any one of these seven manages to fool the lady into thinking they are her real father, they win 20,000YTL.

Obviously, each of the seven has been briefed by the girl's mother who is in on the game. And so each of the seven get their turn at spinning some believable stories for the girl's consumption.

All of the talking that ensues is certainly of great sociological worth uncovering premises of the Turkish mind and Turkish society in the areas of relationships and ethics.

At one point, the moderator of the programme turns to the girl and asks her if she hates her father for deserting her.

Her answer which brings us to the title of this post is :"How could I hate him ? It was fated that he should desert us."

Her fatalism, which came across as quite genuine and sincere, has protected her, has it not, from the great evils of bitterness and unforgiveness?

It seems that fatalism can address, in practical and even ethical ways, the questions of what to do in the face of the hard realities of life.

Maybe as I enter something like mid-life ,fatalism can be a comfort when considering what is or what might have been as I don't believe each individual can be held entirely responsible for all the outcomes of his life.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Analysis of the Results of the Turkish General Elections

Logically speaking there were only three possible outcomes :

1) AKP gets an increased majority in the parliament, obtains the 367 MPs needed to install its own choice as president. If that happens look for a coup by the military.

2) AKP maintains its current single party majority -- the status quo.
AKP is not happy but the Army is not unhappy -- i.e. status quo.
Look for more of the same general level of stability.

3) AKP loses its current single party majority and has to form a coalition goverment. Erdogan has said he would resign from polticis if this were to happen. Look for turmoil and unrest with some jostling and attempted power grabs by Kurds. A state of turmoil is not too untypical of Turkish politics and could get out of hand in a couple of years bringing another coup to restore balance.

The most stable outcome therefore is no.2.

So what did happen ?

Well the AKP increased it percentage of the popular vote yet the number of its MPs has gone down to 342. The chief reason for this outcome is that the MHP which had failed by a narrow margin in 2002 to surpass the 10% threshold required for parliamentary presence did so this time around. It's presence in Parliament has, therefore, gone from nil to 70 MPs. More on this later.

Meanwhile, there has been a crop of 25+2 independent candidates in parliament. This is largely because of the rule that independent candidates are not subject to the 10% threshold : you win, you get in.

The 25 independents are not really independent but represent a block of Kurdish politicians from the southeast region of Turkey. They have had to run as independents because the state apparatus is not allowing Kurds to organise formally into parties. The other 2 independents are independents in the truer meaning of the word. They represent various political ideologies not covered by the spectrum of official parties.

So much for the immediate outcome. What might be the more long term legacy of this new parliament ?

First, there is the issue of who will be the next President of Turkey which is the reason why these elections were forced upon the ruling AKP in the first place.

Prior to the 22nd July and going into the elections, AKP's stated policy has been to change the law to allow for election of the President by popular vote rather than by the Parliament which is how it is currently done. Now with this result, the question in my mind is whether AKP will push for this change in the law or attempt to install its' own candidate directly via the parliamentary process.

It needs 367 votes which it does not currently have but might be able to acquire by winning over some Independents and some of the new MHP parliamentarians. My brother Alp, who follows these things more closely than I do, thinks there might even be some significant transfers of candidates between the parties once the new parliament is in session.

The wild card for the future will, I think, be the impact on the country that the presence of this new block of MHP parliamentarians will have. I don't hide my view that I think they can but have a negative influence as they are an ultra-nationalist and fascistic party. Enough said.

Another wild card for the future is the Army. I think the immediate danger of a coup d'etat has been averted. However, the manner in which the next President is elected as well as the the type of person who eventually takes office will play a big role on what actions, if any, the Turkish army might take in domestic politics.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Verse of the Day

12 Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips.
13-14 At the beginning his words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness-and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming— who can tell him what will happen after him?
15 A fool's work wearies him; he does not know the way to town.

Ecclesiastes 10:12-15 (New International Version)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2 Peter 1:5-8

[5] For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, ...

Among the basics of what faith is and is about, we read in Hebrews 11:6 that

"...without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would come to Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him".

It is faith in God and in a message for the Apostle Paul begins his magisterial letter to the Romans with the following declaration :

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek". (Romans 1:16).

It should be clear, therefore, that the one who possesses faith also possesses by it such a rich inheritance. Such a faith deserves to be accompanied or supplemented by "GOODNESS". Another translation uses the expression "MORAL EXCELLENCE" which I tend to prefer here.

...and goodness with knowledge, ...

Sometimes our ability to act in morally excellent ways is limited by ignorance. What sort or sorts of ignorance ?

It could be ignorance of God, ignorance of God's revelation the Bible, and last but not least ignorance of one's own self. Knowledge empowers and it empowers to right living.

