Jan 27, 2010

maybe I'm the idiot

This posting on one of those horrible atheist discussion boards was linked at "Dangerous Idea".
Much could be said, but I'll let you check it out if you want and ponder whether some of their their (those replying to the post) points would apply to themselves if only self-criticism were allowed.

Veteran Member

Join Date: September 2002
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 527

Intelligent Theists

One of the reasons I lurk
around (and occasionally contribute to) websites devoted to religious
discussion, when really I should have better things to do, is that I am
endlessly fascinated by the phenomenon of the intelligent theist.It is all too
easy to dismiss religious folk as ruled by emotion and wishful thinking, unable
to drop the beliefs of their parents, easily swayed by charismatic teachers or
just plain silly. No doubt many of them fall into these categories.But then
there are those that appear to be genuinely intelligent, well educated
professionals who have thought deeply about the issues and continue to profess a
basic Christian (its almost always Christian) worldview. People like William
Lane Craig come to mind, but there are many other scientists, philosophers and
other academics who could be cited. They may be a minority, but there are enough
of them to make for an interesting question.They're not just holding on to the
religion of their parents - many of them claim to be converts from atheism;They
don't just believe in some abstract philosopher's god - many of them go the
whole hog: virgin birth, resurrection, epistle of Paul, etc;They don't just base
their views on blind faith or emotion - many of them make serious attempts to
present rational arguments for their religion;So what is going on?Why are they
unable to see how poor their arguments are?Do they really believe or are they,
as Dan Dennett suggests, deceiving everyone for some other purpose?Do they have
access to something that I have missed?Or are their arguments sound after all?
Maybe I'm the idiot?

Jan 26, 2010

traffic is up!

Nietzsche isn't. He's dead.

This blog is linked in a place or three and is going places, you'll be pleased to know. But I still (until this starts to make money$) have the interests of my faithful readers at the centre of my heart, right next to Jesus, good books and icecream. As such, I am happy to entertain your comments and even to look benevolently upon your quaint misguided ramblings, in the way I would wish you to look upon mine (while humbly suggesting that in my case 'misguided' would be a misnomer-kind-of modifier.)

So, now you know. Please feed the blog with whatever seems useful at the time.

"all the trees were made right"

I heard a little girl say this (or something very similar - I didn't note it down) to her Mum on the bus this morning. I saw that she is a future promoter of natural theology and I was pleased.

I also had a short discussion with a retired scottish tourist who had somehow sensed the fact I wouldn't mind talking to someone, about university and volcanoes and snow in Scotland. Apparently Edinburgh does in fact have (extinct) volcanoes - I will leave the readers of this blog to ascertain whether the claim is correct.

[gap to be sorted sometime]

The donkeys were nice too.

Jan 18, 2010

by their fruit shall you know them ...

Jesus-Fruit TM* Eat 5+ a day!

*Recommended by JESUS and THE BIBLE. (Luke 6:44)

[There is such a thing as a fallacious appeal to authority. This would appear to be one.
In its context, it makes perfect sense. I may explain more in a week.]

Jan 17, 2010

This Blog is Extremely Sexist. It should be imprisoned; if we believed in prisons (which we don't.)

It's practically all about men. Conservative (& presumably frequently large (you're not a real conservative unless you're a heavily overweight male and/or wearing a business suit) and possibly sunburnt) white men. It only occurred to me today I think.

This should concern me.

It doesn't really.


Please note, God is not fat, white, currently in a business suit (in any sensible sense), or indeed male except in certain senses - this blog is, it is true, sometimes about God; but my devastating self-critique was levelled at the level of humans in the modern era, which has tended to be a focus of said web-log.

Jan 16, 2010

Does God Hate Carribean Islands or is He Unable to Intervene?

In the face of vast, cruel natural events such as the Haitian earthquake, it may seem as if, if indeed it is true that God exists, he is either an evil loser or an impotent (rather than omnipotent) weakling; if not both.

I have never been involved in a devastating natural disaster. Sometimes things that have happened to me have seemed a little like devastating natural disasters, but it’s not really quite the same thing. We are indeed blessed in NZ. Unless of course God does not exist, in which case it is no more the case that we are blessed than it is that atoms have girlfriends, or pandas wear pinstripes (as a general rule.)

