Cameron Pope2a
Civil Liberties

Cameron rebukes the Pope

 

The Pope of Rome hath erred. Again.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Pope Francis was asked by journalists aboard the papal plane what he thought of the latest episode of jihadi terrorism. He didn’t say it’s fine for irked Islamists to annihilate blasphemous cartoonists. Nor did he advocate summary execution for ‘disrespecting’ or ‘insulting’ each others prophets. Indeed, he was unequivocal that: “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion – that is, in the name of God.” And he pressed the point home: “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

But he then went on to say something which has been interpreted by many (indeed, it’s hard to interpret his words any other way) as conveying a sense that the French satirists basically got what was coming to them; that if you scoff at God’s sacred word and scorn His infallible messenger, you must expect “a punch”. His precise words have circled the earth:

“If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

And he helpfully illustrated his extemporary ‘Parable of the Cursed Mother’ with a bout of air boxing in the direction of Alberto Gasparri, the papal trips organiser, who smiled kindly as the pugnacious Pope dramatised his homily. It is unclear in this parable what happens if your mother happens to be Myra Hindley, Irma Grese, Beverley Allitt or Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary. Would Carol Thatcher be justified is punching those who called her mother a witch? Didn’t Jesus reserve one or two choice words and phrases for religious hypocrites and false prophets?

Parables, of course, are not literal. The Pope’s punch serves the same illustrative purpose as salt, pearls, sowers, builders, wheat, weeds, lost sheep and barren fig trees. But he did say that if you “provoke”, “insult” or “make fun” of people’s religion, there would be a “normal” reaction; i.e., if you “insult” Mohammed, you must expect a retaliatory “punch”. It would be the natural reaction.

Interviewed about this by Bob Scieffer for CBS in the Unites States, David Cameron responded:

“I think in a free society, there is a right to cause offence about someone’s religion. I’m a Christian; if someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don’t have a right to wreak vengeance on them. We have to accept that newspapers, magazines, can publish things that are offensive to some, as long as it’s within the law. That is what we should defend.”

This isn’t the first time the Prime Minister has remonstrated with the Pope. Shortly after the Holy Spirit had selected him (the Pope, that is; not the Prime Minister), it came to light that as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio he had commented on the Falkand Islands, which he felt belonged to Argentina. Cameron’s terse riposte alluded to the Falklanders’ recent referendum on sovereignty, in which 99.8 per cent of the population said they wished to remain British. “The white smoke over the Falklands was pretty clear,” Cameron quipped. And there was a more cordial exchange of differences over the economic priorities of the G8 in 2013. This Pope’s grasp of self-gratifying principles and hellish torment is not as sound as it might be.

To be fair to the Prime Minister, his government has strengthened freedom of expression by removing the prohibition on “insulting” from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. We still may not make utterances that are likely to cause anxiety, distress or alarm, but we may now apparently insult or curse with impunity. So, if you wish to denounce the Pope as the Antichrist, you are free to do so. If you wish to immerse an effigy of Jesus in a tank of piss, it is your right. If you wish to publish a picture of Mohammed as a terrorist, or print that he was a murderer, rapist, paedophile or false prophet, you may do so in the United Kingdom at least – without expecting a retaliatory “punch”.

But don’t be surprised if you receive one.

And don’t be surprised if politicians then do precious little about it.

  • Dreadnaught

    Papa Frank is only making an honest observation that we are genetically programmed to respond to varying degrees of sleight with varying degrees of reaction.
    But he is still a BLOODY IDIOT to make such a comment as leader of a faith group at a time when another faith group is not only directed but acting, with extreme violence towards others not even of that faith as well as those with the ‘wrong’ interpretation of that faith.

  • The Explorer

    The Holy Spirit didn’t elect Cameron? (Fourth-last paragraph.) God’s role in electoral decisions might make an interesting topic, particularly with the likes of Berlusconi.

    • Martin

      TE

      Actually I’d suggest that God does appoint rulers, just that they don’t then have the right to rule as they please. God’s judgement is greater on those who rule, just as it is on those who teach His Church.

      • The Explorer

        I suppose this topic could take us into the Divine Right of kings. And did God appoint Hitler and Stalin?

        • Martin

          TE

          I think Jesus already answered those.

          • The Explorer

            Agreed but humans can read the answer in different ways. William Lane Craig says somewhere that there are Spirit-led Christians who disagree with him on certain issues. Zwingli had the same experience.

          • Martin

            I’m afraid that WLC says a lot of weird things that are not, in any way, found in the Bible.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Am I disappointed or what? It seemed that Cameron thought he was God or at least God’s persona in flesh here on earth.

  • Martin

    Seems to me that telling someone that sin will cause them to go to Hell is liable to cause anxiety, distress or alarm, so I’m not sure Mr Cameron has done much for free speech. Certainly the police seem to think they can arrest people for pointing out that the Bible condemns homosexuality.

    Curiously I agree with the pope that if you go around insulting people, either directly or indirectly they may be liable to take a poke at you.

    The idea that the French cartoonists were standing up for free speech is laughable. They were busily engaged in mocking others and feeling superior to them. They probably relished the idea of their targets getting upset at their cartoons.

    • dannybhoy

      Agreed Martin. What I thought the Pope had said is that we shouldn’t poke fun (or draw insulting cartoons) at something another devout person considers sacred.
      If that is what he said then I agree. Of course it doesn’t give you the right to terminate that cartoonist’s career by removing his arm or head, but Muslims are not renowned for liberal attitudes towards their faith. Everybody knows that> History is littered with examples of Islamic reactions which ended badly for the offender, Muslim or no.
      Being civilised and believing in free speech does not mean having the right to publicly poke blasphemous,/i> fun at any religion.

      • Dreadnaught

        Blasphemy is in the ear of the beholder.

        • The Explorer

          Demanding, beholding with your ear. I suppose, though, that looking at an offensive cartoon is a case of listening with your eye.

        • dannybhoy

          You mean,”if you’re insulted, tough?”

        • Martin

          Dreadnaught

          I’m pretty certain the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists saw what they were doing as blasphemy, it was their aim.

          • dannybhoy

            Dreadnaught,
            I asked you a question.
            “You mean,”if you’re insulted, tough?”
            You’re usually good at answering questions …

        • avi barzel

          Well, yes, any religion different from one’s own is, effectively, a bundle of blasphemies. Its mere existence can feel like a brazen challenge. I’m just surprised that most of our friends here how quickly offense from a cartoon drawn by a bunch of shallow punks can move onto offense of someone else’s core theological doctrines once every one’s too scared to draw cartoons.

          • dannybhoy

            “Well, yes, any religion different from one’s own is, effectively, a bundle of blasphemies.”

            Nonsense Avi!

            I am not defined by my religious beliefs. I am defined by my seeking Truth and Meaning and my weak and pitiful desire to act on that Truth once I find it. So I respect fellow seekers, even if their starting point is different from mine, and I listen to what they believe and share what I believe.

            If I were sharing with an orthodox Jew for example, I would not consider his rejection of Christ reprehensible blasphemy. I would look at his life in the round, and treat him with trhe greatest of respect. Where he would worship God in sincerity, I would be pleased to join with him.

            “7 But Adonai said to Sh’mu’el, “Don’t pay attention to how he looks or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. Adonai doesn’t see the way humans see — humans look at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks at the heart.”
            1 Samuel 16:7Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

          • avi barzel

            Nonsensense only as it pertains to a minority of infividuals, Danny. Benign tolerance is only possible among individuals and societies with economically inter-dependent classes whose well-being is obtained through cooperation. Not that you are an automaton or that your own moral decisions don’t count, but your attitude (and your expression of it) are only possible by “social permission.” At certain times in history you would have never imagined such an approach and if you had, by accident even, you’d be warming uourself at the stake. Mutual rejections of beliefs and customs among different groups are the norm. Your approach is a statistical rarity. But we still like you even though you’re weird….or because of it.

          • dannybhoy

            “Nonsensense only as it pertains to a minority of infividuals, Danny.
            Benign tolerance is only possible among individuals and societies with
            economically inter-dependent classes whose well-being is obtained
            through cooperation. Not that you are an automaton or that your own
            moral decisions don’t count, but your attitude (and your expression of
            it) are only possible by “social permission.”

            This is good Avi, and you’re right, I was making an assumption.
            That’s because I keep forgetting that the homogenous society I was brought up in has disappeared, and I am now part of a huge majority under siege by the forces and champions of multiculturalism and secular humanism. (The pay’s good too!)

            Regarding the weirdness, I pray that I find God’s strengthening power to stand up for my faith when it matters. If the ‘weirdness’ you refer to also includes my attitude to those who don’t believe but are seriously devout; then I think as a human being one seeks common ground; especially with those from whom your faith came.

            I can’t convert people. I can only share my beliefs and defend my beliefs to the best of my limited intellectual ability.
            So my position is that as long as I have made my Christian faith clear to my non Christian friend, I don’t push it. I might tell them I pray for them, I might ask them why they do this or that, but I try to enjoy our friendship and individual journey of faith.

          • DanJ0

            Sects, too. As in England during the religious wars over differing variants of Christianity.

          • avi barzel

            Well, let’s not pin this only on religions. Expand this to all cultures. A unique hominid feature, culture. Most likely an evolutionary strategy which favours cognitive experimentation, variations and competition as a result of encountering a dizzying variety of environments. Things really kicked in with the onset of the Holocene, when you suddenly had hunter bands, pastoralist tribes and sedentary agriculturalist (not to mention all the transitional stages) living in close proximity. On per capita basis and in comparison, our conflicts are almost mild.

      • DanJ0

        I hereby withdraw and repent of my making fun of the Mormon’s magic underpants in the past.

        • dannybhoy

          So you darn well should!
          And if you really have repented, take them off EBay….

      • CliveM

        Dannybhoy

        So what’s your proposal, a beefed up blasphemy law? It’s not going to happen or at least if it does it’s more likely to protect the mad mullahs.

        Btw below, personally I think Mormons magic pants are fair game.

        I also think I can see why the Prophet is fair game.

        Naturally I am a bit more sensitive about Christ and Christianity. But that’s what comes with an open society, I have to take the rough with the smooth.

        I thing offence for offence sake is stupid, but honestly I can’t see how I could talk about the Pretendy Prophet Mohamed without causing offence, so how do we frame any new laws?

        • dannybhoy

          “I think offence for offence sake is stupid, but honestly I can’t see how
          I could talk about the Pretendy Prophet Mohamed without causing
          offence, so how do we frame any new laws?”

          Clive,
          I don’t believe for one second you would insult a Muslim friend by saying you thought it was okay for “satirists” to mock a person he holds in veneration and respect.
          I am not arguing for beefed up laws, just a level playing field.
          I am quite happy to have my faith questioned or even ridiculed as long as I am not denied the right to reply.
          And in a so called civilised society I should have the right to reply.

          Secondly though, WHY should anyone in the name of free speech seek to upset a devout Christian or Jew or Hindu or Sikh or Muslim if they aren’t a threat to them?
          You are happy to see magazines showing the persons of the Trinity having anal sex? You accept that in a free society that’s okay?
          I don’t.

          • CliveM

            Couple of points, my views on the pretendy prophet would upset most Muslims!

            Regards the trinity being shown to have anal sex of course I’m not happy, I just don’t think in a free society I am going to be able or allowed to do anything to stop it. And I am certainly not going to offer sympathy and understanding to someone who has shot the cartoonists head off, just because I didn’t like the cartoon either.

            Whether meaning to or not, that is what the Pope has done.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            @dannybhoy:disqus
            I certainly would tell a Muslim friend that it is okay for a satirist to mock anyone called Mohamed .

            In doing so I would not be intending to insult him but pointing out that this is part of living in an open and (relatively) free society.

            That Muslim is saying that Jesus Christ was not truly God and was not the one path to salvation. I find that very offensive.

