Friday, June 17, 2011

Thank God for Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg’s decision to send his children to one of London’s foremost Roman Catholic schools ought to come as no surprise. An atheist himself, he married Miriam, a Roman Catholic, in a religious service, swearing oaths and taking vows before the God in whom he does not believe, which were about as efficacious as the promises he made to students. Contiguous with that marriage service, Mr Clegg would have agreed that his children could be raised in the Roman Catholic faith, which his wife (being yoked together with an unbeliever) would try to ensure. It is a straightforward logical corollary of this undertaking that they sent Antonio, Alberto and Miguel to a Catholic state primary school and are now looking to send them to the London Oratory, a state-funded school which is owned and run by the community of the Oratorian Fathers: it thereby escapes the interfering bureaucracy of the Westminster Diocese and is one of the most popular (and high-achieving) Catholic schools in the country.

This is slightly awkward for Mr Clegg, who is personally and politically opposed to faith schools. Urged on by their own (former-)resident atheist Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrats have voiced strong opposition to schools that select by faith because they are ‘discriminatory’ (you can’t get much past a LibDem). In their 2010 manifesto, their policy was to force faith schools to develop an ‘inclusive admissions policy’ (ie, to negate their religious ethos). They wrote:
Parents who wish may bring their children up in their own religious tradition, but this is their responsibility at home, in cooperation if they wish with their church, mosque or temple. The schools provided by everyone's taxes should respect the autonomy of their pupils, providing them with information and education, not with disputed religious doctrine.
This ideology is indeed challenged by the Clegg praxis. We saw it with Labour’s Diane Abbott and also with Ruth Kelly: both preached state-comprehensive for the masses but chose to educate their own children privately. Such hypocrisies irk, to say the least. It is a little like David Cameron exalting the virtues of the NHS while paying a family subscription to BUPA. How these things are viewed by the media and interpreted by voters is far more important than nuanced argument on points of personal or political philosophy.

Mr Clegg justifies his decision, saying: “I’ve never made my kids an issue in politics. My kids are more precious to me than anything else in the world and the fact (is) that my wife is Catholic, I married in the Catholic Church and my children have been brought up by Catholics and go to a Catholic state primary school. It therefore shouldn’t be entirely surprising that maybe, maybe just maybe, my wife might consider, we might consider as parents sending our children on to a state-funded Catholic secondary school.”

And the cries go up of ‘hypocrite’, ‘two-faced’, ‘one rule for them’, etc., etc.

But they miss the point spectacularly.

Nick Clegg consistently shows himself to be an enlightened, tolerant, liberal sort of atheist – exactly the sort with whom those of faith can do business. Admirably, he is more concerned with honouring his wedding vows and the precepts of his wife’s faith than with perpetuating his own particular narrow worldview. He is an ecumenical atheist, a catholic sort of atheist. His more extremist co-anti-religionists at the National Secular Society or the British Humanist Association would doubtless tell him that if his ‘kids’ were really ‘more precious to him than anything else in the world’, he wouldn’t allow them to be inculcated with superstitious claptrap or inducted into a brainwashing belief system which, as Dr Richard Dawkins would say, is manifestly evil.

Such extremist atheists will doubtless tell us that Nick Clegg’s decision to educate his children in the Roman Catholic faith is bigotry (at best) and child abuse (at worst). But they seem to have a habit of fighting what they perceive as bigotry with an even greater bigotry, and so the bigotry is really theirs.

To the hard atheist, a bigot is anyone who happens to disagree with their point of view on the role of religion in society. Yet believers who defend a Christian moral perspective in the face of overwhelming social pressure are only following their conviction, which is deeply rooted in Scripture and Church tradition. Nick Clegg’s atheism embraces the role of religion in society, and this is manifestly anti-bigotry.

The word ‘bigot’ has an accepted meaning which few now grasp: it is the obstinate and blind, often nasty and hypocritical, attachment to a particular creed. No doubt some people who profess religious adherence are indeed like this — venting hatred towards foreigners, homosexuals or those of other faiths. But many are decent, conscientious and thoughtful, as is Nick Clegg.

So, before you condemn him as a hypocrite, pray for him. Before you pour scorn upon his inconsistency, thank God for him. For broad-minded atheists such as this are willing for their own children to be educated with a knowledge of Christ. And who knows what miracles of salvation may result or political policy may be wrought as a consequence?

64 Comments:

Anonymous Aetius said...

