Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Cromwell Day - commemorating our Lord Protector


Did you know that today is Cromwell Day?

Each year on 3rd September the Cromwell Association holds a service of commemoration for Oliver Cromwell on the anniversary of his death in 1658. By kind permission of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the service is held, whenever possible, by the statue of Cromwell to the side of Westminster Hall overlooking Parliament Square.

Oliver Cromwell became MP for Huntingdon in 1628, and for Cambridge in 1640. In the Civil War, he crushed the Royalists at Naseby and Preston and elsewhere, and signed the warrant for the execution of Charles I.

It isn't politic to commemorate the man who ruthlessly suppressed the rebellion in Ireland; who overthrew Charles II; who dismissed the Long Parliament and who, refusing the Crown, ruled England as Lord Protector for four years. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, but in 1660 his body was disinterred and hanged at Tyburn. We still can't quite decide if he should be honoured or ignored.

He wasn't.. well, very tolerant, was he? Yet the truth is that in the early part of the 17th century few people believed one ought to be, bar a few theorists or sectaries. Both Laudians and Puritans assumed that the triumph of their side would result in the proscription of the other party's views. Oliver Cromwell was more tolerant than most - though not of Papists and Episcopalians at one end, or of Quakers and other cultish 'extremists' at the other. But in tumultuous times of revolution, toleration is a difficult policy to apply.

With the Restoration of the Stuarts, Anglicanism of a particular type triumphed, and the Act of Uniformity, with its concomitant laws, was intended to regulate religious practice - and the expression of religious thought. Less than a generation later, the attempt to regiment religious conviction was abandoned. Persecution had proved ineffective; it did not coerce its victims and became an offence even to its advocates.

Old hatreds died; new forces, social and political, exposed repression as a futile political instrument and an indefensible religious one. The increasing authority of reason made repressive zeal seem as enthusiastic as the fanaticism of the sects and cults. Reason gave birth to toleration; it moved us from the medieval mindset to the modern one of enlightenment.

Oliver Cromwell was not responsible for all this, but he was the greatest of Englishmen to lead it. As JC Ryle observes: 'No man, perhaps, ever won supreme power by the sword, and then used that power with such moderation as he did. England was probably more feared and respected throughout Europe, during the short time that he was Protector, than she ever was before, or ever has been since. His very name carried terror with it. He declared that he would make the name of an Englishman as great as ever that of a Roman had been. And he certainly succeeded. He made it publicly known that he would not allow the Protestant faith to be insulted in any part of the world. And he kept his word.

'When the Duke of Savoy began to persecute the Vaudois in his days, Cromwell interfered at once on their behalf, and never rested till the Duke's army was recalled from their villages, and the poor people's goods and houses restored. When certain Protestants at Nismes, in France, were threatened with oppressive usage by the French government, Cromwell instructed his ambassador at Paris to insist peremptorily, that proceedings against them should be dropped, and in the event of a refusal, to leave Paris immediately. In fact, it was said that Cardinal Marazin, the French Minister, would change countenance when Cromwell's name was mentioned; and that it was almost proverbial in France, that the Cardinal was more afraid of Cromwell than of the devil.'

Instead of timid commemoration of the founder of the modern Parliament, we ought to laud and celebrate the name of Oliver Cromwell as a great Defender of the Faith. Certainly, we need something of his spirit injected into the Foreign Office today if we are ever again to advocate for and defend our Christian brothers and sisters abroad who die daily for their faith in Christ.         
      

143 Comments:

Blogger ardenjm said...

Oh absolutely let's commemorate this man - warts and all - as he said himself.
Cranmer euphemistically admits:
"Oliver Cromwell was more tolerant than most - though not of Papists and Episcopalians"
600,000 dead in Ireland over 10 years.
Ethnic and religious cleansing.
Far worse than Syria...
Cranmer puts up pictures about that - but doesn't deign to mention the Irish Catholics Cromwell had slaughtered. And slaughter is the only word for it.

But at least Cromwell protected the Protestants in France...

But, yes, let's acknowledge him and the way his regicide substituted monarchial absolutism with theocratic absolutism...

And whilst we're acknowledging his decade in power - it would be good to acknowledge the 1000 years when England was a Catholic country.

"Just saying..."

3 September 2013 at 10:13  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace , Thank you for a thought provoking piece giving an alternative view of Cromwell.

As has been observed many times, history is written by the victors and we restored the monarchy, hence no doubt the generally anti-Cromwell approach at large.

3 September 2013 at 10:45  
Blogger David Hussell said...

ardenjm,

It is worth noting that Orthodox friends regard pre-schism Christian Britain as Orthodox, not Roman Catholic. Certainly there were Christians present in these islands before the Augustinian mission from Rome arrived in Kent in the late sixth century. It was only after the Synod of Whitby in the middle of the seventh century that Celtic Christianity was deliberately crushed by Rome. So the situation is, I suggest, rather more complex than you imply I believe.

3 September 2013 at 10:55  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Ardenjm

Plenty of cruelty BOTH ways in the old Catholic-Protestant fights. Not sure we want to dwell on them. Bloody Mary for instance not such a pretty reign..

Can we not see both the positive and the negative in Cromwell?

On the positive side he did great things for democracy, and never again did the "Divine Right of Kings" become an entrenched position. He was tolerant towards Judaism, and many different types of Christian belief, he was most reluctant to have Charles beheaded, he refused to become King, he stood against personal vanity, and he abolished cockfighting and bear- baiting. And he would not have liked the materialistic excesses of modern Christmas, which I find tedious. Plus we have some great works by John Milton to treasure. I will forbear from quoting much of "Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered Saints..." in the circumstances! Also conditions for the hard working common man and woman improved and conspicuous consumption was unfashionable.

On the negative side, the bloodshed, the Irish situation, and some of the most puritanical anti-pleasure prohibitions were OTT, OK, I concede even including the more severe prohibitions regarding Christmas!!

3 September 2013 at 11:21  
Blogger LEN said...

Well when you point a finger there are three pointing back ardenjm.

The entire history of the Roman Church is soaked in the blood of the Martyrs.(Just ask HG)

'The moral high ground 'is a very conspicuous place?.

"Just saying"

3 September 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger IanCad said...

An incredibly complex man YG,

Ruthless, determined capable. He said what he meant - more American than British - it was, nevertheless, from him that the seeds of religious liberty sprouted.

Absolutely he must be remembered and celebrated.

Loudly.

3 September 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger non mouse said...

Oh, dear; Oh, dear. Your Grace, I had no idea that Cromwellians had espoused this Feast Day of Gregory the Great as their own.

Mind you - I know of at least one special Cromwellian; however, the man was himself no saint. As others indicate, the career was checkered.

3 September 2013 at 11:26  
Blogger Corrigan said...

So Cromwell is what it took to sow the seeds of democracy in England, eh? Kind of explains why your parliament is such a disgrace.

3 September 2013 at 12:15  
Blogger David B said...

The Puritans and the Catholics.

A plague on both their houses.

David

3 September 2013 at 12:19  
Blogger Helen said...

A couple of other things that His Grace does not mention: Cromwell's Latin Secretary was John Milton who wrote one of the earliest (if not the earliest) works that argue in favour of religious toleration though not for Roman Catholics as they were perceived to be potential traitors to the country. Milton's refusal to allow them toleration was on political rather than religious grounds. And there was the question of the Jews who were allowed back to England and given various rights to worship and to work under Cromwell.

3 September 2013 at 13:23  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Thank God for Cromwell in that he invited and welcomed the Jewish people back into England after 500 years of exile, a wonderful achievement.

3 September 2013 at 13:50  
Blogger Albert said...

Instead of timid commemoration of the founder of the modern Parliament, we ought to laud and celebrate the name of Oliver Cromwell as a great Defender of the Faith.

You'll be asking us to celebrate Mr Assad, next. It is interesting though, that you want to celebrate someone who executed one Supreme Governor of the CofE and effectively exiled another, while imposing anti-Anglican forms of Protestantism to take the place of your exiled bishops and your abolished BCP.

the Cardinal was more afraid of Cromwell than of the devil.

Interesting.

3 September 2013 at 14:53  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert
"the Cardinal was more afraid of Cromwell than the Devil".
is perhaps a more interesting phrase than it first appears, and begs rather a no. of questions, as in:
"Should a man of God fear the Devil?"
"What does it tell us about the courage or otherwise of the Cardinal?"
"Was the Cardinal maybe rather a worldly man, too dazzled by the ways of the world, and political figures?"
And so on. These comments never just show us about the observed, but also about the observer!!

3 September 2013 at 15:33  
Blogger Jesuestomihi said...

Mum would be turning in her grave!
Oliver CRomwell could always raise passions. I once ventured the opinion that had I been living in the 1600's I would have been a Roundhead. She immediately stopped the car and said that if I did not recant I could walk home.
Being a weak and unprincipled teenager I said what was necessary to keep dry and stay in the car.
But (whisper it not aloud) I had my fingers crossed. And I still think O.C. was the bees knees.

3 September 2013 at 15:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

Well of course, it wasn't his opinion that was being quoted. I suspect it was hyperbole meaning Cromwell was worse than the devil.

I wouldn't go that far myself. But he was wicked - not quite in the category of Henry VIII perhaps, but then the latter was probably mentally ill (thereby lessening his culpability for the evil he did), whereas I suppose Cromwell was just wicked. So you can argue it either way, really.

3 September 2013 at 15:55  
Blogger Owl said...


It is obvious that opinions will vary depending on your background.

With an Irish background, Cromwell was the devil himself methinks.