            If the Muslim wants noone ever to poke fun at Mohamed then, IMO at least, the quid pro quo if for him never to mention Mohamed, the Koran, Islam, etc in word or deed, to avoid offending me.

    • carl jacobs

      Martin

      They were busily engaged in mocking others and feeling superior to them. They probably relished the idea of their targets getting upset at their cartoons.

      I don’t doubt the truth of this for a second. But what they were doing shouldn’t be actionable under law.

      • Martin

        Carl

        Did I suggest it should?

        What I am suggesting is that the tributes paid to thses people are misplaced because they aren’t that different from those who attacked them.

    • Phil R

      “They probably relished the idea of their targets getting upset at their cartoons”

      Not any more they re dead.

      Others will now be wary which was the intention all along.

      In the West mostly shooting you is not needed. If you offend, you get fined or lose your job.

      The net results are similar.

      • carl jacobs

        Phil

        The net results are similar.

        I understand what you are trying to say but … there is no equivalence between losing your job, and getting shot. The net results aren’t even close to similar.

        • The Explorer

          A bit like the difference between being hanged and given life imprisonment.

          • Dreadnaught

            Every life sentence should come with a complimentary suicide pill.

          • The Explorer

            Interesting point! Deserving of a post by HG in its own right.

          • carl jacobs

            No, a bit like the difference between being unemployed and being dead.

          • The Explorer

            Unemployed without the prospect of re-employment, once it’s on your record? But yes, a better analogy.

        • Phil R

          No I was not making the point that they were the same

          The point I was making that both succeed in shutting down debate due to inducing fear.

          “Thought Police” different methods same ends

      • Martin

        Phil

        Some will, some won’t. It raises the stakes somewhat.

    • DanJ0

      “Seems to me that telling someone that sin will cause them to go to Hell is liable to cause anxiety, distress or alarm, so I’m not sure Mr Cameron has done much for free speech.”

      Not to me. I think it’s mostly just manipulative bollocks, and gullible or vulnerable people who fall for it. The Jehovah Witnesses regularly target the sheltered housing bungalows near where I live, hoping to worry the old dears enough about their impending deaths to get them to come to their Kingdom Hall. Perhaps even to leave bequests in their wills if they do. Evil bastards.

      • CliveM

        I’m not the JW’s biggest fan, so if you have evidence of them frightening the old into leaving money in their wills do supply it.

        I’ll use it next time one comes round.

        • DanJ0

          It’s speculation based on their targeting of the sheltered housing bungalows. Hence the “Perhaps”.

          • CliveM

            Mmm, the ‘evil bastards’ maybe unfair then.

            They targeted my Gran in her twilight years, but lost any chance early on. Invited her to a meeting, but failed to offer her tea and a biscuit.

            They were never forgiven!

          • The elderly are lonely and have time to listen and chat. The old lady nextdoor to me used to spend hours on the doorstep chatting to them. She didn’t have anything to leave in a will, they still called her regularly. I would think in these selfish times the JW are a most welcome sight.

          • DanJ0

            The Jehovah Witnesses aren’t interested in having chats with the old dears to stop them feeling lonely. They’re sales people. They even have a sales handbook called Conversation Stoppers which gives tips on how to continue talking when people try to get rid of them politely without shouting “Feck Off” or simply shutting the door. Their goal is to get people to attend Kingdom Hall, where the real sell job begins.

          • Having been round the block the old dears are no fools Danj0 they just like a bit of debate. As we know it’s the younger people who are the most gullible.

      • Dreadnaught

        Indeed DJ. Religion was, is and evermore shall be, a control tool.

      • Dominic Stockford

        They also want their 10% of their pensions…

      • Martin

        DanJ0

        You are the gullible one.

  • len

    The Pope of Rome hath erred. Again.
    Well he`s only human isn`t he….

  • len

    There may be a perceived right to offend anyone but one must also accept the consequences of doing so.In this respect the Pope (cannot believe I am saying this ) is right in the respect that this is’ a human response’.
    Of course Christians know different…….

    • “There may be a perceived right to offend anyone but one must also accept the consequences of doing so.”

      And that’s the reading of Francis’ comment that is dangerous, Len.
      Anticipating a reaction is not the same as accepting the reaction. There is no legitimacy to the violent response. As bad as CH, this is not a justification to the actions of their murderers.

  • The Explorer

    The nature of the Islamic response highlights the fact that not all religions say the same thing (however much MSM would like to pretend otherwise.) And the different things they say, if followed, lead to different modes of behaviour.

    • dannybhoy

      ” And the different things they say, if followed, lead to different modes of behaviour.”
      That should be the most obvious statement ever. Yet secular humanists and inclusivists actually show their arrogance by assuming that all people will behave like European liberal democratic/secular humanists given the opportunity!
      Believe me folks, that’s how I understand it.
      These people who spout equality, diversity and inclusion are doing so not out of humility, but arrogance. They assume that everybody must want to be like them, it’s only our prejudice and lack of tolerance that stops them…

  • IanCad

    I cannot but wonder if this mother, for whose sake he would resort to fisticuffs, is not in fact, an allusion to the Papal, Holy Mother Mary?

    And, would he, given the power and wherewithall not, again, kill and maim those who would deign to assert that Mary is dead and in the grave? That her provenance is of Paganism?

    That those merits, solely belonging to Christ, then ascribed also to Mary, is blasphemy?

    I do hope that Rome does not again rise to rule kings and consciences, or to exercise power over the souls of men.

    • carl jacobs

      Ian

      That’s a fascinating insight. I have a good friend who is Catholic, and we have at times sparred over the errors of Rome. The only time I ever made him viscerally angry (and I mean really angry) was when I asserted to him that Mary had a normal married life. You would have thought I had called his mother a whore, and his wife and daughters as well. It shocked me because I didn’t see it coming. It was abstract and theological to me. It was personal to him. You never know when or how you might give offense to someone. And you don’t have to be intentionally trying to do it in order to achieve it.

      So I learned. When it comes to arguments about Mary’s sex life with Joseph, be sure to treat the matter delicately. You don’t want to give offense if at all possible. And perhaps that is the Pope’s major point?

      • An unusual and extreme response from your friend, Carl, and unwarranted. Discussions about Mary’s life long virginity should not be seen as a personal attack on her sanctity and should not be taken personally.

        However, just to clear this matter up in an abstract and theological manner, Mary did not have a sex life with Joseph. So “zip it bird brain”.

        • carl jacobs

          Ya know, Jack. I try to be economical with my up-votes. I don’t think there is any universal criteria, and I don’t judge how others exercise their franchise. But I personally set the threshold pretty high. I do have one hard rule, however.

          “If you make me laugh, you get up-voted.”

          And “Zip it bird brain” made me laugh. It was a nicely constructed conclusion. Well done. All this by way of explanation for why I am going to up-vote the above comment. Lest anyone think I agree with the Marian dogma contained therein.

          • IanCad

            “Zip it bird brain”
            Am I missing something?

          • carl jacobs

            Ian

            Every once in a while I comment on a thread over at the Spectator. There have been a few threads on the Ched Evans affair at Spectator and I have participated in them. I have generally supported his conviction. One of my opponents responded to one of my comments with:

            “He’s innocent. Zip it bird brain.”

            Jack found it funny. It certainly did represent the quality of argumentation raised against me.

          • IanCad

            Carl,
            Thank you so much for the explanation.
            I was wondering as to whether I should get out more.

          • Coming late to the argument here 🙂

            Catholic tradition also has depicted St Joseph as being a lot older than Mary, and on that basis it would be entirely possible for Jesus to have older brothers and sisters from an earlier marriage of Joseph’s. Yes, I know it’s all supposition. But it is also borne out by Christ committing his mother to the care of St John during his Passion – if Mary had other living children of her own, this makes no sense.

            Balance of probabilities is that the Catholic Church is actually right on this one. 🙂

          • It was funny. The juxtaposition of your well reasoned and prosaic presentation with such a banal and childish response. Most excellent comedy. Jack chuckled and chuckled ….

          • carl jacobs

            Wait. Wait just a minute, here…

            Prosaic? PROSAIC?? Did you actually call my writing PROSAIC!? I could have accepted ‘inspired or ‘artistic’ or ‘bearing close resemblance to a long-lost DaVinci.’

            But PROSAIC!!?

        • dannybhoy

          Bearing in mind that I really respect you Jack, you really think that’s true?
          Where did His brothers come from?
          We both agree that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit to bring our Lord into the world,but subsequently Mary was the wife of Joseph and they had children together.

          • Jack knows Mary’s perpetual virginity to be true. It has been Divinely revealed by the Holy Spirit to the Catholic Church.

          • dannybhoy

            🙂

          • B flat

            The (NOT Roman Catholic!) tradition in Jerusalem, is that Mary, having been promised to God’s service by her aged and until then childless parents, was married young. Life for unattached orphaned girl is unthinkable in most of the Middle
            East, even today, and there were no houses of pious women, or nuns, in
            Judaism. The husband chosen was an older relative, a widower with children named Joseph, who promised to preserve her in virginity. The James who presided over the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:6-21) was the first bishop of the Church in Jerusalem, and was one of these children of Joseph. He is called the “brother of the Lord”. The cathedral of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is dedicated to this St James and immediately next to the church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Armenians have this same tradition.
            This is consistent with the narrative of the Gospels.
            Contrariwise, under your understanding of the Gospel, the entrusting of Mary to John the son of Zebedee, by Jesus as He was dying on the Cross, becomes problematic if there were other living children naturally born of Mary and Joseph.

          • dannybhoy

            Matthew 13:55-58 (ESVUK)

            55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his home town and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.”

            Very interesting and illuminating. Never heard that before

            B flat.

          • dannybhoy

            Further thoughts..

            Matthew 12 (ESVUK)

            46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.[a] 48 But he replied to the man who told him,
            “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand towards his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

            Mark 3:20,21(ESVUK)
            20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

            The fact is, no-one knows what the family dynamics were.
            True, or not true?
            Jesus was Mary’s firstborn. A virgin overshadowed by the great Creator God in the person of the Holy Spirit.
            All Christians accept that,.
            Mary had subsequent children by Joseph, (else these people in the verses above were imposters?)
            If we accept that they were in fact family, then we get into the realm of sibling rivalries, resentments and anger.
            His brothers and sisters weren’t disciples, they weren’t believers, they obviously found Him a source of contention.
            Remember that there were different understandings of what the Messiah would do, and not many people were keen on what Jesus was saying…

        • CliveM

          Lol!!

        • carl jacobs

          It doesn’t matter if his response was unusual or extreme. It was authentic and legitimate. We can’t control our emotions. We can only control our responses to our emotions. This is what makes “offense” such a useless standard. It can’t make be used to make objective determinations.

        • Shadrach Fire

          Jack, I’m sure you told me in an earlier life that Mary was always a virgin and that Jesus never had any brothers or sisters?

        • Uncle Brian

          If Mary never bore any children by her husband Joseph, who, then, was James the Just? Virtually all NT scholars now seem to accept that James was, quite literally, “the brother of the Lord”. Here, for instance, is what Martin Hengel writes in Paul between Damascus and Antioch, first published in 1997:

          “Now [after Peter’s arrest and escape at Passover 43] the leadership of the earliest Jerusalem community passed to James the brother of the Lord and his body of elders, which is mentioned for the first time in Acts 11.30. The Lord’s brother was one of the earliest witnesses to the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15.7), but not one of the Twelve. Luke mentions him here for the first time (12.17), and in so doing suppresses the fact that he was the brother of the Lord.”

          • A Lutheran …
            Jack could trot out numerous historians of the New Testament, Catholic and Protestant, ‘proving’ there was no virgin birth; ‘proving’ Jesus considered Himself a Jewish Rabbi and not Divine; ‘proving’ the resurrection is fabricated; etc. etc. Scripture – alone – neither proves nor disapproves Mary’s perpetual virginity. That’s why its an article of Catholic faith, held to have been Divinely revealed to the Church.

