Saturday, June 08, 2013

Portillo: Churches are more divided than the Tories on gay marriage

The former Conservative MP Michael Portillo told the BBC's This week that the real divisions on equal marriage lie not within the Conservative Party, but within both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. He said:
“Gay marriage has now passed by big majorities in the Commons and the Lords and the Church of England has accepted (it’s) the will of Parliament and that’s the end of the Church of England campaign.

“I think it is a good moment to reflect on the fact that whilst this has been presented as an issue that has caused enormous problems for David Cameron and splits within the Conservative Party – actually the problems are really with the Church of England and indeed with the Catholic Church.

“(They) just do not know how to deal with the issue of homosexuality and gay priests and gay bishops and so on. And that is where the division is and the churches are haemorrhaging membership like water disappearing from a bath and they don’t have any way of dealing with this problem.”
This is curious. Taking the view that the Church is the people, as opposed to magisterium, synod or episcopal hierarchy, it is undoubtedly true that there are divisions within the Church of England on this (see here and here), and, indeed, within the Church of Rome (see here and here). But it is bizarre that Michael Portillo asserts that these are the 'real' divisions while that within the Conservative Party is somehow not 'real'.

His Grace cannot be bothered to unpack 'real' ontology: the facts of real division within the Conservative Party are manifest. In February, 136 Tories voted against the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, while 127 voted in favour. In May, at the Bill's third reading, 133 Tories voted against the legislation with 117 voting in favour. In the House of Lords, 66 opposed the Bill while 80 voted in favour. Perhaps most significantly, Baroness Warsi, Minister for Faith and Communities, refused to back the Bill on the grounds that it fails to provide sufficient protection for religious groups.

If this isn't 'real' division, the Tories must have redefined this word also.

Michael Portillo helpfully informs us that on this issue 'the churches are haemorrhaging membership like water disappearing from a bath and they don’t have any way of dealing with this problem'.

Which is interesting, considering that three-quarters of local Conservative associations are also 'haemorrhaging membership' over this issue - not quite 'like water disappearing from a bath'; more like ordure down the lavatory.


Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

"...three-quarters of local Conservative associations are also 'haemorrhaging membership' over this issue - not quite 'like water disappearing from a bath'; more like ordure down the lavatory."

Oh, so people leaving the Tory Party to join UKIP are not just clowns but faecal matter now?

8 June 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Can I just make something clear: the "Church of Rome" is not at all divided on this issue. The Magisterium is perfectly clear. Many individual Catholics may dissent from the Church's teaching but that it is not like, for instance, the Church of England, where these things are decided by assembly votes which can change over time. Catholics do not make it up as we go.

From the Cathechism of the Catholic Church

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,(Persona Humana) tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.(Familiaris Consortio) They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Roma Locuta est.

8 June 2013 at 11:04  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Does this mean the Conservatives are totally out of ordure?

8 June 2013 at 11:10  
Blogger Nick said...

"All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one" Psalm 14:3

As to Portillos comments it may be wishful thinking, but it's true that the CoE has shown a shocking lack of resilience in the face secular pressure.

Christian Concern asks us to write to the AoC about the bishops surrender to gay marriage. Frankly, what is the point of kicking a dead horse?

As the psalmist says, all have become corrupt, including the church leaders. I've no doubt that other "leaders" will throw in the towel too. It will get to the point where all that is left is God's judgement on us.

8 June 2013 at 11:18  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

Actually Corrigan, the Church of Rome does. If we peruse the book infamous for condemning homosexuality we see it equally condemns shaving, eating shell fish, wearing clothes of mixed fibres among many many other things. Which the Church of Rome lets slip these days and does not bother with.

So they do change their view on what is right and wrong, and they could equally do the same with homosexual relationships. But I am glad they don't as it is "quickly" causing the death of the Church of Rome in Europe and starting to do the same in the USA.

But if we look to our not to distant history, and say take the example of Alan Turing his untimely death should be a prime example that laws should not be made using religious morality as the corner stone for a society. A great man lost because he was persecuted and prosecuted because some old book told people who he was and what he did was wrong and should be punished.

Roll on the full secularisation of the UK, the disestablishment of the CofE and an end to automatic tax breaks to religions.

8 June 2013 at 11:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Since when has Catholic teaching been determined by Catholics unfaithful to the Magisterium? Catholics who do not accept Catholic teaching are not really Catholics and do not count.

8 June 2013 at 11:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Jane McQueen, that argument is ignorant and has been answer on numerous occasions on other threads - not least, directly in answer to you. This is what your position is reduced to - repeated arguments which were silly in the first place and have been answered already.

Now do you have any proper arguments please give them.

8 June 2013 at 11:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Somebody mention St Alan of Turing ?

8 June 2013 at 11:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

A splendid fellow, died from AIDS didn’t he...

8 June 2013 at 11:41  
Blogger Nick said...

"laws should not be made using religious morality as the corner stone for a society"

So, we should base our society on "rational" concepts, like Darwinism was the basis of eugenics in 1930's Germany?

8 June 2013 at 11:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nick: "So, we should base our society on "rational" concepts, like Darwinism was the basis of eugenics in 1930's Germany?"

Well, as much as we should base it on a religious morality leading to Sharia.

8 June 2013 at 11:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Of course, accusations that he regularly {AHEM} ‘interfered’ with young people were never completely proven, you know...

8 June 2013 at 11:52  
Blogger Bob said...

Morning all.

I'm sad to see that there is too much focus on what is essentially meaningless. Some wise words to consider are -

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

We are all one people, and imaginary divisions are just that - imaginary. Bob Marley put it love.


8 June 2013 at 11:53  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

Darwinism isn't a concept, its a scientific fact. However the concept of social Darwinism that was advocated by several nations in the 1930's is not actually a rational concept in itself. Because Natural selection per-say needs a wide and varied gene pool to continue evolution from. Social Darwinism was an excuse to bastardise science to remove certain elements from society.

But as you brought up Germany and invoked Godwin's law, the persecution of the Jews under that regime had nothing to do with science and everything to do with Orthodox Christian teaching blaming the Jew's for the execution of Christ, and thus the problems of the world.

Law's should in fact be based on logic, reason and classical liberal principles. So if something does not cause direct physical harm to another person then it should be legal. Rather than the rather backwards teachings of bronze aged shepherds living in the middle east.

8 June 2013 at 11:57  
Blogger Nick said...

Christian teaching teaches nothing about blaming Jews - it is the fallability of human nature that leads to such perverse interpretations, not the religion per se. Which takes me back to my point that it is human nature that is inherently corrupt, not Gods.

8 June 2013 at 12:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

'Scientific darwinism' doesn't naturally lead to 'social darwinism' either.

8 June 2013 at 12:06  
Blogger Bob said...


Which takes me back to my point that it is human nature that is inherently corrupt, not Gods.

Our minds are relentlessly ordering and classifying and categorising, and it is this bad habit that creates division where none exists and thus discord. I recommend meditation as a useful means to overcome it.



8 June 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

Oh Nick so you are ignoring the Jewish deicide which was church teaching till Vatican 2 in the 1960's.

Oh but your god is corrupt, because it is a social construct designed to control a population and have them do what you want them to do.

You have a so-called loving god, who sits and lets millions of innocent children die each year from things that for an all powerful being would be no problem to fix.

The book that glorifies what your god did, is actually a horrific book filled with glorification of genocide, rape, murder and so on. A book where the Bad Guy "the devil" kills 7 people but the so-called good guy "god" kills millions. So the very starting point for your argument that god is good is a flawed one. If your god is real, he does not need worshipping, but putting on trial for crimes against humanity.

8 June 2013 at 12:13  
Blogger Nick said...

Bob 12:09

Are you sure you that advice was meant for me?

8 June 2013 at 12:18  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi Nick,

It was meant for all His Grace's communicants - your comment just prompted me to write it.


8 June 2013 at 12:21  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


Darwinism isn't a concept, its a scientific fact


People have been desperatly trying to prove Dawinisim for decades.

Irradiating fruitflies and the like.

No proof yet, indeed, evidence of de-evolution in speices seems to be emerging.


8 June 2013 at 12:23  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

@Phil Roberts, if you want evidence for evolution happening then go visit a natural history museum, read a book on biology. There is huge amounts of evidence for the prove that evolution by the process of natural selection is how things happen.

But if you want to buy in to the creationism nonsense then i reserve the right to point and laugh at you for being silly.

8 June 2013 at 12:30  
Blogger Preacher said...

To put it simply, Michael Portillo is wrong & all the votes quoted prove it. For reasons best known to himself David Cameron introduced a bill that was not in the Conservative party manifesto. It was neither wanted or needed & Cameron has had to resort to making pacts with any or all to push it through. Whether this is a result of pompous conceit or some reason that has yet to surface, the fact is that the man has proved to be a loose cannon, but confusion in Tory ranks has allowed him to virtually run the ship on the rocks.
It's highly likely that he has done more to damage his party than the opposition could have dreamed of, perhaps that's one reason that they voted with him.

Meanwhile in many Churches the steady poison of liberal theology & New Age cults has caused leaders to turn from scripture to embrace the illusion of modernism & secularism. In attempting to please men, they have forgotten the scripture that says "You cannot serve two masters, friendship with the world is emnity with God", & an emasculated Church that fails to preach the gospel IS no Church. Like salt that has lost it's saltiness it is not fit for anything but throwing in the rubbish, (Or as the good doctor C puts it, down the Loo).

8 June 2013 at 12:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Jane McQueen,

What are the sources for the things that you say? Do you ever research any other point of view. Have you ever read The Myth of Hitler's Pope which would give you a good historical picture of Catholic teaching an behaviour towards Jews. Are you aware that racism is clearly and plainly a heresy from a Christian perspective (explicitly from a Catholic perspective)?

I don't think that Darwinism leads logically to Social Darwinism, but under certain secular moral perspectives it necessarily does - especially when mixed with other atheistic philosophies like that of Nietzsche. Darwinism similarly fuels violence when linked with atheistic philosophies like Communism.

If the 20th Century teaches us anything, it is that science is fine, until it mixes with atheism. Or does the violence of unbelievers in the 20th Century not count in your eyes?

8 June 2013 at 12:58  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Michael Portillo helpfully informs us that on this issue 'the churches are haemorrhaging membership like water disappearing from a bath and they don’t have any way of dealing with this problem'.

Which is interesting, considering etc...

But does this make what he says any less true?

Christians in the West have stood by and watched their own kind virtually eliminated from the territories where their religion was founded. If there was no direct religious link between Monarchy and State it would have been eradicated here long since.

Religion needs to be backed by violence to exist. Access to scientifically derived knowledge and examination of the 'facts' claimed by religions simply don't stand a chance to blag the human mind any more.

Well put posts JmcQ.

