Sunday, June 05, 2011

Colin Coward of Changing Attitude ‘outs’ 13 Anglican bishops

The Rev’d Colin Coward is a curious man. (If His Grace had time, he would continue that sentence after the fashion of TS Eliot, but the cats would give way to queens; Rum Tum Tugger would become.. .well, best not say). The Director of the leading Church of England revisionist body, Changing Attitude, is well known on the Anglican scene (and probably one or two others) for getting very upset about issues to do with homosexuality and ‘inclusion’. This may come as no surprise when one realises that this is the same vicar who looked more than slightly embarrassed last year when he decided to ‘marry’ a Nigerian male model almost a third of his age.

Not that His Grace is ageist, you understand: it is a simple sociological fact that a heterosexual union between a 65-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman (or vice versa) would also raise eyebrows, so not to levitate the forehead follicles at this happy union may be interpreted by some as an unacceptable discrimination.

But the Rev’d Colin Coward does appear to have one or two problems with the concept of honesty and integrity. Last week, he got himself into a bit of tizz over the leaking of a memo by the late Dean of Southwark, Colin Slee, who had recorded his recollections of the appointment of a new bishop for Southwark last year. In particular, the memo recorded how the Archbishops of York and Canterbury had made absolutely sure that the name of the Rev’d Dr Jeffrey John – presently Dean of St Albans Cathedral, who had been nominated and then 'withdrawn' from the suffragan bishopric of Reading – would not go forward for Southwark. The memo fumed with the injustice of a new legal opinion produced by the solicitors of Church House which suggested a number of legitimate reasons why candidates may be passed over for promotion to pointy-hat status – reasons which would have legally excluded Dr John.

Colin Coward was furious, and said so as much on his blog. In a fit of pique he wrote:
I could name a number of bishops who are gay, including several appointed in the last 12 months. I’m sitting here this morning wondering whether I should, knowing that to do so is not in accord with my Christian ethos.
This was then followed by a blog comment in which he wrote:
I’ve read all the comments and am conflicted personally about whether bishops who are known to be gay should be outed. As Director of Changing Attitude, the guidance from trustees (and Tina has commented above) is that Changing Attitude does not out people. I will go a step further, however, and say that I would confidently name 13 bishops as being gay, meaning over 10% of bishops in England are gay. How any of the 13 live with themselves, their inner world and truth, in the aftermath of yesterday’s revelations, I can’t imagine.
Or at least, if you went to the blog post today, that's what you would read. But that isn't what his comment originally said. Colin Coward actually wrote (click to enlarge):


The redaction is evident, but why did he do it?

Well, it takes not two minutes to do the most superficial search on the internet and count up the number of single diocesan bishops in the Church of England, and the number of single suffragans.

Oh dear. The ‘personally conflicted’ Rev’d Colin Coward ‘outs’ 13 Anglican bishops, in clear violation of the guidance from the Trustees of Changing Attitude and in contravention of the organisation’s code of conduct. How he can live with himself, his inner world and truth, in the aftermath of these revelations, His Grace can’t imagine.

At this point it might be pertinent to see what the other director of Changing Attitude, Christina Beardsley, has to say about ‘outing’. Luckily for us, she clarified her position in a comment on the very same blog post:
Outing bishops, or even an archbishop (as has happened) achieves very little: ‘my sexuality is a grey area’ hardly moves things on. OutRage, for example, has tended to limit outings to those who have compromised themselves by issuing homophobic statements (though I guess one could argue that the imposition of – a selected reading – of ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ has made the CofE institutionally homophobic) but CA has always refrained from outing others and if you have been outed yourself you will understand why: it is violent and, in some instances, a betrayal of trust. In any case CA’s role is to win the argument by argument not by pressure tactics, but if the leaks continue in this vein they will do that for us very nicely!
So let's just make sure we understand this: the outing of bishops (or, indeed, anyone) is ‘violent’ and ‘a betrayal of trust’, which is why Changing Attitude ‘has always refrained from outing others’. It’s a good job that her co-director doesn’t allow his ‘personally conflicted’ state to interfere with his professional judgement, is it not?

His Grace was so concerned about the ‘violence’ and ‘betrayal of trust’ inflicted upon these bishops that he politely enquired of Colin Coward why he had made swift edits to his comment. The response was illuminating; not so much for the detailed explanation and apology for the major error he had committed (as if Colin Coward would have the integrity to do that), but rather for the way he launched into a bout of ad hominem against His Grace, simply for daring to ask a few pertinent questions. Colin Coward accused His Grace of ‘contribut(ing) to maintaining a culture in the Church of England which is deeply compromised and allows dishonesty and abuse to infect the life of the Church’.

Charming.

And for good measure, he added:
The problem lies with people like you and groups like Anglican Mainstream whose campaign against LGBT people in the Church which repeatedly seeks to malign our integrity (as Canon Chris Sugden did yet again on the radio this morning) poisons the culture of our Church.
Malign? Poison? His Grace was somewhat taken aback (not to say utterly bemused) by this violence and vitriol, and was left wondering which aspect of Colin Coward’s character he finds most disturbing: his intellectual dimness which led to him ‘outing’ 13 Church of England bishops without even realising it; his manifest lack of integrity in refusing to admit to a grievous error of judgement; or his inability to reason which left him resorting to baseless ad hominem.

Surely the director of an organisation who transgresses a code of conduct or contravenes established protocol should either resign or be disciplined by his superiors with the likelihood of dismissal? Whatever he may personally believe and however he may desperately redact, Colin Coward has unequivocally and undeniably ‘outed’ four diocesan bishops and seven suffragans. He has done this at the same time as his organisation professes to be hyper-sensitive to the personal assault and ‘violence’ that can be inflicted on those who are homosexually-inclined.

Since it was alleged that His Grace has a ‘campaign against LGBT people in the Church (and) repeatedly seeks to malign (their) integrity (which) poisons the culture of our Church’ His Grace politely requested the evidence for this allegation.

Answer came there none.

His Grace tweeted three times (here, here and here).

Answer still came there none. But, astonishingly, Colin Coward did see fit to drip-drip-drip the allegations again in the cyber pages of The Guardian.

Quite why he believes it to be pastorally and ecclesially wholesome to indulge in conjecture and libel instead of simply naming those church leaders he accuses of hypocrisy is unknown. To change an attitude requires education, sensitivity and persuasion, not ignorance, bullying and innuendo. All that we have definitively from him is this statement of belief: ‘The Church culture is not transparent and honest, it is driven by a small minority who are obsessed, for whatever reason, with homosexuality and what people get up to sexually. It is unhealthy and it is destroying the Church step by insidious step.’

Quite.

And Colin Coward has shown himself to be far from honest and transparent in his own ministry: he is manifestly one of a small minority who are obsessed with homosexuality and what bishops get up to sexually, irrespective of whether those bishops have repented of their past behaviour or have chosen to live a sacrificially celibate life. Who is Colin Coward to judge these men? It is his personal agenda which is ‘unhealthy’ and which is ‘destroying the Church step by insidious step’.

This isn't a question of homophobia; it is a matter of hypocrisy. It is people like Colin Coward who keep issues of sexuality and visions of genitalia at the forefront of people's minds when they consider the ministry of the Church, and while its priests and bishops try to go about the work of God for the salvation of souls. For the record (and for Colin Coward's information), His Grace’s definitive word on the whole ‘gay’ obsession was written some time ago:
By devoting so much time and effort to the ‘gay issue’, instead of challenging society by deconstructing the question or focusing on poverty and wealth (for example), the church is simply showing itself to share the same obsessions as the world. Paul allowed no compromise on the restriction of sexual activity to heterosexual, monogamous marriage. But such an ethic seems almost utopian to our sex-besotted age, in which it appears at times that one’s identity is made to reside in one’s sexual organs and their untrammeled exercise. The issue for the Church of England is that this debate has been blown out of all proportion; it is neither a battle for the soul of the church, nor an issue worthy of schism. It is a question utterly peculiar to this era, and those on both sides of the divide – both politicians and theologians – might consider toning down the rhetoric and the apologetics, and instead preaching a message that, contrary to society’s thinking, sexual expression is neither a necessary line of inquiry in every human interaction, nor an essential component in human fulfilment.
Perhaps Changing Attitude might change its attitude.

