Friday, April 01, 2011

Banning the Gideons from state schools (not an April Fool)

It’s a free text book, for Pete’s sake. You don’t have to believe it; you don’t have to read it; and you don’t even have to appreciate it. The Gideons have been generously and unconditionally gifting the New Testament (and Psalms) to the nation’s schoolchildren for donkey’s years. They started in 1899 with hotels and motels, and have incorporated the military, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, MPs and students. Since Christianity is still part of the National Curriculum and the study of the faith is supposed to be pre-eminent within Religious Education, why on earth would any school ban the Gideons from visiting?

It transpires that the head teachers of the Abbot Beyne School and Paget High School near Burton On Trent in Staffordshire have decided that the dispensing of God’s Word ‘may spark complaints from different faiths’. They have, of course, received none: once again, we have the over-zealous, politically-correct invocation of multicultural sensitivities intervening to prevent a distinctly remote possibility if not a highly unlikely probability.

Maggie Tate, deputy head teacher of Abbot Beyne, said: “The reason we stopped the Gideons coming in is that we are a comprehensive multi-faith school. We felt it was inappropriate to allow one faith group to distribute material in school.”

Well, Ms Tate, His Grace has got a bit of news for you. This is not the United States of America: we have an Established Church. It is insufficient for you to be giving ‘moral-themed assemblies’ and your boast that your school has ‘the highest proportion of pupils in Staffordshire sitting GCSEs in religious education’ is irrelevant. The law (Educations Acts of 1944, 1988 and 2006) requires you hold a daily act of collective worship which is ‘broadly Christian’. While ‘moral-themed’ may indeed constitute that which is ‘broadly Christian’, your prohibitive edict on the Gideons suggests that your understanding of the law as it relates to Religious Education is flawed. You are required by statute to give primacy to the Christian faith in order ‘to reflect the history, traditions and majority make-up of the country’ (Education Acts of 1988, 1996 and 1998). By banning the free distribution of the New Testament, and by censoring the gospel message of the Gideons, your contempt for the history, traditions and majority make-up of the country is manifest.

Don Smith, the head teacher of Paget High School, said: “As a non-denominational school we do not allow any religious groups to come in and give out literature. If we allowed the Gideons into school then we would have to allow other groups too. While we teach pupils about different religions, we do not want people coming in to the school and pushing their own religious views.”

The allegation that they’d have to let in every Tom Dick or Harry Krishna is a straw man: no other religion is known for distributing free text books en masse to the nation’s schoolchildren. Mr Smith is being utterly myopic in his view that by letting in one group they have to open the floodgates: the Gideons are not Hizb-ut-Tahrir. And if he believes, as a head teacher, that he has no right to discriminate between groups seeking access to the minds of the children in his care, his discernment is poor. But what would it matter if other groups did bring in free literature? Why can’t such books and pamphlets constitute resources in the nation’s impoverished RE departments? Why can’t they be used to stimulate discussion and critical debate? Why not let the students ridicule, criticise, reflect, consider and decide for themselves what they want to send to Room 101, instead of instituting a draconian blanket ban upon everyone?

But we read in Don Smith’s statement a hint of the old chestnut of multicultural ‘neutrality’. He says: “...we do not want people coming in to the school and pushing their own religious views.”

But it’s perfectly in order for him to forge a ‘multicultural’ ethos and inculcate his staff to induct children into his personal spiritual worldview, despite the doctrine of state multiculturalism having been criticised by the Chairman of the Equalities Commission and condemned by the Prime Minister.

It is in the nation’s schools that the real battle is being waged for the nation’s soul. Our future depends upon our children. We cannot leave them entirely to secular-minded head teachers and left-leaning teachers, and neither can we devolve entirely control over the curriculum. There is a tension here, but the Church of England’s via media lights the way.

116 Comments:

Anonymous Gordo said...

The state schools are hotbeds of leftism and incompetence. Perhaps education vouchers, where parents could pick their child's school, would resolve many issues.

1 April 2011 at 12:13  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

This is where over 50 years of socialist domination of our education system gets you. The battles that Margaret had (and won) were not the end of the matter, but the beginning. Where is the next Margaret going to come from, and send the socialists and anti-Christians packing?

1 April 2011 at 12:21  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

So they are removing something that for the past few decades has caused no complaints for fear of receiving complaints in the future?

Yet they are not bothered about receiving actual complaints about it's removal now?

Yeh ... that's clear thinking liberalism for you.

Anyone know an email address for the school / head teacher?

1 April 2011 at 12:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a shame such dorks get these important jobs in the first place.

1 April 2011 at 12:38  
Anonymous John Thomas said...

Can I repeat my point, made often, that there are no schools anywhere that are NOT faith schools? - That all schools, education, media services, culture, etc., etc. teach (albeit less than consciously) a world-view/value system, and mostly, in Britain and the West, the secular-materialist one. The head teacher in this case has simply chosen to ban the influence of the Judeo-Christian world-view, while continuing to allow (and perhaps promote) the other. No education or culture is neutral, as you say.

1 April 2011 at 12:40  
Blogger Ernsty and Crazy Tiddles said...

Your Graxce

Ernst is reminded of a famous quote;

"Skeptic: Where was God during the massacre at Columbine High.

God: I have been banned, by law, from schools in America since 1963."

All sorts of groups are invited and allowed into schools to lecture pupils by Head Teachers, such as Marie Stopes, Hip Hop or Gansta Rappers bands etc, irrespective of parental consent.

We are suprised because..?

Ernst.

1 April 2011 at 13:01  
Anonymous graham wood said...

Question posed to a hypothetical teacher at Abbot Beyne school.

'Please Sir,
If the Bible is the world's best selling book as we know it is, why is it banned in this school?'

1 April 2011 at 13:03  
Blogger Fr Levi said...

Those who claim to have no agenda always have an agenda. In this case the agenda is clear.

1 April 2011 at 13:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that's lefties for you, isn't it ?
They make me sick.

By the way , Your Grace , I took Cameron's anti-multicultural stance NOT to mean that he was opposed to other cultures,but rather , that his goal was greater integration,to create a homogenised society.

Marcus Foxall

1 April 2011 at 14:07  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Comprehensive Schools seem focused on restricting choice and indoctrinating in a defined hierarchical manner. Gideons should be welcome - I still have my Gideon Bible from decades ago and marvelled at the dedication and altruism of the Gideons.

It is simply one more example of the failure of Comprehensive Schools which seem to educate less and less at ever higher cost. I would hate to think what this woman is paid to expound such gibberish but I would like to think her redundancy package is close at hand

1 April 2011 at 14:23  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Yes to all the above, with this to add:

"... their own religious views": actually by law established in England.

