Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dr Evan Harris: the Church of England is misogynist and homophobic


As the former Liberal Democrat frontbench spokesman continues to make his bid to succeed Nick Clegg (for there is nothing more conducive to his ambition than not to be tarnished by the whiff of coalition), he has tweeted a broadside against the Established Church, alleging that it hates women and homosexuals.

He qualifies it with ‘mildly’, but what is mild hatred? How can one mildly hate women? What on earth is mild hatred of homosexuals?

Of course, one might expect such comments from an abortion-supporting humanist-secularist-atheist, but one wonders why he targets only the Church of England, which very broadly accommodates such an array of mutually exclusive propositions and beliefs that some wonder how it maintains believers in communion at all. Dr Harris refers to the Constitution, insisting that it should not be ‘linked’ to misogyny or homophobia. But these are not reasons simply to disestablish, but to ban altogether, for the illegality of discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality is firmly embedded in statute law.

Is it not ironic that the Church which is tearing itself apart over issues of gender and sexuality, and which has devoted an utterly disproportionate amount of its ministry time and theological effort to considering whether or not women may be ordained as priests or consecrated as bishops, should be singled out for its anachronistic attitudes by someone professing to be a liberal?

O, and a democrat.

In truth, he is neither: Evan Harris is one of those aggressive secularists whose atheist fundamentalism can admit no liberal breadth or democratic latitudinarianism. He appears not to understand that it is neither liberal nor democratic to ride roughshod over the consciences, beliefs and views of minorities; if, that is, the Church of England constitutes a minority, for Christian orthodoxy appears to have been excluded from those ‘protected characteristics’ identified in Labour’s Equality Bill.

It is strange indeed that Evan Harris accuses the Church of England of (mild) hatred of women at the very time it is being accused by departing bishops, priests and laity of having lied and schemed to impose women bishops upon them. Synodical approval for women priests was obtained in 1992 only because of the assurance that alternative pastoral arrangements would be made for those who could not, in conscience, accept female spiritual authority. That compromise has plainly been abandoned, so there is no ‘hatred’ of women: indeed, if anything, there is boundless love of the sort the Liberal Democrats can only dream of (the party has proportionally fewer women MPs [just 12%] than both Labour [31%] and the Conservatives [16%]). Is that evidence of LibDem misogyny?

Perhaps Dr Harris confuses misogyny with theology. We pray ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven’: would Dr Harris demand the BCP be amended to ‘Our Mother’ on alternate Sundays? God so loved the world that he sent his only-begotten Son to redeem us: would Dr Harris advocate the re-writing of history to accommodate Christ’s femininity or expound his homosexuality? Jesus chose 12 male disciples and did not marry: does that make him a misogynist?

If God is our Father, and God is love; if Christ is the Son, and Christ is love, then there is no hatred – mild or otherwise – in the expression of maleness that lies at the heart of Christian divine ontology. Indeed, it is manifestly illiberal to seek to emasculate this God or androgynise the faith on the basis of a tyrannical desire to impose ‘equality’. How can that be love?

If Evan Harris wishes one day to lead the Liberal Democrats (in coalition with Ed Miliband), one can perhaps understand why he has abandoned Mill for Marx. But, please, Dr Harris, the Church of England is the least of sinners when it comes to grappling with complex issues of gender and sexuality: why don’t you pick on another religion whose hatred of women and homosexuals is – how she His Grace put it – rather less mild?

48 Comments:

Blogger no longer anonymous said...

What an absurd thing to say. Does he seriously think that homophobia and misogyny are somehow legitimised by the existence of an established Church which has historically upheld socially conservative values?

I don't see an established church in America where religious conservatism is much stronger.

20 March 2011 at 13:21  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

The (very obviously gay) vicar I knew back in my youth didn't seem homophobic to me in the slightest. In fact he seemed to positively revel in giving sixteen year old boys as much attention as he could. The one occasion he tried to proposition me I promptly reported him to the leading women of the Church, who told me that they'd had him under suspicion for some time but that I was the only one who had ever said anything therefore until others came forward as well there wasn't much could be done. Does that make the women homophobic? Or was I being homophobic for telling him what he could do with himself? It makes me laugh when I hear people describe St Paul as a homophobe, and others call him a misogynist. You'd think from their descriptions that the man was full of hatred. Yet all his acquaintances seemed to love him, and he wrote one of the most profound pieces about love that has ever been written.

