Thursday, August 15, 2013

Egypt's churches are burning, but Christianity will not be extinguished

And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour (Exod 1:13f).
Egypt's military junta have cracked down on the Islamist supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi: some 327 are reported to have been killed; almost 3000 injured. A month-long state of emergency has been declared and curfews imposed in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. The carnage has been condemned by the UN Secretary General, along with the world's presidents, prime ministers, secretaries of state and the EU's Cathy Ashton.

But instead of retaliating against the military, Muslim Brotherhood members have decided to attack the Christians, just as they do in all Muslim-majority countries. They're going for the Copts, Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Baptists - it doesn't really matter. Churches and monasteries have been torched and burned to the ground. Tragically, they include the Church of the Virgin Mary in Minya, Upper Egypt, which dates back to the fourth century - the time of Arius.

And so, once again, we see the Pharaoh of the Nile characteristically determined to assert his totalism; brutally enacting the nightmare of eradication after years of confiscation, exploitation and persecution. The cost extends beyond its human toll to the savage abuse of the environment. And one Exodus naturally leads to another, as we have seen throughout the Middle East. Wherever Islam is the dominant faith, there is no tolerance of other faiths. It is estimated that between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or been killed over the past century. We are on the cusp of Christianity disappearing from its biblical heartlands.

The social pain is unbearable: as it was for the Israelites under Pharaoh, so is it now for the Egypt's Christians. There is defiance, but also fear. There is resistance to abusive totalism, but it comes at an appalling cost. Moses is the embodiment of the implied obligation of resistance in the face of oppressive overlords and brutalising authority.
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage (Exod 2:23).
Their cry was not addressed to YHWH: it is a raw political act of giving voice to the irreducible political datum of suffering at the hands of a coercive power. The cry is not a theological act; it simply rose up to God. The politics of protest ascends to heaven. In their crying, Israel had no transcendent assurance of deliverance or salvation. Rather, they were heard by the One who draws their pain to His own self, not because of who Israel is, but because of who YHWH is.

How much more does Christ hear and listen to the suffering and pain of those who love Him! He is not hovering aloof in remote holiness: He is among the Copts, Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Baptists below, mobilising a revolutionary transformative energy against the abusive powers. In their wretchedness and bondage of grief, let us remember our brothers and sisters. And let us pray for a Moses, a political figure to advocate on behalf of the oppressed and confront the successors of Pharaoh, for a holy response to pain requires a bold human initiative.

123 Comments:

Blogger David B said...

Once again terrible things are happening in the name of faith.

If there is a 'revolutionary transformative energy', though, it seems to me that it will be the work of man rather than the supernatural, and, indeed, if there were supernatural powers at the behest of a living Jesus it strikes me that there are more practical things that he can do.

As for the value of prayer, I was assured in these columns the other day that prayer does not lead God to change his mind. Is it really any more likely that prayer will lead to intervention any more than it led to intervention when Catholics were praying for relief from Protestant flames or vice versa?

Of course there will always be bland assurances that these evils are part of God's plan, but if so then the Problem of Evil raises its ugly head.

We go back to Epicurus.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

I in no way wish to diminish the awfulness of what is happening in these attacks by people we could say are consumed by faith.

But I would argue that challenging the utility and goodness of faith is a more appropriate response than appealing to faith.

David

15 August 2013 09:50  
Blogger B flat said...

It is accepted that the utility and goodness of faith are challenged by these events. The point of a challenge is to test the strength of what is opposed.
The value and reality of the faith, tested by such fire, was stated in the psalms, that we are tried as gold in the furnace, and again, we are tried as silver is tried.
The value of a human being is measured by other means than apparent success in this life.
God is with His people. May we always keep truth with Him, even in these flames.

15 August 2013 10:06  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Thanks your Grace - that animation at the top is quite effective in its impact.

Isaiah said something which possibly looks even more impossible now than it did when it was written:

In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance."
(19:24-25)


Time passes, and days the Father has fixed in the future get closer. Meanwhile, other parts of our family suffer.

15 August 2013 10:06  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

One query. Is it happening in the name of faith, or in the name of Islam? Islam is a faith, but faith need not be Islam.

If your query re Epicurus is a serious one, then may I recommend an interesting - if unusual - answer: Gregory Boyd's 'God at War'. It tackles the paradox in Archibald MacLeish's 'J.B.': "If he is God he cannot be good; if he is good he cannot be God."

15 August 2013 10:09  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Ooh - David B

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.

Able - evil is there, it is allowed, or you would not be writing on this blog, and I wouldn't have been born. We are in time, and evil will one day be put away.

Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.

Willing - God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?

Good question - were you there? Real choice in those who are not God. (I don't use the expression free will)

Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

I refer the honourable gennleman to the first two questions. My response to the same questions is that of Thomas - 'My Lord and my God'.

15 August 2013 10:13  
Blogger Jon said...

David B - that's the trouble with faith, you see. Those who have it see these questions of evidence for its requirement. Those without faith see them as evidence of the paradoxes that faith obfuscates.

Rasher Bacon's line of argument, if you can call it that, shows that if there were ever anyone who were argued into faith (St Paul did this, I think, but I don't see it as the same because he had a theistic audience to start with) it's pretty uncommon these days in my experience.

Very sad state of affairs in Egypt, that humans are still doing this to humans.

15 August 2013 10:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

Further to my comment @ 10:09.

With Boyd, you need to be able to accept the possibility of the spiritual realm. Grant that, and you need to accept the possibility of evil within the spiritual realm. If either of those is an impossibility for you, don't bother with Boyd.

What makes him controversial - particularly with Calvinists - is his view of self-limiting omnipotence for this phase of the world's history. That solves solves some problems, but creates others. I don't say for a moment that he has all the answers, but he IS interesting. And different.

15 August 2013 10:51  
Blogger Nath said...

David,

do we think that in the near 2500 years since Epicurius gave his challenge it has somehow gone unaddressed, unconsidered, not critiqued and remains unanswered? Or perhaps one chooses to live in ignorance because the ignorant never have to confront the unknown? And it is always easier to live a life of self-justification than admit one's finitude and ignorance.

Moreover your critique of faith is somewhat peculiar. Mankind cannot live without faith. Every morning one wakes up sure that the laws of nature continue to apply although there is no good reason why they should.

Each day we have faith that those whom we rely upon remain trustworthy despite human fickleness.

Every time we hear the words "i love you" we have faith that they convey meaning.

Science is built upon faith, faith that the interpretive frameworks which have gone before us are accurate, faith that tomorrow a significant outlying variable won't confound our theories and faith that the scientific endeavour actual realises truth.

Love, like science, is predicated on faith, and like science is itself not testable, is itself not provable. What we call love and science, are actually revealers of truth - means and methods. Love is communicated in our acts but our acts are not love. In the same way our theories and decriptions of nature are not themselves nature. Love and science are the explanations of the evidence before us.

Without faith scientific progress would be impossible. Without faith you would never know the truth of another's love.

Thus without faith life would be meaningless existence. Without faith, one will never know truth.

15 August 2013 11:01  
Blogger David B said...

@Explorer who wrote

"One query. Is it happening in the name of faith, or in the name of Islam? Islam is a faith, but faith need not be Islam."

In this instance it is happening in the name of Islam, but, as I mention in my post, such evils are not entirely the result of Islam.

The example I used were the killings of Catholics by Protestants hundreds of years ago, but I could also have used the atrocities performed by the followers of Yahweh by their own OT accounts, or in more recent times the shelling of Muslims by Orthodoc Christians (if I remember rightly - was it Catholics?) following the break up of Yugoslavia. Among others.

My point - there seems in many circles some sort of unspoken (sometimes spoken) assumption that faith is a good thing. I point out, rather successfully, I think, that this is far from always the case. I am, as I've said before, of the opinion that on balance the bad things about faith, independently of the truth or falsehood of it, generally outweigh the good.

And when one looks at the wide variety of faiths which to a greater or lesser degree contradict each other, then it is clear, is it not? than most faiths are necessarily more or less false.

"If your query re Epicurus is a serious one, then may I recommend an interesting - if unusual - answer: Gregory Boyd's 'God at War'."

I am generally serious on this blog - even when writing with tongue partially in cheek there is usually a serious purpose behind it.

Can you sum it up?

So far, I must say, the attempts to get round this problem in this thread appear to me to be ingenious and inventive ways of finding ways to maintain a faith rather than showing any sort of reason to believe.

To find post hoc explanations or rationalisations for thoughts and beliefs seems to be an insidious and sometimes dangerous part of the human condition, and one particularly hard to defend oneself against. Being aware of the problem, and seeking consilience always seems to me to be the best defence.

I have been wondering how best to address your reasons to believe that you spoke of a few days ago in another thread.

I didn't find them any reason to believe myself, but no doubt as time passes I shall find further opportunity to address why I think you have been misled - when talking of personal experience misled in the same way I was by profound experiences through meditation. being in the presence of my spiritual master and stuff like that.

Difficult to escape from - many of my cultic contemporaries then have maintained their faiths to this day.

David

15 August 2013 11:07  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Jon @ 10:30

I understand the first sentence of your first paragraph, but not the rest of it.

MacLeish thought his paradox rendered faith in God impossible.

I take you to be saying that 'faith' (whatever that means) says: "Ah well, here's a paradox. Let's just live with it; the ways of God are strange."

That's exactly what Boyd DOESN'T say. The paradox is reductive beacsue there are other possibilities. But don't take my word for it; read the book in question.

