Thursday, December 12, 2013

If Scientology is now an official religion, the Jedi constitute a church, Yoda is a prophet, and the Force a deity


The judgment in the case of Church of Scientology Hodkin and another (Appellants) v HM Treasury Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Respondent) makes very interesting reading. The case was heard before Lords Neuberger (President), Clarke, Wilson, Reed and Toulson. Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC represented Church of Scientology Hodkin and another; James Strachan QC represented HM Treasury Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Basically, Louisa Hodkin (the first appellant) and her fiancé, Alessandro Calcioli, want to be married in the church which they regularly attend at 146 Queen Victoria Street, London. The minister, Mrs Laura Wilks (the second appellant), would be pleased to perform the ceremony, but there was a legal obstacle. The church to which they belong is part of the Church of Scientology, and in 1970 the Court of Appeal held in a similar case that a different church within the Church of Scientology was not a “place of meeting for religious worship”.

Hitherto, religious worship has required an object of veneration to which the worshiper submitted. Their Lordships observe:
During the period from the reformation (sic) until the mid-eighteenth century, apart from occasional legislative interventions, it was left to the Church of England to lay down the rules about how marriages could be solemnised and what records were to be kept. The rules of the Church permitted extreme informality. A valid marriage could be contracted by simple words of consent in a church or elsewhere and with or without witnesses. The laxity of the law led to uncertainty and abuse until Lord Hardwicke LC persuaded Parliament to pass the Clandestine Marriages Act 1753 (26 Geo 2, c 33). The Act laid down procedures for the solemnisation and recording of marriages, over which the Church of England was given a virtual monopoly. There were exceptions for the marriages of Quakers and Jews, but others such as Roman Catholics could only be married in an Anglican church in accordance with the Anglican rite. Russell Sandberg aptly comments in Law and Religion (2011), p 25, that the law mirrored the approach of Parson Thwackum in Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, published in 1749:
“When I mention religion, I mean the Christian religion; and not
only the Christian religion, but the Protestant religion; and not only
the Protestant religion, but the Church of England.”
By degrees toleration, discrimination for other denominations and faiths was diminished.  It has been maintained against Scientology - mainly because it is a weird cult invented in 1954 by a writer of science fiction.

A bit like the Jedi.

But Their Lordships have given ear to the pleadings of Mrs Wilks, who:
..has been a minister of the Church of Scientology since 1995 and the minister of the church at 146 Queen Victoria Street since 2006. She has conducted many congregational services in its chapel. In her statutory declaration she gives an account of the history, beliefs and practices of Scientology. Her evidence was not challenged and so may be taken as accurate for present purposes. In the judicial review proceedings the appellants also filed other evidence about the history, nature and practices of Scientology, but it is sufficient to refer to the evidence of Mrs Wilks, as the minister of the chapel which the appellants wish to have registered as a place of religious worship.
Basically, the doctrine of L Ron Hubbard is now a de facto religion because it "involves belief in and worship of a supernatural power, also known as God, the Supreme Being or the Creator."

A bit like the Jedi.

Moreover, "understanding of the Creator is attainable only through spiritual enlightenment, and the goal of Scientology is to help its members to obtain such enlightenment."

A bit like the Jedi.

Moreover still, "Scientology holds that the accomplishment of spiritual salvation is possible only through successive stages of enlightenment."

A bit like Buddhism.

And the Jedi.

Mrs Wilks told Their Lordships:
“Congregational services are an important feature in Scientology Churches. These are what occurs in our chapel. Such services are occasions where we commune with the Infinite and reach with reverence and respect towards the Supreme Being. They always include a prayer to the Supreme Being in which the whole congregation joins. There is also a reading of the Creed of the Church of Scientology, in which the pre-eminent position of God is affirmed. All congregational services are open to the public. Scientologists also perform naming ceremonies, funerals and weddings and these occasions are open to Scientologists, their families and the public.”
Their Creed goes:
We of the Church believe:That all men of whatever race, colour or Creed were created with equal rights;
That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance;
That all men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others;
That all men have inalienable rights to the creation of their own kind;
That the souls of men have the rights of men; And that no agency less than God has the power to suspend or set aside these rights, overtly or covertly.
And we of the Church believe:
That the spirit can be saved and
That the spirit alone may save or heal the body.
That's nice.

The have a 'prayer for total freedom', too. It goes:
May the author of the universe enable all men to reach an understanding of their spiritual nature.
May awareness and understanding of life expand, so that all may come to know the author of the universe.
And may others also reach this understanding which brings Total Freedom.
Freedom to use and understand man’s potential – a potential that is God-given and God-like.
And freedom to achieve that understanding and awareness that is Total Freedom.
May God let it be so.
That's nice, too.

And if the Jedi haven't yet quite got this far with their liturgy, His Grace will assist them in the compilation of their Book of Common Force.

Their Lordships pondered theology:
We have had much discussion on the meaning of the word “religion” and of the word “worship”, taken separately, but I think we should take the combined phrase, “place of meeting for religious worship” as used in the statute of 1855. It connotes to my mind a place of which the principal use is as a place where people come together as a congregation or assembly to do reverence to God. It need not be the God which the Christians worship. It may be another God, or an unknown God, but it must be reverence to a deity. There may be exceptions. For instance, Buddhist temples are properly described as places of meeting for religious worship. But, apart from exceptional cases of that kind, it seems to me the governing idea behind the words “place of meeting for religious worship” is that it should be a place for the worship of God. I am sure that would be the meaning attached by those who framed this legislation of 1855.”
And they noted the words of Lord Denning, who commented:
“Turning to the creed of the Church of Scientology, I must say that it seems to me to be more a philosophy of the existence of man or of life, rather than a religion. Religious worship means reverence or veneration of God or of a Supreme Being. I do not find any such reverence or veneration in the creed of this church. … When I look through the ceremonies and the affidavits, I am left with the feeling that there is nothing in it of reverence for God or a deity, but simply instruction in a philosophy. There may be belief in a spirit of man, but there is no belief in a spirit of God.”
Lord Denning’s 1970 definition of religious worship carried within it an implicit theistic definition of religion. It was because the Church of Scientology’s services did not contain reverence for God, as Lord Denning understood the meaning of God, that he concluded that the services did not amount to religious worship.

Religion and English law meet today at various points. Charity law protects trusts as charitable if they are for the advancement of religion. Individuals have a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion under article 9 of the European Convention. They enjoy the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of religion or belief under EU Council Directive 2000/78/EC and under domestic equality legislation. And so:
Unless there is some compelling contextual reason for holding otherwise, religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity. First and foremost, to do so would be a form of religious discrimination unacceptable in today’s society. It would exclude Buddhism, along with other faiths such as Jainism, Taoism, Theosophy and part of Hinduism. The evidence in the present case shows that, among others, Jains, Theosophists and Buddhists have registered places of worship in England. Lord Denning in Segerdal [1970] 2 QB 697, 707 acknowledged that Buddhist temples were “properly described as places of meeting for religious worship” but he referred to them as “exceptional cases” without offering any further explanation. The need to make an exception for Buddhism (which has also been applied to Jainism and Theosophy), and the absence of a satisfactory explanation for it, are powerful indications that there is something unsound in the supposed general rule.
On the evidence of Mrs Wilks, Scientologists do believe in a supreme deity of a kind, but of an abstract and impersonal nature.

A bit like the Jedi.

Their Lordships continue:
Of the various attempts made to describe the characteristics of religion, I find most helpful that of Wilson and Deane JJ. For the purposes of PWRA, I would describe religion in summary as a spiritual or non-secular belief system, held by a group of adherents, which claims to explain mankind’s place in the universe and relationship with the infinite, and to teach its adherents how they are to live their lives in conformity with the spiritual understanding associated with the belief system.
A bit like the Jedi.

His Grace has been warning about this for years (see HERE, with the financial implications HERE). The Treasury is right to be concerned. Conservative MP Brandon Lewis, Minister for Local Government, said yesterday:
"I am very concerned about this ruling, and its implications for business rates.

"In the face of concerns raised by Conservatives in Opposition, Labour Ministers told Parliament during the passage of the Equalities Bill that Scientology would continue to fall outside the religious exemption for business rates. But we now discover Scientology may be eligible for rate relief and that the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill, all thanks to Harriet Harman and Labour's flawed laws.

"Hard-pressed taxpayers will wonder why Scientology premises should now be given tax cuts when local firms have to pay their fair share.

"We will review the Court’s verdict and discuss this with our legal advisers before deciding the next steps. However, it will remain the case that premises which are not genuinely open to the public will not qualify for tax relief ."
And this is precisely what Labour told us during debate on the Equality Bill:
Baroness Warsi (Shadow Minister): Perhaps the Minister can correct me if I am wrong, but it does appear at the moment that the Bill would undermine this court ruling, and set us in a situation whereby philosophical beliefs in fact would also be included under that exemption. The Bill and the Explanatory Notes state clearly that a philosophical belief is also included. Furthermore, the Bill imposes a duty on public authorities which prohibits discrimination, harassment or victimisation by people who supply services or perform public functions. The Explanatory Notes state that this also applies to revenue raising and collection. Can the Minister therefore clarify whether this will mean that those premises used for scientology meetings would undermine the 1970 definition so far that this would mean that the Church of England and the Church of Scientology would have to be treated in the same way for tax purposes? Does she agree that this sends out a difficult message to the public, because, at a time when families and local businesses are really struggling, as bills rocket, scientologists will soon be eligible for more tax breaks? Most people are in favour of freedom of expression, but it is difficult to maintain this when, at such a difficult time, it seems also to extend to tax breaks.

Baroness Thornton (Labour Govt Minister): ...As regards the issue of scientology and the question about building ratings-the noble Baroness asked a legitimate question-the Bill does not change the current situation. There is a statutory authority exception in relation to public functions which would cover tax relief on religious buildings. I hope that that satisfies the noble Baroness on that particular question.

Baroness Butler-Sloss (asking a question of the Labour Minister): For the past 30 years at least, the Church of Scientology has not been accepted as a church. I did not understand from the Minister's answer whether the way in which Clause 10 is set out will change that situation.

Baroness Thornton: No. I thought I made it clear in my remarks to the noble and learned Baroness that this does not change the situation."
The problem is that Government ministers will consult ad nauseam with lawyers and tax experts, not with theologians. And the resolution to this absurd ruling is acutely theological. The Church of Scientology is winning, and political action alone is difficult because of: i) equality legislation; ii) pervasive relativism; and iii) there being no agreed definition of religion.

Having got this far (for which, His Grace reiterates, the Church of Scientology picked up all the legal bills and commissioned all the PR at huge cost), they won't give up now. The only obstacle between this cult and taxpayer funding is the issue of whether or not their places of worship are open to the general public. So we will soon see them being as open to the world and his dog as much as mosques are: ie, entry only on compliance with strict adherence to certain religio-cultural observances. And since mosques are open to the public but free to discriminate inter alia against women, there is nothing to prevent the Church of Scientology from imposing similar discriminatory policies to limit access for non-believers.

As far as His Grace is concerned, if Scientology is now an official religion, the Jedi constitute a church, Yoda is a prophet, and the Force a deity.

And so is the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

There is no logical end to the fragmenting of religious sects and the fracturing of cults.

259 Comments:

Blogger John Moss said...

Perhaps the answer is to end the exemption from Business rates enjoyed by any religious organisation?

12 December 2013 at 08:58  
Blogger Andrew Evans said...

His Grace's position merely opens up the question of the "validity" of the Christian faith to secular judges and undermines our future freedom.

For the unbelieving judge the Christian faith is quite as unbelievable/ridiculous as Jedi.

Unless the law judges religion on the sincerity of the adherent (which is what the judges have done in this case) it will have to judge it on the objective reasonableness" of the religion - in which case any kind of supernatural religion is clearly under threat.

Personally I'm quite happy for scientology to have tax breaks if that's the cost of preserving tax breaks for Christian churches. After all it's no more misleading as a religion than the JWs, Mormons or Islam.

12 December 2013 at 09:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...

"That all men (and presumably women) have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance."

I confess I see some potential difficulty with this.

