Perceptions of Jesus
Church of England

As 40% of adults think Jesus is a myth, has Religious Education failed?

 

Richard Dawkins and the other prophets of atheism love to tell us that in the fabricated battle between religious belief and rationalism, there can be only one winner, and that their side is finally gaining the upper hand; the days of superstitious belief in sky pixies and the like are numbered – at least in the enlightened West. The tide is turning, and it is their hope that, in time, all religious belief, including Christianity, will be seen as little more than a dwindling remnant of the age of ignorance. This is the dawning of the Age of the Nones, where science and technology are the new gods to be worshipped and revered.

Certainly Christianity, though still the dominant faith in the United Kingdom, is in a bad way. Those who never progressed beyond the linear graphs of GCSE Maths will look at the decline in the number of professing Christians and calculate that, based on Census numbers going down from 72 per cent of the population in 2001 to 59 per cent in 2011, Christians will be about as common as chicken teeth by about 2060. If you happen to be a Methodist, things are even worse: your obituary is being readied for 2035.

But once you start digging deeper, the picture tells a set of more intricate stories. Even within the United Kingdom there are significant regional differences. A recent poll for the Theos think-tank found that Scotland is far more irreligious than the rest of the country, with 50 per cent of respondents having no religious faith compared to 35 per cent nationally. A quarter of the Welsh still attend a weekly service, almost double that of England and Scotland, and only 27 per cent of 18-24-year-olds actually describe themselves as Christian, compared to 79 per cent of the over 65s.

In that last and possibly most significant statistic, what we’re really seeing is the obvious mass shift in identity from residual cultural Christianity to ill-informed agnosticism. For decades, people have been turning their backs on our churches and, as the generations have passed, knowledge of the Christian faith has dimmed as parents have failed to hand the light on to their children.

Yet, despite all the apparent gloom for the religious (and joy for the proactively anti-religious), there is another side to the coin. Life is unpredictable. Who, for example, is kicking themselves wishing they had put a couple of quid on Jeremy Corbyn back at the start of the Labour leadership contest, when he was a 200-1 longshot? Christianity has faced far greater threats in the past than its current wobble in Europe. The entire history of the olive branch which was grafted onto to the Judaic root has been one of continuous and miraculous survival. Put in the context of unending wars, persecution and systematic ‘cleansing’, the Faith has come through time and again. Only a brave or foolish commentator would predict the current decline as being terminal.

If you want to find signs of hope for the Christian faith, you need look no further than the new Perceptions of Jesus, Christians & Evangelism report, carried out for the Church of England, Evangelical Alliance and Hope. Based on extensive polling by ComRes, this focuses on practising Christians in England and there are plenty of juicy morsels which may come as a surprise. For example, nine per cent of the 3,000 respondents described themselves as practising Christians. Proportionately, as a percentage of their age groups, there are as many 18-34s as the over 65s, and approximately twice that of the 35-64 age bracket. This would suggest, contrary to popular belief, that the number of practising Christians, rather than declining, appears to have bottomed out and is now beginning to bounce back.

Almost one in five of employed practising Christians are working in education, and one in ten works in healthcare or education, which says something in itself of the effect that faith has in determining how Christians seek to live their lives. Four out of five working Christians have degrees, which is almost double the national average. Atheists might think their stance is by far the most credible and intellectually superior, but there are vast numbers of very well-educated people who have come to the opposite conclusion through both reasoning and experience. Christianity is anything but the preserve of naïve fools.

This last point might give the impression that our churches are full of white middle-class people, and yes, they are. But again, proportionately, you are much more likely to find a black adult who will profess the divinity of Jesus than you will of any other minority ethnic group.

43 per cent of all English adults believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and one in five non-Christians, when talking about faith with a Christian, want to know more – even to the point of seeking an encounter with Jesus. This figure is higher among the 18-34s, and goes to show that there are millions of young adults in particular who want to know more about Jesus, despite their lack of knowledge. They just need to find someone to talk to who can enlighten them.

And there is a huge number of people who do need enlightening. Probably the most astonishing finding in the entire survey was that 22 per cent of respondents thought that Jesus was fictional, and almost as many again weren’t sure if he ever actually existed. That’s potentially 40 per cent of the population who know so little about the Christian faith that they are not remotely aware of the overwhelming historical evidence that Jesus was a real man.

It is quite staggering that our education system is producing so many adults who are so incredibly ill-informed about the basics of Christianity. The fact that the majority of children have had minimal contact with a church is not an excuse. We live in a time when religion is in the news almost every day. It impacts each of us at some level through global tensions and conflicts, as well as through the communities we live in and relationships we hold. The ignorance is only set to increase over the years ahead, and religious illiteracy leads inevitably to misunderstanding, distrust and hostility.

Anyone who is familiar with the way Religious Education is taught in schools will know how detached it is from the realities of everyday faith, if not life itself. It is not primarily the fault of the teachers, but more often the gross inadequacies of the syllabus they are required to teach, not to mention its position in the school curriculum. It is mandatory, but sidelined. It is central, but often entrusted to part-time geography teachers or anyone who happen to be Christian/Muslim/vaguely-interested-in-religion. The GCSE exams are woefully inadequate. Investment in the training of qualified teachers has been more than decimated in favour of more ‘rigorous’ subjects. It focuses too much on ritual, stories, festivals and generalised views, leaving students unable to grasp the theological and factual foundations to help them make sense of what they see going on in the world around them.

This is not just my opinion. Various academics and educationalists agree this is the case. So, too, does Ofsted, which accused more than half of England’s schools of failing to provide adequate Religious Education in 2013.

I asked the Rev’d Nigel Genders about this. He’s the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, and he said:

More than one million children – of all faiths are none – are educated in our church schools, and through RE, collective worship and the Christian ethos of the school they will all hear about Jesus and the significance of his life, death and resurrection and how it can impact them today. We are committed to excellent RE and are producing a new resource to transform the teaching about Christianity, which is currently being piloted in Church schools and community schools as well.

Well, that’s potentially good news. That’s a big chunk of our school population who will leave school knowing that Jesus isn’t a mythical being. We’ve just got to persuade the government and advise headteachers and governing bodies to do something about the remaining seven million who aren’t going to be so fortunate.

  • Ian Paul

    Interesting to see the contrast in the decline of nominalism compared with the modest growth of committed Christians.

    • alternative_perspective

      This would seem to correlate nicely with trends within the CoE.

    • James M

      Nominalism in philosophy certainly does not help intellectual certainty in matters of faith, because it undermines the certainty of reason.

      But perhaps you did not have philosophical nominalism in mind…

  • InsideRight

    I thought the fundamental core of religion centres on faith and belief. If people do not believe, or if they lack faith, how can that be presented a failure of education?

    • alternative_perspective

      Because faith is grounded in evidence. Without evidence and historical fact, faith is blind and little more than prejudice.

      For instance Saul of Tarsus was a great persecutor of the fledgling Christian church but after having a post resurrection experience of Jesus he became Christianity’s greatest ever evangelist. This event caused him to spend about 5 years examining the historical claims of the belief after which he began his mission. He then later went on to write that if Jesus never rose from the dead then we have no hope.

      His faith and hope illustrate Christian belief: personal evidential sufficiency informed by historical fact.

      This is such a common pattern and exactly my background.

      • IanCad

        AP, the Christian definition of faith; or, more accurately, the understanding of faith, is best articulated in Hebrews 11:1

        “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

      • dannybhoy

        I’ll buy that “Cold case Christianity!”
        May I recommend a dvd I bought recently called “Evolution’s Achilles’ heels” from Creation Ministries.. very interesting questioning of the theory of evolution.

        • sarky

          Creation ministries? As in Ken Ham?

          Before you buy anything by them, I suggest you watch some of the debates hes had on you tube. I won’t say anything, I’ll let you make your own mind up.

          • dannybhoy

            I’ve watched them and loads more. I’ve even been in touch with them over some stuff I had reservations about.. They do have some good people in the organisation and they have some very good material.
            As regards the debates yes, he got a good pounding in some of them. One I saw with an atheist (can’t remember if it was Ken), but I actually agreed with the atheist…

    • Gerhard

      I think your point perhaps illustrates the central thesis of the article pretty well. ‘Faith’, as properly understood from a Christian perspective is more in tune with the word ‘Trust’.

      Jesus’s disciples spent more time with him than anyone. They saw the healings, calming of storms, the resurrections, feeding of the crowds and yet, he berated them for not having ‘Faith’. This ‘Faith’ had nothing to do with just believing blindly, but was to do with trust. He basically said, look, you’ve seen what I have done, so why don’t you trust me.

      Christianity is not a blind faith to just believe that it’s true. It is based on historic events that is open to anyone to investigate today. Faith in a proper Christian context is therefore to TRUST with your heart, what your MIND has accepted to be true.

      • Jack was taught that faith is a freely given gift of the Holy Spirit offered to us all. We have to accept and then act on it and endeavour to become Christ-like in our lives. And this requires the formation of a Christian conscience grounded in the bible, reason and tradition as passed on by the Church.

        • Cressida de Nova

          and family.

  • Mike Stallard

    “Only a brave or foolish commentator would predict the current decline as being terminal.”
    I am a Catholic, yup, we are OK (I went to Singapore and Australia recently, we are very OK indeed there too). My friend the Baptist and my friend in the Free Church of Christ the King tell me that they are carrying out the Lord’s work very triumphantly too.
    What is missing is the dear old CofE. Our village Church is virtually closed. Permanently locked, it has an Open Church on the last Friday of the month where the Vicar sits alone for an hour or so twiddling her thumbs in the cold. The other village churches – and indeed the central town church too – are the same more or less.
    The people who were once “CofE” are now simply lost.
    But how can we breath life into those dead bones? Like the Wesleys, I don’t see it happening. Does anyone? And, the way the CofE has treated its God, I do not see how it can happen.

    • alternative_perspective

      Quite. The CoE seems to be abandoning its congregation rather than the other way round. Without the evangelical churches to bring people through the doors in the first place the rest of the CoE would have no recycled growth. Yet in the most part the hierarchy of the CoE seem to despise this branch of the church, which seems quite odd to me.

      • Merchantman

        Right, a C of E Church nearby drove out the majority of its evangelicals and most of the children with them.

    • Tricia

      There are some lights in the darkness. My local village church has been without a vicar for over 3 years due to difficult circumstances of illness. A new vicar has just been appointed. They managed to put on Harvest Supper last week for 90 people, have a good neighbour scheme, food bank affiliation, fair trade stall, Mother and toddler group etc. Their aim as stated is to be Christ in their community. Let’s pray the new vicar works out!

  • alternative_perspective

    Here is a little recommendation from scripture for the CoE: throw the unbeliever out, have nothing to do with them.

    It sounds harsh but perpetual accommodation is, practically, condonation. How will they learn or amend their ways if forgiveness is perpetually given without repentance. And how will you protect the innocent or those new in the faith from deception if corrupt doctrine or ignorance is tolerated? Surely that’s not at all loving?

    • Merchantman

      Absolutely. Forgiveness is doled out in buckets. Unless the offender is given notice of his offence what good purpose is served? Nowadays they just take it as a free pass.

    • chiefofsinners

      This is true, but with the caveat that when someone is ‘thrown out’ or excommunicated it is always done with a view to them being chastened and restored.

  • Jon Sorensen

    “what we’re really seeing is the obvious mass shift in identity from residual cultural Christianity to ill-informed agnosticism.”
    Reality does not support this. It looks like atheists, agnostics know more about religion than religious; US survey
    http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey/
    It looks like well-informed people are leaving Christianity after realising what it is.