15 August 2013 11:10  
Blogger Brian Gould said...

Long years of torture, imprisonment, and persecution under Hosni Mubarak failed to put an end to the Moslem Brotherhood: if anything,it emerged from its ordeal bigger and stronger than it had been before. So now they have a new Hosni Mubarak proposing to go back to where the old one left off and start all over again?

15 August 2013 11:11  
Blogger William Lewis said...

David B

What is evil?

15 August 2013 11:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 11:07

Don't bother overmuch with my three reasons (never intended as definitive). The five reasons of William Lane Craig are much better.

Not sure what you mean by "Sum it up." Your thoughts? Mine? Boyd's?

If you mean Boyd, the book kicks off with the example of the little Jewish girl, Zosia, who had had her eyes cut out by an SS officer with her mother watching.

Does everything happen according to the will of God? If not, then what's going on? That's the gist of it.

One point re the historical killings you cite. We believe in the Fall. People are flawed; they get things wrong: even when they are believers. It's Utopians who have far more cause to explain away atrocities. (And they don't get round it by saying it would be okay if only we didn't have faith. Get rid of religious faith and people simply resort to tribalism, with attached violence).

15 August 2013 11:26  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Jon - you're right - I wouldn't call it a line of argument either, just my responses to those questions which I've genuinely asked many times, sometimes in bitterness. The last bit about Thomas doesn't really follow on argument, but as you say, he wasn't argued into that - he met the risen Christ, which changed him.

However, while it's quite possible to draw different conclusions from the same facts, I wouldn't separate argument or evidence from Thomas' response. CS Lewis' experience was different, but he describes "the steady unrelenting approach of him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet." but he said "In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and and reluctant convert in all England."

If only David B could meet the risen Christ - it doesn't really matter how. In Lewis' case another atheist was instrumental.

15 August 2013 11:36  
Blogger David B said...

Explorer, when you say you believe in the fall, do you mean the literal Genesis talking snake account, or does that account represent some sort of allegory, or what?

In any case, to my mind a simpler explanation of why people do not match up to what one would wish for comes from the simple fact that we are evolved creatures, in which morality and ethics have emerged, and continue to evolve and develop.

An explanation which has the further merit of not demanding anything supernatural, whether literal talking snakes or some sort of God interested in the affairs of people.

David

15 August 2013 11:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

Jerome in the Fourth Century saw 'Genesis' as truth in the form of a folk tale. That's my own line. I believe that God made the world, and that the world and humans have both gone wrong. I've said in a previous thread that I also believe in the command to "Subdue the Earth." Use your brains to discover things. That's why I have no problem with a universe thirteen billion years old: in the state of current knowledge.

I take it you have faith that we will one day evolve to perfection?

15 August 2013 12:00  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

A church in Garbsen, near Hamburg, was destroyed by arson at the end of July. Garbsen is described as a ‘highly enriched’ area; de.wikipedia says it has two mosques. The police and fire brigade had to contend with youngsters on bikes, filming the fire and celebrating. The pastor said: ‘I am shocked that not everyone was shocked that night.’

There may be no Muslim involvement in the Garbsen fire but, as Europe’s Muslim population grows, it’s inevitable that her churches will burn.

15 August 2013 12:31  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace,

Truly moving.

This gives texture to the sanitized media and BBC versions, although they have at last mentioned it, although not its scale or the history of persecution.

It strikes me that civil war is now a possibility in Egypt, although the army there is strong and may be able suppress any early rumblings of that. Let us hope so. Normally one associates armies acting against their populations with extreme right wing governments, but here the army seems to be acting against vicious intolerance. Bad things seem to be necessary to prevent even worse ones occurring.

Democracy is not just achieving a corruption free mechanism for voting and thereby electing a majority government. The test for a true democracy, in all senses of that word, is how minorities are treated. Co-existence, respect and tolerance for others requires centuries to evolve slowly. It seems unattainable in majority Islamic countries for the foreseeable future. Given the demographic trajectory of many EU countries, any realist wonders whether our western, so called liberal democracies will still be so by mid-century ?

15 August 2013 12:34  
Blogger David B said...

"I take it you have faith that we will one day evolve to perfection?"

Perfection would be an absolute, and I am dubious about absolutes in general.

There is always a chance that the sort of event like Chicxulub will happen tomorrow or next year, but I don't think it wise to base one's life on that, so it could all end then.

Assuming human life continues, though, I would see evolution as tending more to being an optimum linear programming solution for numbers of variables, rather than getting any variable ideal.

To illustrate, the size of the human birth canal, and the difficulties of human females in giving birth, seems some sort of compromise between head size at birth, ability of women to walk and run effectively, ability of the woman to provide nutrition via the umbilical chord, and no doubt more, rather than getting one variable for a thinking being, like head size, being optimal.

I would also see perfection as being something of a moving target - how to treat the natural world at a time when there were a few thousand people who could make a large scale impact is different, it seems to me, than at a time when humans have the ability to cause in effect a mass extinction.

The morality of producing large families, I'd suggest, is a target that has moved, in an associated manner.

So no, I don't have faith in evolving to perfection.

I do have hopes that things will continue to get better, as in many ways they have, and that as the necessity of adapting to population and resource constraints become better understood and more obvious, then the ways in which things have got worse will start to turn round.

I don't see injunctions based on faith to go forth and multiply, and not restrain population, as helpful to the longer term future of the world we live in or the people who then live in at as helpful, though. Quite the reverse!

David

15 August 2013 12:49  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 August 2013 12:54  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B: A point you made in a previous thread about Christ's imminent return. It's an excellent query.

Schweitzer certainly understood apocalyptic in that sense (hence Christ's apocalyptic discredited). Bertrand Russell followed Schweitzer's line: all of Paul's teaching on marriage is to be understood in terms of an imminent Second Coming. (Hence, Paul's teaching discredited).

The bit in 'Mark': "this generation will live to see it all." They didn't. Or did they?

Two points.

1. If Christ had been describing the imminent end of the world, why not quietly remove the offending passage when it turned out to be untrue?

2. Commentators I respect think that Christ was speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. (Which the present generation DID, indeed, live to see.) Christ was also speaking in apocalyptic terms, using the soon-to-come destruction as a paradigm for the end of the world.


I've got stuff to do, so will be off line for a while. Will catch up this evening, if you want to respond then or before.

Regards.

15 August 2013 12:54  
Blogger Preacher said...

Thank you Dr Cranmer for bringing the plight of our suffering brothers & sisters to our, & the rest of your readers throughout the World.
At this distance I feel that to try & comment on the suffering & pain that fellow believers are experiencing or to rationalise it, would be crass, as only one who is involved in this persecution can know how it feels.
Suffice to say, that God sees the evil that men do, & on the premise that All will die & face judgement justice will be administered on the guilty.

I will add my prayers for the relief of those suffering saints to the rest of my brothers & sisters.

15 August 2013 13:05  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

It takes a special sort of tone deafness to view pictures of burning churches and immediately conclude that the pictures demonstrate the need to challenge the utility and goodness of faith. In one swipe of the hand, victim and victimizer are blurred into one mass - separated only by who holds the gasoline. It makes the fires both the purveyor of good and evil. For the property is burned and people die but the fires also burn out the faith that is the source of strife. They become the fever to the virus. Perhaps the arsonists intend it for evil but unknowingly work good? The atheist society of perfect harmony emerges from the ashes.

carl

15 August 2013 13:05  
Blogger Martin said...

It strikes me that the BBC holds up its hands in horror at the massacre of those who commit atrocities against Christians but fails to notice the atrocities.

As to why such evil happens to people, it is down to the sin of Man.

David B wants God to leave him alone but complains that God does nothing to stop evil.

Jesus gave us a very clear answer. When evil happens to those who fail to love God they are receiving the judgement they deserve.

Paul gave us the other part. When evil happens to those who love God it is for their ultimate benefit.

It doesn't make the wickedness of mankind any the less.

15 August 2013 13:06  
Blogger non mouse said...

Your Grace: Indeed your animations are effectively thought-provoking.

For me, Faith is about belief and trust. The Old English noun for it is (ge)leafa (m); the verb is (ge)liefan. The Latin source is fides, ei (f) = trust, confidence, reliance.

Our word God derives/relates to the Old English god = good, goodness.

In a radical sense, therefore, our Christian faith in God is trust, belief, confidence in, and reliance on Goodness -- and the fount, source, and Eternity thereof.

For the unbeliever, the problem would seem to lie in the abstractions involved. He can't stub his toe on Goodness, so he's not going to believe it exists. In all the blindness, ignorance, and other fallibility that he shares with the rest of us --- if he does stub his toe on it, he's going to blame the Goodness he's incapable of understanding. The confirmed unbeliever can never consider himself at fault; that's why there's no point in arguing with him.

That contention would seem to cover a good part of the problem with those unbelievers who call Christians "Infidels." In burning the building where we profess our Trust in Infinite Goodness, they surely expose their own lack of belief in anything like Goodness.

Furthermore, as BFlat has hinted above --- the enemies of Belief in Goodness fail to understand that our Faith and confidence can only be purified and strengthened in the Fire. For starters, that works even as the flames highlight the evil of the incendiaries. They are the ones who seek to destroy reliance on Goodness: at these Gates of Hell.

15 August 2013 13:06  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David:

Your post came through just as I was posting mine.

