Abused dog 2
Forgiveness

An abused dog howls for the love of God

 

An abused dog is stroked for the first time. The sound is piercing and distressing. It isn’t quite a howl of anguish; more a shriek of intense fear. It glances round; eyes full of terror. This little puppy has known nothing but pain, beatings, torment and misery all its brief life. And here is a human who strokes and caresses, whispering words of love. What is this wonder?

It’s very hard to get this sound out of your mind. It really wasn’t going to be a blog post, but there was a overwhelming sense of analogy; a powerful feeling that something needed to be written about the human condition and the heart of the Father. You see, this poor, abused dog feels about mankind the same way many people feel about God. He is there to judge, condemn, punish and cast into outer darkness. All have sinned.. all fall short.. all are guilty.. all deserve eternal damnation..  ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God‘ (Heb 10:31).

This abused dog had known nothing but judgment and punishment, without ever understanding its error. Body and soul were battered and broken: its whole life was lived in the daily expectation of condemnation under the law, which it couldn’t fathom. And down the hand would come, and then the fist, and then the kicking and the bashing and beating. Nowhere to run; nowhere to hide. Nothing but a corner to cower in. When will this stop? How can I escape? What can I do to please? Man is the judge, and I fall short and must deserve all that I get.

But then, unexpectedly, comes affection. Instead of pain, there is disbelief.. trust.. tenderness.. kindness.

Now listen. God is love. God is grace. God is compassion, mercy and forgiveness. He doesn’t come with sticks or raise His fists in anger: He imputes obedience: you cannot earn His affection with good works. You need not cower in terror because of your sin: you may stand before Him with confidence because you are made righteous.

An abused dog is soothed because someone bothered to show it love and, with patience, heal its blinded apprehension of mankind. Only the spirit of this dog knows what is in him. Only the Spirit of God knows the things of God. The way of salvation may be narrow, but it is wide enough for the greatest sinner. God is not cruel. In all our greed, selfishness, slander, drunkenness, lust and moral deviance, He loves us. We can do nothing to earn His love. So come out of the corner, feel the arms of the Father around you, and cry your tears of joy.

  • Anton

    The tale that moved me as much as this did His Grace was that of Pocho the crocodile, who was nursed back to health by a man after being shot for cattle predation. Thereafter they swam together and it is patent (see YouTube) that the crocodile loved the man, which he would normally kill and eat. I had not previously understood how love could exist in animals as basic as reptiles (it is not in dispute with dogs), but love is indeed the most powerful force in the universe – as Dante wrote at the concluding climax of his Divine Comedy.

    Pocho:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocho_(crocodile)

    • David

      All most inadvisable I’d say. The croc is just keeping him nearby and “stored”, against a future famine. Nature has a way of reasserting itself I think.

      • Anton

        It did, but not in the way you think: the crocodile died first, in 2011 of natural causes.

        • David

          Glad to hear that.

    • sarky

      The problem is us pet owners project human feelings and emotions on to our animals that just dont exist naturally for the animal.
      I think my dog loves me from his behaviour. The truth is if he went to someone else and they fed, watered and walked him, he would behave the same to them.

      • Anton

        We must indeed be careful not to over-anthropomorphise. But there are documentaries about people bringing up lion cubs and releasing them in the wild and getting a big welcome from the fully grown version a year or more later.

        For the key to dogs, try Jan Fennell: they think in terms of pack hierarchy and it is important that your dog(s) see you as leader – for their sake as well as yours, or they will try endlessly to defend you against the postman, etc, and since it is a human’s world and not a dog’s they end up frazzled. Fennell explains how to (humanely) show a dog that you are Alpha.

        Personally I’m a cat man. But I’ve seen this done with dogs and it makes perfect sense to me. I suggest it is particularly important for the wellbeing of that abused dog.

      • David

        Exactly !

    • IanCad

      Can’t help but to think of Timothy Treadwell (Idiot)

      Story here:

      • Anton

        Exeunt, pursued by a bear.

        • IanCad

          Very Good!

  • David

    An excellent and moving article, so thank you for it.

    Although I have assisted farmers, in the necessary killing (using humane methods) of injured animals, and I dislike the sentimental anthropomorphism of creatures that creeps into western pet culture, I also utterly, detest cruelty to them. I am guided by Genesis 1: 26 where we are given “dominion” over the non-human life of the earth. By dominion I take that to mean a responsible form of custodianship, or husbandry.

    Two points arise in my mind. Our faith is silent on the question of whether animals, even intelligent ones, will on their physical deaths, simply cease to exist, with no hope of future life. CS Lewis hinted that our pets, who we often love dearly, and who share our lives with us, may, just may perhaps, be with us in God’s heaven. I make no comment on this, as appealing as the idea is to me, as I can see no encouragement for this view in Scripture, or the traditions of the faith.

    My second point is that, unlike this little dog, human beings do have minds and free will, and we have fallen short of the standards that he expects from us – all are fallen. Therefore God’s unending love and forgiveness, is given to us conditionally. Before forgiveness must come repentance. Only then we can be reborn into the love, light and wisdom of God, through our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour, But does this otherwise excellent short article omit to remind us that repentance must proceed forgiveness and the gift of salvation through faith ? Have we an omission here ?

    • IanCad

      Now David;

      Hang CS Lewis! Scripture makes quite clear that in Heaven animals will be present. Even the current Pope, of whom I have little good to say, avers thus.

      As to your negative view of “Sentimental Anthropomorphism” – How heartless!

      In such literature are lessons for us.

      Perhaps as we struggle with our New Year resolutions, this charming winter’s tale (1888) may soften your hard heart:

      http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00079878/00001/52j

      Really, I wish HG wouldn’t post such stuff.
      I’m a grown man – I try hard not to cry.

      • Anton

        “Scripture makes quite clear that in Heaven animals will be present.”

        Where, please? CS Lewis knew his Bible and would have spoken with more confidence had the scriptures been clear.

        • IanCad

          Your Isaiah quote (11:6-9) was indeed what I was going to cite; along with 1 Corinthians 2:9.
          I am surprised that Lewis had doubts on that score. Although acquainted only with “Screwtape” and briefly with his other works, I have to wonder whether his near canonical status is warranted. He was much into allegory (I know; So was Bunyan) and also, seemingly, a believer in Purgatory. He certainly questioned the immutability of the Law of God.
          Back to the theme: We know that there will be rivers and trees in the earth made new – surely God would not omit from Paradise the animal life which He so lovingly created?

          • The Explorer

            By Purgatory, I think Lewis had in mind ‘Revelation’ 22:3: the two trees of life with leaves for the healing of the nations. That suggests an ongoing process. “Every accursed thing shall disappear.” But how quickly?

          • IanCad

            Protestants do not accept the notion of Purgatory. Or, at least they shouldn’t. I certainly don’t see how the doctrine could be wrung from Rev. 22:3.
            Pagan in its origin,; the Romans and the Greeks believed in it, and thus it crept into Catholicism.
            It was a profitable racket, the flock would happily pay the priest to say some extra special prayers to speed the departed from the halfway house.
            Lewis was a superb writer. It was – and is – fashionable to quote him. He seems above criticism.

          • The Explorer

            In ‘Mere Christianity’, Lewis said we would be turned into “little Christs”. But, depending on our starting point, we are at different stages along that road when we die. That seems to be the idea of ‘The Great Divorce’: Purgatory is a stage within Heaven: not something separate from it. Some arrive at the centre faster than others.

            Christ and Paul seem to have suggested something about differentiated rewards in Heaven. There’s that passage by Paul about the fire consuming our works and revealing whether they are gold or not. ‘2 Corinthians’, I think, but I’d have to look it up.

          • IanCad

            “Judged according to our deeds” or similar verses would indicate to me that rewards are of degrees.
            The Parable of the Talents would tend to support that view.

          • The Explorer

            Agreed. Whether the parable of the talents means that what we have done is fixed at death, I don’t really know. ie the sheep may be separated from the goats, but is there opportunity for the sheep to develop into better sheep? We’re getting into waters that are above my head.

          • “Purgatory is a monument to hope.”

            People should try to understand actual Catholic teaching on Purgatory before dismissing it as pagan or simply a money making practice. True, it was abused before Trent but that is not an argument against its validity.

            Purgatory is about making ourselves pure – completing the process of sanctification – before meeting God face to face. And it does have a biblical foundation.

            Here’s a good article that explains purgatory in the overall context of Roman Catholic doctrines on salvation:

            https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=4180

          • The Explorer

            Thanks HJ. I’ll check them out. As my comments on this thread indicate, I agree that completing the process of sanctification has biblical foundation.

          • No … that is a fair question and in some sense goes to the heart of many of the differences between Protestants and Catholics over (the process of) sanctification and salvation.

          • chiefofsinners

            Likewise the various crowns which scripture describes.
            All of these rewards to be cast at Jesus’ feet, of course.

          • More likely Rev 21:27 that anyone defiled and less than perfect must first be cleansed before he can be admitted to the vision of God.

          • chiefofsinners

            That’s not what it says. The condition for entry is that their name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

          • “Nothing that is unclean, no source of corruption or deceit can ever hope to find its way in; there is no entrance but for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
            The two are not mutually exclusive. One’s name an be written in the Book of Life and yet a purification is still required before the full Beatific vision is realised.

          • chiefofsinners

            I am not saying that this verse rules out purgatory, only that it comes nowhere near to establishing it. From which scriptures can you establish purgatory?

          • From the second century on the Christian Church has an unbroken traditional witness to Purgatory until it was rejected in the 16th century.

            There are a number of verses in the Old and New Testaments suggesting the existence of Purgatory, a place where we are perfected before coming into God’s presence. This is where Catholics believe the Magisterium of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, deepens our understanding of scriptural revelation. Not everything is clear and it has to be interpreted and understood. There’s no passage in scripture clearly stating the existence of Purgatory, just as there’s no passage definitively stating Jesus is the Second Person of a Triune God.

            The logic of Purgatory is inescapable. It is rooted in the very holiness of God.

            “The basic argument runs as follows: God, being all holy, cannot bring into full union with himself those who are still attached to sin. Yet some attachment to sin is typical of the human condition, and only those who actually persistently refuse grace are damned. Holiness in man comes only through transformation. Therefore, when a person dies with a love of God that is still imperfect, he is not yet fit for the ultimate union with God for which he is destined, and he must undergo a further period of purification – a further period of transformation – after death.”
            https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=514

            “[Judas] sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection (for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead). And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”
            (2 Maccabees 12:43-46)

            Judas believed that at least some of the dead were not yet with God but could still be helped by our prayers.

            “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.”
            (Matthew 12:32)

            This text supposes that some process of forgiveness can take place after death.

            “For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble: Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
            (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

            This seems pretty clear to Happy Jack to be a reference to Purgatory. Look at the logic of Purgatory in God’s wonderful plan for our salvation.

            “God most vehemently desires that every person be saved. He has bound Himself through the Passion and Death of His Son to provide infinite titles to grace to each soul. He wishes this grace to build upon and perfect the gifts He has already given us through nature. And He understands – none better – that sanctification for us is a matter of gradual transformation. Therefore there is a process of purification which God, in His abundant mercy, enables us to go through if we do not persistently reject His call to perfection. That process may or may not be completed by the time we die. If it is not, it can and will continue after death.”
            https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=514

          • IanCad

            How good it is to see you back in full bore mode.
            Of course, I disagree with you but, with your condition in mind, will not engage in a debate which requires much energy on both our parts.
            Keep recovering.

          • Why thank you, IanCad. Happy Jack hopes to bore Cranmerites for many more years to come.

          • IanCad

            I hope I did not give the impression that you were tiresome, as in boring.
            I was referring to caliber; as in both barrels.
            Here’s to many more years Jack.

          • Thank you for the clarification, Ian. One did interpret your comment as suggesting Jack was boring.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Chortles !

          • Anton

            It is true that in practice Christians die with more work needing to be done to make them fit to stand in the Father’s presence, as we shall in the New Jerusalem. The protestant knee-jerk response to the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, namely “our sins are forgiven”, is a true statement but does not deal with this point. I question whether it happens the way Catholics say, though. In fact I am doubtful that there is room for what Catholics call Purgatory in a correct understanding of the verses we have about the after-death scenario. The change might instead happen in the instant that we are raised, for instance; this scenario is certainly consistent with scripture (although not necessarily the only one that is).

          • Scripture isn’t clear and some Catholic theologians would agree with you. However, present Church teaching is that Purgatory is a distinct place where we are cleansed and made ready to stand before God. As for time, one wonders if it will exist. Of course, God could cleanse us in what appears to be an instant but is, in fact, varying lengths of time. Catholic teaching leaves this issue open, although it does say we will experience purgation according to our individual needs and therefore the time for each of us will differ.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes, I thought you’d mention the Trinity one way or another, as the only protestant doctrine not clearly stated in a single scripture. However Jesus’ deity is made plain across the New Testament, from “the Word became flesh” to “I and my Father are one” to “glorify me with the gory which I had with Thee before the world was” to Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1. Nothing is clearer.
            Perfection after death – we agree about that. I’ll hardly recognise myself in eternity I don’t suppose, because the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall be raised and we shall be changed. But changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, not by aeons in purgatory. The work of Christ was to redeem and restore. As my body will be transformed, so shall my soul be, by a miracle of grace, not by works, lest any man should boast.
            1 Corinthians 3, then is the scripture you quote. It is clear: the man’s work will be tried, not the man himself. The man will gain reward, or will lose out on possible reward. There’s nothing there about him being improved through a period of gulag-style re-education.

          • Of course the deity is founded and supported in scripture and, granted, more so than purgatory. However, Jack’s point is that this theological insight was developed from scripture by the Church and passed on as Sacred Tradition before being formally stated in the face of disputes. Indeed, that’s how the Creeds of the early Church were established.
            Purgatory isn’t based on works or our efforts. Once we’re dead we either belong with Christ or we don’t. Salvation is either secured through Christ of it is not. No, the purification process is simply that. We are cleansed of the temporal punishment due our earthly sin and all attachment to the slightest sin is finally removed. Jack agrees our souls will be transformed although he would probably use the term restored. You are suggesting this can take place after death too. What we are disagreeing about is the process. Is there scriptural support for your thesis?

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes – restored is a good term for the work of God on the soul. The bodies will be glorious – gaining more in Christ than we lost in Adam, and the eternal position of the soul is in some ways better, for it will never again be separated from God.

            I think you’re asking: Is there scriptural support for the thesis that the soul will be transformed solely through a miraculous work of God?

            Yes, there is. First in the assertion that Christ is our righteousness (1 Cor1:30) and likewise Jehovah (Jer 33:16),

            and that righteousness is credited to us (Rom 4:23).

            Second in the doctrines of atonement and redemption, which establish that Christ “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24) and “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 56:3). And in the doctrine of propitiation (Rom 3:25).

            Third in description of the event – that it will occur in a moment (1 Cor 15:22, Colossians 3:4)

            Also:

            Hebrews 9:28 Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

            1 Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            2 Timothy 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

            1 John 3:2 We know that when he appears, we shall be like him.

            .

          • Thank you for this detailed reply. Most of it focusses on Christ’s atonement for our sins rather than the process of restoring (and indeed, enhancing) our souls to and beyond their pre-fall condition.

            Jack doesn’t consider any of these passages rule out purgatory as a part of God’s plan for our redemption or support your proposition that final perfection comes either in life or immediately after death.

            It was this Jack was querying scriptural support for: “But changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, not by aeons in purgatory.” Whilst Jack agrees salvation is a miraculous work of God through grace, we also have to cooperate with grace and seek to perfect ourselves in this life in readiness for meeting God. And of course most men cannot resist sin and so die in imperfection.

            Jack has always understood 1 Cor 15:22 and Colossians 3:4 as referring to baptism, with the latter verse actually laying out the process of shedding our old sinful natures through effort on our part and cooperation with God.

          • chiefofsinners

            1Cor 15:22 cannot mean baptism because the following verse says:

            “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

            So this, along with the rest of the passage refers to Christ’s coming.

            Later, in verses 50-55, comes the phrase for which you were querying scriptural support: “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’…. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
            The passage describes all at once the return of Christ, the transformation of our bodies, the inheritance of the imperishable and immortal, the victory over sin and law and the end of our labour.

          • Ummm … Jack isn’t convinced but understands where you’re coming from. Surely this is Paul speaking mystically and poetically about Christ having overcome death and our bodies and souls becoming reunited and immortal. He makes no mention of damnation and Jack can’t see that it rules out purgatory. What of those elect who are saved but who have not been steadfast and immovable and who’s labour has fallen short?

          • chiefofsinners

            Those of the elect who fall short shall be saved as through fire, but shall suffer loss of reward. For we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive for the things done in our body, good or bad. 2 Cor 5:10 and 1 Cor 3:15.

          • Do you mean shall suffer no loss of reward? Purgatory isn’t a loss of reward – it is a deferment.

          • chiefofsinners

            No, I mean that God will reward us for our work for Him, but those who work less will receive less.

          • Jack will be more than grateful if he makes it to Paradise.

          • chiefofsinners

            I will know by your smile.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You will…you will get points for trying so hard to be good and for trying to sort out the Protestants by getting them back on the right track:)

          • *chuckle*

          • The Explorer

            “Nothing unclean shall enter”. What’s at issue is the cleansing process: Christ’s alone, or Christ and our own effort. I have sympathy with both views because I can see where each is coming from.

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, that there will be animals in the New Creation we can believe with confidence. Particular pets that each has known and loved resurrected along with us? Not so sure.

          • chiefofsinners

            Perhaps a steak we have enjoyed will be slaughtered and consumed again? And again? One man’s pet is another man’s sausage.

