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Archive for the 'Canadiana' Category

Hockey Night Brawl in Canada

1st December 2007

Hockey is a big part of Canadian self-identity. When I started coaching and managing my son’s hockey teams, I somehow felt more Canadian. I love watching my son play — it’s really a lot of fun to watch (and he loves playing).

What saddens me is when it is taken too seriously — usually by parents. Take a look at this video of a brawl at a novice hockey game in Ontario. These are eight year old kids. What’s perhaps worse is that some of the parents starting fighting on the bench! What role models they were!

It’s a game. It’s for fun. Your kid will NOT make the NHL. OK, some kids do make the NHL, but there is more likelihood that you will win a lottery. When I was at a Hockey Canada safety certification course a week ago, the instructor noted that just over 40 kids worldwide born in any given year make it to the NHL. That’s it.

Let’s  work to make hockey what it is – the best game in the world (next to rugby, that is!).


Posted in Canadiana | 2 Comments »

Canucks and Creation

4th July 2007

A recent poll suggests that 60% of Canadians believe that God was somehow involved in creating humankind, whether directly or indirectly. According to the Canadian Press-Decima Research survey, Canadians fall into three groups:

  • 34% believe in some sort of evolutionary creationism (or theistic evolution) where humans developed over millions of years under a process superintended by God
  • 26% hold to a young earth creation view that God distinctly created humans within the last 10,000 years
  • 29% hold to an atheistic evolution in which evolution occurred with no help from God

The poll was conducted in the third week of June 2007.

Here is an excerpt from the Toronto Star article about the poll:

“These results reflect an essential Canadian tendency,� said pollster Bruce Anderson. “We are pretty secular, but pretty hesitant to embrace atheism.�

The belief that God had a direct or indirect role in creation was widespread among the 1,000 respondents questioned between June 21 and 24. A majority of those polled held this view in every region of the country, in rural and urban areas, and regardless of education.

And there were a few surprises: Conservatives were more likely than Liberals to say that God had no part in the process, and Alberta, regarded as the birthplace of social conservatism, had one of the lowest levels of beliefs for strict creationism at 22 per cent.

But in this controversial area, the devil is in the breakdown of the numbers.

For instance, while Liberal party voters were more likely than Conservatives to credit God with some contribution to creation, Conservative voters were less likely to write God out altogether. Only 22 per cent of Tory respondents said God had no role, as opposed to 31 per cent of Liberals.

Liberal respondents were far more likely to be what could be termed “soft evolutionists� or “soft creationists,� with 41 per cent saying God guided the process of human development, as opposed to 34 per cent of Conservatives seeing creation in those terms.

Regionally, Quebec respondents were by far the most likely to say God’s role in creation was a delusion, with 40 per cent saying the evolutionary process had no interference from an intelligent designer.

British Columbia respondents were the next sub-group who could be termed strict evolutionists, with 31 per cent saying God was not involved. Least likely to hold this view were respondents in the Prairie provinces — 21 per cent.

The findings suggest the least educated were most likely to be creationists, as were respondents living in rural Canada.

Among respondents without a high-school diploma, 37 per cent said they believed God alone created humans less than 10,000 years ago, whereas only 15 per cent of university-educated respondents were strict creationists.

Rural respondents also had a plurality who believed in strict creationism at 34 per cent, whereas only 22 per cent of urban dwellers said they believed God alone created humans.

Anderson said the findings suggest Canadians lack consensus on creation, but also don’t view the issue as polarizing.

“It’s more as though for many, these feelings are unresolved,� he said. “We believe in a higher being, we know what we don’t know, are comfortable not knowing, and choose not to press our views upon one another.�

That is not the case in the United States, where similar polls have suggested Americans are more polarized on the subject. In a recent U.S. poll, 45 per cent said God created humans, and 40 per cent said evolution was God guided. Only 15 per cent said God played no part in creation.

These results accord well with the informal polls I conduct when I teach my Genesis course as well as with my own general impression based on anecdotal evidence.

What do you think?


Posted in Canadiana, Creation, Genesis, News | 3 Comments »

Canada Day Special: Top Ten Canadian Biblical Scholars

1st July 2007

Happy Canada Day!

For unaware readers, Canada Day is the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of “Canada” on July 1st. This year marks Canada’s 140th birthday. Happy birthday to us!