[6] and knowledge with self-control, ...

Knowledge of self, of others of God and God's will in the varied circumstances of life is also an enabler in the area of self-control.

Therefore, as knowledge increases it should accrue to greater self- control.

...and self-control with endurance, ...

Other translations say "perserverance". Although it means the same thing, I prefer it because it generally has theological connotations, as in "the perseverance of the saints".

... and endurance with godliness, ...

People generally "endure" or "persevere" something because they may have an end in view such as a reward or to prove something to themselves and to others. The Scripture here implies that the goal of perseverance is to attain a state where godliness can be and is exercised.

[7] and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.

Muslims for instance have a form of godliness which they call takvah which really amounts to nothing more that legalistic observances. This is the highest goal of every Muslim.

What is wrong with this picture ?

Only that if we stopped there, even with a proper Christian understanding of godliness, then we have stopped short of affirming the value of our other fellow men and women as eternal beings created in the image of God.

Muslims, of course, do not believe that man is created in the image of God which is why they don't really affirm love as a value to be prized or nurtured.

But, Jesus said : "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another". (John 13:34-35)

[8] For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

2 Peter 1:4 "Through these..."

"...he has given us his very great and precious promises," verse 4a (RSV)

"Through these" : to what is "these" referring ?

Looking at the preceding verse it must be through a) "our knowledge of Him" who has called us by a calling which he has effectuated by b) "his own glory" and c) "excellence" (hence the plural "through these").

Picking up on this idea of God's glory and excellence which is explicitly stated or implied in Romans 1 as being the attributes of God's revelation of Himself in the Creation, we further conclude that this God is a God who a) calls and b) makes promises.

Perhaps nature does not teach us this about the God who stands behind it or perhaps man has become too blind and dull to perceive it since the Fall.

So now man needs in addition to natural revelation the special revelation of the Bible - a dual form of revelation technically referred to as duplex cognitio dei.

This fits very well with Peter's argument since he goes on to dwell on this point in verses 16 to 21 of the same chapter .

Peter mentions his experience of Jesus' transfiguration for epistemological reasons. However, Jesus himself speaks of his crucifixion and death as a demonstration of God's glory and as being glorified (see John 13:30-32 .)

I might perhaps have more to say on this in a future post, God willing.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

2 Peter 1:3 : "His divine power...."

"... has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" verse 3a (RSV)

This is an interesting beginning to an interesting and complex section of the Bible.

"Divine power" is "theios dunamis" in the original Greek. This is an echo to Romans 1:20 which speaks of "His eternal power and Godhead" where we have the Greek words "dunamis" and "Theiotes" where it speaks of these things being "clearly seen" in Creation and "understood".

All true "seeing" and "understanding" involves some acknowledgement of the Deity or "divine power" or at the very least we see that they are closely linked. That connection should become more open as we look further in the passage which continues as follows "

"... through the knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and excellence" verse 3b (RSV)

It is a knowledge of Him who works in glory and excellence as we see in the Creation. We will see in 2 Peter 1 the explanation that a right alignment of the person to that knowledge of God (sensus divinitatis) leads to certain consequences or outcomes.

In Romans 1, we see the converse, namely that the failure to be rightly aligned to that knowledge also leads to a different set of consequences and outcomes which are enumerated in Romans 1:21-32.

Just as that list in Romans 1 is a catalogue of "ungodliness" so in 2 Peter 1 being rightly related to the knowledge of God leads to "all things that pertain to life and godliness".

For this and other reasons which I will be touching on I find comparing and contrasting Romans 1 and 2 Peter 1 so compelling and powerful.

Let us continue with our comparing and contrasting these two sections of God's word.

Of course, in 2 Peter it's not just "godliness" but "life and godliness". It's not just about knowledge. We don't need another religion. What we need is LIFE and that is exactly what " Peter 1 is about. Echos of it are in Romans 1:17, the introductory verse to the rest of the chapter and indeed the whole of Romans, where the Gospel is not just information, knowledge, but is LIFE giving.

Romans 1:17 is also significant in that here the Apostle is quoting from Habakkuk 2:4. Why that is so will become clearer when we come to consider 2 Peter 1:6.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

U.S. now threatening Turkey

Well the U.S. has taken to threatening Turkey now.

See HERE fo the CNN news report.

It's all about Turkey's impending foray into northern Iraq to attack PKK bases.

Turkey's politicians have historically suffered from chronically limited vision especially in the area of foreign relations. So the military option is the politically lazy means of trying to solve social and ethnic problems which of course only make them worse.