But where is this God? Serenely sitting on His throne ignoring the scurrying ants below? Perhaps, shock/horror, He/She doesn’t even exist! It is hardly as if the possibility has not occurred to me. Or yet, perhaps God does in fact exist. I typed “dies” instead of “does” there initially. This brings to memory a central fact – that God understands death and loss intimately and not only that rather grand, strange, claim, but we can be quite sure that He does. In theory, the Bible could just say “God understands it all, you know; believe brotha!” or God could step down into history and walk the talk. Which would be more believable? Which would be more loving? Which happened?

The Christian community claims that death has been defeated. What a strange claim when perhaps hundreds of thousands of impoverished people trying to eke out their living have just got flattened by the hand of ‘fate’. How bizarre, how truly bizarre. Death is pretty active for someone who God has put in his place. Perhaps, if God is in a way timeless, the defeat is not complete, but we see the firstfruits which included the resurrection of Jesus, the consequences of which flood out in the world today (take my life as an example.) Surely though (it may be claimed) they deserved better? And yet; the alternative (to a world with God in it) seems to be that these people in fact deserved nothing. Perhaps some theory of rights could be constructed (though I am a little dubious) such that their fellow humans owed them a “better” (though I wonder if even the kind of conception of the ‘good’ required for this also becomes problematic) living. ... (A pause for thinking.)

Yet a violation of such assumed rights by the universe could hardly be unexpected or, even less, “unfair”! The message of a universe sans God is “screw your concept of ‘unfair’ – it’s all atoms (with some forces in there somewhere), I don’t care - about you; I don’t care about babies, kittens or self-fulfilment; and you can be equally sure I’m not talking to you, it is (at best) just freaky atoms somehow co-operating to give an illusion in your head.” What a message. Preach it brotha - not.

So, the alternative is depressing; therefore evangelical Christianity wins the day? Well, yes actually, for reasons including the following: evangelical Christianity is more coherent than the alternatives of which I am aware in making sense of our moral sense, even our horror at the catastrophe in Haiti. There is a 'good' and an 'evil' and God is maximising the first. There are various explanations that may be offered, yet I acknowledge that this side of heaven they will be incomplete. I believe that natural evil is, as the Bible claims, traceable to rebellion against God, particularly human rebellion; yours and mine. I also believe that God, as an omnipotent personal actor in the world’s affairs is eminently able to bring good out of our evil.

Some of the evil in Haiti was avoidable – though no-one may choose to take the blame, there is nevertheless responsibility, including on the affluent apathetic ‘developed’ world which has by-and-large left the Haitis of the world to fend for themselves, in between exploiting them. It is truly ‘unfair’, as these people have genuine worth and do not deserve any worse than us. It is another question as to whether all humans in fact deserve a living hell or perhaps termination of some kind. There is however a solution to this madness, this ugliness of the 'real' world (though note, the evil and indifference we see or suppose is by no means the only facet of the world which does in fact exist); I did not invent it; and the work in this long-term (on what other time-frame could God work?) scheme has already been completed and the battle won. The world God has worked for is not yet fully revealed, but we see sufficient shafts of light to buy in. God has taken our problems upon His own shoulders, in the form of a cross.

God is neither powerless nor weak. He has a plan and, yes, bizarrely it even involves evil. We were free to choose evil and we have chosen it time and time again. He, being omnipotent and just, is free to leave us in our mess, or fix it by his own means. He has chosen the latter (and it makes a hell of a difference.)

Jan 15, 2010

We're going on a bear hunt!

Courtesy of this dude, here.

As I write this, I look out my window at Superstition mountain wreathed mysteriously in low-lying clouds and reflect that to live well, a man needs a quest. Without a quest, a life lacks the invigorating "strenuosity" that William James preached. But if he quests for something paltry such as lost treasure, it is perhaps best that he never find it. For on a finite quest, the 'gold' is in the seeking, not in the finding. A quest worthy of us, however, cannot be for gold or silver or anything finite and transitory. A quest worthy of us must aim beyond the ephemeral, towards something whose finding would complete rather than debilitate us. Nevertheless, every quest has something in it of the ultimate quest, and can be respected in some measure for that reason.

