Archive for April, 2010

The notion of free-will?

(Original post from my blog if the links & videos are not working)

An interesting article about a new four-year research project underway at Florida State University to determine if free-will exists or not.

Funded by a $4.4 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the project will gather together scientists, philosophers and theologians and try to determine what factors (free will, genetics, environment, God or something else) lead us to do all the things we do.

From a purely theological point of view this raises the issues of Arminianism vs Calvinism
Do humans, through their own freely chosen actions and decisions, determine whether they will go to heaven or hell? Does an omniscient God already know how things will turn out in the end? Does God given humans the free choice to turn away?
While it is perhaps difficult to reconcile concepts such as fate and destiny with free will, it is possible for an omniscient God to coexist with the idea of free will, said Kevin Timpe, an associate professor of philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.

There is a difference between knowing what someone is going to do and causing them to do it, said Timpe, author of Free Will: Sourcehood and Its Alternatives. I know what my wife is going to order when I take her to certain restaurants just because I know her very well. But I also think my wife is freely choosing to order.

What if researchers discover free will does not exist? Two studies portend a troubled future, Mele said. One found its subjects cheated more when they believed they were not responsible for their own decisions; another found subjects’ behavior growing more aggressive when their belief in free will was suspended.

Norman Geisler, the author of 70 books including several on free will, said the idea that free will does not exist is incompatible with the Bible and the doctrine of original sin, which refers to the sin inherited from Adam and Eve’s transgressions in the Garden of Eden.

If Adam’s decision was not made freely, then that presumably makes God responsible for evil in the world.

The Bible constantly affirms that man is free, that he can choose his destiny, that he’s morally responsible, said Geisler, whose books include Chosen But Free. To say that we are pre-determined is to blame God for our choices. Secondly if all our actions are pre-determined, then why doesn’t God save everyone? Because if he can save everyone apart from their free will and he if really loves everyone then he would.”

Hmm that however leaves some questions because it means God is not an all powerful, all knowing omnipotent God.
If God is all powerful and all knowing then he knows the past, present and the future ( Christ was able to know his betrayer and know the cock would crow thrice etc etc) so if he knows what happens in the future then it is predetermined / predestined?????

A short clip by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Marshill Church in the USA about Predestination.

Pastor Mark Driscoll tackles the issue of predestination by answering question #7 of Religion Saves, and 9 Other Misconceptions by answering “Why does an all loving, all knowing, and all sovereign God will into creation people He foreknows will suffer eternal condemnation? Why does Romans 9:20 feel like a cop-out answer?”
A much more indepth series by the old time preacher AW Pink can be found on the Sermon Audio website 

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Traditional Unionist Voice policy gaps

Having just watched the David Vance / TUV webcast on the News Letter website, several questions remain unanswered.

In regards to the TUV manifesto claim to be standing up for education, they have failed to explain how they would have, or will, block Labour Party introduced laws at Westminster to ban Grammar schools. Only devolution of education to Stormont stopped those laws being enacted.

Secondly, how they would achieve voluntary coalition without British government approval & legislation. Clearly they will not win Labour support and Conservative, shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague is quoted in the Irish Times today (27/4/10) as saying “We were the original champions of the peace process and we remain utterly committed to it and dedicated to it”…not to mention the Tory support for the devolution of policing & justice.

And thirdly the TUV manifesto mentions that in the absence of acceptable devolution (ie voluntary coalition), “enhanced, streamlined local government combined with a single elected authority to corporately administer
education, health and roads could easily provide efficient and sufficient government.” … their manifesto makes it clear that they stand for `no terrorist in government` and`we will not go into government with Sinn Fein` yet this third and more likely & achievable option would surely include Sinn Fein?`

Below is the TUV Party Election Broadcast

Mid-Ulster Analysis

I have already posted about the DUP & Conservative-UUP candidates and i might as well cover the Mid-ulster TUC candidate now that their manifesto and PEB are out.

Walter Millar:


Doesn`t seem to have much of an online presence but Jim Allister & David Vance do:-


Orange group’s plan to develop ‘vibrant society’

Orange group’s plan to develop ‘vibrant society’
Based on an article at:-

THE Orange Order in Co Armagh is expanding its role as a facilitator for the various community groups who use Orange halls in the county as venues for their work.
The Markethill-based County Armagh Community Development Committee (CACDC), operating since 2005 to support emerging groups in the county, has opened sub-offices in Lurgan and Portadown and a strategic plan is being launched for the next three years.

The committee’s work will be spearheaded in a community development officer position by George Patton, the former executive officer with the Orange Order and former chief executive of the Ulster-Scots Agency.
Since 2005, the number of participating community groups has increased from six to 60, with help, advice, training and networking support provided by the committee.