          • Uncle Brian

            Here’s a short excerpt from another book, Jack. See what you think of this one.

            James was, of course, “a brother of the Lord”. One of the most curious features of the church at Jerusalem is the position that was held in it by Jesus’ family. James’ successor was Simeon, the son of Cleopas, a cousin of the Lord.

            The writer is careful to put quotation marks round those four words, “a brother of the Lord”, but he didn’t go to the trouble of explaining why he did that or whether he thinks the words don’t mean exactly what they say. He was evidently happy to let it go at that. It comes from a much older book, called The Crucible of Christianity, first published in 1969. It’s a collection of essays by different writers: this one, entitled That the Scripture might be fulfilled, is by Cardinal Jean Daniélou.

          • No one’s questioning whether James was a member of Jesus’ family. The quotes probably represent the use of the Jewish terms for family members at the time. The term “brother” having a broader meaning than uterine brothers. In scripture, the term can mean a biological brother, it can also mean an extended relative or even a spiritual brother.

          • Uncle Brian

            When Paul told the Galatians, in the context of his visit to Jerusalem, that he met only Peter and “James, the brother of the Lord,” what do you suppose he meant, exactly? If you think he meant one of the “brethren” in the spiritual sense, then you’ll need to explain why he chose not to include Peter in that category. On the other hand, if you think he meant an extended relative, then you’ll need to think about what John meant in 7.5, “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.” Do you think John meant “For even his extended relatives did not believe in him”? It doesn’t have quite the same impact, does it? You might even wonder why John bothered dragging Jesus’s extended relatives into his argument at all.

          • You’re right back to the meaning and usage of the Greek word “brother”, Jewish extended family life and the variety of uses the term had.
            The earliest written record of Church tradition about Mary being a perpetual virgin dates back to 150 AD and is found in a document known as the Protoevangelium of James and it was certainly accepted by the Church Fathers.

          • Uncle Brian

            That’s one of the apocryphal gospels, Jack. Why do you suppose it was left out of the canonical NT?

          • Jack didn’t claim it was canonical, Brian. It was left out because it didn’t meet the conditions for inclusion.

          • Uncle Brian

            Jack, let me summarise my view of the matter. Where the word “brother(s)” occurs in Matt. 13.55, Mark 6.3, John 7.5 and Gal 1.19, either (a) it is being used to mean “son(s) of Joseph and Mary” or (b) it being used to mean something different. No conclusive proof is possible one way or the other. We just have to apply our critical faculties as best we can. As far as I’ve been able to judge from my very limited reading, I have to say that I find the arguments in favour of (a) very much more convincing than the arguments in favour of (b). I suspect, furthermore, that the same is true of Cardinal Daniélou. His quotation marks in that passage I quoted are, as I see it, a polite nod to orthodoxy, but no more than that. Once that little gesture is over and done with, he is free to get on with his work as a historian and proceed on the assumption that the word “brother” means what it says.

          • You do know Cardinal Daniélou was a rather traditional priest and eminent theologian? It is unlikely he meant what you assume. In Jack’s opinion, it’s more likely a concession to Protestants in the ecumenical era of Vatican II.

            You may find the arguments “more convincing” that Mary gave birth to other children. However, the doctrine was well established by the fourth century. Martin Luther supported it, as did Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer accepted it as a tradition. Indeed, the doctrine is currently maintained by many Anglican and Lutheran theologians. John Wesley affirmed it too.

            You say:

            “Where the word “brother(s)” occurs in Matt. 13.55, Mark 6.3, John 7.5 and Gal 1.19, either (a) it is being used to mean “son(s) of Joseph and Mary” or (b) it being used to mean something different.”

            Yes but have you properly researched the other options and Jewish extended family relationships and how it would have been understood at the time?

            “No conclusive proof is possible one way or the other. We just have to apply our critical faculties as best we can.

            There you go then. You think the Catholic Church and nearly 2000 years of tradition was based on uncritical reasoning?

          • Uncle Brian

            No conclusive proof is possible one way or the other. Yes, that’s what I said. Do you disagree with that? If so, show us your conclusive proof.

          • Uncle Brian, Jack has already said he accepts the teaching of the Church on this article of faith. Do you reject the Catholic teaching that the Holy Spirit reveals Divine Truth to the Church?

          • Uncle Brian

            You’re blustering, Jack. Where’s your conclusive proof?

          • Brian, faith exists without “conclusive proof”.

            Why does Jack accept the doctrine of the virgin birth, apart from it being an article of faith, you mean? You do know such dogma are revealed by God and presented by the Magisterium of the Church as necessary to be believed if one freely chooses to be a Catholic?

            Reason and scripture hardly provide “conclusive proof” of a whole series of dogma of the Church – the Incarnation, The Virgin Birth, the transformation of bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood, the Resurrection, the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. the Ascension. This is where Apostolic Tradition comes into play.
            Happy Jack is a Roman Catholic. As a Catholic, he were to willfully deny any particular dogma he knows is taught dogmatically by the Church, he would no longer be a part of the Church, since heresy immediately separates one from the Church.[b]

            Do you not </u accept this teaching, Brian?

          • Linus

            You mean the Daniélou who died of a heart attack while in the company of a 24 year old prostitute called Mimi?

            He was found in her studio on rue du Ponceau in the 2nd arrondissement, just by rue Saint-Denis, where many prostitutes ply their trade. A significant sum of cash was found on his body, none of which poor Mimi ever saw. Poor girl, if she’d rifled his pockets before calling the ambulance, then at least she might have gained more from the affair than national humiliation.

            I was 9 years old when the scandal broke. My father’s only comment both amused and vexed me: “Well, well, convincing evidence that not all of them are queers after all…”

            So this is your source for orthodox Catholic theology, is it?

    • Have you watched the video of the interview? You believe Francis’ gesture was anything but a friendly gesture? He wasn’t advocating violence. He was attempting to demonstrate how human beings respond to incitement. Wilfully insult that which a man values and loves, that which he holds most dear, with the intention to provoke, and a reaction is predictable.

      If someone called your mother, wife or daughter a whore are saying you’d smile sweetly at them and then engage in a rational discussion, keeping an open mind, about the evidence on which they based his statement?

      • dannybhoy

        Drat! You stole my thunder….

      • IanCad

        Having not seen the video I should thus defer to you.

        But you did write: “–some hidden desire to reassert Papal power given the chance?”
        Well, given the chance, I’d bet my bottom dollar he’d grab it.

        • Hmm … now why would you think that, Ian? Not been influenced by your religious denomination and their views of the demonic forces behind the Papacy, have you?

          • IanCad

            I have Jack.
            And by history.

  • preacher

    It’s difficult not to react when someone you love is slighted whether by word, deed or from any source. But our response must be guided by scripture, example & faith.
    First. Scripture, Christ teaches us that if we are struck on the right cheek, we should turn the other cheek. then – “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord I will repay!”, do we really believe that?, Then we are told to love our enemies & repay evil with good & so on. Jesus tells us that we will be rejected as He was, persecuted & even face death if we dare to follow Him.
    Not much of a job description is it? Yet he led & still leads by example. Do we trust Him? – This is part of being a disciple, – self discipline. Remember Peter in the garden of Gethsemane, He wasn’t aiming at the ear of the High priest’s servant, it was his head that was the target! – What was Jesus’s response?.
    Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be led like a lamb to the slaughter & would be silent when persecuted, – True or not?.
    Christ had total Faith in His Father to take Him through the suffering & crucifixion even to believe God the Father for His resurrection. I honestly don’t know if my faith would have held out under the same persecution – I don’t think so!. But the truth of Scripture & all it’s promises of salvation are proved by the result of Christ’s resurrection.
    After the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the disciples were different people. The book of Acts is vital reading for all of us who would own the name of Christ’s followers. The disciples died for Christ, they knew for certain that His words were 100% reliable.
    In 2015, it’s easy to be a believer & accept the benefits that Christ has bought us. But what is needed now are disciples in the Western Churches, men & women who are totally committed to Jesus Christ & His message. People with grit & the courageous determination to see the task completed.
    Many will claim to be believers on the day of judgement but God knows the heart & cannot be fooled. It’s not our words or our deeds that count, it’s our – hearts.

    I can’t speak for Cameron or even the Pope, I will not judge. I will never condone murder & violence as the answer to Blasphemy, hatred or scorn. I believe in the one who will judge honestly & fairly, – that is what defines a disciple, I may still be a mere apprentice, but I will keep following my master until the end.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Excellent comment. Thank you.

  • avi barzel

    And now over to you, Happy Jack. Still asleep?

    • CliveM

      He’s having a moral crisis. He’s not exactly the Popes no.1 fan, but will be finding it difficult letting a liberal Protestant criticise.

      We could laugh, but I think we should at least pretend to be sympathetic!

    • Jack is awake and considering his response once the tittle-tattle has ended. Pope Francis was wrong, at the political level, but right, at the moral level.

  • Dreadnaught

    Freedom of speech in a democracy is sacrosanct. Drawing cartoons, lampooning, ‘insulting’ any philosophy or religion is fair game within the restrictions of the laws of that country to which the initiator belongs.

    What else, and I’m sure there are many already and more to come issues that demand special treatment for Muslims:

    Give me paid time at work to pray

    Don’t bring your dog into my cab

    Don’t shake hands unless with your poo hand

    Don’t shake hands with a woman

    Give me only halal food in school, hospital or prison

    Don’t celebrate Christmas

    Don’t stop me from getting my wife to cover from head to toe

    Don’t stop me from making my daughters cover their hair

    Don’t stop me from marrying my cousin

    Allow them to bring family members to settle

    Don’t stop me from having more than one wife

    Pay me for every child I sire

    Provide a house and benefits for each of my wives

    Don’t offend me by drawing an image of Mo

    Don’t question the deeds of same

    Don’t tell fairly tails about little pigs

    Don’t obviously mark Halal food and ingredients – it all should be

    Don’t eat near me while I’m fasting

    Hate the Jews like you know we all should.

    And as Abu Britanni might say – NO OFFENCE KUFFARS – HA-HA-HA-HA. I’LL BE BACK
    SUCKERS!…….

    • dannybhoy

      More fool those who go along with that.
      I wouldn’t.
      And answer my question re blasphemy!!

      • Dreadnaught

        What question?

        • dannybhoy

          This question…

          Dreadnaught>dannybhoy

          4 hours ago

          Blasphemy is in the ear of the beholder.
          and I said,,
          Dreadnaught,
          I asked you a question.
          “You mean,”if you’re insulted, tough?”

          • Dreadnaught

            I didn’t think that warranted a reply having written on it for the last several days.

          • dannybhoy

            Well I think it does,
            Just a one liner would be sufficient.
            You said blasphemy is in the ear of the beholder, and I said “Do you mean if you’re offended, tough!”

  • carl jacobs

    It can’t be said often enough. Blasphemy laws are not intended to defend truth. They are intended to enforce control. Muslims do not have the power to make law so they attempt to assert control by the application of violence. That is what this is about. If they had power, they would pass blasphemy laws and use the power of the state to enforce them. They don’t have access to the levers of state power, so they make use of the levers at hand.

    What are they trying to control? The acceptable limits of thought in society. They establish the boundaries of discourse. Muslims want this to be the boundary: “You may only treat the Prophet in accordance with the teachings of Islam about the Prophet.” So what if you reject the teachings of Islam about the Prophet? Then you must keep that to yourself.

    So what are we to do if we reject this? Are we then to turn around and say “You must only treat the Christ in accordance with the teachings of Christianity?” Do we demand what we refuse to give? If we would deny this privilege to the Muslims, then we cannot demand it for ourselves. We have no more right to use law to control the boundaries than they do. And besides. It is so unnecessary. God is not damaged by foolish blasphemies. Foolish men say and do foolish things. They mock and scorn and ridicule. The Kingdom of heaven does not therefore hang in the balance.

