Archive for May, 2006

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H.M.S Warrior
"Sea-Fever"

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield (1878-1967).

This ones for you:

Posted: May 30, 2006 in Uncategorized

Cisco

Google

Yahoo

Microsoft

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(Thanks Channel 4 for the 'TankMan') 

Gravitational lensing

Posted: May 27, 2006 in Astronomy & Space

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The NASA Hubble telescope has captured probably one of the best images demonstrating the gravitational lensing effect.

What happens is that the light behind a supermassive object such as a cluster of galaxies or a black hole is bent by the force of gravity as it travels past that object giving a  repeated (due to the different paths to the viewer the light can take) and distorted (lensing arc)images.A mere seven billion light years away there a cluster of galaxies designated SDSS J1004+4112.Behind this cluster of galaxies at a distance of ten billion light years is a quasar(the brightest objects in the universe,which are found near the edge of the observable universe) .From the viewpoint of the Hubble telescope the light is bent so much that there are 5 images of the same quasar and several images of the same galaxy.Deflection of light by gravity was predicted by Einstiens Theory of general relativity

(Hat tip to http://hubblesite.org)

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Just found this award winning website by an astronomer Roeland van der marel  regarding Black holes  -well worth a visit,check it out!  Here is  the link:http://hubblesite.org/discoveries/black_holes/

They wouldn’t belive us!

Posted: May 25, 2006 in Theo/Philo

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Just imagine that these events were to become known to the enemy!

And were being exploited by them! In all probability,such propaganda would be ineffective simply because those hearing and reading it would not be prepared to belive it. '

(The reichskommisar for the Ostland to the Reichminister for occupied Eastern territories-18th June,1943.)

Schaeffer in his book 'What ever happened to the Human race ?' says Cultures can be judged in many ways,but eventually every nation in every age must be judged by this test:How did it treat People ?

The dominant worldview of the west does not acknowledge any judgement of its culture,except the fleeting judgement of the moment,morals are relative and personal.Where has the judge gone?

What basis for human dignity and worth do we have,when our culture is increasingly based on Humanist principles?

These principles are defined as : 'Humanism is a broad category of active ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities— particularly rationality, common history, experience, and belief.'(definition from Wikipedia)

This sounds great,our culture' defines what is right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities',but if morality is no longer absolute it must be personal, then who decides what those human qualities are?Is it the 51% vote,with an increasing vulnerability to utilitarianism and manipulation that decides or an authoritarian elite?

Humanism, both religious and secular has no adequate ground for morality or judging.

Bruce Cockburn rightly sings 'The trouble with normal is it always gets worse'What is deemed 'bad' today becomes tomorrows new 'good'.The heart of Humanism is described by H.J.Blackham:

On Humanist assumptions,life leads to nothing,and every pretence that it does not is a deceit.If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air,and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on,one after the other they fall into the abyss.The bridge leads nowhere,and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going,what preparations for the journey they have made,how much they may be enjoying it all.The objection merely points out objectivity that such a situation is a model of futility.'

From a Christian view point Human Life is precious -If we don't stand for this -what will we stand for ?

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(Number 2 son Liam )

Why have I started this Blog?Like the majority of weblogs it is narcissistic in nature, reflecting the things I am interested in.Of course the great thing about blogging is the potential for dialogue -so I am not completely caught up with my own thoughts, hopefully.At this early stage in my blog journey a prime reason for posting is making itself known.Right about now we need flashback music coupled with a far off look in our hero's eyes (who says our thought forms are not effected by the media).

28 years ago I became a Christian in a church which is Charismatic in style, popular culture would label it as 'happy clappy' as opposed to 'smells and bells'.This little church was full of loving people and still has a great and good effect on the community it is part off.

No church structure is perfect(by church structure I mean the way it is run, its mission, the importance it gives to specific areas of the Christian life)the saying goes: if you find a perfect church don't join it …your ruin it!Over time I began to feel a tension between my experience of church and ideas I was reading, mainly gleaned from Schaeffer,Os Guiness,C.S.Lewis amongst others.The cause of this tension is becoming one of the main 'why's' in my reasons to blog.The danger with any church group is that it becomes a caricature (a cartoon) of the beauty that should be reflected. The bread and butter of political cartoonist is to pick a characteristic of there subject and enlarge it with respect to all the other features, so it could be Prince Charles Ears for instance.This is what has happened to many Charismatic styled churches.

