Sunday, January 01, 2012

Politicians and civil servants lack 'religious literacy'


You can read the Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year message HERE. But he has been rather upstaged by that of the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ail, former Bishop of Rochester and current director of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he talks of a tough year ahead; of challenges which are moral and social as well as economic. And then he asks one of His Grace's favoured themes: 'But to what extent is it right for politicians to bring spiritual considerations to bear?'

The Bishop's response is quoted in its entirety:
In his recent speech on the place of the Bible and Christianity in our national life, David Cameron showed how the political development of the nation is inextricably bound up with Christian ideas. He challenged the Church, and specifically the Church of England, to provide moral and spiritual leadership. Such a challenge is long overdue, but the role of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in national life is more important than the status of any particular church. Whether or not this or that church provides what the Prime Minister is asking for, this tradition must remain central to our public life.

Much of what Mr Cameron said is music to my ears. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Many obstacles will confront him if he tries to give effect in legislation to things he has said in his speech.

One issue is religious literacy in the Civil Service, Parliament and local authorities. What Mr Cameron said about Christian ideas being embedded in our constitutional arrangements is no longer understood in the corridors of power. A disconnected view of history and the fog of multiculturalism have all but erased such memory from official consciousness. A concerted programme is needed if this literacy is to be recovered. Church leaders can help with remedial action, but this has to do with the place of Christianity in schools, and the teaching of history. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, knows that history cannot just be about dates and personalities, but must be a narrative of a nation’s emergence from the mists of time. For such a project, the place of Christianity is absolutely central. Education on citizenship cannot ignore the fact that our cherished values have biblical roots.

The proper relation of religion to science is also vital. Young people must be taught to appreciate both the experimental methods of science and the ultimate values which religion offers. Such a conversation must take place in the classroom if we are not to continue being divided by “scientistic” and religious fundamentalists.

Mr Cameron reminded us that inalienable human dignity is founded on the biblical idea that we are made in the image of God. But to whom does this extend? And are there circumstances when a person might lose such dignity?

It was for these reasons that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act recognised the special nature of the human embryo and established an authority to regulate scientific work involving embryos. I support the Coalition’s desire to trim the quangos, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is not perfect. But we need a body, perhaps modelled on the US President’s Council, that can consider the moral implications of developments in bioethics.

As Mr Cameron reminded us, the value of equality comes from the biblical teaching, confirmed by science, of the common origin of all humans. This has to do with the equality of persons, not necessarily the equal value of all behaviour or relationships. Equality of all before the law is a development from the Judaeo-Christian influence on the law, but so is respect for conscience. I would hope that legislation initiated by this Government will, increasingly, respect the consciences of believers. Legislation in America provides for the “reasonable accommodation” of religious belief at work. If such a doctrine had been in place in Britain, we would not have seen the absurd dismissals – and absurd judicial decisions that upheld them – of Christians and others because they could not do certain tasks on account of their faith.

The Prime Minister is aware of the vast scale of social service, prison work, relief of poverty and the like that churches and their agencies undertake. He is right to expect their help with his vision of citizens working for the common good. Churches will welcome greater participation in building up communities. But they cannot simply be surrogate service-providers. What they do springs from their beliefs; the authorities must respect these, if there is to be genuine collaboration. Let us hope and pray that the Prime Minister’s recognition of the importance of Christianity in public life provides a springboard for such co-operation in this New Year.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is the greatest Archbishop of Canterbury we never had.

96 Comments:

Blogger Albert said...

Excellent! But let's face it, it isn't only politicians and Civil Servants who need some "diversity training" - if only to understand their own culture. Many Christian people are pretty ignorant of their own beliefs - therein lies a problem which cripples the Christian response to the world. Christians often side against Christianity, because they neither know, nor understand their faith, and certainly cannot defend it.

1 January 2012 at 11:53  
Blogger len said...

There is an ongoing battle within our Country between those who wish to destroy Christianity and Christian values and are busy promoting their particular Atheistic/Humanistic 'World view'.
This battle is a mere reflection of the battle going on in the' Heavenlies' between forces of evil and forces of good.This may sound 'simplistic'but it is clearly spelt out in the Bible.
'For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'(Ephesians 6:12)

It is time for all Christians to rise up and pray that God`s Will be done in this land and the forces that would overwhelm us be turned back!.

If we do not remain true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be' salt and light 'we indeed will be trampled underfoot.

1 January 2012 at 12:10  
Blogger len said...

Albert, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is pretty simple, perhaps it has been 'over intellectualised' so that very few ordinary folk can actually 'get a handle on it'?.

I believe this was a deliberate process by priests(like withholding Bibles)so that Priests could retain their hold over 'the common folk'and retain their position of power.

If you need to read ten books to understand salvation then this cannot be the Gospel Jesus Preached to common ordinary everyday folk(I include myself amongst this category)
The disciples were for the most part uneducated men but filled with the Holy Spirit(not just head knowledge) they changed the World!.

1 January 2012 at 12:19  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

On the subject of religious illiteracy, is anyone familiar with the concept of prometheanism?

1 January 2012 at 12:50  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Bishop Michael " nails it".

We must each bring his words to others -including our MP's

Archbishop Rowan's New Year message was not bad but lacked the clarity of Christian focus that we read here.

On his choice of Archbishop, as with almost everything else Tuscan Tony sold us short.

1 January 2012 at 13:20  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Mr Cranmer said ...
"Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is the greatest Archbishop of Canterbury we never had."

He sounds suspiciously Catholic to me. The State actually promoting rather than tolerating Christianity.

Of course, in terms of history there will be the thorny question of how to 'narrate' the 16th century religious upheavals and subsequent events. Presenting a balanced history will be challenging.

1 January 2012 at 14:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Len says,

the Gospel of Jesus Christ is pretty simple

But the Bible says:

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

and

to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ

1 January 2012 at 14:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Bishop: "The proper relation of religion to science is also vital. Young people must be taught to appreciate both the experimental methods of science and the ultimate values which religion offers. Such a conversation must take place in the classroom if we are not to continue being divided by “scientistic” and religious fundamentalists."

In different classrooms, I hope.

"Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, knows that history cannot just be about dates and personalities, but must be a narrative of a nation’s emergence from the mists of time."

But presumably the Bishop wants us to stop emerging, indeed to go backwards, to when the Church of England was more powerful and relevant. Too late, matey.

1 January 2012 at 14:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. What a grand chap that Michael Nazir-Ali is. It is in the interests of RCs as well as Anglicans that a Christian leader like him has a voice in the UK. Sadly, until Prime Ministers are denied the right to appoint ++Canterbury, Williams successor is sure be another inadequate. Plenty of them about, living comfortably in their palaces, being all things to every man.

1 January 2012 at 15:04  
Blogger len said...

Albert, The Apostle Paul first tells us how he did not come and then he tells us how he did come. (I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom (2:1).) Paul was a down-to-earth preacher. He did not use big or impressive-sounding words when he spoke. Neither did he attempt to impress his audience with philosophical terms. Instead, he spoke a simple message. It was the message of the gospel.

'And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

1 January 2012 at 15:49  
Blogger len said...

Albert, also' 'But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
—2 Corinthians 11:3

This is basically my point God is not the author of confusion if people cannot understand the Gospel without a multitude of Priests and a religious system to back them up then who is the author?.