    One other thing. Much of the suppression of public Christian thought in the West today originates for all intent and purposes in a charge of blasphemy against the dominant materialist worldview. We had better be careful what we justify, because we are the easy and likely target.

    • Dreadnaught

      Good riposte.

      We had better be careful what we justify

      Which is why, the British Constitution is not contained in a single written document and still serves us well to accommodate societal changes.

    • DanJ0

      “If they had power, they would pass blasphemy laws and use the power of the state to enforce them.”

      As in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. And in England when Christianity had a hold on the state.

    • dannybhoy

      The point is that all of that can be said without resorting to blasphemous cartoons. Just try doing a “satirical” cartoon of Barack Obama “enjoying” a gay wedding party and “sampling” the dainties..”
      You think that would go down well??

      • carl jacobs

        DB

        Legally speaking, how would you define a “blasphemous cartoon” that should be actionable under law?

        • dannybhoy

          Anything that offends the majority of adherents of any major religion.
          Simples.
          After all apart from expressing “Freedom!!” what do these awful cartoons achieve that televised religious debate and discussion don’t?

          • Dominic Stockford

            All the votes necessary to find out what the majority think is going to cost a fortune, as well as getting very boring for us.

          • dannybhoy

            Not so. A government using taxpayers dough could have a dedicated website complete with individual secure passwords so that people could vote. Make sure it comes up on public service announcements at least as often as ‘check your fire alarms’. give an opening and closing date deadline and go from there.

            Those that don’t bother to vote on an issue obviously don’t care and lose out.

          • carl jacobs

            And when a majority of Muslims tell you that the idea of Christ being crucified is offensive to them, what will you do?

          • dannybhoy

            I would point out that it was necessary to secure our salvation.

            What I think you’re forgetting is that the country I was born into was a homogenous white society with Anglicans in the majority, various flavours of Protestantism, Catholics, a pinch of Jewry and oddments..
            We weren’t a multicultural society.
            As a kid we didn’t know very much about Islam or Hinduism or Sikhism or Scientology. Jehovah’s Witnesses were as scary as it got.
            All the time this remains a majority of the native ethnic British of varying shades, then newcomers accept that our culture and our laws and values are PRE-EMINENT.

          • carl jacobs

            DB

            I would point out that it was necessary to secure our salvation.

            That will not cut any ice with Muslims. In any case, it doesn’t matter what you think about it. You have defined the standard as what offends them.

            Anything that offends the majority of adherents of any major religion. Simples

            And then you go on to eviscerate your own standard by saying…

            then newcomers accept OUR culture and OUR laws and values are PRE-EMINENT.

            You have hopelessly contradicted your own argument. What are you really saying is “We will determine whether you are really offended according to our culture. And if we think you should reasonably be offended, then we will take action on your behalf.”

          • dannybhoy

            I already made it clear Carl. This is Great Britain, the United Kingdom. We have a long history of development.
            We are the host nation, not the immigrants. If I went to live in an Islamic nation I would respect their laws and practices even of I didn’t like them.
            Then I would leave.
            That’s what I expect unhappy discontented immigrants to the UK to do. Leave or accept our laws and values.

          • CliveM

            Dannybhoy I have been referring to Mohamed as the Pretendy Prophet. Almost certainly offensive to the majority of Muslims. But to me as a Christian simply a fact.

            Your definition would allow me to be censored.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            @dannybhoy
            I don’t think that you have thought this through at all.

            First of all you have to define a ‘major religion’.
            Does Jedi count? More people put that than Sikhism, Judaism, or Buddhism in the 2001 census.
            Does each Protestant denomination count as a separate religion?
            What about atheism? Is that a belief that there is no god and so a religion?

            Next you have to define ‘offend’. How bad does someone have to be upset for it to count as offence rather than just annoyance?

            Also what about the level of broadcast that something gets, is that relevant? Does a cartoon that I draw and show to one friend really instigate the same level of ire as one published in a magazine with a circulation of 60,000 (CH) or a paper with a circulation of 2 million?

            What if a Muslim is offended by a CH cartoon but they were only made aware of that cartoon because another Muslim told them about it. Are they allowed to complain about CH or only about the other Muslim?

            I could easily go on for a long time.

          • dannybhoy

            “I could easily go on for a long time.”

            Please don’t.

          • Linus

            Only the truth can stand mockery. The fact that religion can’t is the ultimate indictment.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Carl, a very useful comments but, Do we demand what we refuse to give? If we would deny this privilege to the Muslims, then we cannot demand it for ourselves.

      Why not? That is is how they behave in their own countries. They honor Mohamed and despise Jesus and his followers.

      If the Lord God Jehovah and his Son Jesus are the true God, and I know from experience they are, then why should we not impose the Christian faith as the basis for law and society in the UK?

      • CliveM

        Ignoring the pros and cons of that for a second, how is it to be done? Seriously as a minority how do we achieve it?

        • Shadrach Fire

          Just wait upon the Lord. His ways are not our ways.

      • dannybhoy

        Well said Shadrach. We are a nation with a history stretching back over a thousand years. We don’t abandon our laws and values for pewople who were glad enough to find sanctuary here.
        If after all they find our nation not to their taste they are welcome to leave.

      • carl jacobs

        Shadrach

        How do you define “Impose the Christian faith as the basis for law?” Would you impose the Christian faith by the sword? Remember. By nature, the state bears a sword.

  • Inspector General

    Before the ‘rights of man’ allowed you to do whatever you want (…so long as you’re not caught, apparently…), we used to have things called ‘common sense’ and his brothers ‘politeness’ and ‘decency’. Marvellous stuff they were. Kept a fellow alive, safe, and free from bruises. Used together, they allowed the subject to acquire something called ‘dignity’. Ah, for the old times to come back, what !

    God bless the Pope !!

    • sarky

      Inspector, they are still about and in plentiful supply. It’s just that their use doesn’t make good headlines.

    • CliveM

      Your on a roll Inspector another good post.

    • dannybhoy

      You know Inspector that is a very good comment. I wiosh we could go back to the days when a man or woman’s sexuality was their own business. That homosexuals and lesbians found ways of socialising in private, and functioned quite happily in public.
      All that was really needed was a law against bullying or discrimination on pretty much any grounds.

      • Dreadnaught

        You mean when it was a criminal offence – no thanks.

        • dannybhoy

          No, not a criminal offence. I think we’ve moved past that now. and I for one am glad..
          Now, have you answered my question??

          • Dreadnaught

            Many times.

          • dannybhoy

            Okay, I’m going to nail you.

            dannybhoy>Martin

            6 hours ago

            Agreed Martin. What I thought the Pope had said is that we shouldn’t
            poke fun (or draw insulting cartoons) at something another devout person considers sacred.
            If that is what he said then I agree. Of course it doesn’t give you the right to terminate that cartoonist’s
            career by removing his arm or head, but Muslims are not renowned for
            iberal attitudes towards their faith. Everybody knows that History is littered with examples of Islamic reactions which ended badly for the offender, Muslim or no.

            Being civilised and believing in free speech does not mean having the right to publicly poke blasphemous fun at any religion.

            Dreadnaught>dannybhoy

            6 hours ago

            “Blasphemy is in the ear of the beholder.”

            dannybhoy>Dreadnaught

            5 hours ago

            You mean,”if you’re insulted, tough?”

            That’s a question Dreadnaught.

      • Shadrach Fire

        From my reading of the scriptures, it may be their own business untill their dying day but they may have to answer then to the one who made us.

        • CliveM

          Yes as will we all. I am glad to leave it to God.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The Pope is the anti-Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 My opinion, and that of many.

    • dannybhoy

      What?!!
      I don’t think so..

      • Dominic Stockford

        Debate, differing opinions, no-one shot.

        • dannybhoy

          “But in connection with the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to meet him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not
          to be easily shaken in your thinking or anxious because of a spirit or a
          spoken message or a letter supposedly from us claiming that the Day of
          the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.

          For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom. 4 He will oppose himself to everything that people call a god or make an object of worship; he will put himself above them all, so that he will sit in the Temple of God and proclaim that he himself is God.[a]

          5 Don’t you remember that when I was still with you, I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, so that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For already this separating from Torah is at work secretly, but it will be secretly only until he who is restraining is out of the way. 8 Then the one who embodies separation from Torah will be revealed, the one whom the Lord Yeshua will slay with the breath of his mouth[b] and destroy by the glory of his coming.

          9 When this man who avoids Torah comes, the Adversary will give him the power to work all kinds of false miracles, signs and wonders. 10 He
          will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are
          headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the
          truth that could have saved them. 11 This is why God is causing them to go astray, so that they will believe the Lie. 12 The result will be that all who have not believed the truth, but have taken their pleasure in wickedness, will be condemned.”
          2 Thessalonians 2:1-12Complete Jewish Bible

          This Pope has been an absolute choirboy compared to some of his predecessors..

          • Inspector General

            Don’t think any pope has ever declared himself a god. There’s enough ‘solitary’ Christians around here who would name and shame, probably on a daily basis…

          • Enter Len from left stage brandishing a series of “quotes” from the internet categorically proving a Pope has claimed to be a god.

          • CliveM

            Has this happened or are you prophesying?

          • Actually its what’s called a ‘paradoxical injunction’.

          • CliveM

            Not sure how, but you must be right!

          • dannybhoy

            🙂

          • dannybhoy

            Exactly. I don’t agree with some Catholic theology but no Pope has ever claimed to be God

            …..and lived.
            I gotta a good joke along these lines. Just a mo’

          • dannybhoy

            Got it!
            “A Catholic Priest and a Jewish Rabbi were chatting one day when the conversation turned to a discussion of job
            descriptions and the future. “What position do you see yourself in a couple of years from now?” asked the Rabbi to the Priest.

            “Well, actually, I’m next in line for the Monsignor’s job,” replied the Priest. “Yes, and then what?” ask the Rabbi. “Well, I could become Arch-Bishop,” said the Priest.

            “Yes, and then?” asked the Rabbi.

            “Well, if I work real hard and do a good job as Arch-Bishop, it’s possible to become a full Bishop” said the Priest.
            “Okay, then what?” continued the Rabbi.

            The Priest, beginning to be a bit exasperated replied, “With some luck and real hard work, maybe I can become a Cardinal.”

            “And then?” continued the Rabbi.

            The Priest is really starting to get frustrated, but replies, “With lots and lots of luck and some real difficult work and if I’m in the right place at the right time and play my
            political games just right, maybe, just maybe, I can get elected Pope.”
            “Yes, and then what?” continued the Rabbi.

            “Good grief!” shouted the Priest, “What do you expect me to become, God?”

            “Well,” said the Rabbi, “One of our boys made it!”

          • Very good ….

          • CliveM

            Good joke DB, gave this old man a chuckle.

          • Pubcrawler

            Archbishop to full bishop?

          • dannybhoy

            He’s Catholic.
            Catholics get things wrong sometimes….. ;

    • Inspector General

      Just look at the fellow. The kindly eyes, the sereneness, the composure. You can find an enemy of Christ there ???

      • CliveM

        Personally, with an exception with regards his attitude to the Falklands, I think he is a good egg!

    • You need to tell him this then – but do keep out of his reach. He used to be a nightclub bouncer.

      • Dominic Stockford

        And I played rugby with Royal Marine Commandos, it would be an interesting tussle!

        • Yes but he still has the Swiss Guards (just) at the ready.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Club bouncer v rugby playing Royal Marine!

            I think I will sit this one out if you don’t mind, ahem.

            Ps don’t tell Dominic, but I think equating the pope to the anti-Christ, bit OTT. But shhh, not a word!

          • Dominic Stockford

            I might be taking my friends from the SBS, that should give me the edge in our debate.

            P.S. 15 Articles of the Countess of Huntingdons Connexion are in our congregations Trust Deed – I refer you to number 13.