    “That’s potentially 40 per cent of the population who know so little about the Christian faith”
    Maybe some of the have studied historical religious figures and understand how stories are formed and how the end product does not look like the original was.

    When Christians claim that there is “overwhelming historical evidence that Jesus was a real man” and it is easy to point out that even many early Christians or Jews didn’t believe that. Addition to that we have evidence of CHRESTOU worship in 1st century BC and AD and Gospel stories were developed in the 2nd century AD, educated public has made their conclusion that Jesus was a religious figure as many others. Free thinking might have cause all this. Perhaps school system has succeeded in producing people thinking for themselves.

    • Ian Paul

      ‘Gospel stories were developed in the 2nd century AD’ That idea was not the result of free thinking, but of German ideology in the nineteenth century (which, incidentally, was antisemitic). Interesting to see how you swallow it unthinkingly…

      • Jon Sorensen

        “German ideology in the nineteenth century. Interesting to see how you swallow it unthinkingly.”
        Nonsense. Any first year seminary student or 2-minute google check tells you that.

        You can check how mid 2nd century Justin Martyr is not aware of Jesus’ birth stories in the Gospels but tells his own version Jesus’ birth story. You can also check what every early church fathers quote Luke’s Jesus’ baptism. They quote the original but currently heretical version (which we can still see in Codex Bezae) and this was later changed to modern version. I could go on with these but anyone can check these at ccel.org. I’m not even surprised that you don’t know this.

        “incidentally, was antisemitic”
        Tell me about Luther…

        • Merchantman

          Don’t feed the troll.

          • sarky

            Yes, because only conversing with those who share your views is such a stimulating past time.

          • alternative_perspective

            Better than conversing with trolls who duplicate ill-founded internet memes with no scholarly support.

        • alternative_perspective

          Codex Bezae was written in the 5th century, originating in either France or Italy and basically a poor and incomplete copy of early writings.
          Why do you trolls jump on board such new texts and give them credence over much earlier ones?
          If you’re so interested in the texts what do you do with 1 Corinthians 15 which paraphrases the resurrection and confirms orthodox Christian belief and was written perhaps as early as 5 years after the event?
          As for Justin Martyr I don’t know how you know what he thought conclusively on the topic when most of his writings have been lost and the only two remaining are his apologies plus a couple of dialogues.
          His major works, the Apologies, are expositions on ethics, theology and philosophy.
          His dialogues do make mention of Jesus’ life and provide a harmonised version of the birth narrative, which was a common practice of discipleship at that time in his school. There he specifically quotes from both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel’s specifically to illustrate how Jesus’ birth fulfilled prophecy: a proof of his divinity. Which is highly ironic if you consider the purpose you’re attempting to derive from the text and the fact you’re claiming he was unaware of birth narratives: when he patently was.
          Seriously, do you ever do your own study or do you just copy and paste from dubious sources?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Codex Bezae was written in the 5th century, originating in either France or Italy and basically a poor and incomplete copy of early writings.
            Why do you trolls jump on board such new texts and give them credence over much earlier ones?
            Codex Bezae is a treasure trove for textual critics. Calling it poor and incomplete copy shows poor judgement from your part.

            “1 Corinthians 15 which paraphrases the resurrection and confirms orthodox Christian belief and was written perhaps as early as 5 years after the event”
            More likely that was added 100 year later. Creeds are formed usually in a later state of religion when original founders are dead. Notice how 1 Corinthians 15 flows better without that credal part. More likely another later addition like so many other theological additions to the NT.

            “As for Justin Martyr I don’t know how you know what he thought conclusively on the topic when most of his writings have been lost”
            We actually have a lot of material from Justin Martyr compared to other early fathers. Shows that people read and copied him a lot.

            “provide a harmonised version of the birth narrative”
            No it does not. His Jesus is born in a cave.

            “which was a common practice of discipleship at that time in his school. ”
            Only if they can’t keep the story straight.

            “There he specifically quotes from both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel’s specifically to illustrate how Jesus’ birth fulfilled prophecy: a proof of his divinity.”
            Just because someone writes about event 150years later is not a “proof”

            “Which is highly ironic if you consider the purpose you’re attempting to derive from the text and the fact you’re claiming he was unaware of birth narratives: when he patently was.”
            This is simply not true. Justin Martyr was not aware of birth narratives of Gospels, or he purposely decided to change them.

            “Seriously, do you ever do your own study or do you just copy and paste from dubious sources?”
            I guess at least I have read Justin Martyr and know what harmonisation is.

    • dannybhoy

      “When Christians claim that there is “overwhelming historical evidence
      that Jesus was a real man” and it is easy to point out that even many
      early Christians or Jews didn’t believe that.”

      http://thecripplegate.com/did-the-early-church-affirm-jesus-deity/

      The Early Church Fathers
      http://www.biblequery.org/History/ChurchHistory/EarlyChurch.htm
      For the Trinity..
      http://www.bible.ca/H-trinity.htm

      • Jon Sorensen

        It is easy to point out that some early church leaders affirm Jesus’ deity *and* some didn’t. I wonder if the original belief was that Jesus was God and later changed Him not to be God, or was he human later believed to be God.

        Nice link you gave us. It dates the Huleatt Manuscript to 50 AD. It is actually a fragment no manuscript and is from Late 2nd/3rd century according to Christian Scholars. And if you read the page actually before 187AD nobody even mentioned trinity, well at least the type with Holy Spirit. This kind fake info about Christian origin will get people to leave Christianity if they do fact checking.

        • dannybhoy

          Romans, Galatians and Hebrews tell us that ‘the just shall live by faith.’

          But before a Christian makes that step of faith and asks Christ to come into their lives…
          (Revelation 3:20 (ESVUK)
          20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”)
          …they need to satisfy themselves intellectually that Christianity is reasonable and plausible.
          So a chap like you will probably never make that step of faith for all sorts of reasons, whereas ‘average joes’ like myself probably will!
          Is it because dim(mer) people believe more easily? Quite possibly, but they are perhaps more drawn to the moral/ethical reality of who they are and how they have failed than worrying about the presence or absence of bits of papyrus..;0)
          I am a fan of Francis Schaeffer’s books, perhaps because I am drawn to that sort of approach to faith. It seems obvious to me that if God is revealed as a God of Truth Love and Integrity He can be trusted.

          If God promises that He will come into a person’s life and change them from within, and the drug addict or the prostitute or the drunkard or the criminal finds this to be true, then the Scriptures have done their job.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Your approach to faith seems a bit like Buddhist who emphasise “live by faith”, humility, importance of morals/ethics and Truth Love and Integrity. I like it.

            My point about “presence or absence of bits of papyrus” was that whenever you do fact checking what Christian Marketing department says you’ll find very strange things. Even all Christian scholar disagrees with Thiede, but you are still truing to sell me Thiede. When called out you just say that you don’t worry about the truth.

            For Christians who believe in God of Truth it’s odd that they don’t make absolutely sure they try only to tell the truth. The fact checking has created a lot of mythisists.

            “If God promises that He will come into a person’s life and change them from within, and the drug addict or the prostitute or the drunkard or the criminal finds this to be true, then the Scriptures have done their job.”
            I’m surprised you think this justifies Quran

          • dannybhoy

            Jon,
            I don’t believe the world has no beginning or ending.
            I don’t believe in reincarnation
            I don’t believe men can perfect themselves
            I do believe in one Creator God and the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ
            I do believe in the authority and inspiration of the Judaeo/Christian Scriptures
            I do believe all men will give an account of themselves to God and that some will be saved and others will not.
            Apart from that, you may have a point.

            psThe Qu’ran is the holy book of Islam, it is not my holy book.
            pps. “Even all Christian scholar disagrees with Thiede, but you are still truing to sell me Thiede.” I was pointing out that there are many websites that deal with the deeper aspects of theology, not defending Thiede.
            I have added your CCE website to my list of Christian reference websites though.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “I was pointing out that there are many websites that deal with the deeper aspects of theology, not defending Thiede.”
            But don’t you see how you are promoting your religion with false information. whoever does the fact checking is more likely to believe that Jesus was just an myth, just like the information in a web site you promoted.

            “Notice that Paul sees the purpose of Scripture as being to make a Christian competent and equipped for every good work [re 2 Timothy 3]”
            Have you notice that scholars have pointed out Timothy was not written by Paul. Again whoever does the fact checking on authenticity of Timothy is less likely to believe in your and Paul’s claim.

            Young people will do fast fact checking with their smart phones and keep on leaving Christianity.

          • dannybhoy

            “But don’t you see how you are promoting your religion with false
            information. whoever does the fact checking is more likely to believe
            that Jesus was just an myth, just like the information in a web site you
            promoted.”
            I’m not promoting Christianity Jon. I believe it and try to live it because I believe it is God’s way.
            Theology serves no purpose unless it leads to fruit in a believer’s life.
            I don’t read those websites Jon! That stuff is for people who are often egotistically intellectual. Their learning is sterile and meaningless if it doesn’t bring Life into the churches. Their religious fulfilment is in the arguing of the meaning, rather than the application of the meaning.*
            If they find themselves doubting the veracity of the Scriptures, give it up! Become a Buddhist or whatever..
            I read books that relate to my life and faith. Apologetics, books about the Church, about active ministries, and of course the Bible.

            *”Most modern critical scholars argue that 2 Timothy was not written byPaul but by an anonymous follower, after Paul’s death in the First Century.[1][2] The language and ideas of this epistle are notably different from the
            other two Pastoral letters yet similar to the later Pauline letters, especially the ones he wrote in captivity.

            (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Epistle_to_Timothy)

            This has led some scholars to conclude that the author of 2 Timothy is a different person from 1 Timothy and Titus. Raymond E. Brown proposed that this letter was written by a follower of Paul who had knowledge of Paul’s last days….
            This illustrates my point. They don’t KNOW., it’s conjecture on their part.
            Now if you just read the letter, it’s written as from Paul to his beloved child..
            Question: What would be the point of anyone – even someone “who knew Paul in his final days” – writing a forgery as from Paul, to his son in the faith??
            Christianity is about truth, not deception.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “I don’t read those websites Jon!”
            Then don’t send anyone to websites you don’t know.

            “This illustrates my point. They don’t KNOW., it’s conjecture on their part!”
            If we use your logic the historians don’t KNOW if Jesus existed. Historians try to find the most plausable answer to the questions. If you read Pastoral letters’ content you understand why these are dated way after Paul’s death.

            “Now if you just read the letter, it’s written as from Paul to his beloved child”
            This is what we call a forgery.

            “What would be the point of anyone – even someone “who knew Paul in his final days” – writing a forgery as from Paul, to his son in the faith??”
            Why did people added/changed to the Bible, trinity, Mark’s ending, John’s ending, Luke’s non-adoptionist baptism and many others? – because of theological arguments long after Jesus and his followers’ time. We see this even today. Just compare ESV, NIV and NWT. You can find modern day theological changes to fit their theology.

            “Christianity is about truth, not deception.”
            But you send to the web sites you don’t even read which have deceptions. I just don’t get you.

