Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Maaloula is the wound of Christ"

"Maaloula is the wound of Christ," mourners chanted as they carried the coffins of their loved ones through the narrow streets of the Old City's Christian quarter.

Reports from the BBC, France 24, CNN, Breitbart and sundry Twitter threads are confused and contradictory. It is not clear if the forces of Assad's regime are managing to defend this ancient Christian enclave or the jihadi 'rebels' of the al-Nusra Front are prevailing. There is certainly shelling and gunfire, but doubts persist as to the precise targets and the fate of some of the oldest churches and monasteries in Christendom, such as the Deir Mar Takla, which is visited by Christian and Muslim pilgrims alike.

There are casualties on both sides. Jeremy Bowen for the BBC says he has seen about half a dozen wounded government soldiers. Others have witnessed the twisted corpses of opposition forces. There are reports of the kidnapping of bishops and the beheading of other Christians. Some are being forced to convert at gunpoint or are summarily executed. The remnant have fled to safer parts of the country or sought safe sanctuary in Lebanon. 

There was once interfaith community harmony here: Christians and Muslims lived and worshipped in peace, side by side. Not any more. Now they mourn for a lost life and weep at separate funerals. The overriding fear is that their Alawite guardian Bashar al-Assad will lose and they will be targeted by sundry Sunni-Wahhabi jihadists declaring the establishment of an Islamic state. There will no space in it for the Christians. They will be forced to convert or leave. If they refuse to leave they will die. Their communities will be destroyed. It is the will of Allah.

"We cleansed Maaloula from all the Assad dogs and all his thugs," declares an al-Nusra commander.

"They arrived in our town at dawn on Wednesday and shouted 'We are from the al-Nusra Front and have come to make lives miserable for the Crusaders," reported one inhabitant.

Al-Nusra is one of the most effective groups in the Syrian resistance, committed to what we might call an Islamist ideology, but to them it is simply Islam. Another is the Qalamun Liberation Front, an umbrella group consisting of several anti-regime forces of the Qalamun area near Damascus.

The battles are raging, but each side blames the other. "The regime wants to portray us as extremists," says a 'rebel' spokesman, "But we would not target any sacred places." He blames Assad's forces for damage to religious buildings. "We have withdrawn from Maaloula because we want to show that our goal is not to destroy but to liberate," he said. "We will stay on the edges of Maaloula, but residents who have left the town can, of course, return safely."

It is difficult to discern truth from an armchair in England. It is impossible to dissect poisonous propaganda or determine precisely what is going on. But there are rather too many reports of men wearing al-Nusra headbands targeting Christians and shooting at crosses. Two bishops and a priest are certainly missing. Testimony is compelling of jidahi murder and hatred: "One of them put a pistol to the head of my neighbor and forced him to convert to Islam by obliging him to repeat 'there is no God but God.’ Afterwards they joked, 'he's one of ours now.'"

Another Christian refused, so they shot him. "Jesus didn't come to save him," they taunted.

With Christianity being incrementally eradicated from the Middle East, the world needs to stand up and say enough is enough. And we need to pray earnestly for our brothers and sisters throughout the region. Their suffering is heartbreaking; their burden intolerable. We have absolutely no idea.


Blogger David Hussell said...

Thank you YG for keeping us informed.

It is most upsetting, most upsetting.

But do I sense that a little more balance is creeping into mainstream media reports, even dare I say it, the BBC ? Perhaps now, finally the west will begin to see the truth, as posted here : -

"With Christianity being incrementally eradicated from the Middle East, the world needs to stand up and say enough is enough."

Can the "liberal", left leaning west finally grasp the simple point that radical, Jihadi Muslims are motivated not primarily by poverty, lack of education, lack of economic opportunity and all the "causes" that the political establishment here will identify as the drivers of this hate and madness, but by religious extremism. And then perhaps they can reflect on their own countries too.......

12 September 2013 at 08:26  
Blogger Nick said...

Once again we have truly disturbing news from the region. At least the media have reported something this time.

I wonder if those who argue for military action realise the kind of rabid Islamist dogs they would Be supporting. One wonders too whether these dogs factor in the Wests naivity and willingness to intervene when they plan these rebellions. They know the BBC will always propagandise in favour of the perceived underdog and therefore sway Western opinion in their favour. If they knew such support was not forthcoming they might not start a jihadi uprising in the first place

12 September 2013 at 08:28  
Blogger Ivan said...

Maaloula or no, flimsy evidence or not, we cannot let the arch-murderer Assad get away with gassing women, children and sundry freedom-fighters. Its the same "what me worry" mentality that allowed the Holocaust to happen. The dead cannot speak, with burning eyes justice demands the elimination of Assad and all his minions. Otherwise we are all be good little Junkers who carry water for the new Hitler.

12 September 2013 at 08:46  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

"We have no idea"

Ah my Lord Archbishop, but we will soon...coming to a town near you...

12 September 2013 at 09:34  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...


I don't think Hitler liked the Junkers either...

12 September 2013 at 09:35  
Blogger Nick said...


I don't think we can compare this situation, which is a civil war, to the holocaust, which involved the state persecuting unarmed citizens.

We can get rid of Assad, but do you think the opposition will bring peace to Syria? I think you may be under-estimating the blood-lust of the Islamists. Peace is the last thing on their minds.

12 September 2013 at 09:56  
Blogger Ian G said...

Ivan, you have been suckered or are working for the other side. These links will help give you ( and others) a clearer picture of what it happening.

I do recommend following the links. There are further links to German, Syrian as well as US sources.

Britain has fouled up an opportunity we had years ago when Assad took power. He lived here. We should have offered him support for his regime conditional on reform. This would have strengthened Jordan as well.

12 September 2013 at 10:17  
Blogger Corrigan said...

As it happens, the priest at the Mass I attended last Sunday brought this issue to the fore in his (old-style and uncompromising) sermon. There are, he said, three points to bear in mind: 1 - Muslims are NOT mostly reasonable people who are betrayed by a few Islamic extremists, but rather as a group are given to the persecution of Christians and other kuffir since that it the command of the Koran; 2 - in this, the media are their co-conspirators, which is why the firt I heard of the murder of the two bishops and the priest in Syria was from the pulpit that morning; 3 - SILENCE! I put that word in bold because that's the way he delivered it.

That's why I love the Tridentine Mass; there's so much more to it than mere Latin chants. There's nowhere else in the Catholic Church (and certainly not in the wider Christian community) where you'll hear a sermon like that anymore; I expect the thought police have already been around to charge him with hate crimes. If so, I'm sure I can rely on the congregants here to support the legal fund.

12 September 2013 at 10:29  
Blogger Preacher said...

Ivan. I think you should read the report @ 17.00 yesterday. About the conversations overheard by two journalists held by rebel forces.
Then ask yourself, Who will benefit the most from Outside military help, Assad or his opponents? Bear in mind that a missile strike WILL kill innocent people too - Fact!.

This report reveals that innocent, unarmed, non combatant, Men, Women & Children are being summarily executed & their homes & Churches looted & burned. Because they are Christians - Fact!.

The Obama regime are churning out propaganda in an attempt to save face, that's obvious. Stick with the known facts & issues.

12 September 2013 at 10:41  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Welcome to the true fruits of the Arab spring and witness how very shortly the middle east and north africa will all have Islamic style governments, rather than the liberal hopes of western style democracy...

12 September 2013 at 11:59  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Corrigan,

Your post above just highlights your illogical ideas in respect of Israel.

12 September 2013 at 12:02  
Blogger David B said...

It's a terrible situation, and it is very hard to know what we in the West should do for the...I was going to say best, but really it is least bad.

Let us not forget, though, that it is not just Christians who are suffering - Muslims of the wrong sect, women of every religion and sect as in all Muslim theocracies, even the better of them, and the rights of free speech are such that anyone who doubts the existence of Allah, Yahweh or whatever had better keep quiet and their head down.

The Christians seem at the moment to perhaps be getting the worst of it, but then martyrdom and suffering for Jesus is supposed to be a good thing, for a Christian, isn't it?

Am I right to think that in the early days of the church some Christians actually sought martydom out, for the pie promised in the sky? Rather as in more recent times some seek pleasures in an afterlife by blowing themselves and others to smithereens.

I'm not actually sure that, from a Christian perspective that I don't share, the suffering of Christians should not be welcomed rather than deplored.


12 September 2013 at 12:12  
Blogger Philip said...

The slaughter and displacement of Christians is evidently not high on the list of concerns of the likes of Obama, Cameron, Hague and the FCO.

I'm pleasantly surprised that Maaloula even featured on the BBC.

12 September 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger bluedog said...

David B @ 12.12 says, 'The Christians seem at the moment to perhaps be getting the worst of it, but then martyrdom and suffering for Jesus is supposed to be a good thing, for a Christian, isn't it?'

Award yourself first prize for tasteless cynicism. Perhaps you thought that remark was funny. It's not, it's sick.

You've told us enough about yourself for most communicants to understand that you have nothing to offer - except for remarks like that. What have we got; sixtyish, white, single, male, atheist, childless. Looks like a dead-end, doesn't it? And yet when you had cancer you came to this blog for sympathy.


12 September 2013 at 12:47  
Blogger LEN said...

Some of the things happening to Christians by Muslim extremists are probably too horrific to report.
We see what happened to Drummer Rigby in broad daylight on the streets of the UK not so long ago this is apparently happening large scale wherever Muslims extremists get the opportunity to wreak violence on defenceless Christians (and anyone else who gets in their way)Beheading Christians is OK as long as they are not gassed?. No 'red line on beheading ...yet?.

These Muslim extremists are apparently following the teachings of the Koran?.

12 September 2013 at 12:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Re: "The world needs to stand up and say enough is enough"

Who or what is the 'world' in this sentence? That vacuous non-entity called the UN? Some collection of nations like the EU? A military alliance like NATO? Who? This abstract concept called the 'world' does not exist.

What will 'the world' do once it says 'enough is enough.' Does it gird its loins for war? Because almost all of those nations couldn't move a regiment across a river let alone an army to a foreign land. Does it then make a stirring speech instead? That should be useful. The combatants will surely quake in their boots at the thought.

If action is desired, then be honest about what that implies. You would need to seize control by force and govern by force. If you don't have the means to achieve that objective, then you must acquire the means. Then you must use those means. But to speak words without any ability or will to back them up is simply contemptible.

But this of course is why the actor in the sentence was reduced to the vague and amorphous concept of 'world.' It allows moral obligation to be expressed without actually admitting any obligation in the specific. There is no actor. There is only outrage and a general feeling that someone should do something about it.

The 'something' means colonizing Syria. Any nation wishing to assume that obligation, please form in a queue to the right. ... Anyone?

