Monday, February 27, 2012

Clearing the Ground - Preliminary report into the freedom of Christians in the UK

Following a lengthy inquiry over the month of August, with testimony from alleged victims and leaders of prominent Christian groups, a parliamentary committee has at long last confirmed what many of us have known for quite a few years: Christians are increasingly facing difficulties in their employment and involvement with public bodies. This has been seen seen in evidence relating to a number of high profile court cases. These cases included, but were not limited to, situations where employment becomes untenable because of conditions and restrictions imposed upon the articulation and manifestation of belief. The Committee's main findings are:

• The Equality Act 2010 fails to deal with the tensions between different strands of equality policy.
• Court decisions have relegated religious beliefs below other strands and effectively created a hierarchy of rights.
• The place of religious belief suffers because companies, institutions and the government do not take sufficient action to accommodate it.
• The 1986 Public Order Act, and specifically Section 5, places the bar too low through its prohibition on insulting language.
• The policing of the Public Order Act and other legislation demonstrates a lack of understanding of what is a legitimate expression of Christian belief.
• Government departments handle religious belief in a complex and confused manner and lack sufficient coordination.
• Advice from government departments on how to handle religious belief in the public sector varies and in many cases fails to grasp the nature and implications of belief.
• Guidance from professional bodies on religious belief often fails to understand, and therefore safeguard, a role for belief in public life.
• Across the UK, local authorities handle their relationships with religious groups in very different ways.

The Committee consisted of Gary Streeter MP (Chair), Fiona Bruce MP, Baroness Berridge of the Vale of Catmose, David Burrowes MP, Baroness Brinton of Kenardington, Jim Dobbin MP, Lord Edmiston of Lapworth, and Gavin Shuker MP.

They noted the relative religious illiteracy of the nation, which has led to many situations where religious belief is misunderstood and subsequently restricted. This comes from a social and cultural minimisation of Christianity in public life. Religious illiteracy has led to legal restrictions on the way that faith can be expressed. Recent changes have compelled Christians to provide services that they had never previously offered and which may be contrary to their beliefs.

There are specific and necessary steps which the Government should take, and national and local bodies should implement to enable Christians and other faiths to have greater confidence in their freedom to express their beliefs. They recommend:

• Reasonable accommodation is a concept that has merit and warrants further consideration. If proved viable it may help prevent legal cases where religious activity is unduly restricted.
• Areas of the law that permit the arrest of individuals for insulting behaviour need to be significantly amended or reinforced with guidance that permits freedom for preaching and the public articulation of Christian beliefs.
• Guidance for local authorities on how to deal with faith groups needs to be strengthened.
• Professional bodies need better guidance relating to religious identity, activity and freedom.
• Better guidance for government departments and professional bodies to help accommodate religious belief and the way it works itself out in everyday life.
• Clear guidelines should be provided to local authorities to reaffirm that children can be adopted and fostered by people with religious beliefs.
• Better coordination is needed of policy relating to religion in and across government, and urgent effort is required to address religious illiteracy.
• The Equality and Human Rights Commission should be reviewed and restructured to better include and represent religious beliefs.

Under a heading: 'How the Church should respond', the Committee says:

Many of the challenges identified are not wholly the responsibility of the government to resolve. There is a growing need for churches and Christian organisations to take responsibility when their actions may have contributed to a perception that the scale of the problem facing Christians is greater than it is.

Christians have, and will always, experience tensions between their beliefs and the shifting values of the societies that they live in. To some extent the present tensions should be seen as an encouragement of faithful witness.

Ahead of bringing cases to court, Christians need to consider the potential impact their actions might have on politics, public opinion and the confidence of other Christians in their mission.

The last century saw a privatisation of faith and the development of a sacred-secular divide through which Christianity lost much of its social and political influence. Now, too often the Church is defined by what it opposes rather than what it stands for. It is essential that Christians once again provide hope and a vision for society that goes beyond defending their own interests and includes the good of all.

For many Christians public life is seen as a way of living out their beliefs, and across all denominations there is a growing awareness of the need to respond to the challenges that face our communities, nation and world. This shift is already transforming many, often deprived, parts of the country, however, there is much more that remains to be done in demonstrating this vital role of faith.

Christians need to take seriously their historical role in leading and serving in public life, and church discipleship needs to account for this role – because the gospel is good news for society.

The Committee noted that 'Christianity has a rich cultural heritage in the UK. For more than 1,600 years, it has shaped the way people in the British Isles think and act, both personally and publicly. It is by far the most significant single historical influence of our social and political culture and, latterly, has been joined by other influences, many of which are antithetical to Judeo-Christian perspectives. Although Christianity has (negatively and positively) contributed to the evolution of our political culture, it is indisputable that the social and political landscape for authentic Christian witness in the UK has changed dramatically over the last 100 years. The past century has seen, in the place of a Christian public ethos, many atheistic ideas come to the fore. These have been tried and tested in politics and society. The result is that, although the UK is still constitutionally Christian, it is also religiously plural and has a public discourse heavily influenced by secular humanist ideas'.

It remains to be seen how many of these recommendations are accepted by the Government, but we should not forget that the Prime Minister himself recently reminded us:
“We are a Christian country. And we should not be afraid to say so… the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend…

The alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option… Put simply for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong. ‘Live and let live’ has too often become ‘do what you please’. Bad choices have too often been defended as just different lifestyles. To be confident in saying something is wrong, is not a sign of weakness. It’s a strength. But we can’t fight something with nothing. As I’ve said if we don’t stand for something, we can’t stand against anything... those who advocate secular neutrality in order to avoid passing judgement on the behaviour of others fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code…

I believe the Church – and indeed all our religious leaders and their communities in Britain – have a vital role to play in helping to achieve this.”
Over to you, Prime Minister.

116 Comments:

Blogger non mouse said...

Well said, Your Grace.
Thank you.

27 February 2012 at 10:14  
Blogger Larks Tongues in Aspic said...

"Now, too often the Church is defined by what it opposes rather than what it stands for. It is essential that Christians once again provide hope and a vision for society that goes beyond defending their own interests and includes the good of all."

I think that section is well worth stressing too.

27 February 2012 at 10:24  
Blogger David B said...

Just why should religion - of any sort - be privileged over and above any other field of human activity?

I really don't see it.

David B

27 February 2012 at 10:28  
Blogger bluedog said...

Rock - Church - Hard Place - David Cameron.

Nice work, Your Grace.

27 February 2012 at 10:28  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
It is welcoming that Christians at Westminster have taken the opportunity to consider the consequences of recent legislation and it's affect on Christians and society. Whilst I concur with most of what they say I do feel that they have had to play down their concerns with a somewhat tame, nay, pussyfooting report in order not to antagonise their peers. Indeed, that was part of the report that cases of discrimination have been ill-conceived, creating an impression of 'winging Poms'. I have said it before and I will say it again that In some of those cases I feel that the Plaintiff has not always been wise in their deployment of their complaint.
Here in Dubai where I am at present, evangelism is prohibited. In the UK we have a freedom to preach and witness on the streets. This freedom however should be guarded and protected from those that wish to destroy us because our values condemn them.
I seriously doubt that the recommendation of this group will be taken seriously, despite the words mouthed by the PM at Oxford at the celebration of the KJV Bible, because they represent such a small minority. Even MP’s who might have an inclination of sympathy with the sentiments of the group are likely to fade into the background because they value the possibility of a career in the Government. We saw this over the abortion issue.
As I said in my last comment on the last Post let Christians;
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
his army shall he lead,
till every foe is vanquished,
and Christ is Lord indeed.

27 February 2012 at 10:32  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

I think this is a good and measured report. But it is not only Christians facing difficulty, it is people from other religions too.

I get the impression that, because a few who claim to be Christian but can adapt their beliefs to suit the world, it is assumed all Christians must be prepared to knuckle under and accept the secular doctrines.

Ignorance of the Christian Faith by a large number is part of the reason for casual abuse. Also respect for one another is at a low ebb these days.

Unless the equalities thing is equalised I can see Christians being pitted against unfavourable laws for many years to come. Great pity.

27 February 2012 at 10:38  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

David B - you miss the point! The committee is basically seeking a level playing field for equality, not one right being superior to another.

27 February 2012 at 10:40  
Blogger David B said...

Mr Integrity

'From victory unto victory
his army shall he lead,
till every foe is vanquished'

And people accuse us atheists of militancy confrontational.

Are you familiar with the word 'spoing'?

