Monday, July 04, 2011

Johann Hari: conceit, deceit and the judgement of God

His Grace has no particular axe to grind or any desire to see it necessarily fall upon the neck of Johann Hari, who is (according to many) a highly talented journalist and perhaps a very worthy winner of numerous awards, including the prestigious Orwell Prize. His Grace has read a few of Mr Hari’s articles over the years, and swiftly concluded that, although he writes well, he often doesn’t have the foggiest idea what he’s talking about. Some of his work is forensic, much of it hysterical, while occasionally it is positively spiteful and offensive (eg here and here), especially when his targets have no means of riposte.

But ignorance and offence have never been impediments to literary prowess. So to the #Harigate furore.

There is undoubtedly a slight niggle concerning the rather unorthodox Hari interviewing style. It transpires that it has long been his custom to appropriate comments which his interviewees have said or written elsewhere, sometimes many years previously, and then pass them off as contemporary responses which he has himself elicited during his own ‘in-depth’, ‘intimate’ and ‘tell-all’ interview. Thus, if an interviewee told Mr Hari en passant that he was sick to the eye teeth of the pissing rain, Mr Hari would assiduously seek out from his subject’s 1985 book The Life of the Meerkat a paragraph on the weather, and that section of the ‘exclusive’ Independent interview would read:
He dropped his gaze and his fingers twitched. I could see he was troubled, but he managed to share with me, in the assurance of my security, that the weather was ‘dreary, dank and depressing, often to the point of suicide; always to the point of psychological adversity’. He spoke quickly and fluently, as though the precipitation had flooded his mind.
For those who are not familiar with Johann Hari’s writing, His Grace would like to make it clear that (as far as he is aware) Mr Hari has never actually written on anything as trivial as the weather: he writes on far more important issues like war, human rights, sexual ethics, religion, politics and the claims of Christianity. And he presents as his subject’s spontaneous outpourings words and phrases which have, in fact, been selectively ‘harvested’ from books, magazines, press releases and even from interviews carried out by others.

If that is not quite plagiarism, it is deception. It is certainly an unattributed appropriation of the work of others in order to convey the impression that one is a highly talented investigative journalist with a particular knack for trawling the depths of a person’s meaning and feeling.

The Hari approach has quite obvious implications for journalistic integrity, research authenticity and intellectual truth. For if Mr Hari were interviewing (say) the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2011 on the issue of homosexuality, he would not be averse to inserting into the finished article words which actually originate from the Archbishop’s 1986 writings whilst a lecturer at Oxford. The archbishop may talk openly now of ‘pastoral problems surrounding gay marriage’ and of the need for ‘reconciled diversity’. But this would not stop Hari from inserting: ‘Williams suggests that the principal objection to “gay marriage” is the emotional reaction to the term, which he equates with the feelings people initially had to the term “woman priest”.’ This sentence actually emanates from a book published 15 years ago, clearly quoting Dr Williams views prior to his appointment to the See of Canterbury. Opinions and views can change with the passing of time, and they may certainly legitimately do so with changes of office.

Or take a (highly unlikely) Hari encounter with Pope Benedict XVI. What would the world make of a 2011 interview in which His Holiness appeared to cast doubt on the resurrection of Christ? What if Hari, in questioning the Pope on the claims of Christianity, quoted him as saying: ‘The resurrection cannot be an historical event in the same sense as the crucifixion is... Christ is raised with His own body, but He did not return to an earthly life... (God) raises up an incorruptible body, a spiritual body.’

These are quotations from the Joseph Ratzinger’s 1968 book Introduction to Christianity. The full quotations may be deemed to constitute a denial of the historicity of the resurrection and conflict with the Roman Catholic Catechism. Are these apparently liberal views consistent with Catholic orthodoxy? They may certainly give credence to the non-literal ‘spiritual resurrection’ school of thought, which many believe to be a distinctly Anglican (lack of) faith issue. They are certainly not views which one might think would plague the mind of the Bishop of Rome, the universal guardian of Christian orthodoxy and moral truth.

Theologians can and do draw a distinction between their ‘official’ beliefs as bishops and their private beliefs as individuals. Of course, one may take the view that once a religious leader has to distinguish his private beliefs from his ‘official’ ones, his (or her) credibility is as shot as Johann Hari’s. But that is not the point: Hari’s approach to interviews makes no allowance at all for his subjects’ possible change of mind, and that makes his interviews nothing but a plagiarised rehash of an outdated truth.

Hari assures that he does not distort: the old words, he insists, reflect the subject’s view expressed during the interview. But, as anyone with research experience will tell you, that simply cannot be true. In academia, quantitative research must be replicable. Qualitative data, such as interviews, must be recorded in order that the transcription may be corroborated and the results replicated as far as possible by another. In Hari’s world, he reproduces only what he wants to hear. His justification for inventing a conversation is that his aim is to reveal ‘what the subject thinks in the most comprehensible possible words’ and to make sure that the reader ‘understood the point’. The redaction helps to express a ‘vital message’ in the ‘clearest possible words’. Brendan O’Neill rightly terms such an approach ‘the tyranny of the “good lie”’.