The 1980 Gallup poll on religion said:'We are having a revival of feelings but not of the knowledge of God. The church today is more guided by feelings than by convictions. We value enthusiasm more than informed commitment.'The emphasis on feelings and emotional strokes fills the gap that anti-intellectualism has left behind.Without going into why this emphasis has occurred I will detail just two aspects of what anti-intellectualism has done to the church, there are others.The most apparent danger that this overemphasis has created is a weakened spiritual discernment.1 John 4 V 1 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God..'

The basis of discernment according to scripture is a statement of content-we are looking for the a belief that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. We are not directed to judge what is told to us by the emotional impact it gives. This lack of discernment means we will unthinkingly accept further distortions to scripture, if the source of the distortion presses the right emotional buttons.

Another result of anti-intellectualism is the presence of a secular/sacred divide where there should be none. This is most easily seen when a Christian talks about full time ministry. The idea of full time ministry is an error. If Jesus is Lord of the Christian then he is Lord of the whole of that Christians life not just the Sunday and midweek moments.

Every Christian is in full-time ministry in the job/study or what ever else it is they do with there lives.This sacred /secular divide has caused the church to withdraw from the world to be concerned with only 'Spiritual' matters yet every part of a Christians life is Spiritual according to Scripture. When and if you ever step inside a Christian bookshop look out for the Christian books concerning Politics or art or technology or Science or philosophy or cosmology ..you get the picture. I have been in a few Christian bookshops and I have never seen books concerning Christianity and History for instance or whatever it is. No wonder so many Christian teenagers cannot hold onto there faith when they start to study at University, they have no answers to competing ideologies as they have never been exposed to them.

Festus to the apostle Paul:” Your great learning is driving you mad." Acts 26:24.

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There is an organisation called Christian solidarity international whose aim is to defend the rights of people to belive what they want, where they want.

This is enbodied in article 10 of the universal declaration of human rights,it states :

'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. '

Recently this organisation sent a letter to Kofi Annan (Secretary general of the united nations) detailing the rise of Islamic violence towards those of other beliefs,

Heres the Christian solidarity international press release:

CSI Deplores Wave of Islamic Violence against Freedom of Expression Islamic States Urged to End Religious IntoleranceChristian Solidarity International (CSI) deplores the continuing use of violence and threats of violence in Islamic states, especially last weekend’s demonstrations for the restriction of freedom of opinion and expression regarding Islam as a religion and political ideology.

We are particularly dismayed at the murder of Catholic priest Fr. Andrea Santoro in the Turkish city of Trabzon by a youth shouting “Allahu akhbar”, the stoning by Muslim mobs of St. Maroun Church in Beirut, the arrest in Amman of Jordanian newspaper editor Jihad Momani, and the burning of Western embassy buildings.

The role of the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), representing 57 Muslim states in creating a climate for violent confrontation and press censorship is a cause of deep concern.

The OIC set the stage for demonstrations against free speech at its extraordinary summit in Mecca in early December 2005. The Muslim heads of state resolved to pressure, through a program of Joint Islamic Action, international institutions to criminalize insults of Islam and its founder, Mohammed. The summit’s final resolution referred specifically to the satirical caricatures of Mohammed published last September in Denmark, which were used as a pretext for the violent demonstrations. On the 4th of February – the day the mob violence commenced – the OIC described publication of the caricatures as acts of “blasphemy”. Blasphemy is punishable by death, according to Shariah law.

The OIC’s understanding of freedom is enshrined in its 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. This Islamic charter subordinates international norms for human rights to discriminatory Shariah law. Political repression, religious discrimination and the publication of anti-Jewish and anti-Christian literature are widespread phenomena within OIC member states, especially in its Arab heartland. Last weekend’s demonstrations have the hallmarks of an OIC power-play aimed at imposing censorship on public discussion of Islam.

CSI urges the OIC and member states to desist from fanning the flames of religious intolerance. We also call on the Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, Mohammed Tantawi, and the Supreme Leader of Shiite Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to create conditions for genuine, non-violent dialogue with the non-Muslim world by affirming unconditional support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which provides for freedom of expression, religion and conscience for all of mankind, regardless of race, creed or gender. Finally, CSI urges Western governments and civil society, especially the media, to resist the OIC’s efforts to manipulate and censor public discussion about Islam and the Islamic world.