20 March 2011 at 13:25  
Anonymous len said...

Evan Harris is one of those aggressive secularists who hasn`t got the b**** to attack Islam so he goes for the 'soft'option the C of E . So his opinion (in my opinion) is worthless.

20 March 2011 at 13:40  
Blogger Gnostic said...

But, please, Dr Harris, the Church of England is the least of sinners when it comes to grappling with complex issues of gender and sexuality: why don’t you pick on another religion whose hatred of women and homosexuals is – how she His Grace put it – rather less mild?

Maybe because he knows that piddling off the religion of peace by pointing out its execrable shortcomings might cut short his stellar career as a deeply yellow politician. Deep yellow isn't a reference to the colour of LimpDim chicken plumage.

20 March 2011 at 13:44  
Anonymous Paul said...

Mr. Harris obviously has an axe to grind with the Church of England. I have met more than a few lilitant atheists who take every opportunity to excoriate Christianity while giving "peaceful" Islam a pass. And we all know what an exemplary record Islam has with women. NOT !!

20 March 2011 at 13:46  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

A pity that Evan Harris doesn’t have the guts to challenge the teachings of Islam, as revealed in this hadith:

The women asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?’ He said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ They replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?’ The women replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her religion.’—Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301

20 March 2011 at 14:20  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Well, this blog article should be pretty popular as it pushes all the favourite Christian buttons. Gay people, tick. Atheists and/or secularists, tick. Women priests, tick. Supposed victimisation of Christianity, tick. And CofE in particular, tick. I think maybe 200 comments by mid-week? :)

20 March 2011 at 14:28  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"but one wonders why he targets only the Church of England"

I'm hazarding a guess here but it might be because he's complaining about the non-secular constitution and it's the established religion rather than Islam.

20 March 2011 at 14:33  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

Why should Cranmer - or anyone else for that matter - dignify Dr Harris' remarks with a response at all? It's more than apparent that the man is airing his considerable ignorance and prejudice, and facts aren't going to deter him from expressing his adolescent views. Don't the Scriptures enjoin us not to answer a fool according to his folly? And to not cast our pearls before swine and cast what is holy to the dogs?

20 March 2011 at 15:10  
Anonymous Gordo said...

I am told his nickmame is "Dr Death" because he unconditionally supports late term abortions. Oh and he is also in favour of vivisection, by sheer coincidence.

Hardly a moral exemplar the chap really.

20 March 2011 at 16:39  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Only vaguely on topic YG but how many times have we heard the Secularist/Atheists etc ( I prefer bastards) say that civil partnerships and even Gay marriage doesn't cheapen or lessen 'real Marriage'?

Yet more and more I am finding that when I fill in forms like car insurance, the census and the like, I am asked if I am married/ civil partnership. Lumping the two together in my mind is equating the two. It really gets my goat. On the census form I put a line through the latter to show my disapproval.

20 March 2011 at 17:13  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

And while we are about it Your Grace, let's remind the learned and oh do liberal Doctor that any review of the Liberal Benches and those selected for winnable seats at the last election returns upon his party a verdict of 'Institutional Racism" in double quick time.

No wonder he has a ( severe) hatred of He who said "Physician heal thyself".

20 March 2011 at 17:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? Homophobic? How can that be? There must be as many, if not more, homosexuals and lesbians in the Church of England as there are in the BBC. Perhaps the C of E should follow the BBC and commission its own ‘diversity census’ and ask their employees what their sexual preferences are. Then, like the BBC, they will have all the information they need to be able to apply some ‘positive discrimination’ (just good old fashioned discrimination, actually) and make redundant those that are hideously ‘straight’.

20 March 2011 at 17:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace;
Are you not aware that Dr Harris aka Dr Death was ousted form his seat by a young Conservative woman (a Doctor of Music) who was a member of St Aldate's Church Oxford, full of foaming highly educated evangelical homophobes?
No wonder he hates us!

DanJo: grow up. And go back to the faith you were nurtured in - so much better than the unhappiness of the ungay life.

20 March 2011 at 17:38  
Anonymous Oswin said...

It is hardly surprising, as the Liberal Party/Lib-Dems have for many years housed extremists far greater than any found in the Labour Party; or any other mainstream party, for that matter.

