Thursday, July 17, 2014

Faith leaders unite: Assisted Dying Bill is a "grave error"


His (present) Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby often gets it in the neck, not least from some of His (former) Grace's more uncharitable communicants. Even when he makes a speech in robust defence of traditional marriage and orthodox Christian morality, he is mercilessly mocked and reviled for "caving in" or "betrayal" when he expounds a realistic understanding of the constitutional limitations of his office. His mind doesn't change; nor does the gospel. But, unless they are under a specific spiritual or political authority, there is no point banging people over the head if they dissent. One must simply agree to disagree.

Archbishop Justin has now joined more than 20 British faith leaders who are calling for Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill not to be enacted. It is absolutely the right thing to do. His message is, again, refreshingly unequivocal and uncompromising. In a joint statement ahead of the House of Lords debate, these principal representatives of all faiths are united in their opposition. They write:
As leaders of faith communities, we wish to state our joint response to Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill. We do so out of deep human concern that if enacted, this bill would have a serious detrimental effect on the wellbeing of individuals and on the nature and shape of our society.

Every human life is of intrinsic value and ought to be affirmed and cherished. This is central to our laws and our social relationships; to undermine this in any way would be a grave error. The Assisted Dying Bill would allow individuals to participate actively in ending others’ lives, in effect colluding in the judgment that they are of no further value. This is not the way forward for a compassionate and caring society.

Vulnerable individuals must be cared for and protected even if this calls for sacrifice on the part of others. Each year many thousands of elderly and vulnerable people suffer abuse; sadly, often at the hands of their families or carers. Being perceived as a burden or as a financial drain is a terrible affliction to bear, leading in many cases to passivity, depression and self-loathing. The desire to end one’s life may, at any stage of life, be prompted by depression or external pressure; any suggestion of a presumption that such a decision is ‘rational’ does not do justice to the facts. The Assisted Dying Bill can only add to the pressures that many vulnerable, terminally ill people will feel, placing them at increased risk of distress and coercion at a time when they most require love and support.

A key consideration is whether the Assisted Dying Bill will place more vulnerable people at risk than it seeks to help. We have seen, in recent years that even rigorous regulation and careful monitoring have not prevented the most serious lapses of trust and care in some parts of the NHS and within a number of Care Homes. It is naïve to believe that, if assisted suicide were to be legalised, proposed safeguards would not similarly be breached with the most disastrous of consequences, by their nature irrevocable.

The bill raises the issue of what sort of society we wish to become: one in which life is to be understood primarily in terms of its usefulness and individuals evaluated in terms of their utility or one in which every person is supported, protected and cherished even if, at times, they fail to cherish themselves. While we may have come to the position of opposing this bill from different religious perspectives, we are agreed that the Assisted Dying Bill invites the prospect of an erosion of carefully tuned values and practices that are essential for the future development of a society that respects and cares for all. Better access to high-quality palliative care, greater support for carers and enhanced end of life services will be among the hallmarks of a truly compassionate society and it is to those ends that our energies ought to be harnessed.

Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha

Mr Yousif Al-Khoei, Director Al-Khoei Foundation

Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church and Secretary of the Conference

Bishop Eric Brown, Administrative Bishop, New Testament Church of God

Mr Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe

Rev Jonathan Edwards, Deputy Moderator Free Churches Group

Pastor John Glass, General Superintendent, Elim Pentecostal Churches

Revd David Grosch-Miller and Mr John Ellis, Moderators of the United Reformed Church General Assembly

Colonel David Hinton, Chief Secretary, The Salvation Army United Kingdom

Rev Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader, Baptist Union of Great Britain

Ayatollah Fazel Milani, Dean of the International Colleges of Islamic Studies

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales

His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

Rev John Partington, National Leader, Assemblies of God

Mr Ramesh Pattni, Secretary General, Hindu Forum of Britain

Bishop Wilton Powell, National Overseer, Church of God of Prophecy

Maulana Shahid Raza OBE, Leicester Central Mosque, Leicester

Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain, London Buddhist Vihara

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain

Dr Natubhai Shah, Chairman/CEO Jain Network

Lord Indarjit Singh, Director Network of Sikh Organisations (UK)

Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Doubtless Canon Rosie Harper takes the view that all of these holy and learned men (for men they all are), by exhorting Their Lordships to vote against the Bill, are lacking in compassion or some basic theological understanding. Doubtless she feels that even His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols and His Grace the Most Rev Justin Welby are "personally requiring other people to suffer extreme agony on behalf of (their) own consciences", which, she avers, is "neither moral nor Christian". Doubtless she will (again) take His Grace's challenge as an "unpleasant and personal" attack, when it is nothing but an appeal for her to humble herself before God and acknowledge that opposition to this profoundly flawed Bill may be motivated by highly moral and profoundly Christian motives.

His Grace is of the view that the liberalisation of the law on 'assisted suicide' or euthanasia would be a dangerously amoral development, as the Lords Spiritual asserted when the issue was last presented to Parliament. This is not simply a theist perspective; it is consistent with the principles of Enlightenment secularism also. Natural law – that which constitutes rightness and justice – is common to all mankind. The Greeks and Romans articulated this in their philosophy, setting the foundation for St Paul and later philosophers. Thus did Cicero write of "true law, right reason, diffused in all men, constant and everlasting", and St. Paul reflected on "what the law requires is written in their hearts" (Rom 2:15). Hobbes defines the law of nature as "a precept of general rule found out by reason by which a man in forbidden to do anything which is destructive of his life".

Opposition to "do anything which is destructive of life" is one of the few general rules which unites all of the world’s religions. The Church of England's position on this matter is clear:

The Church of England cannot support Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill.. Patient safety, protection of the vulnerable and respect for the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship are central to the Church of England's concerns about any proposal to change the law. Our position on the current Bill before parliament is also consistent with the approach taken by the Archbishops' Council, House of Bishops and with successive resolutions of the General Synod.
The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church states: "Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick and dying persons. It is morally unacceptable" (para.2277). Pope John Paul II reflected in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae that "we see a tragic spread of euthanasia, disguised and surreptitious, or practised openly or even legally. As well as for reasons of misguided pity at the sight of the patient's suffering, euthanasia is sometimes justified by the utilitarian motive of avoiding costs which bring no return and weigh heavily on society". And more recently Pope Benedict XVI stated that "freedom to kill is not a true freedom but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery".

The Orthodox and Protestant churches have expressed similar views, most notably the Baptists, who concluded that "a Christian should never recommend, or help with a suicide of an unsaved person because that would hasten the unsaved person's damnation and prevent any chance of repentance. It is an affront to God to take one's own life, both for reasons of his sovereignty but also because any murder is an attempt to annihilate his image in man (Gen1:26f)".

Similar sentiments opposing euthanasia may be found in the scriptures and/or ethical traditions of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Suffering is natural to the human condition, and the end of life does not need hastening but loving; there should be no easy escape, but dignity and care. 'Assisted suicide' is as morally repugnant as abortion; indeed, His grace is hard-pressed to comprehend those who repudiate the former while supporting the latter, for both are concerned with the termination of the seemingly deficient or unwanted; both have the distaste of eugenics – ending the ‘unworthy’ life. Just as the legalisation of abortion was never intended to open the floodgates that it evidently has, so the legalisation of 'assisted suicide' would mutate over the decades, and eventually lead to the ‘humane’ termination of all those who simply cannot be bothered to continue. What will doubtless begin with volunteers will eventually include conscripts; the ‘right’ to die may easily become an expectation, and even a duty.

Killing is not healing. In a culture that worships youth, beauty and physical fitness, the elderly, ugly and disabled may be seen as deficient, but they are also made in the image of God. And just like Christ suffered at Calvary, they must be exhorted to endure whatever life throws at them. And then, with Job, might they come to know that their redeemer lives. In the meantime, unlike Job, they need friends and comforters around them who can make them see that their life has worth, and that their witness is profound.

Will Canon Harper apologise to those devout men and women of God whom she grievously offended in Parliament (and elsewhere) by slandering their faithfulness and denigrating their grasp of theology and morality? Or is this post simply further 'trolling', as newly defined by her boss the Bishop of Buckingham?

The Assisted Dying Bill is quite literally a matter of life and death for society. But some Christians prefer to play the man rather than the ball, which they do usually because they lack confidence in their own case, or in their ability to argue their case, and so seek to suppress debate by screeching "bigot" or "troll", or puffing and blowing about how "extraordinary" and "toxic" it is to have an "unreconstructed right-wing" blog which is "unaccountable" to anyone.

This blog is accountable ultimately to God.

As are all those who vote for this odious Bill.

183 Comments:

Blogger MrTinkles said...

Obviously this is a serious matter. So may I first say, extremely well put, YG. Good to see Justin standing firm, with many others - you are correct to call the bill "odious". And although I am usually uncomfortable in calling attention to church disagreements (the church seems to make that a all too common activity) I have to add, Rosie Harper should be ashamed of her comments.

Having said that, and bearing in mind that I believe God gave us a sense of humour in part to help us cope with some if the worst moments in life - am I the only one tickled by the use of the phrase "grave error" in this context?

17 July 2014 at 07:43  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Why are Muslim leaders signing? I thought Islam was strongly in favor of assisted dying.

17 July 2014 at 08:04  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

YG

too good a post to require any further comment.

It may be that our rulers will pass this wretched atheistic bill but at least a certain note has now been sounded on the trumpet.

17 July 2014 at 08:42  
Blogger gentlemind said...

"Freedom to kill is not a true freedom but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery".

We are offered the chance to legally buy a false form of freedom. The salesman, of course, is aware that he is selling us our own enslavement.

Sometimes food is so rotten that it can only be sold by adding the strongest spices. The freedom to kill comes laced with the only spices strong enough to hide its evil - "rights", "dignity", and "compassion".

17 July 2014 at 08:43  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Well said Your Grace. Thank you for it.

This is a well written, impressively sound and comprehensive article. It is also worth celebrating the fact that the world's major faiths can unite on this point regarding the sanctity of human life.

Those who take a contrary position in support of this proposed destructive and indeed sinister change in the law, along the lines suggested by Canon Rosie Harper's, are being overly influenced by an emotional, shallow and misplaced over-reaction to the sufferings of some, with whom we can all empathise, but which must not be allowed to deflect us from the determination to never compromise the wider and deeper general respect for all human life, including its earthly endings, by upholding the principle of its sanctity, until its natural, God given end.
Relieve pain by all means, but do not deliberately set out to kill the slowly dying or merely very ill or incapacitated, otherwise we unleash the forces of death and destruction.
Rosie Harper is demonstrating a naivety regarding human nature, and a lack of wisdom, attempting to substitute her emotionally clouded and limited vision of the future, for the universal judgement of the God she claims to serve. She needs to reflect in my opinion.

17 July 2014 at 08:47  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

All I can say is that I agree with every word, YG. This bill is vile. In a world where we see all too often what human beings are capable of, I don't want to think about what might eventually happen in the name of "compassion".

17 July 2014 at 08:53  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Amen to every word.

Sadly, even if it is voted against this time (as it has been on all the other occasions) we know it will re-appear again in some form or other in another 12-18 months, and will continue to do so ad-infinitum until the 'correct' result is obtained.