The US took Paul Ehrlich so much to heart that it has generated fifty million abortions; never mind those not existing in the first place.


On the other hand, existing Americans have stayed alive and are growing old: and the generation that would look after them isn't there in sufficient numbers.

The US is therefore committed to immigration by those still fecund: completely changing the nature of its population in the process.

I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing - given, anyway, the nature of the original American population - I'm just saying the failure to breed has consequences.

I'm off now. Timescale re this evening applies.

15 August 2013 13:08  
Blogger non mouse said...

Sorry - that is "Old English god = goodness (actually as well as virtue and ability, etc.)

15 August 2013 13:11  
Blogger bluedog said...

David Hussell @ 12.34 asks, 'Given the demographic trajectory of many EU countries, any realist wonders whether our western, so called liberal democracies will still be so by mid-century ?'

A most important question, and one that the political elite simply cannot begin to contemplate, such is their detachment and conceit. With London already majority non-British, at least one part of the UK has adopted the outward appearance of a former colony; white overlords of a brown and increasingly Muslim populace. How long before these Muslim people over-throw their British masters and install their own government? It has for some time been apparent to this communicant that the inevitable successor to the Labour Party is the Muslim Brotherhood, in some form or other. It is always possible that this Muslim polity will emerge and takeover the levers of power from within, as other radical movements have done throughout British history. But the other model, that of sudden and over-whelming revolt followed by the seizure of territory under an entirely different set of rules, the emirate imposing sharia, cannot be discounted.

Hopefully such an event will happen elsewhere in Europe first, part of France, Belgium or Holland perhaps. Thus a warning will be given and those in the leadership positions of the British state will be justified in acting pre-emptively to a nascent threat at home.

One thing is certain, as the percentage of Muslims rises, the risks to British democracy increase, and the relationship will not be linear.

15 August 2013 13:14  
Blogger Martin said...

TE

Of course the number of people killed in abortions vastly outnumbers those killed in Egypt. And yet no one seems to care.

15 August 2013 13:15  
Blogger David B said...

Explorer 12.54

"1. If Christ had been describing the imminent end of the world, why not quietly remove the offending passage when it turned out to be untrue?"

I am not a Jesus Mythicist, and sometimes, in atheist circles, argue against those who are. I do strongly tend to the view that the Jesus stories are based on a historical person, but I am not entirely convinced.

I do however, tend to the view that there have been additions and changes to Jesus accounts as years passed, and also I have seen fairly strong claims that there were later amendments to people like Josephus, for propaganda purposes by liars for Christ.

I do note, though, that the four Gospels in the NT were not the only texts found, and the existence of others to me casts doubt on whether those that entered the canon were entirely accurate, regarding the non supernatural sayings and doings of Christ. There are other reasons to doubt the supernatural, going back to Hume if not before.

Having said that, to return to your question, it might have been that the texts were too widely known for such blatant changes to go unnoticed and unchallenged, it might be that some people paid a lot of emphasis to not altering texts despite the temptation to back up their faith by so doing, and then o course.....

"2. Commentators I respect think that Christ was speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. (Which the present generation DID, indeed, live to see.) Christ was also speaking in apocalyptic terms, using the soon-to-come destruction as a paradigm for the end of the world."

....the people at the time might have observed that such rationalisations could explain away the apparent conflict with fact to the believer.

It may be that to believe in spite of the evidence to the contrary could have been seen as a mark of faith, perhaps.

I don't think that above too far fetched - I surmise that belief in the beneficence and stature of Stalin or Mao might have been judged by how well people could cope with contradictions nonsense - look at modern day North Korea.

David


15 August 2013 13:21  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you.

15 August 2013 13:30  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Amen to this article.

15 August 2013 13:48  
Blogger Corrigan said...

I'm with David B. If everybody stops believing in everything, the world will be perfect.

15 August 2013 13:57  
Blogger David B said...

Corrigan 13.57

How you could get the idea from my post that I believe that if everybody stops believing in everything . the world would be perfect staggers the imagination.

It is a travesty of what I have said here, or have ever said.

Is there no depth to which some believers will fall in order to misrepresent the non-believer?

David

15 August 2013 14:10  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Hopefully such an event will happen
in Europe first, such as part of France Belgium or Holland perhaps.
13:14

More likely to happen in a country where a strolling soldier is beheaded by Muslims in the street in broad daylight and no one makes too much of a fuss.When they burn your Churches you will apologise to them for being culturally insensitive for having Churches at all.

What a disgraceful anti Christian wish on any country.. that their churches will burn down.You have nailed your true hatred of Christ colours to the mast Hound from Hell!

15 August 2013 14:15  
Blogger David B said...

Following Corrigan's misrepresentation, by accident or design, of me further up the thread, it strikes me that some people here might be inimical to Richard Dawkins as a result of misrepresentations of what he has said by people with an interest in misrepresenting him.

Further, I have seen Dr William Lane Craig spoken of with some approval many times on these blog comments.

There is a new video on YT which casts, I think, some light on both the paragraphs above.

There is no doubt that WLC misrepresents Dawkins, and while he concedes this his measures to correct the error are inadequate to say the least.

I have gathered that HG doesn't really like the use of links in comments, so I generally refrain from giving any.

Suffice it to say that light can be cast if you feed " 'Unbelieving' WLC - William Lane Craig exposed by Lawrence" into the search facility on Youtube.

Some people might be surprised by it, and I would very much welcome comments from those who watch it all the way through - it is under 10 minutes.

David

15 August 2013 15:07  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

It is estimated that between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or been killed over the past century. We are on the cusp of Christianity disappearing from its biblical heartlands.

I for one feel very uncomfortable in even posting on this subject; the situation is most eruditely exemplified by HG’s assessment and presentation. Empathising with the plight of minority non-Muslims anywhere, however well-intentioned and heartfelt won’t make any difference to their suffering now or in the near future.

What is needed is for world politicians from Obama to Putin to accept that we are in a war with proponents of a theocratic ideology to whom this is simply the latest phase in a conflict that has been running since the 6/7th Centuries, whether we like it or not.

One only has to examine the example of the Bosnia war to realise that it is a war being waged primarily with wombs before weapons.

The West in particular, has to stop all further Muslim immigration and seriously curtail the building of mosques and proliferation of Islamic ‘Charities’ and schools that exist with the singular aim of the further entrenchment of this alien culture in our midst.

A modern day westernised secular democracy as opposed to a theocracy or a single ideolgically controlled state, recognises and upholds equally in law the rights of anyone to hold loyalties to any beliefs or ‘Faith’, PROVIDED they do not compromise the integrity of the Rule of Law.

Islam (WHATEVER THE SECT) is incompatible with this proposition and if challenged will resort to the course of indiscriminate violence sooner if not later. Liberal socialism has not yet grasped the concept that it matters not which end of the turd is the least shitty.

Sadly, the Churches who still have the capacity for influence on governments to initiate physical action remain inert. Rather than settling for turning the proverbial cheek or continuing the fallacy of believing that the meek will one day inherit the earth, they need to engage with secular politicians now or they undoubtedly will inherit the earth – but only from six feet under it.

15 August 2013 15:21  
Blogger David B said...

In the interest of fairness, in my ongoing search for a YT video I saw some months ago that showed what was to me compelling examples of him quote mining scientists to claim the opposite of what they said in context, I have come across a WLC video in which he calls - well the title says it all.

It is "William Lane Craig: Young Earth Creationism is an Embarrassment" and that should find it in YT or perhaps elsewhere, too.

And, fair play, that is true enough!

Mind you, it is my opinion that his rationalisations of the Adam and Eve story are not without embarrassments of their own.

David

15 August 2013 15:44  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

I wish to respond to your comment about evils coming from faith. Firstly, I would observe that in Catholic theology, Islam is not a faith. Faith is a response to God's revelation, which Islam isn't. The fact that it cannot be proved from evidence, does not make it a faith (except analogically, which is the same category as atheism).

Secondly, to observe that evils come from faith is not a convincing argument against faith. Evils come everything. They come from science. Think of the damage to the environment, or industrial scale murder, or weapons of mass destruction. Does that invalidate science? Why not (as Lennox says) abolish money so as to abolish greed, or (as Scruton says) abolish love to as to abolish crimes of passion? Or we might ask, why not abolish atheism, so as the abolish the moral vacuum which has enabled atheists to be the most murderous group - especially when viewed comparatively - in history.

As for Epicurus, the argument is futile against classical theism for two reasons. Firstly, it does not reach its own conclusion. Perhaps God has good reasons we do not know about. These good reasons are not excluded by omnipotence, since omnipotence does not permit logical contradictions. Secondly, the God of classical theism being the highest being, highest good, and first truth, cannot be judged by an abstract notion of goodness (usually a utilitarian one, which is no concept of goodness at all), for if that doctrine is goodness is greater than "God" he is not God at all, if less than God, then it cannot judge him.

So the atheist's argument for the non-existence of God from evil, is an almost uniquely terrible argument, insofar as the conclusion does not follow from the premises and the being under attack, is not God.

15 August 2013 15:47  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Here here Dreadnaught...who could disagree with any of this!

15 August 2013 15:50  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Suffice it to say that light can be cast if you feed " 'Unbelieving' WLC - William Lane Craig exposed by Lawrence" into the search facility on Youtube. Some people might be surprised by it, and I would very much welcome comments from those who watch it all the way through - it is under 10 minutes.

