Monday, April 18, 2011

Johann Hari vs Ann Widdecombe on the future of Christianity



In the briefest of interludes, Johann Hari says:

1) 'The factual claims Christianity makes have been proven to be false.'

2) 'The nasty dogmas that lead people to discriminate against gay people or treat women badly because God commanded it...will wither.'

To which His Grace responds:

1) If a fact has been proven to be false, it was not a fact in the first place. Which factual claims made by Christianity have been proven to be false?

2) How is it possible to belong to a religion (any religion) without discriminating against those who do not belong? Is that not freedom of association? Are traditional Christian beliefs and the teachings of the Church now to be subject to an illiberal and intolerant creed of equality and rights? The nasty dogmata that lead people to discriminate against Christians are incompatible with liberalism, liberty and tolerance. And where, pray, do the commands of God or the teachings of the Church encourage people to treat women badly? As far as His Grace can see, men are instructed to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Eph 5:25).

There is so much more His Grace could comment upon, but there is a weary feeling of pearl before swine. It is simply not possible to dialogue with the deaf when they prohibit sign language and then feign blindness to avoid lip-reading.

81 Comments:

Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Brilliant!

18 April 2011 at 15:34  
Blogger LoBoS aka LobotomySpoon82 said...

"...but there is a weary feeling of pearl before swine."

I know the feeling well, lol.

18 April 2011 at 16:01  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

As your episode with the Very Rev Dawkins (PBUH) proved - pearls before swine indeed.

Am I the only who is so utterly weary of hearing people myopically drone on about 'gay rights' (i.e. the impossible act of gay 'marriage') as some sort of litmus for test for truth & justice? Especially from people who promote death to the unborn, the elderly & the vulnerable.

John 15:18-25

18 April 2011 at 16:27  
Blogger OldSouth said...

There will come a day certain, for each one of us, when we will indeed discover whether the 'factual claims of Christianity' are true or no.

Sadly, it will be one day too late to change one's stance vis a vis eternity.

OldSouth prefers the 'When I consider the heavens...' point of view for the long haul.

18 April 2011 at 16:27  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

"The nasty dogmata that lead people to discriminate against Christians are incompatible with liberalism, liberty and tolerance".

That would be the same dogma that some Christians use to prohibit women Bishops or tolerate openly homosexual clergy then would it not?

And of course the Muslims support them - they will want the equivalent number of seats in the Lords for their god-botherers in a few years - they are in accord with discriminating against women and gays - should be a breeze pass this amendment I'm sure.

18 April 2011 at 16:35  
Blogger Judith said...

I am a woman, and a Christian, sometime Reader in the good old C of E. Where does this comment about bad treatment of women come from? I don't believe that women should be bishops, and I have a problem with the concept of women priests; I always feel uncomfortable receiving the host consecrated by a woman - I accept it as a gift from Almighty God. But I have never, ever been treated badly because I am a woman - because of the person I am maybe, but that's not the same thing at all! We are more and more being marginalised and one day, not too far in the future, we shall be the persecuted about whom Jesus spoke "blessed are ye when men despise you and persecute you and say all manner of things about you falsely for my sake, for yours is the kingdom of Heaven" Hallelujah!

18 April 2011 at 16:44  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

That's fair enough MsJ; and may I add that I have no real authority to hold an argument on this against a confirmed Christian, but what to do about those women who having progressed in their faith so far but then cannot go any further; does not sound very charitable to discriminate on gender that's all I am saying.

18 April 2011 at 17:03  
Anonymous MrJ said...

If another thing is certain it is that Rebel Saint--16:27 is not alone in that.

18 April 2011 at 17:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why speak to them at all. Leave the dead to bury their own dead.

18 April 2011 at 17:08  
Anonymous Oswin said...

LoBo @ 16:01 :

Talking as probably your most recent 'swine' (according to the nature of your dismissal) I'm still awaiting a few pearls.

(tee hee)

18 April 2011 at 17:28  
Blogger Josh VB said...

Dreadnaught,

becoming a minister isn't the same as progress in the faith (we had to have a reformation to prove that one!). Greatness is seen in service - the best example being Christ who is Lord of all, yet served all in his death. You don't need to be a member of the clergy to serve.

Ministers are sometimes described as soldiers, sometimes as shepherds (ie. the ones who will attack a lion or wolf should it happen to attack a sheep). Just as many people, because of their high view of women, would feel uncomfortable placing women as front line troops in battle, so many people (men and women alike) feel uncomfortable with women in leadership positions.

Unfortunately most men who lead a church lead it like Private Frank Pike.

18 April 2011 at 17:28  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Dear old Anne there at 2:05 says that Christians should turn the other cheek. Wasn't that a contentious issue here recently?

