Friday, January 24, 2014

Blasphemy in the Cathedral; censorship in the theatre



In England, a cathedral has consented to a screening of a film considered by many Christians to be irreverent and debauched, if not blasphemous. In Northern Ireland, a theatre has cancelled a show which is considered by a few Christians to be irreverent and childish, if not blasphemous. The sacred space is resisting calls to cancel the screening; the secular space has bowed to the sensitivities of Christian politicians. 

Wells Cathedral in Somerset will be showing Martin Scorsese's controversial  The Last Temptation of Christ as part of the Bath Film Festival tomorrow, 25th January, at 7:30pm. Despite protests from members of the congregation that the film distorts the gospel and sexualises Christ, the Dean, the Very Reverend John Clarke, is of the view that the notorious sex scenes between Jesus and Mary Magdalene raise importnat questions about Christ's divinity: "In this more sceptical age the church should not hide from controversy and part of the task of the cathedral is to promote an intelligent faith that is capable of attracting men and women to follow in the way of Jesus in the twenty first century," he said.

The Theatre at the Mill in County Antrim has cancelled the Reduced Shakespeare Company's less controversial show The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged), which was due to open next week, on 29th January. Some councillors protested that it trivialised Scripture, mocked God and ridiculed Christ. So the theatre has cancelled the show. "In taking this decision, the (Arts Board) wishes to confirm its commitment to deliver on the agreed council's artistic policy to deliver the highest quality performing arts programme, offering a diverse, socially relevant and enriching experience to as many citizens as possible," said a council statement.

It is a bizarre state of affairs when a hallowed historic cathedral - built to glorify God and magnify the name of Jesus - can turn cinema for a night and play host to an offensive interpretation and false representation of the gospel, while a secular theatre is prohibited from performing the superficially profane. Of course, Christians may freely choose not to attend the Cathedral screening, thereby avoiding the taking of offence, but so could they have chosen not to attend the Theatre at the Mill, which is effectively censoring performance out of respect for religious views not held by very may indeed.

The Cathedral Dean and Chapter could have supported a screening of Scorsese's film in a local cinema and then hosted a theological discussion. Would they have been as welcoming of a piece of live theatre which included extreme acts of violence or Jesus having sex? Why do they believe that celluloid mitigates offence?

The Reduced Shakespeare Company say their abridged Bible show is "an affectionate, irreverent roller coaster ride from fig leaves to final judgment as the bad boys of abridgement tackle the great theological questions: Did Adam and Eve have navels? Did Moses really look like Charlton Heston? And why isn’t the word 'phonetic' spelt the way it sounds? Whether you are Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, Atheist or Jedi, you will be tickled by the RSC’s romp through old time religion."

You may make up your own minds:



His Grace recalls the artistic protests surrounding a performance of Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great in 2005 at the Barbican Theatre. The text, as written, demands the burning of the Qur'an on-stage with quite few cursings addressed to Mohammed. But the offending sections were cut so the audience did not hear Tamburlaine say that the Prophet was "not worthy to be worshipped" or that he "remains in hell". The artistic director, Simon Reade, said that such phrases "would have unnecessarily raised the hackles of a significant proportion of one of the world’s great religions".

And so this great text was bowdlerised, essentially on ‘health and safety’ grounds.

England's theatres are not only attuned to the sensitivities of Muslims: in the same year, some 400 members of the Sikh community descended on the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to demand the play Behzti (‘dishonour’) be cancelled because it caused them offence. The theatre duly obliged.

But only in Northern Ireland do Christians demand artistic censorship in the secular space, thereby resurrecting the paternal role of the Lord Chamberlain as society's guardian of artistic morality and decency. And only in England do sacred cathedrals host that which is artistically immoral and indecent. Both decisions are utterly wrong, morally amiss, and a cause of great shame.

276 Comments:

Blogger Jane McQueen said...

The whole bit with Mary Magdalene is totally wrong, why would a 30 year old man who's only ever hung about with dude's suddenly go for a woman.

24 January 2014 at 10:01  
Blogger David B said...

It does seem to be rather a confusing mess.

However, there is some good news today, according to the NSS media feed.

The grouping of the Christian Institute, the National Secular Society and others, along with the Lords, have prevailed in their campaign to avoid criminalising almost everything.

David

24 January 2014 at 10:31  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Interesting punctuation there, Jane.

Censorship has always seemed to me a tricky one. Should you allow freedom of speech to those who would abolish freedom of speech?

Censorship, even when denied in theory, happens all the time. It happens with the news: what's selected, and what isn't.

24 January 2014 at 10:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Marcuse had no qualms about censorship, 'Repressive Tolerance' is a justification for the suppression of conservative speech or access to cultural platforms.

Revolutionary tolerance could not be neutral towards rival viewpoints: it had to be partisan on behalf of a radical cause.

Result: censor university reading lists to exclude views other than your own.

If this seems irrelevant to the topic, my point is that censorship is not simply a religious or right-wing issue.

24 January 2014 at 10:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

'In this more sceptical age the church should not hide from controversy...' (Reverend John Clarke)

Why then not go a bit further and truly controversial and show 'Fitna' as well - just for balance of course, and compare the responses.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIKCgRlwQUA

24 January 2014 at 10:50  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Well done the dean, I say !

Perhaps next month, he can arrange for the showing of the Goebbels promoted film ‘The Eternal Jew’

All in the name of ‘art’ and ‘free expression’ of course, Christ would surely approve of that in his cathedral, wouldn’t he ?

24 January 2014 at 10:53  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

It’s rather clear that this latest nonsense in a major Anglican church is further evidence of the corrupt nature of some of the priests in charge. Perhaps it’s time to hand over the deanery of Wells to the RCC, the one true holy and apostolic church. Keep the building as CoE, but forever end its abuse by modern CoE clergy...

24 January 2014 at 11:05  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 January 2014 at 11:19  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

The Inspector General finds John Clarke guilty of bringing Christianity into disrepute.

His punishment is thus:

That he be stripped of his ‘Very Reverend’ title, for he is not worthy. And that he be brought to a Benedictine monastery, and made to walk between two rows of monks, whereupon he be thrashed with rods.

And, when his due time comes, may Christ Almighty find it in him to forgive the wretch.

24 January 2014 at 11:21  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"only in England ..." - no, I'm sure the Episcopal Church USA would do such things (probably does). Remember, the Christian criticism of authentic Christian ideas only goes one way (the anti-traditional-Christian way, and no, Islam etc. DONT get criticised). Yep, hand them back to the RCC pdq I say; Or lot (Anglicans) will indeed hand them over to Muslims/New Agers pretty soon (it happens in the US).

24 January 2014 at 11:24  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Very poor, inaccurate play re Bible, full of inaccuracies and misunderstandings, lame jokes (apple; computer; can see from far off:ouch!!) Very hoary chestnut re 10 commandments, not original or surprising at all.

I would hold out for better laugh out loud jokes, for it looks rather feeble to me.

As for the Cathedral I am rather tired of the fascination so many have with the nature of the sex drives Jesus had. I note that previous centuries did not feel compelled to ponder and chew the cud at such length on this and wonder whether it "holds the mirror up to nature", that being an obsession of the 21st Century, and an unhealthy obsession at that, which has spawned not a mass of intelligent thought, but more often a deluge of human suffering, children and younger included. Its a bit dim, contrived, avant guard obsessional, and puts sexual expression right up there as a god, or at least a summum bonum; horribly predictable and shallow art.

Art should be exquisitely sensitive and observational and take you deeper. This does not. It is not the nudity, for there is an excellent play of "Paradise Lost" going round, but that has the countercultural nerve, depth and vivacity to challenge our tackiness and shallowness, and this emanates from it, it seems to me.


I doubt whether the Dean and Chapter would wish to come in to the Cathedral and see films simulating their supposed sex lives being watched by people. They might find it less than fully respectful. so why would they do that to Jesus whom they profess to respect, love and worship?

Golden rule anyone?

24 January 2014 at 11:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

There is precedent for protesting at inaccurate depictions in film.

First Officer Murdoch's nephew was so incensed at the portrayal of his uncle in 'Titanic' that Fox's vice president went to the town of Dalbeattie to offer a personal apology, and to donate £5000 to the local school.

24 January 2014 at 11:42  
Blogger Terry White said...

I watched The Last Temptation Of Christ twice recently and thought it superb. Challenging perhaps but deeply sincere and moving.
I can see why some Christians might take umbrage. Heaven knows many Muslims would have gone a lot further than that had it been about Muhammed.
I find it hard to understand what all the fuss and criticism was about when it was released. Top marks to Martin Scorsese. It makes you think and re-evaluate. How can that be a bad thing? I don't care for blind faith at all.

24 January 2014 at 11:50  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Clarke, if you are reading this, repent of your wickedness while you still can, and cancel the screening.

They say there is much joy in heaven when a bad man does something good...

24 January 2014 at 11:54  
Blogger Ivan said...


I imagine that in Anglican Masses the Creed is affirmed. Its a creedal confession, not open to debate by any Christian in good standing that Jesus Christ is God Himself. As inspired by Dr Alister McGarth, (in one of his books) the Creed is the pledge of the Christian Church, the watermark that guarantees the promissory notes issued to the faithful will be fully redeemed in Heaven. What is the use of following Jesus the wisecracking holy roller? Or Jesus the chronic masturbator? How can such a weak reed lead us to heaven? One might as well follow seanrobesville (I hope I've spelt is correctly) and turn to the Buddha. As a wry commentator pointed some time ago when another one of the Anglican curates raised doubts on the Divinity or Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, a priest who does not believe in the Godhead of Christ, is akin to an astronaut who does not believe in the Moon. Just where does the reverend think he's going?

24 January 2014 at 11:56  
Blogger William Lewis said...

The Rev John Clark:

"In this more sceptical age the church should not hide from controversy"

Does he not realise that the Gospel IS the controversy from which the Church should NOT be hiding?

"and part of the task of the cathedral is to promote an intelligent faith that is capable of attracting men and women to follow in the way of Jesus in the twenty first century,"

So promoting an "intelligent faith" means following the way of Jesus according to the "gospel" of Martin Scorsese does it? One wonders what a naive faith would consist of - presumably something along the lines of believing that a cathedral should be promoting THE Gospel.

24 January 2014 at 11:57  
Blogger Theo said...

Wells Cathedral always hosts events for the Bath Festival which is a wide ranging arts festival. One cannot help but wonder at the motivation of the Festival Committee at the scheduling of this event in this building when it has so many other secular venues at its disposal. And how did this heretical dean rise through the ranks to become dean of one of the most important architectural masterpieces in the country? The Peter principle perhaps?

Anybody know what the bishop thinks and has Justin made his views known?

24 January 2014 at 11:57  
Blogger Theo said...

Wells Cathedral always hosts events for the Bath Festival which is a wide ranging arts festival. One cannot help but wonder at the motivation of the Festival Committee at the scheduling of this event in this building when it has so many other secular venues at its disposal. And how did this heretical dean rise through the ranks to become dean of one of the most important architectural masterpieces in the country? The Peter principle perhaps?

Anybody know what the bishop thinks and has Justin made his views known?

24 January 2014 at 11:57  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Terry White @ 11:50

Wouldn't 'The Eternal Jew' (as cited above by the Inspector) also make you think and re-evaluate?

And would the new thoughts and re-evaluation be laudable if they led you to Nazism?

24 January 2014 at 11:58  
Blogger Theo said...

Remember the lightening strike on York Minster after the enthronement of the unbelieving Bishop of Durham? Perhaps the dean is a gambling man.

24 January 2014 at 12:00  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The oddest thing about this is not so much the choice of film as the fact that they’re using a cathedral as a cinema at all. It must be a first step towards making the Bishop of Bath & Wells redundant, along with his chapter and archdeacons and all the rest of them. After all, why go to the trouble and expense of keeping on all those vicars and curates, canons and minor clergy, when the only employee you need to staff a church is a projectionist?

I feel sorry for Mrs Proudie of Barchester.She’s bound to find this development very upsetting.

24 January 2014 at 12:16  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Hi Jane. Would you feel like a big woman if I told you you'd caused me offence?

24 January 2014 at 12:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Agreed, Corrigan.

Allow Christ's divinity, and Jane's statement is a non-starter.