Well I've listened to it, and I can't say there's much there. Quite a lot of the "mistakes" seem to be correct, or easily understandable. The others are the kind of thing you expect in an discussion context. Podcasts tend to be interviews, they are not written papers. Dawkins does clearly try to make Pell look stupid. For a non-biologist, the precise "apostolic succession" of evolution is unclear. Most non-scientists, including those who believe in evolution, would make such a mistake. But Dawkins clearly ridicules him. What's harder to understand is why a Dawinist like Dawkins does not know the title of the book!

None of the errors seems to have anything of substance about them. If you want to get to the substance, may I suggest, you look at this post. I haven't read it, but it clearly includes an allegation from Krauss to the effect of:

Let me now comment, with the gloves off, on the disingenuous distortions, simplifications, and outright lies that I regard Craig as having spouted.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/lawrence-krauss-response-and-perspective

Read it yourself, and see if Krauss has substantiated that. His video looks like a man who got beaten clinging on to technicalities.

15 August 2013 16:13  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Dreadnaught,

I believe that Putin does understand the geopolitical position, at least as it influences his area of concern. In Russia, which I have just traveled in for two weeks, strong Government efforts are being made, in tandem with their indigenous version of Christianity, Orthodoxy, to assist the resurgent churches with their financial and practical problems. He appears as an acolyte at significant, nationally televised services, bearing candles. Not everyone, naturally, likes this. As a politician and nationalist he, I believe, sees it as a way of strengthening a sense of national identity. He encourages an increase in the birth rate amongst the "Christian" Russians, again for the demographic reason previously mentioned. He may or may not be a believer, and whilst that matters to me as a Christian, my first loyalty, it does not bother me as a pragmatic, politically active person, as I try to see it as it is. That's my opinion.

The west dreams on...... consumerism, extreme individualism, hedonism and self indulgence are worshipped. As you reap, so you shall sow.....
Apart from a few, some of whom visit this site, no one wants to know about longer term trends, it's all too difficult....

15 August 2013 16:53  
Blogger David B said...

Albert, perhaps it is something of a tendency of the human mind to focus on what one wants to see, hear or understand at the expense of what one doesn't, rather in the way that I have found that two watchers of a football match who support opposite teams will tend to notice when they the ref has done their team and injustice - sometimes even when he hasn't, and miss the times when the ref does an injustice to the other team.

I don't draw the same conclusions as you from the transcript.

I do notice, though, that in the course of his part Dr Craig quotes a number of physicists who, when asked, rather disagree with what Craig says.

As can be see if you search YT for 'Debunking the Kalam Cosmological Argument
skydivephil'

David

15 August 2013 16:54  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

So, the religion of peace - according to Dave, to Barack Hussein Obama and every other wilfully blind Western politician - strikes again. There are 14 centuries of witness to its nature but they are not sufficient.

In Muslim countries, Christians are usually afforded protection by undemocratic regimes. The more democratic- that is responsive to the majority will - a Muslim country become, the more its political order will approximate to shariah law and the worse will be the fate of its Christian citizens.

What I would like to know is where are the principled denunciations from the likes of Stephen Fry and other luvvies?

Come to think of it, why isn't Peter Hain calling for a cricket boycott of Pakistan? Christians there are regularly murdered, especially if the law acquits them of "blasphemy"

15 August 2013 17:11  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Jealousy and spite are terrible traits. They can't fight back at the military so they hit out at those weaker than themselves, the poor Christians. What backward people these Muslim Brotherhood lot are and that is why they have been ousted, they were dragging the country down to 7th century level again. After 40 or so years of relative peace and prosperity under Mubarak what a shock it would have been to be governed by a bunch of primitives again. All these middle eastern countries need strong autocratic ruler-ship to keep them in check.

But it's all about pipe lines going through the middle east to transport oil and gas.

15 August 2013 17:16  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

David Hussell

Apart from your penultimate sentence a rather illuminating insight DH. No chance then of the multicultural (ie pro-Islamic) mass media or any British politician ever making so bold.

15 August 2013 17:19  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 13:21

Yes, indeed, good points all.

1. Removal of text. The Gospels seeme to have circulated in oral form for years, until the generation that had known Christ personally was starting to die out. Then they were written down. That should have been a long enough period for disillusionment about Christ's imminent return to set in. The offending words could have quietly ommitted from the written version.

2. Changes to the Gospels. We are in Bart Ehrman v. Craig A. Evans territory. May I refer you to Evans' 'Fabricating Jesus', which deals with all thaty stuff?

3. The other Gospels. Dating of the Rylands papyrus suggests around 90 AD for 'John'. The 'Gospel of Thomas' quotes from the 'Diatessaron' of Tatian (published by Tatian in circa 164 AD.) The whole Nag Hammaddi collection smacks of being an illicit collection of C2nd Gnostic documents, secretly buried. (If the comparison is not too fanciful, like someone hiding his stache of porn).

4. There could be rationalisation of disappointment: as the Marxists rationalised the non-class nature of the First World War, or the State's refusal to wither away. On the other hand, you mentioned on an earlier thread that by any reasonable interpretation (I forget the exact wording) the Second Coming should have happened.

The combined Temple/Apocalyptic explanation is, I think, a reasonable explanation (especially since I didn't invent it) of why the Second Coming hasn't happened yet, and of why Schweitzer and Russell were wrong in their analysis.

15 August 2013 17:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Some of Egypt’s most enthusiastic Islamists are now with Allah. Do not weep, be happy for them. This man is...

15 August 2013 17:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Good to see you in cracking form, Inspector!

15 August 2013 17:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

That’s a scurrilous comment Explorer. Makes it look as if this man is bursting with glee over the cull !

15 August 2013 18:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Errr Strike ‘cull’. It is of course a tragedy...

15 August 2013 18:05  
Blogger David B said...

I thought at the time, and still think now, that the American support for Islamists in Afghanistan at the time when Russia was engaged in fighting them, and castigation of Russia for taking them on, was a huge error of judgement, as well as being, regarding the human rights issues involved, something of a pot/kettle situation.

A lot of trouble has followed that decision that might well have been avoided.

It might have led to America etc staying out of Afghanistan altogether, and hence an avoidance of at least some of the anti-Americanism and anti-Western generally sentiment in Arab and other Islamic circles.

David

15 August 2013 18:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

From the news. Obama may be angry about the killings, but Egypt remains a staunch ally. No doubt when the last Copt has been killed, Egypt will remain a staunch ally...

15 August 2013 18:35  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Dreadnaught (15:21)—It’s difficult to imagine the world’s current crop of politicians having the courage even to say boo to Islam. I think the next crop, the Marine Le Pen vintage, will prove radically different. As for the Churches, I dare say they know they’re digging their own graves by befriending Islam but their profound fear of the R word—racist—makes it impossible for them to speak out.

@ David Hussell (16:53)—There’s a YouTube video of Muslims praying in Moscow. Search for:

muslims pray together in moscow at eid al-fitr (celebration of fast-breaking)

15 August 2013 19:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Mr Rottenborough, as this sites foremost expert on Islam, would you be able to explain why what is effectively an Islamic state does not have a barking mad army too. Could a close military alliance to the USA be significant ?



15 August 2013 19:37  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Inspector (19:37)—I have a lot to live up to now! I think the US link probably is significant in imparting a touch of professionalism. From what I can gather of Pakistan, it seems a fairly ramshackle place but its armed forces also have that professional air.

During my time in Saudi Arabia, television sometimes covered military reviews presided over by Prince Sultan ibn Abdul Aziz, whom the cameras once caught picking his nose as the troops were marching past him. Oh, dear.

15 August 2013 20:12  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

On a more positive note, there has been a rather muted response all round, save for this Telegraph piece on the news that Abu Qatada’s resource sucking family have left our shores.

Yaaaay say I.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10246167/Abu-Qatadas-family-follow-him-out-of-Britain.html

15 August 2013 20:13  
Blogger Peter D said...

Archbishop

A truly moving and sensitive piece. It fills one with rage and despair .... and yet also reminds us of Christ's power.

Like you, I offer my prayers to our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ and all other innocent people caught up in these horrendous events. May leaders emerge with the courage to confront the evil of Islamists and crush them. May God reveal His Justice.

Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists are inciting violence against Christians. Youssef Sidhom, editor of the Christian weekly 'Watani', said:

"Christians shouldn't be moved by this, shouldn't be dragged to fulfil the target that lies behind this, which is segregating the national solidarity between Christians and Muslims in the very difficult time Egypt is passing through."

15 August 2013 20:25  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

As can be see if you search YT for 'Debunking the Kalam Cosmological Argument
skydivephil'


Well, it gets off to a bad start by talking about Genesis. Genesis could be wrong and the KCA still be a good one. Or Genesis might just not be a literal account. It's indigenous to say Christians are "skipping over" this point. No Christian, I would imagine, could argue from cosmology to the existence of God, if he was a literalist regarding Genesis.

At about 4 minutes in it begins to go badly wrong. The argument about infinity is confused. Obviously, Christians believe in some kind of infinity, or they couldn't believe in God. What the KCA deals with is the impossibility of an actually existing infinite set of finite elements. That's a long sentence in the course of a debate, so it gets reduced to "infinite" for short. Keep skydivephil! She then moves on beyond the argument against the infinite set to the physics. But she hasn't proved the point against the infinite set yet!