18 April 2011 at 17:38  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Josh - Having a daughter serving in RMC and currently in Afghanistan, she as a medic which is about as front line as you can get, I tend to see women of her calibre the equal to any men in general - well I would wouldn't I?
I just can't see why a woman, dedicated to her faith and equal to any of her peers in as much as she too is made in 'god's image' is unsuitable to be a Bishop,

18 April 2011 at 17:40  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I think Anne Widdecombe did a god job , I perhaps disagree with one or two conclusions , but it resonated with some of the things I believe I see are happening.
The most disturbing and alarming aspect was how parents are losing the meaning and that there children no longer have even the basics of worship or prayer.

The articulation of a "living faith" is perhaps somthing to do with doubt (in the lack of clarity of where it is comming from) and the modern problem of being busy to even get to grips with a realtionship with god. We may be divided by the way we live unable to put the preemenance of god properly growing in our lives .

The views of Johan Hari were interesting in that he was convinced the quality of his athiest moral code , could not be proved to be of a lesser quality to christian beliefs.He did not need any supreme being , no intercessor, no propitiation , indeed no story at all , it could all be achieved on educated reason and philopshy.
It is course difficult to explain to Mr Haris perfect defence construct , that there is a spiritual dimension , somthing is transmitted from person unto spirit and spirit unto person , I will go further that the spirit of pentecost is somthing more complete indeed without jesus it becomes ideas rather than son of god , who being the only son of god , means that man cannot achieve the same understanding , only glimpses.
I thought her talk to the Archbishop was interesting , wooley and vague and varied make your own view , was perhaps a little unfair , but I was struck how Roman and CofE may see each other . Perhaps protestantism is an attempt to deal with post 4th century reason and philophsy , against the more absolute strength that constantine bestowed of the roman empire.

Good job she didnt meet the miraclous gold filling church , might have seen a request for inquisition !. None the less she used her abilties to enquire and inform , in this troubled moment of endemic christian abandonment.

18 April 2011 at 17:45  
Anonymous graham wood said...

What a great pity that the discussion was led for Christians by Ann Widdicombe.

The title "The future of Christianity" was not even
mentioned !

I do not recall Ann make a single reference to the central place of Christ in relation to "Christianity"

Regretfully also the discussion degenerated into a facile exchange about "Bishops", Christian values (however defined), and a vague exchange about morality.

How revealing that the same conversation placed in the context of the 1st Century and the aproach of the Apostles and early church would have centered wholly areound the Person of Christ, and in particular his deity, atoning death, and resurrection - the sole basis of the forgivness of sins.

Christianity is Christ - presented as Saviour and Lord, not an apologetic for mere morality.

18 April 2011 at 18:00  
Anonymous Jon said...

Your Grace, I've been reading your blog for some time and as a former adherent of Christianity, I admire your writings, however, I think even you must concede that there are many verses in the Bible which offer a view of women which is not consistent female equality. Your Grace is surely above ignoring them as superseded by Christ's arrival.

What's more, if we are to adopt the convenience of only referencing New Testament texts, I can find no justification for the Church's lurid obsession with homosexuality - Jesus didn't mention it once as far as I can find, only St Paul offers some verses (which appear mistranslated in many modern English bibles) on the subject.

I suppose my point is, that if the Church is the bride of Christ, the causes with which she has chosen to engage have not made her a terribly attractive prospect, as is evidenced by her decline, and this is the point that Mr Hari is making. Why has the Church chosen to act as a scourge for the least and the weakest in our society, whilst leaving the money changers in the temples unchastened? Indeed, your Grace is often seen apologising for them in this very blog.

Could it be that your Grace, like his modern priestly brethren, is more Pharisee than Apostle?

18 April 2011 at 18:14  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Wonderful closing paragraph, Your Grace! Horses, water, drinking, and all.

Good video, I've just got my breath back after ROTF re "The Chief Humanist."

I also agree that Ms. Widdecombe does well for us, here. She lets the enemy reveal his own nature: Dear God, where do they dredge up these neu creatures of political process? The only interviewee I'd vote for here is the one who cares about people, the mature and gentle-man for whom parishioners ultimately must vote with their feet. Though I am aware of a caveat: Ms. W. mentions "left-wing bishops" and I have encountered one such of bloglike acquaintance - it was unpleasant.

Speaking as a woman, though, I generally find that Christianity promotes a care and respect for women that's absent elsewhere. Perhaps that owes something to the tradition that, through Christ's Humanity, we know ourselves as bone of man's bone and flesh of his flesh: from Eve to Mary, from Original Sin to Redemption and the crushing of the serpent's head. Moreover, traditional symbolism depicts the Church as the Bride of Christ, and promotes its sacrament of marriage as that between 'a man andd a woman' --

Misogyny, in contrast, is a hallmark of homosexuals (by definition on the one hand, by female bestiality on the other), and of the marxist philosophy (and feminism) that espouses them and corrupts the word 'gay.' Christianity never presented me with that order of ruthlessness or obsession.

And if I prefer not to submit to female dentists and doctors, or am uncomfortable women force themselves upon us as Christian priests - I count that, too, as my feminine prerogative.