Jan 14, 2010


Dear Diary - today i managed to wake early enough to procrastinate less than i might have otherwise yet nevertheless a considerable deal too much. i intended to do much; including excercises to assist public speaking as i soon will have to do some of this; and did a considerable deal too little by comparison and any speaking done in public served to lessen my aura and likely confuse the attempt at a lesson. i went for a walk around the block and ended up doing a strange figure of 8 thing, which might have metaphysical implications but probably does not. The fact that the block was in remuera may or may not have influenced these implications. i managed to catch the link to get to class on time to be fashionably flustered thanks perhaps to catching said link in the wrong direction, as it were. This may in fact have been the quicker route, however, for complex reasons (most reasons are complex.) Today i prayed, as i am wont to do, a prayer that i am wont to pray, i hope in fact that this wontoness as it were, would 'be' (in existence) ofter and ofter (I suppose that should be 'oftener' or somesuch, but a little German doesn't hurt - well, I suppose a Bavarian midget could cause one severe pain, but that is by-the-by atm.) Whether it was answered (or not) was less clear than is sometimes reasonably clearly the case.

i am, as ever, hoping.

Warning: God ahead, behind and to both sides

I wrote this a few weeks ago I think, but for some reason didn't share. I wonder why.

God has given
His Word; not seen
before that time
nor understood.

this I can say
with certainty

‘tis a sharp-most
sword; dividing
spirit from soul,
evil from good.

‘parent-ly loss;
our win, his cross

and could it be;
pertains to me?
the church’s claim:
indeed it could.

condition dire
saviour required

child in manger
removes danger
hung on a tree
failure absolved.


God the loser
who took a risk
God the victor
and Christ his Word

Jan 13, 2010


Jesus Owned the Other Team

I prefer this to "WWJD" as smart atheists have been known to claim or retort "we won, jesus died" [cue awkward laughter] (& yes, the lack of capitalisation is often somehow important to these people.) Exactly how some atheist teenager and his emo friends - I assume it must be teenagers who drive the demand for such things - could have "won" through the death of Jesus Christ is a little mysterious.

First, when taken as those who spout/wear it intend, it means that "atheistic materialism is correct" - and if that's a true statement it's about as big a loss as humanity could possibly suffer in the uttering of one sentence.

Second, I see no reason to take the phrase as those who spout it, wear it on T-Shirts etc intend, for they clearly cannot take WWJD as those who wear the bracelets etc intend - as such, I may well ask "So what, friend?" Whoever coined the phrase might have attended Easter Camp once I guess - however they clearly missed the Sunday session. Jesus rose from the dead. That means that yes, he died - and that's important, no doubt - but to miss the next bit shows sad ignorance and has little hope of leading to bliss.

Jan 12, 2010

child abuse = smacking = dumb people = smacking?

Some people, e.g. one in a tutorial last week, suggest that some people just can't get it into their heads that (paraphrased) 'smacking is immoral because NZ has a child abuse problem'. The logic is simply muddled. This, below, is old, & old news and I probably should stop whinging - I'm not into protests and stuff myself - but the simplicity in some supposedly educated people's thinking annoys and concerns me. I can only hope that they are not 'A+' students, or our society is basically screwed.

“The initial results from the survey show that the majority of callers (more than 55 percent) do not think parents taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child”, says Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand.

“Despite this, comments from the children and young people who participated in the survey suggest many children are conditioned to expect and accept physical discipline from parents”


If a child thinks parents should be prosecuted for smacking, their opinion is very important and should be listened to. BUT
If a child thinks otherwise, they have been “conditioned” to think so and their opinion is not valid.
The full report states that the children were asked “Do you think that adults who are taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child?”. Note the use of the emotive word “hit” here and throughout the messages read to the children. But even with such a leading question, only 55% of children said “hitting” for discipline was not ok. Probably even less than 50% would have said “smacking” was not ok.

In fact, most children recognise that there is a big difference between hitting and smacking, and that physical punishment may be appropriate in some circumstances. Note what the children actually said to the counsellors as reported by Barnardos themselves:

(Counsellor) “He said it’s not really that good [for parents to hit their child] but it depends on what happened, or what the child did”. He said it depends on whether the child does something ‘really, really, really, really, really bad’, for example, ‘if they break a window on purpose’”.
(Counsellor) “The interpretation I got from this caller was that she thinks its OK to smack (‘a little tap on the bum’) but that if there are bruises, it is not OK.”
(Counsellor) “He said that parents should be allowed to hit their children because there were more students getting suspended from school than 10 years ago.”
[Getting a smack] should be ok…if they are disciplining them for playing up, they deserve it…but it shouldn’t be too hard.” “I behave a bit more when I get a smack.”
Of the 19 children quoted by Barnados, 11 think smacking is ok in some circumstances (but “hitting” may not be) and 8 disagree. That’s not what their media release would make you think.

