Why the Post-Christian West is eagerly pursuing ‘Skynet’-Level AI

“OpenAI (chatGPT’s parent company) exists to develop ‘Skynet’-level Artificial Intelligence.  Or more specifically, a safe version of AI as intelligent as Skynet. In their founding charter, they write:

OpenAI’s mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI)—by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity. We will attempt to directly build safe and beneficial AGI.

And if the recent ousting then return of OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman is any indication, they’re making progress. The ABC reported on Sunday:

Ahead of Altman’s ousting, several staff researchers wrote to the board of directors warning of a powerful discovery that they said could threaten humanity, according to Reuters. …”

– Akos Balogh writes at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Voluntary assisted dying laws partly invalid

“An important decision handed down recently in the Federal Court of Australia rules that part of Victoria’s euthanasia law (the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic)(‘VADA 2017’)) is invalid, as it authorises assistance with suicide, which is prohibited by Federal law.

The decision, of Abrahams J as a single judge in the Federal Court, is Carr v Attorney-General (Cth) [2023] FCA 1500 (30 November 2023). The implication is that similar provisions of other State and Territory laws are also invalid. The relevant federal law, sections 474.29A and 474.29B of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), in broad terms, makes it an offence to assist or encourage someone to commit suicide through use of a ‘carriage service’, most commonly by use of a telephone (either a voice call or a text message), email, or some internet service. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster looks at the implications of a recent decision.

Image from a Diocese of Sydney training day.

Kel Richards calls on Australians to ‘refuse to walk backwards’ in the fight against the evils of anti-Semitism

“A new expression was coined at the recent Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (or ARC for short) conference in London: ‘civilisational moment’.

The 1,500 delegates were warned that Australia, Britain the United States and all of the western world is facing a ‘civilisational moment’  – a tipping point in which we could lose the civilised values that have guided us for well over than a thousand years, and which have given us the freedoms we enjoy. …

The warning sign of our ‘civilisational moment’ is the epidemic of anti-Semitism sweeping the western world – what we thought was the civilised world. …”

– Kel Richards writes this opinion-piece at Sky News Australia.


Archbishop Kanishka Raffel’s statement on antisemitism — 13 October 2023.

Image: ABC.

Why Ayaan Hirsi Ali became a Christian

“Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim and now a former atheist, recently declared that she has converted to Christianity. This is a cause for great rejoicing.

It is also a fascinating sign of the times. Her published account of why she is a Christian is somewhat odd, given that it mentions Jesus only once. It is, however, unreasonable to expect a new convert to offer an elaborate account of the hypostatic union in the first days of faith. This is why churches catechize disciples: Conversion does not involve an infusion of comprehensive doctrinal knowledge. And whatever the lacunae in her statement, the genuineness of her profession is a matter for the pastor of whatever congregation of Christ’s church to which she attaches herself.

Here is what makes her public testimony a sign of the times …”

Carl Trueman writes at First Things.


Why I am now a Christian – Ayyan Hirsi Ali at Unherd.

Image: Crossway. Link via Anglican.ink.

Ed Shaw: Why I won’t quit the Church of England

“As I wearily return from another meeting (the third this year!) of the Church of England’s governing body, General Synod, I’m preparing to answer two questions:

1.) What’s going on in the Church of England? How do I respond to that question?

There’s total chaos. …”

– Ed Shaw, Director of Living Out, explains why he is staying in the Church of England.

He spoke in the General Synod shortly before the final vote was taken on Wednesday evening.

Image: Ed Shaw at General Synod, 15 November 2023.

Joy comes in the morning

“The result of today’s Synod debate on Living in Love and Faith was not unexpected. Those who had been doing the Synodical maths had been warning that a version of the motion put forward by the House of Bishops would probably go through by a very small majority, and they were right.

However nothing in the nine hours of debate that took place on the Prayers of Love and Faith proposals provided any rational justification for this outcome. …”

– Whatever happens with the Church of England, Anglican theologian Martin Davie reminds us that – when it comes to Christ’s church – the gates of hell will not prevail against it, and that joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5).

The Tragedy and the Bigger Picture

In the light of this morning’s vote by the Church of England General Synod to move forward with the blessing of same sex couples, Principal of Moore Theological College, Dr. Mark Thompson, responds:

“It is very hard not to dissolve into a flood of tears as this all plays out in England. We on this side of the world owe so much to the English church and to its evangelical wing in particular.

We have been brought to faith, nourished in faith, grounded for a lifetime of ministry in faith, by the faithful ministries of men like Whitfield, Simeon, Ryle, Stott and Packer (and many others of course) and to watch much lesser men squander that inheritance brings great grief.