18 April 2011 at 18:20  
Anonymous non mouse said...

ohhhh ... 'uncomfortable when women force'... :(

18 April 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger William said...

I loved the 'chief humanist' bit as well. In fact I'd quite like to see him in the House of Lords just to see his official garb of office :)

18 April 2011 at 18:29  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Does being happy to give the time of day to dear Miss Wiiddecombe require giving the same to Mr Hari? A question which could be put to the late Archbishop Cranmer, in search of guidance or as a trap for trumping up a charge of heresy.

Surely, the status of anglican bishops as Lords Spiritual is the least of the threats to the people and government of this country, in fact no discernible threat at all. We know where the threat is coming from: politicos of all sorts and malpractitioners connected with monetary transactions.

18 April 2011 at 18:32  
Blogger William said...

Or should that be her official garb of office?

18 April 2011 at 18:34  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Jon,

More Pharisee than Apostle?

You can hurl whatever personal abuse you wish: His Grace permits and tolerates it. Mr Hari said 'God commanded' that women be 'treated badly'. That is absurd - New Testament and Old. And on the gay thing, His Grace agrees with you and has said so numerous times, but why let his publicised views get in the way of an opportunity for puerile abuse?

18 April 2011 at 18:36  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Marxist are at the forefront of revolutionary psychology, they know the mind is the battle ground.

They influence theories and direct observation in so many spheres virtually unchallenged by any viable alternative view.

Yet our folk still yearn for something with spirit, Christians has to get real its not enough just to promote Christianity, the faith must become relevant to the modern mind.

If archaeologists can go back to the stone age to debunk Christ, we must also go back to the stone age and pull the Sword of the Spirit from the very stones they study and raise that glinting blade high into the spiritual sky to claim Christs Kingdom once more.

18 April 2011 at 18:36  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Jon: "What's more, if we are to adopt the convenience of only referencing New Testament texts, I can find no justification for the Church's lurid obsession with homosexuality - Jesus didn't mention it once as far as I can find, only St Paul offers some verses (which appear mistranslated in many modern English bibles) on the subject."

I think this is the standard justification:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQf5jL3a4iU

:)

18 April 2011 at 18:36  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Its rather ironic that as he proposes turning Christianity into mythology, it will be the resurrecting of Albions myths and folklore that shall be the saving grace of both these blessed Isles and Christianity.

For in our mythos-symbology lays a deeper truth about our history, heritage, culture and destiny.

Churchianity is another matter though, that needs a damn good overhaul, it needs to get with he plan.

18 April 2011 at 19:53  
Anonymous len said...

The question of Gays and Christianity is a contentious one. Did Jesus condemn 'Gays'?.
The simple answer is no.
'For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.'(John 3:17)
So what`s the problem?
No sinner (those outside of Christ) will gain entrance to Heaven.
A sinner is not a sinner by the individual acts of sin but because he has a sin NATURE.Hence the need to be regenerated ,Born-Again.


The Real Sin of Sodom.

The sins of Sodom were selfishness,carnality,self -indulgence,indifference to others, looking after no 1.
This sort of Culture leads to Homosexual Lifestyles as evident in our Culture today .
...................
How Christians should Treat Women.
From Ephesians 5 we can learn that the example for the husband's leadership is the self-denying love of Christ. The husband is told to love his wife as Christ loves the church. God expects the husband to be unselfish, caring, gentle, and willing to give up his life for his wife.

And Other Women;
1 Timothy 5:1 Treat older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.

18 April 2011 at 19:54  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

The most detailed christian treatises on women in the church and homosexuality are available on the Vatican website.

No, you don't have to be a Roman Catholic to read them or accept their conclusions. However, they locate both issues within the theological context of God's overriding plan for mankind, the respective roles of male and female in this and the proper use of the gift of sexuality.

These are not secular issues of 'rights' and 'equality' but whether we are willing to seek God's purpose from the Bible, understand and accept it and live by it.

Men and women - equal but different.
Homosexuality - against Biblical and natural law.

18 April 2011 at 20:15  
Blogger Wallenstein said...

Stuff that the bible says which didn't actually happen:

- the Flood (nicked from the Babylonians)
- the period of slavery in Egypt
- the Exodus and Wandering
- the timeline of Jesus' birth (and therefore the fulfilment of the OT prophesies)
- authorship of Paul's letters (which you've commented on before)

Plus the fact that Romans 5 requires a literal Adam and a literal reading of the Creation story (in order for a physical resurrection to make sense) puts it totally at odds with modern science.

i.e. In a perfect creation according to Romans death did not arrive until humans sinned, which means before Adam (or whatever point in Homo Sapiens' development we choose to grant "human-ness") there could be no death, yet the fossil record suggests otherwise.