I also think that Queen Mary was a dangerous nutter.

I can't see that anyone can talk about toleration when one is only tolerant of one side. His only saving grace would appear to be toleration of jews. The modern day Puritans had to find something to hold on to!

His only gift to the later enlightenment seems to be more the hope that England would never have to suffer such a tyranical bigot again.

That other European nations feared him reminds me of our modern Jihadism. Fear and terror seems to be the common denominator.

As you so well from JC Ryle quoted "His very name carried terror with it".

He is certainly not one I would like to put on a pedestal.

3 September 2013 at 15:59  
Blogger Albert said...

This whole thing about Cromwell bringing the Jews back to England is confusing. There is apparently doubt that Cromwell did bring Jews back:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/dec/09/religion.uk

While even those who support him and believe he did so, point to the following reason for this move:

The doctrinal reason was the belief amongst godly Protestants, including Cromwell, that the conversion of the Jews to Christianity was essential before Christ would return to reign on earth. 1656 was thought by some to be the actual year in which this would happen.

http://www.olivercromwell.org/jews.htm

So you take your pick: either Cromwell didn't invite Jews back, or he did it because he was a raving millenarian and wanted to convert Jews to Christianity.

So this redeeming feature does not seem terribly redeeming. So he's just warts, there's no "and all" about him.

3 September 2013 at 16:13  
Blogger LEN said...

I suppose Catholics fear Cromwell in much the same way as the Popes were by Protestants(only there were more Popes who carried out more atrocities over a greater period of time)

3 September 2013 at 16:15  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

We might put in a word for Richard Cromwell who succeeded his father, realised he was not up to the job and retired to quiet obscurity. That he was both allowed and content to do so was a step forward of sorts.

3 September 2013 at 16:21  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

Of course all people did things then we wouldn't agree with now. But can't you see, Cromwell murdered his fellow Protestants, not least to members of the Established Church of England, including his own king! That is the prime point I am making (see 14.53).

3 September 2013 at 16:28  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert
If you look further into the detail of Cromwell's deliberations you will see that he procrastinated in taking a decision about the King, and was very unwilling to accept that Charles should die. He would have seen himself as forced into that decision. It is also not customary to call judicial execution "murder", though I sympathise with your horror. However such situations were widespread, and one of the valid ways to gain a crown was considered to be by "right of conquest"- not pretty, but how things were at the time.

It is also easy to caricature the reasons for the civil war as being solely religious ones, excluding the economic, the political and the social ones,(the rise of the gentry and so on), which were actually very important in the mix.

Also the Papacy was not just a religious organisation,but active in political disputes and all sorts of wars in those days. Fine if you were one of the favoured countries at any time, otherwise not so much!!

3 September 2013 at 17:16  
Blogger Owl said...

Len,

A fair point. The main difference was that the Popes did not lead the armies and make battlefield decisions.

Once Constantine united politics and the church, the abuse of power was inevitable.

It just seems to me that lauding Cromwell would be about the same as lauding Philip the Fair who was not such a nice person either.

Cromwell was a fanatic whereas Philip was a political manipulator, a bit like our own Peter Mandelson. I am not sure if Philip was queer too, but certainly nasty.

I am a bit confused about your comment Brother Ivo. Wasn't Richard Cromwell ousted by the army?

3 September 2013 at 17:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

My point is more to do with the strangeness of uber-Anglicans lauding (sic) Cromwell. He killed the King! He killed the supreme governor of the CofE. He then abolished the CofE and replaced it with something infinitely less appetising. I can't see that the forcing bit makes any difference. It's a bit like saying "Germany was forced to invade Belguim in 1914." It was wrong, there was therefore no compelling force to do it.

It is also not customary to call judicial execution "murder"

But it wasn't a judicial execution - that would imply a genuine court. But as it was, Charles, at his trial said:

“I would know by what power I am called hither.” (his first statement in the trial)

“Now, I would know by what authority – I mean lawful – there are many unlawful authorities in the world – thieves and robbers by the highways – but I would know by what authority I was brought from thence and carried from place to place, and I know not what. And when I know what lawful authority, I shall answer. Remember, I am your King – your lawful King – and what sins you bring upon your heads and the judgment of God upon this land, think well upon it – I say think well upon it – before you go further from one sin to a greater. Therefore let me know by what lawful authority I am seated here and I shall not be unwilling to answer. In the meantime, I shall not betray my trust. I have a trust committed to me by God, by old and lawful descent. I will not betray it to answer to a new unlawful authority. Therefore, resolve me that, and you shall hear more of me.”

“I do not come here as submitting to the court.”


In the film Cromwell we find this expressed as follows:

Sir, you are before a court of law!
King Charles I: I see I am before a *power*...


We shouldn't dignify it as judicial execution. It was a murder with the addition trappings of treachery and hypocrisy.

3 September 2013 at 17:28  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Well His Grace has certainly succeeded in putting up an interesting one here for debate and discussion. Perhaps we should think of this as an opportunity for a wholesome diversion from, and contrast with, the bloody horrors that unfold daily in this present age, thankfully, and so far located well away from these shores.

3 September 2013 at 17:37  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

If Puritan Protestant Cromwell was the guy who let Jews back into the country it was the Irish Roman Catholic Daniel O'Connell who fought for further Jewish rights, such as repealing in 1846, the "De Judaismo", which prescribed a special dress for Jews...

3 September 2013 at 17:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

How do they commemorate it? A knees up wouldn't really be appropriate in this case. :)

3 September 2013 at 18:13  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert.
There are film scripts and there is history. Just watch "Braveheart" if you want an extreme example of that. According to their script "droit de seigneur" was practised-brutally too- across the whole of Scotland. Except historically it was almost unknown, and barely any accounts can be found of this supposed outrage. Then there's Shakespeare taking liberties with MacBeth and Richard III, both of whom were probably much better than the average monarch, and under both of whom the common populace had their grievances met and better fairer laws put in place. And so on.

Yes, non-Catholics killed non-Catholics, but then when the Pope sided with one lot against another many Roman Catholics found themselves fighting against the Vatican side. These things have happened, and none are pretty, but none extraordinary either, unfortunately.

Of course Charles 1st would not recognise the authority of the court. You could hardly expect that given that he believed in the "Divine Right of Kings". But these days Republics do not seem that strange, do they? Again his position did not even sit with the "right of conquest" which those of us who have watched "The White Queen" and looked up the history again, have noticed was taken for granted. So Edward IV (R.C)has the saintly RC King Henry VI put to death, having already taken the Crown to which he is entitled by "right of conquest" and later on Henry VII also, whose claim is otherwise tenuous is also justified by "right of conquest". I do not like that that is the way things were, nor that the rulers often got to rule through being the most aggressive, but that is how it was.

3 September 2013 at 18:20  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Hannah, was David Starke's "History of the Jews" worth watching ? Do let me know and I will watch it on iPlayer if the answer is yes.

3 September 2013 at 18:20  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Henry Bollingbroke took Richard II's crown and had Richard killed to make himself Henry iV.

3 September 2013 at 18:23  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Lord Berkeley’s “Rights of the Sovereign and the Duchy of Cornwall Bill [HL] 2013-14” is currently passing through Parliament and is designed to remove to Government control, Her Majesty’s right to grant or refuse new legislation the Royal Assent.

This bill is not only bad law but removes the monarch to nothing more than a paper puppet and could be seen as actively treasonable. The Royal Assent is the Monarch’s constitutional and common law prerogative to ensure that only legislation in the best interests of the people is enacted.

The removal from Her Majesty of her right to refuse royal assent could be argued to be high treason contrary to the 1351 Treason Act as it imagines her death as our Sovereign Queen. Certainly she and her office become obsolete by it. How does this act of david Cameron compare to Oliver Cromwell ? An interesting thought perhaps ?

3 September 2013 at 18:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



One supposes Cromwell would find a place in English protestant hearts. A soldier of the real faith who brought his Christian fellowship to the deserving. So, with that in mind, what’s a bit of slaughter here and there if good comes out of it.

You see, England never had a world class war criminal before this one came along. And we haven’t had one since. So he’s on his own and nobody really knows what to do with him. Nobody to compare him with. Do you see the problem ?

So we pick through his sick to find any good bits in there - which we can digest. There’s a few, we won’t deny the devil that.




3 September 2013 at 18:33  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Naomi,

I think you should watch it and make your own judgement up! Professor Schama (who sound exactly like my bro David!), clearly presents his case from a conservative Jewish viewpoint, as opposed to Orthodox, but it comes across that his background was within the Orthodox tradition. I think you will like the bit in the Synagogue and the fact they are wearing top hats.

There were a few things I disagreed with and quite a few I could nod in agreement to. We only got as far as when Vespasian/Titus destroyed the Temple and he is more sympathetic towards Josephus than other Jews would be (as he admits), but I can agree with his (or was it Freud's?) conclusion on how we Jews survive, through our Torah, the Word of G-d, not our Temple's treasures....

3 September 2013 at 19:24  
Blogger JohnH said...

@ Lucy Mullen

Re bear-baiting; Thomas Macaulay said that Cromwell banned bear-baiting not because he was concerned about the suffering of bears, but because he was concerned that the audience was having a bit of pleasure.

3 September 2013 at 19:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy Mullen,

There are film scripts and there is history.

I quoted both - I only gave the film script because it nicely summed up the history.

these days Republics do not seem that strange, do they?

I return to my original point: I think it strange that an Anglican can laud Cromwell, when Cromwell killed his king, the supreme governor of the CofE. Republics do look strange to those who are monarchists. Similarly, Cromwell could not claim right of conquest, I think because he had not become king.