If one were to apply Hari’s method to crucial points in the development of Christian orthodoxy, the danger of his ‘tyrannical’ manipulation becomes evident. If he had been interviewing (say) the Bishop of Antioch at the Council of Nicea in 325, he may well have heard his subject refer to 'homoousios’ (ηομοουσιος), meaning ‘of the same substance’. However, to express a more ‘vital message’ in the ‘clearest possible words’, drawing from the Bishop’s writing just a year before, Hari may well have inserted ‘homoiousios’ (ηομοιουσιος) into his ‘in-depth’ interview, the term used by those who believed Christ to be ‘of a similar substance’ to the Father. Hari would patronisingly have judged that his readers wouldn’t grasp that one could be simultaneously both man and God, so ‘similar substance’ would make sure they ‘understood the point’.

These two words are separated literally by just one iota. As the nature of Christ’s humanity and divinity was thrashed out between the Arians, Monophysites, Nestorians, Ebionites Apollinarians and Docetists, Hari’s choice of a single word with a single extra letter could have changed the foundation of Christian doctrine and the entire course of theological history. There is no reason why he would have been aware of this: he is not a theologian.

But neither is he an expert on human rights, sexual ethics, politics or philosophy, in which disciplines and discourses the inclusion or exclusion of a single word can have profound consequences. Hari explains that his ‘interviews are intellectual portraits (which) explain how a person thinks’. But by putting into the contemporary mouth of his subject a word from the past, another country, he creates his own truth from a distorted reality which happens conveniently to coincide with his own personal mission. This is not an ‘intellectual portrait’ which explains how his subject thinks: it is fabrication and deceit emanating from arrogance and conceit, showing us nothing but what Hari himself thinks.

There is a temptation to allow the #Harigate debacle to descend into a left-right spat. Hari’s (former) editor at The Independent, Simon Kelner, says the attack on his star journalist is ‘politically motivated’ and ‘fabricated anger’. Certainly, those who have leapt to his defence include the leftist likes of Polly Toynbee, Caitlin Moran, Laurie Penny and Naomi Klein. But the condemnation has come not only from the right: Guy Walters at The New Statesman has been meticulously objective and utterly professional about the matter: to him, this is a question of journalistic integrity (see here and here).

Having dealt with Hari’s deceit and conceit, you may be wondering why His Grace included in his title ‘the judgement of God’.

Well, a few months back, His Grace wrote a brief post on Ann Widdecombe’s interview of Hari, during which Hari said:
1) 'The factual claims Christianity makes have been proven to be false.'

2) 'The nasty dogmas that lead people to discriminate against gay people or treat women badly because God commanded it...will wither.'
To which His Grace responded:
1) If a fact has been proven to be false, it was not a fact in the first place. Which factual claims made by Christianity have been proven to be false?

2) How is it possible to belong to a religion (any religion) without discriminating against those who do not belong? Is that not freedom of association? Are traditional Christian beliefs and the teachings of the Church now to be subject to an illiberal and intolerant creed of equality and rights? The nasty dogmata that lead people to discriminate against Christians are incompatible with liberalism, liberty and tolerance. And where, pray, do the commands of God or the teachings of the Church encourage people to treat women badly? As far as His Grace can see, men are instructed to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Eph 5:25).
His Grace received no response from Mr Hari. Instead, Mr Hari simply blocked His Grace from following him on Twitter, which seemed an absurdly childish thing to do. There was nothing rude, offensive or ad hominem in His Grace’s post; simply a few polite if pointed questions. And Mr Hari has some 66,000 Twitter followers, so he is hardly discerning or particularly selective about those who may follow him. But His Grace is barred. Why? Because he dared to challenge the fabricated truth.

Hari said: "The factual claims Christianity makes have been proven to be false." He did not say he believes them to be false, but that they have been proven to be false.

Come on, Johann. His Grace is waiting. If you send him the proof and it is indeed proof and not simply your subjectively justified, true belief, His Grace will shut down his blog. He can’t say fairer than that.

69 Comments:

Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I've no axe to grind here. Never read anything of Hari's ... nor do I intend to. Don't want to be to hasty in my judgements, but based on the opinions of those I trust 7 respect, he sounds like a bit of a self-important prat.

I'm just intrigued as to why it took such a long time for his deception to be uncovered. Did none of the interview subjects ever flag up concerns?

4 July 2011 at 11:14  
Anonymous Charlie said...

The last week has been one of limitless joy as Hari, the standard bearer for the next generation of Toynbees, has been comprehensively exposed and destroyed. Fantastic.

4 July 2011 at 11:23  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

It’s odd that Hari acted as he did when a straightforward attribution of quoted material would have left everyone happy. Perhaps his imagination got the better of him; it certainly did in this piece he wrote for The Guardian, in which our intrepid reporter bluffs his way into Finsbury Park mosque, joins in the prayers and seduces a member of the congregation.

4 July 2011 at 11:41  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Hari is as bad as our Mr Davis.

'"The factual claims Christianity makes have been proven to be false." He did not say he believes them to be false, but that they have been proven to be false.'

