Monday, May 31, 2010

The religious make-up of the House of Commons

When did you last hear of a ‘reactionary humanist’? Or a ‘reactionary secularist’? Or, pace Professor Dawkins, a ‘reactionary atheist’?

Was Dr Evan Harris a reactionary in Parliament?

Or was he simply an apologist for his deeply and sincerely-held beliefs, desirous of making the world a better secular place?

The National Secular Society have studied a few statistics and gleefully established that ‘Reactionary Catholics are finding it harder to get elected’.

Well, so are reactionary Anglicans, but that’s by-the-by.

They note, however, a slight disparity between the two leading Roman Catholic journals The Catholic Herald and The Tablet (a slight disparity?) in the figures provided for the number of MPs who describe themselves as Roman Catholic:

According to the Catholic Herald, the number of Catholics elected to the House of Commons has risen from 64 to 68. According to the Tablet the number has fallen from 85 to 70. The Herald says 17 of the 68 are newly elected, while the Tablet says that 20 of the newcomers are Catholic. But, significantly, both agree that religious hardliners have found it more difficult to gain selection as candidates.
You would think, with today’s obsessive, anti-meriticratic, box-ticking bureaucracy, that establishing the professed religious adherence of MPs ought to be a fairly straightforward task. After all, they are supposed to be proportionally representative of the British population as a whole: there are quotas for women, Asian, black, gay and disabled parliamentary candidates, so you might think it quite logical that candidates are similarly sifted to ensure a representative religious plurality.

Not least because religion is likely to inform one’s political worldview considerably more than skin colour or sexuality.

Or perhaps that is only in Northern Ireland.

Can you imagine Harriet Harman ensuring all-Catholic shortlists to redress the outrageous of dominance of Protestants in Parliament?

And how would she ensure that the ‘right sort’ of Roman Catholic was selected?

Or perhaps she did for her husband…

Yet with 70 MPs out of 650, it would appear that Parliament does indeed contain a number of Roman Catholic MPs roughly in proportion to the national demographic.

It is the Jedi who are appallingly let down by the present selection gender-sexuality-ethnicity-disability emphasis in candidate selection.

If one were to constitute the House of Commons in proportion to the religious make-up of the nation (excluding the agnostics, atheists and undeclared) it ought to contain 17 Muslims, 6 Hindus, 4 Sikhs, 3 Jews, 2 Buddhists, 465 Christians and 6 Jedi Knights.

But unless you are a one-legged lesbian Muslim in a hoodie, you have little hope of expounding reactionary Jedi philosophy at the dispatch box.

Curiously, one Roman Catholic Labour MP who lost her seat, Geraldine Smith, said that her co-religionist candidates ‘have come under pressure for their views on issues such as assisted suicide, abortion and gay adoption’.

Curious that.

Dr Evan Harris was defeated by an Evangelical Christian in Oxford West and Abingdon, whose views on assisted suicide, abortion and gay adoption appear to be more in tune with the electorate than the ‘reactionary’ views of Dr Harris.

It is also posited that Roman Catholics with ambitions to be Labour MPs are less likely to be supportive of the Church’s position than Conservative Roman Catholics.

It comes as no surprise that there are more Tory readers of The Catholic Herald than there are Labour.

It perhaps explains why so many Roman Catholics still vote Labour, despite Labour’s 13-year-long assault on the Christian faith.

According to The Catholic Herald, there are 40 Labour Roman Catholic MPs, only 19 Conservative, five Lib Dems, 3 SDLP and one Scottish Nationalist.

It is curious that they omit members of Sinn Fein. While they may not take their seats, they are most certainly MPs and ought to be included for statistical purposes.

Unless they are dismissed for not being ‘proper’ Catholics.

The known religious make-up of the present House of Commons is roughly:

70 Roman Catholic (10.8 per cent)
8 Muslim (1.2 per cent)
24 Jewish (3.7 per cent)

As far as Cranmer knows, no-one has yet pigeon-holed the others, though you would think the number of Sikhs and Hindus ought to be quite easy to discover. Surprisingly, there are no figures for the number of Anglicans in Parliament, perhaps because they cannot agree on what one is.

In an era where the buzz-word is proportionality, it is worth observing that while the Roman Catholic contingent is proportionate (11 per cent), Jews are vastly over-represented (with 280,000 adherents, they constitute 0.46 per cent of the population).