8 June 2013 at 12:58  
Blogger David B said...

I see that Jane and DanJo have already said what I would have wanted to say, so I will just say well done to them.


8 June 2013 at 13:00  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Just a side comment.

Thankfully the Roman Catholic Church has indeed changed its views on the Jewish people since the days of the papal bull "Cum nimis absurdum"

But my mother is old enough to remember the form of the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the Catholic liturgy still describing them as "perfidis" (faithless) and often mistranslated/misinterpreted as perfidious (treacherous).

I think as a Catholic one of the things that I find most infuriating about the Church is the mental gymnastics used to try to prove that the Church never changes its mind about anything. Just why is it so impossible for us all, in Christian humility, to say "Our predecessors had things wrong, we are sorry?" Rather than frantically trying to prove in retrospect that "whatever it is" never classed as a teaching of the Church because "insert spurious reason here".

Slightly off topic, sorry. Now flame me. Today can't get much worse anyway.

8 June 2013 at 13:29  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Sister Tibs - Today can't get much worse anyway

Hey now, lets have none of that - hang in there girl.

8 June 2013 at 13:37  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@"Bob Our minds are relentlessly ordering and classifying and categorising..."
by exclusion rather than inclusion, which accounts for a lot of our perceived problems with 'The Other'.

8 June 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Sister Tiberias,

I think as a Catholic one of the things that I find most infuriating about the Church is the mental gymnastics used to try to prove that the Church never changes its mind about anything. Just why is it so impossible for us all, in Christian humility, to say "Our predecessors had things wrong, we are sorry?"

Errr...I guess you just missed the Pontificate of John Paul II. Have a look here:

Why do you, as a Catholic feed the prejudices of non-Catholics, with comments that are simply and clearly false?

8 June 2013 at 13:51  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Albert, in my current bad temper (back pain) I won't try to answer you, but assume that the Trad catholic blogs have messed my mind up this morning. I won't tell you which ones, but a good trawl of the available reading material will probably yield fruit. Frankly, I think the lot of them are doing far more than I am to "feed the prejudices of non Catholics" who frankly probably couldn't care less about the attitude of one p****d off RC on an Anglican blog.

Off for more painkillers.

8 June 2013 at 13:56  
Blogger Albert said...

Sorry for your back trouble Sister T. I hope it gets better soon. May St Gemma pray for you!

8 June 2013 at 14:00  
Blogger David Richards said...

"Religion needs to be backed by violence to exist."

That's why there's no Quakers anymore. Oh wait.

Your lead up isn't even that logical - Christians have been largely removed from the Middle East due to persecution. And "If there was no direct religious link between Monarchy and State it would have been eradicated here long since."? All Christians? All religions? Are you seriously trying to claim that there'd be no Hindus in the UK if the CofE was disestablished?

If anything, evidence from the US appears to suggest that Religion thrives more when it isn't linked to the deadening hand of the state.

"Access to scientifically derived knowledge and examination of the 'facts' claimed by religions simply don't stand a chance to blag the human mind any more."

Based purely on this blog, I see no evidence that the atheists or agnostics are any more rational or any more scientifically educated than the theists or deist or whatever. Just look at the random rantings in this thread. One presumes if they really were more rational, they wouldn't have to keep on trying to assert it in the face of the evidence.

8 June 2013 at 14:32  
Blogger David Richards said...

"No proof yet, indeed, evidence of de-evolution in speices seems to be emerging.


Evolution, strictly understood, has no direction - so there isn't any such thing as de-evolution, despite portrayals on things like [i]Star Trek[/i]. More of an issue is that intelligence, until it reaches a comparatively late stage, doesn't necessarily have much survival value in the first place.

8 June 2013 at 14:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Dave Richards @1432,

Excellent post.

8 June 2013 at 14:41  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Sister T,

the form of the words may have been insensitive, but why wouldn't we pray for the Jews? My wife is not a Catholic and I pray for her every Sunday when I offer up Communion. One of these days, she may join up. If she does, there's even hope for the kind of Liberals who style themselves "Catholic". You know, the type who read The Bitter Pill (that's The Tablet, to all you non-Caths)

8 June 2013 at 14:50  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

Bad back or not, its no excuse for misrepresenting the Church.

The Good Friday prayer is a plea to God for the conversion of the Jews. The word "perfidious" (unfaithful)referred to the rejection of God's Son, the Messiah, by the Jews who called for his crucifixion. According to Catholicism, Jesus had given the Jews sufficient proofs of who He was, but they were wilfully blind to the truth and refused to believe. It goes on to call for God to enlighten them, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all men.

Really, what's the issue?

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England has a prayer
asking God to have mercy on all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word".

8 June 2013 at 14:53  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Well said Preacher @ 12;31

8 June 2013 at 14:54  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Peter D

Never said the Catholic Church had any monopoly on unfortunate wording in their prayers. Can I assume that the said version of the Book of Common Prayer has an updated version also?

8 June 2013 at 15:02  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Nor do the Jews, Turks, Infidels and Heretics have any monopoly on hardness of heart and contempt of God's Word. But that's a rant for another day :)

8 June 2013 at 15:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Sister T,

The Book of Common Prayer remains the prayer book for England by law established. Alternatives are possible, but that is the one which forms the constitution of the CofE and which remains the legal prayer book of this country.

8 June 2013 at 15:21  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


There is huge amounts of evidence for the prove that evolution by the process of natural selection is how things happen.

No proof

No tranistion fossiles for one. In fact Darwin stated that the lack of these was a major flaw in his theory

Lots of poor science and wishful thinking e.g. Nebraska Man etc


8 June 2013 at 15:21  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Dave R

Evolution, strictly understood, has no direction - so there isn't any such thing as de-evolution

I was just indicating that the evidence is that genetic abnomalities are increasing with every generation within spieces.

Evolution would suggest that we should observe the opposite.


8 June 2013 at 15:26  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Actually have just found something rather good on the subject (and no, Peter and Albert, a liberal didn't write it. They p*** me off just as often as Rorate Coeli and company.

One sentence caught my eye.

"The infallibility of the Church and the pope means that they cannot teach error, not that they automatically teach every single aspect of the truth in its entirety."

Now that I can live with.

8 June 2013 at 15:28  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

@Phil Roberts, you say there is no transitional fossils? Where do you keep your head in a bucket of sand?

Have a look at this link

Hundreds of transitional fossils, and you can see the evolution of species through looking at the DNA of animals. Humans for example have a genetic marker that instructs the development of the embryo to make a yolk sack, just like birds do. Whales have the genetic markers to make legs and have vestigial bones for legs and hips.

Evolution is a fact, it happened it is still happening and it's how we have such a wide and diverse range of life on this tiny little rock that spins through the universe.

Next you will be advocating the earth is not 4 billion or so years old. You creationists have lost the argument so badly that there isn't even an argument to have. Creationism is nonsense plane and simple.

8 June 2013 at 15:30  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

David Richards

The Quakers? Hahahaha - is that the best rebuttal you can come up with?
You obviously choose to ignore the historical record of religions - but hey - that's your choice - carry on.

Nothing in what you have offered here holds anything worthy of a considered response.

8 June 2013 at 15:39  
Blogger Albert said...

Sister T,

But that's just basic teaching.

8 June 2013 at 15:49  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Phil Roberts

You are talking nonsense.

Bacteria (unless you don't regard them as life forms) is evolving in to different strains on the most colossal scale all the time - but taking it a wee bit further it could be argued that the Platypus is indeed a living fossil.
Darwin must have indeed been one of the bravest men ever in science to challenge creationists and zealots of his time.

Calling for 'PROOF' is such a cop out for declaring yourself so closed-minded towards science and such an oxymoronic demand from a religionist.

8 June 2013 at 15:55  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Not according to the Trad blogs I've been on this morning. Actually found a link back to a bunch of the Rorate Coeli lot arguing for the 6000 year old earth... Post was a few months old. I thought initially they were taking the p*** and then realised they were actually serious.

8 June 2013 at 15:57  
Blogger John Thomas said...

You may try to separate out Darwinist evolution from the evils that followed it, using separate names, but it will never be known that a society which accepts the one (choosing to call it "scientific fact") does not drift towards the other.

"corrupt ... a social construct designed to control a population and have them do what you want them to do." (Jane McQueen) - seems to sum up homosexualism/the homosexualist movement perfectly. Certainly, it's all about power, never doubt that.

8 June 2013 at 16:00  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Albert, if you seriously think that the violence of the 20th century was perpetrated by atheists, you must be as daft as a brush.

8 June 2013 at 16:00  
Blogger Corrigan said...

What do you call communism?

8 June 2013 at 16:06  
Blogger John Thomas said...

Sure, the churches are divided on these issues - but is division new? Think of all those sects and controversies in the first 4 centuries. Where are they now? In time the "Anglicans for Homosexuality" and the "Catholics for Abortion" (!) etc., etc., will be just as gone and forgotten as the Arians and Docetists and the like. Time debunks lies and deceptions, very effectively; we just have to live through it.

8 June 2013 at 16:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

An ideology?

8 June 2013 at 16:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm always amazed when someone says they're a creationist. To me it's like saying the world is flat. Something you imagine only someone in Hicksville, USA might believe.

8 June 2013 at 16:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Sister T,

Well none of that can be defended from a Catholic point of view.

8 June 2013 at 16:43  
Blogger Albert said...


if you seriously think that the violence of the 20th century was perpetrated by atheists, you must be as daft as a brush.

If you seriously think that's what I said or is entailed by what I said, so are you!

8 June 2013 at 16:44  
Blogger John Redlantern said...


Are you saying all the violence of the twentieth century was caused by communists? That's almost as bad.

I take it that if Catholics who don't accept all Catholic teachings aren't really Catholics and don't count, then we can revise the official numbers of Catholics in the world downwards quite severely? Or the next time it suits an argument they'll all suddenly count again?

8 June 2013 at 16:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...


8 June 2013 at 16:51  
Blogger Peter D said...

Let's be clear on this. The Catholic Church has a problem with homosexuals - not with its teachings on homosexuality.

Its widely recognised there are a number of clerics, some in prominent positions, who peddle heresy about the Church's teachings on sexual morals. Even worse, it is probable some use the machinery of the Church to defend and promote homosexuals.

This human issue is not the same as a division in theology. Its called rebellion.

Thank God for the authority of the Pope and Magisterium and the doctrine of infallibility. Unlike some churches, Catholicism does not amend its teachings over time on a democratic basis and calls all its members to follow it doctrines. That's why it stands against contraception, divorce, abortion and homosexuality.

The recent behaviour of the Archbishop of Canterbury in allowing Bishops to exercise their individual consciences in voting for homosexual 'marriage' in the House of Lords was an abdication of leadership. What else could he do in a church that rests on 'scripture alone' and 'private judgement' in interpreting it?

