I remember when the world was very different

This is an adapted re-blog from Is there a God?

The world in 1945

I’m not sure if I was a normal boy, but I always loved maps. So one of my favourite books was the Oxford University World Atlas. I loved it because of the diversity of its maps – it even included details on the solar system (I loved astronomy too!) and the exploration of Australia by Europeans (the unexplored parts of the country were shown black, as if the first Australians weren’t even there). As you can see, I still have the atlas, much the worse for wear – sort of like me and the world it portrays! :)

I was born in 1945, right at the end of the Pacific war in which my dad fought. The atlas was from about the same period – it doesn’t show Israel as a separate country (which occurred in 1948). And it shows, as you can see in the above world map, the British Empire, on which the sun never set, proudly marked red.

The might and grandeur of the Empire was a wonderful fact of life in those days – we even celebrated Empire Day with a half day school holiday in May, and fireworks in the evening.

They were innocent days. But they didn’t last. (You can read more about my story, should you be interested.)

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Christians and abortion

Difficult issues series

Pregnant woman

In the previous two posts I have considered when in human evolution human life began, and when in pregnancy human life begins. In both cases, there were considerable uncertainties.

This naturally brings us to the polarising topic of abortion, and christian attitudes to termination of pregnancy.

This is a “hot button” issue, but if it is more personal than “an issue” to you, I apologise if any of my words are insensitive. I hope to offend no-one, but rather to offer thoughtful comment. If you have strong opinions either way, please try to avoid being upset at anything I say, and if you wish to express an opinion, please do it graciously.

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Did Jesus endorse a centurion’s gay relationship?

Difficult issues series


This one’s been around for a while, but I hadn’t seen it until recently, so maybe you haven’t either.

When Jesus healed a centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:5-13 & Luke 7:1-10, the Greek word pais is used and translated as “servant”. The word pais had several meanings, including young boy or son, but also had a common meaning as the younger partner in a same sex relationship. So, it is said, Jesus blessed this same sex couple by healing the servant, likely just a teenager.

For many people, there’s a bit riding on this. Gay christians understandably are looking for Jesus’ support for same sex relationships. Traditional christians, equally understandably, are looking to uphold the traditional view which opposes these relationships. Who’s right?

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World War 1 – the war to end all wars?

Trench warfare

A hundred years ago, World War 1 was being fought across Europe. In a few weeks, Anzac Day, probably Australia’s holiest day, will be the 100th anniversary of the abortive, chaotic, mismanaged attempt by the Allies to occupy the Dardanelles.

It was later said to be the war that would end all wars. Sadly, that was far from true, but there are still some lessons christians can learn.

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Enough is enough – guest post by a former Prime Minister of Australia

Malcolm Fraser

Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia from 1975 to 1983. His Government was formed by a coalition of the same two parties which form Australia’s present conservative government.

Fraser was vilified by his opponents during his term as PM, but has since mellowed and become much respected by those on the opposite (less conservative) side of politics, and less popular with his former party.

The Government has just released a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on asylum seeker children held in detention. The report is damning.

Malcolm Fraser has issued a press release which condemns the government (and by implication the opposition whose policies are similar). Read it and weep!

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Does the value of human life depend on where you live?

War cemetery

Terrorism has become an unfortunate fact of life in first world countries over the past decade or two. The Twin Towers in the US in 2001, the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings which affected many western tourists, Spain’s train bombings in 2004, the 2005 London transport bombings and now the several recent terrorist actions in France (and more besides) have all understandably generated outrage.

I have been pondering these matters for a while. Here’s a few of my thoughts, ending with 4 lessons I think first world christians can learn.

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The government shall be upon his shoulders?

The first Christmas

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.”

I quoted this passage from Isaiah 9 last Christmas, and I still think it is profound. But what does it say to us today?

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