In fact, if Muslims (who number 2.4 million or 3.9 per cent of the population) were to be similarly over-represented, there would be 200 of them in Parliament.

And then, perhaps, questions might be asked.

Of course, referring to someone as a Christian or Catholic MP, a Jewish MP, a Muslim MP or a Sikh or Hindu MP is really quite meaningless: by their voting fruits you shall know them.

David Miliband, for example, describes himself as an atheist, and yet the Jewish Chronicle includes him in their list of Jews.

Not all Zionists are Jews.

And not all Roman Catholics read The Catholic Herald.

For the avoidance of doubt, His Grace is Anglican, which means he is Catholic.

He may not be in Parliament, but he is ‘reactionary’.

If he were not so, he would be neither Anglican nor Catholic.

Or particularly Christian.


Anonymous IanVisits said...

there are quotas for women, Asian, black, gay and disabled parliamentary candidates

Oh come on! There is no such thing, and you really should know better than to peddle tabloid lies like this.

31 May 2010 at 09:52  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr IanVisits,

They may not be written, but they certainly exist in the minds of the parties' candidate departments. The aspiration to codify what may presently be informal and unwritten is manifest. How else do you explain Harman's Speaker's Conference on minority representation?

31 May 2010 at 10:06  
Blogger Richard Gadsden said...

I am surprised that His Grace does not seem to recognise the meaning of "reactionary" used by the NSS. There is a scale, quite separate from the normal left-right scale, which runs:


Reactionary, in this sense, is precisely correct for His Grace - it means one who wishes to revert to an earlier form of society.

That's why it's impossible to have a reactionary atheist; the atheist does not see an ideal society in the past, but only in the future, while the Christian certainly can see an ideal society, or at any rate aspects of one, in the past, and can wish to return to such.

Reactionary is only an insult in the same way that progressive is a compliment; it presupposes the Whig interpretation of history.

31 May 2010 at 10:22  
Anonymous graham wood said...

YG This is a non story. Mr average voter does not care a fig for the "religious" allegiance of his/her MP.
They place much more importance as to whether the MP is a good representative of their political view, efficient, and/or likely to promote their material welfare via party policy.
From a Christian perspective Anglicans, RC's or any other denominational affiliation is completely unimportant, as we know "God is no respecter of persons".

Religious denominations per se are largely sectarian and far removed from the true church and unity which Christ came to establish, and which belongs to all born again believers.
With their man-made hierarchical structures and false clergy/laity divisions these have little relevance to the great plan and purpose of God set out in Scripture.
Viewed generally today many would view Anglicanism as a badge of contempt rather than virtue, so deeply has it been infiltrated by theological liberalism and self inflicted schism through its ambivalence over the 'gay rights' issue.
On a purely pragmatic note, the presence of Anglicans and Roman Catholics as MPs has signally failed to halt the rise of endemic corruption over decades in Westminster, for which we are now all paying the price in economic and political terms. Why then should it be thought that the religious profession of an MP is particularly significant?
We certainly need more Christians in Parliament, but that is certainly not the same thing as representation by RC's Anglicans, Rastifarians, or any other of the sectarian groups which litter our society.
In any event policies are determined, in the end, by the Whip system which rules all.

31 May 2010 at 10:54  
Blogger Claire Khaw said...

If you can't beat them, join them?

31 May 2010 at 11:27  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"Why then should it be thought that the religious profession of an MP is particularly significant?
We certainly need more Christians in Parliament, but that is certainly not the same thing as representation by RC's Anglicans, Rastifarians, or any other of the sectarian groups which litter our society."

Mr Graham Wood,

Perhaps, if you had bothered to read to the end of His Grace's post, you would have read this precise point and learned that he agrees with you. Ergo the 'non-story' becomes moot.

31 May 2010 at 11:47  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Couldn't give a toss about a MP's religion. Which is why I support secular politics.

If his views are the same as mine then they get my vote, how they arrive at these views, whether it be a man in the clouds speaking to them or a result of their environement while growing up matters not a jot.

31 May 2010 at 11:51  
Blogger English Viking said...

Your Grace,

'For the avoidance of doubt, His Grace is Anglican, which means he is Catholic'

Isn't all this equivocation what got you into a spot of bother a few centuries back?

I assume you do not mean 'Roman'.

