weird or what?

Gotta love ole Bill Shatner‘s hosting – cheesy as ever – for this new show.

An interesting mix of stories tonight.  A surfer saved from a shark attack by dolphins – dogs and cats that seem to know people are dying – a scrawny boy who picked up a car that had fallen on his uncle.  ((Incidentally, my Dad lifted a very heavy bundle of boards after it had been dropped onto the foot of one of his workers!))

Interestingly, the show speculated about whether or not the abilities of the dogs, cats and the boy had supernatural help.  Now, I’ve no problem with either the possibility or fitting-ness (propriety) of miracles, but suffice to say that I think just as much credit (‘glory’ in doxological terminology) goes to God if this stuff is ‘merely’ natural.  It reminds me of the question I once saw placed on the lips of Aristotle (or was it Aquinas?), if he could have known about modern ‘god of the gaps’ tendencies of some: “Couldn’t God make a nature that could actually do stuff on its own!?”

good guns

A quick gun-related post after some recent events in NZ & thinking about it. When you encounter an action or idea that you find utterly insane or impossible to understand, it’s always good (pun intended) to look for some good reason behind it, which may have been distorted.  In the case of “gun rights” it’s not too hard to see some good things about having and using guns.

  • Guns are probably best considered as a kind of power-increasing tool, and power in and of itself is good.
  • To the extent that killing an animal (hopefully for food) is acceptable, a gun just makes this easier to do.
  • To the extent that killing a human (hopefully as a last resort and only self defense) is acceptable, a gun just makes this easier to do.
  • The case of gun shooting as a hobby or interest (i.e. gun collectors having meetings to share and shoot their guns, etc.) seems a perfectly acceptable activity.

Of course a similar list could be made of ‘bad’ things. As for what kind of laws to have to help gun users do more of the ‘good’ and less of the ‘bad’, I have only a few ideas, which I won’t bother mentioning here.  Ultimately, laws don’t change people.  To close, here are some positive & negative memories associated with guns.

  • I owned a black-powder rifle for around a year.  My brother, his friend Ralph and I went a time or two to a firing range and shot them.  It was fun.  Learning how to pack the powder, etc.  Boys and their toys.
  • I have a brother-in-law who hunts often, but only for food I believe.  I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and the animals die with more respect than they would on some cattle farms.
  • My Dad had a 44 magnum (still has?).  I remember him target shooting ‘out back’.  The sound was incredible.  There was ever so slight a delay from firing to impact – on the 50-gallon drum lid propped up against a tree.  As a small boy, I was in awe.  My Dad was Clint Eastwood.
  • My Dad used to go deer hunting, until those he hunted with kept going way over their legal limit for the season.  I still remember walking past the massive pile of deer guts. I’m proud of my Dad for not taking part in that.
  • I also remember (after shooting and hitting a squirrel several times – to no discernible effect! – with a BB gun) finally killing my first bird – a robin I believe.  It fluttered from the power line it had been perched on to the ground.  I walked up to it, and saw it twitching in pain.  The thought was so strong it seemed nearly audible – “Well what did you do that for?”  I put it out of its misery, and I don’t believe I’ve ever shot another animal again.

falling out with animals

I’m just getting my teeth into a research essay for my Humanity and Hope (Anthropology and Eschatology) paper, which will be about The Fall in Christian Evolutionary Perspective – in other words, how to biblically, Christianly, and Theologically understand the Fall in a framework that accepts evolutionary science. As usual, I’ll post the essay on my Essays page – it’s not due for another couple weeks, so won’t be until after that.

For now, I share a quote regarding the effect of the human fall upon the rest of creation – from a lovely little book called Living with the Animals: The Community of God’s Creatures, by Charles Birch & Lukas Vischer: Continue reading “falling out with animals”

animal

In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, humans are more than animals, but not less.

I used to (like too many Christians) be ‘nervous’ about comparing humans to animals, or being told about (for example) chimps that can count, etc (whether they are actually ‘counting’ [comprehending a numbered sequence] or not [responding as trained to images on screen with no concept of a numbered sequence] is an interesting question). I now see this as odd, as if animal superiority in a particular area (speed, strength, size?) makes humans any less able (as Jews/Muslims/Christians hold) to be God’s unique image-bearing creatures. Continue reading “animal”