Friday, July 25, 2014

Without freedom of religion and belief, what freedom is there?


Lord Alton of Liverpool initiated a debate in the House of Lords on 24th July concerning international compliance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights concerning freedom of belief. Here is his opening address:
My Lords, I begin by thanking all noble Lords who will participate in this balloted debate, which draws attention to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right. Article 18 states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”.
Today we will hear from many distinguished Members of your Lordships’ House, including my noble friend Lord Sacks, who says in The Dignity of Difference:
“The great faiths provide meaning and purpose for their adherents. The question is: can they make space for those who are not its adherents, who sing a different song, hear a different music, tell a different story? On that question, the fate of the 21st century may turn”.
The urgency of that challenge was reflected in a recent speech by the shadow Foreign Secretary, the right honourable Douglas Alexander. Among systematic violations of Article 18, he particularly drew attention to what he described as “anti-Christian persecution”, which he said,
“must be named for the evil that it is, and challenged systematically by people of faith and of no faith”.
I know that we will hear later from the noble Lord, Lord Bach, who will expand on that important speech.

Two recent cases underline the universal applicability of Article 18. A young Indonesian man, Alexander Aan, was jailed for more than two years simply for declaring his atheism on Facebook. Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian, was confined to a mental institution for the same reason. Ben Rogers of Christian Solidarity Worldwide visited Alexander Aan in prison in Indonesia and campaigned for his release. Such welcome advocacy by a group of one religious persuasion working for the freedom of another, whose beliefs are different—hearing different music, telling a different story—is echoed in a letter by world Buddhist leaders, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, calling for an end to violence against Muslims in Burma. The Dalai Lama is emphatic that:
“The violence in Buddhist majority countries targeting religious minorities is completely unacceptable. I urge Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of the Buddha before them before they commit such a crime”.
Not only is Article 18 a universal human right; it is a human right that is violated universally. Last year, under the admirable chairmanship of the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief, of which I am an officer, published Article 18: An Orphaned Right. It noted that,
“almost 75% of the world’s population live in countries with high levels of government restrictions on freedom of religion or belief”.
Thanks to major speeches by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister, and the crucial work of the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, the introduction of the European Union Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the excellent work of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, this issue has been given greater prominence. I know that today’s important debate will contribute to that.

Yet, compared with Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom and its ambassador-at-large, the excellent Andrew Bennett, or the US State Department and the US Commission of International Religious Freedom, the Foreign Office has just one official specifically focused on freedom of religion, and only for a third of her time. The FCO has said that it wants to develop a toolkit on freedom of religion or belief for diplomats, stating that,
“every minister at the FCO is an ambassador for religious freedom, raising and promoting these issues in the countries with which they engage”.
But how will they do that? How are our diplomats trained in religious literacy? Compare the £34 billion spent on military operations since the Cold War with the paltry resources deployed in promoting Article 18 — in promoting religious coexistence, public discourse and dialogue, foundational to building peaceful societies in a world increasingly afraid of difference.

In an all too brief survey of worldwide violations of Article 18, I inevitably begin in the Middle East, where, in the midst of an orgy of violence and brutality, we are fast approaching a time when Christianity will have no home in its ancient homelands. In Syria, the brutal murder in April of the 75 year-old Dutch Jesuit Father Franz van der Lugt, who had served there for 50 years, working in education and with disabled people, illustrates why an estimated 450,000 Christians have fled. Followers of other religions, notably the Mandeans, Yizidis, Baha’is and Ahmadis suffer similarly.

In Iraq, a Christian population of 1.4 million has been reduced to 150,000. In recent weeks, the depredations, beheadings and crucifixions by ISIS are almost beyond belief. For the first time in almost 2,000 years, Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, no longer has a Christian community. Its churches are now closed, most having been desecrated. In what has been described as “religious cleansing”, ISIS says that anyone who refuses to convert and defies it will be,
“killed, crucified or have their hands and feet cut off”.
ISIS has taken a sledgehammer to the tomb of Jonah, replaced the cross with the black Islamic flag on top of Mosul’s St Ephraim’s Cathedral, and beheaded or crucified any Muslim who dares to dissent. This week in Istanbul, the head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, Professor Dr Mehmet Görmez, in his address to the participants of the World Islamic Scholars Peace, Moderation and Common Sense Initiative conference said that 1,000 Muslims are being killed each day, and that 90% of the killers are also Muslims. He said:
“They are being killed by their brothers”.
Yesterday, the archbishops of Iraq united in their condemnation of these events but also called on the outside world to help. The only people who have successfully withstood ISIS are the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. To its credit, the Kurdish leadership has been generously offering safe haven to Mosul’s fleeing Christians and has asked for international aid to help it do so. This crisis justifies huge humanitarian and resettlement aid that could include micro and business loans to help people to help themselves. The West must also press the Gulf to end the funding of ISIS. Where in Mosul is the “responsibility to protect”, let alone Article 18? I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us.

Elsewhere, in Egypt, these are increasingly dangerous and menacing times for freedom of belief. As honorary president of the UK Copts, I saw the way in which Copts were targeted by the Muslim Brotherhood. Last year, in the single largest attack on Christians in Egypt since the 14th century, more than 50 churches were bombed or burnt. It was Egypt’s Kristallnacht. What priority do we give to Egypt’s minorities as we engage with the new President?

In Iran, the so-called moderate, Hassan Rouhani, in the 12 months since he was elected, has executed 800 people and imprisoned and tortured many others. Iran continues to target religious minorities, particularly Baha’is, whose cemeteries have been desecrated; 136 Baha’is are in prison, some since 2008. As “unprotected infidels” they can be attacked with impunity. Repression against Christians in Iran includes: waves of arrests and detentions; raids on church gatherings; raids on social gatherings; harsh interrogations; physical and psychological torture, including demands to recant and to identify other Christians; extended detentions without charge; violations of due process; convictions for ill defined crimes or on falsified political charges; economic targeting through exorbitant bail demands; and threats of execution for apostasy. What priority will our new chargé d’affaires in Tehran be giving these Article 18 issues when he meets the regime’s leadership?

I return now to Sudan and the treatment of Meriam Ibrahim, which was described by the Prime Minister as “barbaric”. In May, this young mother of two was charged, and sentenced to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery. Having refused to renounce her faith, she was forced to give birth shackled in a prison cell in Khartoum. Happily, given a debate where we will be hearing so much that is so very sad and tragic, international pressure, often led by young internet campaigners, has led to her release. This morning, she arrived safely in Italy. However, Meriam Ibrahim’s case is not an isolated one. Archaic and cruel laws lead to stonings and lashings, with Al-Jazeera reporting that in one recent year, 43,000 women were publicly flogged.

In Nigeria, another crisis is looming for religion and unfolding on a daily basis. There are reports of collusion between elements of the military and Islamist forces. This week marks 100 days since Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok. Are we any nearer to finding them? My noble friend Lady Cox has just returned from Nigeria and will have much more to say about the situation and her report documenting that jihadist violence.

As the Minister responds to Article 18 abuses in Nigeria, might we hear something, too, about the plight of Christians in Kenya, who face increasing threats and attacks from al-Shabaab, and in Eritrea—another serious violator of freedom of religion? The UN has just established a Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, and I look forward to hearing how we will assist its work.

I have focused extensively on the Middle East and Africa, but across Asia, Article 18 faces serious threats as well. We will hear from the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, about the situation in Pakistan. Think of the bombing last September of the Anglican church in Peshawar, killing 127 and injuring 250, of the attacks on Shias and Ahmadis or of the imprisonment of and death sentences on Christians, such as Asia Bibi, charged with blasphemy. For challenging those laws, Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister for Minority Affairs, was assassinated in 2011, and no one has been brought to justice.

Meanwhile, in Burma, Muslims are facing growing religious intolerance. In March 2013, I visited a village just outside Naypyidaw. In the charred embers of a burnt-out madrassah, I took statements from the few Muslims who had not fled. I met Rohingya Muslims and heard from ethnic Kachin and Chin Christians facing terrible persecution. Proposed new legislation to restrict religious conversions and interreligious marriage will hardly help; practical initiatives countering hate speech and intolerance might. Could we not ask the UN Secretary-General to visit Burma, specifically to address rising religious intolerance, and encourage the establishment of an international and independent inquiry into the violence in Rakhine state, Kachin state and other parts of the country?

Elsewhere in Asia, religious intolerance is rising, too, for example in Indonesia. I would welcome the Minister’s response to CSW’s new report, Indonesia: Pluralism in Peril, and the Government’s view of Prabowo Subianto’s attempts to undermine religious coexistence and his challenge to this week’s election results. There are also threats to Article 18 in India, with a BJP attack on an evangelical church in Uttar Pradesh last week; in Sri Lanka, where anti-Muslim violence has erupted; in Bangladesh, where, earlier this month, nuns were brutally attacked and beaten; in Malaysia, where a court has ruled that only Muslims can use the term “Allah”, even though Christians have traditionally also used that same term in their texts and in their languages; and in Brunei, where a full Sharia penal code is being introduced.

Turning to the Far East, I hope we will hear whether we have protested about the demolition of Protestant and Catholic churches there; the continued detention of the Catholic bishop of Shanghai, Thaddeus Ma, arrested in 2012; and the well-being of the Tibetan Buddhist monk and scholar Tenzin Lhundup, about whom nothing has been heard since his arrest in May, and the self-immolation of 131 Tibetans since 2009. In 2009, I visited Tibet with the noble Lord, Lord Steel. Together, we published our report Breaking the Deadlock and, in highlighting the religious dimension, we argued:
“Any attempts to resolve the political situation … must take due account is of the profound spiritual life of Tibetan people”.
In Laos and Vietnam, the situation is perilous; I have given the noble Lord details. We had a debate only yesterday about what some have described as genocide in North Korea. For 10 years, I have chaired the all-party group and I commend the Hansard report of yesterday’s debate to all Members of the House.

As I have outlined in a speech which rather inadequately has tried to set the scene for the many more detailed interventions which will follow, Article 18 is under threat in almost every corner of the world. As we approach the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, we should recall that, long before Article 18, it asserted the importance of religious freedom.

Societies which deny such freedoms are invariably unhappy societies. Research shows that there is a direct link between economic prosperity and religious freedom. In 1965, Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s proclamation on religious freedom, said correctly that a society which promotes religious freedom will be enlivened and enriched and one that does not will decay.

Article 18 is a foundational human right—many would say the foundational right—because, while there should be no hierarchy of rights and all rights are interdependent, without the freedom to choose, practise, share without coercion and change your beliefs, what freedom is there? As my noble friend Lord Sacks says, on this question, the fate of the 21st century may turn.
His Grace is still awaiting a response from Baroness Warsi explaining precisely what her 'Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief' has set out or accomplished (apart from being "thought-provoking").

387 Comments:

Blogger IanCad said...

Thank you very much for this YG,

Speaking for myself, I will say that there is no other way I would have been made aware of the many problems that your editorials have brought to light.

Bless you.

25 July 2014 at 10:41  
Blogger Martin said...

And in the UK Christians are arrested for preaching the gospel, guest house owners are sued for failing to allow those who pervert sex to do their deeds and the media openly sideline any sort of Christian comment.

Can imprisonment and murder be far behind?

25 July 2014 at 10:42  
Blogger Martin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 July 2014 at 10:42  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Surely Lord Alton was not suggesting all this persecution was by the Religion of Peace? Goodness...is this the beginning of a national reality-check? One hopes so...

25 July 2014 at 10:54  
Blogger Guy Jones said...

Article 18 reads like it was penned by a well-meaning, yet deluded atheist. It says nothing about the consequences of belief. What if my religion involves child-sacrifice? In Islam infidels are offered to Allah as is shown here:

http://bit.ly/1nAxZvs

These Jihadis are practicing Islam perfectly.

25 July 2014 at 11:20  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

There is only one religion creating havoc in the world. It leads to the disruption of societies where ever its adherents set themselves up as colonisers.

We in the West have made the mistake of treating this religion as being no different from any other long tempered by secular accommodation, on the assumption of addressing the rights in our society as individuals.

Islam is a cancer and has no place here.

Politicicans are too gutless, too greedy and self serving to even discuss the erosion of our nation by selling out to the petro-dollar to consider, let alone live in the same streets that have become enclaves of immigrant 'cultures' with no intention of becoming British.

Indigenous British working class is now marginalised and derided as bigoted or 'Islamophobic' if they so much as vote for Ukip.

The Jew and Christians here won't stand up and protest because they know their own religions are equally fantastical a form of logic as Mohammad and his messages.