31 May 2010 at 12:01  
Anonymous len said...

The creation of secular politics?. Been tried before,
Think again,
The Soviet Union was supposed to be the ultimate secular state. It was supposed to make everyone equal, comrades.
It believed in this so much, it literally starved out any who would oppose establishment of this philosophy and
killed upwards of 10 to 15 million of their own people.

The Peoples Republic of China had a truly gargantuan task of replacing the ancient Confucian system of government
with socialism and secular humanism in a nation that was the world's most populated. They achieved this with a 10
year program of weeding out any "counter revolutionaries" called the "Cultural Revolution" in which an estimated 40
million Chinese were killed.

This is only a small illustration of Secular Governments.

I believe Secular Governments will give rise to the greatest tyranny known to mankind.

31 May 2010 at 12:08  
Blogger Claire Khaw said...

I have developed a hybrid ideology called Libertarian Secular Koranism.

I can be found on Facebook if you want to know more.

31 May 2010 at 12:31  
Anonymous Noorul said...

The House of Commons is not a body representative of religious interests. Members of the House are elected not to ‘represent’ a particular group in society but to serve the interests of individual electors and the nation as a whole.

To argue that there is a ‘disparity’ between the representation of certain groups in UK society at large and the presence of members of such groups in the House of Commons is to show a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of political representation in the Westminster model of democracy.

31 May 2010 at 12:32  
Anonymous the recusant said...

“For the avoidance of doubt, His Grace is Anglican, which means he is Catholic.” Oh Really
It is common knowledge that many Protestants sometimes use the term "catholic church" to refer broadly to the Christian Church and all believers in Jesus Christ across the world and the ages, regardless of denominational affiliation. This is understandable from Anglicans looking to be taken seriously who, being a minority Christian community and presently suffering an identity crisis from recent; one can only say ‘novelties’ introduced into the communion by the more Equality centric element of the membership have caused shall we say a bit of a stir with the more traditional sections. Personally I don’t have a problem with women Anglican Bishops if one accepts women Anglican Priestesses, it seems the obvious and logical progression. And if you accept that, then why not Homosexual Anglican Vicars? I mean how can you say one bit of tradition is more binding than another if you have first dispensed with said tradition by democratic vote.

Anyway although not Anglican myself (have you noticed Catholics don’t pretend to call themselves Anglican?) wishing a thing (We have just as legitimate a claim on the hermeneutics of continuity as Catholics and Orthodox Churches) does not make it so and before the howls of protest begin it’s not just me or the Present Pope who says it. Let’s look at what others have had to say on the matter:

Cyril of Jerusalem (circa 315-386), urged those he was instructing in the Christian faith: "If ever thou art sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens "houses of the Lord"), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God" (Catechetical Lectures, XVIII, 26).

Theodosius I. The term Catholic Christians entered Roman Imperial law when Theodosius I, Emperor from 379 to 395, reserved that name for adherents of "that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition and which is now professed by the Pontiff (Pope) Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria for the others, since in our judgement they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches." This law of 27 February 380 was included in Book 16 of the Codex Theodosianus. It established Catholic Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire.
1 / 2

31 May 2010 at 12:34  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Augustine of Hippo. The use of the term Catholic to distinguish the "true" church from heretical groups is found also in Augustine who wrote:
"In the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep (Jn 21:15-19), down to the present episcopate (in Rome; here Augustine refers to the Petrine succession of the Pope).
"And so, lastly, does the very name of "Catholic", which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.
"Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should ... With you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me... No one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion... For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church."
— St. Augustine (354–430): Against the Epistle of Manichaeus called Fundamental, chapter 4: Proofs of the Catholic Faith.

Do you notice all these Church Fathers see the Catholic Church being established and maintained through the Petrine ministry, there really is no denying it, that same ministry that has continued through the millennia to the present Pope Benedict XVI, with whom no doubt you will have your fun with later this year Cranmer. But let’s remind ourselves what your hero and name sake said after many a reconciliation and public recantation of his Heresy’s (I’m not saying anything he didn’t all those years ago):

"And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ's enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine."

Methinks an honest man would have a problem calling himself Catholic and at the same time rejecting the authority of the Pope. The Eastern Orthodox Church accepts Primus inter pares that is that the Pope has primacy over all bishops, this means that there is also a Primate; according to the practice of the ancient Holy Catholic Church, the first bishop is the bishop of Rome.