"head teachers ...have decided that the dispensing of God’s Word ‘may spark complaints from different faiths’. They have, of course, received none." If the link source does not report "they have received none" how is this known? Reasonable inference?

If it is so in fact, then the action is pernicious indeed. Taking the New Testament and Psalms as prime documents representing (to say the least) the religious and cultural heritage of the United Kingdom (yes, including Scotland and Ireland) seldom do bona fide devotees of faiths from overseas object. But there is good reason for objecting to the use in schools of such works as "Islam beliefs and teachings" by Ghulam Sarwar.

And the link to Christian Today has a further report (March 26, 2011, 11:05): "...UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution on religious intolerance that freedom watchdogs say marks a significant step away from the highly criticised 'defamation of religions' concept. ... which the Organisation of the Islamic Conference has been lobbying the United Nations to make a human rights violation since 1999."

1 April 2011 at 14:37  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Why not let the students ridicule, criticise, reflect, consider and decide for themselves what they want to send to Room 101, instead of instituting a draconian blanket ban upon everyone?"

That's a good argument for getting rid of faith schools, I'd say.

1 April 2011 at 14:37  
Blogger Tim said...

If the Prime Minister and the Chair of the EHRC criticise something, that something must be a very good thing indeed.

1 April 2011 at 15:37  
Anonymous Paul said...

Poopy cock ! It might help those schools if the Gideons distributed their literature.

1 April 2011 at 15:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a real priviledge to distribute 100 Testaments in my local school year 7 assembly yesterday. I also showed them my own precious copy - received at the same school in 1968!
There are some 'closed schools' in the U.K. but thank God we are still welcome in many schools. In the USA Gideons are not allowed in many schools and one Headteacher called the Police when they were handing out Testaments at the school gates!

1 April 2011 at 15:44  
Anonymous Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

Once again, the high handed, not the high minded, have had the arrogance to make a judgement on what offends other faiths. Amazing how often people with no discernable faith of their own see fit to pontificate on matters they don't understand!

1 April 2011 at 15:54  
Anonymous Oswin said...

F**k ''other faiths''
F**K Abott Beyne School
F**k Maggie Tate
F**k Don Smith
F**k 'em all!

Brain the size of a planet and I'm reduced to this ... it is beyond sensible comment.

(ok ok, an asteroid then...)

1 April 2011 at 16:03  
Anonymous Suzannah said...

We SHOULD let every Hare Krishna in. They are the ones who really know about God.

1 April 2011 at 16:03  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

What DanJo said.

1 April 2011 at 16:15  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Britain has been changed beyond recognition in the last 50yrs but if so much damage and corruption of true history can be done in such a short time, how much twisting of truth has been done in the last 2000yrs

1 April 2011 at 16:37  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Oswin said...
F**k ''other faiths''
F**K Abott Beyne School
F**k Maggie Tate
F**k Don Smith
F**k 'em all!


Presumably, Mr Oswin, you got that information from the Bible which you seem so keen to promote? (Matthew 5:44)

1 April 2011 at 17:10  
Blogger Ernsty and Crazy Tiddles said...

Ditto Anabaptist, old boy.

As Ernst has advised you before, when that naughty boy DanJo goes out of his way to provoke old Ernsty, Deep breat, count to 10 and retype. Works like a charm.

Is sharpening that battleaxe really the answer, as immediate satisfaction rarely lasts? ;-p

Ernsty

1 April 2011 at 17:21  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Anabaptist : you do that if you wish to. I shall go kicking, screaming, and punching ... there may be a bit of biting and scratching in there too.

I've never professed to be anything other than a poor sort of Christian, but I am the sort who will fight!

1 April 2011 at 17:32  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Well, Ozzie, me old mate, it somehow seems a little odd that in defence of a book you deem important you should ignore what it says. And in defence of a faith you claim to hold, you should ignore the founding words of its Founder.

A little odd. Don't you agree?

As Jesus said to his disciples when they asked if they should, like Elijah, call down fire from heaven to consume those who opposed them, 'You know not what manner of spirit you are of.'

1 April 2011 at 17:59  
Anonymous MrJ said...

If the following is against this Blog's rules or its readers' sensibilities (or the law of the land) please delete:

Scorecard:
Gift of Gideon Bibles banned in English schools;

Geert Wilders on trial in Amsterdam re Koran;

NY Times reports today: "Protesters angered by the burning of a Koran by a fringe American pastor in Florida mobbed offices of the United Nations in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing ten foreign staff members and beheading two of the victims, according to an Afghan police spokesman. Five Afghans were also killed." (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/world/asia/02afghanistan.html?src=me)

1 April 2011 at 17:59  
Anonymous opsimath said...

It is far too easy, and very comfortable for those who would ban the Gideons, to put this down to short-sightedness and stupidity, rather than the wickedness it barely hides.

Ours is still, or was when I last took notice, a Christian country, as Cranmer so rightly points out; sadly, religious persecution is alive and well and masquerading as 'even-handedness' and 'fairness' by those who would recognise neither, and if they could, they do anything to avoid actually being so.

Well said, Cranmer; I didn't find your earlier post funny in the least part, April Fool's day or otherwise; it is, however, good to know, as believers in Jesus the risen Lord, we have some things in common.

Thank you for posting this.

1 April 2011 at 18:08  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Dawkins has missed a trick there. He should be handing out copies of the Selfish Gene on the back of biology or science.

1 April 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr DanJ0,

Indeed he has and indeed he should. But he will not because, unlike the Gideons, Dr Dawkins has a financial motive and giving his book away gratis would be detrimental to his bank balance.

1 April 2011 at 18:31  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

You'd think the guy at 70 with millions of copies of his books sold, and some years employed as an Oxford professor, would have amassed enough money by now to be pretty comfortable and still give the thing away.

1 April 2011 at 18:41  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I still have my Gideon bible btw. :)

1 April 2011 at 18:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What concerns me most about the Gideons is that they don't allow Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthdox to join. I had to have them stop speaking at my parish when I learned that.

1 April 2011 at 19:50  
Blogger MFH said...

Why should we expect the schools to take the bible when so many so call Christians,including the CofE do not take the bible seriously.
We pick and chose which bits to believe and which bits to obey.
If we took it as the bread of life as it really is, the inspired word of God, by our attitude others would see how special the bible really is.

1 April 2011 at 19:56  
Blogger Tim said...

As a 'soft atheist' I like the idea of the Gideons visiting schools. Just because you don't believe does not mean that there is nothing of value to be found in the Bible. One of my favourite parables is Luke 18:9-14, for example.

However, what I found strange all those years ago when the Gideons visited is that they made a bit of a show of it, appearing on stage and having each child step up in a presentation. This seems to go against Matthew 6:1-7.