18 April 2011 at 21:25  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Jon said 18 April 2011 18:14 The one and only Mystic HandJOB states 18 April 2011 18:36

"Jon: "What's more, if we are to adopt the convenience of only referencing New Testament texts, I can find no justification for the Church's lurid obsession with homosexuality - Jesus didn't mention it once as far as I can find, only St Paul offers some verses (which appear mistranslated in many modern English bibles) on the subject." LOL..What a rib tickler.

Christ was preaching to the Jews as a Jew, knowing they fully understood the Law, where the statement on homosexuality is abundantly clear as is beastiality. Now look and learn chaps, the clue is in the title from Ernsty.

St Paul, The Apostle to the GENTILES...Gentiles (NON JEWS) who thought it was quite quaint and socially acceptable to have homosexual lovers, even when married to women. The norm in Hedonistic Greece etc, hence the need for doctrinal correction for these new believers continuing in sinful behaviour.

The statements made by St Paul, through the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit (God) and are therefore as authoritive as if Christ had said these statements Himself to them!

Know thy History, even if belief is to hard to accept...Flunked though, abysmally!, there's a nice couple of good boys.

Chuckling Old Ernsty

18 April 2011 at 22:08  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Godless heathen: "Flunked though, abysmally!, there's a nice couple of good boys."

What a feckwit. All I did was post a humorous clip of Rowan Atkinson. It's like you have no functioning brain sometimes. No wonder you have no discernable holy spirit in there, there's nothing for it to attach to.

18 April 2011 at 22:21  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

**Yawn**Stuff that the bible says which didn't actually happen:

- the Flood (nicked from the Babylonians...are you saying THERE WAS A FLOOD but that it was plegarised)There is no reasonable explanation that even evolutionary scientists can agree on for the mass burial of animals, leading to the fossil record..corpses tend to rot out in the open or picked to the bone quickly by scavengers!
- the period of slavery in Egypt..Egyptians were famous for altering their records and 'losing and defacing' pharoahs and their dynasty that a new pharoah wanted removed from their historical records..please vist Egypt to see this', Ernst has!
- the Exodus and Wandering..Historic records from other tribes give account of jews wandering in great numbers during this period as they thought they were great army..Archaeology anyone?
- the timeline of Jesus' birth (and therefore the fulfilment of the OT prophesies)Which school of higher critism do you belong to..only adhered to with the faith of believers, from diehard atheists.
- authorship of Paul's letters (which you've commented on before) thought this higher criticism chestnut had been buried by archaelogical discoveries but obviously still believed blindly by HC believers.

Plus the fact that Romans 5 requires a literal Adam and a literal reading of the Creation story (in order for a physical resurrection to make sense) puts it totally at odds with modern science...Your evolutionary modern science that cannot actually agree with it's own evolutionary theory, that changes tack more times than Posh Spice's fashion!

i.e. In a perfect creation according to Romans death did not arrive until humans sinned, which means before Adam (or whatever point in Homo Sapiens' development we choose to grant "human-ness") there could be no death, yet the fossil record suggests otherwise.

Dear boy, the fossil record is a chaotic mess and has large parts of younger strata under older strata. How is your argument definitive..Ernst wishes he had a quid for every new 'Link' in the evolutionary chain just discovered for it be buried into oblivion in the same scientific journal, He would be able to pay off the national debt of this country to an appreciative public.

Ernst wasn't there to see the creation of the universe and neither was anyone or anything, unless of course you know something, then do tell.

Ernsty, my fine BBC watching, fable believing atheist.

18 April 2011 at 22:41  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

James 2:14

18 April 2011 at 22:46  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Mystic HandJOB said 18 April 2011 22:21

"All I did was post a humorous clip of Rowan Atkinson." All I did was post a humourous appraisal of what a presumptuous numpty you are!

Stop blubbing, it's pathetic. Man Up! or can you give it but not take it back. Were you thrown off atheist blogs for this spineless, self obsessed commenting?

"No wonder you have no discernable holy spirit in there, there's nothing for it to attach to" So you can discern the Holy Spirit can you..lol..What exactly are you..Make your mind up, if you have one?

Ernst

18 April 2011 at 22:50  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Sekonda 10.50

18 April 2011 at 22:50  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Matthew 7:15-21

18 April 2011 at 22:58  
Anonymous Seigmund Freud said...

DanJO

For someone who has an obvious distaste for the religious, you appear to have an unusual knowledge of sections of their holy book.
Are you considering making a life changing decision.*gasp*

Don't do anything rash..Hope this helps!

Siggy

18 April 2011 at 23:03  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Matthew 12:35

18 April 2011 at 23:08  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Omega 11.13..You appear to have a lot of watches, like Ernst.

Ask yourself the time.

18 April 2011 at 23:13  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Luke 8:13

18 April 2011 at 23:14  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Yawn

Maurice Lacroix 11.16

18 April 2011 at 23:16  
Blogger Tim said...

Hmmm, I'm deaf and I don't recognise this bizarre statement:

"It is simply not possible to dialogue with the deaf when they prohibit sign language and then feign blindness to avoid lip-reading."

