Saturday, May 07, 2011

Pointing the Finger: Islam and Muslims in the British Media

This is a guest review by LibertyPhile.

' Pointing the Finger' (edited by Julian Petley and Robin Richardson. Published by Oneworld Publications 2011) is a rehash of research done between May 2006 and April 2007 for the GLA and the then Mayor of London (Ken Livingstone) and in early 2008 by the Cardiff School of Journalism.

There is no new information even though the marketing blurb calls it “...a critical analysis of recent media coverage...”. [Reviews of the original research can be found here and here.]

I was angry at first realising I had spent £20 on a book the contents of which I knew already (and had indirectly paid for as a London tax payer) and which were freely available.

The largest chapter of the book (emulating the original GLA report!) is an attack on a BBC Panorama programme “A Question of Leadership” which heavily criticised the Muslim Council of Britain and its then General Secretary, Sir Iqbal Sacranie. The programme was broadcast in 2005 shortly after the July bombings.

Yes, that’s right, a single TV programme shown nearly seven years ago, and here we are in 2011, given it again as an example of how unfair we are to the MCB. It is not worth going over the Panorama programme even just one more time but a highlight was the accusation that Sacranie was playing politics with religion (following the bombings) and the impression he gave that he believed the Iraq war was a war on Islam.

What struck me reading it now was what a shame it was that he had not been pressed to explain how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were a war on Islam.

In the chapters of (apparently) more recent origin the authors explain their belief that all criticism of Islam (well 99.9%) is out of place. It stigmatises all Muslims even those who aren’t religious. It is an attack on their identity.

...Muslim identity is not necessarily or universally to do with holding distinctive beliefs or engaging in specific practices - it can be primarily to do with a sense of belonging, or of being perceived to belong, to a broad cultural tradition.” (p9)

You might wonder how a Christian can divorce himself from criticism of his culture, of the Catholic Church, for example; celibate priests, papal infallibility, anti birth-control, the Inquisition etc etc.

They produce a definition of Islamophobia which has nothing to do with Islam.

A shorthand term referring to a multifaceted mix of discourse, behaviour and structures which express and perpetuate feelings of anxiety, fear, hostility and rejection towards Muslims, particularly but not only in countries where people of Muslim heritage live as minorities.” (p12)

The authors amplify this definition by describing other practices to which Islamophobia is similar but not identical. They identify seven such Islamophobic like practices devoting more words to some than to others. Here they are listed in the order presented in the book and showing the percentage of words devoted to each which it is reasonable to assume reflects the relative importance the authors attach to them.

• racism, xenophobia and xenoracism (sic)... (27%)
• prejudices against Arab and other Muslim cultures (which developed in the Iberian peninsula and south-east Europe ) from the eight century...(29%)
• demonising of military and economic rivals particularly since the first Gulf war...and in relation to political and military support for the state of Israel. (13%)
• fears, insecurities, scapegoating and moral panics relating to national identity which arises from globalisation and multiculturalism...(11%)
• pursuit, prosecution and punishment of terrorist organisations...(9%)
• critiques of Islamic theology jurisprudence and political philosophy...(3%)
• critiques of the human rights records of certain countries where Islam is a feature of the dominant culture. (7%)


The mind boggles. It is undesirable to mention tyranny, suppression of other religions, persecution of minorities, inhuman punishments, etc, in countries “where Islam is a feature of the dominant culture”.

But there you have it. Islam itself, its beliefs, its practices, its interpretations, are worth only a measly 3% of their attention. What planet are they living on?

In the authors’ worldview the causes of Islamophobia are next to nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with the West’s own history and failings. Islamophobia is brought about by globalisation and the unsettling of nation-states. People are anxious. They quote Tariq Ramadan who believes Europe is going through an identity crisis.

...while European countries and citizens are going through a real and deep identity crisis, the new visibility of Muslims is problematic - and it is scary.” (p19)

A remarkable chapter on the veil blames the present European debate about face covering and burquas on colonialism and imperialism.

It is the contention of this chapter that the debate about the veil cannot be understood outside the broader context of colonialism and imperialism.” (p174)

And in the same vein in regard to Lord Tebbit's famous 'cricket test' they say:

But the intention of the test was not really about accepting 'our culture' but reviving colonial supremacy.” (p200)

Dave Spart couldn’t do better.

The people who criticise Islam are a sorry lot. They suffer especially from closed-mindedness. For example they are prone to any or all of the following:

…won’t change their views in the light of new facts and evidence; deliberately distort, or recklessly over-simplify, incontestable facts; caricature the views of people with whom they disagree; over-generalise; use double standards; fail to understand other people's views and standpoints in their own terms, and where they are coming from and the narratives and stories with which they interpret events; claim greater certainty than is warranted (etc., etc.)

The British Media (the main object of the book) are as bad as the Islamophobes and encourage and peddle all the uncalled for criticism of Muslims. The press not only grossly exaggerates but makes up anti-Muslim stories. Another chapter from the GLA report is repeated detailing the truth behind four such stories published late in 2005 (after the July bombings).

Yet another chapter lifted word-for-word from the GLA report gives the results of in-depth interviews with six Muslim journalists. Interestingly, even the authors of this book as much as they seize on any criticism to illustrate the failings of the press, can’t hide the glimmers of light revealed by some of the journalists’ verbatim comments.

If a story's there and it's the biggest story in town they have to cover it. If it's what your readership asks for, you will respond. …. If you are a news editor getting letters saying you need to be stronger on this stuff, you will ... Some of the reporting after the London bombs was very good. It was reported very well and very sensitively.” (p241)

I think the press has been pretty fair to Muslims. They don't really need to stitch people up, they do a good enough job of that themselves. My view is Muslims have got to address issues themselves, things like anti-Semitism and homophobia that seem to be unchangeable within Muslim communities. As far as I'm concerned newspapers just report them as they are.” (p242)

I take issue with many things done by British Muslims. If the media was doing its job it would help Britain 's two million Muslims to be able to develop a kind of reasoned, questioning attitude within itself. And you are beginning to see that a bit.” (p243)

These Muslim journalists don’t see any great failing in the media in regard to Islam or Muslims. Perhaps because they actually work on the front line and deal with real cases and real people they also know that the occasional press stupidity is the price of a free press.

The book’s concluding chapter repeats word-for-word the 10 findings of the five year old Ken Livingstone GLA report. Here are the first three. Enough is enough. You get the idea.

1) The dominant view is that there is no common ground between the West and Islam, and that conflict between them is accordingly inevitable.

2) Muslims in Britain are depicted as a threat to traditional British customs, values and ways of life.

3) Alternative world views, understandings and opinions are not mentioned or are not given a fair hearing.


Underlying causes of Islamophobia are again paraded: globalisation, Britain’s decline as a world power, Britain in Europe, the end of empire, the rapid advance of social pluralism etc.

You wonder if it ever occurs to the authors of this book that those (not all) who criticise Islam can change their mind in light of new evidence, they can understand things from different perspectives, they are well-informed knowing a great deal about Islam in its various forms.

That they are even young enough, less than 65 years, to be unmoved by British Imperialism, that they welcome the benefits of globalisation, and they are quite clear who they are.

That there are issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with racism and everything to do with Islam. Let us look at a few examples.

Halal

The toleration of halal slaughter in the UK makes a mockery of democratic processes. A lot of people might not be too bothered, some may have strong feelings, but a regulation, a law, exists for a reason. What is the point of having it if a large part of the population can simply ignore it?

I’m not too keen on the double yellow lines around where I live. If I park on them it doesn’t seem to cause any problems. So, I’m going to park on them whenever I feel like it. And I think farmers and country people should have dispensation from the fox hunting ban.

Sharia “Courts”

Sharia “courts” are divisive encouraging further segregation. Muslim women are pressured to use a sharia system totally biased in favour of men in divorce, distribution of assets, financial support, and the custody of children. They are ignorant and kept ignorant of the fairer treatment that British mediation and court services would give them.

There is growing evidence that these “courts” are involved in cases of domestic violence, a criminal matter, and are creating a system whereby Muslim men are treated with greater leniency than other males, and Muslim women are forced to live within violent husbands. According to the BBC a spokesperson for the Muslim Arbitration Tribunals headquarters claimed his organisation had held discussions with the CPS exploring “an alternative form of resolution” for domestic violence for Muslims in Britain. Disturbing discussions and news can be found here and here.