1. Suppose a religion believes itself to be the only true religion, and that all other religions must, in consequence, be suppressed.

2. Suppose an adept wished to revive the Aztec practice of cutting out a human heart a day in order to ensure the rising of the Sun.

Accept the creed quoted above, and 1 and 2, it appears to me, would have to be permitted. The sincerity - rather than the truth - of the belief seems to be the criterion.

And Attila the Hun was probably sincere. So, probably, was Hitler.

12 December 2013 at 09:18  
Blogger Owl said...

Excellent YG!

Hoisted on their own "equality" petard comes to mind.

Now how good are these "noble" and "learned" people in getting genies back into bottles......

12 December 2013 at 09:24  
Blogger Martin said...

When it comes down to it, there are but two religions, the religion of self or the religion of salvation. Scientology like all other man made religions, including Atheism, belongs to the former. True Christianity alone belongs to the latter. If true religion rides on the back of those false religions so be it, they will doubtless find a way to exclude us in the near future.

As to Mr Explorer's point 1, is not that the position of Atheism? Do they not seek to exclude the expression of all but their own religion in the public square?

We of course see this especially in the USA where the Constitution has been perverted to prevent anything but Atheism in the public schools.

12 December 2013 at 10:11  
Blogger Paul Perrin said...

I think you really need to consider why the definition of a 'religion' matters at all.

I do not beleive in minority (or even majority) rights - rights are universal or they are nothing.

It is the institiution of the Church of England that is the Established Church. It is not the 'religion' that is established, it is the institution/organisation.

Treating people in a particular way beacause you believe an external deitiy tells you has no more merit than doing it because you decide to (or you consience told you to).

Religious people deserves no more respect/rights than people doing the same for non-religious reasons.

12 December 2013 at 10:24  
Blogger bluedog said...

Not so long ago, His Grace posted on an imagined pantheistic Omni-religion, with something for everyone. Done in jest, of course, but it seems that their Lordships have just granted a licence to register that religion and start officiating. The commercial case is becoming overwhelming, if nothing else.

12 December 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Paul Perrin:

What is your basis for how you treat other people?

And what is that basis based on?

12 December 2013 at 10:35  
Blogger Martin said...

Paul

As Explorer has asked you, What is the basis for your 'morality'?

If it is merely your opinion what value has it? Indeed, if it is the opinion of the society within which you live it is just an opinion and of little value. Such opinions change with the wind in any case.

The only value that there can be is that which comes from one outside of you who created you and has the authority to tell you how you should behave.

12 December 2013 at 11:17  
Blogger Beth Singler said...

I'm not sure from your final sentences whether you are negative about this equality for New Religious Movements or not. Unless of course you are being satirical about Yoda being a prophet... ah wait now...

The Jedi are a church (although no one thinks Yoda is a prophet, or that the Force is a deity to be honest).

I would suggest that there being no "logical end to the fragmenting of religious sects and the fracturing of cults" is true, but also a fundamental aspect of human group dynamism and formation.

I just cant take your final points as a bad thing.

Here's my take on the story if you are at all interested:

Its a Nice Day for a Scientology Wedding: wp.me/p3HVVF-bB

12 December 2013 at 11:44  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack asks will there now be grants available to set up a new religion? Breaking into this market requires affirmative action.

12 December 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Corrigan said...

There is no logical end to the fragmenting of religious sects and the fracturing of cults.

Haven't we Catholics been telling you that for the past five hundred years?

12 December 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

The 'logical end' to this is disestablishment, total secularisation and the end of tax relief for all religions ( except Islam of course). That's what certain persons have been working towards for at least half a century.

12 December 2013 at 12:45  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

In my opinion that's the goal of these leftist activist judges, just as state funded maddrassahs are being used to stir public opinion against all faith schools.

This is all about extending the secularist agenda, lumping in the unacceptable with the acceptable. Whennpublic opinion turns againdtcthis they will say 'treat all religions the same- no tax breaks for any'.

12 December 2013 at 12:52  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The assumption that a belief system is valid because it claims to hold centuries of adhering followers does not make it necessarily ‘The Truth’. Christians hold that Christ said ‘I am the way, the truth and the light’; an essential claim I would have thought, but this claim could be made by anyone today. He would though probably be sectioned or more likely – ridiculed, maybe beheaded. The only difference is that apart from a long antecedence, various religions can all claim to be The Truth no one can prove contrary. This is why I chose not to believe any.
In this and most Western Countries, people are free to believe in whatever it is they do believe to be true so long as no one is forced to accept through coercion or other means any particular belief system whether political, philosophical or ‘religious’.
The secular argument is one of intolerance of ‘special’ treatment or privilege under civil law, for simply having a belief system that is recognised as a religion; for as HG ably illustrates, why not in this age of equality, for believers of prophets like Roddenberry; Spielberg; Disney, Joe Smith Jim Jones or new kid on the block - L.Ron Hubbard?
It is not yet possible to ban a person’s beliefs, but it is entirely possible to stop giving a free ride to the charlatans, snake-oil salesmen and con-men, who seriously profit from this nations long embedding with the Anglican Christian doctrine and the Establishment’s reluctance to challenge anything that purports to be even a basket-case ‘religion’ like Islam or indeed Scientology.


12 December 2013 at 12:54  
Blogger Chris said...

What the author doesn't appreciate is that Christianity appears just as dubious and incredible to an outsider as Scientology. It just doesn't have spaceships.

12 December 2013 at 13:16  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Use the Force Luke. Luke, use the Force.
Baffling and ludicrous. I'm surprised Your Grace you didn't talk about THE MONEY.

12 December 2013 at 13:23  
Blogger Paul said...

What's the difference between a religion and a cult anyway - about 100 years.
Mormonism, jehovah's witnesses, 7th day adventists,christian scientists . . . all invented in the 19thC . . they were cults back then . . now they're respectable religions, I guess.
The Romans viewed christianity to be a dangerous and perverted cult - and they were very tolerant of all sorts of weird and wacky religions.

12 December 2013 at 13:25  
Blogger David Hussell said...

When people stop believing Christianity, the end result may well be, not that they become "secular", but that they believe all sorts of seemingly unusual things instead. The need to hold a belief, of some sort, seems rooted in a large proportion of humanity.

As a Christian I feel that the general Christian narrative, concerning our origins and nature, is by far the most plausible and reasonable one that I have encountered. But some would say, "you would say that, wouldn't you?"

As a considerable chunk of society is led away from established forms of Christianity, and the law changes to reflect that, all sorts of surprising things and results will flow, so expect much more of this.

Secularism is though, in many of its forms, as much a belief system, with laws and codes of behaviour, as mainstream religion, which many secularists peer down upon from whatever lofty perch they claim to stand on.

Science itself, which some secularists elevate to unjustified levels of significance, though undoubtedly a very exciting field of knowledge, and of great practical value, rests on assumptions that are not capable of being proven by the methods of science.

So ultimately I consider that it is not possible for humans to live with zero beliefs. To live is to make decisions, and those decisions have to be rooted in something.

12 December 2013 at 13:26  
Blogger Len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 December 2013 at 13:31  
Blogger Len said...

How can Jesus`s claim ‘I am the way, the truth and the light’ be verified?
Jesus was either telling the truth,He was deluded, or He was liar.He can only be one of these.There cannot be any other conclusion
God does nothing without revealing His intentions through His Prophets.
So all the evidence you will ever need to verify Christs claim is in the Bible.
So we start to look in Bible Prophesy to see God`s entire plan for His Creation revealed of course this will involve a bit of work and mean an encounter with the truth about God and about themselves which many cannot face.
So whether you want to know the Truth or not is a decision not to be taken lightly. Once you know the Truth about Christ there is no turning back.
Here some prophesies to get you going
http://www.bibleprobe.com/365messianicprophecies.htm

12 December 2013 at 13:42  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance

Islam’s performance includes offering conditional protection to certain faiths, such as Judaism and Christianity, that existed before the Qur’an was revealed to Mohammed. However, no protection is offered to any faith that has emerged since, such as Scientology, the Qur’an being the final and definitive revelation.

Since L Ron’s creed grants Muslims ‘inalienable rights’ to chop Scientology and its adherents into tiny little pieces, I’m sure we’d all understand if the creed were to undergo some elements of rewording.

12 December 2013 at 14:06  
Blogger Martin said...

Dreadnaught

The reason Jesus could say ‘I am the way, the truth and the light’ is because his acts proved He was who He said He was. He was able to speak with authoriity, unlike the 'authorities' of His time. He was able to heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. That was the reason He could say those things, He proved who He was.

12 December 2013 at 14:33  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The problem is not that there is no agreed definition. The problem is that all religions are judged by the dominant worldview of a culture. And our Secularist culture has defined religion as a subjective construct of the human mind that has no tangible reality. Every man gets to write his own fiction novel, as it were.

In the meantime we are all supposed to bend our public knees to the idea that the metaphysical is illusion and that only matter and energy and time and space have tangible existence. It is the deification of man by the negation of all other divine competitors. Establishment by any other name. And all truths are to be normed according to the dogmas of that established worldview.

God of course sits in heaven and laughs.

carl

12 December 2013 at 14:38  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

The Christian Churches mainly RC and CofE are the only ones open to the public to walk into and join in any time, they are free, help people in emergencies, and are a true charity therefore they should be the only ones exempt from tax.

I've tried a few times to have a look round my local mosque but each time have been asked to leave by some sour faced bearded males. I didn't meet their gender, dress and belief criteria for entry into the club house.

These others too are glorified clubs that you have to be a member of first and to be a member you have to pay a joining fee so therefore they should not be exempt from paying taxes.

12 December 2013 at 14:43  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Martin said

He was able to heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead.

Which is supported by as much obscure 'evidence' as any of L.Ron's fairy-tales that's why the Judge granted religious and therefore a Business-tax opportunity.

If conducting a marriage ceremony in a Scientology building makes it a religion - then I suppose the door is open to the church of Marriott, Post-House or Trust House Forte.

12 December 2013 at 15:45  
Blogger Fat Sam said...

The "church" if Scientology is, I believe, structured as a fee-paying course with a number of basic, intermediate, and advanced levels. Not only are the fees set at a high level (though variable, with special discounts for celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta) but the owners do what they can to block off short cuts: once n initiate has proceeded to Level Two, for instance, he's not allowed to pass on his Level One course books to new students, who are required to buy their own copies from the controlled monopoly supplier, at inflated prices.

All this is only from hearsay -- I have no first-hand experience -- and I hope other communicants will be prompt to rectify any wrong information here. But the fact that it operates like a business, rather than as a non-profit organisation, casts doubt, in my mind, on its entitlement to tax breaks.

12 December 2013 at 16:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "As to Mr Explorer's point 1, is not that the position of Atheism? Do they not seek to exclude the expression of all but their own religion in the public square?"

Certainly not this atheist as I have said many times here so there must be something wrong with your reasoning.

12 December 2013 at 17:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Chris: "What the author doesn't appreciate is that Christianity appears just as dubious and incredible to an outsider as Scientology. It just doesn't have spaceships."

I wouldn't put it quite as strongly as that but that's basically it. I think that's one reason why people at work don't talk about their religious beliefs: their audience tend to look very uncomfortable and change the subject. When one tries to explain the basics out loud, it sounds as mad as a box of frogs. I've been brought up against a CofE background and it even sounds that way to me so it must really clang to some other people.

12 December 2013 at 17:55  
Blogger Cam Ma said...

What the Court should have examined is the behaviour of scientology towards those who are unfortunate enough to have become its adherents. It should have distinguished between a "religion" and a "cult" - and scientology is the very epitome of a cult.

12 December 2013 at 18:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Ah yes, the church of whatever. Happy memories there from the pre internet age of reading what empty headed Hollywood types did with their time in between acting roles. Looking for a meaning to life beyond the emptiness of the highly paid usually mediocre dross they churn out in their professional existence. Can’t blame them for that, now can one.