Either that, or appoint a director of good judgement, pastoral sensitivity and spiritual discernment who can practise what the organisation purports to believe.

112 Comments:

Blogger DanJ0 said...

"But the Rev’d Colin Coward does appear to have one or two problems with the concept of honesty and integrity."

A bit like our very own Owl then.

5 June 2011 at 11:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well, if the names of the Bishops are not well known already then highlighting and propagating the redaction ought to ensure a wider knowledge of them anyway.

Privacy's a topical subject. In fact, it was debated on the Big Questions this morning and the issues are as relevant to bishops as they are to footballers and politicians I suppose.

There was one of those small channel 4 clips (I think it was one of those anyway) recently by a Catholic priest who claimed that he personally knew priests who were living a lie in their Church with regard to celibacy.

5 June 2011 at 11:52  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

As I was out and about yesterday, drinking in the joys of early summertime unfurling in a cacophony of birdsong and bumblebees.

I thought, how can anyone who does not appreciate the birds and bees truly believe in God.

Time was when a Gentlemans word was his bond, that time has passed, gentiles no longer respect the sacred nature of the Word.

They learn to spell, without any knowledge of the power of spells and recite vows with no sence of the votary truth in God

5 June 2011 at 12:17  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Not terribly suitable reading for the Lord's Day.

You do seem to take pleasure from the misfortune of others Mr Cranmer.

5 June 2011 at 12:19  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Why cant you religionists just live and let live and enjoy and concentrate on the only life you are guarranteed.

As for birdsong and bumble bees, there is nothing more violent and overtly sexual than the nature of the natural world.

5 June 2011 at 12:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Regarding birds and violence, I think this article is trying to kill at least two birds with one stone. ;)

5 June 2011 at 12:32  
Anonymous i albion said...

What a cushy life these people lead.
Some hard graft down a pit or digging the roads anything like a good dose of hard work would "change their attitude" all right.
The lazy B******s!

5 June 2011 at 12:56  
Blogger len said...

Iv`e said this so many times even I am getting tired of saying it,
But;
The minimum requirement for a Christian is to be born again, a NEW Creation, born from above, born from the Spirit of God.
How then can a born again believer be a Homosexual!
It seems such Christians as Colin Coward(|what`s in a name?)is exalting the old Creation and denying the New. If we really 'died with Christ' things like this could not happen. Or perhaps(not really for me to say, but I will)is Mr Coward merely a 'career Christian'?.

Almost,( but not quite enough) to send one ...Catholic.Heaven forbid.
This is probably the apostasy Bible prophesy warned us about that would occur in the last days.

It is a very sad state of affairs that the 'World' has entered the church and now seems to be running it.
How much longer will God put up with this travesty which calls itself His Church.?

5 June 2011 at 12:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"The minimum requirement for a Christian is to be born again, a NEW Creation, born from above, born from the Spirit of God.
How then can a born again believer be a Homosexual!"

They make it up as they go along probably, like every one else, picking and choosing from their religious smorgasbord. It's surprising what you can convince yourself of and justify to yourself when you try really hard.

5 June 2011 at 13:29  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

"The minimum requirement for a Christian is to be born again"

Yes Len, have it your way if you so wish. Dare I say it, you are just about the only religious contributor her who speaks from original conviction without recourse to hiding behind others. You have my respect for that position but I reject the philosophy that is essentially a greed for life.

I can't speak for anyone but myself and I am not in need of the so called shelter of collective atheism - it simply does not exist.

I won't deny my culturally Christian birthright, it is as much a part of my upbringing as my family name. Christianity, in the hearts of the majority people I reckon, is gentle, considerate of others but above all, a personal compact with their own conscience - (if that makes any sense).

I also believe that it has greatly evolved, continued to evolve and seeks to accommodate all humanity regardless of skin colour or sexual orientation. The Jesus of my formative years seemed like a very reasonable bloke; a thoroughly descent sort with a deal of common sense - apart from the fact that he said he was the 'Son of God'

Unfortunately it is the zealots who assume the self appointed responsibility to condemn others who don't buy in to their particular interpretation of 'God's will' on Earth.

Why not leave it to 'God' to deal with whatever individual transgressions occur and offends Him/Her, if that is ones belief.

Life's too short.

5 June 2011 at 13:34  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

len said ...

"This is probably the apostasy Bible prophesy warned us about that would occur in the last days.
How much longer will God put up with this travesty which calls itself His Church.?"

These abberations have been going on before and since Christ and the 'last days' were surely initiated from the time of Our Lord's death and resurrection.

Try not to read too much into the fact that men, including those who profess to serve God are sinners.

Another thing for you to reflect on is that these men believe they are permitted by scripture to engage in homosexuality, So much for independent 'sola scriptura'!

5 June 2011 at 14:30  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Is your grace considering the red top audience ?.

totally agree though he has compromised some bishops by his own outburst and sent hares running and may even have sent some diocese into a spin as well as secret family lives an unaware people who took communion and blessing.

the fact that he mentions active homosexual goes against what is my current understanding of what was the traditional standard of being non practising in office.

Just when it looked like we were begining to get over one scandal he opens up a new front .

come to think of it I am quite angry at how we have slid into a secret world waiting to be found out and fed to the mockers again.
I would like to think we could somehow sort it all out by a defrocking and nailing a proclmation to every church door. I do not see much good to returning to the once open hatred of homosexuals , but having them hiding in church positions as Mr Coward alledges does nothing but fuel an idea that its a secret fanchise with some such as he clearly in the know , and parishners (who dont ask such questions) treating them as devout and meritable persons true to biblical teachings .

Some may find views a little mean ,but I am so angry that this matter just sits within the church as ticking device and now Mr Coward has detonated it into irrational suspicons of clergy when the public so desperatley needs a church that can promote and sustain family values and teachings and not it seems martrimonail liars and secret active sexual indescretions ,unclear to parishoners .

5 June 2011 at 14:47  
Blogger Fr David Cloake said...

Mt sexuality or than of anyone else is none of the business of Mr Coward. I assume that after all of this he intend rooting through bins and peeping through keyholes so that he will have opportunity to expose yet more very private and sacred stuff.

One would suggest that Dr Freud would have much to say.

All I say to him, is "mind your own business, Reverend". If a priest 'outed' my sexuality, I'd not stop until he was out of his job, or stood in front of my family friends and congregations apologizing for the utter pain and desolation he had caused.

Incidentally, there is no code in this. I am a liberal catholic straight man who couldn't care less whether someone is straight or not.

5 June 2011 at 14:49  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

The priest-hoods of All religious organizations from Islam to Paganism, have always been inhabited by a disproportionately high amount of gays, lesbians, and bi-sexuals.

This for many reason, including the most obvious one. This being that you can not so easily remain married to a spiritually based ideology as well as remaining married to a member of the opposite sex, while having the extra responsibility of bringing up and providing for your own children.

Not impossible, just a lot less easy, practical, or desirable.

However there exists other more occult, or in other words more well hidden reasons.

Priest hoods have traditionally attached themselves to Royalty, and so not being able or inclined to have split loyalties to their own children or wives, was always viewed by Royal households as being a highly desirable thing. Not having an obvious inclination to want sex, and therefore produce any off-spring with any Royal Princess's, also being viewed as being so.

