Saturday, August 03, 2013

DUP councillor arrested while Sinn Féin minister walks free

DUP councillor Ruth Patterson (left) has been charged by police after comments she made recently on Facebook about a planned republican parade in Castlederg in County Tyrone on 11th August. Apparently she responded to a comment about an imagined attack on the parade in which several people (including Sinn Féin members) are killed. She wrote: “Who cares how we would be judged, we would have done a great service to Northern Ireland and the world." She expanded: "Would I shed a tear? No. Would I loose (sic) a night’s sleep? No, would I really worry about what anyone else thought? No.”

And so she has been arrested and charged with sending a 'grossly offensive communication'.

Sinn Féin deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness (right) has not been arrested or charged by police for a speech he made in Londonderry a few weeks ago, in which he referred to the murderous activities of the IRA as 'a very proud and honourable struggle'. The bombs exploded in that city by the IRA were not imagined; the murders of scores of police officers, soldiers and civilians (including a nine-year-old boy) were not some Facebook fantasy. The cleansing of Protestants from the west bank is not some fiction: they have been systematically, bullied, bombed and burned out. McGuinness spoke of dead IRA members as 'the real heroes of the struggle' - the true and honourable freedom fighters.

But none of this is offensive in the slightest: the PSNI turned a deaf ear to this glorification of terrorism.

Ruth Patterson's comments were undoubtedly disgraceful and insensitive, but she belongs to a political party which has consistently eschewed violence and murder as a means to a political end. She has, in any case, apologised for her conduct, saying: "I completely withdraw this flawed Facebook comment. Murder and terrorism can never be justified in any circumstances. To descend to such a level would be to repeat the actions of those we stood against during the dark days of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. My ill-judged comment is completely incompatible with the polices of the Democratic Unionist Party and what is expected of me as an elected representative. I recognise that my careless comments fall short of the standards expected of anyone holding a responsible post. I deeply and sincerely apologise."

Martin McGuinness's comments are arguably more disgraceful and insensitive, and he belongs to a political party which has long advocated and indulged in violence and murder for political ends. Contrary to the principles of the Just War, he has orchestrated the death of harmless civilians and other innocents. And he has never apologised for his participation in decades of indiscriminate carnage and sectarian slaughter.

Ruth Patterson's conduct may merit an internal DUP inquiry and possible suspension, but her arrest at the hands of the PSNI for a crass Facebook comment is grossly disproportionate, especially while the real thug offends with impunity.

But this is the price the peacemakers pay for sharing power with terrorists.


Blogger Martin said...

It's what happens when the terrorist becomes 'honourable' and part of the Establishment.

It is also what happens when sin becomes 'lawful' and a human right.

3 August 2013 at 08:17  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

If you need to know the difference Archbishop, here it is. One can be construed as an incitement to murderous violence at a forthcoming event, the other an opinion by the respected and greatly loved reformed terrorist, that Irish Nelson Mandela, Martin McGuinness.

The latter of course is freedom of speech. It is why you are not languishing in the Tower awaiting an operation on your neck, for your sterling work on your blog. The former, an embodiment of the continuing hate peddled by wicked sectarianists in the North.

Looking back to the 1960s, had that quasi police state realised the consequences of smashing up Catholics on civil rights marches with three foot truncheons, they would never have done it. Would have far better to have listened to the grievances instead, wouldn’t you say. But of course, they did and the rest, as they say, is history...

3 August 2013 at 09:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

My ill-judged comment is completely incompatible with the polices of the Democratic Unionist Party...

She’s had her face slapped alright. But there is no hiding the murderous hate in her heart...

3 August 2013 at 09:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Can we as Christians forgive Patterson ?

Not as she is now, still harbouring those evil thoughts. No, she must renounce them publically. No better place for her to do it than prostrated before the altar in the Catholic church. Crying out to Christ her regret and asking HIM for his mercy. Will she do it ? Not yet. She first needs to contemplate the eternity of damnation which is surely hers. Then, with her pride subdued, she just might...

3 August 2013 at 10:06  
Blogger Kilsally said...

Policing Board member - Sinn Fein`s Gerry Kelly MLA (convicted of the IRA Old Bailey bombing and shooting a Prison Officer in the head during an IRA prison break)is the keynote speaker at this IRA parade in Castlederg to commemorate two IRA men that blew themselves up on their way to plant a bomb in Castlederg (most bombed town? 50 bombs and 28 killed by IRA)

3 August 2013 at 10:29  
Blogger ukFred said...

Your Grace, I fear that OIG is losing his understanding of forgiveness. for his edification, I will point out that forgiveness is a decision made by the person who has been wronged concerning the wrong that has been done. It is a decision to cease to see the wrong as a cause to bear a grudge against the wrongdoer. It frees the victim far more than it does anything to the wrongdoer. If that were not the case, how could Jesus have told his disciples to forgive their brother seventy times seven times. We not only can, but, as Christians we must forgive.

3 August 2013 at 10:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

“The last RUC officer to be killed as a direct result of the conflict died on the 6 October 1998, a month after he had been injured in a Red Hand Defenders pipe-bomb attack in Portadown.”

Watch out for the red hand people. They’re lethal...

3 August 2013 at 11:01  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

I admit to having a foot in two camps here.

I am Catholic but English, my ancestors having refused to submit to forced conversion.

The Protestants in Northern Ireland were vile towards Catholics - they were treated like Dhimmis and subjected to humiliation and persecution.

When the British Army first went in they were welcomed by Catholics as they wanted protection from Protestant persecution.

Of course, this not only riled the Protestants but posed the thugs in the IRA with a problem.

The British had to be the enemy - not friends.

Hence the sustained campaign of violence which, as a result of having to defend themselves, turned the British Army into the enemy.

Normal service was restored and peace was stalled.

Both sides in the conflict carry responsibility but the triumphalism of the Protestant incomers fed the fires whilst the evil of the IRA gangsters kept them going .

A simple matter is that in order to achieve peace (of a sort) vile murderers and terrorists insisted upon indemnity from their crimes.