          • CliveM

            To be honest I had to google your PS. I see that Article XIII accords with your statement. Even so, I would dissent from it. Their have been good Popes and bad Popes, but the anti Christ is still to reveal itself.

          • Dominic Stockford

            In fact my earlier quotation of 2 Thess 2 points to a slightly nuanced position on the revealing – it says “And then the lawless one will be revealed” – in a tense which means that someone else will do/permit the revealing. So he won’t reveal himself in his own strength or power, but will either be allowed to reveal himself (nauncedly different) or be revealed by someone else (probably the former).

            And the Bible also makes clear that the anti-christ is not an organisation but an individual – whether that is an individual representing an organisation or an individual who takes over one is not entirely clear.

          • CliveM

            All of which confirms that describing the Pope as the anti Christ is a bit premature, at best!

          • Dominic Stockford

            At the risk of continuing the conversation too long…

            Sometimes someone knows something before it is revealed, and the revelation confirms that pre-knowledge. For instance, the idea that Tony Blair lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction – when the evidence is revealed it will confirm what many people already ‘know’.

    • Athanasius

      Your opinion, sir, is not preserved from error.

      • carl jacobs

        How fortunate for the Pope that we have a previous Pope’s assertion that Popes are preserved from error.

        • Athanasius

          In certain very limited circumstances, they are.

          • carl jacobs

            And we know this because the Pope has infallibly declared he is infallible when he chooses to speak ex cathedra. Yes, yes, I know. If one assumes the authority of the RCC then one can easily prove it.

        • Yes …. and all the way back to Jesus Christ too.

  • Athanasius

    Popes CAN, in fact, err. Protestants always seem to have trouble with this concept and immediately leap gleefully in whenever one does, as though to finally prove Martin Luther actually got it right. Extraordinary.

    • carl jacobs

      Popes CAN, in fact, err.

      Yes, and there seems to an extremely strong positive correlation between Popes committing error, and Popes making dogmatic pronouncements. It’s almost as if “I declare, pronounce, define and proclaim” is Pope-speak for “I am about to commit an error.”

      • Athanasius

        I think you have misunderstood, Mr Jacobs. If the Pope makes “dogmatic pronouncements”, then, indeed, these ARE inerrant. In another situation, he may be subject to error. No such pronouncements have been made since 1950.

        • carl jacobs

          Well, that’s the theory, at least.

          • Talking of human error:

            Santi Cazorla scored a goal and created another as Arsenal ended Manchester City’s 12-match unbeaten league run and damaged their title hopes.

          • carl jacobs

            You never count your money
            When you’re sitting at the table.
            There’ll be time enough for counting
            When the dealing’s done.

          • You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
            Know when to fold ’em
            Know when to walk away
            Know when to run

          • avi barzel

            Youve grooved to Chris Kristofferson? You, a Limey? Now I’m heading off with this this tune stuck in my head.

          • carl jacobs

            Kenny Rogers

          • avi barzel

            Right!

          • Dominic Stockford

            Which was all very disappointing. Still after 40 years supporting them we now have two titles…

          • Ahhhhhhhhhhhh ………… another Blue.

  • Inspector General

    And we go on to discuss swivel eyed extreme Protestantism. Oh well….

    • Shadrach Fire

      Go on. Admit it. This is a Protestant site is it not.

      • Inspector General

        {Hangs head in shame}

  • Albert

    This is a very confused post, it seems to me. On the one hand you say:

    he then went on to say something which has been interpreted by many (indeed, it’s hard to interpret his words any other way) as conveying a sense that the French satirists basically got what was coming to them

    (which is of course, not what he said, nor can it be entailed by what he said) ,but you’d just quoted him saying:

    “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion – that is, in the name of God.” And he pressed the point home: “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

    Neither did he make an attack on freedom of speech, as your post implies. He also said:

    “Regarding freedom of expression: not only does each person have the freedom and the right to say what they think for the common good, they have a duty to do so.”

    So, we can summarise what the Holy Father taught:

    1. Everyone has the freedom of speech.
    2. Given human nature, if you insult someone, you can’t be surprised if they react violently.
    3. Responding violently is wrong.

    And this seems to me to be right. Just because you can insult people, doesn’t mean you should. Since responding violently to insults is a natural response for some people, if we want to build a society without violence, we should avoid insulting people’s religion, for no reason. That is quite different from saying such insults should be illegal, and it is quite different from saying such violent responses are justified.

    It seems to me also, that what the Pope said is entirely consistent with what Cameron said.

    • Jack agrees with your analysis of Pope Francis’ words and the message he was conveying.The problem lies with his’ ‘off the cuff’ style and, one suspects, also with his command of Italian. His words are open to a variety of interpretations depending on particular sentences selected or given emphasis.

      • Albert

        Quite so, HJ:

        You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.

        Is this a moral statement? a prudential statement? a legal statement? a statement of human rights? Given the other things he said (for those who can be bothered to read them), I think it is evident that it is a moral statement and a prudential statement. The trouble is, few people bother to do the checking.

    • The Explorer

      Talking about confusion, good to see that your comment is at the top of the thread for easy access. This new system has great advantages (editing function, alerts, records of postings etc) but I lose track of who has said what to whom. One sees, say, that there are ten new comments, but they may be diffused across, say, seven different sub-threads. And when the overall total of posts has gone past the 300 mark, it’s a long trawl to find them.
      And HJ’s direct comment to you loses focus because mine gets in the way. Probably ways to greater coherence, but we haven’t found them yet.

      • It tells you how many new comments either above or below where you are at and if you single click on the bar either above or below it will take you to the nearest new comment which is indicated with a blue line or if you are replying to a comment from the email alert, a yellow line to the left side of the avetar. Hope this helps you follow conversations.

        • The Explorer

          Thanks, Marie. Yes, that helps.

  • Linus

    We can insult the faith of others. We can make fun of the faith of others. Indeed we should. Mocking mystical mumbo jumbo is the best way of making others realize how farcical it is.

    Monty Python’s Life of Brian has made Atheists out of more people than any serious written treatise on the absurdity of religion. Laughter drains pomposity of its power to impress.

    It also has the great advantage of irritating believers to the point where anger takes hold of them and they reveal themselves for what they really are. Your religion will be judged by the way you defend it and as almost all Christians end up throwing childish tantrums whenever their faith is mocked, the essential falsehood at the heart of Christianity is revealed. The so-called “fruits of the spirit” are recognizable only by their absence, so this apparently perfecting religion is shown to be utterly ineffective at making anyone a better person. Not only is the Christian god invisible, but he leaves no visible traces upon the hearts and characters of the people who follow him. Christians are no better behaved than anyone else. They commit crimes, cheat on their partners, get divorced and abuse their children just as much as anyone else. Jesus Christ seems utterly incapable of making any real difference in their lives. And yet the bible exhorts Christians to make their lives into a living witness of the love of Christ.

    Teasing a Christian about his faith is the best way of showing to the world exactly how empty that faith is. So we’ll carry on doing it. When you retaliate, you reveal your religion for what it is: empty words and meaningless mysticism.

    • SimonToo

      Life of Brian was hardly anti-Christian. It mocks those who try to fabricate prophets from those who are not. The “Blessed are the cheesemakers” joke is based on Brian and Co. being too far away because of the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount, which would be a bit limp if it did not rely on Jesus being present.

      There are none so blind …

      • Linus

        Life of Brian mocks religion in general. It shows how superstition and mob mentality seize hold of chance events and transform them into omens and signs. It also savages the phenomenon of hagiography. I particularly like its portrayal of Brian’s mother, who seems like a far more realistic portrayal of the mother of a messiah of father unknown than the alabaster virgin peddled by the Catholic Church.

        • There is one scene in Life of Brian that you might want to reflect on, Linus.

          Judith: [on Stan’s desire to be a mother] “Here! I’ve got an idea: Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb – which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’ – but that he can have the *right* to have babies. “

          Francis: “Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother… sister, sorry.”

          Reg: “What’s the *point*?”

          Francis: “What?”

          Reg: “What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he can’t have babies?”

          Francis: “It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.”

          Reg: “It’s symbolic of his struggle against reality.”
          (Rather reminds one of the ‘fight’ for homosexual ‘marriage’)

          • Linus

            Marriage has nothing to do with babies. Ask the “Virgin” Mary. She managed to have one without being married.

            Many straight couples marry and never reproduce. Many single mothers never get married. Only Christians think marriage is somehow magically linked to fertility. You’d think the rate at which their unmarried daughters get pregnant might teach them otherwise, but no…

            And as for Life of Brian’s poor old Stan, I agree it’s a terrible thing for him not to be able to bear children if that’s what he wants to do. Transgender people suffer terribly from the disconnect between their identities and their bodies. But no matter how much their situation makes them suffer, they, like all of us, always have to face reality. If Stan has male anatomy, he can’t bear children. End of story. Plenty of women with outwardly standard female anatomy can’t bear children either. It’s sad for them, but there it is.

            Of course future technological advances may make it possible for people like Stan to bear children. Developments in stem cell techniques may soon make gender reassignment surgery far more than just cosmetic. Had Stan been a real person alive now, or in the very near future, he may well have been able to realize his dream of motherhood. But he’s just a fictional character written as the butt of a joke that, at the time was quite funny, but which now looks increasingly dated.

            Future political groups may well have to fight for the right of people like Stan to have babies, because there’ll probably still be Christians around who want to outlaw the medical procedures that will enable him to do so.

          • Now you want babies? What colour is the sky in your world?

          • Linus

            The sky is blue and stem cell technology is already repairing defective organs in situ. It won’t be that many years before it can grow entirely new ones.

            This is good news for you, Sad Jack. Imagine, those brain lesions that condemn you to believe in an imaginary tribal deity could one day be healed! Although you may be too old to see any benefit…

            Oh well, I guess some things were never meant to be.

          • avi barzel

            Marriage has nothing to do with babies.

            Wow. Nothing? Actually, the only purpose of marriage historically is to ensure the provenance, survival and raising of babies within a predictable, ordered and mutually agreed upon system of kinship. There are many cultural strategies to marriages, entertaining and weird man-bites-dog curiosities, but the salient feature since our pristine hunter-gatherer stage to the post-industrial mess of today is the locking down of the pair bond between the biological parents. Or, in other words, keeping the aggressive, protective and economically viable (at the same time properly tamed) male around long enough to maximize the chances of his offspring’s survival. This is done through complex societal pressures and inducements, systems of reciprocal material relationships and ideologies.

            Exceptions such as infertility, single mothers, historically unique unions between people of the same sex, people with animals, berdaches, catamites or even objects do not redefine that core function of marriage. In almost all cases they mimic or derive their legitimacy from the various traditional and minimalist “breeding pair” bonds. In the aggregate and statistically, they are insignificant. Neither can presidents and elites bully reality through judicial fiat and under the guise of “human rights” fetishism, nor can politicised Berkeley anthropologists bullshit about basic cultural facts and organize society to accept these mock same sex marriages on a permanent basis. If it can work, it would have been done thousands of years ago and it would have been normative in at keast one successful society…think about this logically.

            This hilarity will be seen by future historians as an embarrassing temporary aberration, a cooky political powerplay in a society undergoing traumatic changes. It is illogical, preposterous, hilariously ridiculous and when the illusion wanes, profoundly repulsive in the context of millenia-long cultural, economic and religio-ideological traditions. History is full of similar freak events. Sanity will eventually reestablish itself for the simple reason that you cannot build lasting and stable societies on arbitrary or dysfunctional kinship and economic foundations such as rushed, temporarily fashionable legislation and welfare state interference. So sorry.

          • Linus

            Another religionist puts on his turban and gazes into the crystal ball that only ever shows him what he wants to see and makes apocalyptic predictions about the future. He didn’t get the outcome he wanted, so everyone else must be wrong and will understand the error of their ways one day.

            What can you do in the face of such willful and childish self-deception except ignore it?