Also the lower priest-hoods, like any other CEO's or top politicians, had to be controlled, as well as controllable by their own superiors.

Thus homosexuality was secretly encouraged, or even positively promoted. While at the same time made to be highly illegal, if not also a sin deserving of the worst possible punishments, to serve as a form of potential blackmail.

This long standing practice which dates back to the first recorded civilizations, it seemingly now coming unstuck, as the chains of illegality are being deliberately and systematically loosened.

Scripture always came a poor second at best, to political expediency within the higher reaches of both temporal and spiritual power.

Therefore indeed nothing much has changed, especially within The Church of England, Rome, or any other.

Certainly IMO, in the sense of there actually being any more gays, lesbians, or bi-sexuals working within the corridors of power, then at any times in the past.

If anything, there may have actually been a notable reduction in their relative numbers, who could really know for sure?

OK, the one true God may have a clear idea, however he seems remarkably quite on this particular matter.

5 June 2011 at 14:52  
Anonymous carl jacobs said...

Dreadnaught at 5 June 2011 12:30

Why cant you religionists just live and let live and enjoy and concentrate on the only life you are guarranteed.

There are two answers to this question.

1. Law must be based upon some understanding of the Good, the Right, the True. Why should we 'religionists' simply concede the field to secular presuppositions in this matter? If we think something morally evil, we are obligated to oppose that evil. It is not sufficient for you to say "Yes, well, that's just your religion speaking so it doesn't count." In truth, you 'secularists' are seeking to establish the presuppositions of your own secular religion so the law will reflect secular concepts of the Good, the Right, the True.

Consider. I condemn abortion based upon the transcendent value of the unborn child. A man says to me "Your arguments from the transcendent have no authority in the public square. Here we say that there is no transcendent value, because here we say there is no transcendent." So I am obliged to look away from butchery and tolerate evil. I am forced to deny the Truth. I will not do this simply because you think I should 'live and let live.' Law necessarily imposes restraints on human behavior, and I will never simply concede that those restraints should be founded on materialist assumptions about the nature of man and his existence.

2. Human sexuality is a private act with profound public consequences because it of necessity intersects with the production and character formation of the next generation. It therefore matters how we establish the proper boundaries on human sexual behavior. The modern world is operating on the presupposition that there are no proper boundaries on human sexual behavior except for legitimate consent. You cannot sustain a civilization on such libertine attitudes.

carl

5 June 2011 at 15:01  
Anonymous postergirl said...

Looks like Satan's wrecking crew is working overtime in the C of E.

5 June 2011 at 15:26  
Anonymous Blueasterix said...

The whole Gay issue is a real red herring and has nothing to do with equality. The issue is one simply of sin, sexual relations outside of marriage is sinful (whether heterosexual or homosexual). Sin is just plain old sin at the end of the day :-(

5 June 2011 at 15:29  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Carl,

A brilliantly made point. If only I could make it so well.

5 June 2011 at 15:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"The issue is one simply of sin, sexual relations outside of marriage is sinful (whether heterosexual or homosexual)."

But religiously defining marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman thus implicitly making all homosexual relations a 'sin' anyway.

5 June 2011 at 15:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "The modern world is operating on the presupposition that there are no proper boundaries on human sexual behavior except for legitimate consent. You cannot sustain a civilization on such libertine attitudes."

Is there no consideration of consequences there in your understanding of how the modern world operates? Your portrayal seems rather reductionist to me.

5 June 2011 at 15:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BABYLON ...

5 June 2011 at 15:48  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

A measured response Carl, but there are so many points to consider.

Firstly, I use the expression 'religionists'as a form of shorthand so as not to identify that I differentiate between belief systems. I could use 'superstitious' or 'god(s)bothers' which is I think offensive and counter productive.

Homosexuality and abortion are always guaranteed to bring out the vindictive in some of the regulars here. They are entitled to their opinions of course but to condemn people because they don't fit the extrapolations of their beliefs is really just a game of words.

We don't have the right to impose on anyone, anything against their will or by the implication that we and we alone hold the understanding of perfect truth. We have man made laws that shape our society based on experience and adjustment which if transported say directly upon for argument sake the Maaasai, simply would not work. Some bits would - other bits would not.

If for instance, a child is born with a deformity through which it would be unable to survive independently, it would be left to die. It would be unacceptable to us, but they would accept that it is only natural. They have their own history, culture and beliefs which would not work for us but work for them. So just what is so special about our Society?

At one time it was suggested that 10% of the population may be other than heterosexual. Now that 10% may be doing essential benefit to the overpopulation problem of the planet. Who knows?

So lets further suggest that if we take the contribution that some of that 10% have made to learning that has been made - DaVinci, Tschaikovsky, Wilde, Lawrence of bloody Arabia, Rupert Brook Sigfried Sassoon - have they not enriched Western society?

Yet mention their sexuality and the religionists go ballistic in their scornful out-pourings of bile. Not that it matters, but I am not gay, it just pisses me off that people can appear to be so small minded when their red mist is up.

5 June 2011 at 15:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "In truth, you 'secularists' are seeking to establish the presuppositions of your own secular religion so the law will reflect secular concepts of the Good, the Right, the True."

I note your use of 'secular religion' there which is obviously going to be a contested concept ... but perhaps not now. So how are you religionists to convince people of other religions or none that the public space in which they also live should be regulated according to the precepts of your religion and not theirs? Religionists usually talk about morals, which follow from their particular god, whereas advocates of a secular State like me talk more about ethics.

5 June 2011 at 15:50  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

The right to live and let live comes with the right to challenge those who claim powers above and beyond what any others have.

There are two ways of doing that, either the pen or the sword.

Hence a need to learn the power of words, tweet tweet, buzzz.

Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do, I am half crazy, all for the love of a Coward or two.

It won't be a stylish mirage, but bet his arse looks sweet on a (bi)cycle made for two.

There I go again, spending too much time in Cranmers Gay chat room.

5 June 2011 at 16:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with Changing Attitudes (like many such organisations) is that they over reach themselves. There is a barking article on their website about women bishops and how the writer objected to the title "Chairman" - that's got a lot to do with gay discrimination, hasn't it? There are many people, me included, who have a particular sexuality but do not bleat on about it. I resent being lumped together with those who have "alternative" sexualities like transexuals - I'm not even sure what that is. Many gay Anglicans think Changing Attitudes is a joke.

5 June 2011 at 16:38  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

BitB

The right to live and let live comes with the right to challenge those who claim powers above and beyond what any others have.

Precisely. That's why I am not religious.

5 June 2011 at 16:57  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Your Grace, I read your final paragraph as offering practical solutions to a problem that is rife in several spheres of experience.

I couldn't agree more with your earlier point about it: both politicians and theologians – might consider toning down the rhetoric and the apologetics, and instead preaching a message that, contrary to society’s thinking, sexual expression is neither a necessary line of inquiry in every human interaction, nor an essential component in human fulfilment.

On one level, the point is apt because this very commentariat presently suffers from the same syndrome. Reviewing the dynamics of what now passes for "debate" here, it is clear that newly arrived dissenters twist every strand to the same topic. The sense of invasion - of subversion with intent to demolish from within - is strong. Not for nothing are do we identify them as 'trolls' -- they also have much in common with Grendel.

The new arrivals proceed by treating long-term Communicants as if we are the intruders. What right, they imply, has even 'Archbishop Cranmer' to speak [on his own blog] as a Christian and Protestant! How dare Communicants defend the blog or their own views! Mr. len has also noted this tendency, yet still they pursue their agenda - swamping us with vulgarity, and all the while inverting truth and labelling us the aggressors.