Personally I go with the Army line that in 24 hrs all of the terrorists on both sides could have been assassinated.

It would have cut the head off both monsters, sent a very serious message to any others who thought to replace them and open the door for true conciliation.

Instead, decades of deaths entirely innocent people ensued.

As for that woman - she should be censured though I can't see anything illegal in what she said. The same goes for McGuinness.

3 August 2013 at 11:20  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

PS I meant to add that I find the comments of both people shameful.

3 August 2013 at 11:23  
Blogger David B said...

I tend to the view that His Grace somewhat misunderstands McGuinness and his friend and Colleage, Adams.

Let us not forget in the first place that the Provisional IRA was forged in circumstances where peaceable civil rights marchers were stoned by protestants as the Police looked on.

Regular readers here will know that I am no friend of Catholicism, but it is pretty clear, is it not, that at that time, and in the decades leading up to it, the Catholics in Northern Ireland had been getting a raw deal.

As the years passed, though, the wiser of the leadership of the IRA realised the futility of armed struggle, as they would put it, and worked hard for peace.

This was done at considerable risk to themselves, as they were and are regarded as traitors by the most extreme zealots on the republican side.

It was also done, and needed to be done, with not a little statesmanship, IMV, as they saw there was no point in making a personal peace if they could not carry the vast bulk of the terrorist/freedom fighters with them.

With that end in mind, to carry the troops with them, they needed to get political gains on the lines of the power sharing which has worked pretty well now for many years, but they also needed to pay tribute to what was, for all its faults, a courageous struggle (I understand that the rate of attrition among provo fighters high) and one in which the fighters felt themselves, regardless of the rightness of such feelings, to be on the side of justice and good.

McGuiness and Adams and their ilk more or less succeeded, though not without some statesmanship on behalf of successive British Governments and, in some cases, and I think to a lesser degree, some Unionist leaders.

It is not surprising, though, that McGuinness praises those on the republican side who suffered in the process. Apart from recognising genuine courage and commitment, anything less would be dangerous, in that it would lend support, as I see it, to those dissident republicans who see McGuinness as a traitor, and who want to get back to armed revolt.


3 August 2013 at 12:08  
Blogger Owl said...

I usually refrain from commenting as soon as HG mentions either "Unionism" or "Northern Ireland" as he has his perspective which I don't agree with but I respect him too much to talk about beams and eyes, also being aware of the ones in my own eyes.

I would like to makes the following comments (as a Catholic Southern Irishman.

1. Anyone who knows anything about Irish history in NI is aware of the situation in 1969, as Harry has pointed out.

2. Sectarianism was, and is, purely on one side, just read the comments of Mr. Paisley at that time.

3. The (original) Irish were/are Nationalists and some of them were protestant if you look back on the longer history. Rather like Englishmen I would have thought.

4. I certainly do not condone terrorism of any sort and would have had no problem if the London bombers, for example, ended up against a brick wall.

5. Unfortunatly, the Conservative party always supported the Unionists in NI as they wanted (needed?) the Unionist vote to stay in power. Completely ignoring the total misuse of power for over 50 years.

6. As Harry has pointed out, the British army was sent in to protect the Catholic areas in NI (please just ask yourself why they needed protection!) but ended up supporting the Unionist (Orange) aggressors.

The situation was far more complex than a simple sectarian war.

I have often thought that the Englishman's sense of fairplay and freedom should also apply to other nations. Here this was not the case and we have seen the results,

I am still amazed that a "peace" was found at all and I take my hat off to Mr. Paisley and Mr. Adams for being part of that event. I may not like either of the men personally but I do like peace in NI.

The peace is tenuous and dragging up the past is not going to help it. There is a lot of guilt and horror on both sides. I would hope that that remains a thing of the past. Toleration is very important as the wounds are deep and the scars are not yet healed.

Peace be with us all.

3 August 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

It is true Catholics had a very raw deal in NI with the full knowledge of successive British government. They only started doing something when the violence started. That said, the comments of both were unacceptable but one at least has seen fit to apologise. As a Catholic I have always condemned the IRA violence and it is clear that if they hadn't got involved peace would probably have come quicker. I don't see any virtue in praising murderers

3 August 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 August 2013 at 13:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Give it a rest daughter. You won’t find the solution to NI
in the OT. Kill every man women child and beast, wasn't it ?

3 August 2013 at 13:09  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

Ezekiel chapter 13

10 ¶ Because, even because, they did cause My people to err, Saying, Peace! and there is no peace, And that one is building a wall, And lo, they are daubing it with chalk.
11 Say to those daubing with chalk 'It falleth'

The people have been - and still are being seduced by skilful orators who think that absence of killing is the same as peace. As has been said 'there can be no peace without justice'. And in NI there is no justice. The blood of innocents (on both sides) still cries out from the ground for the justice that no-one is willing to give them. And many, known to be guilty and proved to be guilty have not been charged or have been released for the sake of political expediency.

And politicians from Britain and from America and everywhere else that wants to get in on the act are still whitewashing the 'walls of peace' - but they WILL fall.

There is no peace in NI, as recent events have reminded us, because there has been no justice.

3 August 2013 at 13:22  
Blogger Owl said...

how far back do you want to go to redress wrongs, 6 months, 50 years, 100 years or maybe 1'000 years?

I hope that men and women of good will come to the fore and deal with the current situation. The past is history and no-one can change it.

3 August 2013 at 13:33  
Blogger David B said...

Well said, Owl


3 August 2013 at 13:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I am not sure you have addressed ID's point. The lack of justice is symptomatic of a lack of resolution. The studied moral ambiguity of David B's post illustrates the problem. You can't sustain over time two undefeated yet mutually exclusive narratives of this conflict. It leads one to believe the peace is in fact a truce motivated by exhaustion over the killing. As memories fade the narratives will re-emerge as motivators and the truce will end. Especially if you glorify the violence to a generation that knows not war.