Much better to discreetly put a Bible in each child's desk.

1 April 2011 at 20:26  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Tough!

Your useless CofE has allowed this situation to arise.

Bloody useless - the lot of you.

The failiure of the CofE to defend the primacy of Christianity in our society has led to this.

Why the hell are you now complaining about it?

You make me sick.

The Arch Bish of Canterbury has his head stuck well up his arse - as does the rest of the CofE hierarchy.

With friends like you who needs enemies?

1 April 2011 at 21:12  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Much better to discreetly put a Bible in each child's desk.

1 April 2011 20:26

It possibly would be, however it would be worth reminding you that a Giddeon is not a Bible, it is a copy of only The New Testament.

Which is a highly suspect thing in itself. However when it is uncoupled with the most important preamble, known as The Old Testament is could be described as dangerously misleading.

Clearly all Semite religions, along with virtually all of the others, have much in common with each other.

OK, the language, names, times and places differ, but the main story lines are essentially extremely similar.

This is a very important point, indeed it goes to the very core of what is so desperately wrong with this entire world.

Atheists have long since claimed that religion is basically nonsense, therefore not even worth reading never mind taking at all seriously for many reasons; the most compelling being, that they cannot all be correct.

However, if all of the worlds main, and not so main religions are essentially exactly the same, and based on the exact same things, then they could be essentially all correct at the same time.

We are divided, and as such ruled, therefore the people realizing that they are all worshipping basically the same thing, for the same reason, is the last possible thing our respective establishments want.

Truth is what matters, not dogma, team colours, nations, or blind faith.

Truth is for those who genuinely seek to find it; it is not for those who believe that anyone else can, or indeed would tell them what it is, even if they themselves knew what it was.

Real knowledge is very real POWER. Which is why the common man has always lived in the depths of ignorance, since at least civilization first began.

The great mass of mankind does not only not seek truth, it does not want the truth, nor could it handle any such thing, even if it was forced to listen to it.

The masses desperately need to be lead by the nose wherever their leaders wish to take them; or certainly our ruling class elites, and their respective priest-hoods believe this to be the case.

Much of the essential truth is out there and many of it contained within ancient scientific, and religious texts. The trick is sorting the needles from the giant haystacks that have been deliberately placed around them.

IMO Jesus most likely did exist, and while doing so most likely said and did some of the things he is reported to have said and done. It is difficult to know for sure, as none of us were around at the time.

However some things are beyond doubt, simply because the evidence is utterly conclusive, compelling, and enormously transparent.

Nearly all religion is based on Sun and Star worship. Jesus himself was for mainly political reasons adopted as the last ages SUN God, or son of God, the light of the world, by the ancient mystery schools, soon to be known as The Roman Catholic Church, among other things.

'Real Christians,' or followers of the words and actions of Jesus, on the other hand, have been getting a perfectly awful time of things since a few hundred years before, right up to this very day.

You will please note that the few remaining vestiges of 'Real Christianity' are now being thrown to the proverbial lions for possibly the last time.

In other words the great mystery schools have finally won the battle for our minds, nations, bank accounts, and souls. Or they certainly appear to have done so, as far as I can tell.

I could be wrong, because sometimes I am wrong, but not often.

1 April 2011 at 21:42  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

Quite so Archbish. I am not a Christian, indeed, not even baptised, but recognise that there is much in the Christian message to guide us. I note also that we are "constitutionally" a Christian country, and that that is being attacked all the time.

I shall be writing to the school to state as much, and to chide them. This is truly pathetic - and terrible - at the same time.

1 April 2011 at 21:49  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

America is secular by constitution. We are not.

1 April 2011 at 21:50  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Atheists are those who believe God does not exist, without ever providing evidence that Atheism exists.

If God is no more than neurons being triggered in brain tissues then what more proof does one need that Atheism is that very same illusion.

Attacking the enemy is easier than defending your own beliefs.

1 April 2011 at 22:13  
Blogger Tim said...

"It possibly would be, however it would be worth reminding you that a Giddeon is not a Bible, it is a copy of only The New Testament."

This is why I said ‘a Bible’ and not a Gideon.

1 April 2011 at 22:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the Gideons use the King James Bible? If yes they may distribute it any other version keep it away.
Jobrag

2 April 2011 at 05:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why does DanJo comment here? He has no interest in reproducing or parenthood.

2 April 2011 at 06:02  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Anonymous: "why does DanJo comment here? He has no interest in reproducing or parenthood"

Well, several things there.

I have a lot of interest in parenthood. I'm an uncle four times over, and (more bizarrely) a god parent twice. Most of my friends have kids. I am a member of a society that needs to reproduce itself to maintain our standard of living. When I retire, my state pension will be partly paid by the people who are babies now. Furthermore, I could reproduce if I wish; what you appear to have there is a failure of imagination. Of course I have an interest in parenthood.

Why do I comment here? Well, it's a politico-religious blog open to the public whose author is an advocate of free speech. Why shouldn't I comment here? My comments go in some way to balancing or testing the other opinions expressed. Advocates of free speech should welcome them.

I think it's an indication of a particularly small mind to want to huddle together with like-minded people and moan together about the state of the world without hearing contrary opinion. Especially if one does so without tagging one's opinion with a moniker. May I suggest using Cissie Braithwaite or Ada Shufflebotham as yours? They seem quite appropriate.

2 April 2011 at 07:15  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Atheists are those who believe God does not exist, without ever providing evidence that Atheism exists."

Very profound. You've got us there, and no mistake.

2 April 2011 at 07:17  
Anonymous MrJ said...

While most of Danjo's remarks of 2 April 07:15 can be felt as fair comment, perhaps he would be willing to reconsider the use of personal names to make a point, such as "Cissie Braithwaite" or "Ada Shufflebotham". Regardless of whether there are persons having any one or more of those names, he will doubtless be aware that resort to such figures of speech or writing detracts from Danjo's reasoning and the spirit of fair play to which he implicitly appeals.

2 April 2011 at 07:43  
Anonymous John Knox said...

Well spoken Cranmer!

2 April 2011 at 08:13  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Having spent an awful evening trying to find my hotel in Glasgow, tearing along flyovers in the dark and rain, trying to unscramble the accents, and arriving just as the restaurant shut its door in my face - I opened the Gideons in my room to see "..He slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall ... according to the word of the LORD.--16:11-12 "


A fine end to a crap day.

2 April 2011 at 08:54  
Anonymous Preacher said...

The Gideons use the NIV now days, not the KJV.
the report reminds me of a story about Arthur Blessit. Who one day distributed several Bibles outside a pornographic bookshop with the simple invitation to would be customers entering the establishment, "Hey do you want to get a book that's so hot it's even banned in there?" I believe he had several takers!.