Therefore, the U.S. position in standing against this impending action by Turkey is morally, politically and intellectually correct.

The real question, however, is how far the U.S. is willing to put its' money where its' mouth is on this one.

The Kurds are undoubtedly full of confidence and arrogance now that Uncle Sam is their protective Uncle. But that will last only as long as the U.S. has the stomach to remain in the region as an occupying force.

(I have the feeling none of the Iraqi locals will soon be turning into pliant and accomodating subjects).

And so when it is time for the U.S. to go, the Kurds will find they have no other friends in the region -- none, nada. They never did. That is why they have been a stateless people until now. And, that is what they have to think about.

Meanwhile, time is on the side of Turkey if Turkey can be patient and play its' cards right.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Linkestan 2007 05 17

On Affliction :It always means more coming from one who is going through the mill

The martyred body : A thought dedicated to the memory of Necati Aydın, Uğur Yüksel, and Tillman Geske

The Panda and the Beaver : Best career advice I've seen in a long time.

The Most Essential Career Skill You Need to Succeed : Some more career advice

Sleep Strengthens Your Memory

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Muslim asks : Friends or Classmates ?

click HERE to read this penetrating post by a black American convert to Islam.

The poster is clearly asserting that his Muslim experience is more akin to being "classmates" rather than "friends" .

That he has hit a raw nerve is made more evident by the 40+ comments his post has attacted.

In effect, they are all asking one question : where is the love ?

We have the following exhortations to love one another in the New Testament which I venture to say are nowhere matched anywhere in the Koran (click on the reference to read the verses):

1 Corinthians 6:11-13,
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 ,
2 Peter 1:7-8

In the Christian faith, love is more central than knowledge.

This is the example of Jesus Himself and is also required of any who would be His disciples.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hiatus

Blogging will be light to practically nonexistent until August.

But, do keep praying for me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Meredith Kline (1922-2007)

This gentleman, along with James Jordan, has helped make the Old Testament a coherent whole for me as a Christian.

Apparently he has now gone on to Glory.

In his tribute to Kline, Lee Irons names the top two things Kline has taught him :

"...First, as a recovering dispensationalist, I learned from him the big picture that made sense of the Bible as a whole. He explained the flow of covenant history from creation, to the fall, to the promise, followed by the two-level fulfillment of the promise, first typologically in Israel, then anti-typically in Christ. Kline also explained so many of the strange things about the Old Testament – like the destruction of the Canaanites, the scary laws of the Israelite theocracy, and why the exile had to happen. His understanding of the Mosaic covenant as a republication on the typical layer of the Adamic covenant of works was for me the linchpin that held everything together. After being raised with a dispensational understanding, he gave me back my Bible. He took all of the weird things in the Old Testament and explained them in a unified, systematic way so that the whole plot of the Bible was seen as leading on a single track to its climactic, eschatological fulfillment in Christ.

Second, he explained the gospel of justification by faith alone in a way that offered tremendous assurance. Taking up Paul’s theology of the two Adams in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, Kline explained the gospel on the basis of the federal theology of the Creator’s covenant of works with the first Adam and the Father’s covenant of works with the second Adam. Kline also taught that heaven must be earned, but that by Christ’s merit heaven has been earned for his people. This understanding of the gospel is precious to me because it provides the assurance that in Christ we are “beyond probation,” since the right to heaven has been won and cannot be revoked. Christian obedience is merely the evidence of the genuineness of our faith, but not in any way the condition or means of receiving the right to heaven."
...
READ MORE

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sensus Divinitatis (3)

This week the topic is being "without excuse" as in Romans 1:20.

The Greek word for "without an excuse" is anapologetos only occurs in one other place in the entire New Testament : in Romans 2:1.

It must be significant that the word is repeated in the same context and nowhere else.

Tony Miles, broadcaster on Premier Radio and minister at Wesminter Methodist Chapel gives us HERE a helpful analogy from experience of what being "without excuse" looks like in its negative and positive aspects.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Linkestan 2007 05 05

Latest Crisis in Turkey : a good place to get at something of the real story behind the story

Why Beauty is Truth : on symmetry in maths and physics. This might be a book worth getting and reading.

The Perfect Church : if you find it, what you should do.

The Sibel Edmonds Story : tells us no more than what we already knew : that all states maintain alliances and also secrets about those alliances

Turkey's hidden Armenians : sheep without shepherds.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007



SYRIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN THE CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EAST POLITICS with special reference to TURKISH-SYRIAN RELATIONS

by His Excellency Dr. Sami Khiyami, Ambassador of Syrian Arab Republic


Date
May 9th, 2007
Time
18:45 - 21:00
Venue
London School of Economics
Address
Room: S421
London School of Economics
St. Clement's Building
London
WC2A 2AE

Program Outline

18:45 Registration18:55 Welcome Speech by LCSS19:00 Main talk 20:15 QuestionsThere will be refreshments available afterwards.