And this problem of the infinite set is important, because it does not matter what theory physicists come up with to describe the period "before" the big bang, it must be finite - and WLC is well aware of this, he cites physicists in defence of the point. In the meantime, I note that whereas your previous video you cited on this was trying to tell us that Craig was misrepresenting physicists when he claims they speak of a period before the big bang, this video castigates him for the opposite. Atheists, can we have some consistency, please, dears?

Around 13 minutes she seems determined to say that Christians are arguing about the big bang, but surely the argument is clearly just about the beginning, and that beginning, Alan Guth has just said, occurred no matter what kind of model of the universe is being used - exactly as Craig said.

Around 1730, suddenly theists are using word play to get around "everything that exists requires a cause." It's not word play. There's no reason to think everything that exists needs a cause, so why would you set off on that line? Frankly, this bit, boarders on dishonest.

Oh dear, we're going down this what caused God line...and we end up with the usual scientific confusion about causes, about observation and metaphysics. So long as your not a Humean empiricist, there's nothing here to trouble the believer in the premise about beginnings and causes. It's a philosophical question, it's not one scientists have any particular special wisdom on.

24 minutes, there equivocation about the word "nothing". Just because an accountant balances the books, does not mean the business is worth nothing.

Why is it that prominent cosmologists are unbelievers? Well, they are not all, but I think the question is easily answered, they think in terms of physics, even when they should be doing metaphysics. Craig is perfectly entitled to appeal to them when he needs physics and to reject them when they do metaphysics - this goes spectacularly wrong for the atheist at 2630. How many times does it have to be said, God (or call it something else) does not have the contingent elements of the universe in it, so it is unintelligible to ask for a cause. It's elementary philosophy of religion.

I think it's important to say that Craig, does not appeal to physics are evidence, he appeals to infinity, he simply refers to scientific confirmation. His theory stands without it. I should add, that, of all the cosmological arguments, I think it is the weakest, but nothing in this video shows that. Craig debates this week in week out, against atheist philosophers and scientists, and we've seen, he's a winner. Is it really likely that a half-hour youtube video is really like to be a definite take down of the argument.

Or is it more likely that they've just not understood it?

15 August 2013 20:35  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Edward Spalton,

Your paragraph two is a very succinct insight. I've seen it expressed in much longer forms but that does it in a few words.

But will the west ever learn? I doubt it. In a sense the west gives honour, credence to the outward mechanism of democracy, the simple mechanics of voting, but does not have the wit to factor in the deeper things like tolerance and goodwill towards those who may be different from you, in faith or whatever. Burke is out of fashion now even with so called "Conservatives". We see a very superficial tick box sort of approach. But then the west is going through a very superficial period.

And one asks for how much longer will The West stand ? I'd give it 30 years, perhaps a bit more. After that it will have changed out of all recognition. Indeed it is changing now with things like Dave's latest social, reengineering legislation. The last Pope had a very good grasp of all this, at the strategic level, I thought, but which politician listens to the Pope nowadays, certainly not Dave or Obama. As I've said before, so excuse me, I feel sorry for the young, the vast majority have no idea what they are heading towards, being fully inculcated into the "modern project".

15 August 2013 20:37  
Blogger Albert said...

Sorry, should have said "It's disingenuous"

15 August 2013 20:39  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B

You calm, measured and terribly reasoned, intellectual contributions are ... frankly ... sickening in the face of this human misery.

I'm amazed people are wasting their time and energies on replying to you and feeding your ego.

Corrigan was quite correct - you believe in nothing. How awful a situation to be in. I pray God brings some colour and light into your dark world.

15 August 2013 20:42  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

There's a good refutation of skydivephil here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGGuYvRIiWA

It's a good deal less (how shall we say?) sexy than skydivephil, but it also shows that skydivephil either hasn't read as much as she makes out, or that she has been quote mining. (Keep watching, it gets better.)

15 August 2013 20:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Peter,

I want to come to David B's defence. I have said nothing here about how terrible is the suffering of Egyptian Christians, but that doesn't mean I don't feel terribly about it - I do! So why draw that conclusion about David B?

15 August 2013 20:55  
Blogger Peter D said...

Albert
"I want to come to David B's defence. I have said nothing here about how terrible is the suffering of Egyptian Christians, but that doesn't mean I don't feel terribly about it - I do! So why draw that conclusion about David B?"


Well maybe you should have started by expressing empathy with and prayer for those suffering for Christ.

Read his opening comments.

Instead of commenting on the suffering, somewhat predictably, he caught you, sucked you in and you picked up the finer theological and philosophical points. And very well too; don't get me wrong.

As Scripture says:

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"

Sometimes, just sometimes, its justifiable telling someone to pi*s off. Or, if you subscribe to the: "if you haven't got something nice to say, say nothing" school, ignore them.

15 August 2013 21:22  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
That ‘Krishnan Guru-Murthy’ from Chanel 4 News was on the news tonight in Egypt. He reported on what he called propaganda from the Coptic and other Christian communities with an extreme sense of sarcasm and said the burning of churches was reported to have been self inflicted. His interview with the Egyptian premier was offensive to the extreme, as if only he knew the truth and everyone else was wrong.
After the Bongo Bongo incident I complained to Ofcom. I think I might again. He is a nasty piece of work.

15 August 2013 21:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Peter,

Surely, the response David B has given is one which many believers too will have felt. Might it even be part of his own spiritual response to the crisis? The suffering pushes him towards a desire of a transcendent good, while simultaneously undermining any belief in that good. For myself, I feel the problem of evil as strongly as anyone. I think it is intellectually weak as an argument.

Well maybe you should have started by expressing empathy with and prayer for those suffering for Christ.

It just seems futile. What words can one have? I struggled to express my feelings on it at 2055. Reading it now, it just seems to tame by comparison with the suffering involved.

15 August 2013 21:40  
Blogger bluedog said...

Cressida @ 14.15 says 'What a disgraceful anti Christian wish on any country.. that their churches will burn down.You have nailed your true hatred of Christ colours to the mast Hound from Hell!'

Rubbish. Like Dreadnaught I am concerned by the threat of Islam across Europe and seek to defend our current form of society with its basis in Christian teaching. However, as Dreadnaught says, the political elite are still wedded to a liberal secularist dream - witness the current obsession with appeasing the homosexuals. We all know that homosexuality is the road to genetic oblivion but our leaders continue to promote it. The Muslims are not so foolish.

The death of Lee Rigby was hopefully noted by at least some members of the British political elite. Until his attackers are tried within our criminal justice system, not much can be said or done for fear of prejudicing the trial. Another outrage is guaranteed however, and perversely, is just what is needed to enrage the electorate and somehow get the message through to the political elite.

It follows that headlines coming out of Europe showing Islam in its true colours are an important part of mobilising opinion. As another commentator has pointed out, the recent destruction of two churches in Germany, most probably by Muslims, was ignored by the BBC. Germany is a long way from Britain and not front of mind. The British are always prepared to notice what goes on in France and in the Benelux. Brussels is currently 41% Muslim. How long before the Ummah there either vote for or seize the right to live under sharia? Call me cynical, but the sooner the better.

Dreadnaught has it exactly right when he calls for a coordinated approach. But the prospects of co-operation between Obama and Putin must be zero. How can quasi-Muslim Obama with his pro-homosexual agenda consort with an Orthodox homophobe like Putin? In any event, the US does not have an internal Muslim problem to the extent that Europe does. The US is being over-run by the sons of Montezuma, a completely different problem. No, the solution to European Islam lies in European hands. It's hard to see an outcome any different to that being played out on the streets of Cairo.

15 August 2013 21:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

For what it's worth, I did not feel for a moment that my discussion with you on this thread was a waste of time or energy.

15 August 2013 21:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Johnny R. 20:12 Apologies old man. Didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that. But you are a valuable resource, you know.

Professionalism in the army. That would be it. They do say that soldiers around the world are much the same if you ignore the uniform. Rather comforting to know that if Pakistan goes mad, the army should be able to bring it back from the edge...



15 August 2013 22:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps, rather surprised anyone gives anytime whatsoever to David B. He only comes onto this site to drizzle down upon us, so to speak.

And if anyone is in any doubt, he would, if he could, punish anyone worshipping anything other than man’s completeness in himself...


15 August 2013 22:13  
Blogger David B said...

Inspector talks nonsense, not untypically

David

15 August 2013 22:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Not at all David B. You have continually portrayed religious belief to being akin to an illness. And when we treat such unfortunates, do we not deny them the continuing ability to self harm ?

You cannot stop yourself than to do the same, if the power was yours. At least try a bit of honesty and admit to that while you’re here...

15 August 2013 23:06  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Integrity,

You misheard, or were mistaken. His Grace checked with Mr Guru-Murthy who is not at all a 'nasty piece of work'. He responded:

Krishnan Guru-Murthy ‏@krishgm 25m

@His_Grace @c4news no. i said it was being seized upon by the government and used in its propaganda war with the other side

15 August 2013 23:07  
Blogger Peter D said...

carl J said...
"It takes a special sort of tone deafness to view pictures of burning churches and immediately conclude that the pictures demonstrate the need to challenge the utility and goodness of faith".

In the same passage of Scripture where Jesus says: "Judge not, that you may not be judged", a few sentences later He says: "Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine".

Would Jesus get into intricate debates with 'professional' scoffers of faith? Those who *claim* an *answer* to all life's mysteries that exclude God?

Maybe He'd just say: "Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men."

Inspector, well said, that man. It's good to see you on the road to recovery.

