Sweden 

Was Sweden ever a Christian country?

It’s reasonably well-known that Sweden is one of the most agnostic or atheistic countries on the planet. Their lack of interest in all things related to the church is famous. Couple that with their generally ordered, well-run, democratic and prosperous society and Sweden has become the poster-country for secular people everywhere. But was Sweden ever really Christian? If we mean did Sweden have an official state religion then the answer is yes – Sweden had a state religion and a state church for centuries right up until 2000. If by…

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The Curiosity Index (20.09.2018)

Could God Forgive Even A “Deluded Monster” Like Rose West? John Stevens puts the scandal of the Gospel to the test against a mass murderer seeking forgiveness. The good news of the gospel is that forgiveness is available even for the worst of sinners. This is the utter scandal of the Christian faith, and why it is so completely different from all other religions. Far from being “not a god that I would understand,” a god who could forgive even the sins of Rose West is exactly the God the…

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The Curiosity Index (19.09.2018)

The unlikely rise of China’s ‘boss Christians’ Fascinating. The concentration of Protestant Christian entrepreneurs and their financial influence in the city has also led to unusually strong house churches with good connections to local government. Here, ‘boss Christians’ preach in the factory or the office as well as at church, encourage their workers to attend prayer meetings and Bible studies on site, and use their business relationships with the party-state to smooth the way for church operations. How Reformed Churches Are Growing on the Arabian Peninsula In the city of…

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Sweden 

Where did Swedish schooling go wrong?

Tyler Cowen links to some new research about the Swedish education system.  Both of our children are in this system so it’s a pretty important issue for us and it doesn’t make for happy reading. The Swedish school system suffers from profound problems with teacher recruitment and retention, knowledge decline,and grade inflation. Absenteeism is high, and psychiatric disorders have risen sharply among Swedish pupils in the last ten years. In this pioneering analysis of the consequences of combining institutionalized social constructivism with extensive marketization of education, we suggest that these…

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The Curiosity Index (18.09.2018)

Saving Lives in the Church This from Andrew Blunt is important: If we want to save the lives of young same-sex attracted men and women, we don’t need less deliberate application of theology; we need the deliberate application of a lot more theology. And that means we all have a role to play in living out God’s vision for sexuality and making sure that everyone can experience it as good news. A New World Marathon Record Almost Defies Description On Saturday I ran a half-marathon in what was for me…

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Sweden 

Sweden (doesn’t) decide

Sweden voted in its four-yearly general election on Sunday. We were able to vote in the local and county elections but not yet the national as our citizenship application has not yet been processed. The big question was how big would the nationalists (Sweden Democrats) share of the vote be? And the answer was bigger than before. So despite the fact that 83% of the Swedish electorate did NOT vote for them the focus was still on the 17% that do. That would make them the second-biggest party. So what…

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The Curiosity Index (11.09.2018)

China Bans Zion, Beijing’s Biggest House Church Religious freedoms in China are coming under increasing pressure. Is Anyone Born Gay? Christopher Yuan tackles a difficult question. Who Wrote the Book of Genesis? Tremper Longman III has a crack at answering this one. A full-scale Lego supercar that actually drives I love that they gave the driver a crash helmet. When the Earth Opens Up Oh. My. Goodness.

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The Curiosity Index (06.09.2018)

After an unexplained absence (well, laziness) we’re back. Our strange and incoherent stance towards the unborn Powerful stuff from Andrew Haslam: It made no sense to me that if a woman wants her baby, it’s a child, but if she doesn’t then it’s a foetus. If the child dies, it’s a tragic miscarriage, but if the pregnancy is brought to a medically induced end, it’s a routine termination. If a couple is longing to have a family the loss of a child is a grief too hard to bear, but…

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