1 January 2012 at 15:56  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

len
Notwithstanding the above quotes from Paul his writings, particularly Romans, are complex theological teachings open to many understandings. Wouldn't you agree? And the Bible is too. Are you advocating we stop reading scripture and deepening our understanding of God?

1 January 2012 at 16:04  
Blogger len said...

Dodo the Catholic thingy, By Scripture you mean the Bible of course?.Not any of your Catholic 'sayings'.

Well I am all for reading the Bible just don`t get tempted to add anything?.

1 January 2012 at 16:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Now that can't be a good translation, or if it is, you are misusing it , for such an interpretation (Paul's preaching is simple) is in conflict, not only with the passages I gave and the points Dodo has made, but also with:

So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

Sure enough, the Greek word your translation renders as "simple" is ἁγνότητος, which means singleness - i.e. singleness of mind, that is sincerity. So also Col.3.22:

Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness ἁπλότης of heart, fearing the Lord.

You see the difference? Paul is asking for sincerity as opposed to being double-minded. Hence the RSV translates your passage thus:

your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

As you say:

God is not the author of confusion

How then can we account for the divisions found in Protestantism? It is not from God, except insofar as, as scripture says:

"Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless some one guides me?"

Preaching must be as sophisticated as that demanded by the context. Hence at Athens, Paul was willing to appeal to Greek writers to make his point.

1 January 2012 at 16:26  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace.
My comment on your last post was exactly this. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is the Man for the Job. At the recent 'Christians in Politics' conference, he was the premier speaker in my view. I could have listened to him all day.

1 January 2012 at 16:34  
Blogger English Viking said...

What a sad state we are in when just about the only sensible thing to come out of the C of E in recent times is from an immigrant, warning of the perils of the multi-cult.

Very sad.

1 January 2012 at 17:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Well, of course, they are religiously illiterate. They don't find any particular value in religion, and see the 'progress of man' as the emergence of man from the darkness of religion into the light of 'Reason.' Whether these underlying cultural presuppositions originated in religious thought or not, it is an article of faith of modern thought that religion is not required either for their sustenance or propagation. Secularists deny that religion is necessary for anything. So why then would they bother to learn it? Religion is to them an obsolete and discredited way of viewing the world. Better to look forward and not back, they would say.

The problem is that Bishop Nazir-Ali is speaking from the vantage point of one faith system to those who hold a completely different faith system. He says "Look, our culture is fundamentally Christian in its presuppositions, and if you reject those presuppositions, you will fundamentally alter its nature." To which the modern secularist responds "Since religion has no tangible reality, our culture and its beliefs must in the last analysis be independent of any religious foundation. Presuppositions like the equality of man therefore do not depend upon some 'god' for their foundation. Religion may have been a vehicle at one time, but it was never a necessary vehicle."

One can point out that the equality of man is a derivative of the moral equidistance of every man from God. One can point out that men are unequal by every (and I do mean every) empirical measure that man could possibly devise. One can remind the committed secularist of his commitment to the tyranny of the scientific observation. He will still assert that men are equal despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary. He will still deny the necessity of founding the idea on the knowledge that God is no respecter of persons. He will have no consistent reason for doing so, but he will do it none the less. He must, for otherwise he must surrender that which he cherishes.

A speech like this therefore makes no headway with the opposition. It will not rekindle a desire to stoke the flames of Christianity once again. It will come across as special pleading for the restoration of a privileged position. Evangelism cannot be replaced by philosophy. The human heart is by nature too hard, and human eyes are by nature too blind.

carl

1 January 2012 at 17:08  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

len
Scripture never says that it is the sole infallible authority for God's Word.

Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15 - those that preached the Gospel to all creation but did not write the Gospel were not less obedient to Jesus, or their teachings less important.

Matt. 28:20 - "observe ALL I have commanded".

John 20:30; 21:25, not ALL Jesus taught is in Scripture.

Mark 16:15 - Jesus commands the apostles to "preach," not write, and only three apostles wrote. There is no evidence in the Bible or elsewhere that Jesus intended the Bible to be sole authority of the Christian faith.

Luke 1:1-4 - Luke acknowledges that the faithful have already received the teachings of Christ, and is writing his Gospel only so that they "realize the certainty of the teachings you have received." Luke writes to verify the oral tradition they already received.

John 20:30; 21:25 - Jesus did many other things not written in the Scriptures.

Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 - these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures.

Acts 15:1-14 – Peter resolves the Church’s first doctrinal issue regarding circumcision without referring to Scriptures.

Acts 17:28 – Paul quotes the writings of the pagan poets when he taught at the Aeropagus. Thus, Paul appeals to sources outside of Scripture to teach about God.

1 Cor. 5:9-11 - shows that a prior letter written to Corinth is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon.

1 Cor. 11:2 - Paul commends the faithful to obey apostolic tradition.

Phil. 4:9 - Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do.

Col. 4:16 - shows that a prior letter written to Laodicea is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon.

1 Thess. 2:13 – Paul says, “when you received the word of God, which you heard from us..” Oral revelation was being given to them.

1 Thess. 3:10 - Paul wants to see the Thessalonians face to face and supply what is lacking. His letter is not enough.

2 Thess. 2:14 - Paul says that God has called us "through our Gospel." What is the fullness of the Gospel?

2 Thess. 2:15 - the fullness of the Gospel is the apostolic tradition which includes either teaching by word of mouth or by letter.

2 Thess 3:6 - Paul instructs us to obey apostolic tradition.

1 Tim. 3:14-15 - Paul prefers to speak and not write.

2 Tim. 2:2 - Paul says apostolic tradition is passed on to future generations, but says nothing about apostolic traditions being committed to the Bible.

2 Tim. 3:14 - continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it. Again, this refers to tradition.

2 Peter 1:20 - interpreting Scripture is not a matter of one's own private interpretation. Therefore, it must be a matter of "public" interpretation of the Church. Private judgment leads to divisions.

2 Peter 3:15-16 - Peter says Paul's letters are inspired, but not all his letters are in the New Testament canon. See, for example, 1 Cor. 5:9-10; Col. 4:16. Also, Peter's use of the word "ignorant" means unschooled, which presupposes the requirement of oral apostolic instruction.

2 Peter 3:16 - the Scriptures are difficult to understand and can be distorted by the ignorant to their destruction. God did not guarantee the Holy Spirit would lead each of us to infallibly interpret the Scriptures.

1 John 4:1 - again, God instructs us to test all things, test all spirits. God's Word is not always obvious.

Gen. to Rev. - Knowing what books belong in the Bible is necessary for our salvation. However, because the Bible has no "inspired contents page," you must look outside the Bible to see how its books were selected.

The canon of Scripture is a Revelation from God which is necessary for our salvation, and which comes from outside the Bible. This Revelation was given by God to the Catholic Church.

1 January 2012 at 17:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "One can point out that men are unequal by every (and I do mean every) empirical measure that man could possibly devise."

Oh come on, you surely know that equality as a philosophical theme is not equality in the way you try to use it above?

"It will come across as special pleading for the restoration of a privileged position."

It most assuredly does. What the bishop is really arguing for is some sort of Daily Mail vision of England which itself is based on some sort of non-existent Times Past.

It's a political vision, essentially no different in nature to the differing themes of the Labour Party or the Conservative Party, and should be treated the same. He can try to anchor the values in fairy tales to give them more weight but he's onto a loser there with many of us.