15 August 2013 23:29  
Blogger Peter D said...

Archbishop
Krishnan Guru-Murthy tweeted:

"no. i said it was being seized upon by the government and used in its propaganda war with the other side"

How terrible of the government to "seize upon" the facts that Christians were being murdered and their churches burned to the ground. And to use it as “propaganda” too. How disgraceful.

Did he he mean it in its benign sense of encouraging and recommending citizens towards a certain goal, like breast feeding or stopping smoking? Or was it meant in its more malign sense of manipulating an audience by presenting partial, selective, even dishonest information?

Maybe the government should have presented the fanatical Islamist case for murdering and persecuting Christians and removing them from the face of the earth? You know, explaining the message of Mad Mo and his more fervent, devoted followers. Giving a “more balanced” account for these atrocities by allowing them to explain that infidels are from the devil and all that.

16 August 2013 01:42  
Blogger peggy38 said...

Of course the Islamists completely ignore that the Grand Mufti also supported the ouster of Morsi. Funny how that works, huh? The poor Coptic Pope must have thought that a unified faith front for a new government would provide his flock with some cover. But there is no cover for Christians under Islam. If Muslims see them step out of some line, they must be punished with ruin and death. There is no dominantly Muslim country where Christians do not walk on eggshells in fear of their homes, businesses, churches and their very lives.

16 August 2013 02:09  
Blogger Freemens Commoner said...

Mr "Cranmer", whether or not you had meant to do so, your sloppily written second paragraph (starts with the words "But instead of retaliating against the military... ") has the effect of smearing Muslim people in Muslim-majority countries. This is in addition to shockingly lying journalism, since the some partisans of the "Muslim Brotherhood" most certainly ARE retaliating against the Egyptian Military (who banned them for many decades). By saying the opposite and then slanting your lie towards highlighting the inter-religious angle that you then have focussed on, you make out that the (true) fact of churches' and christians' victimhood is somehow more noteworthy than that of other people. I write as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, which I may think from your nom de plume may be also what you are. I was born in the UK, then lived in India for many years and I now live in a country (the UK) where the greatest number of the population, and the head of state, are "Christian" but where many hate crime attacks linked to religion and race occur in areas where people live and practice their Muslim faith peacefully, and the victims of an overwhelming majority of such hate crimes are people who practice the Muslim faith, and/or are visibly of an non-white appearance or a non-standard-white dress-code. Some of the people who commit such hate crimes do so in the name of Christianity, thinking that by doing so they are standing up for "their country" and "their" so-called Christian national identity. To read your second paragraph I would think I was in possession of a BNP or EDL tract, so ill-informed, generalised and smearing is your language about countries whose majority is of one religion. If I said similar smearing comments about how the "Christian majority" treated religious minority groups here in the UK, when what I was instancing actually was ill-informed and violent thugs posing as political partisans, who also were nominally Christian, then you may gather that it all depends on what is meant by the religous labels... Would you say the criminal actions of some politically labelled thugs were truly representative of the "Christian majority UK"? I don't think so, and neither surely would you. Therefore it is dangerous and inflammatory nonsense to make comments about all "Muslim majority countries" where actually a few politically partisan and criminally violent thugs do commit terrible acts of murder, arson and incitement of mob-fever to turn groups of angry people into lynch mobs - which is exactly what has also happened here too, in a mirror image on UK soil, in the (mistaken and false) name of the Christian religion, and for example against our minority communities such as people who practice the Muslim faith. And the Jewish faith. And people whose sexuality is different. And the homeless. And people with mental health disorders. And travellers or Romany communities. And people who belong to a differing Christian creedal confessional community. And people who are poor. And people who are rich. And people who are young. And people who are old. And people who are odd.... The list is very long, and is not headed by Christians. Frankly, and speaking as one, some Christian people and groups need to get over the feeling that "we" should the centre of the universe, or that we are the only ones that God cares about.

16 August 2013 03:37  
Blogger Ivan said...

Taking off from OIG's last comment, at the latter stages the Soviets would regularly incarcerate dissidents and religious in psychiatric prisons on the grounds that no one but the insane would deny that the Soviet Union is a paradise. Nathan Sharansky the Israeli politician, at that time sporting a Jesus beard, is one the more famous of them. Doubtless the atmospherics concerning "climate change" deniers, "Holocaust" deniers, "Hope and Change" deniers, "Religion of Peace" deniers and other such refractory elements, is sufficiently propitious for the atheist and communists to make a go for it in the West. They have already succeeded in the universities. More glory is within grasp.

16 August 2013 04:19  
Blogger Ivan said...


FC, few here are arguing that Christians are intrinsically better people than Muslims. What is being demonstrated across the world is the essentially tribal nature of Islam, the division of the world into Dar al Islam and Dar al Hard. Of course it will be argued by starched pinafores, and chop-logicians that Christians divide the world into heathen and the New Israel. But there is this fundamental difference, Jesus gave no warrant for the despoliation of anyone and indeed requires almost superhuman virtues from us. Mohamet in his Queeran issued "one long call for blood", of the infidels. At the practical level there is all the difference between WWJD and WTFWMD. Mohamet was a brigand, rapist and murderer, his notorious example is such that all the primitive tribal tendencies - to annihilate, to enslave and to rape - are sanctified as virtues. Therefore it is no surprise that the MB is burning churches in Egypt, while instigating the building of mosques towering over St Paul's and Sandhurst. For them these are the phallic symbols of other tribes and thus have to be reduced. In such circumstances its no use crying that not all Muslims are like that. Did all the Japanese rape Nanking? Lee Kuan Yew, the master politician, long ago admonished that "in a civil war your race is your uniform". Copts have no choice except to fight or get out of Dodge.

16 August 2013 05:08  
Blogger Ivan said...

...Dar al Harb of course

16 August 2013 05:09  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector 23:06/Peter D @ 23:29

Christ often answered question with counter-question (and generated furious argument among his enemies).

Paul, however, debated with the Stoics and Epicureans; he even hired a hall.

Look at Augustine. What would you call 'De Civitas Dei'? And what about Aquinas?

Remember, this is a public forum. David B raises what a lot of people think. He himself may not be influenced by what we say, but that doesn't mean that the debate isn't helpful to others. Albert's discussion with David about WLC, for instance, was certainly helpful to me.

PS: Absolutely, Peter! Great to see the Inspector so much recovered, and over his painting.

16 August 2013 08:18  
Blogger David B said...

I see that, rather like some former conservative leaders, Rowan Williams is growing in stature out now he is out of office.

That is to say he has said something that I have been saying on these pages for some time now, regarding the persecution of Christians.

Having said that someone, Albert I think, did demonstrate to me that in a strict dictionary sense trivial persecution is indeed persecution, I was not persuaded that to use the term in that sense does not trivialise the very real persecution that Christians (and atheists and often other Muslims) suffer in some parts of the Islamic world). Indeed, as I recall, Albert (if it was he) took that point.

Now we have Williams saying pretty much the same thing.

I quote the Grauniad.

"Christians in Britain and the US who claim that they are persecuted should "grow up" and not exaggerate what amounts to feeling "mildly uncomfortable", according to Rowan Williams, who last year stepped down as archbishop of Canterbury after an often turbulent decade.

"When you've had any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word very chastely," he said. "Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable. 'For goodness sake, grow up,' I want to say."

True persecution was "systematic brutality and often murderous hostility that means that every morning you wonder if you and your children are going to live through the day". "

Well quite, though perhaps I might find a more robust word, one that seems to have recently been popularised by a lady Vicar, than 'goodness' above.

David

16 August 2013 09:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Dr C,

His Grace checked with Mr Guru-Murthy who is not at all a 'nasty piece of work'. He responded:

Thank you for doing that - I expect we were all alarmed at Mr Intergity's account.

16 August 2013 09:53  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Indeed, as I recall, Albert (if it was he) took that point.

Yes, that is my view. I would second what Rowan says. I used to worship with the Russian Orthodox Church sometimes, immediately after the fall of atheistic Communism. The feeling of persecution among those people was tangible, and nothing like what we have here, at the moment.

16 August 2013 09:57  
Blogger Ivan said...


Bishop Rowan is up to his usual game of you-are-right-on-the-one-hand-you-over-there-are-also-right. The man is a notorious temporariser, pathologically unable to issue a call to order let alone to battle. Quite unlike his predecessor Bishop Carey, who was among other things forthright in his defense of Christians. So Christians, in a country once soaked to the marrow with the name of Jesus, have to wait till they are burned in their churches before we can certify that they are oppressed. It is not enough to lose jobs for wearing crucifixes, or having businesses shut by homosexual runts, or be run off the streets by the buggers. No sir, its not yet the eleventh hour, lets waste some more time.

16 August 2013 11:05  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Ivan, on fine form, refers at 05:08 to the Muslim impulse to build higher. Section o11 of the Islamic law book Reliance of the Traveller stipulates the rules to be obeyed by non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state, the dhimmah:

(5) They may not build higher than or as high as the Muslims’ buildings, though if they acquire a tall house, it is not razed.
(6) They are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, to ring church bells or display crosses, recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feast days.
(7) They are forbidden to build new churches.

16 August 2013 11:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Freemens Commoner. You live in the UK you say. Then you are aptly placed to give us a list of the Islamic dead resulting from persecution. No ? Didn’t think so. Meanwhile, how about a list of innocent dead resulting from Islamic persecution. Let’s see now, there were 52 in London not so long ago...