17 July 2014 at 09:12  
Blogger C.Law said...

A fine post, YG.

Thank you for bringing the religious leaders' letter to our attention: it is an excellent missive with many points, both moral and practical, with which one can agree. In particular - whatever one's viewpoint about the ethics of the matter - I consider the following paragraph to be the clinching argument, for which the proponents of the Bill can have no rebuttal:
"A key consideration is whether the Assisted Dying Bill will place more vulnerable people at risk than it seeks to help. We have seen, in recent years that even rigorous regulation and careful monitoring have not prevented the most serious lapses of trust and care in some parts of the NHS and within a number of Care Homes. It is naïve to believe that, if assisted suicide were to be legalised, proposed safeguards would not similarly be breached with the most disastrous of consequences, by their nature irrevocable.".

17 July 2014 at 09:16  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

This Bill will not be the last, what is the end game on this?

Currently we have the right to express our wishes on being resuscitated, through a ‘living Will’ which a Hospital has to respect. I don’t believe it is fanciful to suggest that before too many years have passed ‘well meaning’ campaigners will start to worry that this requirement leaves too many people suffering, people who simply failed to get round to making a ‘Living Will’ (you know what people are like, put off tomorrow what they should do today?). Surely it will be the compassionate, kindly, caring thing, that this anomaly be removed? The Law will need to be changed to Opt into being resuscitated.

So that only those who choose too will be at risk of suffering?

Of course we will require two Doctors to sign off, as a ‘safeguard’.

The fact that there will be no evidence of people without a living will actually being kept artificially alive for an extended period or of being made to suffer will not matter.

What then, well surely Dementia Sufferers will also need ‘equal’ protection. (Equal or Equality are such good buzz words), why just because they failed to give detailed advice as to what they wish, should the state allow them to ‘suffer’?

Of course ‘safeguards’ will be needed. We must have two Doctors to approve. It’s just concerning that we can’t be sure of controlling the suffering of those who refuse euthanasia and money is a bit tight, but we will try our best. Wouldn’t you like to reconsider?

Eventually it will be argued’ that even those who originally stated opposition to euthanasia would now understand, if they could, that the suffering is unbearable and being gently ‘put to sleep’ is the moral, kindly thing to do. The thing they would now wish. If they could.

Of course we will require two Doctors to sign off, as a ‘safeguard’.

Naturally they will re-assure us that none of this will mean that the elderly or terminally ill, need to be frightened about coming to Hospital, “after all there are ‘care’ targets to meet, that will ‘safeguard’ your Hospital experience”.

Of course this Bill needs to be opposed, this isn’t then end game, it’s only the start. It is reassuring that all the main faith leaders understand this.

17 July 2014 at 09:55  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi YG,

Excellent article, well said.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis has written a good article as well in the telegraph :

“In the light of our experience, Jews are particularly sensitive to the moral dangers of euphemism. We have seen prejudice cloaked in principle, bias masquerading as high-mindedness, and genocidal intentions dressed up in scientific, eugenic and economic language (most infamously, the “Final Solution”).

...In the light of Jewish tradition, this Bill seems to me to be misguided and dangerous. There is no greater value in Judaism than the sanctity of life. Life is the most precious of gifts. It is a gift from God and it is not ours to cut short. Life has an absolute value and its preservation takes precedence over other commandments. This is my guiding principle in approaching this life and death question.

...As Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has written so eloquently....

...I share the Archbishop’s rational and compassionate fear that the passing of this proposed bill will add to the pressure on the most vulnerable among us to relieve the financial and care burden on their families by opting for an exit.

The very availability of such an option, an implicit endorsement by society of the view that those without long to live might not be worth sustaining, represents a betrayal of trust

...This bill would fatally compromise the relationship between doctor and patient. Judaism has always reserved the highest respect for doctors. Human beings are partners of the Almighty in bringing life into the world and we are his partners also in healing, for the Almighty is portrayed in our sources as the great healer. Signing off the self-destruction of another human life is the antithesis of the sacred trust that the ill invest in the medical profession."

17 July 2014 at 10:04  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I had a friend who was dying of cancer, and was given powerful pain relieving drugs. There is no doubt that these drugs shortened her life, but I'm sure the doctors were doing the right thing, giving pain relief to the best of their ability knowing the consequences, and of this I would approve.
There is however a vast difference between this treatment and giving drugs with the express intention of killing rather than treatment, and I would strongly oppose any such legislation.

17 July 2014 at 10:09  
Blogger Flossie said...

Very well said, YG.

I was pleased to see that Canon Rosie's appalling views have made the mainstream media at last.

(Sadly I was not able to read the article as I have exceeded my allotted number of free articles before the paywall kicks in, so perhaps somebody else could tell me what it says!)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10971119/Anglican-leadership-accused-of-scaremongering-over-assisted-dying.html

17 July 2014 at 10:15  
Blogger Flossie said...

English Pensioner, I totally agree. Doctors and nurses have always 'let patients die' when this is kinder than trying to unnaturally extend their lives. I remember the late Claire Rayner admitting to letting terribly handicapped babies die naturally in her early days as a midwife.

There is a vast difference between this and legalising doctor-assisted suicide, which turns healers into killers and makes a nonsense of the Hippocratic Oath.

17 July 2014 at 10:20  
Blogger Peter Prescott said...

Assisting Dying is certainly incompatible with a Christian conscience and most probably also with any sort of secular sensibility. Amen, amen.

But when I came to your hallowed blog, right above your post arguing the 'grave error' of this Bill was a banner ad directing me to a propaganda site for the so-called Dignity in Dying (http://www.yesuntiltheend.co.uk/) assisted-dying pressure group!

While I realise the expense of maintaining a blog as insightful as yours, this sort of selling out is not exactly ideal is it? Especially when you have refused to accept the Anglican contradiction on such matters of unethical financial gain (http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/church-of-englands-wonga-woe.html).

17 July 2014 at 10:23  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Peter,

The ads relate to what you've been searching for on the browser or what you write about on the net. Most of the time I come here I get ads for Kitchens, Israel and Hebrew Bibles!

17 July 2014 at 10:37  
Blogger bluedog said...

A good post, Your Grace, that is most encouraging. A recent press report of a CofE review of assisted suicide gave the impression that Canon Harper had prevailed in the Synod; obviously not the case. It is heartening to learn that ++ Justin Welby seems to have marshalled such a powerful coalition to oppose the Bill. There are connections there that will stand him in good stead.

Mr Peter Prescott, concur with Hannah, its just the way the banner works.

17 July 2014 at 10:55  
Blogger Len said...

'This blog is accountable ultimately to God.'
As indeed we all are.

Excellent article Your Grace.Total agreement.

17 July 2014 at 11:02  
Blogger Ps John Waller said...

"'assisted suicide' would mutate over the decades, and eventually lead to the ‘humane’ termination of all those who simply cannot be bothered to continue"

It would not take decades. It would not take months. It would begin immediately.

17 July 2014 at 11:05  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

Flossie
Nothing new in the article - same old tripe. What is interesting is that she said that 'the use of “emotive” language was preventing rational debate on the subject and served to mask the reality that many believers actually support such a measure.'

Presumably accusing dissenters of personally requiring others to suffer extreme agony for their own conscience sake is not using emotive language.

17 July 2014 at 11:34  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

We often read about the damage done to women who have had abortions and their regrets and grief for the child.

Something similar must happen here. Imagine the pain when someone has assisted a loved one to die - or the doctors who will eventually be compelled to help - when they realise just what they have done.

If this bill is passed then we as a society will be putting temptation before ordinary men and women who would never have considered such an evil before.

Dreadful, dreadful situation

17 July 2014 at 11:40  
Blogger Albert said...

Excellent post.

as the Lords Spiritual asserted when the issue was last presented to Parliament.

The fact that "liberals" keep bringing their plans back time and again is something pro-euthanasia types share with the IRA:

we only have to be lucky once.

17 July 2014 at 11:55  
Blogger Albert said...

Flossie,

I was not able to read the article as I have exceeded my allotted number of free articles before the paywall kicks in

Try viewing it in a different browser - e.g. Internet Explorer.

17 July 2014 at 11:57  
Blogger Nick said...

A very passionate post YG, on a subject that will probably arouse more passion than even the obnoxious SSM Bill.

I'm glad to see a united front from faith leaders on this issue, though it still leaves me baffled about their inconsistency on the aforementioned issue.

This Bill goes to the very heart of how we view life and each other. It's about how we judge people on superficial traits and values. Another person's life is valued on the basis of how it affects us (inconvenience, economics) not on the sanctity of Life. Ms Harper and her boss should take note of this instead of slandering the faithful.

17 July 2014 at 12:13  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! If you substitute the words 'Taking a life' for murder, manslaughter, suicide, assisted suicide, assisted dying and abortion, it helps clarify the matters in the mind somewhat. Sophistry simply makes us feel better...

17 July 2014 at 12:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Rosie Harper seems to place a great deal of emphasis on popular church opinion. Apparently, much of the Anglican leadership is out of step with the views of its own congregations. The leaders of Britain’s major faiths are being "emotive".

All she wants, she says, is "a calm conversation about assisted dying." What she doesn't seem to appreciate is that the majority view, if majority it be, may actually offend God.

It seems Rosie knows best. She and her supporters understand God and the bible better than their appointed Shepherds - and that's before the "conversation" has taken place!

17 July 2014 at 12:26  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

One wonders if Rosie was at the foot of the Cross at Calvary, if she would have helped Jesus on His way - out of compassion and love?

Perhaps she would have slipped a little something into Jesus' wine at the Last Supper and spared Him all the suffering that lay ahead.

17 July 2014 at 12:33  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

I consider that any person who wishes to end their life should be free to do so. It's their life and they should be free to end it whenever they like. That is why suicide is no longer illegal - and it never should have been.

If such person is not in a position to end it for themselves - and a lot of the cases this legislation seeks to address is because they are in terrible pain and discomfort - assistance should be allowed in certain circumstances.

In my view it is immoral NOT to assist someone miserable and suffering who has made an informed choice that they do not wish to go on anymore.

If that happens to me the last thing I want is some self-serving clergyman thinking he is some kind of authority on morality (ha!) sitting there inches from my lethal injection harping on about sentimental bollocks like how special my life is.

As a final thought, this quote made me smile. And not just for the thinly veiled threat to all "your grace's" flock if they disobey:

"This blog is accountable ultimately to God.

As are all those who vote for this odious Bill."

Would it be cynical of me "your Grace", to suggest that this is the REAL reason the bill is being opposed - nothing to do with empathy, rather a self-serving bunch who fear reprisals if they arent being seen to be doing "God's work". By way of illustration:

"Look, God! We're doing your work here! You told us to be empathetic no matter what so that's what were doing. And that's why we're being so empathetic. Am I pleasing you oh jealous and violent Lord? Oh, a sick person, get out of my way can't you see im trying to be empathetic for God here! Don't fall onto that lethal injection will you! Christ!"

17 July 2014 at 12:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

it is consistent with the principles of Enlightenment secularism also.

The "enlightenment" and its declaration of human sovereignty is the problem and not the solution. Indeed there is nothing inconsistent with the principles of Enlightenment Secularism since its principles permit anything.

carl

17 July 2014 at 13:02  
Blogger IanCad said...

Well, maybe this is one we can win.