4 July 2011 at 11:42  
Anonymous De Civitas said...

Your Grace,

I have to admit that I have always thought of Hari as a self-serving prick - he makes financial gain by both writing comment pieces as populist and subjective as any tabloid columnist (who at least are honest about it) and on the other posing as a serious journalist who writes 'intellectual portraits' on a selection of world figures.

However, at least some of this comes with the journalistic territory - journalists can never be experts, they simply don't have the time to gain a reasoned understanding of a single subject. Furthermore the aim is, at the end of the day, to produce copy that is an easy read and helps sell papers. While journalists rarely tell outright falsehoods there are many different 'truths' that can be told.

This is also not a problem as long as those writing don't lay claim to an intellectual credibility that they do not have. Hari's argument seems to be that "I have read books, therefore I a cut above other interviewers" that doesn't make him a great mind, just somebody with basic literacy skills.

The point you make about the changing of messages over time (an argument which might also be theologically made by some with reference to the epistles of Paul [though you may disagree])is one that if often ignored by the press, as is that of fine and often complex distinctions. One needs only talk to a person with a baseline higher education in a scientific field to get a feeling for how few journalists understand anything about scientific stories.

Unfortunately those who actually work in the fields that are reported on have to get used to misrepresentation of thoughts and findings - but all of this is fine if the journalists just come clean - not offering prissy self-righteous defence statements and trying to claim a higher intellectual ground that they simply do not occupy.

4 July 2011 at 11:43  
Blogger Matt Wardman said...

An excellent piece, raising points so far neglected.

4 July 2011 at 11:52  
Anonymous Paleo said...

Anyone that wears a 1970's Dave Spart Leather Jacket with tie, deserves all he gets...

4 July 2011 at 11:54  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

JR The link you provide made for unsavoury reading. The bit where he alludes to giving other men a 'jolly good seeing to', disgusts me.

Why are Gay people in vogue at the Guardian and the BBC and therefore shoved in our faces, is it to deliberately antagonise?

Another thing, why are most of these antagonistic Gays batting from the left. Perhaps if they were of a more right leaning political make up, they wouldn't force themselves upon the sensibilities of those that would rather not see us go down that road. It seems the left/Liberals agenda is to shove controversial agendas in our faces and when we object to shout and scream abuse and demand the law intervenes.

DanJo, if you are there, I don't want a debate OK :) I am just getting it of my chest.

4 July 2011 at 12:27  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, you've put a picture of Harry Potter on this post?

4 July 2011 at 12:29  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Hari has been exposed as a disingenuous, lazy 'journalist' outed by the very cyber system he used to produce 'work' while lying in bed.

I think he has done us all an inadvertent favour by alerting us to re-visit the old adage 'don't believe all you read in the papers'

Ha-Ha-Hari he may be for now, but he won't be the first or last to delete a posted comment or threaten to 'ban' someone from his cyber-site or column - don't be too put out by being blocked by Johan Hari YG - nothing personal I'm sure - it would appear that according to him at least, many may have found the experience quite enjoyable.

4 July 2011 at 12:31  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Mr Hari seems to be quite creative: in the art of comical spoof (the articles complained of), and in the art of lampoon (his apologia).

But it seems his readers failed to see the joke. Not surprising. Bad journalism.

As to his deserts, perhaps his friends could make a collection to send him as a comic turn to the Hay Festival, or Edinburgh Fringe, or Welsh Eisteddfod, or anywhere... (better mention that this is a conscious reference to Balham, Gateway to the South: P.Sellers, in case there are any too young to have heard of this classic).

btw_ To liken that journalist to Mr Graham Davis who comments at this blogsite would in my view be something like a category mistake, and unfair to the latter.

4 July 2011 at 12:33  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Maturecheese (12:27)—Gays eventually see sense:

❛More and more Western Europeans, recognizing the threat to their safety and way of life, have turned their backs on the establishment, which has done little or nothing to address these problems, and begun voting for parties—some relatively new, and all considered right-wing—that have dared to speak up about them. One measure of the dimensions of this shift: owing to the rise in gay-bashings by Muslim youths, Dutch gays—who ten years ago constituted a reliable left-wing voting bloc—now support conservative parties by a nearly two-to-one margin.❜—Heirs to Fortuyn?

4 July 2011 at 13:44  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Terrific link JR - thanks.

4 July 2011 at 14:00  
Anonymous Mark said...

It can't be that enjoyable in Johann Hari's world. Hating so much, and loving so little.

4 July 2011 at 14:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 Peter 3:7 - "...giving honour unto your wife...;that your prayers not be hindered."

i.e. if your don't honour and love your wife God will not listen to your prayers...

"Treat woman badly" pfff

4 July 2011 at 14:30  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Mr Cranmer, you know how to go for it - respect sir!

Sounds like the guy should be writing fiction and using historical characters to get his points across. At least this would be legitimate and honourable.

4 July 2011 at 14:44  
Blogger English Viking said...

Is it obligatory to be a brown-hatter to get a job at The Independent?

4 July 2011 at 15:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hari: So Mr Churchill you hate communism?

Churchill: Yes.