The situation of course reflects both what you describe in the Church of England and the dilemma of the nation as a whole. Indeed, we see opponents of those spheres force their "hatred" on this microcosm! So while my first reaction is to turn and walk away, I believe it necessary to stand and speak: to stand with Your Grace (the 'director') and his Communicants. Only thus can we retain our right to havens that are erudite, peaceful, and English: for they are unique and invaluable. As in rape, though, the issues here are not sex or gender - they are power and sovereignty.

5 June 2011 at 17:05  
Anonymous non mouse said...

sorry -- should be "not for nothing do we..."

5 June 2011 at 17:11  
Blogger English Viking said...

It is not possible to be an ass-bandit and a Christian at the same time.

5 June 2011 at 17:13  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Disappearing post - reinstated:

Your Grace, I read your final paragraph as offering practical solutions to a problem that is rife in several spheres of experience.

I couldn't agree more with your earlier point about it: both politicians and theologians – might consider toning down the rhetoric and the apologetics, and instead preaching a message that, contrary to society’s thinking, sexual expression is neither a necessary line of inquiry in every human interaction, nor an essential component in human fulfilment.

On one level, the point is apt because this very commentariat presently suffers from the same syndrome. Reviewing the dynamics of what now passes for "debate" here, it is clear that newly arrived dissenters twist every strand to the same topic. The sense of invasion - of subversion with intent to demolish from within - is strong. Not for nothing do we identify them as 'trolls' -- they also have much in common with Grendel.

The new arrivals proceed by treating long-term Communicants as if we are the intruders. What right, they imply, has even 'Archbishop Cranmer' to speak [on his own blog] as a Christian and Protestant! How dare Communicants defend the blog or their own views! Mr. len has also noted this tendency, yet still they pursue their agenda - swamping us with vulgarity, and all the while inverting truth and labelling us the aggressors.

The situation of course reflects both what you describe in the Church of England and the dilemma of the nation as a whole. Indeed, we see opponents of those spheres force their "hatred" on this microcosm! So while my first reaction is to turn and walk away, I believe it necessary to stand and speak: to stand with Your Grace (the 'director') and his Communicants. Only thus can we retain our right to havens that are erudite, peaceful, and English: for they are unique and invaluable. As in rape, though, the issues here are not sex or gender - they are power and sovereignty.

5 June 2011 at 17:14  
Anonymous Voyager said...

It is not really for Atheists to comment on The Church. They are Outsiders and Renegades.

It may simply be time to have all Bishops on Coward's listed named and offered redundancy packages. We simply have too many Bishops and need probably 10 at most for England with modern communications.

If we are to have an Episcopal Church which is not my personal preference, they should at least uphold Scripture or find another trade more compatible with their life choices. Leviticus creates a Priesthood freed from toil living on the tithe of the congregation - it sets them above their flock to lead by example and spiritual conviction.

If they want to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds they should find a real job and stop living off the backs of Believers.

5 June 2011 at 17:29  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Having read Your Grace's piece I was determined to agree, without pre-reading, whatever English Viking had to say. However, it just happens to be the post previous to mine, so thus unavoidable...I'm surprised that he restricted himself so!

Perhaps, like me, he finds the absurdity of the facts just too gross to bear?

5 June 2011 at 17:33  
Anonymous uk Fred said...

This post seems to have generated more heat than light. Coming to it from a Christian, not a religious viewpoint, because I think that most religious people are bullies and hypocrites, I would make the following points:

The Bible states that a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, not his boyfriend/gay partner/civil partner.

The Bible explicitly condemns homosexual activity in Leviticus and it is only one Bible. Jesus himself said that He ahd come to fulfil, or complete the Law, not to abolish it.

The following verse in Leviticus condemns having sexual relations with animals, and I do not hear a far reaching cry for people who have sex with animals to be allowed to enter positions of leadership in the church. Equally I fail to see how such peapople cha be anything other than unequally yoked to their sexual partner.

We have all been created in the image of God.

We have all sinned and have fallen short of the Glory of God.

If we break one small part of the Law, it is as if we had broken all of it when we stand before God.

Those who are in a position of leadership in a church should be qualified so to do, according to 1 Timothy 3:12, "A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well." This rules out both bigamists and persons in same sex unions.

Those who are leaders should have a attitude of tranmsparency before their congregations and before God, confessing sin when it comes into their life and keeping short accounts with God to confess it and have it dealt with, not wallow in it like a pig wallows in muck.

Someone who is homosexual in orientation should have no difference in his or her standing in the church as a result of their sexual orientation. However, moving from orientation into practice will take a homosexual person into sin, just as engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage will bring a heterosexual person into sin.

All sinners should be shown their sin and restored, through confession of their sin to God, to fellowship in the family of the church, but if they refuse to repent of their sin, then after following the Matthew 18 route, should be excluded from the fellowship of the church family.

The purpose of the exercise of church discipline is to bring the errant sinner back to repentance and to renewed fellowship within the church.

For a fuller and more well expressed explanation, I would point other contributors to Dr. Robert Gagnopn's book, "The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Text and Hermeneutics"

5 June 2011 at 17:34  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Voyagers last paragraph says it all.

5 June 2011 at 17:35  
Blogger English Viking said...

Oswin,

Correct. Utterly absurd.

The C of E is dying because it panders to the ridiculous opinions of pooftahs and unbelievers, instead of ex-communicating them, as the Bible commands.

1 Corinthians 5

5 June 2011 at 17:44  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

It is not really for Atheists to comment on The Church. They are Outsiders and Renegades

We live in a hard won environment where freedom of speech is open to everyone - even if it is nonsensical.

5 June 2011 at 17:45  
Anonymous Oswin said...

uk Fred - ''bullies and hypocrits'' perhaps, at times; you may be right.

What of the continuous hypocricy of homosexual clergy???

Plank/eye, removal thereof...

5 June 2011 at 17:46  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Plague of the Disappearing Posts - here's another attempt at this:


Your Grace, I read your final paragraph as offering practical solutions to a problem that is rife in several spheres of experience.

I couldn't agree more with your earlier point about it: both politicians and theologians – might consider toning down the rhetoric and the apologetics, and instead preaching a message that, contrary to society’s thinking, sexual expression is neither a necessary line of inquiry in every human interaction, nor an essential component in human fulfilment.

On one level, the point is apt because this very commentariat presently suffers from the same syndrome. Reviewing the dynamics of what now passes for "debate" here, it is clear that newly arrived dissenters twist every strand to the same topic. The sense of invasion - of subversion with intent to demolish from within - is strong. Not for nothing do we identify them as 'trolls' -- they also have much in common with Grendel.

The new arrivals proceed by treating long-term Communicants as if we are the intruders. What right, they imply, has even 'Archbishop Cranmer' to speak [on his own blog] as a Christian and Protestant! How dare Communicants defend the blog or their own views! Mr. len has also noted this tendency, yet still they pursue their agenda - swamping us with vulgarity, and all the while inverting truth and labelling us the aggressors.

The situation of course reflects both what you describe in the Church of England and the dilemma of the nation as a whole. Indeed, we see opponents of those spheres force their "hatred" on this microcosm! So while my first reaction is to turn and walk away, I believe it necessary to stand and speak: to stand with Your Grace (the 'director') and his Communicants. Only thus can we retain our right to havens that are erudite, peaceful, and English: for they are unique and invaluable. As in rape, though, the issues here are not sex or gender - they are power and sovereignty.

5 June 2011 at 17:53  
Blogger Luckywood said...

The hypocrisy of this post is nauseating.

You criticise Colin Coward for making an ad hominem attack when the first two paragraphs of your post are concerned entirely with Revd Coward's personal life. Incidentally, I don't quite see how tabloid-style euphemistic innuendos about buggery fit in with your desire that the church should not "show itself to share the same obsessions as the world."