The men, and they are all men, who oversee these sharia courts are often uneducated foreign imams who have little understanding of Britain and wish to retain their power over Muslim communities by making them even more isolated. The head of the UK Islamic Sharia Council caused a public outcry recently saying rape cannot be committed within marriage. See here.

Politics

Many Muslims believe Islam provides a complete political system. This is the killer app so to speak and the reason why Muslims are viewed with suspicion. A conscientious Christian might say that Christianity is the basis of his politics but when a Muslim says the equivalent an alarm bell goes off.

Many, most even, in the West may be able mix their religion and their politics as Christians do. They want to bring a certain morality to politics, they don’t want to take it over. But we have examples all the time of Muslim figureheads and scholars extolling Islam as a comprehensive political solution.

And we have the slippery words of people like Sacranie and the over-the-top protests of the MCB when the BBC Panorama programme (p121) accurately quoted Sayyid Mawdudi an Islamist ideologue that many in the MCB admire saying ”in ideal Islamic state, private and public life would be inseparable. In this respect it would bear a kind of resemblance to the fascist and communist states".

As a political system Islam has always failed even allowing for periods in the past where it seemed to work for Muslims themselves for a while. Today the developments in Iran show clearly the tyrannical nature of an Islamic political system. This is just one example. There are many more.

It really is very simple. The key to progress and democracy is that people can peacefully get rid of governments that fail or they don’t like. Can you imagine any government or ruling class that believes it is the party of God, peacefully passing the reins of power to someone else?

99 Comments:

Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"The people who criticise Islam are a sorry lot. They suffer especially from closed-mindedness"

Lets find out how muslims handle open-minded criticism then.

Me being a Man of the World, with an open-mind am critical of Islams inability to get their tits out for the lads.

Their Women come across as such flurtatious creatures behind those veils, I am sure one or two have given me a wink. Why do they tease me so.

Come on girls, I know you desire a way of life I can offer you, your yearnings are my yearnings, let us come together.

7 May 2011 at 14:05  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Why spend £20 on a book when you can read Dr Patrick Sookhdeo's "Slippery Slope - The Islamisation of Britain" for only 50p incl p&p from barnabasfund?
http://ancientbritonpetros.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-christs-sake.html

7 May 2011 at 14:14  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

The book will certainly be popular with Muslims because it reinforces their core belief that the backwardness of the Muslim world is no reflection on Islam but is the fault of the Jews, the Christians, the United States, Israel… In fact, it’s everybody’s fault except theirs.

Seen from the Muslim point of view, the argument has a logic to it. A lesson constantly dinned into Muslims is that Islam, being the last of the great religions, corrects the errors of Judaism and Christianity. Islam being, thus, the perfect religion and its followers being ‘the noblest nation that has ever been raised up for mankind’ (Qur’an 3:110), any shortcomings in Muslim societies must be the fault of infidels.

Small wonder that Mordechay Lewy described Islam as a blame culture, in contrast to the guilt culture of Christianity: ‘In the open or undeclared conflict between the two cultures, the West cannot act freely, by reason of its self-imposed moral constraints. This self-restraint is not honored by the blame-attributing culture of the East, but is instead taken for weakness.’

7 May 2011 at 14:38  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

In all truth though, joking aside, I respect how chaste and faithful a muslim woman can be.

Why do they put up with those deprived, backwards, pigs of men they marry.

being a fan of primitive nationalism myself, over say the modernist national approach, I only wish we could return to our former level of barbarity and really show the muslim how its done.

7 May 2011 at 14:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"The toleration of halal slaughter in the UK makes a mockery of democratic processes. A lot of people might not be too bothered, some may have strong feelings, but a regulation, a law, exists for a reason. What is the point of having it if a large part of the population can simply ignore it?"

Crikey. If one follows this line of reasoning then the author will be suggesting next that Christians ought not to discriminate against gay people when supplying goods and services, or ought to put their personal religious idiosyncracies aside when performing a role for an employer for which they are paid.

7 May 2011 at 16:07  
Anonymous len said...

Is Islam a religion or a Political system ?,the answer to both of these questions are...yes.
Moderate Muslims are the 'trojan horse' for the fundamentalists.

7 May 2011 at 16:22  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Bred in the bone @14:49

Yea, I say yea! Bring it on, a bit of old fashioned Celtic/Saxon barbarity ... we shall collect heads yet! It will prove useful for the roses too.

Busy 'lambing' still, but I shall return!

7 May 2011 at 16:35  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Has anyone ever written anything in the MSM about the Christophobia in the muslim world; they are slaughtering Christians just about everywhere that muslims are either a significant minority or the majority peoples? If that doesn't epitomise everything that wrong with muslims and islam then I don't know what will. And the absence of reportage about it is symptomatic of the socialist tendency to support anyone who hates Christian and Jews; and that, primarily, would be the muslims

7 May 2011 at 19:00  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Christians ought not to discriminate against gay people when supplying goods and services

But they don't. We've had this debate before; if it is not relevant to their homosexuality a Christian will not treat him differently. If they wish to have sex in your bed, then it is a different matter.

7 May 2011 at 19:15  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"Has anyone ever written anything in the MSM about the Christophobia in the muslim world"

MSM should not be encouraged to further language abuse.

Is this "slaughtering Christians" more from hate than fear?

-phobia: fear as in hydra-phobia (morbid fear of water [rabies])

but miso- : hate as in misanthrope.

miso-'Aghia Trias': hate the Holy Trinity.
Could this be more accurate? Especially for producers and consumers of MSM.

But if from fear, then fear of what actually?

7 May 2011 at 19:26  
Blogger English Viking said...

Mo was a child-rapist and anyone who holds him as a paragon of spiritual perfection is mentally ill.

It is a shame that the West is not at war with Islam. The sooner this filthy ideology is eradicated from our shores, the better.

Islam is dirty, as are those who look to a dead pædophile for moral instruction.

7 May 2011 at 20:38  
Blogger English Viking said...

Oswin 16:35,

Let me know when the fun starts, I'll be there.

7 May 2011 at 20:42  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Brilliant!

7 May 2011 at 21:12  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

'word-for-word the 10 findings of the five year old Ken Livingstone GLA report'

Naah - he's older than that.

7 May 2011 at 21:17  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Jonny Rottenborough 14:38

Thats the difference between Jesus and Mohammed. I know which I Prefer.

7 May 2011 at 23:02  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Let's us be honest there is truth in this analysis of 'Islamophobia' and its root causes.

Not all Muslims are Islamists. Islam itself is a religion light on love and heavy on control. Its practices are repressive in those countries where Islam determines the political elite. However, in secular countries Muslims, by and large, adopt the laws of their host and home countries. There is great evidence that the majority of Muslims are interested in establishing Islamic republics or following Sharia law.

British culture has been at a crossroads for years. As christian principles are eroded and secularism replaces religion, new values are emerging. Secularism offers little hope, is based on relationships that seek self-fulfilment rather than love, and offers no spiritual direction.

Christian faith and the courage to stand firm on its tenets and fight for them, is weakening. No wonder Islam is seen as a threat. It also undermines Christianity as superficially it appears to share much in common about behaviour. That the Christian principles are based on love and joy whilst Islam's spring from fear and servitude, is overlooked.

We should put our own house in order before uniting with atheists again religion.

And do let's stop the paranoia that Muslims will out number "us" in a couple of generations. Maybe, like others before them, including Christianity, they will embrace secular freedoms and secular values.

7 May 2011 at 23:12  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ The Last Dodo (23:12)—And do let’s stop the paranoia that Muslims will out number ‘us’ in a couple of generations.

The time taken for a population to double in size is determined by dividing the growth rate into 70. An annual growth rate of 7% means the population will double every ten years; at 5%, the population doubles every 14 years.

Between 2004 and 2008, the Muslim population in Britain grew by 6·7 per cent a year. If that rate is maintained, Muslims will form half the population by 2050. It may take a little while longer but, given that the indigenous British birth rate of 1·8 is not sufficient even to maintain our present numbers, a Muslim majority is a foregone conclusion.

8 May 2011 at 00:20  
Blogger English Viking said...

Dodo,

I'm not surprised you died out the first time.

Carry on with your self-deception, and it'll happen again.