Abstract & Biography

His Excellency Dr Sami Khiyami holds a PhD degree in Electronics and Information Technology from the University of Claude Bernard Lyon, France. He worked for various public and private enterprises and taught at several Universities and research centres including Damascus University and “Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble”, France before his appointment to London as the Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic. He extensively contributes in many scientific reviews, journals, seminars and conferences both in his field and on the issue of Syrian foreign policy.

Links
Directions to LSEMap showing where LSE is locatedMore detailed map of LSE

To register for the seminar, please click here.










Monday, April 30, 2007

Sensus Divinitatis (2)




The beautiful sights you are seeing are from the Saguenay River near Tadoussac in Quebec, Canada.

Why am I posting pictures from Tadoussac ?

Well, many many years ago when I must have been around 4 years old, our family went sightseeing on this river.

And so this wilderness environment unfolded around me as our pleasure boat made its journey and impressed upon me something of a greater Being unlike myself (as much as one could say I had a sense of "myself" at the time).

I may have been slightly awestruck. The experience did present itself to me as an inescapable one, most definitely.

I am quite convinced that it was my first encounter with what the Bible speaks of in Romans 1:20 .

Now would that experience at the tender age of 4 or thereabouts have been sufficient to lead me to a true knowledge of God ?

I feel the best "true knowledge" imparted to me on that occasion was what was in fact true of myself from my birth : that which the Bible calls being "in Adam".

And so being "in Adam" I was potentially on the road to engage in the practices being denounced by the Apostle Paul in the immediate context of that passage.

After that experience at the age of 4 years I was irrevocably changed having been confronted perhaps for the first time with my lostness.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Salvation not by Works

[9] After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.

They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

[10] And they cried out in a loud voice:

"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."

[11] All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

[12] saying:

"Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!"

(Revelation 7:9-12)

This morning in church we sang a hymn which contained this phrase "Salvation belongs to our God".

What does this mean ?

One thing it must mean is that its' antithesis i.e. "salvation belongs to US" is completely excluded.

What does that imply ?

It implies that we [man] cannot do anything to earn, keep or work for salvation.

Isn't that great ?

Isn't that wonderful ?

Isn't that why the multitude are singing and praising the Lamb who is on the Throne ?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sensus Divinitatis (1)

I went to the Technorati web site and did a blog search on the words "sensus divinitatis".

I actually also set up RSS feeds to come to my Yahoo feed reader anytime a blog post appeared in the blogosphere which contained this tag.

And so recently the RSS feeder served me up the following little gem on the subject.

It from a chap called Felipe Fontes who is no doubt a Christian and lives in Brazil (nice place).

Therefore the post was naturally enough in Portuguese.

Having fed the link through Google Language tools here it is in the Queen's English :

I believe in God, sovereign not servant, perfect in all His ways, transcendent, totally other, but One who becomes related in a pact of love with His creation.

I believe that God created all the existing, visible and invisible things, in the land and skies, and that when creating all the things God meant its perfect intention in accordance with them.

I believe that to the man this meant that God has endowed man with His image and similarity, and this implies that man can know God and the reality that encircles him.

It also implies that we are endowed with the knowledge of the divine - "sensus divinitatis", and that all rationalizations and lies against reality are nothing more than the attempt to suppress and to refuse the knowledge of God who requires devotion.

I believe that the knowledge of God and of ourselves is determinative for all and any type of knowledge, and that the fullness of the truth only can come after the tried and true knowledge of God and of ourselves.

Therefore, there enters a clear antithesis : the wisdom of the world, and the wisdom of God.

I believe that the only safe source of knowledge is the Holy Bible, inerrant and autoritative revelation of God to man.

I believe that my knowledge is achieved by the correspondence with the meaning determined by God for something at its creation, when found through the special revelation of the Bible, and the general revelation actually experienced in my heart “coram Deo”.

Being thus, I know!


Thanks Felipe.

There are a number of things I like about Felipe's formulation.

First, I like his first paragraph and particularly the expression where he speaks of God as "One who becomes related in a pact of love with His creation". This really says a lot not least of which that God's relation to us as His creation is, if I may say it without wishing in any way to be irreverent, maintained by means of that same glue that holds the Trinity together - love.

Second, he speaks of God as One who "requires our devotion" . Nothing is added to Him by our devotion, of course. Devotion is our right and proper response as the created and dependent beings that we are.

