Monthly Archives: April 2011

Royalty and Weddings

So the country will grind to a halt to watch the TV and see a royal wedding. A spectacle witnessed only a couple of times each generation. Tears will be shed, grumpiness will be expressed, and celebrities and new money will see just how wrong they’ve been getting ostentation.

And I’ll be working. Because the 5 minute summary on the news will be fine for me. And I have insane amounts of work to do at the moment.

I was wondering tonight, thinking about our monarchy here in the UK (and let it be known I am rather ambivalent towards it: I have no real desire to throw it over for a republic, but I wouldn’t particularly object if that was the way it went).

God is sometimes described in Kingly language. Because the idea of a Davidic King was important to the Jews of Jesus’s time, and therefore to Jesus too.

Now there are few totalitarian monarchies left in the world. We have rather got into the habit of thinking about monarchies as constitutional monarchies. I wonder, when people think about the Kingdom of God, do they envisage totalitarianism, or constitutionalism?

After this exchange on Doug’s blog, I’ve spent the last couple of days mulling over models of divinity, in an idle kind of way. In particular Kaufman’s Metadivine Realm. The constitution, if you like, behind a divine monarchy. I hope to collect my thoughts into a post on the subject in due course. If you google metadivine realm, you currently get almost no useful results, so it would be worth correcting that, if nothing else!


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Thankful to be British

There are times I feel most like thanking a creator for the situation of my birth.

Like when the state broadcaster of my country funds an hour long academic discussion of the Pelagian Controversy, and then makes it available to the world to listen online.

Its for this reason I never begrudge paying my “TV license” (i.e. state broadcaster subsidy tax, for those of you elsewhere).

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Is God Either Irrelevant or Non-Existant?

I was reading the comment stream at the facebook page for the “Magis Centre for Reason and Faith” about how science and religion are compatible because science can’t prove or disprove the existence of God.

There are a whole bunch of things wrong with the comments, including the standard category errors, and moving referent errors, and the lack of understanding that science doesn’t prove anything.

But it got me thinking.

Science is a way to tell which explanation is better. You compare the possible explanations, and you figure out their consequences (because all explanations have consequences). You keep going until the consequences differ: explanation one would have consequence A, but explanation two would not. Then you go and look to see which is right. That explanation is better. You then repeat, again and again, until one explanation dominates its peers.

So the problem with the Magis approach, that God’s existence cannot be accessed via science is this: it is an admission that the God explanation for the way the world works has no unique consequences.

To say theology and science are non-overlapping concerns is to say that God has no consequence in the entire universe: the whole universe is exactly as it would be if there were no God. Because if that weren’t true – if there were some place where the existence of God mattered – well, there would be a consequence, then we could go check.

This is a singly modern idea of God, and it is born out of the fact that for millenia, religious folks have thought that there were observable consequences of God. And they were pretty cocky about them. But it has turned out, time and again, they were wrong. So the fashion in theology is to retreat – to say we don’t want to play that game (after all, Creationism is a dirty word among most Christians I know too), so we’ll partition God from science finally – the two can never meet.

Well, okay, that’s fine as a theology I guess, but if you do that, how have you not just made God totally irrelevant?

And if you can name a point at which God is relevant to the universe, how can that not be testable?


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I’m mothballing the blog. I’ve moved it to wordpress, although the old url still forwards. I’m going to keep it here for a while reference, and then when I have another chunk of time, I’ll resurrect something again.

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