Your idea about 'not all muslims are islamists' are akin to the idea that 'not all Nazis were Jew-hating bigots'.

If one subscribes to the ideology, one is what that ideology teaches.

If you're going to spout off, at least have a vague idea what you are shouting about, eh?

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/004.qmt.html#004.047

Islam is filth, and, as much as it pains me to say it, even worse than catholicism. But only just.

8 May 2011 at 00:30  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Dodo's right,

Unless we get our own house in order we cannot hope to fight (spiritually) Islam.

We need to adopt Christianity again, and we need to purify it. No more broadening morals to attract a wider audience; we want people who are more Christian, not more Christians. Modern Christians are lax, they do not try and are happy to conform to sinful society. Obsession with sex apart from procreation has given us a birthrate that is much lower than required for replacement.

For all of this I can't help but believe that the CofE is at least partially responsible. It is they who have compromised their theology, changed what morality is and opened the Bible to Liberal interpretations.

Catholics for many years now have outnumbered Anglicans in Church attendance figures. For one, in Catholicism there is no compromise in theology. It is changed when it is understood better, not just because it fits in with modern ideals. People want stability, an alternative to the chaos of secular hedonism; it is not being provided adequately by many Christian denominations in this country. Islam, on the other hand, is quite clear when it comes to this. They are absolutely sure, rightly or wrongly, of what they believe and how they should act. Until that is provided again by Christianity we are fighting a losing battle.

We live by love and grace, and they by force and servitude. Because of that we will win. But we have to fight first.

8 May 2011 at 01:43  
Blogger English Viking said...

Lakester,

Oh, I see it all so clearly now. Christianity is at fault.


You tit.

8 May 2011 at 02:20  
Anonymous Gordo said...

Islam is a good thing, it suits the needs of many peoples in the world and meshes well with the culture they would have had anyway.

It simply has no place amongst European peoples.

8 May 2011 at 05:24  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Reason and justice allows the better part of the argument to be with EV's pithy remarks, the bold vehemence of some of his comments ad h. notwithstanding.

8 May 2011 at 07:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "And do let's stop the paranoia that Muslims will out number "us" in a couple of generations. Maybe, like others before them, including Christianity, they will embrace secular freedoms and secular values."

Large numbers of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi youths who live near me seem to have embraced Western youth culture. Some even drink alcohol too. Most seem to speak with an 'urban' accent, rather than a Pakistani one, and use slang.

It looks to me like they have a hybrid culture which is not overtly religious but is still 'Muslim' in as much as it's originally come from a Muslim past in Pakistan.

I'd be surprised if those youths could ever return to Pakistan and feel comfortable. In short, I think the majority will be cultural-Muslims over the next couple of generation as the inherently religious older generation dies off, leaving a religious core a bit like the CofE minority only much stricter and focused.

8 May 2011 at 07:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester91: "Obsession with sex apart from procreation has given us a birthrate that is much lower than required for replacement."

I think it's more that people use contraception to have sex with a much lower risk of unwanted consequences. That is, people want and have control of their own lives. That's not an obsession with sex.

The lower birthrate is probably down to people fitting having children into their lifestyle. As women have proper careers, couples have material aspirations, and child mortality is much, much lower, women tend to have children later and cost out their choices beforehand.

We could of course go back to a high birthrate if we allow kids to die in childhood without much medical treatment, force women to be housewives and mothers, stop the use of contraception, and reset the social expectation than women must marry by the age of 25 or face being spinsters. Not keen, myself. But hey.

8 May 2011 at 08:01  
Anonymous len said...

The reason Christianity is in a crisis is because of compromise,pure and simple.
If Satan cannot kill a thing ,as he did with Christ, then the Apostles,he will corrupt it then render it unfit for purpose.
This is the tragedy of the 'christian' church ...Catholicsm.

How can God put His Authority,His Power,His Blessing into a church which has corrupted His Gospel for their own ends?.

So God has to work through those who honour His Son, His Gospel, and these are very much in the minority.

Islam draws its power from all that would oppose God,but will be defeated by Christ and the Saints (not the plaster version ,but the Living, Spirit filled version))much as the false church will be.

8 May 2011 at 08:02  
Anonymous Bill said...

I am a white British Christian married to a Javanese/Arab muslim, who is a direct descendent of the Prophet himself from her Arab mothers side. In most Muslim countries our marriage would not be recognized or allowed!

Living happily in the UK one of the issues we constantly see is the strange and false disconnect between islam and race. Most British liberals who would never see themselves as homophobic, sexist etc, will not critcise islam for fear of being accused of racisim, the ultimate secular sin!

We now have a kind of inverse racism, where the liberal agenda is for whites only. Until the liberal elite can overcome their obsession with race we cannot have a dialogue with radical islam! Until that happens the radical elements within islam have the voice (and the Saudi money) and the easy going, fully integrated, politically secular, muslims have no support and no voice. Courage is what is needed, don't be afraid of being called a racist. If you truely believe in liberty for all, you must say so.

Bill

8 May 2011 at 09:37  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

len said...
"If Satan cannot kill a thing ,as he did with Christ, then the Apostles,he will corrupt it then render it unfit for purpose.
This is the tragedy of the 'christian' church ... Catholicsm."

So what church/body do you belong to? And please don't answer Christ's Church or Body.

Radical prostestantism usherted in individualism and opened the door wide for Satan. Individual interpretation of scripture, individual morality, individual churches. A supermarket where you can pick and choose. Just how many protestant sects are there - 2000, 3000?

I fully agree the Roman Catholic Church by engaging in secular affairs many centuries ago, departed from Christ's commission. I also agree some of their religious practices got out of hand. But Catholic theologians at the time and since have argued this.

The bloody division of Christ's Church with the rise of protestantism, leading naturally on to the 'rights of man' and brutish capitalism, furthered Satan's plan and has resulted in self obsessed hedonism today - NOT the Church of Christ.

8 May 2011 at 13:09  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

English Viking

Do engage your brain before tapping on the keyboard!

8 May 2011 at 13:09  
Blogger English Viking said...

Doodoo,

Someone should tap on your head, until something sensible comes out the hole in the front.

8 May 2011 at 14:28  
Anonymous len said...

Dodo,
If you continue going round ,and round, flapping violently, (in circles )your fate will be the same as the Oozlum bird!

Pardon the irreverence!.

8 May 2011 at 14:28  
Anonymous len said...

Dodo,
The oozlum bird, also spelled ouzelum, is a legendary creature found in Australian and British folk tales and legends. Some versions have it that, when startled, the bird will take off and fly around in ever-decreasing circles until it manages to fly up itself, disappearing completely, which adds to its rarity.[1] Other sources state that the bird flies backwards so that it can admire its own beautiful tail feathers, or because while it does not know where it is going, it likes to know where it has been.

8 May 2011 at 14:30  
Anonymous Paul said...

Britain, sooner or later, will have to come to terms with Islam in order to maintain it's unique British identity.

8 May 2011 at 14:50  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

English Viking ...
len ...

All very witty and interesting, but do you have a sensible reply?

Two points:

Christianity is on the wane because individuals are attempting to assume to themselves the authority given by Christ to His Church. This is leading to secularism as the predominant belief system in so called 'liberal-democracies'.

Islam is not the most significant threat to Christian civilisation. It is secularism and its accompanying hedonism. The same secularism will, in time, assimilate Islam.

8 May 2011 at 14:56  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

English Viking said...
"Doodoo,
Someone should tap on your head, until something sensible comes out the hole in the front."

Pray tell what orifice your words spring from?

8 May 2011 at 14:59  
Blogger English Viking said...

Doodoo,

Not the same one your papa speaks out of.

8 May 2011 at 15:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Islam is not the most significant threat to Christian civilisation. It is secularism and its accompanying hedonism. The same secularism will, in time, assimilate Islam.2

You mean some sort of 'non-religiousness' instead of secularism I think. Turkey is a secular country but almost all of its inhabitants are Muslim.

Like you, I think Muslims will be assimilated into our liberal and non-religious way of life here. It's too seductive not to.

However, there's a sort of dichotomy involved where people who have lots of freedom, which leads to diversity and individualism, have some nostalgia for social control and conformity. The reverse holds true too, I think.

8 May 2011 at 15:40  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

English Viking

I take it you had to stand up before uttering this?

