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things on heaven, and things on earth…

Christians are often puzzled or bored or indifferent when confronted by the Torah’s obsessive concern with regulating every aspect of Israelite life. Does the holy book really need to tell us what to do when one ox gores another (Exodus 21:35-6)? Why are bald eagles detestable to eat (Leviticus 11:13), but bald locusts are just fine (Leviticus 11:22)?

The details of such passages might need some sorting out, but the overall point should not be missed: the Old Testament writers had an abiding concern with the materiality of life. There simply was no distinction to be made between spiritual concerns and material concerns.

The realm of the material is not just an inert and indifferent means to spiritual aspirations. The salvation of the whole community is worked out not in some interior dialogue with God, but in the everyday interactions with the material world. All of creation is to be brought into conformity with God’s will.

William Cavanaugh in his article on the ABC Religion & Ethics website, Only Christianity Can Save Economics.


the neutrality of atheism

I don’t normally write about atheism and belief in God. I believe such discussions should generally be left to the context of personal relationships; public debates on the topic change no one’s opinion (people have almost always made up their mind before the often shrill debates begin).

However after watching Scott Stephens’ Compass interview with The Chaser’s Julian Morrow on the topic of Life’s Big Questions, I thought I would make a brief comment about atheist “non-belief”.

Morrow, speaking about his Jesuit Catholic upbringing, recalls:

So you know that’s a lot of inculcation and indoctrination time that I was exposed to.
… I think it is indoctrination. And I remember seeing it in my little brother; seeing a little baby who had absolutely no conception of these ideas of God or the devil or Jesus or resurrection and they’re simply inculcated into a person to the point that they accept them. Read the rest of this entry

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