Hari writing in The Independent: ‘Of course Churchill revealed his true views on communism by aligning with Stalin against Hitler. Action speak louder than words.’

4 July 2011 at 15:14  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Of course Churchill hated communism. The decision to align with the Soviets was one based on pure pragmatism.

4 July 2011 at 15:34  
Anonymous IanCad said...

D. Singh:

"based on pure pragmatism"

Absolutely, as this Churchill quote illustrates:

"If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

4 July 2011 at 16:26  
Anonymous Oswin said...

What a world! We are discussing here the fatuous bletherings of a smarmy fat boy, self-confessed 'shagger' of those he purports to despise. (Thanks Johnny R.) A whore by proxy, as it were, paid not (?) by his aberrant sexual partners, but by the rag that prints his filth.

Are we then surprised that his researches are neither intellectually honest, nor journalistically sound?

Mr.Singh: How you can compare our Mr. Davis, with this blanched slug of a man, is beyond me. (apologies to gastropod molluscs everywhere!)

4 July 2011 at 17:31  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

" .... the Bishop of Rome, the universal guardian of Christian orthodoxy and moral truth."

Is this the genuine view of His Grace Archbishop Cranmer (2011) or inappropriate irony?

4 July 2011 at 17:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naughty, devious boy Hari and a putz !

4 July 2011 at 18:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

111-86=25.

4 July 2011 at 18:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be defended by the Toynbees of this world is as clear an indication of falsehood as will ever be seen.

4 July 2011 at 20:05  
Anonymous non mouse said...

"Our Mr Davis" - --- Oh, I see! That must be the little boy with the big stick who perpetually plays 'disturbing the anthill' round here! How charmingly inclusive and Christian of you all!

Not that he wants to be included among Christians, of course. In fact, I thought he might be posting here to practice his writing skills - which seem to have improved slightly since he started. In that respect, though, I still take Mr. Singh's comparison as aptly insulting to Hari.

In my idler moments, btw, I speculate as to whether gd's parent organisation isn't behind one of the takeover bids HG mentioned.

PS. Harrogate's a dear place: pity about the homonym....

4 July 2011 at 20:10  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

"...apologies to gastropod molluscs everywhere!" (Oswin)

And quite so, sir! A good thing it is that Pixie, Tiger, Thumbelina and Nuisance, my daughter's pet garden snails, can't see my laptop and read of your shocking gastropodophobiac biggotry from their terrarium (time to clean its walls, I guess, and again, it'll be Daddy's "turn").

Mind you, as is often the case with humans, the actual genetic affinity between molluscs probably does little to secure fraternal solidarity. Superficial appearances, as such minor physiological adaptations such as the absemce or presence of a shell may be, are still thicker than blood...or slime.

4 July 2011 at 20:36  
Anonymous Petronius said...

Perhaps it is just the mood I happen to be in right now, YG, but I have a certain amount of sympathy for Mr Hari's (admittedly wrongly phrased) position re matters of faith.
I think that atheists/agnostics have a perfect right to ask us 'God-botherers' for some kind of proof of God's existence. Indeed, as God is not observable as a concrete entity in the normal realm of day-to-day existence, they have more right to ask us to prove our faith, than we have to answer them with "No, you prove God doesn't exist". The onus of proof is more upon us than upon them, or so I am inclined to think.

YG included an interesting quote from Benedict in this post, and (while I know it wasn't the main subject of the post and I hesitate to mention it, lest we get dragged into an off-topic theological debate once again), I assume that by including it, YG invites comments on it. Two verses from scripture came to mind in that context: Christ saying to Thomas "Put your hand into my side and see for yourself: No ghost has flesh and blood, as you see I have" - this indicates that Christ's resurrection was indeed bodily, the very same body which had suffered death a few days previously. In that sense, His bodily life did continue. Yet also, we read "the disciples were at prayer, and all the doors were locked, yet Christ came and stood among them" - this indicates that in another sense, His resurrected life was not the same as his pre-resurrection life. So the resurrection was an actual, flesh and blood event, yet in another sense it was more than that. Perhaps that was sort of what B. was getting at? (I'm not claiming to know, it's just what came to my mind).

4 July 2011 at 21:10  
Blogger len said...

Mr Hari,

'The factual claims Christianity makes have been proven to be false.'
And the evidence to back up this statement? (Well we won`t talk about that will we.)
THEN.... we come to the reason for this statement 'The nasty dogmas that lead people to discriminate against gays'.

This style of writing by Mr Hari is intended to provoke and whip up an emotional response but shows a very shallow approach to an important subject.
(Now wonder Mr Hari he doesn`t want to discuss this further because he has a 'hit and run' style of journalism.

4 July 2011 at 21:27  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Petronius - interesting perspective on who owes what explanations to whom!

Yet isn't "God-botherers" a misnomer, when applied to Christians? Are not deniers the "botherers"? - from an earthly perspective, of course: which is all we consciously know.