Your consistent concern for the "Vulnerables," young and old , over the years, has been evident in your blog YG.

A minor quibble: You seem to suggest that the passage of this bill could lead to more abuses in Care Homes.
I would suggest that the financial benefits of keeping their patients alive - and thus, profitable - would outweigh any temptation to terminate them.

Despite the well publicised abuses in terms of lack of care - certainly the exception - a well run Care Home may be the safest refuge at the end of life.

17 July 2014 at 13:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Sidney Deane

Re: REAL reason

If you are going to argue with us, would you at least pay us the respect of comprehending us before you engage?

carl

17 July 2014 at 13:23  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Sydney,

If an individual wants to end their own life, that is up to them. The concern I have is that a confused and vulnerable old person is bullied I into believing that their life has no value and the best way is to let the state end it. I believe this because I believe God has invested value in every one.

But then I'm just a sentimental old fool.

17 July 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl

Happy Jack thinks dear Sidney does comprehend but disagrees. He's an atheist so his starting position is different. Rosie, on the other hand, should know better.

The subject is "assisted dying" and, as he says, suicide is no longer illegal according to secular law. No one has a right to intervene to stop a suicidal person unless that person is not of sound mind or their action will cause a breach of the peace - like setting themselves on fire or jumping off a bridge. So why should helping someone, who clearly wishes to but cannot achieve this without help, be illegal?

Remove the "slippery slope" and "utilitarian" fears and is his end position really that different from Rosie Harper and her supporters who say do it as a Christian because God really wants to us end unnecessary?

Actually, his stance as an atheist is honest and more coherent than Rosie's who twists the Gospel.

Just so there's no misunderstanding, Jack does not believe the "slippery slope" or "utilitarian" arguments can be ignored and, as sure as night follows day, all the concerns expressed in this letter from faith leaders will be realised.

17 July 2014 at 13:42  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

unnecessary suffering ...

17 July 2014 at 13:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jack

I was referring to his illustration. If he thinks that is how a Christian thinks, then has no comprehension of us at all.

carl

17 July 2014 at 13:47  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

Happy Jack

You said that according to secular law 'No one has a right to intervene to stop a suicidal person unless that person is not of sound mind or their action will cause a breach of the peace - like setting themselves on fire or jumping off a bridge.' And I expect you are right.

It's interesting then that so much effort is made by the emergency services to save people who have tried other methods of killing themselves. If someone is brought into an A&E department after taking a deliberate overdose and leaving a suicide note no one tells the doctors and nurses to stop trying to resuscitate them. Or do they?

17 July 2014 at 13:57  
Blogger Nick said...

Happy Jack

" No one has a right to intervene to stop a suicidal person unless that person is not of sound mind "

I would argue that the decision to commit suicide is never a judgement of a sound mind. I don't mean that in a derogatory way. The decision is made based on pressures, whether external or internal as the result of profound self-loathing. Neither are logical or justifiable, or constitute a healthy state of mind.

Many such people can respond well to simple care and compassion and regain a sense of self-esteem, even in the face of suffering. Suicide is as much about the failure of society to care for it's members as it is about the weakness of the individual.

On that basis, intervening to prevent suicide is both justifiable and necessary

17 July 2014 at 14:01  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Carl

I'm simply saying your actions are prescribed by your faith and you act accordingly.

It's like when you tell a Christian you are an atheist and he says well why arent you out stealing and pillaging if you think youve got nothing to live for? Or when you speak in favour of a secular society and believers barrage about how such a society would result in immorality, chaos, rape and murder.

It begs the question, so what you're saying is the only reason you're not out stealing and raping is because you fear repercussions from god? How sad.

People should be good for goodness sake.

Clive

Yes that is obviously a concern. It's about regulation. But as a principal people should be given assistance to die if that is their wish.

17 July 2014 at 14:06  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Happy Jack

"The subject is "assisted dying" and, as he says, suicide is no longer illegal according to secular law. No one has a right to intervene to stop a suicidal person unless that person is not of sound mind or their action will cause a breach of the peace - like setting themselves on fire or jumping off a bridge. So why should helping someone, who clearly wishes to but cannot achieve this without help, be illegal?"

You've understood my position perfectly. And your answer is?

17 July 2014 at 14:17  
Blogger Nick said...

Sidney

"... the only reason you're not out stealing and raping is because you fear repercussions from god.."

No, it's because most of us instinctively don't wish to cause such harm and suffering to our fellow humans. That's how God made us. Fear has nothing to do with it.

17 July 2014 at 14:17  
Blogger Albert said...

Sidney,

It's like when you tell a Christian you are an atheist and he says well why arent you out stealing and pillaging if you think youve got nothing to live for?

I would never say that, or think that. I do think, however, that an atheist who behave morally contrary to his own self-interest, is acting irrationally.

17 July 2014 at 14:23  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Sydney

Why if by allowing people to you create the situation that concerns many?

Regulation is at best imperfect and as far I can see would be open to abuse. Whether you are for or against abortion it is a fact that it is now used in ways it was never expected or regulated! I am sure the authors of the original bill never expected it to be used to weed out unwanted girls.

Can you assure us a similar slippage won't happen with this new bill and how?

I will admit even so I would still oppose it.

17 July 2014 at 14:32  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Irene's Daughter

"If someone is brought into an A&E department after taking a deliberate overdose and leaving a suicide note no one tells the doctors and nurses to stop trying to resuscitate them. Or do they?"

The presumption is always to save life (on paper), unless the person has 'DNR' on their hospital records and Jack knows of occasions when this occurs - and not just for the elderly or disabled.

Nick

"I would argue that the decision to commit suicide is never a judgement of a sound mind ... The decision is made based on pressures, whether external or internal as the result of profound self-loathing. Neither are logical or justifiable, or constitute a healthy state of mind."

Jack may agree with you but stating an assertion does not make it so, and the law does not view it like that.

There is a difference between a "a healthy state of mind", which is a subjective judgement, and being clinically unable to act rationally. The legal definition of not being of sound mind would cover clinical depression and/or psychosis, not simply being unhappy.

Let's face it, if you don't believe in God then what is life? And many people don't.

17 July 2014 at 14:32  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Sydney

"You've understood my position perfectly. And your answer is?"

Why Sidney, Happy Jack did give his answer.

"Just so there's no misunderstanding, Jack does not believe the "slippery slope" or "utilitarian" arguments can be ignored and, as sure as night follows day, all the concerns expressed in this letter from faith leaders will be realised."

And later you say:

"People should be good for goodness sake."

"Should" - are you slipping in a moral imperative there? Of course people should be - but what is "good", who gets to decide? And why should Happy Jack be "good" according to your definition?

17 July 2014 at 14:40  
Blogger Hannah said...

Well I was told "You are seriously deluded to the point of being unbalanced" for supporting the Chief Rabbis piece in the telegraph on opposing this bill, clearly the strength of argument from atheists was overwhelming...

17 July 2014 at 14:49  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Some of the nutters from the humanist death-cult/Liberal Left CofE speak very freely about the right to die, as though this were self-evident.
However a few distinctions need to be drawn (Reading are you, Mr Deane? "It's their life and they should be free to end it whenever they like. That is why suicide is no longer illegal - and it never should have been.").

1) Even if there were a moral right to die, that does not imply a legal right to die; and even if there were a legal right to die, that does not imply a Legislative right to die. The Legislative of the United Kingdom is NOT the source of all moral and legal rights.

A large part of what gives liberalism in the United Kingdom its foothold is the idea that if ' I think something is right or wrong, then that should acquire the force of law'.

2) The so-called right to die becomes the right to be killed, which is quite a different thing put in the mix.

a) This may mean that I have the right to compel a doctor to kill me. Now, even if I have a right to die, does that right compel a second party to kill me? What if that would violate his conscience? We have seen this problem and the consequences already that hold their conscience as sacrosanct to them..Not good!!

b) In addition, it may mean the right of a second party to kill me without my consent as long as this is deemed, by a second party, to be in my best interests or the best interests of my family or society in general.

In Scripture, there is no moral imperative to die. On the other hand, there is no moral imperative to prolong by any means no matter what. We do as Christians believe in the afterlife.

2. The quality of life as defined by Sidders Deane and others "If such person is not in a position to end it for themselves - and a lot of the cases this legislation seeks to address is because they are in terrible pain and discomfort - assistance should be allowed in certain circumstances."

Euthanasia is predicated on the quality of life. And this, in turn, leads to the quantification of life, for some enjoy a higher quality of life than others. The distinction isn't limited to disabled. It applies as well to the able-bodied. Human beings are rearranged along a sliding scale of value in the market place of euthanasia. And that, in turn, is the basis of eugenics: not between good and bad, but good, better, and best--however defined.

3. Voluntary/involuntary euthanasia.

1) Voluntary euthanasia hinges on the principle of individual autonomy. "My life is my own, and I have the right to end it when I please" as stated on our blog by Sidney The None Too Wise.

This calls for a number of comments:

a) The principle of autonomy represents one strand of secular ethics. There is, though, another, rival strand of secular ethics in which the will of the individual is subordinated to the common good--however defined.

b) In theology, advocates of libertarian freewill would be naturally predisposed to support voluntary euthanasia.

Hence, there is no value-free way of arguing for or against voluntary euthanasia. It all depends on your worldview and theological belief-system.

Unfortunately this is where society is being led to, ring through nose.

Blofeld

17 July 2014 at 14:54  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Blowers, Happy Jack says that's better!

Somewhat clearer than your disjointed ramblings on the threads below. Still a tad disorganised for Jack, this being the way of a divergent thinker. We'll try to help you improve this and present coherent and well structured arguments.

A 'C-' because you grasped the essentials.

Now what, if anything, did the ECF's say on this topic?

*chuckle*

(That should keep you busy through the rest of the afternoon and early evening.)

17 July 2014 at 15:16  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Jack

"Somewhat clearer than your disjointed ramblings on the threads below. Still a tad disorganised for Jack, this being the way of a divergent thinker. We'll try to help you improve this and present coherent and well structured arguments."

You read too much into Ambling Albert's noxious twaddle.

As Kuato said in Total Recall 'Open your mind, Mr Happy, OPEN YOUR MIND'.

Mind you, we know what happened to him shortly thereafter?! *Giggles*

17 July 2014 at 15:29  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

ps

"Now what, if anything, did the ECF's say on this topic? "

Don't know, they only seem to be unanimous that Peter is keyless and Rome clueless!!
*Chortles*

17 July 2014 at 15:31  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

I think it is a mistake to make the assumption because a person doesn’t have a faith, they view life as cheap and disposable. I think that is unfair. Indeed I think it is more likely that if you believe this current life is all you have, then life must be very precious indeed.

People like Sydney don’t support this bill, not because they feel life doesn’t have a worth, they support this bill on the basis that if Faith Leaders are against it, it must be right. Because of their antipathy to people of faith, they dismiss their arguments without proper consideration.

Which is a pity, because in many ways people of no faith will be the made the most vulnerable by this bill. Without faith to sustain and strengthen, how much harder will it be to stand against the pressures to be ‘unselfish’ and accept the ‘rational’ way out?