What a thoughtful article YG. My wife, a similarly minded atheist (who used to be a muscular, scornful atheist but now describes herself as a "cultural Anglican"), will find some solace in this piece. Happy for our children to be raised Christian, she has agreed not to deny God or Jesus to the children unless directly asked and then only once they are older. She recognises the civilisational value of Christian morals, even if she has not, in her words, "the gift of faith".

17 June 2011 at 10:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Here is a public figure.

An atheist.

He gets married in a church.

He takes his vows.

A priest blesses his marriage.

Is one to conclude that it is easier for an atheist to ignore his conscience? I believe so. It is not that atheists cannot adopt morals; it is that the atheist’s conscience is more easily eroded because he cannot show an objective base for constructing his morality (unlike the Christian – see the parable of the good seed).

Hence, atheists tend to be keen on killing babies and assisted suicide. And where they are not – it is not for deep moral reasons – but because they need to feel good about themselves – so that they can sleep (the sleep of death).

But there is another party to all this wrong-doing. His wife. A Catholic. She has ignored:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14, KJV)

Clegg now extends his hypocrisy by sending his children to a faith school. Good for the children. Jewish and Christian schools are far better than the state’s ‘atheist’ comprehensive schools.

Let him now dare to tell the public what kind of education we should have for our children.

17 June 2011 at 10:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"No doubt some people who profess religious adherence are indeed like this — venting hatred towards foreigners, homosexuals or those of other faiths."

Can't argue with you there.

17 June 2011 at 10:59  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

I agree we need to be gentle on both sides. I hope however that Nick Clegg stands up for the value and virtues of faith schools by simply and honestly reporting his experience of them, to at least counter some of the more toxic arguments advanced by people like Evan Harris.

17 June 2011 at 11:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Hence, atheists tend to be keen on killing babies and assisted suicide. And where they are not – it is not for deep moral reasons – but because they need to feel good about themselves – so that they can sleep (the sleep of death)."

Oh dear.

17 June 2011 at 11:01  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Of course he is both unprincipled and a hypocrite!

When his children come home from a day spent being told stories about virgin birth, resurrection, miracles etc he will either have to denounce those ideas as nonsense or keep his mouth shut. The man is just a modern politician facing all directions at once; he can’t even be honest within his own family.

You can see who wears the trousers in that family.


Meanwhile there’s an old joke that runs as follows:

A woman taken in adultery was about to be stoned by an angry mob when Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.

The poor woman looked up just in time to see – but not avoid – a massive boulder descending on her. She was instantly crushed to death. On the wall above the deceased Jesus saw another woman dusting off her hands. He said to her,

“There are times, mother, when you really piss me off”.

17 June 2011 at 11:04  
Anonymous Sean Robsville said...

Regarding Professor Dawkins and brainwashing belief systems, I have a strong suspicion that he is really a closet Buddhist.

17 June 2011 at 11:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well, no doubt we'll get more Muslim faith schools in the State sector has time goes on too. Oh joy. Just what we need to help social integration.

17 June 2011 at 11:10  
Blogger I am Stan said...

Mmmm curious is Cleggover you Grace,

He denies Christ, denies God and yet loves a woman of faith and marries her in sight of God and even takes the blessing plus that which is most precious to him, his kids he hands over to God.

I wonder sometimes with these atheists, do they really yearn for God but deny it simply to keep face, sort of stuck in a faithless rut!

Still, "there are many paths" etc.

17 June 2011 at 11:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not resolved as to the issue yet, but as I consider it, marvelling at the decidedly poetic concept of 'ecumenical atheism'.

Beautiful turn of phrase, YG

17 June 2011 at 11:30  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'Oh joy. Just what we need to help social integration.'

Sarcasm?

It's you who keeps saying no to a 'mono-chromatic culture'.

Stop playing the banjo and buck up your ideas.

17 June 2011 at 11:57  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

And the big deal is?

He's honouring his committment to his wife not to stand in her way in raising her children as Roman Catholics.

17 June 2011 at 12:05  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Thank God the man is open & honest.
We can debate all we like, but God is no respecter of mans opinions. Many have been reached by the Love of God & the Holy Spirit to become firebrands of the faith they once scorned.
Pray for him!.

17 June 2011 at 12:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say the Big Deal is whose in charge of the Clegg household the man or the wife?

Bible is clear a man should be in charge of his own house as he's the head. get it?

A man gotta do what a man is suppose to do.

Dat big deal?

17 June 2011 at 12:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Sarcasm? It's you who keeps saying no to a 'mono-chromatic culture'. Stop playing the banjo and buck up your ideas."