At the same time, methinks, we cannot explain ourselves to deniers: because they claim to see only physical matter; they ignore limitations of the five senses; and they deny any infusion of 'spirit' or 'gast' (breath of life) anywhere. Whereas we have long recognised that God so infuses His Creation, the existence of which provides all the material evidence we need.

We also recognise the presence of that infusion within ourselves, but deniers limit their minds-eyes, as if to encase them in little boxes scrunched up in steel traps. That's what we used to call being "inly blind."

Nevertheless... their aggressive misuse of the Word is surely a sign of truth-logos-seeking. They manifest the phenomenon that doubt from within diffuses through cracks in a mental edifice. For example, I wonder how many of them have never involuntarily uttered words to the effect of: "God help me [you]!" Which is, indeed, what Christ did when He appeared to His followers in that sealed room.

So Hari attacks our culture from within: on behalf of Anti-Christ, the mirror image of Christ. Perhaps this boy is just another child of foreigners: transplanted and cultivated for that purpose [At Harrow-on-the-Hill and Cambridge, according to Wikipedia--umm, expensive places for a bus driver's son]. But subverters can only destroy what they seek to take over: they can create only in their own arid image - that is all they know.

So I understand that we should pray for the Enemy: ask that he will open his eyes to the Light.

4 July 2011 at 22:49  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Petronius, len, non mouse__

Cardinal Ratzinger's lecture of 27th January 1988 at Saint Peter's Church NY on "Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: the Question of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today" has much which is useful about the way for understanding the Bible as a document of truth.

For those who oppose, reject or dissent from the papal claim to "magisterium", the conclusion is flawed by the words "faith in the Church" which in the context must mean subjection to that "magisterium", but if that is excepted many who do take the Bible as a document of truth would be able to agree with much of it.

The last sentences of the final paragraph reads: "The first presupposition of all exegesis is that it accepts the Bible as a book. In so doing, it has already chosen a place for itself which does not simply follow from the study of literature. It has identified this particular literature as the product of a coherent history, and this history as the proper space for coming to understanding. If it wishes to be theology, it must take a further step. It must recognize that the faith of the Church is that form of 'sympathia' without which the Bible remains a closed book. It must come to acknowledge this faith as a hermeneutic, the space for understanding, which does not do dogmatic violence to the Bible, but precisely allows the solitary possibility for the Bible to be itself."

4 July 2011 at 23:45  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Petronios

Josepth Ratzinger's theological writings on the Resurrection of Christ, both as Cardinal and Pope, are a source of some controversy within the Roman Catholic Church. However, the ideas expressed are his own and carry no doctrinal authority. Of course they will attract wide readership and discussion and carry some weight. However if they were shown to be demonstrably heretical (according to the Roman Catholic definition) then this would have to be addressed by the Church.

I'm sure a similar position exists within the Anglican Church. Presumably not all of Rowan Williams views on gay marriages or womenn priests are accepted as authoritative within that Church because they have been made by their most senior figure. Again if too wide a gap existed and his opinions went beyond the acceptable, the Anglican Church will have a way of dealing with that.

I guess the main reason for raising them is that they are both complex and sensitive issues within the respective Churches and, as such, any reporting of them and attributably quotes have to be honestly presented.

5 July 2011 at 00:38  
Blogger English Viking said...

Dodo,

How may times do I have to tell you?

Popeyness is very, very dirty.

Ughhhh!

PS Seig Heil to papa for me when you kiss his ring, won't you?

5 July 2011 at 01:23  
Anonymous Sydneysider said...

Dodo, this is another and probably the most grave example of hypocrisy
in the Church;that your elected Pope could make an heretical statement about the corner stone of Christianty ( the resurrection)
and still be elected as Pontiff is scandalous.

Ratzinger has espoused the Anglican interpretation of the resurrection.I am not arguing the correctness of it. I am stating that it is heretical according to Roman Catholic theology. The integrity of your shepherd
is questionable . The flock is required to sing a different tune to the shepherd.

5 July 2011 at 04:26  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, you do not need a many worded post to sum up Hari. All you need is one word:

FRAUD

5 July 2011 at 06:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the Ratzinger quotation from a German original, by any chance? It would be important to know whether he says 'geschichtlich' or 'historisch' as both can be translated into English as 'historical' but have rather different meanings in the context of academic German New Testament studies. I suspect that all Ratzinger meant to imply was that the resurrection (unlike the crucifixion) was not an event that could be proved or investigated using the critical scientific tools of the historian, not to propose a 'spiritual resurrection' view.

5 July 2011 at 07:38  
Blogger prziloczek said...

Why the ETA in front of homoousios?
You repeated it for Homoiousios.
Couldn't you find the aspirate?

5 July 2011 at 07:52  
Blogger len said...

The greatest danger to Christianity is not those who attack it from without but those who have got' inside Christianity' and subverted it.
Islam is so 'far off'truth and reason as not to be a threat to Christianity.
Catholicism is different for it has taken the truth and mixed it with error and this is the 'mixture'which God abhors.
Catholicism take the worship of Mithras and substitutes Mithras for Yeshua in its version of 'Christianity'.
The dates and times and festivals of God have been changed to those of Mithras.
This ws all done by Constantine to accomodate the pagan worshippers of Mithras of which Constantine was one.Constantine in an attempt to unite his crumbling Empire mixed Christianity with a pagan religion.
Those who attack Christianity from without can be easily dealt with but those within have all but destroyed it.
The are several excellent articles which deal with this.
Alexander Hislop 'The two Babylons.
Dave Hunt'A Woman Rides the Beast'.
I am often accused of causing division but can Evangelicals and Catholics unite?