          • avi barzel

            If your fads had substance and your wishes were fishes….

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            You know there is no point to engaging with Linus. He is here to provoke and antagonize. It’s all futile. Vanity and dust as it were.

            btw, Jack’s right. It was a good post. Save for all that evolutionary nonsense of course.

          • avi barzel

            Thank you, but evolution? Where? You know that when I get going with my pro-evolution arguments I speak plainly and never hold back.

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            since our pristine hunter-gatherer stage

            It set off my knee-jerk anti-Evolution defense system. 😉

          • Carl, Adam and Eve had to make their way in the world once ejected from the Garden. There is no contradiction with Genesis here.

          • carl jacobs

            I was only being half serious Jack. Considering how badly the NFL playoffs turnout this year, I have to do something to dull the pain.

          • SidneyDeane

            Yeh, except Humans evolved from other species over millions of years. It didnt start with ‘poof’ theres adam and eve off you go.
            Evolution is not compatible with the creation story.

          • avi barzel

            That the biblical description of Creation and cosmology were to be understood non-literally, as poetic allegories with “telescoped” time frames and symbolized events has been the mainstream position in Judaism at least since talmudic times, was clearly stated in the Middle Ages and acknowledged to this day. It is only recently that some in the ultra-Orthodox sector adopted literalist Christian forms of Creationism and a “young Earth.” What is rejected is Creation as a purely accidental natural event in a universe without a beginning (an old Greek philosophical position, btw) that just happenned and crude forms of Social Darwinism. If conducted properly and honestly, science can not at this stage rule for or against Divine Creation and can only present descriptions of a process and propose hypotheses.

          • SidneyDeane

            It is a very high number of people that reject evolution and favour young earth creationism. Carl Jacobs on this blog is one such imbecile.
            i am glad to see you are not one of them. Seriously, people like Carl must be an embarrassment for you.

          • avi barzel

            No, although Carl and I disagree on many areas, I respect his views and have learned quite a bit from him. In most cases and in practical terms, positions on evolution are inconsequential. Most people who believe in evolution are no smarter than those who don’t, as you would discover five minutes into a conversation with them. They don’t really understand its basic premises, much less the mechanisms involved, limitations and details and worse, they don’t understand science as an epistemological paradigm or even as an opetational research strategy, treating both as a theological doctrine and a social statement.

          • SidneyDeane

            I agree I’ve never met anyone who actually understands evolution to reject it.

            It’s often not lack of an ability to understand though, more a decision to be wilfully ignorant or not attempt to understand it.

            Most theists don’t like to question their beliefs (or, more accurately, the beliefs that others bestowed on them) and so remain in their cosy little world oblivious.

          • avi barzel

            And I’ve rarely met a person who understands evolution sufficiently to accept it as anything but a matter of faith couched in the jargon of materialism. I cannot claim to understand it fully, but treat it as the most convincing theory with the highest amount of supporting empirical data. I don’t accept the popular teleological positions which attempt to appropriate and harness the science of evolution to the theology of 20th century materialism. It is, again, a conflation of a valid research strategy, such as cultural materialusm, with an existentialist, essentially metaphysical paradigm.

            It seems to me you have caricatured the theist inaccurately. Theological positions are rarely cosy and comfortable and willful ignorance can not sustain one even in his most limited circles of fellow believers. Having grown up in a secular society and secular circles, I can attest that the accusations you level against some theological minds work as well, if not better against secularists.

          • Anton

            There is a lot more evidence for the neo-Darwinian synthesis of natural selection and genetic heritance today than there was in the 19th century – in particular, the DNA evidence. Biological sciences have grown up and the philosophers, such as social Darwinists, who attached themselves to the theory in the 19th century, are now scientifically untenable. There is a challenge for evangelicals to reconcile the neo-Darwinian synthesis with the Genesis account; I believe that this is not impossible and where I find this difficult I prefer to say I don’t know than to revert to one or other over-simplistic pole of the Dawkins vs Fundamentalists debate.

          • avi barzel

            Well, it does at times seem like a battle of straw man fallacies; some Creationists are tilting against 19th century Social Darwinists and some militant atheists are still fighting the Inquisition. If it were not so banal, the situation would be comical. You might find Rabbi Natan Slifkin’s controversial The Challenge of Creation interesting, as it provides better approaches than Intelligent Design, although it is written from an Orthodox Jewish perspective and relies on Jewish sources, theology and philosophy.

          • SidneyDeane

            Oh, and would you respect someone who didn’t accept the heliocentric theory? It’s the same thing as not accepting evolution.

          • avi barzel

            Yes. As long as they are not involved in calculating orbital aphelions for my Mars trip. I’ll go with the heliocentric-based Hofmann (sp?) Transfer Orbit route…just to be on the safe side.

          • carl jacobs

            Sidney

            In a class today so I don’t have much time. I am not a YEC. I deny the age of the universe is scientifically determinable because the age calculations are dependent upon assumptions of continuity and initial system state that can never be established.

            And do you even understand what I just said?

          • SidneyDeane

            Odd that so many millions get it wrong then isn’t it. How is anyone supposed to take any of you seriously.

          • avi barzel

            Everyone gets it wrong, Mr Deane. We haven’t scratched the surface of our understanding of physics, much less the true mysteries like time and gravity. Now, I don’t entirely agree with Carl because while he is right about the limitations of assumed states of the universe and our subjective perceptions of continuity, an empirical chronology can indeed be established in a relative frame of reference, in a limited and practical way within the Newtonian parameters we typically function with.

          • SidneyDeane

            Exactly. So Carl is wrong.

          • avi barzel

            No, I didn’t say that Carl is wrong. I don’t have a way of knowing that because the mechanisms of time and how it interacts with the physical universe and possible our perception are not fully understood yet. I said that we can measure time as absolute for limited, practical purposes, such as dating.

          • carl jacobs

            Sidney

            First of all, you are greatly deceived if you think I care whether you take me seriously or not. I don’t need your approval for anything.

            Second, I’ll take that as a ‘No, you don’t have the first clue what I am saying.” Shocked. Shocked I am.

            I didn’t say they “get it wrong.” People make assumptions. They then make conclusions based upon the assumptions. If the assumptions are correction, then the conclusions are correct. But how do you validate the assumptions? Especially when those assumptions are not subject to the scientific method? What you don’t understand (or perhaps simply refuse to believe) is that your understanding of a closed materialist universe is founded upon unprovable assumptions. One of those assumptions is the denial of discontinuity. If you think I am wrong, then please prove to me that the universe must be continuous. Assuming you know what that means.

            You are living in an illusion of compelled belief. You are operating within a faith system just as much as I am. The difference between us is that I admit it.

          • SidneyDeane

            There are certain assumptions involved in our understanding of the universe, yes. There has to be. The difference between our ‘faiths’ (if i accept your point) though is that you get yours solely from one old book whereas I base mine on actual evidence. Take evolution for example. You reject it in spite of the, frankly, ABUNDANCE, of evidence why? Because youve chose to put your faith in a belief system that your parents/society told you was true. The fact of evolution can be observed everywhere. We’ve seen it happening. Eye witness evidence, Carl.

            You seem like an intelligent chap. If you suddenly beamed down on Earth now and were faced with atheists explaining evolution and all the evidence behind it as the origin of species against christians with nothing but a story you’d definitely favour the evidence. The problem is youve been indoctrinated, as a child, and you are no longer capable of looking at the evidence for both, objectively or honestly.

            On another note, since you love bleating on about “materialism” and “consumerism”, i thought you might like this article which highlights the hypocricy of the Church of England who cashes in on the very “consumerism” it condemns. What a joke you lot really are.

            http://www.secularism.org.uk/blog/2015/01/rendering-unto-caesar

          • CliveM

            Avi

            I had read that the literalist approach was also fairly recent within Christianity. I had put it down to two factors. Firstly anti Catholicism. Secondly the growth of small non conformist evangelical churches, who whilst loving the bible and studying it, didn’t have the resources (ordinal texts in original language) to study its context and history properly.

            I also knew that Jewish scholars of the Talmud also tended not to take a to literalist approach. Although I didn’t (and don’t know) if that includes those elements of the Hebrew Bible that Christians (and Jews?) think of as the history parts.

            Out of interest, if the literalist approach is recent within Ultra- Orthodox Judaism, what has driven this?

          • SidneyDeane

            Youve only decided that the creation myth was supposed to be taken non-literally now we know that it is definitely just that – a myth.
            Constantly moving the goalposts to accommodate scientific discovery/fact must get so tiring.

          • avi barzel

            No, the biblical Creation story was accepted as an allegory probably from the start, but we know for sure, from multiple sources, from at least the time of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. Extensive discussions on the symbolic as opposed to chronological definitions of the days of Creation, an old universe and distant stars took place in the Middle Ages among Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Pagan scholars and it was a rabbi, Gersonides, who calculated…either for the first time or as rediscovery…roughly accurate distances to the stars through crude triangulation at a time when the stars were thought to be lights shining through holes in a nearby crystalline dome.

            You are bringing up the “God of the gaps” accusation. Even if that were the case, adjusting our understanding of biblical traditions and theological perceptions according to properly obtained empirical evidence and a better understanding of natural laws is and has been an accepted and a legitimate aporoach. None of this should be news to you if you weren’t hobbled by your own myths and ideologies.

          • avi barzel

            Did you read my post above yours, the one which you’re pretending to be replying to? Did you not understand it? If you actually knew your subject, none of that would be news to you.

            You’re stuck on the “God of the gaps” and the “moving goalposts” tropes, and an inaccurate caricature of theological positions on Creation. But not only do you not understand theological views in all their varieties, you don’t appear to actually understand evolution and the principles of scientific methodology. That much is becoming evident. Like over ninety percent of the people who imagine themselves as modern and historically superior to all who came before them, you believe in evolution not because you are a rationalist and you understand the issues, but because it’s what you kind of picked up in school, because it’s a trendy and cool thing thing to proclaim and because…in your ignorance about the extent and limits of scientific methodology…you think evolution somehow proves atheism. But believing in something without understanding it doesn’t make you smarter; it just makes you a believer.

          • avi barzel

            Well, there are still a few hunter-gatherer bands about. Hope that doesn’t panic you into a DEFCON 1, “cocked pistol” readiness stage!

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            When it comes to Evolution, I am always at … what did you call it … DEFCON 1.

          • avi barzel

            It’s ok, theistic evolution, or evolution as a mechanism in the process of Creation, may take a bit longer to digest than the heliocentric system versus filaments and celestial spheres, but it too will happen.

            Ah, yes, I guess you were a bit distracted after the excesses of the SAC frosh week pub-crawls or were too busy launching spit-balls at your cadet buddies at the introductory orientation session. It doesn’t matter now, as the world survived your service, but DEFCON 1 is apparently a really big deal. Not that I blame you for missing such pedantries; there was no Wikipedia around at the time.

          • SidneyDeane

            And we should really ignore an imbecile who denies the fact of evolution.
            I really pity your children.

          • Avi, it seems Linus is waiting on medical science to advance and provide him with the means to carry and give birth to a baby. Until then, Jack is informed, he and his prospective ‘husband’ are off to Antarctica to waddle about in penguin outfits, holding wings, in a desperate search for abandoned eggs to hatch. Yes, it’s true. It’s terribly sad.

          • avi barzel

            Ah, that would explain his rather emotional and doctrinally strident rejection of what, after all, is a hypothesis among many. Did not mean to offend him and hoping he won’t saw off my head for pedagogical reasons or blow himself up on a Wednesdays the while I’m at the kosher store rooting around the herring barrel. We’re all Charlie.

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            Ironic, since the word “matrimony” means to make mothers out of virgins. That’s the ideologue in him.

          • Linus

            The bad taste of the religionist provoked knows no bounds.

            Your own people were killed by another religionist in that kosher supermarket and you think it’s appropriate to use their fate as a joke to taunt atheists?