Of course it's sarcasm. And yes, I am not interested in returning to a culture that in 'mono-chromatic' culture or, indeed, a class-ridden, inequitable one either for that matter.

That doesn't mean I want State power invested in religious organisations educating members of our society at a vulnerable stage in their development, or in helping segregate different sections of our society when mixing the children up would, I'm sure, help future generations understand each other.

If adults what to follow one of any number of gods available today then so be it. If they want to eat into their children's leisure time indoctrinating them to ensure their various religions continue then so be it. But not on our dollar, and not at the expense of social good.

17 June 2011 at 12:34  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Singh

Hence, atheists tend to be keen on killing babies and assisted suicide

What a grossly offensive and deeply disturbed person you are.

17 June 2011 at 12:35  
Blogger English Viking said...

Clegg is an amoral hypocrite.

His word stands for nothing, he at once believes everything and nothing, depending upon what is in his best interests at the time. An empty tract, through which stupid ideas pass through quickly, making room for ever more stupidity.

A dog-turd on the shoe of decency.

17 June 2011 at 13:44  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Tell me Dreadnaught the philiosophical underpinnings for you rejecting abortion and assisted suicide?

17 June 2011 at 13:46  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"Many have been reached by the Love of God & the Holy Spirit to become firebrands of the faith they once scorned." (Preacher 12:13) Yes. But "...the man is open & honest." ?

Is there anything to show that Mr Clegg has sufficient depth of reasoning or philosophic acumen and practice to know whether he is an "atheist" or not?

"Nick Clegg’s atheism embraces the role of religion in society, and this is manifestly anti-bigotry." says this morning's article.

Something about this reminds me of G.E.Lessing's "The Education of the Human Race".

At one point Lessing writes "Whether we can still prove this resurrection, these miracles [of the New Testament], is a question I shall put aside, just as I shall put aside the question of who the person of this Christ was. All of this may have been important back then for the acceptance of his doctrine, but it is no longer so important now for the recognition of the doctrine’s truth."

And there may be the crux, if the "education of the human race" at the present time is seen as connected with that question, viz., whether the question of who the person of this Christ, which may have been important "back then" for the acceptance of his doctrine, is important now?

As a guide in the way of reasoning of his time, Lessing could be compared to Virgil as Dante's guide, but only up to a certain point, on the ascent to the beatific vision from which Dante returns.

[For a version of "Education..." on line (in an English translation, with notes from F. W. Robertson. Harvard Classics, 1910) see:
http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/pdf/eng/12_EnlightPhilos_Doc.1_English.pdf .
Anyone with some knowledge of the Old Testament and New will find that the reasoning is not difficult to follow. The introductory headnote mentions that "Though embedded in the Christian theological tradition, Lessing embraced Enlightenment Deism ever more firmly, and after his death charges of pantheistic/ atheistic Spinozism arose against him"; and that Lessing’s view was "that orthodox Christianity would eventually be superseded by higher forms of religious understanding that were compatible with universal reason."]

17 June 2011 at 14:00  
Blogger Demetrius said...

When many of the RC schools were founded in the later 19th and first decades of the 20th Century they catered for a religious minority that over much of the country encountered discrimination. Some RC families avoided them to prevent their children's education marking them out later in life. How times move on.

17 June 2011 at 14:09  
Anonymous Jon said...

Your Grace - thoughtful and thought provoking as ever. I see a few separate issues here.

Firstly - there is the issue of a politician proclaiming one thing for his constituents and another for himself. This is a lesser issue for you, but I suspect for most of the country, it's the key one. Clegg's supposition that his kids and their value to him, somehow trumps the value others place on their kids is patronising. Why should his kids have a choice that he would readily deny to others? One can argue that he has taken a pragmatic decision for the good of his children (or as you point out, his marriage) but the fact that the school is Catholic is incidental to this issue.

His second argument about marrying into the Catholic church exposes him to a second line of attack - sending his children to a catholic school, in defiance of his apparent atheism. Here, you praise his ecumenicism, but for Nick Clegg, I imagine, the prayers and promises that he made at his wedding ceremony were directed not at an unseen creator in whom he has no interest, but towards his wife's conscience. Where you see a tolerance for diversity, I see more of a militant indifference. Nick Clegg probably sees about as much efficacy in the catholic ritual he married into or that his children will learn, as the letters they will write to Father Christmas in December - it's just irrelevant (but useful) nonsense and deception to him.

Ultimately, I suspect that the Church will find that it can counter aggressive atheism with an adherence to its precepts which will see it shrink in number but recover its moral authority with its remaining flock. Countering indifference is altogether harder, and may be beyond the abilities of a church which is neither modern nor traditional.