1 January 2012 at 17:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

In short, he's John Major in purple sans an Edwina (one hopes).

1 January 2012 at 17:45  
Blogger IanCad said...

Mr. Albert,

"Preaching must be as sophisticated as that demanded by the context. Hence at Athens, Paul was willing to appeal to Greek writers to make his point."

No! It has to be as sophisticated as that demanded by the simplicity of the Gospel message.
The Ethiopian Eunuch needed a guide to understand the scripture he was reading. Not all did. The main emphasis of the story was on the simplicity of the acceptance of salvation and the need for adult baptism.

The Gospel is simple. A short excerpt from a recorded sermon of John Stott's was aired this morning from Langham Place. Let me quote from it--
"Salvation is a gift. Absolutely free and utterly undeserved: And there is no substitute for this personal simple coming and commitment to Jesus Christ.
Some people want to make it so complicated. They become engrossed in the externals of religion. They come to everything and everybody except the one who invites them to come (unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest) to me. Jesus Christ.
I beg you friends, don't stumble over the simplicity of His invitation".


Oh Dear! Now Dodo is complicating and distorting things.

2. Tim. 3:16.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

John 1:1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1 January 2012 at 19:28  
Blogger Preacher said...

Michael Nazir-Ali? First Class for Cantab.
IanCad.
Right on Brother!. Just what I've found to be true & have been saying for ages.

1 January 2012 at 20:02  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, Mr IanCad @ 19.28. Leave it to Dodo for convolution, confusion and contrivance.

1 January 2012 at 20:06  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Yes Bluedog. The anagram or reverse of Dodo is ODOD. A suitable tribute for one with such strange ideas, (albeit authorised by the Church of Rome).

1 January 2012 at 22:35  
Blogger len said...

Albert,
'How then can we account for the divisions found in Protestantism? '

The divisions in Protestantism are a direct result of the errors of the Catholic Church.
Biblical truth in its entirety can only be found outside the Catholic Church.
So who is responsible? ...the Catholic Church bears total responsibility.

1 January 2012 at 22:53  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Utter codswallop
I challenge you to produce one book of the New Testament that does not contain intolerance and brutality and cruelty - even the 4 gospels.

Religion kills and tortures and enslaves.

1 January 2012 at 23:47  
Blogger DP111 said...

Coincidentally Brussels Journal also has something similar

“Clash Of Civilizations”: Spiritual, Not Intellectual

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4892

1 January 2012 at 23:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Oh come on, you surely know that equality as a philosophical theme is not equality in the way you try to use it above?

Nice to hear you finally admit that you believe in something that you cannot empirically demonstrate. Of course, you haven't solved any problems by asserting that philosophical equality can be hermetically isolated. You assert a materialist universe. There are no transcendent qualities in such a world. Any notion of equality that you would advance must therefore be rooted in some tangible material quality, or it becomes a convenient fiction. But there is no such tangible quality that establishes equality. You know that. You may wish it were otherwise but in your materialist universe your wishes are no less fairy tails than the religions you dismiss.

This is one of the tangible losses that accompanies disbelief. The cold harsh universe reveals its pitiless and merciless face. In response, you shrink back from your own world view. You scamper to recover those religious ideals that you still value, and you pretend to establish them by your philosophy. But who really cares what an individual creature who is known as DanJ0 thinks about any such thing? He is here today and gone tomorrow. He is dust and he won't be remembered even 100 years from now. When observed from the perspective of such harsh reality, one man's philosophy isn't worth much. It certainly won't stand up against another's man's philosophy and the cudgel he uses to sustain it.

All you are really saying is that men should pretend what they know to be untrue because it benefits them to do so. But of course other men will say "Yes, I will admit the equality among the members of my group. But I will not admit any such equality between my group and that group over there. And before you assert otherwise, I have already concluded that it is in my interest not to do so." And what will you say? Certainly you will not appeal to any material quality in man because none exist. You cannot appeal to the transcendent because you deny any such thing exists. What then remains to you. The cleverness of your philosophy? The hope that your cudgel is bigger than his? In the end it's just a dressed up version of fang and tooth and claw.

carl

2 January 2012 at 02:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is the greatest Archbishop of Canterbury we never had.

Precious. The inimitable ghost of Arechbishop Cranmer strikes again.

English Viking wrote: "What a sad state we are in when just about the only sensible thing to come out of the C of E in recent times is from an immigrant, warning of the perils of the multi-cult."

It gets weirder, E.V. You should see who the few-in-number but increasingly aggressive new monarchists in Canada are; more than half of us are immigrants, with plenty of Jews, Indians, Italians and Natives. Meanwhile, the majority of young Canadians of English and Celtic ancestries seem to have become effeminate wingnuts obsessing over their image, fantasies of global warming, multicultural and equity issues and the plight of the "Palestinians." I thought things were far different in the UK (kind of a Wodehouse world), but after hanging around here for nearly a year, I've come to realize that with your EU, poltroonish governments and skewed urban demographics, you're even in a bigger pickle than we are.

2 January 2012 at 03:16  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

len

Burt you've totally avoided the scripture I've cited. Only to be be expected. You really cannot respond, can you?

In fact, your whole 'sola scriptura' theology and its accompanying individual interprtetation of scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is built on sand. Admit it!

2 January 2012 at 03:36  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, I re-read your post about four times, chewing on this and that and decided that I'm just going to have to brazenly steal and emulate those ideas and arguments when circumstances require it. Think of it as an emergency measure in our ideological wars. I'll try to credit you when the dust settles, so keep an account.

2 January 2012 at 03:42  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

No need. One of the principle benefits of commenting on a weblog is that we all get to learn from, build on, and improve the arguments we read. The sum is greater than its parts. There is no patent on truth. Shamelessly steal that it may be shamelessly stolen from you.

carl

2 January 2012 at 04:01  
Blogger Man With A Pen said...

Politicians and civil servants lack 'religious literacy'

Of course they do because the Church has perverted the Gospel of Christ into a mismash of leftist/liberal/humanist pseudo=Gospel and they preach this rubbishinstead of the truth. It seems they are embarrassed by Christ and His message. Gone are virtually all warnings of the danger and effects of sin. In its place is a weak message about not judging. The scripture that says "WHEN you judge, judge righteously" has been forgotten in the politically correct doctrine of what sounds like Cultural Marxist, Frankfurt School politics.
Unless and until the Church abandons the fake catholic cult's fraudulent teachings and practises and returns to the truth, how can anyone ever get close to the narrow road?

The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
Jeremiah 5:31

See also, Jer 33:3 (God's phone number)

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Humility and repentence are what is needed. What we have is pride, arrogance and politics.

2 January 2012 at 05:19  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, there seems to be a note of panic in your voice (03:36)

and well there should be....you are promoting (wittingly or not) a religion which has (attempted) to supplant the Gospel,the very Gospel for which Christ gave His Life for.

If you do not know what you are doing repent.... if you do know what you are doing..... then you bear total responsibility.

2 January 2012 at 08:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Nice to hear you finally admit that you believe in something that you cannot empirically demonstrate."

Perhaps you're mistaking me for someone else. A generic strawman suitable for your views maybe?

"You assert a materialist universe. There are no transcendent qualities in such a world."

I assume it.

"Any notion of equality that you would advance must therefore be rooted in some tangible material quality, or it becomes a convenient fiction. But there is no such tangible quality that establishes equality."