2 April 2011 at 10:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How typically patronising of atheists-on-the-attack ... to presume to balance or test people they don't know.
'Projecting', too, to claim that other minds are 'like' or huddled in the way imagined. Presumably these atheists can't stand the limited - er, society - whence they spring: certainly none of them say anything original on here.

Considering the brilliance and logic to which they lay claim, you'd think they had better things to do than playing at 'little boys stirring the ants nest.'

2 April 2011 at 10:16  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Its been a long time since I've seen a Giddeon Bible in a hospital waiting area or a GP's surgery. Or a hotel for that matter.

Indeed the 'chapel' at my local hospital is a hotch potch of different faiths - an utter confusion of Christian, Hindu and Buddist texts and statues. It even has New Age and Wicca symbols and some that appear to me to be Satanic!

It brings little peace to the troubled souls who go there for quiet reflection and prayer.

2 April 2011 at 10:35  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

How typically patronising of atheists-on-the-attack ... to presume to balance or test people they don't know

Bit rich coming from someone named 'Anonymous'.

2 April 2011 at 10:38  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

DanJ0 said..."Very profound. You've got us there, and no mistake."

I know my true culture is Indic Danjo, christianized as maybe but never the less Indic, so for me even atheism is a valid belief system for that believer, since every being will be at their own level of understanding appropriate to their growth towards God.

Skanda is said to be a protector of homosexuals, instead of dismissing God altogether maybe you should find an appropriate belief system that will bring you closer to knowing God and Creation.

2 April 2011 at 11:04  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Skanda is said to be a protector of homosexuals, instead of dismissing God altogether maybe you should find an appropriate belief system that will bring you closer to knowing God and Creation."

I am dismissing various god hypotheses, not necessarily dismissing god. But anyway, you seem to be engaging in a form of petitio principii there. Like your form of reductio ad absurdum earlier, it isn't in the least bit compelling, I'm afraid.

The most appropriate belief system for me is to work with what I effectively know and accept that I simply don't know some stuff rather than make it up or inherit unfounded beliefs as 'gospel' from my upbringing. You should try it, it's quite liberating.

2 April 2011 at 11:46  
Anonymous Voyager said...

and some years employed as an Oxford professor,

NOt employed as DanJ) but SPONSORED.

He is funded by Microsoft Money in the form of SIMONYI who funds Dawkins Chair as a personal favour to free him from teaching obligations so he can propagate and preach his cod religion based upon a thesis on animal limb mechanics

2 April 2011 at 11:48  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"How typically patronising of atheists-on-the-attack ... to presume to balance or test people they don't know."

You're not that great at this, are you? I said "My comments go in some way to balancing or testing the other opinions expressed" Opinions expressed, not people. Moreover, you 'attacked' me first and by name, I merely responded to you. I'd respond to you by name too but, well, you don't have one. Funny that.

2 April 2011 at 11:52  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Lots of things are liberating Danjo including the discovery that the symbology in the Bible masks what my ancestors already knew and were persecuted for knowing.

Petitio principii and reductio ad absurdum sounds quite imressive but it does not help in my liberation or understanding of why you exist and why evolution of species turned me into a nob tapping buttons at a computer instead of living life.

2 April 2011 at 12:24  
Blogger Ernsty and Crazy Tiddles said...

Bred in the Bone said majestically 2 April 2011 12:24

Old boy, Ernst may have his little tete a tete's with you, bouncing fun off each other but Ernst has a very fond spot for you, as you make him giggle regularly, for all the right reasons.

Don't ever leave this blog.

Ernsty

2 April 2011 at 12:40  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

"It possibly would be, however it would be worth reminding you that a Giddeon is not a Bible, it is a copy of only The New Testament."

This is why I said ‘a Bible’ and not a Gideon.

Point taken, just checking.

2 April 2011 at 12:50  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

^The hotel ones are full Bibles as far as I know. They're weighty enough to be so.

2 April 2011 at 12:58  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Oooh can anyone play? I think I'll join in:

As Quanti canicula ille in fenestra is not too compelling in itself, I like to engage in forms of Fabricati diem, pvnc by which very forceful and persuasive arguments can be made, especially when people have the additional knowledge should they cross me that Repensum Est Canicula

2 April 2011 at 13:59  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Blimey. The Excitable Spoon, you're still around! I thought you were pretending (pretty badly, it has to be said) to be Christian just to get your kid into a religious school or something. I thought you'd foxtrot oscar-ed. Hasn't it happened yet? You're still taking notes in case the priest asks about faith versus works or something similar?

2 April 2011 at 14:36  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Hark at the non-christian telling followers of the way how to behave. Let me quote Evelyn Waugh:

I maybe as bad as you say, but believe me, were it not for my religion, I would scarcely be a human being.

2 April 2011 at 14:56  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Follower of the way? Yeah, righty. ;)

2 April 2011 at 15:06  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Teach your grandma to suck eggs much?

2 April 2011 at 15:13  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Look, if you want pull the wool over the eyes of other Christians then you need to at least appear to be trying to behave like you have a link with the Holy Spirit. First sign of trouble with one of these *cough* anonymous people and you're out of the box like a whippet. Ask yourself: what would Jesus do? Let's face it, it's not that is it? Good grief. Just send your kid to a state school, it's easier for everyone. :)

2 April 2011 at 15:22  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Tut Tut. Trying to goad me yet again still won't get you anywhere. What's the matter diddums? I spoilt your fun and showed that you have a very poor grasp of science, history, reason, facts, and logic? Never mind, lol.

Anyway, I am off to have a game of Mahjong Dimensions. I find it more intellectually stimulating than argument along the lines of 'I know you are but what am I?'

2 April 2011 at 15:32  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Excellent. You reveal the extent of your unresolved issue again there. You must have been really, really upset.

2 April 2011 at 15:38  
Anonymous Paul said...

The Gideons do a good and largely little noticed service. They are a credit to their faith !

2 April 2011 at 16:36  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Ernsty and Crazy Tiddles said..."Don't ever leave this blog"

The particles that make up this body today have experienced every part of this universe before me.

For now I am sitting here but if all those particles were liberated a calculation reveals the amount of potential energy is approx 7×10 to the power 18 joules. About 3000 times the energy of the atom bomb.

We are all the next superpower, I am become the destroyer of Worlds.

2 April 2011 at 17:56  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Danj0, I really must apologise. I had no idea that I gave you an inferiority complex.

I have spent a pleasant hour playing Mahjong Dimensions and then the next two hours trimming my eyebrows. Can't have people mistaking me for Prof Dawkins now can we? But yet again I have to tell you that psychology is not your forte so please, for the second or third time now, give it a rest.