17 June 2011 at 14:14  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

We all want the best for our kids, no politician should want their children to turn out like them.

The choice is understandable.

17 June 2011 at 14:18  
Blogger MFH said...

Nick says My kids are more precious to me than anything else in the world.
Exactly the reason why we all want to send our Kids to the best schools, which are schools most sympathetic to our faith.
all we ask for is the same right

17 June 2011 at 14:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me (Dreadnaught) the philiosophical underpinnings for you rejecting abortion and assisted suicide?

Exactly what are the underpinnings for an atheist rejecting abortion and assisted suicide?
And while we are on the subject, what about free-will giving to those in need etc?
At least Nick Cleggs children will be getting a strong moral foundation, sadly lacking in much of our modern society.

17 June 2011 at 14:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well in Dread's absence I'll throw in a comment or two. As I'm atheist I'm not in the least 'keen' on assisted suicide, and killing babies is a complete no-no. However, I nonetheless support the concept of assisted suicide and of abortion in restricted circumstances. Hope that clears that up.

17 June 2011 at 15:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are atheists stupid? Do they not understand the question?

17 June 2011 at 15:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I've just noticed a comment about atheists giving to those in need from one of those anonymous numpties. Well, I regularly do work for charities and always have as an adult. Nought specifically to do with atheism, everything to do with empathy and sympathy. Hope that helps.

17 June 2011 at 15:39  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Mr J.
Perhaps I was alluding to the response of Jesus when cynically rejected, "Behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile". When I said I felt he was being open & honest. Only God knows the heart, & we are told not to judge are we not?.
Although I am not a supporter of the Church of Rome, or indeed any particular denomination, it will be interesting to see what, if anything transpires. Perhaps his
children will ask questions about faith that will make him think & 'see the light'.
I don't know. But my faith tells me that even the most lost sinner is worth a prayer, I expect great things from a great God & I have often been rewarded by seeing them.

17 June 2011 at 15:50  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Many, many years ago my wife and I were asked by friends to be God parents to their first child. They didn’t know that I was an atheist and were surprised when I declined. It turned out that they didn’t believe either and my wife (raised as a Catholic) was almost an atheist. What my friends wanted was a ceremony, a pretty venue and a bloke in a frock to say nice things.

Like many people they didn’t see this as a problem. I did, partly as I thought it hypocritical but also because it was insulting to the priest who presumably thought that they were signing this child up to his faith.

I was married in a Register Office and unlike Clegg I wouldn’t have agreed to my children going to a Catholic or Islamic school but I might at a pinch have agreed to a CofE school provided my disbelief was made clear to all concerned. In the event all my kids have gone to non-faith state schools that fortunately ignored all the so called religious requirements.

Clegg’s wife is Spanish and apparently insisted on their kids having Spanish Christian names so that leads me to the conclusion that on the domestic front at least Clegg has opted for the quiet life. Unlike Cranmer I don’t see Clegg’s acceptance of his son’s education being steeped in supernatural beliefs as fitting for a rationalist, atheist father. Add to that the fact that his boys will be taught to respect the Pope, a man who is without any moral authority and I would say that Clegg is simply and unprincipled hypocrite.

17 June 2011 at 16:51  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Preacher 15:50_ I would say "True", but in mindfulness of:

"At the beginning of Morning (and Evening) Prayer...." "Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us, in sundry places, to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloak them before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father..." "....We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done..." --Book of Common Prayer.

17 June 2011 at 17:00  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Catholics f=get a really good deal in this supposedly Protestant country. They select on religion and get a far better deal than Church of England which selects on "diversity" and ends up 90% Muslim in Inner Bradford.

Catholics truly are a self-selecting elite in the Comprehensive System especially in London where they have a Comprehensive for the Nomenklatura in the form of the very "private" Oratory School.

Some pigs are more equal than others.....

17 June 2011 at 20:12  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

DanJ0 said..I nonetheless support the concept of assisted suicide and of abortion in restricted circumstances.

I cannot conceive how the killing of innocent human life is ever justifiable. However, I would like to know the arguments you use, as an atheists, to justify the taking of innocent life in some circumstances but not in others.

17 June 2011 at 21:41  
Blogger len said...

Being an Atheist is not a' fixed position',unless one has a closed mind and preconceptions of what religion actually is.
Many Atheists have come to accept Christ.I speak from personal experience.
This is why the freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important.