16 August 2013 12:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


If anyone is in any doubt, then be assured that David B’s contributions are absolutely essential to the continuing success of this blog.

After all, how can we know good when there is no bad to compare it against...


16 August 2013 12:19  
Blogger Peter D said...



That's a deep theological and philosophical question, Inspector.

16 August 2013 14:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter D @ 14:52

Excellent point there, Peter, if one thinks of badness in Augustinian terms as spoiled good. Thus good can exist without evil, but not the other way round.

But, doubtless, our good Inspector was thinking rather in Boethian terms: evil as nothingness, an absence.

Not so, Inspector?

16 August 2013 15:22  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 August 2013 16:15  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Freemans commoner,

I am not a Christian, but I am aware that the Christian community in the middle east is a minority, but a very ancient one, older than Islam and therefore easily targeted as the enemy or scapegoat (as most Jews were forced out in the 1950s, thankfully, they are not bearing the brunt of this).

I am surprised that you are a Christian, but you don't seem to care about those pictures, and these reports about your fellow believers (I recall that you say in your services 'though are many, we are one body'?).

It is interested you provide a long list of groups, in the UK, at the top muslims and then you dismiss the plight of your fellow believers as a mere 'victim hood' complex. That is why I'm guessing that in another decade Christianity in the Arab world will have disappeared and why Islam might have toppled Christianity in the Western world before the century has ended.

As for the Muslim brotherhood, I think it wanted to rule Egypt as an Islamic state; in Tunisia they elected a similar type of government; the Libyan rebels went a bit mad and executed an Ambassador of the USA, Iraq is riven by conflict, but again the easy target are the Christians (again as Jews got forced out earlier), in Iran, we have a 'reforming' President, approved by a religious conclave and still committed to the bomb, in Syria there is civil war, but surprise, surprise the Christians seem to be backing the current regime, presumably out of fear of what will happen if the Islamic rebels got to power (well we know, as there was a story recently about a boy in rebel held Syria being executed because he offended "the prophet").

Oh and in the gulf, despite the riches of those little emperors, these countries still enforce strict Islamic law and some are split in sectarian rivalries (as numerous expats discover, when they fall foul of them)....I am not sure you as a follower 'of Nazareth' would want to live in such states.

[ I wouldn't, but I'd be strung by the nearest lampost anyway].

16 August 2013 16:19  
Blogger Ivan said...

Johnny, unfortunately many seem to welcome the prospect of living as dhimmis.

16 August 2013 16:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Explorer, regret, not familiar with Boethius. But the concept of needing bad around is the normal explanation given to schoolboys who ask why God Almighty does not destroy Satan...

16 August 2013 17:59  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ivan @ 16:36

It's a really good point. I think, though, that there is a difference between being willing to face persecution, and actually welcoming it.

In my experience, any non-Muslims in Britain who could tell you what 'dhimmi' implieswould do what they could to prevent its implementation.

The problem is those who have never heard of it, and have no wish to be told; or those who -when told - think it's something that can only happen somewhere else.

16 August 2013 18:09  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Ivan (16:36)—The Church of England bishop who didn’t welcome the prospect was shown the door.

16 August 2013 19:18  
Blogger Drastic Plastic said...

Real problem: Coptic monasteries are burning, and libraries of ancient manuscripts are being lost.

http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2013/08/16/coptic-monastery-set-alight-fate-of-coptic-manuscripts-unknown/

16 August 2013 20:31  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector
" ... the concept of needing bad around is the normal explanation given to schoolboys who ask why God Almighty does not destroy Satan..."

What school did you go to? Besides, you're a grown up now and really should be familiar with the Christian understanding.

Just think of all the spare time you'll have to consider these issues now PN is off limits.

16 August 2013 21:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Peter D. A Carmelite priest explained that, and it stuck. One does suspect that many aspects of theology are so blindingly obvious that a man labouring in a field could understand it. Of course, this will disappoint the amateur Catholic theologian who was rather hoping to write a book on the subject in hand.

So hard luck !!


16 August 2013 22:12  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

Tsk ... all these Brothers giving you such poor advice in childhood. Or was it you didn't pay too much attention and made up your own mind?

The view you've presented is more consistent with Judaism than Christianity. You know that religion which presents such a nasty, blood thirsty God.

16 August 2013 22:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Come on then Peter D, you've been waiting for this. YOUR take on why the Almighty does not dispense with Satan...

And be short about it. A fellow has just put his paintbrush down and is relaxing...


16 August 2013 23:28  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

Frankly, it's a question that is beyond me!

Let's have a stab at it anyway and I'm sure the more knowledgeable theologians among us will correct me if I'm wrong.

" ... the concept of needing bad around is the normal explanation given to schoolboys who ask why God Almighty does not destroy Satan..."

We don't need "bad" around to fulfil God's intention for us.

The first Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan. God made them "good". God, in His wisdom, permitted external temptation by Satan and because of it - "the happy fault of Adam" - a greater destiny awaits us because of God's plan for our salvation.

So, on one level, you're correct. But is this why God didn't erase Satan when he rebelled in Heaven and was cast out? I don't think so.

The bigger question is: does God erase Angelic beings or our created souls, because we rebel against His will? Scripture says not; He leaves us to His offer of Grace and our free will, and the consequences of accepting or rejecting it - eternally.

"After all, how can we know good when there is no bad to compare it against..."

Evil is the absence of good - not a comparator with evil. Good isn't good because its the opposite of bad. God plants His commandments in our hearts; our consciences. If we follow His intentions we experience peace and joy. Ignore His plans and we suffer misery. So evil doesn't exist to teach us what is good - it arises from not following God.

Well, there you go. My initial thoughts.

16 August 2013 23:55  
Blogger Peter D said...

typo:
"good is not a comparator with evil."

17 August 2013 00:17  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D. Evil is the absence of good - not a comparator with evil.

Can’t agree. Not when the almighty has created free thinking beings which are us. Take the ants nest. There is no good or evil there. Just what is right. If the ants get it right, there is a nest. Wrong and there isn’t. Being far more complicated, there needs to be a comparator for us. Cue Satan.

17 August 2013 00:29  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

Are you suggesting then that there can only be good because there is Satan?

Remember the rest of what I said:

"Good isn't good because its the opposite of bad. God plants His commandments in our hearts; our consciences. If we follow His intentions we experience peace and joy. Ignore His plans and we suffer misery. So evil doesn't exist to teach us what is good - it arises from not following God."

The ants aren't such a bad example. Its the consequences of acting against God's intentions that harm us.

17 August 2013 01:10  
Blogger Ivan said...


Explorer, as you know its a numbers game, by the time one is made uncomfortable it may be too late. Islam means for the dhimmi, submission, or for the recalcitrant the peace of the grave. Which is why the immigration of Muslims cannot be viewed with the same equanimity as that of any other group. Islam comes to dominate, as the posters in demonstrations have it.

Johnny, you may already know of this genius of a parody of Bishop Rowan
http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/02/heere-bigynneth.html

17 August 2013 08:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector/Peter D:

Inspector:

Consider the 9/11 team. For the plan to work it needed such things as courage, determination, foresight, organisational skills, team loyalty, and the ability to keep one's mouth shut. Evil needs good qualities to be effectively bad. Consider whether the reverse is true, and you see where Augustine is coming from.

Augustine arrived at Christianity via his rejection of Manichaeism: equal, opposite co-eternal forces. Satan in 'Paradise Lost' proclaims self-existence, but his actual opposite is Michael, not God. 'Revelation' says that that Satan will eventaully be destroyed.

The ants example is very interesting. Do ants have moral awareness, though: or just instinct? There are indications in Scripture that the whole natural order has been corrupted. Christ weeps at the tomb of Lazarus, and "rebukes" the storm and the fever. Interesting language. Consider Isaiah's lion/lamb.

Peter, we'd better ease off on him now; or, if he gets another painting fit, he'll be turning his Office into his version of the Sistine Chapel.

17 August 2013 08:49  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Ivan (08:12)—Thanks. It’s new to me. Brilliant.

17 August 2013 11:51  
Blogger Peter D said...

Explorer - true; too true!

I'm determined to introduce him to more orthodox Christianity, though. Just think what an asset he could be!

17 August 2013 12:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Explorer. Thank you for the support 08:49 (It was support, wasn’t it ?). You are of course quite correct about Michael.

The 9/11 gang did evil alright but not necessarily in their mind-set. We’ll assume they were doing what they believed was right. Thus, you need a comparator to inform them that what they did would receive Satan’s approval, not God’s. Saying that what they did is not in God’s plan just doesn’t seem to cut it - it doesn’t seem enough, although one can appreciate it should be more than enough. Perhaps it’s because we are humanity that we need to deal in absolutes, not positives and negatives.

17 August 2013 13:22  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector:

The 9/11 team undoubtedly thought that what they were doing was right: one of them packed a wedding suit for when he would meet the Virgins in Paradise. My point is that doing what they did required good qualities in order to achieve the aim.

Take Atilla the Hun. He could not have achieved bloodshed, grief, devastation etc on the scale he did without charisma, iron discipline, organsational skills, great horsemanship etc. Evil needs good qualities in order to succeed.

Then consider,say, St Francis. What evil qualities did he need for the good he did?

Tolkien's Orcs are ruined Elves. The Elves can exist without the Orcs, but not the other way round.