So Edward IV (R.C)has the saintly RC King Henry VI put to death

Yes, but Henry VI did not have the same position Anglicans claim for Charles I and I'm not saying that Ed IV should be lauded and celebrated. So the cases are not parallel.

3 September 2013 at 19:58  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ JohnH.

I know Macauley (1800-1859) asserted that but am not clear whether he had any evidence to back that assertion, or whether he just wanted to make a point.

There has historically been confusion around the meaning of the term "puritan" and what it actually means. It should be based around the word "pure" and of itself has no necessary connection with the banning of pleasure, though it came to be thought of as such. However this is partly polemical. Even the term "roundhead" is misleading, as many of them had full flowing locks,(Cromwell and Ireton) and some were known to wear expensive clothes, and so on, as actual historical documents show. It is necessary to go back insofar as possible to primary sources, and peel away unfounded assertion and later accretions.

3 September 2013 at 19:59  
Blogger LEN said...

Owl,'The main difference was that the Popes did not lead the armies and make battlefield decisions.'

I am afraid you are wrong there on both counts. Popes did lead armies and authorise wars.

In the preface to an official papal record commissioned for publication by the Holy See, called The Popes: A Concise Biographical History, the Christian reader is tactfully prepared for some upcoming and unpleasant facts about popes with this apologetic admission:


"Some Catholics may find surprises when they read the papal biographies in this book. The part we are accustomed to think of the pope playing in the Church may need a little adjustment."
(The Popes: A Concise Biographical History, Eric John, ed., Burns & Oates, Publishers to the Holy See, London, 1964, p. 19, published under the imprimatur of Georgius L. Craven)!
(What an understatement.!)

"The popes were temporal rulers of the civil territory and they naturally had recourse to force the re-establishment or extend the States of the Church until the conclusion of peace was confirmed ... their attempts to purify particularly the Duchy of Rome caused them considerable distress and the need to resort to violence, but always on the side of mercy ... lives were lost in the service of truth but the legal basis for the Christian Church to hold and transmit properties for the benefit of revenues was given to them [the popes] by Emperor Constantine in 312."
(Catholic Encyclopedia, Pecci ed., ii, pp. 157—169





Pope Celestine III (1106—98; pope 1191—98) supported the earlier decision of Pope Lucius III to annihilate every Cathar from the face of the Earth. To do this, now early in the 13th century, Pope Innocent III (Lotario di Segni, 1161—1216; pope 1198—1216), "one of the greatest popes of the Middle Ages" (Catholic Encyclopedia, viii, p. 13), ordered Dominic de Guzman (1170—1223) to develop a troop of merciless followers called "the Catholic army" (Catholic Encyclopedia, v, p. 107), and an initial force of 200,000 foot troops was established with assistance from 20,000 mail-clad, horse-mounted knights.
The general populace labelled them the "Throat-cutters" but Dominic deemed them the "Militia of Jesus Christ" (ibid.), and he later increased the army by an additional 100,000 troops. The Catholic writer Bishop Delany (d. c. 1227) said that the Church's fighting force developed into 500,000 troops against a body of ordinary, unarmed folk who saw that, in practice, the papal system of religion was frivolous and false
(I have barely scratched the surface of the atrocities carried out by the Popes I could go on but
this would take hours to read.)

3 September 2013 at 20:03  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Thanks LEN, I would be interested in more.

Thanks also Hannah.

3 September 2013 at 20:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

Without reading your whole comment, you are right about popes leading armies. However, as Cranmer points out regarding Cromwell:

He wasn't.. well, very tolerant, was he? Yet the truth is that in the early part of the 17th century few people believed one ought to be

It's difficult to judge people of the past by the standards of the present. We have to ask how reasonable it is to expect people to be able to "rise above" their culture. Some popes were undoubtedly wicked. Others did things that we would now think wicked, but they were not morally culpable for them (or not as morally culpable). I think though that Cromwell's behaviour in Ireland is beyond the pale (literally), and his behaviour ought to be plainly repugnant to members of the CofE who are loyal to the crown.

3 September 2013 at 20:15  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector
Very well said, Sir!

Albert
Mad or bad? Difficult to tell.

Certainly there is evidence early depression then an *awakening*, where he seems overtaken by religious mania. He described himself as "the chief of sinners" and called to be among "the congregation of the firstborn" and as having been "saved" from sin by God's mercy. His *mission* was to rid Britain of all Catholic beliefs and practices - including those still evident in Anglicanism.

(One or two bloggers on here have clearly caught this 'spirit' too)

As for the murder of the King, it was justified on a biblical basis
"The land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it."

The idea of subjects trying a king was a new one - it caught on in France and Russia. Edward II, Richard II and Henry VI had been overthrown and murdered by their successors, Charles was accused of treason against his subjects. His reply:
"I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consists in having government.... It is not their having a share in the government; that is nothing appertaining unto them. A subject and a sovereign are clean different things."

3 September 2013 at 20:23  
Blogger Peter D said...

Len
"(I have barely scratched the surface of the atrocities carried out by the Popes I could go on but
this would take hours to read.)"


Happy surfing ....

And the point of it all is what exactly? "You lot were worse than our lot. Are you seriously defending the religious blood lust of Cromwell and the murder of a lawful Christian King?

3 September 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

A fellow is not at all convinced Len would have survived the Protestant usurping of England. His born again business being right off the scale, drawing suspicion that he was in league with continentals.

He would not be of sufficient rank to be be-headed. Not important enough to have been publically burnt, so would have departed this life by being boiled in a pot...

3 September 2013 at 20:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Never a better example than the comments of this thread for the argument of keeping religion out of politics (and vice-versa).

3 September 2013 at 20:55  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector
You're being a tad harsh. As the internet was not around in Cromwellian times, Len wouldn't have followed the *born again* path; nor would he have been a dispensationalist. Not bright enough to come to these theological positions on his own and, it appears, his version of the *Holy Spirit* hadn't thought of them.

One wonders if Cromwell had lived longer whether, like Luther, he would have become exasperated with the refusal of Jews to convert and, by doing so, delayed Christ's return. If so, what fate would have awaited them?

Dreadnaught
Whilst one understands your position, what you fail to realise is that human history is the story of competing theologies - including atheism.

3 September 2013 at 21:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

Never a better example than the comments of this thread for the argument of keeping religion out of politics (and vice-versa).

Yes, and atheistic discourse and secular states have been so utopian.

3 September 2013 at 21:26  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Dreadnaught.
That is a trifle illogical. We are having an interesting discussion, in a mostly civilised fashion, though occasionally people get surprisingly heated about disputes that are no longer running and don't need revivifying, which frankly happens everywhere. Compared to the LSE boards about shares this is tame! People get heated about things they care about, in that case filthy lucre! On that basis we should abolish everything anyone might get heated about- money, sex, power, love, all loyalties for a start. Read "The Orchid Thief" and it will tell you that men fought duels over orchids, seriously!!

Actually we are finding some agreements, for instance that we should try to think back to what life was like back then before we judge, not use the Geneva convention as if it had been written in the 15th or 16th Century, understand what they felt and thought, the motives they had, the complexity of real life, and try to get back to truth and primary sources. We have also agreed that there is some very good stuff and some very bad, and that it is unfortunate that might was often seen to make something right. And I think we would agree that almost every ruler either came to power violently back then, or was the beneficiary of an ancestor or relation who had done so, which makes the "Divine Right of Kings" seem the more odd.

3 September 2013 at 21:29  
Blogger Albert said...

Peter,

As for the murder of the King, it was justified on a biblical basis
"The land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it."


Pretty tenuous, under the circumstances. You could apply the words to Cromwell with much more justice. For myself, I would have thought scripture speaks more clearly here:

And the men of David said to him, "Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, `Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.'" Then David arose and stealthily cut off the skirt of Saul's robe. And afterward David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD'S anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD'S anointed." So David persuaded his men with these words, and did not permit them to attack Saul.

3 September 2013 at 21:32  
Blogger Owl said...

Len,

I acknowledged that some Popes had authorised wars/crusades etc. I just said that they didn't lead the armies on the battlefield but Cromwell did. Cromwell made the on the spot decisions which led to him being hated and demonised by many.

The attrocities committed by Christians against other (non-conforming) Christians are well documented. The destruction of the Cathars is an example of this. Simon de Montfort was responsible for the actual attrocities but he had papal authority. It was also a political move as it brought more land under the control of the King of France.

I think that you missed my point.

3 September 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Peter D
Can't you play nicely? It's not the blue team against the red team playing to the death; there are rules and ad hominem arguments are very rarely more than just foul play and here certainly don't commend your opinion.

3 September 2013 at 22:06  
Blogger Alison Judith Bailey said...

I recently visited the Waldensian Museum in Val Pellice where Cromwell and William of Orange are the heroic protectors of this ancient persecuted church, which was once (but, no more) faithful to the Bible to the point of shedding of much innocent blood. The Waldensians are the leading model of the ancient principle of freedom of religion, having lived in hiding for their faith, from 1220 to 1520. Their Museum exhibits a 19th century engraving of Cromwell, apparently dictating to John Milton, Milton's own poem about the brutal massacre of the Waldensians. I was going to write to tell them that Milton was the poet - and Cromwell was merely a hawkish MP, but maybe Milton was inspired by Cromwell's strength of feeling about 'freedom'.

3 September 2013 at 23:17  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Hannah, I have just watched the Story of the Jews and greatly enjoyed it. Thank you.