It is the noise that emerges from an irony meter when over-loaded to the point of break-down.

David B

27 February 2012 at 10:42  
Blogger David B said...

@Arden

That's not how I read it.

'The place of religious belief suffers because companies, institutions and the government do not take sufficient action to accommodate it.'

It looks to me as if they are saying that religion needs to be accommodated over and above the way that wanting to attend a cricket match or rock concert would be accommodated.

It would be quite wrong, I think, if Christianity of any or all flavours were to be accommodated over and above any other religion, no matter how obnoxious, or if all religions were accommodated - as I think they are at the moment - over and above any other activity.

David B

27 February 2012 at 10:57  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

David B As an atheist, you will have no understanding of the Spiritual world to which this verse is alluding.

27 February 2012 at 11:09  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

David B said...

Are you familiar with the word 'spoing'?

It is the noise that emerges from an irony meter when over-loaded to the point of break-down.


I'm more familiar with the rumbling you are causing by scraping the bottom of the barrel.

27 February 2012 at 11:13  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

David B, we may have to agree to disagree. I see it as being that the committee doesn't want Christians disadvantaged just because they practice their religion.

For example, in adoption, if a council says that certain beliefs are inappropriate because social workers hold them to be unfavourable in the adoption process, is that fair? I don't know, but it smacks a bit of discrimination (in the real sense of the word).

27 February 2012 at 11:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David B

"Just why should religion - of any sort - be privileged over and above any other field of human activity?"

Just why should secular humanism -of any sort be privileged above any other field of human activity?

Iconoclast

27 February 2012 at 11:14  
Blogger graham wood said...

David B said...
Just why should religion - of any sort - be privileged over and above any other field of human activity? I really don't see it.

Answer: It is not asking for privilege", but only for the well established principle of the right to free speech, opinions, or relgion, and assembly.

Christians ask this for ALL individuals and groups, religious or otherwise.
Presumably you are in favour of such historic freedoms?

27 February 2012 at 11:30  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

To those who ask, why should religion be 'privileged' -

the point is not privilege, but rather the assumptions from which we reason. All reason begins with some unprovable assumption. Mathematics, the core science which informs all the others, rests on the axioms of Euclid, all of which are assumptions, none of which have ever been or can ever be proved, but which, if accepted make sense of a lot of other things.

The same is true of religion. Why should we not rape, steal, murder or intimitate if we choose to do so and if we can amass enough strength to do so with impunity? Why should we have laws against these things? Because those laws are built on the underlying assumptions of Christianity. It is true that other religions have prohibitions on these things, but ask yourself, would you rather have a civil law based on Christianity or Sharia? How about Jewish law, which holds that the murder of a Gentile is merely a crime against Heaven requiring no recompense in this life?

For better or worse, the precepts of Christianity have shaped Europe, and whatever freedoms you enjoy today grow from the soil of religion. Without it, the only authority is the state. I don't know about you, but I don't fancy a world run by either the Labour Party's ever-increasingly PC central committee, or the Torys' "business-interests-uber-alles" old boy network.

27 February 2012 at 11:45  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Well said Corrigan1

27 February 2012 at 12:00  
Blogger Larks Tongues in Aspic said...

Corrigan1. Cannot but agree with your last para. It does however surprise and confuse me that so many Christians DO seem to support the Tories business interests uber alles old boys network.

27 February 2012 at 12:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

Just why should religion - of any sort - be privileged over and above any other field of human activity?

Any form of limited government presumes a certain level of virtue on the part of its citizens. Something must impel them to act against their naked self-interest. Otherwise, the state must enforce the behavior for the good of the state and limited government becomes impossible. Representative government is not after all the natural government of man. The natural government of man would be a king. Representative government is highly unstable precisely because the preconditions are so difficult to maintain. It was long religious heritage that made representative government possible, for it was religious heritage that produced in the citizen the moral capital that made him fit for self-government.

Secularism is a parasitic development the seeks to profit from this moral capital developed by previous generations. Unfortunately it doesn't know how to create such capital. Secularism can only spend it down. The current reigning worldview cannot even induce its own population to discipline its sexual desires, have children, and take responsibility for them. Replacing the current generation is a rather fundamental aspect of maintaining civilization. And yet we see an orgy of self-indulgence as private actors make private decisions to sate their own private desires. It is after all difficult to convince people to live for something beyond themselves once you have convinced them that there is nothing beyond themselves.

Secularism presents its own trinity of gods to the nation. If you think that you can maintain your liberty and freedoms while worshiping at the altar of hedonism, nihilism, and despair, then good luck to you. I will only ask "Where is the next generation? Who is raising the few that are born? Are they capable of competing economically in a world of increasing labor surplus? Will there be enough of them to stop the invader at the shore? Will they consist of anything more than roaming gangs of self-entitled hooligans - too indolent to work and too ignorant to compete but strong enough and violent enough to steal?"

When you give men unconstrained liberty, they will turn it into license. Something then must constrain liberty and secularism has proved itself notoriously incapable of doing so. It has however proved itself quite capable of throwing off restraint in the name of human autonomy - and around us we see all the human wreckage that has resulted. And yet the demolition has hardly even begun.

carl

27 February 2012 at 12:46  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Larks Tongues in Aspic said...

It does however surprise and confuse me that so many Christians DO seem to support the Tories business interests ...


Your confusion is probably caused by the gulf between what the Tory party should be (and has been), and what it has become.

For me, conservatism is built on three key principles, which in descending importance are: a belief that there are absolute moral standards; trust in the accumulated wisdom of the past; individual freedom of choice (subject to principles 1 & 2).

I post this as a Christian and an ex-member of the Conservative Party.

27 February 2012 at 12:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you liked Onward Christian Soldiers, you'll love the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

"I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
'As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
'Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel',
Since God is marching on."

It isn't metaphorical.

27 February 2012 at 12:58  
Blogger David B said...

@Mr Integrity.

I did have my monastic years in my youth.

@Graham Wood

Certainly I want those freedoms for everyone, just no privilege religion in general, or any religion in particular.

@Carl '
Secularism presents its own trinity of gods to the nation. If you think that you can maintain your liberty and freedoms while worshiping at the altar of hedonism, nihilism, and despair'

It is a common misapprehension that atheism (not secularism which is something different - there are many secularist religionists, and quite right) leads inexorably to hedonism, nihilism and despair.

That is not the case, though. Atheists generally have values, do not despair, and do not devote their lives to hedonism.

Look at me, spending time here trying to spread light to those led astray by viewing faith as a good thing:)

David B

27 February 2012 at 13:09  
Blogger David B said...

Oh, and @ anon.

I'm not that fond of 'God Save the Queen' either.

David B

27 February 2012 at 13:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

What are you talking about, Anonymous? The Battle Hymn of the Republic is entirely metaphor. It uses the imagery of the Second Coming of Christ to describe the Union Army marching off to destroy slavery in the American Civil War. The song is incomprehensible absent this context. It's also dubious theology and shouldn't even be considered a Hymn. It is properly categorized as a Patriotic Song.

carl

27 February 2012 at 13:13  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

David B. Does the Prince of Darkness allocate his legions, such as you, to attack various groups of believers to do his work in trying to tie down the faithful in futile dialogues with the likes of you rather than getting on with what they should be doing, which is, working towards the establishment of God's Kingdom.
It will appear obvious which works of God are most successful by the level of attack from the Devils minions.

27 February 2012 at 13:25  
Blogger David B said...

@ Mr Integrity

Has the existence of the putative Prince of Darkness been established?

If so, it is news to me.

Has such a putative entity any place in any religion that claims to be monotheistic? Except possibly Satanism, I suppose.

David B

27 February 2012 at 13:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl,

Julia Ward Howe's song (which she entitled a hymn) is not metaphorical. It deals with physical warfare, as you say, not with spiritual warfare, as in Onward Christian Soldiers. Her references to burnished steel are real. She urges Christian Holy War by the Union against the Confederacy. The point, addressed to David B, is that not all Christians are pacifists. There is a good theological basis for the right of resistance to tyranny, if asserted by duly constituted subsidiary authorities.

JS

27 February 2012 at 14:15  
Anonymous Flossie said...

Carl Jacobs, please consider starting your own blog. You might even give His Grace a run for his money!

27 February 2012 at 14:34  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Lies from beginning to end.
All that is happening is that religious idiots are not being allowed to push their agenda on to other people.
Would that it applied equally!

27 February 2012 at 15:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The report is available here if anyone is interested. Or have I just missed the link?