      • David

        To follow below, yes where pray in Scripture is this certainty to be found ? Revelations is populated by various creatures, but the theological arguments regarding that are endless. Even Luther and Calvin were very unsure about what it all meant. But the humble dog and moggie are not present, let alone our equine friends.
        My reference to “sentimental anthropomorphism” comprises mainly the insistence that we see things as they are, so a beloved pet, no matter how sweet, is not as important as a child, nor should it be treated like one, I believe. What’s hard hearted about that ? But if the Pope, Uncle Tom Cobbly or whoever, as a matter of pastoral care, wishes not to disabuse lonely people of the wish that they can continue being with their pet in the hereafter, that’s fine by me, but where’s the Scriptural evidence ?

        • Anton

          I’m wondering if Ian means Isaiah’s “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb” passage (11:6-8). I take that to be the millennial rule of Christ on this earth rather than subsequent events in the New Jerusalem and the new heaven and earth, but I don’t think this is the thread for eschatology.

          • David

            I agree.
            He seems very convinced though.

        • IanCad

          Sorry David, My reply to Anton should also have been to you.

          • David

            Not a problem. Just read them.
            I am familiar with the Isaiah one. But what “time” does it describe ? The millennial rule period ?
            The 1 Cor. 2 : 9 is somewhat, general in nature, a future promise to be taken seriously, but it is well, generalised.

          • IanCad

            David, We are getting deep into the “End Times” and I can only answer in a “Somewhat general in nature” way.
            As I understand, the subject passage (Isaiah) would relate to the re-creation of the New Heaven and earth after the millennium when the New Jerusalem descends and the punishment of the wicked is executed. (The second death)
            Corinthians would – as far as I see it – have to refer to the New Earth.

          • David

            Ahh “the End Times”, of which different interpretations exist, each one totally confident of its unique veracity. Personally I find the subject, eschatology, one of the most unsure ones. Therefore I am content to just wait and trust. So I share your cautiousness. I’ll leave it at that with you, I think.
            Deep down I do hope that we will be joined by our animal companions as, like you I suspect, I’ve had a number of memorable friends, from boyhood onwards to present “maturity”.

        • chiefofsinners

          You are right. Hence Jesus’ words ‘Are you not worth many sparrows?’.
          No doubt Ian is a vegetarian…

  • Martin

    The difference is that aman knows what he has done wrong.

    • sarky

      So does my dog!! Just before xmas he managed to get his grubby paws on a whole stollen and ate the lot in the 10 minutes I was out of the room.
      When I came back in he sloped off tail between his legs to hide under the table and he never looked at me once! !!

      • Anton

        Stollen is hugely over-rated. Need slicing in two along a horizontal plane and good English jam putting between the halves.

        • sarky

          Arhhh what’s wrong with you man? ?

          • Anton

            Just an excessively dry sponge cake. Might alternatively be made interesting by infiltrating it with treacle and consuming with hot custard.

          • sarky

            Please stop now!!!!

          • Anton

            Inspector? Any more ideas how to make stollen palatable?

          • The Explorer

            He’s off blog for a day or two, according to a cryptic comment on the previous thread.

          • Inspector General

            Still omnipresent though…

          • Inspector General

            douse it in some cheap ropey whisky from Aldi and set light to it…

          • IanCad

            Fowler’s Black Treacle; I remember it well.
            As I was very weak and puny (asthma) when a small boy, my grandparents would send down various goodies from Scotland. Mostly cakes and shortbread. Occasionally a haggis which when drenched with treacle was pretty good.

          • chiefofsinners

            I’m with Anton on the stolen stollen. Your dog is your best friend.

      • Inspector General

        When the Inspector was a lad, and he’d be playing out on the street with his hoop and stick, hardly a day went by without some dog running past him with stolen sausages dragging from his mouth. You don’t often see that in England these days…

      • Martin

        Sarky

        No, that’s anthropomorphism. Your dog reacts to you, he knows nothing of wrong doing. He also probably has a pain in his tummy.

        • CliveM

          Martin

          My do does the same when caught doing something he shouldnt. I agree it has no moral view of its behaviour, but it does know it has done something of which I disapprove and is worried by my response.

          FYI last time it did this was just before Christmas, ate a whole box of After 8’s, wife’s fault. It’s ‘punishment’ involved visiting the vet and made to be violently sick!!!!!!

          • Martin

            Clive

            We had a poodle/terrier cross who ate a whole Easter egg with no ill effects. On another occasion he ate a packet of butter and was very sick. It’s what dogs do.

          • CliveM

            Martin

            When we phoned up we were told that dark chocolate was several times more dangerous then milk and that what he had eaten could be a fatal dose.

            Just glad it was the wife who made the error………….!

  • len

    We cannot know God unless it is through Jesus Christ,who healed the sick raised the dead and showed love and compassion for those society had rejected.
    It was for the love of humanity that Jesus Christ went to the Cross at Calvary.God loved us even when there is little in us to command such love.
    Love God and love our neighbour …..that is the most basic command but seemingly the most difficult for mankind to accomplish..

  • The Explorer

    If we talk about the possibility of animals in Heaven, two issues occur to me.

    The first question is which Heaven we mean: the temporary arrangement before the Second coming, or the New Heaven that will in some way come down to the New Earth.

    The second question is if there are animals, which ones? Would they include the anaconda and the tsetse fly? Not, presumably, farm animals: if there is no more death that would presumably mean not killing animals for food.

    I personally find the concept of eternity – in Heaven or Hell – unimaginable, and I simply don’t try.

    • sarky

      The thought of spending a day, then a month, then a year, then a thousand years, then a million years etc etc praising god, makes me long for nothingness.

      • The Explorer

        Oblivion, however, may not be the alternative.

  • DanJ0

    A powerful article, and I’m very glad to have seen the turnaround half of the video now which I’d not seen before, but the analogy is a bit skewed to me. The woman in the video is presumably not the original owner who had traumatised it so it doesn’t quite work. It seems to me that if god was the woman in the video and the dog didn’t respond correctly to her overtures then at some point she would either have it euthanised or given back to its owner to carry on abusing, depending on which sect of Christianity one follows. Moreover, I expect the dog was probably not too bad when left alone or with other dogs.

    • It seems to me that if God was the woman in the video, DanJ0, then He would heave a huge sigh at the way that so many Christian sects have managed to mess up His message of love, and would come back an hour later with a nice piece of steak, sit down by the terrified puppy and try again. And if the steak didn’t work, he’d be back in an hour with a piece of cheese. A bowl of warm milk. A squeaky toy. God doesn’t give up. Only humans do that.

      • DanJ0

        Yet ultimately we’re either punished horrendously forever or we cease to exist, depending on the sect’s interpretation, for not responding correctly. I don’t mind the latter of course, it’s the former that doesn’t really tick the love box for me.

        • Then it could be argued that since the two outcomes above are mutual exclusives, at least one of the two has to be wrong. Or are both wrong? Or do both have some kernel of truth but aren’t the whole story?

          • DanJ0

            Well, I’ve been told unequivocally and with an air of certainty that the former is the truth. As these people claim they are in communion with the Holy Spirit, who am I to challenge them within their belief system? It’s about pure justice and their god’s absolute nature, apparently. I can only avoid the torture if I wholeheartedly accept the overtures which I need to strain very hard to hear. Worse, I may not even be one of small subset of humanity who get the overtures. The rest of us were destined for torture before our birth, though there seems to be some differences of opinion whether that is merely knowledge by god out of space-time, or an active decision by god to damn us for reasons unknown. Is there any wonder some of us look at bit sideways at this religion and its claims of unconditional divine love?

          • I think it was Cardinal Hume, Dan (though he may well have been quoting someone else) who used to say that God’s love and kindness are far greater than His justice, and it’s just as well because if He was only just, we’d all be in trouble. 🙂

          • DanJ0

            Obviously I’d prefer the Roman Catholic version given that I’m an a-theist, as there seems to be more scope there for avoiding the endless torture! The mainstream theology, at least as I understand it, has a certain coherence in that the Christ sacrifice pays off the debt in terms of absolute justice. It’s the requirement to explicitly point at that sacrifice to the court registrar and claim that the sentence has already been met by someone else that seems to be the sticking point. It’s not as though I don’t acknowledge that I’ve committed terrible misdeeds either, heck I’d love to make those good in retrospect, it’s my not recognising the existence of the court in the first place that seems to be my ultimate crime.

          • It’s one of the reasons I’m still a Catholic, Dan, despite a lot of things about the Church that I have problems with. One of the concepts that I have always felt makes a lot of sense is that of Purgatory – then they messed that up with a system of venial and mortal sins that even the theologians don’t seem to be able to keep straight. Human beings love to make things too complicated. The idea that if at death one is still seeking God then the search and ultimately the finding of God doesn’t end at death, but that how much of the search we managed in life affects how much is left to do – well, it makes sense. In my gloomier moments I go back to two passages from the Gospel of John and the Letters of St Paul – Romans 8 vv 31-39 – ” Nothing can come between us and Christ”and John 6 vv 35-40 – “I am the Bread of Life” The link between these two readings is one word in common – Nothing – an absolute. “It is my Father’s will that I should lose nothing of all that he has entrusted to me.” I sit with those two pieces of Scripture till the peace comes back. 🙂

          • DanJ0

            I stored this not long ago:

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-assures-atheists-you-don-t-have-to-believe-in-god-to-go-to-heaven-8810062.html

            Though I suspect he’s been misunderstood again. I ought to dig out the primary source I suppose.

          • I agree that a good look at the primary source is probably called for, but I will add that it’s a very old Catholic quote that “it is an article of faith that Hell exists – but you are not required to believe that anyone is in it.” 🙂

          • Cressida de Nova

            Shakespeare send hell is empty and all the devils are here:)

          • IanCad

            DanJ0,
            Let me jump in here. The validity of Hell being a place of everlasting torture has been mooted about several times on this blog.
            Let me say that the vile doctrine has done more to slander the character of God than any other of the fictions inherited from the Pagan world.
            In 1995 the CofE Doctrinal Commission rejected it. The message seems not to have filtered down very far.
            As with the teaching of Purgatory, it is a mighty profitable superstition to peddle to the flocks.
            I’ll see if I can dig up some past squabbles on the subject if you would so wish.

          • Anton

            What do you conceive hell as?

          • IanCad

            The “Pit” or “Grave”

          • The Explorer

            Ian believes in soul sleep for everyone after death, followed by Heaven or extinction.

          • DanJ0

            A Jehovah Witness interpretation too.

          • The Explorer

            Tyndale apparently believed in soul sleep. Milton may have. The Adventists do, and the JW’s are an offshoot of the Adventists. The rationale is that otherwise there’s judgement when you die, and judgement again at the Last Judgement. The answer to that is that there’s a temporary Heaven (Paradise) for disembodied souls which becomes the New Heaven/Earth of the resurrection bodies, and a temporary Hell which becomes the Lake of FIre where rebellious spirits and rebellious humans are contained together. Annihilationism depends on how one interprets words like ‘destruction’, and best debated by experts referring back to the original Greek.

          • IanCad

            “the JW’s are an offshoot of the Adventists.”
            What???!!!***

          • The Explorer

            The history of the JW’s can be traced to the nineteenth-century Adventist movement in America, led by William Miller. Charles Taze Russell, the first JW president, was first a Presbyterian, then a Congregationalist, and was then influenced by Nelson H. Barbour, an Adventist preacher and Millerite from Rochester, New York.
            Russell then went on to develop views that Barbour rejected, but the JW view of soul sleep and annihilationism has its roots in Adventism

          • IanCad

            On that one point you may well be correct. But, the two denominations are so far apart – it would be like saying that Muslims are an offshoot of Judaism.

          • The Explorer

            Agreed. I would also say JW’s are an offshoot of Christianity, in the sense that Christianity can exist (and did) without the JW’s, but the JW’s would not have existed without Christianity.

          • Inspector General

            Ian. Money was needed from somewhere to build the great churches. So the faithful were encouraged to dip into their pockets, what of it…

          • IanCad

            IG,
            I suppose that’s how the Mafia think when they put their ill-gotten gains in the collection plate.

          • Inspector General

            Come on Ian. You can do better than that…

          • IanCad

            OK! Without our churches and cathedrals this country would not be what it is. You put me on a difficult spot. I condemn the dishonesty, but shall comfort myself with:
            “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God–“
            Romans 8:28

          • Inspector General

            That’s the spirit! Religious loons like Len would rip the roof off existing churches. They are not needed says he. We are our own priest and congregation before God apparently. Well, the Inspector will be generous to him, and say it will take three generations before Christianity is consigned to sad cult status should his loonship have his way…

          • IanCad

            I’ve never read anything by Len that would indicate that he would do such a thing. Images, relics – fine -they can be sold. The church structures are part of our heritage. Knocking ’em down would be copying ISIS>

          • Inspector General

            he’s a born again religious wrecker, no less…

          • Anton

            “We are our own priest and congregation before God apparently.”

            Can you deny Rev 1:6 and 1 Peter 2:9 saying that Christians are priests? (If you are still in doubt, ask yourself what it means to be a priest.) We need a High Priest, of course, and that is Jesus – who in Rev 2&3 takes personal and direct oversight over congregations.

          • chiefofsinners

            It’s simple: Your soul is immortal.
            If you reject God’s authority you cannot live eternally in His presence.
            Living outside His presence will be unpleasant. Hellish even.

          • DanJ0

            The issue is that I’m not rejecting your god’s authority, I simply and genuinely don’t believe that it exists. As I’ve said many times, I will happily accept if I’m given the same choice as the angels. I won’t choose to be the equivalent of a fallen angel. Who in the right mind would? All your god needs to do is offer me a damascene conversion!

          • Then it really wouldn’t be faith. God reserves personal revelation for the very few. The rest of us have to wrestle with and overcome the doubt in the midst of the trials of this life.

          • DanJ0

            If doubt is a reasonable position then I don’t see that I’m fully culpable if I don’t buy into the religion. If it’s in god’s power to reveal itself to me and it chooses not to then how is that unlimited love?

          • The Explorer

            Calvinism’s solution is limited atonement. There isn’t unlimited love. I don’t agree with the Calvinist solution (which skims over texts that say otherwise), but they have certainly seen the problem.

          • William Lewis

            You have decided that a personal revelation is required to reasonably remove your doubt. You may be right but you may also be wrong in that there may have been other less direct manifestations of His existence that you have chosen to ignore or not to pursue. God will decide, but it is interesting (to me) that Christianity shows that even some who had a tangible, personal revelation of Him chose not to believe. Perhaps their definition of reasonable doubt was different from yours.

          • If having taking the time and trouble to study the question and the facts, and you can’t reconcile those with what your reason tells you, then I believe that that comes under the Catholic theology of invincible ignorance – and Thomas More said there was a place in heaven for the invincibly ignorant. I don’t think he said what the steps were to get there, and certainly some more rigid Catholics would interpret invincible ignorance as only applying to those who never had the chance to hear the Word of God. I have heard it extended though by many theologians to those who for whatever reason are unable to accept what they have heard, despite wishing they could. It’s interesting though how many of those seem to go on seeking God even if they can’t believe in Him – yet. It’s also interesting how many then find something that they weren’t expecting.

          • cacheton

            ‘ It’s interesting though how many of those seem to go on seeking God even if they can’t believe in Him – yet. It’s also interesting how many then find something that they weren’t expecting.’

            Yes. I expect I would qualify as one of those. But in my case, being someone who needs things to make sense, God as portrayed in the bible could never be credible. People go on seeking despite not being able to believe in the god of the bible because they intuitively know that physicality is not the whole picture, and when they experience other dimensions of consciousness they can plainly see what a distorted and manipulative view of god the bible gives. Then they engage on internet blogs such as this to try and understand why people still believe that this bible book is in some way the word of god and a charter on how to behave with rewards for those who are ‘successful’!!

          • You may not be “culpable”, DanJo only God can judge that and He judges us according to what we have been given. This is what Pope Francis meant in that article you cited. It caused considerable controversy too. Recent Catholic teaching on this has made it clearer that those who are “invincibly ignorant” (that is without blame for their lack of faith in Christ) may, though God’s mercy, be saved.
            God is revealing Himself to you already through nature and through your conscience and possibly through your life experiences. Faith isn’t the wham-bam encounter some seem to suggest – at least not for everyone. It can be slow and painful. Personally, Jack believes the mind of 21st century man presents a huge barrier to faith.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Good point…

          • chiefofsinners

            Well, He might. I’ll have a word on your behalf.
            Jesus said “More blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.

          • IanCad

            “You will not surely die”
            I believe that is what the serpent said.

          • chiefofsinners

            Didn’t we go through this a week or so ago?
            1 Peter 1 verse 9 speaks of the salvation of our souls.
            Revelation 6:9 “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.”
            Also in Revelation 20 verse 4.

          • IanCad

            CoS,

            I think we touched on the soul and spirit a short time back, but not the immortality of.

            1 Peter 1 addresses the salvation gained through the workings of the Trinity.

            Sure, the “Souls under the Altar” is often used as a proof text to support IOS; However, when considered along with Lev. 17:14 – “Abel’s blood crying to the Lord,” then its figurative meaning becomes more apparent – the cry of the righteous for justice.

            I question your last paragraph which relates to the soul/spirit debate. When dead the soul ceases to be. The spirit returns to God. He alone can give back life.

            The (primarily) Platonic IOS doctrine has made huge inroads into Protestantism. Even Billy Graham subscribes to it. In his eulogy at the funeral of President Nixon I nearly choked when he said that Dick and Pat Nixon were up in heaven looking down at the proceedings.

            I do try not to sound dogmatic. It is a struggle.

          • chiefofsinners

            Got any scriptures to go with this?