No, I thought not.


12 September 2013 at 12:52  
Blogger LEN said...

David B,(12 September 2013 12:12)

That`s the atheists view is it?.

You prove every word said by Christians about atheism.

12 September 2013 at 12:56  
Blogger Nick said...

David B

"I'm not actually sure that, from a Christian perspective that I don't share, the suffering of Christians should not be welcomed rather than deplored."

Your comment ranks alongside that of your mentor Richard Dawkins who thinks paedophilia ain't such a bad thing.

12 September 2013 at 13:13  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Ha! I had a little bet with myself as to wheather Avi or Hannah would be the first little Zionist fishey to bite, and whatdiya know, I won! Oh, what a responisbility it is to carry such an intellect, but I think I discharge the duty manfully. People being gassed, Christian communities attacked, bishops and priests murdered, but what's Hannah's response? How can we Zionists score a point for Israel. Cosmic.

12 September 2013 at 13:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

carl @ 12.52 say, 'The 'something' means colonizing Syria.'

Precisely. Time was when the UK wouldn't hesitate to be culturally insensitive, kill the local nabob, buy off his rivals, introduce the rule of law, make English the official language and introduce the Anglican Church to provide for the baptism of Anglo-Syrian babies fathered by vigorous squaddies in furtive liaison with local girls.

But no more. The West is embarrassed by its history and cannot contemplate the eradication of a malign culture and its replacement by Western culture.

All of which begs the question, what are the Russians up to? Are they playing a very long game and actually seeking rapprochement with the West against the day when China threatens the Russian Far East? It's a possibility that cannot be dismissed.

As for the Saudis, the sponsors of global Wahabism and associated jihad, we owe them nothing. Without Saudi intervention Syria would possibly be moving on a very different path. Riyadh is the epicentre of misery in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Remember how Prince Bandar has boasted that Al-Saud could turn the Chechens on and off? Which way was the switch pointing when the Boston Marathon was running?

12 September 2013 at 13:18  
Blogger Ivan said...

OK, I see that my attempt at irony has fallen flat.

12 September 2013 at 13:25  
Blogger Peter D said...

"With Christianity being incrementally eradicated from the Middle East, the world needs to stand up and say enough is enough."

Agreed but the world isn't run on Christian principles and there is no international, universal body to promote or defend Christianity - except one, maybe.

If only there was a united Christendom, with temporal issues decided on the basis of Christian precepts with the Church outlining teachings to be taken into account.

If only .....

12 September 2013 at 13:27  
Blogger Naomi King said...

There is no future for Christian's in the Middle East in any Islamic country. It is so obvious it really doesn't need saying, those that are there need to GET OUT NOW or they will be slaughtered. I am afraid to say it is as simple as that.

12 September 2013 at 13:27  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Corrigan,

No different to you using the same post to advertise 'uncompromising' sermons against non-catholics and 'tridentine mass'...

besides which myself, Avi and Carl have always suggested that this would happen in Israel with your 'one state solutions'. Your reply was revealing 'I don't care'. At least I care about what is happening to people who are not of my faith.


12 September 2013 at 13:28  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Ivan,

I got your irony. I didn't want to spoil it for anyone else...

12 September 2013 at 13:29  
Blogger Corrigan said...

If only there was a united Christendom, with temporal issues decided on the basis of Christian precepts with the Church outlining teachings to be taken into account.

Damn, Peter, that's a great idea. Why hasn't anyone ever tried it? I mean, if such a system prevailed, only idiots could object to it. Oh, wait...

12 September 2013 at 13:30  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Carl,

"please form in a queue to the right. ... Anyone?"

Well having just read Peter D's post, perhaps that is the answer? Isn't the Vatican a state in its own right? Perhaps everyone could lobby the Pope as a head of state, to raise an army under the Papal banner?

There is already the Swiss Guard to act as a elite corps.I'm sure the Vatican has enough money to do so- say an army of 25,000 soldiers, a couple of mothballed naval cruisers and subs, some cruise missiles? Could it be done? I'm sure it would be 'legal' under international law.

12 September 2013 at 13:36  
Blogger LEN said...

IF only Christians could leave their 'denominations'(of which Catholicism is one) and unite behind the True Head which is Christ perhaps we could change the World
IF Only.

But... in the meantime Islam is revealing itself to be totally opposed to God (That is the God of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob the only true God)and indeed to anyone who' gets in its way 'which includes everyone even other Muslims of the 'wrong sort'(whatever that is)

12 September 2013 at 13:39  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Hannah seems a little confused as to how I can write an post critical of Islam and yet still despise Israel. Avi, of course, would not be so callow, but for her benefit, here's the logic. Zionists base their pitch for western support on the "whataboutery" angle: the other lot are worse, so support us (turns on perky smile). The problem is that "my enemy's enemy" being my friend only makes sense where my "friend" is not a lying, thieving, murdering scumbucket in his own right. Are we clear now?

12 September 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

It isn't just Jews and Christians who suffer from Islamophobia.

Coercion, intimidation, thuggery and outright terrorism are intrinsic and essential features of Islam.

Islam is so intellectually moribund and ethically repulsive that it cannot compete for followers with any other belief-system in a free marketplace of ideas, but must eliminate all its competitors by whatever means may be necessary.

12 September 2013 at 13:56  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

An article in the Chicago Tribune about Syria’s Christians has been copied on the AINA website. It concludes: ‘...among the pro-war elites in Washington, the plight of the Syrian Christians, and their brethren throughout the Middle East, is often pointedly forgotten, and pointedly ignored.’

12 September 2013 at 14:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Evidently Hannah just doesn't get it. If the Palestinians did to the Israelis what the Islamists are doing in Syria, that would be justice. What other fate would be appropriate for lying, thieving, murdering scumbuckets?


12 September 2013 at 14:48  
Blogger LEN said...

I think Corrigan just doesn`t get it.
God has a plan for His people Israel and we are either praying 'His Will' be done or we oppose His Will.
It isn`t a matter of personal likes or dislikes (Unless you have been taught different... perhaps some have ..I wonder where?.
Anti- Semitism is on the rise fueled by those brainwashed by either 'replacement theology' or those ignorant about who actually owns the Land of Israel(the God of the Bible for those who thought different)and God proclaims Israel His Land.
"FOR BEHOLD, in those days and at that time when I shall reverse the captivity and restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and there will I deal with and execute judgment upon them for their treatment of My people and of My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and because they have divided My land." [Joel 3:1-2;

And getting back to the thread the destinies of Christians and Jews are running parallel courses in these 'last days' and those in 'the Church' had better discover their Jewish heritage pretty quickly.

12 September 2013 at 15:16  
Blogger David B said...

Nick and various others - actually further looking into the matter, I find that early Christian views on martydom are pretty variable.

On one hand I refer you to Cyprian Bishop of Carthage

"This is the baptism angels use: God and his Anointed One rejoice in it: after it, no one sins again; it is the full flower of our faith; it takes us out of this world and joins us with God. Baptism of water obtains forgiveness of sin; baptism of blood earns the crown of righteousness."

But against that there are views that only Catholics can be martyrs, on the grounds that martyrdom can only come when one is killed from true beliefs, as Irenaeus thought. But then, wasn't he the chappy who thought that there had to be just four gospels on numerological grounds?

Augustine seems not to have supported the idea of martyrdom as a guarantee of heaven, seeming to think that being in the Church is a better way of avoiding everlasting punishment.

So it seems that, as in Islam, not all clerical fathers seem to regard martyrdom as some sort of panacea guaranteeing a blissful afterlife, though it also seems that a few were of that mind. But generally it seems that the concensus was that unless you had lived well and been a good member of the church martydom alone won't do the trick.

When looking for the views of early Christian fathers on martydom I came across another quote attributed to Augustine, which on this day when the church in Wales is voting on women bishops seemed to me to be worth looking at.

“Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way. They should, in fact, be segregated as they are the cause of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men.”

The guy seems to be as bad as any Talibanistic Ayatollah, and it quite defeats me how any self respecting person, and self respecting woman in particular, can remain in a church that holds such a misogynist clown in any sort of regard other than contempt.

But to conclude, it does seem that the impressions I had gained on the early churches views on martyrdom were over simplistic at best, and in fact generally, though not universally, wrong.


12 September 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger Corrigan said...

One assumes that God ran His plan by Len before launching it, otherwise how does he (lower case "h" indicating Len, not God) know what the plan is?

12 September 2013 at 15:29  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

Johnny Rottenborough, Thank you for that link to AINA, the Assyrian Christian website.

I have an "issue", as they call it, with one quote from the piece. It's this:

But don't they know that the Christians were there long before the crusaders arrived from Western Europe?

Equally to the point would be this question: But don't they know that the Christians were there long before the Moslems overran Syria in the 630s, just a year or two after the prophet's death? In fact when Mohammed was born in or around the year AD 570, Syria had been a centre of Christianity for over 500 years.

In St Paul's day, the capital of Roman Syria was Antioch, now Antakya, a small town in the south of Turkey. But in the first century AD Antioch was described by St Paul's contemporaries as the third largest city in the Roman Empire, exceeded only by Rome itself and Alexandria.

12 September 2013 at 15:41  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Corrigan opines, Hannah seems a little confused as to how I can write an post critical of Islam and yet still despise Israel. Avi, of course, would not be so callow....

Being a simple man contemplating another simple man, Avi has a simple explanation. He believes that Corrigan hates Jews, Judaism and Israel and will support any murderer or persecutor of Jews no matter how repulsive. That's why Corrigan couldn't care less about the Pals suffering under their own leaders and their Arab brothers. Why Corrigan plays silly buggers about what passes for his thoughts and doesn't just bellow out his bile with honesty is a mystery. Or not; he hates the word "antisemite" for some reason.

12 September 2013 at 15:57  
Blogger Nick said...

David B

You have been spending your time reading the thoughts of men, not of God. The Chrisitian view of martydom is more along the lines "I would prefer to die because of Christ than live because of evil". It is not a desire to die in order to get some greater reard in Heaven. Such an attitude might be true of Islamic suicide bombers, but not of Christians.

As to attitudes to women, I'll think you'll find that both Christian and secular views have changed over the centuries. The Bible says nothing about keeping women uneducated or ill-informed.

12 September 2013 at 16:02  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

Avi, Corrigan can only be an agent provocateur. No real live human being frequenting this blog could be so full of shit. He’s just angling for a response along the lines of “In the whole of the Middle East, the only Arabs who live under a decent government are the Israeli Arabs.” Which, of course, is simply the plain truth.

Corrigan isn’t worth wasting your time on. Like any other slimy turd, stepping on him is all too easy. But it’s not worth getting your shoes dirty.