27 February 2012 at 17:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Having skim-read the report, it comes across as the collected works of all those incestuous fringe-Christian organisations, Christian columnists like Christina Odone and Charles Moore, and the various Conservative Christian bloggers. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with this approach but I've thought for a while now that these components have been carefully whipping up something much greater than the parts. That is, a crafted narrative. That said, it reads quite well, it's coherent, and it's nice to have the whole set of thoughts in one place.

27 February 2012 at 18:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. Indeed, the days of Christianity being part and parcel of everyone’s life are over. We’d need a religious revival like the 19th Century to achieve even a faint replica of bygone days but that’s the point - the Christian message is so strong that it can and has survived. It is there for anyone who wants to hear it.

We’ve no one to blame for the way it is now in this country, not even ourselves. However, non intellectual television (…ie nearly all of it…) has replaced the thought process for low intellect people. Computer games similar. Any requirement for a ‘religious experience’ can be met by sport, most notably football.

To think that the English were once considered the most devout of all European Christians just goes to show how we can take absolutely nothing for granted. But Christianity is part of our culture despite the secularists being displeased about that, and that’s how the way forward should be conducted. We DESERVE to be part of England, if England is to continue to be the fine country it is…

Carl. 27 February 2012 12:46 . A devastating synopsis Sir, you have the Inspector’s admiration. Such effective brevity. Do carry on…

27 February 2012 at 18:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

JS

Perhaps then I misunderstood your intent. My intent was to emphasize that the two songs are not comparable in any way. We agree that Onward Christain Soldiers is a song about spiritual warfare. The Battle Hymn of the Republic on the other hand is a war song from the American Civil War. It uses Christian imagery of the Second Coming as a metaphor for the campaign against slavery. In this, the song is anachronistic because the American Civil War was not conceived as an abolitionist campaign - especially not in Nov 1861 when the song was composed. The song therefore has a political purpose that it seeks to cover with religious garments. It is not primarily a song intended to worship God. It is a song intended to stir a nation to crush slavery. That is why it is not properly categorized as a hymn. Not every song that is called a Hymn is a Hymn to God. The "Olympic Movement" has its own hymn, and yet there is nothing so steeped in the worship of man himself than the "Olympic Movement."

The song is also not properly categorized as a call to "Christian Holy War" for the simple fact that Julia Ward Howe was not a Christian. She was a Unitarian. Howe was a religious liberal who was a passionate abolitionist. That's why she wrote the song. She used Christian imagery because that was the dominant imagery available at the time. But it is simply wrong to suggest that this song was motivated by Christian theology. It was motivated by a mixture of liberal religion and abolitionism.

The song itself is typically sung in churches in the US on the Sunday nearest the Fourth of July. (By the way, the last verse is inevitably bastardized to read "As He died to make men holy let us live to make men free" which in one swipe of the pen reduces the whole of the song to scrap metal. Evidently people aren't too thrilled about dying to make other me free.) It represents some blend of civic religion and Christianity and American exceptionalism. I love the song - but not in church. It has no place in a worship service.

carl

27 February 2012 at 18:23  
Anonymous Number 6 said...

I stopped reading when the first word of your Grace's extract from the report for consideration by the PM was I noted, "reasonable"

Why debate the report further? It's destined for the dustbin of history. The homo's and fellow travellers will continue to hold sway over Cameron.

27 February 2012 at 18:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Flossie

Thank you for your kind words. I shall consider them. :)

carl

27 February 2012 at 18:26  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

I put it to many of you people that concepts such as faith, or belief are built upon shifting sand, therefore do not stand up well under pressure of any kind.

Whereas those such as truth, and knowledge rest upon more solid foundations, therefore can stand up to absolutely anything thrown at them.

For faith based belief systems to survive for long, they must posses a degree of undeniable truth.

For example

Socialism survives because it is self-apparent to the vast majority that society cannot survive or prosper purely as a group of individuals acting in their own perceived best interests.

Conservatism survives because it is self-apparent to the vast majority that society works best when individuals are allowed to work in their own perceived best interests.

Religion survives for both of the above reasons, but also because it has long since been self-apparent to the vast majority that existence makes no possible sense whatsoever without a spiritual, and/or mystical understanding of said existence.

I hold the above to be undoubted truth.

Now of course it could be possible that the vast majority are no better then a bunch of mindless cretins, willing to profoundly believe absolutely anything however stupid, as long as the priest/politician is wearing a nice enough dress/suit, as atheist clearly still believe; however as a rule, if 95% know something from the very depths of their consciousness then they are extremely likely to be on to something.

I was brought up neither within an atheist nor theist family. One side where ethnically Jewish, the other Anglican. The subject of religion was never discussed, or even so much as touched upon by not only my mother or father, but my entire extended family on both sides.

Around 15 years ago I resolved to ask them whether they thought some kind of God or deity existed or not. I was shocked to find that they all took it to be self-apparent that one did, even though very few of them went to church or synagog other then for funerals or weddings.

Not content with my own family, I also asked many others of my acquaintance and found that even people I had assumed to be atheists were just about anything but.

Plenty of ex Roman Catholics which despised with a passion the actions of their own church institutions, most of these of Southern Irish upbringing, but not one single atheist could I find.

It would seem to me that it is not just the front line or the hospice true atheists cannot be found.

I also contend that those self proclaimed atheists that often appear on this forum, are little more sure of their apparent atheism as a 10 year old child. They come here for a paradoxical reason; in that their journey has clearly not as yet yet began, but it is clearly itching to get started.

27 February 2012 at 19:15  
Blogger len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 February 2012 at 19:41  
Blogger len said...

Christianity seems to have drifted like a rudderless ship being swept back and forth by every tide of public opinion.Christians are made to feel (and are represented in the Media)as being somewhat 'odd'and 'out of touch' with modern opinion and ideals.
'Don`t be judgemental' is a phrase most secularists seem to know and is used to put Christians in their place.'Their place' being its ok being a Christian but don`t speak out, don`t preach the Gospel,and don`t get in our way when we want to 'legitimise'behaviour and practices which go against God`s Moral Law.(Which was given to produce a healthy stable Society)

It is time for Christians to stem the oncoming tide which intends to sweep away the very foundations of our Society.Man is redefining what is 'good' and what is 'bad'in our Society in effect' playing God'which bring us back to the satanic lie" you can be as God knowing good and evil" in other words you can choose for yourself what is good and what is evil and that is exactly what man is doing at the moment!.
Of course if we call good bad and bad good we have reversed the roles(in our minds at least ) of God and Satan.
Christians need to make a stand for the Word of God because without it the Darkness will totally envelope man and his predicament will be seen as 'only natural'and God`s original intention for man will be lost.
Man as God intended is perfectly revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

27 February 2012 at 19:42  
Blogger Oswin said...

Len: one of my pet hates, the ''judgemental'' thing. Like charity, it ought to begin in the home.

27 February 2012 at 20:51  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

Who is a 'Christian'?

(No more that 50 words)

27 February 2012 at 21:15  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin said ...

"Len: one of my pet hates, the ''judgemental'' thing. Like charity, it ought to begin in the home."

Ummm ....

27 February 2012 at 23:06  
Blogger David B said...

@ Carl, who said

'I also contend that those self proclaimed atheists that often appear on this forum, are little more sure of their apparent atheism as a 10 year old child....'

It may surprise you to know that one of the more contentious issues on atheist fora is the nature of atheism.

My own position is that I strongly disbelieve in any sort of God as the term seems to be generally - though not universally - understood. That is to say an entity interested in the works and thoughts of man, who may respond to prayer, who judges, who condemns, stuff like that.

The evidence against such an entity appears to me strong.

I am not really concerned with deism, though I don't believe in a deist God either, and the concept of God as some sort of ground of being, or some sort of pantheism are not concepts I am concerned to argue with.

I don't see that sort of God belief leading to strife between families, or nations, or leading to people wishing to impose their views on others, or other bad things.

'...They come here for a paradoxical reason; in that their journey has clearly not as yet yet began, but it is clearly itching to get started.'

That strikes me as a little patronising. I had my monastic years, as I say, and I know online many ex rabid Biblical fundamentalists, who believed in a literal Adam and Eve, a literal flood, and similar nonsense, and who spoke in tongues and stuff like that. True believers!

For myself, my atheism seems more like the end of a spiritual path - which for many years I saw myself as being upon, than the beginning.

David B

27 February 2012 at 23:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

David B said ...

