Mark Baddeley

Reading some O’Donovan

Robyn and I are the proud owners of one of the new Amazon Kindles. It is going to keep us company on the plane for our trip. It’s also given me the chance to tackle some Oliver O’Donovan (just so I can be better equipped to argue with Stuart and Mark). The Kindle is exciting and should make blogging book reviews a breeze. You should check out the continuing discussion with Mark on a Christian approach to ethics, politics and gay marriage. We’ve almost written a book.

In the meantime, here are a couple of quotes to ponder from an essay by O’Donovan.

“Democracy and human rights are not identical things, so it is necessary to ask whether they can coexist. It seems that the answer depends on two contingent factors: how the democratic societies conduct themselves, and what rights human beings assert. You cannot champion “democracy and human rights” without quite quickly having to decide which takes precedence between them; and since either of those terms, and not just one of them, may from time to time be used as a cloak for self–interest and tyranny, there is no universally correct answer. That is the underlying problem of coherence in contemporary Western ideology.”

“The legal tradition needs correction. The obligation of the courts to maintain self–consistency makes them reluctant to innovate. But innovation may be required, and that for two causes: first, where tradition has deviated from natural right; secondly, where it is ill–adapted to the practical possibilities within society. These two concerns are often confused, yet they are in principle quite different, moving, as it were, in opposite directions: bringing law closer to the moral norm on the one hand, further from it on the other. Some reforms are idealistic, attempting to correct our vices; some are compromises, making some kind of settlement with them. Either kind of reform may be necessary at one or another juncture, since acts of judgment have to be both truthful and effective. Every change in law aims to squeeze out, as it were, the maximum yield of public truthfulness available within the practical constraints of the times. Sometimes it does it by attempting more, sometimes by attempting less.”

For those not following at home…

If you’re not already reading the comments on Simone’s follow up post to the one she took down the other day… then do yourself a favour.

I’ve witnessed other people having long discussions with Mark Baddeley, but never had the pleasure myself up until this one. Mostly because I agree with him on other issues.

Lets just say, not this time…

See if you can catch my veiled homage to Godwin’s Law.

No smog

You may have heard that the atheists are banding together to advertise. In possibly the weakest advertising campaign ever they’ve booked some bus billboards and are running this ad:

That’s right. The best they could do was “there’s probably no God”. Talk about not being able to stand on their convictions. The call to action – “now stop worrying and enjoy your life”. Over at the solapanel Mark Baddeley has a great post on what’s wrong with this campaign. I’m all for freedom of speech.  And it seems this campaign is making a very secular society consider the question of God’s existence – which can only be a good thing. 

The reason I’m writing this post is there is a most excellent site where you can make your own bus ad

Here’s mine:

There's probably no smog. So go outside and breathe deeply
There's probably no smog. So go outside and breathe deeply

Kind of lame – but I started with “there’s probably no dog” and then tried a series of words that rhymed with dog. I’m sure I could do better. But this makes what I believe is an important statement.

So, if you’re a dissatisfied atheist, or a theist with a better idea than a smog slogan, share your slogans in the comments, and go make your own.

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