So Cranmer what’s it to be Catholic as understood by Irenaeus, Tatian the Syrian, Tertullian, Clement , James, Cyprian of Carthage, Firmilian, " Stephen I, Ephraim the Syrian, Ambrose of Milan, Damasus I, Jerome, Augustine, Council of Ephesus, Sechnall of Ireland, Leo I the Council of Chalcedon) or 'Catholic' in the same way Tracey Emin is an 'artist', because you say so.
2 / 2

31 May 2010 at 12:35  
Blogger English Viking said...

The recusant,

I think you must be mistaken. Paul was the Apostle to the Romans, not Peter.

Oh No! Hundreds of years of tradition is based on a deceit! Surely that must mean the Roaming Catlicks are all completely wrong?

31 May 2010 at 12:45  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Recusant,

Or 'Catholic' in the same way His Grace identified it, along with Jewel, Whitgift, Andrewes, Taylor, Hooker and Field?

If, as you aver, wishing a thing does not make it so, why is it that the church which calls itself Catholic should be so?

It is not simply His Grace who says the Church of England is both Catholic and Reformed, but centuries of divines.

As one of His Grace's successors has said: 'The Anglican Communion has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ's Church from the beginning.'

31 May 2010 at 12:52  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Richard Gadsden has it just about right.

Most who post here are reactionary, always harking back to a “better” time when they like to think Christian conservatism held sway. It is impossible to be a reactionary atheist as there is no golden age of atheism to look back on. Neither is it possible to be fundamentalist atheist as there is no doctrine to be espoused. It is of course possible to be a strident or aggressive atheist which is what I am.

Atheism is a neutral state; it exists only in opposition to belief in God. Secularism exists as a bulwark against religious privilege and religious interference in the State. If the State is not protected from religious interference the result can be a totalitarian theocracy like Iran.

Humanism simply states that you can be good without God and that religions and Christianity in particular has usurped the innate morality that exists within humankind and claimed it as its own invention.

All three atheism, secularism and humanism as very simple concepts.

Unlike the US in the UK there is no prejudice against atheists becoming politicians and many do. However politicians are always careful not to offend potential voters and religious groups are amongst the most sensitive in this regard so many do not “flout” their disbeliefs.

It is clear that there is a majority in this country that are apathetic towards religion and that it has no bearing on the way they vote. As a secularist I would like to see the last bastions of religious privilege removed, like Bishops automatically joining the Upper House and the disestablishment of the CofE.

To hold a religious faith is a human right (however daft I may think it is) and it is reasonable that politicians represent all shades of opinion found in society at large. This is fine unless the faith groups want special exemptions to laws that the rest of us must adhere to. At this point secularism must prevail or any Tom Tick or Harry (including me) can claim that their conscience forbids them to obey any law they don’t like.

31 May 2010 at 13:41  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

A good post GD points well made - it gets my vote.

31 May 2010 at 14:02  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

More eloquently put than what I said but pretty much amounting to the same thing.

So I'm sure Len will be along just now to tell you how this evil idea will descend into mass murder and communisim. Since he doesn't seem to have a grasp of the word secular.

31 May 2010 at 14:15  
Anonymous RubyBEech said...

As a practising Christian and Lay Preacher I would like to dispute what seems to be stated as fact that Labour spent 13 years working against the Christian faith and a number of other "givens" in this article. Sloppy writing unworthy of the author.

31 May 2010 at 15:00  
Anonymous len said...

Wow Y G certainly stirred up a hornets nest.

Graham Davis,
'Atheism is a neutral state'
A bit like saying a vacuum is a neutral state,you show a total ignorance of the spiritual world, you and others like you are putty in the hands of the great deceiver of mankind Satan,who you no doubt will tell me doesn`t exist!

31 May 2010 at 18:19  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Correct len, I am in total ignorance of an imaginary world that you have invented for yourself.

31 May 2010 at 18:37  
Anonymous len said...

We are in agreement on one thing then,
your ignorance.

31 May 2010 at 18:39  
Anonymous len said...

An atheist is somewhat like a man trying to pick up tv programmes on a toaster,
He just doesn`t have the right equipment, then he states there is no such things as tv programmes because he can`t see them.
This would be hilarious if not so tragic.

31 May 2010 at 18:44  
Anonymous len said...

Recusant, The Roman Church is based on error,if the foundation is faulty how can the rest of the structure be true? The first occurrence of the word "church" is found in Matthew. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) one of the general rules of Bible interpretation is the "Law of First Mention". The first place a subject is mentioned in the Bible usually gives us the key to its meaning.