Colin Coward clearly redacted his post because he realised he'd made a mistake after pressing submit and wanted to minimise the potential harm he had inadvertently caused. Obviously this is stupid but it would have gone unnoticed had you not first made an issue of it in the comments. In fact there's more than a whiff of the blackmailer to your comments on Coward's post:

"His Grace could post all of your original comments upon his blog tomorrow, and 100,000 would read them over the next month. The source would be you – unequivocally."

Which you have now in fact done. Maybe you disagree with Christina Beardsley that outing someone is "violent" and a "betrayal of trust," in which case its surprising to see how outraged you are by Colin Coward's error. Whatever your attitude to this issue, if this does in fact lead to any bishops being outed you will certainly have to bear a significant share of the responsibility for whatever hurt may be caused.

Colin Coward has accidentally outed 13 bishops, which is stupid.

You have done the same thing deliberately. I'd call that malicious.

5 June 2011 at 18:35  
Blogger Owl said...

non mouse,

I coundn't agree more. As a rather liberal RC there is nothing I enjoy more than a debate with Len or even Viki, although I am a bit worried about that axe.

I am just fed up with some people side tracking andd stifling debate to suit their secular agendas.

This was once again a very interesting blog by HG which raises a number of interesting points.

People who just use this blog and the forum to attack Christianity in any of it forms and just push their own ideas are a pain in the a**e.

5 June 2011 at 18:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Is that why you lie like a cheap watch, Owl?

5 June 2011 at 18:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Is that why you lie like a cheap watch, Owl?

5 June 2011 at 18:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'd delete that hiccup but, well, who knows what it would become after the fact?

5 June 2011 at 18:48  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms Luckywood,

Your careful selection of the history of the correspondence establishes firmly which side of the artificial fence you fall. His Grace had never heard of the Rev'd Colin Coward or Changing Attitude until last week. In fact, if CA had bothered to read His Grace's posts on the matter which obsesses them, they would probably have found an awful lot of common ground. But Colin Coward became insulting and evasive. His Grace simply asked the Rev'd for evidence to substantiate his knee-jerk allegation that His Grace 'campaign(s) against LGBT people in the Church (and) repeatedly seeks to malign (their) integrity...'

Since the Rev'd Colin did not respond to numerous polite requests, it seemed appropriate to draw attention to his lies, deceit and hypocrisy. If, in the process, anyone has been 'outed', as His Grace has said (quite clearly), the fault lies with Colin Coward.

His Grace has a very small readership and Changing Attidude is followed by thousands and enjoys the patronage of a gaggle of lords, canons, reverends and right reverends. It is not likely that His Grace has done anything that a any IT geek of moderate intelligence could not have achieved by trawling Google cache to uncover CA's redacted posts and comments.

And as for your allegation of being 'malicious'. Well, if exposing hypocrisy is evidence of that, you must surely also concede that the Rev'd Colin Coward is not only 'stupid', as you state, but manifestly malicious for feeding the media the drip-drip-drip of innuendo. Why on earth would he repeat everything in The Guardian if it is not with the malicious intent of wanting to 'out' those bishops he so clearly despises?

5 June 2011 at 18:58  
Blogger Owl said...

Dan,

Isn't it past your bedtime?

5 June 2011 at 19:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Mr Edmund Bonner from the Reverend's blog, I am a gay, atheist, liberal, secular State advocate and I post regularly here. I can tell you His Grace does not generally delete posts which criticise the articles and he has a sometimes surprising tolerance for confrontation between posters in the comments section too. In short, his Bottom Line is accurate.

5 June 2011 at 19:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Dan, Isn't it past your bedtime?

Owl, given that the exchange of comments which resulted in your lies took place after midnight, you ought to know that.

5 June 2011 at 19:02  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Dreadnought, neither am I the religionist in the sence of the idea, being one set of cultists trump another.

Rather I am a believer in a perennial philosophy that is the common well of all faiths.

Also I understand the word has been sacred to our folk for as long as the mastery of fire, which is why Flintshire in North Wales gets its name from a sacred stone, with the potential to gift man with the divine spark of knowledge.

The knowledge which ignites a flame that burns me up with the passion and desire to rise like a pheonix and to put the Great in Britain once more!

5 June 2011 at 19:03  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr DanJ0,

His Grace is most appreciative. But it may be observed that the likes of Edmund Bonner are what you would call 'prejudiced'. His mind was already made up before he posted: any inconvenient written evidence or oral testimony will not sway him. He is the very epitome of what constitutes 'bigotry'; he assuages his unreasonable conscience with maliciously irrational allegations of bigotry against anyone who happens to disagree with him. His choice of moniker is telling.

5 June 2011 at 19:09  
Blogger English Viking said...

O/T Your Grace, please forgive.

RE: Your recent article. I wondered if you knew the outcome to the Wilders trial?

I've trawled the net, to no avail

5 June 2011 at 19:18  
Blogger Owl said...

Dan,

You seem really rattled.

You accuse me of being a liar!

Selective reading

Selective memory

Selective deleting

All to suit your purpose.

And I am the liar?

In the words of the sage, on your bike, son.

5 June 2011 at 19:19  
Blogger English Viking said...

Owl,

Don't worry, old stick. You're perfectly safe, so long as I haven't been drinking.

Which is most of the time.

PS For a Cat-lick, you strike me as a most reasonable sort of chap. Why bother with all those candles, that ridiculous chanting, dressing up and silly hats?

5 June 2011 at 19:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Owl, not rattled, angry. In fact, I debated going to my local church today, protestant of course, just to reassure myself that the run of the mill there are mostly normal, decent people as a result of your perfidy. One gets a rather distorted view of people here, I think, and I wouldn't want to end up with the equivalent of the Daily Mail view of Muslims just because of a few vocal people with low morals.

5 June 2011 at 19:27  
Blogger English Viking said...

DanJ0,

Perfidy. Excellent word.

Gold star for vocabulary.

Several de-merits for buggery.

5 June 2011 at 19:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Viking, apparently my homosexuality is likely to be a cover according to Owl in his recent muddy-the-waters-to-hide-the-evidence retort. So save your de-merits for now and lock up your daughters just in case. If I'm rash enough to delete a comment in future to fix a couple of spelling mistakes then no doubt I'll have confessed all momentarily before having a change of heart.

5 June 2011 at 19:41  
Anonymous Tony foreman said...

It is good to see hypocrisy been shown up but the good Archbishop is rather weak on the whole issue. I am not too sure St Paul would be happy about having his ethic relegated to the utopian sphere of impracticablity. It is true enough that the 4th century Church did not devide over the ordination of gays but I bet it would have done if the issue had come up. It is not just the act or relationship, which is shocking enough, it is the world of theology or better idolatry behind it that devides the Church - and rightly so. This is not an unimportant in house spat it is the old struggle between Yahweh and Baal each vying for control of the Church and the nation.

5 June 2011 at 19:47  
Blogger English Viking said...

DanJ0,

Chill out, dude.

I thought I was aggressive.

5 June 2011 at 19:55  
Blogger Owl said...

Viki,

If you figure out what desparate Dan is talking about, do let me know.

I looked up "perfidy" in my trusted Oxford dictionary (I have to try to keep up with these progressives)and I am none the wiser.

It seems I am either "faithless" or "treacherous".

Mind you, a good word as you said.
In fact, I am quite impressed.

Still, can't figure out what it has to do with his amnesia though.
He also seems to have a problem with my "low morals".
Curious, as the poor lad is a paid up member of the secular church and was considering attending a "Protestant" church service.
Can you imagine, one of those Christian thingies!

Perhaps there's hope for him yet.

BTW, with all these progressives climbing on the climate warming bandwagon, you will soon see the need for the candles.

On a less serious note, they also look pretty at Christmas time.