8 June 2013 at 16:53  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Perhaps it would be kinder (and fairer) to say that Catholics who don't accept all Catholic teachings are still Catholics, and then pray that the Holy Spirit will point them in the direction of whatever piece of guidance is needed to resolve their conflict with the Church? :)

After all, since we say that faith is a gift, we cannot blame those from whom the gift has been withheld, since presumably nobody *chooses* to have a huge fight with their conscience. Doesn't half give you headaches...

And also since most Catholics I know aren't exactly having trouble with the Apostles Creed, then perhaps allowing them to talk about their problems in a non judgemental forum is the easiest way forward, since the problem isn't likely to be to do with the foundations of the faith.

Ironically, this is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation does very well at its best - a shame that so many older Catholics are so traumatised by remembering it at its worst that they just don't go... :)

8 June 2013 at 16:59  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

@John Thomas homosexuality is a social construct? Wow sir you do live in the dark ages if you think such a thing. Homosexuality in humans alone not only pre-dates the three abrahamic faiths, but is actually more natural than the worshipping of sky faeries.

Oh and I also wonder who told all those animal species to have homosexual sex too? Maybe that was some evil "gay" person convincing animals to have a bit of gay sex just to try and make the sky faerie followers look silly?

8 June 2013 at 17:00  
Blogger Corrigan said...

I'm saying atheists were up to their necks in blood during the twentieth century, and were not at all the harbingers of reason and rationality they portray themselves. As for Catholics, there were always far fewer of us than the official numbers would suggest. Plus ca change...

8 June 2013 at 17:11  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Peter D,
I am amazed. A truly spot on piece that I can fully agree with. The whole of the CofE hierarchy needs drastically sorting out.

8 June 2013 at 17:26  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Corrigan. You seem to be saying that reason and rationality should always lead to non-violence, are you?

Sister T, yes and I thought the official line was "once a Catholic, always a Catholic". In which case I am one, possibly traumatised!

8 June 2013 at 17:35  
Blogger Peter D said...


I'm amazed that you're amazed - and that you agree!

The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church needs sorting too. It was beyond Benedict and Francis, so far, has shown little appetite for it.

8 June 2013 at 17:37  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

Traumatised by Confession? A post Vatican II myth. Maybe made to feel uncomfortable or even embarrassed, but never traumatised.

You need to take into account the Catholic concept of the formation of a conscience. This isn't a question of a private struggle. Any Catholic "struggling" with the fundamental and infallible teachings of the Church is either confused, avoiding accepting their conscience for personal reasons or has not been properly instructed in their faith.

8 June 2013 at 17:52  
Blogger Philip said...

As regards churches "haemorrhaging membership", it is those churches that are Bible-believing, and Biblically faithful and conservative on matters of sexual ethics and marriage etc, that are thriving and growing.

8 June 2013 at 17:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

I'm always amazed when someone says they're a creationist. To me it's like saying the world is flat. Something you imagine only someone in Hicksville, USA might believe.

Oh, the trauma. Oh, the soul-mortifying doubt-inducing worldview-crushing angst that has been produced in my heart. How ever shall I deal with it? How will it be possible for me to go on with my life?

who is an unapologetic Creationist

8 June 2013 at 18:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Console yourself with your banjo, I suppose.

8 June 2013 at 18:09  
Blogger Peter D said...


Aren't all Christians are 'Creationists'? It is belief that all life, the Earth, and the universe are the purposeful creation of a supernatural being.

8 June 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Carl Jacobs is a Creationist! Well, that explains why he believes Palestine was unoccupied before the Zionists and why he thinks it was ok for them to attack the USS Liberty. Why didn't you just say that before, Carl?

8 June 2013 at 18:27  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

I agree with Carl. And Arno Penzias, and John Lennox. I always find it hilarious when people use the Internet to communicate the idea that DNA code was an aaccident. It's as if Tim Berners-Lee never existed, and all that directed intelligent effort that's hitting your eyeballs was the result of a bunch of Huxley - style chimps.

DanJO - you're looking progressively more prejudiced with each new topic! Why not get in front of the curve on this one and read a book? :)

8 June 2013 at 18:39  
Blogger David Richards said...

"The Quakers? Hahahaha - is that the best rebuttal you can come up with?
You obviously choose to ignore the historical record of religions - but hey - that's your choice - carry on."

I specifically cited the historical record of one religion which falsifies your claim that "Religion needs to be backed by violence to exist." If you claim was true, Quakers would have ceased to exist. I could easily have also mentioned the Amish, Mennonites, Jains, Ba'hai and Ahmadiyya. Since you ignore them, you're the one who is ignoring history. Confirmation bias is not the same thing as rationality.

"Nothing in what you have offered here holds anything worthy of a considered response."

Translation: You have no response. Then again, you simply offered assertions, not reasoned arguments, in the first place.

8 June 2013 at 18:45  
Blogger David Richards said...

"It's as if Tim Berners-Lee never existed, and all that directed intelligent effort that's hitting your eyeballs was the result of a bunch of Huxley - style chimps."

Actually, I can see why someone reading the internet might think that...

8 June 2013 at 18:47  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

For Peter D and John Redlantern - from one of my favorite Catholic blogs -


You may be a Roman Catholic if… [in no particular order]

You are certain that you could preach a better homily – in half the time – than Father Obnoxious.
You love the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and don’t quite understand why everyone else doesn’t share your enthusiasm.
You are embarrassed by the unrelenting focus on sex and sexuality to the exclusion of other core issues.
You haven’t gone to Penance/Reconciliation in decades, but are still glad it’s available to you, if you ever feel the need for it.
You are scandalized by the Church’s sinfulness and cringe every time a Catholic spokesperson stands up to speak.
You know, no matter how sleek and comfortable you are, that Jesus stands for the poor and the downtrodden.
You feel very much at home with the Anglican/Lutheran/Methodist traditions but suspect they’re a little too neat and orderly for you.
You have a favorite saint [or two, or twenty...] and are deeply attached to the Communion of Saints.
You hate second collections more than the Federal Income Tax.
You may not pray the Rosary yourself, but deeply honor those who do.
You have a healthy contempt for hierarchy and still believe in the Apostolic Succession.
You accept that your religion has more crazy relatives than an Addams Family reunion.
You visit the Vatican and are amazed that, somehow, you feel like it belongs to you and you to it.
You feel slightly uneasy in churches where people enjoy singing hymns.
You are enthusiastic about Catholic Social Teaching and want it to be better known.
You worry that the Holy Spirit may be on an extended sabbatical.

8 June 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rasher: "DanJO - you're looking progressively more prejudiced with each new topic! Why not get in front of the curve on this one and read a book? :)"

Oh I've read plenty of those. I even have two degrees. Moreover, I'm holding the mainstream view which gives me a certain advantage. Was it my deliberately employing a stereotype that bothers you, or is it that you simply don't agree with me?

8 June 2013 at 18:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Or was it that my argument in the earlier thread floored you? I notice you had no comeback to offer. :)

8 June 2013 at 18:59  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

I take it when we say "creationist" we are all meaning the same thing? Like, in six days, around six thousand years ago?

8 June 2013 at 19:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Those of us with long enough memories will recall Portillo as being once considered potential Conservative leadership material. And they were right. The same memory will recall that he was no stranger to gay goings on at university, which scuppered his aforementioned chances.

So here he is now trying to lessen the impact SSM has had on the membership. A sort of “you silly things, now can you see how wrong you were”.

It would be unkind to proffer his appearance at this stage suggests ennoblement is in the air...

8 June 2013 at 19:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"I take it when we say "creationist" we are all meaning the same thing? Like, in six days, around six thousand years ago?"

That's what I mean. A young-earth creationist. That's why I hear the Deliverance banjo duel music in my mind's ear whenever it comes up.

8 June 2013 at 19:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

What has creationism got to do with what Portillo said ?

8 June 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Search me.

8 June 2013 at 19:34  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Oh, young earth creationism is just profoundly silly.

8 June 2013 at 19:36  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Sister T. I can relate to some of that.

8 June 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger Brian West said...

Your Grace

I've been working in the garden all day, and logged on only half an hour ago. Having read through your post and the comments at a sitting, I have to say I've seldom seen anything more haphazard and chaotic. Talk about Huxley's chimps!

I would not blame you if you either barred most of them, or took a long holiday from posting. I think I'll take a holiday from the comments section of this site - it's getting quite messy. But your post about Portillo (remember it, anyone?) was good.


8 June 2013 at 20:12  
Blogger LEN said...

There is a war going on socially, economically,and spiritually.

This war on Earth is but a shadow a reflection of the spiritual war that has been going on since the beginning of time.
The forces of corruption, the forces of evil,are determined to dominate the Human race and if they can do this they have in effect won the war.
The pressure to conform to 'this present [corrupt] World system' are enormous and footholds have been gained in the churches (Catholic and otherwise) and inroads have been gained in this respect.As Christianity has been pushed back in our Society Islam has begun to rise in power to fill the void left.
Those who conform to this 'present World system' become part of the problem and this is happening throughout society whether in the churches or in politics.

Those who should be trying to preserve what little we have left seem hell bent on destroying and tearing down rather than Conserving our Society.
So I can only assume that those in positions of authority are either idiots or pursuing a deliberate destruction of our Society to re-build it it in a manner more suited to their own particular agenda?

8 June 2013 at 20:14  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Brian, it's always like this, haven't you noticed it before?

8 June 2013 at 20:16  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Len. Utter codswallop from soup to nuts.

8 June 2013 at 20:18  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Soon as all the Roman Catholics get going here, it tends not to be so much "subject creep" as "subject galloping for the horizon at full speed" Mea culpa :)

8 June 2013 at 20:20  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

David Richards

I thought The Quakers were not in themselves a 'religion' but surely one of many offshoots of the Christianity aren't they?

I stand by my original position.

8 June 2013 at 20:26  
Blogger Nick said...

Dreadnought 15:55

"Bacteria (unless you don't regard them as life forms) is evolving in to different strains on the most colossal scale all the time"

Evolving into what? They are still bacteria. when did you last see a bacteria evolve into a frog or whatever? What you are talking about is adaptation, to antibiotics for example. It's a response to an evironmental stimulus that causes alterations in its DNA/RNA coded defence mechanisms. Show me a bacteria that's quoting Shakespeare and you will have proof of evolution

8 June 2013 at 21:01  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Dear old DanJO - oh no, I did have a very long and boring response to you on the other thread - but I went out in the sun with the kids for the day rather than finish it. Something about your understanding of law and requirement in Christianity being rather external and limited.

All the best with that mainstream view. I'm happy with the jeering - it tucks me right comfortably down in the nice dark box of my alleged victim complex! I always remember Dawkins' comment on a turn-of-the-millennium website where all the great and good were putting their sound bites that started 'I believe, but cannot prove...' I saw his contribution which was that he believed, but could not prove that natural selection gave rise to life as we know it.