12 September 2013 at 16:07  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Good points, Uncle Brian, but as this is a popular blog with more visiting lurkers than commenters, I wouldn't want my silence to be interpreted as consent or trpidation. So, from time to time I must stuff kleenex up my considerable honker, throw on a raincoat, don my Wellingtons and get the hose out.

12 September 2013 at 16:17  
Blogger OldJim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 September 2013 at 16:23  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

Right Avi, Didn't know you called them "wellingtons" in Canada too ... I hope we can both put them back in the cupboard now.

12 September 2013 at 16:24  
Blogger OldJim said...

David B,

I thought that that quote from Augustine looked hilarious, so I googled it. It turns up on many atheist and liberal websites, some of them listing quotes all of which appear to be meticulously sourced.

I am yet to see on any of them a source given for that quote. Having dedicated ten minutes to it, and from the very off having thought the quote quite curious, I am now happy to say that I am quite certain that it is a slanderous fake.

I challenge you to find me a citation for it, or to retract it.

As for martyrdom, actively seeking death is never appropriate. Martyrdom is about accepting death rather than ethically breaking when one's hand is forced, not about happily disregarding one's duties in this life when one first sees the opportunity.

Likewise, it is a paradoxical sort of thing in being something one can hope one would not shrink away from oneself, whilst never wishing it on anyone else.

To understand the animosity you have received for that first post, imagine that the CEO of some paint-stripper company had just had it revealed that his product caused cancer, and had replied: "Well, you're always boasting that you'd consider it an honour to stand by your spouse and not to leave or fail them if they were to deteriorate and die, didn't you? What's wrong with having the opportunity?"

Recognising and applauding the virtue of an act in others, promising that you would perform the act if you were presented with the necessity.. Neither of these are the same as callously wishing the circumstances that necessitate the act upon someone else.

12 September 2013 at 16:25  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Peter D and Corrigan

"If only there was a united Christendom, with temporal issues decided on the basis of Christian precepts with the Church outlining teachings to be taken into account.

Damn, Peter, that's a great idea. Why hasn't anyone ever tried it? I mean, if such a system prevailed, only idiots could object to it. Oh, wait..."

The phrase "we had it and we blew it" is coming to mind... :)

12 September 2013 at 16:40  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Oh, I don't really hate the word "anti-Semite", Avi. I know how cynical its use is among Zionists and give it no mind. I know they consider ALL Goyim to be anti-Semites, including the likes of Uncle Brian; it's just that they can use his sort, so they're civil to them for the time being. They can't do anything with my kind. You calling me an anti-Semite is like me calling you shameless - it has zero effect. BTW, any anyone noticed how this thread is now all about poor little Israel?

12 September 2013 at 17:10  
Blogger David B said...

Old Jim

"I thought that that quote from Augustine looked hilarious, so I googled it. It turns up on many atheist and liberal websites, some of them listing quotes all of which appear to be meticulously sourced."

As I say, I stumbled on the alleged quote.

I am aware that many quotes are out of context, falsely ascribed or just made up, but there was nothing about this one, I confess, that triggered my bullshit meter.

Over the next days I shall see if I can justify it or not - in fact I think I shall see if I can get others to do the work, and post it on my discussion board to see if anyone else can come up with it.

I wouldn't be surprised, though, if it turns out to be phony - I shall report back in either case.


12 September 2013 at 17:25  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Corrigan wrote:

BTW, any anyone noticed how this thread is now all about poor little Israel?

Well, not totally, but grant the assertion for the sake of argument. Where did the thread then turn? Right here at 12 September 2013 13:17 with this statement.

Ha! I had a little bet with myself as to wheather Avi or Hannah would be the first little Zionist fishey to bite, and whatdiya know, I won!

Hannah had simply pointed out that Corrigan's previous post was completely inconsistent with his expressed 'single state' solution for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Given those "three points to bear in mind" he couldn't logically offer such a solution. And she was right. She used the word 'illogical.' I would have used words like 'duplicitous' and 'hypocritical.' All in all, it was a fair comment directed at Corrigan and his manifestly inconsistent position. (Well, it's inconsistent until you realize he considers the Israelis to be lying thieving murdering scumbuckets. Then you realize that he knows what would happen. He just doesn't care.)

Little did Hannah know that Corrigan's post was simply bait to snag a 'Zionist fishey.' So who pulled this thread onto the subject of Israel? It weren't Hannah.


12 September 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Old Jim

I read my way right through 'The City of God' once, and I certainly don't remember coming across it there.

I'm checking the 'Confessions', but it reads like a spoof to me.

12 September 2013 at 18:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

We don’t make the mistake of saying Assad is a good man. Good men don’t climb to the top to rule a country comprised of a majority population one finds it extremely hard not to consider as human vermin.

So let’s not make the mistake in thinking Assad is not the right strong arm to keep the aforementioned pro-vermin under control.

And we must certainly not make the mistake of letting that intellectually lacking bell hop Obama undermine him.

12 September 2013 at 19:02  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Yeah, Corrigan, that's it, everyone's an antisemite, including Uncle Brian, my Zionist Imperialist Puppet, which of course makes you one of the guys. An unremarkable fellow you are, yes, and as subtle as a fart in a bathysphere. I marvel at the level of your hydrophobia where you are ok with throwing your fellow Christians under the bus just to stick it to the Zionist usurpers any way you can. Your Pali-pets and their other glorious Muslim brethren are just about done with robbing, raping and exiling all the Christians anyhow. Not that you and your fellow tools will even get a thank you card for distraction.

12 September 2013 at 19:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

seanrobsville@ 13:56: ...Islam is so intellectually moribund and ethically repulsive that it cannot compete for followers with any other belief-system in a free marketplace of ideas, but must eliminate all its competitors by whatever means may be necessary. Thank you -- it's useful to identify characteristics they share with our Marxist Masters! No wonder they seem to be in alliance.

12 September 2013 at 19:09  
Blogger Unce Brian said...

David B at 15:20 and 17:25
Old Jim at 16:25
The Explorer at 18:26

It's been several years since I last read anything by St Augustine, and in fact I've only ever read the Confessions and the City of God, but I'm pretty sure there is no mention in either of them of "hideous erections". It's a phrase that would tend to stick in the memory, isn't it? Once read, never forgotten ...

And it doesn't sound at all like the kind of thing Augustine would say, unless (just conceivably) he was referring to his Manichean days, before he was converted to Christianity. And in that case his purpose in mentioning it would presumably be to refute it.

12 September 2013 at 19:15  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Without wanting to divert attention from the subject of the thread, since a possible spoof has come up, here are two definites.

1. Bertrand Russell - 'A History of Westerrn Philosophy' - mocked Calvin for rejecting Copernican theory on the strength of Psalm xciii 1. Actually, Calvin never said it.

2. Bishop Wilberforce asked Thomas Huxley if he was descended from an ape on his grandfather's or grandmother's side. Apparently, the question in question was invented by a journalist thirty years after the actual debate.
Darwin conceded that Wilberforce's critiique of his book (before the debate with Huxley took place) was "uncommonly clever".

Source: Alister McGrath: 'The Twilight of Atheism' Ch 4.

12 September 2013 at 19:29  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister T
"The phrase "we had it and we blew it" is coming to mind... :)"

Well no, "we" didn't blow it - though the Church at the time needed reform - not revolution. And let's be clear, the major breach was the King of England and that was caused by self-interest and squabbles with Spain and France. It also eventually set the precedent for regicide that caught on in France and travelled to Russia.

I wrote these thoughts on a thread below:

"If there was a united Christendom, with temporal leaders guided by a united Church, each respecting the other's role, serious consideration would be given to a 'Crusade' to protect both Christians and Jews in the middle east.

I'll go further and say the threat from militant Islamists would not have arisen in the first place and would have been crushed. So too the rise of Nazism and Communism and the unrestrained excesses of free market capitalism. You might have even seen the Jews invited back to Israel by such a universal power, in more accord with their orthodox teachings on the 'Three Oaths' and orthodox Christian teaching on the direction of history and the part to be played by the Jews.

Idle speculation, you'll say. Or counter with Rome would have enslaved the world. No doubt Len et al will bang on about the anti-Christ and the beast etc., seeing the reformation as a necessary restraint on Rome.

Me, I turn to Matthew 16:18 and wonder in awe at God's Wisdom and His ultimate purposes and know, one way or another, they will be fulfilled."

12 September 2013 at 19:56  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Not that you and your fellow tools will even get a thank you card for distraction.

I know, Avi, and it really hurts. Sometimes, I think you're the only one on this site who really understands me, my friend. I mean, we have so much in common, it seems to me. Besides both being married to stout-hearted Edinburgh lasses, both of us are committed to the One True Faith (admittedly, the wrong one in one case) and both of us feel the same contempt for Christian Zionists. It's eerie, isn't it?

12 September 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Corrigan,

I'm fuming!

You know you are the best advert as to why anyone SHOULD NOT every be a Roman Catholic! And yes you are anti-semitic, you don't actually care about Christians or Palestians or anyone else! Unless they are Catholic -Irish or who are ultra nationalist Scottish (but only because they 'bash' your other pet hate, the English!).

To you these people are nothing more than a cynical tool, with which to bash Jews, indeed as you have already said you 'don't care' about the plight of them.

Thankfully, despite your own and Peter D's lament about the loss of 'temporal' power of the Catholic Church, I actually think thank Fe*k for that!

You know, a belief based upon hate will never win. Re-examine your own beliefs. Hate less and love more. Or continue as you are. I 'don't care', but your own bile and hatred is not very Christian and certainly not the best reflection of your own Roman Catholic Church....

12 September 2013 at 20:19  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Avi,

Stop putting yourself down! You are NOT a 'simple man' and your ARE very intelligent and works in a dangerous job, to provide for his family! I am sure you are a wonderful husband and a brilliant father. There isn't anything more that could be asked of you... except to perhaps start painting again!

12 September 2013 at 20:21  
Blogger Corrigan said...

You wound me, Hannah, really you do. I am, in fact, the very reason why you, Carl, Avi et al should come to the Church, because Catholic morality is objective and pitiless in it calculation. This is the trouble you have with it, since it doesn't give a free pass to the Jews. If it's wrong when I do it, it's wrong when you do it and screaming "hater!!!" at the top of your lungs is merely the Zionist equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears, scrunching closed your eyes and chanting "la la la la la...". Avi at least has the cynicism to accept the truth of that, but your childish blend of the hippie and the Judaic is laughable.

12 September 2013 at 20:34  
Blogger IanCad said...

Support Assad. It will come to that sooner or later.

