Aningaaq: Jonas Cuarón’s Gravity spin-off

I was teaching film analysis for students at NLA Mediehøgskolen Gimlekollen today, using Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity as an extended worked example. Gravity is an impressive film in so many ways, though it touches on some profound issues without quite saying anything significant about them (you might like to read my posts from when we discussed Gravity in the Keswick Convention Film Club last summer – part one and part two).

The conversation between Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and the Inuit Aningaaq over the radio is, I think, the film’s emotional centre of gravity, as it were. We, like Ryan, have no idea what Anningaaq is saying, but Jonas Cuarón made a short film showing the other side of the story. It is called, simply, Aningaaq:

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How can a good God allow suffering?

The second in my series on Life’s Big Questions during the discipleship school at Above Bar Church last autumn was on the incredibly difficult question of suffering. While I think suffering is the hardest question for Christian faith, I believe it is also the hardest question for every worldview – and that there are no other perspectives on suffering which give even remotely satisfactory answers.

Here are the slides:

And the recording:

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Is God a moral monster?

The Old Testament raises some tricky questions of morality  for people living in the contemporary world, at least in the west. The alleged ‘genocide’ of the Canaanites is one that I hear frequently. It isn’t only people who are not Christians who have questions about it; Christians often feel embarrassed about these parts of the Old Testament. However, I am am convinced that there are some very good responses to these issues. I tried to outline a few responses in the first of a series of four sessions tackling difficult questions during Above Bar Church‘s Discipleship School in the autumn of 2014.

Paul Copan has, in particular, given a great deal of thought to this issue in his book Is God a Moral Monster? (I borrowed his title!). I learnt a great deal from him, not just from this book but from spending a little time with him at an apologetics conference in Sweden where we were both speaking. His more recent book, Did God Really Command Genocide? came out just after I gave this seminar, but I’m sure that will be even more thorough. I haven’t had chance to read it yet. Chris Wright’s The God I Don’t Understand is also extremely helpful, and I found some useful insights in David Lamb’s God Behaving Badly, which is, like Chris Wright’s book, very accessible.

Here are the slides for this seminar. It wasn’t recorded.

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