Archive for July, 2014

the ‘are all religions the same’ question

by Colin Dexter

Jesus was always being asked questions. He also answered people with questions. And questions about whether Jesus is unique are not new.

For example, when faced with Jesus on trial, Pilate the Roman governor represents all the political and religious tension of the time in his question in John 18:33: “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Pilate is in this immense conflict within himself. Something within him is prompting him to say that this trial is a charade. But he’s trapped between the political manoeuvring of Rome and the Jewish authorities he’s subjugating. And he asks the crucial question: Who is Jesus? Is he unique?

We often hear that all religions are the same, but this is not true. They are superficially the same, but they are fundamentally different.

How is Jesus different? There are a number of ways:

The Human Condition

Fundamental is Jesus’ description of the human condition. He talks of the alienation of the human heart by being separated from God. He says that the heart is in rebellion against God: so deep is this, that morality alone cannot solve it. It goes beyond mere good vs bad. The heart is in need of something greater than just pulling ourselves up by our moral bootstraps.

The  Unique Solution

Second, Jesus offers a unique solution to the problem. The provision he gives for you and me is absolutely unique, and it is not cheap. It is the cross. That’s why you will find an Easterner, when they come to Jesus Christ, literally sobbing and sobbing and sobbing, because they have felt the anguish of what sin is. Their recognition of the graciousness of forgiveness is very, very unique. Islam says, to get to heaven your good deeds will have to outweigh your bad. In other words, you pay. When Christ comes and says to you and me that he is offering forgiveness and doing so through the payment of his life on the cross, it is an extraordinary truth. The Bible says that we need a Saviour and we need forgiveness.

Love, Forgiveness & Justice

There is only one place in the world where love, forgiveness and justice come together: justice was being revealed, love was being demonstrated and forgiveness was being offered. That is on the cross of calvary. Jesus Christ claimed to be the way, the truth and the life because he is what the absolute truth really is. Repentance is an anguished moment, but your tears are wiped away with the joy of forgiveness. This truth of Christ’s grace is unique.


Thirdly, Jesus was unique in that he had no sin. Even Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man”.

The Resurrection

Finally, the resurrection is the ultimate demonstration of his uniqueness. Jesus shows that he is the Son of God through his rising from the dead. And, through his death and resurrection, Jesus conquered through evil, not in spite of it. It shows that there is a hope that comes from beyond the grave.

This is a precis of a talk given to the Keswick Convention 2014. The audio is available free here and will be summarised in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast on 24 August.

by Colin Dexter

assisted suicide update

Football: New Risca United Academy enter the top flight of Welsh football

by Colin Dexter

The best players from across Caerphilly County Borough have been trialled to play for the academy at under 12, 14 and 16 levels.

The teams will play in the FAW Academy League against the likes of Aberystwyth, Carmarthen Town and Afan Lido, becoming the only club in the area to play at this level.

Risca have also secured high profile friendlies against Cardiff City and Arsenal and will represent Caerphilly in both the Welsh and English Schools Cup.

Playing out of the Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach, Risca will also have under 13 and 15 feeder teams to the academy

by Colin Dexter


Scientists: Atheists May Not Exist—Seriously

by Colin Dexter

For some, “God doesn’t believe in atheists” is just a clever (nor not-so-clever) jab directed against the faithless in our culture. But based on the findings of secular researchers, the statement may not be so far from reality.

That is because multidisciplinary research is increasingly backing the idea that human beings are hard-wired to believe in God, according to Science 2.0 writer Nury Vittachi in an article titled, “Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke.”

“[A]theism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” Vittachi cites avowed atheist Graham Lawton as writing in New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”

Even atheists hold to several tacitly religious concepts, including the existence of an immortal soul, according to Lawton. The article also cites another atheist researcher who demonstrated that all people engage in internal monologue, regardless of whether the person to whom their thoughts are directed is actually present.

Equally demonstrable is the intrinsic human tendency to believe in divine justice. Vittachi describes both religious and non-religious persons as possessing the innate sense that “If I commit a sin, it is not an isolated event but will have appropriate repercussions.” This sense of cosmic justice is credited for the popular belief in “karma.”

This idea, he writes, is played out on a number of differently levels—including narrative literature, where even atheist authors invariably write stories that “exist to establish that there exists a mechanism or a person—cosmic destiny, karma, God, fate, Mother Nature—to make sure the right thing happens to the right person.”

Even the staunchest nontheists are not exempted from such habits, according to the writer. “If a loved one dies, even many anti-religious people usually feel a need for a farewell ritual, complete with readings from old books and intoned declarations that are not unlike prayers,” Vittachi writes. “In war situations, commanders frequently comment that atheist soldiers pray far more than they think they do.”

According to the writer, atheists tend to exhibit the same sociological, psychological dependence on the intangible as religious folk do, even if the former reject the existence of anything supernatural. “Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don’t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which ‘The Universe’ somehow has a purpose for humanity,” says Vittachi.

While Vittachi attempts to connect all these theistic proclivities to an evolutionary source, missing one key bit of evidence: it is the biblical Christian worldview, not the secular humanist worldview, which accurately predicts a human bent towards belief in God.

In Romans 1:18-23, the apostle Paul writes that “what can be known about God is plain to them”—that is, all men—and that “his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” He then goes so far as to state that all such people “knew God” (v. 21). The implication, thus, is that man innately assumes the existence of his Creator until he convinces himself to think otherwise.

This biblical teaching is not unique to Paul. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” echoing the same sentiment of other Old Testament passages. In essence, one cannot truly possess wisdom and knowledge if one denies the essential fact of existence: that the transcendent God is the ultimate measure of reality.

While Vittachi may be a few steps short of walking down the aisle at the next altar call, the findings he describes lead to one critical conclusion: perhaps it is atheists, not God, who truly do not exist


Charisma News

by Colin Dexter


by Colin Dexter

school of worsship

Avana Bakeries

by Colin Dexter

Newport West AM said it is “excellent news” that Food Utopia is reported to have taken over the Avana Bakeries plant, potentially saving 650 local jobs.

Friday Group Elm drive

by Colin Dexter

Contact Mark for more information.

Parliament-Cyber attacks

by Colin Dexter

Chris Evans MP: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what
assessment she has made of the preparedness of the police to respond to
a cyber-attack.