Its as CRAZY as One Clown saying to the other -'you look ridiculous' and failing to see the sameness. Meanwhile we are treated to the extreme violence and misery that is metered out by Islam with impunity.

Religion Sucks!
Islam doubly sucks!



25 July 2014 at 11:40  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Mrs Proudie @ 10:54

It is not unreasonable for Islam to call itself the religion of peace.

There WILL be peace: after everywhere has been conquered by Islam.

25 July 2014 at 11:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 11:40

I regard Islam as essentially a Judeo-Chrsitian heresy obtained in part from corrupted sources (The Gospel of Thomas is one of them): betraying its borrowings at every turn, and at its worst when it is furthest away from its sources.

If I have two £5 notes and one is counterfeit, I can see how the one is a copy the other. But that does not mean the other cannot be genuine.

25 July 2014 at 11:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Sacks: "“The great faiths provide meaning and purpose for their adherents. The question is: can they make space for those who are not its adherents, who sing a different song, hear a different music, tell a different story? On that question, the fate of the 21st century may turn”."

It has to be said that the fate of most centuries have depended on that, with many more failures than successes. After reading that litany of rights abuses, I'm ever more grateful that I live in a great place like the UK at this time in history.

25 July 2014 at 12:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin, you've failed at the very first hurdle, and an absurdly low one at that.

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

DanJ0:

Great quote.

You can make space for those who sing a different song.

The problem is when their song says they must conquer you.

25 July 2014 at 12:16  
Blogger Guy Jones said...

@ Explorer

Exactly. When the scripture commands the slaying of unbelievers then what is the believer to do? Obey article 18 and be rendered an infidel himself?

Article 18 is well-meaning poppycock.

25 July 2014 at 12:30  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

If you took all the beheadings, torture, mutilation, stoning, flogging, pillage, gang-rape, pedophilia and extortion out of Islam, how would the Muslim faith community retain its coherence? People would be leaving in droves.

25 July 2014 at 12:31  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Excellent article Your Grace, so thank you.

As IanCad said @ 10.41, we would not have been told of the scale and extent of persecution and suffering, but for this brave and truthful little website.

Three cheers for Cranmer !

But what progress on construction of the new website, may I ask ?

25 July 2014 at 12:37  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace,
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is all very disturbing and we know about many of these incidents.

As others have indicated there is also persecution in our own country.
Persecution comes in many forms. There is the physical and then there is the mental. Many in high positions have maintained that this country is Christian. Yet the rights of Gays trump those of Christians. The rights of couples to adopt are denied if they don't fit with the secular views of social services, just to quote one instance.
Although impassioned, Lord Alton failed to address more clearly the issues in our own country which could be dealt with as apposed to those in other countries wherein we can only make international protest. Then those countries just say get lost.

Charity starts at home and whilst we must stand up for the peoples of the world, lets set an example by starting with the persecution at home.

25 July 2014 at 12:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shadrach: "As others have indicated there is also persecution in our own country."

We've had lots of success in the last couple of decades tackling that. :)

25 July 2014 at 12:43  
Blogger IanCad said...

DanJO wrote:

"I'm ever more grateful that I live in a great place like the UK at this time in history."

Me too.

Now, if somehow David Davis were to become leader of the Conservative Party our liberties would be a bit more secure.

25 July 2014 at 12:47  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Lord Alton uses the term "balloted debate" to describe yesterday's event in the Lords. This would seem to indicate that the debate is not an integral part of a parliamentary procedure designed to lead to a change in the law. Or is it?

The question arises, what difference will Lord Alton's words make, in practice, to people in the UK who suffer persecution in the name of a religion? For example, Muslim women who are the victims of the hate crimes euphemistically labelled "honour killings"?

25 July 2014 at 13:03  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Shadrach @ 12.38

I agree. Persecution is creeping in here. Take the case of the bakers who refused to make a cake with a political slogan supporting Same Sex Marriage, for example. Freedom to express well reasoned beliefs, and even ones established for thousands of years, is now under threat. That is why I support the campaigning Christian Institute who fight in the courts for freedom for Christians to live Christian lives.

Lord Alton, a LibDem peer is right to point to the truly appalling persecution globally, but his own party are hardly impressive at defending the right of people here to live by their consciences, when those consciences are informed by Christian belief.
Pointing to distant injustices is a good thing to do, especially if it leads to changes in government policy, foreign policy, but how about Lord Alton defending those Christians who are being bullied and marginalised here in the UK, right now ?

25 July 2014 at 14:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David H: "That is why I support the campaigning Christian Institute who fight in the courts for freedom for Christians to live Christian lives."

No doubt our Muslims citizens will be very grateful for every fight they win [1] in the courts trying to carve out religious rights, especially those like the checkout workers who want to be able refuse to scan alcohol and pork as a matter of conscience.

[1] Not that they seem to w3in any, it's almost a kiss of death for them to take up a case. Heh.

25 July 2014 at 14:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The purpose of Religious freedom as currently defined is to hermetically isolate religion from "the real world." It is founded on the idea that metaphysical truth is either unknowable or non-existent. A man is therefore generously given the right to create whatever metaphysical reality he might prefer - so long as he recognizes that his act of creation has no standing beyond the limits of his own mind. Religious freedom has become a declaration of man's autonomy. He is free to create his own gods.

The obvious problem is that religious people don't see it this way. They will insist on violating the boundaries established. And of course the secular establishment that created this definition has its own understanding of metaphysical reality that it sneaks in the back door by pushing religion out the front. "The real world" becomes the world of sovereign man untroubled by angels and elves. Man is free because there exists no judge above him. The clash of worldviews cannot be manipulated into non-existence by expedient of shoving religion into a corner.

This definition of religious freedom has undermined our ability to judge a religion by the acts of its followers. Our commitment to autonomy says that a man has the right to create his own reality untroubled. So we are forced to separate the religion - which we must affirm in the name of autonomy - from the actions of the religion. And we must judge those actions without any established metaphysical foundation of our own. We are not allowed to connect the religion to the actions that necessarily proceed from that Religion.

We have lost the ability to fight a religion because a religion must be opposed by another religion. The West had better learn how to fight Islam in the same way it fought Communism. It needs to discredit the religion and not just followers of the religion. It needs to develop the ability to say that Islam is incompatible with the West. But it has shoved religion into a hermetically sealed box. By definition all religions are supposed to be compatible with the West. Civilization is supposed to be independent if religion.

But it isn't.

carl

25 July 2014 at 14:21  
Blogger Roy said...

I return now to Sudan and the treatment of Meriam Ibrahim, which was described by the Prime Minister as “barbaric”. In May, this young mother of two was charged, and sentenced to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery. Having refused to renounce her faith, she was forced to give birth shackled in a prison cell in Khartoum. Happily, given a debate where we will be hearing so much that is so very sad and tragic, international pressure, often led by young internet campaigners, has led to her release.

Meriam Ibrahim's husband is an American citizen. Therefore you would expect the so-called Leader of the Free World to have been vociferous in demanding the release of Meriam and her son and baby. Instead Barak Obama's silence was deafening.

The US embassy in Khartoum is said to have put bureaucratic obstacles in the way of Meriam's husband's attempts to have her granted permission to join her husband in the United States. Meetings between Meriam and her lawyers were arranged by the British Embassy, not the US one. The Canadian Embassy, not the US Embassy, arranged for an air-conditioning unit to be set up in her cell after she gave birth. It was the Italians, not the Americans, who despatched a plane to fetch her when she was finally allowed to leave the country.

The role of the American government in this sorry affair has been utterly disgraceful.

25 July 2014 at 15:20  
Blogger IanCad said...

DanJO

Fair Point. "Reasonable Accommodation" has to be for all faiths.

Whether one who applies for work in an environment where their religious scruples would be constantly under strain, should be so accommodated, I think not.

Certainly not for the checkers in a supermarket. At least, not where food is concerned.

It would be unreasonable to expect the employer to swap cashiers on a minute by minute basis.

25 July 2014 at 15:22  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Roy, no financial profit in it for them you see.

25 July 2014 at 15:35  
Blogger Manfarang said...

David Hussell
Lord Alton is a Crossbencher.
Anyway-
"His majesty, our Lord, in what manner he – together with his realm – legislated in the matter of religion at the previous Diets, in the same matter now, in this Diet, reaffirms that in every place the preachers shall preach and explain the Gospel each according to his understanding of it, and if the congregation like it, well. If not, no one shall compel them for their souls would not be satisfied, but they shall be permitted to keep a preacher whose teaching they approve. Therefore none of the superintendents or others shall abuse the preachers, no one shall be reviled for his religion by anyone, according to the previous statutes, and it is not permitted that anyone should threaten anyone else by imprisonment or by removal from his post for his teaching. For faith is the gift of God and this comes from hearing, which hearing is by the word of God."

25 July 2014 at 15:44  
Blogger David Hussell said...

DanJ0 @ 14.10

You could not be more wrong.

In some cases they fight against Muslim intolerance of Christian practices where "the law" in our formerly fair minded country tends to grant the benefit to the "protected classes".

Yes, they have lost some cases, of course, but even there, in losing in the public eye, they have created an awareness amongst all but the openly anti-heritage, anti-Christian brigade, that the Equalities Law is just so far skewed against all that is not recently imported, that it needs rebalancing.

But they also continue to win cases and protect rights, for example, of Christian street preachers. However, surprise, surprise, the cases that they win are not given the same level of publicity as the ones that they lose. So that explains your slanted view of their performance perhaps, as I'm sure you are impeccably fair minded, are you not ?

They are doing sterling service challenging the anti-Christian agenda expressed through leftist legal devices imported from the EU. It's offshoot the Wilberforce Institute is also doing excellent work.

25 July 2014 at 16:24  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

But Mr Explorer, that is the Peace of the Grave...and it seems to me that there's a lot of Moslem killing of Moslems too...the common denominator being 'killing'. Of course, thanks to our gallant Prime Minister and other politicos, we know that these manifestations of world-wide barbarity are not representative of 'true Islam,' which I find comforting, don't you?

25 July 2014 at 17:27  
Blogger Len said...

'Without freedom of religion and belief, what freedom is there? '
Indeed,
Or as George Orwell said; 'Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear'.
Of course;
Telling people what they do not want to hear can (in extreme cases) get you killed in less extreme cases get you imprisoned for breaching ' Political correctness rules and regulations ' or the accusation of being 'judgmental' unkind unloving divisive a bigot disrespectful and the rest..
To quote Orwell again,
'In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act'

The Cross of Jesus Christ is an offence to many the reason being that the Cross of Christ declares us all sinners and that we all need Christ as Saviour because we cannot save ourselves however hard we try.

25 July 2014 at 17:35  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Wouldn't it be a wheeze if all of us - the Cranmeristas - could meet, gather, discuss and debate over a beverage or two at The Curate's Egg in Barchester? I can easily whip up batches of hobnobs and Mr Slope will do a funny turn (though not the one with the daffodil, pot of peanut butter and bicycle pump that he disgraced himself with at the Diocesan Conference two weeks ago.

25 July 2014 at 17:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David H: "Yes, they have lost some cases, of course, but even there, in losing in the public eye, they have created an awareness amongst all but the openly anti-heritage, anti-Christian brigade, that the Equalities Law is just so far skewed against all that is not recently imported, that it needs rebalancing."

I agree that there's something wrong with the equalities legislation, and the common approach to equality. The best explanation of that was a link the blog owner provided and referred to a few months ago. I highlighted it at the time.

I'm not sure they're doing much for awareness of anti-Christian-ness in the legal system generally though. Obviously I have a natural bias here but it tends to look whingey to me, and reminiscent of the sense of victimhood that some of our Muslim citizens adopt.

It's been clear to me for a long time that this is a deliberate political strategy too. That is, people are being used and manipulated by these pressure groups who, I believe, are acting in concert a lot of the time. Some time ago, I delved a bit into their funding and membership, and it was all quite incestuous as I recall.

"So that explains your slanted view of their performance perhaps, as I'm sure you are impeccably fair minded, are you not ?"

I tend to follow the cases which make the news, and try to get the actual judgements to post here. I'm done this a number of times. I also track the Christian Institute website for information on cases as I have an interest in this legal arena. Impeccably fair-minded? I just say it as I see it.

"In some cases they fight against Muslim intolerance of Christian practices where "the law" in our formerly fair minded country tends to grant the benefit to the "protected classes"."