It's for people like Sydney we need to hope and pray this bill is defeated.

17 July 2014 at 15:50  
Blogger Sister Julian said...

Thank you YG usual! Earlier this week I read in my daily paper that Oregon in the US has taken up the assisted dying idea. 2 people suffering from cancer and relying on medicaid (if that's the right word) were told by their doctors that there would be no more money for treatment drugs but they could have the killing drugs. A slippery slope indeed!

17 July 2014 at 16:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

There you go Blowers. Humorous one liners are your forte - especially the insane ones.

That Ps gets an 'A' for comedic effect.

Play to your strengths old chap and keep away from topics requiring studious effort and rational discussion.

*chuckle*

17 July 2014 at 16:22  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

As it refers to your interests and is computer-generated I suggest you visit a number of sites with beautiful things- trees, flowers, gemstones, luxury cars, cuddly fluffy animals, exotic holidays in the Caribbean, Alpine ski-ing, luxury yachts or whatever you like, and then you will discover you are surrounded by such things!!

And not some wretched ugly banner re assisted dying!!

Superb article! Excellent posts all round.

17 July 2014 at 16:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Clive,

they view life as cheap and disposable

It's hard on that worldview to see how anything can have any value that we do not give it ourselves. Thus life is disposable if not cheap - unless there is some reason for them to value that life.

Because of their antipathy to people of faith, they dismiss their arguments without proper consideration.

Exactly, the original post points out that natural law elements. Moreover, the main spokesman for the opposition on this used to be an atheist, I think.

Which is a pity, because in many ways people of no faith will be the made the most vulnerable by this bill. Without faith to sustain and strengthen, how much harder will it be to stand against the pressures to be ‘unselfish’ and accept the ‘rational’ way out?

Quite.

17 July 2014 at 17:15  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Albert

Probably being a bit dim but have you misunderstood my first paragraph?

17 July 2014 at 17:21  
Blogger Albert said...

Clive,

Sorry, my quotation was too short. I realize you are saying it is a mistake to think atheists view life as cheap etc. However, I think you are slightly mistaken. For an atheist to view human life per se as having any value, is probably unintelligible - at least atheists of the stature of Sartre and Russell seem to have thought so, and their logic - viewed against their metaphysics - seems necessary.

17 July 2014 at 17:33  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

"@ Peter Prescott"

somehow got wiped off the top of the last post of mine, so apologies.

As for the banner many see, I guess it is a visual reminder of the opposition on this matter, and how we must remain determined and on guard.

Some have said this will come round again, but so will these strong arguments and determinations that have been fleshed out, sifted through and refined communally. There are many determined people with thought through and clear minds ready to take a stand again at the next assault. So we need not be weary nor discouraged!!

17 July 2014 at 17:35  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Play to your strengths old chap and keep away from topics requiring studious effort and rational discussion...Was going to say Ditto for you and old Ambling Albert but then you both have never exactly revealed any?? Well, except hot air!!

*chuckles madly*

17 July 2014 at 17:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Ernst,

keep away from topics requiring studious effort and rational discussion

When you accused me of being an ignoramus, I returned the compliment and said you were an ignoramus. Carl, who is hardly on the Catholic side of things, then chipped in and said an ignoramus was one thing I was not.

Strangely, he didn't say anything anything else.

17 July 2014 at 17:52  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

ps

Take it that a rational discussion about the exact historical whereabouts of Peter during his supposed primacy would be a tad laborious and much too stretching for you two stooges of Rome to produce evidence for? .

*Snigger*

17 July 2014 at 17:53  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Blowers, what a terribly mean thing to say to Happy Jack. Shame on you.

*chuckle*

17 July 2014 at 17:59  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Albert

Your point about atheists of the honesty of Satre and Russell is correct. However most atheists are atheists not because they think about it, but because they have let others do the thinking for them. I would argue they view their life as very precious!

But in a world of no absolutes what does it matter if some are made more vulnerable? Don't I have a right to my own life and to decide how I die?

17 July 2014 at 18:01  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Do stay on subject Blowers. Jack knows your short-term memory is fading. This thread is about assisted dying.

17 July 2014 at 18:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

Strangely, he didn't say anything anything else.

C'mon, now, don't use me like that. I have nothing against Ernst. (Ok, he isn't a Calvinist and he seems to think Darby was a credible exegete of Revelations, but other than that ...) In general he's a good advocate. Sometimes he gets a little exuberant.

But the truth matters. And the truth is that you are intelligent ... for a brainwashed drone who has been enslaved by the mind-numbing myths of Popery. And we should all recognize that reality. Intelligent doesn't mean "He agrees with me."

Jack is right. The thread is about assisted dying. Otherwise known as "Knocking off Granny for the inheritance."

carl

17 July 2014 at 18:30  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

;-)

carl

17 July 2014 at 18:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Clive Mitchell @ 18:01

"Don't I have a right to my own life and to decide how I die?"

Yes, if you're lucky enough to live in a society that will give you the option.

The 80 million plus victims of Marxism (statistic from 'The Black Book of Communism') were not given that choice. Neither were six million victims of Hitler.

I suppose what I'm saying that your right to life depends on whoever's running the show in the society into which you happen to be born. (Or not born, if we think about America's fifty million abortions. Since foetuses can't speak for themselves, someone else made the decision on their behalf.)

17 July 2014 at 18:42  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Flossie
Try clearing the Telegraph Cookies when you reach your 20 articles. I've set my browser to clear the Telegraph cookies (and some others) when it is closed.

17 July 2014 at 18:45  
Blogger Brian West said...

Ernst and Happy Jack

Know that some of us are turned off by the bickering and slanging that raises your chuckles and sniggers.

Brian

17 July 2014 at 18:51  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

I say, it’s heartening to find His (former) Grace at his most charitable when it comes to figuring out our dear Rosie, what !

Anyway, best get used to it Cranmer, old fellow, for the established church of this country has forsaken patrimony in earnest and is going all matriarchal in nature and purpose. And we will see from that that mum (or, indeed, Rosie) knows best. If that means abandoning the tried and tested, and indeed the scriptural, then that is what needs to happen – what will happen. In fact, we’ll be seeing that mum knows best for years and years to come - don’t you worry about that…

So now we consider Convenience Killing ( perhaps ‘Konvenience Killing’ ? Let’s try and jazz up the concept a little. Make it the more palatable consumer product it will become). Well, what did you all think it was going to pan out as over time ? Half a dozen cases of in extremis suffering per year, or a couple of hundred per week….

On the subject of ‘mum’, a good friend of the Inspector’s had to act very quickly with his last year. She had already been living with onset dementia for some time, supported by her husband. When he passed on, there was only one option, a care home. Readers may wish to know that a care home, with special requirements to deal with dementia in an individual who is still mobile, will charge around £1000 a week. At least, that is what one’s friend pays. The cost is met by the assets released from the sale of the family home. The mother is fortunate, her son loves her and will do so until the end, the natural end, that is.

Now, there must be countless examples whereby the mother in such a case would be the domineering husband’s wife’s mother, where no such bond exists. And £1000 a week, every week ! That is a lot of money in anyone’s book. And the mother-in-law has a poor quality of life in a home where, for all one knows, the staff are uncaring thieves, even abusive when no one else is about, or so he will eventually convince his wife.

Maybe two hundred a week ‘aged ill health terminations’ is a VERY conservative estimate…

17 July 2014 at 18:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Brian West

"Ernst and Happy Jack
Know that some of us are turned off by the bickering and slanging that raises your chuckles and sniggers."


Then skip past our posts, dear man. Blowers and Jack are old pals and go back a long way. And whenever we bicker it is always done in the best possible taste.

17 July 2014 at 19:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nick: "No, it's because most of us instinctively don't wish to cause such harm and suffering to our fellow humans. That's how God made us. Fear has nothing to do with it."

Is that after you're 'reborn' as a Christian, or after being born as a human being? I value human life because I'm rational and I'm self-aware.

17 July 2014 at 19:31  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl

"I have nothing against Ernst .... Sometimes he gets a little exuberant."

*chuckle*

"Jack is right. The thread is about assisted dying. Otherwise known as "Knocking off Granny for the inheritance.""

Sometimes Jack amazes even himself with his astute insight!

17 July 2014 at 19:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Clive: "However most atheists are atheists not because they think about it, but because they have let others do the thinking for them."

That's quite an odd thing to say. Isn't it true that most religious people are religious because their parents were religious? Why else do Hindus tend to have Hindu parents, Christians tend to have Christian parents, and Muslims tend to have Muslim parents?

17 July 2014 at 19:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Might it not also be true that agnostics tend to have agnostic parents and atheists tend to have atheist parents? In which case, Clive's comment is accurate: you tend (there are thinking exceptions) to absorb the world view of your parents/local community/country without really questioning it.

17 July 2014 at 19:51  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Hi Ernst,
I posted this last night. You may not have seen it.

I can't find that post you referred to. Try; shadrach449@gmail.com

Thanks very much.

17 July 2014 at 19:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...

C S Lewis made the point that Supernaturalism is the characteristic philosophy of a monarchical age, and Naturalism of a democratic age.

"Supernaturalism, even if false, would have been believed by the great mass of unthinking people four hundred years ago, just as Naturalism, even if false, will be believed by the great mass of unthinking people today."

17 July 2014 at 20:04  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace,
A significant post YG and one that points to those areas where criticism is not helpful.
You wrote; when he expounds a realistic understanding of the constitutional limitations of his office.

Welby in his current role has I think an impossible task. He's dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn't. It is however a fact that if you put your head up over the parapet you get shot at and I'm sure he knows that.

In this secular world the voice of those who hold fast to the traditional Biblical views feel ever more betrayed by those who should be up holding them.

The list of faith leaders is indeed impactful but which way will the house go. I do not hold out much hope with the members of Lords but that does nothing to dent our faith in God from intervention for the sakes of the vulnerable.

17 July 2014 at 20:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Might it not also be true that agnostics tend to have agnostic parents and atheists tend to have atheist parents?"

It seems to me that a-theist parents are less likely to teach a-theism to their offspring than to simply not introduce theism with its many and varied examples to them. That is, the offspring either remain a-theists in the passive sense, or becomes a-theists in the active sense by thinking about it themselves.

Given that Clive has just asserted it with a slightly pejorative undertone whereas I've been rather more explicit with my assertion on the expectation that most people wouldn't disagree, I'm probably better placed to suggest that most religionists are religionists not because they think about it, but because they have let others do the thinking for them.

17 July 2014 at 20:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Supernaturalism, even if false, would have been believed by the great mass of unthinking people four hundred years ago, just as Naturalism, even if false, will be believed by the great mass of unthinking people today."

I expect people tend to believe what they see and experience for themselves, which is an apparent absence of miracles etc and a plethora of god claims, especially in the age of the education, light-bulbs, and global travel.

17 July 2014 at 20:18  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Danjo

To properly consider a position of belief (political, religious or whatever) you need to have made an effort to understand the alternatives. Although not necessarily agreed with them. Too many comments on here by atheists show little or no understanding of faith or belief. They seem to amount to little more then half understood prejudice.

I am happy to admit it is not just atheists who suffer from this.