          • dannybhoy

            “Then don’t send anyone to websites you don’t know.”
            They were by way of illustration of answering your previous statement…
            “When Christians claim that there is “overwhelming historical evidence that Jesus was a real man” and it is easy to point out that even many early Christians or Jews didn’t believe that.”
            In other words there are plenty of websites and books that deal with the kind of stuff you seem to enjoy, and by picking out three that deal with the nature of Christ Jesus, the Trinity and what the early Church Fathers believed, you might realise that there are many viewpoints on these issues.
            I don’t read them because a) I haven’t got the kind of mind that is interested b) just by looking at the multiplicity of views it’s obvious that there are a multiplicity of views. c) I want to be a Christian not an analyst.
            Finally, there are enough books and letters in the Bible that ring true to the revealed nature of God for me to be getting on with, without worrying about all that other stuff.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “They were by way of illustration of answering your previous statement.”
            No there were not. There was no truth in the link you send me. False answers are worse than no answer.

            “In other words there are plenty of websites and books that deal with the kind of stuff you seem to enjoy”
            No need to. You can read the original writings of early church fathers, the original source.

            “I don’t read them because a) I haven’t got the kind of mind that is interested … c) I want to be a Christian not an analyst”
            I was like that too. The moment I decided to take a look at the truth claims, everything changed.

          • dannybhoy

            ” There was no truth in the link you send me. False answers are worse than no answer.”
            I told you, I sent them because they addressed the point you were making. I don’t do falsehood or deception when it comes to faith Jon.

            “I was like that too. The moment I decided to take a look at the truth claims, everything changed.”
            You lost your faith because you got caught up in the theological disputes, conflicts and inaccuracies?
            That’s tough, but without knowing how you came to faith in the first place, and how long you did believe, it’s difficult to follow your progression to unbelief.
            So are you on here hoping that someone will help you get back to that place of faith, or do you want to disillusion others who do believe?

          • Jon Sorensen

            ” I sent them because they addressed the point you were making”
            Don’t you get it that they did *not* address the point

            “You lost your faith because you got caught up in the theological disputes, conflicts and inaccuracies?”
            More like studying the subject.

          • dannybhoy

            “Don’t you get it that they did *not* address the point”

            “Nice link you gave us. It dates the Huleatt Manuscript to 50 AD. It is actually a fragment no manuscript and is from Late 2nd/3rd century according to Christian Scholars. And if you read the page actually before 187AD nobody even mentioned trinity, well at least the type with Holy Spirit. This kind fake info about Christian origin will get people to leave Christianity if they do fact checking.”

            This all started here with my post with three websites and three headings…

            “When Christians claim that there is “overwhelming historical evidence that Jesus was a real man” and it is easy to point out that even many early Christians or Jews didn’t believe that.”

            Did the early church affirm Jesus’ deity?
            http://thecripplegate.com/did-

            The Early Church Fathers
            http://www.biblequery.org/Hist
            For the Trinity..
            http://www.bible.ca/H-trinity….

            Did I make any comment about the websites?
            No, I didn’t.

            I simply put them there to show that there are plenty of websites that address those kind of issues. It was up to others to look or ignore as they chose.
            And I never brought up Thiede, you did! I’ve never heard of him.

            So you never actually made a commitment to Christianity, you studied it and became disillusioned?

        • Merchantman

          Your agenda seems to be the Islamic one. This denies Jesus is who he is and presupposes that the record has been tampered with.
          What is your game?

          • Jon Sorensen

            I don’t have a game. I just want to know the truth. So what is your game?

        • alternative_perspective

          And what you expect the persecuted church to have a fully worked out Trinitarian theology what…minutes after the four gospels have been penned and formed in to the canon called the NT.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “And what you expect the persecuted church to have a fully worked out Trinitarian theology what…minutes after the four gospels have been penned”
            Jesus never mentioned trinity or Holy Spirit being God. Why did these things needed to be smuggled in 300 years after that? And that was before the canon was finalised BTW.

            “the persecuted church” is a myth. Roman letters early 2nd century shows that nobody had even heard about Christians before that.

    • Little Black Censored

      Read the comments in the Daily Mail whenever the subject of religious belief comes up; it is gazing into the abyss. Sky Fairies and Imaginary Friends abound. On the basis of no knowledge whatever they have the whole subject summed up. Certainly there is little evidence of people thinking.

      • Jon Sorensen

        When you talk to these “Sky Fairies and Imaginary Friends” people you might find out that they have studied *and* thought about religion and found it not having the truth.

        • Little Black Censored

          You might, alternatively, find out that they had not studied and thought enough to have “found” anything, and their language tends to indicate this. Religious people, in their opinion, must be deluded fools to be taken in by such obvious rubbish – not much room for enlightenment there!

          • Jon Sorensen

            Did you even read what I wrote above – Study: “atheists, agnostics know more about religion than religious”

          • alternative_perspective

            One census in 2010 in America proves this and the results are conclusive and can be extrapolated over all peoples in all places at all times…….

          • Jon Sorensen

            Interesting. I refer to a study to support my case and Little Black Censored does not provide any evidence for his side. And alternative_perspective offers no evidence but sides with no evidence Little Black Censored. Is this cognitive bias in action?

        • Merchantman

          I don’t think you can ‘work out’ belief. We are called.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I agree that you can’t ‘work out’ belief. You need faith.

  • CliveM

    Depends what the purpose of RE is. For most schools it’s about knowledge and understanding of all faiths. Most see it not as promoting a single one.

  • Busy Mum

    Have only read the headline as being a very busy mum today…..I think the whole aim of Religious Education as we know it (as opposed to the old Religious Instruction) was to discredit Christianity…. and from that point of view, RE has been a resounding success.

  • sarky

    Thats right, blame everybody but yourselves. Re or no re, your churches are silos with everyone quivering behind the doors too afraid to go out into the big bad world. If christianity is going down the pan its
    because you have made it such an unattractive proposition to the point where you are too scared to to even tell anyone about it.

  • Dreadnaught

    Christianity, though still the dominant faith in the United Kingdom, is in a bad way.

    And in the Middle East??

    This is Christianity being eradicated where it was born and you can only bleat on about the CoE – You wonder why British or Commonwealth people are are not taking you seriously anymore? If you want to blame anyone, take a look in the mirror and you’ll see the answer.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    Christianity has faced far greater threats in the past than its current wobble in Europe

    In its entire European history, Christianity has never faced threats as great as large-scale Muslim immigration and a high Muslim birth rate, diversity, multiculturalism, hostile media, and hostile ruling classes. Even just one of those threats would be dangerous for Christianity, hobbled as it is by its unique creed of loving its enemies. All the threats coming at once, the outlook for European Christianity would indeed be ‘terminal’ if it were left to a certain breed of Christian to defend the faith—the ones who welcomed Muslim immigrants; the ones who now welcome Muslim ‘refugees’; the ones who sell their churches to become mosques; the ones who sing the praises of diversity; and the ones who, confronted by the reason for media hostility, bury their heads in the sand.

    Luckily, though, the continued existence of Christianity and of the Western civilization it has produced does not depend on Christians but on the rest of us, including the 40 per cent who think Jesus is mythical: when the tolerance of Europeans is exhausted and they reclaim their countries, those unbelievers will do far more for Christianity than that certain breed of Christian. It is ironic that European Christianity will be saved by the very nationalism that so many European Christians condemn because they see it as ‘racist’.

    • dannybhoy

      ” hobbled as it is by its unique creed of loving its enemies.”
      Loving one’s enemies as an individual is one thing; being prepared to fight for the survival of the society you belong to is another. A Christian should never glory in war, but we do have to recognise that sometimes war is necessary.

    • Little Black Censored

      Perhaps diversity and Islam will kill each other off.

      • Johnny Rottenborough

        @ Little Black Censored—In Leipzig on Thursday, it took the mobilization of 40 police vehicles to quell an outbreak of diversity between Syrian and Afghan ‘refugees’. Scroll down to the ‘Facts about refugees in Germany’ graphic: (3) most of the ‘refugees’ in 2014 were Muslim and (4) more than half were under 25. Germany need worry no more about a declining birth rate.

  • David

    This article appears to argue that because one in five working Christians work as teachers and one in ten in health care this proves that these jobs are morally superior.
    Some very arrogant and and snobbish assumptions lie behind that claim. Are those who produce food, deliver it to us, or defend the country morally inferior to teachers and health workers ?
    What that statement points to is the excessive emphasis on the social gospel within contemporary UK Christianity, and the resultant corresponding shortage of Gospel preaching, emphasising that personal salvation is through repentance and faith, nor caring for your neighbour. Faith must come first, before good works, as Scripture makes abundantly clear.
    Because of the enormous reach and size of the welfare state, the social gospel is not seen by the unbelievers as distinctive enough to attract them. It is only from conversions, a change of heart, being reborn in Christ, call it what you will, that a resurgence of the faith will grow. These statistics, adduced in support of the faith, with high proportions of practicing Christians in the caring professions, also point to the distinct imbalance of the sexes within the Churches, which has obvious questions for further growth.
    But the C of E appears to have a death wish. The part that is growing most strongly, within an overall declining denomination, is the reformed, conservative Evangelical section which emphasises personal faith based on conversion. It is well connected to the burgeoning Anglican Churches of Africa and the global south generally. The social gospel takes second place to a direct, personal faith in Christ as Saviour. It retains emphasis on individual judgement and Hell, as a place of voluntary separation from God. Yet that part that is growing most is being given a very grudging place within the C of E, because the liberal majority prefers to seek an accommodation with the 21st C UK rather than maintain a distinctive gospel stance. Appeasement or accommodation will of course fail, and in a few decades the liberal elements will have reduced considerably, leaving the younger, more convinced vibrant Biblical protestantism to continue the Church’s journey through time until Christ’s return.

    • James M

      “…personal salvation is through repentance and faith, nor caring for your
      neighbour. Faith must come first, before good works, as Scripture makes
      abundantly clear.”

      ## How can the two be separated ? The goats were condemned for failing in their treatment of their neighbour, just as the sheep were praised for treating their neighbour properly. The Good Samaritan is commended as an example for what he *did*. The “Rich Young Ruler” whom “Jesus loved”, was told to *do* something – he “went away sorrowful” because he could not do it.

      Jesus preached the Gospel of the Reign/Kingdom of God (St Mark 1.15). This Kingdom is a Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace – not between God & man, but also between man and man. As in Psalm 72, a Messianic Psalm, it is a Kingdom of social righteousness AKA justice. So the NT Church cannot omit preaching social justice – for that is part of, and essential to, the preaching of the Gospel. A faith-only faith is a dead faith, an inactive faith, a faith that either is loveless, or the love in which is without fruit. And if we do not bear good fruit, we shall have no more place in Christ the Vine. To have no works, is to make “Christ in us” fruitless, unproductive, and loveless – something His enemies did not do.

      • David

        Agreed ! We should preach the whole gospel, not just that part of it approved of by the surrounding secular world.

  • dannybhoy

    Religious education should always be taught by an adherent or official from that faith.
    It makes it far more interesting for the children and gives the opportunity for real thoughtful discussion.
    My experience is that nothing kills a religious studies lesson quicker than a teacher who either really couldn’t care less, or is actually antagonistic, or knows nothing about the religion under discussion.
    The CofE as the official established Church should have insisted that a qualified person (preferably evangelical) teach about Christianity in State schools, and all other faiths have the same opportunity.

    • Coniston

      RE – two young relatives went to CofE Primary and High Schools. A decade later they know nothing at all about Christianity. This might not be entirely the schools’ fault, but today I understand some teachers have to use Wikipedia to find out about what they should be teaching. Some schools do not have teachers with any religious knowledge at all.