8 May 2011 at 15:41  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

len said...
"Dodo,
If you continue going round ,and round, flapping violently, (in circles )your fate will be the same as the Oozlum bird."

Surely you, as an educated man, know Dodo's never took to flapping around? We hardly have wings to do so. No, we are content to keep our claws on the ground and accept God permitted nature to render us such.

We had no fear of the protestant invaders to our shores until they started eating us, even though they found their delicate stomachs unable to digest our meat. It was the dogs, pigs and rodents that accompanied them who proved our downfall, plundering eggs from our nests.

The 'oozlum bird'? I don't deal with legend and myth - just truth. But, you will know, that, according to the same legend, oozlum birds fly straight when young, and it is only when they turn left that the mythical trouble starts.

8 May 2011 at 15:57  
Anonymous len said...

The last Dodo was(apparently) seen floating down the Tiber worn out by its struggles and ended up upon Papa`s dinner table.

Now the Dove soars without effort being sustained by a power greater than itself.

Keep away from the Tiber, many have fallen in never to be seen again!

8 May 2011 at 17:37  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

len said ...

"Keep away from the Tiber, many have fallen in never to be seen again!"

Indded, in a mad dash westwards. There are many worse things to fall into when going eastwards. You and your compradres know this only too well from any balanced reading of a history of Western Christianity since the great rebellion or, as you may prefer to call it, 'reformation'.

8 May 2011 at 19:25  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

'I think it's more that people use contraception to have sex with a much lower risk of unwanted consequences.'

'We could of course go back to a high birthrate if we allow kids to die in childhood without much medical treatment
'

Yes that is an obsession with sex apart from procreation. Why do something that is naturally designed for a purpose only to deliberately avoid the intended outcome.

I don't really see how having more children would increase mortality rates as the main reason rates are low is due to medicine and public health. If on the other hand you think that having a higher child mortality rate would serve the purposes of increasing the population then you have an almost worrying lack of mathematical reasoning.

I find it interesting how you term the creation of human life as an unintended consequence of sex, both because that is exactly the natural intention, and because it seems to be an entirely hedonistic and misanthropic attitude to life.

8 May 2011 at 23:15  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Dodo,
I prefer to call the great escape from Catholic bondage 'The enlightenment'.
May the Light shine brightly on you,( much as it did on Paul.)

8 May 2011 at 23:57  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

len said ...

Ah, yes, the 'enlightenment' that shed so much light on the wonders of creation whilst being the souce of so much darkness of the soul.

God moves as He will ....

9 May 2011 at 00:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile the “religion of peace” continues to kill Christians and burn down the remaining churches in Cairo. It won’t be long before Egypt becomes Christian free. The same fate awaits any Christians left in Britain before the end of the current century.

9 May 2011 at 10:12  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (15:40 on 8 May)—I think Muslims will be assimilated into our liberal and non-religious way of life here. It’s too seductive not to.

Islam gives Muslim men mastery over women and all non-Muslims, it allows them multiple wives and as many slave girls as they can acquire, it allows them to marry pre-pubescent girls, it requires them to beat disobedient wives and it encourages them to spread the faith through violence. Islam gives men authority, violence and underage sex while our ‘liberal and non-religious way of life’ would emasculate them. Muslim men would be mad to assimilate and give up the jackpot for the booby prize.

9 May 2011 at 11:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

^Not in the UK it doesn't.

9 May 2011 at 17:31  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (17:31)—Not in the UK it doesn’t.

Because the UK doesn’t yet have a Muslim majority. When that happy day dawns, Muslims will have the power to do as they please.

9 May 2011 at 17:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester: "Yes that is an obsession with sex apart from procreation. Why do something that is naturally designed for a purpose only to deliberately avoid the intended outcome."

Erm ... because it feels very nice and it bonds couples together through intimacy. Our species has evolved in such a way that sex is pleasurable rather than just instinctual and functional. It's entirely natural and normal to like it and want to do it a great deal especially if one is a male. In fact, the converse is actually abnormal.

"I don't really see how having more children would increase mortality rates as the main reason rates are low is due to medicine and public health. If on the other hand you think that having a higher child mortality rate would serve the purposes of increasing the population then you have an almost worrying lack of mathematical reasoning."

What I mean is that people used to have lots of kids, as many as they could really, because most of the kids didn't live to procreate themselves. Presumably that's why (say) frogs have thousands in one go. Technological advances have created a society where both good healthcare and family planning is possible. People have personal responsibility for both.

"I find it interesting how you term the creation of human life as an unintended consequence of sex, both because that is exactly the natural intention, and because it seems to be an entirely hedonistic and misanthropic attitude to life."

Huh? I am saying that people will and do have sex whether or not they want kids as a result. Therefore, contraception dramatically reduces the risk of having kids if one doesn't want them. If one wants kids or is prepared to 'let nature takes its course' then have sex without using contraceptives. If one gets pregnant then it's an intended consequence. This is not rocket science.

Some of you Christians are very, very weird. I suppose this is where the creepy guilt thing comes in, especially in the Catholic branch of Christianity. Sex is pleasurable. Humans pursue pleasurable things. That's not wrong at all in and of itself. In fact, it's normal, natural, and nominally good.

Contraception allows people to plan their lives. Having kids is not purely a lifestyle choice, like doing dangerous sports, but it has lifestyle implications and it has moral consequences. Who wants to have 10 kids when one's income and resources can only provide a decent home life and perhaps a university education for 3? Why should women be pregnant once every two years and have no career as a result simply to increase the birth rate or make some Christians feel better about contraceptive use? Or why should couples stop having sex simply because they've reached their desired number of kids? It's immoral to force or even encourage that.

9 May 2011 at 18:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Johnny: "Because the UK doesn’t yet have a Muslim majority. When that happy day dawns, Muslims will have the power to do as they please."

I don't think you're following the argument. Our liberal way of life ... which doesn't allow all those things you think Muslim men find seductive ... is seductive as it is. Therefore, in the argument, most Muslims will probably become Westernised over time and assimilate. That is, there won't be the sort of Muslim majority you claim to believe and try to propagate fear over. Lots of people will still have darker skin though, which may or may not be at the root of your issue.

9 May 2011 at 18:05  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (18:05)—Islam gives Muslim men sex, violence and obedient women. It’s a male fantasy come true, and Muslim men cram the mosques to give thanks for it, in marked contrast to the number of men who attend church. The feminized West has nothing remotely as exciting to offer.

As for assimilation, in all its history Islam has never assimilated; it has only conquered or been vanquished. I know that, as a liberal, you must scrupulously avoid the accusation of racism but, in supporting a religion that classifies women as inferior and subjects them to physical abuse, aren’t you losing sight of the wood for the trees?

9 May 2011 at 18:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"I know that, as a liberal, you must scrupulously avoid the accusation of racism but, in supporting a religion that classifies women as inferior and subjects them to physical abuse, aren’t you losing sight of the wood for the trees?"

I no more support Islam than I do Christianity or Hinduism. As far as I can see, they're all incorrect and immoral belief systems that mess up humanity's understanding of the world and the human condition.

Both Christianity and Islam have dubious views of women and of sex and on some aspects of science, and both pervert the world by insisting on a divine purpose for humanity, without evidence, which tries to rob people of their individuality and liberty and creativity.

I am however very aware that Islam is a means by which one can create Insider-Outsider distinctions and that Muslims in the UK tend to be dark-skinned people who are visibly not Anglo-Saxon back through, erm, seven generations and natural heirs to Henry VIII, Shakespeare, Churchill, and so on. As such, I tend to view anti-Islamic sentiments with considerable suspicion.

Islam is a belief system and belief systems can be variously held or not held, and variously held to higher or lower degrees even with an allegedly absolute system like Islam. I'm happy to see intellectual or emotional criticisms of Islam but I take a dimmer view of proposed ethnic cleansing of our people especially on the false notion of a single English culture needing to be protected.

9 May 2011 at 19:09  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (19:09)—I tend to view anti-Islamic sentiments with considerable suspicion.

What a useful little dhimmi you are.

9 May 2011 at 19:23  
Blogger English Viking said...

DanJ0,

You'll have a great time when the mooslims become a majority.

Why not pop down to the local mosque and explain to the Imam how much you, as a homosexual, support and enjoy the enrichment Islam has brought to the nation?