20 March 2011 at 17:52  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"DanJo: grow up. And go back to the faith you were nurtured in - so much better than the unhappiness of the ungay life."

No thanks. As John Stuart Mill said: "It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied." You can keep your comfort blanket, Mr No Name Today.

20 March 2011 at 18:00  
Anonymous Oswin said...

DanJo : what about dissatisfied pigs?

20 March 2011 at 18:11  
Blogger Stefan said...

Homophobic? I often went to Evensong at a well-known cathedral, and a few times the gays in the regular congregation outnumbered the straights. The Dean and Chapter were not exactly disapproving.

20 March 2011 at 18:19  
Blogger Dr Evan Harris said...

I’ll deal with those of your criticisms and attacks which are not personal and off-topic, pausing only to note how much Christian bloggers like you and your commenters seem to have a predilection for personalised attacks. Not much charity there!

1) I “tweeted a broadside against the Established Church”

I think its contradiction in terms to say one tweet – evn taken out context – is broadside. You must have very narrow sides. Or an over-inflated view of the power of a tweet. Its rather sweet either way.

2) I alleged that the Church of England “hates women and homosexuals”

I did not. If I had wanted to say that I would have said it. I said that the Church Of England was mildly misogynistic and homophobic, that is to say that it discriminates adversely against women and gay people. If you had looked at the whole twitter discussion (about the role of women and gay people in the Church of England) and the TV debate it was a comment on, it would be obvious that it was relating to the fact that the Church of England bars gay people and females from being Bishops.

The dictionary (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/misogyny) defines misogyny as hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. But I concede maybe I should have said “sexist” to be clear what I meant.

Again the dictionary (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn) defines homophobic not as narrowly as just the hatred or fear of homosexuals but also prejudice against homosexual people and homosexuality. However, given the contentious nature of the word in some circles may be I should have exceeded 140 characters to say “discriminatory against homosexuals and critical of homosexual behaviour.”

In any event your guff and bluster about hatred is misplaced.,

Let me clear - it is not my view that the Church of England as a whole hates women or gay people.

3) I am “Abortion-supporting”

Ad hominem, off-topic and misrepresentation. I support the right of a woman to choose abortion (as do many Christians of course) but support policies which reduce unwanted pregnancies and thus the need for abortions (as do many Christians)..

4) “One wonders why he targets only the Church of England, which very broadly accommodates such an array of mutually exclusive propositions and beliefs that some wonder how it maintains believers in communion at all.”

While this is your own dig at the C of E, it is wrong to suggest that my criticism of religious attitudes to women and gay people are restricted to the C of E. Ironically, I have also been attacked by Catholic and Islamic bloggers for “picking on them”. But of course some in each religion delight in seeing themselves or their creed as persecuted and singled out.

cont...

20 March 2011 at 18:26  
Blogger Dr Evan Harris said...

cont...

5) “Dr Harris refers to the Constitution, insisting that it should not be ‘linked’ to misogyny or homophobia. But these are not reasons simply to disestablish, but to ban altogether, for the illegality of discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality is firmly embedded in statute law.”

This is the interesting bit of your post.

I note that despite the bluster about “hatred” you do here clearly interpret my words as being about the discrimination on gender and sexuality grounds. Well done. It suggests the preamble was a pedantic attempt to create a straw man (allegations of hatred).

However you are wrong. It is not unlawful to be prejudiced against women or gay people. Moreover I often argue against criminalisation of ideas, emotions and thoughts, and indeed the incitement of negative ideas, emotions and thoughts. You are also wrong in that it is (rightly) not unlawful for the church to discriminate on these grounds in appointments to the priesthood and the bishopric. This is specifically protected by the relevant European Directive on employment discrimination and by our Equality laws - Schedule 9(2) of Equality Act 2010.

While I have argued that the exemption should not extend to the employment of youth workers, I have always strongly protected the right of religious organisations to make their own rules on who should be in their priesthood, etc. In fact I have never joined a campaign on women priests (etc) since, not being a member, it is not a matter for me what the CofE does. All I have said is that if I was a member I would support women bishops.

The point is that the CofE is perfectly entitled to bar women and gay bishops, but the nation has a whole – via its constitution - should not be linked to that lawful discriminatory view by virtue of CofE being the established religion. The country has moved on from such discrimination and should leave the CofE separate to determine what it wants to do.