17 July 2014 at 20:22  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

I think a-theists are more proactive than agnostics: they are more inclined to think about what it is they don't believe in. Agnostics are more inclined to just go with the flow.

But if you teach your kids, say, that we are impure lumps of carbon and water existing by chance on an accident in a backwater of the universe, and that our response must be built on a firm foundation of unshakeable despair (courtesy of Bertrand Russell) then you are imparting a world view just as surely as if you tell your kids that that the universe has a cause, and a designer, and that life has a purpose.

To say, "I take no interest in politics," is to have a political stance. It's the same sort of thing.

17 July 2014 at 20:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Clive: "Too many comments on here by atheists show little or no understanding of faith or belief."

In my experience of a number of years, there are very few a-theists who actually come here. Obviously David Grey/ Sidney Deane is a self-identifying one, and that semi-illiterate post-grad bloke whose name I forget now. I agree that both of those show little understanding, for sure.

17 July 2014 at 20:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 20:18

Ever spent five minutes in a Ne-Age shop?

It's scary.

17 July 2014 at 20:35  
Blogger The Explorer said...

New, even

17 July 2014 at 20:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "and that our response must be built on a firm foundation of unshakeable despair (courtesy of Bertrand Russell)"

Because that's what a-theist parents teach their kids.

"if you teach your kids, say, that we are impure lumps of carbon and water existing by chance on an accident in a backwater of the universe"

And that. If I had kids then I'm pretty sure I'd be teaching them that we're fascinating beings, living in a marvellous and beautiful place, in a vast and amazing universe. But perhaps that's just me.

17 July 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 July 2014 at 20:41  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I hope I will be forgiven for quoting this poem by former atheist A E Housman, and further forgiven for mentioning that I have it being taught to schoolchildren 'for when they need it' in my Kindle novel @Darwin's Adders: A Chronicle of Pagan England 2089'.

"Shot? so quick, so clean an ending?
Oh that was right, lad, that was brave:
Yours was not an ill for mending,
'Twas best to take it to the grave.

Oh you had forethought, you could reason,
And saw your road and where it led,
And early wise and brave in season
Put the pistol to your head.

Oh soon, and better so than later
After long disgrace and scorn,
You shot dead the household traitor,
The soul that should not have been born.

Right you guessed the rising morrow
And scorned to tread the mire you must:
Dust's your wages, son of sorrow,
But men may come to worse than dust.

Souls undone, undoing others,---
Long time since the tale began.
You would not live to wrong your brothers:
Oh lad, you died as fits a man.

Now to your grave shall friend and stranger
With ruth and some with envy come:
Undishonoured, clear of danger,
Clean of guilt, pass hence and home.

Turn safe to rest, no dreams, no waking;
And here, man, here's the wreath I've made:
'Tis not a gift that's worth the taking,
But wear it and it will not fade.





17 July 2014 at 20:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Ever spent five minutes in a Ne-Age shop? It's scary."

Yes. In Glastonbury. Now hold that thought for a moment and realise that I feel much the same way in a church, when I'm not admiring the architecture. Luckily, the great mass of people don't really follow New Age thinking (and fewer would if Dawkins had his way) despite our species having a strong inclination to pattern-match even when no pattern actually exists.

17 July 2014 at 20:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "and that life has a purpose"

I'm an a-theist and my life has a purpose. Just not a cosmic one, as far as I'm concerned. That's plenty for me.

17 July 2014 at 20:50  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Some more of Housman's suicide poetry

"“Good creatures, do you love your lives
And have you ears for sense?
Here is a knife like other knives,
That cost me eighteen pence.

I need but stick it in my heart
And down will come the sky,
And earth's foundations will depart
And all you folk will die.”

If we are indeed accidentally evolved lumps of impure carbon on a 'long fool's errand to the grave' (another Housman quote) and after that the utterly meaningless heat death of the universe, that Housman is right and suicide should be regarded as just as normal as taking out the rubbish.

My PC is at the end of its life. Next week it will be cannibalised, terminated and forgotten.

The question is, is that all we are? I admire Housman partly for his excellent rhyme and metre but also because as an atheist he was honest enough to face up to the implications of his faith position-that the unhappy and unsuccessful life should be terminated.

17 July 2014 at 20:50  
Blogger The Explorer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 July 2014 at 20:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Actually, the great mass of people probably do currently follow New-Age thinking (I include gaia-worship in that); they just don't realise that they do because they've never really thought about it.

On a slightly different tack, those who say that everything is a matter of opinion state it as a self-evident truth because that is what the education system has taught them to think.

They do not realise that their opinion is itself a matter of opinion; if it isn't, their statement is false.

17 July 2014 at 21:00  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 20:50

I don't deny short-term purposes.

If you're on a sinking ship, there might be plenty of those.

But they might be different if the ship was actually headed somewhere, and life would continue after the arrival in port.

17 July 2014 at 21:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Appleseed: "I admire Housman partly for his excellent rhyme and metre but also because as an atheist he was honest enough to face up to the implications of his faith position-that the unhappy and unsuccessful life should be terminated."

The very last part there seems unnecessarily strong, especially as states of mind can be changed, and what counts as successful is not universal. Wouldn't it be more accurate an implication for an a-theist, to question why one should not end one's own life if it's an unhappy and unsuccessful one?

17 July 2014 at 21:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "But they might be different if the ship was actually headed somewhere, and life would continue after the arrival in port."

No doubt the mujahideen think that way. I reckon they simply scuttle their own ship early, taking the rest of the passengers with them. But then I'm an a-theist rather than a Muslim.

17 July 2014 at 21:16  
Blogger Preacher said...

Excellent Dr Cranmer. I don't think that any additions are necessary.

Re: People following the creeds & beliefs of parents & family, there are many examples including myself that have arrived at belief by other paths & sometimes by surprise e.g Saul aka Paul on the Damascus Road.
That is if one can be bothered to search them out. I find that most non believers make excuses like "I haven't got the time". Which on matters of vital importance (Is their a God? Which one is He? & is their a judgement? Do Heaven & Hell really exist?) sounds rather feeble as they spend hours daily on following other pursuits.

17 July 2014 at 21:32  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 21:16

Yes, it's a good point (and very well expressed!). Different world views generate different behaviour patterns.

I'm afraid I've rather taken the thread away from the topic under discussion, and I have a borrowed book to read before tomorrow. I'm signing myself out.

Good to see you back, by the way!

17 July 2014 at 21:36  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

C'mon, now, don't use me like that.

I'm sorry - but I'm sure you'll understand the occasion of doing it. Ernst seems so often to think that belittling his opponent will do time for his own lack of argument.

17 July 2014 at 21:56  
Blogger Albert said...

Clive,

However most atheists are atheists not because they think about it, but because they have let others do the thinking for them.

This is true, and it makes atheists so psychologically fascinating. I think for many of them, the key issue is that their main interest is in freedom, not truth.

I would argue they view their life as very precious!

Definitely, which is why an atheist acting morally against his own self-interest, is acting irrationally.

in a world of no absolutes what does it matter if some are made more vulnerable? Don't I have a right to my own life and to decide how I die?

In a world without absolutes, it is difficult to see how anyone can have any rights, including the right to self-ownership, the right to die, etc., because someone can always come and trump those rights by what they feel is some "higher" claim.

17 July 2014 at 22:01  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Albert

I agree for many it has little to do with seeking truth (that would involve to much effort), but freedom? Certainly to do as they wish, but I'm not sure that is freedom.

Maybe it's just me but the word freedom suggests something a little less selfish then that.

17 July 2014 at 22:16  
Blogger Albert said...

Clive,

Certainly, I agree that the freedom they are going for, isn't real freedom. The truth will set us free, after all.

17 July 2014 at 22:26  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Albert

Amen to that

17 July 2014 at 22:31  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

DanJo

I'd be surprised if you disagreed with anything I've said on this thread?

Explorer/Clive

If you think that "you tend to absorb the world view of your parents/local community/country without really questioning it", it kind of casts a lot of doubt on the truth of it all doesn't it?

The fact nobody can actually reasonably say, "no this religion is right".

I'm glad to see someone finally admit that they are only Christian because their parents are. The next step is realising how shallow, meaningless and ridiculous that is.

DanJo - do you think if we set up a tribe and got a couple of girls, had a few kids and taught a brand new religious doctrine it would eventually catch on through the generations as each generation blindly follows the beliefs of the previous one (it goes without saying of course that we'd kill anyone who strays)? What do you reckon?

Of course it would catch on. Because that's exactly how the others did.

It really is so hard not to laugh Dan isn't it. And I really don't want to be a smug git about it I really don't. But its just so damn obvious haha.

17 July 2014 at 22:54  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Sydney

What have you been smoking? Just where did I say that the only reason I am a Christian is because my parents are?

So pleased to have my point about most atheists not being willing to think so quickly affirmed.

17 July 2014 at 23:03  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Sidney Deane, tell Jack, do you have a wife and children?

17 July 2014 at 23:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Meanwhile, back to the topic of the thread.

HG tweeted this article.

Wonder if Lord Falconer has considered the Dutch experience. It seems euthanasia is becoming the norm for those with terminal cancer. It is also legal for children over the age of 12, with there is parental consent.

In Belgium legalised euthanasia for adults was passed just 12 years ago. Now it is allowed for terminally ill children, with no lower any age limit, if requested by a child in great pain and there is parental consent.

Setting aside the immorality of all this, imagine the potential abuse of such laws! Is there an atheist out there who wants put forward an argument in favour of this?

17 July 2014 at 23:15  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

I will admit I have been drinking

17 July 2014 at 23:25  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Explorer

"I'm afraid I've rather taken the thread away from the topic under discussion, and I have a borrowed book to read before tomorrow. I'm signing myself out."

Think you have been spot on. Are the liberal intolerants changing the moral landscape, bolstered by the atheist militants that appear to hijack everything with their I am as good as you despite not having a sky fairy to cling to' but when it comes to morality, atheists tend to be very quiet about what role atheism plays in shaping their personal morality.

You won't find atheists coming on this blog or any other saying that their atheism was influential in getting them off of drugs, stopping their alcoholism and ending their addictions to pornography, gambling, or any other personal moral fault.

The fact is that atheism has no power at all to change personal morality (in a positive way) and help create a better society.

When it comes to the poor and crisis occurs whilst charities run by christians voluntarily, runs to help the secular organisations (salaried staff paid to work during their work hours), no atheist-run organisations ever seem to show up.

But of course there is NO atheistic moral dictate that would require or even suggest that atheists should help anyone other than themselves. They came into this world on their own and will leave it likewise, so why give a hoot for other rivals for resources you need to live your short with...?

‘Are there no Charities?”

‘Plenty of Christian ones,’ said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.’And the Foodbanks.’ demanded Dick. ‘Are they still in operation?’

‘Both very busy, sir, with generous support from our local churches.’

‘Oh. I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,’ said Dick. ‘I’m very glad to hear it.’

‘Under the impression that WE COULD DO WITH SOME ASSISTANCE FROM THE GOODWILL OF THE ATHEISTIC AMONGST US, we hoped you might give your time for your fellow man. Can we add your name as the first to start the ball rolling? we were thinking of naming it Red Zero’

‘No!’ Dick replied.

‘You wish not to be the first name?’