When we remember the Reformation martyrs, and the courage of generation after generation of their heirs, we have great cause to thank God and great cause to weep over what is happening now.”

Be sure to read it all below –

“The behaviour of the Archbishop of Canterbury in recent months has been nothing short of scandalous. Not only has he betrayed his ordination vows, as the delegates at GAFCON in Kigali earlier this year recognised, but he has recklessly pursued an agenda contrary to the Scriptures and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ despite urgent and repeated warnings from the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide not to do so. In this he has been supported by the Archbishop of York. The Archbishop will have a higher Judge than the rank and file of the Church of England, the GAFCON and Global South movements, and even future chroniclers of the history of the church to answer to for this, and, quite frankly, who would want to be in his shoes (James 3:1; Matthew 18:16; Hebrews 13:17)?

The bigger question now, though, is not how can Justin Welby recover from this (short of wholesale repentance I cannot see how he can) but how do faithful men and women within the Church of England continue to pursue the goal of re-evangelising the United Kingdom in the wake of what he, the Archbishop of York, and collectively the House of Bishops have done? This is, after all, the urgent need of the moment. Men and women all over Britain are heading blithely into judgment while ignoring or ridiculing or even openly defying the only one who can save them. How can we sit by and just watch that happen while we fight among ourselves?

It is very hard not to dissolve into a flood of tears as this all plays out in England. We on this side of the world owe so much to the English church and to its evangelical wing in particular. We have been brought to faith, nourished in faith, grounded for a lifetime of ministry in faith, by the faithful ministries of men like Whitfield, Simeon, Ryle, Stott and Packer (and many others of course) and to watch much lesser men squander that inheritance brings great grief. When we remember the Reformation martyrs, and the courage of generation after generation of their heirs, we have great cause to thank God and great cause to weep over what is happening now.

So what is the way ahead? Who am I to tell my English brothers and sisters what they should do? It is up to them now, the faithful remnant within the Church of England joining cause with those who over recent years have left for refuge elsewhere, to find the way to put the things that matter most back at the centre of the agenda. We need to do that here too, of course. We can all let the heartache at God’s word being trampled by those charged with preaching it and defending it distract us from the victory of Christ, the urgency of his call to faith and repentance, and the clear, gracious yet insistent preaching of the gospel and its implications. But we cannot afford to do so.

When we stop talking about Jesus, we stop talking about the gospel. When we stop loving his word, we stop loving his people and the world over which he wept. So let’s not fall into that trap, even as we respond in tears to what has been done by the leadership (so-called) of the Church of England. Let’s get back to the core truths and hold on to them even more tightly. Our world is lost because we have sought to determine for ourselves what is right and what is wrong without reference to God, let alone in humble obedience to him. The only hope for every man and woman is the Saviour who came among us to exhaust the judgment we deserve and triumph over every consequence of our sin (John 3:16). In his generosity he calls on all to “come to me” and to “find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28–30). But it is only those who do come to him in faith, abandoning the empty, disappointing allegiances of their life without him, and taking hold of the rescue only he can provide, who will be saved (Rom. 10:9, 13). Most wonderful of all, he promised “whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).

So what has happened is scandalous and the last day will unmask its perverse folly. But what lies ahead is a magnificent challenge. This is still the age of gospel proclamation. It is only when the gospel of the kingdom has been “proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to the nations” that the end will come (Matt. 24:14). The sheer brilliance of that gospel will not be seen if, for whatever reason, we soft-pedal on the truths our world finds unpalatable. So our excitement at the challenge must be matched by a courage not to budge even a millimetre from the truth taught in Scripture. Nevertheless, I dare to dream of a new reformation, not just in the Church of England, but in churches throughout the world.”

First published at Theological Theology.

Church Society Editorial: Good Lord!

“There’s been a lot of talk about the doctrine of the Church of England of late. The doctrine of the Church of England is clearly stated in Canon Law. Canon A5 says:

“The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.

In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.”

I have devoted my life and ministry to these things. …”

– In this important editorial, Church Society’s Director, the Rev Dr Lee Gatiss, wonders what we can do when we are exasperated by bishops and the direction of the Church of England.

He goes on to say this about ‘canonical obedience’ to bishops –

“if bishops now require obedience or acquiescence in something neither lawful nor honest, and against the plain and public definition of Anglican doctrine, it is clearly not just a matter of conscience but my duty to the truth to say no. They should expect resistance.

(Emphasis added.)