      Regarding religious belief (Christianity) and reason, 3 books which articulate the necessary connection of Christian theology with reason are:
      Philosophy: ‘The Quest for Truth and Meaning’ by Andrew Beards

      ‘Reading Alasdair’s MacIntyre’s After Virtue’ by Christopher Stephen Lutz
      ‘Fides et Ratio: On the Relationship between Faith and Reason’ by John Paul II

      • dannybhoy

        My wife is a school governor for three CofE schools. The religious education is one step up from humanism. The kids are learning zilch about Christianity. It was the same story in the school I worked in years ago.
        As Busy Mum said earlier if the aim was to discredit or neutralise Christianity it has succeeded.

  • The responsibility for teaching and passing on the faith rests first with parents, then with the Church they attend. If they are fortunate enough to attend a faith school, then with teachers who should be followers of that faith. If they attend a state school, committed to “all faiths are equal”, then the responsibility on parents and the Church is that much greater.

    Our Christian faith isn’t lost to children because of state schools. It’s lost because families, the basic cell of our community, are failing in their responsibilities.

    • dannybhoy

      Families are a part of and therefore affected by society Jack. The growth of targetted advertising, the influence of soaps, the greater and growing acceptance of sex to sell, access to pornography and the emphasis on “this life is all there is” all affect and undermine parental authority. This is why faith communities often keep themselves separate from the main stream society.

      • Exactly, which is why the role of parents and grandparents is so crucial.

        • dannybhoy

          And that is why religious instruction is going down the tubes Jack. Because the influences I mentioned exert a greater influence.

          • You think the Holy Spirit is weaker than the surrounding culture?

          • dannybhoy

            No, but the Holy Spirit indwells the faithful and obedient heart. whilst conscientious parents and grandparents such as yourself may seek to impart the reasons for the hope that is within you; the fact is when the young leave home and go off to Uni or wherever they will be battered by other people -like our Jon for example…
            It is the spirit of the age at work Jack. It’s also Biblical, as recorded throughout the Old Testament.
            I have a very dear Christian brother whose two children are not presently following in the footsteps of Christ, despite their parents’ love, instruction and example. The parents of course are extremely sad.
            My counsel to them is just to keep on loving the kids, be there for them and pray rather than get into fruitless arguments..
            I think this is true for all of us, to walk closely with the Lord Jesus in our own lives and pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

          • Your counsel is quite right, Danny. Remember Jesus said:

            “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.…”

            Many rebel against their childhood faith and stray off the path. Jack did for many years. It was his Christian upbringing and recollections of the prayers, liturgy and hymns that drew Jack back when God called (again.. again … and again) and helped him recognise and respond.

            Ultimately, the great gift of faith is in God’s hands and the individual to whom it is offered, not parents, relatives or friends.

          • chiefofsinners

            I’m with Jack (below) on this.
            Children believe their parents. Teenagers rebel against their parents. Mature adults usually become their parents.
            We must remember that unless a person has chosen Christ for themselves, and turned from the alternatives, they have not really become a Christian. Atheists will bang on about us indoctrinating children, but you can’t really. Until they choose for themselves, the Spirit of God will not enter.

    • Hi happy Jack

      That’s very Jewish in thought about the mesorah (and yes I am conservative, but pragmatic too).

      As someone said to me once:

      “I love the Sefardi. The Arizal said we need to daven sefardic, and why many Hassidim accept the mechaber over the Remah. You don’t see Ashkenazim learning Torah as much as Sefardi . I married, for a second time, a Sefardi woman and I must say its really something else: once you taste chocolate youll never want vanilla again! As is well known they are more family oriented, more tolerant,better cooks and they are much closer in all aspects to the real way of life…their holiday and shabbat get togethers are an example all should be lucky enough to have. They’re excellent parents , better in passing on the mesorah…. better in bed!”

      • To Jack it’s basic common sense that children learn about God within their families and their faith communities. That’s how your own people have survived against the odds and, no doubt, with God’s oversight.

        As for chocolate versus vanilla, Jack enjoys both chocolate ice cream and also vanilla. In fact, he enjoys all ice cream. Wonderful. As for Shefardi and Ashkenazim, their beliefs and traditions, Jack will let you debate that one with Avi.

      • IanCad

        Hannah,
        My head is spinning! The Sabbath is coming on.
        Shabbat Shalom.
        Ian

    • James60498 .

      My sons attend a “Faith School”. There are two reasons I know that.

      (1). On new parents evening, the head teacher referred to it about 20 times
      (2). It’s in the name.

      That’s it!!!!!

      But then when this man was appointed to run Catholic schools, what should we expect? I don’t know whether he is still in the Education Department. The last I heard he was described as a Bishops’ Spokesman and was shouting down a Bishop who called for the Excommunication of Politicians who vote for abortion and “gay marriage”.

      http://spuc-director.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/catholic-education-service-appoints.html?m=1

      • Could you speak with your parish priest and/or attend school governor’s meetings?

        • James60498 .

          It’s a “High School” and he isn’t really involved. He has in fact asked if he can put me forward to be a Governor and I accepted.
          I haven’t heard from the Diocese yet. I suspect that I am probably marked down as “trouble maker” and it may not happen.
          I fear that if I do get through the net, I am not sure how far I will get.
          With Greg Pope behind them, I suspect I can be safely ignored.

          While I think about it, my Brother in Law is Headmaster of a CofE Primary School. Last time he went to Church was a funeral 18 months ago.

          • Stay with the fight … your reward will be in Heaven. It’s important in these situations not to let the ‘left’ rattle you which they are very skilled at. Calm and reasonable at all times.
            Jack read that link you posted and was gobsmacked. It can all be very dispiriting at times but we have to keep on.

  • Jewish religious politics makes one’s head spin, Hannah.

    • hi Jack

      Yes Indeed. Like only the the other day a zealot Charedi right winger said to me that “I was a fool…. an idiot, and what’s more, you are simply boring. Bug* off.” ME boring????!

    • Cressida de Nova

      You are being far too politically correct Jack…you know it’s not really politics that is being discussed here or your taste in confectionery. Everyone knows you are phobic when it comes to camels.

      • ;o) …. How’s things, Cressie?

        • Cressida de Nova

          All’s well…Darling:) I am fulfilling my very favourite part of Catholic dogma i.e enjoying life here on earth. Hope you are too.

  • Inspector General

    I say, Scott, a masterful piece if one may say. Didn’t know you had it in you! You see what you can achieve if you just stay well clear of lefty rot. Keep going like this and you and the Inspector can enjoy a golden time of mutual respect and admiration…

    On your topic, there is one religion that is soaring, as it always has done. Worshiping your team. To see a man, wife, son and daughter decked out in (around here) ‘the cherry and white’ is a sight to behold. Each wearing the priestly robes of their faith. Just goes to show that man is instinctively programmed to appreciate, nay, bow down before, a higher power than he be. A divinity, if you will. Would Dawkins concur with this form of belief. One thinks he would. Because he can grasp it, see it, understand it. Even control it if he really put his mind to it. So don’t expect him to be so moved at a future time to come forth with a new work entitled The Team Delusion

  • Our present church leaders are interested in almost everything except Christianity. Although an Anglican, I always thought the Pope was a beacon of sanity in a mad, mad world. But he’s now hooked on climate change.
    When will leaders of the Christian Church realise that that their prime duty is to preach Christianity and to try to convert non-Christians to the religion.
    The early missionaries got the message, but it’s been lost somewhere along the line during my lifetime.

  • sarky

    40% of adults think jesus is a myth.

    only 40%?

    • Inspector General

      Still trying to make sense of your apparently pointless life, sarky?

      • dannybhoy

        Lol!
        What would he do without us Christians to rag on…?

        • sarky

          Find some paint to watch dry?

          • Pop out to one of the nearby Pound Shops.

          • chiefofsinners

            I know a sepulchre you could watch.

          • sarky

            Nice!

          • chiefofsinners

            Reference to Jesus’ description of people who look righteous on the outside but aren’t changed within. Sepulchre painted white.

          • sarky

            Think that describes most christians.

          • James M

            So, how to account for those left over ?

          • sarky

            Mental illness?

          • chiefofsinners

            Mental wellness.

          • Inspector General

            Mental illness! Do you know, that is perhaps the most popular explanation for belief found on the comments section of Pink News. The Inspector is banned from that site, but he would like to question those aggressive homosexuals on how they would go about explaining their disease spreading penchant for lower bowel activity with complete strangers. Perhaps you can go there and ask for him. The answers should be interesting, but one possibility you won’t get is mental illness…

          • chiefofsinners

            Banned! Congratulations. High praise indeed.

          • Inspector General

            Interesting story. The management didn’t want to ban the Inspector. Not after he pointed out the doubling of comments per item his presence was attracting. More viewers means more points, and points mean prizes, and that means more loot in their bank accounts at the end of the month. No, it was one’s fellow commentators who took exception. They threatened to boycott the site, and one even said he would report the Inspector to the police, presumably for posting on a gay site without actually being gay. A heinous hate crime, probably…

          • chiefofsinners

            What?… you’re not gay?

          • James M

            I thought the Empty One was intended.

          • dannybhoy

            Go do it then bro.

      • sarky

        Well it makes you realise why christians are so keen to keep christianity in schools. Get ’em while their young, adults are obviously not so gullible.

        • Many people convert in adult life Sarky.

          • sarky

            Yes that’s correct….to atheism.

          • To Christianity.

          • chiefofsinners

            You misunderstand the gospel. You become a Christian by making an informed, reasoned choice, whereupon the Spirit of God indwells you and begins the hard work of changing you. Christianity does not seek to indoctrinate children or anyone else. We proclaim, explain, argue for and live out the truth but we can no more make someone a Christian than we can bring the dead to life.

          • sarky

            Thats as maybe, but many many leave.

          • “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

            Jesus means that God calls everyone (many in Greek is not restrictive as in English) and He gives us all the power to respond. To be chosen, we must respond to the call, using the power God gave us for that purpose. In the end, some people refuse the invitation and are not chosen.

            You should read the parable.
            http://www.newadvent.org/bible/mat022.htm

          • sarky

            Think my invitation must have got lost in the post 🙂

          • It’s in the letter box ….

          • sarky

            The dog ate it!

          • Another will be sent then …..

          • dannybhoy

            Nah, you’re still trying to work out Who sent it….

          • dannybhoy

            Excellent, Jack!

          • James M

            Excellently stated. Why the periwig BTW ?

          • chiefofsinners

            ‘Tis the image of one I admire: The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Swift. Also an excellent place to keep a quill and a Mars bar.

          • dannybhoy

            A very great talent. Dunno what he believed as a Christian minister though.

          • chiefofsinners

            He believed that the original, simple truths of the faith had been obscured by layers of human invention. He believed in speaking up for the poor and oppressed. He believed that human tendencies to extremism and irrational behaviour harmed the church. He expressed all this through unimaginably exquisite satire.

          • Cressida de Nova

            He was also a misogynist who wrote the Celia shits poem

          • chiefofsinners

            It was satire. He also recommended that the people of Ireland ate their children. It was satire. The poem about Celia is more relevant today than ever, speaking for women against the harmful expectations of society.

          • magnolia

            A periwig…”an excellent place to keep…a Mars bar”??? Ever heard of chocolate melting in the sunshine?

          • chiefofsinners

            Ever heard of deep fried Mars Bars? But yes, my eyebrows will be grateful for your advice.

          • chiefofsinners

            My eyebrows are grateful for your wisdom, having experienced their least sticky day for a while.

          • Phil R

            The evidence is that the opposite is true

          • sarky

            No its not.