It seems to me that any religious rights won, and the associated obligations that follow from them, will benefit our Muslim citizens at least as much as our Christian ones given our notion of equality before the law, etc. Perhaps that's just fine and dandy with everyone, and the Christian Institute and the CLC are not being useful idiots, as the saying goes around here.

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

That's not to say that I'm not a fan of religious liberty, of course. Liberty being freedom from restraint, where liberty ought to be maximised where possible. Granting rights is something a little different.

25 July 2014 at 17:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 July 2014 at 17:59  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

It’s at times like these that the Inspector is reassured he is a hardliner, and can dispense with gusto the concept of compromise when needed, and that ability is so needed now.

Cranmer - Your headline “Without freedom of religion and belief, what freedom is there?” – can you spot the error ?

Freedom is an interesting thing. You don’t NEED to define it. You either have it or you don’t, on a personal level. And you instinctively know which side of the line you find yourself on. So, no need to drag religion or belief into its definition. Anyway, you can’t involve religion. Not with Islam about. Some people call it a religion, some call it a way of life. It’s both, is it not, and it rubbishes freedom.

So, let’s have no more talk of freedom and religion in the same sentence. You do true freedom no service at all, or acceptable religion or belief for that matter. Religion at any cost is not a true Human Right. Never has been.

25 July 2014 at 18:01  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Dan J0

I am no lawyer, but as I see it The Christian Institute are merely trying to win back areas of freedom, like free speech, the right to tell other people what they might not like, if you wish, that were lost, crushed by the heavy handed Big State Equalities legislation. Such freedom of speech is a vital component of any genuine democracy, and it is under direct attack from PC mind control.

They are also pushing back against the forcing of people to do things against their reasonable conscience too, like the much publicised B + B owners. Losing that case, but eliciting widespread public sympathy, has raised the whole question of "reasonable accommodation" for religious belief. If legal amendments are introduced that allows Muslims to avoid pork, but allows Christian's to live according to their conscience, then that is a price I am prepared to pay, as opposed to us all dancing to a secularist/ atheistic worldview. You may disagree with that.

Cameron's decision to push that Labour equalities legislation through, immediately after he had installed himself as the head of a coalition government, was totally unnecessary, and politically foolish, as it boosted the drift of former Conservatives to either Ukip or disengaged disillusionment. It is not good law to favour some groups over others in my opinion. The whole concept of "protected classes" is anathema to me, being basically, in politics, a Libertarian.

Maybe the concept of "reasonable accommodation" that is being advanced to ameliorate the heavy handedness of the equalities laws, risks breaking that one law for all approach ? A lawyer would have to consider that point. But how else would you progress from this awful place ? For myself, ideally, I would rescind the whole toxic Equalities Legislation, as it undermines historic freedoms previously enshrined in Common law. But if we can not do that, how do we preserve, or restore rather, those freedoms that have been attacked ? Reasonable accommodation may be the legal concept that delivers that necessary rebalancing.

Exactly how would you defend people, wronged by heavy handed, bossy laws, totally at odds with the Christian traditions of this country, without running some risk of being perceived by you as, "whingey", I ask ? Should they smile more as they are hit with illiberal laws masquerading as "liberal" ones in the postmodern, twisted speak ?

25 July 2014 at 18:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David H: "I am no lawyer, but as I see it The Christian Institute are merely trying to win back areas of freedom, like free speech, the right to tell other people what they might not like, if you wish, that were lost, crushed by the heavy handed Big State Equalities legislation."

In principle, I'm quite happy for the Christian Institute and the CLC to bring test cases to court in this area. However, it's a risky venture of course, like with the B&B case, because it can clarify the law in ways they don't want.

"!They are also pushing back against the forcing of people to do things against their reasonable conscience too, like the much publicised B + B owners. Losing that case, but eliciting widespread public sympathy, has raised the whole question of "reasonable accommodation" for religious belief."

I have strong and clear views on that particular case, as it goes, and they won't be the same as yours. I also think it elicited widespread public distaste for the B&B owners too.

On other cases, I applaud their efforts. The cases they do win are usually for wrongful arrest and the like, and I'm very happy for the police to get their wings clipped where necessary. I expect we agree on most of the cases in this area, especially the free speech ones.

"But how else would you progress from this awful place ? For myself, ideally, I would rescind the whole toxic Equalities Legislation, as it undermines historic freedoms previously enshrined in Common law."

The whole lot needs looking at after a clear set of principles has been set out. It seems to me that things have evolved to a place that isn't right any more, even if the intentions are honourable.

"Exactly how would you defend people, wronged by heavy handed, bossy laws, totally at odds with the Christian traditions of this country, without running some risk of being perceived by you as, "whingey", I ask ?"

Firstly, we're under an article listing some terrible instances of persecution and we're discussing the illegal discrimination by a B&B owning couple which is beyond arms length to conscientious objection. There's something a little offensive about that, but hey. Secondly, defending freedom and rights is not inherently whingey even when done by the Christian Institute, the Christian version of Pink News. It's the narrative that I believe is being actively pushed about persecution in the UK that is whingey, like the Muslim version pushed about elsewhere.

I actually agree with people who think that we tiptoe around issues of Islam and stomp around issues of Christianity in the UK. However, I think that's mainly because we're collectively terrified of being thought of as racist, rather than because we want to bash Christians. I also think it's because Christianity is dominant in our culture as far as religions go, and therefore there's a feeling that it has special privileges.

25 July 2014 at 18:36  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace,
The latest National Organisation for Marriage (NOM) in the US has just sent this about persecution in America.
To take one instance: the oft-repeated call to a standard of "live and let live" is not really meant to apply equally, to everyone. It isn't meant to apply to people of faith, or those who believe in traditional marriage. No, such people are supposed to be harassed and harried for their views at every opportunity. Their businesses should be targeted with nuisance lawsuits, and ultimately they should be forced out of public life altogether unless they wholly embrace the ideology of so-called "marriage equality."

This is just about what activities that are growing here.

BTW What did Obama do about freedoms in the Sudan, even when a US citizen was involved? Absolutely nothing. It was the UK and Italy that arranged the evacuation.

25 July 2014 at 19:12  
Blogger IanCad said...

Roy @ 15:20

What a sorry tale!

I had no idea that our American cousins had sunk so low.

All mouth and no trousers?

I don't think the American public has caught up with this yet.

They are going to be steaming!

25 July 2014 at 19:39  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

I'm well aware that Atheists & their fellow travellers have been instrumental in complaining of Christian activities to the police who, it seems, are as dim as the term plod would indicate.

25 July 2014 at 19:56  
Blogger Martin said...

Carl

of course Atheists push their religion by claiming it is scientific and any other is just a religion.

25 July 2014 at 20:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin, you're right. I'm an a-theist and quite possibly a fellow traveller too, whatever one of those is in this case, so I'm guilty by association.

*throws hands up in surrender*

25 July 2014 at 20:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "of course Atheists push their religion by claiming it is scientific and any other is just a religion."

It's the theist bit of a-theist that makes a-theism a religion, I expect.

25 July 2014 at 20:07  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Oh what a sorry world we have created...or rather, the Frankfurter schoolers have created with their PC this and PC that...twenty years hence this country is going to be torn apart as a consequence of equality-diversity-multi-kulti- socialism- pc-ism...but not to worry. By that time Barchester Cathedral will have been put to the torch by rabid Jihadists and my throat will have been cut.

25 July 2014 at 20:11  
Blogger Martin said...

David H

It is interesting to note that, in the case of the B&B owners the judge admitted to having been in the position of having to choose between the rights of the homosexuals and the rights of the Christians*. It wasn't a case of a 'protected class'.

*"this decision does affect the human rights of the defendants to manifest their religion and forces them to act in a manner contrary to their deeply and genuinely held beliefs" Hall and Preddy v Bull and Bull judgment - 18 January 2011

25 July 2014 at 21:01  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

What makes your Atheism is a religion is two-fold.

1. You know God exists

2. You pretend God doesn't exist in order to worship yourself.

And the 'fellow travellers' are those, like you, who pretend God doesn't exist.

25 July 2014 at 21:07  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Martin

this decision does affect the human rights of the defendants to manifest their religion and forces them to act in a manner contrary to their deeply and genuinely held beliefs

That this be the case is both necessary and desirable. A deep and genuine belief is not sufficient to overturn the law. To do otherwise would be to eviscerate the law. Its specific purpose is to compel precisely when people disagree. Thus we have no trouble compelling those who reject the concept of medicine on religious grounds to seek medical treatment for their children.

The problem is not that action is compelled in the face of belief. The problem is the standard by which you determine which beliefs should be compelled.

carl

25 July 2014 at 21:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "1. You know God exists"

You repeat that nonsense regularly even though I've shown it to be nonsense, and when you do I write you off as a bit of a window-licker.

25 July 2014 at 21:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Since we've been talking about the B&B case, here's a fairly pertinent quote from the appeal:

"Whilst the Appellants' beliefs about sexual practice may not find the acceptance that once they did, nevertheless a democratic society must ensure that their espousal and expression remain open to those who hold them. It would be unfortunate to replace legal oppression of one community (homosexual couples) with legal oppression of another (those sharing the Appellants' beliefs); rather there should be achieved respect for the broad protection granted to religious freedom as underlined in Kokkinakis. Any interference with religious rights, specifically identified in article 9 and listed in article 14 of the ECHR, must satisfy the test of `anxious scrutiny'. However, in a pluralist society it is inevitable that from time to time, as here, views, beliefs and rights of some are not compatible with those of others. As I have made plain, I do not consider that the Appellants face any difficulty in manifesting their religious beliefs, they are merely prohibited from so doing in the commercial context they have chosen."

25 July 2014 at 22:06  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

In the Lords debate, Baroness Nicholson talks of ‘the Islam that I know and love’. It turns out that the potty old dear knows a 13th century Persian poem and believes it represents the ‘true Islam’. What, she asks, is the government doing to ensure that this ‘true Islam’ is taught in schools. Meanwhile, in ISIS territory, the authentic ‘true Islam’ as mandated by the Qur’an is put into practice:

[5:33] Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorders in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country.

25 July 2014 at 22:07  
Blogger Martin said...

Carl

" A deep and genuine belief is not sufficient to overturn the law."

Seeing that all that the homosexual has is a belief that he is homosexual I fail to see why the rest of us should be forced to accept such a small minority as normal. They can even define sexual orientation properly in the law!

25 July 2014 at 22:25  
Blogger bluedog said...

A very fine post, Your Grace. It is reassuring to know that the HoL contains a Lord Temporal with such a strong grasp of the Spiritual as Lord Alton manifests. His speech is unlikely to receive much publicity from the BBC and other organs of the Secular Orthodoxy.

25 July 2014 at 22:25  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

When you manage to show it to be nonsense we'll all be amazed.

25 July 2014 at 22:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "Seeing that all that the homosexual has is a belief that he is homosexual I fail to see why the rest of us should be forced to accept such a small minority as normal."

We have erections too, you know.

25 July 2014 at 22:28  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Mrs Proudie @ 20.11

" Fear not, for I am with you, fear not, for I am your God" Isaiah 41 : 10

"Fear not : for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy" Luke 2 : 10

The stout doors of Barchester Cathedral will stand against all.

But, really I agree, we live in interesting times !

25 July 2014 at 22:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "When you manage to show it to be nonsense we'll all be amazed."

I have a number of times now. Given the alleged attributes of your god and the alleged dire consequences of rejecting your god, why would someone who knows it exists go on to pretend it doesn't exist thereby necessarily and unavoidably incurring the dire consequences? Surely even a window-licker can follow the logic of the argument there? But of course that would conflict with your beliefs and in a conflict between belief and reality, you'd rather keep your beliefs and deny reality.

25 July 2014 at 22:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Perhaps all the amazed people can stand to the left so as not to block the thoroughfare. Thanks. :)

25 July 2014 at 22:40  
Blogger nijjhar said...

How spiritually blind the Christians of the Book are:-

St.Photina, the Samaritan Woman at well John4.
DOES ANYONE KNOWS WHY JOHN, THE BAPTIST HAS WINGS OF ANGEL?

Here are the names of her Five Husbands well-known to the Sikhs:-

1. Immorality that she had overpowered for Samaritans are very Moral People – Ego related.
2. Anger, which the once-born natural persons display – Ego related.
3. Greed that is displayed by evil-spirited twice-born people of evil spirit – Mind related.
4. Worldly Temptations in which you become cruel to rule over others – Mind related - Pope.
5. Haughtiness displayed by the stiff-necked, hard dry wood, men of Letters – Ego related.