Did you just make that up out of thin air to make a point?

18 April 2011 at 23:45  
Anonymous not a machine said...

The change of goverment was a step in adressing , what had been done wrong. The churchs of all denominations have perhaps mixed in a little too much of the godless busyness of the modern world.
I suspect it is a culture clash of sorts , but determining lack of respect of the problems, does not really understand what we are comparing.
Respect used to involve things like knowing there was social order , out of that order came the next generation .
It is of little use trying to explain the order required at different stages of our lives , if we are to hand over all culture to a small pocket sized audio visual device.

If the powers that be have envisaged a sort of hitch hikers guide to human living , that will inform you how to live , then one may want to ask the question if family breakdown is the required result , for the pocket audio visual device is unlikely to criticise or question behaviour. Then you may then ask a further question if you could make a persoanl advisor device that was moralistic , would it forgive , or merely protect.

But then again how can anything that isnt life , become a master of it , or perhaps if technological conquest of the human condition wasnt flawed the moment there was no electricity .

19 April 2011 at 01:05  
Blogger English Viking said...

Your Grace,

Seeing your comment on a 'weary feeling' makes so much sense.

I have noted the remarks of co-commenters recently.

I know I am not what I should be.

I am so very, very weary of arguing the toss.

Perhaps you will excuse my ignorance and my harshness, in view of this?

I look not to a man for absolution, merely understanding.

Let me just say it clear - I'm sorry for being an oaf.

19 April 2011 at 01:35  
Anonymous Cardinal Richelieu said...

English Viking

Does this mean you will be joining us on the other side of the Tiber?

His Eminence

19 April 2011 at 01:42  
Blogger English Viking said...

Cardinal,

I would consider such a thing a gross sin.

I know I fail in many things, but to give over to Popish filth? Better the drunk, the defiler, the thug.

It's never going to happen. Not in a million years.

They'll drag me kicking and screaming before such a wickedness would occur.

I was taught just one word, only one word, forever one word, when I was a child, concerning the whore: dirty.

In the words of a better man than me - 'I cannot, and I will not, recant.'

BTW You are not eminent

PS I don't know how to express such things without perceived offence. I'm not winding you up, I'm just saying.

19 April 2011 at 02:11  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Tim @ 23:45 -- "It is simply not possible to dialogue with the deaf when they prohibit sign language and then feign blindness to avoid lip-reading." His Grace's comment is anything but bizarre to those who are familiar with the famous passages at, for example: Matt. 11:15; and Mark 8: 17 ff.

Christ was ever willing to heal the "differently abled" or whatever PC requires we say now. However, He expressed the impossiblity of getting his message through to those can hear and see, but who refuse to listen to Truth, or to see Reality. His Grace has very cleverly described the obtuseness in light of more modern developments.

We all recognize the world of difference between your situation and those who pretend to be in it. We find wilfulness tiresome; difficulty required us to develop ways of ameliorating genuine problems.

19 April 2011 at 02:22  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I can find no justification for the Church's lurid obsession with homosexuality

You are right the Church has an unjustified and lurid obsession with homosexuality and should accept it as a being incompatible with the Christian Faith and simply an expression of Neo-Paganism

19 April 2011 at 06:19  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Dear English Viking,

[This is a comment on your 02:11, not your 01:35 addressed to "Your Grace"]

As one who is a layman both in life and here, and without disputing the vehemence of your feelings against things "popish", please forgive me for saying that the recurrent use of words such as filth and whore may make it more difficult for those who are as much convinced as you are (and there may be many more than speak in those terms), or are waiting in hope to be convinced.

19 April 2011 at 08:34  
Anonymous len said...

The Bible is somewhat less than Politically correct in describing actions displeasing to God.

Just a brief 'take' on this, some of the milder verses,

Apocalypse 18:3- "Because all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her."

Apocalypse 14:8- "And another angel followed, saying: That great Babylon is fallen, is fallen; which made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

Apocalypse 16:19- "And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the indignation of His wrath."

Apocalypse 17:1-2- "Come, I will shew thee the condemnation of the great harlot, who sitteth upon many waters. With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and they who inhabit the earth, have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom."

19 April 2011 at 09:52  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Hari said

'The factual claims Christianity makes have been proven to be false.'

Virgin birth, resurrection, miracles, of course they are false. Christianity is based on a bunch of 2000 year old myths. You can only believe this stuff is true by descending into a world of infantile wishful thinking. Sorry to be rude but you would no doubt regard those who believe in alien abduction, astrology or the Loch Ness monster as daft, well the Christian myths have no more credibility than these or other fantastical beliefs. They are part of our ignorant past where simple belief was all that was necessary. Well folks we have had a thousand years of scientific discovery and progress, we now demand evidence before we accept any assertion and of course there is none.

19 April 2011 at 09:57  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'Well folks we have had a thousand years of scientific discovery and progress...'

Does that include 20 million Russains sent to the Gulag? Six million Jews murdrered on an industrial scale? Pol Pot?