But even at the level of Christ's humanity, what about Martha and Mary, the women who funded Christ's missionary activities, or the reactions to Christ of the woman at well?

24 January 2014 at 12:41  
Blogger The Explorer said...

the well

24 January 2014 at 12:42  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack is confused; very confused.

An Anglican minister, a man of God, John Clarke, who believes (presumably?) we are called by grace to follow Christ, says: "In this more sceptical age the church should not hide from controversy and part of the task of the cathedral is to promote an intelligent faith that is capable of attracting men and women to follow in the way of Jesus in the twenty first century."

Jack asks, he wants to do this by showing a film that is not based on the Gospels but the artistic fantasies of a novelist and film maker? A blasphemous film shown in a House of God as a tool to preach the Gospel message? To who? The 'arty-farty' types too "intelligent" for the plain truth of the Gospel?

When did the Christian faith, based on the Gospel and our Creeds, cease to be "intelligent"? When did living in a "sceptical age" mean raising all sorts of old heresies the early church addressed?

24 January 2014 at 12:44  
Blogger Len said...

The danger of showing such films as The 'Last Temptation of Christ and film such as 'the Da Vinci code' to a secular audience is that some of the audience will accept these films as 'factual' 'The Last Temptation of Christ' opens with a disclaimer stating that the film is "not based on the gospels," but upon the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis.But some information from the gospel has been mixed with 'artistic licence' to make a fictional account of the temptation of Christ which is pure fantasy.
Why the Church would want to show the secular world a fictional account of Christ on Earth is beyond me.
The function of the church is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ not to sow confusion.

24 January 2014 at 12:45  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 January 2014 at 12:49  
Blogger Preacher said...

If the Cathedral wishes to show a film about Jesus, then why not show Gibson's The Passion of the Christ? The film is controversial because of the violence depicted & many will find it hard to take. But the fact is that the terrible suffering that Christ took for us was real.
Not the sanitised version that has become the norm nowadays.

If we want freedom of speech, we must not over react, controversial views & issues are bound to be raised & believers should be ready to express their own views in response to serious questions from non believers or those of a different faith.

Personally I feel that there are many errors seeping into the church which are more dangerous because of their subtlety, the New Age teaching of the so called 'Emergent or Emerging church' for example. One doesn't have to look far or search to hard to error & apostasy peddled in the name of modernisation. Does the Dean not believe in Christ's divinity? If not then he should seek employment elsewhere as he is obviously not qualified for the position that he currently occupies.
The church should be in the World, ready to stand for the gospel. The destiny of millions depends on their response to God's offer of mercy & forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Delivering sensationalist pap in the form of Scorsese's movie is a non starter. Justin Welby should do his job as CEO & stop the rot by overruling the decision of the Dean & having a quiet word about responsibility.

24 January 2014 at 13:11  
Blogger John Wrake said...

Do not expend your energy in attacking the Dean of Wells. He is a man who is clearly out of his depths, trying to do a job for which he is not fitted.

Rather ask yourself about those who appointed him. Ask yourself about a system which can place a man with such little understanding of the Gospel in a position to make such a decision. Ask yourself about a Church which continues to ignore its own founding documents. I refer to Article 26 of the 39 Articles of Religion, which is concerned with the Unworthiness of Ministers.

What discipline has been exercised in other cases of men unfitted to hold their office, such as the Bishop of Buckingham and his support for same-sex marriage?

John Wrake.

24 January 2014 at 13:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

So let's be honest here. Film controversies are about two things:

1. Perceived ownership of the narrative.
2. Actual cultural influence to enforce the perceived ownership of the narrative.

Essentially the filmmaker is being charged with what amounts to copyright infringement. At one time Christianity had a cultural footprint large enough to enforce this ownership. It doesn't anymore. That is what rubs us the wrong way.

The films themselves irrelevant. They will change the eternal destiny of no man. But it is disturbing that one should be shown in a cathedral - because of what this says about the cathedral.

For my money 'Life of Brian' is the most blasphemous movie I have ever seen. Scorcese's film is a Disney cartoon in comparison. But the Church goes on even so because the Elect cannot be deceived.

carl

24 January 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Preacher @ 13:11

Your point that a Dean should believe in the divinity of Christ seems to me the crux (in every sense) of the whole issue.

I know C of E clergy who are indistinguishable from atheists apart from their source of income. They do not, however, see themselves as hypocrites. They justify themselves as contributing to the history of ideas, or to social responsibility etc. (In private conversation, I mean. Public profession of non-belief is rare: partly because such people never commit themselves to a clear statement about anything.)

24 January 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I agree, Preacher.

I think also a lot of people have been taught at some stage about Henry Maslow's heirarchy of needs. Which is true to some extent. And few would question that you should feed the starving before addressing their more elevated needs.

BUT, and it is a big but, this should not go so far as turning the churches and cathedrals into a copy of an (incidentally dying, and going to get worse) high street. The world has enough coffee shops, restaurants, gift shops and post offices. It is in urgent need of prayer.

And Jesus himself said "Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you." That turns Maslow on its head. It is difficult challenging teaching, but otherwise we have a fleshly Church too consumed with questions about the most basic physical needs and desires, rather than one daring to live by faith and help bring in the Kingdom.

24 January 2014 at 13:29  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

A friend attends a Midlands cathedral where an Imam was invited to preach the sermon and to make the uncorrected statement that "Islam" translates as "Peace".

Some in the cathedral clergy therebelieve that the building should be a "neutral space" amongst the multicultural communities.

In other words, they have surrendered and performed the "submission" which is the correct translation of Islam.

The Dean of Wells is outdoing Dr Spacely Trellis in this crass piece of nonsense but I suppose he is only being reverent " in a very real sense in this day and age and moment in time"

24 January 2014 at 14:33  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The Explorer

I know C of E clergy who are indistinguishable from atheists apart from their source of income.

One Catholic priest of my acquaintance, here in Brazil (though he is not a Brazilian) is a confessed atheist, at least in private conversation. So, reportedly, was Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who is said to have lost her faith quite suddenly one day in the middle of a train journey. But it didn't stop either of them carrying on with what they saw as the right thing to do.

In the Catholic Church, I suppose, the "source of income", as you delicately put it, can't have quite the same appeal that it might have, for example, in the case of a televangelist.

24 January 2014 at 14:39  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"It makes you think and re-evaluate" - don't be naive, Terry White; the motivations of these film-makers, etc. is to deride, denigrate and dissolve ... Ok, if you admit that that's what "re-evaluate" means here ...

24 January 2014 at 15:15  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Uncle Brian @ 14:39

Although I am often ironic, in this case I was being literal about source of income: they get their living from the Church, whereas other atheists don't.

When Leslie Stephen lost his faith, he resigned from the C of E and became a journalist. That seems to me entirely admirable and honourable.

I think it must be difficult if your flock look to you for spiritual guidance about things that you yourself do not believe.

A secular equivalent is 'Educating Rita'. Rita is intoxicated by literature, while Frank has lost all faith in it.

To return to Preacher's point: is it legitimate for a Dean (any Dean) who does not believe in the divinity of Christ (or even in God) to retain his post? We can answer that when we can answer this: what is the Church FOR?

24 January 2014 at 15:41  
Blogger Martin said...

Perhaps the problem is that the clerics of Wells Cathedral have lost the gospel, if they ever had it, and fail to realise that the command is to PREACH, not to play.

24 January 2014 at 15:46  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The Explorer

You ask, "Is it legitimate for a Dean (any Dean) who does not believe in the divinity of Christ (or even in God) to retain his post?"

My answer, without a shadow of doubt, is Yes, in some cases, at least, it might well be. Think of Mother Teresa's case. What if she had turned up a few days later at the hospice in Calcutta, after her trip to Delhi or wherever it was, and said, "Well, folks, I don't believe in God any more so the best thing I can do is toddle off home to Yugoslavia and get a job as a filing clerk or something." Would they have agreed that she really had no choice? That she had no alternative in the circumstances? Do you think her decision to stay on and see it through was neither honourable nor admirable? I'd say it was both.

24 January 2014 at 17:55  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl,Happy Jack is not so sure that: "The films themselves irrelevant. They will change the eternal destiny of no man ....
... the Church goes on even so because the Elect cannot be deceived."


Doesn't the Gospel have to be preached and people helped and supported by the church to understand and follow God's commands?

Jesus warned his Apostles of the dangers of false prophets and teachers, who like "fierce wolves" would not spare the flock.

24 January 2014 at 18:09  
Blogger Anglican said...

I've been watching 'The Bible', broadcast by Channel 5 just before Christmas (which I had recorded). It was better than I expected - but as it was supported by Spring Harvest it was sad that, presumably motivated by political correctness, it had Mary at the Last Supper and in the Garden of Gethsemane.

24 January 2014 at 18:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Uncle Brian : 17:55

Yes, I see your point.

1. Don't know much about Mother T. Is it certain that she lost her faith? Was her famous statement about prayer made in a mood of depression? Was she subject to mood swings? C S Lewis, after all, said that there were times when the whole thing seemed very implausible; just s they may be moments for atheists when the whole thing looks horribly plausible.

2. You could want to clear up slums after losing religious belief, or without having any in the first place: just a conviction about poverty and ignorance as sources of evil. You could lose your faith as a doctor, I imagine, without its having any effect on your care of the human body. But it would be difficult, I imagine, to lose your faith and then take care of the soul. After all, what would there be to take care of? You'd be better off as a social worker, or a psychologist, or something.

24 January 2014 at 18:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Uncle Brian, Happy Jack says Mother Teresa was not an ordained minister of God. This places her in a different situation to a minister who declares himself an atheist. He is supposed to be a shepherd to his flock.

And, from what Jack has just been reading, Mother Teresa suffered a "crisis of faith", not a loss of faith. There is a big difference. It has been called a 'Dark Night of the Soul' suffered by some Holy people.

Towards the end, here's what she wrote: "I do not know how deeper will this trial go — how much pain and suffering it will bring to me. This does not worry me any more. I leave this to Him as I leave everything else."

And who goes through life without doubt?

24 January 2014 at 18:27  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Mother Teresa

Read and your worries fall into nothingness.

"One evening, we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in the most terrible condition. I told the Sisters: "You take care of the other three. I will take care of the one who looks worse." So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, and she said one thing only: "Thank you." Then she died.

I could not help but examine my conscience before her. I asked, "What would I say if I were in her place?" And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said, "I am hungry, I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain," or something like that. But she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face.

Then there was a man we picked up from a drain, half eaten by worms. And after we had brought him to the home, he only said, "I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die as an angel, loved and cared for." Then after we had removed all the worms from this body, all he said - with a big smile - was: "Sister, I am going home to God." And he died. "

The rest of her speech to a prayer breakfast is here

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles4/MotherTeresaAbortion.php

Phil






24 January 2014 at 20:07  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl

Life of Brian is about Britain

Especially the the "people's front of judea"


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

Phil

24 January 2014 at 20:18  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Glad I quit the CofE for a reformed bible church.

I have avoided seeing scorsese's film but don't want it banned, but wouldn't lije it shown iin the marvellous Wells cathedral. I didn't want Geert Wilders banned but he was. I love the reduced Shakespeare company.

So my views on censorship count for quack all. Might as well get used to it. But at least I am free to attend a reformed Evangelical church and avoid bad cinema. Tor now.

24 January 2014 at 22:01  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS the issue of censorship has a lot to do with what is promoted and what is not. I wrote an essay collection on Kindle . A well established Christian publication refused to accept a paid advert for it .due to the views expressed. Another print publication accepted a paid advety for my novel 'Darwin's Adders' for much money but not one copy was sold.

OK maybe both books were offensive trash written by a selfxpublished loser, but the point is nobody argued tha point. It was just impossible to get any readers without some traction in the establishment.

There are muuallly appointed and self reinforcing people who decide whae will and will not be allowed to see hewr say and think. Unorthodoxcviews are excluded as surely but less honestly as under the Spanish Inquisition.

24 January 2014 at 22:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says hello Rambling Steve Appleseed.

You may have noticed Jack has a curiosity about the variety of Christian opinion expressed about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is interested in your views even if they can gain no "traction in the establishment". What is so unusual about them? And what is a "reformed bible church" and a "reformed Evangelical church"?