          • IanCad

            A late and rushed response I’m afraid CoS.
            In the Bible there is no direct mention of the Trinity, neither is there any for the immortality of the soul.
            On the weight of evidence we can confidently be assured of the truth of the former; but, by that same test, the falsehood of IOS, to my mind, can be assumed.
            We read in Genesis that the soul that sins shall die. That no man will die for another’s sins, according to Ezekiel 18:20. David is dead and in the grave; Acts 2:29.
            Ecclesiastes 9:5 tells us the dead know not anything and that the living know that they shall die.
            The immortality of the soul, Purgatory, eternally burning Hell and Sunday sacredness all have their roots in paganism.
            We need to shake off those superstitions and finish the Reformation.
            Please do not take for rudeness this scatter gun post.
            Ian

          • chiefofsinners

            In brief, likewise with no intention to offend:

            Ecclesiastes records the struggle of human wisdom to comprehend God and therefore contains many statements which are not a good basis for doctrine, rather the musings of a confused thinker.

            David’s body is indeed in the grave until the resurrection, as are all the bodies of the dead.

            If no-one will die for another’s sins then Christ would not have died. Ezekiel 18:20 means the second death for those outside Christ.

            The immortality of the soul is seen in the scriptures I quoted previously and in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If this verse has any meaning it must be that the triune nature of man is entirely redeemed by the work of Christ.

            In the broad sweep of scripture we see the Trinity clearly. In relation to God, as you said, and we also see it in relation to man. ‘Let us make man in our own image’. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit redeem and restore the soul, body and spirit of man to dwell with Him and be like Him eternally.

          • IanCad

            Chief,

            Well, we’re not going to agree on this but it will come up again I’m sure.

            Not only that controversy, the other three legacies of the ancient world will be bickered over again and again.

            Then we have the more recent creative doctrines which have been kicked around on this blog:

            Petrine Inheritance, Infant Baptism, Mariology; And – dare I say it – Original Sin.

            I don’t know of any other forum that provides such good disputation.

            Enjoyed the dialogue.

            Ian

          • chiefofsinners

            As the scriptures say, iron sharpens iron.

          • But you do seem to be searching for the truth and ultimately that’s what counts. Who knows what God has in store for you?

          • In Catholic theology it is God who does the work and not us. All we have to do is respond to the graces He sends us all and cooperate with Him. And even there He takes the initiative. In other words, it is wilful resistance and a persistent stubborn refusal to cooperate with God that means we reject Him – not the other way around.

          • This is pretty close to Protestant theology. Your last sentence especially.

      • John Main

        Sorry, you lost me at the steak. I don’t accept that God will necessarily share the human categories of “deserving” animals (e.g. dogs) and food animals.

        • I think you missed the context. DanJ0’s comment was that if the woman was meant to represent God then she would have given up and euthanased the dog/wounded human or handed it back to its abuser. I said that on the contrary, she would never have given up, because only humans do that. You’re reading it too literally 🙂

    • But there’s the rub. Not too bad is still bad. What is a moral God to do with people inexorably opposed to good, who love darkness more than light?

    • Merchantman

      I think Jesus is the new carer. The Point is that the old testament was incomplete without the Messiah. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who tends for his sheep and dogs. You can singly and personally approach Jesus without getting beaten up.

  • As far as the possibility of animals in Heaven goes, for all my professional life as a veterinary surgeon I have given the same answer to the question when asked by a grieving owner what I believe. That a God who notices a sparrow falling isn’t going to ignore their cat. That if the capacity for love and loyalty are markers for a soul, then dogs are a long way ahead of some humans I know. Sooner or later the Thought Police will report me for some of what I’ve said. I’m not losing sleep over it.

    A powerful and moving piece, Your Grace, thank you. It can take a long time to trust in God’s love and mercy, and the wounded puppy in all of us still can’t quite believe it.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Animals have souls . They are here to teach us loyalty trust and devotion. We can learn a lot from them..It is a privilege to be entrusted with the nuturing and care of a pet.They are part of our families and we grieve more for them than some of our relatives and friends, in many cases, when they pass.

  • I also find myself reminded of the final stanza of “The Hound of Heaven” – the soul who has fled God in terror at last surrendering to the pursuit.

    Now of that long pursuit
    Comes on at hand the bruit; T
    That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
    ‘And is thy earth so marred,
    Shattered in shard on shard?
    Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
    Strange, piteous, futile thing!
    Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
    Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
    ‘And human love needs human meriting:
    How hast thou merited
    Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
    Alack, thou knowest not
    How little worthy of any love thou art!
    Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
    Save Me, save only Me?
    All which I took from thee I did but take,
    Not for thy harms,
    But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
    All which thy child’s mistake
    Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
    Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
    Halts by me that footfall:
    Is my gloom, after all,
    Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly? ‘
    Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
    I am He Whom thou seekest!
    Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.

  • CliveM

    You can learn a lot about a person by how they treat animals. A person who is cruel to a dog, is often cruel in other areas of his life.

    If God cares for the least of his creation, he will care about the cruelty inflicted on this dog and perhaps this dog will achieve a measure of justice when his tormentor comes to be judged.

    • IanCad

      Not so sure about that.
      My wife is far more kind and charitable towards our cats than to me.

      • CliveM

        Do you think deservedly!

        I must admit I hope cats aren’t in heaven. If so I will spend eternity weezing and sneezing.

        • The Explorer

          Not with a resurrection body, you won’t.

          • chiefofsinners

            How does the resurrection body fit with your flirtation with the idea of purgatory? Is not the notion of Divine transformation applicable to soul as well as body?

          • The Explorer

            An excellent question, to which I don’t have an answer. ‘I Cor. 15:51’ “changed in the twinkling of an eye” suggests something immediate, the healing leaves of ‘Revelation’ suggest something gradual.
            The simple, Dawkins-style, response is that the data is incoherent and contradictory.
            The difficult response is that the data is partial. We have the outline, but not the detail. Presumably it is better that way; or we would have been told. Someone, N T Wright I think, said of the leaves, “There is a mystery here.” If it is a mystery soluble this side of the Second Coming, then it needs a better mind and soul than mine to do so.

          • cacheton

            How would you, or anyone else, recognise a solution to an apparent mystery? Surely the apparent fact that the mystery has not been solved in the bible would prevent any bible-believing person from going any further than the bible does, using such excuses as ‘Presumably it is better that way; or we would have been told.’

          • The Explorer

            I’m not sure I understand your question. Something can be mysterious if we lack enough data. Given the data, the mystery will be solved. But we may have to wait to get the data.

          • cacheton

            But what if we already have the data, but that data solves the mystery in a way that is seemingly incompatible with the belief system in which the mystery exists? This is what we see with the (largely atheist) mechanistic meat-machine believing crowd, who always interpret the data from scientific experiments in a way that corresponds to their belief system, when that data could easily be showing something else entirely, but which would not be credible according to them.

            So if someone presented you with data solving what you perceive to be a mystery, you may well prefer to reject it to keep your belief system intact. Someone who believes the bible to be ‘correct’ in what it says, and that there are divine reasons for it being unclear or only giving partial info, it is unlikely that data will make any difference to the way they think. If they value their belief system above all else that is, and it is my understanding that most religious people and most atheists do.

          • The Explorer

            Daniel is told to seal up his message until “the time of the end”, and John is told not to reveal what the seven thunders said. The principle seems to be that certain details about the End Times will make sense only to the appropriate generation.

            That suggests we don’t have all the data.

          • cacheton

            Explorer, you are referring to the bible because of your belief system. You DID realise that didn’t you ….. ??

          • The Explorer

            I did.

            ‘Daniel’ is traditionally dated from C6 BCE and makes accurate predictions about empires: especially the fourfold division of the Greek Empire, and the activities of Antiochus IV (the little horn). Liberal theology, rejecting the possibility of prophecy, therefore dates Daniel from C2 century BCE and treats the predictions as retrospective history masquerading as prophecy. That’s because of liberal theology’s belief (or unbelief) system.

            However, there are predictions in Daniel that make no sense in terms of recorded history. Liberal theology would explain them as insanity. People like me think they relate to the End Times. They don’t make historical sense, because they haven’t yet happened. One day, they will: and we’re closer to them than when Daniel wrote.

            So, yes, we have the data but there’s only one generation to whom it will make sense. Because of your belief system you don’t accept that. Because of my belief system, I do. Time will show who’s right.

          • CliveM

            Using BCE?

          • The Explorer

            I’m talking to Cacheton. He likes that kind of thing. Remember what Paul said about being Greek to the Greeks? There are limits of course – becoming a murderer to the murderers? – but this is a small concession, given how little common ground there is between Cacheton and me.

          • CliveM

            Well as Bob would say, Cacheton is his own Prophet, whose to say he’s not right!

            Not that I believe that of course.

          • The Explorer

            Cacheton agreed that if you pour boiling water over your foot it hurts, and that if the stresses have being wrongly calculated, a plane will crash. He concedes that not everything is a matter of opinion. So some opinions can be wrong and some can be right. Cacheton thinks I’m wrong, and he’s right. I think the reverse. But that’s easier to deal with than someone who insists we’re both right in our own way.

          • CliveM

            Generally he’s quite interesting. I just can’t buy in to his belief as to how ‘truth’ is learned.

            Also not sure why scorning a book that has informed and inspired is ‘right.’ But following ‘an inner calling’ makes sense.

          • cacheton

            ‘One day, they will’

            Or not.

            The same as predictions made by clairvoyants throughout history. But so what – life is now. If you believe so-called predictions and live as if they were true that prevents you from living in the present, living your life to the full. What use is this? What does anyone gain from believing in ‘End Times’ (or Judgement from an unpredictable god) apart from an excuse to be frightened, and an excuse not to act to change anything because those End Times are going to come whatever you do, so why bother doing anything? And even if predictions do turn out to be true, what use was there in limiting your life whilst waiting for them to happen? Nothing. All you get is more moral superiority that you were ‘right’, more attachment to your limiting belief system. This is a lose lose situation.

            Do you not see the circularity, the complete lack of anything resembling spiritual guidance or enlightenment, the emotional manipulation? Try living for one day without fear of the future, if that is possible, and see what a difference it makes.

          • The Explorer

            “or Judgement from an unpredictable god”. Tell that to the Muslims. Their salvation is unpredictable. For ours, see ‘Revelation’ 2:11& 3: 5

          • cacheton

            Predictable ‘salvation’. The perfect way to get people to adhere to a limiting belief system, providing the excuse to teach anything it likes, whilst discouraging scrutiny. Why question when you will be saved anyway? All you have to do is believe. Perfect.

          • The Explorer

            Take it up with Christ. His words, not mine.

          • cacheton

            And you believe those are his words because …… ?

            And even if those words are indicating the outcome of a possible spiritual journey, how do you propose to undertake that journey with literal and spiritually ill-formed interpretations of the ancient words of the bible and NO method? To refer back to the OP, ‘Come out of the corner’ is not a method.

          • The Explorer

            They are recorded. The burden of proof that they are not his words lies with you.

          • cacheton

            My views are based on experience and I suppose what I would call ‘inner research’. I am not denying the authenticity of Christ’s words, I am questioning interpretations of them. Fortunately (as far as I have seen) what are recorded as Christ’s words can be interpreted to be spiritually informed, which means not taking them literally much of the time. The same can not be said of most of the rest of the bible.

          • cacheton

            And why do you believe in End Times at all?

          • The Explorer

            Do you believe in eternity of matter?

          • The Explorer

            The quick answer is that I believe Christ to be God because he rose from the dead. Christ made predictions about the end of the world, and , in his capacity as God, I believe HIm. ‘Matthew’ 24 looks back to ‘Daniel’, ahead to AD70 and the destruction of the temple, and further ahead to the end of current time.

          • Anton

            Don’t give up on thinking about it! The fact that it was the fruit of another tree in Genesis 3 was significant; the fact that it is leaves here will be significant too. By the time we reach the New Jerusalem we shall each be fully sorted, but no mention has been made of reconciliation between different races. Perhaps that is possible only after people have been individually restored.

          • The Explorer

            Good point!

          • chiefofsinners

            The whole vision of the new Jerusalem is an allegorical picture of the glorified church. This is stated in Revelation 21:9 “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb”. Building a doctrine of purgatory on the leaves of the tree makes no sense. They simply mean that there will be no hurt or sorrow, as the river of life means there will be no death.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. Like Anton’s, a good explanation. John is certainly quoting Ezekiel, who refers to the trees for healing the nations, and drawing in ‘Genesis’ as well.

            The biggest argument against Purgatory, in my view, is ‘Romans’ 6:7 “The one who has died is free from sin,”.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes, good one. It’s almost as if some divine mind anticipated all the dodgy doctrines that mankind would invent, but try telling that to Bob.

          • How so?
            Free from the ultimate penalty of sin – eternal damnation – yes. Christ ransomed us by His death and opened the way to His Father, It doesn’t mean the souls in purgatory are in a state of perfection and ready to meet God.

          • The Explorer

            I clash with Protestants who equate Purgatory with Indulgences. I don’t think that’s the issue at all for sincere Catholics. It’s to do with the sanctity of God and the unworthiness of the soul: sound and decent Christian instincts. I think the Parable of the late workers in the Vineyard tells against Purgatory, but I can see where the concept is coming from.
            Purgatory, I think, relates to the intermediate state before the Last Judgement. My issue relates to the nature of Eternity: the scope of the soul for development in the New Heaven/Earth after the Last Judgement. There’s overlap with Purgatory, and I cause confusion when I take short cuts and don’t express myself clearly.

          • CliveM

            That’s a relief!

        • IanCad

          If lions get in – which we are assured they will – it would be unfair to exclude their smaller cousins.

    • Or perhaps, Clive, God sees the cruelty to the child that the abuser was once that produced the vicious man who did this (or woman, of course, either is possible). Perhaps God also sends the healing that gives the abuser the way to stop perpetuating the abuse.

      • CliveM

        All is possible for God Sister Tiberia.

        Maybe an extended bout in purgatory however, may teach empathy to the abuser?!

        • Another very good reason, if we believe God is just, to believe in some version of Purgatory 🙂 If the abuser can’t be healed in this life, does justice write him off or does justice find another way to achieve it?

          • CliveM

            I honestly don’t know. An element of me is attracted to the idea of purgatory, but being a good Protestant :0) I find it hard to accept.

          • Purgatory is not in the future; it is now.

          • CliveM

            Well certainy for a lot of us. But I see no evidence (in this life) of it being fairly administered!!

          • Martin

            Sister Tiberia

            Your view of sin is very poor. We have coldly and deliberately rebelled against our maker, against the infinite God. Such rebellion can attract only an infinite punishment in return.

            There is no way that we can return recompense for such, even if Purgatory existed.

            The only alternative to Hell is for Christ to bear all our sin in His infinite power. Then we have no sin to be punished and hence no need of Purgatory.

          • Martin

            This is an area where your belief and mine have both similarities and differences – the age old problem between Catholic and Protestant. I can only reiterate what I’ve said to you before, that there are areas where I can’t change your belief, you cannot change mine, and we have to rely on the love and mercy of God to bridge the gap. God bless you.

          • Martin

            Sister Tiberia

            The problem is that you cling on to the belief that you can and must do something to gain salvation. You cannot, you are dead in sin. Only Christ can save.

          • I have no disagreement with that, Martin. No Catholic would argue that it is Christ who saves us. Most of Catholic belief is tied up into the fact that in our fallen state we will go on messing up even after our salvation by Christ, and we will mess up often, and the sacraments of the Church are meant to be help for the journey, not work we have to do to gain salvation.

          • Martin

            Sister Tiberia

            But you do disagree, you add requirements, such as the sacraments and purgatory. Once Christ saves, that is it, they are saved.

          • “God has bound grace to His Sacraments, but He Himself is not bound by them” – I forget which bit of the Catechism that comes from but I’m sure one of the better educated Catholics here will correct me. No Catholic restricts God to his Sacraments, we simply thank God for his help. 🙂

          • Martin

            Sister Tiberia

            God does not help, He saves. And no catechism is an authority unless it is tied directly to Scripture, which is the only authority.

          • Bob

            What you call “scripture” draws its authority from where, exactly? Divine authorship? But it was written by men, who are not divine.

            I believe all shades of Christianity to be utterly baseless, but Protestantism takes the cake for the total absence of any kind of solid foundation. Its rigid legalism and black and white absolutes are built on a dodgy collection of short stories cobbled together from various unknown authors, heavily edited and then dipped in bronze and worshipped as an idol forever more.

          • The Explorer

            “All scripture is God breathed.” If you want straight dictation (or to deny straight dictation) take it up with the Muslims. Try the Markazi Mosque in Dewsbury. They’re Tablighi Jamaat there, and you could have some cracking dialogue.

          • Bob

            Muslims will tell me that the Christian bible is a fake and a forgery, and an affront to the one true god.

            Given that their holy book was dictated verbatim to their prophet by a visible angel (well, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it), it isn’t hard to see why they hold your motley collection of short stories and letters cobbled together from many sources over several hundred years as somewhat unconvincing.

            Personally I think both books are pretty dodgy, the Muslim one because everything depends on one man’s word, and the Christian one because of the cobbled together and drastically amended and appended nature of what’s really a compendium of many works rather than a unified whole.

            If god wanted to publish his word, as a worker of miracles it surely couldn’t have been beyond his power to write and print a holy book in a format so stupendously amazing that it could immediately be seen not to be the work of Man. He could also have arranged some kind of extravaganza seen by millions of witnesses when delivering this work to us, or even have placed identical copies evenly spaced around the world so every culture had access to his message.

            But no, with all of the miraculous opportunities of communicating information to us that omnipotence brings, he preferred to whisper in the ears of a motley crew of scribes and Pharisees and get them to write his word down, and alter it and add to it as they saw fit, with all the risk of inaccurate transcription, translation errors and downright incomprehension that such a disorderly process would inevitably create.

            One might almost think he didn’t want us to believe in it. Or rather that he’s looking to ensnare a very specific personality type. Troubled, in search of a surrogate daddy and, above all, exceedingly gullible.

            It doesn’t bode well for eternity, does it? Were the Roman Catholic abuse scandals just a faint foreshadowing of what’s to come?

          • The Explorer

            Don’t mention surrogate daddy to the Muslims. They don’t accept the fatherhood of God.
            But do tell them their book is dodgy. They’d be interested to hear that.