A convenient fiction like human culture in general you mean? Equality in the philosophical sense is related to notions such as entitlement to what is due and to fairness. These aren't simply fairy tales unless all ideas as human constructs are fairy tales to you.

"This is one of the tangible losses that accompanies disbelief. The cold harsh universe reveals its pitiless and merciless face."

Oh look, there it is again. The evocative, essentially meaningless rhetoric. Missing "dark" this time though for some reason. Preacher (it was you I pointed this out to recently, wasn't it?) take note. It shows the power of religion which literally colours the world for its adherents.

"In response, you shrink back from your own world view."

You're on a roll by the look of it. I most certainly do not shrink back from it.

"You scamper to recover those religious ideals that you still value, and you pretend to establish them by your philosophy."

No, they're not established by philosophy at all. I may be standing in as your strawman today but this is not what I present at all.

"He is dust and he won't be remembered even 100 years from now. When observed from the perspective of such harsh reality, one man's philosophy isn't worth much."

Luckily, it is not one man's 'philosophy' at all. Essentially, it's the same as the 'philosophy' in (say) Christianity in that it is sustained in culture. All you are doing yourself is asserting an imagined transcendent external reality based on the cultural legacy of your forebears and using it to try to maintain the social values you want.

"All you are really saying is that men should pretend what they know to be untrue because it benefits them to do so."

That's quite a succinct description of religion. But you're actually talking about equality and ignoring the religious elephant in the room next to you there.

"But of course other men will say "Yes, I will admit the equality among the members of my group. But I will not admit any such equality between my group and that group over there."

That's nonsense. You're running away with your own notions of equality without stopping to explain what you mean by them. In fact, your interchanging differing versions of the them I'd say, suggesting a lack of clarity in your thinking.

"And what will you say? Certainly you will not appeal to any material quality in man because none exist. [...] In the end it's just a dressed up version of fang and tooth and claw."

And what will you do? You'll do what the religious have always done because you're in the same boat. You'll assert an imagined external reality, attach your desired values to it, and use a cudgel, or a stake with straw bales around it, or the temporal power of kings to force your values onto believers of other religions and believers of none. When you can demonstrate the existence of your imagined external reality over those of others who imagine different ones then come back and we'll talk sensibly. Otherwise, we may as well get on with the shared objective perceptions of our own reality, using human constructs to make sense of it, and maintained in human cultures as we do now.

2 January 2012 at 08:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "Carl, I re-read your post about four times, chewing on this and that and decided that I'm just going to have to brazenly steal and emulate those ideas and arguments when circumstances require it."

Boil it down and it's just an argument about moral relativism, flavoured with religion and covered in flowery rhetoric in this case.

2 January 2012 at 08:50  
Blogger Alan Douglas said...

Wherever did this idea spring from - that we should not proudly display our religious traditions in case they offend anyone ?

Such as "Winterval" instead of Christmas ?

I can just imagine the annual Haj being cancelled lest it offend you or me !

That we are so weak in our faiths is one of the main drivers of the determination to replace ours (of which we are seen to be ashamed) with theirs, of which they are so proud and certain. They would like us too to have their certainty.

So would I - though I would not restrict it to one religion, but all.

Alan Douglas

2 January 2012 at 08:51  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Dodo ,

Thanks for your synopsis of references of biblical textx re scriptture.

Lawyers are familiar with the problems of interpreting text.

Gerald Dworkin developed the idea of the " hole in the doughnut" approach. The law is the hole in the doughnut. You can squish the doughnut to modify the shape but the internal area is always the same. In a way it is like biblical text interpretation. There is flexibility in interpretation but it is constrained .

The dough is the bible , the impulse to squish - the Holy Spirit.

2 January 2012 at 08:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Alan: "Such as "Winterval" instead of Christmas ?"

Urban myth.

2 January 2012 at 09:10  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Utter codswallop - all of it.

I challenge you to produce one book of the New Testament that does not contain intolerance and brutality and cruelty - even the 4 gospels.

Religion kills and tortures and enslaves.

2 January 2012 at 09:10  
Blogger len said...

Religion was never God`s intention for Man.

Religion(in the worst meaning of the word) is man 'playing God' man trying to do what only God can do.

The OT ' cruelty' that Mr Tingey refers to was God restraining evil until the Messiah could be revealed.If man had been left to his own devices man would have destroyed himself and Gods Creation before Christ ever came to Earth.
God`s harsh Old Testament Laws were solely for the purpose of restraining evil which was held in restraint(partly) by fear of retribution.
Now there is little fear of retribution by criminals and the results are clear for all to see.

God`s intention for man was relationship with God not a religion about God.So who is to blame for the worst excesses of religion the brutality and the cruelty ......we are.

God`s Love for Humanity is shown through the Cross of Jesus Christ.

2 January 2012 at 09:34  
Blogger prziloczek said...

As always, the good get sacked and the worthless are had in high esteem by the children of men.

2 January 2012 at 09:43  
Blogger graham wood said...

Cranmer. You endorse the idea from Nazir Ali in one of yours favoured themes put as a question:
'But to what extent is it right for politicians to bring spiritual considerations to bear?'

I suggest that this is a complete misconception. Politicians do not bring a "spiritual consideration" to anything for they are not spiritual people - and collectively are largely anti-Christian.

Nazir Ali like so many contemporary churchmen are putting forward ideas for "Christianised" social change. But such ideas are doomed from the start. We cannot have a better society without the Gospel of Christ.
It is profoundly naive to suggest that society's moral corruption can be arrested by simply imposing "values" in line with the "Judeo-Christian tradition", even if that was possible. Such an idea is an affront to the redemptive accomplishments of Jesus Christ, "for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing" (Galatians 2:21)

Let's be clear. politician's priorities have nothing to do with the spiritual welfare of people, but on the contrary, centre on gaining people's approval for party political reasons, and more important from their viewpoint, their vote.
That is far from the "offence of the cross" of Jesus.
Society cannot be reformed via new and improved programmes for social action, and least of all through governmental legislation.

2 January 2012 at 09:56  
Blogger David said...

What Nazir Ali says about the centrality of Christianity to 'the nation's' history and identity can be vouchsafed only if English schools are allowed to teach English history, and celebrate England as a Christian nation, rather than being used to inculcate an a-Christian, de-anglicised, multicultural Britishness.

Britain / Britishness is no longer intrinsically associated with Christianity, nor is it even really a nation; England is both of those things: Christian and a nation.

2 January 2012 at 10:18  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr David @ 10.28 says 'Britain / Britishness is no longer intrinsically associated with Christianity'.

A picture is worth a 1000 words, but this this communicant woould like to describe the Union Flag of the United Kingdom which is based on the Cross of St George to which was then added the Cross of St Andrew with a final overlay of the Cross of Saint Patrick. Recently there have been attempts to replace this profoundly Christian ensign with something anodyne and secular, emanating from the EU. Despite this the Union Flag remains remarkably popular in Britain and was even seen on the streets of Ireland during the recent visit by HM Queen.

Care to reconsider your claim?

2 January 2012 at 10:49  
Blogger Alison Bailey Castellina said...

My unease about PM's and Queen's speeches stems from a sense that they were only allowed to describe "man-centred religion" not God-centred religion. Europe has pushed man-centred religion for many years - and here we are today.....

Man-centred religion lacks any power to turn people's behaviours from a deep bias towards "self" - which means hidden or open hatred for God - to Duty, Obedience, Love and Service.