Those of us who appreciate real acting talent (…and we are talking the monochrome age here…) realise that Hollywood was surpassed by one other greatness over turning out films – it was a place of great ideas. So hardly surprising that its legacy to the lesser types who now occupy those hallowed studios is to provide them with a fanciful raft of pseudo ‘make it up as you go along’ belief. If it sounds good, stick it in with the rest of the tosh.

So they are right, Hollywood is still a place of dreams. You have a dream, and they’ll knock up a script for it…

---------------------

His Grace has provided us all with a marvellous discourse today. And one is delighted he’s included “Unless there is some compelling contextual reason for holding otherwise, religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity.”

During the poll tax fiasco, a fellow in Cornwall tried to escape the proposed new tax and indeed its eventual replacement, the Community Charge, by claiming he had his own religion of one. He worshipped his wife, no less. (Not quite what we would recognise as a supreme deity, but never mind, perhaps he did…) He failed at the time, but one hopes the chap and his good lady are both still with us and he is sufficiently fortified by the existence of EU Council Directive 2000/78/EC to try again. He would of course, be onto a winner, because how could he lose ?



12 December 2013 at 18:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Scientology and The Cult of the Celebrity…

As founder L. Ron Hubbard put it:

“Celebrities are very Special people and have a very distinct line of dissemination. They have comm[unication] lines that others do not have and many medias [sic] to get their dissemination through (Flag Order 3323, 9 May 1973)[8]” Wiki

You were no fool Ron…



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

The Inspector’s investigations have brought him knowledge of a cruise ship used when dispensing the meaning of life (exclusive top level guff, of course) to those who are able to pay the top dollar required to be suitably indoctrinated…

It’s the size of a blasted aircraft carrier !

Perhaps if we were to continue to tax the blighters as the business they are, we might be able to keep the UK’s sole example at sea…

What !

12 December 2013 at 18:12  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Inspector, celebrities have lots of money and are more gullible than most, Ron recognised this andt helped them relieve themselves of some of it whilst giving the lives of excess meaning and made them feel good.

12 December 2013 at 20:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still
L ron-ron-ron, L ron-ron
Somebody told me that he’d give me a bill
L ron-ron-ron, L ron-ron

Yeah, my heart stood still
Yes, he gave me a bill
And when he walked me to a cash point
L ron-ron-ron, L ron-ron

12 December 2013 at 21:08  
Blogger Martin said...

Dreadnaught

If you don't want to accept the evidence of those who lived before us, that is your business. However the evidence is clearly not obscure.

12 December 2013 at 21:43  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

In general the Atheist is dedicated to the removal of everything bar his doctrine, including his creation myth, from the public square.

Has not great effort been made to exclude prayers from council meetings and anything other than Evolution from education?

12 December 2013 at 21:44  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Martin,

I conjecture that, Aggressive Atheism and its half-brother, Over Confident Humanism, would both be very confused and lacking in direction, if they succeeded in completely eradicating faith from the public square, and peoples minds ( as if that was possible) because, then, having "achieved" their crusade, what would they do ? What would be their drive ?
Their cause is destruction of the things they abhor, and after that, I suspect there is , well, not a lot, Perhaps a celebration party ? ( which isn't going to happen).
The motive is , as Hitchens says, a dislike of the idea that there may be some power above them, possessing greater wisdom, and, worse of all, advice about how to conduct their lives - horror ! Radical autonomy is denied ! The idea that we are totally in charge, although deeply appealing I concede, is rather unlikely I think given the nature of the Universe and its incredibly, finely tuned, perfectly interlocking nature. The value of "G", the Gravitational Constant, is itself is a testimony to that point.

Good night.

12 December 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger Jon Sorensen said...

It looks like privileged Christians are upset that other religions get the same benefits as they do. Christians are happy to keep their tax breaks but get your knickers in a twist when other religions ask for same tax breaks.

Why is His Grace worried about Muslims and Church of Scientology being able to discriminate against women, while there is no gender equality in Christian Churches?

This shows how many Christians don't seem to care about religious freedom, just their own privileges. You can only have religious freedom and equality in secular society.

12 December 2013 at 23:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon Sorensen. The Inspector wept pretend tears of regret on seeing your arse of a post...

Jonathan is such as harmless name, (snigger)

12 December 2013 at 23:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Pfft!

13 December 2013 at 02:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin:"In general the Atheist is dedicated to the removal of everything bar his doctrine, including his creation myth, from the public square."

Perhaps the issue is over what is meant by the "public square". I take that to mean what it literally says. Removing religion from the State is a different thing. Atheism is about a lack of belief in a god, it says nothing about behaving illiberally. Advocating a secular State is more about a plural society and dealing with the consequences of issues like this.

13 December 2013 at 04:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin:"Has not great effort been made to exclude prayers from council meetings and anything other than Evolution from education?"

You know that an atheist and advocate of a secular State like me is quite content for creation myths to be taught in schools, right? I don't think I'm unusual in that regard at all. However, it needs to be taught in RE where it belongs. Also, I'm happy for the theory of evolution by natural selection to be taught in science with an emphasis on the meaning of theory and the issues of testing it. Children ought to be taught the philosophy of science at some point in their education. That said, it's the best scientific explanation for species that we have.

13 December 2013 at 04:18  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Inspector
The Church of Ireland continued to exist after its disestablishment.
The most religious part of the UK (NI) is it most secular.

13 December 2013 at 04:35  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector:

Martian visits Earth, and asks Jon S the purpose of religion.

The purpose of religion, says Jon, is the prevention of gender equality.

Martian wonders about other forms of inequality: race, class, salaries of BBC presenters relative to nurses...

No, no, says, Jon, gender equality is the key. Get that right, by getting rid of religion (although there'll also be complete religious freedom) and from it all else flows.

Martian goes away puzzled: Martian research having told him/her/it that religion was somehow connected with a supreme being.

13 December 2013 at 08:12  
Blogger richardhj said...

Paul 13:25 yesterday.

"The Romans believed Christianity to be a dangerous cult whilst accepting all sorts of wacky religions"

Rather goes to suggest that they knew that Christianity was different doesn't it.

13 December 2013 at 08:28  
Blogger Len said...

If you read Jesus`s words to people who questioned Him about his 'authenticity' and whether they should follow Him you might think from His answers to them that He was actually trying to 'put them off'.
Jesus knew what was in the hearts of these men.These were people to whom the truth was too difficult for them to perceive they preferred their illusions and no way did they want to know the truth.
God has revealed His plan for the salvation of Humanity but those who are bound up in their own 'cleverness' cannot perceive it.
Once Christ has revealed the Truth about himself to one it seems incredible that others cannot see it.God had to reverse the cause of the fall of man and His answer is through the 'foolishness' of the Cross.

The 'Wisdom' of This World system versus the Wisdom of God.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the 'foolishness' of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1Corinthians)

13 December 2013 at 09:21  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Len,

Yes, because it is the ego and the narrowness of thought, that leads the Aggressive Atheist or the Over Confident Humanist or similar Secularist ( or the Emperor worshiping Roman ) to dismiss all but their world view. Their fragile ego, and their inward looking self-important "cleverness" cannot bear the thought that there is an intelligence, a wisdom so vastly superior to their own, and which advises, on how to achieve human flourishing, so they become angry in defense, and increasingly in imposing, their "tolerant" and "neutral" secular world order.
I have no problem with the genuinely tolerant atheist, or humanist though, but there are fewer and fewer of them I find.

13 December 2013 at 09:52  
Blogger Martin said...

David

The hatred of the idea that there is an authority above them is what drives every man away from God.

13 December 2013 at 10:24  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

The Atheist is not about a lack of belief in God but a belief in self, a demand that the religion of self be paramount. It is illiberal in its demands for itself, it cares little for others or a 'plural society'.

If you teach your unevidenced nonsense of Evolution, why shouldn't the clear, logical description of the Creation in the Bible be taught in science as well? Perhaps you need to learn the meaning of 'theory' than you would understand why Evolution doesn't qualify. Perhaps children need to be taught both so they can understand what science really is.

13 December 2013 at 10:25  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"You know that an atheist and advocate of a secular State like me is quite content for creation myths to be taught in schools, right? I don't think I'm unusual in that regard at all. However, it needs to be taught in RE where it belongs. Also, I'm happy for the theory of evolution by natural selection to be taught in science with an emphasis on the meaning of theory and the issues of testing it. Children ought to be taught the philosophy of science at some point in their education. That said, it's the best scientific explanation for species that we have."

Dear Boy.

"...an emphasis on the meaning of theory and the issues of testing it. "

I have a theoretical test...to stretch that scientific theory, nay FACT called Evolution.

Let's let all the poor starve and isolate them to ensure the 'threat' is biologically sure and great so goddess evo knows it's serious.

How long do you reckon it would take before the mutations (X men style?) and natural selection process 'kick in' before the whole lot starve to death? as an emphasis on the meaning of theory and the issues of testing it.

Blofeld

13 December 2013 at 10:34  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

...why shouldn't the clear, logical description of the Creation in the Bible be taught in science as well?

Religion IS NOT science but what the heck, why stop there - don't leave out the legitimacy of Flat Earth science.

13 December 2013 at 10:35  
Blogger Matt A said...

Dreadnaught: The "Flat Earth science" is a strawman, used only to discredit those who believe God created the world.

13 December 2013 at 10:48  
Blogger Martin said...

Dreadnaught

Ah, the Atheist pretending to be about science and looking down on the religions. Well actually Atheism is a religion and has little to do with science, except in the mind of the true believer.

As to Flat Earth science, you don't get much closer to that than Evolution.

13 December 2013 at 10:59  
Blogger Rodney Coyne said...

Marie1797 (12 December 2013 14:43)


These others too are glorified clubs that you have to be a member of first and to be a member you have to pay a joining fee so therefore they should not be exempt from paying taxes.


Fat Sam (12 December 2013 16:20)



But the fact that it operates like a business, rather than as a non-profit organisation, casts doubt, in my mind, on its entitlement to tax breaks.



Marie and Sam have hit the nail on the head - tax exemption should fall away in cases like this.

13 December 2013 at 11:04  
Blogger Jon said...

Explorer, I think your story goes like this.

Martian visits earth.

Catholic response: burn him at the stake for speaking the wrong language.

CoE: work out whether it's ok to have sex with the Martian.

What would actually happen is that both religions would collapse as God didn't tell them what to do. Eventually, someone would emerge having painfully extrapolated some verse from Leviticus about executing goats for eating corn dedicated to Baal or something, and decide the Martian should be put to death. After the deed is done, both Churches would then deny the Martian ever existed.

13 December 2013 at 11:09  
Blogger Jon said...

Incidentally, everyone else would become Jedis at this point.

13 December 2013 at 11:10  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Jon:

My example was specific to John S. (I assume Jon S and Jon to be two different contributors?)

Remove that constraint, and the permutations are endless.

A Stalinist would shoot the Martian for being a bourgeois revisionist.

An existentialist would tell him/her/it to authenticate him/her/itself.

A Foucauldian/ist would look for the hidden power structure underlying the question.

A postmodernist would deny the validity of the question because there is no transcendental signified, and no big metanarrative.

13 December 2013 at 11:40  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 December 2013 at 12:05  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The "Flat Earth science" is a strawman.
Ah, the Atheist pretending to be about science...'


Of course it is.

It's atheist with a small 'a' if you don't mind and like Theology - it is not a science.

13 December 2013 at 12:11  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

And so, the chase of the great red herring...evolution vs. creation...begins again, with the secularists insisting that the process explain existence, origins of life and even purpose and meaning, which it doesn't and (some, not all) believers insisting that Scripture intends to describe the process, historical and ongoing, of Creation, which it doesn't either. Groan.

Gentlemen, start your engines; I'm going out for a beer.

13 December 2013 at 13:05  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

That said, it's the best scientific explanation for species that we have."

There is a philosophical definition of science smuggled into this sentence. Science is based upon observations of time and space and energy and matter. The sentence assumes that science is a fit vehicle for examining the question of origin because the answer must be found in the interactions of time and space and energy and matter. Why must the answer be found in such interactions? Because (it is assumed) there is nothing else to act as cause - because nothing else exists except for time and space and energy and matter. If we exist, and nothing but TSEM could be the cause of our existence, then we must be the product of TSEM and science becomes the fit vehicle to find the answer.

carl

13 December 2013 at 13:26  
Blogger Martin said...

Dreadnaught

Actually it is Atheist with a capital because it is a religion, like Hinduism, and while Theology is the Queen of sciences, Atheism is merely a religion.