3 September 2013 at 23:17  
Blogger Peter D said...

Lucy
Madam, I always play fair and when required tackle the man. This is a 'contact sport' after all and we are discussing a man possessed of some spirit or another.

3 September 2013 at 23:34  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Peter D
I find "not bright enough to come to these theological positions on his own" more than a bit ad hominem. I am fine with someone questioning the intelligence of another person's sentence, or even argument. Even the brightest people can after all be dim at times. (Indeed apparently tests have shown that pop-ups on your computer, asking you to upgrade a program or whatever diminish by several points your measurable IQ performance for c.20 mins after!!) But to suggest s.o. is dim of itself is different, and surely undesirable, when they are posting cogent and intelligible comment on topic.

4 September 2013 at 00:19  
Blogger Peter D said...

Lucy
You consider this an erudite and reasoned statement:

"The entire history of the Roman Church is soaked in the blood of the Martyrs.(Just ask HG)"?

The 'Roman' Church was established by the Apostles - a universal Christian Church, born of the blood of the early martyrs, starting with Stephen.

Or these assertions from the thread below:

" ... how has the 'Catholic Mary 'become raised to be not only equal but superior to God.?"?

"Catholics do the Biblical Mary a grave disservice by elevating Her to be a co- equal with the Trinity."?

"Mary is was NOT the' Mother of God 'because Jesus pre- existed Mary."?

"One could claim that Roman Catholicism is responsible for the Reformation also for the errors contained within Islam."?

All topics repeatedly covered and the Catholic teachings painstakingly explained. And still this nonsense is posted. Fine if he disagrees but not fine if he wilfully misrepresents.

I stand by my comment as reasonable, based on 3 years of reading the man's based on whatever website gains his attention at any given moment.

4 September 2013 at 00:39  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Your Grace, I am seldom at odds with your views, but on this occasion must be.

I would question Cromwell's "Christianty" and, indeed, his faith in anything. He used ancient churches as prisons,defaced them, stabled horses in them, banned singing, banned Christmas (the law is still on the Statute Book) and did his best to suppress the celebration of Easter. His campaigns in Ireland (30,000 slaughtered at Drogheda alone) led to the deportation of perhaps 500,000 Irish men and women who were, under a law created for the purpose, sold into slavery to the West Indies and the Virginias. His campaigns in Scotland deccimated the Highlands and in both, sowed the seeds for the problems of nationalism and sectarian hatred we see in Northern and Southern Ireland and parts of Scotland today.

If he were alive today he would be tried in the Hague in the International Court for War Crimes. His "Ironsides" maintained control of England by Goose-stepping" into towns, arresting anyone accused of "sedition" and then either imprisoned or hung their victims after show trials. Celebrate this monster?

I think not. Not in this household or in this family. One of my more illustrious ancestors fought for the king and was stripped of land and wealth by a vengeful parliament. He disowned and disinherited his eldest son who supported Cromwell, adding to his Will, "To my son, Thomas, five pounds, that he might buy him a Bible, the better to understand the meaning of it."

4 September 2013 at 07:21  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

What I find really illogical is continued belief in god/gods or how to best serve them for their abundant benevolence, that results in mass killing or oppression.

4 September 2013 at 08:19  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Len,

You are right it was not an unprompted resignation, but his quiet departure and survival without retribution on either side , perhaps set a precedent that one can relinquish power without rebelling or execution. That was an important milestone in the evolution of democracy.

4 September 2013 at 08:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

PeterD said

Dreadnaught
Whilst one understands your position, what you fail to realise is that human history is the story of competing theologies - including atheism.


Excuse me Your Arrogance, I don't think you do understand my position at all - you understand your own (possibly).

I do not agree that human history can be simplistically pared down to competing theologies either.

Regarding atheism as a religion is also a fallacy. There is no irrefutable cannon of work called Atheism. No one is telling me exactly what to think or what to expect to find when I die. That's for me to live with. What I 'think', is of no matter to anyone or body of regulated doctrine, other than to accept and conform to current societal requirements of conduct and my own conscience.

'Cromwell's legacy'(that being the topic of the OP) is today's evolved democracy, expressed in the supremacy of role of a time limited elected parliament over that of a despot, atheist or not.

I don't live in the past or expect to continue to live in some future dimension. Neither do I seriously align myself with the actions of the long dead ruling ancients. What matters to me is that we study the past with an open mind and learn something of how to live as a civilised society by studying past ignorance and injustices.

4 September 2013 at 09:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 9:34

Your fourth paragraph. Surely atheists DO tell you what to expect to find when you die: nothing.

Bertrand Russell told me that in 'A Free Man's Worship'. So did Dawkins.

4 September 2013 at 10:31  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Alison Judith Bailey,

Many thanks for your reference to The Waldensians. I have just read a little about them. Like many people I knew about the Cathars but had no idea about the Waldensians. How but slowly, and after much bloodshed, was western religious freedom won from the brutal monopoly enforced by the politicised Catholic Church.

On a factual note I can confirm that Cromwell stabled his horses in Kentford medieval church, one of five churches within our benefice, situated just east of Newmarket, Suffolk. Presumably this was a snub directed towards local landowners and others who may be less than enthusiastic about his changes. Happily the box pews and rather faint wall paintings have survived. Distasteful as such actions were, it's pretty small beer set against the horrors or warfare, both then and now.

4 September 2013 at 10:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

What I find really illogical is continued belief in god/gods or how to best serve them for their abundant benevolence, that results in mass killing or oppression.

You're right, it is illogical. Thus you admit that, for religious people to engage in violence etc. is illogical - it doesn't flow from their beliefs.

Regarding atheism as a religion is also a fallacy.

Which is not as far as I can see, what Peter said. He said atheism was a theology. I think that must be correct. In order to deny the exist of God or gods, you must have a clear idea of what God or gods (i.e. a theology) and then have the confidence that none of them exist. I can't see that there's a problem there.

But the larger difficulty for you is that atheism is a metaphysical world-view. It is routed in undemonstrable (and I would say, irrational) assumptions about what existence contains and what can exist without a cause. You represent one world-view (or world-views) among many. You have no privileged place of neutrality. You need to get into the bear pit of trying to demonstrate the truth of your metaphysical world-view instead of assuming you get a free-lunch on this one.

4 September 2013 at 10:42  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter D:

This 'born again' question.

As a generality, liberal theologians tell us we are all children of God (or would be, if God existed) and at death we all go either nowhere or to Summerland (or whatever name we care to give it).

Christians, following the statement in 'John' say we can BECOME children of God if we are born again. You and Len are much much nearer to one another in terms of belief than either is to a liberal theologian.

The issue, as I understand it, is not whether we are born again, but how this is achieved. That seems to be the area where there is disagreement.

4 September 2013 at 10:43  
Blogger Peter D said...

Explorer
Well, it took you a little while to work out the fundamental difference between Protestants and Catholics!

Within Catholicism there is one understanding - taught since the inception of the Church but given greater clarity down the years. Within Protestantism, so far as I comprehend it (and who can given its manifest differences?) there are several.

Where we all seem to agree is that it is a relationship with Christ that leads to salvation - the way this is received, as a free gift, and sustained is where we differ.

4 September 2013 at 11:37  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Explorer

Surely atheists DO tell you what to expect to find when you die: nothing.

Not really, no evidence.For a person to find that there is nothing is a very tight self defeating circle of reason.

To declare ones self to be atheist
is to take the position that there is no evidence that supports god/s
exist. What another person believes is their own personal affair.

Only an ignorant mind will claim to have what is the unprovable immutable truth of the matter, let alone tell others what to believe.

Gods do not kill, maim and murder; that is business of humans.

4 September 2013 at 12:18  
Blogger LEN said...

Peter D... I am not defending Cromwell only pointing out the futility of demonizing one side against the other.
Awful crimes have been carried out in the name of 'God' be these Christians or Muslims(the Muslim God 'Allah' is quite obviously not the Christian God but killing is done in his name also)

The christian way is not slaying your enemies or forceful 'conversions' but preaching the gospel to them.
The Gospel is a message of Love and the commands of the Gospel are to Love God and to love one another.We can differ on theologies but this should not lead to violence.

The' born again' question is quite simple but made difficult by theologians.

We are all born 'in Adam' from the will of our parents. If we remain 'in Adam' we are bound to the Law of Sin and Death nothing can change that..no good works..giving to charities..trying to be good etc we are in fact condemned by our nature which is to sin!.

But IF we are born again we are born from the Will of God... from above..IF we share the same spirit as Christ we become 'grafted on ' to His Spirit.Our Spirit then shares the same History as His Spirit we HAVE died at Calvary we HAVE risen again .We do NOT become Christ but we become One with Him.

This Born again experience happens in our spirit.Our Body remains the same our soul (mind will and emotions) remain the same but the Spirit begins the process of sanctification from WITHIN.

Man tries to cleanse 'the outside of the cup' but the process God ordained begins within.

4 September 2013 at 12:30  
Blogger OldJim said...

Dreadnaught

"Regarding atheism as a religion is also a fallacy. There is no irrefutable cannon of work called Atheism. No one is telling me exactly what to think or what to expect to find when I die. That's for me to live with. What I 'think', is of no matter to anyone [...] other than to accept and conform to current societal requirements of conduct and my own conscience."


And if I compared the views of atheists on sex, abortion, same sex marriage, utilitarianism, Progress, revolution, the state, Ayn Rand, Marx... to name some things non-exhaustively, I think we can both agree that there would be substantial differences in their opinions on those matters compared to those of society as a whole.

Do you think that all that I would be showing would be mere meaningless correlations? Or do you think that atheists would be more likely to hold those views that they are more likely to hold because in some or all cases they are more "rational"?