2 April 2011 at 19:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knowing these schools very well, I trust them to make the right decision. Surely it's better to have a balanced Religious education delivered by a team of well educated and trained teachers rather than one barely hinged - sorry Gideons - group presenting their own clearly biased views.

2 April 2011 at 19:54  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

You should be nice to me, Spoon. After the Rapture, you may only have me here for company.

2 April 2011 at 20:10  
Blogger Ernsty and Crazy Tiddles said...

BITB has to go and spoil it! 2 April 2011 17:56


Ernst NEVER learns, does he.

Give a compliment and somehow it translates 'Please bamboozle me with your finest mumbo jumbo malarky'.

Like giving Atlas Shrugged a compliment on the length of his diatribes and you get ' I have evidence that the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite of Masonry and Pooh Bah
of Old London Town was Gordon Brown and the reason he was in with the bankers was....Iluminati...David Icke...Credit Card charges..6 of the Stars on Europa flag winked at me...But I've told you all too much!'

Bah.

Penitent Ernst.

2 April 2011 at 20:43  
Anonymous len said...

Evolution is a belief system which is taught in Schools.
No one witnessed the Evolutionary process taking place.
No one witnessed the'Big Bang'.

We cannot travel back in time to witness the 'facts' of Evolution, so Evolution is a faith based religion which should not be taught as' fact 'in Schools!

All Evolutionary books should be rejected as they will upset the Christians as we are being fair minded in respect to different belief systems.

2 April 2011 at 21:31  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"We cannot travel back in time to witness the 'facts' of Evolution, so Evolution is a faith based religion which should not be taught as' fact 'in Schools!"

C'mon, it's nothing like 'faith based religion'. The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is a theory for sure but it's got so much evidential support across scientific disciplines that it's essentially scientific fact. It is not merely a guess or an idea, that's not what a theory in this context means. However, it's open to being undermined completely and it's observably open to change in the detail.

2 April 2011 at 21:48  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Danj0, my ex-wife would be there too then. And you'll find out what hell is.

Penitent Ernst, lol!

2 April 2011 at 22:56  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I object to "science versus religion" and "evolution versus creationism". It is a false argument promoted by atheists to show the religious as irrational. Unfortunately some Christians fall for it hook line and sinker. I've no doubt there are many Christians who need no goading of course.

Evolution is not a faith but a perfectly reasonable theory for the development of life. I do admit, however, that there are many more holes in parts of its theory than other theories considered fact.

In the same way, a supernatural, non universe (i.e. not physically bound) based deity is a perfectly rational theory for the origin and purpose of the universe (the other being the even more complex and physically improbable infinite universe theory).

It is no coincidence that most physicists believe in the concept of a god.

To Len,

I like to put it this way;

God exists throughout time: it means nothing to him. If he wished to create life, all he would have to do is create a set of laws that he knows would inevitably lead to it and he would immediately see its fruition. If he wishes to respond to prayers, he doesn't have to mess around with supernatural events, for He could change the Universe very easily and no one would no any better (possible explanation for why experimental quantum physics seems to give different results now than before?). Even if prayer is just a placebo, this is fully compatible with the notion of God, as He created the laws of the Universe to begin with.

Evolution and creationism are not mutually exclusive; one answers how, and the other who and why. For one to dismiss the other is for the eye to tell the hand it is not needed and for the head to tell the feet they are irrelevant.

2 April 2011 at 23:01  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Anabaptist @ 17:59 :

It is not in the least ''odd'' as you put it. Mine was not a defence of the book; but rather, a demonstration of my contempt for those mealy-mouthed 'liberal' protaganists who would ban it.

Simples ...

2 April 2011 at 23:11  
Blogger Ernsty and Crazy Tiddles said...

LobotomySpoon82 2 April 2011 22:56

Not if my 'Jabba the Hutt' Missus beats your ex wife there, that is.

Poor DanJo, I almost pity him.. almost.

How on earth have you got blogger to accept your animated gif? Trying to link via photobucket but soon as I save my profile it becomes png.

Have pity on an old flatulent fool and advise how its done?

Just about to watch the cricket, my lad. Will look later to see if you can help.


Ernsty

2 April 2011 at 23:27  
Blogger Ernsty and Crazy Tiddles said...

LobotomySpoon82 2 April 2011 22:56

Ps

Love your blog page, especially the piece on Pat Condell.

" But it reinforces my long-standing belief that most of the critics and militant atheists are a bunch of people that barely know what they are talking about, yet assume such a superior and disdainful attitude. " Agree completely.

Ernsty

2 April 2011 at 23:29  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Ernsty I cannot figure out why my one works but others don't at the moment. I was actually playing about with other gifs this morning, and again after reading your question. I'm going to copy mine and then take it apart to see if there is anything different about it. Will get on to it and let you know if I figure it out.

Glad you like the page, lol. Had it for a while but didn't use it much, then deleted a load of stuff a few weeks ago and started again.

3 April 2011 at 00:03  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Lakester91: "Evolution and creationism are not mutually exclusive; one answers how, and the other who and why. For one to dismiss the other is for the eye to tell the hand it is not needed and for the head to tell the feet they are irrelevant."

The two need not be mutually exclusive. However, the question that jumps out to me immediately as an atheist is why bother with all that? Why not just, well, create it all straight away?

Also, why create certain things at all? David Attenborough has mentioned an African eye worm in the past when talking about his receiving hate mail from creationists.

I think he's talking about the Loa Loa:

http://www.allaboutworms.com/loa-loa-eye-worm

or

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loa_loa

for the Counterfeit Christian guy who has a downer on Wikipedia.

Why create that as a benevolent god for heaven's sake? It lives by burrowing into eyeballs.

3 April 2011 at 06:56  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

OK Ernst I think I've got it now. It needs to be as small as possible, kb wise, in order for it to work.

It's called having standards Danj0. Although if you went to the LSE, as you say, I can see why yours are so poor.

3 April 2011 at 08:48  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Yes but I am still sitting here Penitent Ernst like all the other nobs who got a bum deal.

And thats life!

3 April 2011 at 09:35  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"It's called having standards Danj0. Although if you went to the LSE, as you say, I can see why yours are so poor."

I didn't go to the LSE.

Wikipedia is useful, especially on a colloquial medium like a forum or a blog, to give the form or overview of something. It's just not authoritative. I completely understand that, you clearly don't. Actually, it's worse than that: you also want to make the use of it indicative of some sort of academic failing, even in a blog comment, to score 'Spoon' points; Spoon points being the means to make yourself feel better when in a psychological corner even though they have no actual value.

3 April 2011 at 09:57  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I also notice that MrJ posted a Wikipedia link the other day. Are his standards poor too?