Thus, in a House, our physical body, there are Five. Three of Ego against Two of Mind and two of Mind against three of Ego. There is always a struggle between the Two, cheat and cruel hypocrite rulers, of Mind against the three of simpletons. Holocausts and revolutions are the end results.

A Righteous person is called a Wise Man of holy ghost when he has overpowered the above Five and such contented and merciful rulers, the sons of Man live in the Peace of God. Centurion was a typical example, who loved his people in God. Such kind people love God by serving people against the Anti-Christ Pope, a Cruel and Merciless Ruler who could not stand the Third Temptation of Jesus by the Satan, “Forget about God, worship me, Mammon, for the worldly rule”.

Here is a Playlist on Youtube that describe them in details:-
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5995C6741CE61432

25 July 2014 at 22:41  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 July 2014 at 22:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "...and have images on our PCs"

What you keep on your PC is not my business, Inspector. Mind you, if you're repressing your orientation and denying yourself a basic human need then it's no wonder you want a bit of self-love from time to time even if you suffer the guilt afterwards. Carry on.

25 July 2014 at 22:45  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

I've often commented on the potty language of the Atheists. I'm sure others here would prefer that you do not use it here.

The reason you pretend God doesn't exist is that you wish to live as you choose and God describes you as a fool in Psalm 14:1 & 53:1. So your reason for pretending there is no God is because you are a fool. Perhaps you should join the real world.

BTW there is no such thing as orientation, just sexual sin.

25 July 2014 at 22:48  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Oh, you saw that then. One considered it rather inappropriate so deleted it. Not all homosexual men have their home PCs crammed with various grades of filth.

25 July 2014 at 22:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "So your reason for pretending there is no God is because you are a fool."

Lol. I know god exists but I pretend otherwise despite expecting to spend an eternity of punishment in hell because I am a fool. It's scary the hoops some of you jump through to hold on to your distortions of reality.

"BTW there is no such thing as orientation, just sexual sin."

Is that an extreme protestant thing? You know, I devoted quite a long and careful comment at the end of a long thread not so long ago to deconstructing the argument underpinning an assertion just like that. Do you extreme protestants have a magazine like the Watchtower or something which distributes stuff like that?

25 July 2014 at 22:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Not all homosexual men have their home PCs crammed with various grades of filth."

That's okay, your secret is safe with me. ;)

25 July 2014 at 23:00  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0, one rests assured that Scotland Yard is onto the the guilty parties as we type...

Now where’s he gone...


25 July 2014 at 23:03  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

He really has gone !!!

Look DanJo, if you turn yourself in and name the rest of the ring, they’ll halve your sentence....

25 July 2014 at 23:17  
Blogger nijjhar said...

St.Photina, the Samaritan Woman at well John4.
DOES ANYONE KNOWS WHY JOHN, THE BAPTIST HAS WINGS OF ANGEL?

Here are the names of her Five Husbands well-known to the Sikhs:-

1. Immorality that she had overpowered for Samaritans are very Moral People – Ego related.
2. Anger, which the once-born natural persons display – Ego related.
3. Greed that is displayed by evil-spirited twice-born people of evil spirit – Mind related.
4. Worldly Temptations in which you become cruel to rule over others – Mind related - Pope.
5. Haughtiness displayed by the stiff-necked, hard dry wood, men of Letters – Ego related.

Thus, in a House, our physical body, there are Five. Three of Ego against Two of Mind and two of Mind against three of Ego. There is always a struggle between the Two, cheat and cruel hypocrite rulers, of Mind against the three of simpletons. Holocausts and revolutions are the end results.

A Righteous person is called a Wise Man of holy ghost when he has overpowered the above Five and such contented and merciful rulers, the sons of Man live in the Peace of God. Centurion was a typical example, who loved his people in God. Such kind people love God by serving people against the Anti-Christ Pope, a Cruel and Merciless Ruler who could not stand the Third Temptation of Jesus by the Satan, “Forget about God, worship me, Mammon, for the worldly rule”.

Here is a Playlist on Youtube that describe them in details:-
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5995C6741CE61432

25 July 2014 at 23:39  
Blogger Pubcrawler said...

"DOES ANYONE KNOWS WHY JOHN, THE BAPTIST HAS WINGS OF ANGEL?"

Yes.

26 July 2014 at 00:28  
Blogger Maxine Schell said...

Nijjar....Huh??

26 July 2014 at 05:41  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

"Lol. I know god exists but I pretend otherwise despite expecting to spend an eternity of punishment in hell because I am a fool. It's scary the hoops some of you jump through to hold on to your distortions of reality."

So how else would you describe someone who knows God exists but is so full of themselves they pretend God doesn't exist?

" I devoted quite a long and careful comment at the end of a long thread not so long ago to deconstructing the argument underpinning an assertion just like that."

Like other demonstrations of your opinion it wasn't persuasive.

26 July 2014 at 07:21  
Blogger nijjhar said...

When the Blind Dog-Collared hirelings of Mammon Guides lead the blind saying Prayers as if our Father is not living in His Temple, our physical body but outside in heaven as the Jewish Yahweh used to live and the people were alienated, so what would you expect but sectarian riots and ism. For the twice-born people of spirit, if there be any, communication with our Father God is through Preaching Gospel and not the dead bla bla as they do in the Churches of Satan, that are replacem,ents of Synagogues.

Living in spirit are solitary that enjoy the Company of Jesus sitting in the Vineyard of our Father. Watch me Preach Gospel of our Most High Father on Youtube channel nijjhar1. I have put up over 3800 Videos.

26 July 2014 at 07:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

nijhar @ 07:56

I'm afraid I'll pass on the offer.

I don't have the time to watch 3800 videos.

26 July 2014 at 09:54  
Blogger nijjhar said...

Hi Brethren,

Not now as things are getting excited and killing and burning of Tares are taking shape. Atomic War is expected in 2018 when Israel would be 70 years old, the age the Temple was destroyed forever from these Saltless Jews outwardly. Spiritual Jews are best to Preach Gospel if they do not be afraid of any but Allah. We are the sons of Most High Father Al-ilah = Allah.

There is no other way to Peace than to be the sons of Man or salt of the earth. John, the Baptist baptised only the Lost Sheep, Jewish People in water in the name of Abraham but when these Tares took over the Church, they do not want to know Abraham as the people listening to Angel Stephen put fingers in their ears and killed him for praising Abraham.

Gospel is as simple as ABC but you need to carry your own Cross.

26 July 2014 at 10:30  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Good Lord, it had to happen. Our very own Guru (?)

26 July 2014 at 10:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector @ 10:43

Give me a summary of the videos (just the first two thousand or so will do) once you've watched them.

26 July 2014 at 10:51  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

From the Dumb Britain column in the latest Private Eye:

Heart FM, Glasgow
Ewen Cameron: It lives in a hutch, Bugs Bunny is one of them.
Caller: An owl?


Nijjhar, have you noticed that you’re broadcasting on the same wavelength as that unnamed “caller”?

26 July 2014 at 11:12  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Explorer old chap. I’ll let you into a secret. I don’t actually understand what he’s saying, although that never bothered the Beatles. Whe'll have to wait for Blowers to turn up. He speaks the same language...

26 July 2014 at 11:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "So how else would you describe someone who knows God exists but is so full of themselves they pretend God doesn't exist?"

Is that the Calvinist version of a Zen Buddhist's koan?

"Like other demonstrations of your opinion it wasn't persuasive."

Clearly not.

I can keep saying 2 + 2 = 4 as well, and you can keep insisting 2 + 2 = 5 if you wish. I can count two objects 1, 2, then another two objects 3, 4, and ask how many objects there are. You can say 5 again I suppose.

26 July 2014 at 11:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector @ 11:22

Still, I haven't enjoyed a contributor more since the days of Bob the Buddhist.

And it's been a rich field recently, with both Sidney and Hereward as contenders.

Blowers, of course, is in a class of his own.

26 July 2014 at 12:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "So how else would you describe someone who knows God exists but is so full of themselves they pretend God doesn't exist?"

Let me whisper something in your ear: I don't think you know your god exists. I think you'd like it to exist. But I don't think you know. I mean that in the subjective sense of know as well as the objective sense.

26 July 2014 at 12:04  
Blogger Len said...

This is getting a bit like 'the Matrix'...
Actually it is very much like the Matrix... Danjo is trying to break out of his self imposed prison...
Take it from here Danjo...

26 July 2014 at 12:25  
Blogger Len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 July 2014 at 12:25  
Blogger Len said...

Just deleted myself..
spooky.

26 July 2014 at 12:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "Danjo is trying to break out of his self imposed prison..."

But I know Martin's god exists, Len. I'm just pretending it doesn't, and acting accordingly. Including have a homosexual sex-life. For sure, I know I'll be punished for eternity as a result but I'm too full of myself today to care. It's obvious that's the way it is. Afterall, the alternative is that as a self-identifying a-theist I, well, don't actually believe in a god or gods at all and I simply act according to my own nature. Which is by far the most likely? The former of course! It's obvious. I just love the idea of being tortured for eternity by the god I know exists, and I don't even need to doubt that it will happen, my really knowing the truth an' all.

26 July 2014 at 12:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Martin is making a (true) theological statement from authority about the nature of man. It is akin to saying "All men are born in sin." You don't have the authority to deny it, and your denials don't constitute evidence that it is false. They simply establish that you don't know yourself as well as you think you do - and certainly not as well as the God who made you.

I don't expect you to accept this. But there is a fair amount taking past each other in your argument with Martin. You aren't refuting him by saying 2+2=4. You are manifesting the desire to be sovereign over your own life. He isn't going to see it as a refutation. He will see it as a manifestation of the very point he is making.

carl

26 July 2014 at 12:43  
Blogger bluedog said...

OIG and The Explorer, it is a worrying possibility that the Guru nijjhar is actually offering 3800 videos rather than 72 virgins on one's ascent to paradise.

At an exchange rate of 52.7 videos per virgin one can only speculate on the degree of pornographic fervour generated by each video.

26 July 2014 at 12:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Martin is making a (true) theological statement from authority about the nature of man."

He has no authority. It simply follows from his beliefs and is contained within them. There is no more authority there than the authority a Muslim has because of the existence of Allah. Neither do you have the authority, as it goes. If you think you have then feel free to demonstrate it. Otherwise, settle yourself down in the same price seats with the rest of us, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, a-theists, and the rest, and watch the show.

"You aren't refuting him by saying 2+2=4. You are manifesting the desire to be sovereign over your own life. He isn't going to see it as a refutation. He will see it as a manifestation of the very point he is making."

The 2 + 2 = 4 thing is just a way of saying that it's obvious, or ought to be to a fairly rational person, that no-one is going to pretend his kind of god does not exist when he knows it does, simply for a bit of illicit (in his god's terms) rumpy pumpy, and a few years of strutting around pretending the world is as we see it. What is much more likely to be the case is that the bloke is so caught up in his religious distortions that rationality has gone out of the window.

26 July 2014 at 12:55  
Blogger Len said...

True Christianity will never fit in with this World system.If you see' a form' of Christianity which 'sits well' with this world system then it isn`t authentic Christianity .
When you see Heads of Religion sitting on Golden thrones with kings bowing before them then you can know this isn`t the real thing.
Look how the treated Jesus Christ and many of His Followers then and today.
True Christianity is not of this World it is entirely of another World.We need to be translated out of this world system into an entirely different world system. This present world system has been judged and condemned and is awaiting a moment in time when it will pass away and with it all who belong to the old system.
We can only know God by revelation and this revelation is given to us by the Son Jesus Christ.But if we deny the Son He will deny us to the Father.

So we need to seek the Son (Jesus Christ ) whilst we are able to do so...

Ultimately it is our choice...

26 July 2014 at 12:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

bluedog @ 12:43

I'll leave it to our intrepid Inspector to investigate.

26 July 2014 at 13:01  
Blogger bluedog said...

Very wise, Mr Explorer.

26 July 2014 at 13:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

A shift back to the article again by going back to that quote of Sacks:

"“The great faiths provide meaning and purpose for their adherents. The question is: can they make space for those who are not its adherents, who sing a different song, hear a different music, tell a different story? On that question, the fate of the 21st century may turn”."

What he's calling for, assuming it's not just a rhetorical question leading to a negative answer, is some form of pluralism. In a liberal democracy like ours, pluralism requires that people in general accept and commit to some basic rules and values, including respect for the space of others, for it to function. I'm not sure that Islam itself allows for that, even if many individual Muslims are in favour at the start.

