Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dutch Kidney Scramble

I suspect the reality show is closer to reality than we care to admit. While the 'best' reality shows are spectacularly contrived and ever more bizarre, it is their connection to the human condition that makes them work.

Three contestants whose own kidneys have failed will - with their families - attempt to outdo each other in miserable accounts of pain and heartache, while a terminally ill kidney donor selects the winner to receive the kidney. Viewers will phone and text in with their votes. The predictable facade of 'money to charity' and 'raising awareness' is both glib and clich├ęd.

While it would be fun to examine the ethics at stake, I'm also interested in where this 'reality' thing can go from here. What's next? I understand people have already had their marriages chosen by reality show. Perhaps potential suicides will be voted on or off with... "Is life worth living? Dial now to bring your favourite jumper in off the window ledge". How far will this degradation go?

And yet it's really not a sign that things are getting worse. I'm reminded of Pilate who asked the mob who he should release from the death penalty - Barabbus the murderer, or Jesus Christ who had committed no wrong. The mob was thick and the mob was easily manipulated. This is undoubtedly compelling theatre, but hardly the soundest decision making process.

Birmingham Girls Too Ugly

The city of Birmingham failed to find anyone suitable for the Miss Great Britain beauty contest. 50 miles to the north, they found Sophie Wilson from Stoke-on-Trent who has never even lived in Birmingham. Oh, the humiliation.

What does it mean when a Miss Great Britain spokesman says, "We were desperately looking for a Miss GB entrant from Birmingham but in truth, there was no-one suitable who entered"?

On reflection, I suspect that it's not so much the lack of lookers in Birmingham as the preponderance of thicko's in Stoke-on-Trent with nothing better to do than enter beauty pageants.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Man created gods in his own image

There is no doubt that Christopher Hitchens is one of the more brilliant minds of our times. His incisive wit, depth of thought and ability to articulate what others would never dare consider is second to none.

His latest book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything is challenging, to say the least, for a Christian minister to read, consider and enjoy. (You can read two chapters and the conclusion, here)

The Bible declares that God created man in his own image, however, there can be no doubt that man was not to be outdone by this and so man, in kind, set about to create gods in his own image. Hitchens book offers rich insights into the history of religion, so much so that there may very well be a fatwa declared against him by the Mormon church.

The conclusion, though, is predictable. What should we do when faced with such a tidal wave of irrational, irreverent religious possibilities? Refute them all. Throw the baby out with the bathwater and embrace atheism.

Is there an alternative? Is a belief in God possible without wallowing in the irrational, succoring on emotions and conscience? In the financial realm, when considering an investment move, the wise course is to conduct an impartial audit, to apply due diligence. Perhaps this is the solution.

Catholicism and the celibacy of priests and nuns would stand condemned by I Timothy 4:1-3 where forbidding to marry is accounted the doctrine of devils. In like manner, perhaps in the final analysis of our audit none of the various interpretations and factions would be left standing. But maybe that's not such a bad thing. Perhaps the problem hasn't been God, but misrepresentation. Maybe we would be left with what was originally intended, an actual understanding of both God and man.

I Thessalonians 5:21 says "Prove all things, hold fast to the good." Even in atheism, there is something to learn. Perhaps Mr. Hitchens would find a distilled and purified understanding of the Bible a beauty to behold.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ten Years of Tony Blair

On the announcement that Tony Blair is to step down as prime minister on June 27, here (pinched from the BBC) is how he has aged over the last ten years:
Not too bad, really. You should see how the rest of us look after ten years of his sanctimonious and bossy leadership!

Friday, May 04, 2007

And Which Are You?

In response to Are You Stuck posting Which Are You here's something that makes my operating system of choice look a little better.