3 April 2011 at 09:59  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

With regards the LSE comment by me, I made an assumption and got it wrong, and for that I admit my error. You were educated by an LSE educated Marxist. He would have taught you your poor standards though. And that is not an assumption.

Of all the people on this blog you are the one that cannot take valid criticism, and either complain that this blog is full of hate-speech, intolerance, bigotry, or want to go running to Cranmer and have him sort it out when someone says something you don't like. But when someone complains about whatever you say your response is to tell them to take it on the chin, that it is just adult robust debate.

You're the one that claims higher standards than everyone else here DanJ0. You don't seem to understand that Wikipedia is unreliable. It might be correct, it might not be. And that's the problem because, unless someone knows the subject, they just don't know.

You did an undergrad degree in philosophy. Well bully for you, like political science that's going to be useful in the real world. Why the quote from me earlier about the fact that you find more atheists in the philosophy department than the physics department? Because physicists are faced with the reality of life every single day, the facts, the logic, the reason. All the benefits that science has brought us, medicine, higher standards of living, knowledge, all brought to us by people that face reality, the reality of facts, reason, and logic. And many of those scientists people of faith.

I mentioned 'followers of the way' earlier. That was the first century Christians name for themselves. Everyone else called them Christians. Hope that helps.

Philosophy is just endless questioning of everything and never reaching an answer. A lot of philosophy is quite useless as well, in my opinion. Looks great on paper, but in the real world? Marxist philosophy a classic case in point. So go on and on about philosophy to your hearts content, but if you want to bore and get rid of me that's the easiest way to do it.

Judge me as much as you like, I really couldn't care less. But again, third or fourth time now, stop with the attempts at psychological analysis. You have absolutely no idea.

3 April 2011 at 10:43  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

When the gods created Mankind they asked what we wanted to be, some wanted to gaurd and others wanted to gobble.

So the Gods created them both Gaurdians and Goblins, I am a Gaurdian of the ring, nobody shall penetrate my ring

Pauranic Lore

Word verification (avyrem)

AV Y? exactly! Remember...

3 April 2011 at 11:11  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"You were educated by an LSE educated Marxist. He would have taught you your poor standards though. And that is not an assumption."

Fo'goodness'sake, I did an A level in sociology as an adult at a local college offering evening classes. It was just for personal interest and educational breadth as I had the typical science background of maths, physics, chemistry and general studies at A level while at school. You speak as though it has informed my whole life, attitudes and beliefs! You just can't help yourself, can you?

3 April 2011 at 11:20  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"You did an undergrad degree in philosophy. Well bully for you, like political science that's going to be useful in the real world."

As I have said in the past, I took a philosophy degree for personal interest. I already had a vocational degree for my job which is most definitely involved in solving real world issues in a logical and reasoned way. Safety critical in some respects too.

3 April 2011 at 11:24  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Philosophy is just endless questioning of everything and never reaching an answer. A lot of philosophy is quite useless as well, in my opinion. Looks great on paper, but in the real world? Marxist philosophy a classic case in point."

Actually, you're talking there about what might be called applied philosophy. Philosophy is essentially about reasoning and logic at its core irrespective of the subject.

As more Marxist philosophy, pop into the article above this one. The topic of the Frankfurt School has come up again, in the context of it allegedly being the driving force behind the collapse of our way of life here in the UK. If the allegation is true then it's hardly been useless for the subversive forces claimed to exist.

3 April 2011 at 11:29  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Judge me as much as you like, I really couldn't care less."

Okay. You're either a hopeless Christian or a counterfeit one. In each case, the gifts of the Holy Spirit appear to have passed you by almost completely if you are in real life like you are online. It's quite useful actually as you illustrate my points in the recent discussion with William rather well. That is, the evidence I have talked about previously, far from being an invalid call for supernatural evidence from a believer in materialism, is circumstantial evidence just like this. Where one would expect the Holy Spirit to shine out of Christians, one often gets a mean-spirited, excitable, completely unapologetic aggressor when beliefs are challenged. How's that for you?

3 April 2011 at 11:37  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I love the reek of sanctimony in the morning!

3 April 2011 at 12:18  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"I love the reek of sanctimony in the morning!"

It's Sunday. It reeks of it every week. I'm downwind of my local church too.

3 April 2011 at 12:48  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

"...mean-spirited, excitable, completely unapologetic aggressor..." LOL! Look in the mirror DanJ0.

Always having to have the last word.
Can dish it out but can't take it back.
Cannot admit when you are wrong.
Loves to boast about himself and what he's done.

You've been dishing it out to me quite a lot for about seven or eight weeks now. And that is what you really don't like, someone that throws it back at you.

The other difference between you and I is, I can walk away from things. Like this

3 April 2011 at 13:28  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

What you mean is that you have to flounce, telling me you're walking away, rather than just, well, walking away. That rather spoils your sentiment there. :)

3 April 2011 at 13:40  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

No, you're the one that flounces. You do project a lot don't you? You might not have noticed this but it isn't me that tells people how they should be living. You do.

Anyway let's see:

I left my comment at 10.43am.

You read and replied at 11.24am...

Couldn't stop thinking about it and replied again at 11.29am...

Couldn't stop thinking about it and replied again at 11.37am...

Ummm... I could be wrong but I think I upset DanJ0. Come on everyone, group hug, group hug everyone...*hug*

lol

3 April 2011 at 13:53  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

*whispers* Remember, you're walking away.

3 April 2011 at 14:23  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Make your mind up DanJ0, you can't have it both ways. Either you wanted a reply or you didn't.

But, to reiterate in case you didn't understand before:

'Discussions' that you seem to revel in, that go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on ... I think you get the picture. You do it with everyone. Endless argument that never reaches a satisfactory conclusion because you just will not let things go.

Well, they might float your boat but they bore me to tears, and I get the feeling I'm not the only one. I have a low attention span in situations like that so I say what I have to say and then would rather go and do something more interesting. Such as read the paper, play Halo, or watch the birds in my garden.

So if it makes you happy, I give in and bow to your immensely superior intellect. No one in the entire Universe can possibly best you in any argument because you clearly know all things and have the answers and the questions to everything. You are right in absolutely everything and I am wrong in everything. All hail DanJ0!

Happy now?

And now you'll probably find something else to complain about again *sigh*
Children.

3 April 2011 at 15:13  
Anonymous Oswin said...

DanJo @ 12:48

Or, to put it another way, your local church is upwind of you; yes? God moves in mysterious ways right enough ... :o)

3 April 2011 at 19:51  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Or, to put it another way, your local church is upwind of you; yes? God moves in mysterious ways right enough ... :o)"

The CofE one is downwind of the local Mormon church. Which of the many available gods to choose from are you talking about? Unfortunately, I'm downwind of both. Luckily, I'm upwind of the local Kingdom Hall but of course the JWs think I have a doorbell for people like them.