Oh nevermind, next time I see yer, I'll buy yer a beer.

5 June 2011 at 20:02  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

Does Colin Coward have a point? One can perhaps understand his frustration without in any way condoning his behaviour.

Shouldn't clergy and bishops who are homosexual and believe this is consistent with the bible and christian living say so? Why wouldn't they?

If they are in a heterosexual marriage and committing adultery with a man, this will be an issue of personal shame and pain. If they are hoping for promotions to lucrative jobs with perks, their ambitions will be dented.

However, given the turmoil in the church I think some honesty is required.

5 June 2011 at 20:08  
Blogger Owl said...

Consistancy and leadership would be nice too.

Some of my Anglican friends have repeatedly made this observation.

As one of my old shoolboy friends who converted from Catholicism to the Anglican church once remarked, he became more Catholic within the Anglican church than ever before simply because those were the people who didn't change their opinions according to the weather.

5 June 2011 at 20:21  
Anonymous M said...

One of the earliest jibes against the Church -" See how these Christians love one another."

5 June 2011 at 20:23  
Blogger William said...

Danj0

Are your attacks on Christians/Christianity genuine outrage or attempts to reveal "inner self"? You have previously stated that it's all a bit of a laugh really (paraphrased) so I must confess to some confusion. Or perhaps that's the point. The trouble is once you let the troll out of the bag, it's quite difficult to put him back again.

5 June 2011 at 20:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well, the tag team has arrived on cue.

5 June 2011 at 21:08  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Yes, Mr. Tony foreman @ 19:47, and thank you Mr. Owl.

The problem is not whether birds have fine feathers, but whether false feathers make them finer birds.

Or, to branch into another metaphor: whether big black sheep in white clothing qualify as shepherds - when the owner of the flock is trying to breed white sheep.

To hop to yet another branch: While circumstances may alter cases, it is generally wiser to maintain a transparent policy about the horses used for courses.
Gnomic, even.

5 June 2011 at 21:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What concerns me is the implication that single unmarried persons over the age of 20 cannot be heterosexual.

In my book it is wrong to label abstinence as some sort of deviant characteristic. Colin Coward cannot possibly determine practice from what appears to him to be orientation - although it might well be abstinence.

Let's not forget that clerics have the vocation of drawing their fellow human beings into connection with God, not into connection with each other - although this is often a by-product.

Beryl Polden
Wirral

5 June 2011 at 21:25  
Anonymous non mouse said...

...Looks as if those posts re-appeared! Blogger moves in mysterious ways, but apologies for my part in the repetitions!

5 June 2011 at 21:28  
Blogger English Viking said...

Owl,

Make a very large double, and you're on!

5 June 2011 at 21:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of us have engaged in bad sexual activity. We feel and know it is bad and keep it quiet and commune with ourselves and our God to seek some sort of redemption. For spiritual leaders to trumpet and glorify their deviant and wrong behaviour is a cancer in the body of the Church

5 June 2011 at 21:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Many of us have engaged in bad sexual activity."

Blimey. That comment is useless without more details. Spill the beans, so to speak.

*opens notepad, licks pencil*

5 June 2011 at 22:00  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Let me please not beat around the bush on this issue, for on this particular one, I am on extremely well founded grounds.

Scripture, of both the old and new testaments specifically rejects homo-sexuality in the strongest of terms, and does so many times.

However as I have formerly alluded to, both the CofE, and RCC have played their hand on this issue to their advantage, while disregarding, and so also hopelessly undermining clearly stated scripture

Therefore the Roman Emperor most especially has no cloths on this particular issue, as in so many others. Including financing and instigating various civil, international and world wars, systematically and repeatedly lying about just about everything they both have had very much to do with politics, genocides, religiously and politically justified torture, indeed you name the most profound, biblically prohibited evil imaginable, and both The CofE as well as The RCC have either actively promoted it, or irresponsibly ignored it, while very much in their power to prevent it.

In other words the last possible institutions that should be claiming to represent the teachings of Jesus Christ with any credibility whatsoever, are those that most vocally, and expensively do so.

Such, very unfortunately is the nature of The Beast. A beast you cannot for a second justly pretend that you were not warned about, if indeed you have ever actually read your own Bibles.

Revelation 17 verse 1-8 for example, if you are in need of a reference.

Our established religious institutions have been virtually run by both homo-sexual, and bi-sexual men and women for more then 15 hundred years, as well as those that have practiced their more normal sexual preferences without marriage.

This is the clear well documented and verified FACT of the matter, and one that is as almost true today as it was back in the middle-ages.

Put another way.

On the subject of homosexuality as well as sex without marriage the Christian Churches of both Rome and England, have a much worse/better/heretical record then anything secular society can even imagine during its most wettest of wet dreams.

How can these bodies be such hypocrites on these matters? You may well ask.

It comes from many hundreds of years of practice at being so. Indeed this kind of dishonesty has now been going on for so long, that is now written into the very DNA of established religion, as well as secular democracies throughout the entire known universe. Not lease on this comments section, may I add?

However, Your Grace has avoided most skillfully and wisely being strongly drawn on this particular issue.

5 June 2011 at 22:53  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

DanJ0 said...
"Many of us have engaged in bad sexual activity."

Blimey. That comment is useless without more details. Spill the beans, so to speak.

*opens notepad, licks pencil*

5 June 2011 22:00

Well, quite.

IMO there is no such thing as bad sexual activity, but this is only my personal opinion.

I might very well burn in hell for it. However this is a chance I am prepared to take, as it was not me that gave me a penis, the will to use it, and so many available and most adorable females to use it upon.

I must admit that on every other moral issue I am as steadfast as is humanly possible to be, so I exist in hope that on balance my judgment will not be over harsh.

Yours most sincerely, while keeping my fingers well and truly crossed, like most of you lot should be, if you were being at all honest with yourselves and others.

5 June 2011 at 23:13  
Blogger Nixon is Lord said...

So at least four of these men (Hill, Urquart, Rowell, Alan Smith, Conway, and Chessun)are being outed?
These are the six diocesan bishops without wives, according to the chart linked. I'm guessing that the more Gaynglo-catholic would be more likely to be closeted, given the gin and lace subculture.

5 June 2011 at 23:38  
Anonymous non mouse said...

As they used to say years ago: "We don't wish to know that; thank you." It is extremely insulting to assume that prurience is natural to Cranmer's readership. Comments from other Communicants on this strand suggest that I'm not alone in disliking the present trend.

Most commenters that I follow here seem fully aware that nobody here is qualified to pronounce Judgement on anyone, let alone people they don't know. This is especially true of those who can't raise their own minds above hip level.

5 June 2011 at 23:49  
Anonymous PJ said...

Bred in the Bone, have you read a certain book by Aldous Huxley on that topic?

6 June 2011 at 00:46  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

Atlas Shrugged said ...

" ... it was not me that gave me a penis, the will to use it, and so many available and most adorable females to use it upon."

No, no, no you are expected to use your sexuality as a gift given for a certain purpose to be used within the confines of a certain morlaity!

" ... if your hand, or your foot, scandalize you, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if your eye scandalize you, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."

Do the deed before it's too late!

6 June 2011 at 01:42  
Blogger OldSlaughter said...

The three pwople I want to get on the wrong side of least:

1: Mark Steyn
2: Christopher Hitchens
3: His Grace

Fair yet devastating once again Your Grace. There must be something all the more painful about being savaged by someone so low on malice.

I don't know how many atheists there are that believe in the Established Church, but I am one of them.

6 June 2011 at 01:48  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Atlas Shrugged

I'd refrain from all substances for a while and give your brain a chance to recover!

Read the whole of Revelation:17, not just the initial verses, and see if you understand it.