Is that what you call progress?

19 April 2011 at 10:02  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

My criticism of Ann's programme was that she made Pentecostalism seem like a black thing. It may be in London, but here in Bournemouth it certainly is not. Two large new (mainly white) Pentecostal churches have been established, one in an old Bingo hall and one in a disused B&Q warehouse.

19 April 2011 at 10:11  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Mr Singh

Will you ever dismount from that old hobby horse?

Faith is always blind since to open your eyes would mean seeing the truth. If you wish to spend the rest of your life in the dark so that your delusion can continue, that is up to you. But to co-opt Hitler (a catholic) and Stalin (a seminarian) in support of your argument is simply absurd.

19 April 2011 at 10:33  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis the philosopher Stuart Hampshire once wrote that the essence of superstition is not to look for counter-examples to one’s beliefs.

Pol Pot there is your counter-example. Or try the fascist Marie Stopes.

19 April 2011 at 11:02  
Anonymous MrJ said...

len 9:52: Do not the book of the great Revelation of John as well as the four gospels begin each with their own opening words concerning how they should be read or heard and understood, and as a warning against profanation of the heart or mind?

19 April 2011 at 11:05  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Mr Singh

To identify behaviour that runs counter to your belief is not evidence to support that belief.

19 April 2011 at 11:09  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Wallenstein @21:25 :

Surely a 'flood' is a flood? Unless it is used as a literary device, as an allegorical 'flood'?

The 'Exodus and wandering' : archaelogical evidence and, modern, genetic trails, seem to indicate some such 'dispersal'. (ref' the work of Stephen Oppenheimer, and other historia-geneticists.)

As for your Messiah 'time-line' mention, you don't sufficiently state your case to enable comment.

Further, early time-lines are a kittle business in general. What is frequently attributed to the Iron Age often refers to the Bronze, or even earlier etc.

19 April 2011 at 11:20  
Anonymous Vince said...

Graham Davis said....
To identify behaviour that runs counter to your belief is not evidence to support that belief.

Thus: to identify belief that runs counter to your belief is not evidence to support your belief.

would you agree?

19 April 2011 at 11:50  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Vince

Yes of course I agree.

But I don’t engage in beliefs. My opinions must all ways be conditional explanations based on evidence and evidence can be challenged at any time as it always has been in science. I replace belief with... its is reasonable to assume. To rely on beliefs that are unalterable runs counter to all intellectual and moral progress. Imagine a judge saying I believe this man to be guilty, rather he considers the evidence laid before him in a logical and rational fashion so that his opinion can be challenged by reason, not by superstition.

19 April 2011 at 12:17  
OpenID scottspeig said...

Mr Davis,

May I suggest you purchase and watch the "Finger of God" dvd (http://fingerofgodfilm.com/) which has examples of resurrection stories.

Given that there is no reason for these to be fabricated (and a girl from my church can attest to miraculous healings when in Africa), your view of these "impossibilities" should be removed.

Since my God has control over death, and creation is attributed to His will, then why cannot He have a virgin birth? a resurrection? or indeed miracles of lesser feats?

No doubt you will deny all the examples in the dvd and my testaments. It goes to show the lengths that people go to not be held accountable to their creator. I will pray that your eyes are opened and your ears hear the truth that God saves!!

19 April 2011 at 12:45  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Scottspeig

Why are you going to pray that miserable little materialistic filthy atheist ATHEIST
gets saved?

WHY?

And what if God decides to save him? Eh? Have you thought about that?

No!

I bet you haven’t. Pah.

What if God saves him – and what if that that miserable little materialistic filthy atheist ATHEIST is deposited as my next door neighbour in Heaven? FOR ALL ETERNITY!

Why why it’ll be like Tom and Jerry show for all time.

19 April 2011 at 12:55  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The problem: Davis is asked to suspend his superstitious beliefs by accepting counter-examples (in the material world; the world of facts in space and time).

His solution: ‘To identify behaviour [the regime of Pol Pot] that runs counter to your belief is not evidence to support that belief’.

Conclusion: Davis remains superstitious.

19 April 2011 at 14:54  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Mr Singh

The non-material world exists only in the imagination. In your world if you mix blue and yellow together and you can get red, because you believe it to be so. However we know that it is not so because we can easily test it.

I’ll bet that in everyday life you require proof, when you cross the road do you not look to see if a car is approaching? You require the evidence of your own eyes and yet you allow yourself to believe in a fantasy world without any evidence of its existence.

19 April 2011 at 15:33  
Blogger William said...

Does Graham Davis actually exist, or is he an automated blog troll?

I can't see him so it must be the latter.