If this is going to be our key verse, let's look at its context. Starting at verse 15: "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Who is speaking? Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Who is He speaking to? First he speaks to his disciples, then he turns to Simon Peter. When is this conversation taking place? He says in verse 18 that He will build his church. When did He actually build his church? For the ones who are confused and think that the church started at Pentecost: two chapters later, the church is already in existence. "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." (Matthew 18:17). Jesus was building His church at that very moment (Matthew 16:18). He had already called His disciples back in chapter 10 of Matthew, and He was giving his instructions on how to conduct the church.

Some seem to confuse who the rock is. "Peter" (Petros) is a piece of rock, while "rock" (Petra) is a mass of rock (Strong's Concordance). Some assume that Peter is the rock on which Jesus built is church, but 1 Corinthians 3:11 takes care of that. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." From other Scriptures it is obvious that the "rock" is Jesus Christ. "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:4). Here is a list of verses that will show who the rock is without a doubt. Deuteuronomy 32:4, 15, 18; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:2, 3, 32, 47, 23:3; Psalm 18:2, 31, 28:1, 31:3, 42:9; 62:2, 6, 7, 71:3, 78:35, 89:26, 92:15, 94:22, and Romans 9:33.

31 May 2010 at 19:01  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Davis, does God communicate with people? Yes, God does communicate with people. How does God communicate with a person is the essential issue.

The trouble with God communicating with people is not on God’s end, the individual person is the problem. Mankind is a sin corrupted and carnal minded creature. Sin corrupts our trust and reliance on God. It makes us self-reliant, selfish and self-centered. We interpret everything through the means of how it can serve us or bring us pleasure. The carnal mind keeps us fixated on earthly things and answers. A person has to trust in something, and the carnal man can only trust in the things of the flesh. Why? We digest and analyze all information through our senses and learned logic. Nothing is to be trusted if it cannot be understood or the process is not fully revealed. All this reveals a lack of trust; and, God will not feed our lack of trust. If God was to deal with a person in a carnal fashion, then the person would never be compelled to aspire to a greater spiritual maturity. God is not mankind’s servant; He is our Divine Parent that knows what best for His people. He would never leave a person without the need to trust Him.

31 May 2010 at 19:13  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Graham Wood at 10.54 - cor, you've gone and done it again! You really MUST learn to read things properly.

I shall pray for an improvement in your comprehension skills. (winks)

31 May 2010 at 19:15  
Anonymous Oswin said...

RubyBEech - have you spent the last thirteen years with your head in the font?

31 May 2010 at 19:18  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Oswin,

Please do not waste your valuable time: the fatuous comment does not merit a response. Ruby Beach is undoubtedly a Labour troll.

31 May 2010 at 19:46  
Anonymous Oswin said...

English Viking at 12.01 ....there's a lot of us out there! His Grace is a High Anglican, an 'English Catholic' - and most definitely NOT a 'Roman'!

The C-of-E is THE Catholic church; although it also understands itself to be 'Reformed' too. It does just what it says on the can...

Oh, I've just noticed that this has already been dealt with above...never mind, I'll add to it....High Anglicans are sometimes said to 'ape' the Roman Church. This is clearly NOT so, as the Roman Church has undergone far greater change, since the time of the Reformation, than has the High Anglican element of the C-of-E.

Therefore, modern (?) Roman Catholicism is, according to High Anglican tradition, not only wrong, but potentially seriously heretical too! Which is always something of a delight when countering 'Roman' claims against the English Church.

The C-of-E is truly a 'broad' Church ... and, not all of it Protestant/Evangelical. It encompasses pretty much everything from the Tridentine Mass (Old Mass) to yer 'happy-clapper'. Great innit!

31 May 2010 at 20:11  
Anonymous happy-clapper said...

Oswin said "Great innit!"

It surely is.

31 May 2010 at 21:08  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, I am not sure what it is to be a Catholic or a Protestant. But I do know what it is to be a Christian.... I feel a song coming on : (yes this is for Graham Davies and the other atheists, that God may turn their hearts from their wicked ways and turn to the love of the Lord Jesus Christ):

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy!
Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

31 May 2010 at 21:24  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Crammer, I give you saints and church fathers and the best you can do is counter with a bunch of crusty old 17c Oxford and Cambridge academics, Lancelot Andrews and his ilk that's it ah well, if thats all you've got

Hi Len,

Sorry mate haven't got time to play.