3 August 2013 at 14:36  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Regarding lack of justice, Jesus was scourged,had a crown of thorns on his head, abuse and spittle cast over him before walking to his crucifixion. He did not wail about the injustice of it all. He asked us to follow him and said "My Kingdom is not of this World". We will never have peace and justice in this world until Jesus returns and establishes his kingdom. We don't condone the injustices of governments and neither should we condone the crimes of the IRA. The way forward for Christians particularly in an aggressively secular culture is to follow Christ and offer up our sufferings just like he did.

3 August 2013 at 14:50  
Blogger Martin said...

It seems strange that child abusers from thirty or forty years ago are pursued but those who cold bloodedly murdered the innocent are not.

3 August 2013 at 14:59  
Blogger Owl said...


I see your point but that was just what I was trying to say.

My point about where do you start to redress the wrongs was meant to point to the problem.

Of course the narratives are conflicting. If I remember correctly the French resistance fighters were called terrorists by the Germans in WWII. If Germany had won the war then they would have remain terrorists as far as the history books are concerned as this would also have been a resolution to the conflict. Fortunatly it turned out otherwise and they remained freedom fighters.

You are almost correct in stating that the conflict remains unresolved in as far that no one side can be considered to have "won" the confict.

If you consider the idea of power sharing not to be a resolution then you would be completely correct.

In 1969 this would have been unthinkable, such was the corruption of NI politics at that time. In any other part of the UK. the politics of NI would also have been thought unthinkable and most people were totally unaware of the situation in NI at that time.

There is no way to apply justice to past deeds without destroying the tenuous peace that we have.

Where do you even start?

I think that the people of NI are just glad that the violence has stopped.

The narratives will remain. Both right, both wrong.

Justice may come with the second coming but not before in NI.

The only thing that human beings can do is try to keep this candle (of peace) alight.

3 August 2013 at 15:15  
Blogger Gnostic said...

A terrorist's opinion is worth more than a non-terrorist's opinion.

I get that know. Thank you PC police.

3 August 2013 at 15:53  
Blogger Peter D said...

Carl said ...
"You can't sustain over time two undefeated yet mutually exclusive narratives of this conflict."

But surely there can be a 'via media' founded on ambiguity? That is the British way, after all. Then, we're talking here of Ireland.

3 August 2013 at 16:12  
Blogger LEN said...

The speed that our Society is breaking down is accelerating. The further we move away from God as a Nation the faster corruption is spreading.This fact is observable to all but those blind to what is happening.
This is not unique event but a pattern which repeats itself throughout History and if we had the wisdom to see we could possibly reverse the process but it seems the only way we can learn is to encounter disaster then a few, a very small percentage can gain enough wisdom to turn back to God.
Our institutions are falling one by one even those who are supposed to regulate these institutions are failing in their duties we have reached the stage where Isaiah states;"So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter"(Isaiah 59:14).

3 August 2013 at 16:26  
Blogger Peter D said...

Len said ...
" ... if we had the wisdom to see we could possibly reverse the process but it seems the only way we can learn is to encounter disaster then a few, a very small percentage can gain enough wisdom to turn back to God."

Whilst I don't disagree with you about where things might be heading, I thought you believed it was out of our hands until, without choice or agency on our part we are "born again" ... etc.

3 August 2013 at 16:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


A 'via media' founded on ambiguity will perpetuate a conflict. Neither side has any incentive to address the source of the conflict under such a condition. Getting around an intractable conflict is the whole reason for the ambiguity in the first place. Each side chooses to read the agreement according to its own interest - in the hope of eventually establishing its own understanding as dominant. It provides for short term unity at the expense of long term stability.


3 August 2013 at 17:17  
Blogger David B said...

LEN, by what measures do you think society is breaking down, compared with, say, the times of a few examples like the 3 day week of 40 years ago, the General Strike of about nearly 90 years ago, Peterloo of nearly 200 years ago, the Civil War of approaching 400 years ago, the Black Death of getting on for 700 years ago, the Norman Conquest of getting on for 1000 years ago?

It seems to me that claims of a breakdown in civilisation on your part are evidence of a lack of critical thinking, and/or ignorance, and/or wishful thinking.

To avoid a false trichotomy, to coin a word, I will add, and/or some other factor or factors, and leave it to you to consider what they might be, after, perhaps, you have done some research to see the state of the nation when William the Bastard was ravaging the North.

By any reasonable measure society is better now than then.


3 August 2013 at 17:26  
Blogger Martin said...


A terrorist is one who seeks to cause terror among the general population as a means of promoting their views.

Some may call them freedom fighters but they are still terrorists.

3 August 2013 at 18:00  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

David B said "By any reasonable measure society is better now than then" and we could point to many technological advances. The Black Death can easily be cured nowadays but it claimed I think about 1/3 of the population in Medieval times. However we have to be careful not to regard earlier times with complete disdain and I am sure David B did not intend that.

Modern conflicts have not been religious except for the genocides in Armenia, East Timor and South Sudan but they were Muslim atrocities. However even taking that into account we killed more people in the 20th century that all other centuries combined. The daily news reveals that some NHS Trusts are clearly under-performing. Here is a quote from an article by James J Walsh in Catholic Truth in History

The amusing thing for me about Professor Draper's book is that while he was teaching and acting as attending physician at Bellevue Hospital that hospital was a veritable disgrace to civilization. Its death-rate was woefully high; it was almost unbelievably dirty, and its nurses, as Stephen Smith tells us, and he is still alive, were the "ten-day women." ... Professor Draper was teaching at Bellevue, writing his book on the intellectual development of Europe, telling how unspeakably low the people were in the Middle Ages, yet he had no inkling at all that the medieval people had beautiful hospitals, some of the finest ever built, and magnificently trained nursing, and that they were doing surgery far ahead of any in his time. They were doing mighty little surgery at Bellevue in Dr. Draper's time, practically only emergency surgery, because the death rate was so high from septic complications that they dared not. In the medieval hospitals they were doing
operations for tumor and for abscess within the skull, and for all sorts of conditions within the abdomen. No surgeon at Bellevue in Draper's time would have dared to do such operations. They were wise, because their patients would have died. We have the text-books of the Middle Ages describing these operations and Draper knew nothing about them. He knew nothing about the intellectual development of Europe in his own profession.