Finally, almost in a throw away fashion he seems to have identified the ontology of that dichotomy which has come to be known in New Testament revelation as the "wisdom of the world" versus the "wisdom of God" (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-31).

Friday, April 27, 2007

Scarborough Fair

(views:9,483)

Are you goin to scarborough fair? parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without no seams nor needlework, then shell be a true love of mine

Tell her to find me an acre of land, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the salt water and the sea strand, then shell be a true love of mine

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And to gather it all in a bunch of heather, then shell be a true love of mine

Are you goin to scarborough fair? parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"70 Years Later Guernica Holds Secrets"

"70 Years Later, Guernica Holds Secrets" by Paul Haven is an interesting article.

70 years or 92 years.

Spaniards or Turks.

What is the difference ?

Adam and Eve were the first to do a dirty and then try to hide it
(read Genesis 3:1-13).

Human nature has not changed since Adam and Eve has it ?

If proof were needed here is your proof and just in time for Armenian Genocide Memorial day.

What is the solution ?

Is it political ?

No.

The solution is spiritual, not political. Anything else is not totally but mostly a waste of time. In any case, I'm convinced it's a waste of MY time so I'll leave it to the "activists". And i may send them a cheque to help them out a little. Maybe.

But i would rather the activists and those who are the targets of the activists realise together for their own sakes and for the sake of the rest of us that God has provided the solution.

What is the solution ?

It's right there in Genesis, right after Adam and Eve have made a mess of it for all of us : it's in Genesis 3:15. It's often called the "Protoevangelion" which in Greek (the theological language of the New Testament and of Christians) means "the first gospel". It is the first preaching of the gospel or the preaching of the gospel in advance. "In advance of what?" you ask. It's in advance of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you see Jesus ? Do you see Him right there at the very begining of history ?

Here is Genesis 3:15. Here is Jesus.

See Jesus - "The Offspring of the Woman" :

"And I [God] will put enmity
between you [the Serpent] and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My All Time Favourite Car : The 1976 Alfa Romeo GTV (Sprint)

I also managed to find the Al Pacino movie where this car was featured --- in seconds.

Amazing thing, this Google.

Here is what one reviewer wrote :

“I gave this film 3 stars for the calm, romantic, almost "haunting style" the film projects onto the viewer....and Pacino's 1976 Alfa Romeo GTV sports car, driving around those old streets of Italy rated 2 stars all by itself!”

That’s what I remember from the movie, as well; although, I think the reviewer was being a little bit too generous : I would give the car 3 stars and the movie none, to be honest!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How Trustworthy are Climate Change Models ?

Watch THIS CLIP of the MIT professor talking on the subject.

At the 11:56 mark, the issue of whether CO2 is the cause or the effect of global warming is raised in a question from the floor.

The professor responds that it is a "chicken and egg problem" and says "we don't have an answer to that" but then adds that it is "a firm conclusion".

"A firm conclusion"? Maybe he was hoping nobody would notice that comment and nail him with follow up questions like :

"What is a firm conclusion? That CO2 is the cause of global warming? Didn't you just say 'we don't have the answer to that'?"

But they just let him get away with it.

At the 13:36 mark he puts up a slide showing the discredited and dishonest "hockey stick" graph.

Why dishonest ?

There was a period in recent human history which was hotter than it is now but you wouldn't know it from the way the "hockey stick" shoots up at the right side of the graph. The graph does not reflect the historical fact that Vikings were farming in Greenland around 1000AD.

At the end of his spiel on the "hockey stick" graph he again uses the expression "another firm conclusion". I think they have a term for that in psychology : it's called overcompensating.

The rest of his hour long talk (if you can bear it) is all about his model.

After you've taken that in, read THIS and ask yourself the question in the subject line of this post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More on the late Hrant Dink

Earlier posts on this blog about him can be read by clicking HERE.

Entering "Hrant Dink" as a search parameter on the YouTube site will return a number of video clips.

The one with the greatest number of views (97,060 at last count) has been helpfully translated into English by Murat Altinbasak at his Amerikan Turk blog site, if any are interested.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Depeche Mode "John the Revelator" Video

(views:312,192)

Believing the Bible and what it teaches is most important. Bush claims to do so. Yet, Bush has let himself be manipulated by Neocon elitists who are quite happy to co-opt Christian or any other belief which suits their own aims.

(Watch the documentary called "The Power of Nightmares" to find out how this ideology works).

So Bush has been the cause (on a smaller scale) of misery and chaos of the kind the Antichrist will bring on earth.

Who knows ? The seeds of instability which Bush has sown in the most strategically important region in the world may perhaps set the stage for the Antichrist.

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