How many degrees has he got?

Banjo shops... banjo shops... now weren't some of those hillbillies of a certain persuasion? No stereotyping intended, my super-intelligent friend.

Brian West is right - if this was Question Time the bouncers would have chucked most of us out, so for that reason alone, I'll shut up. You can believe I've run away, but you can't prove it! Just remember - God loves you and so do we Christians.

8 June 2013 at 21:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Not sure the meaning of that has made the trip, I'm afraid.

8 June 2013 at 21:05  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Nick a bacteria quoting Shakespeare would be proof that you're crazy.

8 June 2013 at 21:15  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Ok - just stick with the last sentence.

8 June 2013 at 21:15  
Blogger David Richards said...


"I thought The Quakers were not in themselves a 'religion' but surely one of many offshoots of the Christianity aren't they?"

Exactly how are the Quakers supposed to be beneficiaries of political power exercised by the CofE, or by New England Puritans? Particularly since they were often the targets of it?

8 June 2013 at 21:27  
Blogger Peter D said...

Brian West said...

"Having read through your post and the comments at a sitting, I have to say I've seldom seen anything more haphazard and chaotic. Talk about Huxley's chimps."

I know and all of it down to Sister Tiberia. From the Good Friday prayer through to young creationism via a query about what constitutes a legitimate Catholic.

8 June 2013 at 21:40  
Blogger David Hussell said...

John Thomas,
I think you are right, The churches that embrace confusion will die because the truth, led by The Holy Spirit, will go forward and prosper. The truth always wins through. The Anglican churches that hold to orthodox, traditional understandings from The Bible are flourishing, full of families and young people, whereas the it is the liberal ones that have declining congregations and are struggling. That is why in the global south, Africa especially, where traditional Biblical based beliefs are taught, the Anglican churches are overflowing. On any one Sunday there are more Anglicans worshipping in the churches of Nigeria than in all the churches of the UK, Canada, Australia and NZ put together. Liberal Christianity contains its own seeds of destruction.

8 June 2013 at 21:42  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


1. I don't have a banjo.

2. It seems you have your own convenient stereotypical prejudices to address.

3. Hicksville has nothing to do with Deliverance. If you are going to use American metaphors, at least learn them well enough to use them correctly.


8 June 2013 at 21:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is threads like this, which wonders from gay churches to the Catholic Church, to the C of E, whilst having a meander around creationism and atheism vs religion, that make me think of a fine malt scotch, I have hidden for such special occasions....

As for Portaloo, I'd never had voted for him as a Tory leader. I was as glad as the socialists to see him defeated back in '97.

8 June 2013 at 21:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Cranmer in the wild west.

Dodge city, perhaps?

8 June 2013 at 21:44  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

And of course you didn't contribute in any way, Peter? :) At least in good Catholic form I publicly admitted guilt. :P

8 June 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Your Grace, I've been away for a few days but I thought your readers might like to see the excellent reply from our very own Tory MP here in Salisbury, John Glen, to our very own Bishop of Salisbury, +Nicholas on this subject. At least one of them knows what the Holy Bible teaches (and it is not the bishop). John Glen MP puts it awfully well when he says, "If today's church leaders follow Bishop Nicholas, and allow public opinion to define what they preach, I fear the decline in some parts of the Church of England will be terminal."

Published in the Telegraph last Saturday (1st June) this is what John Glen MP wrote :-

" Sir, I am deeply saddened to learn of Bishop Holdam's letter (May 30th). Bishop Holdam is a well intentioned churchman who has done much for the deprived communities in London during his career.
However, his apparent attempt to place those Christians who seek to uphold traditional marriage in the same category as those who defend Apartheid and slavery is deeply unhelpful. It will be particularly offensive to those in black majority churches who do not share his view.
If the Bishop reflects on his visit to the thriving St Paul's congregation in Salisbury, or the recent Prayer Market event involving 8 churches at which I spoke, he would understand that these growing congregations object to gay marriage not because they object to homosexuals, but because they believe marriage should follow the biblical pattern affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19.
To redefine the institution of marriage will not remove prejudice, but instead risk legal ambiguities and unnecessarily provoke a sense of resentment and isolation among very many Christians.
If today's church leaders follow Bishop Nicholas, and allow public opinion to define what they preach, I fear the decline in some parts of the Church of England will be terminal."

Well said Mr Glen ! Bishop Holdam's statement that "the Bible hasn't changed but our interpretation of it has" is truly breathtaking in it's wickedness. Either +Nicholas hasn't read Genesis, Leviticus, Matthew, Romans, Timothy, Jude etc, etc or he is lying to us and relying on the congregation of believers not knowing their Biblical Texts. Such would be the work of the devil. I fear that this must be the case. In the same methodology David Cameron is relying on the voters having such poor short term memory that they have forgotten about sodomitic "marriage" by the time th next general election comes. We shall see.

So we have a Prime Minister who has no spiritual understanding, knowledge, belief or depth and a church leader who has no willingness to respect, follow or live by the Gospel he is employed to preach.

We certainly live in corrupt times.

8 June 2013 at 22:17  
Blogger Peter D said...

Fair point, Tiberia.

8 June 2013 at 22:18  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

What I'm waiting for is when the establishment decides that a horse should be made an MP. And, of course, a bishop.

There is no division within the CofE. There are those who would campaign to make a horse into an archbishop, if the establishment demanded it; and the rest. The rest, one and all, wonder why the state is using its placemen to harass the church.

8 June 2013 at 22:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roger Pearse,

"A horse a horse, my Kingdom for a horse"

8 June 2013 at 22:24  
Blogger Naomi King said...

"David Cameron is now less popular than the Conservative party for the first time since he assumed its leadership seven years ago, according to an opinion poll. The survey on behalf of Lord Ashcroft, former Tory treasurer, found a “noticeable shift” towards dissatisfaction with the prime minister.

At the same time the party has lost ground over key issues. Some 22 per cent of those quizzed said they were more favourably disposed to the Conservative party than its leader – against 18 per cent saying the opposite. That is a reversal of a consistent trend seen in the Ashcroft surveys over several years." - from the FT today.

8 June 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Dreadnaught / Jane

Bacteria (unless you don't regard them as life forms) is evolving in to different strains on the most colossal scale all the time

This proves what exactly? The same has been found of irradiated fruit flies. After many thousands of generations all you get is mutant fruit flies, no immunity to radiation seems to be developing and certainly no new spices.

Transition fossils? At the last count there were less now than in Darwin’s day. You have to admit that most of them need considerable faith /stretch of imagination to seriously consider them as such.

This trasnition fossil I rather liked though as when the original fossil was "found" it was originally front page of the National Geographic as the missing link, together with an artists impression of what it looked like, where it lived, what it ate, what car it drove (the last was my addition the rest were in the article)


8 June 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger Naomi King said...

New Lord Ashcroft poll shows Conservatives slipping after "six wasted months"

'Lord Ashcroft said the findings of his poll showed that the first half of the year had been a “missed opportunity” for the Tories. It had begun “promisingly enough”, with the coalition setting out its priorities for the second half of the parliament and the Prime Minister’s promise of an in-out referendum on Europe. Instead, the party descended into record splits over gay marriage, unprecedented revolts against the Queen’s Speech over Europe and questions about Mr Cameron’s leadership.' - The Times yesterday

8 June 2013 at 22:32  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

@ Office of Inspector General.
I say old chum would you mind contacting me via my blog?
(The comments go to my inbox, you see, then I can reply to you).

8 June 2013 at 22:53  
Blogger Peter D said...

Julia Gasper said...
"@ Office of Inspector General.
I say old chum would you mind contacting me via my blog?"

Destiny calls, Inspector. Is it an offer of a date or recruitment to a UKIP position? Perhaps both!

8 June 2013 at 23:07  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, Naomi King @ 22.17 etc.

The Conservative Party no longer represents the values and beliefs of its membership and they should resign to join UKIP. There is no point in hoping that something will turn up. It won't.

The destruction of the Conservative Party will send a powerful message to the rank and file of the Labour Party that they too have been completely betrayed by their leadership.

Then we start again.

8 June 2013 at 23:10  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Phil Roberts

...what car it drove (the last was my addition the rest were in the article)

Yup - just about sums up the level of your understanding of the evolution process.

8 June 2013 at 23:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Done, Julia

8 June 2013 at 23:42  
Blogger Nick said...

Interesting article in the Telegraph.

It seems a group of MP are desperate to hold gay marriage ceremonies in Parliaments own chapel. The Queen is being kep informed of the developments. The move to hold sodo-marriage ceremonies is being supported by that bastion impartiality John Berkow. Not content with p1551ng off most of the nation and nearly all religious groups, they now want to put HMQ in an impossible position.

Who said that CHAVs only come from working-class families.

8 June 2013 at 23:54  
Blogger Peter D said...


Looks like the peculiar MP's have their eyes set on the "royal peculiar" in the Palace of Westminster. Let's hope the Queen stops these Parliamentary queens from getting their way.

9 June 2013 at 00:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Naughty, but what the hell. Herewith top 12 popular songs at CPs

1. Poofter of Love. Jennifer Rush

2. Love Me Bender. Elvis Presley

3. Close To Poo. Maxi Priest

4. I Can't Help Falling Ill with You. Elvis Presley

5. How Deep Is Your Bum. Bee Gees

6. Just the Way You Queer. Billy Joel

7 I Got AIDS Babe (Sonny & Cher)

8 Greatest Sin of All (Whitney Houston)

9 You're My Bent Friend (Queen)

10 When my CD Count is 64 (The Beatles)

11 Its Raining Gay Men (The Weather Girls)

12 Another Sod Bites the Dust (Queen)

9 June 2013 at 00:19  
Blogger Ditari said...

Dreadnaught - how does your own "understanding of the evolution process" account for this?

9 June 2013 at 00:20  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

Ahhhh @Ditari you are going for the god of the gaps argument. The science can't explain this so the great sky fairy must have done it. It is actually the most infantile of all the possible arguments. And one that as we advance our scientific understanding of the world and the universe leaves less and less gaps for your god to exist in.

And in fact, modern physicists have a very plausible explanation for the start of the universe now that has no need for any supernatural intervention in it, and just the understanding of quantum theory and how the universe actually behaves.

Next you will be rolling out Ray Comforts Banana example of just how creation is real and evolution is a big lie to get people to stop believing in sky faeries.

9 June 2013 at 00:56  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Jane McQueen ...

Oh for goodness sake. Ray Comfort's "Banana example" was a JOKE. It's called parody! Maybe you could learn to lighten up a little yourself - you know, laugh at yourselves, stop taking yourselves so seriously all the time. I can't believe that the evolutionists & atheists have invested so many hours into debunking a 2 min video that was a self-parody of his REAL illustration of a coke can. It's worth pointing out at this stage that Bob Holness DIDN'T really play saxaphone on "Baker Street" and the one handed man didn't cross the road to go the 2nd hand shop.