3 April 2011 at 20:32  
Blogger kripa said...

The allegation that they’d have to let in every Tom Dick or Harry Krishna is a straw man: no other religion is known for distributing free text books en masse to the nation’s schoolchildren.

Actually, Lord Cranmer, the 'Harry Krishna' do have a lot of books, and they do offer them to schools en masse.

3 April 2011 at 21:50  
Blogger Ernsty and Sad Tiddles said...

LobotomySpoon82 3 April 2011 08:48

Cheers my boy.

Now got to figure out a way to reduce size Width x Height without losing animation. My tiddles using uzi gif actually animates (It's hilarious, honestly) but changes to png in Blogger, so loses animation.

Bless You, my lad for helping Ernst.

Old Ernsty.

3 April 2011 at 23:02  
Blogger Ernsty and Sad Tiddles said...

LobotomySpoon82 3 April 2011 08:48


Oops.

Looks like your animation has stopped working coming into blog page here.

Ernst.

3 April 2011 at 23:08  
Blogger LobotomySpoon82 said...

Ernst, you can find online gif editors and reduce it that way. Also, the ideal kb size would be approximately 3kb, give or take.

My animation appears to be working fine for me now, so I guess it might have been a minor blogger glitch.

3 April 2011 at 23:46  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

'However, the question that jumps out to me immediately as an atheist is why bother with all that? Why not just, well, create it all straight away?'

Because it would be boring. Are not the wonders of the Universe beautiful? Are they not even more so when we look at the manner of their creation and development? Besides, leaving proof even the great Dwakins couldn't ignore would make his presence far too easily known. If there was a proof of his existence that everyone believed, then we would worship him because he is powerful, not because he loves us...

'Why create that as a benevolent god for heaven's sake? It lives by burrowing into eyeballs.'

Because he has a sense of humour I suppose. I think a lot of it is down to the manner of our creation; that God couldn't create man with free will, without creating laws that allowed for other nasty bits and pieces to develop (e.g. without tectonic plates the Earth would be covered in water and have no land based life, but then we wouldn't have earthquakes/tsunamis). If He wanted to create a perfect world, he could have; but then what need of God would we have? And what free will could we have where the rules don't permit us to behave in a bad manner, as well as a good?

4 April 2011 at 11:46  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Are not the wonders of the Universe beautiful? Are they not even more so when we look at the manner of their creation and development?"

They are, mind-blowingly. In fact, almost all of it we will never even see. We're reduced to imagining it by observing effects and cleverly reasoning from them. Strange design for a species that is apparently the centre of everything in creation, huh?

Of course, with an omnipotent god hypothesis one can imagine all sorts of ruses and tests and mysteries to try to explain the world we perceive. In fact, I've heard creationists claim fossils were put there to test the faith of believers. I despair.

You'd think that people would just look at (say) the evidence of the radioactive decay of carbon 14 and think: "hey, that shows certain things are 10s of 1000s of years old" rather than think up elaborate theological excuses for it to fit in with their wishes.

As for eye-ball-burrowing worms, I don't suppose there's not much to laugh about for the African kids afflicted by them. If your god thinks that is hilarious then it is an even worse god than I thought.

As for needing to reach god through faith rather than evidence so that we love it rather than worship it for its power, how does that square with angelic beings? You're a Catholic, right? Doesn't the Catholic Church teach that angels are also subject to grace and love and respond (or not) accordingly? Yet they are supposedly aware of god from the start. Or have I misunderstood something there?

4 April 2011 at 19:14  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

They are, mind-blowingly. In fact, almost all of it we will never even see. We're reduced to imagining it by observing effects and cleverly reasoning from them. Strange design for a species that is apparently the centre of everything in creation, huh?

Perfect design surely? It's the same way we have discovered so much about God.

Of course, with an omnipotent god hypothesis one can imagine all sorts of ruses and tests and mysteries to try to explain the world we perceive. In fact, I've heard creationists claim fossils were put there to test the faith of believers. I despair.

I'm not a creationist. What's your point?

As for needing to reach god through faith rather than evidence so that we love it rather than worship it for its power, how does that square with angelic beings? You're a Catholic, right? Doesn't the Catholic Church teach that angels are also subject to grace and love and respond (or not) accordingly? Yet they are supposedly aware of god from the start. Or have I misunderstood something there?

I didn't say we don't seek evidence, just not the absolute proof that would come with creationism. In truth I cannot comprehend the true nature of God. I think to do so would require a greater equivalence to Him. My flippant comment on the strange worm is just me saying "I don't know", but then why should random mutations (plus increasing evidence showing the importance of gene expression) be the how of God, as well as the how of... well, nothing?

4 April 2011 at 22:35  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Perfect design surely? It's the same way we have discovered so much about God."

I meant it's a strange design for a universe to house a species with the alleged purpose of ours. The What Came Before question applies just as much to our galaxy in isolation to the billions of apparently unreachable galaxies and the billions of billions of stars in the universe as a whole. Some of the universe we will probably never even be aware of except theoretically. So why bother creating it all when our galaxy would be enough to hide a god's existence from plain view?

"I'm not a creationist. What's your point?"

Just that parsimony is naturally attractive. That is, why bother jumping through hoops just to get to the idea of a particular target god at the end. I don't mean that the right answer is always the most simple one of course. If one is looking for a Why in the universe then the consequences of evolution, together with the enormity of the universe, strongly suggests to me a Why which has no interest in a particular species like homo sapiens.

Christianity has the saving grace, so to speak, of the Holy Spirit. At least with that piece of theology one can say that the unnecessary complexity in explanation is nevertheless true because the explanation is verified by the existence of the Holy Spirit. Without it, the explanation would be just absurd ... as it is in Islam and other religions. But I don't have the Holy Spirit of course.

"My flippant comment on the strange worm is just me saying "I don't know", but then why should random mutations (plus increasing evidence showing the importance of gene expression) be the how of God, as well as the how of... well, nothing?"

Apologies if I sounded a bit snotty about the eye worm and its effects. I've been dipping into the Old Testament recently and it's turned my nose up a bit. The Lord God there rather than the later God The Father seems to be a rather nasty piece of work. It'll be a relief to go back to the New Testament.

5 April 2011 at 06:42  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

If one is looking for a Why in the universe then the consequences of evolution, together with the enormity of the universe, strongly suggests to me a Why which has no interest in a particular species like homo sapiens.