6 June 2011 at 01:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Atlas: "IMO there is no such thing as bad sexual activity, but this is only my personal opinion."

Well, I was just being flippant there but it's implicit there that the activity needs to be consensual ... and that with freedom comes responsibility for the consequences.

In marriage configurations like the Reverend's who would want a relationship with a god who doesn't value proper love between two adults whatever their sexuality? Not me.

If there's a teleological purpose for humanity as a whole then I'd still want to think this god thingy takes account of individual situations and anomolies where no harm is done if the essential bits are right.

6 June 2011 at 05:39  
Blogger len said...

'No such thing as bad sexual activity'
What a crass statement.You obviously haven`t thought through the implications of this statement.
'Bad sexual activity 'can result in (at one level)a whole industry which treats women and children as sex objects) in loss of ones self respect, abortions, STD`s, broken relationships,even taken to the extremes suicide.
If this is an example of the new 'Godless moral system'of the Secular World no wonder we are in such a mess.

6 June 2011 at 08:07  
Anonymous Voyager said...

who would want a relationship with a god who doesn't value proper love between two adults whatever their sexuality? Not me.

A preposterously absurd albeit narcissistic statement of utter banality.

You believe what you want to believe but believing it confers no validity on the proposition.

Your definition of a deity is one that fits in with your sentiments and opinions; it is not a deity but a glove puppet moulded to your preferences.

6 June 2011 at 09:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like another “sham marriage” but without the inconvenience of a third party. The Church of England really is well and truly shafted.

6 June 2011 at 09:53  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Voyager: "A preposterously absurd albeit narcissistic statement of utter banality."

Thank you. Are you having a particularly bombastic day today?

"You believe what you want to believe but believing it confers no validity on the proposition. Your definition of a deity is one that fits in with your sentiments and opinions; it is not a deity but a glove puppet moulded to your preferences."

What have I actually said? That the god hypothesis Christians of the Old School believe in does not suit me. That is, if I were to think up a god hypothesis myself that centred on the core importance of love then I wouldn't come up with the Christian one of that type. You have just changed the words and said the same thing back to me.

I make no claims of validity. I'm an atheist, I'm not putting forward god hypotheses. If I thought the Christian god existed then I'd be a Christian if it did its thing by saying hello. But I don't. And it hasn't. One of the many, many reasons I don't tend towards belief in it is that it intuitively doesn't make sense to me.

Truth be told, I think lots of Christians create a glove puppet god for their own particular preferences, hangups, and issues. St Paul was one I reckon.

6 June 2011 at 10:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colin Coward turns Romans7:15- 25 on its head:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, which is to turn the church into a temple of Baal. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that Baal’a laws are good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but my old Christian conscience and outdated laws that torment me . For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my Christian conscience. For I have the desire to do what is right by Baal but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do “what I want when I want it,” but am forced to conform to outdated Christian patterns of behaviour. What I do not want is what I keep having to do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but my old Christian conscience and laws that torment me .
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of Baal in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of God that dwells in my conscience. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to Baal through the Anti- Christ! So then, I myself serve the law of Baal with my mind, but with my flesh I am forced to serve the law of God- for the time being.

6 June 2011 at 12:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

If I thought the Christian god existed then I'd be a Christian

How can a "Christian God " exist ? Your theology is frankly so poor that you are better off Ignorant ie Atheist.

Christianity is a branch of Judaism. You cannot comment on what you think of God because you are not significant in cosmological terms, perhaps not even in human terms. You argue in a flaccid and emotive manner but always subjectively.

There is no objective reason in your postings and never has been. You are simply yourself, a self-absorbed being trying like a baby to shape the world around you.

6 June 2011 at 12:35  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0,

...Well, I was just being flippant there but it's implicit there that the activity needs to be consensual...

What about incest (consensual)? Morally acceptable or not?

6 June 2011 at 13:33  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"How can a "Christian God " exist ? Your theology is frankly so poor that you are better off Ignorant ie Atheist."

Thank you. It's a shorthand way of talking. You make assumptions about the nature of reality which may or may not be correct and pretend you have some sort of answer when you don't even know if the question can be meaningfully asked. I accept and embrace my ignorance rather than buy into made up stuff to fill in the gaps.

"There is no objective reason in your postings and never has been. You are simply yourself, a self-absorbed being trying like a baby to shape the world around you."

And you Mr Bombast, are like a baby who has had the world shaped for you by other people because you can't or won't function on your own. The world is full of people claiming very diverse things about the nature of reality and the nature of their various gods. You are no different. You've bought in to your local world view and think it is a revelation of universal significance.

6 June 2011 at 13:57  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Lakester: "What about incest (consensual)? Morally acceptable or not?"

Using whose morals?

You only quoted part of my comment, leaving off a very important part unfortunately. You recognise the importance anyway, I trust.

6 June 2011 at 14:00  
Anonymous Voyager said...

You've bought in to your local world view and think it is a revelation of universal significance.

And you are completely wrong !

I have my Belief and you have your Non-Belief. That is your position. You have no intellectual depth to tell me what I believe or think and I doubt you possess the intellectual capacity.

Philosophically, it matters far less whether you believe in God than whether God believes in you.

It is not a club that needs Members to function or Subscribers. You are confused by Harvester Churches which are more secular than religious institutions. The whole concept of Grace does not require you to subscribe, but to be chosen.

If you are not chosen you can do nothing to attain that state. So DanJ0 you are in harmony with the universe in your views for you can hold no other; but what you think and believe or not, has absolutely no bearing on any other person.

In short you do not believe in God and God does not know you.

6 June 2011 at 14:04  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"I have my Belief and you have your Non-Belief. That is your position. You have no intellectual depth to tell me what I believe or think and I doubt you possess the intellectual capacity."

Regarding the last bit, it's the gullibility I lack I think. Quite possibility that's a function of one's particular 'brain furniture' rather than a flaw.

"Philosophically, it matters far less whether you believe in God than whether God believes in you."

There's a huge assumption in there, you know.

"If you are not chosen you can do nothing to attain that state."

Well, that's the belief of one branch of your religion anyway.

"So DanJ0 you are in harmony with the universe in your views for you can hold no other; but what you think and believe or not, has absolutely no bearing on any other person."

Well, I could believe in Islam or Hinduism I suppose. Perhaps I could adopt the world view of Buddhism. Or try to a branch of Christianity which does not hold to the notion of Election. But I prefer living in the moment, accepting what apparently is rather than what might be.

6 June 2011 at 14:48  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0,

Yours obviously; if you are against it, then why? I understand the 'bearing the consequences' thing, but then incest was never immoral because it produces three-eyed children.

I'm not being accusative, just interested.

6 June 2011 at 15:06  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Yours obviously; if you are against it, then why? I understand the 'bearing the consequences' thing, but then incest was never immoral because it produces three-eyed children. I'm not being accusative, just interested."

I'm not sure that incest is a matter of morals. It's more a matter of ethics, meaning normative rules in this context. In principle, sex between (say) a brother and sister is not immoral as an act in the sense of 'good' and 'evil'. However. it almost certainly has impacts within a family group. The impacts would be much more between (say) a parent and child because the relationship has inherent duties I think.

There's something viscerally unpleasant to me about the idea so there may be something instinctual there. Obviously it is a taboo in our society and probably most societies where the nuclear family is important. Codifying the normative rules about incest in law is a good thing to try to prevent genetic damage to any wanted or unwanted offspring.

6 June 2011 at 15:44  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I can almost hear the stirrings of outrage now and imagine the acerbic responses being typed by various people. ;)

6 June 2011 at 15:54  
Blogger len said...

Well Danjo,
If you have outraged people,well job done then!!.................what a superficial 'non' philosophy of life.
Just like a child pushing the boundaries to see how much of its'own way' it can get.
If you are the future, God help us.Literally.