The Reality of Evil in an Age of Confusion: Moral Clarity in the Wake of Barbarity

In today’s episode (Wednesday 11 October 2023) of The Briefing, Albert Mohler speaks about the attacks in Israel and the reality of evil.

He asks, “what (or who) can overcome evil on this scale?”.

And what does our acknowledgement of evil say about reality?


Anglican pastor chased by mob after waving Israeli flag outside church – 3AW.

We are Repaganizing

“Christians have always been unusually vehement in their disapproval of the killing of infants, whether born or unborn, and their legal regime prevailed until the mid-twentieth century when we experienced a religious shift that will probably be understood by future historians as a Second Reformation. …”

– Several Christian bloggers have linked to this thoughtful article at First Things by Louise Perry.

Tim Charlie’s writes, “This article is not written by a Christian but still shares an interesting perspective on what society will lose as it turns from its Christian roots back to paganism.”

What do Anglican clergy think about ‘Christian’ Britain, sexuality, and clergy morale?

“At the end of July, Kaya Burgess, the Religious Affairs correspondent of The Times, sent out an email to 5,000 Church of England clergy, inviting them to complete a questionnaire giving their views on a whole range of issues, including whether Britain is a ‘Christian’ country any more, the Church’s teaching on sexuality, their own morale, and the leadership of the Church. …”

– At Psephizo, Dr Ian Paul provides some much-needed context and balance to the survey of Church of England clergy.

“This really is the worst way to conduct an opinion poll or survey. …

I completed the survey in August, but with just about every section I wanted to say ‘But that is a false dichotomy!’ or ‘Yes, but not for the reason you think’.”

The Death of Church and Pub

“My annual trip to my home village in England is typically a week when I enter the land that time forgot. Nothing much changes. The shop still sells newspapers and houses the local post office. The view across the valley from my mother’s cottage still reveals nothing—not even a street light or a power cable—that would indicate it has a point of origin in the last century and a half. And the Baptist chapel bell still strikes the hour ten minutes late.

But even in this land where nothing seems to change, some things do bear the unmistakable marks of late modernity. …”

– At First Things, Carl Trueman sees the disintegration of community, and a tremendous opportunity for the church (maybe your church!).

Image: Crossway.

Does NSW really need to ban gay conversion therapy?

“The Australian state of New South Wales is about to launch into a debate over ‘conversion therapy’. …

Loose talk about ‘conversion practices’ conjures up electric shocks, nausea-inducing drugs, exorcisms, ice baths, aversion therapy and so on. There is no evidence of such practices having occurred in Australia for decades. A bill banning them is like a bill banning cruelty to unicorns. …”

– Michael Cook, Editor of Mercator, writes this opinion piece. (Link thanks to Anglican Mainstream.)

Importantly, see also:

Contact your MPan initiative of Freedom for Faith:

“NSW government just released proposals to ban so-called conversion practices …

Leading up to the election, the Labor Party promised that they only intend to ban damaging practices, without banning prayer, preaching, and spiritual guidance rooted in deeply-held beliefs about gender and sexuality.

“We’re not just going to transpose the Victorian legislation and implement it into New South Wales…. Taking offence at the teachings of a religious leader will not be banned. Expressing a religious belief through sermon will not be banned. And an individual, at their own consent, seeking guidance through prayer will not be banned either.”

– Chris Minns (NSW Premier)

But the proposal, which was developed by the Department of Communities and Justice, is effectively borrowed from Victoria which bans –
• Prayer
• Preaching
ª Counselling
… and any activity that is vaguely deemed as changing or suppressing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Parents, pastors, teachers, counsellors, chaplains, youth leaders could face criminal charges under the proposed law.

The government plans to introduce the legislation by this November. If we do not take action now, we risk allowing our fundamental rights to slip through our fingers.

Imagine a world where parents are afraid to have open conversations with their children, where pastors and teachers fear criminal charges for expressing their deeply-held beliefs, and where our religious communities are silenced by vague and overreaching laws.

The time to speak up is NOW.”

Why I felt sick watching ‘AI Jesus’

“Whatever their motives and whatever they meant to do, it comes out as next-level stupidity and holding Jesus up as a joke.

I actually felt sick watching it, to see the saviour of the world, the greatest figure in human history, being portrayed like this. …”

– At SydneyAnglicans.net, Russell Powell describes his reaction to the ‘AI Jesus’, and shares some positive things you can do.

Euthanasia in Canada. MAiD in hell?

“More people are being euthanised in Canada than anywhere else in the world. In the last official report, for 2022, 10,064 people died through what Canadians call ‘medical assistance in dying’ (MAiD). …”

– Michael Cook writes at Mercator. Link via Anglican Mainstream.

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