13 December 2013 at 14:25  
Blogger Martin said...

Avi

Actually Scripture does describe the process.

13 December 2013 at 14:25  
Blogger Len said...

Hows this for a faith based religion"Once there was nothing and then this' nothing' went off with a huge bang and out of this big bang came....people, trees, flowers, animals... plants... and some people actually believe this %^&$*£(
As Ernst would say(where is he today?)' Guffaws and laughter'..
Oh please do stop it you atheists my sides are hurting!.

13 December 2013 at 15:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's curious how many religionists are keen to turn a-theism into a religion too as though it's a poor state of being and they need to share the misery.

13 December 2013 at 17:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "And so, the chase of the great red herring...evolution vs. creation...begins again, with the secularists insisting that the process explain existence, origins of life and even purpose and meaning, which it doesn't and (some, not all) believers insisting that Scripture intends to describe the process, historical and ongoing, of Creation, which it doesn't either. Groan."

Except I was very careful to point out it's an explanation of species so that doesn't actually apply to me at all. Phew.

13 December 2013 at 17:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "Atheism is merely a religion."

Heh. Out of the horse's mouth too.

13 December 2013 at 17:45  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Martin: Actually Scripture does describe the process.

Indeed it does, Martin. Of course, you and I being of different religions and traditions means that we probably hold very different and irreconcilable views on what Scripture is and which Creation process or processes it describes.

The long age of the Universe, current cosmology and evolution theory, all of which are evolving themselves, rather than a pseudoscientific materialistic claims, presents no religious problems for me and most Jews. One can accept the overwhelming evidence for Creation as a long, gradual process without falling into the belief that it all happened by chance or random processes. Or, that our close, very close, biological relationship to animals makes us into just another animal.

DanJo said, Except I was very careful to point out it's an explanation of species so that doesn't actually apply to me at all. Phew.

I missed that post, Danjo. This is all about you again? Anyway, if not a religion by looser or more encompassing definitions, atheism is certainly much closer to religion, functionally at least, than agnosticism, which is a more scientificall objective perspective, one which acknowledges the limitations of human knowledge, perception...and claims of certainty. As a kid in Eastern Europe we were taught to believe in and evangelize "catechisms," namely that the Universe was always there (Aristotelian), that life emerged through random physical processes (Avicenna and Averroes), that human will and actions can change our genetic substance (Animistic, Stalinist and pseudo-Darwinist Lysenkoist crapola) and that we are marching towards an internationalist classless society of equal brothers and sisters (pseudo-atheist, neo-Marxist bullshit theology). These "truths" were treated as a religion by some. We are debating word definitions again.

13 December 2013 at 18:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "I missed that post, Danjo. This is all about you again?"

FFS. You mess up yet again and it's my problem?

13 December 2013 at 18:42  
Blogger Martin said...

Avi

Trouble is, God says He created in six days & Evolution requires a lot longer.

13 December 2013 at 21:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Six days seems a rather long time for a miracle. Let’s forget the miracle and go with what science has come up with thus far...

13 December 2013 at 22:04  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack agrees God's creation should be taught in school alongside the scientific method. The limits of science should be taught too, like Carl pointed out.

Jack says that evolution is not "the best scientific explanation for species that we have." It is not an explanation at all. It is just a theory and cannot be proven. And even if it is proven correct one day, what then? How did life start? No agreed theories there. How did the universe start? No agreed theory about what caused the Big Bang. Where consciousness came from? No explanations, just different theories again. We're back to that "god creator thingy" again, aren't we?

Martin, Happy Jack wonders just how long a day is for God, especially before He made the Sun and the Moon - or time. 24 hours? As Avi says, the bible can be read in different ways.

13 December 2013 at 22:23  
Blogger Matt A said...

Happy Jack: Avi has the advantage of being able to read the Hebrew scriptures, where a "day" is most clearly a day as we know it.

Matt A likes Happy Jack.

13 December 2013 at 22:39  
Blogger Martin said...

OoIG

Science has come up with nothing. Indeed, science will only aid with something that is testable & repeatable. Remember no one has observed the descent of all life from an original form.

Thing is, God tells us that over a period of six day God performed a number of miracles. Those miracles, it seems reasonable to say, were as instantaneous as Jesus' miracles. God took six days that Man might have a pattern for the working week. It is childishly simple yet the 'wise man' stumbles over it.

13 December 2013 at 23:08  
Blogger Martin said...

Happy Jack

I'd add that since the days in Genesis 1 are associated with evenings and mornings they are without a doubt the sort of day we experience.

13 December 2013 at 23:11  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Matt, Happy Jack says hello and thank you. You are too kind.

Happy Jack is thinking of setting up his very own church and declaring himself a profit (is that how its spelt?) to get some tax breaks. He will call it the "Eight Day Church". It's probably a big, big heresy and could land him in trouble with some big wigs.

See, this is how it goes. God was having a well earned rest on the seventh day after all his hard work, what with creating everything and getting Adam up to speed naming all the animals and what have you. Now while he's having his rest, along comes Satan and ... well ... we know what happens next. Out from Eden go Adam and Eve into the world and "thus" (religious word) the eight "day" starts and its all about the history of "thee" and "thou" (more religious words)in returning to God.

Happy Jack hasn't quite worked out the rest of his "theology" just yet but this is a start and should be enough to get registered, charge membership fees, sell books at high prices, collect donations and start buying buildings for meetings and worship and even weddings.

Readers, please note, this idea is Happy Jack's and he doesn't want anyone out there nicking it before he takes out a patent. Jack says if the Scientologists can run a scam, why not him?

13 December 2013 at 23:29  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

But Martin, Happy Jack says the bible was not dictated like Muslims believe the Koran was and what other words could its authors use to signify the creation process under the Holy Spirit's inspiration? They didn't know about Big Bangs and DNA and all that stuff.

Jack also says, is it worth getting all heated up about? We know God made the universe; we know God made us in his image and likeness; we know we are fallen creatures; and we know we have all been offered Heaven because of the sacrifice of Jesus if we accept him as our brother, friend and King. (Well, you don't believe the last bit but Jack does.)

13 December 2013 at 23:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Martin. There is faith in God. This man has no problem in deciding what we have on this earth is so very convenient for our existence, such as the electricity by which we can communicate. Too convenient for mere chance.

There is also BLIND faith in God. That scares this man. You see, he associates it with bombs and beheadings...


14 December 2013 at 00:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"Now, faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not .... By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God: that from invisible things visible things might be made."

14 December 2013 at 00:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Happy Jack:"Jack says that evolution is not "the best scientific explanation for species that we have." It is not an explanation at all. It is just a theory and cannot be proven."

Of course it's an explanation. That's what scientific theories are. They have explanatory power. This one has an issue over testability at the macro level of course but the supporting evidence spans many disciplines.

14 December 2013 at 07:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack:"We're back to that"god creator thingy" again, aren't we?"

No. The theory of evolution by natural selection can stand independently of that. Your theory is not a theory of that type at all despite it's explanatory power. What you have done is simply imagine from scratch, without any boundaries, what you need. Or rather, you've taken on board a notion that predates you in our local culture, which would probably be different had you been born in the Middle East or the Far East.

14 December 2013 at 07:58  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

But God inspired the writers of the Bible & they wrote of days. They could quite easily have written of vastly longer periods of time.

As to the Big Bang, the scientific evidence is stacking up against it. Indeed they have to imagine things we can't see, dark matter, and forces we can't measure, dark energy, to keep it going. There's even a website based on those scientist who reject the Big Bang.

I'd rather believe what God has said.

14 December 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger Martin said...

OoIG

There's also blind faith in what you are taught is science actually is science. I'm still waiting for someone to demonstrate the descent of all life from an original form

BTW, don't you think God is capable of keeping what is His safe?

14 December 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

So what explanatory power has Evolution? It gave us vestigial organs - which are all now known to have a purpose - and Junk DNA - which is now known to be far from junk. If you cannot test the theory (no such thing as micro/macro level) then it isn't a theory.

14 December 2013 at 10:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "If you cannot test the theory (no such thing as micro/macro level) then it isn't a theory."

We're talking specifically about scientific theory here of course. It is testable in various ways, one of which is that it is falsifiable in its current state. For example, if we find certain fossils in the wrong place. We predict that this will not happen on the basis of what we know of the process. To do so would undermine the theory at its macro level.

What we have is a theory that has supporting evidence in many other disciplines too. There is a diversity of phenomena it covers. It has predictive power too. Afterall, Darwin recognised what was going on but couldn't explain how at that point. Later down the line, we find out about DNA and, hey, it fits the existing theory. F'sure, there may be things that turn up that cause the theory to be reevaluated at the micro level but that's normal for broad theories like this.

14 December 2013 at 11:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "So what explanatory power has Evolution?"

It explains species, for starters. In fact, that's its primary thing.

14 December 2013 at 11:23  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

You cannot demonstrate how the fossils got there, they could have done so in a global flood over the period of a year, and in any case you define the place you find the fossils by the fossils you find there.

Species are produced by variation already existing in the genome. It has nothing to do with Evolution.


If you can't demonstrate the descent of all life from an original form then it isn't a theory.

14 December 2013 at 11:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Martin. You’re the fellow who explained away fossils being found on the highest mountain in the world as evidence of a biblical flood.

You cannot reason with blind faith such as that...

Good day to you sir.

14 December 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin, you could be quoting from The Watchtower there.

14 December 2013 at 12:12  
Blogger Len said...

It seems to me that some have on what can only be described as' a blindfold' of their own prejudices and pre -conditions when approaching the subject of God.
I started off in the church and then became an Atheist because I 'reasoned' that God could not possible exist.
As I mentioned earlier Bible Prophesy is' a signpost' that points one towards God if one has an open [enough] mind to the possibility of God existing which I sometimes pondered upon.
But' reason' alone cannot reveal God especially since the fall has 'darkened our minds',closed them to God.
God will reveal the truth about Himself to those who search for the truth.' Truth' is a person not an abstract concept.
For those with a spirit that is dead to God can be likened to someone with a radio that can only produce static and keep repeating "I cannot hear anything there`s no one there" and despises and ridicules those who can hear.
So only God can communicate Himself to those who seek Him in honesty and truth and can then breath Life into dead spirits for those who will receive Him.

'So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam,(Jesus Christ) a life-giving spirit.(1Corinthians 15:45)



14 December 2013 at 12:56  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Martin and Danjo, Happy Jack says these are not things he loses any sleep over or gets all worked up about.

Jack remembers a tune by Johnny Nash, a good singer, called: "There are more questions than answers.". And another called: I can see clearly now." Sometimes Jack sings his versions of these songs.

14 December 2013 at 13:34  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

these are not things he loses any sleep over or gets all worked up about.

If such abject nonsense as creation mythology was taught to my grand-children as fact I most certainly would.

14 December 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. You are the very last person on this blog who can talk about blindfolds...

14 December 2013 at 17:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Dreadnaught, Happy Jack says, well, yes, you would be entitled to if their parents do not accept this. Jack probably would too if he was blessed with children and grandchildren. The one about strange men from outer space, hiding their ship behind a comet, and making intelligent life on this planet is far worse.

Science is science and faith is faith, so far as Jack sees it and he doesn't see them in a big competition like some people. That's why he doesn't lose sleep over all this.

A good Christ-Mass to you and all your family and Jack hopes Father Christmas brings you some cool presents at this time when we remember Jesus' birth and have a party. *chuckle*

14 December 2013 at 18:09  
Blogger Martin said...

OoIG

It is hardly blind faith to see fossils on the top of mountains as evidence of the Flood, just the obvious conclusion. Is it not a scientific conclusion that Everest has grown, it has not always sat there at that height.

14 December 2013 at 18:12  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

"you could be quoting from The Watchtower there"

Have you run out of arguments that you should say such a thing?