26 July 2014 at 13:08  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

I'm not sure that Islam itself allows for that,

Are you really not sure, DanJo? The visible signs are all pointing in the same direction, aren't they? In the opposite direction to Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and others which tend to agree with Sacks.

26 July 2014 at 13:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Brian: "Are you really not sure, DanJo? The visible signs are all pointing in the same direction, aren't they?"

Yes. I'm still hoping for some sort of Enlightenment shift through the ulema in the UK. Some stuff needs to happen regarding immigration before then, I expect. If we're to proceed as a nation along the pluralism route then we need to be very clear and very structured about how cultural stuff is accepted or rejected.

26 July 2014 at 13:51  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

DanJo

...settle yourself down in the same price seats with the rest of us...

*Oh my aching sides*- most pithy!

26 July 2014 at 14:07  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Do I understand you right?

Cut British Islam off from the more primitive practices of global Islam.

British Islam can them become westernised and enlightened, and provide the future leadership for global Islam to reform and live in peace with its neighbours as other religions (and irreligions) seem able to do.

Great idea, if I've understood you. Any reasons why it wouldn't work?

Thoughts, anyone?

26 July 2014 at 14:20  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Bluedog 12:43
Just thinking, what sort of mindset dreams up a reward of 72 virgin wives in a palatial 'paradise' ( some might consider this a hell ) for doing as he says? Is that not false bribery? And why does he say most women are to go to hell? Nobody really knows what happens after death.
It must have been a very primitive, sex obsessed, male misogynist who wrote that drivel.
Allah has been turned into a being that uses earthly materialist bribes and threats to ensure compliance. God wouldn't do that.

26 July 2014 at 14:31  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Explorer

Any reasons why it wouldn't work?

Forgive my fleeting intrusion, but can you really be so unworldly or just a bit short of something to amuse you on a hot afternoon?

You seem to have a penchant of arriving at some point with this sort of question that requires a crystal ball inspired narrative.

If the world don't know what danger Islam is to the rest of the world then were truly stuffed for centuries to come. Political/Theological diplomacy is no guide or substitute for the hard facts on the ground.

26 July 2014 at 14:31  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught:

A most welcome intrusion.

One problem I forsee is that to become enlightened (as Dawkins, say, would understand the term) is to escape from religion altogether.

The new, enlightened British Muslims would then not want to lead the religion into new paths. They would want to close it down.

26 July 2014 at 14:51  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Incidentally, the Socratic method of argument is to make a statemeat that is not necessarily vaild. It can then be examined to see what is wrong with it; and how it might be improved.

26 July 2014 at 14:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Do I understand you right? Cut British Islam off from the more primitive practices of global Islam."

I doubt we can really do that in this global age. I'm probably up for limiting immigration through marriage, illiberal though that is. That's quite pertinent too given the story this week about sham marriages. I'd want to do it to cut down on the refreshing of our Muslim communities with conservative Islamic belief from particular parts of rural Pakistan. Of course the policy would have to be wider than that. I'm inclined to think that our Muslim population would become more Westernised as a result. Whether the ulema would follow and become a beacon for elsewhere, I don't know.

26 July 2014 at 15:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dreadnaught: "*Oh my aching sides*- most pithy!"

Heh. It was specifically tailored for the Elect. That said, I'm not sure how all this talk of my allegedly knowing this god exists actually fits into that type of theology. Without being gratuitously rude, I find it a bit oddball to be honest.

26 July 2014 at 15:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 15:05

I go along with all of that.

26 July 2014 at 15:47  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Marie @ 14:31

All thoughts about the afterlife are simply guesswork: unless revelation is a reality.

The person in the best position to speak with authority about the afterlife is one who came back from the dead.

Christ did; Mohammed didn't. That is a big difference in the truth claims of the two religions: and why a starting point re Christianity is to decide whether the Resurrection happened or not.

26 July 2014 at 15:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

It was specifically tailored for the Elect

If you think that was a shot at Election, you really don't understand the concept. Do you know who the Elect are? They are the blind, and the cripple, and the beggar from the Parable of the Wedding banquet. Your comment is far more applicable to the Enlightened than to the Elect.

carl

26 July 2014 at 16:03  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

DanJo

I'm inclined to think that our Muslim population would become more Westernised as a result.

I would have no quibble with that as a generalisation. But, like all generalisations, it has the weakness of overlooking the exceptions to the rule. And it doesn't take more than a small minority of jihadists to create a hell of a lot of trouble for the rest of us, including the (postulated) westernised majority of immigrants from Muslim countries.

26 July 2014 at 16:06  
Blogger The Explorer said...

bluedog:

This issue of n the seventy-two virgins.

Suppose a female suicide bomber blows herself up. (It's rare, but I believe it's happened.)

What does she get as a reward?

26 July 2014 at 17:06  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Explorer
I've read that it says in the hadiths that women go to hell regardless.

I think there is more evidence to suggest that Christ rose again than not.

Had his body been moved during the night and buried somewhere secret, it would have come to light either by someone demanding a ransom for the return or someone somewhere would have known about it and blabbed. But nobody did and it was never found.

26 July 2014 at 17:45  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Explorer I found these on wikislam

“Abu Umama said, Allah be well-pleased with him: The Messenger of Allah said, upon him blessings and peace: “None is made to enter Paradise by Allah Most High except Allah Most High shall marry him to seventy-two wives, two of them from the wide-eyed maidens of Paradise and seventy of them his inheritance from the People of Hellfire, not one of them but her attraction never lags nor his arousal ever wanes.” “
Ibn Majah, Ibn `Adi in the Kamil, and al-Bayhaqi in al-Ba`th wal-Nushur

Wishful thinking of a primitve male don't you think rather than a spiritual guide from God?


Muhammad declared in multiple sahih narrations that the majority of the inhabitants of Hell are women, but according to the following hadith:

I heard the Messenger of Allah say, upon him blessings and peace: “I entered Paradise and saw that most of its dwellers were women.”

Narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Ba`th wal-Nushur and Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq

Shaykh Gibril Haddad quoted the above hadith to suggest that this is referring to all the wives a male Muslim martyr will have in heaven.



26 July 2014 at 18:28  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Explorer: "Do I understand you right? Cut British Islam off from the more primitive practices of global Islam."

Ahem...there's no such thing as 'British Islam' only 'Islam in Britain.'

26 July 2014 at 19:05  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

"I can keep saying 2 + 2 = 4 as well, and you can keep insisting 2 + 2 = 5 if you wish. I can count two objects 1, 2, then another two objects 3, 4, and ask how many objects there are. You can say 5 again I suppose. "

I'd have said that pretending God doesn't exists is more akin to claiming 2 + 2 != 4

26 July 2014 at 20:17  
Blogger Martin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 July 2014 at 20:17  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

...and here is tonight's weather forecast in brief...

It's too damn hot, what !

26 July 2014 at 20:35  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Met Office says it may never rain in Gloucester again...

Bugger !

26 July 2014 at 20:37  
Blogger nijjhar said...

Real Islam

Real Islam of Allah is different from this Islam of Mullahs. Allah is NOOR or Spirit, Sun and He is Sharia-Free. Thus, in INSHALLAH, you do the Will of Allah, Righteousness and merciful deeds and the laws of Life are written over your heart. Whilst in the Islam of Mullahs, Moon and star, the sons of Satan, Al-Djmar Al-Aksa, creating sectarian riots, you do the will of Mullahs, INSHMULLAHS and you die as Fanatic Bastard sons of Satan. The Islam of Mullahs, Moon, is of INSHMULLAH, dominated by the Fatwas. In Allah, man and woman are the same but not in the Islam of Mullahs. If you want Peace, then watch my over 3800 Videos on Youtube; channel nijjhar1. Here is a Video and an article of Real Islam: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36uMvBHd-QE&list=PL25847B353B64666A
http://www.nijjhar.webspace.virginmedia.com/jesislam.htm

26 July 2014 at 20:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

I expect it’s hot where you are Nijjhar. Can’t get a punkah wallah here for love nor money, which is rather incredulous as there are enough of them living locally...


26 July 2014 at 20:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, our friend, the bearded and turbaned gnostic, lives in Reading.

26 July 2014 at 21:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 July 2014 at 21:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "I'd have said that pretending God doesn't exists is more akin to claiming 2 + 2 != 4"

I expect that'd be true if one actually knows your god exists. However I doubt very much indeed that it does exist myself. Or any of the plethora of variants imagined by our species. Hence, I'm an a-theist.

You would very much like it to exist, I expect, and you've somehow convinced yourself it does so. Or been convinced as a child, quite probably. You're like most of our Muslim citizens in that respect, only with Allah instead in their case.

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

I had the Jehovah's Witnesses call around the other day when I was waiting for a parcel, bless them. They imagine their god exists too, even to the point of wasting hours of their lives each week clocking up brownie points. I was of course polite when telling them essentially to feck off. Perhaps there should be a new early Saturday evening TV show where all these people who know their own version of god exists try to out-know and out-authority each other. I'd suggest naming it Call My Bluff but I think that one went a long time ago.

26 July 2014 at 21:20  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Jack. Are you sure ? He looks rather Indian to the Inspector...

I say Nijjhar, what they’re doing to Reading Railway station is nothing short of stupendous (Ah, you’re probably not familiar with the lingo, so you might need to know that ‘stupendous’ means ‘good’ in some round about way. Not ‘stupid’ as you might think at first glance).

Anyway, hope you’re proud of it, old chap !


26 July 2014 at 21:20  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

I'd just make the point that JWs are parasitic upon Christianity.

Chrisitanity can (and for centuries, did) exist without the JWs, but not the other way round.

26 July 2014 at 22:47  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Marie @ 18:28

Thanks for that bit of research.

A female martyr, presumably, was not envisaged?

26 July 2014 at 22:50  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

You are forgetting, we both know that you know that God exists. Your A theism is just a pretence.

Everyone knows that God exist & everyone by nature seeks to construct a god to their liking & in their image. You are your little god.

26 July 2014 at 22:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...

HJ @ 21:06

Well investigated, that man!

26 July 2014 at 22:54  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Martin

Is it possible to know God exists without actually knowing you know? If so, the conundrum is why the atheist finds himself in this position - as opposed to others who believe false gods or the agnostic who has no particular faith in a Being at all.

Why would an atheist suppress knowledge of God? What could the motive be for suppressing such knowledge given the known consequences of doing so? Why do some work so hard at it?

If its justified that the atheist ends up in hell because of their denial and suppression that God exists, it follows the atheist's lack of conscious knowledge of what they know leaves them without excuse. Not knowing you know does not exonerate you for not acting on what you know.

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse"

They are culpable - but why?

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

There is in Catholicism room for "invincible ignorance" but the precise scope of this is known only to God.

26 July 2014 at 22:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Explorer

Happy Jack has watched some of those YT videos too. He wont be watching any more.

26 July 2014 at 23:01  
Blogger bluedog said...

Marie @ 14.13 and 18.28, your comment, 'It must have been a very primitive, sex obsessed, male misogynist who wrote that drivel. ' is exactly right. You highlight the danger of Islam in so far as it attracts disillusioned and presumably unemployed young men. By offering a false boost to the self-esteem through a clearly ridiculous promise, Islam nonetheless attracts attention. It's the old introductory offer trick.

The misogyny of Islam is further illustrated by the exclusively male practice of prayer. Women do not seem to pray five times a day, if at all, but the men do pray, often together and never in the presence of women. Thus the male war-band ethos of Islam is perpetuated. To a badly educated and unemployed young man, this sort of re-affirmation of community and self-worth is very appealing.

It concerns this communicant greatly that Islam will consequently become attractive and spread through the ranks of unemployed European youth. In a post-Christian and secular society that offers no hope either spiritually or temporally, Islam has the potential to become the agent of post-secularism.

The irony of this regressive development will be lost on post-modern progressives.

26 July 2014 at 23:23  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 July 2014 at 23:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Explorer

The esteemed
Chaudhry Rajinder Nijjhar
is a retired Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy.

He's rather well known within the Sikh community for holding unorthodox and divisive beliefs. He names himself as:

"Younger Brother of Jesus, the first anointed Christ and of Nanak, the second anointed Christ (Satguru).

A Jat of the United Panjab."

26 July 2014 at 23:44  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


This Islam business. Bloody awful whatever. It’s all racial, you understand. Some types are so lacking as to need guidance through life by some Arab inspired genocide nonsense.

Thought you should all know that....

Damn, whisky bottle’s been mislaid. What a bloody awful day this has been. The misery not over yet...