And please stop with the condescending sky faeries stuff. If you want grown-up conversation you need to speak to people like grown ups. "I bet you still believe in Santa/Tooth fairies etc" is as old, tired & pathetic approach as it always was.

9 June 2013 at 01:25  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Phil Roberts

How many transitional fossils were there "in Darwin's day", and how many are there now?

The "no transitional fossils" argument is so bad that even the premier young earth creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis, listed it among their "arguments creationists should not use".

The ignorance of you people is sad enough; your apparent not in wallowing in it is a tragedy.

9 June 2013 at 05:57  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

That should have been ”joy" in wallowing in it.

9 June 2013 at 05:58  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Redlantern

listed it among their "arguments creationists should not use".

Well, that was almost intellectually honest. AIG actually said the following:

Arguments that should be avoided: There are no transitional forms. (It would be better to say there are no intermediates between two different kinds. We find variant transitional fossils for animals within the same kind—horse to a horse for example but that is expected in a biblical worldview.)

I knew immediately there was something wrong with your claim. It took about 60 seconds to identify the problem.


who had never visited the AIG websight before tonight

9 June 2013 at 06:30  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Well done, Carl. But to say there are no intermediates between kinds is simply a different form of the same basic lie. And how can you have an intermediate between a horse and a horse?

9 June 2013 at 07:06  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Furthermore, I can't see the supposed contradiction between what I said and what AiG said.

9 June 2013 at 07:08  
Blogger Bob said...

"In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves." -Buddha



9 June 2013 at 08:34  
Blogger The Judicious Hooker said...

While Rome's magisterium may take a certain line and this gives comfort to some and dismays others, does that teaching really matter if the People of God (clergy and lay) ignore the teaching and follow an informed conscience in the spirit of creative fidelity?

The teaching on artificial birth control is a case in point. Widely ignored as it is by faithful RC's throughout the developed world. It doesn't seem to stop faithful RC's receiving the Eucharist or participating in church life.

The Australian bishop, Geoffrey Robinson, is petitioning Pope Francis for a church council to deal with child abuse once and for all:

This is something which may gain traction in the global RC church. The People of God seem to have decided that the magisterium which sets such a high standard for married couples in the practice of birth control and divorce, at times do not appear to act with similar high-mindedness themselves in a number of issues.

The C of E is doing what it can do in difficult circumstances, while the prospect of disestablishment seems to come closer day by day. Archbishop Justin has defended Holy Matrimony and his episcopal brethren would concur. That said, many see this as an issue of relevance and ask how can Christians proclaim the Good News to a society which seems to embrace same-sex unions as the new normal.

As the conciliar movement was overtaken in the Western church by papal supremacy, some RC's are apt to look at Anglican polity (governance by bishop and synod, including laity and clergy) with disdain and bewilderment. While it is not as clean-cut as the magisterium and an infallible visible head, Anglicans consider that it is infinitely more in keeping with the ongoing practice of the church universal since the First Council of Jerusalem in 50AD onwards.

BTW: Corrigan, I enjoyed the unemotional and clinical approach taken in the RC catechism. I find it laudable that despite the catechism RC pastors and lay-workers continue to show Christ's love and compassion when ministering to the same-sex attracted, loving the sinner but hating the sin.

9 June 2013 at 08:57  
Blogger Corrigan said...

What you are saying, Judicious Hooker, is that if Christianity is difficult, we "adjust" it. At the heart of that philosophy is that paternalistic attitude we associate with Liberals which essentially states that while "people like us" might appreciate the concepts of Catholicism, it's way above the heads of "ordinary" people, so we'll just lower the standard because we can expect no better from them. Ultimately, it's the same way of thinking which informs New Atheism. It's disrespectful at best, heretical at worst and either way an appalling act of presumption in the face of God. His law is what it is; it's not for anyone - not even the Magisterium - to change it. If that means emptying the churches, so be it.

9 June 2013 at 09:25  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The saddest aspect of the creationist argument is that it starts with an un-provable, un-testable assertion and fights against the expansion of knowledge and understanding. The standard bearers are too dumb to accept that anything other than the words in one specific text(Genesis) which may be an attempt of the time to explain the unexplainable (sarc).

I'm amazed they don't argue that the Earth is still the centre of the entire solar system - which was the contemporary view presumably from the same time - the argument will also be supported by the same text. Why one and not the other?

They can't accept, as most of Science does, that we will never know with absolute certainty how or when the universe came into existence they, grip with all the strength and intellectual capacity of limpets clinging to a rock. Worse still, they insist on teaching their wilfully ignorant doctrine to impressionable children as fact backed up by disneyesque tableaux of humans walking with dinosaurs.

Those who take the 'Science' route seeking explanation of phenomena are not so stupid to claim that gods do not exist because it is an unprovable position; Creationists on the other hand say they do and there is proof because it was written down as fact 4000 odd years ago by a bunch of desert dwellers to back up a claim to land tenure - how convenient.

The difference is that Science is always open to review and constantly re-examines its 'truths' in the light of any new evidence or interpretation, but religionists dare not because they have none in the first place.

9 June 2013 at 10:02  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

OK let's have a free vote on it - how many people agree with Banjo that he is "lovely"?

9 June 2013 at 10:08  
Blogger Ivan said...

Darwinism is one of the biggest jokes out there, but since far too many persons' bacon depend on it, it continues to trouble the middlebrow reader. Ask a Darwinist for a clear cut example of the transition of forms, some years ago one would be presented with the horse, but now that and similar stories do not gel.The origins of birdflight, where the poor tansitional forms - Goldschmidt's hopeful monsters - putatively grows for generations on end and without a care for the survival costs that the implacable Darwinian mechanism imposes, feathers for flight, but without the corresponding lung, bone or muscle strucures in the hope of, or dare we say the miracle, of flight. Or, or the famous whales originally land-dwelling mammals but for some reason dissatisfied with a fruit and nut diet; took a chance out to the winedark sea, and immediately grappled with the tivial problems of holding their breath underwater and ensuring that the young are not poisoned by saltwater in the milk when they suckle. And when I was working as an engineer stuck for days on the production lines, what would I not have given for this mindless Darwinian soluton. Just throw evrything about, randomly insert some nonsense in the machine program, direct the robot hands anywhere, no need to size the motors, no need for synchronisation, alignment is useless, Darwin will take of it.

With their big just-so stories blown out of the water, the Darwinian groupies are reduced to talking (when no one notices) about trivial stuff, the beaks of Darwin's finches, the supposed evolution of bacteria, and the everchanging cell walls of the influenza virus. But this is not what the man in the street means by evolution, bacteria remains beacteria, they don't grow wings and ly over the moon.

Darwinism was the 'scientific' underpinning at least of the account of origins of man, for both Nazism and Communism. The parvenu Hitler would carry on and on, about how the Nordic types had it bad in the cold winters, digging through blizzards just to gnaw at frozen some roots, while the softer races, the wealkings in the Medditeranean or Africa, just had to stretch out their hands and grab some coconuts or grapes. Darwin was one of the goyim Marx sucked up to.

One of the oddest spectacles is that of homosexuals, who by definition contribute nothing to the gene pool appealing to Darwin to justify their way of life. In any rightly ordered Darwinian society, these who do not reproduce must perish.

9 June 2013 at 10:15  
Blogger John Redlantern said...


9 June 2013 at 10:16  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Ivan. That just shows what you know about Darwinism. To wit, bugger all.

9 June 2013 at 10:18  
Blogger Ivan said...

John, Darwinism may be rocket science to you, don't make it out to be quantum chromodynamics. A command of English is all that is needed.

9 June 2013 at 10:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ivan: "And when I was working as an engineer stuck for days on the production lines, what would I not have given for this mindless Darwinian soluton. Just throw evrything about, randomly insert some nonsense in the machine program, direct the robot hands anywhere, no need to size the motors, no need for synchronisation, alignment is useless, Darwin will take of it."

Unfortunately, you've given yourself away there.

9 June 2013 at 10:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Grasper: "OK let's have a free vote on it - how many people agree with Banjo that he is "lovely"?"

There's something of the bunny boiler about you, I think.

9 June 2013 at 10:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "It's worth pointing out at this stage that Bob Holness DIDN'T really play saxaphone on "Baker Street" [...["


9 June 2013 at 10:43  
Blogger LEN said...

'Darwinism' the religion of atheists.

Well, if you don`t believe in the True God you have to invent your own god?.

Got your own 'bible'(The theory)not the fact?. Your own 'high priests'(Dawkins is one of the most prominent at the mo)and of course those adherents of 'higher intelligence' who have been suckered into this illusion.

'Darwinism' just couldn`t make it up.

9 June 2013 at 10:54  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...



A really well written post and well worth a second reading - which I have - and I still find it a load of crap.

9 June 2013 at 10:55  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


'Darwinism' just couldn`t make it up

Unlike religion.

9 June 2013 at 10:58  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

It's not a religion, its a fact with as much evidence to support it as things like oh, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, the Theory of General Relativity, Gravity (as that's only a scientific Theory too) and so on.

May i suggest you go and actually read a proper book on evolution, maybe written by say a biologist who understands it and not some crazy person who thinks Jesus rode about on a dinosaur.

But let's for one second consider humans were created by your god and we were his ultimate act of creation; made in his exact image. Then we have to also except your god is flawed, as humans are not the strongest, fastest, biggest, most efficient at processing the consumption of nutrients, don't have the best eyes, ears, dexterity and so on. So how would you explain that?

9 June 2013 at 11:08  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

The problems with creationism are many. Perhaps the biggest though, is that it requires practically the whole of modern science to be incorrect in order for it to be true. And not just incorrect, but in fact a deliberate falsehood perpetrated by a vast conspiracy. Quite how such a false conspiracy could come up with technology like this phone, that actually works, I don't know.

9 June 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One cannot help but smile when thinking that if ever there was definite proof the God exists to the satisfaction of even the most ardent atheist, the entire crowd would exclaim, “Yes, it all fits. The planet and what’s on it is the result of 4 billion years of God’s nurture...”

9 June 2013 at 11:35  
Blogger LEN said...

So how did the cosmos come into being?.
Where did humans come from?.

Please give me' proof' not theories?.

9 June 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Various threads at play here it seems. So responses of some of the themes, in no particular order :

1. Sister Tibs, hope your back gets better.

2. Julia Grasper, Danjo at least argues his case well without having to revert to childish insults, such as 'banjo'. Is he lovely? I am sure on a personal level yes, but is this a debating forum of strong views and polemics.