14 December 2013 at 18:21  
Blogger Martin said...

Dreadnaught

"If such abject nonsense as creation mythology was taught to my grand-children as fact I most certainly would"

Yet it appears you are happy for your grand-children to be taught that the nonsense of Evolution is science. Remember, science is about observation and testing, both being repeated.

Can you observe the descent of all life from an original form?

14 December 2013 at 18:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo Happy Jack says this is not right:

"The theory of evolution by natural selection can stand independently of that."

All this theory can "explain" is variations within a species and why certain species die out. It cannot "explain", on the basis of evidence or observation, how one species changes into another one or how man came into being. As Carl said earlier:

"Science is based upon observations of time and space and energy and matter ... the answer must be found in the interactions of time and space and energy and matter ... If we exist, and nothing but TSEM could be the cause of our existence, then we must be the product of TSEM and science becomes the fit vehicle to find the answer."

Jack says views on the origins of the universe and earth and life on earth, comes down to faith in a "god creator thingy" or faith in time, space, energy and matter driven by random, chaotic chance.

14 December 2013 at 19:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Happy Jack: "All this theory can "explain" is variations within a species and why certain species die out. It cannot "explain", on the basis of evidence or observation, how one species changes into another one or how man came into being."

Why on earth not?

14 December 2013 at 20:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "Have you run out of arguments that you should say such a thing?"

No. You're so off piste from our current and almost unanimously accepted state of scientific knowledge that you're in JW territory and perhaps beyond. I simply cannot help you get back.

14 December 2013 at 20:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

As it happens, I have a trilobite fossil next to my keyboard now which I picked up in the Atlas mountains in Morocco. If you go there then you will notice some strange things about the geology. One thing that is apparent is that there are many fine layers and fragmentation. The other is that the layers are not horizontal, they stick up at angles all over the place. Strange, that. :)

14 December 2013 at 20:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack says it cannot explain" because that is too strong a word. There is no scientific evidence or observation, just various theories about man evolving from a microbe or something like that.

Jack says that he believes however and by whatever means all these things happened, there is a creator God personally involved in creation and in our individual lives. Jack cannot "prove" this "scientifically". You cannot disapprove it "scientifically".

14 December 2013 at 20:27  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Martin
Can you observe the descent of all life from an original form?

No; but science is working on it and has identified the oldest life-forms to be (cyano-bacterial algae)at the surface and live anaerobic bacteria deep in the rock formations.

That you seemingly don't understand the difference between the meaning or purpose of science and the difference between it and myth, is clear enough to me to decline further exchanges on the matter. For you I feel, your literal interpretation of bible stories has created for you a silent bubble of security to which you are of course, well and truly welcome.

14 December 2013 at 20:30  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

.... "a trilobite fossil", is no way to talk about your friend. *chuckle*

(Just a friendly joke)

14 December 2013 at 20:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Jack cannot "prove" this "scientifically". You cannot disapprove it "scientifically"."

Your god is defined to be outside of space and time so it's no wonder we can't.

"There is no scientific evidence or observation, just various theories about man evolving from a microbe or something like that."

Do you not think it's strange that we're very close to other animals, biologically speaking, and especially to chimps and bonobos? Why have there been so many species extinctions? And why does your god have an inordinate fondness for beetles, to borrow a quote?

Isn't it strange that the universe appears to be enormous beyond our imagining? We live on a poxy rock somewhere in all of that. Where's your sense of proportion? Why bother with all that if you were a creator along the lines of the Christian god?

14 December 2013 at 20:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...

This is where then action seems to be. All quiet on the other fronts.

JBS Haldane, if I remember right, DanJ0? I've always thought fondness didn't come into it; presumably that many beetles are necessary for the world to function in the way it does.

One query. "Your god is defined to be outside of space and time."

Of course, if our God is a fiction, we can define him any way we want. Myself, I like Zeus: sitting on Olympus: throwing thunderbolts, and with a good vantage point for raping women. Very recognisably human.

And also doomed to mortality. Cronos eating his children sums it up.

Are you suggesting that God, if he existed, would be WITHIN space and time. Like Zeus? Or Shakespeare within one of his plays?

Or would real divinity be necessarily transcendent?

14 December 2013 at 20:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Are you suggesting that God, if he existed, would be WITHIN space and time. Like Zeus? Or Shakespeare within one of his plays?"

No, not at all. Just publically recognising the limits of science regarding that, Jesus notwithstanding.

14 December 2013 at 21:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

And proper miracles, too. Unfixed amputees, nothwithstanding.

14 December 2013 at 21:05  
Blogger Len said...

Some interesting and quite revealing comments here.
To say there 'is not God' is quite a statement to make.
Because it infers that the person who makes that statement has knowledge of all things in the Universe material and spiritual.
Strikes me as being just a tad arrogant and/or extremely foolish.

14 December 2013 at 21:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack thought this a strange comment:

"Isn't it strange that the universe appears to be enormous beyond our imagining? We live on a poxy rock somewhere in all of that. Where's your sense of proportion? Why bother with all that if you were a creator along the lines of the Christian god?"

Jack thinks this is the very reason God did it all that way! In His vast creation, He made man, gave him reason and will, and sent His Son, Himself, to be one of us. That's stunning. And the more we discover about universe and about life, the more amazing it all becomes and the more humble we become before the sheer majesty of God.

14 December 2013 at 21:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Note the capitalisation of god there, which specialises from an abstract. Also, who has actually said there is no god to that level of certainty? Not me. It might help to understand what is actually being said as it is you who looks foolish, Len

14 December 2013 at 21:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Jack thinks this is the very reason God did it all that way!"

You're one step away from saying that your god put fossils there in order to test faith, I think.

14 December 2013 at 21:40  
Blogger Len said...

Danjo let me ask you a direct question then to avoid any confusion.

Do you believe in God? .

A simple yes or no will do.

14 December 2013 at 21:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "A simple yes or no will do."

Jeez. Please, shoot me now.

14 December 2013 at 22:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack asks: how so?

14 December 2013 at 22:05  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 21:05

The unfixed amputees is a very valid point. I don't recall any amputee healings in the Gospels. (The severed ear is a rather different issue, I think.)

There is debate about whether miracles continue unabated; or whether they ended with the apostolic era. Myself, I tend towards the latter view.

I think the miracles of healing are a) a denial of pantheism (that disease is blessed seen from the right perspective) and b) an assertion of the corrupted state of Nature that will one day be redeemed and c) a pattern for medical care. (Christianity gave an enormous boost to the development of hospitals: the Benedictines had 2000 or so in medieval Europe).

I loathe, and grieve for, the vile things that illness does to the human body. When I was an atheist, the anguish of witnessing unjustified suffering would drive me to despair. The great Christian hope is of the resurrection body.

That could be an escape attempt from facing the unbearable. The alternative is that it could be true.

14 December 2013 at 22:28  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Why does a loving God allow suffering? A more pertinent question, it seems to me, is why the idea of a loving God should exist in the first place.

From observing the natural processes of life on this planet one could easily deduce something like the Aztec Tlaloc, with his demand for infant sacrifice. That, or materialism, would seem to me the plausible alternatives.

It's only if Nature is in a state of transitional abnormality that divine love becomes for me in any way feasible. And then the Incarnation, as a stage in the repair process, takes on meaning.

14 December 2013 at 22:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Martin said: Avi...Trouble is, God says He created in six days & Evolution requires a lot longer."

Martin, trouble is, God's version of yom, a "day" is evidently quite different from ours. Especially before the Sun and the Moon were created to give us the 24 hour period. As most languages with spare vocabularies, such as Classical Hebrew, a single word can have a dozen meanings, and "day" also means "category" or "kind." "Creation," bereishis also means conception, in the sense of seeding. In our "long version" of the Bible, the Talmud, our Sages recognized this and assumed a much, much older universe. Not all of them, not always, but often enough and with enough authority to validate and make acceptable and non-controversial a belief in a much, much, older universe and in evolution as a mechanism, or a tool if you will, in the process of Creation by the Almighty.

As a Christian, you are not required, of course, to accept a Jewish, Rabbinic view. You can formulate whatever Creation myths (in the academic sense of the word)you choose, but you shouldn't assume that we have to follow your interpretations and over-simplifications of our literature and philosophies. I've always been fidgety about the fact that most people assume that we read our Torah the same way as literalist Christians read the "Old" Testament and think that we all have to hold to ludicrous views on science, cosmology and history.

14 December 2013 at 23:47  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack did not know this: "As most languages with spare vocabularies, such as Classical Hebrew, a single word can have a dozen meanings, and "day" also means "category" or "kind.".

Jack says its a tricky old business translating Genesis from Hebrew, to Greek, to Latin and then into all sorts of other languages. Talk about the Tower of Babel!

Anyway, what's it got to do with you Jews? Everyone knows God is a white Anglo-Saxon man with a long white beard and the bible was written for saved Christians. You just had a bit of a head start.

*chuckle*

15 December 2013 at 00:04  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Everyone knows God is a white Anglo-Saxon man with a long white beard...

Happy Jack, you saw Jesus Christ Superstar the movie when it came out too? I saw it four times in the theatres and a bunch of times on TV (pre-VCR days) and knew all the lyrics. Mea culpa. Might have to explain that one day.

Apart from the translations, some of the meanings of Hebrew words and expressions were debated among Jews in the Talmud as well. The Rambam (Maimonides)and Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki) were the biblical linguists who clarified many of the meaning for us.

15 December 2013 at 00:45  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack has never seen that film but knows a couple of tunes from it. In the 70's Jack was at sea for a time and on the road and in various places he will not mention. Jack knows God and Jesus are white from all the pictures he has seen in churches.

From what you say, Christians need to work closely with Jews if they are to understand the words in the bible. Jack has heard the letters are also numbers and there are no vowels or punctuation marks. Jack asks, what sort of strange language is this?

15 December 2013 at 01:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Not all imagined portraits of Jesus look the same; depends what churches you go to, Happy Jack. Greek, Syriac and Spanish churches, not to mention Indian and African ones, will depict Jesus in icons and paintings as "one of their own." The long hair bit is not universal either; it's a later, medieval, interpretation from when kings and emperors grew their hair long by custom.

Hebrew, as a language is not that strange; it's a fairly logical one and far less complicated and much easier to learn than English. The writing can seem tough, to someone used to a phonetic transcription, but a native speaker will not read it letter-by-letter, but in the manner of quick, visual word recognition.

As for Christians working closely with Jews in Bible translations, that was done in the Renaissance by Christian Hebraists, and I believe your King James also employed scholars knowledgeable in Hebrew. Some modern translations also do this, but there are apparently differences. It's not only a matter of word translation, but of meaning too...and don't ask me for examples, because I'm not knowledgeable enough in this... and here our theologies diverge significantly, so I wouldn't expect to see a translation on which Jews and Christians would agree.

15 December 2013 at 01:48  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Forgive me for coming lae to this debate, but...

The face of Christos Pantokrator, Christ the Ruler of All, the standard image of Jesus in Greek Orthodox iconography is believed by many scholars to have been based on Olympian Zeus. The word Zeus is believed to have given us the Latin word Deus for God.

As for the earliest depictions of Jesus, in some of the very earliest ones he is shown as clean shaven.

15 December 2013 at 02:07  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Darter Noster, one can never be late for these things. Thanks for that info! You mean the famous icon at St Catherine monastery? The one with the "split" facial expressions? I'm not a genius...I loved Art History. The artists in most Eastern icons also depict Jesus in Roman garb, a two part toga, often in red and blue. An odd colour combination for which I've never seen an explanation.

PS to Martin. Here's an example I dig up in Wiki (which can surprise at times) of a biblically-based calculation of the age of the Universe by a 14th century Jewish mystic, Isaac of Acre. His view is not authoritative, and it's one of many which postulate a much older universe, but it's quite interesting as his calculations coincide pretty closely with the chronology of the Big Bang:

Isaac states that the universe is actually 15,340,500,000 years old.Isaac arrived at this conclusion by distinguishing between earthly "solar years" and "divine years," based on a verse from Psalms, which states that "A thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday" (Psalm 90:4). If each day of a divine year is equal to a thousand earthly "solar years," then a divine year would be 365,250 years long. Isaac then makes some other calculations based on the Talmud and the Biblical sabbatical year, and arrives at the said number. The scientific estimation places the occurrence of the Big Bang at 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago."