For example, David Cameron (or more possibly his speechwriters) said that there can be "bad Christians and good atheists". The Bible clearly states that "Those who are not with us are against us". It is impossible to be an atheist, consciously rejecting the Cross and yet still be termed "good". If you subsequently repent, your wrongs can be forgiven through the Cross, but you cannot claim "black" was ever "white". The speech clearly contradicted Jesus' own words: "There is no one good, save God"....

The Queen, usually literate on Christian teaching, said "We sometimes need saving from ourselves". She was possibly being very courteous, because the Book of Common Prayer - which she herself promoted in 2000 -calls all Christians "miserable offenders". The Bible clearly says that we all, always, need saving from ourselves, by a perfect Saviour.

This issue is not just about some "theologically illiterate" civil servants being too influential (some civil servants are theologically literate, by the way), it is about lack of courage. Christians, including leaders, need to risk strong opposition, to tell the whole truth about our true condition.

2 January 2012 at 11:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Lets get back to the pragmatic. We need an order. And that at the moment is Judeo-Christianity. EVERYONE should be happy about that, from God denying atheists to ‘scene’ homosexuals. Water it down and secularise and you risk a new order coming in. It’s going to be elements of Sharia law isn’t it, and why not if people like Williams are broadly in support. Those who criticise the status quo are not only traitors, but race traitors. Their liberal sensibilities will cost us everything....

2 January 2012 at 12:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "And that at the moment is Judeo-Christianity."

Lol. You need to get out more I think!

2 January 2012 at 12:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Those who criticise the status quo are not only traitors, but race traitors."

Excellent! The Abortion Act 1967 is part of the status quo. The laws defining Sexual Offences are part of the status quo too. That we have those laws is because we're British. They're significant artefacts of our heritage and culture. I've always been a bit suspicious of those who have divided loyalties to foreign powers, temporal or spiritual. At least we have a candidate yardstick for finding those 'race traitors' now: criticism of the existence of the Abortion Act etc!

2 January 2012 at 13:01  
Blogger David said...

Reply to bluedog above. I was making a double point: a) Britain isn't a nation; and b) it isn't, or increasingly does not define itself as, Christian.

Your example of the Union Flag in fact rather makes my point for me. Britain is a Union of Christian nations, not a nation in itself. Hence, the Union flag is comprised of the crosses of the patron saints of three out of the four officially recognised UK nations - but not Wales (or Cornwall, for that matter), which also have patrons' flags. Why not include them? And who is the patron saint of Britain / the UK? And where is his / her cross? Answer: there isn't one.

The part of Nazir Ali's statement my comment focused on related to education in English schools. In England only, schoolchildren are inculcated with a multi-faith, multi-cultural, increasingly secularised Britishness; and are not taught to value England's distinct Christian heritage and traditions. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, however, where education has been devolved, they do teach history that is focused on their own countries. The way to get back to a more Christian-centred set of values and history teaching in England is to re-focus them on England, which is - still - the Christian heart of the UK.

2 January 2012 at 13:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. As a result of its races and religious influences, Britain has amongst the highest standards in the world, as indeed does the Anglosphere in general. To suggest that this state of affairs did not come about as a result of a Judeo-Christian heritage is laughable...

The highest standards are always subject to attack, from those who don’t appreciate them. YOU for example. Your gushing salute to the Abortion Act is quite nauseating, but is a necessary card you need to play. Take away this disgusting practice and your other low standards are exposed. Your ‘anything goes’ attitude to gay marriage, gay adoption, and lack of support of the family ideal comes to mind.

You then laud ‘heritage and culture’ and have the nerve to associate Abortion to it ! And yet it’s YOU who would have this heritage and culture consigned to the dustbin at the expense of your godless liberal ways. Hopefully by the time you get to be carried out feet first, the succeeding generations will have recognised our heritage and culture are worth fighting for and saving. If they have any sense, they’ll recognise what’s passed for ‘social advancement’ since the 1950s for what it is, insidious and corrosive. As the world gets smaller, so we see in more graphic detail than ever before how peoples across the world cope without what we have. The open sewer that is their humanity. So are YOU a traitor to YOUR race ?

2 January 2012 at 14:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

So are YOU a traitor to YOUR race ?

Help me out here, please. What is 'race?'

carl

2 January 2012 at 15:07  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Carl

'Race' is two or more people competing to cross a finish line ahead of the other or others.

The term has no meaning outside of this, apart i.e. from calling ourselves the 'human race' in the sense that all people belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens.

2 January 2012 at 15:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "To suggest that this state of affairs did not come about as a result of a Judeo-Christian heritage is laughable..."

I'm not. You said our current order is Judeo-Christianity. That's bollocks. Our current system has many influences from the past, including Christian ones *cough* Church of England ones. Influences. If our current order was Judeo-Christianity then I daresay our laws and our culture would be remarkably different. Thankfully, it's rather more liberal and humanist.

"Your gushing salute to the Abortion Act is quite nauseating, but is a necessary card you need to play. Take away this disgusting practice and your other low standards are exposed. Your ‘anything goes’ attitude to gay marriage, gay adoption, and lack of support of the family ideal comes to mind."

Blimey, a tantrum! We're a modern, Western-liberal, democratic country. Our liberal traditions have been 300 years in the making and most people are happy to embrace them, including the abortion laws. If you don't like it then why don't you piss off to Rome instead and hang around the Vatican? That may be better suited to your traitorous, left-footed inclinations. I'm happy with the status quo.

2 January 2012 at 15:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs. A rather convenient term to sub divide the human race. Some races are apparently more ‘successful’ than others. Can’t think why, we are all ‘equal’ we are constantly told by cuddly bearded liberal types....

2 January 2012 at 15:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. What a beastly outburst ! The Inspector was only trying to guide you to the truth. Makes him wonder why he bothers, you know....

2 January 2012 at 15:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "all people belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens."

Dodo, we're all the same species and that is the only remaining species in the Homo genus.

2 January 2012 at 15:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "The Inspector was only trying to guide you to the truth."

Let me guide you instead. Both Alitalia and British Airways flight direct to Rome from Heathrow and have a very regular service. Light a candle for me when you get there, under any painted idol will do. ;)

2 January 2012 at 15:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. You really want the Inspector gone don’t you. {INSPECTOR BREAKS DOWN AND CRIES}

2 January 2012 at 15:52  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

A rather convenient term to sub divide the human race.

I see. So a race is a subdivision of a race. Are these 'races' (the subdivisions, I mean) discrete and fixed? I ask for a specific reason. A friend of mine is the child of first generation immigrants to the US from Africa. He is black. He married a (white) woman from the UK, and they now have two children. So I wonder a few things.

1. Their children are of what race?

2. Have they created a new fixed discrete race grouping by the act of conceiving these children?

3. Have they instead corrupted an ideal race gene pool and produced a monstrous combination?

4. If these children (and there subsequent generations) only selected white mates, how many generations would pass before the offspring could again be considered white?

5. If God can bless a relationship with children, why should we care what 'race' results?

Dodo is right. Race is a meaningless arbitrary convention that panders to human pride. It allows one group to think better of itself because it belongs to the 'more successful' race. And yet aren't you the one defending the connection between Western success and religion? Are you actually therefore saying that religion is racial? It's all nonsense. What God has joined together let no man put asunder. The offspring they produce will by definition be brother to the Great High Priest. Neither more nor less. Who are we to order the relative value of those so conceived?