Dave Hunt also shows why the new declaration titled Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium cannot possibly work. In addition to pointing out the theological differences between Catholic and Protestant beliefs, Hunt offers proof that the Roman Catholic church is involved in the Antichrist's future empire, making it impossible for the two sides to work together.

5 July 2011 at 08:01  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"who owes what explanations to whom"

Simon Peter was a denier for a while, Thomas for a little longer, Saul-Paul another kind of denier.

The question goes further than exegetical - theological - confessional cavillings, which make not a jot of difference outside the range of church government or scholasticism(important as they may be within their limitations).

Cardinal Ratzinger's (above-mentioned) lecture of 27th January 1988 on "Biblical Interpretation" begins:

"In Wladimir Solowjew's History of the Antichrist, the eschatological enemy of the Redeemer recommended himself to believers, among other things, by the fact that he had earned his doctorate in theology at Tübingen and had written an exegetical work which was recognized as pioneering in the field. The Antichrist, a famous exegete! With this paradox Solowjew sought to shed light on the ambivalence inherent in biblical exegetical methodology for almost a hundred years now."

The whole lecture is skilfully argued and presented, beguiling even, but in its end is its beginning: the traditional claim to papal supremacy.

Not too surprising when recalling his appointment in November 1981 (by Pope John Paul II) as Prefect of the "Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" formerly known as the "Sacred Congregaton of the Holy Office" (the historical Inquisition).

5 July 2011 at 08:28  
Anonymous Paleo said...

I do wish you Latin and Protestant heretics would stop bickering.

5 July 2011 at 08:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Missing Key: the Life of Christ. The missing clue is the special time of the life of Jesus Christ, the true King. As might be expected, the Messiah, Jesus who came to earth during these 7-Times, has put His imprint upon the course of these Times.
He was here for almost 34 years (rounding up). Because of the presence of the King of Kings, these 34 years could not be counted as part of the Times of Gentile control. Thus God had to suspend His counting of these Times. Thus they must end over a 19 year period of time, 34 years later than the original calculation.

*Adding 34 years to 1914 (the start of nation-shaking)
takes us to 1948 - the rebirth of the nation of Israel!

*Adding 34 years to 1933
takes us to 1967 - the recapture of Jerusalem,

This signalled and signified the end of the Times of the Gentiles (according to Luke 21:24). As 34 years measured the time from His conception/birth to His fullness, so the ending of these periods (in 1948 and 1967) saw the full manifestation of that which had their spiritual beginnings at the start of these periods (1914 and 1933).

5 July 2011 at 08:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“highly talented journalist”

An oxymoron, surely?

5 July 2011 at 09:01  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr J - "My eyes are dim, I cannot see; [unlike Hari] I have not brought my specs with me..." In any case, the opacity of franco-german commentary is usually impenetrable.

Nevertheless, the samples you provide present a cast-iron clarity that Hari must presently envy. The idea of RC faith as a feeling or emotion shared by many is, admittedly, “roman(tic)” enough. The concept of faith as a hermeneutic might justify explication in a series of sermons to the plebs.

However, Ratzinger’s “solitary possibility for the Bible to be itself” demands unequivocal acquiescence of every theologian. It also leaves no scope for response by any individual, or even for translation of The Book into vernaculars!

One may even begin to suspect this man’s “form of ‘sympathia’” with the euSSR. I'd like to hope his view has modified, over this 23 years... since he became infallible.

5 July 2011 at 10:31  
Anonymous MrJ said...

non mouse 10:31_

Perhaps not so black-and-white, either/or-ish as I read your comment.

Cardinal Ratzinger's "Homily at John Paul II's Funeral Mass" (accessible on line at The Ratzinger Archives) included this:

"...the great intellectual endeavor of striving to understand and interpret the mystery of that creature which is man and of communicating to today's world the Christian interpretation of our being..."

For those who might be willing to assent to that as a common (epistemological) endeavour, it remains limited in his case to the presuppositions of the Church of Rome as papally defined, and seems a paradox or self-contradiction, and a misappropriation of the very meaning and purpose of what the Bible speaks of to those who hear it.

In the lecture quoted above he mentioned "Wladimir Solowjew's History of the Antichrist". Conversely, does not there come to mind Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor?

And interesting to note that Joseph Ratzinger was among the "eminent students" of the University of Tübingen, which is reputed to have a history of innovative thought in theology, including that of Melanchthon. Others: Kepler; Hölderlin, Schelling, Hegel.

5 July 2011 at 12:50  
Anonymous Grand Inquisitor said...

I see many heretical posts here, not least from the likes of super christian len. Oh, how wrong he is on this matter- the whore of babylon is in fact the protestant churches of the likes he belongs to, if only he would seek salvation through the christ and come to the one true church!