He over-estimated by a couple of billion years perhaps, probably due to a confusion with leap years and such, but I say, a not too shabby for someone without a Cray computer, who probably used an abacus and a reed pen on papyrus. But what makes his efforts even more interesting is that unlike modern theologians, Isaac was under no pressure to depart from a simple, literal interpretation of Genesis or to match religion to a scientific theory which didn't exist at the time.

Not wishing to sway your own interpretation or faith; just making the point that one can interpret Scripture in many ways.

15 December 2013 at 02:39  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Hello Avi,

I mean the standard depiction of Christ which is placed at the highest point of many Greek Orthodox Churches.

I have been told, by people I have every reason to academically trust, that the depiction of Christos Pantokrator is believed to have been based on Pheidias's statue of Olympian Zeus, which was at the time the most likely source of inspiration for religious art.

But, Christ is also depicted as beardless in paintings by early Roman Christians for whom beardlessness was the contemporary fashion. Christ has also been portrayed as a Negro by African Christians. We make of him what we will.

15 December 2013 at 02:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hello Darter, ah yes, there is name for that location, "eye of God" or something like that. I think it was a hole, a skylight of sorts in Pagan temples, then churches filled it in. It's possible, assuming Phaedias' statue looked the way we imagine it. It's all guesswork. One of the troubles with making...um...graven images. At least stylized iconography attempted to symbolize, rather than depict.

15 December 2013 at 03:19  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Avi,

I think the point is that when it was first painted what Pheidias's statue looked like wasn't guesswork, and depictions of Christos Pantokrator have been based upon that copy.

But I only make the point at all as one of historical curiosity. My main point is that if one is bothered about what Christ looked like you've rather missed the point about what Christ is.

15 December 2013 at 03:32  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Darter,

From the point of view of early Christians, once it was established that the majority of Jews were not going to be receptive to Christianity, and that a much greater number and more pliable source of souls were to be found among Pagan Romans, it became necessary to accommodate their tastes and religious preferences, hence the Christianization of Pagan festivals and Pagan religious art. Apart from a Byzantine emperor, an iconoclast (icon-breaker), who had religious art painted over or destroyed, the next rejection of religious art in churches didn't take place until the Reformation.

Would Christianity have succeeded with your approach in the Classical World? I doubt it very much; people are rarely receptive to huge changes. Byzantine iconoclasm was short-lived and the Protestant rejection of religious art wasn't total and succeeded only because apart from Catholicism, which it rejected, there was no other competition. I note with amusement that while Protestant denominations keep their churches clear of devotional images, there is a deluge of illustrated books, especially children's books, which depict biblical characters and Gospel personages, including Jesus. Jewish children's publications, especially non-Orthodox ones, do this too, at times clearly borrowing from Protestant ones...relating to the Torah only, of course. Not easy to take pretty pictures and illustrations from people.

15 December 2013 at 04:11  
Blogger Len said...

The worst thing that ever happened to Christianity is when it became a State recognised, State owned religion. Constantine incorporated Christianity into pagan Rome and 'blended 'the two together.
The state corrupted Christianity and 'transformed Christianity ' into its own image.
True Christianity cannot conform to this World system so Christianity in its pure form as opposed to the 'Christian religion' is an anomaly.

'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will'.(Romans 12 :2)
So to those unable to perceive the Truth about the God of the Bible all religions will seem to have an element of 'truth' so none can say they are 'the' Way only 'A' way and the multi -faith Church is created.
What a good idea...not.

15 December 2013 at 09:44  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 02:39

Either Canadian time doesn't register on this Blog, or you were having a sleepless night.

Your C14 example is an interesting point. There's an idea around that the Seven Days only became an issue with Darwin; but, as you show, it's much older than that.

Augustine, in fact, wrestles with it in 'The City of God'. (C5). What does it mean that God rested? God, as sustainer of the Universe, can't need to rest. WE do, and have divine sanction for doing so. The Plato or Maimonides of Christianity: raised every question going.

Regards to you.

15 December 2013 at 10:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Len, an interesting approach; Rome as a continuum, a world civilization and a power well into our days, obscured by the glittering, Cross-decorated mantle of State Christianity. But playing what-ifs with history, as you are doing, is a hopeless task. It's doubtful Christianity would have reached a critical mass for its growth to become a world religion without the Sword of Constantine, the power of the state. Europe was Christianized from above, by providing a semblance of order and temporal hope in a time of economic and institutional collapse mainly through compulsion and force, a process which continued well into the Middle Ages, involving organized campaigns and considerable capital to win confederates and to clear the last Pagan and "heretic" holdouts in the peripheries of European civilization, Northern and Eastern Europe and...not to be forgotten... by crushing and marginalizing its last serious challenger on the Continent, Rabbinic Judaism. The Christianization of South America echoed this process as well.

The proof in the pudding of this interpretation is that in places where Christianity lacked the capital and force of the state, in the Near East, India and East Asia, it dwindled almost to nothingness. The horrific persecution of Christians in the Muslim world and China echoes this as well; the powers there are not just intolerant to another religion, but recognize or imagine Christian absolutism not just as a theological curiosity, but as an existential challenge funded and enforced by Western capital and institutions of force.

What you are arguing for, a "pure" faith-based, de-structured faith is no longer an argument or a proposal; it's an emerging reality. Christianity is no longer backed by the powers of the state and is now becoming a "tolerated" religion among other religions and other ways of life. How this will play out remains to be seen by our grandchildren and great-grand children. No matter what, though, future historians toying around the Cranmer site in the vast electronic archives will have a chuckle, for one reason or another, at our conversations here.

15 December 2013 at 10:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 10:55

Interesting thoughts: as always.

I believe that Christianity is increasing exponentially in China. (I'm not using that as a basis for an argument: simply citing what I believe to be a fact.)

Otherwise, your argument seems to be similar to that used by Nietzsche about the death of God. That is to say, the Christian God doesn't actually exist, but if enough people think/pretend he does, God survives. When the numbers dwindle, God dies too; since God is simply the sum total of his admirers.

If God does actually exist, however, the outcome will be rather different. Colonialism preached the triumph of a universal Christianity (a sort of Euro-ethicism minus the religious bit) but actual Christianity is rather less sanguine. It will be preached everywhere, but not accepted everywhere; and the last days (whenever they may be) will see a great falling away: its truth or falsity not being determined by the number of adherents.

15 December 2013 at 11:21  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Explorer, my last post was at one in the morning Toronto time, but then the city plows woke me up at 5 AM when they started clearing what looks like 20 cm of snow. Time soon to shovel the drive-way and the Caucasus-high ridge of pushed-aside snow left by the snow plow.

Trying not to look stupid, I tried hard to figure out what you mean by C5 and C14...but no success. But a good point you bring up about Augustine; it's easy to forget the periodic philosophical dialogues and explorations of faith in Christian theology, probably thanks to the "background noise" of religious wars, paranoia, religious fervour and over-the-top reactions.

You're right; the issue has been with Darwin, or more precisely with "Darwinism," which has little to do with poor Charles, a mild-mannered Christian fellow who only studied what was and still is plain as day. The reaction in fundamentalist circles, fundamentalist Christian and recently Jewish as well is to the evils of "social Darwinism" and to the triumphalist and scientifically ludicrous claim by secularists that evidence of evolution is evidence of a God-free universe. But rather than laughing that one off and dealing with it the same way the new, non-geocentric universe was accepted, the fundamentalist quarters put up the barricades and painted themselves into a corner at a tremendous cost to their credibility. I don't know how this is playing out in the Christian sphere as the scientific evidence continues to mount by the day, but in the Orthodox Jewish world, which is also split on the issue, the fundamentalist sector and its inconsistent "literalists" jumped on the band wagon with their political friends in the Evangelical Christian world and over-reacted over an issue which has always been debated in the past, but without the freak-out bit. Somewhat embarrassing to a rationalist Orthodox and a "Maimonidean" such as myself, I must say.

15 December 2013 at 11:53  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Explorer, quickly, as I should catch an hour or so of shut-eye.

Yes, Christianity is growing in China, but it's part of political and economic process, not just goo-goo-eyed people falling on their knees. There is new money and new connections behind it. This is true for all religious movements; yours, mine, everyone's and it's nothing to be bashful about. God created our world with natural laws, including those of economics and human interaction and gave us appetites, urges and a hopefully the brains to restrain, utilize them and elevate them to a higher moral plane.

Funny, about Nietzsche. The man was bonkers, probably because his world was crashing about his ears, or maybe it was the bowl of rotting apples he liked to smell as he wrote. But my argument is similar to his only in relation to the observed collapse of Christianity as a civilizational force at the moment of the split between Church and State. Nietzsche confused the mechanism required to uphold religion with God Himself. He moved away and backward, back to a form of alluring, atavistic and romanticed, very much imagined Pagan idolatry, an avodah zarah, as we say.

15 December 2013 at 12:13  
Blogger Len said...

I think you have it there Avi ' What you are arguing for, a "pure" faith-based, de-structured faith is no longer an argument or a proposal; it's an emerging reality'

This is the biggest hope of Christianity, I am sure that many did come to faith during the 'State owned religious era' not because of it but because of the faithfulness of God to bring those who desire the truth to Himself.
Christianity has gone full circle now and we are seeing the state turning on those who will not bow the head to Caesar.

15 December 2013 at 13:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

the triumphalist and scientifically ludicrous claim by secularists that evidence of evolution is evidence of a God-free universe.

They make that claim because that claim is rather the point of the entire construct of evolution. If you begin with the presupposition that God does not exist, then you are forced to conclude that all of existence is explainable in terms of immanent process. Evolution is simply a theory that rests upon that essential foundation. Darwin may be surrendered but only to a theory that better explains existence without appeal to metaphysical intervention. As is repeatedly demonstrated on this board, evolution makes unbelief intellectually credible. It allows men to explain their own existence without appeal to God. All the questions they cannot (and can never) answer simply get rolled up into the category of "We just haven't figured that out yet."

Once you surrender the naturalist presuppositions that undergird the theory, the 'evidence' for evolution simply evaporates. It becomes obvious that the data has been fit to a pre-determined conclusion. No one has actually observed like begetting unlike after all. New species are not evolving. So you are arguing that observations predisposed by Materialist presuppositions to achieve Materialist conclusions should be credited as valid in determining the origin of existence. And then I should mate those materialist conclusions with divine intent and guidance. To use an evolutionary metaphor, such a mating is sterile. Why would I not simply credit the entire effort to God who created ex nihilo?

This is the implication of Psalm 119 - that God is necessary to creation and that creation's mere existence testifies of Him. The point of evolution is to deny that testimony. We are not the product of a 'tool' that hides the essential creative work of God behind random processes that allow men to credibly deny His existence. We do not see evidence of God only in man's consciousness or information coding in DNA or the necessity of a first cause. We see it in the mere fact of existence. It's not hidden away for only learned men to see. It's obvious to everyone. But in order to justify themselves men suppress the truth and chase after naturalist explanations. "If I am the product of chance then I am free."

I will never credit these vain observations of man's origin - rooted as they are in unbelief - above the testimony of the Living God.

carl

15 December 2013 at 13:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Ummm ... that should be Psalm 19

15 December 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I tip my hat to your courage, Len. Most are frozen in panic over the impending "de-construction," trying to concoct ways to keep the old establishment going, dreaming of a time when the Church wielded the temporal whip, proposing to burn, ban, expel and terrorize the masses to bring back what they think they lost.

Yes, you are right, at its most tyrannical stage of expansion through force, there were many of the Christian faith who were drawn by its genuine appeal and for the right reasons. That has not changed. I'm sure you know what you are asking for, but those who don't and wonder what the future of Christianity looks like should take a look at the history and current conditions of the Jews. Gulp.