I am now going to wash my mouth out because I actually had to say "Dodo is right." Please don't make me resort to such extreme measures again. ;)

carl
who isn't any kind of cuddly bearded liberal

2 January 2012 at 15:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs. Might be an idea to save your last post in a word document, perhaps under file “Self Righteous Outbursts”.

The Bible is full of references to race, unfortunately. Best get on the phone to your Calvinist pastor and demand to know what the hell is going on. Better still, email him your last post !

Don’t worry, the Inspector will try to refrain from using that Satanic word in the future. Can’t have you going apoplectic now.

What a black day this is for you: Agreeing with Dodo ! {GASP} You’ll be getting in bed with DanJ0 next..... {AAAAHHHH}

2 January 2012 at 16:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

I'm sorry. Did part of your post get accidentally deleted? That would be the part with something like a meaningful response. All I could find was a bunch of Sturm und Drang mixed in with confusion about the difference between race and nationality. Say what you like about DanJ0. He is civil. He responds directly and on point. His posts are valuable to me because I can learn from them the mind of my opponent. That's a marked improvement over stuff like 'self righteous outburst.'

You’ll be getting in bed with DanJ0 next.

OK, that was funny. I should feel guilty about saying so, but I must admit that was funny. Even so, I will not laugh. I won't. Really.

carl

2 January 2012 at 16:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs. You might not be laughing but the Inspector is, at you !

“Give it a rest son”, as you would be advised in London. But it is rather refreshing to find that the man who knows it all, or at least likes to think he does, is up for scrapping like the rest of us. Just drop in a key word like ‘race’.

Like it or not, race as a convenient description of the breakdown of God’s human creation is here to stay, and neither you or the PC people or any other ‘thought police’ can do anything about it. What you are complaining about is when ‘race’ is used in derogatory way. Tough !

2 January 2012 at 17:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

You should pound the table with your shoe instead of just your fist. It would make for a more dramatic expression. And people would be less likely to notice that you haven't provided an answer to anything I said.

You might not be laughing but the Inspector is, at you!

I'm crushed. How will I ever again manage to get out of bed in the morning?

carl

2 January 2012 at 17:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs. You again !

Alright - here’s some advice the Inspector has picked up over the years utilising the word ‘race’

“Be very careful when in US Inner City areas. Stay well clear of the black neighbourhoods. You could very easily be murdered by that race of people”

You are right though. The word doesn’t easily cover mixed marriages but you get the picture don’t you. (PS. It IS good advice, isn’t it !)

2 January 2012 at 17:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

you get the picture don’t you.

Oh, yes. I get the picture. With blinding clarity.

carl

2 January 2012 at 21:50  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector

No such thing as "race", my good man. It's a bit like calling Irish people a "race".

What you're referring to is a socio-economic phenomena built on ethnicity. Black people are not a different race - they have different skin colour, different histories, different ethnic roots and, as a result, socio-economic experiences.

3 January 2012 at 13:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs. Oh, yes. I get the picture. With blinding clarity.

Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. As a rule of thumb, race has so much going for it. Take the Pakistani community for example. Charming fellows when met individually, but put a group of the them together, and they are soon up to no good – corruption mainly. Reference the recent cricket outrage they perpetrated. (…Marvellous game cricket. Devised by Englishmen under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the benefit of mankind. The greatest field game of them all…).

Then there’s the Chinese. Gambling mad you know. Bet on two flies climbing up a wall so they would. Or the Italians – they’ll mount your wife given the opportunity.

So there you have it, we all have our little racial characteristics and attitudes…

The Inspector still ascertains there are successful and less successful races. Success being a measure of taking on Western affluence and ‘improving their lot’.

Just look at those Far East Johnnies. They were living in jungle villages growing rice when the white man arrived. Now their standard of living is set to overtake ours. We shan’t mention Africa though. Seems to bring the worst out in you for some reason, what !

3 January 2012 at 17:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. No such thing as "race"

I say old bird, best get onto the OED post haste; they think there is ! Worth a lookup too. Live and learn, what !

Now, refresh a weary Inspector’s memory. Something about you not liking words losing their original meanings, or acquiring new ones. “Gay” wasn’t it. Don’t worry if you can’t recall, can always check with DanJ0

3 January 2012 at 17:58  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector

It's a social construct, not a legitimate way of defining differences between humans. We all came from Adam and Eve. All one race.

3 January 2012 at 19:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Disagree that bird, too valuable a word for you and Mr America to proscribe. You know, haven’t seen this amount of feathers in the air since you called everyone a BIGOT !!

3 January 2012 at 20:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. To put it another way, unless you accept the Christ and become a Christian, your default position is your race, your social conditions, and your hereditary genetics. Not that good, is it ?

3 January 2012 at 21:09  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

So there you have it, we all have our little racial characteristics and attitudes…

You forgot to mention that Jews will ... what's that colloquial verb? ... oh yes .. 'Jew' you out of your last penny. At least I assume you forgot to mention it. You wouldn't deliberately avoid such an obvious racial characteristic, would you?

And I assume you would tell me to lock up all the white women if a black man is around.

As I said, I see the picture with blinding clarity. That wouldn't be BNP literature sticking out of your pocket, would it?

carl

3 January 2012 at 21:13  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector

Don't remind me. Not everyone, just a select few. The 'mistake' was calling the blog host one.

Keep the word 'race' if you wish, just be aware of its limitations as a useful way of distinguishing between people.

3 January 2012 at 21:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Ah, the USS Carl Jacobs sails into view. And what’s this, he’s opening up with 8 inch guns. And on sight of the ‘perceived’ enemy, a British ship. He’s signalling though, let’s see what he’s saying. Something about Jews and pennies. Wait, it’s understood now. Because the Inspector uses the word ‘race’, it’s automatically assumed he’s an anti-semite. Look there’s something else about black men and white women – best not go there, these inadequate Americans and their sexual hangups. Hold on, what the hell is this ? {INSPECTOR TAKEN ABACK. REACHES FOR SINGLE MALT, AND STARTS NEW PARAGRAPH}

Apparently BNP literature has been ‘seen on board’. Step forward that man who brought it, you’ll swing from the yard arm for this. But wait, the USS Carl Jacobs has stopped firing. Why ? It must be he’s suddenly realised what an arsehole he is for making many and unpleasant assumptions. Go in peace Carl Jacobs, with your tail between your legs, and remember the next time you try and pin race hate accusations on a person of integrity such as the Inspector, have some proof...

3 January 2012 at 22:05  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector said ...

"To put it another way, unless you accept the Christ and become a Christian, your default position is your race, your social conditions, and your hereditary genetics. Not that good, is it?"

I know what you're saying, yet wouldn't ascribe depravity to race. It suggests differences of morality purely on racial grounds rather than culture, class, religion etc.

You do know that what you've put foward is actually closer to a hard line Calvanist position than Catholic opinion?

We don't believe in 'total depravity'. Instead we believe God has given all people a sense of right and wrong and a capacity, even if diminished and weakened without Grace, to behave morally.

3 January 2012 at 23:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

But wait, the USS Carl Jacobs has stopped firing.

I don't have to fire, sir. All I have to do is sail into view and watch you hole your own hull. Why should I go through the trouble to put up any significant case when you are making such a good case on my behalf? It's much easier just to get you to talk. Do you have any idea how ignorant is an assertion like this?