In honour of Canada Day, I thought I would list the top ten Canadian Biblical Scholars. To qualify for the list, the scholars must be Canadian citizens who spent a significant amount of their academic career in Canada. Beyond this basic requirement, these individuals were/are leading scholars in their disciplines as demonstrated by their teaching, research, and writing, as well as their contribution to the field of biblical studies in Canada. As you can see from the names below, this list is more historical in nature.

So, for what it is worth, here’s my list (in alphabetical order):

  • Francis (Frank) W. Beare. Beare was professor of New Testament at Trinity College, Toronto, and author of a number of books in New Testament studies, and contributed to the Interpreter’s Bible and the Interpreters’ Dictionary of the Bible. He served as president of CSBS in 1941-42 as well as the SBL in 1969. The CSBS has an annual prize named for Dr. Beare for an outstanding book in the areas of Christian Origins, Post-Biblical Judaism and/or Graeco-Roman Religions.
  • G. B. Caird. Beginning his career as Professor of NT at McGill (he finished it at Oxford), Caird was known for his many studies of the gospel of Luke and the book of Revelation as well as his monograph The Language and Imagery of the Bible. He served as president of the CSBS in 1957-58.
  • Peter C. Craigie. A specialist in Hebrew Bible as well as Ugaritic, Craigie was Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, where he later became Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Associate Vice-President (Academic), and, in 1985, Vice-President (Academic) just before his untimely death from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 1985. His publications included commentaries on Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets, as well as a popular book on War in the Hebrew Bible. Craigie was also committed to bridge the gap between academia and the church. His term as president of the CSBS was cut short by his death. The CSBS holds a bi-yearly lecture in Craigie’s honour.
  • R.A.F. MacKenzie. Professor of Old Testament at Regis College in Toronto for 14 years, MacKenzie distinguished himself as one of the leading English-speaking Catholic scholars in Canada. Author of many book and articles in biblical studies, I personally found his work on biblical case law quite fascinating.
  • J. F. McCurdy. The “father” of biblical studies in Canada, McCurdy headed up the Department of Orientals at University College, Toronto.
  • Theophile Jame Meek. Professor at University College, Toronto, and author of many books and articles, including his influential Hebrew Origins. Probably best known as the translator of the Mesopotamian law codes in J.B. Pritchard’s ANET.
  • R. B. Y. Scott. Scott was a prolific scholar, an editor and contributor to the Interpreter’s Bible, a contributor to the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, and author of two commentaries (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) in the Anchor Bible series, among numerous other articles and books. His teaching career began in Vancouver, but spent the bulk of his academic career at McGill and Princeton. He was a founding member of the CSBS, its first secretary-treasurer, and served as president of the CSBS in 1971-71. He also was president of the SBL in 1960. The CSBS has an annual prize named for Dr. Scott for an outstanding book in the area of Hebrew Bible or the ancient Near East.
  • John William Wevers. A preeminent Septuagint scholar, Wevers also wrote in the area of Hebrew Bible. He spent his academic career at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto. His work on the LXX Pentateuch in the Göttingen Septuagint series as well as his accompanying Notes on… series will serve generations of students and scholars alike.
  • Ronald J. Williams. Professor at the University of Toronto, Prof. Williams authored many books, including the still valuable Hebrew Syntax: An Outline. He was president of the CSBS in 1952-53.
  • _____________. Who would you complete the list with?

As you can see, I left the final slot open… who would you think deserves mention in this list? Also, can you think of any female scholars who deserve mention on this list?

If I was going to make a list of the senior Canadian biblical scholars who are still contributing to the field then the list would be quite different — and a bit more difficult since there are many world class Canadian scholars in biblical studies today. I imagine such a list would include the likes of Robert Culley, Paul Dion, Gordon Fee, David Jobling, John Kloppenborg, Al Pietersma, E.J. Revell, Eileen Schuller, John Van Seters, Bruce Waltke, among others.

Any other nominations?


Posted in Canada Day, Canadiana, Holidays, Scholars | 17 Comments »

Beloit’s Mindset List – How About One for Canadians?

25th August 2006

Beloit College in the USA publishes a “Mindset List” at the begining of every academic year that claims to look “at the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of today’s first-year students.” This year’s list may be found here. Even better, take a look at Chris Heard’s commentary on the list here.

The list is (naturally) very American.  It would be interesting to compose a list that would fit the Canadian context, eh?  Any takers? Suggestions?


Posted in Canadiana, News, Teaching & Learning | Comments Off