The committee and its member groups have also forged cross-border links with groups in Co Monaghan.

Next Monday night, the CACDC will launch its strategic plan for the period 2010–2012 at Dan Winter’s ancestral home at the Diamond, Loughgall, where the Orange Order was formed in 1795.
The committee has identified a number of key objectives:

* Providing support to member groups;
* Building the capacity of participants in member groups;
* Building on existing community participation across Protestant communities in Co Armagh;
* Playing an active role in building a better understanding of Protestant culture;
* Developing and build on the existing effectiveness of CACDC.

The plan sets out in detail how these objectives will be achieved and how in turn they will deliver the vision of “a confident and vibrant society in which people actively participate to realise their full potential”.

A community development officer will be based in Brownlow House, Lurgan on Thursdays (9am to 2pm) and Mondays (7pm to 9pm) and Carleton Street Orange hall, Portadown on Friday mornings (9.30am to 1pm) to offer advice and assistance to the groups.

Funding agencies for the CACDC include the Arts Council, Awards for All, Community Relations Council, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, the Ulster-Scots Agency and Craigavon Borough Council.

The committee is also involved in a new project to help target isolation and social exclusion among the Protestant community in the Newtownhamilton area of south Armagh.

The programme will be launched next Thursday afternoon in Newtownhamilton Orange hall. The project is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development under Rural Challenge Programme.

Orange Order march through London

Orange Order march through London |

The Orange Order in conjunction with the Loyal Orange Lodge 1689 and Oxford Martyrs Memorial LOL213 marched from Palace Street to St. James square in memory of William of Orange, the Dutch Prince who became King of England, Scotland and Ireland in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. A wreath was laid at the cenotaph in memory of the Crown Forces and Yvonne Fletcher, a police officer who was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy during a protest on April 17th 1984. London, United Kingdom, 17/04/2010.

VC hero honoured in his homeland after 93 years

VC hero honoured in his homeland after 93 years – The Scotsman

Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton, of Slamannan, Stirlingshire, was awarded the military’s highest honour for his actions in the Battle of Messines on 7 June, 1917. His bravery was so outstanding that his commanding officer claimed he could have won the Victoria Cross “twice over”.

Yet, because he had emigrated to New Zealand before the conflict, his heroism has been largely unknown in his native land until now, and on Saturday a memorial cairn will be unveiled in the village of his birth.

The memorial service has been organised by James Kerr, 47, a member of the Slamannan Orange Lodge, and Robert Jack, a relative of Frickleton, after they discovered the astonishing story.
read the full story at the link above.

Mid-Ulster election analysis: DUP

As a Unionist West of the Bann with an incumbent abstentionist Sinn Fein MP (Martin McGuinness) elected on almost half the vote (47.5%) and a whopping 11,000 majority (Ian McCrea of the DUP on 23.5% being the next nearest competitor) it can seem somewhat inconsequential as to whom you vote for (especially after all the recent scandals)….but here is the run down for a Unionist voter in Mid-Ulster in 2010:-

Ian McCrea for the DUP:

FB Group:-

A Cookstown councillor and Northern Ireland Assembly MLA, son of prominent DUP MP Rev William McCrea who previously was MP for Mid-Ulster until 1997 when boundry changes saw Sinn Fein take and keep the seat (McCrea Snr currently elected as MP for South Antrim).

BBC News – Party Election Broadcasts – General Election 2010: All the UK Party Election Broadcasts so far.

Mid-Ulster election analysis: Conservatives & Unionists

As a Unionist West of the Bann with an incumbent abstentionist Sinn Fein MP (Martin McGuinness) elected on almost half the vote (47.5%) and a whopping 11,000 majority (Ian McCrea of the DUP on 23.5% being the next nearest competitor) it can seem somewhat inconsequential as to whom you vote for (especially after all the recent scandals)….but here is the run down for a Unionist voter in Mid-Ulster in 2010:-

Sandra Overend for the Conservatives & Unionists:

(joint Ulster Unionist Party & Tory ticket)




FB Group:-
(Joint UUP/Tory Northern Ireland Manifesto to follow)

Sandra has her own election video at:-

Well at least they seem to have dropped the awful UCUNF (Ulster conservatives & Unionists – New Froce) moniker.  Sandra is the daughter of the current MLA for the area , Ulster Unionist Billy Armstrong MLA.  The Northern Ireland C&U manifesto has yet to be released but will be inline with the main Conservative Vote For Change manifesto link to above.  The NI manifesto will invariably be available from the VoteforChangeNI website.  She is the only local candidate I know of that has her own election video.  The two C&U Party election Broadcasts are below along with the two Conservative PEB.

BBC News – Party Election Broadcasts – General Election 2010: All the UK Party Election Broadcasts so far.

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