‘Knowing my fellow atheists I don't wish to find myself work for free on my own, so leave me alone' said Dick. ‘Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make a burden of myself on any man, I can’t afford to care about others that wastes my valuable short time on this marvellous and beautiful place, in this vast and amazing universe. I help to support me - I cost enough as it is; and those who are badly off must go to those religios nutty do gooders that give a hoot

‘Many have'nt got what you've got; and many of our fellow men and women would die without our help.’

‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus world population. Now sling your hook, I was quite happily reading The God Delusion when you interrupted me with your christian morality nonsense”

Christians are far more likely than atheists to be part of groups that work hard to instill values about being good to other people, and having good relationships. The teachings of the Bible emphasize values such as honesty, love, forgiveness, patience, and generosity. Many of these values are not emphasized in social circles dominated by atheists.

Can anyone show anything of greatness coming from the mouth of an atheist that enriches mankind to live better lives...No, me neither

Blaise Pascal

The Power of Atheism to Change Lives Practically?? Hardly.

Enjoy your break.

Blowers

ps

"How to trap an atheist: Serve him a beef tenderloin filet stuffed with lobster, cooked in wine, garlic and butter and served with roast pumpkin and pine-nuts, dressed in goats cheese feta, herbs and roast maris piper potatoes in seasoned olive oil, then ask him if he believes there is a cook."*Chortles*

Goodness, is it me or are the BBC having a Hug an immigrant you intolerant ignorant right wing tw*ts week???

17 July 2014 at 23:56  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Sidney Deane
"I will admit I have been drinking.

*chuckle*

We all rather guessed that! It's not everyday someone suggests to Danjo that they set up a harem and breed future atheists! Jack is eagerly awaiting the reply to this proposal.

Do you defend "assisted dying" on secular grounds given all the potential hazards of such a development?

And all talk of setting up a tribe with Danjo and getting a couple of girls - why stop at two? - to have a few kids, are you a married man with children? Or perhaps you lead an 'alternative' lifestyle.

18 July 2014 at 00:15  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

oops



For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées No. 72

18 July 2014 at 00:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Blofeld :"But of course there is NO atheistic moral dictate that would require or even suggest that atheists should help anyone other than themselves. They came into this world on their own and will leave it likewise, so why give a hoot for other rivals for resources you need to live your short with...?"

Why? Firstly, we're a gregarious species and we live in societies. This has implications for rational, self-aware beings. As morals seem to follow from our values, and values are almost always shared, it is not unreasonable for people to live a moral life. We're also empathic by nature, so one ought to expect people to care about others even when the plight of others does not directly affect them. I find it curious that this needs to be explained as though a-theists belong to a different species.

18 July 2014 at 04:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I've met a few high-functioning sociopaths in my time, and I currently work with one at the moment The capacity for empathy is crucial for moral beings like us, I'd say. For sure, high-functioning sociopatgs recognise the need to follow behavioural rules and to appear to feel like other people but the imperative to act morally is partially related to empathy I think. I'm not convinced that true altruism actually happens, even in the case of sacrificing one's life for others, since there is always a prior state of mind. Nevertheless, I think to claim it is irrational for an a-theist to act morally against his self-interest is unduly reductionist and, well, a bit stupid really. It misunderstands what rational really means in the context of a species like ours. We're not automata afterall.

18 July 2014 at 04:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

As an example, my work colleague is quite bewildered by people giving to charity. It seems irrational to him, as far as I can tell. Of course, he's not an automaton as he has emotions and experiences things but his capacity for empathy appears much reduced when compared to others. As such, he is inclined to manipulate and exploit others for his own minor gain. If he were the norm then I expect our societies would be very different places, and our understanding of morality would be quite skewed. Luckily, he's relatively unusual, though more common than people probably realise ... perhaps in the ratio of church-attending CofE people to the general population.

18 July 2014 at 05:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Clive :"I agree for many it has little to do with seeking truth (that would involve to much effort), but freedom? Certainly to do as they wish, but I'm not sure that is freedom. Maybe it's just me but the word freedom suggests something a little less selfish then that."

Freedom in its simplest form is just the lack of external constraint. One might extend that to include internal contraints too. Of course, politically, full freedom for all probably results in a Hobbesian State of Nature leading to a lack of actual freedom in reality. Afterall, who has the freedom to enjoy a day lounging in the sun when one needs to grow or catch one's own food and protect oneself from various dangers? Hence, societies.

18 July 2014 at 05:14  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Blofeld
"How to trap an atheist: Serve him a beef tenderloin filet stuffed with lobster, cooked in wine, garlic and butter and served with roast pumpkin and pine-nuts, dressed in goats cheese feta, herbs and roast maris piper potatoes in seasoned olive oil, then ask him if he believes there is a cook."*Chortles*"
Not if he is a vegan raw foodist.

18 July 2014 at 06:26  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Well articulated Danjo. Very good points

Of course many people act more charitably than their philosophy of life mandates. This could be because deep down they have a God given conscience, which in this country at least will have been informed by Judaeo-Christian ethical teaching even if unacknowledged.


Equally, no Christian really consistently lives up to Jesus' standards, but is probably a better person for trying. Even if moved by incentives or fear of judgment.

Dawkins has admitted that a society based on Darwinian principles would be very nasty. His mistake I believe is to assume that kindness towards others, justice etc 'just exist'.

As the dechristianisation of Britain and the west continues, we will have more opportunity to see if society's current level of morality rises,is maintained or declines. The uncharitableness of your work colleague may become more normalised.

18 July 2014 at 06:54  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Danjo

I would agree that many atheists do behave in a moral, generous manner. Your argument for it seems to be that it is in an individual's rational self interest to do so. The argument isn't that they don't it is that they have no moral absolute to do so and that if it's simply rooted in a societal self interest, morality has the risk of becoming simply a function of utility. Hence the concerns around the Assisted Dying Bill.

18 July 2014 at 07:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Atheists can and do behave well. As a Christian, I would cite two reasons:

1. Self-interest. (Clive Mitchell's point). Trial and error as to what enables society to function.

2. Conscience. An awareness of the divine commands for conduct, even when the source is not acknowledged.

The real disagreement isn't when people behave well, it's when they behave badly: what's the cause, and what's the solution?

Poverty and ignorance, that can be cured by throwing other people's money at them?

Or something radically twisted within the human species that leads people to evil against their own knowledge of what is good? A state of rebellion for which the initial cure is repentance?

18 July 2014 at 08:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Odin was the god of contracts; he had sacred runes upon his spear.

That is why, in the sagas, the breaking of an oath is such a heinous crime.

The Old Norse knew perfectly well that without a measure of co-operation, respect for others, respect for property etc, society could not function. (So plunder other nations instead: until Christianity showed them the global application of the principle.)

18 July 2014 at 08:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

As in a wider understanding of who was their neighbour.

18 July 2014 at 08:40  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Blofeld

"But of course there is NO atheistic moral dictate that would require or even suggest that atheists should help anyone other than themselves. They came into this world on their own and will leave it likewise, so why give a hoot for other rivals for resources you need to live your short with...?"

And there is a perfect example of what I was talking about earlier.

Blofield only helps other people because she fears reprisals from God. Shame on you.

Happy Jack

I am intending on proposing soon (she would say finally).

I would say I am in favour of assisted dying on liberal grounds.

The same reason I am in favour of legalising drugs - but let's not go there.

I want autonomy for the individual, as far as this is possible without infringing on the rights of others.

18 July 2014 at 09:02  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

To all commenting after my post.

NOT ONE of you answered my main charge.

How is the world BETTER by not believing in God (Atheists challenge the existence of some kind of generic God but never the claims of the God of the Bible).

If God is outside time space continuum, we have no scientific tools to examine this nor can we explain why the God of the Bible acts as He does regarding How and why He reveals Himself as He has. Must He conform to the wishes of mans rationale??

Atheism means an ever decreasing circle of downward spiral of morality by its very nature of only seeing itself and it's needs as the defining criteria.

How has Atheism made life better for our fellow man and who has it inspired to do GOOD??

Blofeld

Sidney, not the sharpest of intellects, are you?!

18 July 2014 at 09:19  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Blowers:

Agreed.

Christianity provides a motive for conduct beyond self-interest.

"If you love me, you will obey my commandments."

"Love, as I have loved you."

18 July 2014 at 09:35  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Sydney,

When you say “without infringing the rights of others” don’t you think that the old and the vulnerable have a right to be protected? Do you honestly believe that they will not be subjected to additional pressure to do the “right thing”? If so why are you confident? The ‘goodness of human nature? Because of the examples set elsewhere, like Holland? Have you checked?

Even if I was to accept personal liberty allowed it in theory, surely your own qualification about it not infringing others precludes it in practice?

18 July 2014 at 09:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Blowers:

Hovering in my memory there's a US statistic that Christians are seven times more likely than unbelievers to donate their time/money to charity.

How other faiths feature, I don't know; and how the statistic would be assessed/monitored in practice I have no idea.

Still an interesting statistic.

18 July 2014 at 10:07  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

DanJo

Plenty of comment but no substance to the main charge, lad.

"I'm not convinced that true altruism actually happens, even in the case of sacrificing one's life for others, since there is always a prior state of mind. "

So from the very beginning of man history, Sacrificing one's life for others can be shown as "always a prior state of mind."

Give an example from man's history, prior to Christ, where they have laid it down as the ultimate expression of love and compassion? Man/history only knows of this by Christ's example and sayings to His followers!!

and it is only true if Christ's example meant something (His life truly paid to clear you, I and all men, of sins charge by His laying down His life and that by Christians doing likewise they believe it truly so also because of His example, else why bother in this cold chaotic excuse for an existence..What ultimate purpose does it serve to help another rival for precious resources by extending his chance of survival??.)

A definition of martyr is decidedly different between, shall we say, Christian and Muslims as history attests??

Blofeld

Explorer

"Hovering in my memory there's a US statistic that Christians are seven times more likely than unbelievers to donate their time/money to charity." Indeed. The Barna Group survey of 2008!

18 July 2014 at 10:23  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

On the subject of morality; I like the quote of Abraham Lincoln

If I do Bad - I feel Bad; If I do Good I feel Good.

I can only speak as an individual of course, but I think its not a bad starting point for personal reflection.

As for assisted dying the big problem for me is the involvement of others. he BMA is against it for all the unknown unknowns and for the time being I'll put my trust in them in 'voting' against the Bill.

For myself,I would still maintain the right to end my life by my own hand.

18 July 2014 at 10:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sidney @ 22:54

I absorbed the world view of my parents that 2+2 = 4, that London is the capital of England, and that France is across the Channel, without really questioning it.

Kind of casts a lot of doubt on the truth of all of those, doesn't it?

18 July 2014 at 10:56  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Dreadnaught at 10.46

Unhappily, some of us feel good when doing bad.

Not all consciences are equally well trained.

I am of course assuming an agreed, common standard of good and bad.

18 July 2014 at 11:18  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

In the rebel anthem song 'If six was nine' Jimi Hendrix sang

'I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die

So let me live my life the way I want to'

A superficially appealing philosophy-if we owe nothing to a creator.

18 July 2014 at 11:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dreadnaught

"For myself,I would still maintain the right to end my life by my own hand."