Or the Italians – they’ll mount your wife given the opportunity.

No, you self-evidently don't. And that is the problem.

I never cease to be amazed at some of the attitudes towards race that are expressed on this weblog.

carl

3 January 2012 at 23:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

You do know that what you've put foward is actually closer to a hard line Calvanist position than Catholic opinion?

It would be much easier to take your opinion seriously on the subject if you knew how to spell the word. It's spelled Calvinist. One "a" and two "i's." But then you would already know that if you knew anything about the subject. It shows a measure of respect to know another's position before criticizing it. Please learn something about the subject before you enlighten us with your insights on the matter. If you like, I can give you references.

carl

4 January 2012 at 00:03  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Carl
Apologies for the typing error - Calvinist.

Have I misrepresented Calvinism? Perhaps over simplified it but I thought it held we are all degenerate sinners heading for Hell unless or until God's irresistable and undeserved Grace transforms those of us He chooses.

4 January 2012 at 10:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs. You don’t seem to get the idea of this site do you. It’s for expressing comments, opinions etc, to EXPLORE ideas.. You seem to want to limit it to absolutes; a purity that reflects Carl Jacobs ordered intellect. Well hard luck. The Inspector will NOT be silenced Sir. And sweeping generalisations are his speciality. Of course you yourself have the option of challenging what you don’t agree with and point out the error of our ways. You are certainly well experienced in doing that alright…

Dodo. Not sure where you brought ‘depravity’ out of. But can say that without Christianity as an institution at state level, humanity risks going backwards to a time before Christ when indeed race, your social conditions, and your hereditary genetics. were your lot. This current trend we have of (…degenerate…) social liberalism could easily flip over to the exact opposite if the going gets tough, ie death war famine and disease on a big scale. Not to mention an earth population out of control and oil selling at gold rates. If our friend DanJ0 gets his wish and Christianity gets binned beforehand, where would we be morally ?

4 January 2012 at 19:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "If our friend DanJ0 gets his wish and Christianity gets binned beforehand, where would we be morally ?"

*rolls out the now tattered display with its squeaky wheel*

I'm a Article 9 of ECHR supporting liberal, I have no wish to bin Christianity. As I often repeat. I don't particularly mind if it dies out though. It probably ought to be kept away from children and vulnerable adults too.

4 January 2012 at 20:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0.I don't particularly mind if it dies out though. {INSPECTOR DETECTS THE SOUND OF HAIRS SPLITTING}

Anyway, they’ll only be something else to fill the void. Islam most probably. God help your gay arse then....

4 January 2012 at 21:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's not hair-splitting at all. As with the difference between positive atheism and other forms, it's a valid and important distinction except it seems for the usual suspects here with left-foot issues.

4 January 2012 at 21:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

The Inspector will NOT be silenced Sir.

And who exactly is trying to silence you? I certainly have neither the authority nor the ability to do so. Explore to your heart's content. That's doesn't change the fact that some of the assertions you have made on this thread are appallingly ignorant.

You told me to be careful of black neighborhoods. Well and good. The question under examination however is this. Should I be afraid of black neighborhoods merely because they are populated by people with black skin? The idea that skin color predisposes people to violence is ridiculous. Oh, but wait. Perhaps you aren't asserting causation from skin color. Are you then asserting causation from some genetic trait that is 100% correlated with skin color then? What is that trait? Explain the genetic causation. You can't identify it. You know you can't. You are just assuming causation from correlation, and basing your judgment on the most easily observable trait.

So perhaps we should look elsewhere for an explanation of the violence that is prevalent in black neighborhoods. Perhaps to the collapse of character formation associated with the collapse of the nuclear family? Do you think that might be a better explanation of the observable than external traits that have nothing to do with moral conduct?

carl

5 January 2012 at 00:09  
Blogger Oswin said...

carl jacobs: there does appear to be some evidence as to the theft of 'white goods' and other electrical appliances....

5 January 2012 at 01:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Perhaps to the collapse of character formation associated with the collapse of the nuclear family?"

Or associated with a counter-culture which exists and thrives in some of these neighbourhoods. A counter-culture which seems to inspire some others too these days.

5 January 2012 at 05:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. a counter-culture which exists and thrives in some of these neighbourhoods. A counter-culture which seems to inspire some others too these days..

Two good points there. This counter culture which exists in black America also exists in black South Africa. Why is this we wonder. And how is this counter cultural defined. The Inspector will hazard a guess: From a lack of respect for your neighbours, authority, and really anything which the rest of the world recognizes as standards. Don’t you agree Carl. It’s not so much ripping up the rulebook. A rulebook never existed.

Worse, this counter-culture is pernicious and is no respecter of race – we’ve found that out with white English rioters last year…

5 January 2012 at 18:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs. So perhaps we should look elsewhere for an explanation of the violence that is prevalent in black neighborhoods.

Excellent. Now we are communicating. For his part, the Inspector will drop all presuppositions on the subject. Do believe him when he says he has no race hatred in him whatsoever. Nothing at all. Also, do believe him that his suspicions and mistrust of certain races result ENTIRELY from evidence he has gathered over the years. What’s a chap supposed to do – turn a blind eye to what’s put before him. Sacrifice his experiences on the alter of political correctness.

You are just assuming causation from correlation, and basing your judgment on the most easily observable trait.

Certainly. It’s scientific. We know that Lions kill Antelopes and not the other way round. We don’t know WHY they kill them from mere observation, but that’s rather academic as far as the Antelope is concerned.

Explain the genetic causation. You can't identify it. You know you can't.

Very true. And the Inspector knows something else, if any scientist attempted to, it would be professional suicide, and you know it too. But wait, we are identifying genes all the time. There’s a ‘fat’ gene, a ‘diabetes’ gene, a breast cancer gene. Sooner or later they are going to find a ‘lose your cool and let loose murderous temper’ gene. What about a ‘have sex with as many women as possible and not hang around for the birth’ gene. Maybe even a ‘steal my neighbours possessions and kill him if he objects’ gene.

However, all that said, even if these genes do exist, still believe strength of character overcomes all, as Christianity teaches…

5 January 2012 at 18:17  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

DanJ0

"Positive atheism" v's "Negative atheism"?

Face it, all "positive" or "absolute" atheists are simply in denial and constructing their own peverse religion.

... casting aside of all religion is itself a religious phenomenon, and the inconsistency presented by the fact that this rejection of God -- of the true, transcendent God of nature -- is in actual existence an adoration of the false, immanent god of history ....

... absolute atheists stand committed to change their entire system of values and to destroy in themselves everything that suggests God's name; they have chosen to stake their all against divine Transcendence and any vestige of Transcendence."

www2.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/jm3303.htm

5 January 2012 at 18:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Christ on a bike Dodo, what a load of crap. Are you being a Google Savant again? Don't make yourself look even more of a tosser than you are, eh?

5 January 2012 at 21:13  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

Do believe him when he says he has no race hatred in him whatsoever.

Fair enough.

What’s a chap supposed to do – turn a blind eye to what’s put before him. Sacrifice his experiences on the alter of political correctness.