Carl, the little problem with your thesis is that its premise is fundamentally faulty. Evolution Theory did not develop as an attempt to undermine theism; it began as an attempt to fortify religion, emerging rather reluctantly, in bits and pieces, uncovering undeniable empirical facts which in turn presented challenges for which theology was unprepared due to intellectual laziness and hubris. Evolution Theory is just a theory; its sources are in many disciplines and arrive minute by minute independently and without central direction. There are abuses, but these can be corrected, as the theory is amenable, correctible, temporary, dependent on provable and falsifiable facts and assumptions.

The conclusions derived from this limited approach do not, will not and cannot threaten the existential underpinnings of Judeo-Christian monotheism, namely that God created the universe and all within it, sustains them through His Divine Will and has placed Humankind at the pinnacle of His Creation, giving Him a divine purpose. In clear contrast to this, "Evolutionism," which is what you, me and others...in your "camp" and mine... are rightly attacking, is an entirely different animal. It's a rather crude, bombastic, scientifically improvable and faulty triumphalist claim which essentially "teaches" and imposes that now existence can be explained without God. As a deleterious "by-product" it reduces Man's value to that of an animal, even to cheap chemicals or "mud" if you will, and derives ethics not from the Word of God, but from the observable mechanical workings of the natural processes put in place and maintained by God and from the desires of the most powerful and privileged. It is how the (im)morality of the "survival of the fittest" emerged, how the new pseudo-religion of "rights" operates. This is quintessential Paganism at its worst. It's the cursed worship of the Sun and the stars.

The central theme of the Torah, as I understand it, is the struggle against such idolatry. It's a difficult battle, one which we trace in our Scriptures and see in history. It's made difficult by the very fact that all the components of the incredible universe which God has created can be reduced to explanations and may be used by anyone to pose challenges to our faiths; the discoveries in cosmology, chemistry and biology and now, the evidence of an evolutionary process. Every new thing threatens to become a new idol. But our growing understanding of God's processes and "tools" should not lead us to idolatry. Realizing, for example that all life on Earth depends on the energy emitted by our star, the Sun, and that if it were to be extinguished, all life would perish within hours, should not lead us to the seemingly self-evident, "logical" conclusion that the Sun is God, ergo the Sun must be worshipped. This is the danger we are arguing over right now, but we've had such challenges before, we've tackled them with some bleeding a few bruises, and we, or most likely the following generations will tackle them again.

15 December 2013 at 15:45  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi:

C5 & C14:

Read 5th Century, 14th Century.

When Nietzsche's friends tracked him down after getting messages telling them he was the Anti-Christ, they found him playing the piano with his elbows. Not sure if it was his syphilis or his world view that got to him first.

But his point about God seems to me a valid one. If God is just a human invention, then God is kept alive by human superstition. When superstition dies, so does God. It's only if God has existence independent of people's belief that the argument collapses.

15 December 2013 at 15:50  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I will never credit these vain observations of man's origin - rooted as they are in unbelief - above the testimony of the Living God.

Well be that as it may, but I think evidence trumps superstitous pronouncements every time.

Evolutionary paleontology does not stand in isolation within the earth- sciences lexicon. It’s concept is mirrored similar in evolutionary explanations of bio-geography, morphology, genetics and the like; whereas creationist paleontology even flies apart from creationist accounts of such collateral phenomena.

The planet and everything on and within it is continually evolving. Evolution, and evolution alone, succeeds in binding together the complex phenomena of life within a common theoretical structure while simultaneously providing people with the conceptual tools to expand the boundaries of empirical knowledge.

Allowing for miraculous explanations such as ID theory into science, and creationism's abject failure to offer any adequate consilience, would still logically mark it as an intellectual dead end.

Evolution theory is not a religion; neither is it a euphemism for atheism. A Religion requires an acceptance of certain immovable boundaries of ‘knowledge’ and therein lies the incorruptible difference.

I don’t know that God or gods exists any more that He or they do. Genesis, the foundation of the monotheists answer to the eternal question, cannot even be annotated because no one was there to witness God’s handy-work. Until it can be proven, I reject its implausible claims, authenticity and myth. Unless of course I am forced on pain of death to accept that God ‘spoke’ only to certain male representatives of an exclusive tribe of individuals; but that requires its own special logic or simple animal fear.

15 December 2013 at 15:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 12:13

I suppose what I'm querying is whether Christianity in China is like a taste for cognac: something that could come or go, and entirely dependent on the whims of the Chinese, not the activity of God.

What's driving Christianity in China: politics and economics; or God, with politics and economics (among other things) as the means?

15 December 2013 at 16:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Of course, the choice is actually between theism and a-theism at first, rather than between the Christian god or nothing. Then, if it's to be theism then what god are we talking about?

15 December 2013 at 16:01  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Put in another way, Carl the popular assumption that God created a ruse as a challenge to our faith by seeding our world with myriads of bits evidence for an older Universe and an older Earth and signs of an evolutionary process of Creation is faulty. It paints God as a malicious trickster, a God no different from the wicked, capricious gods of the Pagan world. Taken to its extremes it is a heresy and an insult. The Universe is as He has created it and in uncovering this mystery, we are challenged to improve our understanding of its mysteries and inch closer to the mind and purpose of God. Where this will lead, I haven't the foggiest, but in our intelligent study of God's message and the World He made for us, it cannot lead us to a bad place. So, have some faith :)

15 December 2013 at 16:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Explorer: "C5 & C14: Read 5th Century, 14th Century.

Duh!(Slaps own head)

What's driving Christianity in China: politics and economics; or God, with politics and economics (among other things) as the means?

In spite of the process behind the emergence of a new religious culture, a process dependent on material mechanics, I have no doubt that, as Len reminded us from a Christological perspective, that there is genuine search there for something higher than the current abomination of worship of power and money. From my theological perspective, a belief and a system which rejects idolatry and which can lead to an understanding of God is not an error, even if it is not Judaism. Judaism is our specific Covenant and is tailored for Jews, but God has not abandoned His other children. It's an idea which Christians and Muslims have trouble with, but what can you do?

15 December 2013 at 16:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 15:56

Good points all. Just two questions arising from your last paragraph.

1. No one was there to witness God's handy-work. Except, if God exists, God himself. If YOU were God (assuming existence of same) a) HOW would you explain to humanity about origins and b) WHEN would you do it?

2. "Until it can be proven."

Two ways, I imagine this can happen.

a) Science proves a naturalistic origin without any divine input.

b) The return of Christ. (Whereafter, all outstanding queries would be answered).

Point 2 doesn't require an answer on your part; I'm just musing. (The Second Coming is only an option for those who believe in the divine nature of the First Coming.)

15 December 2013 at 16:38  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Although I may not agree with Dreadnaught on many points, he has something essential right.

Creationist "science," with its ludicrous papers, museums and textbooks is a pseudo-science and some of the rickety Intelligent Design theories are a farce which do more damage than good. It's kind of like writing scholarly books trying to "reconcile" a cosmology of a flat Earth in a bowl of water and filaments with holes for stars or singing crystal spheres and a cosmology with vast distances, star systems and galaxies. Let's all get used to a simple fact, folks: Observation of nature and its workings alone does not lead to faith, and Scripture is not a lab report or a science textbook.

Now, please fight amongst yourselves, I got get some work to get done before I get in trouble!

15 December 2013 at 16:42  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 16:16

Your idea does not give me trouble, for I hold to something very similar myself. (God sending Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh suggests that other nations are in God's thoughts.)

15 December 2013 at 16:47  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Mr Explorer

If YOU were God (assuming existence of same) a) HOW would you explain to humanity about origins and b) WHEN would you do it?

Now there's a thing I confess I don't usually consider on a daily basis!

(a)/(b)
I suppose If I was God, I wouldn't have to, if every one was born with the answer locked in to their DNA.




15 December 2013 at 17:15  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @17:15

The Christian response is that such was the original intention, but the channels of communication have been blocked by human rebellion.

Remove the rebellion factor, and the case against Christianity is very strong. But I find the evidence of rebellion around me every day, and within myself.

To sum up, if the world is as God intended it to be, then God (if he existed) would be even more incompetent than our current crop of politicians. Either there is no God, or things have gone wrong.

15 December 2013 at 17:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'd quite like the same option as the angels: look, here I am now if you don't want to worship me and prefer to consciously rebel then bugger off.

15 December 2013 at 17:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Hahahaha - quite!

15 December 2013 at 17:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

True free will!

15 December 2013 at 18:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

You're quite right: if God exists the only choice for a created being is to be for him or against him. That's why Milton's Satan tries to get round the problem by proclaiming self-existence.

A naturalistic world of evolved humanity DOES (if a true account of reality) offer free will; provided one does not fall victim to the will of whoever is more powerful than oneself.

15 December 2013 at 19:22  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I imagine true free will is achievable only by a population of one on a desert island. With two, there's always the danger of having to compromise.

In Christian terms, I think that whoever demands freedom will be granted it.

15 December 2013 at 19:35  
Blogger Martin said...

Avi

The Sun does not define the day, as science tells us, it is the rotation of the Earth that does that. Indeed, God provides the light, for God is light, before He creates the light source.

As I said, evening & morning show it is a normal day.

I'm quite happy that Moses wrote as God commanded him to write.

As to Psalm 90:4, it clearly does not mean a divine day=1000 years, for God sees time from beginning to end, hence a day looks no different to 1000 years.

15 December 2013 at 19:59  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

Happy Jack is correct in requiring evidence of observation, that is what Evolution lacks.

If you are more concerned with the consensus among men who fail to use science to address the issue, then you are referring to belief, not science. It is you in JW territory. Similarity of appearance is as explicable by design as your claim of descent.

The Bible is quite clear that the Universe is there to point us to the greatness of God. That God has created this World for life should also give us pause for thought.

BTW Consensus is destructive to true science, ask Galileo.

15 December 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger Martin said...

Dreadnaught

If you have not observed you cannot use the scientific process because observation is critical to it. Hence you are not talking of a scientific theory but an idea that some propose as an explanation. Indeed, it is a consensus view, not because it has been subject to the scientific method but because it gives the Atheist believer intellectual satisfaction. It is an acceptable creation myth.

15 December 2013 at 20:01  
Blogger Martin said...

Explorer

The reason for suffering is the sin of Man. As Jesus very clearly put it:

“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all [other] Galileans, because they suffered such things? "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all [other] men who dwelt in Jerusalem? "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."” (Luke 13:1-5 NKJV)

15 December 2013 at 20:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "You're quite right: if God exists the only choice for a created being is to be for him or against him."

Yet for true free will, I'd say one must know that it exists in the first place. That is one of the core failings of Christianity. Why on earth should a created being need a leap of faith to know its creator? We've either been sold a dud or the thing is actually a crock.

15 December 2013 at 20:02  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

Christianity does not require you to 'need a leap of faith to know its creator' exists for you already know that God exists. God has given you that knowledge and beside the World around us declares that God exists.

The problem is that Man chooses to pretend that God does not exist.

What a Christians does is that they accept what God has said, they have faith in God's honesty and truthfulness.

15 December 2013 at 20:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "Happy Jack is correct in requiring evidence of observation, that is what Evolution lacks."

That's rubbish. The theory of evolution by natural selection is a theory by induction from which people use deductive reasoning to test specific hypotheses. Observation is used in the deductive reasoning. I have to say that your understanding of science is pretty bad even when compared to that of a bog standard religionist.

15 December 2013 at 20:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "God has given you that knowledge and beside the World around us declares that God exists."

That's rubbish too. What rational, or even vaguely rational created being, would consciously rebel against a being that is allegedly sustaining the universe moment by moment, knows our very thoughts, and can see the every detail of our past, present, and future? It simply doesn't make sense.

"God has given you that knowledge and beside the World around us declares that God exists."

You're essentially begging the question with that. In as much as we know anything individually, we know our reality exists but we don't, and probably can't, know how it came about.

15 December 2013 at 20:15  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

No one has ever observed the descent of all life from an original form. All the claimed evidences for Evolution have alternative, equally viable explanations.

"What rational, or even vaguely rational created being, would consciously rebel against a being that is allegedly sustaining the universe moment by moment, knows our very thoughts, and can see the every detail of our past, present, and future?"