And the heat !

{GASP}

26 July 2014 at 23:48  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Whisky bottle located. It had managed to tip itself over and then rolled towards the front door, which thankfully, was locked and bolted.

It’s a piss poor show when your whisky wants out !

27 July 2014 at 00:07  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Explorer

No they didn't see women as being martyrs.
There are some these days though, I think there was one in Peshwar Pakistan in 2009 blew herself up.


Bluedog

What I find of great concern is the fact that young men educated in the UK or halfway through a British education system still wanted to go off and join the jihad in Syria, Iraq. I think it's down to the very naïve and gullible mentality of a lot of middle eastern boys and young men especially of Pakistani, or Indian origin, they believe anything therefore are easy to tempt and indoctrinate.
God knows what rubbish they get told in the men only rooms at the mosques?
No, women don't pray five times a day and they pray in a different room to the men.

The European mentality is more robust and questioning so I foresee a push back at some stage.
A bloody battle or two, the French and the Spanish have experience of fighting them off. The French know what they are doing with their Burkha ban and anti sharia stance, we should do the same.

27 July 2014 at 00:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin :"You are forgetting, we both know that you know that God exists. Your A theism is just a pretence."

You see? A window-licker.

27 July 2014 at 01:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer:"I'd just make the point that JWs are parasitic upon Christianity."

They're also sincere in their beliefs. I actually work with a couple of them, though they don't crap on their own doorstep. Normal people in other respects, it seems. And intelligent too, unlike poor Martin here. It's a curious thing, religious belief, and no mistake.

27 July 2014 at 01:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin :"Everyone knows that God exist & everyone by nature seeks to construct a god to their liking & in their image. You are your little god."

The overall incoherence there is significant, I think. Note the capitalisation of god too, implying a specific thing, yet there are variants even within Christianity. It gives the illusion that Christians know the same god. Of course, monotheism is not the only possibility as history has shown. The ancient Egyptians and the Romans worshipped a range of gods simultaneously. Hence, this 'knowing god exists' thing is quite suspect since it seems on the one hand to be used to suggest that someone knows a specific god intimately, and on the other that one knows that some sort of god or gods exist as a statement of the human condition. Clearly the first type of knowing has issues because people don't all know the same god. The second type may well just be a statement about our species which follows from our self-awareness. That is, people are inclined to wonder about the nature of our reality. To extrapolate from tgat to our knowing a god or gods exist is clearly a leap of logic.

27 July 2014 at 02:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Agreed. Unfortunately, sincerity does not mean that one's beliefs are true.

Many people seem to think that Hitler was absolutley sincere.

And the JW's have the intelligence to evolve.

When the numbers passed 144,000 that could have been a real poser; but they came up with the solution of two tiers of believer and kept right on going.

27 July 2014 at 07:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

absolutely

27 July 2014 at 07:44  
Blogger Paul Spencer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 July 2014 at 07:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

HJ @ 23:44

Thank you.

Yes.

Christ's younger brother.

I seem to recall that the last person with that impression about himself led the Taiping Rebellion.


Let's hope he doesn't give any ideas to our good Inspector.

27 July 2014 at 08:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Agreed. Unfortunately, sincerity does not mean that one's beliefs are true."

Which is where pluralism comes in. It's all very well someone saying that they know their god exists, or that they have authority as a result of their beliefs or the structure of their beliefs, but it seems that lots of different types of people can say that. When we see such people say: "In my beliefs ..." or "In my religion ..." then we'll know they recognise the position of the rest. The language is indicative, as it is with some people here.

27 July 2014 at 08:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Or that I know their god exists even though I'm an a-theist. Heh.

27 July 2014 at 08:59  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

The difficulty with pluralism is when a majority emerges big enough to crush it.

I'm pretty hazy about Turkish history post Ataturk, but it seems Ataturk wanted a secular republic along Western lines.

With that went the vote.

And then the Turks voted to do away with secularism and restore Islam.

(I'm sure it's more compicated than that, but that seems to be the gist.)

27 July 2014 at 09:26  
Blogger IanCad said...

The Explorer @ 22:47 wrote:

"I'd just make the point that JWs are parasitic upon Christianity."

And then, further;

"And the JW's have the intelligence to evolve."

And, in between these colosally arrogant statements you ill-advisedly use the sincerity of Hitler as an analagy.

Parasites and Jews anyone?

Sorry to jump on you Explorer, you write good stuff but I couldn't let this pass.

27 July 2014 at 09:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian C:

Absolutely fine. It's a discussion forum, after all.


Let's take another example. Could Buddhism have existed without Hinduism?

I meant 'parasitic' in the sense of 'dependent on another for its survival'. In that sense, an unborn baby is 'parasitic' upon its mother.

And my question stands. Could the Watchtower have existed without Christianity?

As to the intelligence to evolve, I was agreeing with DanJ0.

Isn't it true that when the number of believers exceeded 144, 000 there was a potential crisis?

Parasites and Jews? Certainly, without Judaism Christianity would not exist. But while I accept Christianity as the fulfilment of Judaism (and of what was true in paganism), I do not acceptt the JW's as the fulfilment of Christianity

My point to DanJ0 was that I do not regard Christianity and JW's as being on equal footing. I take the same view about Christianity and Islam: also derivative in its origins.

27 July 2014 at 10:06  
Blogger The Explorer said...

That Jw's are brave people, I know. That they suffer for their beliefs, I have observed first hand.

I believe their interpretation of "the blood is the life" (they may have modified this now?) to have been tragically misguided; and I cannot accept, among other things, their view of Christ.

27 July 2014 at 10:24  
Blogger IanCad said...

The Explorer

As the subject of the thread was the primacy of Religious Liberty I was a little concerned with your dissing of a religion which is neither extreme nor violent.

Following your reasoning it would seem that all "Christian" denominations are thus "Parasitic."i

I would question such a stance.

From the Apostolic Church many faiths have sprung.

Some from truth to error. Some back again to truth.

Darkness to light; and the other way.

May the Holy Spirit guide us all.

27 July 2014 at 11:47  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0. “It's a curious thing, religious belief, and no mistake.”

So is the idea that we evolved with no overall plan from little more than dust floating in water. It’s one or the other. Both equally fantastical in the true sense of the word, but at least we have the options down to two. You takes your choice.

27 July 2014 at 12:19  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian:

It would be an issue for religious liberty, surely, only if I had said that the JW's should be censored/imprisoned/closed down/forbidden to evangelise?

I didn't say any of those. But tolerating other beliefs doesn't mean that one has to agree with them, or believe them to be true.

27 July 2014 at 12:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Both equally fantastical in the true sense of the word, but at least we have the options down to two."

Except we don't of course. There's a massive gulf between a creator or creating process for our reality, and the subsequent theistic interpretation religious belief entails about that.

27 July 2014 at 12:35  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian:

Anything that isn't trinitarian I regard not as a Christian denomination, but as a separate religion.

That goes for the JW's and the Mormons: both of whom I respect for their character; although I dissent from their beliefs.

27 July 2014 at 12:36  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0. Hence the need for holy men to interpret what is needed to be interpreted.

Are you conceding we may not be here against the astronomical odds of sheer chance after all ?

27 July 2014 at 12:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Are you conceding we may not be here against the astronomical odds of sheer chance after all ?"

Conceding? Inspector, I have always allowed for the possibility that our reality as we know it was created, and explicitly said so many times. How on earth could I know for sure that it wasn't? Sometimes I wonder at the sheer amount of effort it takes to get through some of the prejudice here.

27 July 2014 at 13:07  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

"Is it possible to know God exists without actually knowing you know? If so, the conundrum is why the atheist finds himself in this position - as opposed to others who believe false gods or the agnostic who has no particular faith in a Being at all."

Our authority is Scripture:

[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. [21] For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:18-23 [ESV])

The reason they say they do not know is because they suppress the knowledge within themselves. They are no different from those who worship idols, they worship men, themselves.

"Why would an atheist suppress knowledge of God? What could the motive be for suppressing such knowledge given the known consequences of doing so? Why do some work so hard at it?"

Because they stand condemned for their sin & because they want to rule their own lives. The alternative is to see themselves for what they are, fallen creatures , and their pride will not allow that.

"They are culpable - but why? "

Their sin condemns them, they are idolaters, placing themselves in God's place.

God calls them fools in Ps 14:1 & 53:1.

27 July 2014 at 14:25  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

"They're also sincere in their beliefs."

Sincerity never saved anyone.

"The overall incoherence there is significant, I think."


No incoherence. If you don't understand it, that's because you are dead in your sins.

"Note the capitalisation of god too, implying a specific thing, yet there are variants even within Christianity. It gives the illusion that Christians know the same god."

It is a proper name & it shows respect. Something you lack.

"Of course, monotheism is not the only possibility as history has shown."

Monotheism is the only possibility where God is concerned. Idols may be otherwise.

"To extrapolate from tgat to our knowing a god or gods exist is clearly a leap of logic."

It's simply an acceptance of what God built into you, you knowledge of right & wrong, your conscience that you spend your life trying to control.

27 July 2014 at 14:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "Sincerity never saved anyone."

They may be right too, and you may be wrong. Afterall, you're merely sincere in your beliefs too.

"No incoherence. If you don't understand it, that's because you are dead in your sins."

Heh. You're like a robot. Programmed, and everything.

"It is a proper name & it shows respect. Something you lack."

Like Allah, you mean? Do you respect Allah? It might be the creator of our reality, the owner of everything you are, and the sustainer moment by moment of the very particles that make you up. Perhaps your inherent sin or your programming prevents you from seeing the truth there. Perhaps you'll burn in Jahannam for eternity for holding onto religious falsehoods despite the truth Allah has shown you and the impetus Allah instilled inside you.

"It's simply an acceptance of what God built into you, you knowledge of right & wrong, your conscience that you spend your life trying to control."

Did you actually see your leap of logic, or does your programming prevent you from thinking for yourself?

27 July 2014 at 16:27  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 July 2014 at 16:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

your programming prevent you from thinking for yourself

Heh. Ironic you should say "programmed" since a materialist view of man inevitably leads to biological determinism. Theism provides the foundation for human will because it asserts that man is more than chemistry. His thoughts and desires and actions aren't just organic molecules linking and unlinking in various ways. There is actually room for morality in choice - the very concept you are so committed to defend. To establish the freedom of man, you abolish his very freedom.

Just one of the many things that cannot be explained in terms of the naked dead universe.

carl

27 July 2014 at 16:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Ironic you should say "programmed" since a materialist view of man inevitably leads to biological determinism."

I think it's entirely possible that free will is an illusion, as I've said in the past. Even probable. I expect that scares you as much as not mattering in the cosmic scheme of things.

Of course, that sort of programmed is nothing much to do with my description of Martin, which is about his seeming to be just relaying religious mantras like a robot.

27 July 2014 at 17:01  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0. We can believe in God or not. But the third way seems to have merit these days. That is refusing the concept of God because that introduces a higher authority on proud man, along with obligations, and proud man can do without that. He is his own destiny, and that is the way it’s going to be.

The third way, it’s you, isn’t it ?

27 July 2014 at 17:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

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

Inspector, I think the whole inverted pyramid of religious belief apparent in something like Roman Catholicism is absurd. Simply absurd. It bewilders me that people can buy into something that, well, artificial. I mean that honestly too, I'm not just being gratuitously rude. I know you think along the same lines given your comments at times, you seem to be just a cultural Christian with a vague and unformed concept of god as a placeholder. We both seem to think all this bowing and scraping and associated mumbo jumbo is merely theatre. If there is a creator god-like thing then I expect we're as significant or insignificant as anything else in creation. I actually think you're probably an a-gnostic Christian, in the proper sense of the word. As I'm probably an a-gnostic a-theist.

27 July 2014 at 17:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Just one of the many things that cannot be explained in terms of the naked dead universe."

I'll make a contextual comment about that too. Materialism is just a working assumption for me, and my comments here are almost always about how we should carry on from what we know. I don't believe in it, in the sense of religious belief. It's more like belief in the sense of knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow. I actually think we'll make a breakthrough in science at some point fairly soon in the scheme of things that will turn everything we think we know upside down and inside out. I'm not talking about a breakthrough like recognising the falsehood of geo-centrism either, it'll almost certainly be a quantum mechanics thing. It will probably leave your religious beliefs in tatters too. I'm looking forward to having our working assumptions trashed, if I'm alive to see it.