9 May 2011 at 19:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"What a useful little dhimmi you are."

I'm not a dhimmi, I live in a liberal and largely non-religious democracy and one which I hope will become a secular liberal one in my lifetime.

9 May 2011 at 19:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"You'll have a great time when the mooslims become a majority. Why not pop down to the local mosque and explain to the Imam how much you, as a homosexual, support and enjoy the enrichment Islam has brought to the nation"

I expect I'll be long dead of old age in the fairly unlikely event of that.

Why would I pop down to the local mosque and say that? Like many Christians, religious Muslims think homosexuality is morally wrong. Like many Christians, they're deluded luddites and a bit weird for it.

I'd no more go to a mosque to proclaim it than I would go to some pubs in (say) Langley Mill and shout that I enjoy living in an ethnically diverse Britain. What would be the point?

9 May 2011 at 19:39  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ English Viking (19:31)—Nice.

@ DanJ0 (19:31)—largely non-religious democracy

Not for much longer. ‘In contrast, 80 per cent of Muslims actively practised their religion, the highest proportion of those with a religion.’—Daily Telegraph

9 May 2011 at 19:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Muslims are perhaps 4-5% of the population. There are more gay people in the UK than Muslims I expect.

9 May 2011 at 19:50  
Blogger English Viking said...

DanJ0,

The 'event' is a demographic inevitability. If immigration and reproduction rates remain similar to today, it will occur around 2055.

So as long as you are not around to see the effects of your blasé attitude, it doesn't matter? Rather selfish, but I don't suppose you will be bothered about what kind of nation our children/grandchildrn will inherit, as you won't be having any. Unless you buy them. Like Elton.

9 May 2011 at 19:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"The 'event' is a demographic inevitability. If immigration and reproduction rates remain similar to today, it will occur around 2055."

I've been through this argument before with Johnny. You're making many assumptions and I don't think they're necessarily valid.

As for having kids, I have no reason to think I am sterile therefore I could have my own kids if I choose without 'buying' someone elses.

Besides, is it unusually selfish? I don't rate Christianity but I'm not advocating illiberally killing it off in the UK despite thinking the future population would be better off without it.

You know, I like to post my thoughts on online blogs and forums but I don't expect that I have much effect on the future as a private individual.

You have want me to buy into your rather extreme views but you must make the argument first not wave an airy hand at the future you yourself imagine and paint it black.

9 May 2011 at 20:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Anyway, the Rapture is scheduled for the 21st May 2011 at 6pm (PST, we think) so all this is fluff for those of you who think that Jesus is real and that a simple belief in his nature will buy you a place in another dimension.

9 May 2011 at 20:06  
Blogger English Viking said...

DanJ0,

Amongst the assumptions you make is the one that Turkey will not be allowed to join the EU.

If it does (it will) we could become a minority a whole lot quicker than 2055.

9 May 2011 at 23:01  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0,

Please think about some things seriously.

Christianity is not an 'incorrect and immoral belief systems that mess up humanity's understanding of the world and the human condition.' nor does it have 'dubious views of women and of sex and on some aspects of science, and both pervert the world by insisting on a divine purpose for humanity, without evidence, which tries to rob people of their individuality and liberty and creativity.'

You assert these and many other anti-religious bigotry without evidence, only sentiment. You think this is what it must be, not through experience but through bias. The homosexual lobby (extremists if you will) have had you convinced that religion throughout history has been the bane of your kind and must be ended for the freedom of your people.

It's just nonsense though; no one made any deal of homosexuality until the lobbies started to press their world views on those who considered homosexuality a sin (If asked whether I think homosexuality is a sin, I'm not going to say no, but I doubt I'd be given a chance to explain it before being denounced as a homophobe).

If 'religion' (because all religions are the same right?) robbed people of their individuality, liberty and creativity then why would people join? Not fear; if a stranger comes to me and says that unless I follow his new religion I'll go to Hell, my inclination is to disbelieve him not to believe for the sake of Pascal's wager. It didn't work on you so why would it on me?

If a man preaches an amazing view of the world that puts love at the forefront; if he performs miracles in his own name; if he predicts the nature of his death, and comes back by his own power: then I'll be more persuaded.

Check this out, one of the best articles on inter-belief debate I've read in a long time. EV I think you ought to check it out as well.

9 May 2011 at 23:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Amongst the assumptions you make is the one that Turkey will not be allowed to join the EU. If it does (it will) we could become a minority a whole lot quicker than 2055."

Who knows what the future will hold?

We could have unilaterally disarmed our nuclear missiles and subsequently be held to ransom by Pakistan which retained theirs. Or most of us 'whities' could be wiped out by a plague, leaving Dewsbury as the de facto capital of the country.

We could go on like this for hours. What if Turkey joined in (say) 2021? Our population could be 80 million by then with a chronic and limiting shortage of houses and jobs, and very little welfare state, such that many of us might be trying to emigrate to Turkey instead by then.

The main point is, that I'm not advocating anything other than a laissez faire approach so it is all just speculation. Johnny advocates reducing our Muslim poulation to zero by various means. Perhaps you are advocating chasing them onto cattle trains with your axe? It is you guys who must persaude, not me. The assumptions are far too weak and the philosophy too abhorent for most I think.

10 May 2011 at 06:35  
Anonymous len said...

No one knows the date and time of the'rapture 'so whoever states a date is 'misinformed'.

10 May 2011 at 08:05  
Blogger English Viking said...

Lakester,

Read it. Rubbish, mostly based on false premises.

DanJ0,

I am not trying to convince. I just state what I believe to be the facts, and people can take or leave.

I genuinely believe that the 'muslim problem' will lead to bloodshed in the UK (more than it already has, I mean). They will either rout us, and then your days will be numbered, or we will rout them and remove them from our shores, along with all those that apologise for them.

10 May 2011 at 13:00  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0—The liberal intelligentsia is well on its way to cleansing the British population of its hideous whiteness and making the country beautifully brown but, in doing so, it has imported Islam. A white country that invented the world’s gentlest theology, Anglicanism, will become a brown country worshipping the world’s harshest god.

Your cunning plan to stop Islam revolves around the hope that Muslims will either give up their religion altogether or wear it as lightly as Anglicans do theirs. Are there any Muslim countries that have become post Muslim? I can’t think of any so isn’t it reckless to pin your hopes on a Muslim Reformation occurring in the next 50 years, particularly as that Reformation would involve overturning the very basis of Islam—that the Qur’an was written by Allah himself?

You’ll end up with the brown country you desire but, in the process, you’ll saddle it with a religion stuck in the Dark Ages. You’ll have proved that you are not racist but will you have made Britain a better place?

10 May 2011 at 14:27  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

'Read it. Rubbish, mostly based on false premises'

Such as?

10 May 2011 at 14:55  
Blogger English Viking said...

It was a statement of my opinion, not an invitation to argue.

If you don't agree, fine.

10 May 2011 at 16:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester91: "Please think about some things seriously."

Back at you. Especially all that crap about prejudice wrapped in your own assertions, sentiments etc. I'm very tempted just to metaphorically flush it down the toilet. But no, let's have a look.

The gay lobby telling me what to think? Is that what you actually believe in your world? I'm a gay man, brought up in an inherently homophobic environment, and I have plenty of experience of that sort of stuff. You have no idea.

Look, I've been told here numerous times that our social ethics are founded in Judeo-Christian principles. Well, in your serious thinking of things, has it occurred to you that the treatment may actually be a product of Judeo-Christian thinking itself?

Gay people have been murdered, imprisoned, beaten up, abused, ostracised, sacked, and more throughout history. When I read this: "It's just nonsense though; no one made any deal of homosexuality until [...]" it's so risible that I'm thinking you must have been born this morning or something. It's incredible, really.

Furthermore, I don't have a 'people' or a 'kind' just because I'm gay. I'm defined by many things as well as being gay. Homosexuality is just an orientation like heterosexuality. It's lots of Christians who have an issue with it and that's because they couch their morals in god-crap about 'naturalness' and biological 'purpose'. I'm not a member of any 'gay lobby', I just speak out as an individual when Christians spread their bile about it.

You then go on to ask why people join Christianity. Join? We indoctrinate people as children so that they think religion is normal! Hasn't the notion slapped you across the face that most Muslims have Muslim parents, most Christians have Christian parents, most Hindus have Hindu parents, and so on? Now why is that? The people who have Christian parents who don't become Christians are effectively survivors of the process.