Why Man of course, and that is why, as the Psalmist puts it:

“The fool has said in his heart, "[There is] no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.” (Psalms 14:1 NKJV)

You would, of course, much rather believe Evolution true.

15 December 2013 at 20:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "No one has ever observed the descent of all life from an original form. All the claimed evidences for Evolution have alternative, equally viable explanations."

You still don't get it.

"You would, of course, much rather believe Evolution true."

I note the use of "believe" there. Is that an instance of "believe" in the religious sense, or the more prosaic one regarding everyday knowledge? Either way, it seems to me that you're retreating from the notion that we're merely pretending that god doesn't exist. Surely no rational being would rebel given the distribution of power and the certainty of retribution? Which rather leads to the conclusion that people like me are not actually making a choice between two known things. That is, we don't have true free will.

15 December 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 20:02

Suppose you WERE given proof that God existed: say at the moment after death. You would still have to make a choice: to be for him or against him.

You state the case against Christianity with admirable clarity. We're in Russell "not enough evidence" territory versus St Paul: enough evidence (as Martin says) to be without excuse.

Christians believe faith (the prelude to proof) is necessary for our spiritual discipline: no answer, of course, to anyone who does not accept the idea of humanity's fallen nature.

If you're right, I imagine that after death you won't know that you were right: you'll be dead. If you're wrong, I imagine you will judged according to your motives.

(One thing I will say: if God is the source of your excellent brain, he will hardly have expected you not to use it.)

15 December 2013 at 20:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Suppose you WERE given proof that God existed: say at the moment after death. You would still have to make a choice: to be for him or against him."

The choice would depend on the consequences, I'd say. If a choice meant either oblivion or some sort of continual worshop then I'm not sure what I would choose. However, lots of Christians seem to think that the choice is between continual worship in some sort of cloud 9 environment or continual anguish or pain in some sort of hellhole. I'm pretty sure what I'd choose there.

15 December 2013 at 20:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack hasn't quite worked this comment out. Jack says you do have free will but you may be using it to resist grace or perhaps God hasn't given His gift to you yet.

"Which rather leads to the conclusion that people like me are not actually making a choice between two known things. That is, we don't have true free will."

15 December 2013 at 21:00  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

I get it fine. You do pretend God does not exist and you do religiously believe in Evolution.

If no rational being would rebel then consider that to sin against God is not a rational act. Indeed, sin makes us irrational creatures, so that we have free will but use it in a irrational way.

15 December 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm not trying to convince anyone not to be a Christian, by the way. Presumably, there are at least two types: those who have made a leap of faith and have recognised some sort of feedback from doing so, and those who have drifted into a state of religious belief and are comfortable and content within its arms without needing the revelation stuff. I'd be happy to have a Road to Damascus revelation myself but I doubt I'll ever drift into the second state. Yet, if both are happy then that's all fine by me.

15 December 2013 at 21:06  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo .... the choice would be between supreme, unimaginable Joy and separation from such Happiness and awareness of this, which would be eternal torment. Jack asks why wouldn't you want to worship the God who gave such Joy?

And Jack adds, he believes the choice comes before and not after death - and even a split second before death.

15 December 2013 at 21:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "If no rational being would rebel then consider that to sin against God is not a rational act."

Given the consequences, I'd say it'd be so irrational that one would not actually be culpable.

"I get it fine. You do pretend God does not exist and you do religiously believe in Evolution."

Jeez. You're fodder for religion in general, and no mistake.

15 December 2013 at 21:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Jack asks why wouldn't you want to worship the God who gave such Joy?"

Sounds spangly if so. Unfortunately, I tend to come across many religionists online who do not appear to be in a state of joy at all so it must be purely an afterlife thing for those. Should I be offered that choice at some point then of course I'd choose the 'unimaginable' joy one. Until then, we're living in this reality and we must make of it what we can. The evidence points to evolution by natural selection as the cause of species, and homo sapiens being one of many species in the tree of life.

15 December 2013 at 21:17  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack repeats what he's said before, evolution and faith do not rule one another out. And remember, Martin is a Calvinist and, if Jack understands this, then in his thinking you and nobody else has any choice.

Jack is a believer but he has good days, bad days, days when he doubts and even days when he doesn't believe anymore. That's just being human and life continues to be a struggle.

15 December 2013 at 21:26  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

A quick drive-by post and back to drudgery for me/

From Martin:

The Sun does not define the day, as science tells us, it is the rotation of the Earth that does that. Indeed, God provides the light, for God is light, before He creates the light source.

I'm happy you accept some astronomical scientific evidence...without direct observation at that. I would have thought that an opaque filament with holes for stars would have sufficed, as astronomy can drag you into a world of theological trouble over measurements and estimations of the age of the Universe. And that's an interesting theory about God's light serving as a temporary light source before the creation of the Sun...will try to find in in Scripture.

As I said, evening & morning show it is a normal day.

Divine Time or Earth time? Does your linguistic ability to interpret Scripture in its original decisively exclude Divine Time? It doesn't in my reading and according to the view of some of my Sages.

I'm quite happy that Moses wrote as God commanded him to write.

Me too. I'm happy as well that God explained the writings to Moses, which were then passed down to our Sages. You are probably not happy about that idea, though.

As to Psalm 90:4, it clearly does not mean a divine day=1000 years, for God sees time from beginning to end, hence a day looks no different to 1000 years.

Clearly? You mean, after arguing for a literal interpretation of Genesis, you have ruled that Psalm 90:4 must be interpreted allegorically, poetically or the way you understand it? On what basis do I go with your opinion versus Isaac of Acre's, Maimonides', R'Hisch's, R'Slifkin's, etc?

"Happy Jack is correct in requiring evidence of observation, that is what Evolution lacks."

Happy Jack is a smart boy who knows that he can find references and presentations to thousands of lines of direct and indirect evidence for evolution on the 'Net. Direct observable evolution is to be seen in laboratory experiments, such as tens of thousands of evolutionary jumps in E.Coli bacteria, specie emergence and extinction, substantial evolution-driven changes in numerous insects, birds and reptiles and so on. Dozens of what were thought to be "missing links" have been found, but not all of course, so the goalposts can continue to be moved with each piece of evidence. No amount of evidence though, not a single bit, will ever satisfy Happy Jack or anyone else who is opposed to Evolution Theory on faith or principle. That I can guarantee.

15 December 2013 at 21:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Happy Jack repeats what he's said before, evolution and faith do not rule one another out."

I should have added a bit more to my previous comment to recognise that. I was just replying in context there. That said, the notion of original sin doesn't sit that comfortably with the theory of evolution by natural selection.

"And remember, Martin is a Calvinist and, if Jack understands this, then in his thinking you and nobody else has any choice. "

I'm afraid I pretty much write Calvinists off as harmless nutters. A bit rude, I know. Same with young earth creationists, and Muslims who treat Harun Yahya as a serious source.

15 December 2013 at 21:38  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack says this is the central issue: "the notion of original sin doesn't sit that comfortably with the theory of evolution by natural selection.".

Jack has already said he doesn't accept the full version of evolution and sees it as having been guided by a Creator God who made people out of all these processes but then gave them a soul and this is what makes them different.

Jack believes humans are special as they were given this soul by God even though their bodies may have evolved, all guided by God. People have powerful urges to do good. Jack believes because we are made in the image of God. We also have darker drives toward evil. This is all explained 'theologically' by original sin - the Fall. Here's where faith comes in because this has to have been a sin actually committed by an actual individual, Adam, which is passed onto everyone. It took place at the beginning of human history.

Jack accepts it cannot be proven nor disproven by science.

15 December 2013 at 22:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack clarifies that he is an "agnostic" on evolution but a theist when it comes to the God of Genesis.

15 December 2013 at 22:28  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Avi is amazed and pleased at Happy Jack's speedy intellectual evolution and rapidly enriched vocabulary and complex sentence formation since he first appeared on the blog. Here, in two short paragraphs he describes the fundamentals of Intelligent Design in its relationship to the concept of Original Sin. A incredible bird you are, Happy Jack, one wonders what surprises you will have for us before the month is over.

15 December 2013 at 22:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack says you are too kind. Google is a wonderful means of improving oneself and practice makes perfect. And sages such as yourself and old Blowers help a great deal too.

15 December 2013 at 23:17  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Happy Jack as evolution personified methinks.

15 December 2013 at 23:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

O, you flatterer, you, Happy Jack. It's all you, buddy, it's who you are ;o)

15 December 2013 at 23:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Dreadnaught, Happy Jack says "guided evolution". From what Jack has read, there have been times of great leaps forward in nature.

15 December 2013 at 23:34  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

That sounds like Stephen Gould, HJ...or Mao Tsetung...

15 December 2013 at 23:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Whoever or whatever HJ might have been in any previous life, he has been well-behaved in his short time here.

carl

15 December 2013 at 23:45  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Exemplary, Carl, exemplary. Makes the rest of us seem like cantankerous rude rogues.

15 December 2013 at 23:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

Makes the rest of us seem like cantankerous rude rogues.

Not you. You're Canadian. You are constitutionally incapable of rudeness.

carl

15 December 2013 at 23:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You see? That's exactly what I mean. Before Happy Jack's salubrious and calming influence, you'd have made a rude comment about Canadians. Or worse; about herring.

16 December 2013 at 00:06  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack likes Avi and considers him a "buddy" too. Jack likes his new friends on here and wish all this idle gossip about him would stop. Happy Jack is Happy Jack - period.

16 December 2013 at 00:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

When have I ever made rude comments about Canadians? Lately.

carl

16 December 2013 at 00:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


I say, Jack, for a down and out, with a PC given to you by charity, you make damn sense. You must tell us more of your life. A fellow is somewhat fascinated by you...

16 December 2013 at 00:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says all in good time Inspector. And who said Jack is a "down and out"? Jack has a settled and stable life these days.

16 December 2013 at 00:45  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

No gossip, Jack. Trace your progress since you made your appearance here. You are remarkable, no subject is beyond your grasp now. I was away several times and each time I came back you had made a huge leap. This is perhaps why I noticed more than others. I have argued for several years that with a smart regime, a person can get a very good general and even specialized education on the 'Net. I'm just surprised at your speed; not everyone is as quick or capable as you. Take it as a compliment.

16 December 2013 at 01:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 December 2013 at 01:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi:"Avi is amazed and pleased at Happy Jack'sspeedy intellectual evolution and rapidly enriched vocabulary and complex sentence formation since he first appeared on the blog."

It's a bloody miracle, that's what it is! Hallelujah! :)

16 December 2013 at 05:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Happy Jack/Anyone Else:

To angle the evolution debate in a different direction.

1) Darwin cited the wasp that lays its eggs in a paralysed caterpillar that then becomes food. Allow God, and what does that say about God?

2) Herd animals will gore a wounded one of their own to death: what Darwin called "one of the blackest facts" about Nature. Disallow God, and what is/should be the moral basis for a secular society in its attitude to the sick/weak/ disabled?

Thoughts please.

16 December 2013 at 09:03  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Explorer, Happy Jack says that's just the cycle of life and why humans, with a God given soul, reason, will and a conscience, are different. They serve as examples of why human kind are different and what we become when we lose touch with our Maker.

Danjo, Happy Jack welcomes you to the fold now you have seen the light.

*chuckle*

16 December 2013 at 10:28  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJO

Trouble is, given the free will choice between God and Self Man invariably chooses self. Quite culpable tho'

What you mean is that my religion is different from yours.

16 December 2013 at 10:35  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Thanks HJ, that certainly goes a long way to answering the first question.

Those who think that humans AREN'T different - simply a particularly-complex animal - have to find a different solution.

PS: HJ, have a look, if you would, at the 'Nazi Sexuality' essay on my blog. (What happens with a back-to-nature approach to morality).

16 December 2013 at 10:39  
Blogger Martin said...

Happy Jack

Men have the choice, they just invariably choose wrongly.

Take as an example, the parable of the Great Supper in Luke 14, those who were invited refused to come, those who came were compelled.

16 December 2013 at 10:42  

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