The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, European Convention on Human Rights’, and UK Human Rights Act 1998’s statements on freedom of thought, freedom of religion and freedom of expression

I would like to share here three of the great legal declarations pertaining to freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression in the UK. We need constantly to remind ourselves of these great legal principles, because what has been clear for over a decade is that these freedoms are now under serious

How to argue graciously: Anselm of Canterbury and Gaunilo of Marmoutiers

I recently read the Proslogion of Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, written in 1077-78, together with the written criticism of Anselm’s argument by Gaunilo, a monk of Marmoutiers, and Anselm’s subsequent reply. In Gaunilo and Anselm’s correspondence over the Proslogion we see a wonderful example of how to argue graciously — an example which has a

Is God ‘that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought’?

According to Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109, the existence of God is proven from his being ‘that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought.’ He sets forth this proof in his work, the Proslogion, written in 1077-78.[1] I recently had the joy of reading it in Anselm, Brian Davies, and G. R. Evans, The Major Works, Oxford World’s Classics

For Irenaeus (c. 180 A.D.), Christian faith is biblical faith

Last week I commented on a beautiful passage by the second-century Christian theologian Irenaeus (c. 180 A.D.) showing his belief in both the full humanity and the full divinity of Christ. One of the things that comes across loud and clear in that passage is that, for Irenaeus, Christian faith is biblical faith. Before we

Irenaeus of Lyons on the humanity and divinity of Christ

The passage below by the second-century Christian theologian Irenaeus of Lyons (around 180 A.D.) shows us very clearly the Christian belief, already at this period, in both the full humanity and full divinity of Christ, and in his virgin birth. (Not that any of this should come as a surprise to those who are familiar

A question of identity: Can a person change his or her religion?

On Friday the implication was made by Rugby Union referee Nigel Owens that a person is free to change their religion. But is this true? His comments were made in relation to Rugby Australia’s recent sacking of Israel Folau following his social media comments. Owens praised the action of Rugby Australia, saying that it sent

Irenaeus of Lyons’ doctrine of recapitulation (2nd century)

Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons was one of the great theologians of the Christian Church in its first two centuries. He asked the question, “How was it that the Lord Jesus Christ saved the human race?” and came up with the idea (prompted by Paul in Romans chapter 5) that Christ relived obediently every stage of

Is John’s Gospel anti-Jewish?

As Christians, when we read John’s Gospel, we do come across some passages in which the language about “the Jews” does, and should, make us uncomfortable. And there is no question that the history of European ‘Christendom’ down the centuries is littered with horrific examples of hostility towards, and persecution of, Europe’s Jews. This unsavoury