17 June 2011 at 22:09  
Anonymous non mouse said...

My father professed atheism - probably sincerely, at the point when he denied Christening for my brother. Deo gratias Ma saw to it for me, during the war.

Pa valued education though, and ensured that mine was classic and so in the Christian tradition: first at Catholic schools, and then at grammar school (RI, they made it clear, was the law---and no mozzie or eu nonsense messed with that, in those days). Pa explained himself as we went along: he wanted me to learn different arguments, so that I could decide for myself.

Which is why I can't be doing with atheists today - I've heard the same limited (and limiting) guff for nigh on seven decades. And I wish I'd half a crown for every ineducable twit who's thought it his duty to "make me think."

I grew to suspect that a vein of faith underlay my father's philosophy. Prior to present company, I never knew anyone who could quote more English lit - including Cranmer's BCP. Once, when careless drivers ran him off the road, my mother laughed in delight that he said: "Forgive them, Lord..." Then, shortly before he died, I accused him of being an old fraud who was just testing us: and he didn't deny it.

The brother failed both Pa's test and the 11+, but he acquired some later education. Last time we spoke, he even suspected he had a conscience - so, while there's life... And I must agree that we're all works in progress: that, as God's children, we are here to develop and try our faith.

So yes, Your Grace. My prayers should even extend to include Cleggs kids - especially because they be both foreign and progeny of the Enemy.
And also because learning the hard way is exactly that.

17 June 2011 at 23:18  
Blogger Owl said...

I may have to review my opinion of Cleggy which currently is on a par with my opinion of the obnoxious Brown.

Clegg has decided that his children's education is more important than his own personal bias.

He sounds like a concerned father.

I wonder if he will now consider all the other concerned fathers who don't have this choice.

At the moment, only faith schools seem to be fighting for higher standards.

About time to reintroduce a few more CofE Grammar schools to equal things out.

17 June 2011 at 23:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Crux: "I cannot conceive how the killing of innocent human life is ever justifiable. However, I would like to know the arguments you use, as an atheists, to justify the taking of innocent life in some circumstances but not in others."

What circumstances but not others? I suppose you're wanting to equivocate between zygotes and babies, like D Singh, and hoping to pull us into that sort of shenanigans. Well, nice try, but no cigar.

I was minded at first to write that I couldn't think of any circumstances, other than self-defence, where taking a human life, innocent or not, is justifiable. Note the 'a' there. But there are circumstances of course:

Moral dilemmas

Get back to me with your answers, in particular the answer to dilemma 2.

I don't support capital punishment but some Christians here, including His Grace I think, support it. No doubt that's why you carefully put 'innocent' in your comments. I think supporting capital punishment in a stable, functioning society is quite evil really.

If people choose suicide then they effectively take their own life. If that suicide is assisted then I don't see that it, in principle, is changed by that. We own our life and take responsibility for it, though a religious person would perhaps disagree.

18 June 2011 at 06:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

By the way, I'm not anticipating a particular set of answers to those moral dilemmas. I suppose it could go different ways depending on one's reasoning and other things. It's the other things that are interesting in themselves.

For me there's some sort of moral 'intuition' going on. There's also likely to be a moral 'residue' after choosing one or other option in dilemma 2. Neither is a good outcome and I would have moral disquiet about either choice.

If correct moral reasoning always results in a right and a wrong answer then surely choosing the right answer would leave one morally satisfied. I'm not sure I would be and that tells me something about the nature of morality.

18 June 2011 at 06:23  
Anonymous Hilary Forsythe Jones said...

All those stories about Catholic girls are true.I have seen the downfall of many upstanding Anglicans in their clutches.

They have some sort of allure training in those convents to lure our Anglican men.

Tony Blair's mother on her death bed made him promise to never marry a Catholic and now we see the end result.He is about to become a Saint.

18 June 2011 at 09:28  
Blogger len said...

One thing I have learnt, and it has become very apparent to me recently, is that one cannot compromise with evil.
It is probably better to remain an Agnostic than to become identified with a false religion.
At least an Agnostic stands a chance of finding Christ but once sucked into a false religion,be it Catholicism or another, chances of escaping seem to be remote.

18 June 2011 at 12:08  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Hilary Forsythe Jones @ 0:28

As my old alma mater was within vaulting distance of the walls of a Convent School, I wholy concur with your appraisal! :o)

18 June 2011 at 16:09  
Anonymous Chris said...

'And who knows what miracles of salvation may result or political policy may be wrought as a consequence?'

You certainly have Hope Cranmer, I'll give you that.