Because I think there's more going on than that. First, atheists are more inclined to some views and more likely to hold some worldviews by virtue of being atheists - I would include here, for example, euthanasia, where it seems to me that the majority of atheist opposition would be on pragmatic and not on strong moral grounds (i.e. "What if the system were abused?"), and this because atheists tend towards materialism and have done since before Lucretius, therefore finding it hard to consistently put a metaphysical value upon life-as-such.

Second, contemporary atheists are more likely to hold certain views by virtue of being contemporary atheists. I would include here issues like same sex marriage. Of course, an atheist could in theory hold any position on same sex marriage. But being a contemporary atheist means that you have probably been formed as an atheist by contemporary atheist thinkers.

(we'll leave aside for the moment whether that was necessary to create real, permanent atheists or whether atheism is the "natural position" and that atheists happen to read atheist books is merely "confirmation" of those beliefs and not its being imparted to a naturally religious human mind.)

Being formed by contemporary atheist thinkers makes you more likely to have a particular view of historical progress (i.e. it is happening and is pretty dependable upon), a particular view of human relationships (i.e. they are transitory in kind and predicated only upon consent) and a particular view on politics and ethics (i.e. utilitarianism) that make same-sex marriage a more natural position than they would be to someone with different views.

4 September 2013 at 12:32  
Blogger OldJim said...

This greater susceptibility of atheists to the intellectual fashions and fads of their time is also a modern constant. There is very good reason for that, too. Atheists, for example, if nothing else (and there is always a lot else), have to explain the propensity of their fellows to do something that is utterly inexplicable to them: worship God or gods. Each generation will come up with a new and fashionable explanation, which will tend to reflect in some way the current fashionable ideology. The individual atheist, desperate for a theory with which to explain this utterly odd behaviour, will grasp thankfully at it, and inadvertently accept the modern ideology of which this explanation is an expression.

Lastly, an atheist by virtue of being an atheist is nowadays only considered "good" and "rational" about it in proportion to his willingness to dismiss doctrines of which he hasn't himself seen proof. This means that in order for an atheist to approach a considered and worthwhile view on things, he/she has to have more free time and do more mental work than someone who accepts some of these doctrines prior to full rational consideration. This being the case, the more unintelligent non-atheist is in a much saner position than the more unintelligent atheist, who tends to come into the gravitational orbit of some unbalanced but charismatic thinker, from whom, without unproved doctrine, they cannot extricate themselves (hence, in my opinion, part of the reason for the seeming contradiction of more atheists being into Marx AND more atheists being in Rand than in the population as a whole.. they have to work a lot harder than theists to dismiss these positions in favour of something more balanced)

Of course, that's not the only reason that more atheists are into Marx and Rand; they are after all both atheist and materialist thinkers who play into more contemporary ideologies and motivations of atheism on some points; I just think that my third hypothesis is worthy of some consideration.

All this being even halfway granted, I don't see that it will really do to assert that atheism is not a worldview. For a combination of these four reasons, it tends to come drearily often with highly predictable content.

4 September 2013 at 12:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

To declare ones self to be atheist
is to take the position that there is no evidence that supports god/s
exist.


No, I don't think that's correct. An atheist could also take the view (and this would be far more reasonable) that there is no convincing evidence for God's existence. Saying there's no evidence for God's existence is downright bizarre.

But the atheist must also accept that the physical universe (or whatever he thinks exists) can exist and function without God. Now that's a claim for which there is no evidence.

4 September 2013 at 12:46  
Blogger OldJim said...

Sorry, a more obvious reason that atheists more closely cling to intellectual fads and fashions of the day than theists, that I somehow forgot to include: as you point out, dreadnaught, atheism contains a great deal less in the way of determined content than does a traditional Christian (for example) worldview.

You likely think that a good thing, because it means that the atheist tests all things for himself.

Whereas I believe that the Christian worldviews leave quite sufficient room for testing and independent thought; and that the atheist "free space" does not tend to get filled with highly original, brilliant and more rational material, but rather is filled with every bit of gaudy dross hanging around in the empty nightmare of contemporary culture. It's trading in the time honoured and polished jewels of Christianity for the burger king crown of vacuous modern nonsense.

To make it worse, it's not that each "independently thinking" atheist gets a new and exciting burger king crown to wear; from what I've seen, most end up wearing more or less identical ones.

4 September 2013 at 12:52  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

OldJim

Good post and much to ponder on; too much in fact for a quick unconsidered response, except that whatever I say, I can say only for myself. What other atheist people think, say or do, is their business and none of mine.

I may be happy to be recognised by someone as an Atheist but I have done nothing or would wish to do that would entitle me to tell others 'how to be an Atheist' in the same way as a Jew, Christian or Muslim or any other may be inclined to assume.

Because we live in a 'free' society that delivers the secular right to follow our own conscience or beliefs I have arrived at my present conclusions through access to knowledge and evidence.

As far as I am aware, my position is far from what would have pleased the contemporaries of Cromwell or Charles 1st - that's why I believe I belong to the most fortunate generation the world has so far produced.

4 September 2013 at 12:57  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught:

I don't really understand your last sentence. Gods do not kill if Gods do not exist. Belief in them HAS led to murder.

Agamemnon was told to sacrifice his daughter if he wanted the wind to blow. (Some goddess or another he'd irritated.)

The Aztec God demanded a daily human heart for the the current era of the World to endure.

Baal liked child sacrifice.

I didn't say what you WIll find on death; I said what you can EXPECT to find. Not the same thing: element of doubt. Lack of evidence was a key thing with Russell; hence, lack of certainty.

Your penultimate sentence: telling others what to believe. It certainly hasn't stopped atheists from implementing their views. For society to function, somebody has to believe something, and impose that belief on others without proof. Multiculturalists couldn't KNOW that multiculturalism would work; they just hoped it would. Marxists couldn't KNOW the State would wither away. And so on.

Not very coherent, but I'm in a rush.

4 September 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter D @ 11:37.

Augustine was the first one for me to really wrestle with the issue. Hence the problem with baptised and unbaptised infants.

In Dante's 'Paradiso' one of the blessesd spirits finds that a theory to which he had devoted much of his life is erroneous. He laughs; it no longer matters.

When both sides know as they are known, I hope and pray that the things dividing Catholics and Protestants will simply fall away in the light of the Father of Lights.

4 September 2013 at 13:13  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

Wouldn't Your Grace rather celebrate Oak Apple Day, 29 May, commemorating King Charles II's arrival in London in 1660, just in time for the Restoration?

Didn't the Book of Common Prayer, at one time, mandate a special thanksgiving service to be held on Oak Apple Day?

4 September 2013 at 13:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Unce Brian,

You raise a good point. The Church of England also keeps 30th January as the Feast of "Charles, King and Martyr."

It seems a bit confused to celebrate Charles as a martyr and Cromwell who martyred him. Surely, the keeping of 30th January, therefore makes it unAnglican to keep Cromwell?

4 September 2013 at 14:00  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I don’t like the expression ‘Fisking’ but I must in this case I'll take it and take you up on several grossly exaggerated generalisations and assumptions you appear make OJ: I’ll start with this

This greater susceptibility of atheists to the intellectual fashions and fads of their time is also a modern constant.

This statement I think is rather silly. As though there is only one or ever has been only one religion, or that within religions there are no factions cults and revisionists that have applied someone’s considered intellectual rigour and apply variance since their conception? So no, don’t agree that this is a trait exclusive to an atheist stand-point.

Your reference to Marx and Rand holds absolutely nothing demonstrable value as to being the affiliation of choice of atheists or to the notion of being an atheist – that (they) is politics. It’s like saying you’re a German therefore you must be a Nazi or you are Russian and therefore a Communist.
…have to explain the propensity of their fellows to do something that is utterly inexplicable to them: worship God or gods

I find it’s not at all inexplicable; there may be those whom you would presumable classify as atheists simply because they can’t be bothered to examine why they don’t believe in a God/god or gods but I can’t accept the validity of uninformed ignorance as much of a yardstick.

…that in order for an atheist to approach a considered and worthwhile view on things, he/she has to have more free time and do more mental work than someone who accepts some of these doctrines prior to full rational consideration…

Well this I think may well be true and common to both view-points (Theist/theist), if one considers for example the two to five thousand years of manipulative writing by legions of ‘learned men’ of monotheism against the rather shorter time allotted to an individual in a single life-time of an individual atheist such as myself. I am tempted however, to ask who you think is making such value laden decisions such as ‘considered’ and ‘worthwhile?’

This being the case, the more unintelligent *non-atheist is in a much saner position than the more unintelligent atheist,

Do you mean *Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, Pagan etc? Or perhaps you mean by unintelligent; ‘primitives’ who have their beliefs to satisfy unsophisticated questions of life and death and how to survive in either dimension.

…the gravitational orbit of some unbalanced but charismatic thinker
In my opinion, this is the essence of monotheism and the sundry prophets and messiahs.

To make it worse, it's not that each "independently thinking" atheist gets a new and exciting burger king crown to wear; from what I've seen, most end up wearing more or less identical ones.
Can’t possibly comment not knowing what you ‘have seen’

…I believe that the Christian worldviews leave quite sufficient room for testing and independent thought;…

Except perhaps for thinking ‘the unthinkable’. (BTW I’m rather a fan of Richard Holloway and how he expresses his Christian beliefs that sadly for Christians at least concluded in him leaving his position as Bishop of Edinburgh because of the bullying nature of his fellows in faith.)

the atheist tests all things for himself.