"I strongly disbelieve in any sort of God ... an entity interested in the works and thoughts of man, who may respond to prayer, who judges, who condemns, stuff like that.

The evidence against such an entity appears to me strong."


Evidence? Just what might that be? That bad things happen and there is evil in creation? That there are competing inter and intra denominational faith systems? That religion has been misused for economic snd political purposes?

His existance is not dependant on scientific evidence or on the goodness of man. Faith is a gift from God, freely given to anyone wants to accept it.

27 February 2012 at 23:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DavidB

It was Atlas shrugged who said ...

I also contend that those self proclaimed atheists that often appear on this forum, are little more sure of their apparent atheism as a 10 year old child....

carl

28 February 2012 at 00:05  
Anonymous David said...

Why should secularism be privileged over religious belief?

28 February 2012 at 01:21  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Mr. Integrity
Kuwait has plenty of churches which when I was there were thriving. Their congregations were drawn from the large expat population and there were Arab Christians too from other parts of the ME.
Who are the Christians?They range from the Ethiopian Orthodox to the Quakers.
State support for the CofE does not make it thrive.

28 February 2012 at 04:25  
Blogger Larks Tongues in Aspic said...

Would be interesting to see if this group has anything to say about the occupy eviction and the beating and arrest of Christians praying on the steps of St Paul's, or whether it's concerned only about conservative Christian "beliefs".

28 February 2012 at 06:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David: "Why should secularism be privileged over religious belief?"

Secularism is about the structure of our society, not about specific privilege. What it attempts to address in a diverse, multi-cultural society is one set of religious beliefs claiming privilege over another, or over none.

Religious beliefs, such as those in Christianity or Islam, are about absolutes which brook no argument yet there is no means of demonstrating the truth of one set of absolutes over a different set.

Secularism is about the role the State has in society. Any core values it upholds, such as the primary value of individual freedom, need to be shared values which are argued for and maintained by consent.

Where does this leave the multiple sets of religious beliefs or the lifestyle diversity of its citizens? Well, the role of the State is to arbitrate between competing interests as fairly as possible. To do that, it needs some core principles, one of which is to limit harm to individuals by other individuals.

Does that mean that the State cannot and should not promote 'virtue' in its citizens? I'd say no, it doesn't. There are virtues which we commonly hold to be good things, such as honesty, integrity, benevolence, which help society function well. Moreover, these things can be argued for without recourse to religious belief yet chime with those beliefs.

28 February 2012 at 06:46  
Blogger Larks Tongues in Aspic said...

Windsor Tripehound..what think you of the occupy eviction..could be interpreted as the Church siding with corporate power and state violence - even against fellow Christians?

28 February 2012 at 07:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

One of the benefits of secularism in a liberal democracy like ours is that it actually guarantees and protects space for religions. These are diverse lifestyles and religious citizens have the same sorts of freedom as everyone else in society. However, this puts the State in the role of arbitrating between a small number of competing religious interests. This is kind of where we are now, really.

28 February 2012 at 07:14  
Blogger len said...

Dodo who is a Christian?.



In chapter 3 of The Epistle to the Philippians Paul gives us one of the best definitions of a Christian available in the Bible. He also contrasts this with the marks of false teachers.

Paul begins the chapter by contrasting the wondrous gift of grace against the hopeless pit of sin. He warns the Philippians against false teachers; those, he says, who have confidence in themselves. That is, anyone who adds conditions for salvation, in addition to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul likens to Gentile dogs, those who fail to recognize that salvation is wholly of Jesus.

But then in stark contrast to false teaching, Paul defines what a Christian looks like:

"For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh"

He calls true Christians “the real circumcision”, i.e. the true covenant people of God. Then he gives three characteristics of Christians in verse 3. He says true Christians are those who:

1) Worship in the Spirit of God
2) Glory in Christ
3) And put no confidence in the flesh."In the flesh" is always set in contrast to "in the Spirit". They define two states of being or nature - those with the Spirit (regenerate) and those without the Spririt (unregenerate). "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom 8:8) and “... the flesh counts for nothing.”... But "the Spirit gives life." (John 6:63). And "no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of ... the Spirit (John 3:6; Ezek 36:25-27). Worship in the Spirit of God also means that the source of our daily spiritual life and walk in Christ is the Holy Spirit who unites us to Jesus Christ. Gal 5:25 likewise says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Thus both our conversion and our sanctification can be attributed to the work of Christ, applied by the Spirit.

(Dodo, gone slightly over your permission(50 words) to give the Gospel of Christ but feel I owe the Gospel the right to speak for itself without the restrictions of man)

28 February 2012 at 07:47  
Blogger len said...

Back to the point in question ; Do Christians 'speak out' in our Society and uphold God`s moral law or do they submit to the secularisation and the consequent degeneration of our Society?.
Christians are approaching a time when they will be hated and persecuted for speaking the truth and this will intimidate some Christians because of the fear of man, the fear of disapproval, coming from the secular World.

Paul speaks of this in Hebrews,"By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time."

Also " A friend of the World(the corrupt 'World system') is an enemy of God.
It is time for Christians to 'speak out' be salt and light do not be intimidated into silence!.

If we look at 'organised religion ' today we see that compromise(with the World system is causing it to become sterile and lifeless and eventually will result in its death.
Pharaoh in the time of Moses was the ruler of a corrupt idolatrous Political/Religious 'World system' quite a parallel with today`s times and World systems!.

28 February 2012 at 08:09  
Anonymous Greg Tingey said...

Mr Integrity
As an atheist, you will have no understanding of the Spiritual world to which this verse is alluding.
As an ESCAPED evangelical, now an atheist I know only too well.
You are LYING.
This is why I'm so permanently angry.
I was LIED to all my childhood by a bullying and arrogant priest.
I decided it was just him, and that there might be a BigSky Fairy, but not (his version of) a christian one.
Then I realised that all the christain priests were lying, and so, probably were all the priests of the other religions.
So I tunrned into a Spinozan Deist.
Now, I realise, that with no BigSkyFairy anywhere between the photon the neutrino and the supergalaxy cluster, that it is all lying shit.

If by "spirituality" you mean the hopes and aspirations and real emotions of people, then what the bleeding fuck has that got to do with Yeshua Ben Joseph?
It has a lot to do with people.

But then, you are just another deluded liar, are you not?

Anonymous
Just why should secular humanism -of any sort be privileged above any other field of human activity?
WRONG AGAIN
Secular huimainism may be practised by religous believers - Quakers for instance.
It just means NO PRIVILEGE for ANY specific religious group.
As usual, you can't tell the difference between secularism and atheism.
I happen to belong to both those groups, but that's beside the point!

Corrigan1
the only authority is the state as acknowledged by the CofE I think?
ANd by the original Cranmer?
Idiot

Carl Jacobs
You are both deluded and a deliberate LIAR
"Secularism" - by which, from your text you ACTUALLY mean atheism can and does have a moral compass.
You are spouting of of the usual pernicious religious (muslims do this one as well) lies, about only the law keeping atheists from running amok ...

Mr Integrity
You are categorising me and David B as followers of the other non-existent BigSkyFairy, "Satan"
More deliberate lies and smearing.
Typical religious (not just christian) behaviour - "Death to the enemies of allah!" ...
So, when are you going to join the holy office, then, and start toruring people, to make them join "god" ??
Bastard.
And you wonder why I'm an athiest, when thare are things like you and Al-quaeda walking the planet?

Atlas shrugged
Religion survives for both of the above reasons, but also because it has long since been self-apparent to the vast majority that existence makes no possible sense whatsoever without a spiritual, and/or mystical understanding of said existence.
More complete bollocks

The answer to your deluded spoutings can be found in one word.
Physics.
Now piss off.

David B @ 23.28
Agree strongly - see also the first part of this post...

WotDodo
If existence of BigSky Fairy does not depend on any evidence, then you can stick it - anywhere you like.
If you can't do better than that then FUCK OFF.
( Yes, I'm really annoyed! )

28 February 2012 at 08:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oh I say!

28 February 2012 at 09:09  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Bit... erm... 'liverish' are we this morning Mr T? - you get it off your chest old son.

28 February 2012 at 09:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

G Tingey

You forgot the shoe! Take off your shoe and pound the table with it. Makes for quite a memorable demonstration.

carl

28 February 2012 at 12:20  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Greg Tingey said in a most superior manner than to previous commenting..

Good Lord and Heavens to Betsy and Murgatroyd and anyone else who will listen... as Snagglepuss or the cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz might exclaim.