            As I say, you ought to be running things. You could show God how to give convincing evidence of Himself: the way you give convincing evidence that you are Linus. (Or the person behind Linus, and whatever other identities you choose to adopt.)

          • Bob

            One of the differences between your god and me is that I don’t claim sovereignty over the universe, so it’s not my responsibility to run it.

            Go find someone else to project your “Bruce Almighty” fantasy onto. There are many who post here who are constantly telling us what god thinks and means, so why not offer them the job? I’m sure they’d jump at the chance.

          • The Explorer

            You’re right; you don’t want to run the Universe. You’d rather be a back seat driver: carping about all the wrong decisions made by the one behind the wheel.

            Ever seen/read Genet’s ‘Le Balcon’? You remind me of one of the characters in that.

          • Bob

            Your analogy of a back seat driver only works if the universe is like a car that is being driven by an intelligent entity.

            There is no evidence to support this hypothesis, and I certainly don’t believe it.

            As for criticising the way the random, chaotic universe we live in works, I don’t. I accept the reality of life with a shrug of the shoulders. Things are the way they are and no amount of philosophising will change that.

            What you don’t like is when I play along with your god delusion and point out all the inconsistencies and half-baked rules and regulations this imaginary god of yours is supposed to impose on us, but which you actually impose on yourself, and try to impose on everyone else, of course.

            As it’s all in your mind, this fantasy of me wanting to direct god from the back seat is also a product of your imagination. There is no god to direct, so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t.

            I might be able to exert some small influence over the behaviour of some who believe in this will o’ the wisp deity of yours by pointing out to them the absurdity of their actions, especially when those actions have a negative effect others, as they so often do. But I can’t have any affect on god because there is no god to have any effect on.

          • Bob

            Oh, and Genet?

            ‘Oo’s that then? Never ‘eard of ‘im, innit? Sahnds like a Frog to me. Ain’t much cauw fer French philosophisin’ round where I comes from, innit? Yer barkin’ up the wrong arbre there mate, an’ no mistake.

            Any ol’ iron, any ol’ iron, any any any ol’ iron …

          • The Explorer

            If you don’t know Genet, you need to remedy the deficiency. Just your sort of thing.

          • Bob

            And if you don’t know irony, you need to remedy the deficiency. Not really your sort of thing, but it may do you some good to step out of your comfort zone for once in your life.

          • CliveM

            “And if you don’t know irony, you need to remedy the deficiency”

            What the…………………!!!!!!!

            Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha………..

          • Bob

            Glad you enjoyed the joke. A welcome break from the stress and sadness of contemplating most of the people you know burning in agony for the rest of time, I’m sure.

            Any of your children “unsaved”? Other members of your family, maybe? Close friends, colleagues? Prefer not to think about it, do you? Or do you just not care?

            They’ll get theirs, won’t they? And there you’ll be, up in heaven, perched on your little cloud, enveloped in bliss. I do hope their screams and cries won’t put a crimp in your enjoyment of eternity. Laughing at misfortune and chuckling over torture and pain would be good skills to learn in preparation for what’s to come. Otherwise paradise may be less of a pleasant affair than you think.

          • The Explorer

            “perched on your little cloud”. Are you thinking in terms of Heaven before or after the Last Judgement? (Theoretically, of course, since for you Heaven doesn’t exist.)
            I ask because, biblically, souls before the Second Coming are in a disembodied state. What “asleep in Christ” entails is unclear, and it may not include the ability to perch.
            After the Second Coming/Last Judgement, biblically, souls will be reunited with their resurrection bodies in the New Heaven/New Earth. Quite how that will pan out is also unclear until the event (unclear to me, anyway), but if Earth becomes Heaven then perching on clouds may still not be a possibility.
            Your thoughts on this matter (suspending disbelief and assuming it for the moment as a reality) would be welcome.

          • Bob

            In other words, you really have no idea what this paradise god has in store for you is going to be like.

            Don’t look to me for explanations. All I know about it comes from popular conceptions of heaven as embodied in Western art.

            Why don’t you tell me what reward you’re expecting when you get there?

            This should be good….!

          • The Explorer

            You’re so good at twisting words I’m convinced you re either a journalist or a politician. If you are neither of those, then you missed your natural vocation.
            I thought you were floundering with your concepts, and your use of Paradise confirms this. Biblically, Paradise is the temporary Heaven. (Christ to the repentant thief). At Christ’s Transfiguration, Moses (the Law) and Elijah (the Prophets) were recognisable to the apostles present. That suggests consciousness, akin to the saints under the altar in ‘Revelation’.
            We are judged at death. The redeemed (which may include some surprises) are with Christ in Paradise. The unredeemed (which may include some surprises) are in a temporary hell. After the Last Judgment, those alive at the time are given their fate, and those already dead have their sentences confirmed. All receive their resurrection bodies and go either to the New Heaven/Earth symbolically described in ‘Revelation’, or to the Lake of Fire (also symbolically described in ‘Revelation’) where unredeemed humans join the rebel angels. Whether that results in annihilation for the unredeemed, I don’t know; but, biblically, there are no grounds for universalism. An eternal separation of one sort or another is clear.
            As to my reward, see ‘1 Corinthians’ 3: 12-16. How I will be assessed is not for me to say.

          • Bob

            In other words, if what you say is true, and if you are one of the saved, you will spend all of eternity knowing that many, if not all of those you loved on earth are burning (possibly temporarily, possibly forever) in absolute agony in a lake of fire.

            This may include your children, your wife and your parents. Small children who died unbaptised may be roasting alongside them.

            You on the other hand will be all blissed up in heaven not giving a fig for their sufferings, because if you did, you could hardly be in a state of bliss, now could you?

            So, will god have excised their memories from your mind? If so, and you don’t, let’s say, remember your parents, the fact of not remembering them will be enough for you to understand that they’re in hell. Where else could they be? So again, bliss won’t be yours because you’ll always be wondering who they were and why they were condemned and how terrible their suffering is.

            So, maybe god will just delete all memory of your former life. In which case he will have completely annihilated you as a person and the entity that lives on will be someone else entirely.

            So whichever way you look at it, you’re doomed. Doomed to be turned into a bliss robot with no memories or identity. Or doomed to burn forever, or for an unspecified period of time until you’re annihilated.

            In other words, you’re damned if you do. And damned if you don’t. Some choice.

            And you conider this god of yours as benevolent, do you?

            I wonder why…

          • The Explorer

            Some very powerful points here. ‘Revelation’ suggests that names are deleted from the Book of Life, rather than added. ie, the unredeemed choose their own separation from God, and God respects their decision. There is the possibility of successful rebellion; so tragedy as well as joy is written into eschatology.

            To address some of the issues you raise:
            1. I did say there would be surprises. The parable of the sheep and goats suggests that. Those who have consciously accepted Christ will be saved. Whether others may have done so without full realisation, including those who have never heard of Christ, or who have been given a false picture, I don’t know. I certainly don’t presume to pass judgement on the fate of anybody else.

            2. I did say that, in my understanding, the Lake of Fire is symbolic; just as I don’t believe that the apostles are literally built into the walls of the New Jerusalem.

            3. If God is the source of life, and the unredeemed have removed themselves from that source then (if annihilation is not an option) I would envisage some sort of progressive dwindling or withering into a sort of nothingness. ‘Revelation’ 20:10 is a problem, but the idea of the damned having their bodies renewed so that they can be tortured again is Islamic rather than Christian, and Dante derived it from the Qur’an rather than from the Bible.

            4. Augustine was committed to unbaptised infants going to Hell because of his stance on no salvation outside the Church. (I myself am much happier with Karl Rahner’s ‘invisible Christians’.) Aquinas amended that to Limbo. John Paul II declared the possibility of salvation for children in this category, and that, I believe, reflects current Catholic thinking. As far as I know, that unbaptised infants go to Hell has never been a part of Protestant belief. If it was once, it certainly isn’t now.

          • Bob

            You do not address the problem of how bliss will be possible in a heaven where many, if not most of those you have known and loved during your life will be missing. If they’re not in heaven, they must be in hell. And you’ll have eternity to reflect on their agony, unless you’re struck with an amnesia so complete that your identity will be annihilated.

            Your three choices are 1) eternal horror at the thought of what your loved ones, and by extension the entire unsaved portion of humanity, are undergoing, 2) eternal callous indifference to their suffering – after all, they chose it, so too bad for them, and you won’t let someone else’s suffering interfere with your enjoyment of bliss, even if it’s your child being tortured for all eternity, or 3) the annihilation of your memory and identity.

            So which of these three marvelous fates do you wish for? Eternal horror, eternal callous indifference, or effective annihilation?

          • The Explorer

            Your three choices.

            1. I do not believe the situation is as desperate as your representation of it. I believe that all those who sincerely wish to find God will do so. AS it happens, nearly all of those I love most are, as it happens, fellow Christians. The others are probably Karl Rahner’s anonymous Christians. That goes also for people I admire from history. I would not be surprised to find Socrates, for instance, in Heaven.

            2. Tortured for all eternity. I’m not sure that is true. A branch cut off from the vine that sustains it will die. Something of the sort may be the experience of those in Hell. Gehenna was a rubbish dump. The image is of cessation, rather than moving forward.

            3. Annihilation of memory. Your view of Heaven seems akin to someone in an old people’s home. The effective cessation of experience and the dwelling on memories: rather than the starting of a new life.

          • Bob

            Whether or not those you love consider themselves to be Christian is beside the point. Who knows what unrepented sins and heresies they’re guilty of?

            Your imaginary saviour himself imaginary said that not all those who cry “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven. That may include you too, I hope you realise. Because underneath all this conventional piety, how do we know what you really believe?

            If you do manage to make it to heaven (a difficult task to accomplish given its imaginary nature, but let’s suspend disbelief for a moment) it seems clear to me that many, many of those you counted on finding there will be absent. And where will they be? You’ll know, and you’ll have all of eternity to reflect in their fate. Good luck with achieving a state of bliss under such circumstances. If it were me, and I knew my child or mother or sibling was writhing in eternal torment, bliss would be forever out of reach. Their damnation would also put me in hell, through no fault of my own except the love I bore for them. But Christ tells us to love one another. Does that not apply in heaven?

            Annihilation of the memory is the only way around this problem. If the saved forget the damned, they can’t grieve over their fate. Death therefore implies a complete loss of identity. You won’t be saved, only bits of you will. You will have no memory of your past life and loves. In effect, you’ll be an eternal Stepford Wife. Programmed for bliss with no idea of who you are and how you got there.

            Good luck with that. It sounds worse than any hell I can think of.

          • The Explorer

            “Lord, Lord” is a good point. ‘Matthew’ 7:21 continues, of course, with “he who does the will of my father”. We’re onto faith and works, and I’ve already touched on that with the sheep and goats.

            The Book of James makes the point that faith itself is not enough. “The devils believe, and tremble.” A true faith will manifest itself in works.

            Works by themselves will not buy salvation, but good works by apparent unbelievers might be evidence of saving faith: Rahner’s anonymous Christianity. If so, the salvation situation is less drastic than you suggest.

            For your system to work, there must be eternal conscious torment. An annihilationist would respond to you that the unredeemed have ceased to exist. Grieve that they threw away the opportunity of bliss, put it behind you, and move on with your new life. My intermediate position of withering into nothingness draws the same sort of conclusion.

            Asked if monopods had souls, Augustine said we could worry about it when we know that monopods actually exist. I’ll worry about eternal unending torment when I know that it’s a reality. For the moment, all I’m certain about is eternal separation.

          • Bob

            Lots of ifs and maybes there. You’re putting your faith in a series of extrapolations and beliefs that you’ve pulled out of thin air and decided must be true by personal fiat.

            One of the least comprehensible attitudes of Christians is this blithe – and blind – faith so many of them have that their particular subset of beliefs is how god must have ordained things. So conservatives are convinced of hellfire and brimstone for all who disagree with them, while liberals believe that everyone gets to heaven eventually and there’s no such thing as an eternal hell. But they can’t both be right.

            What if your interpretation is wrong? Your judgment and your beliefs do not constrain god in any way. So where does your faith in them come from?

            Seems to me it must come from deep within your ego. You believe it, so it must be right, and all the others must be wrong.

            God is therefore very much created by you. Your beliefs are your creation, therefore placing implicit faith in your beliefs is to set yourself up as god.

            Seems to me by the terms of the holy book you claim to follow, you’re actually guilty of idolatry. Worse … self-idolatry. Beliefs created by you can only be infallible if you’re infallible, and you can only be infallible if you’re god. And if you really think you’re god, you have a problem. Because I and everyone else in the world can confirm to you right now that you are not…

          • The Explorer

            Lots of ifs, and yet I’m infallible. Surely infallibility does away with the ifs? So, surely, does blind faith: that’s why it’s blind? Do make up your mind.

            “a series of extrapolations and beliefs that you’ve pulled out of thin air and decided must be true by personal fiat.” All statements I made are biblically-derived mainstream Protestant. Not a single idea of my own.

            As I said, the Bible teaches eternal separation between the redeemed and unredeemed. The fate of the unredeemed may be eternal torment, annihilation, or eventual withering. We’ll all find out in due course.
            Universalism, the eventual salvation of everybody, is unbliblical liberal wishful thinking arising from the equality agenda.

          • Bob

            So the fate of the unredeemed may be eternal torment, may it?

            Have fun in heaven then. If your child or your wife or your best friend is missing, there’s a good chance they’ll be experiencing eternal torment. And you’ll have all eternity to reflect on that.

            Or maybe they’ll have been annihilated. Again, all of eternity will be yours to miss them and wish they were there.

            Sounds like a strange kind of bliss to me.

          • The Explorer

            Too many hypotheticals. Don’t forget my comment about Augustine and the monopods.
            We’re getting into repetition here, which probably shows its time to bring this particular discussion to its end.

          • Bob

            And probably also shows that you just don’t want to deal with the possibility that this eternal life you’re so looking foward to, if it really exists, is highly unlikely to be all it’s cracked up to be.

            The Explorer stuffs his fingers in his ears and yells “la la la la, I’m not listening!” This is what is commonly referred to as “faith”.

          • The Explorer

            There are two issues here that seem to be getting confused with one another.
            1. What does the Bible say about the after life?
            2. Is the Bible true?
            Faith relates to issue 2. All this discussion, as far as I’m concerned anyway, has been about issue 1. (We could discuss, for instance, what Tolkien says about Orcs. That is a separate discussion from whether Orcs actually exist or not.)

          • Bob

            Your number 1 is intimately intertwined with your number 2. If the bible said that god was a big flying ball of spaghetti and meatballs, few would believe it. The details of the belief would inhibit faith.

            The same is true of the Christian god. He’s a logical impossibility. Supposedly he’s loving and merciful, yet he treats us like slaves and possessions to be commanded at his will and punished in utterly inhuman and cruel ways if we disobey those commands.

            The god of the bible is a vicous monster who uses the threat of torture to control his slaves, and when they don’t obey him, has their children and wives murdered and their unmarried daughters raped and enslaved.

            This is the monster you worship. It’s all written down in your bible. He’ll have you tortured eternally if you don’t obey him. Or tortured and then annihilated if you’re lucky – but as that’s only your opinion, you’d better hope you’re right. And if you do obey him, he’ll spare you and torture someone else instead – maybe someone you know and love. Try living with that for all eternity.

            If you didn’t have the bible, you wouldn’t know any of this. Your faith is informed and conditioned by the bible, so you can’t dismiss it as irrelevant to a discussion about faith. To do so smacks of someone desperate to sweep uncomfortable facts about his religion under the carpet so he doesn’t have to face them.

            If there is a god, you’ll have to face him one day. Then you won’t be able to ignore what you’re ignoring now. Good luck with that. You’re going to need it.

          • The Explorer

            Thanks for the good wishes, old chap. Good luck to you as well. On which cordial note, let’s end the discussion.

          • Bob

            Of course you don’t want to continue this discussion. The discomfort and doubt it causes in you are clearly a source of mounting unease. You may even be forced to confront the consequences of what you believe. And that would never do, would it?

          • CliveM

            ” Laughing at misfortune and chuckling over torture and pain would be good skills to learn ”

            Says the man who chuckled at the misfortune of the kidnapped Nigerian Girls.

            Says the man who thinks goading someone with serious health problems is morally acceptable.

            Where do you think I should get lessons in this? You?

            Hypocrisy, thy name is Linus.

          • Bob

            Bearing false witness is considered to be a sin among devotees of your tribal death cult, so I’d be careful about slinging unproven allegations around if I were you. They might come back to bite you on the behind.

            Apart from addressing an earlier unfounded allegation from you regarding comments I never made about the Boko Haram kidnappings, I have never expressed any kind of opinion about them on this or any other blog. If you have evidence to disprove this, by all means bring it forward. If it’s merely a case of your word against mine, the presumption of innocence goes my way.

            I don’t care what you say about me because this kind of paltry attempt to defame just makes me chuckle in contempt and pity. But for the sake of your own imaginary salvation, you might want to think about what you’re doing. Your imaginary god will be so imaginary angry with you, he may even imaginary condemn you to imaginary hell!!!

            Regarding the second allegation, you have documentary proof of Dodo’s illness, do you? Let’s see it then. If not, and you’re just taking him at his word, then I’d advise you not to. The man (if indeed he is a man) has already been caught in the act of deceit once. And you trust his word?

            More fool you.

          • The Explorer

            Looking at Linus’ comment below, I see now why he keeps deleting his identities. He can make comments, and then deny he’s ever made them. Prove Linus talked about moats and owning three properties in France. The Linus comments have all been deleted. Our word against his. It’s how he copes with the historicity of the Resurrection. Prove the past ever happened.

          • CliveM

            His malice fools no one.

            There are certain proofs that refute certain of his claims. I’ll leave him to work it out.

            After I’m always being told how intelligent he is.