The title of their media release (Smacking – “It’s wrong, full stop” say children) is a blatant lie.

Also, check out President Obama's (not so) official statement

Jan 11, 2010

Justice – book review beginning

Nicholas Wolterstorff: Justice - rights and wrongs (Princeton Uni. Press.)
I’ve recently been thinking about natural rights as they might apply to an essay I’m currently writing on medical ethics. I’ve realised that the (arguably) central tenet of classical liberalism; a basis for much of our law, ‘The Harm Principle’; seems to be effectively grounded only when natural rights are taken seriously. It is easy to repeat the mantra that there is no justification for interfering in a rational agent’s life excepting the situation where the agent is harming someone else, but why harming someone else should be a problem at all, in a utilitarian approach in particular (perhaps, after all, the pleasure taken from the harm is rather large and the harm is relatively small) is not so clear unless such agents actually have worth and hence rights. A question about the provenance of rational agency is also raised, but that is another issue and is I suppose dealt with elsewhere. Of course perhaps these rights are somehow ‘capacity-based’ – yet Wolterstorff argues effectively I think against such approaches, largely based on their unjustified exclusivity.

quod erat demonstrandum

"which was the thing to be proved"

Two more phrases I've been saving:

Les nerfs—voilá tout l’homme!” French doctor Pierre Cabanis, 200 yrs ago;
"The nerves: that’s all there is to man" (I think the translation is a bit weak though; I prefer something like "Nerves - voilá; that's all man is!").

From death, from the fear of death arises all knowledge of the All.
Franz Rosenzweig - first line of "The Star of Redemption". (apparently; I'm not yet sophisticated enough to have actually read it.) I assume it was in fact in German, but we've covered enough languages for now.

break's over

yeah, it was short, but I'm a bit of a workaholic.

And thanks guys - presumably some of you have been reading this (kind of by definition - you're clearly reading it now anyway) - but I lost the tracking code on the site which counts the critters who pass by. I'm in the process of re-in-setting-it-up, so I'm not sure how badly the blog is doing yet, but I may let you know. It was hovering around 4 individuals per day, with some impressive peaks of a couple more, before I tried to be stylish & changed templates.

So you can look officially forward to more not-quite-equilibrated goodness, unless I lose track of the tracking again, in which case I may become inconsolably (that might be a word) depressed.

Literally 'inconsolably', as I have no X-box! (Fortunately I'm not in real need of its rumoured contraceptive [see the billboard] effects.)

QED. (I'm not sure what it means, but it's a popular thing to write.)

Jan 10, 2010


my posting has been a bit too offensive; probably on more than one thing - and as it's hardly generating discussion anyway, it will be left for a while, while I attempt to focus on more useful things.

Jan 9, 2010

The Snark

I haven't read Daniel Dennett's book "Breaking the Spell" yet, but after skimming through this large review by (Orthodox theologian) David Hart, I'm quite looking forward to fitting it in sometime. The capacity that learned men (and perhaps women, but it isn't so clear) have to laughingly dismiss their intellectual opponents seldom ceases to amuse/amaze me.
This is a work of art:

"The prose is rebarbative, moreover, and the book is unpleasantly shapeless: It labors to begin and then tediously meanders to an inconclusive conclusion. There is, as well, the utter tone-deafness evident in Dennett's attempts to describe how persons of faith speak or think, or what they have been taught, or how they react to challenges to their convictions. He even invents an antagonist for himself whom he christens Professor Faith, a sort of ventriloquist's doll that he compels to utter the sort of insipid bromides he imagines typical of the believer's native idiom.

In fact, Dennett expends a surprising amount of energy debating, cajoling, insulting, quoting, and taking umbrage at nonexistent persons. In the book's insufferably prolonged overture, he repeatedly tells his imaginary religious readers—in a tenderly hectoring tone, as if talking to small children or idiots—that they will probably not read his book to the end, that they may well think it immoral even to consider doing so, and that they are not courageous enough to entertain the doubts it will induce in them. Actually, there is nothing in the book that could possibly shake anyone's faith, and the only thing likely to dissuade religious readers from finishing it is its author's interminable proleptic effort to overcome their reluctance. But Dennett is convinced he is dealing with intransigent oafs, and his frustration at their inexplicably unbroken silence occasionally erupts into fury. “I for one am not in awe of your faith,” he fulminates at one juncture. “I am appalled by your arrogance, by your unreasonable certainty that you have all the answers.” And this demented apostrophe occurs on the fifty-first page of the book, at which point Dennett still has not commenced his argument in earnest."