I want to write loads of stuff about Christian opposition to scientific and medical advances, its intent to inculcate guilt about the most natural of things, the intervention of some branches into contraceptive use in high-HIV+ places, and so on. But what's the point. It should be obvious to someone who thinks seriously about it, to borrow your phrase.

10 May 2011 at 18:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Viking: "I genuinely believe that the 'muslim problem' will lead to bloodshed in the UK (more than it already has, I mean). They will either rout us, and then your days will be numbered, or we will rout them and remove them from our shores, along with all those that apologise for them."

I reject your false dichotomy.

10 May 2011 at 18:05  
Blogger English Viking said...

In exactly the same way I reject your false morality.

10 May 2011 at 18:40  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I want to write loads of stuff about Christian opposition to scientific and medical advances

It'd be a very short book.

In reality all I was trying to do was to get you to think critically about your own arguments by reflecting your arguing technique back at you. You make no references other than your own opinion, yet assert your argument as logical and true, not unlike how you see the argument for Christianity; your childish inability to see Christianity from a Christian perspective means that you get exasperated (how could they be this stupid!) so you rationalise that it must be a major defect right? After all if faith was something sincere intelligent people held, it would destroy almost your entire argument against them.

But that brings us to another thing. Your arguments against 'religion' are so obviously weak that they can't be the reason that you don't believe in a God. You don't actually think that the world would be better off without it, because without 'religion' there'd be no such thing as science, no restraint on the excesses of man and nothing to stop us reverting to savagery. You can't actually think that you can remove the foundations of our morality and keep the morality brought to it. Before Judeo-Christianity there was no worthy argument against incest or euthanasia, cannibalism or human sacrifice. The world before it accepted these things without question, and we can see how the crumbling edifice of Western civilisation has exposed the cracks, leading to the acceptance of such barbarity once again.

So why the hate? If you truly don't believe in God then there's no harm in others believing in him. Can't you stick to your theory and let others have their own? Neither have any absolute evidence one way or the other. It comes to a point where there are only a few reasons why you might rail against God.

1) You subconsciously believe in Him and hate Him for some reason: whether it be because you feel He has dealt you poorly in life or because of a massive single event that hurt you, causing you to blame God. So you overcompensate in your overt non-belief by attacking those who still follow Him.

2)You like to feel superior. Very common among internet nerds who get trampled over in their real life. No chicken wants to be bottom of the pecking order so they attack what they see as a soft target. You use science as a blunt instrument that you don't understand how to use, because scientists are clever. Of course it's a front for the vulnerable ego inside; if you were really intellectually superior you wouldn't need to keep telling everyone.

3)You wish to rationalise your moral weaknesses. If there is no God, then there is no sin, therefore what I do is acceptable. No I'm not just talking about homosexuality but everything; the jealousy and the hatred, the ego and superiority complex, the hedonism and selfishness. How dare they tell me what is right and wrong, they are holding back my happiness! Guilt is an illusion that they have created to control the masses for their own gain.

4)Someone has persuaded you that the world would be better off without the religious. Whether it be a religious person (or group) you didn't like or another atheist who is one of the other groups. You have been induced (one could say indoctrinated) into believing that all the world's problems are to do with religion. Atheism and theism might be okay in theory, but theism in practise only ever leads to harm. Therefore they must be wiped out for the world to be better. Lacking the intellectual capacity to actually argue against the existence of God you resort to ad hominem assaults on the believer, hoping they'll be persuaded by the sheer volume of your vitriol and convert to your cause in the hope that they might improve in your standing.

10 May 2011 at 19:43  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

In reality I think you're mostly 3. Your citing the mythical 'great homosexuality persecution' is very much evidence of this. This isn't actually a dig as this is probably one of the most understandable of reasons to rail against God and is the least caused by intellectual backwardness. Everyone rationalises and no one wants to be told what to do. Still though, you should understand that you're attacking people's beliefs because of what they reflect on morality. Just because you find something offensive, doesn't mean it can't be true, and it doesn't mean that by eliminating belief in it you can make it untrue.

10 May 2011 at 19:44  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

EV,

There is a third option, we can preach the Gospel to them and let the Holy Spirit bring them to Him. No bloodshed, no exodus, no Islamic hegemony.

10 May 2011 at 19:46  
Blogger English Viking said...

Lakester91

OK, you go to Sparkhill in Birmingham and make a start. I'll watch and learn.

Don't come running to me when your pearls are trampled under foot, and the swine turn, and rend you in two. (Usually the head from the shoulders, but they're not ever so fussy). Matt 7 v 6.

10 May 2011 at 20:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Christ on a bike, Lakester. Where do I start with that huge piece of drivel? Is there a part of it that isn't drivel? Every time I look I find some more of the damned stuff.

Your religion is assertion on assertion on assertion. In fact, it's an inverted pyramid of assertion. That fact that most of you lot have been arguing between yourselves and insulting each other when you all claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit shows this perfectly.

The fact that most of the Christians regularly posting here seem to loathe Islam shows just what the sincere religious beliefs of others mean to them. Just because people find the morality of Islam and its impact offensive doesn't mean Islam can't be true either and by pushing it from our shores does not make it untrue. Etc.

It's actually quite depressing how much of a religious droid you are. I keep looking back at your two posts thinking I ought to tackle one or two points out of courtesy since you took the trouble to type them but I can't find a worthwhile point in the whole great lump of it. I don't have the patience even to be polite, I'm afraid.

10 May 2011 at 21:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Viking: "In exactly the same way I reject your false morality."

Hurrah.

That's the thing of course. For an atheist, Islam and Christianity are inherently immoral, or wrongly moral perhaps, because the moral principles involved are untrue by definition. Naturally, the reverse is true too.

If a violent and unpleasant person tries to commit murder but in the attempt accidentally saves a life instead then it doesn't make him or his act morally good just because the consequences are good. Similarly with a Muslim or a Christian and their beliefs and actions.

It's just as well that an atheist like me usually intends the same sort of consequences, resulting in social good, as some Christians and Muslims even though we all start from different places and use different reasoning.

10 May 2011 at 21:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

By the way Lakester, there are probably thousands of people having sex at this very moment in the UK and thoroughly enjoying it without any intention of having kids because of it. You see that as their obsession with sex and their hedonism (where hedonism is bad), I see it as normal and natural and healthy. You can say I am trying to be superior but, really, I am clearly superior and you are the religious weirdo.

10 May 2011 at 21:39  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0,

What a shame, you've repeated the same drivel I accused you of. Asserting without evidence, or even a single example from history.

You then ignore all my points because you think you're superior? You know that's not the reason you've ignored my points. You wouldn't post in triplicate if you simply couldn't be bothered. Perhaps I have touched a nerve. No it's not a sense of pseudo-superiority (which is there, but not the prevailing reason you hate Christianity).

Did you have a particularly painful episode in your childhood? No doubt, as a homosexual, you received some form of bullying (or at least the standard childhood fare of taking the piss out of each other that you misread), but why do you blame God for that? Because someone has convinced you that it's Christianity's fault that children bully homosexuals? An obviously ill-considered argument when it comes to every other culture in history that, religious or not, has held homosexuals as taboo (even Greeks and Romans did not practise it with fully grown men). But then someone has to be blamed right? After all you can remove a simplistic, well defined cause. But what if it's just in children's nature to mock those who are different? What if promotion of homosexuality has to be indoctrinated rather than being a natural state? What if you remove Christianity and the world doesn't become any better for you? Would you replace a theistic religion with an atheistic one just for your own benefit?

Or are you, as I posited earlier, just looking to justify something wrong in you that you know is not making you happy (whatever it is). The moral law is always there; Christian morals come from naturalistic morality, not arbitrary rules.

DanJ0, just because you cannot answer an argument sufficiently to risk posting does not make it drivel. Answer why you wish for Christianity to be destroyed, when Christianity seeks not your destruction for homosexuality or atheism.

By the way Lakester, there are probably thousands of people having sex at this very moment in the UK and thoroughly enjoying it without any intention of having kids because of it. You see that as their obsession with sex and their hedonism (where hedonism is bad), I see it as normal and natural and healthy. You can say I am trying to be superior but, really, I am clearly superior and you are the religious weirdo.