There may therefore be some aspects of modern life that are showing a backward trend rather than progress and if the trend continues things could get a lot worse.

By the way publishes online books which are no longer covered by copyright and are making all these available free of charge which is an example I think of progress.

3 August 2013 at 18:24  
Blogger Peter D said...

I agree that an ambiguous 'via media' is inherently unstable. At some point in time such compromises founded on avoidance of differences rather than their resolution, are bound to unravel - be it slowly or dramatically. Some last centuries.

3 August 2013 at 18:24  
Blogger Owl said...



As the terror and bloodshed was on both sides you still have the problem of stopping it and keeping it stopped.

Carl suggested getting to the root cause of the trouble.

Where do we start. The civil rights marches, the plantations, Cromwell, King John, Irish raiders on the coasts of Cornwall and Wales?

Do we have a root cause or just many causes.

Are the drug gangs of both sides a good place to start?

Getting Adams and Paisley to work together is, at least, a start.

If you're looking for the culprit then I can show him to you. He is everywhere and nowhere.

I can compare the words of McGuiness to the rhetoric of the Orange order.

The words of Ruth Patterson I can only compare with a hate tirade from some of our more aggressive radical clerics.

She apologised, I accept the apology.

I am not taking sides, that is a pointless execise.

3 August 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B


Have you considered the demographics of Western nations? Just how long do you suppose an increasingly aging and unhealthy population will be able to rely on a shrinking working population to care for them?

3 August 2013 at 18:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Anyone know how that evil terrorist Nelson Mandela is fairing these days...

3 August 2013 at 18:58  
Blogger David B said...

Peter D, two points, one being that later retirement, a result of longer life expectancy and better health care, is being phased in, and the other that productivity gains - which can be expected to continue - have been such that there is not enough work for the young people we've already got.

There are, I must concede, too many people, but advances in contraception and education, and a decline in religion, are helping out there.


3 August 2013 at 19:01  
Blogger David B said...


"However even taking that into account we killed more people in the 20th century that all other centuries combined"

Perhaps so, but how do you think the percentage of casualties, military and civilian, compares with wars in previous centuries, like the Hundred Years War, the English Civil War, to say nothing of the rampages of William I mentioned above, and those of Gengis Khan among others.

In percentage terms there has been continual improvement, subject to the occasional statistical glitch, which haven't changed the overall trend towards things getting better.

I don't like to leave links here, as I've gathered HG rather frowns on it, so I suggest googling Ted Talks Steven Pinker surprising decline of violence.

You may well be surprised at what you see, but I think the case he makes is compelling.


3 August 2013 at 19:43  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B
So having a population that is failing to replace itself through contraception and better education is your predicted 'solution'?

Do you know the statistics with regard to health and social care? Better health and social care is expensive. The State is expected to provide ever increasing levels of support for more and more elderly and disabled people. The situation is unsustainable.

As for employment, are you aware of the shifts in global capitalism?

Consider the trends: The socialisation by the State of care (as an 'entitlement'); the fragmentation of family life (the dissolution of marriage and stable relationships); our demographics (older and frailer people dependent on the State with fewer working people); and the shifts in world capitalism (seeking profit by whatever means).

Not good.

And you think the decline of religion and moral values a good thing?!

3 August 2013 at 19:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 19:01

"A decline in religion." Do you include Islam in that?

3 August 2013 at 20:11  
Blogger David B said...

Peter, I see that you are silent on things that weren't good in former times - like when smallpox, syphilis was rife.

No-one is claiming that things are perfect today, or that there aren't problems - the all to real global warming for instance - but please go read some Dickens - or Hardy, or Fielding, or Orwell - before waxing lyrical about how things were better in the past.

Even try reading the Water Babies!

Also look at the ravages of the Vikings and Barbary pirates, the slavery, the press gangs, the colonialism, the slavery, the deliberate giving of smallpox to native Americans, the workhouses.....

Things were not better in the past, despite your prejudices or wishful thinking.


3 August 2013 at 20:12  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B

I've never claimed things were better in the past - let alone "waxed lyrical" about them - just that they're about to get a lot worse in the future.

Its your complacency about tomorrow that I find astonishing. Your suggestion that contraception, education and the demise of religion will somehow get us through is s tad simplistic.

Out of interest, do you have children?

3 August 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 20:12

Ever read Bruce Bawer on the Malmo City Council and Muslims? We must be nice to them now so that when they are a majority they will be nice to us. They mean the religion as well as the demographics. And Sweden's even more secular than Britain!

Hardy, Fielding, Orwell, Kingsley: I've read the lot. I doubt that when Hardy railed against unhappy marriage he quite envisaged modern divorce rates; or the number of single mums. Read Chaucer, and life then seems to have been a lot of fun: the Plague notwithstanding.

The Golden Age is a pagan concept. I don't know a single Christian who subscribes to it. Myself, I don't view history horizontally, I view it vertically: good and bad things in every age until Christ initiates the new order. (Before which, things will get ultra bad).

3 August 2013 at 20:56  
Blogger David B said...

Actually I'm not sanguine about the future, particularly wrt over use of resources, exponential population growth, and global warming.

The things you seem to think are bad, though, I don't worry about, nor to I worry about Biblical prophesies which by any reasonable reading should have happened nearly 2k years ago.

Other matters call


3 August 2013 at 21:02  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Interesting analysis by Stephen Pinker in the TED lecture and food for thought. However such a broad sweep covering every society from tribalism up to the present doesn't help to get at the reason. Secondly the suggestion that things improved from the time of the enlightenment is a bit suspect as the Enlightenment led directly to the slaughter of the guillotine and would have continued much longer if Napoleon had not cut it short. In recent years we have been hearing about the virtues of pre-emptive war without hardly a murmur from the media. There seems to be however a suspicion among us that things are not moving in a good direction and if this financial crisis gets worse we could see things getting a lot worse.