In summary of the review, it appears that, as with a number of those in his camp, Dennett fails to engage with the substance of truth claims made by religions and; assuming this claim to be true; at best provides a nice book-length illustration of the genetic fallacy.

I may update this after I've found the book & read it. As there is a stack to digest, it may be a while.

Jan 8, 2010


well, if eric says it... (Everything You Wanted To Know About God (but were afraid to ask)).

I might purchase.

which kind of witch and wherefore ought one to care?

Please note: I do not believe in old women flying on broomsticks or the like. I can’t be bothered writing a massive essay but a few short points might suffice to show I’m not obviously or laughably incorrect in the following matter. This is not a point of Christian doctrine, so don’t quote me as if it were somehow particularly important; it is just a concept that’s come up in the past and I briefly found more interesting than the book on political theory I’m attempting to get through.
A couple of years back I suggested that I believed in witches i.e. in their existence. This was not particularly well received. Apparently it’s ok, or not-too-bad to believe in God, Jesus and other putatively (according to various non-knowledgable* claimants) non-existent figures, but not witches. Yet, I still claim it is a relatively simple fact that people exist who are they themselves claim, witches. The various forms of Wicca and other neo-paganisms are obvious examples. If you wish you can suggest, laughing, that this means nothing; people can claim whatever they like (e.g. to be vampires) and it doesn’t mean that what they believe is real. Yet, every atheist of whom I am aware will accept that there are really “Christians” out there (myself being one), quite regardless of whether it is in fact correct that God exists, Jesus rose from the dead, etc. By a tiny bit of exploration and a simple analogy and, it would seem likely that there are also witches, druids, perhaps (though not so clearly) satanists and who knows what else. It seems that spiritual practices or labels like 'witch' or 'druid' are not about having special powers, rather about how people choose to act.
Is it, though, a fact that ‘witches’, whatever they are exist and practice something ‘mysterious’ or ‘spiritual’ beyond the occasional social outing and maybe a few tricks to impress initiates? I don’t know. In New Zealand it seems unlikely; but there is a whole lot of ‘unlikely’ spiritual stuff that I have good reason to believe has occurred. I suspect there is such a thing as a supernatural reality and that this isn’t restricted solely to God’s existence and direct action. How influential this may or may not be and whether any ‘action’ would be demonstrable as such or simply as charlatanism I am not aware, not having done any studies of it. Certainly there is anecdotal evidence from countries which aren’t thoroughly-secularised. If the atheistic materialism worldview is false, as the vast majority of earthlings believe, the claim loses some of its, for want of a better word, ‘disbelievability’. That's pretty much all I have to say on the topic.

It just struck me the obvious place to start should have been the "Wiktionary"

Incidentally, an article I skimmed on the subject from Wikipedia provided this pearl: “African Christians typically accept Christian dogma as do their counterparts in Latin America and Asia.” I would suppose that “Pakistani Muslims typically accept Muslim dogma”, “British atheists typically accept atheist dogma” and “Antarctic-ian Agnostics” would typically accept agnostic dogma as well. It's kind of a truism. Of course, I shouldn't expect greatness from a democratic encyclopaedia.

*I am assuming in the use of this term that 'knowledge' ought to be 'true' - and that (e.g.) Jesus does in fact exist. It follows that people who deny true statements as I claim that one to be are lacking in knowledge in the relevant field.

Strange Systematization

Thanks Amazon - I didn't realise that Richard Dawkins was a Theologian/writer on theology until you informed me - let alone a Christian one!
And Daniel Dennett and Deepak Chopra what's more - that's one 'trinity' sure to mess up a Theology Department.

Jan 6, 2010

just moving

Looking into in a recent crack-down on house-Churches in China, I found this phrase, uttered by a police officer over there a while back; surely one just has to laugh:
"We are not seizing anything. We are just moving things!"

Don't worry mate! I'm just moving your stuff.

Jan 3, 2010

%!@~* Christians!

venturing into new fields of green

The whole point of this changed with the addition of the background including mushroom cloud (or is that a tree?) - mushroom clouds do, in any case, tend to change things.