            What a piece of human detritus you must be.

          • avi barzel

            Calm yourself, Linus. You’re being too French…and not in a good way. Atheists have killed more of my and other peoples than anyone else in history.

          • Good post, that Avi.

          • avi barzel

            Thank you, Jack.

          • Anton

            Avi,

            According to Genesis 2 the purpose of marriage is intimate companionship between man and woman. Children are a normal consequence of the expression of that intimacy in most cases; but I would not wish to tell a woman beyond childbearing age that her intended marriage has no purpose, as would follow from what you say.

            And Linus: Mary and Joseph were married by the time Jesus was born, according to the gospels. In John’s gospel (ch.8) the pharisees have a dig at Jesus about this, and get a pretty sharp reply.

          • avi barzel

            I would say it’s that and more; the two sexes are profoundly different in many levels and challenge and complete one another, which elevates their companionship in ways I suspect we still cannot understand.
            At the same time, procreation is clearly part of the ma’aseh bereishis, the work of the apparently ongoing process of Creation. In my post I was limiting my argument to the rudimentary issues human populations from a strictly materialist perspective. On those simple terms non-procreative pair bonds are of no significance and procreative pairs in humans (as well as many animals) benefit more from the contributions of both partners and their kin, which is where marriage comes in. There is obviously more to this, though, as we are social beings with multiple roles, contributions and feelings. Holistically, these provide value on deep and complex levels. And of course theologically, as you point out, the heterosexual companionship is a central feature which is self-justifiable.

          • SidneyDeane

            Let’s not forget Jesus was a bastard.

      • DanJ0

        It’s a very clever film, full of stuff like that. The sermon on the mount was well done for being quietly reverential of Jesus in the distance, whilst doing the comedy in the crowd.

        • William Lewis

          According to Eric Idle the Python team scanned the Gospels for comedic potential but discovered that there was nothing to be found.

    • That was just a foot stomping, immature temper tantrum, Linus. Unimaginative, unoriginal and wooden. Frankly, it was boring.

      • Linus

        Oh dear, Sad Jack’s attempts at bitch-slapping are always so … well, let’s just say there’s a lot of bitch, but very little in the way of slapping.

        It’s like being savaged by a half-awake version of Joan Rivers who’s leapt groggily from her bed leaving her teeth – and her sense of humour – behind on the nightstand.

        Rather appropriate for a closet case of no discernible talent. Keep it coming, Sad Jack. If you can. You really are running out of steam, aren’t you?

        • Linus, instead of being “born again”, could you perhaps just grow up?

          If Jack promises to miss you, will you go away?

          • Linus

            A couple of days ago Sad Jack posted a comment pretending to be me saying “go away and leave me alone”.

            But now I see he’s speaking on his own behalf. And he’s never uttered a more heartfelt cry.

            What’s up, Sad Jack? Sick of the taste of your own medicine?

          • Linus. Jack now knows you are nobody’s fool but he really does not want to adopt you; maybe someone else will.

          • Linus

            Adoption? Not even you could be that sick, Sad Jack.

            I know what motivates your interest in me and the idea of trying to camouflage it as something paternal makes my stomach turn.

            Let’s hope you’ve never “adopted” anyone else…

          • Lol …. your English comprehension let you down there, Linus. Honestly. if you’re going to be a smartass, first you have to be smart. Otherwise, what’s left?

            Vous avez le cervau d’un sandwich au fromage.

          • Linus

            I understood you very well, Sad Jack. And the idea made my skin crawl. Invoking the idea of paternity after the sexual subtext of your earlier posts is a bit frightening.

            On the other hand, your attempts at French prove you to be such a simpleton that I can’t find it in my heart to condemn you. Forgive him, Sad Jack’s imaginary god, for he knows not what he does…

          • Linus, you are not quite the perfect idiot, yet, but you are making good progress in that direction.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            I must say though. Linus has a point of a sort.

            your attempts at French prove you to be such a simpleton that I can’t find it in my heart to condemn you.

            Why waste your time on a dead language like French? Stick to Latin. It sounds better and is more useful.

          • Ah, but when communicating with a simpleton one has to tailor one’s approach to suit.

          • carl jacobs

            Now, let’s be fair. Linus is no simpleton. He may have an ego the size of Mt Vesuvius but he is no simpleton. That was an insidious trap you laid for him. Not saying he didn’t deserve it (or that I didn’t find it humorous) but that kind of deep knowledge of a language isn’t obtained from grammar books. He didn’t have much of a chance.

          • Carl, a simpleton is a foolish or gullible person. Linus meets the criteria. He fell into Jack’s trap not because it was beguiling but because of his ego and unresolved personal issues. It was a form of Rorschach test. He understood the idiom but was immediately flattered by the surface meaning. Thereafter, he was blinded to the meaning conveyed by the rest of the communication and projected meaning.

            What surprised Jack was his automatic association of the word “adopt” with paternity and his equating of this with sexual exploitation and pederasty. Highly revealing, but unexpected. He’s a man who claims to be 50, Jack suspects he’s older, yet he clearly remains fixated in an early stage of psychosexual development. Insensitive potty training has a lot to answer for.

          • Linus

            Sad Jack sees himself as some kind of puppet master, manipulating others and making them dance to his tune. Very Christian behaviour, full of benevolence, humility and modesty.

            Still, that’s to be expected of a predatory closet case. It’s how they all operate. Their psychosis is based in a need to control and their only pleasure comes from victory over others. When they can’t get it, they invent it.

          • Linus, cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.

          • Linus

            Quousque tandem abutere, Jacobus, patienta nostra ?

          • Ne sis velox ad irascendum, quia ira in sinu stulti requiescit.

          • Linus

            Go on Jack, open another page of your book of Latin quotes at random and throw another zinger at me!

            Ah, l’ignorance de ceux qui prétendent savoir !!!

          • Non recipit stultus verba prudentiæ, nisi ea dixeris quæ versantur in corde ejus.

          • Clumsy Latin, btw.

          • Linus

            I’m sure Cicero would be suitably chastened by your disapproval, Sad Jack.

            Not only does Jack believe he’s God’s mouthpiece, he also mistakes himself for a Latin scholar. Superior even to the man who was arguably Ancient Rome’s greatest orator and prose stylist.

            Jack’s narcissism is exceeded only by his ignorance. This is what happens when an indifferent education fights with enough vanity for three people inside a weak head.

          • Ah, lifting the quote explains the majestic plural. You think yourself a Queen? You are not Royalty, Linus. Sorry to disappoint.

          • carl jacobs

            Linus

            Jack’s reply to this comment is much more straight forward. Given your previous lesson, you should be able to work it out on your own, so I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader. Provide your derived explanation, and Jack will mark it for you in the morning.

          • carl jacobs

            Ummm … Linus. A little English lesson for you.

            Jack now knows you are nobody’s fool …

            ‘Nobody’s fool’ a colloquial English expression that means you are wise and not easily deceived. Jack then plays off the word ‘nobody’ to invert the meaning of the expression.

            … but he really does not want to adopt you …

            You see, this moves the focus from ‘fool’ to ‘nobody.’ You have become a fool of nobody. If Jack adopted you, then you would be Jack’s fool instead of nobody’s fool. But he doesn’t want to adopt you. So he hopes that someone else will adopt you …

            … maybe someone else will

            … so then you can be their fool instead of nobody’s fool.

            He was calling you a fool, Linus. He wasn’t talking about adoption, and there was no sexual content in it at all. Whatever you thought you understood, you were very wrong.

          • He’s not as smart as he supposes, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh

          • ‘High Five;

            It was Jack’s way of saying “goodbye” to Linus.

            Le Professeur d’Anglais who has condescended to provide us with lessons in grammar and syntax proved une grande déception. One shudders to think what he’d make of William Shakespeare.

          • Linus

            You have to sift Sad Jack’s words for their real meaning. His most obvious point is almost never his most telling one.

            Yes, his conscious objective was to call me a fool. But his subconscious choice of vocabulary betrays something deeper and more sinister than a conventional desire to insult and belittle.

            Sad Jack views himself as some kind of father figure “adopting” those he considers less fortunate than himself and leading them along the paths of “righteousness”. This is his Christian conscience’s way of justifying his sexual interest in his own gender to itself. He stuffs it into a paternal mould and calls it parental benevolence. It’s classic closet case behaviour.

            Any openly gay man who grew up around Catholics can tell you about men like Sad Jack. They express an interest in you, want to “help” you to “change” and “rediscover your masculinity”. They worm their way into your confidence, until one day they make a move on you and you realize their loudly proclaimed heterosexuality is a cover for ephebophilic same-sex desire. They almost always target someone younger than themselves in order to introduce a parental dynamic into the relationship, the better to manipulate their target into a submissive posture. The fact that Sad Jack does this online and not in person doesn’t remove the sexual element from his motivation. He gets off on manipulation, on control. It’s evident in all of his posts.

            So when Sad Jack starts using the vocabulary of parenthood, I know exactly what his real agenda is. It has little to do with Christ, who is really just a means to an end for him. His own person is so inadequate that he needs something a little more appetizing to bait his trap with. Christ serves that purpose quite admirably, so Sad Jack is a Christian.

            In exactly the same way he meant the term when he slung it at me, Sad Jack is nobody’s fool. He’s certainly not a fool for Christ. He’s working freelance on his own behalf.

          • Keep digging, Linus.

          • Linus

            Digging? Totally out of the question! Everything I know about you comes from what you convey about yourself to others via your revealing posts.

            No, if ever I were to start digging, your imaginary god only knows what I might find. Scraping your surface releases an odour repellent enough to discourage anyone from the idea of excavations.

          • dannybhoy

            Linus,
            Your experiences are one thing, and to our shame the Christian churches have more than enough examples of abuse of various kinds.
            This happens though partly because Christian people are in the main trusting people. We like to believe that people’s intentions are good ones. That people of evil intent take advantage of that credulity is to their shame, as much as ours who trust too much.
            Please don’t malign Jack, old chap. You don’t know him.

          • Linus

            I malign nobody. I merely return the favour Sad Jack so liberally bestows upon me by advancing theories as to why he is the way he is. My description of his character is no more malignant than his description of mine.

            You’re so used to seeing Sad Jack hurl abuse unchallenged that you’ve become desensitized to it and are no longer shocked by his behaviour. But when one of his targets treats him the same way he treats other people, that catches your attention. Habitual bullies and their hangers on and tale bearers are always shocked when their victims fight back. That isn’t supposed to be how it happens…

          • dannybhoy

            “You’re so used to seeing Sad Jack hurl abuse unchallenged that you’ve
            become desensitized to it and are no longer shocked by his behaviour.”

            Whoah there!
            Un moment mon ami.
            I haven’t been posting here that long. Jack and I disagree on some things, but I have not experienced him being abusive. I would challenge anybody if I thought they were being cruel or unkind.
            Ask Clive.

          • Linus

            In which case you believe that Sad Jack’s abuse is acceptable, which makes you just as bad as him.

            If you share his crackpot theories about the genesis and development of human sexuality, theories that have long since been abandoned by all reputable mental health professionals and their representative bodies, and believe that smearing gay people as mentally ill is acceptable behaviour, then there’s no point in talking to you. If you defame and insult the gay community, expect to be defamed and insulted in your turn.

            In other words, expect to reap what you sow. Isn’t that a basic principle of Christianity?

          • dannybhoy

            I have stated my beliefs in the subject many times here and elsewhere Linus. I don’t need to repeat them.
            True Christians do not smear anybody or make fun of anybody.
            Is that what happened to you? You were told you were mentally ill, perhaps when you were pretty young and vulnerable?

          • CliveM

            Don’t bring me into this. As I have said several times (and I think you are beginning to like it to much :0). You are a better man then me.

            I will happily admit you are rarely cruel and unkind.

          • dannybhoy

            Hello my friend. God bless you.

          • CliveM

            Thing is I can’t say the same for myself.