E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said 26 February 2012 08:51

" As God is my witness to all that frequent this blog forum, you WILL learn to write articulately and with eloquence!"

Ernst

It's a miracle..Oops the Sky Fairy did it Tingey.*Says dodging thrown right shoe*

Ernst 'I Believe in Miracles' Blofeld

28 February 2012 at 15:12  
Blogger Oswin said...

Moonpie: somehow I mind less your anger, than your more usual tone.

However, this 'liar liar' stuff is too much. Please desist where it is merely a matter of opinion; save it for deliberate deceit.

28 February 2012 at 16:31  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Oswin
It IS "deliberate deceit", unfortunately.

I notice no-one AT ALL has tried, yet to refute my points.

Come on - you know what I want - I want EVIDENCE.
Shouldn't be difficult, should it ?????

28 February 2012 at 17:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Tingey. Take an atom, any atom. We have proton(s), neutron(s) and electrons. Now, the first two are incredibly miniscule. If fact, between them and the electrons are empty space. So, an atom is mainly empty space. Take the empty spaces out of all the atoms in a human man, and you achieve a disappearing act. All this is scientific fact, only fairly recently proven beyond doubt. It’s true, but even you must admit you have to get your head around it to appreciate the science.

Now, you are ABSOLUTELY sure there is no God. How can you be absolute about anything in this universe and beyond it. Ironically, a couple of thousand years ago, you would be saying that thunder is the wrath of Thor. You would refuse to accept any other suggestion. Can you see now why we all think you a hound…

28 February 2012 at 17:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Ironically, a couple of thousand years ago, you would be saying that thunder is the wrath of Thor."

Some of us have come a long way since then. Others rather less so, just not calling their god Thor these days.

28 February 2012 at 17:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I don’t know, we still murder babies we don’t want, just more of them...

28 February 2012 at 18:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

So, what are you doing about it? You sit at home drinking whiskey each evening, enjoying being an armchair warrior on a blog. If I thought babies were being routinely killed in this country then I'd be trying to protect them, baby by baby, outside the clinic doors. In reality, it's just words for you by the look of it.

28 February 2012 at 18:30  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Some of us have come a long way since then.

The statement assumes a reference frame by which a 'way' can be determined and a 'long' distance measured. I have no doubt that I could construct a DanJ0-relative reference frame that would prove without doubt that you have indeed traveled a 'long way.' The problem occurs when you try to relate this motion to inertial space. You have no objective reference. You have no idea if you are moving or the reference frame is moving. Have you actually moved, or is the reference frame simply accelerating away from you?

carl

28 February 2012 at 18:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

What do expect, cross hairs at 300 yards. Would that I could and do it again without comeback from the authorities. Always been a “Allow me God to smite thyne enemies” Christian. Could kill over and over for the cause and not lose a minutes sleep. But in reality, we have to PUBLISH when possible, send as many on a guilt trip as possible...

28 February 2012 at 18:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

And wearing slippers is so much more comfortable too.

28 February 2012 at 18:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

But don't let me guilt trip you. ;)

28 February 2012 at 18:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Can’t suppose you’ve ever experienced a guilt trip. You need sound moral foundations to know one of them. Anyway, the Inspector detects he is this evenings ‘warm up’ act for you until Dodo appears. Have to disappoint you then. The Inspector is entertaining two nurses tonight, and before you get aroused, they are NOT male.

28 February 2012 at 19:05  
Blogger Oswin said...

'It ain't over until the fat lady sings'...and yes, we've come a long way; and God willing, we've an even longer time ahead of us yet... I doubt that many then, will think as we do now, about almost anything.

28 February 2012 at 19:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

len

Naughty, naughty.

I wanted to hear from you, not receive a cut and paste job from a Biblical reflection by John Hendrix on a Calvinist website!

To be fair you did slip in a 'born again' reference! The actual text said:

"Worship in the Spirit of God also means that the source of our life and walk in Christ is the Holy Spirit who unites us to Jesus Christ."

Once again - in your own words: what or who is a Christian?

28 February 2012 at 20:35  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

Don DanJo taunted ...

If I thought babies were being routinely killed in this country then I'd be trying to protect them, baby by baby, outside the clinic doors. In reality, it's just words for you by the look of it.

And if we did you'd be the first to condemn Christians for attacking the foundations of 'liberal-democracy'!

Christians accept there is evil in this world and abortion is one of the greatest evils. It's not a topic to score points on in your supercilious, 'strategic' game playing fashion.

We have to live within the law of this land and use appropriate and effective means of pressure.

In practice this means not cooperating with abortion if one is a doctor, nurse or member of a counselling profession. It means supporting those organisations offering alternatives to abortion women and helping those who do abort their babies recover from the trauma and guilt. It means campaigning to expose the financial interests of those preying on the vulnerable. It means asking prospective MP's before one votes where they stand on the issue.

All good 'secular' approaches.

Most significantly, it means challenging the hedonistic and self centred culture of death that is pervading our culture.

And finally it means praying to God for the souls of the innocent victims torn from their mother's wombs, for forgiveness for this crime and for all who are a party to it and for it to end.

You in your Godless little world just cannot comprehend this. You prefer to rehearse and refine your shallow arguments without attempting to comprehend the gravity of the sin you casually support.

Just leave your armchair and slippers and go off on one of your 'Gay Pride Marches'.

28 February 2012 at 23:55  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

Oswin:I doubt that many then, will think as we do now, about almost anything.

Is the Gnostic in you coming out of the closet? Is the new avatar Sophia?

29 February 2012 at 01:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 February 2012 at 05:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, I don't really blame you. At you age, it must play havoc with your hips waving placards around in the street at weekends. Leave all that to the young and zealous, you're doing sterling work manning the blog outrage front from your armchair.

29 February 2012 at 05:01  
Anonymous Greg Tingey said...

OiG
Now, you are ABSOLUTELY sure there is no God?
On present available evdidence
YES
Note the qualifier - identical to the Dawkins view-point, or that of any trained scientist ... ON THE EVIDENCE.
If you want me to think differently, then you must produce some evidence.
How often do I have to say this before it finally penetrates?

You keep on claiming there is evidence ... yet no one at all has even tried to present any.
Funny, that.

Oh, and ... Can’t suppose you’ve ever experienced a guilt trip?
Yes, and ... so?
Your point was?



WotD etc
Your arrogant sneering contributes NOTHING to the argument ... You in your Godless little world just cannot comprehend this
NOT EVEN WRONG
You are claiming that ONLY YOU (christians in thios particular case) understand.
I would say LIAR, but I'd be wrong - your self-delusion is immense.
Wake up, at the back, there!

29 February 2012 at 08:34  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Greg Tingey said in an admirable way compared to previous ranting but still devoid of any real substance.

1. Ernst will show you that you are locked in a circular argumentative mode.
2. Ernst will even define what a circular argumentative mode means.
3. Ernst will despatch that qualifier you requested us to 'Note' as qualification supposedly identical to the Dawkins view-point (Ernst will show you why your arguments are as baseless as His, mere emotional rant..How scientific is that? You and your twin fool.
4. Ernst will show that the model used by Science is actually Christian iin scope and defines the argumentative model when expanding biblical truth, as supposedly science does. Lets see, shall we?
5. Ernst will present arguments from trained scientists ... ON BASIS OF EVIDENCE.
6. Old Ernst will ask you questions he would like to see some rational explanation for and just naming scientists will NOT DO... You Fluke! Let's see's whats you knows Fella.

"How often do I have to say this before it finally penetrates?" Let us see how penetrable that thick skull is you display frequently, shall we?

"...your self-delusion is immense." Shall we measure the weight of your self delusion by the time it is finished.

Ernst is going out for several hours but will respond to your comment by late evening.

Toodle pip, me old paint.

Ernst.

29 February 2012 at 11:39  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Ernst is promulgating a gigantic flatulence by the look of it...

1 & 2] I know aboout circular arguments - more usually used by muslims actuallly, going:
allah <=> "prophet"
3] Emotional? Yes - angry at the lies and deception.
4] Self-deluded liar
It is pre-christian, and classical (Aexandrine) Greek in origin - maybe earlier than that.
5] Really - the brainwashed who claim that evoluition is contrary to thermodynamics - even though Earth is not a closed system?
I already said Photon/neutrino ---> supergalaxy cluster.
No BigSkyFairy
Show or shut up.
Pyschological "arguments don't count, physical, recordable evidence does.
6] Excepting Dawkins, I have not named any scientists.
And even there I am judging on conclusions and evidence, not opinions.
Remember: "Nullis in verbia" - the motto of the Royal Society.