3 August 2013 at 21:34  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B

Who's talking about biblical prophesy? Again, its not something I've mentioned. Bit of prejudice there on your part, I'd say.

Good to know you're not too bothered the West is heading for a demographic and health meltdown and inevitable economic decline.

You've no children's future to worry about, I take it?

3 August 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 21:02:

If other matters call, I assume you won't be reading this. Never mind; others can.

Sorry, but in your 19:43 observations you ARE sanguine about the future: "... the overall trend towards things getting better".

"Any reasonable reading" seems a bit sweeping. An Idealist reading is not unreasonable; although its conclusions do not concur with yours.

I'm much less concerned about that (anyone who does not accept the First Coming is hardly likely to be bothered about the Second) than I am about your studious avoidance of the Islam issue. I'm not not talking demographics: I'm talking your assertion about religious decline.

3 August 2013 at 21:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter D:

Several posts seeme to have happened more or less simultaneously. Some crossed wires as a result.

Since I threw prophecy into the discussion it's my fault, not David's. (Mind you, he didn't help the situation by not specifying whom he was addressing.)

3 August 2013 at 21:44  
Blogger David B said...

I suppose I am a bit ambivalent about this issue, since there are issues about the future that I worry about, but not what is often publicised by JWs and the Rapture Ready rabble as evidence of an imminent second coming.

Crime is way lower than it was, despite the more humane (and, yes, sometimes too humane) way that convicted crims are treated.

Life expectancy and general health is on the up, smallpox has been eliminated, and polio nearly so, and would have been but for the violence of religious zealots.

Some environmental issues are being addressed - an important one being getting lead out of petrol, which is closely correlated with decreasing crime figures, I am led to understand.

But that exponential growth, of populations or recourse use, cannot continue indefinitely is a no brainer, and it tends to be the religious who want more and more people born into an increasingly crowded world with increasingly limited resources, born into what is all too often poverty and hopelessness.

I don't have children, but I do have nephews and nieces, and I do worry about their future - but not for the reasons which seem to be cited here, which are generally false.

Religion is not the solution, IMV, it is a major part of the problem (some more than others, of course), which is one reason why I argue against it.


3 August 2013 at 22:23  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, your communicant attempts to be humble and to avoid vanity, in the context of which he regards the vanity of sectarianism within Christianity as a great evil, on both sides. Christ would surely recognise His Church as being all those who put their trust in Him, irrespective of other factors.

Having said that, it seems no coincidence at all that this nasty little spat in NI politics has flared up just after the Orange Order marches. Your communicant is an Anglican, and therefore an adherent of the Reformed Protestant Church.

But if he lived in NI, your communicant's well-honed instinct for survival would keep him well away from Orange Order marches. It defies belief that presumably intelligent and well-educated individuals can march in fancy dress, beating their chests and their drums and blowing their horns through the suburbs of their neighbours in deliberate provocation to remember a battle fought 300 years ago. Does it never occur to these people that this annual action will generate a reaction? The Orange Order really needs to stop its baiting and find a different therapy for its chronic insecurity, don't you think?

None of these remarks condones the cold-blooded violence and murder perpetrated by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness as leaders of the IRA, nor the similar acts of the UDF et al, but both sides need to tone down the Noise, rather than to crank it up. NI needs a prosperous economy and re-igniting the Troubles has to be avoided at all costs. The sort of investment that the Irish Republic has so successfully attracted will not go to NI if corporations see a bitterly divided work force.

On a completely different front, the hegemonial power in the British Isles is England, and peace in Ireland must surely be an English national objective, for economic and budgetary reasons. Maintaining up to 15,000 troops in NI was unproductive, to say the least. Going further, one can suggest that it is an objective of the Grand Strategy of England to ensure that where possible all parts of the British archipelago are under a single polity, a defence proposition. It follows that if continued strife in NI obstructs the objective described above, the hegemonial power has no interest in taking sides and will not do so, whatever the Ulster Unionists think.

3 August 2013 at 22:49  
Blogger Martin said...

If I understand the Bible rightly, and I think I do, turning away from God's law is an evidence of God's judgement on a society. On that basis, unless God is merciful, things are going to get worse. For example, don't think that man controls the financial markets or commodities.

3 August 2013 at 23:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bluedog, well written Sir. My condolences too on your dog...

3 August 2013 at 23:24  
Blogger LEN said...

David B
By what measures do I believe Society is breaking down.?.

Society can only function as God ordained IF Judeo/Christian morality and principles are applied. When these are undermined by those with different agendas we start to see the disintegration of Society. For example the Theory of Evolution reduces man to a thinking animal.So if man is merely an 'evolving animal' we surely should expect him to behave as such?. A human ape with a big brain?.
This 'theory' denies the whole spiritual aspect of man and reduces him to a 'mass of cells'.

The collapse of our society;
Alexander Fraser Tytler states;
'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

IF we were to 'take the temperature 'of our Nation we would see that at turning away from God, the raising of Idolatry,the 'anything goes' attitude right from the very top to the bottom of Society. Attitudes to homosexuality are also an indicator of the position of our Society and to selfish attitudes indeed a cult of 'self' importance.
Indeed all the indicators are there if we look for them.Indeed within a few years they will be impossible to miss.

4 August 2013 at 00:46  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Patterson is a menace. If she has broken the law she ought to be held accountable.

I say "ought" with definite irony, since Northern Ireland long dispensed with the "ought" of punishing those who murder and maim. There are, of course, bright patches where the light of justice shines in. We are, for instance, becoming very good at punishing police and armed forces members for their illegal and immoral acts. Likewise two-bit politicians who mouth off with the predictably offensive bile.

4 August 2013 at 02:42  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 22:23

You and I both have much to thank modern medicine for. Progress there is not in question.

Modern attitudes to crime (you are mentally ill, not morally wrong: you must be cured, not punished) seem to me to be a wrong turn.

Christ himself said he didn't know when his coming would be: any sect that claims to know can be rejected. Ditto the claims of J W's: regarded as heretical by all the Trinitarian denominations.