          • Phil R

            2%:to 1%in 100 years is not growth

        • Inspector General

          So the only belief that should be taught to children is no belief at all. Do you support a sports team, by chance, a ‘fan’ as these loons who worship that way are described?

          • sarky

            Nope!

          • Inspector General

            Then what positive influences do you have?

          • sarky

            Why would I need any?

          • Inspector General

            Just sounding you out. So you make your way along by pointing out what irritates you rather than by achievements that inspire you.

          • sarky

            Only when it comes to religion.

    • chiefofsinners

      Do you get your logic from a bottle of gin? 40% proof.

      • Actually, it’s not that an unreasonable question. Ask the Inspector. He doesn’t believe Christ was Divine, nor does he believe in a Triune God.

        • Inspector General

          One believes in Christ. Should be enough for you…

          • In what sense do you believe in Christ?

          • Inspector General

            Don’t be a bore Jack. Not tonight.

          • Jack is trying to assist, Inspector.

            “A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil’s
            snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will.”

            (St. Paul, 2 Tm. 2:24)

            “Fraternal correction is a matter of precept, in so far as it is an act of virtue”
            (St. Thomas Aquinas)

            “Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error.”
            (Pope Pius VI)

          • James M

            Now *that* is how to be pastoral.

          • Yes, but one needs special graces and the patience of a saint to do so, and who amongst us can claim this? Still, one must try … and try … and try.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Smirkles !

      • sarky

        Jack Daniels, I hate gin.

  • “40% of adults think Jesus is a myth,”
    What percentage of clergy think the same thing?

  • chiefofsinners

    Possibly the English curriculum is at fault. 40% of adults don’t know what the word ‘myth’ means.

    • Pubcrawler

      More than 40%, probably.

    • Dreadnaught

      40% of adults don’t know what the word ‘myth’ means.

      This is just a myth.

      • chiefofsinners

        I don’t know what you mean.

        • Dreadnaught

          Evidently

    • sarky

      Right, so 40% of adults have made an informed decision as to the truth of christianity and all you can do is label them as uneducated? Just the opposite I’d say.

      • chiefofsinners

        It was a light hearted suggestion, however …
        An informed decision on whether Jesus existed would rarely be that He did not. The weight of historical evidence is heavily in favour. I do remember our erstwhile correspondent Linus arguing that Jesus never existed, but it’s not a mainstream view even among atheists. This leads to one of two alternatives: most of this 40% is either uninformed about the evidence for Jesus’ existence, or they don’t know what a myth is.

        • sarky

          Personally I don’t think he existed as such. Was there someone named jesus wondering around with all the other self proclaimed prophets at that time? Possibly. Did he do all the things attributed to him and rise from the dead? Of course not.

          • dannybhoy

            Case closed then. Off you toddle!

          • sarky

            Fantastic reply, well done you!

          • chiefofsinners

            It’s a curious position for an atheist. Entrenched as you are in a purely rationalist, scientific and evidence-based view of the universe, why do you choose this single issue on which to ignore the consensus of scholarly opinion?

          • dannybhoy

            Sarky doesn’t believe any of it, but it still fascinates him. Either that or he doesn’t have any hobbies to keep himself occupied…

          • sarky

            How many scholars think jesus performed miracles and rose from the dead?

          • Jack hasn’t the time to address the points you raise. It would take all day and all night. Below is a link to a rather short and clear debate between an atheist and a Christian. It is well worth and read.

            http://socrates58.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/dialogue-with-atheist-concerning-my.html

            Let Jack know what you think of it, assuming you are serious in asking these questions – which Jack believes you are.

          • dannybhoy

            You do?!

          • Yes, actually.

          • dannybhoy

            Well that must be your pastoral gift coming through. What is needed is the gift of discernment to see what really bothers Sarky. I think all the questions are a spiritual smokescreen….

          • Lol …. “pastoral gift”! You clearly don’t know Jack’s history on this site.

          • dannybhoy

            You care about people, doncha? You obviously care about the Inspector and his convoluted beliefs, and you are a man of integrity who wants his children and grandchildren to be firm in the faith.. You’re patient with people..
            That’s pastoral Jack.

          • sarky

            What bothers me is how obviously intelligent people throw logic out of the window when it comes to a 2000 year old middle eastern cult.

          • dannybhoy

            “What bothers me….”
            And the Lord said Go to that village yonder, there you will find a colt-
            (Sarky) What bothers me Lord is
            …tied,which no man has ever ridd-
            (Sarky) but how do you know it’s never been ri-
            has EVER been ridden, Sarky… and bring it here.
            (Sarky) But how do we know the owner will let us-
            Bring it HERE, Sarky…
            (Sighs)
            Sometimes I wonder why I ever chose y-

            (Sarky) well, did you choose me or did I decide to follow You? It’s been bothering me a lot that has…..
            (More sighs)
            Jesus and other disciples walk quietly away to examine a barren fig tree…

          • sarky

            What?

          • dannybhoy

            It means that people with a sense of humour bypass, and a major in ‘being bothered’ will never enter the Kingdom of God….

          • sarky

            Sounds like the kingdom of heaven will be as empty as a jimmy saville fan convention.

          • Phil R

            What bothers me is that people like you do not even attempt to address the argument. Just tirelessly use unsubstantiated opinion and (most often simply) ridicule in place of fact.

          • sarky

            I did address your argument. You failed to reply.
            As for ridicule, if you stick your head above the parapet expect to be shot!

          • sarky

            Had a good look. There isn’t really a good argument for christianty, just an attempt to take apart the other guys views. In fact its a major case of bullshit baffles brains!

          • What part was bullshit?

          • sarky

            To me saying jesus existed because that’s what the scriptures say, is like saying Harry Potter exists because that’s what the philosophers stone says.
            And the whole atheism is as much of faith system argument smacks of desperation and is one I’ve seen recycled many many times.

          • The historical Jesus really cannot be disputed. And, by “faith”, all that’s meant is the prepositions of materialism cannot be proven empirically.

          • chiefofsinners

            Many of the greatest have done and do. But I was referring to your doubt about Jesus’ actual existence.

          • sarky

            Read what I said, my doubt is more about was he who he said he was and did he do the things attributed to him.

          • Phil R

            Do you belivethe Ides of March as the date on which Julius Caesarwas assassinated in 44 BC

            Only 3 account survive. The oldest manuscript written 800 years after the event

            More than 30000 documents exist all written within 300 years if the crucifiction

            But you still belive the account of Ceasar’s death but not Jesus

          • sarky

            You don’t half talk bollocks. Asinius Pollio was a historian and friend of Caeser and wrote about his death.

            Phil, please write a document on the death of Louis XIV (300yrs ago)
            But without using any source material only hearsay. Then try to convince me that what you have written is historically accurate.
            see the problem?

          • Phil R

            You got the first edition?

            Or relying on a later copy?

          • sarky

            Try again….

          • Phil R

            The Bible was written down within the lifetime of those that had actually known Jesus

            Reportage if you like

            many sources to your one

          • chiefofsinners

            Maybe neither of us knows what the term ‘myth’ meant in this survey. Is it about whether He existed or whether He was the Son of God? I thought the former, you’re working on the latter.

          • sarky

            Without the latter the former is meaningless.

          • chiefofsinners

            Without the former, the latter is impossible.

          • sarky

            Exactly

        • dannybhoy

          “It was a light hearted suggestion, however …”
          The most light hearted of comments ‘gang aft a gley’ on Cranmer………

  • Malcolm Smith

    This figure is higher among the 18-34s, and goes to show that there are millions of young adults in particular who want to know more about Jesus, despite their lack of knowledge. They just need to find someone to talk to who can enlighten them.

    The solution is obvious: go out and talk to someone in the 18-34 age bracket.

    In the meantime, Rodney Stark pointed out that, in the Roman Empire, the Christians outbred the heathen. This is still the case. See http://080808onnowto.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/survival-of-godliest-does-strong.html

  • Stephen Milroy

    Christ as myth has been dead for the past 30 years, but the irreligious believe that if you flog a dead horse long enough its withers and spurts count as reactivity

    • Albert

      Yes, they have a bizarre sense of life after death.

  • Albert

    Presumably, few of those actually educated at faith schools really think Jesus is a myth. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that the majority of these ill-educated people are being turned out by non-faith schools. Which raises a serious question: if (or rather as) non-faith schools are so bad (and let’s face it, they are much worse, generally speaking, on most measures), why are we still providing them?

    My own answer, for what it’s worth, is that parents have he right to provide children with the education that fits their philosophy and outlook. So if secular parents want to provide their children with a secular/failed education, I defend their right to do so. I just wish they’d persuade their children then not to impose their secular/failed education on the rest of us.

  • preacher

    Yes religious education probably has in most cases failed, for the very reasons that Gillan states. But that only proves the inefficiency & lack of ability or experience, or both of those entrusted to teach it.
    No one can teach spiritual things in a worldly way. One cannot say that colours don’t exist because you live in a land where most people were born blind & they, from their point of view – or rather lack of vision deny that colours are real.
    You see colours every day, but how can you convince them ?.
    You can’t Teach them, or explain to them, but you can be prepared to take the time & effort to study & give them sight, perhaps surgically ?.
    Enabling the spiritually blind to see is much easier, all it takes is time effort, love & desire on our part.
    Some will prefer to shut their eyes & continue to stumble & fall. to proud to accept help or to scared to look & see the truth, they simply don’t want to see, & sadly that is their choice to make.
    The Big question for us is, are we prepared & willing to go & tell ? Well are we ? If we claim to follow Jesus Christ we must do as He did, & commands us to do – Go & tell, make disciples of All Nations. There is no other path to follow or choice to make.

    Blessings.

    • Cressida de Nova

      You have made some good points about the reason for spiritual blindness . It is considered now unacceptable to refer to religious anecdotes in academic discourse. There has been a definite hostility to Christianity in all echelons of society for a long time.Religion is supposed to be something you keep private. Automatically one will be labelled a wowser,a religious zealot and extremist if one’s faith is disclosed. You can be discriminated against in the work place. As a preacher you are not going to be discriminated against because your job description is to tell, make disciples so it is easier for you. Rather than tell perhaps behaviour ( Christian behaviour)is as effective. The media has poisoned the populace against Christians.

      • IanCad

        Great point Cressie!
        Only through certification can we now operate.

      • preacher

        Thanks Cressida, I believe that suppression has been the game plan for the last 2000 years, either by threats of death or more recently by social ostracism. The main enemy We have to overcome is fear, I find that it’s easier to reach people on a more neutral ground, where there is no pressure on them, religious garb, tradition & custom simply drive them into their shells & they feel threatened.
        It’s easier to speak from the front of an assembled group of believers, but often the effort is wasted because the fear factor kicks in & they switch off for the very reasons you state.
        I find that all effective evangelism produces trepidation, I still get nervous, whether it’s one to one, or public preaching. But the fear has to be overcome if the message is to be delivered. If we truly believe that someone’s eternal future is at stake, we have to wrestle with & defeat the fear, I find that when the victory is won, the impetus for sharing increases & things usually go smoothly. Perhaps it’s because we share common ground with the person we are talking to, they’ve been afraid to ask anyone the questions they have, & we’ve been afraid of their reaction. result: neutral ground !.
        The most dangerous part of any flight is take off, but we have to conquer our fears to participate in the flight, because once in the air we can relax a little – until landing haves into view !!.

        Have a happy & blessed day. P.