29 February 2012 at 12:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

Don DanJ0

The committed atheist and active homosexual who is an Anglican and a Catholic Godparent (but I was in my twenties and it was before the internet).

Seems he is getting bored because nobody wants to play.

Having been soundly defeated by carl and Albert in moral and philosophical debates which for him are:
strategy games, looking forward to likely replies and countering them beforehand, he is looking for someone to use as foil for his superior wit and intelligence.

How sad - how desperate.

29 February 2012 at 14:23  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo @ 01:17 : I've only just learned how to do the avatar stuff. I'm not sure old Gert shows to her best advantage, she's really quite a beauty. A funereal, Christian Angel, don't you know.

As for Gnosticism, I've always felt that it made a certain asthetic sense as a back-drop to Christianity; so your crack about 'Sophia' is interesting.


Greg (I feel we have advanced to first name terms) @ 08:34: A hypothetical question here, but for the sake of argument alone, what would be your reaction supposing the existence of God was scientifically proven, sometime in the near future? Just interested is all, no tricks intended.


Dodo again @ 14:23 : just a thought here, but would it not be wise to consider your own soul a little, when 'debating' here? When you execrate, anathematise others, you may well be endangering yourself.

DanJo might well have an over-blown ego, but at least he admits to it with a smile; and whatever his perceived failings, he is clearly not an evil person. Indeed, he often comes across as being rather more 'Christian' than do some others.

cat the pigeons amongst the put...etc. :o)

29 February 2012 at 17:02  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, There is only one truth Biblically speaking at least, you seem surprised that there are others who agree with me.

Would you like me to post Romans for you or would you rather read it yourself?You have a Bible I presume?.

Galatians is a MUST for all who are bound to the' must help Jesus save me' School of works!.

I had to dig out all this knowledge for myself(following the leading of the Holy Spirit ) being 'spoon fed' by others is a hazardous pursuit especially when they depart from Biblical truth and start making up their own truth ,'traditions' and suchlike.

Everything needed for salvation can be found within the Bible if you desire wisdom ask God and He will give it to you!.

'If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.'(James 1:5)

29 February 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oswin: "DanJo might well have an over-blown ego, but at least he admits to it with a smile; and whatever his perceived failings, he is clearly not an evil person. Indeed, he often comes across as being rather more 'Christian' than do some others."

Why thank you. In return, if more believers online were as middle of the road (in the positive sense) as you then things would probably tick along much more smoothly.

29 February 2012 at 17:50  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

Oswin
Fair comment but have I actually cursed anyone or declared them evil in and of themselves?

Attacking the justification and promotion of lifestyles dangerous to the fabric of society and according to my understanding, evil, is perfectly acceptable.

Anyone who makes light of abortion or gratuitiously insults the Eucharist is deserving of censor, even if it does get a bit personal at times.

29 February 2012 at 17:50  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road, don't we?

29 February 2012 at 17:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Having been soundly defeated by carl and Albert in moral and philosophical debates [...]"

Oh I really don't think so. I've been assailed by Albert a number of times looking for any possible weakness and he's left empty-handed and burning with frustration. So much so that he tries again and again and again to go over old ground despite my complete and utter lack of interest. I'd be surprised if Carl thought he'd soundly beaten me either, at best we're at a philosophical impasse and I'm sure he knows it as much as I do. In reality, it's the same with Albert but unfortunately there's rather more going on there than sparring with ideas. There Dodo, have you enough ammunition now to try to cause more trouble by using third parties to make up for your own inadequacies? Enjoy. :)

29 February 2012 at 18:01  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

(And along comes the final member of the holy triumvirate.)

len

Round and round we go!

"But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead."
(James 2:20)

How many more times? Catholicism is not a religion of works.

Catholics believe that faith and God's grace accompanied by works lead to salvation.

There are so many verses in the Bible stating that entrance into Heaven is not as simple as saying "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior."

The Bible is clear that faith holds the first and prominent role in the salvation of every person.
The Bible also tells us there is more to salvation then accepting Christ as one's personal Lord and Saviour. There must be a balanced relationship between our faith and its expression in good works.

Here's the Catholic position:

Council of Trent, On Justification, Ch. VIII

"When the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely, these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, "without which it is impossible to please God" and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification. For, "if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise," as the Apostle says, "grace is no more grace."

The Council also reiterated the relationship of good works to man justified by faith.

Council of Trent, On Justification, Ch. XVI

"Therefore, to men justified in this manner, whether they have preserved uninterruptedly the grace received or recovered it when lost, are to be pointed out the words of the Apostle: "Abound in every good work, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shown in his name"; and "Do not lose confidence, which hath a great reward." Hence, to those who work well "unto the end" and trust in God, eternal life is to be offered, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, and as a reward promised by God himself, to be faithfully given to their good works and merits."

29 February 2012 at 18:49  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

DanJo

Do carry on baiting Marie and others. I don't want to play. They'll soon grow tired too.

And you still think Albert was stalking you? I thought it the other way around given your predilictions.

29 February 2012 at 19:18  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo @ 17:52 : depends whether or not you're the bloke driving the tank; doesn't it?


DanJo @ 17:50 : and thank you too; I can't help but agree with you! ;o)

29 February 2012 at 21:12  
Blogger Oswin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 February 2012 at 21:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

Oswin, the 'tanks' are on the move from all sides and one has to decide where one stands. Will you move to the left or to the right?

Aggressive atheism is on the rise with its culture of permissive hedonism. It has even enterd the Church. I'm not sure one can be 'middle of the road' in this. I don't doubt it's proponents are 'decent' people in the main. That really isn't the central issue.

Corrosive and toxic ideas have a way of appealing to the sentiments - that's why one needs moral standards. Decent people do have indecent ideas.

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."

29 February 2012 at 21:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "I don't want to play."

It was never play for you, Dodo. You're over-compensating here and always have done.

1 March 2012 at 02:02  
Blogger len said...

Dodo which came first the chicken or the egg?.

1 March 2012 at 08:06  
Blogger len said...

Dodo I have asked you many times but you always refuse to answer ...perhaps you will this time?.

If you renounce Catholicism will you still be saved?.

Simple enough question?.

1 March 2012 at 08:15  
Anonymous Greg Tingey said...

I note that WotD has not come back ...
And that vareious people are quoting the book of Bronze-Age goatherders' myths as if they meant soemething - oh dear.

Oswin
I'd be very suprised, and it would require a very profound re-think, that's for certain.
However, the overwhelming evidence (that word again) is on my side.
Remeber, that BigSkyFairy was to be found, always in inacceesible regions, and as those regins became accessible, BSF retreated, and so the asymptotic progress continues.
Among the more educated classes, for instance, apostatsy is progressing amongst muslims as well ( I know one quite well)
They keep quiet about it of course, because islam is where christianity was in about 1400 .....
Murderous and brutal.

1 March 2012 at 08:17  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

len - do you read this blog? If so, do look back to the last time I answered this question - in full.

Oh, and the 'idea' came before both the chicken and the egg.

DanJ0, correct, it is not a game for me.

Tingey, you don't really want a reply, do you?

The existance of God cannot be 'proven' to your satisfaction. Fine. That certainly does not mean He does not exist. I'm more than satisfied with the evidence that does exist. The rest comes down to faith. You know what that is? Believing in that which you cannot see.

1 March 2012 at 10:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

len, here's the answer, posted a couple of weeks ago:

"Tell me(and I hope you will answer this time as you have refused to do so in the past)if you walked away from the Catholic Church and had nothing more to do with it would you remain 'saved'?"

I have answered before.

One clarification. Unlike you I do not prejudge my salvation ot that of others. I hope and pray for it and with faith in Christ and with the assistance of His Church, will achieve it.

Do you believe you are saved? That Heaven is quaranteed you? You need not turn up for the Last Judgement as it's a done deal?

The Catholic Church has always taught that anyone who knowingly and deliberately, rather than through innocent ignorance, commits the sin of heresy by rejecting divinely revealed doctrine, or the sin of separating from the Catholic Church, then for them salvation would not be possible until they repented and returned to live in Catholic unity.

Now, you answer my question: who is a Christian?