25 January 2014 at 01:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Phil Roberts

Life of Brian is about Britain

It doesn't matter. I would even grant that parts of the movie are genuinely funny. It is still the most blasphemous movie I have ever seen. The mockery of the Passion by itself makes the movie unforgivable.

carl

25 January 2014 at 04:09  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Indeed who does not have doubts about certain doctrines of faith and morals. That situation does not indicate a loss of faith. It indicates an honest and open mind.
Sister Theresa was a holy Christian believer.

As much as this truly pains me I must agree with Carl on this one.Even Monty Python's brilliant humour could not disguise or sugar coat the disgusting sacrilegious portrayal of Christ's passion in
'The Life of Brian' Absolutely disgraceful.

25 January 2014 at 05:07  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Uncle Brian:

Phil R, Happy Jack and Cressida all give good reasons for thinking Mother T kept her faith.

As for the other Brian, I have always considered it an insult to all those ever crucified, including all the slaves of the Spartacus revolt.

Crucify the 'Bright Side of Life' lot in reality, and see how long they'd keep singing.

25 January 2014 at 08:51  
Blogger Len said...

I love all religions. … If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.” Or in another place, “All is God — Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God
(Mother Theresa....Pope francis apparently is going down the same road))

25 January 2014 at 08:57  
Blogger Corrigan said...

One thing about the Catholic Church which makes it - logically and philosophically - the superior of Anglicanism is the fact that no Catholic priest could ever come out about being an atheist and continue his work. He'd be gone like dew on a summer's morning. In the CofE, on the other hand, I have seen at least two Anglican vicars who have openly stated their atheism on the BBC and appear to be jogging along nicely without let or hinderance from Lambeth Palace.

Why is this important? Because of the latent tension at the heart of the (for want of a better term) religious atheist. The vicars in question professed their desire to continue helping people, putting the world to rights and generally being nice, which is all well and good; the problem is, why bother?

If, in Roman times, you told someone you were going out into the world to help the poorest, sickest and weakest with no thought of advancement or reward for yourself, they'd have thought you were crazy and would have laughed you off the street; today, anyone can dedicate themselves to help the lowest in society and most of us, atheists included, would think it admirable. The problem is that while the committed believer will still be doing it for the same reasons the early Christians did it, the atheists who may do it will only be doing it out of a residue of cultural Christianity. There is nothing in their philosophy which would prevent them - were they so minded - from feeding off the poor, exploiting them, abusing them or, in the worst extremity, killing them for fun.

The idea that the strong should help the weak is not an inherently human one, but simply a form of what Richard Dawkins likes to call brainwashing, ie, two thousand years of Christian conditioning and influence on society. There is no particular inborn moral nobility in any human being that is driving them to help their brother; for that, we look to two millenia of "brainwshing". Ironic, then, is it not, all this "we think for ourselves" rubbish Christians have to put up with from atheists.

25 January 2014 at 09:36  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"I have seen at least two Anglican vicars who have openly stated their atheism on the BBC and appear to be jogging along nicely without let or hinderance (sic) from Lambeth Palace."

Who? Where? Names? Parishes?

If you're referring to David Patterson, does he still minister to a parish? Is it not possible to lose one's faith and become a "CofE atheist" for media purposes in the continuing denigration of the State Church? Are they not just one or two manifest exceptions in a vast sea of ordained faithfulness?

There's a lot of froth on Google - even of atheist Roman Catholic priests (..yes..), eg: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/393479.stm

To judge the entire CofE by one or two "atheist vicars" is worse than judging the Roman Catholic Church by dozens upon dozens of paedophile priests and chronic decades of episcopal cover-up. That's probably "anti-Catholic" and "bigoted", isn't it?

25 January 2014 at 09:57  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Oh, knock yourself out, Cranmer - there are no liberals here to be offended. As to the vicars I referred to, I don't carry their names about in my head, but if you want to trawl back through episodes of "The Big Question" you'll run across them.

As for being exceptions in a sea of faith, Cranmer, the whole point of Protestantism is that a man is justified by faith alone, that is to say, his own faith, or, more bluntly, whatever he cares to make up. That's why Protestantism always leads to atheism. Perhaps not for the individual, but at the level of society, it certainly does. If the same thing is happening in tradtionally Catholic societies, it's because the thrust of Vatican II (a pastoral congress which changed not one scintilla of Catholic teaching) was twisted by liberal reformers - most particularly Annibale Bugnini, who attempted to destroy the Catholic Mass in an attempt to make it acceptable to Protestants - to make the Church more Protestant. We're all paying the price for that now.

25 January 2014 at 10:26  
Blogger John Wrake said...

YG,

Your statement at 9.57 does not do you credit in the light of the real subject matter of this post.

I recognise that it is intended as a corrective to anti-Anglican comment, which, as you say, is completely partisan.

But inter-denominational spats should not distract us from the wickedness affecting the Christian Churches of all denominations.

That wickedness is the failure to deal with the false prophets which infect us, whether unbelief in the C of E, cover-up amongst Romans, dishonesty among Methodists etc. etc. What seems to be lacking is a true repentance by the church membership for accepting what each knows to be wrong.

Please continue reminding us of how we all have come short of the glory of God.

25 January 2014 at 10:34  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl/Cressida

"THE life Brian .....is still the most blasphemous movie I have ever seen"

I think that the cup is half empty again. The life of Brian and similar films have made Christians think more deeply about defending their faith and indeed the whole question of apologetics, which was often something that Christians used to leave Church leaders worry about. Early Christians needed to be sure of their faith, because it was usually dangerous to be a Christian both inside and definitely outside of the Roman Empire.

If you have time look at the debate 35 years ago between an Anglican a Catholic Bishop and Cleese and Palin on the impact of the film Life of Brian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl8acXl3qVs

The Christians are just not very good at getting an argument across. I am sure that if it were to be rerun today, the Python team would not have it so easy.

The plus side of both the rise of more militant secularism is that there now is an increasing cost to being a Christian. People now have to choose, sitting on the fence with a "mushy middle" faith is no longer an option and this I think is a good thing.

The interesting exchange is when they also mention that if they had made a film about Mohamed in the same way, some Muslims might get rather upset, although no mention of riots or death threats... How things have changed in 35 years!

Phil







25 January 2014 at 10:35  
Blogger Len said...

Quite apparent Corrigan that you don`t understand Protestants at all yet you continue to attack what you don`t understand or perhaps it is is just through fear that you attack what you don`t understand?.. Those who blindly follow their religion are exactly that' blind' to God`s Truth.

Faith is a gift from God and the Bible is quite clear about that .

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:3)

25 January 2014 at 10:36  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Corrigan

"the whole point of Protestantism is that a man is justified by faith alone, that is to say, his own faith, or, more bluntly, whatever he cares to make up."

Utter crap and I suspect, you know it

Phil

25 January 2014 at 10:38  
Blogger Len said...

The Reformation was never needed as much as it is now.
The church is crumbling and sliding into apostasy.
Catholicism cannot prop up the toppling church because it has the wrong foundation which is not Christ but itself Catholicism!.
Unless we get ourselves onto the True Foundation which is Christ the church will be finished!.

25 January 2014 at 10:41  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

John Wrake

"distract us from the wickedness affecting the Christian Churches of all denominations"

Always has been, always will be, wickedness in the church. That is why you cannot worship the Church, it will always let you down. In fact if you worship anything other than God it will let you down.

Corrigan worships the Catholic Church. It will let him down. Rambling Steve, has moved to a "better" Church which is more to his liking. It will let him down.

What do they do when these Churches let them down? What happens to their faith?

You cannot put expect from earthly things that only God can provide.

Phil

25 January 2014 at 11:00  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

I should add, we expect perfection where none is possible.

That does not make them Evil or wrong, just fallen

Phil

25 January 2014 at 11:02  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Phil R @ 11:00

I'm sure Rambling Steve can speak for himself, but as one with a similar sort of outlook to his who has not made a move I don't think it's a case of to one's "liking", but whether it's a church that preaches the Gospel or not.

Francis Schaeffer, giving advice to new converts, advised them to find a church that preached the Gospel. A liberal church that disbelieved the Bible was simply a waste of time and would not foster spiritual growth.

Paul says to expel one who preaches wrong doctrines. But if the local church itself preaches wrong doctrines, the believer might reverse the process and expel him/herself.

25 January 2014 at 11:23  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

The Explorer

That is the easy road, get into a huddle with everyone who believes the same thing, ignore the others or let them get on with it. The trouble is that we are not told to take the easy road.

Anyway how long will it be before your new Church does not make YOUR exacting requirements?

You are making the church into club or a supermarket, (If you don't like what it sells go somewhere else) which is was never ordained to be.

Also what are your motives for leaving? My needs, my wants or Gods?

What about the Christians you leave behind? Don't they deserve your love? Read Mother Teresa above. You are effectively suggesting leaving the man in the ditch with the worms to work it out for himself

Phil

25 January 2014 at 11:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack wonders about all the differences between the Christian churches. It seems to Jack that Anglicanism and Protestantism are not one and the same thing - or are they?

Jack asks if attacks on organised 'religions' are attacks on all Episcopalian churches who have bishops and follow the Apostolic creeds?

Phil R, Happy Jack says just because 'The Life of Brian' provokes a Christian defence doesn't make it any less blasphemous or a good thing. It offends God. It mocks His sacrifice. It trivialises His death and suffering. Jack abhors the film and now never watches any Monty Pyton.

25 January 2014 at 11:46  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Phil Roberts and Len just don't seem to get this, so I'll say it in words that even they can comprehend: there is no distinction between Christ and the Church; they are one and the same, so as long as you are in communion with the Church (by which I mean in obedience to the Magisterium, not the dictates of individual priests) you are in communion with Christ.

25 January 2014 at 11:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan: "There is nothing in their philosophy which would prevent them - were they so minded - from feeding off the poor, exploiting them, abusing them or, in the worst extremity, killing them for fun."

There isn't a philosophy of atheism for us to follow. But perhaps that's your point? There is, however, our human nature and environment to limit what we do.

25 January 2014 at 12:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The Life of Brian is utterly brilliant, and not because some Christians are offended.

25 January 2014 at 12:01  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Corrigan

Come on. The Magisterium has not always been Christ like and you know it, indeed the Catholic Church knows it and accepts it

Phil

25 January 2014 at 12:04  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Phil R @ 11:46

Since I haven't left my current church, the situation I was positing is hypothetical.

I suppose what we're discussing is like the difference in approach between Erasmus and Luther. Stick with the existing structure and try to reform it, or split?

One point of issue: my "requirements" don't come into it: other than an attempt to be faithful to Christ rather than being part of a sort of social club appalled at any mention of the word 'God'.

A huddle of those who believe the same thing sounds a bit like what St Paul recommends, or John's letters. Do you take issue with them?

25 January 2014 at 12:07  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Happy Jack

"Happy Jack says just because 'The Life of Brian' provokes a Christian defence doesn't make it any less blasphemous or a good thing. It offends God. It mocks His sacrifice. It trivialises His death and suffering. Jack abhors the film and now never watches any Monty Pyton"

I disagree but even so even if this were true is it not possible that the net result has been positive and so part of God's plan?

Phil

25 January 2014 at 12:07  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Explorer

I think your requirements do come into it, they are the root of it. So by leaving the sick you are faithful to Christ?

Phil

25 January 2014 at 12:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 12:01

Particularly brilliant is its wonderfully realistic depiction of crucifixion.

"What have the Romans ever done for us?" is, I agree, one of the funniest things I've ever seen. So is the haggling in the bazaar.

25 January 2014 at 12:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Phil R @ 12:11

Before we go any further, is it the "sick" who are being described in Matthew 10:14?

25 January 2014 at 12:20  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...



Explorer

"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."

I would say it is a different context. Jesus is talking about not wasting time on unreceptive unbelievers.