5 July 2011 at 13:37  
Anonymous MrJ said...

O Grand Inquisitor, and church government enforcer: who has been so righteous as to call him or her or another or them or those "heretic"? And is that with the implication of excommunication or deprivation or other earthly penalty? And if so, by what judicial process and by whose authority?

Why was the Maid of Orleans "beatified"?

Has Dogmatics any purpose but to further church government by intimidation?

5 July 2011 at 14:48  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Bravo Mr.J!

5 July 2011 at 15:54  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Sigh. Forget my hope of "middle ground," then. I'll just have to keep on being heretic;
Hate to get lumped together with Hari, though.

Still, the situation's short-term. By my philosophy God's Epistemology is no man's. And it's definitely not Papa Rat's - for

...His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth lie the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptred sway.
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God Himself. (Merchant of Venice IV.1 189-94).

5 July 2011 at 16:19  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

You're all guilty of selectively quoting Ratzinger according to your own intentions.

I have read 'Jesus of Nazareth' and frankly cannot understand many sections and the christology it develops. It's complicated like its subject matter requiring meditation and reference to scripture and yet still within Roman Catholic orthodoxy - I think!

Good job Papal infallibility only applies 'ex cathedra' and at Church Councils not to theological essays or Catholics might get confused.

5 July 2011 at 16:42  
Anonymous Billy, Evangelical Preacher said...

Len ,brother in the risen Lord. You seem to worry about matters regarding our brother Christians in the Roman Catholic Church. But have no fear,I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right.

5 July 2011 at 19:00  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

"Sigh. Forget my hope of "middle ground," then. I'll just have to keep on being heretic;
Hate to get lumped together with Hari, though."

No-Mouse; I second that "Sigh", but God is greater than Len or anyone else on this blog. A fact which keeps me going in my personal journey of faith with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

5 July 2011 at 19:03  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Johann needs to repent and kneel before the Lord Jesus for his many sins, the latest of which is this apparent scandal in his journalism [just like any sinner- i.e. all 6 billion plus of the human race, plus any of the so-called 'aliens' which like to say outrageous things about me, but that is why Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah-The Christ in Greek- hung on a cross 2,000 years ago] and ask for forgiveness.

We can of course get side tracked by the discourse of Len, who I believe could be another Apostle for Jesus, but with regret, seems more concerned with trashing fellow Christians than proclaming the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see above).

5 July 2011 at 19:10  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

PS- The grand inquisitor is equally incorrect in his/her (probably his) views. The only way to God and therefore heaven is to believe in Jesus Christ through faith.

5 July 2011 at 19:12  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Mr J are you talking with yourself above (again)?

Tell me, do you believe heresy exists? If it does, can heresy lead one into error and risk one's eternal salvation?

The Roman Catholic Church requires internal consent to its dogma and doctrines. To reject these places oneself in a position of being out of communion with the Church.

Intimidation or a call to follow Christ and His Church in order to achieve eternal salvation through faith in Him? Don't worry there's no physical threat nowadays and you won't be tortured or burnt at the stake.

5 July 2011 at 20:55  
Anonymous MrJ said...

MrJ notes another misreading at 20:55, does not consider it deserves a reply, but invites any other commenters to reply as they see fit.

5 July 2011 at 22:08  
Anonymous Grand Inquisitor said...

MrJ rightly asked

"O Grand Inquisitor, and church government enforcer: who has been so righteous as to call him or her or another or them or those "heretic"?"

I SPEAK WITH THE AUTHORITY OF THE ONE TRUE CATHOLIC CHURCH. PETER WAS THE ROCK UPON WHICH THE CHURCH WAS BUILT AND THEREFORE OUR AUTHORITY COMES FROM JESUS CHRIST. NOTE- TO DISAGREE WITH ME IS TO DISAGREE WITH HIM.

MrJ also asked:

"And is that with the implication of excommunication or deprivation or other earthly penalty? "

YES EXCOMMUNICATION IS THE ULTIMATE
EARTHLY PENALTY (FOR THOSE WHO NO NOT CHRIST'S CHURCH WILL NOT KNOW CHRIST). HOWEVER, I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THAT A SIMPLE BURNING AT THE STAKE WILL SURFICE. (THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS GETTING FAR TOO LIBERAL IN MY VIEW).

AND THEN

"And if so, by what judicial process and by whose authority?"

THE JUDICAL PROCESS OF THE SUPREME CHURCH OF GOD. BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THEREFORE BY GOD HIMSELF.

OTHER QUESTIONS :
Why was the Maid of Orleans "beatified"?

BECAUSE THE HOLY GHOST, VIA THE WILL OF THE MAJESTERIUM WILLS IT SO.

and again MrJ asks :

"Has Dogmatics any purpose but to further church government by intimidation?"

THE WILL OF GOD IS THE WILL OF THE CHURCH. THERFORE THE DOGAMA OF THE CHURCH MUST BE MAINTAINED. THERE IS NO INTIMIDATION IN THE CHURCH... BUT SIMPLY PUT THOSE WHO DO NOT FOLLOW THE CHURCH TEACHINGS AND DOGMA WILL NOT GO TO THE ETERNAL HEAVEN.

