Two Recent English Language Use Changes: Invention and Omission

These two changes show how republicanism and atheism are slowly beginning to impact language use.

426799067_55027d4244_zSince the General Election on June 8, 2017, and the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Fire, I have been listening to and watching media broadcasts more than usual, and have noticed two significant changes in language use.

One change is limited to a very specific occasion, though it has been growing in popularity over the years.  It is quite consciously deliberate and requires a degree of determination, even courage, on behalf of the speaker.  The other change is usually less obvious, though it too requires a slight degree of determination (if less planning than the other one).  The second one has been around for a lot longer and is growing in popularity (and acceptability).

Continue reading “Two Recent English Language Use Changes: Invention and Omission”

My Five Problems With Prayer

If prayer really works, why does god never heal amputees?

426799067_55027d4244_zI used to pray, but I don’t any more.  For nearly 40 years I prayed in the mornings and evenings; I sometimes prayed when driving alone;  I prayed privately and in public;  I prayed silently and out loud.  Now, I no longer pray.

For an account of how I lost my faith see Jesus Didn’t Work For Me.  But I want to focus in this post specifically on prayer.  After many, many hours spent doing it (I think I have some credibility in this area, and over a lifetime have perhaps spent more hours doing it than many of my readers and objectors), I have now five problems with it.

The beneficence failure

If prayer is, in part, at least, about asking good things for people from a good, all-powerful and all-knowing god, why doesn’t the good, all-powerful and all-knowing god just grant the requests before they are asked for the benefit of everybody concerned?  Why do I have to ask a good god to make good things happen?

If prayer really works, what kind of deity denies good things happening to others on the basis of my inadequate prayers or my inability to pray?   What kind of parent would say, “I’m not feeding your young sister because you failed to ask me to give her food, or you asked for the wrong things, or you were a naughty boy when you asked”?

Why should an imperfect me have to persuade a god to do good?   Continue reading “My Five Problems With Prayer”

Jesus Didn’t Work For Me

I became more and more uneasy with the template for humanity that I had inherited from my Christian faith. If I was honest with myself, I knew how difficult (and superficial) change really was, and that neat Christian solutions to change often only tackled the surface, leaving deeper issues untouched. It no longer seemed good enough to exhort people (and myself) to stop doing things because they were “wrong”.

426799067_55027d4244_zI used to be an evangelical Christian. On July 2nd, 1966, I got ’saved’. I literally came out – I got up out of my seat in front of family and friends at a Billy Graham rally at the age of 13, and decided to follow Jesus. That faith and commitment lasted for a long time, at least until 2000. I was a lay preacher, a pastoral counsellor, a church leader, and a Christian author. I was in hook, line, and sinker. However, over the past fifteen years I have slowly abandoned that faith.

Of course, I know that if my Christian friends were reading this they would say that I am trying too hard. That the fact that I am having to write about it just proves how insecure I am in my new atheism. I would argue that since so many of them ask me about what has happened to me I have had to think things through, for their benefit, and to make sense of the massive change for myself. It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen in any neat, logical order, but it has happened, and what is written below is a poor attempt at an explanation after the event.  Continue reading “Jesus Didn’t Work For Me”