We are talking about churches. Very few are completely without any form of belief or faith. I find most will welcome and listen to you. They might not agree, but that is why you are there. You will also find I suspect that you will yourself be challenged in some say and so feel uncomfortable. This can be a prime motivator for leaving and starting a new comfy club, which is a "safe" place, amongst friends. (For a while at least). All that is needed is an excuse and "does not preach the Gospel" is a nice catch all phrase to use that makes you feel good about leaving. God says so etc

Phil





25 January 2014 at 12:46  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Explorer (at 0851), I was quoting from memory. Also from memory, I believe “dark night of the soul” was not the expression that Mother Teresa herself used, but that a priest used in talking about her experience. “Loss of faith” and “crisis of faith” – are the two really so far apart that a comment made about one of them wouldn’t even remotely apply to the other? What if someone lost his faith, or thought he had, but decided to wait a bit to see if it came back, and it did? Which would that experience have been, a loss of faith or a crisis of faith? We’re talking about things that happen in real life, all the time. When it happens, people have to make a decision about what to do next.

In the case of a dean who finds he no longer believes in God, I believe he may in all honesty decide that his first duty is loyalty to the Church and to carry on doing his job as though nothing had happened, at least for the time being. That is not the same, of course, as standing up in the pulpit the next Sunday and telling the congregation that they all ought to abandon their beliefs and become atheists like himself. That would be disloyalty to the Church, not loyalty.

25 January 2014 at 13:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Phil

The betrayal of Judas was part of God's plan. That doesn't make the betrayal any less evil. It is written "All things work together for good for those whom He loves" and that includes the film in question. But that doesn't alter the objective nature of the film.

DanJ0 is correct in his assessment. But when did brilliance become mutually exclusive with blasphemy? The entire film is only comprehensible as a parody of Christ. The humor depends upon knowledge of the Gospels. "Blessed are the Cheese makers" would be lost on someone who had never heard of the Sermon on the Mount. The humor behind the man who is accidentally crucified when he is forced to carry the cross depends on knowledge of Simon. Crucifixion itself would be unknown in the modern world except for Christ. The entire film is an intentional satire if the Life and Death of Christ.

As a rule, people do not micturate on that which they themselves consider sacred. But they will relieve themselves upon that which they wish to profane - to make common and vulgar that which others consider set apart. And their efforts might even be described as brilliant. But a brilliant display of derision and contempt is still derision and contempt.

carl

25 January 2014 at 13:22  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Phil R @ 12:46

Your overall point is a perfectly valid one. It's summed up, I think, in Ch 16 of 'The Screwtape Letters'. "making each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction... the search for a 'suitable' church makes a man a critic..."

As I said, I'm still with my present church: an Erasmus solution. As for being uncomfortable, quite the reverse. Outside the church, I spend most of my time among unbelievers.

You are absolutely right about Matt 10:14: I was simply making the point that not all the "sick" will be receptive.

The issue remains, I think, about how far unorthodox views are healthy, and how far they are simply divisive. I John suggests that those who left did so of their own accord. I am/was positing a hypothetical situation in which the reverse might apply: those who depart are the true believers, leaving the apostates in place.

25 January 2014 at 13:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Uncle Brian @ 13:00

"Dark night of the Soul" was raised by Happy Jack (18:27", not by me. Quite agree re crisis of faith/loss of faith: I made that point when I talked about mood swings.

The hypothetical Dean. C of E Article 26 says the effect of the Sacrament is not hindered by the unworthiness of those ministering them. To that extent, no hypocrisy would be involved. I imagine, though, I'd hate to administer communion wine if I believed Christ was still in a grave somewhere.

There might be a perfectly laudable loyalty, other than loyalty to the Church: to family. If the Dean were to resign, would he find another job? That thought might keep him in post after he had ceased to believe.

25 January 2014 at 13:48  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Corrigan @ 09:36, 19:26

That’s quite heroic stuff from you, you know.

“That's why Protestantism always leads to atheism. Perhaps not for the individual, but at the level of society” is one of the most profound statements you or anyone else for that matter has ever gifted to this blog.

One salutes you, Sir !

And for those whom Corrigan annoys here, be thankful we still have the right to be annoyed in these ‘liberal’ times...

25 January 2014 at 13:52  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The irony is just too rich. Here we have the Inspector General - he whose concepts of Christianity have been taken like so many newspaper clippings from Rudyard Kipling's poetry - saluting the profundity of Corrigan for declaring that Protestants make things up as they go along. What was the quote?

the whole point of Protestantism is that a man is justified by faith alone, that is to say, his own faith, or, more bluntly, whatever he cares to make up. That's why Protestantism always leads to atheism.

Is there a dogma of the RCC that the Inspector hasn't publicly repudiated on this blog? No matter. He is in Communion with Rome. Except for all that "believing what it says" stuff. And that "anathema" stuff as well.

I imagine Albert will be along directly to explain that Christ and the Church are not one and the same, and there is a huge distinction between the two, and that what Corrigan really meant to say was... something else.

carl

25 January 2014 at 14:26  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Outsiders to this blog please note that Carl Jacobs is a Creationist. 'Nuff said.

25 January 2014 at 14:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Carl, what’s the problem, old chap. This man has never made any secret that he is a papist, albeit a whining one at times.

You see, God gave him free will and free thought. It is no sin to question authority, for if the authority is valid, it will prevail. Fair enough, this man has trouble with some of the teachings, but he gladly puts his hand up while others just mumble to themselves and scheme behind everyone's back. It’s called refreshing honesty, in case you haven’t come across it before. And here’s something else, this man will remain a papist until his final breath. He will not take his ball away and start a kick around in another part of the field, or have that much to do with those who do.

One expects after digesting this post, you will be considering making an apology....

25 January 2014 at 14:43  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Corrigan

Heh. Logical fallacies are all you've got? I expected better of you.

What was that quote?

there is no distinction between Christ and the Church; they are one and the same

Perhaps we could play a game with that statement. We could call it "Spot the heresy." I have I ask though. Did you make up that concept on your own or did the Magisterium teach it to you?

carl

25 January 2014 at 14:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Happy Jack at 11:46

Is Anglicanism Protestant?

Historically, mid way between Catholicism and Calvinism. (The Puritans were Calvinist rather than Lutheran.) Catholic format of service and ecclesiastical structure, but Protestant (mostly) doctrines. That's why there are Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals under one umbrella. One of its distinctive - and controversial - features is Head of State as Governor of Church. Debate over whether an established church is a blessing or a curse.

Since then, Liberalism has emerged as a third element. The current conflict is between Liberalism and the other two.

The Spirit moves in mysterious ways, but one possible outcome in the future is that the Liberals will remain, and the other two will secede.

25 January 2014 at 15:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Inspector

Being a Roman Catholic does not mean putting your hand up and saying "I am a Roman Catholic." The WomenPriests do that but it doesn't make them Catholic. To be a Roman Catholic means to submit yourself to the authority and teaching of the Magisterium. That you manifestly do not do. That is why your support of Corrigan was so ironic. Your attitude is precisely what he was attacking.

Read the Canons from the Council of Trent. Discover what you are required to believe as a Roman Catholic. All those anathema indicate that you don't get a say I the matter. Your free will isn't important. Your honesty isn't important. Your submission is required.

Welcome home to Rome.

carl

carl

25 January 2014 at 15:05  
Blogger Kim Fabricius said...

What spineless and, finally, foolish defensores fidei many of you are. Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ is neither "irreverent" nor "debauched", let alone "blasphemous", but a serious, if flawed, cinematic attempt, deploying the gospel narratives, to explore "the eternal spiritual conflict" in humans beings.

And Life of Brian - it is, of course, a comedic masterpiece, but as the Revd. Professor Richard Burridge, Dean of King’s College London, who was recently decorated by Pope Francis, has observed, it is also "an extraordinary tribute to Jesus" - if also a cunning satire of the stupidity of many of his followers.

Still, even if you insist in being obtuse about the films, on their censorship you might at least take heed of John Milton, who iconically wrote in in the Areopagitica (1644):

"I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out of the race … [T]hat which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contrary." And as for "Truth": "Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?"

25 January 2014 at 15:06  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Inspector
"Or have that much with those who do [kick around in another part of the field]"

But this, dear chap, is an Anglican blog, aka "another part of the field".

And you are a frequent kicker around here, in fellowship with all of us. I don't think Miss Marple would accept that you don't have "much to do" with those pesky Anglicans, do you, seriously?

25 January 2014 at 15:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Kim @ 15:06

I was an atheist when 'Life of Brian' came out, so I had no problem with it on religious grounds. But the crucifixion scenes made ne uneasy. It was probably to due with having seen 'Spartacus': and all the crucified slaves along the road into Rome. Also, with having read 'Salammbo', and the description of the crucified lions twisted in agony.

I had a similar problem with Dame Edna making jokes about colostomy bags. My father was upset because my mother would have been due to have one if she hadn't died in hospital.

One could, presumably, make a screamingly funny film about Belsen or Auschwitz. Miss Frank doing a death dance with the SS? But should one?

25 January 2014 at 15:26  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Carl. Here’s something for you, this man has NEVER questioned himself with what he has to do to be a Roman Catholic. You see, he just is. End of. It’s rather like asking someone what they have to do to appreciate single malt. It’s there, you just appreciate it. One feels the RCC knows exactly where he’s coming from. After all, sin and forgiveness is what it is all about. While on this earth, perfection is unobtainable. We RCs don’t even attempt it, we just soldier on, best we can.

Of course, you yourself worship Calvin, or at least his words in a very regimented style. There is no room for dissent. Your belief is already worked out for you. It is YOU who must obey unquestionably, because if you don’t you know you cannot call yourself a Calvinist.

So, you’ve opted for an off the peg religion, you admit as much yourself. Good for you. You are spared having to peer into your soul to examine what you really believe. And it is not always a good feeling when you do, but it’s honest...

25 January 2014 at 15:33  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Lucy. Although one doesn’t kick a ball around with those who’ve upped and left for another part of the field, he remains good friends with them, and delights in drinking a pint or two in their company at the club house afterwards...

25 January 2014 at 15:37  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Kim Fabricious

What a fallacy to suggest John Milton would celebrate those iniquitous offerings, "Life of Brian" and "The Last Temptations of Christ".

As you well know he had no experience of such blasphemous offerings when he wrote "Areopagatica" and in none of his writings does he suggest that a non "fugitive and [un] cloistered virtue" could or would celebrate salacious depictions of Christ or welcome weak satire that has caused ongoing suffering to Christians. In case you were unaware atheists and anti-Christians use that song out of "Life of Brian" to taunt Christians and suggest that they are shallow and thick, whereas in fact Christians are at more deathbeds and sickbeds bringing more comfort than just about anyone else. The Church is good at being there when many of these trendy atheists cannot be seen for dust, actually. Busy making trendy £s.

Now some new Christians are a little shallow and unconsidered, like some children. Should we therefore excoriate and mock them and disown them, and leave them to be tormented as you suggest? I think that is ghastly, and not what Jesus or Paul would suggest at all.

Nor Milton, who would say, I believe,

"the hungry sheep look up, and are not fed".

I have read virtually all of Milton. "Paradise Regained" included, and I think you have not understood him within context of his times or his work.

"A fish called Wanda" is a good film. "Life of Brian" is weak, with 1 very good joke, and 1 passably good, and the rest very poor. The song at the end is contemptibly abysmal and an insult to all the work of Christians amongst the sick and the dying.

What have the Christians ever done for the sick and the dying?

"Well, there's Florence Nightingale and nursing"

"Yes, well, I'll give you that, but what else?"

"Parish priests and hospital chaplains up and down the country."

"yes, but what else"

"Dame Cicely Saunders and the hospice movement"

"Yes, but what else? "

And so on.

It is one thing to quote Milton, but it takes reading enough of him and understanding his historical context to have got sufficiently under his skin to understand which quotations are the most appropriate.




25 January 2014 at 15:44  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Kim Fabricius

And what was the government position that Milton held under the Commonwealth? His official job title was Secretary of Foreign Tongues. I think you'll find that, among other responsibilities, the author of the Areopagitica ended up acting as the head of Oliver Cromwell's censorship department.

Well, we can’t all be Voltaires, can we? “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” and all that.

25 January 2014 at 15:49  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Lucy Mullen

The song at the end is contemptibly abysmal and an insult to all the work of Christians amongst the sick and the dying.

Credit where it's due, it has at least one first-rate couplet in it:

Always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath

I suspect that, despite everything, The Explorer may even agree with me.