6) “He appears not to understand that it is neither liberal nor democratic to ride roughshod over the consciences, beliefs and views of minorities; if, that is, the Church of England constitutes a minority, for Christian orthodoxy appears to have been excluded from those ‘protected characteristics’ identified in Labour’s Equality Bill.”

All religious belief is protected by “Labour’s equality bill” (that is the Equality Acts of 2006 and 2010) very clearly. What is not permitted is to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against other people where that infringes their rights and freedoms unless it is covered by exception which in turn requires the discrimination to be for a legitimate purpose and to be a proportionate of achieving that purpose.

The courts have consistently held that when it comes to delivery of public services and the receipt of commercial services, discrimination against gay people on grounds of religious conscience is not lawful. Just as it would not be right tom allow religious doctrine as a get-out for racial discrimination (qv South African Dutch Reform Church) or to allow some non-religious creed (eg the BNP) a similar loop-hole with which to discriminate against gay-people.

7) “The [Liberal Democrat] party has proportionally fewer women MPs [just 12%] than both Labour [31%] and the Conservatives [16%]). Is that evidence of LibDem misogyny?”

The difference is that Lib Dems and the other parties do not have rules in place to prevent women being approved or selected, and are actively seeking ways to increase the proportion. The Church of England’s current official position is that 0% women bishops is the currently right number.

cont..

20 March 2011 at 18:30  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Lesbians are homophobic as they do not like men, homo being the latin for man.

Does this man have hard evidence of this implied hate, or is he just another usurper trying his hand.

Name and shame the extremist clerics ranting hate speeches from the pulpit!

20 March 2011 at 18:31  
Blogger Dr Evan Harris said...

cont...

8) “would Dr Harris advocate the re-writing of history to accommodate Christ’s femininity or expound his homosexuality? Jesus chose 12 male disciples and did not marry: does that make him a misogynist? If God is our Father, and God is love; if Christ is the Son, and Christ is love, then there is no hatred – mild or otherwise – in the expression of maleness that lies at the heart of Christian divine ontology. Indeed, it is manifestly illiberal to seek to emasculate this God or androgynise the faith on the basis of a tyrannical desire to impose ‘equality’. How can that be love?”

I am sure you can find someone interested in that theological discussion.

9) “please, Dr Harris, the Church of England is the least of sinners when it comes to grappling with complex issues of gender and sexuality: why don’t you pick on another religion whose hatred of women and homosexuals is – how she His Grace put it – rather less mild?”

I hearby solemnly declare Islam is more anti-women and more anti-gay than the Church of England.

Happy now, Cranmer!

I would point out that it is difficult to squeeze an attack on Islam’s doctrine into a 140 character tweet about the established church!

20 March 2011 at 18:31  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"Happy now, Cranmer!"

Name and shame yon usurper, name and shame, we want to throw rotten eggs at the offending party.

20 March 2011 at 18:53  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

As Harry Hill has just been on, can I suggest there's only one way to find out who's right ...

:)

20 March 2011 at 18:58  
Anonymous Dutch said...

@Bred in the bone - You are in danger of getting your Latin mixed up with your Greek.

20 March 2011 at 19:00  
Blogger Theo Butt Philip said...

Bred in the bone - The "homo" in homosexual or homophobic comes from the greek for "same" not the latin "man". This should be fairly obvious as the origin is the same as for homophone, homocentric, homogenous and many other words. It would be better if you didn't make specious points like this, but if you insist on doing so please check the etymology.

20 March 2011 at 19:10  
Blogger Tetenterre said...

"but one wonders why he targets only the Church of England"

You mean there's another religion in this country that enjoys the privilege of (and from) establishment? Pray, do tell us what it is!

20 March 2011 at 19:15  
Blogger Theo Butt Philip said...

Tetenterre - why, the Church of Scotland of course!

20 March 2011 at 19:21  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I'm quite amused again by the term "atheist fundamentalism". How does that differ from normal atheism? We accept no notions of a god or gods so far as a matter of definition. It's hard to reduce that down any further really.

I've grown to like terms like "aggressive secularist" which seems to mean someone who makes an argument for secularism, and "militant atheist" which seems to mean someone who writes about atheism and appears on TV occasionally to challenge the social power of theism.