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

Martin

Happy Jack agrees with Paul that the existence of God is obvious and manifest in His creation. He also agrees with Paul that an atheist's denial is because they are "vain in their imaginations" and foolish so their hearts are darkened by God.

Danjo's atheism, as he expresses it, is a simple lack of belief in the existence of all gods because of a failure of proof. He wants the standard of evidence God gave the Angels! He doesn't go so far as to deny the existence of some, many, or all gods as certainty is way too big a step. Instead, he adopts a sceptical approach because its far easier. To go further he would need *evidence* to demonstrate his knowledge that God does not exist - and he has none.

Ask him about the reasonableness of the Christian God's existence and the coherence of Christianity's account of reality, and all you'll get is his familiar argument that Christians don't agree amongst themselves and then he'll make comparisons with other gods e.g. Allah.

You don't need absolute and demonstrable certainty to be an atheist, agnostic or even a theist. However, you should have very good reasons for whatever you believe.

Happy Jack thinks atheists have no good reasons - other than this false standard of a lack of *scientific* evidence. Individual motives for suppression and denial of the innate knowledge of creator and dismissing the coherence of different faith systems will vary. In the particular person we're discussing, the motivation is probably obvious.

27 July 2014 at 17:28  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 . “If there is a creator god-like thing then I expect we're as significant or insignificant as anything else in creation. “

Oh come on, even an atheist must concede that the human being is something special. It could be the crow, or dolphin or whale, not quite sure which but let’s for convenience sake consider the next one down on the intelligent stakes is the chimp. He’s learnt that if you push a stick into a hole and then pull it out a bit later, its covered in ants which he can lick off. That’s about the extent of his intellect.

As for the other charges, that’s what one expects to be thrown at him when he asks what the nature of God is, and what we are doing here. Are we here for his greater amusement, and the offer of salvation for our souls on an individual basis a reward for being particularly amusing. Everything points that way, and this man defies you or any religious communicant to deny that possibility.

27 July 2014 at 17:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Oh come on, even an atheist must concede that the human being is something special."

In the vastness of our universe? We're a fairly impressive species on this planet, for sure. If species are what's the most impressive thing about the universe.

27 July 2014 at 17:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "In the particular person we're discussing, the motivation is probably obvious."

That'll be my liberalism you'll be referring to, I expect, in the hope that you can start up yet another one-to-one with me about it. ;)

27 July 2014 at 17:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

It has everything to do with it. Because your responses are just as much mantras and just as surely pre-determined. Your reason becomes illusion. You aren't fighting religion with rationality. You are fighting programming with counter-programming.

This is one of those places where atheists cannot follow their worldview to its obvious necessary conclusion. They could never abide such a world. So they pretend it isn't true. "It looks like we have free will and that is good enough. We have the illusion of thinking for ourselves even if we don't." Except that is a clear faith statement - every bit as much as anything Martin has said on this thread.

The existence of morality has necessary implications. It's one of the reasons that we know God exists by merely observing creation. The exchange of hydrogen atoms on a carbon ring cannot explain it. There is no moral cognizance in the valence of an atom. Physical processes simply are. How then could they produce moral awareness? With no answer and no hope of finding an answer the atheist retreats into irrationality. "It just did even though it couldn't." This must be the case, for morality self-evidently exists, and the competing cause was disallowed at the start.

Of course, if the atheist is correct, then this argument is futile. It's all just programming. And then we are all just doing what we must inevitably do. Who could find fault with any if it?

carl

27 July 2014 at 17:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "The existence of morality has necessary implications. It's one of the reasons that we know God exists by merely observing creation."

No, you can't make that leap. Morality is wrapped up in self-awareness, which is wrapped up in consciousness. Neither of us knows what consciousness is, though we observe it in our own and other species too. That's assuming all the other stuff about reality actually existing beyond our own individual subjective experience. This is the fundamental difference between us, I have working assumptions and I'm well comfortable with that, you claim you know for sure because you have a religious belief.

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

Carl: "Your reason becomes illusion. You aren't fighting religion with rationality. You are fighting programming with counter-programming."

I'll pull you back down to earth too by reminding you that neither you nor Martin actually knows that your beliefs are true here despite your claims. Moreover, the mantras that Martin is deploying don't make sense at the local level either despite your efforts to put on a philosophical fireworks display to distract from that.

27 July 2014 at 18:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo

Well, maybe it is you a-theist liberalism or maybe that's a cover and rationalisation.

According to you, 'something' happened in your developmental stages, which you can't quite explain, that has wired your brain to see the world in a certain way and has resulted in you having a particular outlook on life.

27 July 2014 at 18:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I was teasing you, Dodo. If you think you're going to turn this into yet another of your mano a mano threads about homosexuality then you're very much mistaken. Go troll someone else.

27 July 2014 at 18:37  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo

It matters not to Happy Jack whether or you reply. Indeed, in some ways, he's relieved you don't to as these would be fruitless exchanges. You are locked in, for whatever reason, against the existence of God.

He will continue to post his observations as he sees fit when you post your 'unknowing' a-theistic critiques of Christianity and defence of a lifestyles that he sees as offensive to God.

27 July 2014 at 18:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

*shrug*

I'd say that you'll get bored of fruitless goading eventually but, well, I don't think it's true after all these years of effort.

27 July 2014 at 19:07  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

I am unable to follow parts of this discussion. Why and where in Christian theory does it state that atheists are in 'denial', in so much as they really 'know' there is a god or gods but are fooling themselves into a situation that said deities do not exist?

From the discussions I have with the thoughtful and intelligent atheist, they understand the basics of most religions, but have come to a conclusion that a god or gods simply do not exist.

That to me isn't a hard nettle to grasp. I can understand that. So why try and imply that an atheist is in denial? They have simply thought about this and come to a conclusion (a wrong one IMHO).

27 July 2014 at 19:27  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

In respect of Jehovah's Witnesses, I've befriended a couple after they knocked on my door many months ago, despite my proudly hanging Mezuzahs. I guess I was the only one who let them into my house, rather than slamming doors into their faces.

I've had some fascinating theological discussions with them, but I think they gave up after a while and just came for the herbal tea and Turkish coffee. Apparently they are now focusing on train stations instead.

I do find their stance on blood transfusions to be utterly incomprehensible, but then I guess others find male circumcision and Kosher slaughter the same.

27 July 2014 at 19:33  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

"They may be right too, and you may be wrong. Afterall, you're merely sincere in your beliefs too."

I am right, people are saved through an act of God. (who you know exists)

"Heh. You're like a robot. Programmed, and everything."

No, it's simply that you don't understand spiritual things.

"Like Allah, you mean? Do you respect Allah? It might be the creator of our reality, the owner of everything you are, and the sustainer moment by moment of the very particles that make you up. Perhaps your inherent sin or your programming prevents you from seeing the truth there. Perhaps you'll burn in Jahannam for eternity for holding onto religious falsehoods despite the truth Allah has shown you and the impetus Allah instilled inside you."

Allah is a proper name even tho' he''s a false god, so yes. And remember, you know God exists.

"Did you actually see your leap of logic, or does your programming prevent you from thinking for yourself?"

The fact that your logic is impaired does not mean that I make a leap of logic. Remember, you know God exists but you pretend He doesn't.

"Of course, that sort of programmed is nothing much to do with my description of Martin, which is about his seeming to be just relaying religious mantras like a robot. "

Unlike you, I live in the real world, that is the world where we don't pretend God doesn't exist.

"I'll pull you back down to earth too by reminding you that neither you nor Martin actually knows that your beliefs are true here despite your claims."

Actually I do, but then you cannot understand that.

"Moreover, the mantras that Martin is deploying don't make sense at the local level either despite your efforts to put on a philosophical fireworks display to distract from that. "

They make sense in the real world, maybe not in your make-believe one. That, of course, is because you have to pretend God does not exist.

27 July 2014 at 20:34  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

DanJ0's position is one of deliberate & calculated rebellion against the God who made him. He will pretend otherwise but every human adopts that position.

27 July 2014 at 20:37  
Blogger Martin said...

Esther

Did you not read the passage from Romans 1 that I quoted?

27 July 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Esther

"Why and where in Christian theory does it state that atheists are in 'denial', in so much as they really 'know' there is a god or gods but are fooling themselves into a situation that said deities do not exist?"

The Christian argument about this is actually founded on Judaism.

In Judaism the fact of God's existence is accepted without question. Formal proof is not needed. The existence of God is seen as a necessary prerequisite for the existence of the universe and the existence of the universe is sufficient proof of the existence of God.

Paul wrote:

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."

The existence of God is self apparent and those who deny the existence of God, do so because:

" ... when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

27 July 2014 at 20:54  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Martin,

Yes I did read the quote. This is where I am baffled: the quote from Romans is more or less saying that God is to be found in nature (vs 20 "for since the creation of the world God' invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature -have been clearly seen").

I have no problem with this to a degree for the proof of a God, although the skeptic will claim that there are some not so 'nice' aspects of nature, such as black widow spiders.

Whilst this verse may point to an argument for God or a God, what this verse does NOT do is to clarify what KIND of /Who/What/How God Paul is talking about.. this is Danjo's point, from what I can understand, i.e. whilst this text can point to a God does it point to THE God or is the merely an assumption of the author? Could not proof of creation and divine ability not lead one to believe in the Islamic deity or the Jewish one as much as Jesus?

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

Martin: "They make sense in the real world, maybe not in your make-believe one. That, of course, is because you have to pretend God does not exist."

Lol. You can't demonstrate anything about your god to anyone else in the real world, any more than a Muslim, or a Jehovah Witness, or a Hindu, or a Wiccan, or a shamen, or any other people alluding to some sort of spiritual world. That's how real worldly your so-called real world is.

27 July 2014 at 21:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Martin

"DanJ0's position is one of deliberate & calculated rebellion against the God who made him. He will pretend otherwise but every human adopts that position."

Happy Jack is aware of this. He uses his God given intelligence and reading to seek out reasons to deny God's existence.

Really, he advances no arguments against the existence of the God as revealed in nature and in Scripture. He just trots out that others believe in a different deity, as if this is proof of some sort. And he attacks the integrity of individuals who do believe. And, as Jack has said, he does have particular reasons for doing this.

Still, you must be a troll for pointing this out.

27 July 2014 at 21:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Actually, it's even worse than that. You rely on some religious text, written by other men, to give you an insight into your god. A simple download into your mind by your god isn't enough. This is why there is so much disagreement between denominations within the monotheistic religions now, and throughout history. Heck, Christians used to burn each other and others alive because they couldn't accept the differences. The fact of that lack of knowledge obtained spiritually ought to knock you off your feet. But it doesn't.

27 July 2014 at 21:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Still, you must be a troll for pointing this out."

No, that's not why at all.

27 July 2014 at 21:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Esther

"Could not proof of creation and divine ability not lead one to believe in the Islamic deity or the Jewish one as much as Jesus?"

It could - and that's a whole other story and different sort of engagement - but a-theists deny this proof from existence.

27 July 2014 at 21:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Martin: "DanJ0's position is one of deliberate & calculated rebellion against the God who made him. He will pretend otherwise but every human adopts that position."

Luckily that's not actually a problem for you because you're special. There ought to be alarm bells ringing in your head about now.

27 July 2014 at 21:31  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Happy Jack,

27 July 2014 20:54 & 27 July 2014 21:29

I agree that Judaism takes existence of God as a fact, without question :

Psalm 139 - "Where shall I go from your spirit ? Where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, behold you are there! If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall your hand lead me your right hand shall hold me"

But this, as the quote from Romans could be seen as a proof for a particular deity. So we have the concept 'Ana nafshi ketavit yehavit': I have invested my very essence in writing [The Torah], so when someone asks about God it is there in the words of our Bible.

Of course that does not mean we can completely understand the divine will, which is why atheists have a greater luxury than those who do believe, as Sephardi Rabbi Judah Ha-Levi said " If I understood Him I would be Him" .

Hence the real question for a Jew or for anyone of faith,is who is God? What is he like? What is his will? These questions are in part, for a Jew & the thinking person of faith generally, answered in the Torah,the remainder of the Hebrew Bible & the works of our Chazal, Sages & Rabbis.

Such is the answer to those of us who have a religion or belief, but to get back to my initial difficulty. This is the idea that atheists are in *denial*, but 'really' believe that a God exists. This is my difficulty. I disbelieve the New Testament : we both disbelieve the Qu'ran. Are both of us, like the atheist, in a denial about the *true* revelation by Mo and Allah? If not, why is the atheist in automatic denial because of a disbelief in a deity?