31 May 2010 at 21:30  
Anonymous j.senn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

31 May 2010 at 21:57  
Blogger English Viking said...


I have yet to disagree with a single one of your posts, and your latest is reminiscent of some teaching I had the benefit of a good few years ago.

If you would permit a personal question; are you familiar with 'The Brethren'? If you are, you will object to that term, but I just wondered.

31 May 2010 at 22:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is impossible to be a reactionary atheist as there is no golden age of atheism to look back on." (Graham Davis)

There appear to be quite a number of people in the former Soviet Union and its satellites who would strongly disagree with you, Mr Davis. It must be very galling for these Communist diehards to see churches being built, rather than dynamited! Edward Sutherland.

31 May 2010 at 23:56  
Anonymous Justin Hinchcliffe said...

I wonder what the numbers are for anglo-Cathoilics?

1 June 2010 at 00:18  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Recusant - where were the ''Church Fathers'' when Joseph of Arimathea struck his staff into the ground at Glastonbury?

Before anyone screams 'myth': it is believed so by the Roman Church itself.

1 June 2010 at 00:32  
Blogger English Viking said...


I'm afraid we must agree to differ.

Not only do I say 'myth', I say 'fiction'.

The fact that the Roman church believes anything is evidence of nothing.

1 June 2010 at 00:38  
Anonymous Oswin said...

English reference to the Roman Church was meant to stuff any objection coming from that quarter.

Why a fiction? After all, there are many sources, both ancient and modern, that suggest otherwise.

If it is indeed a myth; it has been such since the days of St. Columba, who was given the tale by his teacher, St.Finnian. There are much earlier references too; but they currently escape me (as does much else these days!).

One is reminded of the folk traditions of the Cornish miners, who sang of 'Christ being a miner'...and, as Joseph of Arimathea is purported to have been an importer of tin...well, it makes you think.

1 June 2010 at 01:47  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Anonymous said...

There appear to be quite a number of people in the former Soviet Union and its satellites who would strongly disagree with you, Mr Davis. It must be very galling for these Communist diehards to see churches being built, rather than dynamited! Edward Sutherland.

You confuse communism with atheism; the totalitarian Soviet regime attempted to obliterate any opposition so the church was a primary target. The ruling elite were atheists but as I stated earlier that is not a philosophy, it is simply an assertion that there is no God.

In Russia today I suspect that those old communist diehards are probably the ones that are flocking back to the churches. Both promised certainty and deliverance from hardship and this is what impoverished people hope for and who can blame them.

1 June 2010 at 08:05  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, I am not sure what it is to be a Catholic or a Protestant. But I do know what it is to be a Christian.... I feel a song coming on : (yes this is for Graham Davies and the other atheists, that God may turn their hearts from their wicked ways and turn to the love of the Lord Jesus Christ)

It’s a little too early in the morning for a sing song. I have to acknowledge that “God” has some of the best tunes, shame about the lyrics. As for our “wicked ways” it is not our “hearts” that define our views, it is our “minds” so I am afraid a few rousing choruses are unlikely to change them but thanks anyway.

1 June 2010 at 08:14  
Anonymous len said...

Graham Davis,
A question( You don`t have to answer obviously)

Who do you say Jesus is?
Obviously ' He didn`t exist' is a non starter as He is documented in History.
So what does Graham Davis say?

1 June 2010 at 08:23  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Len said...

Who do you say Jesus is?
Obviously ' He didn`t exist' is a non starter as He is documented in History.
So what does Graham Davis say?

Jesus was a man

1 June 2010 at 09:12  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...


"An atheist is somewhat like a man trying to pick up tv programmes on a toaster,
He just doesn`t have the right equipment, then he states there is no such things as tv programmes because he can`t see them.
This would be hilarious if not so tragic."

No, what is both hilarious and tragic is your complete ommission of the facts to try and make your position seem somehow reasonable.

The blindingly obvious failure of your anaolgy would be that the physical TV can be provided to the atheist as evidence, he can be shown the programmes on the TV at which point he would probably exclaim:

"GADZOOKS!! Why on earth was I wasting my time with this toaster, it was good for making toast but awful at filling my day with mindless reality shows."