20 March 2011 at 19:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Harris is spot on with that tweet.

20 March 2011 at 19:35  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Evan Harris is a Peter Hain Clone from the same African Continent. It is tiresome that these Uitlanders get into the Parliament of The Corrupt and make themselves self-important fools

20 March 2011 at 19:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend you, Archbishop Cranmer, to check out doubtersclub.org

20 March 2011 at 19:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evan is right. The author completely misunderstood the tweet. Impressive as it was so short. It was about establishment, not about the beliefs of the Church. That's another debate entirely.

20 March 2011 at 19:53  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

It is good to see Dr Harris engaging in the debate. Even though we disagree it is important to communicate in a democracy.

Can I just tease him a bit more and say that he has not responded to my point that the Liberal Democrats are "Institutionally Racist" when judged by their selections of candidates in winnable seats.

To be fair to him let me say that his response will be treated as very much "on the record" - so Dr Harris, you have clarified your view of Islam, now Lib Dems - Institutionally racist "Yes or No?"

20 March 2011 at 20:00  
Anonymous Ed Bradburn said...

"...the Church which is tearing itself apart over issues of gender and sexuality, and which has devoted an utterly disproportionate amount of its ministry time and theological effort to considering whether or not women may be ordained as priests or consecrated as bishops."

The effort could certainly have been considerably reduced had your Grace had the aforethought to include something to the effect in the 39 Articles.

A simple revision of Article XXXVI would have sufficed.

Indeed, it would have merely required a quick citation of Galatians 3:27-29 with the addition of "That is, unless you happen to have an ovary."

20 March 2011 at 20:09  
Blogger Al said...

Theo Butt Philip-
The Church of Scotland, whilst having certain protection under the monarch's oath, is not an "established" church in the same way as the CoE. The CoS has no role in government, not does government have any role in the CoS- contrast with the CoE.

Furthermore, the CoS allows women to hold the very highest positions within its structure- whilst there are misogynists, sexists and homophobes within the organisation, the organisation itself is constitutionally inclusive in a way the CoE is not.
I hold no flame for any brand of religion, but I have much less against the CoS than I do the CoE- and its lack of establishment is very much part of why I don't dislike it as much.
(of course, I may be biased what with being Scottish and having been baptised in the Kirk- though I am very much the non-believer)

20 March 2011 at 20:12  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Thanks for the correction communicants.

Etymology of english words, does minister derive from minstral and was a minstral a fool?

20 March 2011 at 20:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your opposition to the application of the employment exemption to youth workers, Dr Harris is a classic example of secular misunderstanding and interference in the internal organisation of religion. Any Christian could tell you that the primary role of a church based youth worker is as a mentor and role model which presuppposes a consistent worldview and lifestyle.
One has to ask do your aetheistic values "trumph" your liberal ones?

21 March 2011 at 13:08  
Anonymous tim said...

Harris has said no more than what many practicing Christians think (that their church has a bit of a mild problem with women and gays).

Surely his Grace's touchiness here comes not from what is siad by Harris but from the idea that an atheist (an outsider) is able to artculate his views. If we get disestablishment you will be much more justified in telling Harris that internal church matters are none of his business, but until then the C of E is fair game to criticise.

21 March 2011 at 17:17  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"If we get disestablishment you will be much more justified in telling Harris that internal church matters are none of his business, but until then the C of E is fair game to criticise."

Indeed. Soon too, I hope.

21 March 2011 at 18:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DanJo, Mr Harris only criticises the C of E because he knows it will cost him nothing and raise his stocks with the bien pensants. The real misogyny and persecution of homosexual happens among Muslims, and they wouldn't stop at targetting an atheist Jew like Mr Harris.

22 March 2011 at 06:38  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"The real misogyny and persecution of homosexual happens among Muslims, and they wouldn't stop at targetting an atheist Jew like Mr Harris."

Indeed. They, by which I expect you mean extremists rather than our normal Muslim friend and neighbours, appear to be quite capable of violence and intimidation to the point of murder. It takes a brave, possibly foolhardy, person to present them with a handy target unnecessarily. I wouldn't do it myself. Does that mean one shouldn't criticise misogyny or 'homophobia' anywhere else because there are murderous religious people about who also advocate misogyny and 'homophobia'? No, I don't think so. Perhaps CofE members ought to threaten murder and mayhem too to avoid criticise of their undesirable attributes, beliefs, and quirks?