  • Dennis Lessenis

    Yes!! Religious Education has failed – 100% should of adults should know that although a person may or may not have existed call Joshua Ben Yusef (aka ‘Jesus’) the fairy stories in the Bible are myths.

    The Hebrews is almost cringe-worthy in its repeated banging of square blocks through round holes – in an attempt to somehow fuse Jewish and nascent Christian theology into one, coherent system of thinking – aka myth. Similarly you get the feeling Paul is likewise trying to weld Jewish thought with the Nazarene sect.

    The Church Fathers go even further – trying to dovetail Greek philosophy and Roman Law into some coherent system. Ideas such as the notion of Jesus fulfilling the Law (Heb 7:26-28) or that via Adam came death (Romans 5:12-18) are clearly ‘myths’.

    If Jesus fulfilled the Law and thus undid ‘death’ why is there no mention in Torah that if you manage to fulfil all 613 commandments perfectly that you will live forever?’ or ‘If through Adam came death, why did God want Adam out of the garden, so that he wouldn’t eat from the tree of Life and ‘live for ever’ – this implies Adam was mortal and that death did not come via the fall?’ – see Gen 3:22. The Jewish religion of the Old Testament – and the Torah in particularly – is not dissimilar to the Religion of Vulcan – in the words of Dr Spock ‘Live Long and Prosper’. There is not one word in the Old Testament about eternal life – the phrase only occurs in the New Testament.

    The notion of ‘Salvation’ is even stranger – if God is omniscient why is it necessary to have hoops to jump through… We’re back to Epicurus:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    • len

      What are you saying then?.
      You do not understand the mind of God or you do not believe He exists?

      • Dennis Lessenis

        Ah, I must bow before the learned Christian, who KNOWS THE MIND OF GOD – Romans 11:34 just passes some of these Christians by!

        I do know that it is NOT the role of secular education to teach wider society about the tenets of Christianity (and let’s face it – there is a good deal of difference between Christians as to what constitutes the tenets of Christianity). That’s the role of Christians – get on with it and stop whining!

        For most of us – the 90% in the UK who don’t go to church on a Sunday, Christianity is just one religion among many – they all seem to result in the same degree of self-love, self-congratulation and a good deal of slaughter at one time or another. There is little evidence to suggest there is a loving god, whose loving hand is guiding our lives is there?

        We’re back to Epicurus:

        Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

        Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

        Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

        Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

        • magnolia

          If God does not exist in your view how do you contrive to be so angry at a non-existent God? You should, rationally speaking, be indifferent to him, and not posting with such passion on a- to you- boring and irrelevant topic on a side issue blog.

          Unless of course, you are a spiritual being with a deep spiritual need….

          If you don’t go to church chances are extremely strong that you have barely read the Bible, which makes your foray even more startlingly odd, as the knowledge base simply isn’t there.

          Unless of course you are a spiritual being with a deep spiritual need….

          • Dennis Lessenis

            Alas – sorry to disappoint the ever omniscient Christian… No one is angry here… and as someone who has been a practising Christian for many years – and has a doctorate in Theology & Religious studies – I can even read the New Testament in Koine Greek – I know my Bible very well. And show me where I have said ‘god’ doesn’t exist? If there is a ‘god’ then all I am saying is he ain’t that great is s/he?

            My gripe, as such, is the usually whinging and whining of Christians thinking it is the job of the state to do what they are failing to do… If the message of Christianity isn’t getting through to adults, why blame our education system? Surely, given the Jesus’ Charge (Act 1: 1-11 noted above) – get on with it and stop pointing the finger of blame for your own impotence!

          • Inspector General

            Ah, the haughty arrogance of an education. Have they let you loose into the real world yet, or are we communicating with the eternal academic…

          • Dennis Lessenis

            Alas – I work in the real work – in cancer care/end of life care – and have done for many years. What is your ‘real world’ role? I can assure you, spend a few days on a cancer ward and you’ll find the words of Epicurus have real resonance…

            And as for ‘haughty arrogance of an education’ – come, come – who was arrogant enough as to say ‘If you don’t go to church chances are extremely strong that you have barely read the Bible’ – as our omniscient chum ‘magnolia’ (always a boring shade, I find) notes above? I think I have a right to correct the opinionated ramblings of our friend, don’t you?

          • Inspector General

            One is no stranger to cancer wards, and Epicurus was talking out of his hole. We get so many who cannot fathom why God does not intervene in the world as if he was some carer on the other end of a buzzer. Always reminds one of the daughter rushing home with a run over cat demanding her parents spend what ever it takes to get the thing back on its feet for another chance to be run over again.

            Anyway, pleased to meet you. As the urban peasantry that passes for a population in Gloucester would say, “You made I laugh”. Which is more than the thick known as sarky could ever manage…

          • Dennis Lessenis

            Yes it was fun wasn’t it? As for Epicurus – well he has a point – and let’s face it his arguments will still be heard long after you and I are long dead.

          • dannybhoy

            You and your winning ways Inspector, you’ve made another ‘sort of’ chum.
            Well done! I do think that if you’ve worked with the elderly or dying it can be quite a challenge to one’s faith. A nasty death is a horrible thing to behold.

          • sarky

            Who you calling thick?

          • Inspector General

            ; – >

          • magnolia

            Well I have looked at your posting history and noted longwinded anti-Christian rants, accusation upon accusation of whingeing about persecution, and misogynistifc outpourings, really nasty things written towards women with demeaning sexual references and an obsession with being a flag waver for homosexuality, whilst criticising hetersexuals who are divorced and remarried in very strong terms. You also describe yourself not as a “practising Christian” in the present tense as above but as now “on the outside looking in” in previous posts.

            Your tone against Gillan and all Christians on this blog is wild and angry and immoderate, and your understanding of how late secular education came on the educational scene in Britain lamentably lacking.

            It is unwise given the levels of anti-female feeling in society, now apparently overlooked and acceptable, and in which you feel free to indulge freely, not to go under a pseudonym. Magnolia is a harmless and innocuous shade which is friendly to all, and capable of merging into the background. That might be something like a joke, if I feel like it. Maybe you prefer vampiric red, streaked with black.

            You seem to have time in abundance for long-winded diatribes, so you have no right to have a go at the Inspector on that, (with whom I disagree on a fair amount,) but we always get back to civilized conversation after the odd dispute!

          • Inspector General

            You’re a feisty woman, Mags. Good show, that gal!

          • magnolia

            Just don’t like him hiding his real obsession, and what it’s really all about. Actually perhaps I had rather he did……arggh…..life is confusing!

          • Dennis Lessenis

            ‘his real obsession’… ‘and what it’s really all about.’ I seem to have fallen foul of that Great Christian Commandment: ‘Thou Shalt Always think the Worst of Other people…’ – which of course is just a backhanded way of thinking better of oneself…

            Whatever, as I note, many thanks for taking the time to read my comments – although I am at a loss as to how you have arrived at ‘misogynistifc outpourings, really nasty things written towards women with demeaning sexual references and an obsession with being a flag waver for homosexuality’.

            I do often comment on why it is our Christian friends (or a certain type of reactionary, genitally obsessed “Christian”, at any rate) are so hot on homosexuality (a low personal cost stance – easy, off the peg righteousness for your average pew filling Christian) and yet don’t seem to apply Scripture with the same gusto when it just might inconvenience their own lives or condemn their own life situation – e.g. Mark 10 is CLEAR on divorce and remarriage, – remarriage is only permissible in limited and specific circumstances – yet few of even the most vehement conservative Christians apply Jesus’ own reported teaching on the matter of marriage with the same strength of feeling they reserve for homos – which you have to admit, is a bit weird? But I would hardly call that being a ‘flag waver for homosexuality’. I am certainly not a fan of same-sex marriage and find popular gay-culture repulsive – mind you, there is a good deal about ‘heterosexual’ culture that’s pretty repulsive too!! I had to misfortune to have to wait in a taxi queue, late on, the other Saturday night whilst on a visit to family in Manchester and I am still in shock at the behaviour I witnessed from heterosexuals on a night out – the gays on their way home just stood dutifully in the queue!

            A common problem in the blogging sphere is that of presumed polarisation on a topic – when in real life we know people and ourselves don’t think or behave in this manner: life isn’t black and white – and of course, we can be very forgiving of ourselves when it comes to lapses in our behaviour – but rather scathing of others (Paul says this better than I – Romans 2:17-24). We’re all Little Jack Horners really!

            As for ‘misogynistifc outpourings’ I presume you mean my comments on Ms Davis – the four times married court official in Kentucky who plainly falls foul of Luke 6:42 when she sets herself up as judge and jury on other people’s lives? I wouldn’t call them ‘misogynistifc outpourings’ – Ms Davis isn’t a brilliant advert for Christian integrity is she? – and I suspect, rather like a nasty little girl in the playground – carrying her own burdens of insecurities and faults, she is picking on others to salve her own guilt and shame – Davis isn’t a little girl, she’s in her 50s and should know better.

            The weight of Biblical morality isn’t focused on matters below the waist – see: Exodus 22:22 , Deut 10:18, 14:29, 24:17, 24:19 etc., Isaiah 1:17, 1:23, 10:2, Jeremiah 22:3, Ezekiel 22:7, Zechariah7:10, Malachi 3:5, etc. It is concerned with how we treat the poor, the marginalised, the foreigner, the widow, the orphan – and above all that we are impartial in our judgements (Deut 1:17). For once it would be wonderful to hear of a Christian who was in hot water because they worked in a bank and refused to enact its policies because they were plainly again the spirit of Malachi 3:5 – but no, these professional martyrs are nearly always whining on about homosexuality – something which is incidental to most people’s lives – and of course, doesn’t challenge the life choices and behaviour of your average, pew filling Christian.

            I will add that I am certainly not ‘anti-Christian’ – indeed in my work I push for people’s religious and cultural needs – and recently challenged a hospital consultant when he described an African patient’s Christian belief, as her ‘coping mechanism’ – I noted that if she was some Muslim or Jew they’d be running around in small circles to make sure she had her cultural and religious needs met, so why is an African woman’s Christian faith seen as a ‘coping mechanism’? That shut him up!

            I hope you see, Magnolia (and I do apologise for any little offense caused by the quip I made about your screen name), that things aren’t black and white? If I had to nail my political colours to the mast, then the nearest flag of convenience to my worldview would be ‘Libertarian’ – and I am Right of Centre on many subjects – I have little sympathy with the excesses of the Left (particularly BBC type liberal patronising!!!) – but then I do not believe it is the role of the state to promote religion or interfere in people’s personal lives, when people are law abiding, taxpaying responsible citizens.

            I hope that answers some of your queries!

            Have a Blessed Sunday!!

            D.

          • magnolia

            Yes, that does answer some questions, for which thanks.

            I would say that there is, apart from the fact that the CHurch started, and the State limped late along in its wake in educational matters, a whole question about stupid bureaucracy allied with overzealous political correctness, that hampers life generally in this country. This is not confined to county councils that ban a traditional Passion Plays because they thought it was erotic (!!), but also the host of health and safety regulations, which are massively overdone, and which seem to mean shutting off miles of motorway while two men stand beside a working engine eating sandwiches and coffee somewhere in the middle.

            I agree that a more libertarian government would solve a whole host of problems. I also believe that parents should be- whatever system is used- allowed to bring their children up as they see fit, provided that they do not bring them up as violent menaces to others. I think this cannot even stretch as far as being violent menaces at two removes, though at one remove is grey territory.