However what you are doing is telling the atheist that there are things that show programmes. When the atheist asks you what things, you reply intagible things. When the atheist asks where he can see these things to get a better grasp of what these things are you reply that they cannot be seen. How about touched the atheist asked, Nope, can't be touched. Well how can I be sure they exist asks the stheist. You reply because I was told by someone before me and they were told be someone before them and I believe them to be true without any evidence to prove them.

The atheist replies:

"Bunkum! I'll make some toast instead, at least I can taste that."

1 June 2010 at 13:33  
Blogger William said...

Or the atheist might say:

"I don't really understand how that TV works. In fact, it's probably a device designed to subjugate me by making me watch reality TV all day."

"Now, if you can show me how to pick up TV programmes using this simple toaster which I can understand completely, then I'll believe. Actually, on second thoughts, don't bother. I prefer toast."

1 June 2010 at 13:56  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

But still ignoring the fact that the TV can be produced and proved to exist.

In your anaolgy the atheist can enjoy the TV while eating a piece of toast.

1 June 2010 at 14:02  
Blogger William said...

"In your anaolgy the atheist can enjoy the TV while eating a piece of toast."

except he doesn't want to.

1 June 2010 at 15:05  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

He would be quite happy to, what you want him to do is eat his toast while dreaming up things in his head to then proclaim as being real with no other proof than him having thought it.

For your analogy to work the TV cannot exist in the material realm. It does, therefore your analogy doesn't work.

1 June 2010 at 15:38  
Blogger William said...

"For your analogy to work the TV cannot exist in the material realm. It does, therefore your analogy doesn't work."

It seems to work for me. Perhaps it doesn't work for atheists. Bummer!

1 June 2010 at 16:05  
Anonymous len said...

The point ( which seems to have entirely eluded you)is that there are transmissions going on in the material world and the spiritual world which need the right equipment to pick up!
Put a primitive man( and /or an atheist( just joking) in a room and tell him that there are tv programmes ,radio programmes, e mails, texts,all whizzing round the room he would probably think you were mad!

He would of course deny there were any such things going on because he couldn`t see them or hear them.
But they would still be there.

1 June 2010 at 18:07  
Anonymous len said...

Graham Davis ,
Jesus was a man.Well that`s a start.
Jesus taught peace,love and forgiveness, people have called Him a good man but not divine.

Is Jesus God? The Only Alternatives.
Is Jesus God? Many people have dealt with this "spiritual" dispute by intellectually accepting Jesus as a great man, great teacher, or great prophet. However, Jesus and His inspired followers didn't mince words when they declared Him to be God (John 10:30-38, Matthew 16:13-17, Mark 14:61-64, John 14:6, Hebrews 1:8, Colossians 1:16, John 12:40-41 [quoting Isaiah 6:1-10]). Therefore, any type of intellectual compromise calling Jesus a "good man" is logically inconsistent. Why? Because there are really only three legitimate alternatives for the identity of Jesus Christ. He is either a liar, a lunatic or our Lord and God. Since Jesus claimed to be God, His claims are either true or false. If false, He must have been a liar, deliberately misleading the multitudes. Or, He was a lunatic, sincerely believing Himself to be God, when in reality He was just a man. However, if Jesus was a "good man," as most people now agree, how then could He be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? There is only one logically consistent alternative - He must have been telling the truth. In addition to the logical inconsistency, the remarkable historical, archaeological and manuscript evidence shows that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic. Again, the only position left is that His claim is true. Jesus is Lord and God.

1 June 2010 at 18:28  
Anonymous len said...

English Viking,
Sorry for the delay,
no, not familiar with 'the brethren'

1 June 2010 at 19:33  
Blogger Theresa said...

'Not all Catholics read the Catholic Herald..'

I used to, until I discovered Ronald Rolheiser existed apart from it..

2 June 2010 at 23:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8 June 2010 at 10:12  
Blogger Samuel Semmens said...

It matters to me which of our M.P's are Roman Catholics and which are not, and who are Calvinist Reformed Christians or not ,because it is an indicator of where their loyalty is placed. In Gods word or in the person of the Pope.

My own Christian freedom depends on me being free from the domination of the Antichrist at Rome see the "syllabus of errors" this would be enough to convince any right minded thinker of the dangers to democracy contained therein.

If the number of Islamic M.P.s becomes substantial in the house this will also lead to the same kind of danger to my life and limb.

Indifference is not the same as tolerance.

19 June 2012 at 12:40  

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