You can. How can anyone stop you or prosecute you for it when it's done. This has always been a fact but it's demanding another is complicit that's the fault.

When challenged by another, Falconer could not admit that NO ONE in known cases has been prosecuted by Courts for assisting another to die.

The merely want a beachhead in the law to make it all encompassing. Like abortion was only meant for only extreme desperate situations?? Look where that is now.

Blofeld

18 July 2014 at 11:59  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Mr Deane.

Legalising recreational drugs sounds libertarian but unless you are willing to let the addicts starve and/or die in the gutter in fact places heavy obligations on others.

18 July 2014 at 12:03  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Hi Ernst,

I am not sure if you keep missing my posts. I could not see the post you referred to. Can you send something to shadrach449@gmail.com
Would love to hear from you.

18 July 2014 at 12:05  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Blofeld, Blowers, Ernst.
Which Address form do you prefer?

I am not sure if you keep missing my posts. I could not see the post you referred to. Can you send something to shadrach449@gmail.com
Would love to hear from you.

18 July 2014 at 12:13  
Blogger Flossie said...

Many thanks to Irene's daughter for informing me way back that the lovely Rosie's article was absolute rubbish, and to the kind souls giving advice on how to beat the Telegraph's 20-article limit. I shan't bother to use the advice in this instance as I have a fair idea what the article says - more of the same old twaddle, but it could come in very handy when an interesting item comes along.

I just wondered if such a public 'outing' of Canon Rosie's opposition to stated C of E doctrine would harm her prospects of becoming one of the first women bishops, but then I thought 'silly me' - this has never harmed anyone else.

18 July 2014 at 12:33  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

If the Bill does go through, I don't think NHS doctors should have anything to do with it.

Patients who want to kill themselves should have to go to a specialist private clinic with private doctors and pay for this service. The lethal dose can only be prescribed after proving the patients terminal illness and wish to die by form of a written statement from the client.

18 July 2014 at 12:58  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Clive

It's ultimately their own decision Clive. Thats what the legislation says. Pressures come from everywhere for everything. People will give their opinion on what the right decision is. You would be pressuring him to not top himself, would you not.

Why you would want him to stay suffering in this world instead of encouraging him to get himself swiftly up to post-death euphoria is beyond me anyway.

Explorer

But those are undisputable facts with evidence. And you've had them reinforced as such facts as you've gone through life.

Your mum's religious beliefs aren't.

- please dont spin me some yarn about how you got that job you always wanted or something equally as benign which reinforced the beliefs your mum told you. The fact is you've got no evidence and you know it.

Theres a Hindu bloke somewhere now singing about Krishna and the only basis on which you can say your beliefs have more veracity than his is because your momma told you.

18 July 2014 at 13:01  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Steve

I'm not pretending legalisation won't have its problems. But the effects of the alternative (prohibition) have proved much worse.

Im talking about drug related extortion, gang crime, violence, murder. Legalisation would eliminate these almost overnight.

18 July 2014 at 13:07  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 July 2014 at 13:14  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Sydney

So the fact that people will made more vulnerable is a price worth paying. If only the sponsors of the bill were so honest.

18 July 2014 at 13:41  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Blowfelt

How can anyone stop you or prosecute you for it when it's done.

Not so long a go when suicide was a criminal offence a botched job did lead to prosecution and those that did succeed could not be buried in consecrated ground. No big deal these days, but at a time when not going to church on Sunday was also a criminal offence it meant even the dead were not immune from religious persecution.

Religion has caused comfort and grief in equal measure (and I'm being charitable) - I'm happier to live without it.

18 July 2014 at 13:57  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Clive

Yes, but I think you are being overly worried about this being abused. Strong safeguards will be in place.

18 July 2014 at 14:09  
Blogger Len said...

Sidney said 'Theres a Hindu bloke somewhere now singing about Krishna and the only basis on which you can say your beliefs have more veracity than his is because your momma told you.'

This shows a total prejudice about how one arrives at ones faith.I was brought up a christian and later totally rejected Christianity and became an atheist as many others have done...
Later I searched for spiritual truth and investigated all the religions including oriental religions but rejected these as having no basis in truth..
I later found truth not to be a concept but a person Jesus Christ...

I realise this places me in the position as being regarded as a 'nutjob' and a 'looney' (as I once viewed born again Christians myself.)
But if you are genuinely interested in finding the truth keep digging keep searching and if you demand the truth and only the truth you will eventually be confronted by 'the Truth'.

But be prepared because if you find the truth (or He finds you)your world will be turned upside down and will never be the same again 'religion' will have no interest to you at all in fact you will see most religion as a creation of man..
If you are not able to value truth more than your life itself do not venture any further forward..step back keep your illusions intact and stand on the sidelines with much of the rest of the world...

18 July 2014 at 14:14  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Attaboy, Sidders.

Glad to see you making that factual distinction. You seemed to me, in your previous post, to be taking issue with the transmission process itself: to wit, something must be false if it is taught to you by your parents.

But facts can be reliably transmitted. I agree. There are factual elements to Christianity: its historical origins, and its core belief of the Resurrecton.

Either the Resurrection happened, or it didn't; and the evidence for and against can be examined using historical criteria.

If you are saying that historical facts are not facts, then I'm afraid I disagree with you. To argue the case would take too long here; I would refer you to a book like Richard Evans' 'In Defence of History'.

The Resurrection (and what flows from it) is again what I would cite as the key difference between my beliefs and those of the Hindu singer you mention.

18 July 2014 at 14:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Despite all that his momma Madalyn Murray O'Hair taught him about atheism, William J. Murray III became a Christian.

18 July 2014 at 14:19  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Sydney

As sure as night follows day, any safeguards will be shown to be inadequate. Old, frightened, vulnerable people will be bullied into agreeing to being 'put down' if this bill is passed.

18 July 2014 at 14:28  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Clive @ 14:28

Fore real-life support of that, see Sister Julian's post about the Oregon experience. (17th July @ 14:20).

18 July 2014 at 14:37  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

Explorer

Thanks for the info.

We all know that safeguards are never 100% effective. What Lord Falconer is saying is that a number of people being bullied into an early death is acceptable. Of course he won't put a number on it!

18 July 2014 at 14:57  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Sidney

Drug problems vanish overnight vanish with legalisation? Any evidence for that bold assertion?

Jamaica is perhaps a case in point,,cannabis not quite legalised but pretty much tolerated. I gather its a great place to live!!!

Sadly we humans do need to be saved from ourselves and each other on so many levels. In the context of this thread,;the point is that a euthanasia law will affect us all not just those mentally clear adults who wish to exercise autonomy.

18 July 2014 at 15:11  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The Explorer said...

Clive @ 14:28

Fore real-life support of that, see Sister Julian's post about the Oregon experience. (17th July @ 14:20).

18 July 2014 14:37


Explorer, I may be looking in the wrong place, but I've only found one comment dated 17 July at 14:20 and that was by Len, kindly sharing with us a nightmare he had about David and Goliath, on the "Contextualisation" thread.

???

Thanks
Brian

18 July 2014 at 15:57  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Len

"This shows a total prejudice about how one arrives at ones faith"

Well, I am of course generalising Len and if that is your story then great, but I think you will agree you are the exception to the rule. How else do you explain the fact that the overwhelming majority (i would love a stat, but i conservatively estimate at least 90%) of people have the same religion as their parents?

18 July 2014 at 16:05  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

16.20?

18 July 2014 at 16:09  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Uncle Brian:

Apologies - 16:20

18 July 2014 at 16:09  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Steve

You legalise drugs consumers buy them from Boots and Asda, trustworthy brands, not some dealer hanging about on the tube. The money dries up for the criminal gangs and with it the violent fights for territory, control etc.

Look how prohibition and subsequent legalisation of alcohol worked out for an example.

18 July 2014 at 16:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sidney @ 16:05

The point you raise is a wider one about education generally: how one generation educates, or ceases to educate, another.

Old birds teach young birds how to fly.

When a generation decides that a particular body of knowledge should cease, then that knowledge dies. With the virtual disappearance of the Classics, many paintings in the National Gallery, much of Shakespeare, and all Latin terms and inscriptions (op cit, ff etc) have become incomprehensible to most of the younger generation.

The Soviets made a similar sort of decision about Christianity. To ensure that children were not secretly taught, family life was deliberately disrupted as much as possible. By fixing the industrial wage at a level that ensured both parents must work in order to provide, children were relegated to state crèches where they could be inculcated with the correct, religion-free views from an early age.

No nonsense about tolerating the burka: they were piled up in the public square and ritually burnt.

Of course, everything simply went underground. With the collapse of Marxism in the East (as opposed to its triumph in the West) Christianity and Islam simply re-emerged.

But that's religion. The fate of the Classics may be more terminal.

18 July 2014 at 16:47  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 July 2014 at 16:58  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Thank you, Explorer and Lucy Mullen.

In Oregon, Sister Julian tells us, two people were given the option of a poison pill without further ado or being left to die a long, lingering, horrifyingly painful death without benefit of medication. I’m afraid Lord Falkenstein and his sinister sidekick, Archbishop Emeritus George Carey, will find that figure most unsatisfactory. Piffling, in fact. To meet the NHS’s cost-benefit targets, our good doctors will have to bully a lot more victims than that into swallowing their cyanide capsules.

18 July 2014 at 17:00  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Hissing Sid

Look at how relaxing the licensing laws has worked out. Hospitals full of drunks, town centres full of drunks, kids drunk in the park. Drunk MPs, when the off-license closed at ten there was a bit of restraint. Stop tap at 10.30 was a bit early, but round the clock boozing just encourages all this binge drinking at closing time that it was supposed to stop only it goes on till 4 am or all night now.

18 July 2014 at 17:00  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Uncle Brian @ 17:00

Only two. But, of course, it's early days, with Oregon as the pioneer. How about when it spreads to a few other states as well?

The economics of it all is the stark thing. We cannot afford to pay for your continuing medication. So you can die, or you can suffer.

18 July 2014 at 17:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

One-age-fits-guidelines for the cinema. Could the same principle be coming in the future to a hospital near you?

Will ceasing medication be based on state of health, or age?

I'd say I was just scaremongering had not Huxley envisaged exactly this scenario in 'Brave New World'.

18 July 2014 at 17:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Blofeld: "Plenty of comment but no substance to the main charge, lad."

As I was making a point about something else, I'm quite happy not to have done.

18 July 2014 at 18:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Clive: "I would agree that many atheists do behave in a moral, generous manner. Your argument for it seems to be that it is in an individual's rational self interest to do so."

I think I've said rather more than that from 04:35 onwards.

"The argument isn't that they don't it is that they have no moral absolute to do so and that if it's simply rooted in a societal self interest, morality has the risk of becoming simply a function of utility."

Firstly, it may well be that you as a Christian has no 'moral absolute' either, other than what you merely imagine to be true. Secondly, I don't think morality is simply rooted in societal self-interest; I think it's rooted in human nature, which includes being part of a gregarious species. As for utilitarian concerned, it's interesting that Blofeld has been mostly appealing to that himself in his defence.