Consider that the chance of a Universe that allows life in any form to exist is ~1/1x10^10^14 and multiply by the chance of life actually emerging, and then again by the chance that any creature quite so unique as humans evolving, and you'll find a number so low that if one could write the possible universes on each atom in the universe, one would nigh on certainly run out of atoms before our universe came up. This gives the possibility of infinite parallel universes, or a creator of some sort. Both are articles of faith, and the creator hypothesis is most certainly no less reasonable that than the other. In fact, the infinite universe theory still leaves the question of how it started, as nothing can bring itself into existence.

...So why bother creating it all when our galaxy would be enough to hide a god's existence from plain view?

God, to the best of my knowledge, is not a physical existence, in that he is not made of atoms, nor of any physical matter whatsoever. His existence is quite literally supernatural; transcendent to the universe. This is where a lot of atheists miss the point (apologies if I've misinterpreted your text). God is not a scientific hypothesis because he is independent of the universe and not ruled by its laws; one cannot posit that God exists, and then make scientific predictions based on it. In other words, he is not equivalent to an orbiting teapot, nor the flying spaghetti monster.

Having a physical form would only create problems, limiting his abilities to do whatever is logically possible (i.e. what is in his nature to want to do). His transcendence is part of what makes the existence of Jesus so important. It is where he actually takes a physical form in order to speak to us on our level.

But I don't have the Holy Spirit of course.

There is a theory that states that no good could be done without the Holy Spirit. If theologically accurate,

then it would be almost certain that He is with you, whether you can feel Him or not. Quite comforting I think.

...It'll be a relief to go back to the New Testament.

One can only read the Old Testament properly in the light of the New and in light of the prevailing culture of the time. Many aspects of the Old Testament make no attempt to be historical, but manifest truth in other ways. To explain the story of creation as we know it now would only confuse those who hadn't the basic scientific pillars of knowledge. Far better then, to tell a fable that gives the most important point prevalence (i.e. it doesn't really matter yet that you know how the universe was created, but I'll give you the basic idea and make sure you know that God was the one who made it.

In other places it gives openly fictitious parables that attempt to explain God's nature. Two of these are Jonah (which explains that God creates everything, loves it, takes no pleasure in its destruction and forgives those who repent) and Job (which shows that bad things happen to good people, and that God doesn't punish people in life for their sins).

In many others, we see the confusion of God's law with Mosaic law, because we read Leviticus at face value. For one, most of the punishments are given as maximum sentences rather than absolute, and secondly, the punishments are seen to be God's law, when it is only the morality behind the crime that is his law (this is why one can say that homosexuality and adultery are sins, but people shouldn't be stoned for them).

5 April 2011 at 13:21  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Finally, we see that many events of the Old Testament are shown only in the Jewish interpretation. God didn't necessarily order the destruction of peoples or destroy them himself, but the Jews would have simply assumed this.

It may be that a corrupt and complacent tribe would have been unable to deal with natural disasters because they failed as a society.

It is also important to note that the Israelites were almost unique for their time, in that they did not sacrifice humans (inc. children) and practised neither incest or cannibalism. I'm not saying it would justify their enemies' death, but that it explains why they did not like intermarrying and adopting foreign cultures.

I hope this helps. It is not good to read the OT unsupported, as it loses a lot in translation.

5 April 2011 at 13:21  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"and then [multiply] again by the chance that any creature quite so unique as humans evolving"

:O

I'm not sure you ought to be doing that.

5 April 2011 at 18:28  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"This gives the possibility of infinite parallel universes, or a creator of some sort. Both are articles of faith, and the creator hypothesis is most certainly no less reasonable that than the other. In fact, the infinite universe theory still leaves the question of how it started, as nothing can bring itself into existence."

It seems such a trivial, almost frivolous comment, but how did the creator thing come about if that is true? Yes, I know you can muck about with what existence means in each paradigm but god still exists in some manner for a theist.

I'm not sure how many people pick up on what I say, if they read it at all, but I don't have a problem with there being a creator thing at all really. What bothers me is that many millions of people claim variously different things about its attributes and insist that our lives must take note of them.

The Christian or Islamic gods in particular are problematic for me because they require us to do significant stuff. I'm not going to freely do that, or allow others to mandate it for me, without a lot more indications that the god is not just a cultural idea propagated through human minds because much of it addresses the needs of lots of people for answers to the Big Questions they have.

Lots of religious people of various tribes make a jump from there needing to be a creator thing to the creator thing being their particular god. There's a huge leap there. As I often say, the creator thing may be completely unaware of our existence, or it may care a great deal about beetles as Haldane puts it, yet still have created the universe.

Christians have an advantage here because they have a means of divine revelation which is broad brush. Which is why I focus on investigating and probing the nature of that. But clearly there are other religions and philosophies and paradigms which allow 'truth' to be privately known and not all the people who have revelation there are charlatans, I'm sure.

5 April 2011 at 18:40  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"I hope this helps. It is not good to read the OT unsupported, as it loses a lot in translation."

I understand, it's just that I find it hard. Especially with the murder of the populations of whole cities. I've read the bible in stages end to end several times. And I love the book of Job for some reason, especially when god steps in and says: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world?"

5 April 2011 at 18:43  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Danjo attaching no concept to God is probably the closest you can come to knowing God, in this life.

The outright denial of God by atheistic dogmatists is as crazy as the insistence by dogmatic religions to be certain of what God is.

I attach the word God to that elusive yet intuitive awareness I feel, of their being something I cannot quite grasp behind existence.

A superconscoius behind my consciousness. But it all adds up to the same, I believe like you believe, that I cannot know but my faith in that which I cannot know is the difference.

I have faith that which I cannot truly know exists and it does because we can never truly know everything.

Call it God or call it not God.

5 April 2011 at 20:13  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"The outright denial of God by atheistic dogmatists is as crazy as the insistence by dogmatic religions to be certain of what God is."

We share that thought.

Dawkins goes too far for me when he says (or repeats) that he is as agnostic of god as he is of fairies at the bottom of the garden. I'm not absolutely certain that fairies [1] don't exist but I'm as certain as I need to be to get on in life without needing to keep an eye out for them. With a vaguely undefined god, I'm not that certain. But the more defined it becomes, the more certain I get that it doesn't exist.

Consciousness is an interesting one. I'm very conscious of my own consciousness being a private, subjective thing. Yet I have enormous empathy for animals, especially mammals which are modified by our attention to them. I see that as a likely evolutionary byproduct of the way we have to protect our own babies but I'm amazed that lots of others don't feel it as strongly. If a god exists behind our consciousness then I'd be very surprised if it didn't exist behind that of other animals too.

[1] Yes, yes I know. :)

5 April 2011 at 20:33  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

[1] Yes, yes I know. :)

No I am not going to rib you about it, the fairyworld today is a Victorian creation, the fairyworld of our Old Religion was actually more akin to ancestor worship.

6 April 2011 at 17:26  

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