12 September 2013 at 20:41  
Blogger Peter D said...

"Peter D's lament about the loss of 'temporal' power of the Catholic Church, I actually think thank Fe*k for that!"

Just where did I "lament" this? The Catholic Church separates temporal and spiritual power - unlike the reformation in England. I was referring to a united and independent group of Christian States following and applying the spiritual teachings of the Church and acting in accord when necessary - on the basis of a shared morality. It's what stopped Islam in the past.

The above was Catholic doctrine before the 'Enlightenment', deism, and individualism changed the context. Applying it was the issue - corrupt, sinful men.

Times change - we have individual Western nation states bound together by mutual self-interest, often economic, and their leaders dependent on pandering to the masses through universal suffrage and democracy to secure election for short periods of time.

Maybe a "better" system; maybe not.

12 September 2013 at 20:45  
Blogger Peter D said...

Oh, and Hannah, I think you'll find Avi is using ironical, self-deprecatory, humour. Very Jewish too.

12 September 2013 at 20:52  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

HI Corrigan,

I actually couldn't give a dam about your blessings or whether or not the Catholic Church gives 'a free pass to the Jews'.

I am fully well aware that a non-Catholic will 'go to hell'. Enough of your co-religionists have said that, including Thomas Woods.

As for Protestants, in actual fact Carl Jacobs has also confirmed in his Protestant understanding of Christianity that Jews must also convert to Christianity. This is not new news to me. I believe Carl supports Israel, not on religious grounds but on secular ideas. That is good enough for me.

"Catholic morality is objective and pitiless in it calculation".

I actually think it is subjective, but I agree pitiless. Not that I could give one dam about what your Church actually says.

"your childish blend of the hippie and the Judaic is laughable."

Given that you know sweet f all about Judaism I can discount the second bit of that. As for the hippie, you have no clue as to the cost I've personally had to go through- both from the gay community and from Christians- about deciding for Orthodox Judaism.

12 September 2013 at 20:53  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Peter D,

In the thread above, if you want to re-read. Yes Avi is self-deprecatory, but that doesn't mean he should compare himself to Corrigan...

12 September 2013 at 20:55  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the LORD: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.

12 September 2013 at 21:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps. Corrigan is a clever bleeder. But don’t you recognise when he's playing with you ?

12 September 2013 at 21:46  
Blogger Peter D said...


Sssshhhh ....

12 September 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Inspector/Peter D,

Best not to toy with one of us, is my thought. Hannah might be 'Judaic hippy' and whatnot, but at least she is sincere and devout in her belief. And at least that belief is positive.

Unlike the constant cynical negativity of Corrigan, to wit I can only see that his outlook is based upon negatives -anti-capitalist, Anti-English, anti-Jewish etc.; never seen a positive rationale to be Roman Catholic in his posts.

Corrigan is the best advert to make people not want to be Roman Catholics. My granddaughter,Louise ,thought about going to Rome. Told her to read this blog. She read Corrigan's bull. Won't go to Rome now. Please, let Corrigan's ranting continue...

12 September 2013 at 22:07  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

I see Corrigan is like a pig in muck on this thread. Gets a chance to fart his Jew hate, whilst attacking his pals who are Pals and upsetting people, whilst being able to advertise his own wonderful 'uncompromising, objective and pitiless' faith [Jews knowing just how 'pitiless' Roman Catholicism can be]. I see Peter D provides the apologetic. Reason 101 why I am weary of said 'one true church' balls (in the spirit of ecumenical dialogue of course).

12 September 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger Peter D said...

Lord Lavendon
Not good putting a barrier in the way of someone joining the Catholic Church - nor a cause for rejoicing. Why didn't you direct her to Albert, Old Jim, or the abrasive but well informed ardenjm, or even Sister Tiberia?

Ultimately, it'll be Louise's decision, a fine young woman from what I know of her. Trust me, if the Holy Spirit is calling her, He won't give up because of the influence of one blogger.

Catholics do not hate Jews because it is part of Church teaching. It flies in the face of Church teaching since at least the 4th century.

12 September 2013 at 22:27  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Also 'wot' Uncle Hashy said above...

12 September 2013 at 22:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Lavendon old fellow. Perish the thought that Roman Catholicism fails because of just one mischievous man. Can you all not see, as this man can. He Corrigan, came here, tested the water. He looked up, down and around. And satisfied, now takes the piss...

12 September 2013 at 22:29  
Blogger Peter D said...

Hello David.

If Cressida was about she'd probably say" "Here come the Bedouin Brady Bunch spear carriers to Hannah's rescue."

You really need to "let the wind blow on her face", as they say in Scotland.

12 September 2013 at 22:32  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Peter D,

"Catholics do not hate Jews[Zionist for Corrigan] because it is part of Church teaching. It flies in the face of Church teaching since at least the 4th century."


PS- suggesting someone gets spiritual 'advice' from ardenjm??!

Why recommend Sister Tibs when you do nothing but attack her 'non judgementalism, liberal view'?

12 September 2013 at 22:35  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Peter D,

Well, I'd say that Hannah doesn't need rescuing here. I'm just 'putting me two cents worth' as one of your co-religionists said below....

12 September 2013 at 22:37  
Blogger Senzar said...

In case anyone is still interested, Ma'loolaa has been cleared of the al Nusrah Front terrorists.

As of today 138 terrorists have left Syria permanently, for depths unknown. They leave behind snipers who the SAA are in the process of sending to their preferred destinations.

The attack on Ma'loolaa was made possible by the inhabitants of various Sunni villages in the vicinity who gave maps to the terrorists of pathways and passages within the historic village.

The US administration is said to be totally dis-interested in atrocities against Christians in Syria as this does not constitute a 'red line' in Government circles.

12 September 2013 at 22:45  
Blogger Peter D said...


Your niece has resorted to "talk to the hand" - something my daughter used to when she was a 12 year old!

Why Sister Tiberia? Because is struggling to find answers to the right questions, of course, and for all that she is a devout Catholic.

As for ardenjm, if you read his posts you'll see he is a man of faith who has respect for Jews - but, it has to be said, protestants who are ill-informed about Catholicism.

12 September 2013 at 22:45  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 September 2013 at 22:54  
Blogger David B said...

Old Jim and others

WRT that alleged Augustine quote, I have had a reply from a Christian who spends time on my board, and who has gained sufficient respect to be a moderator there.

He says -

"Helen Ellerbe appears to have made that one up out of whole cloth, as her Dark Side of Christian History is the earliest citation.

Not that Augustine's influence on gender relations was an altogether positive one. His views were a bit complicated, with his literalist perspective on a contradictory Bible. He did write this, trying to reconcile Paul's "glory of a man" bullshit with the statement in Genesis that men and women both are the image of God:

"The woman together with the man is the image of God, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned as a helpmate, which pertains to her alone, she is not the image of God: however, in what pertains to man alone, is the image of God just as fully and completely as he is joined with the woman into one" (De Trinitate)

Not entirely non-chauvinistic. On the other hand, he preached against inequalities in the law, arguing that men should be punished as harshly for rape and adultery as women customarily were for the latter. For that reason alone, the quote in the OP seems unlikely; Augustine would have been the first to condemn a man for his lust.

"Complaints in this matter are a daily occurrence, even though the women themselves don't yet dare to complain about their husbands. A habit that has caught on everywhere like this is taken for a law, so that even wives, perhaps, are now convinced that husbands are allowed to do this, wives are not. They are used to hearing about wives being taken to court, found perhaps with house-boys. But a man taken to court because he was found with his maid, they have never heard of that happening — though it's a sin. It is not divine truth that makes the man seem more innocent in what is equally sinful, but human wrongheadedness." (Sermon 9)"

So I am far from happy about the genuineness of the quote I used.


12 September 2013 at 23:03  
Blogger Peter D said...

Simple - why waste time arguing with Corrigan? I've done so before.

I have never sought to defend the history of the Catholic Church. Maybe to try to understand it in its historical context and to challenge the gross exaggerations made against it.

And who is mounting an "onslaught" against the blog owner? I agree with the sentiment behind this article and offered an alternative way of looking at the situation.

12 September 2013 at 23:07  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...


This prayer has been attributed (rightly or wrongly) to Pope John XXIII - and I've found Catholic websites calling it a fake, and others actually using it as a reason to call Blessed John XXIII a heretic and every pope since him an invalid holder of the Chair of Peter. I kid you not.

But whoever wrote it - it's beautiful.

"We are conscious today that many many centuries of blindness have cloaked our eyes so that we can no longer either see the beauty of Thy Chosen People nor recognize in their faces the features of our privileged brethren. We realise that the mark of Cain stands upon our foreheads. Across the centuries our brother Abel has lain in the blood which we drew or shed the tears we caused by forgetting Thy Love. Forgive us for the curse we falsely attached to their name as Jews. Forgive us for crucifying Thee a second time in their flesh. For we knew not what we did."

12 September 2013 at 23:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B . a Christian who spends time on my board, and who has gained sufficient respect to be a moderator there.

Sufficient respect ! You self righteous bastard - don’t let this man catch you declaring again that atheism isn’t a faith...

12 September 2013 at 23:15  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Peter D,

My granddaughter has been brought up to be independent and have a critical mind, perhaps too much Protestantism or even Judaism, there for you old chap? Never mind.

Now as far as I understand she does not enjoy the dogmatic approach that you fellows seem to have. Everything has to accord with your world view or else so to speak.

I am pleased that she does not want to be a Roman Catholic Taliban type, although of course she can make her minds up about that without any 'input' from I. As for Corrigan, if you are in any way shape or form Jewish, you cannot but love Israel or Jews generally. The reactions he gets, whether or not he plays to the gallery is what one should expect.

Now as you mention Sister Tibs, Inspector and a few others are closer to Conservative Catholic Anglicanism than you want to admit. But then, that is your problem and not theirs and certainly not mine!

Over and out old chap!

12 September 2013 at 23:15  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

As usual it is Sister Tibs who manages to restore my faith and belief in ecumenical Jewish-Catholic discussion. With some help from Inspector and Old Jim (below). So thankyou for that poem Sister!

Peter D, I think the onslaught that Hannah refers to is because, on most posts you and a few others leap in and go all out to criticise. I think His Grace is very tolerant.. I doubt that Catholics blogs would allow such criticism of your own Church without them being deleted.

PS- Cousin Louise is more than capable of making her mind up about faith.

12 September 2013 at 23:34  
Blogger David B said...

You've lost me there, Inspector.

In fact I have a lot of respect for many of the Christians I meet here.

Not all, though.


12 September 2013 at 23:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B . In fact I have a lot of respect for many of the Christians I meet here.

If that is true, then you may have been misjudged....

