Fr Stephen Smuts

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

ISIS: Paris Attacks ‘First Of The Storm’

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In the NY Times:

The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Saturday for the catastrophic attacks in the French capital, calling them “the first of the storm” and mocking France as a “capital of prostitution and obscenity,” according to statements released in multiple languages on one of the terror group’s encrypted messaging accounts.

The remarks came in a communiqué published in Arabic, English and French on the Islamic State’s Telegram account and then distributed via their supporters on Twitter, according to a transcript provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadist propaganda…

Keep reading.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 14, 2015 at 20:54

Posted in Culture

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Confused About Syria? Who’s Fighting and Why

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Tens of thousands are still fleeing this ancient part of the world.


Syria is a country of mountains, deserts and fertile plains, bordering Lebanon, the Mediterranean Sea, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. The country is largely populated by Sunni Muslims, but is also home to many other ethnic and religious groups: Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, and Circassians, Christians, Shiites, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Salafis, and Yazidis.

The war in Syria has killed over 250,000 people and displaced over 12 million. Just today, tens of thousands are reported to be fleeing Aleppo with just the clothes on their backs, due to a  government offensive on rebel-held areas south of the city.

Although it began as a civil war, it has become much more and divided much of the Middle East, drawing in the United States and Russia. To better understand how Syria arrived to where it is today, Vox put together this simple video.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 31, 2015 at 21:42

China Ends One-Child Family Policy

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The barbaric social engineering experiment has ended. The low birth rate has resulted in an ageing population.

The Catholic Herald:

China has ended its one-child policy after three decades.

The ruling Communist Party has said it will ease family planning restrictions, allowing couples to have two children.

It is thought the one-child policy has prevented about 400million births since it was introduced.

The controversial policy was introduced nationally three decades ago in 1978 with the aim of tackling China’s rapidly growing population.

It faced global criticism when it was brought in, as critics suggested it was an abuse of people’s human rights.

Those who violated the policy faced a range of punishments, from fines to loss of employment or forced abortions.

While the restrictions reduced the country’s birth rate, it has seen a rise in the relative number of elderly people.

Now, amid concerns over China’s ageing population, the party has bowed to activist’s call for change.

The policy had been relaxed in some areas, as sociologists began to raise concerns about rising social costs and falling worker numbers.

The rules were not formally relaxed by the Communist Party until two years ago, when it allowed couples in which at least one of the pair is an only child, and those who had a girl, to have a second.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 29, 2015 at 16:59

Posted in Culture

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The BBC: Writing Christianity Out of History

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A few days ago I had the slimy experience of listening to a forty-minute discussion on BBC radio purporting to show the history of Britain through the medium of poetry. I describe the experience as slimy because I felt, having listened to it, that I had been slimed, finding myself covered spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally in a decaying, mendacious goo.

Let me explain…

Read on here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 28, 2015 at 13:48

The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 28, 2015 at 13:29

The Largest-Ever Image of Space

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It’s a composite image… apparently the largest image of space to date.

Source and more on the image here.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 26, 2015 at 18:23

Posted in Culture

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Oldest Draft of King James Bible Discovered

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This is rather exciting… Discovery has the news:

The King James Bible, the most widely read book in the English language — from which phrases like “a man after his own heart” emerged — is as storied as it is elusive. Now, a historian claims to have found the oldest known draft of the Christian text, written in messy script, in an obscure archive at the University of Cambridge.

The manuscript was hidden among the papers of Samuel Ward, one of the men commissioned by King James I to translate a new version of the Christian text into English in the early 17th century.

Jeffrey Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, chanced upon the 400-year-old notebook while doing research on Ward for an essay he’s writing. The Eureka moment came when Miller realized that the notebook contained text from the very book that Ward had been commissioned to help translate. Miller recalled thinking, “Oh my gosh, he’s talking about a book that he had been asked to help translate,” he said. “Then I realized rather he was creating the King James Bible in that moment.”

Describing his discovery in the Times Literary Supplement, Miller said the notebook is not just the earliest draft ever found, but it is also the only surviving draft written in the hand of one of the original translators…

There is more here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 18, 2015 at 21:34


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