PS-Thank you, Cranmer for not deleting this post .MrJ asked. And I replied to him as a good catholic man. You might disagree. But this is the Catholic truth.

Thanks. Have a nice day!

5 July 2011 at 22:37  
Anonymous Dodo's Drinking Irish catholic friend said...

"MrJ notes another misreading at 20:55, does not consider it deserves a reply, but invites any other commenters to reply as they see fit."

You must turn to the Church or be forever condemmed!

5 July 2011 at 22:41  
Anonymous Billy,Evangelical Preacher said...

This uniqueness of Christianity is rooted in the uniqueness of Jesus
Himself.Someone once noted that other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to find truth,” but Jesus says, “I am the truth.”

Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you the way to salvation,” but
Jesus says, “I am the way to eternal life.”

Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to become enlightened,”
but Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.”

Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you many doors that lead to God,”
but Jesus says, “I am the door.” Then, Jesus says, “So follow Me.”

Do you see the difference? For a long time people have tried to harmonize the various
religions of the world, but there are drastic and irreconcilable differences between
Christianity and other belief systems.

5 July 2011 at 23:11  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Wickedness, simple wickedness.

To emphasis the fearful side of Catholicism and the Magisterium of the Church at the expense of it's loving and pastoral role as shephard. To emphasis it's threat of eternal damnation at the expense of it's message of hope in Jesus.

The essence of Catholicism, to me, is accepting Christ and letting His Spirit fill one's life. He appointed a Church as His body on earth and invested it with His authority. Loving Christ and following Him is not contradicted by loving and following the Church.

The yoke of the Catholic Church is no harder than accepting the yoke of Christianity. It is not a 'faith by works' or a blind following of rules and regulations, of submitting to unbiblical doctrines, it is a submission to Christ and to His representatives on earth.

Individual priests, bishops, cardinals and popes will for their own perverse reasons betray Christ and His Church. There will also be great leaders, saints and theologians.

However, the Holy Spirit will guard and guide the Church. Christ will protect His Church. God keeps His promises.

5 July 2011 at 23:19  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Billy,_

That is so. And because he said such things the Temple authorities plotted and found one of the disciples to hand him over so that they could use false witness to be allowed to put him to death. But he had taken care to prepare the disciples for what happened in the weeks following, and they began to grow in understanding.

5 July 2011 at 23:46  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Mr J and Billy the Preacher

We can all agree on your most recent posts.

6 July 2011 at 00:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I was late to the party, I read up on Mr Hari to understand the accusation. I'll leave the serious religious matters to those who can argue their points but proof to me that he "doesn’t have the foggiest idea what he’s talking about", in one of his recent blog posts he claims that he visited, with a group of British tourists, Tiffany's, describing its location on Wall Street! Seriously, if he doesn't know the difference between Fifth Avenue and Wall Street we can't rely on a word he says. And he called Katz's Deli, Katz's Delhi, is that a joke I'm not getting?

6 July 2011 at 00:42  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Good choice of word ..."submission"
Dodo.

That about sums up Catholicism.
Submit and yield regardless.Grind under the yolk with a grin and make the best of it.

6 July 2011 at 04:58  
Anonymous Patrick said...

'yoke' i.e.

6 July 2011 at 05:09  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Patrick

You missed the point .... there is no "grinding" involved. The load is light!

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Mth 11:30)

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3)

6 July 2011 at 11:50  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

Patrick said @ 6 July 2011 04:58

"Good choice of word ..."submission" Dodo.
That about sums up Catholicism.
Submit and yield regardless.Grind under the yolk with a grin and make the best of it."


What part of the post by Dodo did you overlook? See if you can spot it.

Dodo the Dude said ...

"The yoke of the Catholic Church is no harder than accepting the yoke of Christianity ... it is a submission to Christ and to His representatives on earth."

6 July 2011 at 14:04  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I'm not good at guessing games Mr.Jug.
As a sinner and not a saint I find some of the the commands burdensome and occasionally I recoil from having to submit to Christ's representatives on earth.

7 July 2011 at 01:31  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Patrick

There are times when following Christ's commands can be 'burdensome'. They interfere with our own preferences. The Church's teachings can be a demanding too. They contradict and are oppossed to our sinful natures.

However, that's what the Church is there for. To strengthen and fortify us on the journey. To open us to Christ's presence in our lives. To help keep us on the 'straight and narrow'.

It is not about submitting and yielding regardless. Not about being ground under the yoke and having to grin and make the best of it. It is about developing a growing love for Christ and being aided in this.

This applies to 'saints' and 'sinners'. We are all a mixture of both - with a few Blessed exceptions.

7 July 2011 at 10:48  
Blogger len said...

Christianity IS Christ.
It is the Holy Spirit empowering the Christian to live the Christian life.
To try and live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit will be a lesson in futility , this 'Christless Christianity' is so pointless and the reason people are leaving the 'church' in droves.

12 July 2011 at 17:33  

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