Now you are being absurd! As I said you presented a lot to consider and I have probably missed many points to bounce around, but I must cut short here.

4 September 2013 at 15:06  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


First Point conceded Explorer My bad phrasing.
Can’t speak for all atheists or even Atheism just to give you a debate venue of your choice hidebound under your Christian only terms of reference. Can’t agree either to comment on the rest of your post, as I think you have spun off in too many directions.

Albert said

Saying there's no evidence for God's existence is downright bizarre.
Snap! But I won’t compel you to agree with me.
But the atheist must also accept that the physical universe (or whatever he thinks exists) can exist and function without God. Now that's a claim for which there is no evidence.
Yes to the first part. On the second, it is you who asserts the premise, therefore you must display the evidence – not me.
Keeping it to the Universe – only one? Your beliefs compel you to make your assertion of supreme truth based on the content of a much revised/translated/re-translated inconsistent conglomeration of myth, fable and threat, emanating from a time when stoning to death was regarded a suitable punishment – it’s not what I call evidence; but you are welcome to it if it gets you through your days.

4 September 2013 at 15:06  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"overthrew Charles II" From the grave? What a guy!

4 September 2013 at 15:14  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 15:06

I'll try to tie it down to two points: neither of them contentious.

1. Most atheists say we terminate at death, even if this can't - for obvious reasons - be proved. Enough atheists seem to say this for this to be an atheist credo, and their lives are conducted according to this assumption.

Those running a society will impose their views on the ruled. When those ruling are atheistic, atheist views will be imposed. (Those who believe everyone should be allowed to believe whatever they like will soon be overpowered by thsoe who think otherwise).

4 September 2013 at 15:32  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

John Thomas,

Yes, from the grave, precisely so.

4 September 2013 at 15:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

>Explorer

No.1 Agree.

No.2 Debatable. In the West we can change the legislature on a prescribed time-scale. However, if democracy is used to euthanise itself as in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood presumption in Egypt - Chaos reigns supreme.

4 September 2013 at 15:50  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

I won’t compel you to agree with me.

I'm not trying to compel you to agree with me either. There have been people on both sides of this debate who have. That cannot be denied.

On the second, it is you who asserts the premise, therefore you must display the evidence – not me.

? I said it was a claim for which there was no evidence. If you think there is evidence for the claim (that the physical universe (or whatever he thinks exists) can exist and function without God) then it is up to you to show the evidence for that.

Sure, if I claim that the universe cannot exist by itself, then I must provide evidence for that claim (even though, as far as the universe is concerned, I am making a much weaker metaphysical claim, since I am not claiming the universe has any positive power to exist).

But at this point, I need not claim that. Atheism makes a metaphysical claim here: it is reasonable to expect atheists to provide evidence. Failure to do so will not result in theism, but in agnosticism. This is why atheism looks irrational at this point. It claims that the burden of proof rests on the theist, but actually, both positions are making a positive metaphysical claim about the universe/reality. In the absence of evidence, agnosticism is as far as we can go. So do you have any evidence for going beyond that agnostic assumption?

Your beliefs compel you to make your assertion of supreme truth based on the content of a much revised/translated/re-translated inconsistent conglomeration of myth, fable and threat, emanating from a time when stoning to death was regarded a suitable punishment – it’s not what I call evidence; but you are welcome to it if it gets you through your days.

I am quite happy to provide evidence for the existence of God (though sadly, I don't have time to argue it at present, but I will at some other time). And even my belief in Jesus Christ does not require the Bible - and I think that to suggest what you have written here is a fair and exhaustive description of the Bible is just plain ignorant. So your statement is false, as it stands. Consequently, it is more than a little ironic that you have mischaracterised my position in terms of psychological comfort.

So, do you have any evidence for the positive metaphysical truth claim entailed by atheism, or do I get to be just as insulting as you and put your unevidenced belief in that claim down to psychological comfort on your part?

4 September 2013 at 15:51  
Blogger Albert said...

John Thomas,

"overthrew Charles II" From the grave? What a guy!

I took it to mean that, on the death of Charles I Charles II automatically became king, but was then usurped by Cromwell.

4 September 2013 at 15:54  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

Albert, we must remember to drop His Grace a line next year, some time around the middle of January and again in mid-May, urging him to accord the two Charleses at least equal status with the Lord Protector, each on his respective day.

On second thoughts, perhaps not "urging" but "humbly beseeching" -- one mustn't disrespect an archbishop.

4 September 2013 at 17:09  
Blogger Albert said...

:-)

4 September 2013 at 17:23  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 September 2013 at 18:32  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Naomi,

I am glad you enjoyed it.

Well we all think you are like, along with Archbishop Cranmer an 'arehassid umot ha-olam' (Pious amongst the nations) or a Ger Toshva (righteous gentile)... and with your passionate dialogue here you must have a Jewish connection!

Shanah Tovah to you , His Grace and everyone else here! (:

4 September 2013 at 18:35  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert

I'm not trying to compel you to agree with me either

Of course not you personally; and I think you know all too well I'm speaking of the track record of religions, when they all too well enforce compliance once in a position of power. Your lot would have burned alive not all that long ago.

Religions (yourself of course and the body politic of churches of the Christians/Jews/Muslims) assert that God exists and that is the starting and finishing point.

I take a different position because I've never seen a physical phenomena that can't be explained or remains a subject of material enquiry. Neither do I or science in any field claim to know everything about everything. Rumsfledt as far as I am concerned, was right when he spoke of known knowns and unknown unknowns - I can live with that.

4 September 2013 at 19:13  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 19:13

Are you saying that only religions enforce compliance when in a position of power? What about ideologies?

Suppose we agree we should all be free to believe what we like about life after death and leave each other alone.

But Marx didn't do that. No Heaven: implications for justice here and now. Marxism imposed its comvictions on others, and eighty million died in demonstrating that the dialectic of history was less scientific than Marx thought it was.

4 September 2013 at 19:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

Your lot would have burned alive not all that long ago.

Yes, but rather longer ago than your lot murdered on an industrial scale. In fact, it still goes on, doesn't it?

I've never seen a physical phenomena that can't be explained or remains a subject of material enquiry.

We cannot explain the existence of the whole physical universe (or multiverse) by the physical universe. You seem to be interested in explaining this or that bit of the physical universe by another bit of the physical universe. That's fine - I don't object to that, I do it myself! But that's the question here. To be an atheist you need to know what makes the physical universe (or multiverse) exist at all, and you need to know that it isn't God. Do you have any evidence for that claim?

Rumsfledt as far as I am concerned, was right when he spoke of known knowns and unknown unknowns - I can live with that.

Fine. But doesn't that make you an agnostic, not an atheist?

4 September 2013 at 20:02  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I'm not about to set myself up as a defender of Karl Marx, I never have subscribed to his doctrine but if what I think you are leading up to is that what has transpired in Soviet Russia/North Korea and China, I think what happened there had less to do with Marx and more to do with Stalinism, Maoism, Trotskyism and Lenninism etc etc. These ideologies were/are essentially and primarily politically driven characters with a personal lust for power. Only secondly were they atheistic in their motives. To fulfil their ambitions they needed enforce another form of social order to subvert a traditional religiously centred group identity and therefore eliminate a source of potential political opposition.

Which when you think about it is exactly how the three main monotheisms spread their influence and dominated the politics of the age.

4 September 2013 at 20:04  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert

Fine. But doesn't that make you an agnostic, not an atheist?

Not at all. Based on what I have learned I no more reason to believe in the existence of the Christian God than I do of Odin, Baal, the gods of Valhalla. Does my non-belief in these gods make me an atheist?

It's hardly strange then if I say I have more understanding/acceptance for the religions of the 'primitives' who may believe in a sun god or the mountain god if they are not aware of the cosmos, plate tectonics or climactic govenors that order the physical benefits of the natural elements that deliver the ability of life to thrive on the planet

It's not me that chooses to label myself as such - it's simply linguistic shorthand.

4 September 2013 at 20:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 20:04.

Understood. You haven't said anything that suggests support for Marx, and I'm not trying to make you do so.

My point is a very simple one; and you have illustrated it via Lenin, Stalin, Mao etc.

Get rid of religion, or abolish it from the forum, and we won't necessarily all live happily together thereafter. Someone power hungry might then impose his/her world view on everyone else.

That's literally all I'm saying. Escape religion, and you won't necessarily escape having the views of others imposed on you. Look at PC.

4 September 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

Based on what I have learned I no more reason to believe in the existence of the Christian God than I do of Odin, Baal, the gods of Valhalla

The issue is not Christianity, but God (the two are distinct).

Does my non-belief in these gods make me an atheist?

No. You need at least to believe in no gods to be an atheist, or if not, actually to believe that there are no gods. To be a rationally justified atheist you need to have reason or evidence for your position, not just the belief about no gods, but all that is positively entailed by that belief.

See what agnostic philosopher Anthony Kenny says about this:

Many different definitions may be offered of the word 'God'. Given this fact, atheism makes a much stronger claim than theism does. The atheist says that no matter what definition you choose, 'God exists' is always false. The theist only claims that there is some definition which will make 'God exists' true...the true default position is neither theism nor atheism, but agnosticism ... a claim to knowledge needs to be substantiated; ignorance need only be confessed.

Now that last bit looks like the position you stated earlier:

Rumsfledt as far as I am concerned, was right when he spoke of known knowns and unknown unknowns - I can live with that.

4 September 2013 at 20:40  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Let me put it another way; there is no evidence that ANY god has revealed it's presence in any material or metaphysical way in all history, that convinces me to believe in its existence then or now. That many people do so believe in the god of their choice, does not in my view endorse the validity of the existence of that god.