3.Ah the old chestnut of science vs G-d. In respect of the big bang theory, one can note it only took a couple of centuries for science to come to agree with the Torah- the universe did have a starting point and was created out of nothing.

You see science can actually catch up with the 'big sky fairy' (although I have yet to meet a religion which worships a big fairy in the sky as a deity).

4.Ah, the even older chestnut of picking n' choosing viz religion.

5. Darwinism as fascism. I think the fascists were know to say anything to anyone in order to get elected (except for the Joo hate bit), so no surprise the appealed to conservative christian religious types, whilst inventing their particular brand of paganism, whilst at the same time exalting 'modernity' as a key fascist concept.

I think all they did was take Darwin's theory - poor bugger was dead by the 1930s -so it is hardly his fault (and various theories on eugenics), turned it into a popular science (or sociology as we call it nowadays) come political philosophy and there you had the 'scientific' rational for national socialist policies in the guise of a more explicit form of 'social darwinism' as it had been called before.

9 June 2013 at 12:23  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

@LEN go have a read of A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss. It's a review of the latest work on the formation of the universe. By the man who predicted the existence of Dark Matter a good decade before it became mainstream thinking.

It basically summarises that the universe exists because nothing is unstable, and so we got the universe had to come in to existence in one form or another.

But I will put the same question to you, how do you explain the universe being here without invoking the supernatural? At least science uses facts we know about the universe to come up with ideas and not just saying it happened because something we can't prove exist made it happen, oh and you are bad and wrong if you question that because we say so.

9 June 2013 at 12:27  
Blogger Ditari said...

"The problems with creationism are many. Perhaps the biggest though, is that it requires practically the whole of modern science to be incorrect in order for it to be true."

Yes of course - Kepler, Newton, Euler, Pasteur, Linnaeus, Maxwell, Faraday, Kelvin etc. knew nothing about science did they?

9 June 2013 at 12:27  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Ditari. Did I say that, and actually how is it even relevant?

9 June 2013 at 12:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Jane M

'Faith', by definition, must involve trust, or tenable hope. Once there is proof, faith is unnecessary.

I'm not a scientist, but Alister McGrath - who is - made this point about the atom. Scientists surmised (had faith in) the existence of the atom, but thought they would never see it. Then came the electron microscope. Faith became knowledge. In the same way, Christians believe that history is mover to a conclusion in which faith will be unnecessary.

Paul, it is true, does reference the Cosmos; but his basis for the truth or falsity of Christianity is not 'Genesis', but the Resurrection. (As a one-off, non-repeatable event, this has to be evaluated by historical, rather than scientific, criteria).

As Paul puts it, if the Resurrection did not happen, your faith is in vain. Solution: eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow, you die.

9 June 2013 at 12:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jane McQueen. It basically summarises that the universe exists because nothing is unstable,

Shirley you mean ‘nothing is stable’

9 June 2013 at 12:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Redlantern said...

Well done, Carl.

It was nothing. I assure you. A child could have exposed the dishonesty of what you wrote. I just happened to get there first, that's all.

Furthermore, I can't see the supposed contradiction between what I said and what AiG said.

Well, I suppose we can't hold people accountable for what they haven't been taught. Perhaps next year's course work will introduce you to the fundamentals of reading comprehension.


9 June 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger John Redlantern said...


I said the "no transitional fossils" argument was on their list of arguments creationists shouldn't use. Is it or isn't it?

9 June 2013 at 12:44  
Blogger Ivan said...

Dreadnaught, any stories to share about the great god Darwin? It may be more diverting seeing how coy you fellows are with facts or arguments? The stores must creaking with unsold books: Darwin's Voyages, the Galapagos finches, he may not have been a racist though he was ok with the extermination of the Indians in Argentinian pampas, may or may not have had a deathbed conversion, was troubled deeply by the death of his daughter, was not an apologist for Empire, didn't get a hard-on like his connexion Galton while carrying out a survey of the feminine beauties of British Isles. C'mon there must be something about this Promethean figure you can share.

9 June 2013 at 13:00  
Blogger Jane McQueen said...

Ahh Faith, the beliefe of something without any evidence to support such a claim.

However you do try your best to assert that scientists have some form of faith, in their work. Well unfortunately for you they don't. Scientists come up with ideas and hypothesises. That are subject to change with evidence and discoveries.

Where as Faith on the other hand does not do that. For example you only have to look at the young earth creationists who have faith that they are right even though all the evidence says to the contrary.

Faith is a dangerous tool, that has been used and exploited by people to get the populations to do what they want them to do, and that includes some rather bad things.

Faith is not a virtue; Faith is the glorification of voluntary ignorance.

9 June 2013 at 13:02  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Redlantern said...

Is it or isn't it?

That isn't the issue. You are equivocating of the use of the word 'transitional.' AIG's recommendation amounts to a warning to use terms with precision. It was not an admission by AIG that there exists in the fossil record intermediate forms between kinds. Which is what you implied. You used AIG as an authority in your argument by saying it had made a statement against interest. Except that what it actually said was precisely the opposite of what you asserted.


9 June 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


So how did the cosmos come into being?.

Why limit the question - why not what lies beyond that? Nobody can provide the answer - any more than you can you can Prove to me, that a divine being (and there have been many apparently) exists and created it. Created it from what - Wham-Shazzam! - a clap of the hands and a puff of smoke and Bob's your uncle? (ok maybe a bit longer) but a simple magic trick? Do you believe in magic LEN?

You seem to be happy to fill in a blank with a guess and I have no problem with that if it helps you make sense of life; and in your instance, I do respect your personal relationship approach between you and your God - if only that was universal amongst religion.

Where did humans come from? Please give me' proof' not theories

I know where I came from for certain. Would that I could account for the entire Homosapien kingdom, but the theory that all life has a common chemo-biological root has yet to be proved inconceivable. The miniscule fossil record so far unearthed,and the focus of all creationist detractors of the evolution theory, will never provide the ultimate answer to your question either - we (Humanity) may never ever know for certain; research is and ever will be,a work in progress - no big deal, I find that easy enough to live with.

All present life-forms will continue to exist as long as they can adapt to their respective ever changing environments. I often wonder why people happy with the quirkiness of religion have such a problem with scientific explanations.

I may be wrong but I think they fear it might expose weaknesses in their certainties and undermine what they believe to have found - the ultimate physical truth of everything.

9 June 2013 at 13:26  
Blogger The Explorer said...


As I said, once there is proof, faith is unnecessary.

Surely, if a scientist didn't have faith (tenable confidence, by my definition) in an
hypothesis it wouldn't become a theory?

Faith, of itself, isn't the issue: it's the object of the faith that matters. Faith in the truth of Marxism cost between eighty and one hundred million lives.

I don't agree, either, with those who say a belief is justified if its holder is sincere. Hitler was probably sincere. So, probably, was Attila the Hun.

Because I am a Christian, I do not feel compelled to support the Aztec practice of cutting out a live victim's heart every day to ensure the continued rising of the Sun.

9 June 2013 at 13:27  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


Why do you demean yourself with such a stupid post?

I don't see Darwin as the equivalent of some kind of Japanese Emperor-God of evolution theory - he just got publish first and broke through the obstinacy of accepted authority of his time.

9 June 2013 at 13:36  
Blogger LEN said...


As I thought yours is a faith based system which is based on 'theories' which under examination disappear like the morning mist when the sun shines on it.

My faith is based on facts the fact that you do not acknowledge them does not make them any less relevant.

The facts my faith is based upon are Biblical prophesies which are 1oo% accurate, also the facts concerning the life of Jesus Christ.

Of course if the existence of God causes a problem with atheists I also see why the denial of the Truth is necessary?.

9 June 2013 at 13:41  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ivan, I see where you going with this. But debating Darwin and justifiably disliking social Darwinism and the secularists who have beatified him is one thing, challenging the age of the universe and natural selection is another. Had he never been born, we still would have been where we are now, as the rather massive and quite solid evidence for three two would have been unavoidable.

For the record, I'm both a creationist and an evolutionist. Reconciling the two is not easy, and there continue to be questions which will take time to resolve, but Jewish sages have debated the issue since at least the 11th century and it is still being debated in the orthodox communities. In my opinion, a majority of orthodox Jews adopted the literalist Christian opposition to evolution and age of the universe due to opposition to social Darwinism and radical, atheistic materialism which they rightly saw as just another belief system. Unfortunately they picked sides early on and entrenched their positions before the science was properly developed alng stricter, evidence based lines, separating itself from the crude materialism and atheist triumphalism of the earlier days.

9 June 2013 at 13:56  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Dread nought

The saddest aspect of the Evolutionists argument is that it starts with an un-provable, un-testable assertion and fights against the expansion of knowledge and understanding. The standard bearers are too dumb to accept that anything other than the words in one specific text(If I remember rightly the great god Dawkins could not remember the name of it at in a recent interview).....

I was going to provide links and arument but I will just respond like all Evolutionists, doing answer the specific critisisms just say "your THEORY is a load of crap and flies in the face of all the current available evidence".

Creationists are Galileos of today carefully placing arguments against the church of evolution that everyone is supposed to blindly follow.


9 June 2013 at 14:00  
Blogger John Redlantern said...


the wording does appear to have changed since I last read it. However there is a reason why it is formulated as it is. That is that the creationist theory actually denies that slow, gradual evolution "between kinds" can happen, but relies on very rapid evolution occurring "within kinds" because it cannot otherwise account for the millions of species that needed to be accommodated on the ask if evolution hasn't happened since. very convenient don't you think?

9 June 2013 at 14:06  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

Ark, not ask!

9 June 2013 at 14:07  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


The age of the universe is not a scientifically determinable question. All age calculations depend upon an assumption of continuity. Scientific materialism makes this assumption because it excludes discontinuities a priori. Any system created at steady state will show apparent age, but this possibility is not allowed because creation is a discontinuity. The assumption thus drives the conclusion. It's no different from saying "Life is chemistry because chemistry is all we can observe and there is nothing outside of what we can observe."


9 June 2013 at 14:08  
Blogger John Redlantern said...

"Creationists are Galileos of today"

oh dear oh dear oh dear. they are a bunch of crooks, charlatans and jokers.

9 June 2013 at 14:09  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You're being a tad too hard on faith, Mr McQueen. Pure, naive and unexamined faith is what keeps the majority of those who believe in evolution as well. Let's face it, most haven't the foggiest about science and have simply chosen a consensus paradigm they prefer or have been taught to prefer. Not much different from us faith-addled theist primitives, it seems. And not all of us are young earth creationists or scriptural literalists, BTW, something easily missed in this highly polarized and emotional debate.

Your post does read a bit like a creed, if you don't mind me saying so. A scent of received wisdom about it. Not much of the empirical in it. But I'll guess we'll take it on faith.