25 January 2014 at 15:54  
Blogger Len said...

Its not such much of what you believe that makes you a good Catholic but how much of the Bible you are willing to either reject or ignore.
I can only assume that once one has become a Catholic then one shouts for their side much as for ones home team without ever questioning their motives direction or ability?

25 January 2014 at 15:54  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Uncle Brian

Don't think much of it. Not exactly Gershwin is it?

The effect that they are striving for would have been better achieved with a feminine rhyme rather than a masculine one for a start.

Then the rhythm adds nothing, and indeed it is reliant on squeezing the words through the music to achieve anything like scansion.

Then the content.

A B- from here!

25 January 2014 at 15:59  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Uncle Brian @ 15:54.

What is the bright side of death? The prospect of the end of suffering?

Those crucified might well have been too delirious when they reached that point to think that thought, never mind sing it.

I return to the crucified slaves of 'Spartacus, and the crucified lions of 'Salammbo'. Not a lot of singing going on there.

25 January 2014 at 16:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Inspector

The more you write, the more you confirm everything I have said. Your attitude towards Rome is like the attitude of those men of old who would say "We have Abraham as our father." It didn't mean anything then. It doesn't mean anything now.

To be a Roman Catholic you must believe certain things. Those things have been established infallibly by the authority of the Magisterium. You must give your assent. That, you understand, was Corrigan's point. That is what keeps Roman Catholics from making things up as they go along. That is why (according to Corrigan) RCism doesn't lead to atheism. Its teaching is anchored by the authority of the Church. Your concept of "I just am" doesn't account for any of this and allows you the same doctrinal lattitude that Corrigan sees as the principle characteristic of Protestants.

So, no. Rome doesn't get where you are coming from. You are no more RC than I am. You just self-identify with the group.

carl

25 January 2014 at 16:08  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Len. “Its not such much of what you believe that makes you a good Catholic but how much of the Bible you are willing to either reject or ignore.”

For the OT, it all depends on whether or not you believe the bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as in a scientific explanation of what happened. Or, as a series of stories to help stone age types better understand, a) where they came from b) Who they are c) Where they are going.

Creation in 7 days ? Try 14+ billion years, and still on going....

Forbidden fruit of knowledge ? Oh, for God’s sake, just think about the ludicrousness of that, will you...


25 January 2014 at 16:11  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Carl @ 16:08

Well done that man, you’ve just defined what is takes to be a Roman Catholic PRIEST.

If you are trying to put the Inspector on some kind of guilt trip, save your typing. He has a life to live, and no, it doesn’t involve close orbit with the RCC. Instead, it's most likely doing what God intended for other than the ones he called to be priests - to go out there and do something with the life you have...


25 January 2014 at 16:21  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Inspector

Tut tut what a sleight of hand to change your imagery to beers after the game. Is the game then worship in church?

You have often described what is done here as being kicking balls around, have you not?

And I have noticed some hefty kicking from time to time, and even admit to it myself!!

Shinpads feel more necessary here than in our church on Sunday, the odd stroppy vagrant or disgruntled flower lady notwithstanding, but maybe your church is a more dramatic venue?

25 January 2014 at 16:31  
Blogger Len said...

So there we have it inspector.Your belief is in the Roman Church not in God because by your own admission you doubt His Word.
I find it strange that religions who take the Word of God as their 'authority' such as Catholicism Islam and some other faiths then deny the truth from the Bible which they draw their inspiration.
I don`t suppose that they can even see the irony.

25 January 2014 at 16:43  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Lucy, One would say the ball is the concept of worship. Different rules now apply for those who play, say Rugby (What the English boys like) as opposed to Association Football (the original ball game). And the Club House, well, why cannot that be this site. And why sport as the medium, because we are all bursting with life, of course...

25 January 2014 at 16:47  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Len, you are an insufferable nuisance. Dialogue with you, as with all God botherers, is futile...

25 January 2014 at 16:51  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Carl, as you seem to have time on your hands today, and going about your usual mischief here, here’s a philosophical question for you. God’s human creation – What was in it for God ? Not a trick question, and there is no definite answer we on earth know about, but only opinion. For example, can he be feeding off human emotion and grief. Now, your take, if you will...

Len. This is NOT a question for you to contemplate, for alas, you be but a thick !


25 January 2014 at 16:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Inspector

Well done that man, you’ve just defined what is takes to be a Roman Catholic PRIEST

How very Anglican of you to suggest that only the clergy are required to believe what the church teaches. Corrigan must be gouging his eyes out by now. Do you have any conception how utterly and thoroughly you have undermined his argument?

In addition, you are wrong on the facts. The teaching authority of the RCC extends to the laity. The Canons are quite clear. "If any man say..." You are bound to obedience just as surely as the priest. And you are just as surely willfully disobedient to that authority.

carl

25 January 2014 at 16:56  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Len, for somebody who only recognizes a bible made up of 66 books, you really have a pair on you, trying to hit me over the head with it. May I remind you that this paring down of scripture began with Luther at the Disputation of Leipzig when he realized that 2 Maccabees seemed to give implicit sanction to the notion of purgatory? This is exactly what is wrong with Protestantism - as soon as Luther was forced to admit this, he withdrew recognition of Maccabees and his followers have been making it up ever since. Just like you are. You hear the bits of the Bible which tell you what you want to hear and ignore the rest, and that's why Protestantism, sooner or later, will always lead to atheism, becuase the human mind cannot indefinitely do this. It's all or nothing.

25 January 2014 at 16:59  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Len

Let me say, for a start, that you know (I hope) that I agree with you a lot of the time (more often, actually, than you might think). But you seem to have detected some kind of opposition between the Bible and the Church. And when I say Church, I mean it in the broadest possible sense, the sum of all the ekklesiai, if you like.

Let me ask you a couple of questions. Are you familiar with the term Masoretic Text, often abbreviated to MT? Why do you think it is called that? Surely it must have occurred to you that at some moment some committee or group of people must have got together to decide which books were going to be accepted as the canon and which ones were going to be left out. Who were those people? Weren't they (in the case of the NT) churchmen?

25 January 2014 at 17:04  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Carl, is your altercation with Corrigan so reliant on an unsure argument that you must depend on the words of this man to prove him wrong ?

25 January 2014 at 17:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 January 2014 at 17:29  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Inspector, I stopped caring about Carl's opinions when he came out about being a creationist. You attack your opponents in their strongest position, not their weakest.

25 January 2014 at 17:31  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

No, Inspector, I was originally commenting on nothing more than the incongruity of your support for Corrigan. You are the prime example of what he was addressing. But you do serve as a textbook example of why he is wrong.

And to answer your question.

This is the whole purpose of man - to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The purpose of creation is to display the glory of God.

carl

25 January 2014 at 17:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Carl, the point this man was making was that you have to be a priest or at the least, a deacon to fully understand, let alone concur, with RCC doctrine. We know that Corrigan is not a priest, but one does admire his spirit. Perhaps this is where you are finding incongruity...

25 January 2014 at 18:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "This is the whole purpose of man - to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The purpose of creation is to display the glory of God."

You make your god sound particularly unattractive when you say stuff like that. A sort of divine Bernie Eccleston surrounding itself with glamour models and macho cars.

25 January 2014 at 18:25  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


How very shallow of you DanJ0 !

But then, you are at the centre of creation, in your own mind. Not much room for other factors then...

25 January 2014 at 19:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "How very shallow of you DanJ0 !"

The universe appears to be nearly 14 billion years old, it is vast beyond our comprehension, and our species appears to have been on this small planet in it for a mere few hundred thousand years. It is not so much me my being shallow but religionists being astonishingly arrogant. If there is an intelligent creator of our reality then it is being horribly diminished by the religion with which you self-identify.

25 January 2014 at 19:49  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack says a bad joke by your standards but he understood your point.

Jack would put it this way. God's creation was a manifesting of His love. He wants to show us His Glory and wants us to share in His perfect happiness for eternity.

Inspector, Happy Jack advises there is a difference between having a difficulty understanding a teaching or a doctrine (or not knowing it fully) and having doubts about it. Remember, 10,000 difficulties do not make a single doubt.

Carl, From what he has read, Happy Jack understands Roman Catholics believe members of their Church form a special union with Christ. In following the Church teachings and doctrines, they believe they are submitting to God's revealed will, not to the institutions or people of the Church who carry His authority.

25 January 2014 at 19:58  
Blogger Corrigan said...

DanJ0, you are not in a position, nor do you have the necessary intellectual firepower to know if the universe is being horribly diminished by the religious. Indeed, the criteria by which you are judging were given to you by those very same religious people.

25 January 2014 at 20:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan: "DanJ0, you are not in a position, nor do you have the necessary intellectual firepower to know if the universe is being horribly diminished by the religious."

You're right in one way. Our sense of scale is a problem as one of a large number of species on a rock circling one of billions of stars in our galaxy, which light would take more time than our species modern existence to cross, which is one of a vast number of galaxies in the universe. There are probably hundreds of trillions of stars out there. Yet you and your co-religionists think this creator cares deeply about what someone living for a brief timespan does in their own bedroom and with whom.

25 January 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Oh dear, Happy Jack says you went off on one there! What a large, lonely, meaningless universe you chose to inhabit.

As small and as insignificant we appear, we are made in the image of God to love and be loved by Him. He knows every one of us. The Creator cares about us and wants us to follow His will as it has been revealed to us. And this means behaving and living in ways He intended.

25 January 2014 at 21:08  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 “If there is an intelligent creator of our reality then it is being horribly diminished by the religion with which you self-identify.”

Best save that one for the muslims. Unless of course, you revel in looking foolish...

If you mean religion in general, then has it occurred to you that man in his astonishing arrogance can still find it in him to realise his greatness is as nothing as there is a higher state of understanding...


25 January 2014 at 21:09  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

It would be surprising if God was not deeply interested, even invested in what we find very important, however, and generally we do find it very important as to what we do in the bedroom and with whom, don't we?

To suggest that a very big area of life is beyond and above (or beneath?) morality, the study of the spectrum between right and wrong, would be illogical.

I strongly doubt if any one of us think that it is not fitting for society to care deeply about what that wretch Ian Watkins got up to and with whom in a bedroom. The only questions remaining are where we draw the lines between people's rights to privacy, and self expression, and necessary exposure and publicity to protect innocence, and there we would find we hold a variety of views, I believe.

25 January 2014 at 21:17  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 “Yet you and your co-religionists think this creator cares deeply about what someone living for a brief timespan does in their own bedroom and with whom.”

Ah, now we come down to it. Homosexuality.

In the two years since this man has studied the condition, he has found the afflicted possess a really intense self absorption to the ignoring of much else, even religion. This is amply demonstrated by the general raving intolerance of Christianity in the Pink News comments, along with a somewhat behind the sofa fear of Islam.

To illustrate. A few weeks back, some transgender thing was given a opportunity to post an item for discussion. Something about the “we’ve come a long way, but we’re still not happy” you’d expect. Now, he / she did say something memorable and this is what was effectively said...

“I believe questioning of your gender to be the most natural thing in the world. I am surprised that everyone doesn’t do it”


25 January 2014 at 21:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

when you say stuff like that

I am surprised that you did not recognize the source from which I quoted. In fact what I said has far deeper roots than any I might provide. But then you do not really comprehend Christian theology. Your conception of God never rises above a crude anthropomorphization. You say you are an atheist, but your conceptualizations are unmistakably pagan in form.

carl

25 January 2014 at 21:28  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Inspector

Well, well.... one hates to brag but some of us got that one sorted by the age of two if not before ;-)

I cannot believe that such an attitude is anything but rare, even in that publication, though, to be honest.

For most of us it just so staggeringly obvious!!

25 January 2014 at 21:29  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, and Lucy, but that does not mean Happy Jack cannot wear a dress or make-up because he is a man.

And what's the difference between transgender, transsexual and transvestite?

(Now where did Jack put his girdle?)

*chuckle*

Carl, a liberal-pagan? How can this be?

25 January 2014 at 22:01  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


True story this Jack. Back in the days of video tape machines, the Inspector’s jammed on him one night. Careful inspection showed that a tweezers was necessary for repair, but he didn’t possess one. So, at the weekend, dressed in a motorcycle jacket and carrying a crash helmet, he picked one up at Boots the chemist. At the checkout, there was a pretty young thing, and the Inspector, fearful that his manhood would come under question, freely explained to the girl why he was purchasing it. “Oh, I knew you weren’t one of them”, she said “We open at 8 am on a Saturday and the trannies come in then to pick up what they need”.