I, for one, am glad that you visit this blog; and I hope you will continue to do so. You make thoughful observations, and you divert in-fighting.


4 August 2013 at 08:29  
Blogger David B said...

First, Explorer.

Thank you for your kind words.

I suppose it is a little off topic, but the question of crime and punishment vis a vis mental illness is a tricky one - and, I may say, certainly not one to be addressed by the simple mechanism of forgiving, forgiving and forgiving again and again.

I worked for about a decade of my working life in a residential environment dealing with people on the autistic spectrum with extremely challenging behaviour. Challenging to the point that new members of staff were not really considered part of the team until they had had a visit to casualty. I bear the scars of bite marks on my arm to this day.

The residents there should certainly not have been in prison - and if they were in prison, and not in a padded cell in solitary, they would certainly not have helped any attempts at leading other prisoners to avoid re-offending.

Some people certainly do have mental conditions, sometimes incurable (under present knowledge), that to my mind renders them unsuitable for prison, and, in fact not morally responsible.

Where the boundary lies is sometimes difficult to know, especially when some criminals might try to feign mental illness to get better conditions.

But such decisions have to be made, often on the basis of shades of grey, not black and white, and perfect consistency is not possible.

It comes down, to my mind, to the question of whether an individual is capable of making a moral decision. And there is a lot of depth in discussing what that means, in both theory and practice.

Nevertheless it seems clear to me that some people can make moral decisions, and a small minority really can't.

These last need treating humanely - one wouldn't want them just put to sleep, would one?

Now to Len, who said

"Society can only function as God ordained IF Judeo/Christian morality and principles are applied...."

Leaving aside for the time being the fact that you, nor anyone else, have never established the existence of any God, leave alone one interested in Judeo/Christian morality, I would ask you to consider how similar your words sound, in only a slightly different context, to the words of Imams, of Ayatollahs, of Talibanistas.

Each, not doubt, believing what they say with as much faith as you.

I can also imagine quite easily that zealous people of faith two thousand years ago adopting a similar line, from a position of some power, and in consequence having little truck with an itinerant preacher who has little truck with principles like the Sabbath when caring for the needs of people are concerned.

LEN the Talibanista. LEN the Pharisee. LEN the warning to others of the dangers of faith. LEN, who implicitly terms the wonderful process which has led to the richness and diversity of life 'Mere'.


4 August 2013 at 10:17  
Blogger LEN said...

David B,

Probably one of the most advanced [scientifically speaking] Nations of the last Century was that governed by the National Socialist German Workers Party.
This is a classic example of Science without morality.We do not seem to have learned the lessons from that?.'Evolutionist thinking' was the power behind much of Hitlers 'final solution'.

David B ,a Godless World is capable of anything, a Godless World will kill its infants without compassion because(as 'evolutionist thinking' states 'They are just a bunch of cells' so 'terminating them' is not a problem.
The old the disabled those of 'no use' to Society were terminated as a direct result of 'Evolutionist' principles' carried out to their 'logical conclusion 'by Hitler and others.

David B, call me what names you like but if a glimmer of realisation can come from facing the truth about mans fallen condition and the only remedy for this fallen condition (Jesus Christ) then you can call me all the names you like.

Man without God is not free as some might assume but man if in rebellion against God comes under the direct authority of the adversary of God , the spiritual force that brings death disease and destruction(which we are experiencing Worldwide in case no body has noticed)so man is either for God or against Him there is no neutral ground,
So to sum it up we are either for God and His morality His Order or for the forces of Chaos, disease and destruction.

4 August 2013 at 11:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David @ 10:17

If off topic, very important nonetheless. I agree: there are people who seem incapable of moral decisions. They aren't choosing not to; they just can't. That has theological implications I need to think about. HG's posts move on apace; so some post in the future,rather than this one, if I come up with an anwswer.

On the forgiveness issue, C S Lewis anticipated it all with 'The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment' (1949). Interestingly, he could not get it published in Britain. It appeared in Australia, and two Australian academics attacked it vigorously. Well worth a read if you don't know it: the essay itself, and the subsequent argument.

4 August 2013 at 11:31  
Blogger bluedog said...

Thank you, Mr Inspector @ 23.34. No good brooding, he had a good innings.

4 August 2013 at 12:15  
Blogger David B said...

LEN, who said, my comments interpolated.

"Probably one of the most advanced [scientifically speaking] Nations of the last Century was that governed by the National Socialist German Workers Party."

Have you heard of Godwin's Law?

[quote]This is a classic example of Science without morality.We do not seem to have learned the lessons from that?.[/quote]

If you think Nazism was without morality then, I would argue, you are quite mistaken. It had a morality, I'd say, based on deference to authority, unquestioning patriotism, faith in the leadership,punishment of dissenters, and false metaphysics concerning the Germanic people and its supposed superiority, and a denial of humanity of 'lesser' beings.

A lot in common with theocratic moralities in fact, and, ironically, I don't think the conquered people of that time were treated worse than the Biblical accounts of how the Jews treated their enemies. What with killing all the males and taking the young women as sexual playthings and stuff.

"'Evolutionist thinking' was the power behind much of Hitlers 'final solution'."

As a matter of record, Hitler was no friend of Darwinism. For one thing, it implicitly denies Germanic superiority.

"...Man without God is not free as some might assume but man if in rebellion against God comes under the direct authority of the adversary of God"

You seem to making unjustified assumptions about both God and a hypothetical adversary. With logical problems associated with th view - is the putativegod the creator of the adversary, could he not just swat him down...?

But one way or another we are either with God or without God in fact, and I take the opposite view to you on this.

However, God or no God, atrocities still happen, with the POE to consider of there is a God, and, it must be said, those people of faith do not seem less prone to atrocity than those without, when we look at the recent Iran/Iraq war, the break up of Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, the various religious wars in Europe after that horrible anti-semite Luther, and, not least, the atrocities proubly paraded as the work of the Judeo/Christian God in the OT.