12 September 2013 at 23:40  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D,

Well we will have to agree to disagree on these matters. Have fun now!

12 September 2013 at 23:49  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Sister Tibs,

Nice poem/prayer. Thanks!(:

12 September 2013 at 23:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Peter D

Re: 'ill-informed Protestants'

In other words, Protestants who refuse to accept RC double-speak. As in 'No, we don't worship Mary. We only offer dulia.'


12 September 2013 at 23:51  
Blogger David B said...

I'm getting some responses on the Freethought and Rationalism board about that alleged quote, too, including one from a Roger Pearse, whose name I think I see here occasionally too.

There doesn't seem to be anything to support its genuineness, so unless anything surprising comes up I will soon conclude that it is either a mis-attribution, a serious mis-translation, or - and this currently seems to me the most likely - a fabrication.

I remain interested in the source of the quote, and how it came into circulation.


13 September 2013 at 00:00  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B
You clearly don't visit many Catholic blogs!

As for "ecumenical Jewish-Catholic discussion", one thing you can be sure of is that Catholics will tell you the truth as they see it. To his credit, so did Carl.

Lord Lavendon said ...
"My granddaughter has been brought up to be independent and have a critical mind, perhaps too much Protestantism or even Judaism, there for you old chap?"

Well, maybe, - or perhaps too much dilution of both faith systems.

"Now as far as I understand she does not enjoy the dogmatic approach that you fellows seem to have. Everything has to accord with your world view or else so to speak."

So tell me, do you or she understand the Jewish concept of "kofer ba-ikkar"? It has the status of Halakha - a law. Do you or she know the words of the "Birkat haMinim"?

According to the Talmud, Jesus Christ, who we worship as God Incarnate, Anglicans and Catholics, has been consigned to Gehinnom - the destination of the wicked - to suffer for all eternity. All the Apostles too and early Christian Jewish-Christian martyrs suffer the same fate.

Now that's pretty "dogmatic", wouldn't you say?

And it isn't Catholic teaching that all non-Catholics go to Hell. Old Jim explained this in detail on a thread below.

And here's one version of the "Birkat haMinim":

""For the apostates let there be no hope. And let the arrogant government be speedily uprooted in our days. Let the noẓerim and the minim be destroyed in a moment. And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be inscribed together with the righteous. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the arrogant"

Very 'ecumenical! So please don't go all 'holier than thou' on me when it comes to respecting other faith systems.

13 September 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger Peter D said...

The above was meant for David K.

So far as David B is concerned, I agree with the Inspector. In a reasoned, ecumenical sense, naturally.

13 September 2013 at 00:11  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D,

Hmmm, one wonders which anti-semitic website you have been trawling to find that information.

I also like how you think you *know* so much about Judaism, you've practically written the Talmud, 4,000 years of Jewish philosophy, you've also done the Catholic dogma and know how to *correct* us lesser mortals of whatever faith in the real 'truth'.

I believe that my brother gave you no less than five postings for yo you on your assertions regarding Jesus/Christianity/Judaism in a previous thread. You didn't answer it because you couldn't. You rely on the old canards to make you feel more secure at night, because of the unfortunate way your Church treated us Jews. And my brothers efforts, clearly went in one ear and out of the other.

So if non-Catholics (Protestants, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, atheists etc ) don't go to hell,which is not what you,Carl and every other Christian here has been telling me for 2 years, then what is the point in your faith in the first place? I thought Jesus/The Church had to 'save' you from sins, which would mean this god wouldn't go around putting his own creations into this hell?

"Seeing it as it is", except you don't have an army or inquisition to back up your assertions. How unfortunate for you.

13 September 2013 at 00:21  
Blogger Peter D said...

Do you, an Orthodox Jew, deny the Halakha concerning "kofer ba-ikkar"?

Do you deny the existence of 'Blessing' of the "Birkat haMinim" for apostates?

13 September 2013 at 00:33  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 September 2013 at 00:34  
Blogger OldJim said...

David B

The application of the Doctrine of Imago Dei in Augustine and Aquinas is even more complicated than that. If you read on into Chapter 7, paragraph 12, of De Trinitate, you'll see the really rather complicated way that Augustine breaks the thing up. Here is the source:

you needn't read it; the paragraph is far from lucid and to be honest it's a pain separating "man" to mean "human being" from "man" meaning "gendered male" in the English translation. It's there if you want to look at it, is all.

The explanation of the same or at least a very similar position, if you'll take my word for it, is much more lucid in Aquinas' Summa:

The image of God, in its principal signification, namely the intellectual nature, is found both in man and in woman. Hence after the words, "To the image of God He created him," it is added, "Male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27). Moreover it is said "them" in the plural, as Augustine (Gen. ad lit. iii, 22) remarks, lest it should be thought that both sexes were united in one individual. But in a secondary sense the image of God is found in man, and not in woman: for man is the beginning and end of woman; as God is the beginning and end of every creature.

Basically, they argue that the doctrine of Imago Dei principally pertains to our being made as rational creatures, and having the capacity to be reborn in the Image of Christ, and in this primary signification it pertains entirely equally to both men and to women.

Their problem is that Paul writes in 1 Cor 11:7

" "man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man,"

by way of justifying his rule for the Corinthians that women must cover their heads in church and equally men must not. We can get into my views on the significance of that verse in the contemporary culture if you want, but that's a tangent. Immediately relevant to the discussion is what Augustine and Aquinas made of it.

And, given that they were committed to women being made in Imago Dei, their solution to the seeming contradiction is that men are additionally also bodily and socially made in Imago Dei.

That leaves both positions accounted for: Men and Women are both made in the Image of God, endowed with rational faculties and capable of Salvation. Men and Women together also form a secondary "image of God" as their relationship mirrors the Indwelling of the Trinity. On the other hand, men considered on their own represent God in an additional and final sense which women do not: they are bodily and socially a pictorial representation of God's image.

I'm not convinced this is entirely the meaning of the verse, but lest you think that Augustine and Aquinas are irrationally softening up old nasty St Paul to make his contradictory remarks hang together with their more -ahem- progressive point of view and the more egalitarian passages of the bible, consider that it was St Paul who also wrote:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

For that reason I agree with them in saying that St Paul wasn't denying that women on their own are made in the Image of God in that verse, and that he was using the words "Image of God" in a secondary symbolic sense. I just think that the symbolic sense that they think explains it isn't quite right, and they actually err further towards a patriarchal interpretation than St Paul's words require.

I agree, then, that their view still leaves something to be desired, but not as much as you might have thought, and I assure you that it was an immense improvement on the views of most of Augustine's contemporaries.

13 September 2013 at 00:58  
Blogger OldJim said...

Basically, to summarize, the Augustinian argument is that both Men and Women are made in the Image of God, considered primarily and properly. But the "Image of God" can also be an allegorical symbol, and it is in this sense that Men and Women together form an allegorical image of the Indwelling of the Trinity and also in this sense that Men but not Women enact a representation of the Image of God by performing their gender role.

13 September 2013 at 01:11  
Blogger Peter D said...

I claim no expert knowledge (except the Talmud isn't 4000 years old), and I never visit anti-Semitic websites.

Tantrum aside, I'll ask again:

Do you, an Orthodox Jew, deny the Halakha concerning "kofer ba-ikkar"?

Do you deny the existence of the 'Blessing' of the "Birkat haMinim" for Jewish apostates?

You claim:"David and I always answer.", so please, go ahead.

13 September 2013 at 01:19  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl said

"The 'something' means colonizing Syria. Any nation wishing to assume that obligation, please form in a queue to the right. ... Anyone?

No, I thought not."

Why not? Not fashionable? Certainly. No MONEY in it? Definitely. The West too old and too tired? (And I mean that literally) well that is a thought. Not us surely?

So, which nations has the energy, youth and single mindedness to do bring "order" (What sort of order?) to the region?

Look who is close by who might do the job, none are friends with us.

If anyone wants it to be the West then the outcome needs to become "worthwhile", both to the countries involved and to the men that fight.

A new "government", you are joking right, of "nicer" people that loves the West and our "honourable" increasingly non Christian values is the last weeks have shown, not worth fighting for.

Anyone surprised? Well you shouldn't be, because deep down it is clear we don't believe that our society which is increasingly based on me and my needs (and sod anyone else!) is worth fighting for either.

We say that God is irrelevant as we have our own god(s) that just wants us to be happy and comfy and the bad men just go away!

We say "Mum just make them go away" like little kids and if they don't do as we tell them we threaten to throw rocks at them"

That will show them!


13 September 2013 at 02:06  
Blogger OldJim said...


if non-Catholics (...) don't go to hell, which is not what you, Carl and every other Christian here has been telling me for 2 years, then what is the point in your faith in the first place?

Better to describe it like this, if you don't mind.

People are in a predicament, because we have all of us done something wrong in our lives, and we can't "pay" for wrong things just by doing right things; we must have a change of heart and be forgiven, and it is because people innately understand and respect repentance that they respect someone who has swapped good for bad, even if they think it is because by doing good, the person is "paying" for the bad.

The Christian answers are to the following questions: a)what is the measure of what is good and what is bad? b)to what or whom does one repent if or when one repents, c)how are we forgiven? d)how do we, creatures with often sinful habits, mend our ways? e)how are Justice and Mercy apportioned, and aren't
they in conflict?

To which we answer: a)God b)God c)By the Grace offered by God though the Incarnation and Death of Jesus Christ d)through God's Grace e)Seen from God's perspective, Mercy and Justice are the same thing.

Basically, Catholics live in the following soteriology:

You are saved if: you are forgiven your sins by an application to you of the reconciliation of God with Man enacted by Jesus Christ, and you die in this state of Grace through perseverance of belief and abstention from wrongdoing since you last repented.

Human means are tied and anchored to God's Grace, such that Baptism, Confession, Confirmation and Extreme Unction clear the soul of sin and deepen in different ways the person's relationship to God, as appropriate to their place in life, Holy Orders ties the soul to the provision of the Sacraments in Jesus' name, Holy Matrimony joins two people together and provides them with the grace to share their lives fruitfully, and the Eucharist involves the reception of Christ's body in a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary, the foundational act of our Salvation.

Likewise, a charism is given the Church that it will not positively err in the most essential matters of faith and morals; this is underwritten by the Inspiration of Scripture, the Infallibility of the Church taken as a whole, and the special infallibility of the successor of Peter when he speaks in that capacity on matters of faith or morals.

The latter set of things is there from preventing a person falling into error on matters of belief or of ethics. The former is there to strengthen the person to do the right thing and as a channel to reconcile them to God through Christ for having in the past done the wrong thing.

A Catholic would have everyone have access to all of these means of Salvation.