6 June 2011 at 16:09  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Still trying then Len? Bless. :)

6 June 2011 at 16:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely Colin Coward is guilty of inciting homophobic hatred against many clergy. For every congregation will eyeing with suspicion their single vicar or curate and then it will not take much for some malicious person to start a rumour. Indeed there have already been two cases recently of children in schools who have committed suicide as a consequence of such malicious rumours. Perhaps churches should invite Ian McKellen, alias Gandalf, to come to their church and ask their vicar, point blank, "Has it ever occurred to you that you might be gay?"

6 June 2011 at 19:16  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0,

So you admit that there are limits on what is acceptable when it comes to consenting sexual behaviour? Or is it only genetic similarity that is problematic? In the same way, should we prevent those with known genetic disabilities/abnormalities from breeding?

From what you have written, it seems you are a strong supporter of the family unit. You are against incest for reasons of family ties. You share a level of sexual morality with Christians and Jews then...

However There's something viscerally unpleasant to me about the idea

According to your ethical philosophy that is due to societies prejudices and years of repression by Christianity. If we allow homosexuality, something inherently distasteful to many, why shouldn't we allow incest? For that matter, if we have gay marriages, why not marriages between siblings?

I'll put it simply; what you feel about incest, many others feel about homosexuality. Why should one be allowed and the other not?

6 June 2011 at 19:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6 June 2011 at 20:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

There's a small parallel in some of that with assisted suicide. In principle, I think we all have and should have the right to choose to die. In certain situations, I think we have and should have a right to have assistance if we are unable to manage it properly ourselves. But I am quite shy of changing our normative rules on assisted suicide because of the potential consequences elsewhere. In that case, it's a matter of balancing the right of the individual concerned with the protection of other vulnerable individuals.

6 June 2011 at 20:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester, there is/was a long, considered post of mine above that one at 20:31 answering your questions. If it has disappeared for good then I shall not be happy. I may type it in again if I can be bothered.

6 June 2011 at 20:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Here's a rewrite. I hate blogger at times. This one is slightly more polite, you may like to know. :)

"So you admit that there are limits on what is acceptable when it comes to consenting sexual behaviour? Or is it only genetic similarity that is problematic? In the same way, should we prevent those with known genetic disabilities/abnormalities from breeding?"

Lakester, it is not a case of 'admit' as though I have been forced to concede there are limits. There are limits. I wrote that before you jumped in and I highlighted it after when you deleted it in your quote.

The right to reproduce is a fundamental right but I expect it should have limitations. If (say) HIV+ parents will have an HIV+ child, in particular in a country without access to anti-virals, then I think they should not conceive a child. What about you? Similarly with some genetic disorders I think.

"You share a level of sexual morality with Christians and Jews"

I do not share a level of sexual morality with Jews and Christians. By definition. Morals and ethics are different things, as I am sure I have explained already to you. We share sexual ethics, and other ethics too. But morals? Absolutely not.

"According to your ethical philosophy that is due to societies prejudices and years of repression by Christianity."

Huh??

"I'll put it simply; what you feel about incest, many others feel about homosexuality. Why should one be allowed and the other not?"

You misunderstand what I wrote about visceral feelings. I was suggesting that there may be something biological in the drive away from incest which may inform us of stuff. I do not specifically derive my ethics from it.

There are two points in this. Firstly, the very high risk of genetic abnormalities in offspring makes normative rules important in this area. Secondly, there are issues of family relationships here which impact on ethics. In particular, hierarchical relationships in the family.

A doctor has a relationship with his patient and the relationship is regulated by what we call professional ethics regarding his role. The relationship between (say) a father and daughter has roles which it could be argued have associated ethics. The role changes as the daughter gets older of course but there is always a parental duty there I think.

In principle, a sexual relationship between adult siblings where one or both is sterile is okay. I'm not sure the law ought to be enforced in that case. But that is a very specific example. As a liberal, one of my first ports of call is the Harm Principle.

You know that the law has been changed in the UK so that step-parents and foster/adoptive parents are restricted in their sexual relationships with the lower generations too, right? That follows on from my reasoning in the second part of the above.

I guessed you were going to bring my (now alleged) homosexuality into this. You aren't the first to make this argument to a gay man, you know. Here's a thing: homosexuality is a congenital condition for many of us, and incest is not. Would that have any effect on normative rules for you if you set aside your religious beliefs?

6 June 2011 at 21:24  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Codifying the normative rules about incest in law is a good thing to try to prevent genetic damage to any wanted or unwanted offspring.

Incest is NOT illegal in Belgium home to the European Union. Napoleon abolished the laws against incest in Belgium and France; France reinstated them 2010.

It is also not illegal in India, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia or Spain

7 June 2011 at 09:07  
Blogger len said...

I think looking through these interminable 'discussions' on Biblical morality( and ethics)and the secular cobbled together, 'made up on the hoof' so to speak version of morality, one can only come to one conclusion.
God gave us a 'handbook' so to speak as to what would benefit us and what cause chaos disruption and death.
Was this for Gods benefit or ours?.
God`s view of sin(that which destroys)is not the same as ours because we are immersed in it(sin) and He is not.
If (to give an imperfect illustration)you decided to throw away your cars handbook and do your own thing it might be a 'good idea' at the time (lets be free of all restraints , that handbook telling me what to do!)your car would eventually come to a grinding halt, lucky if someone didn`t get killed.

So God`s moral law is ultimately for our benefit.
It must grieve God to see us throw the doors open wide to disease death and destruction, all in the name of 'freedom' of course.

There are two Kingdoms, the Kingdom of God , where God rules and reigns.
And;
This present World Kingdom, ruled by the Prince of the Power of the Air, in total opposition to all the Kingdom of God stands for.

It is not too difficult to see which camp people fall into.

The two Kingdoms are on a collision course and the end is foretold in Bible prophesy.

7 June 2011 at 09:17  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Voyager, I already know you as a Google Savant. What have you shown there other than your Google skills? It has little or no relevant to my argument.

7 June 2011 at 15:56  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"It is not too difficult to see which camp people fall into."

Len, my calling myself an atheist is a bit of a clue that it's not the first camp for me.

7 June 2011 at 15:58  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Voyager, I already know you as a Google Savant. What have you shown there other than your Google skills? It has little or no relevance to my argument.

7 June 2011 at 15:58  
Blogger len said...

Danjo,
please stop' camping it up'serious debate going on here.

7 June 2011 at 16:20  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

len

I do agree with your earlier post outlining God's plan for the way mankind ought to live - it's in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, as well as self-evident through natural reason. It's there for man's own good. To not live according to God's ordinances can only result in human misery.

Whether the 'great divide' into two distinct camps has arrived or is upon us, I am not so sure. Many, many people are confused and bewilded nowadays and the church still has a significant role to play in getting the basic, key message of Christ 'out there' - regardless, to some extent, of denominations.

7 June 2011 at 17:16  
Blogger len said...

Mr Dodo, I agree with you, the important thing is to find some sort of'common ground'and get on with preaching the Gospel.

7 June 2011 at 21:04  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Amen.

7 June 2011 at 22:15  
Blogger len said...

Mr Dodo ,
It gives me no pleasure to take 'up the sword' with anyone of any denomination.
This article may make my position clearer.
.www.moriel.org/.../House_of_David_House_of_Saul/House_of_David-House_of_Saul.pdf

8 June 2011 at 10:27  
Blogger len said...

Dodo,
If that link doesn`t work the article is

House of David House of Saul by Jacob Prasch.

8 June 2011 at 10:31  
Blogger len said...

Incidentally the article By Jacob Prasch 'House of David House of Saul' describes why the Church is in such a mess and how to rectify the situation.

8 June 2011 at 10:45  

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