No, but you must attribute effect to rational cause. There is no scientific evidence anywhere that suggests a black man is more prone to violence because of his racial make-up, or that an Italian is more prone to infidelity because of his racial make-up. Behavior is not purely genetically determined. Your genes don't make you do it. You have to look elsewhere for the cause of the behaviors you reject. In the case of black violence, you will see those pathologies repeated in the white community as white family patterns comes more and more resemble black family patterns. That will put paid to these racial theories of inherent violence.

Certainly. It’s scientific. We know that Lions kill Antelopes and not the other way round.

No, assuming causation from correlation is a logical fallacy. It's not scientific at all. Lions don't kill antelopes because lions have brown fur. Else we would have to conclude that all animals with brown fur kill antelopes. Lions kill antelopes to eat.

But wait, we are identifying genes all the time. There’s a ‘fat’ gene, a ‘diabetes’ gene, a breast cancer gene. Sooner or later they are going to find a ‘lose your cool and let loose murderous temper’ gene.

You have made a huge leap in logic here. You have identified genetically-determined biological conditions and extrapolated to the idea that genes cause behaviors. Behavior is not pre-determined. People can choose to alter their behavior but they cannot choose to alter their skin color. The two are not at all comparable. You have also assumed without any basis at all that certain 'behavior genes' are concentrated in certain races. Why should I believe this? And why should I believe that racial categories are sufficiently fixed to allow for this when race is best described as a continuum and not a set of discrete points on a line. Behavior after all is far more uniform across races than skin color. And this is just what our knowledge of sin would suggest.

carl

5 January 2012 at 22:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl. Just picked your reply up rather late in the day – will respond 19 hrs from now...

5 January 2012 at 22:47  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector
I've wave the 'white flag' now.

DanJ0
Actually, I think this moral philosopher, albeit a border-line herectic in with regard to his political position, is spot on about atheism. You really should explore his writings.

5 January 2012 at 23:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl. Have already established there is no proof, because at the moment, proof will not be sought. So we are left with observation and intelligent discourse. Yes, people can make a decision to change their behaviour but there is a DEFAULT setting. It’s what has determined the default that interests the Inspector. He puts it thus, the default is the basest of all the instincts, the instinct to SURVIVE. What’s more, it is survival as an individual, not as a group, and most importantly, is survival at whatever the cost. That’s where the black man differs from all others, what he’s prepared to do to ‘survive’ as he would unconsciously see it. But why…

Until mankind left Africa, there was no need to think about surviving in a group. They had it all in the original garden of Eden that was Africa. However, the pioneers who left soon found they had to work together as a group or perish. It’s that spirit of co-operation that created our civilisation outside of Africa. Inside Africa, they continued living in the stone age until white colonisation happened. The nearest they ever got to co-operating was the tribe. It was the tribe not the family unit, which incidentally is not an African idea, which was everything. If the tribe wanted another cow, they didn’t necessarily do it through husbandry. They went to another tribe and stole one, and killed if necessary. Again, that’s what they were found doing when the white man arrived. They also indulged in slavery, and that is as far away from the spirit of cooperation as you can get.

We can therefore see the origin of their behaviour which has been their curse. A default position which is ‘in the blood’. Now, do please demolish this hypothesis – all of it.

6 January 2012 at 19:02  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

Yes, people can make a decision to change their behaviour but there is a DEFAULT setting.

There is certainly sin, but that is not the same thing as a default setting. Are you here asserting that man's behavior is deterministic in the absence of the Christian religion? In any case, you still have offered no explanation why these specific behaviors should be grouped in certain races instead of being (say) uniformly distributed across the human population. Why should I believe that a certain behavior should correlate with skin color and shape of nose? Stating that something hasn't been proved due to coercion is not the same as saying it will be proved in the absence of coercion. You are essentially asserting the later proposition without any evidence at all.

Now, do please demolish this hypothesis – all of it.

An hypothesis must be testable. There is one testable hypothesis in your scenario, and it is false. Eden was not in Africa. Otherwise, you have created a sequence of events on nothing more than the assumption that the events must have occurred, and the sequence given. There is not an observable event in your whole description. How am I then to test it? How could I find it false? You might as well ask me to test the events in The Hobbit.

Until mankind left Africa, there was no need to think about surviving in a group.

According to whom? What pre-history are you citing in this statement? How do you know that men didn't need to think about "surviving in a group?" This is nothing but a convenient assertion intended to establish a difference between the races. Except it's not founded in genetics. It's founded in learned behavior. How does a learned behavior originate in a fundamental difference between the races?

In addition, when did this racial differentiation occur? There shouldn't even be a difference in races at this point. How then could race be the determining factor? Are you asserting that the 'leavers' departed as a different race, or are you asserting that the 'leavers' departed as the same race? If they departed as the same race, then how do you explain the origin of differing behaviors in terms of race?

They had it all in the original garden of Eden that was Africa.

Eden was not in Africa. Men did not live in Eden. A man was driven out of Eden and forced to drag his living from the ground. This is the testimony of Scripture.

However, the pioneers who left soon found they had to work together as a group or perish.

See comment above.

It’s that spirit of co-operation that created our civilisation outside of Africa. Inside Africa, they continued living in the stone age until white colonisation happened.

And so we reach the critical assertion. European civilization is held up against African civilization, and European civilization is found much superior. To what may we attribute this difference? Well Africans are black and Europeans are white. So it must have to do with the color of the skin. And this is where correlation becomes causation. Argument, meet logical fallacy. There are many possible factors to explain the divergence - all of them more credible than skin color. But the idea certainly does flatter a white man, doesn't it? He can think of himself as ontologically superior.

carl

7 January 2012 at 07:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl.

skin color and shape of nose?

Let’s knock this one on the head. Forget outward appearance, We are talking of recent exports of African traits.

Eden was not in Africa.

For all intents and purposes it’s the best candidate we have. Early hominids living in harmony with the land, until evolution brought with it ‘the tree of knowledge’ and man became ashamed of his nakedness.

It's founded in learned behavior.

Of course. But why change your behaviour when you don’t have to.

If they departed as the same race, then how do you explain the origin of differing behaviors in terms of race?

There was only one race at the time. They would HAVE to change their behaviour pattern to survive. They would have had to learn to co-operate in way they had never needed to co-operate before.

A man was driven out of Eden and forced to drag his living from the ground. This is the testimony of Scripture.

This is not how it happened, but when it comes to explaining evolution and the leaving of Eden (...Africa...) to the early Jews, it’s a very good analogy you must admit.

Your final paragraph is what’s it all about. Is White civilisation better ? For a sustainable standard of living that could bring mankind to the end of time without endangering the planet, you must admit the Africans win every time. But all this stems from the default in some, of course not all Africans, Afro Caribbean's, African Americans. The next time you come across a black man with children by four different women none of whom he lives with, don’t castigate him. He’s only surviving according to his default. Spreading his genes far and wide and sod the consequences of his behaviour. The same goes for a black women on benefits with eight different children by a variety of men.

When a black man dealing in drugs kills a rival, then also kills his eight year old daughter to stop her identifying him. When two lads from Birmingham, England end up in a ‘bad’ part of Florida, and a black youth empties a gun on them (...twenty rounds...) when they objected to being robbed. When a black pimp makes drug addicts of vulnerable women and forces them into the slavery of prostitution. All examples of psychopath-like ‘personal survival’ technique he didn’t NEED to learn. It was already in him waiting. All he had to do was not be arsed to conform to society and co-operate with everybody else, as of course, is his God given free will.

7 January 2012 at 14:02  

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