An Eastern Orthodox has access to the former set of things, as well as to Scripture and to the historic teaching of the Church. The Roman Catholic regrets the rupture in Church unity, which violates the express wish of Christ, and regrets the Orthodox's lack of a fully authoritative voice for the Church. But he knows that, in practice, the lack of the filioque is not going to jeopardise anyone's soul. Repeated marriages whilst both spouses live offer something more worthy of an eyebrow-raise, but on all other points they seem in a largely equivalent position.

The Protestant is deprived more seriously of valid sacraments, to varying extents (High Church "Dutch Touch" Anglicans will not necessarily have lost much; others may have abandoned every one of them, all the way down to a "merely symbolic" Eucharist); equally they will have lost all living authoritative teaching.

However, the Protestant still knows that they are saved by Jesus of Nazareth, knows how that Salvation is brought about, knows that they must repent of all of their wrongdoing, and knows that they must persevere until the end of their lives.

13 September 2013 at 02:13  
Blogger OldJim said...

Obviously, Judaism lacks all of the above benefits of the Church. But it still enjoys the knowledge of a monotheistic God who ordains a moral law and to whom repentance must be addressed. It also has the benefit from the Catholic Perspective of being true: God DID choose the Jewish people, DID ordain the moral law as they read it, DID seek worship as they believe Him to have done. The problem is that the Catholic does not believe that that is the whole story, and what is left out is not of no importance.

The Muslim believes in a monotheistic God who gives a moral law and to whom repentance must be addressed. However, the Quran is not inspired, and parts of its moral law may be "off". Because it chronologically follows rather than precedes Christianity, it has the misfortune of explicitly denying the Christian claims made for Jesus of Nazareth in a way that Judaism needn't explicitly do, even if being a Jew in the present age involves implicitly doing so. Still, many parts of the basic outline of their metaphysics - monotheistic God, moral law, eternal destination - are in outline correct, and that is not nothing.

Western Atheists: Obviously they have neither the Church stuff nor the monotheistic God nor the repentance. But their soteriological position is very mixed, because there are many different possible things going on. You will have some brazen, thoroughly materialist utilitarians or epicureans who make terribly "off" moral decisions almost daily. On the other, you will have people who reject "organised religion" and can't see any "proof of God" who still carry almost whole an implicit set of Christian moral teachings as if people were just born with them naturally (as they believe they are, God bless their cotton socks!), and when they violate them, feel a profound regret and repentance, even if they don't know and don't like to think about to What or Whom that might be addressed. Their chances are very variable.

Polytheists: actively reject monotheism, making repentance to God harder. But some polytheisms see "gods" as "aspects" of "God" which might help. Their knowledge of the moral law varies.

Buddhists: reject monotheism, believe that suffering is caused by the existence of the self, which is sustained by desire. Insofar as they believe buddhism properly, they are wishing themselves out of existence... which is not either helpful or healthy. On the other hand, a strong ascetic streak, a suspicion about sefishness, deep regret for doing wrong, and honest attempts at spiritual searching could be a start.

Basically, nobody is going to be saved by "following the buddhist path". And nobody is going to be saved because they were a buddhist. At best, some point of buddhist doctrine, earnestly enquired into, might prove to be a point upon which God might move a buddhist's heart. But he will move it because the buddhist is a man, not because the buddhist is a buddhist.

13 September 2013 at 02:14  
Blogger OldJim said...

Everybody is saved by and through Jesus Christ. Jesus teaches the way to salvation, and a Catholic will believe with me that Catholicism is the way being taught. The religions or lack thereof that follow are given in the approximate order in which there is a chance that what they say will conform to catholic teaching and so prove conformable to the uses of God. In my opinion, and in a list which does not exhaust all of the positions, God can more easily "reach" Catholics than Orthodox, Orthodox than Protestants, Protestants than Jews, Jews than Muslims, Muslims than (some?) Western Atheists, Western Atheists than Polytheists, Polytheists than Buddhists.

Christians might differ on how explicit knowledge must be of Jesus Christ. On the one side, you have the idea that "being saved" is like programming a computer: it cannot be happening to you without you knowing you're doing it. On the other extreme, you might have the idea that "being saved" is like using a battery: you don't need to know that that's what you're doing at all for it to be happening.

So all Christians agree that all men who are saved are saved by Jesus Christ. The question is to what extent you have to know that.

On the other hand, all Arminians and Catholics are united in believing that God wants to Save EVERYONE; but man can really resist him. So another question might be: what counts as resistance? Many Native Americans, so far as we know, were never taught about Jesus of Nazareth. Are they to a man damned for their sins, no hope of salvation? On the other hand, modern atheists are in a quite different position. They hear about Christianity every day. Is it possible that their refusal to accept it could be purely their misunderstanding, bad experiences, poor Christian examples in their lives and faulty logic?

Catholicism offers this much: all people do wrong, and so do not deserve God; not because they don't believe in Jesus of Nazareth, but because they have done wrong. The Church and its Sacraments and Doctrines exists as the means by which Christ saves souls. It is the "ordinary" sacrament of salvation to the world. But because we know that when we are baptised we are forgiven of sin, it does not follow that God is bound never to forgive the sin of somebody who is not baptised. The sacraments comfort us because we know that God will always tie them to His Grace. But His Grace is not tied only to them.

So whilst we insist that it would be better for all men to be Catholics, we understand that God loves all men by virtue of their being men; and we decline to make hard-and-fast rules about where God's mercy ends.

13 September 2013 at 02:15  
Blogger OldJim said...

In summary:

We know that God forgives the sins of Christians through the Sacraments. We know that God has saved believing Christians who had not received the Sacraments. We know that God saves all who are saved through Jesus Christ. We know that those who rejected the teaching and the authority of Jesus Christ during His earthly life were in a worse position than those who accepted it, and that he often imputed active malice or impiety to that rejection. We know that someone who has never heard of Jesus is not in the same position as someone who has, and that someone who has is not in the same person as someone who met Him during His earthly life. We know that God desires the Salvation of all men. We know that many who are not Catholics or Christians are in conformity with Catholic or Christian teaching on some or many points.

From all of this, we fervently hope and pray that God will save every man, not through their religion, but through Christ and His Church, even if they do not consider themselves a member of it. We know that that which God has bound to Grace cannot bind God's grace to itself, should He choose to act outside of it. But we know that not every man will be saved. So we hope for each particular man, and in the meantime we evangelize the Catholic Church, which we believe to be the ordinary and sure means of Salvation, and the Incarnation of Christ's Body on earth.

13 September 2013 at 02:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


How about 'It isn't worth getting Americans killed.' Would that be sufficient? It's got nothing to do with fashion, or money, or being tired. Syria doesn't exceed the threshold of being worth the sacrifice of American blood. Soldiers, you see, are not international doers of good deeds. They volunteer to place themselves at risk for the sake of the citizens of the US. So if they are going to be placed in harm's way, it behooves the nation to first establish a legitimate national interest that justifies doing so. 'Bad things happening elsewhere' is not and never has been a legitimate national interest.

I am not interested in trying to export Western civilization at the point of a sword - which is effectively what you are advocating. The expense in blood and treasure would be enormous. The probability of success is almost zero. The willingness of the polity to sustain the operation is inversely proportional to its duration. All you would do is get a lot of people killed, and eventually withdraw - rendering all those deaths meaningless.

But hey. For a while you would look manly and vigorous. That has got to be worth something.


13 September 2013 at 02:48  
Blogger Ivan said...

Coming back to the main theme, the Syrian Christians do have a natural protector. It is the Third Rome, Holy Mother Russia, inheritor of the Crown of Constantinople, that in that guise tried to seize the Levant for themselves back in Crimean War under Tsar Nicholas I. Who was then thwarted by the British and French Empires, laughably in the name of protecting the supposed "Sick Man of Europe" - the nation of the harem-owning, slave-running, catamite-loving Turks. The same oppressors then of the Christians in Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Palestine, Greater Syria, Serbia and Greece.

It is wonderful to see the two ex-KGB operatives, V Putin and Patriarch Kirill take up the cudgels again on behalf of Christians, and all who desire to be left alone, Muslims and atheists in foxholes, to pursue their own lives as they see fit.

13 September 2013 at 04:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: "So if non-Catholics (Protestants, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, atheists etc ) don't go to hell,which is not what you,Carl and every other Christian here has been telling me for 2 years, then what is the point in your faith in the first place? I thought Jesus/The Church had to 'save' you from sins, which would mean this god wouldn't go around putting his own creations into this hell?"

In the unlikely event that their version of theism is true then I'm rather hoping that the punishment will simply be not being recreated from nothing after death, rather than their god torturing people like me indefinitely for not buying into the organised religion people around me are selling. That is, I'd rather there just be a carrot and no stick where the carrot is a continued life of some sort or other for those who feel they want or need it.

13 September 2013 at 07:40  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Re the Augustine quotation:

We all get things wrong at times.

I think we should give due credit to David B for:

a. Taking the trouble to investigate the source.

b. Having the courtesy and honesty to concede the probable fabrication.

I, for one, salute him.

13 September 2013 at 07:57  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Hannah and DanJo

Not disagreeing with what OldJim said at all, but another way to look at it is this.

A priest once said to me that our life on Earth is like a jungle. The Catholic Church has found one sure path through that jungle to God. We would not deny that there are other paths that lead the same way - perhaps less sure, more difficult, more dangerous, more easy to stray from. Nor would we ever deny that an infinitely merciful God may in His great mercy rescue those who chose no path at all and set off in a random direction. He has bound Grace to His sacraments, but He Himself is not restricted to them.

But if you know a safe path - wouldn't you be advising everyone to go that way rather than heading straight into the poisonous snake pits?

13 September 2013 at 08:24  
Blogger David B said...

Explorer - thank you for that. Should that quote come up again in any discussion I am party to I will not let it pass in silence.

I feel now something comparable to a scientist quoting work in good faith, not knowing that it has been fabricated. Not comfortable, but infinitely more comfortable than deliberately using a false quote. I don't see lying for atheism as in any way better than lying for Jesus, and detest both.

Old Jim - thank you for your explanation of the Catholic position of several issues. I feel that I understand the Catholic position much better for having read it - twice in fact - and it is remarkably well written and concise. In fact I have bookmarked this thread on account of it.

I don't accept it of course. A methodological and metaphysical naturalist, both, wouldn't - couldn't!

Among other things, like the apostolic succession, it seems to me to be dependent on the historicity of a literal resurrection, which in turn would make no sense without a previous fall, either according to the literal Genesis account or perhaps using that as some sort of allegory.