"So to sum it up we are either for God and His morality His Order or for the forces of Chaos, disease and destruction."

In the light of the above, I can confidently say, nonsense.


4 August 2013 at 12:32  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 August 2013 at 21:34  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B

You're clueless about Christian theology. So much so I can't be bothered picking your assertions apart.

There is one I will address though.

Satan made a free choice - an eternally binding choice - to rebel against God. He was cast out of Heaven and will spend eternity ruling in Hell. And here's the thing, God knew he would too but let him. He also knew what decision Adam would make under temptation from Satan.

You see, God doesn't just wipe out His created Angels or human souls. One created they exist for eternity. He does let them choose their eternal destiny.

Understand this and you might just begin to understand the rest of Scripture - whether you accept or reject it.

The rest of your 'analysis' is simple bunkum.

5 August 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger LEN said...

David B , (4 August 2013 12:32)

Your argument is irrational.
I though 'logic' was a sole possession of Atheists?.
Yet Christianity is based on logic and reason.I am not a 'blind faith' Christian(although there is nothing wrong with that because logic proves those who have blind faith to be correct in their faith)
.You assumptions on Christianity are based on prejudices and false information therefore incorrect.
IF you really wanted to discover the Truth about Christianity the truth is there for you to discover through the Scriptures.
Bible prophesy alone will reveal God to you .

But you will find it impossible to discover Truth until you desire Truth above and beyond you self limiting prejudice,, pride, and fear of the unknown.

5 August 2013 at 09:08  
Blogger LEN said...

We could trace many of the problems in our Society indeed in the World in general back to Darwin and his 'Theory'.
Darwin`s 'theory'(the religion of secular man) is being taught as 'fact' in our schools.Darwin`s 'theory' is being used as a [cynical] tool to displace Christianity and to brainwash our youth.Darwin`s 'Theory' has been proven to be based on false assumptions and unproven theories about the origin of life but secularists cling to Darwin not because of it truthfulness but in an attempt to 'disprove' God.
Of course to challenge Darwin is a 'heresy' which will bring the full force of the 'scientific' establishment down upon one!.
Here are a few remarks about the relationship between Darwinism and Hitler.
Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) endorsed a program in Germany to breed a superior race. The scheme was based on a horrific evolutionary theory called “eugenics” that was founded by Charles Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton. The idea of eugenics was to improve the human race using principles promoted in the theory of evolution.

Russian dictator and revolutionist, Joseph Stalin (1879-1953), was studying at Tiflis Theological Seminary when he started to read the works of Charles Darwin. One of his friends later said in a book that when Stalin read Darwin he became an atheist. The theological seminary expelled Stalin at the age of 19 because of his revolutionary connections.

Trotsky was mesmerized by Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. He said: “Darwin stood for me like a mightly doorkeeper at the entrance to the temple of the universe.” He said that Darwin's ideas “intoxicated” him. And he could not understand in the slightest how belief in God could find room in the same head as belief in Darwin's ideas.

Like Hitler, Trotsky was a tyrant who saw Darwin's theory of evolution as scientific justification for dismissing God's moral laws. He clearly saw that the two ideas, God and evolution, were totally incompatible.

And the most tragic aspect of all this? That while Stalin, Trotsky, and Hitler were turning their backs on their Creator, they were building their murderous, racist philosophies on a lie.

5 August 2013 at 09:41  
Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

The State is an enemy of the Church.

5 August 2013 at 20:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Begging to disagree, LEN. Sir Charles Darwin was merely the first to compile and present overwhelming and inescapable, evidence of the age of the world and emergence of species. These discoveries and the theory...theory in the scientific language meaning a coherent description of the mechanisms of a process... in and by themselves did not then, nor now, address the origin and purpose of life and existence, nor do they challenge Creation or the supremacy of the Almighty. What they do is reveal a process which challenges our interpretation of Scripture. That God chooses to work with his incredible natural laws and their processes such as evolution through natural selection and mutations is no more threatening to the religious mind than the new understanding of the cosmos which challenges the previous interpretation of filaments with points of light. The Bible was given to us in the language and the world views of men who received it at the time.

To be sure, "Darwinism," rather Social Darwinism, attracted all manner of fools and monsters who took "survival of the fittest" to mean license to oppress and murder. And anyone who claims that evolution theory solves the mystery of the origin of life or the origin of the universe, or that these can be ascribed to chance is a fool who doesn't understand the parameters of science he claims to uphold, or the impossibility of empirically proving chance which he believes is the Prime Cause of Everything. Evolution theory addresses a well-observed process, not the starting point or purpose of life; this is a crucial distinction missed by many of us. Also, the notion that we evolved from lower life forms is no more revolutionary, unbelievable or undignified than the fact that as individuals we begin as a sperm and an egg. Just as we are right to peer at the Heavens and see God's laws and work in its incredible vastness and complexity, we can marvel at God's incredible gift of life with its mind-boggling biological mysteries.

6 August 2013 at 01:13  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

David B said, ...ironically, I don't think the conquered people of that time were treated worse than the Biblical accounts of how the Jews treated their enemies. What with killing all the males and taking the young women as sexual playthings and stuff.

Touché. A favourite of all the pop atheism gurus. The Bible describes plenty of incidents which offend our sensibilities and understanding of justice. However, these historically rare incidents of total, "it's us or them" warfare are descriptive, not prescriptive and have always been understood as such. Just as the story of Lot's daughters copulating with their father did not challenge the prohibition of incest, biblical descriptions of conduct during crucial life-or-death struggles between peoples did not give green light to murder and enslavement. Such was the nature of warfare since prehistory, but if you read on, and examine the subsequent development of Jewish law since biblical times, you will see in it a progression of justice which is directly responsible for the very same attitudes you hold today.

Wait, is it possible you don't realize that in spite of your protestations of some sort of a superior modern, pristine "natural" atheistic morality, you are really 99% Judeo-Christian in your outlook? Go on!

