The New Doctor?

All of us Whovians are eagerly awaiting official news concerning the announcement of the next Doctor.

According to The Telegraph, the role has been offered to Rory Kinnear.

The Mirror, however, reports that no decision has been made.

Matt Smith, the current Doctor, is leaving the show in the Christmas special.

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Russia and Anti-Blasphemy Laws

According to NPR:

The Russian parliament has given preliminary approval to an anti-blasphemy bill that would make it a crime to offend religious feelings.

BBC writes:

Human rights activists and some critics of the new anti-blasphemy bill in the Duma say its wording is too vague and could lead to unjustified prosecutions.

This is what happens when the state pushes for theocratic laws…

Could God Just Forgive Sins?

The BBC Religion forums have a plethora of topics for me as of late.

From the BBC Religion forum:

*Why* did he have to “punish” them, such that he dragged himself onto a cross to be brutally tortured and executed ?

Why not just *forgive our sins* ?

Paradoxically, one of Jesus’s key messages was to forgive, something God (whom is supposed to be the greatest) is unable to do – hence the eternal torture.

The basic thrust of the question is was it necessary for Christ to die on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins?

The short answer is, “Yes, God could have chosen to redeem mankind without Christ’s sacrifice.” But the fact remains, that God didn’t choose to redeem mankind this way. Why is that?

The 20th century theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer discusses this in his book Discipleship. He makes the distinction between cheap and costly grace.

Cheap grace is grace without sacrifice. A blanket pardon of sins.

Cheap grace means justification of sin but not the sinner. Because grace alone does everything, everything can stay in its old ways. (43)

[T]he Christian need not follow Christ, since the Christian is comforted by grace! That is cheap grace as justification of sin, but not justification of the contrite sinner who turns away from sin and repents. It is not forgiveness of sin which separates those who sinned from sin. Cheap grace is that which we bestow on ourselves. (44)

Costly grace, on the other hand, has some kind of sacrifice attached to it.

It is costly because it calls to discipleship; it is grace, because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. it is costly because it costs people their lives; it is grace because it thereby makes them live. It is costly, because it condemns sin; it is grace, because it justifies the sinner. Above all, grace is costly, because it was costly to God, because it costs God the life of God’s Son – “you were bought with a price” – and because nothing can be cheap to us which is costly to God. Above all, it is grace because the life of God’s Son was not too costly for God to give in order to make us live. God did, indeed, give him up for us. Costly grace is the incarnation of God. (45)</blockquote

You can find the entire discussion here.

Christianity and Guilt

I stumbled across this interesting discussion on the BBC Religion boards.

Psychologists are universal in their view that ‘guilt’ is one of the most disabling human emotions that we can experience.

It’s not that there is no reason for this emotion & it clearly serves a purpose but how far should Christians go in ‘laying guilt trips’ on those who have fallen short of that which Christ requires?

Here’s my comment: The call for repentance from Christians should not be a guilt trip. Yes, Christians are called to point out sin, but it must be done in a loving way. When we point out sin, it should be done to lead people to repentance and Christ, not push them away by “laying on a guilt trip.” I’m sure that there are some who would say that it is hypocritical of Christians to point out sin.

So, when is pointing out sin “laying on the guilt trip?” Is pointing out sin hypocrisy?

I think that pointing out sin can become a guilt trip very easily. It becomes that when we make other’s sins worse than our own. But the fact remains my sins are no worse than any one elses. So to keep from laying the guilt trip on people, we must be consistent and merciful. We must point out our own sin as well as the sin of others, but it must be done in a loving way. That way, there is no guilt trip or hypocrisy.

Dutch Activists Protest Mass

Hundreds of Dutch activists walked out of Mass today protesting the Roman Catholic policy of denying the Eucharist to practicing homosexuals.

The dispute began when a priest refused to commune an openly gay man earlier this month.

This dispute began during Dutch carnival celebrations earlier in February, when the man chosen to be carnival prince in nearby Reusel was refused communion because of his open homosexuality.

The refusal offended many in the local community.

Most people in the Netherlands support gay rights and the Netherlands was the first country to introduce gay marriages in 2001.

Several hundred demonstrators, dressed in pink wigs and clothes, left the church in protest.

I bet that was a sight to see.

The man at the centre of the row has said he just wants equal treatment – if he is regarded as a sinner, he wants the priest to refuse communion to all other sinners too.

I had a good chuckle when I read this as this can be seen as a valid point.

What are your thoughts on the issue? I realize this is a hot button issue and I will keep an eye on the comments to make sure they do not go too far off topic.

The original article from BBC News can be read here.