Deep stuff. But that is where I was failing to follow the discussion. To my mind, you believe your faith or not. But I can't grasp the concept of an atheist saying that there is no deity, but really knows there is one.

27 July 2014 at 22:03  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Morality is wrapped up in self-awareness, which is wrapped up in consciousness.

Two other things you cannot explain in terms of immanence. But that's OK because you are sure ...

...we'll make a breakthrough in science at some point fairly soon in the scheme of things that will turn everything we think we know upside down

Which of course amounts to a materialist explanation since science can only deal with material things. So materialism may only be a "working assumption" for you but seem wholly unable to escape it and your tools lead inevitably back to it. In fact, that seems suspiciously like a faith statement. A statement of faith in man's capacity to understand himself on his own terms.

The "scientific breakthrough" you anticipate will suffer from the same problems you have already admitted. You can't escape the trap so long as you insist that man is nothing by a physical process. Because physical processes can't explain these observed phenomenon in man.

carl

27 July 2014 at 22:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 July 2014 at 22:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Two other things you cannot explain in terms of immanence. But that's OK because you are sure ..."

I'm "sure ..."? You're misrepresenting me. If you have to firm up what I've said to make your point then you're probably on dodgy ground.

"Which of course amounts to a materialist explanation since science can only deal with material things."

Now there's a thing. It's usually visiting a-theists / atheists who need reminding about metaphysics. All I've said was that I think we'll discover something significant about our reality which will radically change how we view it, not that it will explain everything about it.

"The "scientific breakthrough" you anticipate will suffer from the same problems you have already admitted. You can't escape the trap so long as you insist that man is nothing by a physical process. Because physical processes can't explain these observed phenomenon in man."

You don't know that.

Actually, it looks to me like you're essentially indulging in some god of the gaps stuff about consciousness etc.

27 July 2014 at 22:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Esther

" ... atheists have a greater luxury than those who do believe.

Jack's no so sure about that Esther. Even following the seven Noahide Laws, a set of moral imperatives, suggest everyman has an inbuilt conscience implanted by our Creator.

" ... the real question for a Jew or for anyone of faith, is who is God? What is he like? What is his will?"

This theological search for God's attributes and purpose has occupied the greatest minds for millennia. Maimonides, in your faith, was influenced by Plato and Aristotle and, in turn, influenced Aquinas in my faith. A rational exploration of these issues allows for a discussion. Even in Islam there have such searches.

" ... the idea that atheists are in *denial*, but 'really' believe that a God exists. This is my difficulty."

The atheist ignores the obvious evidence for a Divine Creator.
Knowledge of a Creator God is “in born” in us as well as a morality. Paul's teaching implies a 'sensus divinitas' within us all - we know God exists. This knowledge does not require conscious awareness of that fact. Open denial however, is a conscious rejection of a search for Him and wilful blocking off of this innate knowledge.

"I disbelieve the New Testament : we both disbelieve the Qu'ran. Are both of us, like the atheist, in a denial about the *true* revelation by Mo and Allah? If not, why is the atheist in automatic denial because of a disbelief in a deity?"

These are two different questions. One is about a particular faith and the other about a rejection of all faiths.

"To my mind, you believe your faith or not. But I can't grasp the concept of an atheist saying that there is no deity, but really knows there is one."

Jack is sure that this is addressed somewhere in the Talmud - just don't ask him where!

How can there be prohibitions against idolatry and blasphemy in the Noahide laws if we all don't know (even without necessarily consciously knowing) there is a Creator God? And the other laws indicate a inbuilt sense of right and wrong.

27 July 2014 at 23:01  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Esther

A-theism is a classic sitting on the cosmic fence.

It says: "I don't know God exists; I don't know God doesn't exist."

Danjo asks for the proof given the Angels - to see God and be given a choice to follow Him - and, if that's not possible, now, it seems, wants a "downloading of truth" into his brain. Then he'll be able to decide.

Until that level of evidence is available, he contents himself not by putting forward coherent reasons for not knowing God exists that can be discussed. No; he'll just disrespect all faiths and point to their differences, suggesting this is evidence there is no one truth and so no God. Or he'll challenge the motives of believers. They're either afraid of accepting the possibility of the non-existence of God so make one up. Failing that, he claims they use their alleged faith as a cover for prejudicial attitudes of one sort or another.

As it says in Proverbs:

"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion."

"Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered."

28 July 2014 at 00:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: " asks for the proof given the Angels - to see God and be given a choice to follow Him - and, if that's not possible, now, it seems, wants a "downloading of truth" into his brain. Then he'll be able to decide."

You're twisting my words again, Dodo, and taking stuff out of context.

28 July 2014 at 02:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo hss a long and ignoble history of lying like a cheap watch here so let me make the point again. Christians have a concept of the Holy Spirit and, as I understand it, believe that their spirit is reawakened or reborn when they establish a relationship with their god. Some claim that they are aware of a godly presence while others that they hold conversations as though with a person in the same room. Some claim they have a moment of revelation which turns them Christian while others come to know their god over time. It's a powerful aspect of Christianity, and one that needs special consideration. It occurs to me that this is an ideal means of resolving differences in interpretation once people have become Christians, yet throughout history Christians have been arguing between each other, bits of the Church have brojen away, various denominations have murdered one another in horrific circumstances, and so on As an a-theist I find that curious, and quite indicative. Now, note the gap between that and Dodo's, well, reworking of it. It's a marvellous thing.

28 July 2014 at 03:12  
Blogger IanCad said...

I have to give it to you DanJO; you fight your corner well.

You come across as one who knows more about issues of faith than many of us who profess to practise it.

Fair, knowledgeable, compassionate.

You'd make a mighty fine Christian.

28 July 2014 at 07:35  
Blogger Martin said...

Esther

it isn't whether nature is 'nice' but whether it shows evidence of a creative mind. And how would we see evidence of a creative mind except in extraordinary variety and strange creatures?

But we are a part of nature ourselves, given an understanding of what is right and wrong, good and bad. Within our conscience we know God exists, for God has shown it to us. We know He is the Creator, we know He provides for His Creatures, we know to obey Him.

It is strange how the likes of DanJ0 are so opposed to the Bible, it's almost as if they know that the Bible is God's word isn't it. Indeed, that is where we learn more of God. The Bible is self evidently from God, which is why it receives so much opposition.

From the Bible we learn the reason nature isn't nice, the blame that rests on Man and God's solution.

Thus the likes of DanJ0 are without excuse, the ancient nations of Sodom & Gomorrah will condemn him for his failure to see the obvious.

28 July 2014 at 08:29  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Happy Jack

'sensus divinitas', a concept so I've looked up written by John Calvin, so finally a concept that explains to the non-Christian audience the background to this discussion.

I'm surprised by your description of atheism, because to me a fence sitter is an agnostic. Atheists I've met are not neutral, they are declared that they do not believe in a god or gods or that he/she/they exist. They range from people who say 'I've looked at all the evidence and I've concluded on that basis that I don't believe, therefore leave me alone for that, just don't ram your religion down my throat' to 'I don't believe and religions are all wicked and therefore we need to be rid of them'. In-between these groups are those that will admit if their is proof that God exists they would change their minds, except the burden of proof is set so high as to make this an impossible task for anyone trying to convince them otherwise. Regardless none of these positions is neutral.

Regarding my comment on 'atheist luxury', I meant that atheists do not have to struggle, as I do, with God and the problem of evil (for want of a better word). I can see the beauty of God in the golden cornfields or the apple orchards. But I also have to explain the not so nice aspects of nature.

In respect to the 7 laws of Noah, a Rabbi will always interpret these in the most lenient fashion possible, because a non-Jew has no access or understanding of the Torah.

Take Hinduism, a religion with multiple gods and status. To a Jew, this would be idolatrous worship, however, due to dialogue both the (former) Aszkenazi and Sephardi Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger & Shlomo Amar, accepted that Hindus believe in 'One Supreme Being' & the status are not idols. In 2008, a delegation of Hindu Priests said prayers with Rabbis at the Wailing Wall, the Kotel. This is perfectly Biblical for King Solomon once prayed :

"Likewise when foreigners, who are not of your people Israel, come from a distant land because of your great name, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this house, may you hear from heaven your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigners ask of you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built."

28 July 2014 at 08:31  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Esther (IF you're still around):

I've had long talks with JW's myself.

Five problems (there are otherrs, but these will do as examples) that I have with their beliefs.

1. Christ is the archangel Michael.

2. They must evangelise to ensure their own salvation. The ultimate works-based faith.

3. The 144,000. I take it to be a symbolic number. The twelve Patriarchs and the twelve Apostles, multiplied. Israel, with the GEntile Church grafted onto it.

4. The bias(at one time) against tertiary education because of the imminent end of the world.

5. Christianity makes claims about how the world will end, but not when. The JW's have, during their history, given specific dates: with awkward results.

28 July 2014 at 08:41  
Blogger nijjhar said...

Hi Brethren,

Here are my comments on the above post:-

Five problems (there are otherrs, but these will do as examples) that I have with their beliefs.

1. Christ is the archangel Michael. - ANGELS REPRESENT MOON WHILST CHRIST REPRESENT SUN. JOHN, THE BAPTIST WAS AN ANGEL, A FREEMAN BUT NO FREE WILL. HE WAS BOUND TO THE MORAL LAWS THAT HE WAS TEACHING. WHILST CHRIST JESUS BELONGED TO SUN, A FREEMAN WITH FREE WILL, NOT BOUND TO SINS BUT TO RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HEART.

2. They must evangelise to ensure their own salvation. The ultimate works-based faith OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

3. The 144,000, ALL MENTIONED BY TRIBES. I take it to be a symbolic number. The twelve Patriarchs and the twelve Apostles, multiplied. THE TWELVE TRIBES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE 12 OF LIVING BREAST PLATE OF JESUS. IT IS MADE UP OF 7 IN THE NAME OF JOHN, THE BAPTIST OR MORALITY AND 5 OF HEART IN THE NAME OF JESUS. CORRUPTION BY MESSIANIC JEWS. Israel, with the GEntile Church grafted onto it. SALVATION IS OF THE HEALTHY GENTILES AND NOT OF THE CROOK MESSIANIC JEWS.

4. The bias(at one time) against tertiary education because of the imminent end of the world.

5. Christianity makes claims about how the world will end, but not when. The JW's have, during their history, given specific dates: with awkward results.
FOR END OF THE WORLD, READ MATT13V24-30. ISRAEL IS ESTABLISHED FOR BUNDLING UP THE TARES AND FOR DETAILS, VISIT MY WEBSITE OR YOUTUBE, CHANNEL NIJJHAR1. OVER 3800 VIDEOS EXPLAINING MOST THINGS.

28 July 2014 at 09:04  
Blogger Martin said...

DanJ0

"You can't demonstrate anything about your god to anyone else in the real world, any more than a Muslim, or a Jehovah Witness, or a Hindu, or a Wiccan, or a shamen, or any other people alluding to some sort of spiritual world. That's how real worldly your so-called real world is."

I don't need to, you have all the evidence you need and you pretend it isn't there. Indeed, you have more evidence than at any time in the past with the advance of scientific understanding of genetics. You are without excuse.

"Luckily that's not actually a problem for you because you're special. There ought to be alarm bells ringing in your head about now. "

Actually I'm not, I am a sinner, just like you but, by the mercy of God, I've been awakened to my state & forced to accept it.

You are locked into physical processes because you cannot accept there being anything you cannot examine. Trouble is, there are lots of things you cannot examine. For a start, you cannot define life except in what you see. You do not know what life is, all you can say is that it exists here and does not exist there. Likewise you cannot hold information in your hand except when it is encoded into a physical form. You have no problems with the gaps because you just pretend they aren't there.

28 July 2014 at 09:09  
Blogger nijjhar said...

Hi Brethren,

Gospel is as simple as ABC if you can think logically that will Brew Logos, His Word. Then, you Preach Gospel with authority.

Gospel Treasures are buried in your own heart discovered through intuition.

Books are there to help you but Gospel is buried in the Parables. See how I have discovered these TREASURES that money cannot buy. Received Free given Free. These Dog-Collared hireling Priests of Mammon have empty dead letters.

Ask them why John, the Baptist has wings?

28 July 2014 at 09:15  
Blogger Esther Shabo said...

Explorer,

JW's and Christians generally think Jews are the easy target for evangelism because of certain shared scripture. Alas it doesn't quite work out the way they anticipate. They eventually agreed to disagree :)

28 July 2014 at 09:19  

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