Hehe - my blog background is now coincident'ly green - how appropriate.

Jan 2, 2010

take over Xmas

...an interesting entry from a man identifying only as a ‘Canberra Anglican parish priest’. In the lead up to Christmas he had organised some community carols in his local shopping centre, but met some resistance. ‘To my great amusement,’ he wrote, ‘the manager of the centre objected, because she thinks the “[expletive] Christians want to take over Christmas.”...' From CPX

ah, Oxford ...

Prof Peter Harrison. There's more here; that which I've viewed seems ok.

Dawkins' case against God from CPX on Vimeo.

Jan 1, 2010

ethics for babies

I am grateful for having found these lectures. The ramblings below might be slightly less weird if you take a peek.

Babies, as, in God’s plan, the result of committed love-making, can be said, albeit with care, to be incarnations of love. Jesus is, according to God’s plan, also and yet more fundamentally “love incarnate”; contra the mocking local Anglican billboard (see NZ herald: St Matthews), not we believe in quite the same sense as we are; yet we see a similar pattern (and the existence of patterns rule out chance explanations; and in this case suggest a purpose worth considering.) God’s love is different to ours; it is less exclusive and still more personal; however let us note the pattern, reflect on the relationship between love and personhood; and perhaps even respond in trust.

the levels of ok

This pic is a revision, as requested. That's a halo on the top.

OK - so there are, it has occured to me, at least 5 levels of 'OK' (in the sense of 'acceptable'.) They form a kind of pyramid.

1) Things which are technically illegal but not extremely life-threatening. The base-most level of the structure.

2) Stuff which is not illegal. There is a general presumption in our laws, such that that which is not specifically prohibited is, ceteris paribus, allowed. This is either beneficial to society; in that it encourages the imaginative use of resources to maximise utility; or subtley harmful in shamelessly promoting the spread of stupidity.

3) Stuff which is socially acceptable ("accept'ble" in pic.) This very respectable stage is presumably a function of the kind of company one is in and how much alcohol has been consumed by said company recently.

4) Morally permissable. Whether morals are objective, subjective or some messy combo doesn't really matter. I'm assuming in building this that it's generally immoral to break the law; but this is a fancy kind of pyramid, with spiral staircases and such.

5) Morally admirable. This penthouse peaky thing, along with the previous level, is what philosophers fight about (in the unique way in which philosophers participate in their esoteric version of mortal combat.)

I see you ... Actually, I don't really.

Avatar - vaguely disappointing. Maybe it was due to a slight fuzziness from the wearing of contact lenses (or was that the 3D glasses?), but I don't quite get the AVATAR WAS AWESOME hype hanging so near-ubiquitously in the virtual air.

I guess the visuals were good, (though it seemed they tried rather hard most of the time to avoid having aliens and humans in the same shots) but I like my 5-star films to have plot in them and intelligence and stuff like that. Don't get me wrong, it was mildly impressive; and I highly appreciated the way the team managed to shove their ideology down the world's throat (surely I'm allowed to anthropomorphise the world) - perhaps I should've taken notes. I can also envisage using some short clips from this heathen-friendly film as teaching points in modern church services or youth-directed christian education programmes. So I'm hardly a hater.

The ideology was in any case, rather interesting - it illustrated well a kind of modern neopagan scientism in what it promoted; but was far more clear in what it opposed i.e. the American military, unbridled capitalism, trashing of the environment etc. Yet I don't think Hollywood's new cause-célèbre-baby works. It could almost have been an anti-war film; if it wasn't for the obvious joy taken from whipping the Earth-soldiers' collective butts, complete with Hollywood explosions. It could have been pro-scientism; even keen to put a scientific slant on the Na'vi spiritual stuff - but the soldiers' offensive atheism was shown up as just that - and ultimately, there was clearly at least one mind behind Pandora's ecological balance, combined with a kind of dualistic view of persons. It could have been anti-Christian; I suppose the soldiers, like the real US military, could have easily had a religious gloss - but the film preferred to both be pro nature-worship (deification of nature) and to leave in a few church-friendly references that might help the DVD sales. ("Born twice", "hallelujah mountains", etc. Come on; "hallelujah mountains"?!) Oh - and I just discovered 'Avatar' means 'Incarnation' in Sanskrit. Cool.

It could have been a really good film; but somehow, it kinda failed.