Woah woah you're creating a fire hazard with that great straw man there. Perhaps I should just call it drivel and refuse to answer it...

Surely having sex with artificial contraception is the opposite of natural. Perhaps casual sex causes people to treat others as objects for personal pleasure. Perhaps cottagers aren't that interested in the well-being of their temporary partners. Sex for pleasure is great, but it's not the only form of pleasure and it's one of the most dangerous; for the individual and for society. We stand at a time of plummeting birth rates and soaring STI levels. Are you so myopic that you can't see that there might be a problem with that? Do you really think that the model for society should be single mothers with the population propped up by contraception failure?

Like EV said, I think this is pearls before swine. You call me a 'religious droid' yet at least my mind is open to viewing from both sides of the debate. I'm tired of pussyfooting around trying to explain things from a Christian point of view, just hoping that you might actually try to understand, but there's none more blind than those who will not see. You refuse to even try to empathise.

Frankly I find everything you say about Christianity, and therefore me, grossly offensive. You refuse to even try to be civil about those who are sincere in their faith; you refuse to look at any positive aspect of the faithful, even though they greatly outnumber the negatives; you caricature and distort; you are guilty of a massive count of prejudice and bigotry and then have the audacity to claim victim status.

10 May 2011 at 23:47  
Anonymous len said...

It became obvious to me that whilst watching Prof Dawkin`s the other day on the 'Big Questions', that the good Prof doesn`t so much disbelieve in God but simply doesn`t like or understand God.
Some of the questions Prof Dawkin`s asked Christians showed a total lack of understanding about God or Spiritual matters at all!
I don`t believe in Atheists,I believe they have a knowledge of God,or at the very least an uncertainty about the existence of God. But the plain fact is they wish HE WAS NOT THERE.
Its all a matter of accountability,and those pursuing activities(of whatever nature)which they KNOW are wrong don`t want to be held accountable for them ,there is also the matter of intellectual pride. They(intellectuals)have looked for God with their intellect , not found Him,and declared (to all and sundry)that God doesn`t exist.

As intellectual pride was the contributing factor for the fall of man, God`s way of reversing the 'fall'is through the preaching of the 'foolishness ' of the Cross.

For those too 'intellectual'to grasp the significance of the Cross it will remain( to them) a mystery or just plain 'foolishness.'.

11 May 2011 at 00:15  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Len,

Quite

11 May 2011 at 15:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester, you're away with the fairies (and I don't mean gay people) with what you're writing. It bears little resemblance to reality and. like your religion, just builds assertion on assertion on assertion. You jumped in and launched off into the stratosphere at 9 May 2011 23:44 and have not looked back really. I can't keep up with your imagination.

I don't mind your silly attempts to lash out, they're par for the course when dealing with online Christians and they're little more than words on a screen to me, but if you want to ask questions and get proper answers then you need to trim it down and focus I think.

Let's take an example. You say: "Answer why you wish for Christianity to be destroyed, when Christianity seeks not your destruction for homosexuality or atheism." yet I do not wish for Christianity to be destroyed. You're making that up. In fact, I wrote explicitly: "I don't rate Christianity but I'm not advocating illiberally killing it off in the UK despite thinking the future population would be better off without it."

Another? You write: "No doubt, as a homosexual, you received some form of bullying (or at least the standard childhood fare of taking the piss out of each other that you misread), but why do you blame God for that?" There's garbage in there but the question is revealing in itself. Look, just replace Zeus or Allah in something to do with your life and think!

I'm an atheist which means I have rejected all god hypotheses to date that have come my way. If someone asks you why you reject Allah's plan for you then you're probably quite bewildered. Allah? That weird god idea Muslims have made up which pollutes their thinking and leads to an incorrect view on life? Ewww, no thanks. Well, that's me with your weird god idea and all its creepy sex restrictions and plans.

I'm a free man. I have avoided getting drawn into your god cult thing. In all probability, I don't have the brain furniture to fall for that sort of stuff anyway. Just by what you have written up there I can see that you don't need much, if anything, to imagine, well, anything you like really. No wonder you bought in when someone handed you a whole world of unfounded belief on a plate! Well, it's all very, very weird to me and if you get one thing right about me in all your speculation, it ought to be that.

11 May 2011 at 16:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "Its all a matter of accountability,and those pursuing activities(of whatever nature)which they KNOW are wrong don`t want to be held accountable for them ,there is also the matter of intellectual pride."

It's an interesting but odd proposition, especially as it's widely supposed that your god is all-knowing. Rather like covering one's eyes to avoid being run down by a bus, I suppose. But, really, it's pretty unlikely isn't it?

You like to think that because you hold a belief, I expect. No doubt Muslims are equally bewildered by your heresy (as they see it) and think you're influenced by Shaitan. No doubt they think you'll be burning in hell's fire for it at some point. You have the opportunity to rectify that, proclaim the Shahadah, and save yourself of course.

11 May 2011 at 17:22  
Anonymous len said...

Danjo,
Any serious or (even superficial) study of Islam and it will soon become apparent that there are gaping holes in its theology.

Mohammed gained his 'inspiration' from corrupted forms of 'christianity' and from 'Bible stories' sold to him by Jewish scribes who mocked him by making parodies of them.
All this went into the Koran.

Bible Prophesy alone would convince me of the Truth of the Word of God.

All truth is not relative(as you suggest)but there is only one Truth and One source of it.
But do not look for the Truth unless you are prepared to have all your illusions shattered and your World turned upside down.
That is the price to be paid for gaining the Truth for once having found it( or should I say HIM ) there is no turning back!.

11 May 2011 at 17:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"All truth is not relative(as you suggest)but there is only one Truth and One source of it."

No, I don't suggest that. In the many thousands of god hypotheses in human history, there may be some truth. One may even be correct! But I suspect it would be a huge fluke if so given that they all just seem to be attempts by a self-aware and mortal species to understand our reality.

"Bible Prophesy alone would convince me of the Truth of the Word of God."

Such as? I hope you won't claim that (say) Jesus was predicted by old testament prophets.

11 May 2011 at 17:55  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

There's not a truth in the Bible that you wouldn't write off as coincidence. The sheer number of prophecies about Christ would persuade the rational man that there was something special here.

Assertion upon assertion upon assertion. Such as... Still waiting...

You wish for Christianity to disappear correct? Then that is destroyed, by crumbling or sabotage. You actively would prefer it if religion didn't exist. This is an irrational hatred that one might call a phobia. It's sad that you claim victim status only to promote the idea of victimising someone else.

You're hyperbole is sad really. I read your 6 paragraph post and found that you made one actual point in the whole thing. I posit that you are in fact the irrational one; both in the manner of your argument and in your dislike of the faithful. You've still yet to explain why something that is responsible for the creation and maintenance of Western civilisation should no longer exist. The only problem you have with it is based on their conservative attitude to sex (you know, that people should love each other and be prepared for the consequences) which is severely distorted by maltruths pandered by the homosexual lobby. The Churches attitude to sexuality applies to Christians and anyone else that wishes happiness in their relationships. There is no compulsion in Christianity; we're called to spread the Gospel and let people decide whether to follow or not, not convert as many people as possible. You don't like the fact that I'm saving myself for the girl I truly love, well I don't give a damn.

The Church seeks it that society does not promote immoral behaviour. The homosexual lobby seeks to make it a thought crime just to disagree with them. Who's illiberal?

11 May 2011 at 21:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"You wish for Christianity to disappear correct? Then that is destroyed, by crumbling or sabotage."

Oh stop backpedalling you silly little man. You made it up to argue it down and you've been caught out.

"You actively would prefer it if religion didn't exist. This is an irrational hatred that one might call a phobia."

And there you go again. Sheesh.

"You don't like the fact that I'm saving myself for the girl I truly love, well I don't give a damn."

Huh?? I don't know anything about your personal life! How can I not like something I know nothing about? You get more weird message by message.

11 May 2011 at 22:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"The only problem you have with it is based on their conservative attitude to sex (you know, that people should love each other and be prepared for the consequences) which is severely distorted by maltruths pandered by the homosexual lobby."

That's my only problem with it? Well, well, well. Would you prepare me a cribsheet on what you think I believe or disbelieve so I can be 'on message' with your largely unlimited imagination? Thanks.