18 July 2014 at 18:13  
Blogger Flossie said...

The Guardian has been running a live blog on the progress of this debate. I think so far there are more peers against than in favour.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/18/assisted-dying-bill-debate-live-updates

18 July 2014 at 18:14  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Haven't had time to read all the comments but just noticing that Welby appears to be the last signatory...guess he is following rather than leading and if all the others had said yes to the right to murder he would just say yes too.And if they had all kept quiet he would just keep quiet too and watch which way the wind was going to blow. Hardly what Latimer would call playing the man!

18 July 2014 at 19:26  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Busy Mum,

You deride in haste. You're obviously too busy to observe that the signatories are listed alphabetically.

18 July 2014 at 19:33  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

I cede - I had not noticed - but I still think Welby is following the crowd with this one.....!

18 July 2014 at 19:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

You legalise drugs consumers buy them from Boots and Asda,

Why not have them next to the Haribo at the checkout!

Do you not think keeping kids away from tobacco and alcohol is enough to be going on with. I'm no prude, grew up in the 60s and all that even grown me own canabis at one time - 'But the drugs don't Work': as they rightly sing.

You cant stop it, but you can teach and learn that life is better, if lived in the real world.

18 July 2014 at 19:58  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Sindey at 16:12

I asked for evidence, you have offered instead a bold assertion and a distraction.

Inbprinciple I am willing to tolerate lelalisationbof self destruction by intoxication in the nsme of personal freefom. However I insist on equal consideration of my liberty and thereby demand that not one penny of my hard earned goes to support those whose drug habit renders them unemployable.

With recreational drugs, deregulation would by definition abolish crime in the drug trade. But drug use would inevitably rise and so would crime by out of their skull users.

The arguments for legalising mercy killing like the arguments for deregulating/decriminalising narcotics are superficial and ignore our tendency to harm ourselves and in that selfish self harming, harm those who care for us. Deceitful.

PS don't know if you've had to help someone through a bad acid trip? I have twice.

18 July 2014 at 20:22  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS do you have ANY IDEA how much it costs to scientifically regulate, test and monitor a legal medicine?

Would dope, acid, MDMA, speed,coke, crack etc go through such a legitimising process? If so, who would pay for it? If not, who would the bereaved parents sue when it went wrong? Or will dealers have crown immunity?

As with assisted suicide, what of the detail? What happens when the cup of hemlock doesn't work? An injection? A pillow? In my novel its a special long needle with a recurved cutting edge that slips between the ribs to pierce and tear the heart, leaving almost no external mark. Cheap, doesn't even need sterilising between patients.

The devil is in the detail, and thereby hangs a tail.

18 July 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Steve

American Prohibition is a perfect example. Look it up.

How much of your hard earned pennies goes on dealing with alcohol problems? Not just the medical issues but the thousands of alcohol fuelled fights every Friday and Saturday night?

Portugal legalised a number of drugs and actually saw a DECLINE in consumption. How do you like that evidence.

Prohibition hasn't worked, drugs are very easily accessible now anyway. Anyone can go get whatever drug they want at any time with little difficulty. And all that cash is going to the black market, when it could be taxed and used to improve public services. Like for cigarettes and alcohol.

18 July 2014 at 20:55  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Steve @20:38

Yes of course it would go through a legitimising process, what kind of business wants a reputation for selling dangerous products? And there in lies another positive result of legalisation and bringing it into the open and subject to regulation - the drugs become safer.

The parents or user sues the company or manufacturer as with any other product.

You'll never supress demand and whilst theres demand you'll never suppress supply. Your daughter is going to take drugs no matter what you do or say. I'd prefer if she got them from a regulated company than some scally in a tracksuit.

18 July 2014 at 21:02  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Lord Tebbit, unsurprisingly, puts his finger on the key point, which he expresses with admirable clarity. From the Telegraph (link below):

Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left disabled by the IRA’s Brighton bombing, said a change in the law would inevitably put the vulnerable under pressure to end their lives.

“Those who care for such people are all too familiar with the moment of black despair which prompts those words: ‘I would be better dead so you can get on with your life’,” he told them.

Financial incentives would, he said, be too hard to resist.


Link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/assisted-dying/10976988/Assisted-dying-the-day-the-House-of-Lords-bared-its-soul.html

18 July 2014 at 22:06  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Carl

"I have nothing against Ernst. (Ok, he isn't a Calvinist and he seems to think Darby was a credible exegete of Revelations, but other than that ...) In general he's a good advocate. Sometimes he gets a little exuberant."Darby..DARBY. Where??

Ernst believes what St Paul states!!

"2 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him (2 separate events in view here. The Day Of The Lord and The Rapture), we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, 2 either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day (The visible return) will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And you know what (The Church of believers where the Holy Spirit is promised to reside and NEVER leave us) is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time (The presence of God's people blocks his appearance). 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work (Even so soon after establishing the church of Thessaloniki here, Satan is at work casting doubts). Only he who now restrains (The Holy Spirit hinders Satan and His purpose) it will do so until he is out of the way (The Holy Spirit is temporarily removed to allow Satan his chance/moment. THE RAPTURE).
8 And THEN the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
12 in order that all may be condemned (The Wrath of God...There is no condemnation/Wrath for those in Christ Jesus. God's wrath does not apply to His Children)"

Next you'll be saying that Luther made up Justification by faith alone as the RCC never mentioned it for 1200 years and still denies it is in scripture?

It called suppression!!

You are amillennialists like RC's BECAUSE Calvinism, like RC, gets its eschatology from the same sources and is founded in Augustinism, fella *Chortles*

Blofeld

PS

the relevance to this thread is NOT the wickedness of current man but the wholesale apostasy of the visible church i.r. Assisted Dying, SSM, Gay Clergy, etc etc

18 July 2014 at 23:22  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

It has been said sometimes of Blowers, "Sometimes he gets a little exuberant."

Perhaps when he says we are witnessing the "wholesale apostasy of the visible church". Happy Jack points out not the Catholic or Orthodox Churches (yet),nor is it wholesale in the Anglican Church (yet), nor is some other denominations, there are so many of them, (yet).

Jack claims no powers of prediction but the signs do suggest a fierce moral and spiritual struggle is going on against the heresy of Modernism. Is it the final battle and the Gates of Hell are about to open? Some think so; God alone knows. This war between good and evil within the Church has been waging since Peter misunderstood the nature of Christ's mission and Judas betrayed Him.

Jack takes the view that as Christians we should believe the Church will overcome this present manifestation of Satan. This means continuing to protect our faith from error, building just and moral societies and helping spread the Gospel.

Whether there is an imminent Rapture is immaterial. Personally, Jack believes this whole idea is fanciful. However, it's not what counts right now. Fighting for the fundamental and basic elements of our faith is what counts and defending and promoting God's laws in the world.

Ps
It would be a whole lot easier too if Christians just stopped blocking the Holy Spirit's efforts to get them across the Tiber!

19 July 2014 at 01:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Ernst

Surely you have heard of Darby. He's the guy who burned a little incense, waved some chicken bones over Scripture, and conjured up Premillenial Dispensationalism. Which evidently had been suppressed since before John wrote his revelation - since nobody had ever heard of it until Darby ate that fateful chicken.

;-)

carl

19 July 2014 at 03:27  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Btw Ernst

A few comments on this.

You are amillennialists like RC's BECAUSE Calvinism, like RC, gets its eschatology from the same sources

The RCs aren't wrong about everything. There is still a fair amount of Truth floating around the RCC and even you would have to admit that. Yes it's covered in the carbuncles of Popery and surrounded by the Gnostic mist of Sacred Tradition. But it's wrong to discount something merely because Rome teaches it.

It's also not correct to exclusively associate Calvinism with Amillenialism. There was once a strong history of Post Millennialism in Calvinism. I know Calvinists who are Historic Premillenialists. I even know Premillenial Dispensationslists who are Calvinists. The relationship isn't so tight as you suggest.

carl

19 July 2014 at 03:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I'm an amillennialist (ie the Millennium as the period between the First and the Second Coming), and I'm not a Catholic or a Calvinist.

I cannot accept postmillennialism for its presumption that the Church will make consistent headway in advancing the kingdom until it reaches the millennial period. Too many scriptural passages seem to suggest otherwise: 'Matthew 24', for instance, '2 Timothy' 3: 2-5, '2 Peter' 3: 3-4.

There you get the sense not that the world will be increasingly won over for Christ so much as that Christ will return to bring closure in its existing form to a world that is increasingly moving away from God.

19 July 2014 at 08:09  
Blogger David Hussell said...

The Explorer @ 08.09

Rejoining this thread after a big gap, yes I agree with you.

One does get a sense that humanity will drift further away from the full truth, since if we not born again of the Spirit, our basic rebelliousness and conformity to the world will tend to make us deviate further and further away, as time progresses. This happens even in the places where truth had been offered with clarity. Intermittent revivals can of course temporarily reverse that process. But at the moment the movement is mainly downhill. But a strong remnant remains of course, although ignored by the media.

I see an analogy with the mathematical and scientific concept of entropy, the human equivalent of it in fact; disorder increases, the further and further we travel away from the source of all things, the Creator, physically and spiritually.

19 July 2014 at 08:35  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Woops, grammar.... tut, tut,

The second "But" is wrong. The start of the last sentence forming the second paragraph should be "However..." Lack of an editing facility is a frustration on this current operating platform, but Cranmer has it in hand we understand ?

19 July 2014 at 08:40  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David H:

Entropy is an excellent analogy!

19 July 2014 at 08:42  
Blogger Len said...

'The RCs aren't wrong about everything'.
All religions have an element of truth... But Truth mixed with error makes a very toxic mix.. Catholicism Islam and many religions have this in common..

Supposing one was going to have a drink and the person who poured the drink said he had added some poison to the drink but didn`t say how much?.
Would one still drink?.

19 July 2014 at 12:51  
Blogger Sidney Deane said...

Steve - "..."


lol. love that pin dropping.

19 July 2014 at 17:44  
Blogger genghis said...


..........I knew the girl I met was for me some ten seconds after we first saw each other, but, upon my return after my last trip to sea, I laid siege until she agreed to marry me. We were gloriously, blissfully happy, our family grew and blossomed; until I was finally made aware that my beloved wife was seriously ill, and I had to have her committed. My wife of now some forty-seven years has been suffering from the effects of schizophrenia for some forty-three of those years. For many years, after she was released to me from the mental hospital where she was treated, she was back to some 95-97.5% of the woman whom I fell in love with, all those years ago in one chance evening at the Empire Ballroom in Leicester Square; but things went downhill some ten or twelve-odd years ago.

She now sits upstairs on her bedside, anxiously awaiting my help for even the slightest move to swivel across to her commode. She depends upon me for everything, and I would be a strange caricature of a man if I ever deserted her. My philosophy of life is now, and has been for many years; ‘you play the hand you are dealt’, and this is what I do for the woman I love. But what might happen to my love if I should die before her? Being totally dependent upon others for everything, and I do mean everything; more than likely she would be headed straight for a care facility, would she not be a prime target for these do-gooders who believe firmly that they know what is best for one who cannot articulate her needs and wishes?..........

If any reader of His Grace's blog wishes to view the rest of my original post, it can be found at
http://mikecunningham.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/in-sickness-and-in-health/

23 July 2014 at 13:36  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 July 2014 at 21:51  

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