22 March 2011 at 12:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps CofE members ought to threaten murder and mayhem too to avoid criticise of their undesirable attributes, beliefs, and quirks?"

Danjo, why should we sin against our Lord Jesus Christ, who commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? We want to become like Jesus and to grow in His love. Read His words and you will understand.
May God show His heart of love to you.
Alana

22 March 2011 at 20:15  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Danjo, why should we sin against our Lord Jesus Christ, who commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? We want to become like Jesus and to grow in His love."

You can't have been here very long if you think all Christians love their enemies and simply pray for them when they threaten (threaten also meaning simply being an adherent of a religion which is intolerant). Some want all Muslims deported from the UK, for example.

As for the CofE taking up the stance of extremists, that was just rhetoric to make the point. Either we all keep quiet about misogyny and 'homophobia' because Islam has elements of that in its creed, or we openly point out those elements about Islam time and again and risk significant persecution as a result, especially if one travels abroad, or we criticise misogyny and 'homophobia' in general, thereby indirectly criticising Islam, and perhaps point out what the established church here has in its creed if one thinks so, it nominally being part of the State and therefore fair game.

23 March 2011 at 06:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DanJo, I have been visiting this site for years and a Christian teacher most of my life - long before your first postings appeared. I am well aware of the inconsistencies and failings of people who fitfully use the name of Christ. I am talking about the teachings and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom you might know something, if you have ever read the New Testament? Have you ever done so? Have you ever opened your heart to his love and healing? They are real - and life-changing.

Your statement that the 'Established Church' is 'misogynistic' is just silly. The majority of churchgoers in England are women. As for your putting 'homophobia' in speech marks, you seem to think the term is a bit suspect too. Find God's grace - it means joy and peace.
Alana

23 March 2011 at 06:52  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

alana: "Your statement that the 'Established Church' is 'misogynistic' is just silly."

You need to read that sentence again more carefully, in particular the end of it. I took care writing it.

As for putting homophobia in single quotes, I am doing so because its meaning in common use is not about a phobia.

I think some, possibly many, religionists are masking their personal distaste of homosexuality with appeals to religious authority, hence the disproportionate responses one sees about homosexuality compared to other 'sins'. Nevertheless, one has to take note that religions like Christianity and Islam have institutional positions on homosexuality and so 'homophobia' doesn't seem to be the appropriate word to describe those.

"I am talking about the teachings and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom you might know something, if you have ever read the New Testament? Have you ever done so? Have you ever opened your heart to his love and healing? They are real - and life-changing."

Yes, I have read the Bible a number of times. I have also discussed it with the Jehovah Witnesses for nearly 18 months. I have discussed it online, with reference to the associated chapters and verses. It has not changed my life.

You know, my favourite music album at the moment is Flamingo by Brandon Flowers. Mr Flowers (lead singer of the Killers) is a Mormon. If you listen to the album then you can hear the strength of his religious beliefs in his lyrics. Have you ever read the Book of Mormon? I have, albeit a long time ago. If so then what do you think?

23 March 2011 at 12:11  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"No, you don't understand what atheism is then. Atheism is the positive assertion that God doesn't exist - assuming we are clear about the meaning of "exist" as well- not as simple as you may naively assume!"

We appear to be at an impasse here as your definition of atheism looks very simplistic to me and not in accord with what most atheists accept as far as I know. Moroever, your definition of agnosticism also looks rather simplistic to me as a-gnosticism i.e. without-gnosticism is one meaning which provides a firm statement in itself.

Your definition is of course popular with religionists, despite it not actually describing most atheists, because it allows them to claim atheism is irrational and that it is is similar to a religion. In that regard, it's merely a straw man which doesn't touch most of us.

I can only suggest you read more about actual real-life atheism. Here are two resources which might help. Atheism has nuances and a variety of positions of course but, like Christianity, there is a mainstream position. A note for others here: I am not writing an academic paper, this is a colloquial medium and informal sources are fine for what I want to do. ;)

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Atheism

and

http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/faq1111.htm

The FAQ in particular addresses much of the nonsense religionists write about atheism. Finally, I am not an undergrad nor am I particularly young. Furthermore, I took the philosophy course out of a lifelong interest supported by numerous books, I already had a vocation degree.

23 March 2011 at 17:39  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

It's alright for using Wikipedia DanJ0, I FORGIVE YOU.

23 March 2011 at 19:53  

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