18 June 2011 at 18:05  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

DanJ0 said...I nonetheless support the concept of ... abortion in restricted circumstances. Hope that clears that up.

DanJ0 also said... I suppose you're wanting to equivocate between zygotes and babies

Your statement and supposition implicitly contain the claim that the human zygote has no right to life. Yet you say that abortion should be restricted, which implies that, at some point, you belief that the foetus attains rights. In other words you believe that up to some arbitrary/imaginary point, the killing a foetus is OK and beyond this point it is murder. This is non science.

18 June 2011 at 20:10  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

Danj0: I am in full agreement with this article by Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York.

18 June 2011 at 20:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Crux: "Your statement and supposition implicitly contain the claim that the human zygote has no right to life."

It's not just a claim, it's a fact.

"In other words you believe that up to some arbitrary/imaginary point, the killing a foetus is OK and beyond this point it is murder."

No. You need to read up on the law with respect to abortion in the UK I think.

Actually, you might also want to read up about abortion law history, in particular the concept of 'the quickening' and where that idea came from.

"This is non science."

Correct. Morals and ethics are not the stuff of science, which is about 'is'. They're the stuff of values, which is about 'ought'. Hope that helps.

18 June 2011 at 20:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Danj0: I am in full agreement with this article by Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York."

It mentions Hitler so I stopped reading because it's surely crap if it needs to do that to make the argument. Also, being an archbishop isn't an indication of moral authority to me.

How are you getting on with the dilemmas? Any idea of an answer to #2 yet? Take your time, I appreciate it might be hard for some Christians if it's not explicitly covered in the Manual.

18 June 2011 at 20:53  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

DanJ0...Your keep avoiding the question. At what point in human development does it become "wrong"to kill? (I'm obviously not talking about the legal state of the zygote. This a straw man) You say that it is a fact that the zygote has no right to life but you do appear to believe a born baby does possess this right (Again, I am not talking about the appalling state of law in your country). In effect, you are either assuming the existence of a fictitious intermediate point at which human rights miraculously appear or adopting a gradualist approach, which, as is well known, can easily be used to justify infanticide.

It is unfortunate that you are so prejudiced against Catholics that you cannot be bothered even to read the article by Cardinal Eagan. The claim that he mentions Hitler is a weak excuse.

18 June 2011 at 22:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Crux: "DanJ0...Your keep avoiding the question."

No, I have argued that many, and enough, times with Catholics on this blog and I'm bored with it. I told you I had no tolerance for yet another debate inevitably to the same end but you persist.

"This a straw man."

No. You are the one who needs to make a reasoned case away from the status quo, I am the one whose views are supported in our society. Knock yourself out trying.

"In effect, you are either assuming the existence of a fictitious intermediate point at which human rights miraculously appear [...]"

They do not miraculously appear, they follow from our arguments. Human rights are essentially a human construct and are premised, amongst other things, on notions of equality. If this immediately produces a slippery slope argument to you then you don't need to share it with me as I've heard it all before many times and I have no tolerance for that misunderstanding either.

"[...] or adopting a gradualist approach, which, as is well known, can easily be used to justify infanticide."

That's bollocks. Infanticide is almost impossible to justify in our society.

"It is unfortunate that you are so prejudiced against Catholics that you cannot be bothered even to read the article by Cardinal Eagan. The claim that he mentions Hitler is a weak excuse."

I read most of it and it was essentially an emotional appeal based on physical appearance. In short, it failed as far as I'm concerned. I have no prejudice about Catholics over this. I understand the Sanctity of Life belief and I don't find it compelling. It's a religious belief, and I prefer reasoned argument. If you can't make a sensible argument yourself in your own words then spare me your appeals to authority

You may remember you did that to me once before with an enormous piece of text which I did actually read, which took ages, only to find it said nothing relevant because you couldn't get your head around the conceptual difference between a brain and a mind.

19 June 2011 at 06:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

So, the dilemmas. Any progress? Are you hoping they'll just go away so that you can concentrate on repeating the old Catholic belief of soul at conception thing disguised as a human-being-as-two-fused-gametes notion.

Well, when I say 'old' what I mean is 'fairly new' of course. Like the dilemma thing, you have swerved around that one. You know that Catholics used to argue that the soul (which I don't accept exists in terms of a spirit, of course) entered at the 'quickening', right? Argued by some of your popes, too.

19 June 2011 at 06:24  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

DanJ0 said... "Infanticide is almost impossible to justify in our society."