19 April 2011 at 17:24  
Blogger Rory the Tory said...

Indeed, loving your wife as Christ love the church couldn't be all the more opposite to what Harris was saying.
In fact such a command is impossible to live up to! Christ loved the church so much that he died for for it. Not misogynist in anyway

19 April 2011 at 17:33  
Blogger Rory the Tory said...

Furthermore, the factual claims of Christianity have long since been proven. The reliability of the New Testament is 2nd to none. Therefore, I would ask that any one of you that read this to consider the implications of this. If this is historically true then the claims of Christ would be true also. That he was God in the flesh; born of a virgin; lived; died and rose again from the dead.
Now if he did in fact rise then it would be verifiable by eye witnesses. Hence, we have the 4 gospels which are the different accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.

From the bible (1 cor 15)- i will paraphrase parts of it- Paul states:

And if Christ has has not been raised (i.e they were lying/hallucinating), then the proclamation is in vain and the faith is in vain. They would be found to misrepresenting God, because they testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead have not been raised then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then then Christian's faith is futile and they are still dead in their sins. Then those who are dead have simply died and no more. If in Christ, they have hope in his life only, they are to be most pitied of all men.

19 April 2011 at 18:08  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Graham Davis said
"... Hitler (a catholic) and Stalin (a seminarian)..."

Now's who's being ridulous? Bit of the old anti-catholic prejudice creeping in?

Hitler and Stalin may well have come from 'catholic' and 'orthodox' backgrounds. Neither was a christian.

Both were clearly mad and both disavowed christianity.

"To rely on beliefs that are unalterable runs counter to all intellectual and moral progress."

Ummm ... pot, kettle, black?

19 April 2011 at 18:27  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

William

Does Graham Davis actually exist, or is he an automated blog troll? I can't see him so it must be the latter.

You know that electricity exists but you cannot see it. It can be verified by other means, try sticking your finger in a socket.

19 April 2011 at 19:00  
Blogger Benjamin of Wight said...

Christ's mother was a woman the last time I looked. And it isn't gays that are a problem for Christians, their orientation is irrelevant; it's any physical sexual act outside of marriage between a man and a woman..."any" act...

19 April 2011 at 19:03  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Benjamin: "And it isn't gays that are a problem for Christians, their orientation is irrelevant; it's any physical sexual act outside of marriage between a man and a woman..."any" act..."

But you don't hear much condemnation about the other acts, do you? Mostly, I expect, because the churches don't want to upset their potential recruits nor, I expect, many of their young and unmarried church-goers.

19 April 2011 at 19:09  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

The Last Dodo said

Hitler and Stalin may well have come from 'catholic' and 'orthodox' backgrounds. Neither was a Christian.

Mr Singh is obsessed with these two, I only respond to his comments.

Men of faith and those who have none are both capable of the most heinous crimes, however...

Blaise Pascal put it better than I ever could --

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

19 April 2011 at 19:09  
Blogger Benjamin of Wight said...

Danjo - mine does; but then our Orthodoxy is more Serbian than Surbiton...

19 April 2011 at 19:11  
Blogger William said...

"Graham Davis" said

"You know that electricity exists but you cannot see it. It can be verified by other means, try sticking your finger in a socket."

It's a good program. Might even pass a Turing test.

19 April 2011 at 19:13  
Anonymous len said...

Proof of Christianity.

People demand proof that God exists(either so they can believe in Him)or so they can prove Christianity is a fake 'all smoke and mirrors'misguided,gullible fools, praying to a non existent mythical Being?
Well God has given plenty of proof as to His existence(for those genuinely seeking.)

How so?(I hear you asking)

"Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.(Amos 3:7)
Unique among all books ever written, the Bible accurately foretells specific events-in detail-many years, sometimes centuries, before they occur. Approximately 2500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors. (The remaining 500 or so reach into the future and may be seen unfolding as days go by.) Since the probability for any one of these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance averages less than one in ten (figured very conservatively) and since the prophecies are for the most part independent of one another, the odds for all these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance without error is less than one in
2000
10 that is 1 with 2000 zeros written after it)!
............
Of course the cynic will say that mediums, spiritualists,and others make predictions, as they do.
But the accuracy of Biblical prophesy is 100%.
Prophesies such(as Nostradamus`s ) are fitted(loosely)AFTER the event.
God is a Spirit so He cannot be seen but Biblical Prophesy could only have been inspired and directed by One who lives outside of time with definite plans for the redemption of Mankind and this Planet.

19 April 2011 at 21:37  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Graham Davis said
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

Indeed, quess if you think you're doing the correct thing according your understanding of God's wishes there are no limits.

I would regard Nazism and Communism as "religions" even if they are Godless! Same as seclarism and capitalism which both, if left unrestrained, commit untold crimes against humanity.

19 April 2011 at 23:33  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The non-material world exists only in the imagination

That is a fatuous phrase. What is "imagination" ? Clearly you have not read Berkeley or Kant or any Epistemology.

You know that electricity exists but you cannot see it. It can be verified by other means, try sticking your finger in a socket.

That does not verify "electricity" which is what ? Static "electricity" requires no socket, is that not "electricity" ? Van de Graaf would be disappointed.

