Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I had the chance to see "Apocalypto" the other day. There are many things I could say in response to this movie. But I doubt I will articulate them all. This is because Mel Gibson was successful in making a movie that is very far removed from my western world view. It is very hard for me to place this movie in any category in my life. I am greatly appreciative for a movie that opened my eyes to a very different world and way of life.

In this sense, it was a brilliant movie. It was extremely realistic to my eyes and senses, it did not appear to be fantastic in any way at all. I liked the life of the tribe in the village. While their culture may not have been perfect and they may not have known God personally (although I have no claims in either direction), they seemed to be peace loving people.

The people who attacked them, the Mayans seemed to be terribly evil people. Mayan culture is known to be one of the most advanced cultures in history, yet their approach to spirituality was evil and sadisitic, full of bloodthirsty human sacrifices.

I recently had a discussion with an evangelical friend who I like a lot. But I felt his response to this movie was so cliche and standard, that he could not possibly have thought about it all. "There was an awful lot of nudity, in the movie." (Was there? I didn't notice anything of a sexual nature what so ever.) "Wasn't it all about idolatry?" (Well it didn't say that idolatry was good!)
We have to be careful in evangelical cultures to not view the world with blinders on. This movie was brilliantly made. Maybe too cryptic for the average evangelical, I could see plainly the points that Mel Gibson was making.

And for those that can't work it out, let me quote Mel Gibson for you:

"APOCALYPTO is an action-adventure set against the turbulent times at the end of the great Maya civilization.

I have always been fascinated by the precipitous collapse of the ancient Maya civilization and the social and spiritual reasons behind it. The more I learned about it, the more I believed it is a story that has many similarities to society today.

Apocalypto is a story about Jaguar Paw, a man whose idyllic existence is disrupted by a violent invading force. He is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression, where a harrowing end awaits him. Through a twist of fate and spurred by the power of his love for his wife, family and his unwavering faith in what he believes is right, he will make a desperate break to return home and to ultimately save his way of life.

In making APOCALYPTO, I hoped to compose a portrait of a society heading towards its final days, but I also wanted to include another vital concept: hope. The story of Jaguar Paw is a universal story of the spark of life that exists even in a civilization in decay. APOCALYPTO means “new beginning”, however in order to have a new beginning, something has to end… and with every ending, there is also a new beginning."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The phone or the computer?

In an earlier post I wrote about the concept of merging technologies. I have been predicting (it's not like this is a genius prediction), that eventually we will all walk around with hand held communication devices that carry out all needs; i.e the applications of a computer, internet, television, stereo, telephone, video conference, camera, photo album... the list goes on. These devices will carry out every conceivable communication concept we can come up with.

The iPod has been filling a niche in the market based upon that which is cool and young people demand. It started out as a simple mp3 player, then Apple improved the display and design, then eventually video was added. A new product is being released this year which is the next big step in the internet revolution: the iPhone.

Watch your tv shows or movies, with this full screen display. Show of your slideshows of photos. Notice on the right that there is an iSight camera. (2 megapixels).

The phone carries GSM coverage for mobile calls. The internet can be accessed this way. The phone also comes with Airport (or Wi-Fi), so the internet can be accessed in a cafe without racking up mobile charges.

There are multiple software applications. Future versions are bound to be capable of carrying out many more applicatons. There is every application that one could hope for in a PDA.

The web browser enables viewing of web pages as they were designed to be viewed.

The screen is fully touch sensitive and intuitive. It has text predictive typing which means that a full keypad is not required.
Choose your music simply by touching it.

The next question is, as these technologies merge, what will we call this device? A computer, a phone, something else? This will be interesting to see how our language develops.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why do I believe?

I have decided to record some of the reasons why I believe in God.

Faith in God rests on multiple layers: creation, history, community, personal experience, experience of others, theology. That is a little too many layers to address in one post.

Let me start wit the first layer. Creation. When ever I get out of the city I am always overawed by the beauty I see and experience: the majesty of the mountains, the power of the ocean, the vast expanse of the night sky reaching light years away, northern lights displays. At a closer level there is the beauty and simplicity of the flowers, birds and animals. Then of course there is the complexity of the human being. Each of these examples to me speak to my heart that there is a creator. Within me there is a resonation that there is a God who is far greater than all of these things and made them all.

But what about scientific arguments that claim everything started with a big bang, and then gradually evolved to what we have today? This delves into the realm of philosopy but it is worth addressing. Firstly I think there are some major problems with the scientific world view. The age of enlightenment started in the 1700s after the renaissance period. The age of enlightenment was when man said that he could search, find and prove the answers to everything. A self confidence in his own worth and ability. If God is true, then that is a huge stretch for man to say that he will ever be able to explain everything. Even if God is not real, it is actually a huge slice of arrogance to say that man through science can explain all of the wonders of the universe. The universe is so large, that man could not explain it in a million ages. Therefore to argue that God does not exist is unprovable. This is where atheism falls flat on his face. If the doubting scientist says that God is not real and insists on searching the world through those criteria how can he ever know whether my faith is real or just a fabrication. He cannot prove this, and this is the achilles heel of science.

So science does not have all the answers. The death of modernism is heralded. Nietzsche proclaimed that God was dead. Atheism is a concept that only came about from the modernist world view. Post modernism has begun. People know that science can not answer spiritual questions. It seems that Nietzsche was wrong and that God has risen from the dead again!

I am not even tackling the question of who God is today. I am simply establishing why I believe in God, and then debunking the atheist lie that tries to undermine this. Most of the world's population would agree that there is a God. Most would even agree that there is an unkwown God who made everything. I think that this Creator God must be pretty amazing, from looking at creation.

I have faith that God exists. This is not such a stupid proposition these days. In the age of modernism many people ridiculed this proposition. But modernism had failed to answer this all important question. In the words of Douglas Adams (a self proclaimed atheist): The answer to the question of life, the universe and everything is...... 42. Now you could say that he was ridiculing the question. But I have read his works closely and he asks the question many times. But he never found his answer. He insisted on looking at the question through a scientific world view. In reality the best answer you can come up with through a scientific world view is 42.

To believe that God is not real and personal requires a modernist scientific world view. A post modernist can not think this way. If a post modernist is to become an atheist they must first digress back into modernism.

My reasons for believing are not because of philosophical arguments. My reasons for believing are because of the witness and story that I see in creation around me. Such beauty and inspiration. It inspires me to have faith- faith in a God who is much, much bigger than me.