            What I think is awful is bringing up children who are completely locked out of their ancestral culture, know next to nothing about the Bible, don’t understand the faith that has shaped their forebears, cannot read Milton, understand much of Shakespeare, acres and acres of literature, vast quantities of history, much art, and music, and are confined to a narrow canon of culture because of some secular p.c. brigade. What is special about knowing only three hymns, at the outside? They are underprivileged.

            As for always thinking the worst of other people. Well, not really. I have been caught out assuming person x was fundamentally decent and then discovering they were up to out of the ordinary bad stuff that made victims of others. Probably a common experience and most of us have got it wrong both ways. Yes, on one level we shouldn’t judge and we are no better. On another level if we don’t judge we can land in massive trouble in all sorts of ways, and so can our friends, families, neighbours… On one level no better, but then also if one doesn’t do physical violence to others and don’t thereby need locking up we are socially better. However seeds that might be nurtured into violence may still linger within us and thus we should not be too self-congratulatory. “Take heed lest ye fall” is never that far away….Judging or not is more complicated than we sometimes speak of it as being, and I think we need to subdivide the word.

          • Dennis Lessenis

            Thank you for taking the time to read my comments. Every Blessing… Denys.

          • Dennis Lessenis

            Many thanks for taking the time to read my comments. Every Blessing! Denys

          • IanCad

            I’m with you on your last paragraph.
            The Great Commission doesn’t involve Ceasar.

        • chiefofsinners

          Epicurus and his false dichotomies again. How dull. God, in His omnipotence, has allowed there to be will and power other than His own.

          • Pubcrawler

            Succinctly put.

          • Dennis Lessenis

            Like many, as I’ve got older have lost my sweet tooth… I’m no longer a fan of fudge.

          • dannybhoy

            That happens. I knew a lady once who as she entered lonely old age began to doubt the reality of her faith…
            Elijah did
            Jonah did
            Jeremiah doubted his calling..
            I have every sympathy with a person who doubts.

          • chiefofsinners

            Like many, you seem to be reverting to childhood.
            When I say to a child ‘Would you prefer to go to bed at 7.30 or 8.00?’ I close out the consideration of any alternatives. The child happily agrees to 8.00 thinking how generous I am.
            Epicurus closes out the possibility that God might be beyond our understanding.
            Sadly, may adults never move beyond a child-like grasp of logic and are open to manipulation. What is lacking in our education system, more than RE, is philosophy.

        • len

          Knowing the mind of God takes a bit of time and a Bible of course…not rocket science…
          Evil come as as a result of man making wrong choices. God has given mankind the ability to choose between good and evil.
          God dealt with evil on the cross at Calvary and gave every man the ability to overcome evil.
          Who is therefore responsible for evil?…the answer is everyone who refuses to accept Christ as saviour…

          I can only assume this Epicurus you mention didn`t know Christ or he would have had the answer to his question?

          • Dennis Lessenis

            I am familiar with all this – for four years I was a member of – and on the staff for two years – of a flag ship Evangelical Anglican church – and for 20 odd years a member of various middle-of-the-road Anglican churches.

            The ideas I always have problems with are the notions of Jesus fulfilling the Law (Heb 7:26-28) and that via Adam came death (Romans 5:12-18).

            ‘If through Adam came death, why did God want Adam out of the garden, so that he wouldn’t eat from the tree of Life and ‘live for ever’ – this implies Adam was mortal and that death did not come via the fall?’ – see Gen 3:22. http://biblehub.com/genesis/3-22.htm

            If Jesus paid the price and fulfilled the Law and thus undid ‘death’ why is there no mention in Torah that if you manage to fulfil all 613 commandments perfectly that you will live forever?’ The Jewish religion of the Old Testament – and the Torah in particularly – is not dissimilar to the Religion of Vulcan – in the words of Dr Spock ‘Live Long and Prosper’. There is not one word in the Old Testament about eternal life – the phrase only occurs in the New Testament – nor do we find mention of the ‘The Devil’ or demonic possession (please don’t tell me the serpent in Genesis is ‘The Devil’ – Jews always find this idea laughable, and so do I – or that ‘Satan’ in Job is the same character as the ‘Satan’ of the New testament – they aren’t!) – which demonstrates how Christianity is an ill-graphed stem onto an older, Bronze Age religion – with obvious problems when it comes to saying the latter is a continuation of the former.

            Jesus on the Cross – human sacrifice – may be your belief, but it is not everyone’s…

            And as for ‘Who is therefore responsible for evil?…the answer is everyone who refuses to accept Christ as saviour… ‘

            This is a dangerous assertion – for it is saying Christians are blameless and the problems of the world are everyone’s fault – however it is interesting as it is a worldview which might explain, in part at least, why the more conservatively religious a Christian society, the more poorly it scores when it comes to social markers, such as rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, violent crime, etc. The belief that other people are ‘sinful’ and Christians are blameless tells us something about the mindset of the believer – and explains why there is so much self-congratulation and arrogance on the part of the believer – often judging others with a measure they wouldn’t use on themselves. I thought the evils of the world came from the ‘heart of men’ – Matthew 15:19. But what do I know…

          • dannybhoy

            Where does it say Adam was created to live for ever?
            As regards Israel the Chosen People, wasn’t their ultimate calling to reveal the true God to the nations?
            I have always believed that the heart of Judaism and the heart of Christianity is God and our relationship to Him. Like Abraham and Moses we are to walk faithfully with Him through our life in whatever capacity He calls us to.
            That doesn’t mean we’re not meant to enjoy life in all its fullness, but always to be listening out for that still, small voice within us….

          • Dennis Lessenis

            whatever.

          • Merchantman

            Should have posted my ‘scientific’ post above yours to yourself.

          • Merchantman

            ‘Where does it say Adam was created to live for ever.’
            I am not sure where it says this except through inference. Moreover it doesn’t say he wouldn’t live eternally, being created in the image of God, who is eternal.
            Interesting, this question of living forever. Again by inference and because the Olde Fathers in the OT lived a long time, the possibility of extended life is definitely implied in Genesis.
            The ‘evidence’ of modern science is showing that cancer is a micro sin. This means certain cells seemingly disobey the intention of life, which seems to be they continue to refresh themselves in perfect copy. Maybe eternally. However something causes some cells to rebel against this and become invulnerable to the body’s attempt to reject them and kill them.

          • dannybhoy

            I believe that they did live to great ages, but whether they were not to die is open for discussion. Of God made sure our first parents didn’t eat of the tree of life would infer that they wouldn’t .
            I’d be interested to hear Avi’s take on it from a Jewish perspective.
            There was once a theory that the earth was once shrouded in a water vapour canopy shielding living things from the worst harmful rays…
            I dunno. I do believe in the Creation story however.

          • chiefofsinners

            “If through Adam came death, why did God want Adam out of the garden, so that he wouldn’t eat from the tree of Life and ‘live for ever’ – this implies Adam was mortal and that death did not come via the fall?’”

            Adam was mortal once he had eaten from the tree of knowledge, because God imposed this punishment on him. He could not be allowed to then eat of the tree of life and live forever because he would live forever in his rebellious state, thereby permanently corrupting creation. Eternal life could only be restored to him following repentance and sanctification. The death which he experienced immediately was the death of his spirit. Also on that day when he sinned, the death of his body became inevitable and the degeneration began.

            “If Jesus paid the price and fulfilled the Law and thus undid ‘death’ why is there no mention in Torah that if you manage to fulfil all 613 commandments perfectly that you will live forever?’”
            Because no-one but Jesus was ever going to do this. The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Its purpose is to make us conscious of sin. Its secondary purpose is to speak of Christ – which it does by describing what constitutes perfection, so that we might recognise it when it appeared.

          • Dennis Lessenis

            Where does it say ‘Adam was mortal once he had eaten from the tree of knowledge’ – I must have missed that bit – but as you’re so knowledgeable on what isn’t said, but you know happened in Eden – did Adam have a penis before Eve was created? Or was that just stuck on afterwards? Men and women are supposedly made to be sexually compatible – but what function did Adam’s penis serve before the creation of Eve ?- a dibber, for pricking out seeds? Me and my childish questions…

            I think the Blessed Dave Allan has the best commentary on Genesis – certainly beats anything by IVP! Enjoy! https://youtu.be/BGASvVqzOa0

          • chiefofsinners

            Where does it say ‘Adam was mortal once he had eaten from the tree of knowledge’.

            Genesis 2 verse 17: “when you eat of it you will surely die”. Although this was in the future when spoken, it didn’t stay that way for long.

            “What function did Adam’s penis serve before the creation of Eve?”. Remarkably useful for directing urine, in my experience.
            Prawns: a practical law, to avoid food poisoning.
            Linen and wool: a symbolic law, teaching the importance of purity.
            Dave Allan: facetious, religiously illiterate, lacking the talent to amuse without offending. Dead.

          • Merchantman

            Surely Jesus is not only to be seen as the sacrificial lamb but also as the friend who lays down his life for his friends.
            A question of who you want in the trench next to you.
            Ultimately Jesus is the man who falls on the hand grenade and saves the trench and your life. Maybe the Centurion saw this at Calvary.

          • dannybhoy

            “I am familiar with all this – for four years I was a member of – and on
            the staff for two years – of a flag ship Evangelical Anglican church –
            and for 20 odd years a member of various middle-of-the-road Anglican
            churches.”
            Just goes to show anything’s possible in the CofE..

  • len

    Man has been conditioned to believe only the five senses so spiritual matters are a mystery to him so he either ignores the spiritual realm or in the cases of aggressive atheists who try to silence any who would attempt to discover spiritual truth.
    This of course make mankind a helpless pawn wandering in the battlefields of deception and truth much as the blind that ‘Preacher’ mentions.’The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they
    cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ,
    who is the image of God’ (2 Corinthians .4.4)
    Even being’ religious’ is no protection against the Great Deception that Satan is bringing upon this world to test whether we have the truth regarding Christ or are merely following religious rituals.These is’ a shaking ‘ happening to separate truth from error.
    I was absolutely astonished to hear the Pope saying that the greatest event to happen in History, an event that separates the old creation from the New, an event that God planned from the beginning of time( namely the Cross of Jesus Christ at Calvary) ‘a failure’.I know Catholics have got many things badly wrong but this error of errors truly astonished me….

    http://pulpitandpen.org/2015/09/25/pope-calls-jesus-the-cross-a-failure-stillprotesting/

    • IanCad

      Thanks for the link Len.
      So true! Rome never changes.

      • What the Pope said in context:

        “The grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the lord and to find expression in a life of commitment to our work. Once we realize how much God has given us, we learn that a life of sacrifice, of working for him and for others, becomes a privileged way, a privileged way of responding to his great love.

        Yet, if we are honest, we must recognize how easily this spirit of generous self-sacrifice can be dampened. There are a couple of ways that this can happen. And both are examples of the spiritual worldliness which weakens our commitment to serve as dedicated men and women.

        And it diminishes the wonder of our first encounter with Christ. We can get caught up in measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success, which govern the business world.

        Not that these things are unimportant, of course. But we have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and this is why God’s People rightly expect accountability from us but the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in God’s eyes, to see and evaluate things from God’s perspective, calls for constant conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, it demands great humility.

        The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds. God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and not produce fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.”

        • IanCad

          OK Jack, I’ll have to read that a couple of times.

          • Viewed “in human terms”. Of course the Cross didn’t fail.

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, I first encountered that notion in the writings of Herbert McCabe OP (one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard and a most entertaining man; I will overlook his socialistic bent). It startled me at first, but of course in human terms it is quite true; it takes the writer of John’s Gospel to observe that the Cross is, counterintuitively, the climax of the incarnate Christ’s glorification in the eyes of the Father.

