Thursday, August 23, 2007

Survivor Digital Songbook Gripe!

I got the Survivor Digital Songbook last week. Basically its the complete score, guitar chord sheets and full text for all songs in all 4 'Survivor' music books on one handy CD. Its only £20 for the printable music for almost 700 songs. Great value.

This way I only need to print out the songs I want and never have to flick past pages and pages of songs I don't want. All good so far.

But I would like to print out the index for the thing - 13 pages of song titles (and composers) arranged in alphabetical order. But on the PDF they have included the index in white text on a black background! 13 pages which are probably over 95% black ink! The thing is designed to be printed out at home, that would use up almost one entire (£15) black ink tank on its own. What idiot had that idea? Aaaaargh!

(any hints on how to invert the colours of a PDF file before printing would be appreciated...)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Answers for the Hillbilly Atheist: Part 6

After a long break... Following on from parts one, two, three, four and five. And responding to these questions.

51. If you think the rest of the world is deceived or mistaken, even though they think their right, then what makes you any different?

For a start, I know the difference between "their" and "they're" :o)
I could be wrong, I'll admit that. But the experiences I have had have lead me to the conclusion that what I believe is at least consistent with the evidence and reasonable.

52. if we are designed so perfectly as intelligent design suggests, than why are there disabled people, retarded, blind, crippled etc.

Intelligent design is a nonsense. The bible does not shy away from the (undeniable) fact that we live in an imperfect world. It also proposes a plan to 'make everything new' and improve things.

53. If your answer to the last question was sin, then why did god make me blind at birth, I hadn’t done anything yet?

That wasn't my answer.

54. Why does god need us to kill animals then his son to forgive us, why couldn’t he just choose not to hold this incredible grudge?

Dunno. I believe the animal sacrifice thing was a way of explaining to simple people that there are consequences for your actions - it costs to fix the problems. And I have no idea why the death of Jesus was required. But I believe it did happen and was required. I know that's not very satisfying for you, but I'm sure there's things you don't understand either.

55. Since god wanted to kill Jesus to forgive us, why didn't he do it right after Adam ate the apple, that way the Jews wouldn't have to live under the oppression of the old testament?

Sometimes the best time to fix something is not immediately after it breaks. Maybe he waited for the right time? Or maybe the original problem wasn't actually fruit-related.

56. Why would a loving god create Parasites and Ebola and rabies or design animals to rip other animals apart and eat them?

Because evolution is not guided evolution.

57. Why is a first cause necessary, why not an infinite regression of causes?

Neither option solves the problem of origins.

58. isn't it such a coincidence that folks tend to believe the religion of their parents?

No. That's just human nature. Its far more interesting to look at those who convert from one religion to another. I know a few former muslims who are now Christians. I know a former muslim who is now a Wiccan, for that matter. I know a few Christians who have 'lost faith' and now are atheists. I know a few former atheists who are now Christians. I don't actually know anyone (or have heard of anyone) who was raised a Christian who now is a muslim.

59. If God has such a tremendous problem with uncircumcised penises, why did he make man with foreskin in the first place?

It was an act of devotion. It wasn't that God has anything in particular against foreskins, its just that it is a demonstrable act of sacrifice.

60. It says in genesis that the sons of god saw the daughters of men that they were fair... now since these "angels were able to copulate does this indicate that angels have a gender and are not spiritual beings. how did angel chromosomes work with the human genome.

Well, you're probably just misunderstanding the passage. What if there was a tribe who called themselves 'Sons of God'? Suddenly its all human.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The power of the devil?

I've touched on this in a previous post, but I want to raise the issue again.

What power does the devil have?

I heard recently of a newborn baby with tumours behind its eyes. The person recounting the news was absolutely convinced that these tumours were a direct spiritual attack - that the devil had caused the baby to be born with these tumours.

Does the devil have the power to do this? Or is this simply the product of a fallen world (i.e. is it just 'life')?

Mulling over my previous observations, I still observe that Jesus only attributes the powers of deception and theft to the devil - he does not give the devil credit for any power over nature. In the gospels, Jesus is the one who the wind and waves obey, not the devil.

Could this be a spiritual attack?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hell freezes over!

I was at the evening service in the church that I grew up in last night. The church is a 'conservative evangelical' Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) and quite traditional. When I was there, a 'modern hymn' was considered to be anything written after the first world war, and modern 'choruses' were really considered as only fit for the children in the Sunday school to be singing.

When the 'new' minister was inducted in the mid/late 1990s, I predicted that the congregation would be singing 'choruses' within 5 years. It turns out I was wrong. Five years after he took the charge, the music was still firmly grounded in the 19th century. Hymns, organ, that's it.

Imagine my surprise last night to discover not one but three 'choruses' being sung. One of them as even less than 15 years old! (Matt Redman's "I will Offer")

OK, so they still sung them as if they were hymns, but its a step in the direction of the 21st century - and they were even played by a band (piano, guitar, sax, trumpet and even vocals (gasp)).

But for all that, I still felt that the church has a long way to go. The music and sermon were fine and were God centred, but there was no sense of meeting with Him, no sense of an interaction with the Spirit. Which is a shame.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wine and Heaven

Kind of out of character for me on this blog, but I listened to a downloaded sermon by Rob Bell yesterday which was just great. Its on 'Wine and Heaven'. There was so much insight and interesting stuff crammed into it that I thought I'd encourage you all to listen. Sadly the sermon in question has dropped off the bottom of the Mars Hill downloads page (they only list the most recent 12 sermons) but I have put it on my website for your edification: [click here to download] (12Mb). I can't actually remember the last time I heard a sermon go well past the hour mark and still be interesting...