To a Welshman like me who is aware of the many supernatural tales growing over time associated with large numbers of early Welsh and Irish saints, like David and Elvis, it doesn't seem surprising that supernatural tales grow around people who some followers come to venerate.

Some of these Celtic saints might be entirely fictional, but who pretty much all seem to have stories of the supernatural associated with them that are believed by very few.

My experience and reading of supernatural tales growing around Hindu gurus venerated by some or many devotees adds to my belief that all such supernatural tales come from people claiming that the person they venerate is somehow more venerable than the person others venerate, and the supernatural tales - from every tradition that has them - are the result of mistake, exaggeration, chinese whispers, or just plain fraud or lies.


13 September 2013 at 08:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

Euhemerus (C4 BC) was the first was the firs one I know of to say that a lot of mythology was simply the exaggeration/deification/distortion of real-life people.

C S Lewis revesed Euhemerus in 'Myth Became Fact'. The recurring idea of a dying/rising god in various mythologies was a divine preparation of the the human mind for when it would one day become real.

13 September 2013 at 09:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 07:40

That's a belief held by Seventh Day Adventists, and has some credence in Protestant theology as Annihilationism. ie, immortality is not automatic: you either gain eternal life, or you are extinguished. Much less frightening than the alterative of eternal life of one sort or anotherr for eveybody. A lot hinges on what is meant by the biblical term 'destruction'.

(Frightening only if the after life is true, I mean. Otherwise, it's like debating the origin of the Orcs in Tolkien: fun, but nothing that impinges on our actual existence.)

13 September 2013 at 10:01  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Al-Qaeda terrorists eagerly await US assistance against the Syrian government, so they can subjugate if not slaughter Syria’s Christians, secularists, and non-Muslims — even as the Obama administration tries to justify war on Syria by absurdly evoking the “human rights” of Syrians on the one hand, and lying about al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria on the other.

Arabic news agency Al Hadath gives more information concerning this latest terror attack on Syria’s Christians, specifically how the al-Qaeda linked rebels “terrorized the Christians, threatening to be avenged on them after the triumph of the revolution.”

13 September 2013 at 10:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Sister Tibs: "But if you know a safe path - wouldn't you be advising everyone to go that way rather than heading straight into the poisonous snake pits?"

That's one reason why Jehovah Witnesses knock on other people's doors. They think they know what our reality is all about and how to be recreated in new bodies. I don't believe them, very sincere though they usually are, and I don't suppose you do either. They're a tenacious bunch though, bless them.

13 September 2013 at 11:06  
Blogger David B said...

I should add that it is now clear that the first citing of this false quote to Ellerbe is now also shown to be false.

My informant found another PDF that made that attribution, but it does not in fact appear in that book.

So the origin of it remains a mystery.


13 September 2013 at 11:06  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I generally inform Jehovah's Witnesses that since we're Catholics they're wasting their time, but God bless them and I hope they have a good day. They usually reciprocate with a blessing and depart with smiles on faces and hoping to do better next door. They won't. Next door are Free Church and likely to have a go at converting the JW in the other direction. Good luck if they have the energy. Next door the other side are atheists (and some of the nicest people I know) so they won't do much better there either :)

13 September 2013 at 11:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I actually work with two, one of whom is a minister. They never talk about it at work, other than as facts about themselves.

13 September 2013 at 11:26  
Blogger LEN said...

Sister Tib, seem to remember Jesus Christ saying He was 'The Way.'.....not a church built on a false assumption?.

13 September 2013 at 11:26  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

He is, Len. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. All we differ on is the details. Very human. :)

13 September 2013 at 11:34  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ David B—The St Augustine quote being of dubious provenance, there’s always St Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

13 September 2013 at 11:40  
Blogger LEN said...

Glad to hear it Sister Tib,

Nice to agree on an essential truth with a Catholic last. :)

13 September 2013 at 13:02  
Blogger IanCad said...

The Explorer @ 10:01

Re: Annihilationism."

I should point out that it is not just the Adventists who espouse this truth.
The Church of England Doctrinal Commission endorsed the teaching in - I think - 1995.

The highly profitable doctrine of an eternally burning hell has not only fleeced the gullible but, even worse, has caused millions to reject the Gospel of Christ.

They reason, rightly, that no God of love would consign the unlovely to an unbiblical eternity of torture.

13 September 2013 at 13:17  
Blogger IanCad said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 September 2013 at 13:32  
Blogger IanCad said...


I'm sorry, I should have included you in my last comment but I didn't read your 7:40 post.

In response to your contention that all the Christians on this blog belong to the bloodthirsty "Everlasting Hell" brigade, I can only say that, to my knowledge, it has been batted about several times in the last few years.

I have made my position abundantly clear in protests against the wicked doctrine.

13 September 2013 at 13:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian @ 13:17

The Doctrinal Commission certainly reported in 1995 that Hell was not eternal. Whether that's bindiong or not, I have no idea. (The Liberal wing presumably rejects Hell outright.)

I know John Wenham and John Stott favoured Annhilationism. But N. T. Wright was still debating the issue in 'For All The Saints'. Certainly published after 1995, so that leads me to think that the C of E has not made up its collective mind.

13 September 2013 at 13:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...


I would love Annihilationism to be true. I have two problems with it.

1. So when I die I cease to exist. So that's the worst that can happen to me. Big deal; since that's what happens to everybody anyway. So let me kill tens of millions. (You see the resultant mindset?)

2. A more serious objection is that Christ talks of levels of reward in Heaven. He may also talk of levels of punishment. ('Luke' 12: 47,48)?

Assuming he does, how can you have different degrees of annhilation?

13 September 2013 at 14:16  
Blogger IanCad said...

The Explorer,

O Dear! Your posts deserve long and thoughtful answers, and Friday afternoon is always a busy time.

Suffice it to say that, from a biblical standpoint, the wicked will be destroyed.

As you have stated, there are degrees of reward. It would also seem that there will be degrees of punishment; but not eternal, other than the fact that death, in itself, is permanent.

Hell is embedded in our psyche.
In literature, language, art, poetry and religion. Even among Atheists it seems to lurk deep down somewhere among their fears and insecurities.

It is a hard doctrine to fight. Over a thousand years of general acceptance will not be corrected overnight.

Thanks to HG for providing a platform where these things can be aired.
Even though way off topic.

13 September 2013 at 14:34  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Peter D,

After having a family discussion over this :

1. You seem to unable to let your religion stand on its own two feet. In other words you can only 'bring it up, by bringing everything else down' and cast that in a purely negative light. You do this with Protestant Christianity and Judaism. That isn't a way to convince anyone. It might be 'telling it as it is', but to others it can seem aggressive and apply a bad tone to the discussions here.

2.Yet again you make assertions about Judaism and try and portray it in an extremely negative way. We have all said here that we welcome discussions on inter faith dialogue, but that is not the same as someone actively trying to go around and trash that religion- especially if that is not the real object of your ire. On another thread I challenged you to find the 'anti christian' parts of the Talmud. You refused and admitted you hadn't actually read the Talmud and didn't have a copy (on the other hand I have a Christian bible and have read it). I had to go to pretty unpleasant websites to find this 'anti-christian' message. They were not written by Jews, but by bitter Christians. Yet above you managed to 'find' something to back up your theories. Strange that. Especially given I debunked every one of the myths you alluded to. Even more annoying is that you clearly didn't bother to read those posts or they haven't sunk in yet.

3. When you go and attack our Christian relatives with matters of Jewish law, we think you really have lost the plot.

4. Yet again, though, you use this thread to 'side track' us with issues of Jewish belief and demand (not ask), several times in several places for answers. We don't feel it is worth replying to you because it is clear that you do not want an answer. You want to use that to prove a point. Again in defence of your view on your religion you need to bring another one down.

5.In respect of your latest foray into Jewish ideas. I think that you'll find Judaism and Jewish people have been around for a couple of thousand years. We have an colossal amount of literature- scripture, philosophy, art, poetry, Rabbinical debates and so on and so forth, which continues to this day. The problem as ever with yourself is that you seek to apply the idea of heresy as it pertains to the Roman Catholic Church, both what it is and how heretics are dealt with (a good burning so I believe, but nowadays an excommunication will do). The Jewish concepts are different to your Roman world view. If it took Old Jim to explain hell in 6 posts over 2 threads, then to explain these ideas would probably take a lot longer. Then the explanation of what they mean and how they are undertaken today, more posts. This is a Christian blog. I doubt anyone would be particularly interested in that. You are not, it was just a opportune moment to score a cheap point (which missed the target anyway). One thing you did not get quite right is that the ideas of heresy are derived from Jewish law, but it is not necessarily Halakha , because it is not properly defined. Therefore it is more of Aggadahic nature. Interestingly enough Maimonides, one of the towering classical Rabbis, was thought of as heretic for a while, by several others. Yet today, he is by general agreement 'a must' read in the Orthodox Community.

13 September 2013 at 14:42  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Old Jim,

Thank you those sets of posts. As I noted in the thread below, I did not consider your writing to be offensive. Nor do I believe that you or anyone else, should not be free to hold those views. I can respect those, even if (as you should expect) I do not hold to them. This is what I was referring to above with me idea of 'dialogue'.

For my part it would seem that Christianity is about faith, Islam is about submission (a fear of Allah) and for Judaism it about 'living G-d' day in day out by actions (Islam's divine came to a prophet, Christianity's divine revelation came to a god/man and Judaism's divine revelation came to a community of people).

There is I would like to tackle on this blog; the unfortunate myth that seems to be around , of Judaism being nothing more than a bunch of incomprehensible rigid & dogmatic rules, designed to be unworkable and designed by a wicked and cruel deity. In actual fact nothing could be further from the truth and is entirely wrong.

13 September 2013 at 15:17  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Anyway, got to go now. Tonight is Yom Kippur, Judaism's most holy festival. We'll be seein' you all later !

13 September 2013 at 15:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian @ 14:34

Sorry if I caught you at a bad time. No need for response to this: info only.

If you don't know it, I do recommend N T Wright's 'For All the Saints'. Only a pamphlet, and you can read it in an afternoon. (Except maybe a Friday afternoon.) It sets out different Christian views about the after life very clearly and simply.

He rejects both Annhilationism the traditional view of Hell for a position that draws on the strengths of both. I have found that helpful to my own understanding.


13 September 2013 at 15:57  
Blogger IanCad said...


God gave the Ten Commandments.
You honour them still.
And therein lies the mystery as to the survival of the Jewish people.
Have a blessed Sabbath.

13 September 2013 at 15:59  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thanks The Explorer,

I'll see if I can get it online.
Thanks again.