          • The Explorer

            Given Linus’ French (and other ) links I was, of course, being ironic. Any old iron was a big clue that you were.

          • Ivan M

            Genet is mild stuff for ‘Bob’.

          • The Explorer

            True, but ‘Le Balcon’ reflects his mind-set. The brothel denizens enjoy playing at being bishops, police chiefs or whatever, but when called on to be the real thing and avert the revolution, it becomes a drag. Back to illusion. It’s fun for Linus/Bob to criticise the running of the Universe, but he wouldn’t want the responsibility himself.

          • Bob

            Aw, Christian geek dude does have a sense of humour after all!

            Who knew?

          • Martin

            Bob

            Scripture draws its authority from it’s Author, who used men as a man uses a pen. The pen does not give authority to a work, the author does.

            You seem to be totally ignorant of what Christians believe and the history of the Bible. True Christianity is based upon the person of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross in order to bear the punishment for His people’s sin. It is not based on legalism, for the Christian there is no remaining law but the law of love “if you love me you will keep my commandments”. Penalties no longer exist for failure.

            And the authors are all well known, Matthew and John were disciples, Mark and Luke were close associates of disciple. Their work has not been edited down the centuries, we know that because we have early manuscripts and they are substantially the same. Indeed we have more manuscripts of the New Testament than of any other ancient document.

            So as I said, you are ignorant, go and educate yourself.

          • Bob

            Either these human pens wrote down the bible correctly, or they didn’t. If what they wrote was god’s unchanging word, there would be no need for any alterations whatsoever. And yet evidence of substantial additions and edits is irrefutable. So is the presence of many different writing styles. Is that due to each “pen” adding something of itself to the script (in which case, it isn’t god’s word), or does god suffer from a multiple dissociative personality disorder?

            The evidence overwhelmingly points to the bible being a very human, muddled and contradictory literary effort edited and re-edited in an attempt to address the worst of the contradictions, but still not really hanging together as a coherent whole.

            You choose to worship this patchy and inconsistent book as your idol, and your own interpretation of it as the ultimate truth. This comforts you in your need to be the centre of the universe and gives you the ammunition you need to hurl condemnation and hatred at those who refuse to acknowledge your sovereignty.

            That’s the brand of Christianity you’re peddling. Are you really surprised you find so few buyers? Probably not – Narcissus could never understand why others didn’t love him as he loved himself.

          • Martin

            Bob

            I think you are confusing the words the writers of the books wrote when inspired of God to the copyists correcting the manuscripts that came long after. They are not the same thing.

            Indeed in trying to present such an idea you are really very muddled.

            The Bible is in no way patchy or inconsistent, indeed it is the most self consistent book there is. You seek to place yourself where God rightfully belongs, the centre of your universe, and make yourself sovereign.

            If there were buyers, I’d have a problem because the Bible specifically tells us that we can expect no one to come willingly to God’s kingdom, they must be compelled by God.

          • Bob

            If it’s an article of your faith that the bible is perfect, then perfect it will be to you, even when you’re faced with compelling evidence of its imperfection. Ignoring what you don’t want to see to the point of effective blindness is one of the great “achievements” of religion in general, and particularly Christianity.

            That’s what religion is: the triumph of the will over mundane common sense. You can fool yourself into believing whatever fans the flames of your vanity … “yes, I am made in God’s image, which effectively means he’s made in mine, so yes, every piece of abject nonsense uttered by me must be the ultimate truth, so because I’ve decided the bible is perfect, perfect it must be…”

            Welcome to the Church of Martin. It’s the One True Church and Martin is its undisputed prophet. We must all listen to him or perish in the flames of his righteous wrath, because Martin is infallible, and if he comes across with an almost Asperger Syndrome-like rigidity of spirit and lack of compassion and empathy, it’s only because that’s what God is like. So bow down to Martin and submit to his every command. Only then will you be saved.

            Sigh! It’s a good thing we live in cynical times when the religiously deranged and deluded have a hard time rallying support in the way they could 150 years ago. If Martin had lived then, his life might have been very different. He might even have given the likes of Joseph Smith a run for their money.

            Sigh! What a pity the moment makes the man, eh Martin? Never mind, there may be no temporal power in store for you, but your imginary god will shower every other kind of imaginary gift on you, so don’t give up hope just yet.

          • Martin

            Bob

            The fact is, the Bible is perfect. Many attempts have been made to show it isn’t, none have succeeded. You have no compelling evidence, you have no evidence. All you have is ignorance. My religion is based on reason, your religion is based on fear. It is your religion that avoids the evidence, the evidence of God, the evidence of Man’s nature, the evidence of Creation.

            Actually, being made in God’s image doesn’t mean He is made in mine. I have understanding, morality, a sense of justice and a knowledge that God exists. You have the same, but God is vastly more than that. And it isn’t my truth, but the truth God has revealed through the Bible.

            And no, it isn’t my church, for I am just pewfodder. I’m dependent upon those who God has granted a greater understanding and an ability to teach. But then you just don’t like being told what to do, whether by a man or by God, and you’re just hitting out.

            Actually in some ways we live in a far from cynical age. Tell most people that we’re evolved from goo via the apes and they’ll credulously believe you without the slightest evidence. Had you wondered why so many follow AGW, or soaps, or big brother?

          • Bob

            “… the Bible is perfect.”

            No response of mine will make any difference to such willful and stubborn stupidity. I shrug my shoulders and move on.

          • Martin

            Bob

            You’ve yet to show any evidence of stupidity, just as you’ve failed to show any support for your position.

          • Bob

            You claim the bible is perfect when it contradicts itself on many occasions.

            Here’s just one example:

            MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

            LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

            So who was Joseph’s father? Jacob or Heli? And how perfect is the book that can get something so basic so wrong? More to the point, how self-evident is the stupidity of those who believe in biblical perfection in the face of such glaring contradictions?

          • Martin

            Bob

            You really think that Christians wouldn’t have noticed that? Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary, Joseph becoming Heli’s son by marrying Mary

          • Bob

            Nowhere in the bible is the name of Mary’s father mentioned. And no other biblical genealogy that I’m aware of tried to pass off a son-in-law as a biological child.

            On the balance of probabilities it is far more likely that the two different names for Joseph’s father stem from an error. Only someone dogmatically persuaded of the impossibility of finding an error in the bible would seek another explanation.

            Occam’s razor tells us that the simplest explanation is most likely to be true. Blind faith can only tell us what you want the truth to be.

            Presenting what you want the truth to be as the actual truth when a much simpler and more convincing explanation exists looks like pretty convincing evidence of stupidity to me.

          • Martin

            Bob

            Actually, since Matthew and Luke were writing at the same time and within the lifetimes of those who knew the names of Joseph’s and Mary’s fathers, and of course the genealogies show greater differences than this, funny how they didn’t notice. And no one except you has noticed since, funny that.

            Actually Occam’s razor tells us that my explanation is the simplest.

          • Bob

            Occam’s razor takes account of human error as one of the factors that can influence a situation. As you refuse fo allow for this possibility, the razor cannot be applied to your explanation because you are arbitrarily ruling out other explanations that do not give you the answer you want.

            The simplest explanation is that the scribe who wrote down one or other of the names was incorrectly informed, or made a simple mistake. Your unbending and rigid dogma forces you to invent a more complex explanation, and this is its ultimate downfall.

            This is a good example of what happens when scientific enquiry meets religious dogma, and perfectly explains why Christians make bad scientists. Data that does not support their predetermined conclusions is discarded and the result is bad science, bad logic and extremely bad religion, supported as it is by cherrypicked data and intellectual dishonesty.

            If you’re looking for one reason why so many atheists treat religion with so much contempt, here you have it. It’s driven by sheer selfish dishonesty. “My answer WILL be the right one and if the data don’t support it, no problem, I’ll just change the data.” There in a nutshell is Martin’s faith.

            No wonder he’s in a minority of one.

          • Martin

            Bob

            You are ruling out the explanations that do not give you the answer you want. Any answer that does not amount to an error in the Bible you reject.

            Indeed, you aren’t interested in scientific enquiry, just whatever suits your religious opinion. The Atheist is the one who rejects anything that challenges their interpretation. An example was the discovery of soft tissue in dinosaur fossils. The simplest explanation was that the bones were not as old as claimed, but that would be a challenge to Evolution and we couldn’t have that. What you have from Atheists is:

            “Data that does not support their predetermined conclusions is discarded and the result is bad science, bad logic and extremely bad religion, supported as it is by cherrypicked data and intellectual dishonesty.”

            and

            “My answer WILL be the right one and if the data don’t support it, no problem, I’ll just change the data.”

            That is YOUR faith.

          • Bob

            If you’re talking about the work of Mary Schweitzer, she herself is a Christian and totally discounts the possibility that the fragments of soft tissue isolated in T Rex remains are proof of “Young Earth Creationism”.

            What they do prove is that we do not entirely understand all the mechanisms of the decay process. Soft tissue decays, but it can also be preserved. Egyptian mummies are proof enough that it can be protected from decay in the right circumstances, and we do not yet understand exactly what all of those circumstances are. Jumping to an unwarranted conclusion that flies in the face of every established and accurate method of dating just because it supports your preconceived religious beliefs is not just bad science, it’s borderline mental retardation.

          • Martin

            Bob

            Why would Mary Schweitzer’s expressed opinions be relevant? She is merely trying to protect herself from those who attacked her discoveries on the basis of a belief in Evolution. Such is the dishonesty of scientists.

            The interesting thing is that attempts are being made to deny the facts of what we see, the decay of soft tissue, in order to protect the claims of what we don’t see, Evolution.

            You have no accurate method of dating fossils, after all you dare not attempt to use carbon-14 as if that came back with a result it would destroy your claims. And those much vaunted radiometric methods used on igneous rocks have never actually been tested for accuracy against something of known date.

            Of course the mummies, like the fossils, are mere thousands of years old.

          • Bob

            The dishonesty of scientists is as nothing compared to the ill-informed ignorance and duplicity of fundamentalist Christians.

            I could explain in detail how various radioisotope dating procedures work, however I have neither the time nor the desire to try to educate someone who clearly does not want to be educated. Suffice to say that Carbon 14 dating is of no use in identifying the age of anything older than 50-60,000 years. Fossils identified as being older than this are therefore not routinely tested using Carbon 14, but rather by using other radioisotopes like Uranium 235 or Thorium 232, which give meaningful results across much longer timescales.

            Instead of accusing the scientific community of perpetrating a fraud by refusing to waste its valuable time and money on useless testing that won’t reveal anything we don’t already know, creationists should perhaps take matters in hand themselves and fund large-scale Carbon 14 testing of fossil finds in an attempt to gather data that backs up their assertions. But they’re not doing this. Why?

            Could they be afraid they won’t obtain anything but confirmation of what science already knows? That these remains are much older than 60,000 years, and that Carbon 14 testing them is an expensive waste of time and money when other dating techniques provide much more accurate information?

            If you can show me peer-reviewed and independently verified testing that proves the fossil record to be younger than 6000 years old, and debunks the results of other testing techniques beyond reasonable doubt, I’ll be forced to accept your assertion that the earth came into existence just a few thousand years ago. But as the weight of evidence currently supports a completely different theory, and you can show me no evidence to support yours, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to dismiss you as a dogmatically driven whack-job who thinks ancient legends are real because he wants them to be.

          • Martin

            Bob

            I’m well aware how the ‘various radioisotope dating procedures’ work, and none of them have been verified by comparing with an item of known date. Indeed, when rock known to have a recent date has been tested by these methods the dates have been wrong.

            The reason fossils ‘known’ to be older aren’t tested is because if a date was given it would destroy the Evolutionists worldview. The other methods are not usable on the fossils or the rock that contains them.

            You have to remember, unlike Evolutionists, Creationists are not funded by governments and do not have access to many of the fossils. And carbon 14 dating is known to require local calibration to produce meaningful results, it doesn’t produce absolute dates. Even the claim of accuracy up to 50k years is questionable.

            Your faith in peer review is amusing, since peer review is merely an opinion that methodology and conclusions are valid. And you wouldn’t be able to get anyone truly independent to verify the testing, certainly no Evolutionist would do so and you wouldn’t accept a Creationist.

            Not that you actually have any evidence to support your position, just the interpretation of carefully selected evidence. The fossil record does not support Evolution, rather it supports the cataclysmic event described in the Bible as the Flood. Genetics does not support your position, rather it supports the design of life. If anyone is the wack-job it is you, holding on to outdated Victorian ideas that have no place in the modern world.

          • dannybhoy

            Sister Tiberias,
            Take no notice of Martin’s browbeatings.
            My advice?
            Tell him,
            “Irresistible Grace was a fine actress!”
            Kick him in the shins and leg it….

          • len

            ‘Purgatory’ the last hope of those who have rejected Christ?. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men… and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

          • Not at all, Len. The hope of those who have accepted Christ and yet still feel themselves so unworthy of the great gift and so imperfect, that God can still allow us a way to finish the process of perfection and make us fit to be with Him.

          • Well put, Tibs. Jack would add that Purgatory is a final cleansing for all who have accepted Christ and have not reached a state of perfection in this life.

          • preacher

            Hi Sis. I understand your logic, but I can’t find any reference in scripture to support the teaching of purgatory. Most assuredly all of us who believe will die imperfect, but the promise was that All the sins of a true believer were paid for on the Cross of Calvary. This is where Grace is added to Mercy because of God’s Love.
            Surely, the Holy Spirit was & is given to lead cleanse & guide us through this life as we allow Him the freedom to enter in & give Him liberty to release us from the ties that bind us.
            Blessings. P.

          • len

            No one is ‘worthy ‘of Christ,…….. that surely is what Grace is about?.

            .’As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one’;.(Romans 3:10) (Unless of course they have ‘done their bit’ in purgatory Sis Tibs? )

            ‘Purgatory’ is an invention of men ,surprised that people fall for this pretty obvious deception?.

          • dannybhoy

            That then means God changed the terms and conditions of salvation, and decided to indulge us penitents in our need to be punished?
            That we are in effect being judged twice: once by our loving Heavenly Father (parable of the Prodigal) and then,
            (presumably because we can’t possibly deserve His grace and the sanctification that comes through the Holy Spirit),
            we must be punished via purgatory.
            Which actually means that salvation is through works (of purification), rather than grace.

          • But we are taught that the souls in Purgatory are already saved, Danny 🙂 I don’t think the idea is that it’s a punishment. I always thought the Dream of Gerontius gave me a better understanding of the concept – http://sistertiberia.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/purgatory.html

          • dannybhoy

            There is no Biblical evidence for the concept of purgatory Sister. There is no need of purgatory..

            25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a]

            Ephesians 5

            From the moment we are reconciled to God the Father by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we are saved, accepted by the Father through Christ the Son..

            Herbrews 4>
            “14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

    • Cressida de Nova

      Of course there is punishment for being cruel to an animal.God cares for the vulnerable and innocent. Best avoid people who do not nurture their animals. You are right, there is no goodness in them.

      • CliveM

        I know when they look into the background of many murderers (like in the baby P case) they find in their background a history of animal torture.

  • chiefofsinners

    In Switzerland they eat dogs.

  • Matt A

    Terrible crime by the film crew.

    http://youtu.be/Bt9zSfinwFA

  • cacheton

    ‘You see, this poor, abused dog feels about mankind the same way many people feel about God. He is there to judge, condemn, punish and cast into outer darkness.’

    Might that be because that is what the church has consistently taught? At least one person who still preaches this was on your list of 100 Christians of the year!

    ‘This abused dog had known nothing but judgment and punishment, without ever understanding its error.’

    And what was its’ error?

    ‘So come out of the corner, feel the arms of the Father around you,’

    But this is where your analogy breaks down. The dog did not come out of the corner, the ‘arms of the father’ came into the corner to get him. Due to his past experience, the dog had no way of knowing what was coming to get him.

    • Anton

      God sent his son to get us out of the corner we have got ourselves into.

      • Bob

        Jesus was not sent to US. If there is a god and Jesus was his son, he was sent only to one very small group of people at a specific point in time. He was not sent to the whole of Mankind.

        If Jesus had been sent to all of us, why did he take no trouble to write down his message in his own words? Why was that task left for others to complete, and embroider, and add on to, well after he himself had skedaddled back up to heaven?

        It’s almost as if he didn’t believe his message had relevance for anyone who wasn’t directly in front of him when he spoke it. He certainly didn’t leave any kind of explanation or instructions behind him, which you’d think a saviour who had come to save would be fairly eager to do.

        Salvation by hearsay is one of the most damning things about the Christian faith. Oh, and the silly stories about miraculous healings and possessed pigs and people coming back from the dead too, of course…

        • Anton

          Jesus IS the word.

          • The Explorer

            That’s a bit deep for Linus/Bob.

          • sarky

            I thought grease was the word?

          • Anton

            What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?

          • The Explorer

            That’s a bit deep for Sarky.

          • sarky

            Im offended 😉

          • sarky

            Tertullian maybe??

          • Anton

            Spot on. Greece is not the word.

          • sarky

            Maybe.. But it has groove it has meaning! !

          • Anton

            It has bankruptcy.

          • Bob

            No, no … honestly, how uncool could you be?

            GREASE is the word! Not Jesus.

            Get it right!

          • Anton

            You’re slower than Sarky: see below.

          • Bob

            Sarky pipped me to the post, did he? Good for him.

            One man’s religious mantra is another man’s pop culture slogan.

        • The Explorer

          You really ought to be running the Universe. Then you could show God how to make a proper go of things and point out all the things He got wrong.

          • Bob

            Well thank you for the job offer, but I’m not interested in a position of that much responsability. I have too much else on my plate to fit in running the universe as well.

            I would however be very happy to be a member of the selection committee and interview candidates. Is the current incumbent reapplying? If so, best tell him to sex up his CV because based on performance to date, I don’t think he’ll be getting my vote.