9 June 2013 at 14:19  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

My apologies madam; misread your name, that would be Miss, Mrs or Ms McQueen, of course.

9 June 2013 at 14:22  
Blogger OldJim said...

Hitler was a polygenist; he believed that the different races of men on the Earth were made as different races, and did not proceed out of a common origin.

He therefore of necessity wasn't a Darwinist; though his heretical polygenist ideas do have their ultimate precursor in the atheism of the enlightenment. See Voltaire, Traites de Metaphysique, who notes that: "bearded whites, fuzzy negroes, the long-maned yellow races and beardless men are not descended from the same man", "whatever a man in a long black cassock might tell you". Quatrefages, a monogenist of the nineteenth century, notes that the public favored polygenism because it contradicted the Genesis account and therefore appeared more "scientific". Plus ca change, I suppose.

The point is that the Orthodox Christian Churches and Darwin, who both affirmed a single common ancestor for all men, were united in their opposition to the theory underpinning Nazism. That's worth saying.

As Danj0 says, though, Hitler's circle did draw extensively on the social Darwinism and eugenicist theories of people like Francis Galton, Herbert Spencer and Margaret Sanger. Atheist dilettantes one and all.

Again, Stalinism had no time for Darwinism. It seemed to leave too much of man's nature contingent on his genetics and too little contingent on his environment to serve the purposes of their ideology, and so they propagated the dubious pseudoscience of Lysenko instead.

A nuanced, rigorous and detached case which stands up to even the most feverish, empurpled scrutiny can be put for the deleterious effect of atheism on the twentieth century. But Darwinism? Not so much.

9 June 2013 at 14:29  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Whoa, there pilgrim, that sort of talk is way above my pay grade. I haven't had my coffee yet either. Offhand, I'd say that if your form of creationism depends on tricks of thrown in discontinuities, it's on rickety ground. Never mind the age of the universe, I'd have to assume that the Creator intended to deceive us by painting the La Scaux caves 6 thousand years ago and making it all look like it was done 11 thousand years ago. That would example.

The hypothesis that creation in Genesis, as many other parts in the Torah is to be interpreted allegorically, intended to impart ethical teachings rather than science and clearly tailored to a specific people at a specific time in history and particular cultural paradigms... that hypothesis is a better one than speculative twistings about time continuums.

9 June 2013 at 14:56  
Blogger OldJim said...

And yes, Sister Tibs, the contents of the Vatican I definition of Papal Infallibility are actually terribly modest. Newman noted at the time, and I paraphrase, though I think quite accurately, that "nothing of consequence has been passed". The moderates and liberals in the Church at the time were really concerned that Vatican I would declare the Pope positively inspired or infallible in the daily and private sayings of his life!

There's every difference in the world between inspiration and infallibility, of course. When I say that "Water is Water" or pronounce any other tautology, the contents of my speech are inerrant, and I am infallible in the saying of them; I wouldn't go so far as to call myself inspired in so saying, though!

The mechanics of infallibility also leave some room for academic doubts: when the Pope declares something infallibly, does that mean that what he says reflects reality, or that what he says follows necessarily from the grounds he has adduced? In most cases, the distinction is one without a difference: in almost all moral and theological cases, the Pope has considered and adduces the entire ground he needs to in order to produce his verdict.

But consider a document like Apostolicae Curae, which declared on the basis of the Edwardine Ordinal that subsequent Anglican Orders were "absolutely null and utterly void".

Now, we know what the Pope cannot be saying here, the ways in which what he says is necessarily circumscribed: he cannot know whether individual bishops planned to do as the Church does when ordaining priests or consecrating bishops, nor can he know whether the Ordinal was followed in each individual instance. What he is declaring is that the orders of the Anglican ecclesial community are institutionally suspect as a consequence of the defective form of the ordinal.

But the contents of the Ordinal etc. are matters of historical record, and not theological or moral datum. So, imagine that the Ordinal had been fabricated and presented to the Pope, and then the same judgment were issued. Would his ruling be infallible in the sense that if the ordinal were real the Orders would be invalid; or would it be infallible in the sense that independent of the grounds of the judgment, the judgment is by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, accurate?

Either way, infallible judgments are necessarily true in one of the two relevant senses, and the distinction is highly unlikely to be relevant in any judgment the Popes have or will give; I am sure great care is taken to avoid any doubt in these matters. Still, it remains the case that, whilst the contents of infallible judgments are true and binding, it does not follow that they are the best way or the most rounded way to put a thing, only that they are strictly accurate.

A Catholic can hold a slightly higher view of infallibility than that I have just put, and I personally do, considering the history of the Church. But no Catholic is bound to hold a doctrine of infallibility than the one that I have sketched.

The Bitter Pill would object even to that, though, I am sure.

9 June 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Extremely interesting post.

I agree with you absolutely re Stalinism. As to the rest, three thoughts.

1. I read that observers of the T4 Aktion euthanasia programme asked the doctors involved about their motivation. Apparently, they all cited Darwin. (Can't trace my source to confirm it; so I may be wrong.)

2. Don't forget the role of Ernst Haeckel, Darwin's foremost Germanic disciple, in the rise of German racism.

3. That bit from 'The Descent of Man': "At some future period ... the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races..." (Part 1, Ch 6 'On the Birthplace and Antiquity of Man').
That particular passage may have had a bearing on German policy in West Africa pre WWI. Beyond that, I don't know.

9 June 2013 at 15:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


My argument rests upon neither tricks nor speculations. According to Genesis, how old was Adam when he was created?


9 June 2013 at 15:07  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Come to think of it, not sure about Stalin either.

Didn't he have some crackpot idea that characteristics acquired through the environment could then be passed on genetically to offspring? (Don't know much about Stalin's scientific views, but that's something stirring around in my memory somewhere.)

9 June 2013 at 15:19  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 June 2013 at 15:22  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Avi and David,

I have to say I never really 'get' why there has to be such a conflict between religion and science. Two different things- an apple and a dinosaur if you like, but both equally important in our understanding of creation and the universe.

I think the Torah scholar Rambam said that there shouldn't be any conflict between the Torah and science and if they are in conflict then the science is wrong or we've misunderstood the Torah.

9 June 2013 at 15:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Didn't he have some crackpot idea that characteristics acquired through the environment could then be passed on genetically to offspring?"

Hence, the Lysenko reference. Interestingly, epigenetics or gene expression seems to be exciting people now.

9 June 2013 at 15:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Hannah

"Come now, and let us reason together," says the Lord. (Isaiah 1:17)

Forgive me for being text specific, but it's a verse not often enough quoted, I think.


9 June 2013 at 15:38  
Blogger OldJim said...

Righto, Ms. Mcqueen

Leviticus 18:22 is the text I believe that you are referring to:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

And then Leviticus 11:12

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Right, thought experiment for you: you are a boy during the 1960s, and your parent comes home one day and says to you "You mustn't grow your hair long... and you mustn't smoke cannabis... and you mustn't listen to rock music. Is that clear?"

Now, presumably, there is nothing actually morally wrong with a male growing his hair long, and your father, when pressed, would probably admit this. Jesus, going from most representations, actually wore a pretty big 'do. So what's going on with his banning it?

I think, intuitively, we know: your father isn't banning you from long hair because it's morally long, but because of what growing long hair entails in the cultural context of the '60s. He is concerned that if once you start doing things like growing your hair long, you will also start doing things like smoking cannabis, which he does consider to be a moral issue.

That still leaves us with a question: in cases of doubt, how do we know in these circumstances whether it is one thing or the other? How do we know whether your father morally disapproves of rock music, which is possible, or simply disapproves of the kinds of behaviour and company that he associates with a lifestyle that involves listening to rock music?

The only way is to look at the rest of the available context.

The New Testament of the bible explicitly frees believers from the Mosaic Law, which it judges to have been fulfilled by the coming of Christ. The eating of shellfish is covered more or less explicitly, when God reveals to Peter that all food is now ritually clean.

Not only does the New Testament not repeal the ban on homosexual sexual activity, though, it actively reiterates it, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Romans 1:26-27.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the "abomination" language of Leviticus holds, mind.

If my son were to be at a party as a designated driver and I were to catch him eyeing a drink, I might say to him "If you drink, I will disinherit you from my will"

A couple of days later, he might be going out to a party with some friends, and I might say "Don't get stupidly drunk, please"

If he were to say to his friends "my father says that if I get drunk tonight he will disinherit me" I should feel misrepresented; I can equally disapprove of getting drunk all the time and in general and specifically and forcefully condemn it in the context of drunk driving without contradiction.

Likewise, it might be the case that the New Testament condemnations of homosexual sex are the permanent moral teaching, whilst the extreme Leviticus language of "abomination" is linked to a cultural context, like the eating of shellfish. The two are not contradictory.

But to answer your question, the Church is not being contradictory in viewing shellfish as fair game and homosexual sex as off the table; the distinction is made clear in the Sacred texts themselves.

9 June 2013 at 15:41  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Jane McQueen,9 June 2013 11:08 :

"But let's for one second consider humans were created by your god and we were his ultimate act of creation; made in his exact image. Then we have to also except your god is flawed...... So how would you explain that?"

Because human beings were given the brains to think through their problems, to ask questions and create themselves in a way that animals cannot- e.g. using flint, stones, iron to begin with then more flashy and modern devices such as motor cars, glasses, guns and weapons, etc etc. Easy when you think about it.

Strange, that ability, given that humans have only been around for hundreds of thousands of years, yet dinosaurs were around for millions of years and never had the abilities that humans had, despite being probably being as whole species "the strongest, fastest, biggest, most efficient at processing the consumption of nutrients, don't have the best eyes, ears, dexterity".

9 June 2013 at 15:41  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Miss Hannah, May I recommend an excellent book by an orthodox Rabbi , hailing from Manchester (incomprehensible accent included), now living in Beit Shemesh of all places, who caused quite a stir in the orthodox world with his views on evolution. See Rabbi Natan Slifkin, The Challenge of Creation: Judaism's encounter with science, cosmology, and evolution (Jerusalem: Zoo Torah/Gefen, 2012). Order from him directly (google Zoo Torah) and say hi from me.

9 June 2013 at 15:44  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0

The example I remember was that a blacksmith who acquired strong muscles in the course of his job could pass them on to his sons.

I took OldJim to be saying that Stalin was either/or re heredity/environment, whereas the blacksmith example seems to make him both/and.

Genetics and Stalinist science are not my fields. Just an observation on my part, made in passing.


9 June 2013 at 15:45  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

Oh don't worry about that. I guess that we'll doubtless be getting into the first parts of Bereishit(Genesis) next.

9 June 2013 at 15:47  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Avi,

Thanks for that, I'll look it up.