1 March 2012 at 11:24  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"those who advocate secular neutrality in order to avoid passing judgement on the behaviour of others fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code…"

Could someone please point where are those secularists who advocate neutrality - there are other rather more robust ways of determining a society's moral code than relying on biblical texts and on conversations which because of their spiritual nature are by definition beyond confirmation. Talk about straw man tactics.

1 March 2012 at 12:55  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

@Len

What came first the chicken or the egg?

Seek (or at least Google) and you shall find the truth

http://friendsofdarwin.com/misc/faq/chicken-egg/

1 March 2012 at 13:06  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

tory boy
Ummm ... here we go again! Evolution versus 'creative creation' or pure 'creationism'.

I still think the 'idea' came first.

Creatures classified as "chickens" predated the modern structure of "chicken eggs", not eggs in general.

Didn't reptiles lay the first egg on land and therefore the egg that contained the first chicken would have come from a different animal? So the first "chicken" came from an egg - laid by what? And where did the reptile come from?

I'm not sure science has yet worked out how life in its first form actually started and what the mechanism was. Or has it? Bit like the 'Big Bang' really. It's a mystery. What joy!

1 March 2012 at 13:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

A giant Galapagos tortoise, Chelonoidis elephantopus, believed extinct for 150 years probably still exists, say scientists.

And so does the Dodo despite the attempts of some!

1 March 2012 at 13:32  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

I'm not sure science has yet worked out how life in its first form actually started and what the mechanism was. Or has it?

No not yet - but it has filled in lots of gaps with different answers from those which were previously expected. As for whose theories have stood up the best - I dont't think the Church has the best record, but as for the big one the jury is still out and I guess will be for the rest of our lives.

1 March 2012 at 14:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

, has the Christian Church(es) got one theory? Apart from believing God created the Universe there is no one doctrine accepted across the various denominations.

I doubt science will ever be able to emipirically prove or understand just how life first started or how the Universe came into existance.

As I said, it is a mystery and I think will ever remain so. That is not to say we shouldn't keep pushing the boundaries of knowledge and widening our comprehension of the awesome majesty of existance.

1 March 2012 at 15:13  
Blogger len said...

Dodo there is only One Christian (in the True sense of the Word)

1 March 2012 at 18:40  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

A Letter to you TINGEY... as the Specials might have sang (instead of Rudy)

1 + 2
Logic will let you analyze an argument or a piece of reasoning, and work out the obvious possibilty or conclusion but circular argumentative mode "reasoning in a circle" and is what Aristotle claimed was " Begging The Question" regarding the fallacies of classical logic.

Reasoning in a circle is therefore when the conclusion of the argument is essentially the same as one of the premises in the argument.
Circular reason can be quite subtle, can be obfuscated when stated intentionally and can be very difficult to detect.

Vicious circular reasoning can be deadly and destructive to knowledge unlike virtuous circular
reasoning which has it's basis in mathematical usage (to show that two different statements are
equivalent expressions of the same thing) such as the function or work of a teacher within a
pedagogical framework.
In a logical argument, vicious circular reasoning occurs when one attempts to infer a conclusion that is based upon a premise that ultimately contains the conclusion itself. Still with me, Tingey?
Genuine method leads from the known to the unknown whereeas vicious reasoning proceeds from the known to the equally known but does not add anything new, add advamce learning or add anything to knowledge. Vicious circular reason is an affront to and violates the genuine method.
Please note that the word argument applies to all reason, regardless of form so will be found in hypotheses models arguments and studies.It's called critical thinking.. you should acquaint yourself with it in the very immediate future?
Vicious circular reasoning goes nowhere and leads nowhere, hence where you find yourself currently.

In a 3d desert of your own making and CHOOSING, fingers wedged firmly in ears, chanting La la la la la!
Howver, you show yourself an expert in the emotional and deceptive mode of fallacious argument with the use of Ad Hominem in your commenting, whether ridicule, abusive or circumstantial but especially it in Tu Quoque (two wrongs 'Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest' make a right). Poor form
that Tingey fellow!
Or would you like Ernst to define the basis of the two main types of arguments, whether deductive or inductive.

Tu Quoque Wrong no.1
Natural Selection Is Circular Reasoning: A causes B, because B causes A. This deceptive talk
provides an important basis for evolutionary theory and is expanded as thus;
Nature selected and produced each species. The proof is that it did it. How do/can we know it did it? Because it did it.
Voila, Messieur/Monsieur (ah, that 'virtuous' circular reasoning again) Tingey!

Ernst

1 March 2012 at 18:50  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

A Letter to you TINGEY con'd

In his book Macroevolution,Steven Stanley, explained "I tend to agree with those who have viewed
natural selection as a tautology rather than a true theory. (Printed 1979), p. 193.
or
T.H. Morgan, famous American geneticist, said that the idea of natural selection is a tautology, a case of circular reasoning. It goes something like this: If something cannot succeed, it will not succeed. Or, to put it another way, those things which have succeeded were able to succeed."
`There is no harm in stating the same truth in two different ways,' if one shows what one is doing
by connecting the two statements with a phrase, such as in other words. But if one connects them
with because, which is the earmark of the tautology, one deceives either the reader or oneself or
both; and there is ample harm in this.
But is such a broad definition of any use? We are trying to explain what produces change. Simpson's
explanation is natural selection, which he defines as what produces change. Both sides of the equation are again the same; again we have a tautology . . If selection is anything tending to produce change, he is merely saying that change is caused by what causes change . . The net explanation is nil."—Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried (1971), p. 49.
Further he tells us (Norman Macbeth) Rather that easily defendable scientific facts, he finds the evidence and arguments for Darwinism to be deeply flawed. Questions are begged, evidence is fudged, and extrapolations are unwarranted. Norman Macbeth problem was that he had no alternative explanation for the evolution of life. His honesty, your ignorance!

Darwinism: A Time for Funerals (1985) also written by the Harvard trained Lawyer. This is a
thoughtful and fair critique well worth reading, Tingey.

Let Ernst end (Tu Quoque no.1) with a quote from the author : "Any profession [he has biology in mind] that does not supply its own criticism and iconoclasm will discover that someone else will do the job, and usually in a way it does not like."

Tu Quoque Wrong no.2
Survival of the Fittest Is More Circular Reasoning: More shallow reasoning which answers everything
as per.
The fittest survive, therefore they are fittest and survive. (Tingey, don't know if you are aware of this, bit of a heads up here, survival is not evolution!)

"Darwin proposed no criterion of fitness other than that of survival itself . . It follows that `the survival of the fittest' is not a testable theory, but a tautology. Which one survives? The fittest. Who are they? Those that survive."T. Bethell, Darwins mistake, (1976.)
"Someone asked how we determine who are the fittest. The answer came back that we determine this by the test of survival; there is no other criterion. But this means that a species survives because it
is the fittest and is the fittest because it survives, which is circular reasoning and equivalent
to saying that whatever is, is fit. The gist is that some survive and some die, but we knew this at
the onset. Nothing has been explained."—*Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried (1971), p. 47. Great Book, scientific models etc given, even though he was an evolutionist.

Ernst has avoided the other Tu Quoque, he could have chosen
Stratigraphy : We are able to assign dates to all sedimentary rock strata, because of the so-called

"index fossils" in them. We know when the index fossils lived, because of the rock strata they are in.
The truth is that the theoretical dates were imagined first. Then they were assigned to the fossils
which exclusively appeared in certain strata levels. I mean, what's a billion years here or there when the veracity of scientific rigour is what's needed, right?

Ernst

1 March 2012 at 18:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

On Friday 14th February 1986 the Oxford Union Society (the debating society at Oxford University)

held a Debate on the motion:
“That the doctrine of creation is more valid than the theory of evolution.” One of the speakers
opposing the motion was Dr Richard
Dawkins. Author David C. C. Watson was present and now commented on some of his arguments.
RD: “The logical status of the evidence for the Theory of Evolution is just the same as the logical status of the evidence that the Roman Empire existed….”

Comment. a) There is no ‘theory’ that the Roman Empire existed. What has never been disputed as a
fact does not require a theory to undergird it, mainly because it depends on human testimony, which is also the basis of true science. If a man is found murdered,
there may be twenty different theories based on circumstantial evidence; but if twenty people saw
him murdered, and their testimony
agrees, it is absurd to speak of the ‘theory’ of how he died. There were millions of eyewitnesses of
the Roman Empire; thousands of them wrote about it, and hundreds of these writings have survived — books, letters, decrees and monuments.
In broad outline, their testimonies agree. They could not possibly have been faked; the evidence is indisputable. By
contrast, Darwin’s theory was
hotly disputed from the day of its birth. Why? because nobody has ever observed macro-evolution in
any country in any century in any shape or form — no fish becoming frogs, nor any of the fossils of the necessarily numerous transitional species.
Why people who need to rely on fallacious arguments and intellectual implied snobbery 'You would'nt be that stupid, would you?' have lost the argument already and are mere scoundrels because they KNOW what they do.