          • Dreadnaught

            Now this is not really addressing ‘Bob’s’ post; is it? If Christians want to do more than just blame everybody but themselves for declining bums on seats; this is the kind of question that should capable of being answered by convinced people and not be ducked. Take it as your own, one to one opportunity to evangelise on eline.

          • The Explorer

            Linus/Bob thinks God is a bad organiser and bad communicator and poor at giving convincing evidence about Himself. (At least, God would be if God existed.) He says so in post after post. I was addressing the generality of Linus/Bob’s themes.

            The issue that Linus /Bob raises is a good one. Why rely on humans? Why use David to fight Goliath? Why didn’t God take out Goliath Himself? Is a verbal message valid? Why didn’t Socrates put his thoughts in writing? What about the prevalence of oral tradiitons in the Ancient World? Jeremiah and Baruch as the paradigm of Christ and Matthew. Etc.

            The answers to questions like these cannot readily be given in the format of a blog. Old Jim used to do it. Brilliant analyses, but beyond the attention spans of those he was addressing. The easiest thing is to supply reference sources. But when I did that for Bob in his Linus incarnation he always ignored them anyway. Stuck record syndrome. So I’ve given up bothering.

            If you’re genuinely interested in the question, just google something like ‘Why didn’t Jesus write his own gospel?’ You’ll find lots of detailed answers.

            Bob’s real point is that Christ incarnated himself at the wrong moment in time, without access to modern communications, or even printing. Another example of God screwing up. But God might have had His reasons.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Old Jim used to do it. Brilliant analyses, but beyond the attention spans of those he was addressing.”

            I miss him, his posts were weighty stuff to be mulled over. What happened to him?

          • The Explorer

            No idea. Wonderful mind. Maybe he just felt the blog format was inappropriate for all he had to say.

          • chiefofsinners

            As the scripture says, it was ‘at just the right time that Christ died for the ungodly’. A time chosen by a wiser mind than Bob. A time that ensured at least 95% of all humanity would live after the event.

          • Dreadnaught

            Much Better 🙂

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. If I haven’t said so before, I do respect your opinion.

          • cacheton

            ‘The answers to questions like these cannot readily be given in the format of a blog.’

            Yes they can!

            ‘Why rely on humans? Why use David to fight Goliath? Why didn’t God take out Goliath Himself?’

            He did. Humans are made in the image of god (now where did I read that??) How many more stories and parables and incarnations of Jesus do you need to get the message? GOD IS NOT SEPARATE FROM HUMANS. He is in here, not out there. What are you so FRIGHTENED of?

          • The Explorer

            Christ, when incarnate, was both human and divine. The Bible, in its authorship, is both human and divine. You would seem to want it to be purely human in its authorship and Linus/Bob would like to be purely divine. (That way God could prove his existence .) I don’t see that I’m the one with the problem.

          • cacheton

            ‘Christ, when incarnate, was both human and divine’

            Showing that being human in its highest form is no different from being divine.

            ‘The Bible, in its authorship, is both human and divine.’

            If authorship refers to the person actually writing, then it is human. But if it contains divine teachings (which it does) then why is it too much to expect the humans reading it to be able to tell the difference between those and the attempts at emotional manipulation, or the views of the society in which it was written, which are very far from divine?

            ‘You would seem to want it to be purely human in its authorship’

            Want? I merely observe that books do not appear out of nowhere, they are written by humans. The divine teachings in it (and in many other books) are a reflection that humans have access to the divine, though the humans writing the bible were not able to maintain constant access. Jesus was.

          • Pubcrawler
        • The Explorer

          “Jesus was not sent to US.” Just add ‘the’ to the sentence, and you could go and argue with the Mormons.

          • Bob

            Is the Mormon mythos any stranger than any other?

            At least we know Joseph Smith actually existed. We also have a much better understanding of the events of his life that turned him from a provincial nobody into a religious conman and shyster.

            We know little or nothing of the details of Jesus’s life. This is one of the reasons he comes across as so one-dimensional. A real human being would have lived a real life and would have been harder to reduce to a series of archetypes designed to illustrate themes of innocence glorified and death overcome.

            Joseph Smith makes a more convincing prophet than Jesus quite simply because his existencd can be verified. But the nonsense peddled by both religions is equally ludicrous, be it magical abilities to resurrect the dead or angels distributing golden books

          • The Explorer

            Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is not to argue with the Mormons that Joseph Smith was a more convincing prophet. than Jesus. Your mission is to argue with the Mormons that Jesus did not visit the US. (After all, if Christ didn’t exist in the first place you’re nearly there.)

          • Dreadnaught

            Smith – a Prophet? Never has there ever been such a fraud. One man’s prophet (why is it always a man?) is another man’s crazy person.

          • Bob

            I can’t disagree with you there, except to say that women are just as barking as men when it comes to propheting.

            Ever hear of Mary Baker Eddy and her “True Statement of Being”?

            And then there was Anna. And Deborah. And Phoebe. And if you want to ransack Greek mythology, Cassandra, etc

            No, women have the sickness just as bad as men. It’s just that history has given them fewer opportunities to talk about it.

          • Dreadnaught

            Yes have heard of MBE but never associated her with the title of Prophet – funny how the trade seems have died out too.

          • Bob

            Sociopaths with a penchant for being worshipped while they roll in money could do worse than found a religion. Hubbard is (was) living proof of that.

            Of course Christians will object that Jesus never got rich, but I’m not so sure. Personally I think the whole crucifixion thing was probably staged in order to cover his tracks so he could disappear off to the fleshpots of Antioch and spend all that money he got from the rich guy who gave him half his fortune. Because we never hear what happened to all that cash, do we? Did he give it to the poor? Or was Jesus like “hand it over dude, I’ll see it goes where it’s needed.”

            We’ll never know…

          • bockerglory

            My moslem friends bleat the same stuff as you. I assume you are Moslem. Smith was not the messiah because he indulged in polygamy as soon as he could and set himself up as a leader rather than a servant. Similarly Mohammed did the same and loved his power and approved of killing people that irritate him.Jesus did not write down his words because language changes over time and human discovery aboit science so you and you end up like crazy Islam worshipping the language and calligraphy and refusing to interpret anything. Stupid stupid humans.

            Jesus left us the holy spirit to guide us for each generation and the OT. He showed love not hate.

            Jesus was the WORD of God. So when in trouble a Christian thinks ‘ what would Jesus do?’ . God leads by example. So he showed us how to survive death. Life is a physical thing. You see we have the law in the OT and frNkly it is out of date and only fit for desert dwellers. The law also introduced hypocrites – I don’t eat pork so am good. What rubbish.look at the fruit of the Koran today – violence and sexual slavery. Vile.

            By the way I assume you know that the pre-Islamic Zabeans invented the Hajj and that bits of the Quran have different styles suggesting different authorship! Also Mohammed got his Christian slave to fill in gaps and this is why there are so many errors in the Quran. Oh yes. The dead sea scrolls prove the OT is pretty much the same as today’s version. Finally looks like the oldest fragment of Koran in Birmingham is earlier than Mohammed!!!! I suppose the moral is that God should have chosen a literate prophet not an illiterate one if God wanted to give us another rule book!!!

          • preacher

            Hey Brother, Leave the trolls to play nicely in a dark corner of their own making – You know it makes sense not to tease them. P.

          • chiefofsinners

            Fortunately Bob has only been sent to a small group of people at a certain time. Unfortunately that group is US.

          • sarky

            From small acorns…

          • The Explorer

            Small nutcases can generate big trees. Frightening thought. Imagine Linus/Bob on a large scale. (Easy, actually: just think of Linus/Bob’s view of God.)

          • chiefofsinners

            The acorn bears a remarkable resemblance to a part of the male anatomy. If you think Bob is an acorn, you should’ve gone to Specsavers.

          • sarky

            Yours might! !!

          • chiefofsinners

            As the saying goes on, mighty oaks and all that…

    • …. but the dog had to respond to the offer of love.

  • len

    Good grief, this circular argument thing is so boring!.

    ‘God cannot be God because he never wrote down an explanation of what he was doing’ writes ‘sideshow Bob’ … really?. what’s the Bible thing then?.

    Catholics think the Pope told the the truth when he invented’ purgatory’, well you couldn`t make it up could you…he did …well…I never….

    Think might go and do something more interesting…Hows that paint drying then and that grass still growing …. mmmm…..

    • No Pope “invented” purgatory, Len. It’s a very ancient belief. Indeed, refusing to pray for the dead contradicts historic Judaism and 1500 years of Christianity. It is a practice upheld by the Orthodox Church too.

      In the Old Testament, Judah Maccabee and his companions pray for the souls of departed soldiers: “It was a holy and pious thought. Therefore, he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin” (2 Macc. 12:45). Today Jews have a prayer called the Mourner’s Kaddish offered for the purification of the dead.

      This practice of praying for the dead is recorded throughout the writings of Perpetua, Tertullian, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius of Salamis, John Chrysostom, and Augustine. All of these men wrote between A.D. 160 and 421. So prayers for the souls in purgatory can hardly be considered a medieval invention by a Pope on the take.

      • Dreadnaught

        Its blackmail by whatever stick you measure it otherwise why sell indulgences to avoid the consequences involved.

        • That was then …. and, yes, it was ‘blackmail’ of a sort. There was a corrupt Papacy and Church hierarchy at the time.

          The Council of Trent set out Catholic teaching on purgatory and made it very clear indulgences could not be purchased and would only be of benefit if obtained (through temporal or spiritual acts) with the correct approach and disposition towards God.

      • len

        Before Jesus Christ arrived on earth people did many things,
        But the Bible is clear there is only One Mediator between man and God.
        ‘Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,'(Hebrews 9;27)
        1. Timothy 2:5 There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and human beings—a human, the Messiah Jesus.’

        • But just how does purgatory contradict the place of Jesus Christ as the sole mediator between God and man?

          • len

            If you cannot see that I don`t think I can help you anymore?

          • Nice side-stepping, Len. Some theologians are suggesting purgatory is actually Christ’s work. And purgatory isn’t a place of mediation; it’s a place of purification before we meet God.

          • len

            ‘Some theologians?’ . Grasping at straws now Jack…

          • Not at all, Len. Many issues are left unresolved in Catholicism (like the precise workings of predestination) and this leaves scope for theological reflection. Purgatory is such an issue. Man can only know the answers that God reveals to His Church.

          • len

            Precisely. Getting there Jack. God gave us His Word… His Written Word.Check it out as the Bereans did…

          • Jack wrote: “Man can only know the answers that God reveals to His Church.” Scripture, Sacred Tradition and Reason are all necessary in discerning God’s Truth. And Jesus gave His authority to His Church – not individuals.

          • len

            That’s not scriptural jack.

            ‘sacred tradition’ is a cop out.Much of sacred tradition is not written down but passed down by word of mouth.So ‘sacred tradition’ can be anything one claims it to be .
            Who has the Truth?
            ‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come’.John 16:13) Every believer is’ the church’.The word ‘Church’ does not appear in the Bible ‘the church’ is an invention to claim ownership over ‘the Ekklesia’ a call out group of believers.

          • Let’s just agree to differ, Len.

          • len

            We can of course agree to differ Jack but one last thought, if reading a book we have questions about that book who is the best person to ask those questions?The author of course.The Author of the Bible is the Holy Spirit and He is our Teacher and our Instructor in all matters pertaining to the Word of God..
            God Bless ….

          • Len, Jack wouldn’t disagree. However, we also know from Church history that people *hear* the Author of Scripture in so many different and varied ways. Some follow a false, deceiving voice, and others a voice of their own imagination. Some just make errors. How do you discern between these differences of interpretation? This is why Jack believes Jesus established a visible, organised, Apostolic Church and invested it with His authority to gradually develop and teach our understanding of the Gospel.

      • Anton

        “protestants who refuse to pray for the dead contradict historic Judaism”

        How historic? There is no trace of it in the Jewish annals from the time of Jacob/Israel to the Maccabees, at least, aka the Hebrew scriptures. That’s more than 1000 years.

        • It was an understanding that came gradually to Israel. 160 years before Jesus may not be that long in terms of Jewish history but then neither is the belief in the bodily resurrection and judgement which was also seems to have been a fairly late arrival and was controversial in the time of Jesus.

          • Anton

            I can’t dispute that a deeper understanding of the afterlife came to the Jews then, and a millennium after Jacob; I’m objecting to the use of the phrase “historic Judaism” to mean only the Roman occupation and talmudic era when there were 1000 years before that in which most of the Hebrew scriptures were written.

      • Anton

        That’s the usual protestant translation of 2 Maccabees 12:46 (not 12:45), because “make atonement for” is by no means the same as prayer. The usual Catholic translation is “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins”. I’m going to check up on the Greek original, in the Septuagint.

      • Anton

        Jack, the protestant translation of that verse is correct. But there is an unambiguous reference to praying for the dead in verse 44 immediately preceding. Catholic-protestant differences about the practice therefore relate to the canonicity of 2 Maccabees, not its translation.

        • Well Protestants would remove it from the list of canonical books, wouldn’t they?

          • Anton

            The Apocrypha were never undisputed. Jerome didn’t regard them as canonical. Sirach (ch.30) has this to say about bringing up children: He who loves his son will whip him often… If you play with your child, he will grieve you; do not laugh with him, or you will have sorrow with him… give him no freedom in his youth… make his yoke heavy. The tone is totally different from the loving discipline proposed in Proverbs, or Jesus speaking about children in Matthew 18, or Paul at Ephesians 6:4. The Apocryphal Letter of Jeremiah (often printed as the 6th chapter of Baruch) says (verse 2) that the Jews would be in Babylon for seven generations, whereas Jeremiah (25:11) stated (correctly) 70 years. And supposedly Tobit was alive when the Assyrians invaded Israel in 722BC (Tobit 1:3), and also alive more than 200 years earlier when Jeroboam’s revolt against Jerusalem (Tobit 1:4-5) divided Israel into northern and southern kingdoms. Yet he is said in the same book to have lived less than 130 years (Tobit 14:2). Call these things canonical and you make God a heartless liar.

          • And … ? One is sure the early Church considered all this when determining the books of Scripture which held for 1500 years before the Reformation.

          • Anton

            What answers did they have?

          • No idea …

          • Anton

            Then I shall continue to assert that Rome’s scriptures portray God the Holy Spirit as making elementary mistakes of arithmetic and advocating cruelty to children beyond mere strictness. Protestant scriptures don’t.

          • Without knowing what the early Church thought?

          • Anton

            Yes. Until my assertion is knocked over using arguments from the early church or any other source then I’ll reckon it can’t be done.

          • And all the other books?

          • Anton

            I’ve not gone into them book by book (NB I have read them), but they are generally agreed by both Catholic and protestant to stand or fall together.

    • Bob

      What, you mean circular arguments like god is real because it says so in the bible … but how do you know the bible is true? Because god says so … in the bible?

      No wonder any Christian with even a modest capacity for logical thinking feels compelled to scrabble around for additional justification. The best he can manage is something along the lines of “there must be a god because beautiful sunsets and fluffy bunny wabbits make me cwy!”, which proves nothing but his obsession with himself and his own emotional response to naturally occuring phenomena. But to a Christian, his tears are proof of god because god created tears. It says so in the bible…

      And Christians don’t understand why they’re a byword for ignorance and narcissism!

      • len

        Not at all.I was an atheist for most of my life I have had exactly the same arguments as yourself with Christians!
        God chose to reveal Himself to mankind at the Cross at Calvary it is only at the Cross of Jesus Christ(which stands outside of time as God Himself does) that one can know God.
        The Cross is ‘foolishness’ to unsaved man it makes no sense at all!.
        It was the desire for knowledge(apart from God) which let man open to demonic deception which led to the fall of man.

        It is through’ the foolishness of the Cross’ (which is the Wisdom of God) ) that ‘the fall’ is reversed.
        This is the way God has ordained Truth to be revealed and we can argue with this till we eventually go to the grave ourselves and either know the Truth or not as we make that decision…

  • Shadrach Fire

    Can this analogy be an indication of the Church’s role of intervention in Islam?
    Muslims are not Islam, they are merely advocates or followers and are often beaten and abused by it. Yet if Christ tries to reach out to them through his disciples, they turn and snarl because they can’t believe there is a life outside Islam.
    Such is our role to believe and love the people but hate the religion that ensnares them.

    • Merchantman

      In Islam Dogs get a pretty rough deal and are accursed ( no pun intended); and as I understand it; black dogs even unto death.

  • Dreadnaught

    Seeing as the OP had as its focus the analogy of human kindness towards an abused animal and that of a loving god and humanity, I wondered as I was reading this (italics) would humanity really be better served and informed by accepting the Creationist position that all life on earth arrived in a complete finished state? I would be interested to hear if any would find it a little less provocative and more inviting to involve themselves with the findings of this reasearch in Evolution Theory, than other arguments that invoke the names of Darwin or Dawkins.

    For billions of years, life on Earth was made up of single cells. In the lineage that
    led to animals – and independently in those that led to plants and to fungi – multicellular organisms evolved as cells began to specialize and arrange themselves into tissues and organs. Although the evolution of multicellularity is one of the most important events in the history of animal life, very little is known about the molecular mechanisms by which it took place.

    To form and maintain organized tissues, cells must coordinate how they divide relative to the position of their neighbours. One important aspect of this process is orientation of the mitotic spindle, a structure inside the dividing cell that distributes the chromosomes —and the genetic material they carry — between the daughter cells.

    http://cdn.elifesciences.org/elife-articles/10147/pdf/elife-10147.pdf

    • preacher

      Good post Dreadnaught. IMO whether we like it or not, even if we have to alter our views to agree with the outcome of our search for the facts, the truth will always be there unchanged & waiting to be found.
      The complexity of the things on this planet, from plant life to more advanced forms especially human beings is IMO far to intricate to be the result of chance.
      Anthony Flew a well known Atheist of a past generation came to the same conclusion.
      As science advances further, especially into the areas once hidden by lack of modern advanced technologies, we discover even more about the complex building blocks of this World. For me personally this indicates a far superior intelligence behind the existence of life on this planet, & we haven’t even discovered a fraction of what will be discovered in future generations.