9 June 2013 at 15:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Haven't the foggiest, Carl, I don't have my pentateuch with me. The point is that in the face of evidence from a ratiionally created universe operating by God-designed Natural Laws and derived by the gift of rational thought imparted only to humankind, we can assume with a high level of certainty that Genesis must be read by US allegorically, as we read other parts without too many conniptions.

My guess is that you have accepted the reality of a heliocentric universe, or the absence of physical heavenly spheres above us, understanding perhaps with some balking that these were allegories tailored to a time period with specific understanding of the world. Otherwise,  one would hope Carl, that you haven't had a hand in plotting the orbital trajectories of missiles at SAC on the assumption of a Terra-centric system. One shudders to imagine that had the Cold War warmed up, US rockets would have been annihilating Russian swamps and collective farm turnip fields.

9 June 2013 at 15:56  
Blogger Ivan said...

Dreadnaught. Don't take it personally son. Just something to while away time.
Now, an astringent Darwinian account that leaves no scope for a Mind behind
creation proceeds as follows. (from memory reading Steven Vogel)

1. Living things reproduce geometrically
2. Environmental resources increase if at all only incrementally
3. The limits imposed by the environment mean that sooner or later
most of the said living thigs die due to scarcity of some
necessary resource.
4. Those that survive are said to be adapted to the environment -
though through no merit of their own, chance plays a starring role - the
big fishes missed the surviving minnows , just as important the
genes passed on the next generations are better able to deal with
shortages, aggression from others and so on.

The trouble is how do you bootstrap such a system from the chemical sump given that there is
no Mind? Even so, why would a successful species of moss, lichen or bacteria
be sustaining an (unwilled) attempt at a higher life form, this being a)
a serious drain on resources that are better employed doing the same thing
they are already successful at,
b) the prototypes have to get everthing right or they die. This problem becomes
more much serious and frankly insoluble at the higher levels. The mechanism being
what it, the punishment is death for all the hopeful monsters die, being maladapted.
They do not benefit from a
design bureau constiting of the equivalent of the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison
to shepard matters, to learn from mistakes, or propose a better solution, since its all
chance and thus there is no purpose, or teleology as there is no directing will behind
all this.

Almost everyone who thinks about such matters realises sooner
or later that if Yehovah Sabbaoth, Brahma, Allah, Ahiramasu or their
agents do not exist, that if we are all alone, then we can do what we please,
making up morality as we go along. The creation account would follow something
like that given by Darwin. The Darwinian account though is like the faces in the
clouds, vanishing into thin air on closer examination. Based on such
evanascence the religious (and the crowd-following shepples) are to accept according to the needs of the hour, immorality,
abortion, destruction of the family and anything else the godless may think of
since we are so stupid. Well it ain't gonna happen.

Avi, fair-mindedness cuts no ice with the malevolent. (I am not referring to anyone here.) If it is all just a matter of some discussion before tea, the arguments would not be so heated. This is not about the commanding heights of culture, the religious gave them up some time back, this is about the shires on the plain, from which the barbarians are determined to drive them out. The hedonists smell weakness, they are coming for the kill. It is war to the knife from here on.

9 June 2013 at 16:02  
Blogger david kavanagh said...


I have to admit I am with Avi on this one, although I'll admit I do not really *know* much about evolution or the big bang. To me what is most important is that G-d is the creator. Can't see why science conflicts with that basic principal. Unless you want to be mischievous and use science for atheistic ends (to make an argument look more 'rational' than the 'magic, sky fairy').

9 June 2013 at 16:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Please do... oh, no need to mention what blog you found me on... I try to keep certain facets of my personality private within our community.

9 June 2013 at 16:23  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Avi,

My lips are sealed !

9 June 2013 at 16:25  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Ivan

Another great post. (Your one a while back to Avi about the Dominicans was the funniest thing I've ever read on this Blog).

This issue about Darwinian morality. I made the point somewhere on another thread, but I think it's worth repeating.

If successful survival is the ultimate criterion then:

Tribe A and Tribe B combine to exterminate Tribe C. Co-operation is good; it has ensured survival. (But so is extermination).

Tribe A then wipes out Tribe B at the victory celebration. Deceit and treachery now become good: they have ensured survival.

Not really a response to your post: just an expansion of one of the points you made.

Keep contributing: a salutary blend of erudition and fluent expression.


9 June 2013 at 16:27  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


As I thought yours is a faith based system which is based on 'theories' which under examination disappear like the morning mist when the sun shines on it.

Utter Nonsense - just because you say something is - does not make it a fact.

I don't have a faith based system of belief in anything that is unsustainable simply by having 'faith'

To believe that an apple falls from a tree in a downward direction every time, does not demand faith to accept that it will keep happening; it's a fact explained through physics.

Logic demands that for something to be 'factual' there has to be testable evidence available in support for the proposition.

9 June 2013 at 16:36  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


The trouble is how do you bootstrap such a system from the chemical sump given that there is
no Mind?

Who says that 'Mind' is a necessary component?

9 June 2013 at 16:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Good Heavens, Ivan, I had no idea we're in the midst of an apocalyptic war abetween the forces of light and darkness, being too busy perhaps bemoaning my smoke-ruined shabbat chickens the other day. I'm beginning to suspect that the mysterious holes on my roasting pan which drained the fat, caused near flash explosions in the oven and imparted an unpleasant flavour, are the work of the never-resting Hinderer...may we all merit to escape his attentions.

9 June 2013 at 16:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


It was a trick question. There is no age specified. Adam was created with apparent age. He was a functioning adult from the moment he was formed from the dust. That is exactly the argument I am making about the universe. It was created for a purpose. It doesn't just exist to exist. The purpose of the universe is to serve man - both as a benefit and a revelation. The purpose determines the form of creation. There is no logical reason to impose naturalistic conditions on the nature of that creation.

You appeal to evidence. But what you haven't addressed is that the interpretation of the evidence is driven by the assumptions brought to the data. Consider the following thought experiment. Assume I put you in a room with a perfect clock. I will ask you to tell me how long the clock has been operating. It would be tempting to look at the clock and say "The clock has been operating exactly the number of seconds indicated on the clock." But that evaluation of the evidence would be dependent upon certain critical assumptions. Specifically, it would assume that:

1. The initial value of the clock was zero.

2. The clock has been operating continuously.

3. The clock has not rolled over or otherwise reset.

The materialist would say the clock must start at zero, the clock could not possibly stop, and that the clock could not reset. That's why I say age is not scientifically determinable. You can't look at the evidence and answer questions like that. You can only make assumptions. At which point your answer is only as good as you assumptions.

For the record, missile trajectories are typically computed in the Earth-Centered Inertial Frame. The choice of origin for a reference frame is completely arbitrary and is chosen for convenience. Most navigation systems on Earth operate in the Earth-Centered Earth-Fixed Frame. That frame is "fixed" relative the Earth and so rotates with it. That means it is not an inertial frame, but no one cares. It agrees with human observations. Again the choice is one of convenience. In both frames the Sun would orbit the Earth because the position vector of the Sun would originate at the center of the Earth. The Earth objectively orbits the Sun in the true Inertial frame. But that is only one of many possible and equally valid reference frames.


9 June 2013 at 16:54  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Don't you mean Manichaean? Mani was the light and darkness bloke. The Persians burned him, so Runciman says.


9 June 2013 at 16:58  
Blogger OldJim said...

Hullo, Mr. Explorer

I am afraid I cannot comment on 1) without the sources in front of me. Do let me know if they crop up and I will let you know if I stumble upon them.

2)The influence of Haekel, its extent and so on, is an interesting question. Of course, he was a sort of polygenist himself. He payed lip service to Darwin's monogenist conclusion, sure; but he continued to talk of the different races of humanity as species. It's true that he tilled the ground that the Nazis would later work in several ways, not least in pagan mysticism quite aside from biology, but please note that Hitler did disband the Monist League and ban the works of Haekel at his earliest opportunity. Some of that might have been politics, but I think it reflects a difference in weltanshauung as well. Also note that where Haekel's ideas went down best with the party, or left the longest impression, as with "politics is applied biology" and the "scientific" posing of the "Jewish Question" -- these were the places that Haekel most drastically departed from Darwin, and picked up the strains of other thinkers; the social Darwinist set in the first instance, the polygenists and antisemites in the latter.

3)Well, Darwin wasn't advocating genocide, he was speculating that his worldview had led him to conclude that it was likely. I don't think it an insignificant distinction. And please note that I am not saying that Darwin didn't say incautious, questionable or even downright reproachable things; I am saying that I doubt that even had Darwin iterated the whole of Nazi philosophy, he would have been the thinker from whom the Nazis drew their ideas, because it seems to me that they draw for the most part from a different, often pre-existing tradition. But he didn't, and they didn't. The worst that Darwin did as far as the Nazis were concerned was act as an inspiration to the English-speaking social Darwinist set. But he didn't set out intending to, and even their influence wasn't absolutely key. Most important was the influence of HS Chamberlain. That's where most of this stuff really has its origin. Other thinkers provide some dressing here, an idea there. Chamberlain provides the worldview upon which these dressings and ideas are placed. And if you look at Chamberlain's influences you find Cuvier, and through Cuvier every blackguardly polygenist you could think to name.

Yes, "individuals are affected by their environment and these adaptive changes are passed on to the next generation" would be a reasonable basic explanation of Lysenkoism, which is a species of Lamarckism rather than Darwinism.

9 June 2013 at 17:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Adam was created with apparent age. He was a functioning adult from the moment he was formed from the dust.

Boy, do you believe everything you read in the bible
Yes Sir, I do
Well, tell me then, where does the bible come from
England, Sir
What makes you say that
It says so clearly on the back page, ‘Printed in London’

9 June 2013 at 17:11  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi David,

I did like your point earlier on that it has taken time for science to be more in line with the Torah. Looking at the old school belief of science, which was that the universe had always existed, to the theory of the big bang, which I think wasn't well taken at the time because it was considered to be theistic precisely because it declared the universe had an actual start, which is the same supposition as theists of Christianity and Judaism.

9 June 2013 at 17:11  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

There is a part a and part b problem here.

Part a is to look at the strands involved in the debate and then sit back from these and reflect what each one is for, part b.

OK the strands are

1. Religion
2. Lit Religion
3. Old Atheist
4. New Atheist
5. Science

Quite a few people in 1 can accept science and religion as compatible. Numbers 2 and 4 cannot Number 3, has respect for religion but does not believe. Science is stuck between the fires of new atheism and literal religionists. That is the real problem; it has become a political-philosophical fault line, especially in America. I think Dawkins admitted his books got published after 'four years of Bush'.

But the reality is that to see how religion and science can cohabit one has to look at what each purpose is there to do (and for that matter the nature of atheism).

9 June 2013 at 17:20  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

PS- got to go out now, but will post my thoughts on part b later on.

9 June 2013 at 17:22  

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