Your statement totally ignores the example I provided.
There is also the well known case of Barack Obama’s obstruction of the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Acts. As for euthanasia, please read the article 20 things you might not know about assisted suicide in Europe. However, since you are on record as saying "It mentions Hitler so I stopped reading because it's surely crap" it is unlikely that you will take time to read it —a rather self limiting behaviour.

DanJ0 said..."Human rights are essentially a human construct and are premised, amongst other things, on notions of equality. If this immediately produces a slippery slope argument to you then you don't need to share it with me as I've heard it all before many times and I have no tolerance for that misunderstanding either.""

If human rights are a human construct then the concept of equality is also a human construct. Your arguments are based upon a contradiction.

19 June 2011 at 12:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Crux, you are scraping the barrel with your crappy links. The example is just a partial transcript of some testimony. It says nothing of significance to me. Why would I be even interested in the Obama link? And the 20 things? Wtf? Should I be shocked at those? Look, if you're just going to post link after link from that crappy site then why bother 'arguing' at all?

19 June 2011 at 13:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"If human rights are a human construct then the concept of equality is also a human construct. Your arguments are based upon a contradiction."

Yes, the notion of equality is also a human construct. Of course it is. Your last sentence is a non sequitur as it stands.

19 June 2011 at 13:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I can't help noticing that you're completely ignoring THE DILEMMAS each time. They're giving you trouble, right? Also, you seem to be ignoring THE QUICKENING thing. Not great is it, your religion's shifting around of its arguments over time?

;)

19 June 2011 at 13:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Crux, I'm tempted to actually set out my stall about abortion in full but you seem quite incapable of actually presenting or sustaining a coherent argument of your own beyond posting largely irrelevant links. If you can't do that then what's the point in my doing so?

19 June 2011 at 13:29  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0,

If you never read or listen to arguments that you disagree with, how can you learn? This seems in contrast to the general atheist claim of being a rational truth seeker.

This socially acceptable nonsense reason for morality is called 'rationalisation'. It is a logical fallacy where you claim different motives for what you did to make them more acceptable if someone asks. The law is of course a big example of this. When many MPs were caught up in the 'expenses scandal', the most common reaction was "I wasn't breaking the law!" as if that somehow justifies their audacious claims.

It is interesting how this works, because it can even be used on a worldwide scale. Recently, Malta voted to legalise divorce (I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned here actually). The biggest motivating factor for the move was not any bleeding heart tales of woe, but that throughout the rest of Europe it is legal. Hindus in India were strict vegetarians until quite recently (last 100 years or so). Westernisation is blamed. "If Europeans eat meat, then why shouldn't we?" they ask. It is interesting how we are willing to knowingly commit immoral acts if everyone else is already doing it.

Euthanasia is becoming more acceptable because of its relentless promotion and soon it will probably be legalised. The medical profession is still pretty un-supportive of abortion (don't let the outrageously biased RCOG fool you) and is even less so of euthanasia. However, with recent (unsuccessful) moves to 'register' all conscientious objectors, how long before supporting these things is a requirement for the job? With the forced support of doctors we will have another authority through which to claim justification.

Even more interesting, once euthanasia is legalised, and the discredited Malthusians gain ever more support from the Government, how long before assisted suicide become mercy killing for the elderly? In 20 years will the next DanJ0 be arguing that society considers killing old people acceptable so Christians have no right to object? Just look to Switzerland for the answer. Recently they had a chance to change the law or tighten the regulations, yet despite the abuses they changed nothing.

19 June 2011 at 14:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester: "If you never read or listen to arguments that you disagree with, how can you learn? This seems in contrast to the general atheist claim of being a rational truth seeker."

But I do. I have already debated about abortion with this person and we got nowhere for the reasons I have already told him: I do not accept the Catholic religious position on this and that is insurmountable. I have already debated with you on this. I have already debated with Albert on this. I have probably raised points with other Catholics in smaller chunks too.

What our person here appears to want to do, despite my saying that there is no point, is to post almost random link after link from his personal, american-oriented, online scrapbook of abortion-related stories, anecdotes, and assorted snippets. Well, if he wants a foil to showcase that then I'm not it.

19 June 2011 at 14:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

One of the links is a snippet of testimony from a senator in what may be the American equivalent of a Select Committee. It's to do with an argument, probably well known in America given it's subject to law there, about partial birth abortion. In the absence of a context here, it's pointless to wave it around with a flourish. I can imagine a possible argument providing a context for a link like that and it doesn't actually touch my views. But the argument needs to be made first so that I can, in all likelihood, dismiss it as applying to some past American opponent who holds very different views to me.