      • sarky

        An intelligence that creates worms that burrow into children’s eyes. ..nice.

        • dannybhoy

          “Mark Woods: Stephen Fry, eye-worms and bone cancer – how Christians can still believe in the goodness of God.”

          http://www.christiantoday.com/article/mark.woods.stephen.fry.eye.worms.and.bone.cancer.how.christians.can.still.believe.in.the.goodness.of.god/47259.htm

          • sarky

            Sounds like he doesn’t’t get it as much as the next man.

          • Dreadnaught

            I had a quick browse from the link you provided and found this They are divided into three categories: worms that invade tissue and skin, those that reside in the lymphatic system, and those that thrive in areas around the stomach, lungs, and heart. Clearly there is a multitude of parasitic invaders Fry could have used as an example and atheists will always resort to these instances (I have done so myself) as long as religionists (obviously not just Christians) claim that there is a Creator of everything, he loves all humanity and the Earth is only six thousand years old.
            I don’t expect you or any other Christian to give up on their beliefs. We already know how history is constantly being written and context is everything, Even the original Bible is a selective compendium of bare facts, conjecture and folk lore brought together by Constantine for largely political purposes.

            What engages me is the stridency of religionists who wish to impose their beliefs and additionally their cultural mores on pain of eternal damnation in the afterlife they are convinced of or the death delivered by their hands in this world.

            Incidentally, I am fascinated by the mechanics of cell walls and even the phenomenon of the surface tension of water.
            Never a dull moment for me eh!

          • IrishNeanderthal

            This brought together by Constantine version I call Concoctionism
             .

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, that’s a polite way of putting it.

          • dannybhoy

            I put these things out for comment, not as conclusive proof.
            I think there are lots of Christians like me who acknowledge examples like Sarky pointed out.
            It’s as I said before one hangs things on hooks. You haven’t got an answer, you accept that if it causes you problems it’s going to give people who don’t believe more reason not to.

          • cacheton

            ‘What engages me is the stridency of religionists who wish to impose their beliefs and additionally their cultural mores on pain of eternal damnation in the afterlife they are convinced of or the death delivered by their hands in this world.’

            Me too.
            Isn’t the imposition, or at least the attempt at it, a condition of salvation for them? The eternal damnation and the afterlife are just part of the manipulative belief package, carrots and sticks, and the deaths ….? Perhaps the ultimate proof that the belief package is destructive as opposed to being constructive, and takes the mind in so completely in some cases that the deaths are seen by adherents as a means to escape the eternal damnation whereas actually they contribute to it, the ultimate distortion of reality. ?

        • Inspector General

          All to do with hygiene. if you’re not hygienic, you get worms….

          • Dreadnaught

            Not conclusively as the worms in question are delivered as larvae by mosquito bites.

          • Inspector General

            Surely some medicine for it these days. Of course, getting the natives to take it is something else. Perhaps mixed in with ancestral ground up bone…

          • Dreadnaught

            The treatment they say is often worse to endure than the presence, Quite common too in the swampy southlands of the US bible-belt btw, good old Rednecksville.

        • William Lewis

          Not nice.

          • sarky

            Why create it then.

          • William Lewis

            He didn’t. He created beings with choice, which brought evil into being. It’s His mess and He needs to sort it. He has and He will. There is no other solution.

          • sarky

            But its not evil. It’s just doing what it was designed to do.

          • William Lewis

            It’s design has been warped, because of evil.

          • sarky

            So what did it do prior to evil? And can you produce the fossil record of before? ?

          • William Lewis

            A fossil record? Of a worm?

          • sarky
          • William Lewis

            Are you proposing to track the evolution of evil through trace fossils?

          • sarky

            You should be able to shouldn’t you? Prior to the fall there was no predation, and afterwards there was. There should be a clear delineation in the record.

      • Dreadnaught

        Thank you Mr P. I have just lost the bet I had with myself 🙂

        • cacheton

          And when you ask yourself if you really need to know this, what do you feel? This is the point where intellect breaks down and the other human faculties of knowing can take over (if you let them). This is the point where the Dalai Lama goes on stage to give a talk and after a period of silence just laughs.

        • Anton

          Don’t suppose that the universe is expanding into a void beyond itself, for the universe IS everything. To get an handle on this, imagine that you are a 2-dimensional rather than a 3-dimensional being, and you live on the surface of a balloon. God is blowing up the balloon. From your viewpoint, the distances between fixed points increase, but you never say that your 2-dimensional world is expanding into anything.

          Now bump up the whole analogy by one dimension. You can no longer visualise it, because you are used to visualising things in 3D only; but it is exactly like that.

          • Dreadnaught

            I think I get it, at least its a good start on your part and I thank you for that; except of course for the idea of a creator which begs the question of where and how. I was only partly serious in posing the initial question as i know I will never be cognisant of the mechanics of the expanding universe. I can however content myself that I personally can live without ever knowing the cause of such phenomena. This is the mystery of life as a minute organism on a speck of a planet as obscure as it is as one single drop of water is in an ocean.

          • Anton

            It’s not a problem for me to change that sentence to “The balloon is being blown up in accordance with the laws of physics.” Christian physicists believe that God ordained those laws; secular physicists don’t. I would add, though, that all physicists – secular and religious – see a beauty in those laws. Where does that beauty come from, if not the aesthetic of the creator?

          • Dreadnaught

            Beauty is subjective. ‘The Heart of Darkness’ was bathed in sunlight in reality and was home to millions before the ‘Whiteman’ went back there. Even a slug is attractive to another slug.

          • Anton

            Whether or not beauty is subjective, religious and secular physicists both agree that it’s there.

    • dannybhoy

      “Evolutionary biologists have long faced a “chicken and egg” problem of which biological molecules came first: proteins or nucleic acids (the NA in DNA and RNA). Both of these are highly complex molecules, and in living cells one cannot work without the other.”

      http://www.creationresearch.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1568:ribosome-study-challenges-rna-world&catid=13

      • Dreadnaught

        All known observations however do fit the belief they were created to work together inside fully formed cells…

        Dan I just don’t buy this assertion. It cites no references for making such a claim and appeals only to the non-attentive of the extensive biological science disciplines.

        • dannybhoy

          I rather think you know more about this than me Dreaders, but perhaps this is less about the science and more about the theory? It’s about explaining how all the component parts managed to evolve and come together.
          I dunno.
          It’s a bit like knowing all the parts of a male sperm and a female egg, but being unable to show us where the bit is that makes them alive…. :0)
          I shall see if I can find something more detailed..

          • cacheton

            Nobody has ever been able to show where any part is that makes anything alive. Nor are they likely to in the future. Life is. Like god.

            Or maybe that should be, Life is God ….

          • dannybhoy

            It is miraculous isn’t it, and yet few people seem to marvel and wonder.

          • cacheton

            That’s because those who consider Life their department, influential scientists, do their best to keep the discussion to a minimum for fear that it may discredit their line of work.

          • dannybhoy

            The argument is not over scientific research, but rather the interpretation of the findings.

        • dannybhoy

          Here’s something more scientific,,

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26876/

          “To fully understand the processes occurring in present-day living cells, we need to consider how they arose in evolution. The most fundamental of all such problems is the expression of hereditary information, which today requires extraordinarily complex machinery and proceeds from DNA to protein through an RNA intermediate. How did this machinery arise? One view is that an RNA world existed on Earth before modern cells arose (Figure 6-91). According to this hypothesis, RNA stored both genetic information and catalyzed the chemical reactions in primitive cells. Only later in evolutionary time did DNA take over as the genetic material and proteins become the major catalyst and structural component of cells. If this idea is correct, then the transition out of the RNA world was never complete; as we have seen in this chapter, RNA still catalyzes several fundamental reactions in modern-day cells, which can be viewed as molecular fossils of an earlier world.”

          Looking at the language though, it’s hard to see how all of this could come together by chance, or by genetic mutation. It’s supposed to be random, and yet scientists are discivering just how incredibly complicated it all is.

          “DNA Is Constantly Changing through the Process of Mutation

          “http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dna-is-constantly-changing-through-the-process-6524898

  • Inspector General

    Off topic, but another nasty PC attempt at equality, whatever it be. The Inspector weighs in at 13.5 stone. Women he knows like to keep their weight around 9 stone. So your man here comes in at half as much again as the ladies. So, why is it that the so called safe alcohol limit is now the same for both sexes!!!!

    The Inspector’s father, still extant at 84, drinks beer daily. He gave up whisky at 80. If he was to give up the beer as well, there is an 84% chance that he would be dead by the summer from sheer boredom…

    • IanCad

      The heavy live longer than the scrawny Inspector. Check it out!!
      Calories for life!!

    • CliveM

      Who wants to live to extreme old age anyway. Friends dead, family dead or moved away, memory shot. Prostate troublesome, walking painful.

      No eat, drink and be merry, because that’s a lot more fun!

      • Inspector General

        Sorry to hear about that Clive. Still, beer takes the pain away…

        • CliveM

          I’m anticipating, not yet experiencing!!

          • Inspector General

            Oh, right. One’s own nightmare is failing to drink enough, leading to the Inspector’s decrepit but fairly well preserved hide spending it’s remaining years in a damned nursing home at the mercy of abusive and thieving staff…

          • CliveM

            Heavens yes. Even the best of these places are depressing. Living mortuaries, where you go to, to die.

      • Pubcrawler

        Give up booze and you don’t live any longer; it just feels like it.

        • CliveM

          Frankly I don’t think I could manage without the odd pint and glass of vino!

          Lubricates family life.

          • Inspector General

            also assists conception, one should think…

          • CliveM

            Depends on quantity……..

        • dannybhoy

          That’s old….

          • Pubcrawler

            So am I…

          • dannybhoy

            Whaddya want – sympathy?

          • Pubcrawler

            Something wherewith to drown my sorrows…

    • CliveM

      Hmm I’m wondering if this is about PC, or in perpetration for the caliphate?

      • Pubcrawler

        Whatever lies behind it, they’ll have to take my pint from my cold, dead hand.

        • CliveM

          There is a problem with binge drinking in this country. These guidelines won’t impact on that one bit.

          Luckily even if they banned it, you could brew your own.

          The Pint isn’t dead, long live the Pint

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, there is a problem with excessive drunkenness, and there always has been. There are laws in place to deal with it, if only they were ever applied. But according to these new limits, I too am one of those ‘binge drinkers’. I am deeply offended. Who can I sue?

            They won’t ban it, it’s worth too much to the Exchequer.

            Right, time for my third (and not final) pint of the evening. I’m such a threat to society. ..

          • Dreadnaught

            The brewers who press-gang you down to your local and by allowing programme makers setting pubs as the focal point of the three main UK soaps.
            Where there’s blame etc..

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s the insult, not the habit, that offends me.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m a supporter of pubs, the more the better.
            Pubs are where people can congregate and socialise. It helps towards building community cohesion, and actually regulates behaviour in the intemperate…

          • Anton

            Yes, this was a point made to the temperance lobby in the USA in the Wild West. Be entertained by the tale of its most militant advocate:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Nation

          • dannybhoy

            Amazing!

          • IanCad

            My wife’s from Kansas, she even claims a distant common ancestor.
            Shed a tear.

          • Dreadnaught

            I’m 8 years dry now and richer for it in more ways than one.

          • dannybhoy

            In all sincerity I’m pleased for you. My dear older brother threw his life and talents away courtesy of alcohol. Although of course alcohol was the vehicle, not the motivation.
            I have had times of stress when alcohol became the main comforter.
            I think back and shudder.

          • Dreadnaught

            Lets face it we grew up in a time when having your first pint was a right of passage and people like Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole and sundry well known hell-raisers were and still are revered. Older and wiser now – Chin-chin – Cheers!

          • CliveM

            No one. Being made miserable is for your own good…….

          • dannybhoy

            £50 for being treated at A&E, £100 if you have to stay in overnight..
            That’s fair.

          • Anton

            It’s also cheaper than a hotel in central London…

          • Pubcrawler

            Not if one happens to be an innocent victim of someone else’s drunken violence or other damaging behaviour, however intoxicated one may be oneself.

          • dannybhoy

            Hmmmm..
            If one goes out on the weekend with the intention of getting totally bladdered/smashed/rat arsed or whatever, then we have to accept that we are not going to be fully in control of of our behaviour. We are deliberately abrogating our responsibility for what happens.
            I know, I’ve been there a few times.

          • Dreadnaught

            I can see a time coming when conditions are applied in accessing medical aid. Smoking, Boozing, Drugging are all self inflicted ‘injuries’. Same goes for contact sports I guess. If there’s a chance you may get a broken leg or something as a result of engaging in sport or such, then get private medical insurance and give us all a ‘break’ from rescuing you from the consequences of your indulgences.
            Turn up pissed or off your head once; get seen to and take the medicine: next time; piss off or pay up!

          • dannybhoy

            “I can see a time coming when conditions are applied in accessing medical aid. Smoking, Boozing, Drugging are all self inflicted ‘injuries’.”

            I think that should happen! There’s nothing wrong with a regular drink or two, but it can get out of control given the right circumstances.

            Did smoke, but never drugs.
            I have to accept that my move from asthma to COPD is in part due to smoking, and I have to accept that.

          • Dreadnaught

            Tough call Dan. best wishes old lad.

          • Pubcrawler

            What level of intoxication would you call ‘totally bladdered’? How would you measure it?

            Licensees have a responsibility in law not to serve someone who is drunk; if they do so, persistently, they forfeit their licence. Or should do, if only the licensing authorities would apply pressure. Use existing laws to prevent or significantly reduce excessive drunkenness in the first place rather than deal with the aftermath.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m really referring to the modern practice, but you know when you’ve had one too many and you can’t think straight, can’t make verbal sense, couldn’t really help another person in a mess, etc.
            As a young man in the MN and in later life I have been drunk and incapable. Not good.
            The truth is that when we know there are firm financial or penal consequences to drinking too much, most of us can adjust our behaviour.

          • Pubcrawler

            One hopes that for most people self-regulation comes with maturity and (bad) experience. (I’m still on that journey 🙂 )

            What raises my hackles, though, is the way the phrase ‘binge drinking’ — going on an occasional bender — has been hijacked to anathematise perfectly sensible and peaceable tipplers who enjoy two or three pints of an evening.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah well, that’s different. That’s “old school” as we did on a right of passage into adulthood, perhaps father or uncles taking us along.
            But that’s why I am a supporter of pubs, because that’s where a local community can come together and socialise.
            The more integrated and stable the community, the more youngsters can learn what is acceptable behaviour.

          • Pubcrawler

            That is the ideal model, yes. But how many pubs, especially in the urban centres, cater for all generations? The ‘community pub’ is still alive and passing well for now, at least where I am, but I find it hard to be optimistic about the future. Gin Lane is on the rise again, Beer Street ails.

        • sarky

          Crikey, what do you drink? ?

          • Pubcrawler

            You buying?

      • I think it’s about gender equalising. They are trying to say that men can only drink as much as women now.

        • Pubcrawler

          Well, I know one or two women i can drink as much as…

    • Pubcrawler

      I see from Guido that while we beefy British menfolk are deemed irresponsible lushes if we dare to imbibe more than 14 units a week, the fey Frenchies are allowed 26 units and the snoozing Spaniards 35!

      • Anton

        First good thing I’ve heard about the EU.

    • Anton

      Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 aged 122 and holds the world record, gave up smoking when she was 117. She continued to drink port and ate 2lb of chocolate per week.

      • dannybhoy

        Ah, but how much longer would she have lived without smoking, drinking and munching chocolate?

        • Anton

          **Gallic shrug**

          • dannybhoy

            Ou devrait-il être un haussement d’épaules “Gauloises”?

          • Anton

            Peut-être!

    • Hi inspector

      Now here was me thinking you were a well oiled muscles Adonis type…. I’m eight stone and a half , five foot six inches. My secret is swimming , the gym and my healthy Jewish Sephardic diet.

      PS :Went to Gloucester in October and discovered the wonderful Berkeley castle-which is where the university in America comes from and also some king died via a poker up his rear – and village. The cathedral was nice and so were the updated docks. And the wonderful local rustic accent “owar!” of the taxi driver and Gloucester people. I couldn’t find a synagogue, but I understand that Gloucester does have a reasonable sized Jewish congregation, but, the community tends to meet in houses now , so I understand.

      • Inspector General

        Hannah, in that case the nearest Synagogue would be in Cheltenham. Tucked away near the old fire station…

  • Dreadnaught

    cacheton said:

    Nobody has ever been able to show where any part is
    that makes anything alive. Nor are they likely to in the future. Life is. Like
    god. Or maybe that should be, Life is God ….

    An egregiously triumphant statement without a shred of credibility other than you can’t prove that I am wrong, so I must be right. I would ask Mr C a straight question:

    Do you think that (let’s keep it to the big three monos) these religions if being born to day would attract the following they have, given the depth of testable and expanding scientific knowledge available today?

    ‘God did it’, is to put it mildly I suggest, satisfyingly simplistic, but hardly convincing as a scientifically provable premise. Not having a testable, repeatable answer is not a ‘answer’ at all. Alternatively put everything down to the will of Allah and burn the scientists with their own books and papers as ISIS promotes.

    Take a look at this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10132762
    on synthetic DNA and also the work of this chappie Oparin, and if you are
    seriously curious – maybe do more research of your own. I guarantee it won’t
    give the ultimate answer, such as A + X = Life, but it will indicate that mankind is getting closer as the research continues. It may be useful to assess beforehand what it is that is your understanding of the phenomenon called ‘life’.