Richard Dawkins: I'm '6.9 out 7' sure that God does not exist.

So you're saying there's a chance !
*giggles hilariously to self*

Trust Ernst has helped lad.

Will deal with 4-6 tomorrow as I have had a busy day and I is kn'*&^g/d!

Ernst loves to help those much less fortunate than himself but suggests a course in self help called STUDYING!

Ernst, that Tingleymeinthebobs geezer ;-)

1 March 2012 at 18:55  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len was asked ...

Who is a Christian?

After much thought he answered:

"Dodo there is only One Christian (in the True sense of the Word)"

Which. strange to say, I completely agree with!

So my revised question now is:

What makes one a Member of the One Body of Christ?

1 March 2012 at 19:26  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Tingey

Deafening silence?

What's up. Tiddles got your tongue.

Please, if you must
demon-strate/protest like those Occupy the LSE chappies, please have the common decency to 'try' and quantify your unscientic references.

4] Self-deluded liar
It is pre-christian, and classical (Aexandrine) Greek in origin - maybe earlier than that (You see you do not even understand the terms of reference. Christianity includes the Old Testament and its view of God and the world. It's a continuation! No wonder you are bitter? You appear to be a jack of nothing and a master of zilch).
5] Really - the brainwashed who claim that evoluition is contrary to thermodynamics - even though Earth is not a closed system?(Yet you do not understand the term of an 'open system' or you would understand Quantum Physics and the knowledge therefore that we know LITTLE about the universe we live within'. Get a ‘Scientific’ education man? Would love to here you ask Czech physicist Dr. Martin Schnabl to PROVE his proof of the plausibility of Multiple String Dimensions, in which an attempt is made to bring together the physics of the big and the small, represented respectively by general relativity and quantum mechanics. It predicts that the universe has 10 dimensions, of which four are the ones we observe in space-time. Show me proof of the other 6, their weight, colours, height, width and depth, all life sources and any cosmological difference with the known cosmos. YOU THEREFORE ARE A FOOL! )
I already said Photon/neutrino ---> supergalaxy cluster (Words, mere words you cannot comprehend as your understanding appears to be worthless, as reliable as thin ice over a lake. You crash straight through, to sink below the surface,.
No BigSkyFairy (How do you know, see above to see you reveal to know nothing about nothing!)
Show or shut up.(I have, you never do... Pathetic!)
Pyschological "arguments don't count, physical, recordable evidence does (Science is based on what we know and what we do not know but this never seems to stop you wedging your cloven hoof firmly in your gob)).
6] Excepting Dawkins, I have not named any scientists(They would be too embaressed and probably die of shame if you mentioned them. The Tingey academic kiss of death?!)
And even there I am judging on conclusions and evidence, not opinions.
Remember: "Nullis in verbia" - the motto of the Royal Society.
(Consider: " Fide Splendet et Scientia et Recti Cultus Pectora Roborant", the motto of those studying all things!)

There's a nice agitating atheist.

Ernst 'lets examine the facts' Blofeld

2 March 2012 at 02:14  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, 'What makes one a Member of the One Body of Christ?'

Not so much 'what' but Who.

John answered, saying, to all "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Luke 3:16).

'So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.'(1Corinthians 15:45)

'Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.'(1 Corinthians 12 :13)

'But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.'(1Co.1:30)

(righteousness sanctification, and redemption are IN CHRIST and therefore in us if we are One Spirit with HIM.... we cannot acquire these attributes of our 'own works', if we could then Christ would be unnecessary all we would need would be a 'rule book' to follow'.

2 March 2012 at 07:51  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

I see ESB + tiddles etc
is questioning Geology - for the purposes of this argument, I will assume he is posing as a cretinist, oops, erm. CRATIONIST
So, a Harvard-trained LAWYER questioned evolution back over 20 years ago did he?
So what?
If it's the ramble I think it is, it has no intellectual content whatsoever.
This planet is (approx) 4.5*10^9 years old FACT

How can we tell?
Radioactivity
It's difficult to write the appropriate equation out, but I'll try:
At = A0*e^(-lambda*t)
where lambda is a constant for any one isotope, t is the elapsed time from "zero" ... and as such things do it always works.

If you are seriously questioning the age of the planet, &/or life on it (approx 3.5<->3*10^9 years) or that from a simple single-celled beginning (sevral methods for that arising are possible, any one of which will be adequate) all the "Endless forms most beautiful" have evolved ...

Then you are completely irrational, and there is no ppoint in deabating at all.

On a more pleasant note ... to OSWIN.
Contrariwise, what happens if a "god" IS shown top exist, but it, erm, IS NOT the christian one?
Or, even more fun, there is more than one of them, so you have a Classical Greek or Hindu pantheon?
(or something like that?)

I suspect I'd probably wet myself laughing if that happened!

2 March 2012 at 09:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

Should one be Baptised to be a Christian?

Chicken and egg?

2 March 2012 at 10:56  
Blogger len said...

Dodo ,
'Should one be Baptised to be a Christian?'

Believer's baptism is taught in the New Testament as being a symbol or a picture of what HAS happened in the life of the person who by faith has believed in Jesus Christ and been saved by His grace.

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:1-4)
Baptism always follows belief in Jesus Christ as one's Savior and baptism is not necessary for a person to be saved and born again. It is not an act that one does to obtain salvation and no one in the New Testament was baptized who did not first believe and put their faith in Jesus Christ. After a person is saved, as the New Testament plainly shows, they then were baptized. The Bible does not refer to baptism as a sacrament which has any saving properties, or as a part of salvation.

This is certainly what happened in my case I was baptised as an infant confirmed as a teenager but was only' born again' through the power of the Holy Spirit after much searching, Bible reading and prayer. I was actively searching for God and for the truth about Him.

2 March 2012 at 19:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

As you know the he process of conversion, justification and salvation is something we disagree on.

Faith has different degrees and may come before or after Baptism.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
(John 3:3)

But how is one born again?

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
(John 3:5)

And the command to His disciples?

"Going therefore, teach all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."

Clearly you read these verses in a different way to me and to most established Christian Churches.

The passage you cite from Roman's indicates the power of Baptism and says nothing about it being preceeded by rebirth - it is the rebirth.

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
(Romans 6:1-4)

2 March 2012 at 20:09  
Blogger len said...

Sorry Dodo , but I speak from personal experience.the' baptisms' I went through in the church did nothing for me.I can only speak from my own experience in this matter.

It was not until I had a personal experience with the risen Lord that I was' born again'.This was to me an experience and I shall never forget because it totally turned my World and my view of religion upside down.

This was not 'head knowledge' or a mental agreement with points of theology but a life changing spiritual experience.This happened 14 yrs ago and I am still coming to terms and trying to understand in totatality what happened.Before that experience I was an unbeliever.

The analogy of marriage in Christian terms is used in reference to the Lord and is a good one because it illustrates the difference between the ' knowing of a person' and knowing that person through a close personal relationship.After all if you share one spirit with a person it is in effect a spiritual 'marriage'.

3 March 2012 at 09:42  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

I'm not questioning the validity of your encounter with Christ at all.

All I'm saying is that this is not the only way in which God gathers us to His Son. Some people will go their whole lives without experiencing a powerful life-changing encounter. Are they any less 'saved' for that?

Marriage is about coming to know the person with whom you are sharing your life. At the time the Gospel were written it was not based solely on immediate, powerful feelings of attachment. It was based on will, on vows, on commitment and on perseverance.

You follow your path - I'll continue to follow mine.

3 March 2012 at 10:42  
Blogger len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 March 2012 at 18:53  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, the path to salvation is laid out in scripture.

As I have said my main concern is that we do not allow ourselves to be distracted or drawn away from Christ (by religious practices which can lead to self righteousness instead of Christ being our righteousness)


1' The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the FIRSTBORN from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.(Colossians 1 15-20))

Also; The need to die (to die to our old selves our old lives) and to be' born again' IN Christ.

' For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.(Colossians 3:3)

5 March 2012 at 21:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len, you need to be Baptised into Christ to be a Christian.

5 March 2012 at 22:17  

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