25 January 2014 at 22:15  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Happy Jack

I see you wearing a fetching black dress and blusher in your photo!!

But the hat looks quite macho.

Perhaps you should doff it whenever you speak to a lady and don it again afterwards, or perhaps that is too much work!!

Bring back politeness and delicacy and all the graduations between a handshake and full on carnal knowledge, why don't we?

And there, I have brought us back almost to the original topic!

25 January 2014 at 22:19  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Gradations not graduations. Sorry!

25 January 2014 at 22:22  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, that made Happy Jack chuckle. Why worry what a young woman thinks?

The latest craze is wearing female body suits and face masks. Jack watched a programme on this the other night. Men spend thousands buying rubber skin suits and facial masks to 'become' women. They then admire themselves in the mirror and walk about to gain male attention. Very, very troubling. They looked like very ugly manikins with messed up faces! The wives of some of these men were clearly worried and even 'jealous' about their husbands attachment of his faux woman. There is a whole secret community building up the courage and networks to "come out".

What the hell is the going on in the world when every perversion under the sun is rapidly becoming "understood" and "acceptable", as "freedom of expression", subject only to do no harm to others? And what does do no harm mean? How is this judged?

As an old lady Jack knows often shakes her head and says: "Aye Jack, there's no sense of shame anymore. No shame."

25 January 2014 at 22:49  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Inspector

"somewhat behind the sofa fear of Islam."

Very funny

You hit the nail on the head though. DanJo and others come on the blog primarily as homosexuals. That is their identity and "religion". They talk about very little else. Do they have a life, or is espousing homosexuality is what defines them so they are relentless until we accept them. Even if we eventually do, I don't think they will be happy

Also I don't think that Islam scares them.

Many British troops have mentioned that they were propositioned by Afghans during their tour

Phil



25 January 2014 at 22:52  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Why Mrs Lucy Mullen, you must forgive Happy Jack's rudeness and accept his apologies for not removing his hat in the presence of a lady.

(That was no lady - that was Lucy)

*Chuckle*

And how dare you?! Jack is most certainly NOT wearing a dress. That, dear woman, is a leather coat. It gives Jack a meaner, 'snake-eyed' image. And Jack never puts make-up on his cheeks. They are as nature has intended.

25 January 2014 at 23:04  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


It’s a curious thing Phil, that while militant LGBT revel in condemning the religion of their heterosexual parents and grand parents, they shirk from outright pillorying of Islam. Years ago, immigrant muslims were a persecuted minority in the UK. The gays today still see themselves as a persecuted minority, the sense of which is beyond this man. Anyway, they still unconsciously feel sisterhood with muslims, if you will.

When a black man condemns homosexuality, they are quick to point out that he is a descendant of slaves, and should be more attune to LGBT ‘suffering’. It seems apparent that muslims should be thinking the same way, so they believe.

So there you have it. they can’t find it in themselves to condemn Islam per se, even though those blighters routinely put to death gay types. Instead, they crawl behind the sofa and occasionally stick their heads up to see what’s going on when Mohammed is about. It’s all they can think to do...


25 January 2014 at 23:21  
Blogger William Lewis said...

DanJ0

Are we insignificant?

Depends on your view point I suppose. If one were to take a logarithmic view of size then it seems that humans are about halfway between subatomic particles and the galaxy.

One could also compare our time on this planet with some of the epochs that are thought to have happened during the life of the universe e.g. the Planck epoch which lasted a mere 10e-43 of a second.

It seems that God (if He exists) is the God of the very large and the very small - and all points in between.

25 January 2014 at 23:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

William Lewis, Happy Jack thanks you for that insight into existence - whether by God's creative design, or sheer chance from some 'event' in either an inaccessible multi-verse or continually shrinking, exploding and expanding single universe.

The thing is, 'time' will never tell.

*chuckle*

25 January 2014 at 23:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

HJ

a liberal-pagan? How can this be?

Whenever DanJ0 confronts a description of God he inevitably interprets it through a pagan grid. He reduces God to a glorified man and interprets what he reads in that context. Consider.

Yet you and your co-religionists think this creator cares deeply about what someone living for a brief timespan does in their own bedroom and with whom.

Why should that be shocking or ridiculous? Does God have better things to do? Is he too busy running the universe to bother? This assertion that God doesn't care is a complete non-sequitor for anyone who understands Theology proper. But it makes perfect sense if you think of God as a giant man with all the attendant limitations. And that is a fundamentally pagan view.

The universe is vast. So vast we cannot comprehend it. Unbelieving men consider its size and say `No god could be bigger than this.' Why? Because their model of God is fundamentally anthropomorphic. Man is a creature within the universe. To analogize God as man means the universe must by definition dwarf God as well. But the Unbelieving man should get the contrary message. That God is greater than this universe and therefore wholly separate from it. Who could create something this vast? What does that reveal about Him?

In truth he does get this message but he suppresses it. He much prefer the concept of glorified man. Or perhaps we should say 'glorified strawman.'

carl

25 January 2014 at 23:58  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Carl, wise words, and you are right. DanJ0 just doesn’t have it in him to comprehend the concept of a deity, or if he does, it is beyond his understanding. One wonders if he truly appreciates the extent of the universe, and not just when a new super nova is detected...

26 January 2014 at 00:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack cannot fathom the mind of a true atheist. Jack means a convinced atheist and not someone who says he might believe in a "god, creator thingy".

Deism, with its notion of a detached, uncaring god, who we can know nothing about, just maybe. Such a god with no interest in us, would be a scary creator. And why would he bother?

But no God at all?

26 January 2014 at 01:31  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Thank you, Inspector. That was kind of you to say.

carl

26 January 2014 at 04:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack:"Danjo, Oh dear, Happy Jack says you went off on one there! What a large, lonely, meaningless universe you chose to inhabit."

There it is again. I het it's biological in origin.

26 January 2014 at 06:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector:"Ah, now we come down to it. Homosexuality."

Actually, it was the widespread Christian obsession with sex in general I was talking about, including pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, non-procreative sex, and so on. You've brought your own obsession to the table there. Again.

26 January 2014 at 06:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Your conception of God never rises above a crude anthropomorphization."

Ultimately, that's the core of my charge against religion and religionists above. Moreover, Jack has demonstrated the reason why it probably happens.

"In truth he does get this message but he suppresses it. He much prefer the concept of glorified man. Or perhaps we should say 'glorified strawman.'"

Given that I periidically mention your god sustaining the very fabric of the universe molecule by molecule, it is you who is ceating caricatures to suit yourself there I think.

26 January 2014 at 06:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William: It seems that God (if He exists) is the God of the very large and the very small - and all points in between."

Well, if is sustaining the universe moment by moment then no doubt it is. If there are trillions of stars then it may be the god of many other sapient species in many other locations too. Perhaps some of them still live in their 'unfallen' state in gardens of Eren, not requiring god to incarnate and die in a bizarre way there? Perhaps some are not carbon based lifeforms at all, and god incarnated differently to intervene at a suitable point in their history? Perhaps some of those chosen species exist solely under water and the death of god's incarnation involved being pegged out on a beach and asphyxiating to death as its gills flapped around? Perhaps there are many different heaven and hells for each type, all managed by this creator god thing for its various purposes?

26 January 2014 at 07:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Apologies for spelling mistaking htw. Typing on a phone.

26 January 2014 at 07:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil :"You hit the nail on the head though. DanJo and others come on the blog primarily as homosexuals."

I have three independent ones: liberal, a-theist, and homosexual. Homosexuality crops up here so often because there are lots of homophobes, 50% of the regulars I'd guess. Yourself included, of course.

26 January 2014 at 07:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's an interesting accusation that, against a collective Christian opposition, I'm reducing the Christian god to a sort of glorified man. ;)

26 January 2014 at 07:40  
Blogger William Lewis said...

DanJ0 @07:06

May bees don't fly in January, or, as the song goes "perhaps, perhaps, perhaps". Personally, one prefers to deal in evidence.

26 January 2014 at 08:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William: "Personally, one prefers to deal in evidence."

You're essentially hypothesising your god from the fact that our reality appears to exist, and from some selected literature from thousands of years ago. You have plenty of scope to slot in what I've suggested earlier. Treat yourself, it's the weekend.

26 January 2014 at 09:11  
Blogger Corrigan said...

DanJ0,

Christians are obsessed with sin (specifically, the avoidance of it), not with sex per se since , assuming God exists, it would have a massive impact on our relationship with Him.

26 January 2014 at 09:29  
Blogger William Lewis said...

DanJ0

No. There is more evidence than that. I have conversed with and experienced God on a personal level and seen Him act and change lives in others too. So I don't think that your hypotheses quite fit in, or are even needed, despite it being the weekend.

26 January 2014 at 09:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William, the mind is a strange thing. Some people think they're Napoleon. Others that there are voices in their heads. Yet others experience unexpected joy in this, or that. Some experience and recognise a different god, you know. My comparing the experiences of some Christians with some other Christians shows that the experience is not the same, if indeed many Christians have any experience at all of the sort that you report. I often wonder why the conversations you and others report don't steer their participants to a single interpretation or denomination of Christianity, or resolve outstanding religious issues. You're equivocating over the meaning of evidence a bit, I think.

26 January 2014 at 09:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm still toying with this notion of god as a glorified man in the eyes of pagans and a-theists like me. Isn't this how the Christian Church has presented and represented god throughout history, and not just through art like the Creation of Adam fresco?

Our world was thought of as being the centre of the universe, physically and conceptually. Reality was a much more limited place without microscopes and telescopes, and this is where religion put mankind and ordered reality around it.

As our knowledge of reality has expanded through science, we know that our planet is a tiny part of time and space. Physically, we're pretty insignificant when compared to the whole. Religion has had to expand the firmament and the conceptual has struggled to stay relevant afterwards.

For sure, one might take the approach of the cathedral builders of old and present the universe as being a testament for mankind to the power and glory of god. However, it seems like the observable universe is only part of the whole. Curious, huh?

Of course, the conceptual stuff can still technically hold even if the firmament and our planet's place in it has been reimagined, I recognise that. But it does look a bit of a stretch ... the concept, I mean, not the space itself. The presentation of god as a glorified man thing was originally Christianity's I think.

26 January 2014 at 10:04  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 “The presentation of god as a glorified man thing was originally Christianity's I think.”

Yes, but why. The personification of God as in the image of man (a complete reverse of the truth of it) is freely admitted to be artistic licence. Especially at a time of a highly illiterate population when the purpose of what was to be illustrated had a far more educating remit. (The Inspector acknowledges Sister Wendy for that one)

26 January 2014 at 11:11  
Blogger Waywalker said...

Cant talk about the The Last Temptation without mentioning Peter Gabriel's fantastic sound track which I should imagine would sound wonderful in cathedral..

however I though a cathedral was there place of worship and too glorify God and I'm fairly sure there films a way off that mark in both purpose and delivery

26 January 2014 at 11:15  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 “You've brought your own obsession to the table there. Again.”

Oh please, that man. Rather like the Trinity, you come in three presences. You, JS Mill, and homosexual you.

How can a fellow be expected to know what hat you are wearing at any one time !



26 January 2014 at 11:16  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0. Just come across your post of 07:18, and one is thrilled you admit to confusing us all. But this man will let his last post stand.

26 January 2014 at 11:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 07:06

Late entrant into this aspect of the thread. Been upgrading to Windows 8.1 and computer was out of commission for a while.

Whether the Incarnation was for the Universe or for Earth only has a long history. The possibility of more than one incarnation has long been mooted.

Alice Meynell raised the issue in 'Christ and the Universe'.

C S Lewis deals with the question succinctly in 'Religion and Rocketry'.

26 January 2014 at 11:48  
Blogger William Lewis said...

DanJ0

"Some experience and recognise a different god, you know."

Yes. Unfortunately some appear to be deceived by, or choose, other "gods".

"My comparing the experiences of some Christians with some other Christians shows that the experience is not the same"

Why should it be the same? I cannot think of any relationship I have that is not unique, in same way, to that individual. Can you?