6 August 2013 at 02:00  
Blogger LEN said...

Avi ,
Of course you are perfectly entitled to disagree with whatever I say but the fact remains that Darwinism is taught in our schools as a means to negate Creation.
In fact anyone daring to mention Creation let alone teach it will soon find himself out of a job.
The theory that we evolved from lower life forms is a total repudiation of Scripture.
IF Satan can challenge Genesis on the false premise that God is a liar this then negates the entire Bible.This is an' old trick' which has worked well for Satan over the Centuries.

6 August 2013 at 12:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The theory that we evolved from lower life forms is a total repudiation of Scripture.

Pitiful !

6 August 2013 at 18:42  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Len, sorry for the late reply; long day behind the wheel.

If Darwinism is taught in your schools as a way to negate Creation, then the program is ludicrously unscientific and should really be called creation theory. Alas, it would only be a speculation, barely a hypothesis, as there is nothing with which to form an honest scientific theory on, given that we cannot create life in a lab (only some amino acids), nor have we observed such occurring by a chance combination of factors. And all this after we explain ...scientifically... existence itself. So no matter where you stand, the limit is that evolution theory can, by definition alone, only begin after the appearance or creation of the first life form.

Evolution theory poses some difficult theological challenges, namely the apparent discrepancy between a very sure thing and Scripture. But the position you take is also problematic theologically. If anything but a plain, seemingly literal reading of Scripture is a serious repudiation, as you argue, then for the sake of consistency and theological integrity, so is not believing that above us is not a universe the way astronomy describes it, but a solid dome, a spinning firmament with holes for the stars, and that the Sun, planets, indeed all the cosmos, revolves around our stationary earth. Also among other things, you'd have to accept that the bat is a bird, rather than a mammal, along with a number of zoological improbabilities.

Another obvious theological problem would be the question of why God would create a universe in which He faked distances, the speed of light, the frequency spectrum, thousands of archeological sites, millions of square miles of fossil-rich strata, all sorts of observable evolutionary processes in the biological world and a whole range of reliable, mutually supporting dating methods? Just to fool us? To tempt us into error over an issue which is of little importance to the core message of Scripture?

The best solution to this quandary I have come across is that the fault is not in our stars, as it were, but that we are at fault. We are not interpreting Scripture...or its purpose...correctly. If we believe that God created the world, we are duty-bound to study His Creation and its natural laws with all the tools we have, to accept it as it is, and if it doesn't jive with our temporary beliefs, to modify our interpretation of Scripture. Scripture is not a science or biology textbook, but an "emergency" Covenant between God and humankind, a Covenant which had to be handed in the language and in the world view of specific people living in a specific time. If you think about it, there are no other sensible options.

7 August 2013 at 00:32  
Blogger LEN said...

I will ignore the inspectors remark because he obviously has never read Genesis 1, so his remark(like most of his comments) is meaningless.

The interpretation of Scripture is a serious matter(obviously every scripture cannot be taken literally) and some discernment is needed.
I do not believe God would give us His Word if it was impossible for anyone to understand it!. God`s Word can only be understood with the Help of the Holy Spirit (the author)

Jesus consistently interpreted the Old Testament quite literally, including the Creation account of Adam and Eve (Matthew 13:35; 25:34, Mark 10:6), Noah's Ark and the flood (Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27), Jonah and the great fish (Matthew 12:39-41), Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15), and the account of Lot and his wife (Luke 17:28-29).

2 Timothy 3:15 points to the complete sufficiency of Scripture in the life of a believer, and indicates that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to provide the necessary wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ. The Scriptures alone are the source of spiritual knowledge. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that all Scripture is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

7 August 2013 at 23:05  
Blogger LEN said...

To add further to my post God says 'He is the Rock of Israel'(Obviously if someone was pedantic enough they could claim that God is a rock!.

As I have said some discernment (and common sense) is needed)when reading scripture.
Jesus is also not 'a Lamb'.
Commonsense will take you a long way reading Scriptures.

7 August 2013 at 23:13  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Len, being unfamiliar with your scriptures and being restrained by custom and lack of qualification to debate theology, I can't comment much on your citations. I'd be curious, though, to know how Christians of your and other denominations explain their acceptance of evolution.

Only because we have similar debates in Orthodox Judaism, where the evolutionist camp is still in the minority, will I point to the example in Timothy you provided, which summarizes scripture as "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..." That would be another of many examples of shared ideas between Judaism and Christianity. Note, though, that nowhere in your scripture or mine is there an explicit statement about scripture being a guide to science and the natural world.

The examples of the anthropomorphic descriptions of God you provide actually fortify the fact that scripture speaks in the temporal, geographically and historically specific language of men to whom it was handed. Otherwise it would have mentioned atoms, gravitation, radiation, Doppler shifts, egg-laying mammals in Australia, turkeys and tomatoes, microbes and viruses, other galaxies, extinction of species... evolution.

As I said before, this is an argument between bad science which draws wrong conclusions from observations of the natural world and bad theology which cannot work through a usable system of interpretation and does not understand its own inconsistencies. Scientists who think that they can explain all existence and Creation from a process and want to ram these conclusions down our throats, and theologians who somehow accept modern medicine and astronomy (which also seem to contradict scripture) but not natural selection. In the end, both sides suffer loss of credibility. It's rather depressing, but it will get sorted out one day, perhaps.

9 August 2013 at 01:55  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 August 2013 at 01:58  
Blogger Peter D said...

Len said ...
"I do not believe God would give us His Word if it was impossible for anyone to understand it!"

Anyone? On their own? Feminists? Homosexuals? You haven't read or understood Scripture at all if you believe this and you don't know the history of the Church.

And you've totally misrepresented Timothy 3:15 - and you know it too.

How on earth can you possibly know Jesus interpreted Scripture literally?

Genesis speaks a Truth about creation that is not 'scientific'.

You have gone up in my estimation. Very well said. Scripture and science cannot contradict one another and God doesn't play tricks with man.

9 August 2013 at 02:04  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Avi...You have gone up in my estimation.

Oh, oh. This is going to cost me somehow isn't it?

9 August 2013 at 23:29  

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