Look, even His Grace has spotted that there seems to be an unusual obsession with homosexuality for the church and its members. He comments on it every so often. Who needs a 'homosexual lobby' when the church and its members are so unpleasantly vocal?

11 May 2011 at 22:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"The Church seeks it that society does not promote immoral behaviour. The homosexual lobby seeks to make it a thought crime just to disagree with them. Who's illiberal?"

The 'homosexual lobby', whoever they are, does not speak for me. I'm primarily a liberal and thought crime is a Bad Thing to liberals. So if there is a 'homosexual lobby' seeking that then a pox on them. Or does your imagination tell you that my sexual orientation must automatically make me part of this 'homosexual lobby' and I therefore must share its alleged agenda in your mind?

When the church talks about 'immoral behaviour', the moral code it uses is a Christian one which it treats as universal. I don't believe in its god hypothesis so the moral code is based on faulty premises and it is junk as far as I am concerned.

I'm not intellectually interested in its pronouncements any more than I am about an imam's fatwas. It's all religious gobbledygook to me and intended to try to limit the lives of people over whom it has no jurisdiction in addition to the lives of its followers.

The church is a political organisation in this mode and is as open to criticism or even abuse as, say, the Labour Party. You may find it grossly offensive but I'm a liberal and your mere offensive will not censor me. You just need to grow a pair, in my view.

11 May 2011 at 22:47  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

That's my only problem with it?

It's the only main argument you consistently put forward. Most of the others tend to be supplementary. If you've been keeping some other cards close to your chest then show them.

an unusual obsession with homosexuality

There might be an 'unusual obsession' with some, that's true (Fred Phelps is an extreme example), but then I don't see many adulterers or serial monogamists going on web forums and attacking Christians for their conservative moral stance on sex. It's not obsession, but dealing with the issue that presents itself.

the moral code it uses is a Christian one

The Christian moral code is based on naturalistic morality i.e. that we should do what is best for others and for society (and for God's glory of course). The latter could be followed in the absence of God (minus the God worshipping bit), but there'd be no reason to practically. In other words, if God didn't exist, I'd still look at the 2000 years of philosophical thinking and be mightily impressed at it's efficacy when carried out properly.

try to limit the lives of people over whom it has no jurisdiction

Christianity doesn't try this though. When a priest preaches, he preaches to a congregation. When the Pope makes a statement, he makes it to the entire Church. Once you've heard what he has to say you are free to ignore it.

I'm not intellectually interested in its pronouncements

So why go out of your way to post online in criticism of them?

The church is a political organisation in this mode

True-ish, but you don't just attack morality do you? You belittle faith as well. It might be deliberate, it might be clumsy argument technique, or it could be exasperation; doesn't make it justified though.

Oh stop backpedalling you silly little man. You made it up to argue it down and you've been caught out.

Evidently you know my intentions more than I do. Perhaps I should employ you to interpret everything I write.

You don't like the fact that I'm saving myself for the girl I truly love, well I don't give a damn.

To be fair some lines got cut out somewhere, essentially talking about how the preaching and holding of conservative morals doesn't hurt anyone, so why do you take offence to them; if Islamic women are happy wearing desert clothing, then what's the problem, if a Christian rejects pansexuality because of a teaching which he accepts then what's the problem etc. etc. etc. you get the idea.

Touch mice pads on laptops are great until you accidentally touch them and highlight half your work *sigh*

p.s. protip - try to avoid saying religious gobbledygook and such phrases; they don't help your case for not being another smug atheist who's knowledge of religion precedes GCSE level RE

11 May 2011 at 23:56  
Anonymous Oswin said...

The short answer: F**k 'em all!

12 May 2011 at 17:49  
Anonymous len said...

Well that all sorted out then!.

Why do Atheists want to 'get rid of 'Christianity or at least render it powerless to affect anybody?.It seems Christianity would be acceptable to Atheists as long as Christians 'knew their place, and didn`t say anything controversial,or mention the God word.

Jesus say`s the two Greatest Commandments are 1,Love God , 2, Love your neighbour as yourself.
So which of these do Atheists object to?.
Cannot be no 1, love your neighbour, as Atheists have their own 'moral Code'- Human Rights .

So it must be Love God.
How can Atheists love someone they do not know ,and/or/ deny the existence of.
But that was surely why God took on Humanity and revealed Himself to Mankind through the Lord Jesus Christ?
Well they didn`t believe Him, and in fact they crucified Him because He claimed to be God.
........

There seems to be an ongoing attempt to reverse the 'Moral Compass' of this Nation so that it swings the other way(so to speak )
I believe the Philosophy behind this move is quite subtle, certain words have been introduced and other words banned.( controlling ways of thinking by controlling Speech , positively Orwellian.
In past times people have spoken out, warning that Society was 'going the wrong way' but mostly these warnings have been ignored, it seems, sadly, that Humanity can only learn lessons of importance in retrospect.

12 May 2011 at 17:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"p.s. protip - try to avoid saying religious gobbledygook and such phrases; they don't help your case for not being another smug atheist who's knowledge of religion precedes GCSE level RE"

I use phrases like that deliberately. I really don't think you get it. The non-religious need to hammer the point home: religions, including Christianity, do not deserve special privileges and they have no special place in the universe as far as people like me are concerned. They're just sets of unfounded and ungrounded beliefs which need to be argued against whenever they intrude on the lives of others.

I expect you find the religious language of Hindus or Muslims a bit odd and perhaps it even makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. Well, that's me with the religious language of Christians too. You're all the same to me. Religious language, such as "behold, He is risen", creates a really visceral response in me. It sounds really wrong, fundamentally wrong actually.

Yet I'm a liberal and beliefs and the like need to be given space in the marketplace of ideas to live or die on their own merits so I'm not going to try to censor them despite what you like to imagine and foist onto me. What I do want though is to remove any State power and therefore advantage from their promotion.

12 May 2011 at 18:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "Well they didn`t believe Him, and in fact they crucified Him because He claimed to be God."

That'll be the Jews, not atheists.

12 May 2011 at 18:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "Cannot be no 1, love your neighbour, as Atheists have their own 'moral Code'- Human Rights."

I'm afraid you're creating a bogeyman. There's one definite similarity between atheists: that we have for various reasons rejected all the god hypotheses put before us. Other than that, there's not a lot one can say about us as a group. I dare say my attempts at arguing for shared ethics using moral principles and reasoning are quite different to those of many other atheists.

12 May 2011 at 18:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester: "It's the only main argument you consistently put forward. Most of the others tend to be supplementary. If you've been keeping some other cards close to your chest then show them."

We've already done abortion some time ago. I think we failed even to get past the difference between something being 'human life' and something being the 'subject of a human life'. I can do euthanasia if you like, I don't think we've done that yet.

Of course, they all boil down to the same sort of thing to Christians as far as I can see: the sanctity of life argument because life belongs to their god. Obviously to an atheist the failure is immediately apparent: the argument may be valid but it is not sound because the core premises are not true as far as we can tell.

In case the terms aren't clear to you:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/val-snd/

12 May 2011 at 18:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "I believe the Philosophy behind this move is quite subtle, certain words have been introduced and other words banned.( controlling ways of thinking by controlling Speech , positively Orwellian."

If you're alluding to Newspeak then you need to look into it a bit more. The point about Newspeak is that it sought to remove the potential to express politically unacceptable ideas by actually reducing the language and grammar. In English, we add new words regularly. The language is alive.

One can still express ideas about a particular disability labelling someone a 'cripple' or 'handicapped' instead of 'otherwise normal but unable to walk more than a few steps'. It's not so much Orwellian as Wittgensteinian.

12 May 2011 at 18:54  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Why doesn't Pastor Jay Smith contribute here, Your Grace? Perhaps you might encourage him to do so; his opinions on this subject would be most welcome.

16 May 2011 at 16:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discovered His Grace only today and am already a great admirer being able to find not a single opinion of his with which I disagree. he first four articles on his bog are particularly splendid. However, I suspect that at some stage I shall find myself surprised by his views on the relative merits of Catholicism and Anglicanism. When he quotes his noble successor, Archbishop Fisher's famous dictum that the Anglican Church has no doctrines of her own but only those of the ancient Church I feel I must ask His Grace to tell me which Father of the ancient church held the doctrine that it is possible to ordain a woman to the priesthood or that it is permissable to remain in communion with a church which purports to do so.

21 May 2011 at 18:58  

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