I'm out.

4 September 2013 at 20:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I think some theists feel threatened by atheism and so they try to define atheism very tightly to make it a belief rather than a non-belief. The reality is that materialism pretty much entails atheism but atheism does not necessarily entail materialism, despite what those theists try to make out.

4 September 2013 at 20:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Atheism is a belief. A belief there is no creator. You believe there is no creator, or at the very least, you believe there is no evidence for. That is all belief. ALL of it. How can it be otherwise. You believe in the wisdom of man. You are a fool to trust in man...

4 September 2013 at 21:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I am without a belief in a god or gods. A-theism i.e. without theism. It's a working assumption. Theism is something much stronger than that in terms of belief. Its claims ought to be merely a hypothesis really, albeit not a scientific one.

4 September 2013 at 21:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. You say theism is much stronger in belief. In what context ? In a civil context we have seen how denying God has produced murderous licence in states that have gone down that road. One repeats himself. You are a fool to trust to man alone. Man on his own is corrupt. Deeply corrupt.


4 September 2013 at 21:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

There's almost something of personality types there. Some of the more strident theists seem to need certainty and, having taken on board the notion that god is the explanation for everything, they seem to think the rejection of that also requires an explanation for everything. That is, one must have a 'rational' explanation for all sorts of stuff that's quite reasonable simply to set aside as unknown or even perhaps unknowable. That's not an inherently weaker position than imagining a god to account for stuff we don't actually know.

4 September 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, steel yourself for this: Man may well be all on his own and there may well be no universal meaning to our lives. I'm quite comfortable with that but I know that terrifies some other people. I expect theism appeals to some of those others in a sort of 'comfort blanket' way. Hey, that's fine but it's not for everyone.

4 September 2013 at 21:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. As an intelligent man, you are no doubt familiar with the mathematical concept of little ‘i’. To wit, the square root of minus one. Something that cannot exist. Great things can be achieved in mathematics by having him in equations.

Thus, consider God as little ‘i’ if you cannot bring yourself to believe. And whatever you do, don’t leave the lad out of equations. You don’t want to trust solely to man, as history sadly attests...


4 September 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

Let me put it another way; there is no evidence that ANY god has revealed it's presence in any material or metaphysical way in all history, that convinces me to believe in its existence then or now.

Yes, and since you cannot produce any evidence for what is entailed by the absence of God, logically, you should be an agnostic.

4 September 2013 at 22:28  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 20:57

I'm not entirely clear what you're saying. 'Materialism', I take it, means nothing other than matter; no spiritual dimension/realm. Since this is where God would be, no spiritual realm, no God. So materialism entails atheism; I get that bit.

Atheism need not entail materialism; that's what I'm struggling with. Why not? Are you arguing for some sort of theory of mind independent of matter?

4 September 2013 at 22:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Danjo,

That is, one must have a 'rational' explanation for all sorts of stuff that's quite reasonable simply to set aside as unknown or even perhaps unknowable.

Exactly, it is unknown, and thus agnosticism not atheism is the starting point.

I expect theism appeals to some of those others in a sort of 'comfort blanket' way

I expect atheism appeal to those who can't stand the idea that there might be a good greater than themselves, to whom they are responsible. This is why it is important to be an atheist rather than an agnostic (which would be braver). Atheism is thus a kind of comfort blanket.

The reality is that materialism pretty much entails atheism but atheism does not necessarily entail materialism, despite what those theists try to make out.

My position does not require that atheism entail materialism. It simply says that atheism entails that whatever exists is capable of existing without a divine cause.

I think some theists feel threatened by atheism and so they try to define atheism very tightly to make it a belief rather than a non-belief.

In your rush to turn this into some kind psychological thing, you are missing the real point. I don't find atheism intellectually threatening at all. I really don't think it is intellectual viable (which is not the same thing as not finding atheism threatening - it's history violence is very threatening). My irritation with atheism is its presumption of neutrality by which it helps itself to political influence which is bad for society, bad for freedom and unjustly gained.

4 September 2013 at 22:37  
Blogger Peter D said...

DanJ0
Like it would help if this proposition was explained:

" ... materialism pretty much entails atheism but atheism does not necessarily entail materialism ..."

If no God or gods - then what? Are you saying that something more than the physical world exists? Something other than matter and energy? I understood your position to be that all things, including consciousness, are composed of material interactions.

5 September 2013 at 00:28  
Blogger Murray said...

Sure, call the man a monster, but where would we all be now if he hadn't thrashed the divine right of kings once and for all on the battlefield? Cromwell's victories gave freedom as we know it a chance to take root in the mid-17th century. Yes, the monarchy was restored, but it was a shackled monarchy. The seeds of the English republic, brief though its existence, produced the tree of liberty that sprouted in America a century later.

Lord Acton

5 September 2013 at 01:20  
Blogger Alison Judith Bailey said...

There is further information on the Waldensians and their ancient stand for their beliefs set out in the 13th century at:
http://oldwaldensianpaths.blogspot.co.uk/

5 September 2013 at 07:16  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 September 2013 at 07:28  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Alison Judith Bailey

Thanks for the link. It seems the Waldensians were well ahead of the reformation in their understanding of the Gospel. Further evidence of the church invisible perhaps.

5 September 2013 at 08:48  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert said
…you should be an agnostic..

So on this premise, Dawkins is agnostic; he holding the same view as myself on religious belief, formed by the absence in the historical/present record of any clear evidence for a belief/existence in your God (sic) which according to your deduction makes him also agnostic rather than the arch-atheist and object for your ire.

For your benefit (and anyone else) who seemingly can’t stand the thought of someone being perfectly happy with their lot in life, independent of religious mind controlling Roman Catholicism I offer :-

Atheism is the absence of belief in any Gods or spiritual beings. The word Atheism comes from a, meaning without, and theism meaning belief in god or gods.

Atheists don't use God to explain the existence of the universe.
Atheists say that human beings can devise suitable moral codes to live by without the aid of Gods or scriptures.
Reasons for non-belief

People are atheist for many reasons, among them:

They find insufficient evidence to support any religion.
They think that religion is nonsensical.
They once had a religion and have lost faith in it.
They live in a non-religious culture.
Religion doesn't interest them.
Religion doesn't seem relevant to their lives.
Religions seem to have done a lot of harm in the world.
The world is such a bad place that there can't be a God.
Many atheists are also secularist, and are hostile to any special treatment given to organised religion.

It is possible to be both atheist and religious. Virtually all Buddhists manage it, as do some adherents of other religions, such as Judaism and Christianity.

Atheists and morality

Atheists are as moral (or immoral) as religious people.

In practical terms atheists often follow the same moral code as religious people, but they arrive at the decision of what is good or bad without any help from the idea of God.

What does it mean to be human?

Atheists find their own answers to the question of what it means to be human.

BBC website.

Seeing the importance you attach to labelling people, I suggest that if anyone should be classed as agnostic (ie rejecting Gnosticism) it is yourself.

5 September 2013 at 08:59  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 08:59

"Atheist are as moral (or immoral) as religious people."

You speak as if 'morality' is something fixed. If so, why? What, in your view, is the basis for morality?

5 September 2013 at 09:10  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Explorer

You speak as if 'morality' is something fixed. If so, why? What, in your view, is the basis for morality?

Not at all have I ever believed this or suggested that morals are fixed. Some are constant but hardly ever fixed - but I know where you are heading with this so lets cut the crap.

Morality is not handed down by a god. Those that believe in a god do not in my view, hold any moral high-ground or legitimacy of superiority except in their own minds.

I think it is safe to assume that the moralities in human society are inherent and internal within us. What I mean is that the mechanism that creates morality is built into our genetics. Morals are subject to a wide range of applications and extremes and some societal moralities can be created from lies and false beliefs. They are subject to change and most are not absolute.

What was once moral, for example slavery, is no longer moral today and thus we move on toward a more civil and moral human society.

5 September 2013 at 09:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 09:39

Christianity (belief in my own religion, incidentally, in no way commits me to the defence of all religions) believes that morality is fixed. You compared your morality to the morality of religious people. If the morality of Christians is fixed, is yours?

The alternative, I'd say, is the position of Epicurus. Morality is whatever enables you to survive in the social environment in which you find yourself. Nothing is moral or immoral in itself.

If honesty will do it, use honesty. If lying will do it, use lying. Co-operate if you have to; slaughter your opponents if you have to.

Use machinery if machinery will do things more efficiently than slavery. But if machinery fails, and you have to resort to more primitive solutions, then ensure you're on the side that has the upper hand...


PS: With regard to your last sentence. Was the world more moral in 1945 than it was in 1900?

5 September 2013 at 10:09  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Was the world more moral in 1945 than it was in 1900?

Define what you mean by more moral - more moral than when? and when you do, I shall respond - 'how would I know?'

5 September 2013 at 10:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 10:34

I was quoting you: a more civil and moral human society. So, since you are the one who raised it, let's have your definition first.

Incidentally, re 1900 and 1945. In 1900 there was was a definite belief in inevitable progress: moral as well as scientific. It was believed that warfare would come to an end (if it hadn't already).

By 1945 there had been the Herero genocide, two world wars, poison gas, mass social displacement, Lenin's liquidations, Stalin's labour camps, NAZI death camps and Hiroshima.

None of those had been even contemplated in 1900: well, poison gas, maybe. But not its use.

5 September 2013 at 10:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught:

Actually, neither of us is going to persuade the other, but there's been an interesting exchange of views, hopefully for the benefit of other readers.