17 August 2013 14:05  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector:

Thinking further about this point. Owners of businesses can get on fine without protection racketeeers, but not the reverse. That's why Augustine says evil is parasitic on good.

Imagine (given your painting mood) that you are the Curator of an art gallery with a finite budget. Do you actively hunt out bad exhibits to put next to the good?

Most galleries seem to look for the best stuff they can get. They may fall for the morally depraved, like 'Zygotic Acceleration', but not because they THINK it's bad. They think it's GOOD: one in the eye to the stuffy bourgeoisie.

That raises a whole new question of whether you can do evil in the genuine belief that you are doing good: possible only if objective values exist. Let's not go there on this thread.

17 August 2013 14:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


That’s the spirit Explorer, don’t let go !

Yes, that works, evil is parasitic on good, not the other way round. So that makes evil a malevolent force in as much as it’s the wake of the action that causes the damage on the surrounding calm, ie good.

The art gallery doesn’t work. Art is exhibited in the best light, literally, and against plain wall. Even Picasso’s degenerate muck doesn’t look too bad in those circumstances. So we are onto good art and bad art. One thinks of Tate Modern, a well known waste of time if ever there was, not that one can attest to having seen the place, possibly due to no one being of sufficient resolve to drag this man kicking and screaming there...


17 August 2013 17:39  
Blogger LEN said...

Christianity was first attacked in Genesis 1.The method Satan used there he has used throughout History.It is to lie, kill, and to destroy all who make a stand for the truth of the Gospel which begins and ends with Christ.I AM the Alpha and the Omega is the Truth that Christ states.
Christianity is the Rule and Reign of Christ.

All opposition to True Christianity is Satanic whether this comes from 'other' denominations of Christianity , secular forces, or any religion devised by man.True Christianity is a work of God from start to finish and Satan opposes it by any and whatever means he can.
We are clearly in the 'last days ' now and Satan intends to totally destroy True Christianity before the return of Christ.

17 August 2013 18:07  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

Okay, let's use an example you might understand.

Heterosexual is "good" because, in the words of Billy Preston: "that's the way God planned it; that's the way God meant it to be".

It's not "good" because homosexuality exists and is "bad". It is "good" regardless. The latter is bad because it's "notthe way God planned it; and it's not the way He meant it to be". It brings moral nausea for this reason and also misery and harm to those individuals and societies caught up in it.

Starting to grasp it?

17 August 2013 19:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well yes, but as one is in recovery from over exposure to the homo world, we’ll let it pass on this occasion...

17 August 2013 20:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter D:

I think it's an excellent example, if we're demonstrating that good can be self-existent, but evil can't.

You can have heterosexuality without homosexuality, but not the other way round. (Or not for long). The other way round, both would cease to exist because the population would die out. Simples!

Incidentally, Peter, the Inspector didn't hold with my art example (and he in painting mode, too!) but I think it works. Good art can be self-existent: it doesn't need bad art next to it to point up the contrast. (Not as good an example as yours admittedly, but I was trying to appeal to the topic of the moment.)

17 August 2013 21:08  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt calls for prayer on Wednesday for Egypt and this is what he says,

"As I write these words, our St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Suez is under heavy attack from those who support former President Mursi. They are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the church and have destroyed the car of Rev. Ehab Ayoub, the priest-in-charge of St. Saviour’s Church. I am also aware that there are attacks on other Orthodox churches in Menyia and Suhag in Upper Egypt (photo above), as well as a Catholic church in Suez. Some police stations are also under attack in different parts of Egypt. Please pray and ask others to pray for this inflammable situation in Egypt.

Early this morning, the police supported by the army, encouraged protestors in two different locations in Cairo, to leave safely and go home. It is worth mentioning that these protestors have been protesting for 6 weeks, blocking the roads. The people in these neighborhoods have been suffering a great deal—not only these people, but those commuting through, especially those who are going to the airport. The police created very safe passages for everyone to leave. Many protestors left and went home, however, others resisted to leave and started to attack the police. The police and army were very professional in responding to the attacks, and they used tear gas only when it was necessary. The police then discovered caches of weapons and ammunition in these sites. One area near Giza is now calm, but there is still some resistance at other sites. There are even some snipers trying to attack the police and the army. There are even some rumors that Muslim Brotherhood leaders asked the protestors in different cities to attack police stations, take weapons, and attack shops and churches.

A few hours later, violent demonstrations from Mursi supporters broke out in different cities and towns throughout Egypt. The police and army are trying to maintain safety for all people and to disperse the protestors peacefully. However, the supporters of former President Mursi have threatened that if they are dispersed from the current sites, they will move to other sites and continue to protest. They also threatened to use violence. There have been a number of fatalities and casualties from among the police as well as the protestors, but it seems that the numbers are not as high as expected for such violence. However, the supporters of former President Mursi claim that there are very high numbers of casualties. The real numbers will be known later on.

Please pray that the situation will calm down, for wisdom and tact for the police and the army, for the safety of all churches and congregations, and that all in Egypt would be safe."

17 August 2013 21:38  
Blogger Peter D said...

Explorer

Yes, but surely 'good' and 'bad' art is, to some extent, a subjective opinion, not an independent function of 'right' and 'wrong'.

Our human sexuality is not a matter of 'taste' and its expression outside of the intended boundaries has negative implications.

Its the same with birth and abortion. One is not 'good' or 'bad' in comparison to the other.

17 August 2013 21:48  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter:

An excellent point, and what the Inspector was getting at. Four thoughts for consideration:

1. When Concorde was praised for its beautiful lines, its designer said he was simply following the lines of Nature.

2. Beejam, the frozen-food company, had blue lettering. That always made sense to me, given the product. Then came Iceland with red lettering. That jarred, and still does. (Conversely, when spaghetti was dyed blue, people instinctively refused to eat it.)

3. George Orwell, savaging Dali, said we should be able to say of a work of art: this is brilliant, and it ought to be burned by the public hangman. (Skill of execution does not exonerate content).

4. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." a) Really? What about a photo of a child being gang raped?

b) That attitude can spill over into the rest of life, making everything else subjective.

18 August 2013 09:21  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter:

A point of recapitulation. The Inspector seemed to be saying that good in some sense needed evil, and that is what we both disagreed with. In the Christian narrative, good existed before there was evil, and good could exist if evil were destroyed.

That is not to say that everything that cannot exist on its own is evil. Our pets, in an urban situation, depend on us. A baby in the womb is 'parasitic', in a sense, on its mother, and we as Christians wouold not call it evil on that account; although an extreme pro-choicer might.

18 August 2013 10:21  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Egypt has always prided itself on the words of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures: 'Out of Egypt have I called my son' (Hosea 11.1). The refuge Eypyt provided for the holy family of Jesus and his parents under Herod's persecution (Matthew 2:15) has always been part of Egypt's Christian identity, Now however, attacked by supporters of ex-President Mursi and deprived of the protection by the police, Egyptian Christians have seen 43 of their churches burnt. In what one international Anglican observer has described as 'the worst persecution of Christians in the history of Egypt' Christian institutions are being systematically destroyed.

Updated news from Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East writes: "Demonstrators were armed and they killed 43 policemen. This was a battle. They burned 43 churches, is this a peaceful reaction? Only people who watched by their own eyes what is going on can find the truth about the situation. MB are not our enemies but they behaved in a terrible way and the vast majority of Egyptians are so angry at them and support the current administration. Before the dispersion of the demonstrations many police stations were attacked by machine guns. These are acts of terrorism."

Barnabas Fund reports:

On Wednesday (14 August), Morsi supporters, enraged by the storming of their protest camps in Cairo by the security forces, launched attacks on churches and other Christian property.

More than 20 churches have been attacked in different parts of the country, including St George’s Church in Sohag, Upper Egypt, which was burnt to the ground. Last week, the al-Qaeda flag had been raised over St George’s.

Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is from Egypt, has said that Egyptian Christians were plotting to overthrow Morsi to create “a Coptic state stripped from Egypt’s south”.

Elsewhere, in Delga, Minya, a church was looted and the homes of 18 Christians, including the church’s minister, looted and torched. Having been incited to “defend Islam” over the mosque loudspeakers, the mob then set fire to another three churches in Delga.

Churches in Assiut, Suez and Alexandria were also targeted. The Bible Society’s headquarters in Cairo were attacked, and its bookshops in Assiut and Minya burnt to the ground. Three Christian schools were also set ablaze and a number of Christian-owned businesses destroyed.

Last week, 16 Egyptian human rights organisations issued a joint statement condemning “clear incitement to violence and religious hatred” by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies. They expressed “grave concern regarding the increasing sectarian violence which has targeted Christians and their churches since the June 30 uprising”.

Further information can be seen from the following links:

https://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/News-analysis/Christian-girl-shot-dead-churches-torched-by-Morsi-supporters-in-Egypt.html

https://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/News-analysis/Christian-communities-attacked-in-Egypt-scapegoated-for-Morsis-ouster.html

https://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Editorial-The-battle-against-political-Islam-is-ideological.html

https://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Kidnapped-Christian-man-found-beheaded-in-Egypt-amid-Islamist-backlash.html?&quicksearch=Egypt

https://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Editorial-Violent-backlash-against-Morsis-ouster-Christians-endangered.html?&quicksearch=Egypt

https://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Editorial-Revolt-against-Morsi-shows-failure-of-Arab-Spring-in-Egypt.html?&quicksearch=Egypt

19 August 2013 19:36  

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