"I often wonder why the conversations you and others report don't steer their participants to a single interpretation or denomination of Christianity, or resolve outstanding religious issues. "

More deception, sin and even evil I think. Things go bad all the time.

"You're equivocating over the meaning of evidence a bit, I think."

evidence n. the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid

26 January 2014 at 11:52  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

carl jacobs

Carl, once again, on this thread (25 Jan. at 15:05), you have mentioned the canons of the Council of Trent as though they were a document which every practising Catholic must naturally be fully familiar with.

I suspect that you are looking at Catholicism through a Calvinistic lens, which gives you a distorted view of Catholics as though they were a kind of looking-glass Calvinists who, when they’ve got nothing better to do of a Sunday afternoon, sit down to entertain themselves by reading a holy book or three, with the only difference that the books they read aren’t the same ones Calvinists read.

I wonder how many lay Catholics now living have ever read so much as a single page of the decrees and canons of the Council of Trent, unless they’re either studying for a degree or doing a paid job as a research assistant of some kind. I certainly haven’t, and as far as I know I’ve never met a single person who has.

For Catholics, our religion is primarily something we practise (or try to practise, at least) rather than something we read about. I’ve just been looking at the Wikipedia article on the Council of Trent, and I came across this paragraph, which I think may give you a certain insight into the place assigned to the printed word in the scale of Catholic values:

The original acts and debates of the council, as prepared by its general secretary, Bishop Angelo Massarelli, in six large folio volumes, are deposited in the Vatican Library and remained there unpublished for more than 300 years and were brought to light, though only in part, by Augustin Theiner, priest of the oratory (d. 1874), in Acta genuina sancti et oecumenici Concilii Tridentini nunc primum integre edita (2 vols., Leipzig, 1874).

Regards,
Brian

26 January 2014 at 11:55  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack does not believe his faith is "biological in origin". We have all made to know, love and serve God so it's in all our make-ups. That is your attempt to excuse your rejection of God's offer of salvation. Who knows, He may not have made it yet and there may still be time for you.

"Not my fault God - you didn't give me the correct gene." Or, alternatively, "Not my fault God - my reality was socially constructed." Or, perhaps, "Not my fault God - your offer of grace didn't come at the right time and wasn't strong enough."

*chuckle*

26 January 2014 at 12:38  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

"Homosexuality crops up here so often because there are lots of homophobes, 50% of the regulars I'd guess. Yourself included, of course"

Thank you you are most kind (as always)

Some people were trying to paint me as a liberal a week or two ago so it is nice of you to put the record straight

Regards

Phil

26 January 2014 at 12:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Phil R:

While you're around again.

I've been thinking further about our discussion.

There may be a difference between picking and choosing one's church within a denomination (I agree one should stick with one and not chop and change) and leaving a denomination altogether if its leaders openly espouse heresy. (I think those who left the American Episcopalian Church were probably justified in doing so.)

Simply to secede after each disagreement, though, is a ruinous course.

26 January 2014 at 13:07  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Explorer

No I agree, there has to be limits or we would all stay if Jim Jones took over and told us all to go off and kill ourselves in Guyana!

I think the test is are we as a Church, agreeing on a broadly Biblical Orthodox position.

When we object though, I think we need to carefully look at our own motives for doing so. Is it really a Biblical clear cut truth? Or is it just something that is important to us personally?

You see I think that both liberals and conservatives are pursuing false idols. The liberals thing that a God of love must want me to do what my heart desires and so puts personal autonomy before God. The conservatives put certain behaviours, traditions or specific Biblical interpretation as being the standard that you must meet so that you are saved by your behaviour.

I say that Biblical orthodoxy is important because undermining it destroys your relationship with God. Imagine that we had written each other 1000 letters and in them I had talked about everything about me including my hopes and dreams. You would I suspect feel that you know me quite well and if we met we would have a lot to talk about.

Now lets assume that someone was intercepting the letters and told you half of them were false and they had made half of them up and sent the letters on to you that contained false statements about me. Suddenly you would not feel that you know me at all, even though half the letters were true. Atheists understand this and so try to undermine the Bible at every turn. 40 years ago it was belief in miracles that was seen as laughable, today it is faith in Creation.

Whether to leave or stay in TEC I would say, depends on the individual Church and does not matter as long as you make an effort to continue in dialogue. Tory Baucum had the right idea in reaching out to TEC after the split in my view.

What is the alternative? Unless all the ACNA members are going to Heaven and all of TEC are going to Hell. You are going to have to get along with them at some point anyway!

So why not start now?

Phil



26 January 2014 at 13:57  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I think the knowledge of God as both immanent and transcendent is one those of us who are Christians have become habituated to.

Our faith does stretch from seeing the Lord as deserving awe, wonder and worship, and as a personal intimate friend.

Our hymns stretch that far, from "Oh, Lord my God when I in awesome wonder" to "What a friend we have in Jesus" sometimes celebrating the paradox, as in
"you're my friend and you are my brother,
Even though you are a king"

or
"Hands that flung stars into space
To cruel nails surrendered."

It is therefore not strange to us if the Creator, omnipresent and awesome, also is the intimate friend who cares deeply about Mrs. Jones' bunions, or a school child who has just lost his dinner money, or whatever. Some may find that ridiculous, including I think Danjo, but believers don't find it absurd and incongruous, but the way things are and a glory in its own right.

26 January 2014 at 14:17  
Blogger Corrigan said...

DanJ0,

Reading your posts, it often occurs to me I'm reading something straight out of Dawkins or Harris. What you have to realize about these people is that they are incredibly, unbelievably ignorant of the theology of Christianity. They simply haven't got the first idea what it is they are trashing, and in Dawkins case particularly, he makes an actual piety out of never having read any theology. In some of his twitter feed, he brags about it as though it were something to be proud of, and for this reason many Christians, particularly the more erudite like Scott Hahn and William Lane Craig, have repeatedly noted that the New Atheist position is made up entirely of straw men; they're attacking positions which no attendant Christian holds.

The notion of God as merely a "glorified man" is a classic case in point, and Scott Hahn and Benj in particular had carved Dawkins up for this in his book, Answering the New Atheists

We have good reason to suspect that Richard Dawkins is testing the universe for an infinitely magnified Richard Dawkins. Small wonder that he didn't find one

Thomas Aquinas has a good claim to being the smartest man who ever lived, and if you read his Summa you'll find a powerful case that a) God certainly does exist and b) what, his nature and qualities must be considering that he is God, and these qualities are nothing like what Dawkins et al have been arguing against - something he would know had he ever bothered to pick up a book on theology. What's more, Aquinas made particular efforts to make his case on the grounds of natural (as opposed to revealed) theology, ie, using only what we can reason to in our own minds without recourse to scripture.

One Aquinas expert (who actually does know what Christianity believes about God and who can write about it in an accessable and interesting manner is the philosopher Edward Feser. His blog is a relentless excoriation of the total, unassalable ignorance of people like Dawkins, and particularly his close ally (currently being mercilessly hyped by Dawkins on his twitter feed) Jerry Coyne.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.ie/2014/01/the-pointlessness-of-jerry-coyne.html

If you're going to argue for atheism, at least argue against that which Christians actually believe. Feser's writings will give you some idea what that is.

26 January 2014 at 14:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Phil:

Thanks for that.

I suppose my train of thought started when I read about the decision of J Budziszewski, whom I admire. He stayed with the Episcopal Church for as long as he could, but left when he felt the leadership had severed all links with the biblical base.

Myself, I'm happy to discuss issues with those of contrary opinions to mine. It's why I enter into dialogue with DanJ0, David B and Dreadnaught. It's why I'm still C of E: my church (congregation that is) has those to the left and right of me theologically.

Maybe you should be having this discussion with Naomi King or Rambling Steve: who have actually made the move.

Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

26 January 2014 at 14:25  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Sorry, "Answering the New Atheists" is by Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wilker, hence the truncated "Benj" in my last post.

26 January 2014 at 14:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Corrigan:

I'm a great fan of Benjamin Wiker. I've read all his stuff. I think his 'Moral Darwinism' is brilliant. I've been trying to persuade Albert to read him.

26 January 2014 at 14:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan: "If you're going to argue for atheism, at least argue against that which Christians actually believe."

One irony there is that you don't even agree between yourselves what that is in the detail.

I've said enough this morning to trash Carl's strawman yet you're still trying to run with it. Away with you.

26 January 2014 at 14:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Thank you you are most kind (as always)"

Kinder than you, I think. You're the bloke who supports the persecution laws in various African countries, feels unable to lambast Iran and other places for hanging people like me from cranes, and gets excited by the possibility of related violence in places like Athens. But you think Jesus wants you nonetheless.

"Some people were trying to paint me as a liberal a week or two ago so it is nice of you to put the record straight"

Crikey. Have they read some of your posts on certain topics? You're to the right of Genghis Khan a times.

26 January 2014 at 14:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Danjo, Happy Jack does not believe his faith is "biological in origin"."

I'm hypothesising that some people are more inclined to positions like that than others. For example, you seem to need a personal god so that you don't feel alone when you're alone, William wants an invisible friend to chat to in his head, and Carl needs to know that our reality has universal rather thanlocal meaning in case he ends up in a hopeless situation. A concept of a personal, loving god is not a bad idea if you're like that.

26 January 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger Corrigan said...

DanJ0, we're talking specifically about the overall Christian concept of God as that concept really is, as opposed to the "glorified man" strawman that the New Atheists attemp to trash. Back in the room, please.

26 January 2014 at 15:08  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Given that I periodically mention your god sustaining the very fabric of the universe molecule by molecule, it is you who is ceating caricatures to suit yourself there I think.

And yet you made the following argument.

Our sense of scale is a problem as one of a large number of species on a rock circling one of billions of stars in our galaxy, which light would take more time than our species modern existence to cross, which is one of a vast number of galaxies in the universe. There are probably hundreds of trillions of stars out there. Yet you and your co-religionists think this creator cares deeply about what someone living for a brief timespan does in their own bedroom and with whom.

If you can grasp that God sustains the universe molecule by molecule then how do you not grasp the utter meaninglessness of the above paragraph? It only makes sense in terms of limits - distance, time, perception. "God is too far away. God has better things to do. Our existence is too brief for Him to notice. Man is too insignificant to warrant His attention." And yet you understand God sustains each electron in its orbit? There is no coherence between the assertions.

God does not exist is in time and space. He created time and space. There is no distance for God to overcome. There is no timespan to bridge. He has no bandwidth to exceed. He has no duty cycle. And yet these are the concepts upon which you implicitly hung your argument. They mean nothing in terms of an omnipotent omnipresent omniscient God. If you understood, you would never have made this argument in the first place.

carl

26 January 2014 at 15:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan: "DanJ0, we're talking specifically about the overall Christian concept of God as that concept really is, as opposed to the "glorified man" strawman that the New Atheists attemp to trash. Back in the room, please."

Don't mention all the centuries of arguments over the detail, right? Gotcha. ;)

Corrigan, I'll point out to you too that I've mentioned many times the notion that your god is sustaining the universe molecole by molecole, moment by moment.

I'm also well aware of things like in Matthew 10:29-31.

26 January 2014 at 15:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "If you can grasp that God sustains the universe molecule by molecule then how do you not grasp the utter meaninglessness of the above paragraph?"

Not "can", "have". Lots of times down here. You want to have your cake and eat it there, I think. My comments question the very nature of your religion. Not that your god is too busy or too remote, but that you overstate the importance of our particular species in the big picture.

26 January 2014 at 15:30  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

"But you think Jesus wants you nonetheless".

It is in the typically Protestant tradition that it is very much "nonetheless" that Jesus wants us- all. That is another way of saying salvation through grace and not works, for we are all greatly imperfect. On that basis the good things that we do are pretty much rags, but done out of gratitude, rather than to win brownie points, though we are frequently "foolish Galatians" who start off with grace, and then slip back unthinkingly into a religion of works, and have to re-orientate again and again. The wedding clothes for the Banquet in the parable are given to us, by Jesus' actions on the cross, and our acceptance, by prevenient grace, of them. How does prevenient grace happen? I would suggest that the prayers of friends, relations, godparents, and ancestors all play a part. Can we congratulate ourselves on those? No, not a bit, but we can be grateful.