Thank you for the dialogue; I suggest we both move on to the new thread.

Regards.

5 September 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 September 2013 at 11:34  
Blogger IanCad said...

The Explorer

I can't really say "Thank You"
for the information, but the Herero Genocide is yet another horror that I was unaware of.

Bet plenty of others were as well.

5 September 2013 at 11:44  
Blogger LEN said...

For someone to say "there is no God "implies that person has the complete knowledge of everything on and in this Earth and of the whole solar system (material and spiritual.)
I would like to meet this person because I have a few questions to ask him.

5 September 2013 at 11:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

So on this premise, Dawkins is agnostic

No, he's an atheist, but he should be agnostic, because he cannot provide reason to believe what is entailed by his atheism.

Atheism is the absence of belief in any Gods or spiritual beings.

It therefore implies the truth of what is entailed by the absence of those beings.

For your benefit (and anyone else) who seemingly can’t stand the thought of someone being perfectly happy with their lot in life, independent of religious mind controlling Roman Catholicism

Why do you keep assuming you know my psychological state? Isn't that also a bit irrational? For your benefit, I don't argue these points for the reason you give, but because I value the truth, and I value my freedom. Is see atheism as a hindrance to both, in practice, and so I defend my position. Isn't that what you do? After all, you started this discussion, I think.

I won't reply to the comments about morality, because Explorer is doing so.

Seeing the importance you attach to labelling people

Did you not tacitly label yourself?

I suggest that if anyone should be classed as agnostic (ie rejecting Gnosticism) it is yourself.

But that is not what the word means, I think, not in terms of its origin with Huxley, not in terms of its use, nor in terms of its general dictionary definition.

5 September 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert said

No, he's[Dawkins] an atheist, but he should be agnostic...

I'll let you it to him then.

5 September 2013 at 14:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Dreadnaught, but I don't think Dawkins is moved by reason, actually.

5 September 2013 at 14:20  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Dang! I left out he word 'break' but you obviously got my drift :-) - Dreadnaught out.

5 September 2013 at 15:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm quite comfortable with the notion of some sort of deist thinking which makes a guess at the core cosmological issues. It's the leap into theist thinking that I find so absurd. There's very little excuse for that.

5 September 2013 at 17:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Danjo,

Can you please explain how you are using deist and theist?

5 September 2013 at 17:28  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

While you're at it with your deist/theist definition for Albert, Peter D (00:28) and I (22:33) are still waiting for your explanation of why atheism need not entail materialism (20:57).

5 September 2013 at 19:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer, I choose with whom I engage and when, not you. So off you trot.

5 September 2013 at 20:18  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Why? What's so exotic about you? You don't own this Blog: HG does. Why make the point in the first place if you didn't want it queried? This is a public forum, not a private conversation.

My take on your response is that you don't have an answer, but are not prepared to admit it. (And I bet I won't be the only one to think so.)

5 September 2013 at 20:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "To wit, the square root of minus one. Something that cannot exist. Great things can be achieved in mathematics by having him in equations."

I didn't really take any of that seriously at the time but I had a bit of a gestalt shift about it when I was driving to work this morning. You're saying that this imaginary thingy is just a stepping stone to enable us to get to somewhere better which might not have been obvious without it? If so then I can see how that might be useful for some people but I'm quite suspicious of stuff like that. For sure, the imaginary thingy stands in as a sort of pretend authority for whatever priestly castes and other power people decide, and as a judge of last resort with which to threaten people who have power in our reality but it doesn't seem, well, very honest. What if people, such as imams, use it to impose a social structure which doesn't provide a Good Life for vulnerable people?

5 September 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

You can think what you like and try to rally whatever support you wish, Explorer. It's naught to me. I choose to whom I respond. It's not your blog space either so you have no say in that. Off you trot.

5 September 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Rally support. Get real! Do you really think your opinion matters that much?

If a speaker in a public debate (and this is an equivalent) refuses to answer a direct question to a point he's made, the likely conclusion to be drawn by the audience is not that he's too superior to need to do so.

The likely conclusion is that he doesn't have an answer.

5 September 2013 at 21:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

They seem to matter quite a lot to you at the moment.

5 September 2013 at 21:05  
Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

Thank you Lord Christ, and may the postmodern fall to histories God.

5 September 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger Peter D said...

DanJ0 said ...
"Explorer, I choose with whom I engage and when, not you. So off you trot."

Lol .... join the club Explorer! He 'refuses' discussion with Albert, Carl, myself and now you. Can't think why.

And of course he has no answers.

"I'm quite comfortable with the notion of some sort of deist thinking which makes a guess at the core cosmological issues", says he.

It would be interesting to hear his 'guess' at the nature of this Being - no?

Robespierre was a deist, establishing 'The Cult of the Supreme Being', based on the ideas of Rousseau in 'The Social Contract'. That worked! One could argue Hitler believed in a 'Supreme Being' too. Another wonderful chap.

5 September 2013 at 21:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

And here's Dodo doing his usual stuff now. Quelle surprise.

5 September 2013 at 21:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. For sure, the imaginary thingy stands in as a sort of pretend authority for whatever priestly castes and other power people decide,

You have it, more or less. We need a code that cannot be lessened by politicians. Believe in Christ or not, you must admit he had something going for what he said. The idea can be expanded to include the hereditary monarchy of the UK. Whatever happens, we are not going to have a head of state who has been given the position as a reward for political services past rendered. What a damn relief that is !

Don’t worry about imams. They will be dealt with when the time comes, at least in the UK...

5 September 2013 at 21:54  
Blogger Albert said...

Peter D,

One could argue Hitler believed in a 'Supreme Being' too. Another wonderful chap.

Actually, I am not so sure about that. In his book Hitlers Gott
Vorsehungsglaube und Sendungsbewusstsein des deutschen Diktators
German historian, Michael Rißmann, concludes that Hitler thought of God as "the rule of natural law throughout the universe...his religiosity consisted of an attempt to equate predestination with the regularities established by science." Now that seems to mean that Hitler denied there was a metaphysical God "out there" as theists think. Which is another way of saying that as far as metaphysical beings are concerned, he was an atheist - a believer in physics.

Surprised? Somehow, I don't think you will be.

Someone could do the world a favour and translate this book into English.

5 September 2013 at 21:59  
Blogger Peter D said...

Albert
No matter, my point still stands about deism being a mixed bag so far as morality and ethics are concerned. An unknowable, unreachable, uncommunicative metaphysical 'being' is as good/bad as atheism. One could be a pure Buddhist or a follower of Robespierre's 'Supreme Being'.

5 September 2013 at 22:51  
Blogger Peter D said...

DanJ0 said...
"And here's Dodo doing his usual stuff now. Quelle surprise."

And a good evening to you. I do like to be consistent. You could always just post an answer to .... nobody.

A deist, eh? Interesting.

5 September 2013 at 22:56  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector
"You have it, more or less. We need a code that cannot be lessened by politicians. Believe in Christ or not, you must admit he had something going for what he said."

Ummm ... I know you dislike me attempting to correct your opinions on Christianity and on Catholicism but, well, DanJ0's comment was a critique of 'religion' as a form of social control.

Christ's message was far from this - it was about internal change through a relationship with Him. The 'code' was the Old Testament; an impossible set of rules to live by as the Jews repeatedly demonstrated. The New Testament is something quite different. Christianity isn't a political solution to the world's ills.

What Christ said had something going for it because He taught us how God willed us to live for our own good and the way to do that can only be through a relationship with Him. Following the 'code' without Him is like trying to fly without wings.

5 September 2013 at 23:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Albert/Peter D:

On the Deism issue, what C S Lewis said about Pantheism seems pertinent here:

Speak about, beauty, truth and goodness, or about a God who is simply the indwelling principle of these three, about a great spiritual force pervading all things, a common mind of which we are all parts, a pool of generalised spirituality to which we can all flow, and you will command friendly interest. But the temperature drops as soon as you mention a God who has purposes and performs particular actions, who does one thing and not another, a concrete, choosing, commanding, prohibiting God with a determinate character. People become embarrassed or angry

6 September 2013 at 07:40  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Explorer. Unbelief in the West seems to be motivated by a desire for autonomy that is (mistakenly) thought to be threatened by theism.

6 September 2013 at 10:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D. DanJ0's comment was a critique of 'religion' as a form of social control.

We have Christ the God and Christ the man. Let’s see if we can’t extol the virtues of Christ the man. From one’s own limited understanding of Buddhism, the Buddha was no divinity. But he did leave behind him a way of life others follow today. Now, the important thing is that he is dead, so Buddhism can never be ‘improved’ by new revelations from him. Christ the man is no longer with us. Similarly, no improvements can be made.

What where are talking here is a code so pure that it cannot be altered by man’s fashionable attempt at any time. Continuity, if you will. If it worked in the past, it will always work. That is why Christian Western culture must be valued, by believer and atheist alike – especially in a time as ours when newly arrived aliens with an alien culture are set to make their own substantial imprint in the near future…







6 September 2013 at 16:41  
Blogger liam riordan said...

Very Glad see there is always people to hand who point out Cromwell was a dangerous bigot and zealot. The debate about him should always continue, I believe one day he will be forgotten by the good people of Britain. Lets not forget he send tens of thousands of catholic children as slaves to the west indies, incredibly this is historical fact.

It's a myth by the way that he readmitted the Jewish community, in fact Menasseh's revival attempt and petition was ignored by Cromwell in 1655. However he did indeed ban Christmas for a few years.

18 January 2014 at 11:06  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older