13 September 2013 at 16:04  
Blogger Naomi King said...

We should all ask our MP's to demand that the Foreign Secretary
(a) confirm what military or other aid is going to Syrian rebels
(b) cease such supplies and deal even-handedly in Syria, and
(c) use his contacts with the rebels to demand that they cease their atrocities against Syrian Christians.

I understand that although large-scale military intervention by the UK and US has by the grace of Almighty God been averted in Syria, this new onslaught against Syrian Christians in the ancient town of Maaloula is by Islamist rebels who are receiving arms from the CIA.

The story is here: http:// .

13 September 2013 at 16:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "1. So when I die I cease to exist. So that's the worst that can happen to me. Big deal; since that's what happens to everybody anyway. So let me kill tens of millions. (You see the resultant mindset?)"

I don't see the resultant mindset at all. I'm an atheist and I haven't killed anyone, let alone tens of millions. In fact, I'm lovely in real life really. I don't need threats of supernatural punishment to keep me in line, I have pretty strong empathy which seems to do the trick for me.

13 September 2013 at 17:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...


What's true for you need not be true for everybody. My point is that those who DID kill millions must have drawn great comfort from the thought of no accountability in an after life; and those who might kill millions in the future would take great comfort from the doctrine of annihilationism.

Incidentally, the loveliest people I have known have drawn some of their loveliness from their unawareness of the fact. Tell them they were lovely, and they would probably have thought otherwise.

13 September 2013 at 18:12  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


You miss the point....again!

'It isn't worth getting Americans killed.' Would that be sufficient?

I agree with you it isn't worth getting American killed. When the British Captured Copenhagen (in 1806?) with the Danish fleet intact, the General of the land forces and the Admiral split a prize of £300,000. More than £100 million in today's money. Even private seaman and soldiers also got a prize worth around £10k in today’s money.

Incentivising our servicemen/ or private soldiers in this sort of manner is not popular, but neither is the alternative of firing missiles from the “safe” location. As alternative it has worked before in many parts of the world, bombing the hell out of them from “home” is seen as bullying and cowardice by the Muslims and they are right! In the long term we cannot ignore the thugs outside of our nice house with high walls. Sooner or later we will have to help clean up the town or the thugs will eventually find a way into our house......

Incentivise/privatise…this is how the world works for everything else, but the services are the last great state employer and so of course any sort of monetary reward for success is repugnant?


13 September 2013 at 18:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...


'Lovely' is not an adjective I would apply to you because you are sometimes abrasive.

However, I would describe you as highly intelligent, a genuine seeker after truth, and a great asset to this Blog. We would be the poorerr without you.

13 September 2013 at 19:10  
Blogger The Explorer said...

'poorer', even.

13 September 2013 at 19:13  
Blogger Peter D said...

David K
Setting aside the fluff and flannel sand swipes at "Rome". this is your answer:

" ... the ideas of heresy are derived from Jewish law, but it is not necessarily Halakha , because it is not properly defined. Therefore it is more of Aggadahic nature."

A "Aggadahic"?! Come now, mere exegetical texts in the Talmud and Midrash? What on earth do you think happens to Jews who ignore, deny or openly rebel against the Torah?

I agree the Talmud is a labyrinth and requires expert knowledge. None the less, the teachings on heresy are pretty clear even for one as ignorant as I.

Here's how Maimonides summarised
Talmudic statements concerning heretics (in Sanh. 90-103), in his "Hilchot Teshuva" (freely available on line from Kosher Jewish sites):

"The following have no share in the world to come, but are cut off, and perish, and receive their punishment for all time for their great sin: the minim, the apikoresim, they that deny the belief in the Torah, they that deny the belief in resurrection of the dead and in the coming of the Redeemer, the apostates, they that lead many to sin, they that turn away from the ways of the [Jewish] community.

Five are called 'minim': (1) he who says there is no God and the world has no leader; (2) he who says the world has more than one leader; (3) he who ascribes to the Lord of the Universe a body and a figure; (4) he who says that God was not alone and Creator of all things at the world's beginning; (5) he who worships some star or constellation as an intermediating power between himself and the Lord of the World.

The following three classes are called 'apiḳoresim': (1) he who says there was no prophecy nor was there any wisdom that came from God and which was attained by the heart of man; (2) he who denies the prophetic power of Moses our master; (3) he who says that God has no knowledge concerning the doings of men.

The following three are called 'koferim ba-Torah': (1) he who says the Torah is not from God: he is a kofer even if he says a single verse or letter thereof was said by Moses of his own accord; (2) he who denies the traditional interpretation of the Torah and opposes those authorities who declare it to be tradition, as did Zadok and Boethus; and (3) he who says, as do the Nazarenes and the Mohammedans, that the Lord has given a new dispensation instead of the old, and that he has abolished the Law, though it was originally divine."

Was he mistaken?

Surely you agree, by these definitions, Jesus of Nazareth, His Apostles and disciplines, and all Jews who have become Christians since His life on earth, qualify as heretics and suffer the consequences?

What's the problem? It didn't take pages and pages of posts at all.

13 September 2013 at 22:26  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Peter D,

You seem to thrive on argument and conflict... however I've just read your post above to my wider family- both Christians and Jews. The reaction was a mixture of swear words and laughter. Oh and someone suggested why did we even support this man to stay on this blog in February. Quite a few are regretting that decision to a degree you cannot possibly understand.

13 September 2013 at 22:39  
Blogger Peter D said...

They laugh and swear at Maimonides then.

13 September 2013 at 23:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I'm not quite sure what you are proposing. Let's take things one at a time.

The idea of a private army is largely obsolete. The modern battlefield is too complex and too lethal. It requires the acquisition of many capabilities that are beyond the means of private individuals. You could put together some light infantry but it would be very restricted in who and where in could fight. Besides which, nations tend to frown on private armies - a monopoly on the employment of violence being the first characteristic of a state. You could not create a private Army that could sustain itself and win in Syria. It would have to possess the backing of a state.

However, I suspect you are talking about turning a professional military into mercenaries and, yes, that is pretty repugnant. It's a slander to the uniform and the service it represents. Plus, it buys you no political benefit. The soldiers might be incentivized but they would still be using gov't equipment. They would still be under gov't command. Giving soldiers an incentive doesn't change the political rules of engagement.

Plus, where would the money come from? Are you suggesting that soldiers extract the incentive from the occupied country? As booty? Plunder? Syria is a poor country. That kind of behavior is not endearing. If not, then where? It can't come from your own gov't. They have one reason to be there in the first place. So who pays?

Your idea hasn't been thought through. It won't work.


14 September 2013 at 00:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

That would be 'No reason to be there.' Not 'one reason to be there.'

*@$?/* autocorrect.


14 September 2013 at 00:18  
Blogger OldJim said...

Thank you, David B,

that is very kind of you to say.

You know, I am also a Welshman. Congratulations on belonging to the finest nation on Earth :)

Alas, I think that the tendency of people to ascribe supernatural abilities to those that they venerate is one of the places where neither of us will get much further.

Think of a world in which very few of us are well-travelled or capable even of hearing news from very far abroad. Suddenly, chaps with foreign accents and adventurers with tall stories about, say, a country named "Germany" start proliferating. People will pay good money to hear them, though some of these stories are evidently contradictory.

Now, you might well draw the conclusion that Germany doesn't exist, and argue that people have made up "Germany" in order to garner kudos, earn some cash, impress the local ladies, have the opportunity to tell wonderful tales, and perhaps to have a laugh at the expense of the credulous.

I, believing in Germany, regard some of the tales I have heard as having a great verisimilitude and so have come to consider them worthy of belief. The existence of frauds is no trouble for me, either. It is the very existence of Germany -- and the natural attraction to the concept that exists in people as a consequence -- that leads fraudsters and the credulous to come up with false tales about the place.

Both of these narratives are compelling, and there's not much you can do to arbitrate between them. You have to look at some different set of evidences if you want to get any closer to demonstrating whether Germany is real or imagined.

The same problem exists in other places - I think that the "fine tuning" argument suffers from it. Of course, the fact that the universe is so ripe for life and that such a thing is so prima facie unlikely looks to someone searching for design like unassailable proof. But the sceptic is quite right to note that, but for these unlikely conditions, there would be no conscious life to make a judgement on how likely or unlikely the thing was in the first place.

As for accepting the historicity of the resurrection and some version of "the fall". Yes, I agree; the historicity of the resurrection would be a bare minimum for a person to be able to draw the conclusions that I do.

"The fall" is more complicated, because I think it packs up a lot of doctrines that could otherwise individually often garner assent.

a)Human beings are capable of coming to rational conclusions about right and wrong.

b)Despite this, every single human being seem incapable of regularly and always living according to these conclusions.

That covers nine tenths of it, really. We claim to know and often talk about morality, but we seem puzzlingly unable to consistently live by it.

The less easy parts of the doctrine as a Catholic sees it to subscribe to are, I suppose:

c)Man is free (i.e. the universe is sufficiently non-deterministic that we can properly speak of choices contingent upon a human will)

d)There is a metaphysical Justice by which Man will be held to account for his choices.

I think it is only d) that an atheist must necessarily have trouble with. But I suppose you can see that if d) is accepted, and if "doing wrong" = "being held to account" and we accept that everybody does wrong, we have a picture in which one can see how welcome the Crucifixion and Resurrection would be.

14 September 2013 at 04:14  
Blogger David B said...

There is much of interest in that post, Old Jim, it is a shame that the pages of blog commentary are not an ideal place to talk them through.

But I shall make a little start anyway.

I don't think there was a fall, but I can make some sort of sense of a doctrine of original sin by considering that all of us, even confining ourselves to the period when our ancestors were recognisably human, will have within our ancestry ancestors who would not have lived had they not been the result of rape, all of us will have ancestors who will have killed other people, if not by murder then in war, and I imagine, though I don't think this as important morally, that all of us will have ancestors who only came into being as the result of an adulterous liaison.

But I think that is something we just have to accept, live with, try to improve on for the future.


14 September 2013 at 16:51  
Blogger LEN said...

I think the evidence of 'the fall 'of man
is quite easily observable. Do we have to teach children to be selfish, to be cruel to each other,to be possessive,quite the contrary.
We see in extreme circumstances when law and order breaks down that the thin veneer of civilization crumbles and man reverts to his natural 'fallen condition.

IF man was in what God considers' 'God`s natural condition for man there would be no need for a legal system, no locks on doors,no prisons, no murder, no rape, no fraud ,if fact the list is practically endless.
As I have said the evidence of the fallen condition of man is observable everywhere.Man however has come to accept his fallen condition as his 'natural state' and has even legislated against anyone saying he is in a ' fallen condition'.

14 September 2013 at 23:18  
Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

Eastern Rite Catholics are heathen.

19 September 2013 at 21:50  

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