    Alexander Oparin reasoned that atmospheric oxygen
    prevents the synthesis of certain organic compounds that are necessary building
    blocks for the evolution of life. In his book The Origin of Life. Oparin
    proposed that the “spontaneous generation of life” that had been
    attacked by Louis Pasteur did in fact occur once, but was now impossible
    because the conditions found on the early Earth had changed, and pre-existing
    organisms would immediately consume any spontaneously generated organism.
    Oparin argued that a “primeval soup” of organic molecules could be
    created in an oxygenless atmosphere through the action of sunlight. These would
    combine in ever more complex ways until they formed coacervate droplets. These
    droplets would “grow” by fusion with other droplets, and
    “reproduce” through fission into daughter droplets, and so have a
    primitive metabolism in which factors that promote “cell integrity”
    survive, and those that do not become extinct. Many modern theories of the origin
    of life still take Oparin’s ideas as a starting point.

    • Anton

      Dreadnaught: for up-to-date developments of Oparin and others along that line of research, read the books of Nick Lane.

      • Dreadnaught

        I asked first! Anyway who is Nick Lane? what is his line of research?

        • Anton

          I’m not opening an interrogative dialogue with cacheton; I’m offering you information that might interest you. See Lane’s books Life Ascending and The Vital Question on Amazon. He’s an academic evolutionary biochemist at UCL, and an earlier book of his is about the role of oxygen.

          • dannybhoy

            Nick Lane’s website
            https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=NJLAN31

            An interview with Nick Lane on what is life and where did it come from..
            http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/interviews/interview/1000917/

            Short answer, he doesn’t know and doesn’t think it’s important to know…

            ” It is notoriously difficult to do and actually, I think it�s almost pointless to try to define life.”

            ” There�s no evidence to suggest that (life came from elswhere in the universe) it did, and actually I think it�s a pointless theory in the sense that if it did come from somewhere else, well we still don�t know any more about how life started elsewhere. I think we�ll never know exactly how life started on Earth but what we can know, what are the principles that lead to the origin of life from a non-living environment, and that�s what we�re looking for in trying to understand the origin of life here. And panspermia, the delivery of life from space, it just moves the problem somewhere else so it�s pointless.

            And to finish a Christian comment on Nick Lane’s views

            https://answersingenesis.org/origin-of-life/batteries-begat-life/
            So what we see again is that there isno argument about the findings, but the interpretation thereof.

          • Anton

            Sure. He’s a scientist and as such looks for mechanisms operating WITHIN the creation that can explain certain aspects of it in terms of certain others. There is a limited autonomy within God’s creation, and that’s the realm of science. His views on religion are irrelevant to that search.

          • dannybhoy

            I haven’t checked out his views on religion, but I will.
            This all very much reminds me of chapter 4 in Francis Schaffer’s book “The God who is there”
            (Well worth a read or re-read)
            Schaeffer is pointing out that modern man is living in a dichotomy. One part says that because we live in a chance universe with no ultimate meaning, therefore life is meaningless. The other part of the dichotomy is that man can’t live like that. Man must have meaning in order to function.
            In chapter 4 he talks about John Cage who composed music based on his philosophy that we live in an impersonal and blind chance universe.
            He says that Cage developed a real interest in funghi and became quite an expert on the subject.
            However Cage realised that if he approached the subject in the same way as his philosphy dictated he compose music, he would get nowhere.
            I quote Schaeffer…
            “Here is a man who is trying to teach the world what the universe intrinsically is and what the real philosophy of life is, and yet he cannot even apply it to picking mushrooms.”

          • Anton

            Some passing comments in Lane’s books make clear that he is an atheist.

            I’ve read all of Francis Schaeffer’s books but like best his TV series “How Should We Then Live”, conceived in reaction to – and as an evangelical Christian version of – Kenneth Clark’s series Civilisation.

            About a “chance” universe – God doesn’t do Random; it only looks that way to us, because we don’t have the knowledge and wisdom to see what is really going on. I wince whenever an evangelical who is happy to see God behind seemingly chance events, such as meetings that lead to evangelism or marriage, disparages evolution as blind chance.

          • dannybhoy

            Did you read the book he did with Dr Everett Koop, onetime US Surgeon General, entitled “Whatever happened to the Human Race?”
            Again, as in Schaeffer’s writings we see their the fruits of their concerns happening in Western society.

          • Anton

            Probably – it was a while ago, a full day in a university library.

          • dannybhoy

            ” I wince whenever an evangelical who is happy to see God behind seemingly chance events, such as meetings that lead to evangelism or marriage, disparages evolution as blind chance.”
            The light slowly dawns…
            I think I now see what you’re getting at. Perhaps what you have reconciled to your own satisfaction is that behind every apparently chance event in the cosmos, including life and evolution, is the hand of God directing things.
            But that is not what non believers would accept. To be logically true to the belief in blind chance, one might do what De Sade did, “What is, is right” or go into despair.
            Most people live in the dichotomy.

          • cacheton

            ‘Most people live in the dichotomy.’

            Yes, and one (well, me at least) would expect any ‘religion’ to direct people to the way through that dichotomy, not keep them in it as our ‘religions’ do. This is why religions are becoming redundant – people are realising this more and more.

          • dannybhoy

            Hebrews 11>
            “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

            Christians believe that there is enough reasonable evidence for the existence of God, that there is enough evidence for the authenticity and veracity of the Scriptures for us to take a step of faith,
            We are convinced of our own sinfulness and failings before a Holy God to accept salvation and be born again from within, in our spirit.
            So we don’t believe that we live in a dichotomy. We are true to what is observable and knowable, but we accept God’s interpretation of life and the universe, even though we don’t yet have the full picture..
            I Corinthians 13>
            ” 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

          • cacheton

            ‘Christians believe that there is enough reasonable evidence for the existence of God, that there is enough evidence for the authenticity and veracity of the Scriptures for us to take a step of faith,’

            But believing there is evidence is not enough surely, you show the evidence. It speaks for itself. There is no belief involved. There is no showable evidence for the existence of an external god, therefore no reason to believe that an external god had anything to do with writing a book!

          • dannybhoy

            That goes back to what I was saying to Dreadnaught. The science is there, the evidence of the incredible complexity of life is there. It’s how you interpret it.
            To me the absence of a ‘life motor’ inside the flowering bulb, or in the seed of a man or the egg of a woman is incredible. Awe inspiring! What makes these things grow and change and move?
            We look at the universe, we listen to what the astronomists have discovered and we marvel. “Where- How?”
            We don’t know, but we find out that there are scientists and astronomers that believe in God, so we listen to their opinions and interpretation of the same evidence that the unbeliever is looking at.

            http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physics/133-physics/general-physics/general-questions/836-do-most-astronomers-believe-in-god-based-on-the-available-scientific-evidence-beginner

            “The ultimate point is that science does not deal with belief; it deals with things that you can prove. And since we can’t prove or disprove the existence of God, the question of whether or not a person believes in God doesn’t (or at the very least shouldn’t) have anything to do with scientific reasoning.

          • dannybhoy
          • cacheton

            ‘The ultimate point is that science does not deal with belief; it deals with things that you can prove.’

            Yes but the even more exciting point is that you can prove that belief has an effect, and as science maintains that anything that can be proved to have an effect can in theory be studied by science, this rather forces science to admit that it can study it on the one hand, but when that study leads out of the realm of science and logic (which it does), they feel they have to reject the findings in order to keep science credible. Unhelpful and rather disingenuous in my opinion but unfortunately that’s where we are today.

            Re Nick Lane, you quoted ‘Short answer, he doesn’t know and doesn’t think it’s important to know…’ in one of your above posts. Isn’t that just the mark of a mind that does not want to go any further than the physical, like those mechanists who think that by rejecting certain results they are keeping science credible? Some of us have minds that need to go further than that (in order to have a framework of meaning in which to live our lives), and whose experience is that reality does go further than that. We tend to get labelled, rather ironically, as ‘rejecting science’. That ‘science’ which rubbishes a major part of everybody’s everyday experience because it concludes that the imagination is some kind of accident of evolution, even though it is extremely simple to demonstrate that the imagination has an effect. Maybe they should start being labelled as ‘rejecting experience’ ….

          • dannybhoy

            “Isn’t that just the mark of a mind that does not want to go any further than the physical, like those mechanists who think that by rejecting certain results they are keeping science credible?”
            To be fair to him (and we Christians like to be fair don’t we..) he probably stays away from stuff that is contentious and frankly can be confusing. He prefers to stay on stuff that he can examine, and perhaps doesn’t realise that he is actually putting his own interpretation on the evidence.

            I have always believed there is a God, because even as an ordinary joe I could see the beauty and complexity of nature, wonder about origins and of course the human dynamic: personal relationships, love, hatred, jealousy and evil acts..
            It was the grace of God and the prayers of the saints which brought me to the foot of the Cross and the salvaion which is in Christ Jesus the Son of God.

          • cacheton

            I think the whole point of using logic is that you cut through confusion. Its only confusing if you will not let your beliefs be challenged, so beliefs are more important than clarity – rather similar to the situation bible believers find themselves in! If people don’t realise things, then why do you think they continue to not realise even when it is pointed out to them??

            Why do you believe that this god you believe in is somehow separate from you, outside of you?

          • dannybhoy

            “I think the whole point of using logic is that you cut through confusion.”

            I agree, but you also have to force people to follow through with their arguments. Something that Francis Shaeffer was very good at, and the reason why L’abri was so popular with young people seeking answers.
            http://www.labri.org/

            People offer up all sorts ofarguments against Christianity. You find answers, and if they can’t argue back they switch to something else.

            Which backs up the view that man’s problem with God is not so much intellectual as moral.

            I’m sure that was my problem! I thought becoming a Christian would rob me of tasting all that life had to offer, and I wanted to remain boss. I didn’t want God telling me what to do!

            “Why do you believe that this god you believe in is somehow separate from you, outside of you?”

            That’s a very good question!
            I need to think about how to answer that…

          • cacheton

            You can’t force people to follow through with their arguments. But eventually, hopefully, integrity will prevail, be it intellectual or emotional or moral or whatever.

            In discussion about christianity I am finding more and more (largely helped by this site) that the bottom line is believing the bible. Often these ‘arguments against christianity’ you refer to, if they are answered with a bible quote or ‘the bible says’ (as they often are) the obvious reply is ‘so what’. People move on because there is nothing else to say after that. And as to why anyone believes the bible, I haven’t yet received a remotely convincing answer.

            I disagree that man’s problem with god is not intellectual. I think it largely is! If you take the bible as literally true you find yourself contradicting the unconditional nature of the love of god. That is a major problem isn’t it?

          • Anton

            I’m not trying to start the kind of fight that has gone on on the latest thread, but who told you that God’s love was unconditional and how do you think they (supposedly) knew?

            God loves his creation project – the world – but he is exceedingly hacked off with those who have messed it up. That means US.

          • cacheton

            Er, I do not need anyone to tell me that god is unconditional love. Any god that was any less than that would not be worth seeking for me.

            You must be an eco-warrior. Congratulations, very few eco-warriors seem to be religious, too busy believing that they will be going to heaven anyway so why bother saving the earth…

          • Anton

            But what if there is a supreme God and he turns out not to be unconditional love?

          • cacheton

            You seem frightened. Ideal target for a religion based on fear.

            I do not see how this is possible – if god is supreme, then he is by definition unconditional love as that is the highest state of love. If he is not that, then he is not supreme, therefore it would be interesting to know why you worship a lesser god.

          • Anton

            I think you have avoided my question. This is about truth, not fear or love or wrath.

          • cacheton

            The highest truth is the highest truth. The god of the bible is not the highest truth if he is not unconditional love. Maybe that’s clearer.

          • Anton

            It’s clearer but it doesn’t logically follow.

          • cacheton

            So what is your highest truth, or the highest truth you can conceive of? You think god’s might be LESS than yours??!

          • Anton

            I am content to be told what the highest truth is by a source I find trustworthy in other matters beyond my comprehension, the Bible.

            It says that God is love but I understand that as the love between God the Father/Creator and God the Son who became incarnate and was known as Jesus of Nazareth.

            The Bible says that God loves the world he created but it also says that he hates sinners (not just sin); see eg Psalms 5:4-6 and 11:5-6, and why else should he send some people to hell? He is also righteous and righteousness demands justice.

            And we are all sinners. Out of love he offers us a way out, though, and at terrible cost to himself, the death of his own son. Flee from his wrath and shelter under the protective wing and blood of his son Jesus Christ!

            Mot people who think that’s doubletalk haven’t grasped the depth of their own sinful nature. A man can compare himself against the Ten Commandments or ask his friends to set out his worst points and actions (if he dare).

          • cacheton

            ‘I am content to be told what the highest truth is by a source I find trustworthy in other matters beyond my comprehension, the Bible.’
            And is it really beyond your comprehension to deduce that unconditional love would not behave as the god of the bible does? Or you dismiss this to keep your faith intact? So unconditional love does not exist in your world. Some people like searching beyond ‘content’. But thankyou for your honesty.

            What proof do you have that god sends some people to hell?

          • Anton

            You are setting up an arbitrary criterion about what you cal “unconditional love” and then demanding that any god jump through your hoops. But is it for man to tell god(s) what to do?

            What do you mean by “unconditional love”? You are using the phrase so you presumably understand it; please tell me.

          • cacheton

            Arbitrary? Unconditional love = love without conditions. I really can’t be clearer than that.
            You really do seem to think that god’s conception of love might be less than yours, that unconditional love maybe does not exist? That’s what fear based religion does – if you believe all the things you think you are supposed to believe you end up having to conclude that your god is not the highest he could be. Rather than clarifying and challenging the beliefs you prefer making god less than he is….

            You are of course free to do this. But doesn’t integrity demand that you understand WHY you do this?

          • Anton

            You haven’t answered. But I’m not interested in responding to personal insults while discussing this subject.

          • cacheton

            You asked what unconditional love is, I told you in the clearest way possible. And there are no personal insults in my last post.

          • Anton

            I don’t need to have my integrity questioned when discussing a theological matter.

          • cacheton

            Why do you not question the integrity of your theology?
            You have said you are ‘content’ as it is. Fine. But you are content with something that is not logical. As I said a couple of posts up, I am interested WHY. That is the reason I come on this site!

          • Anton

            I’m being serious too when I ask you to define “unconditional love”!

          • cacheton

            I’ll repeat myself. Unconditional love = love without conditions.

            I’ll only love you IF…. is conditional love.
            I’ll love you until you fail X test …. is conditional love.
            I don’t love you now, but I will when you Y …. is conditional love.

          • Anton

            How would you reconcile God’s love with God’s justice and the fact that we all sin?

          • cacheton

            Consequences of sin are not punishments from god, they are the result of cause and effect of actions done through unconsciousness. They may of course seem like punishments to us, and a religion that teaches that they really are punishments from god will therefore sit relatively easily with the unconsciousness of many humans, and provide that religion with a very effective means of manipulation.

          • Anton

            I meant after death, for there is no guaranteed justice in this life.

          • cacheton

            Justice for what? How do you know what sin is? Are you using a definition from an ancient book written in an ancient society?

            I think the after death question will take us out of the christian comfort zone – christians believe that humans only have one life don’t they? Why? That book again?

          • Anton

            After ducking a question about what “unconditional love” is (you defined only “unconditional”) you ask me what sin is?

            After you!

          • cacheton

            So what is your highest truth, or the highest truth you can conceive of? You think god’s might be LESS than yours??!

            And is it really beyond your comprehension to deduce that unconditional love would not behave as the god of the bible does? Or you dismiss this to keep your faith intact?

            What proof do you have that god sends some people to hell?

            Why do you not question the integrity of your theology?

            A few questions you did not answer. And another; If your religion does not give you at least a sense of what love is, why do you continue with it?

          • Anton

            Because I believe that it is true. I am interested in what is true, not what I’d like to be true. Happy I am that the one true God is a god of love, but he is also just. What do you think should happen to murderers who get away with it after they die? Does not the blood of their victims cry out for justice?

          • cacheton

            ‘Because I believe that it is true.’

            But you have not, and apparently cannot, explain why. Therefore it is what you would like to be true, not what is true.
            And WHY you would like it to be true, another question altogether!

          • Anton

            Read a good book of Christian apologetics for that; I will be in agreement with it. But what do you think God should do in the afterlife with murderers who got away with it? And is your answer consistent with your unconditional love axiom?

          • cacheton

            ‘Read a good book of Christian apologetics for that; I will be in agreement with it.’
            So you are not responsible for what you believe, other people are. I see. (?????!!!)
            My conception of god is so different to yours that however I answer your question I am pretty sure you will not grasp what I am saying. God IS unconditional love, therefore the words ‘should’ and ‘do’ are not relevant – do you see there is a difference between being and doing at least?

          • Anton

            I made informed choice to believe what I do and I take full responsibility for it. Other people have advocated it under the title “Christian apologetics”, to which I refer you for details.

            God is love, but God is also just, and I am asking how you reconcile those two things when God judges sinners. Some would say that not to punish is unjust, yet to punish is unloving. What do you think?

          • cacheton

            ‘even as an ordinary joe I could…’

            What makes you think that you are no longer an ordinary joe?

          • dannybhoy

            :0) !!
            I said I was no longer an ordinary Joe?

          • Dreadnaught

            I realised that Anton when I took your invitation to look him up. I posted a belated ps via edit. Thank you.

          • Anton

            Grand!

    • cacheton

      Question 1: absolutely not. Because they all preach that god ‘does’ things, they use emotional manipulation, contain many self-contradictions, have so-called ‘holy books’ that can be interpreted according to the whims of adherents to justify just about anything, etc etc…
      Paragraph 2: there is a difference between being and doing. Nowhere would I say ‘God did it’. I said ‘God is’.
      Anything else?

      • Dreadnaught

        Question one (if I read you correctly) ‘absolutely not’

        If not, as you say – why not?

        • cacheton

          Because all those things I listed after ‘absolutely not’ (plus a few others) are widely recognised today as being undesirable and/or unhelpful in the search for the meaning of life.