Your examples lack any scientific method and are irrational. If you want to posit a rational Dingwelt in juxtaposition to Metaphysics at least be more rigorous in your aberration rather than dogmatically incanting assertions like some alternative religion

20 April 2011 at 06:23  
Blogger William said...

Voyager

You appear to have caused a segfault in the Graham Davis program. Probably all that talk of static electricity. They don't like it up 'em.

20 April 2011 at 07:55  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Graham Davis (19 April) can’t live the life of a consistent atheist materialist.

He shows this, by regularly making statements on the basis of faith.

Like this at 09.57:

‘Virgin birth, resurrection, miracles, of course they are false’.

He can’t do without his faith. For without faith he would collapse into silence.

20 April 2011 at 08:05  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

Your Grace - thought you might like to see this (if you haven't already) taken today from the Muslims against Crusade (sic) site. They're going to protest against the Royal Wedding. The Police say they have no powers to stop them. Pretend it was the BNP that said this stuff and wonder whether PC Plod would suddenly be galvanized into into action. As it's the peace loving Muzzies (and their "forceful demonstation") then that's all right then.

Note also once again that it's ONLY innocent MUSLIMS who are being killed abroad. It specifically says that! Anyone else who get's killed they couldn't give a sh*t about. Well, we can't say we haven't been warned.

The remainder of the threats one might see as being worrying for a peace-loving demoncratic society, but apparently it's all OK. Once again, were the BNP to publish incitement like this, the Government and the media would have a field day:-


OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: MUSLIMS TO DISRUPT ROYAL WEDDING

On 29th April 2011, what is probably one of the most anticipated events in recent years will be due to take place at Westminster Abbey; Prince William and Kate Middleton, will soon exchange matrimonial vows, in the presence of a global audience.

Unfortunately, Britain's continued interference in Muslim lands is showing no signs of abating; the plundering of resources, the murdering of innocent (Muslim) men, women and children and the forced indoctrination of the satanic democratic creed have become hallmarks of a brutal regime led by a very brutal dictator.

In the backdrop of all this, we find that one of the biggest advocates of British imperialism, Flight Lieutenant Prince William, wishes to enjoy an extravagant wedding ceremony, ironically at the expense of the tax-payer.

His direct involvement with the murderous British military and eagerness to inherit the reigns (sic) of a kingdom built on blood and colonialism clearly demonstrate what type of legacy he wishes to leave.

In light of this, sincere Muslims have decided to organise a forceful demonstration, to once again highlight that as long Britain continues in its quest to occupy Muslim land and wage war against the religion of God (Allah) that we too shall continue in our efforts to undermine their regime and condemn all of their representatives, military or otherwise.

We strongly advise Prince William and his Nazi sympathiser, to withdraw from the crusader British military and give up all affiliation to the tyrannical British Empire.

We promise that should they refuse, then the day which the nation has been dreaming of for so long will become a nightmare and that it will inshaa'allah (God willing) eclipse the protests in Barking, Downing Street and the events of November 11.

20 April 2011 at 12:59  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

@Graham Davis

My dearest Sir - Just a short note to remind you that Blaise Pascal also said

"Put your money on God"

(paraphrased ever so slightly)

I expect you're aware of this.

20 April 2011 at 13:06  
Anonymous Jon said...

Your Grace is being unfair. I didn't accuse you of being anti-gay, just bits of the Church itself, and judging by some of the responses from your commenters, I appear to have something of a point! (I'm also very flattered that you took time to make a personal response).

Johann Hari's assertion is something of a simplification (surprise, a columnist being controversial!), but, as you're well aware, there are a number of verses in the bible which refer to women's lesser status, and since some denominations in some countries take a more or less literal view of much of these verses (conveniently ignoring exhortations on loving their wives and one another) these tend to get implemented in oppressive ways for the women concerned.

I seem to remember that Paul also made reference to dealing with issues of contention in the church - suggesting that where something is of secondary importance, then those to whom it is most important should be allowed their view and the church should move on. Your piece, to which you linked in your response to me, appears consistent with this, and therefore, represents the best which can be achieved and remain true to a literal (for which I provocatively suggested - Pharisaic - sorry!) reading of the Bible.

As for me, having prayed earnestly for 14 years to be changed as the Bishop of Rochester suggests, God saw fit to leave me a mere homosexual. I therefore draw comfort from Jesus' suggestion that God commanded us to love God and one another, and that all our other actions would flow therefrom. Hence, my view that the adherence to rules which are evidently leading to condemnation by the Church of those in society would could, perhaps, most benefit from God's unconditional love is in contradiction of Jesus' message. The "love the sinner, hate the sin" schtick isn't happening in Rwanda, Kenya or Uganda (to say nothing of the hatred that festers even in the UK). And I think Jesus would be disappointed. In a battle between Jesus' love and Pharisaic adherence to rules which condemn people for who they love, I really hope that Jesus wins.

21 April 2011 at 12:12  

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