19 June 2011 at 14:42  
Blogger D. Singh said...

A short note on the development of DanJO’s fascist tendency

DanJO stated:

Quoting, ‘Crux: "Your statement and supposition implicitly contain the claim that the human zygote has no right to life."’

And concluded:

‘It's not just a claim, it's a fact.’

Zygote def: the cell resulting from the union of an ovum and spermatozoon.

No living individual body can ‘become’ a person unless it already is a person (on this point at the zygote stage).

20 June 2011 at 09:04  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

DanJ0: "I suppose you're wanting to equivocate between zygotes and babies, like D Singh, and hoping to pull us
into that sort of shenanigans. Well, nice try, but no cigar."


Translation: I am aware that this leads to a contradiction so best not go in that direction.

Danj0: "Get back to me with your answers, in particular the answer to dilemma 2."

Translation: Answer my question first. (But don't expect me to answer yours).

Danj0: "I told you I had no tolerance for yet another debate inevitably to the same end but you persist."

Translation: Trolling a Christian site is tedious work. Best avoid certains topics.

DanJ0: "Human rights are essentially a human construct and are premised, amongst other things, on notions of equality. If this immediately produces a slippery slope argument to you then you don't need to share it with me as I've heard it all before many times and I have no tolerance for that misunderstanding either."

Translation: I cannot tolerate other people "constructing" ethical system which disagree with mine.

Danj0: " Your last sentence is a non sequitur as it stands."

Translation: He noticed that reasoning based on relativism admits contradictory ethical axiom systems.
Let's muddy the issue with a latinism.

DanJ0: "Crux, you are scraping the barrel with your crappy links. The example is just a partial transcript of some testimony. It says nothing of significance to me."

Translation: This transcript is an excellent example of how the discussion might go if Ientered into a debate on foetal development. Time for another ad hominem.

Danj0: "American-oriented"
Translation: Best steer people away by using the Tea Party as a straw man.

20 June 2011 at 13:09  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

No answers to the dilemmas I see! What are you struggling with? They're potentially very relevant and it takes almost no effort to answer them if you know your own moral reasoning. Your refusal is intriguing here. Bizarre even.

In the reverse direction, I told you at the start I was not willing to go through yet another explanation but you persist. We have already established long ago that I do not accept your religious beliefs underpinning the ethical status of a pair of fused gametes. If you want to make an argument for certain things then knock yourself out. I'm not going to be your foil so you can post link after link of American-oriented, well, 'stuff' in lieu of an argument.

At some point on this blog I will probably set out an argument in favour of allowing abortion in some circumstances but I need to set out a stall about what rights actually are as a construct first. They're not the simple things they appear to be in many anti-abortion arguments.

You're anticipating an argument based on your own assumptions and arguing against through the medium of tedious American-oriented links which I must read and then interpret the reason for posting them lest I be seen to be avoiding the debate you insist we have. Well, frankly, I cannae be arsed. I can be much more explicit and pithy about that if you feel another need to 'translate' those words into something else.

20 June 2011 at 14:10  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘I need to set out a stall about what rights actually are as a construct first.’

Will you please cease from quoting Nazi propagandists?

20 June 2011 at 14:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I forgot to point out the lack of a comment too about the 'quickening' and the Catholic church's past views on that with respect to the 'soul' entering the body. I bet that must chafe a bit to a Catholic anti-abortionist.

20 June 2011 at 19:02  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

"I bet that must chafe a bit to a Catholic anti-abortionist."

Not in the least.

20 June 2011 at 19:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well, well, one gets an answer of sorts when there's a link to be found and posted. I invite anyone reading this to look into it in a little more detail.

It's a pity about the lack of answers to the dilemmas on the BBC site, I suppose there's no Catholic-approved link to the answers and actually answering them risks exposing one's real world moral reasoning: the reasoning crucial to abortion debates of course.

20 June 2011 at 19:47  
Blogger Imogen said...

If you look how Clegg himself describes himself rather than the media picking up their views second hand you'll find out he describes himself as an "agnostic"

e.g. Independent, 2nd May 2010 "Mr Clegg once said he was an atheist, but has since insisted he is agnostic, and attempts to clear up the mystery. He says he is not a "frothing atheist" but a "questioning agnostic", adding: "It must be wonderful to have faith. My wife is religious; my children are. But it is not something that has ever visited itself on me. Maybe it will happen one day." Maybe Friday? Mr Clegg laughs. "Yes," he says. "

25 June 2011 at 18:33  

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