I have had the odd altercation with Phil myself, but it is forgiven and forgotten. He does do the old Welsh hwyl somewhat. Plus a bit. I think that our Jewish friends would say that he exaggerates to prove a point in rabbinic + fashion.

As a near pacifist I would abhor any fellow human being being strung up from a crane, and really think that is by far the majority position here. Heated debate and physical or corporal violence are quite far apart.

But let the hanging of straw men commence!!

26 January 2014 at 15:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lucy: "It is in the typically Protestant tradition that it is very much "nonetheless" that Jesus wants us- all."

Don't mention mere details like that. :O

26 January 2014 at 15:38  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


The correct approach.

Because we are here, it is rational to assume we were put here, by some higher power we don’t fully understand.

Now, if we weren’t here, it would be quite rational to assume there is no higher authority.

So why, as we ARE here, do people start out saying there cannot be a higher power ? A higher power beyond nature that is, which fulfils the role of a higher power too. AND if there is one higher power we know about, it is not pushing the realms of fantasy to suggest that power is dependant on an even higher power.

It's a hierarchical thing, you know. we seem to be at the bottom of it.

anyway, has one missed something along the way ??

(Used that one in the “Mouse” recently...)


26 January 2014 at 15:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "So why, as we ARE here, do people start out saying there cannot be a higher power ?"

Not even Dawkins says that as far as I know, and certainly not me as I say time and time again.

26 January 2014 at 15:57  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...


@ Inspector

If they researched the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, as others have done while trying to disprove it, and searched thoroughly and honestly, then they too would, as others have done, come across the undoubted actions of that higher power, namely God.

The Resurrection gets us to the truth of these matters faster than any other discussion, I believe.

26 January 2014 at 16:06  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Lucy. One step at a time, dear thing. It’s as much as can be done to convince some of the beer drinking classes that nature is a higher power...

26 January 2014 at 16:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I think DanJ0 is saying religions were invented against a background of a Universe six thousand or so years old and consisting of seven or so planets: Earth, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Or thereabouts.

We're in proportion to that kind of size and timescale, but not 14 billion years and the size of Space as we now know it.

Bertrand Russell summed us up as an accident in a backwater of the Universe.

And on the basis of that, he was unable to produce an argument against Coplestone as to why the Nazis were wrong. He just shrugged: knowing it was a matter of opinion.

One's view of the Universe has consequences. Russell had the intelligence and honesty to see that you can't discard the Christian view of the Universe and still retain Christian morality.

26 January 2014 at 16:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Russell had the intelligence and honesty to see that you can't discard the Christian view of the Universe and still retain Christian morality."

If that's another of your side-swipes then I'm happy to put it in black and white: if we accept there's no Christian god then the morality in Christianity disappears too. There, sorted. We're left with other sorts of morality instead.

26 January 2014 at 16:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

But thank you for recognising the religious drift from geocentrism. I think the religious have been as guilty in history of the glorified man thing as anyone else.

26 January 2014 at 16:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Not that your god is too busy or too remote, but that you overstate the importance of our particular species in the big picture.

Yes, I understood that quite well. That's why I specifically allowed for that meaning when I said:

Man is too insignificant to warrant His attention.

So you are advocating a theology where God is very concerned about individual electrons but completely unconcerned about the sentient beings in whom these electrons exist. Which is more significant? The 1s orbital or the man?

In any case, your assertion is theologically wrong in the context of Christian theology. You can (I suppose) invent some alternate theology and suggest it is more correct - on the basis of nothing in particular other than your conception of what God would be like if He in fact existed. But why would I care about let alone argue against your theological speculations? Those would be the very strawman in view on this thread.

If you want to argue that Christian theology is wrong, you have to stay within the bounds of Christian theology. Or you have to assert a coherent worldview that precludes Christianity. You can't just invent concepts like "You aren't significant enough to notice."

carl

26 January 2014 at 16:35  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I wasn't particularly getting at you DanJ0: it came out that way because I was telescoping your thoughts with those of Russell. It was a general statement to everybody, really, in which your argument featured.

My point is the uncontroversial one that our view of the Universe will determine, among other things, our view of morality.

We're back with the question of what the other sorts of morality will be, who will decide them, what they will be based on, and how they will be enforced.

Others can develop this if they want to: I'm off out.

My point remains: our view of the Universe is not simply our view of the Universe. It has other implicationas as well.

26 January 2014 at 16:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "So you are advocating a theology where God is very concerned about individual electrons but completely unconcerned about the sentient beings in whom these electrons exist. Which is more significant? The 1s orbital or the man?"

I'm not advocating a theology at all, I'm an a-theist. If a creator exists and sustains its creation moment by moment then one bit may be no more important than another for all we know. Your theistic interpretation of this creator has it one way but, as I said earlier, it looks a bit more stretched as an interpretation now it has been moved away from geocentrism by science. Well, I say that but you're a young earth creationist as far as I know so the observations we make of distant stars may not imply what most of us think about what's out there, as I recall you have suggested in the past.

26 January 2014 at 16:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan: "Thomas Aquinas has a good claim to being the smartest man who ever lived, and if you read his Summa you'll find a powerful case that a) God certainly does exist and b) what, his nature and qualities must be considering that he is God, and these qualities are nothing like what Dawkins et al have been arguing against - something he would know had he ever bothered to pick up a book on theology."

By the way, I've read his Summa over and over. Perhaps I'm a bit thick but it doesn't convince me at all regarding the qualities. It feels like a sleight of hand.

26 January 2014 at 16:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Last statement before I'm out the door.

Put it down to hurried phrasing on my part. It would have been better as two separate posts.

I had no intention of saying I consider you either unintelligent or dishonest (which I don't: quite the contrary); I was simply talking about Russell.

26 January 2014 at 17:00  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Last statement before I'm out the door.

Put it down to hurried phrasing on my part. It would have been better as two separate posts.

I had no intention of saying I consider you either unintelligent or dishonest (which I don't: quite the contrary); I was simply talking about Russell.

26 January 2014 at 17:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy, Happy Jack doffs his hat for you before commenting.

Now do be careful. This comment: "The wedding clothes for the Banquet in the parable are given to us, by Jesus' actions on the cross, and our acceptance, by prevenient grace, of them." could have Mr Jacobs after you.

There are Orthodox, Catholic, Methodist and Calvinist positions on "prevenient grace".

26 January 2014 at 17:01  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Excuse double posting: blame Windows 8.1

26 January 2014 at 17:01  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack says this comment is meaningless to a Christian: " ... you seem to need a personal god so that you don't feel alone when you're alone.".

Jack knows what it is like to be really alone. Then he realised he need not be - all the time he had a friend close by. It is not just a "feeling" it is an actual reality.

Yes, Christians do get into a tangle about the detail of the salvation process. But nowadays not so much about the nature or the existence of God or the reality of Jesus' life and death. Few Christians would disagree with Carl's statements on the attributes of God.

We all believe man is fallen, unable to turn to God on his own and that he needs God's grace to turn to Him to be saved and also to remain in God's grace to reach Heaven.

Jack thinks the disagreements are about the journey and whether there is a "hinterland" of some sort in between 'regeneration' and 'justification'.

There are, of course, modern heretics in the church who contest the truths of Jesus' eternal Divinity, His virgin birth as man and God, His death and resurrection. They have always been around. Jesus warned us about all of this too.

26 January 2014 at 17:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 January 2014 at 17:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Put it down to hurried phrasing on my part. It would have been better as two separate posts."

Well, that's fine then. However, the virtual second post makes a point that you raise quite often with me anyway. Until we get past the moral absolutism vs moral relativism thing, that's not going to go anywhere. My rejection of moral absolutism by way of my a-theism does not put me in a logical dilemma and I don't think it puts me on the horns of a dilemma between two simple choices either. Moral relativism may be unattractive for clarity in moral reasoning but it may be the actual reality too. However, I don't think it's a matter of mere opinion either, such as preferring a Matisse to a Constable. We can't dismiss shared human nature or the fact that we're products of culture. That's where I really am, not on one horn of someone else's imagined dilemma.

26 January 2014 at 17:23  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

"Kinder than you, I think. You're the bloke who supports the persecution laws in various African countries, feels unable to lambast Iran and other places for hanging people like me from cranes"

So DanJo the above is bad right? You should remember that when you advocate the New Order.

You should read about what happened the last few times people like you without a moral base got power!

"But you think Jesus wants you nonetheless."

The Government of Iran has decreed that homosexuality is punishable with death. Some men engage in homosexual acts and they are punished. Where is the big deal? I do not lose any sleep over homosexuality being outlawed in Africa. I do lose sleep over liberals attempting to reduce a child's natural aversion to sex by teaching about sexual acts from the age of 5 and so making it easier for pedophiles and more likely that no child will grow up innocent.

The thing is DanJo, you really don't get it. It is not about what I do or the way I behave. Being a Christian is not about marks out of 10 for niceness. (thankfully). I cannot try to be a better Christian, I am a Christian. It is either/or. Saved/ not saved. You can judge me if you like and I will laugh at your judgements, because it means less than nothing at all to me.

Only the judgement of God matters and thankfully the price for my sin has been paid. I cannot un-earn my salvation by e.g. Being the hangman for homosexuals in Iran, or indeed running a Gay church, because I did not earn or deserve my salvation in the first place!

Phil

26 January 2014 at 17:46  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I'm not advocating a theology at all

So when you said...

My comments question the very nature of your religion. Not that your god is too busy or too remote, but that you overstate the importance of our particular species in the big picture.

Which must be read in light of your previous statement...

Yet you and your co-religionists think this creator cares deeply about what someone living for a brief timespan does in their own bedroom and with whom.

... You weren't advocating a different theology. You were just suggesting an alternate relationship between creator and creation. Because postulating a god who didn't care about his creation would not constitute a theological statement. I see.

it looks a bit more stretched as an interpretation now it has been moved away from geocentrism

Yet another huge non-sequitor. What has geocentric to do with anything? Do you know where the financial center of the US is located? Do you know where the political center of the US is located? Hint. They aren't in Nebraska.

Insignificance is a concept driven by limits. Men cannot pay attention to everything because they are finite and limited. Therefore they triage. They prioritize. They experience opportunity cost. That which they judge significant moves to the top of the list. That which they judge insignificant falls to the bottom. God is not so limited. There is no concept of insignificance to God. And that's where I came in. Pointing out that your argument was predicated upon a limited divine being analogous to a glorified man.

You aren't arguing against God as a Christian understands Him. You are arguing against something else... and it's made of straw.

carl

26 January 2014 at 17:47  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Carl
I really like your second last paragraph. Interesting.

@ Happy Jack
A real gent! I admire your facility with the doffing and donning of clothes. [Interesting side note that "doffed" has become confined in our language to hats, cf. Milton "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity"
"Nature in awe to him
Hath doffed her gaudy trim"

Now perhaps it would be mischievous to suggest that Nature taking off her clothes might satisfy some that "Nature is a higher power" as the Inspector desires!

As for prevenient grace I thought my remarks were some of my most non-controversial! Just shows. You can say something you think is a little provocative but worth the debate and meet blanket approval, and then say something apparently benign and stir up a hornet's nest unknowingly!

26 January 2014 at 18:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "The thing is DanJo, you really don't get it. It is not about what I do or the way I behave. Being a Christian is not about marks out of 10 for niceness. (thankfully). I cannot try to be a better Christian, I am a Christian. It is either/or. Saved/ not saved. You can judge me if you like and I will laugh at your judgements, because it means less than nothing at all to me."

I understand that you're one particular type of Christian out of a number. It's curious that there's differences of approach even with that type too. I recall one person saying that since his life is coming from somewhere else now, his behaviour is changing over time as he is becoming more attuned to it. That is, he's not becoming a better Christian but a better person. But perhaps that's another type again.

26 January 2014 at 18:45  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy, Happy Jack was just being a little bit mischievous. The nature and power of "prevenient grace" is a theological issue that Christians are not agreed upon.

As for "doffing" any other of Jack's attire ... well, maybe the coat should it get too hot.

26 January 2014 at 18:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "You can judge me if you like and I will laugh at your judgements, because it means less than nothing at all to me."

I will judge you nevertheless. It's important for those listening or reading who are not Christian I think.

26 January 2014 at 18:53  

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