            Without wishing to stray too far from my apophatic leanings, I don’t thinks it’s too far wrong to say that God seems to be fond of the counterintuitive, even the paradoxical. An infinite Godhead is not going to be limited or defined by our attempts to understand him, as Isaiah so memorably points out.

          • IanCad

            Got me reaching for the dictionary with that there “Apophatic” Mr Pubcrawler.
            Theology!? Don’t you just love it?

          • Pubcrawler

            I do, but it can make the brain hurt at times.

          • It’s the joy of our faith, Pubcrawler.

          • Pubcrawler

            It is that.

          • len

            Christ was fulfilling Gods Will as God as as man.
            IF you separate either than you make the Cross a total irrelevance and total destroy the Gospel(which Islam has also done by denying Christ was crucified and secularists by denying the existence of Christ at all,see many other threads)

            Very dangerous ground to tread on but the Popes have claimed the authority to change God`s Word as they see fit!.

          • len

            IF we view the cross in ‘human terms’ then we will miss the entire point of the Cross why then did the Pope even bring this into his discourse?.
            The Pope is playing a game of semantics of which the Roman Church has a long history.

            The Pope said ‘the failure of the Cross’ (of which there can be no doubt..

            “And if at times our efforts and
            works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are
            followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure,
            the failure of the cross.”

          • Len …. Oh, never mind.

          • Merchantman

            If the cross failed why does your church leave Jesus up on the cross? Leave the cross empty and you can transpose this to leaving the tomb empty. Cheer up he is risen!

          • We also proclaim the Triumph of the Cross – viewed in spiritual terms – so, go figure.
            Who’s not joyful?

        • len

          The Pope speaks of the’ failure of the Cross’ with that he sides with Islam and secularists .The Pope has also spoken that Christians and Muslims worship the same God .This ties in with the Popes remarks about Christ as a failure(humanly speaking of course) why even mention’ failure’ unless the Pope has something else in mind?.
          The Pope has put in the minds of many a question mark over the Cross of Jesus Christ which is either a malicious or a foolish thing to do…Take your choice?.

          • dannybhoy

            Len
            many speak of the failure of the Cross from a human point of view. There are faiths that see it as weakness, and we even have hymns…

            Our Lord is of course triumphant, but not in the way that carnal, unrepentant man would understand.

    • Well, that’s because he actually didn’t say that. Do you actually take the time to read the articles you post? You do know that bearing false witness is a grievous offence against God and man?

      • len

        I think you should remind yourself and your church about that very matter Jack….

  • len

    How do we prove a historical person existed beyond any doubt? Can we
    prove that Alexander the Great or Plato or Socrates all existed? All we
    have are ancient manuscripts that mention them and claim to be copies of
    copies of their writings. Yet, most people don’t have any problem
    believing they existed. However, when it comes to Jesus, suddenly things
    are different.
    Full article
    https://carm.org/proof-that-jesus-existed

    • sarky

      Cant remember Alexander the great claiming to do miracles or coming back from the dead.

      • Malcolm Smith

        That’s the problem, isn’t it? People don’t doubt the existence of Jesus based on the same evidence that would be acceptable for other historical characters. They refuse to believe it on philosophical grounds ie they don’t believe in the supernatural, so they won’t accept any record which mentions the supernatural. It’s circular arguing, of course. And it goes deeper. They don’t believe because they don’t want the consequences of believing. Unbelief is frequently irrational.

        • sarky

          Unbelief is frequently irrational – I would say the opposite is true, it requires the suspension of rational thought.

          • len

            God reveals everything before it happens through His prophets it takes rational thought to find this….
            Unbelief is irrational when the truth is laid out before one and still one rejects it…..

          • sarky

            Depends on your definition of truth.

          • dannybhoy

            (Sarky to Jesus..)
            And that’s another thing, Lord, you said You are the Way, the Truth and the Life, but what bothers me…….

          • sarky

            Somehow doubt that’s a conversation that will ever take place.

        • Dreadnaught

          Belief in the supernatural peaked in the Victorian age with the likes of Conan-Doyle being an avid adherent. Then ‘PoP’ the bubble bursts with the advent of indoor lighting courtesy of Edison.
          Writing a hundred years after the supposed events are rumoured to have happened when illiteracy was the norm sort of lends the opportunity for inaccuracies to take root. Add to that instability a grand shuffle of the deck 300 yeas further down the line more than suggests a degree of selectivity. Why were the accounts of Thomas for instance, left out.
          Was JC himself illiterate? He could presumably done his own write-ups or magicked them into being – game over.
          ‘Belief without proof? that’s illogical Captain’ as Mr Spock may have put it.

          • magnolia

            a) Give credit where it is due! Nikola Tesla not Eddison!!
            b) Seriously I think you overstate the effect of electricity on people seeing ghosts! And also confuse the particular and very odd belief system that is Spiritualism with people seeing ghosts. It is possible to be a Spiritualist and never see a ghost! More importantly people of other faiths, and none, report seeing ghosts. I saw one once in broad daylight sitting outside during a sunny day in Summer!

            No, Jesus was not illiterate. His father was a carpenter, but that rather understates his occupation when you consider that many of the most sophisticated structures of the time were wood-dependent. His mother was not illiterate but would have been home schooled in several languages. Jesus picks up the scroll and reads in Capernaum. Furthermore he writes in the sand! But that is just picking two very obvious examples for you for brevity’s sake!

            Seriously if you have these questions there is plenty of literature out there to answer them, not least on the internet. Type in “Was Jesus illiterate? “, and see what is the most intelligent answer. Christianity welcomes the light shone upon all its claims. The more light, the more study, the better!

          • Dreadnaught

            a – Tesler was not known for developing the the modern incandescent light bulb. Blather all you want but if you are going to correct me make sure you know what you are talking about.

          • magnolia

            Blather is “long-winded”. How precisely can 10 words in my point “a” be long-winded??? Davy, Goebel, Swan maybe? Not Edison. And Tesla invented electricity, and a whole lot else besides. Eddison was rather good at snaffling the ideas of others and had the funds to do so.

          • Dreadnaught

            You made an ass of yourself.

          • magnolia

            All that Edison did is successfully produce the lightbulb in large commercial quantities. Since when did commercial production equal invention exactly? Edison as an inventor is massively overstated. He certainly owned patents, but some of these he bought.

            As for being an ass, well, I guess admitting to having seen a ghost makes me an ass in your eyes anyway as you already believe anyone who ever sees one is deluded or lying, or both. Of course there is an irony there as Balaam’s ass saw the Angel blocking the way while his owner, Balaam, was too obdurate and insensitive to see it. So in a sense it is an honour in this context, and probably not one I quite deserve!

          • Dreadnaught

            I guess admitting to having seen a ghost makes me an ass in your eyes

            Never have I insinuated this; why are you venturing down this path?
            I said you were an ass for wrongly contradicting me on the fact that Edison was responsible to the wide availability of the light bulb to the general public. Hardly a controversial point even among junior school pupils.

          • dannybhoy

            I doubt writing down things immediately would have occurred to anyone. Afaik, none of the disciples listed their occupation as “Reporter” or “Apprentice Historian”, (although there were a few fishermen amongst them and an accountant.)
            I don’t think they would have seen a need for it as most (I imagine), thought everything would be wrapped up in their generation.
            Without television, mobiles or computers, it’s quite likely that all over the immediate area people would have come up with various manuscripts in the sayings and doings of Jesus.
            Acts 19…
            11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,
            12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

            13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We[a] exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

            14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
            15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
            16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered[b] them, and prevailed against them,[c] so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”

            That the Church eventually got together to sift through these various Scriptures and decide which were God breathed and which were not, was eminently sensible. You can still get ahold of copies of the more ‘way out’ stuff and decide for yourself…

          • Dreadnaught

            don’t be so dismissive simply to try and make your point. The religious texts were well in evidence with the Jews. Romans had maps and kept records. The Greeks were great writers of plays and poetry. The value of the written word was well known that’s why you have the letters of Paul etc.
            You are another one who makes inane statements up as you go along because you don’t like to listen to other arguments you don’t like to hear.
            Totally predicable; but then predictable is good for you – so you say – whatever you meant by that.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t know how long you’ve been an atheist, but I’ve been a Christian a long time.
            You think we haven’t heard all of this stuff before? You might have noticed that I spend a lot of time responding to people who ask serious questions as Linus did, as Jon does, and Martin did/does on predestination and the Elect.
            What you are saying is not new, these questions have been doing the rounds for years, even centuries.
            So it’s not that I don’t like to to listen to other arguments; only that I’ve heard most of them before, as most of the Christians who comment here have.
            I love a good discussion. I come from a family of argumentative, opinionated, gobby people. But over the years one learns that there are some arguments that can be profitable to both sides and some that are impossible to answer.
            There are people who approach Christians with genuine questions and really listen to the answers, and others who come armed with a series of questions that they use to vent their anger or frustration or disappointment with Christianity.
            Their attacks are framed as intellectual, but actually originate in hurtful experiences at the hands of Christians or religious people.. It is the hurt, pain or anger that needs addressing. The intellectual objections may be simply a distraction.

          • Dreadnaught

            I don’t know how long you’ve been an atheist

            I was born atheist.

        • David

          Succinctly and well put. Approaching the question “does God exist” strictly from a scientific and probabilistic viewpoint, I find that it is the a-theism stance that is most improbable. Agnosticism is rational, but unconvincing, whereas the mainspring of aggressive atheism seems emotional rather than strictly rational – hence their all too obvious public anger and aggression.

  • IanCad

    So; 60% still believe that Jesus was not a myth. What with all the comforts, distractions and frivolities available, it could be a lot worse.
    Christianity has faced bigger problems than this.

  • David

    Most people get their information from the popular media, astonishingly. Now considering the vanishingly small amount of time that the popular media devotes to Jesus, and most of what there is, is overwhelmingly negative, it is quite an achievement that 60% of the population accept that Jesus was not a myth. The power of the message of The Cross does not diminish rapidly despite the best efforts of the establishment and its acolytes in the media.
    Interestingly Soviet Russia after 70 years of a most aggressive campaign against The Church, is now experiencing a resurgent Orthodox Church, which is cause for celebration indeed.

    • sarky

      I’m sure for most of the 60% it’s just a default answer (like christian on the census), they’ve probably never even considered it.

  • Manfarang

    Jesus was a common name in that part of the world at that time. Jesus the spiritual leader may have lived at around 200 BCE.

  • Richard B

    Gillan, thanks for your sound incisions into the statistics.
    Very interesting to see how things are changing on the current ‘rebound-reformation’ of the church as the Body of Christ (ie. not ‘demonination’). Some who ‘hear’ posit that even today marks the opening up of new levels for Spirit-born believers.

    • sarky

      Arhhh wondered how long it would be before the blood Moon nonsense showed up.

      • magnolia

        Where did he mention blood moons? Red Herring!

        • sarky

          Not at all, Richard is into his eschatology. The ‘today marks the opening up of new levels’ gives it away, being the first day after the tetrad.

        • Richard B

          Thanks Magnolia – apologies for delay in replying but v busy.

          I know about and have blogged on b-moons, but my opening refers to trends and developments noticed since 2007 and the way churches are now changing. That would have been a tad complicated for this blog, so I merely reported the fact of what some think.

  • Seadog

    Rubbish. Go on talking to your hands.