            When the red mist goes down, I enjoy a scrap to much!

          • dannybhoy

            I have a real temper too Clive, but I do keep claiming
            “If any man is in Christ…” and my wife helps me see where I get it wrong..

          • carl jacobs

            Linus

            And how am I to verify the truth of this self-interested analysis? It’s a collection of amateur Internet psychologizing. You don’t know Jack. You don’t even undestand why the personae of Jack exists. And yet you think you know him after a few weeks of interaction on a weblog? You think you know him to the extent that you can subjectively understand the real meaning of his subconscious vocabulary? I have known him for four years through this weblog. I knew him before he was Jack. Which of us is more credible to make a judgment?

            There is a much simpler explanation.

            1. Your musing about Jack is a collection of self-serving bullshit.

            2. You don’t know what you are talking about.

            If you want to establish the truth of what you said, you have to do better than “I’m a gay atheist from France, and I know these things.”

          • Linus

            Personæ? You mean Sad Jack is suffering from multiple personality disorder?

            I’m not surprised, although it’s a shame we only ever see one of those personalities here.

            Does he contribute to other blogs when other personalities manifest? Is there a Sad Jack who’s all sweetness and light on some other site?

            And speaking of “amateur Internet psychologizing”, my theories about his psychology are no more crackpot than his are about mine. The difference seems to be that you think he has the right to analyze me with impunity, whereas I have no right to analyze him.

            He’s certainly got you fooled, hasn’t he? Amazing the effect a few weasel words can have on a weak mind.

          • Tsk, tsk, Linus your website is out of date.

            The correct term is dissociative identity disorder. And, if you knew anything about the condition, you’d know it’s inappropriate to enquire about other personae or to invite them to manifest themselves. You see, the different personalities are unaware of each other.

            So Jack writes whatever the voices tell him to. Who it is on any given day depends on who yells the loudest or who arrives first. This is why Jack never commits passwords to print. If would be dreadful of one of the others got hold of it. Still, Jack doesn’t suffer from insanity. He enjoys every minute of it. And DID sure beats being alone. We have each other and between us we come up with some pretty good ideas too. Once Jack threatened to kill himself and it was treated as a hostage situation by the police.

            ….. oh, hang on ….. disruption imminent ….. hope he doesn’t emerge …. you wouldn’t like him ….. none of my multiple personalities like you …. but he …..

            Have no fear, Jack will have to try to relocate himself. If he should return before he gets back, please ask Jack to wait.

          • SidneyDeane

            He posted a comment pretending to be you?
            What a sad virgin troll. Lol.

          • Linus

            To be fair, he posted it under his own name. But he then put words in my mouth, which again, to be fair, was certainly preferable to his other less clearly stated (but apparent enough to anyone with eyes to see) designs on my person.

            When you’re dealing with Sad Jack, there are varying degrees of dishonour that need to be taken into account. This was a relatively minor one.

          • carl jacobs

            As much as I laughed at this post, I feel compelled to say that if you just ignore him, he will get bored and go away. It will be difficult because he will get more provocative the longer he is ignored.

            Discipline, Jack. If you see the nick, reach for the scroll wheel.

      • sarky

        jack, Haven’t you just enforced what Linus has so eloquently written?

    • len

      If you have set yourself up as a grand Inquisitor of Christians Linus I can only say you are doing a pretty poor job of it?.
      We Christians have some real challenges to face up to such as renounce your faith or we will behead you and many are making this choice daily.
      So your provocations do not amount to much in the real world where many Christians live Linus please try harder(.I will explain why you must do this)

      God can uses anything and everything to form Christ in the believer jibes insults threats etc all these are used by God as an abrasive to knock the rough edges off Christians (who might not always act in a Christian manner but we Christians are all works in progress).
      So Linus God is using you to form Christ in believers who encounter you…

      Carry on and Bless you my son…

      • Linus

        If he’d use me to train believers in grammar and syntax, the results might be a little more tangible.

        But of course, I am aware that many Christians will see me merely as a test of their faith. Which is OK. I learned many years ago that you can never argue with dogmatically held beliefs. Paint a believer into a corner and he’ll just sketch an escape hatch behind himself. That’s the one advantage religion has over reality: you can always flee into a deeper layer of fantasy.

        But fear ye not, while you’re stopping up your ears and shouting “I can’t hear you!”, others are listening and drawing different conclusions.

        • DanJ0

          Quite like the escape hatch thing. There’s some truth in that.

          • Dreadnaught

            Kenny Everett used that graphically as The Mime character – always drawing something which then morphed into reality.

          • len

            There is hope for you yet Danjo.(you are obviously not someone to monkey around with)

        • len

          I rather like the concept of ‘an escape hatch’.
          If my house were condemned and I was trapped inside an ‘escape hatch’ might be quite welcome .Christ called himself ‘The Door’ by which one escapes this world system which also is condemned.
          Christianity seems to be the more intelligent solution to me but that`s just me.

          The are plenty of warnings that this world system is collapsing but only if you have ears to hear and eyes to see .

          • Linus

            “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

            Do all Christians suffer from Chicken Little syndrome, or is it just those who comment on this blog?

          • len

            Sky Is Ok here ,what about your end?.

  • len

    I think someone might have mentioned this but Liberals expect everyone to play the game by their own rules but if someone wants to play their own game by their own rules then the whole liberal concept falls apart.
    Which of course is exactly what is happening .

  • Ivan M

    Call me Dave, had no problem (metaphorically) punching the distended bellies of starving children in Uganda and Tanzania on account of his homosexual agenda. The thug had no issues when a toothless enemy, the pap-sucking Muamar Gaddafi, was sodomised to death by freedom lovers he supported and financed.

    • That’s David Cameron,thoughtless and short sighted as are most of our current politicians. He’s not a real Christian and he does what the Yanks tell him.

      • Ivan M

        Of course he isn’t. I mean what sort of a Christian who during his campaign giving the impression that he was out to restore “compassionate Christianity”, trick all manner of committed Christians into voting him, only for them to bitterly discover that he had taken them for a ride. As almost his first order of business he pushed through so-called homosexual marriage and other elements of the Stonewall agenda. I thought that the sinister Blair was bad enough, but this scoundrel is worse.

  • The Explorer

    At one point, Ibsen kept a scorpion in a jar, for inspiration. When it ailed, he would throw in a piece of fruit: whereupon, “it would cast itself in a rage and inject its poison into it. Then it was well again.”
    We Christians are the fruit. Those who admire Linus’ undoubted writing skills may see him as Ibsen. Others may see him as… Actually it comes to much the same thing: Ibsen and the scorpion shared the same sort of personality.

    • Ivan M

      Very good analogy, Explorer. Also you seem to have taken matters into your own hands by top posting. subverting this stupid commenting system, where questions, queries, answers, barbs and counter-barbs are all over the place.

      • The Explorer

        Unless Linus sees us as the aggressors, in which case the roles should be reversed. Sorry about that, Linus old fruit.

        • The Explorer

          Your point about the commenting system can be seen in action. Dreadnaught’s comment and my reply have already detached your comment from mine.

          • IanCad

            When things are slow you can always reply to yourself.
            I did it the other day.
            Award myself the occasional uptick as well.

          • dannybhoy

            I do too.
            But I rarely get a response….

    • Dreadnaught

      It’s the only way the creature (crated by god apparently) can subdue its prey and feed itself – designed thus by … Ibsen was a writer hence the ‘rage’ fallacy.

      • The Explorer

        Or created by God: Ibsen was the one who crated it. It’s a very good point. C S Lewis observed that the insect world looks like hell, visibly in action around us. It’s in an interesting essay about the possibiy-corrupted state of Nature.

        • Dreadnaught

          the possibiy-corrupted state of Nature.
          Youre’ kiddin? C.S.Lewis couldn’t have been so ignorant as to actually believe that; on the other hand he was a imaginative fantasist.

          • The Explorer

            I did say “possibly”. It’s in his discussion with C. E. M. Joad ‘The Pains of Animals’. Joad had made the excellent point that if one wanted to speak of undeserved suffering, animals were the ultimate example.

            Incidentally, Lewis did have a degree in philosophy: one of those rare people to gain a triple first from Oxford..

          • The Explorer

            To change the argument slightly with an example I’ve used before, the theologian Gregory Boyd cites the case of Zosia, the little Jewish girl who had her eyes cut out by an SS guard in front of her mother. Either that was God’s will, or God currently allows things that are contrary to His will: in which case, the current state of the world is not as God intends it to remain.
            Or there is no God: in which case the crime will never be punished, and Zosia and her mother will never be comforted.

          • Linus

            Zosia and her mother are now probably both dead. They cannot be comforted if they no longer exist.

            Anybody who witnessed the event and is still alive may require comforting. But not for long. They must be in their late 70s at the very least and therefore probably don’t have much time left for the memory to cause them further pain.

            The story may live on, passed from person to person as an example of gratuitous Nazi atrocities. But it will just be a story. Once the principals are gone, their pain dies with them. Nobody can suffer in the afterlife because there isn’t one. Oblivion draws a veil over every experience and every memory, good, bad and indifferent.

            So no, if the crime wasn’t punished at the end of the war, it will go unpunished for all time. Christians may bleat about fairness, but your own religion tells you to leave judgment and punishment to your god. In other words, don’t waste your time worrying about something that’s never going to happen. Unless Zosia and her mother, or someone who was close to them, survived the war and took vengeance on the SS guard who perpetrated the crime, he isn’t suffering for it now. He isn’t suffering for anything. He just isn’t.

            But don’t worry, your sense of injustice won’t last forever. When you die and you no longer are, it will dissolve into nothingness just like every other feeling, emotion, experience and memory you possess. You can’t suffer if you don’t exist.

          • The Explorer

            Hello, Linus.
            Both the girl and her mother were gassed almost immediately afterwards to stop their screaming.
            Boyd posits three explanations (his book is a theodicy) as to why such things happen.
            1. No God. In which case, no theological problem: and all is just as you say.
            2. The will of God. In which case, God is a devil.
            3. Not the will of God. In which case, God has temporarily surrendered omnipotence.
            No 1 has the beauty of simplicity, Myself, I go with No 3. The World is not as it was meant to be. That goes for human nature and Nature generally.

            PS: The girl had exceptionally bright eyes, and the SS guard wanted to incorporate them into rings he was having made. (No prizes for guessing where the gold was coming from.)

          • avi barzel

            To omnipotence I would add prescience. Again and again we see in the Torah that God is pleased, or angry or…most curiously…surprised at humans and humanity. One doesn’t need to read between the lines to see that humankind has been given a level of indepencence and unpredictability unique in Creation. And I would add that it’s not a question of what the world was meant to be…the easier way would have been to create such a world to avoid the current hassles…but a question of inserting a being, Man, which would in its likeness to God provide the seemingly important unpredictability in Creation.

          • The Explorer

            Excellent point. Boyd is very hot on prescience: he’s not popular with Calvinists. (He takes it further than I would care to, even as a non-Calvinist.) The same thing is present in the Gospels: make of that what you will. Christ is surprised at faith in unexpected places, and at lack of faith where he expected it.

          • avi barzel

            Some of the aspects of Calvinism, as I understand them, are similar to notions about predestination and prescience found in some sectors of Judaism. These have their opponents. What I think happens is that an omnipotent God to whom nothing is unknown and nothing is hidden doesn’t compute with our limited, polarized and very binary reasoning abilities and we choose predetermination out of fear of reducing God to our level. It sounds simple, if not simplistic, but great theologies and theories have been generated by our limitations.

          • Predestination and free will are not mutually incompatible, Avi.

          • avi barzel

            Yes, the Rambam…Maimonides…thought so too, although I never understood the explanation.

          • Do we have to understand?
            Jack struggles to find words to express what he believes inside.

            An all powerful, loving God will ensure the Universe will achieve His purpose – that man will come to know, love and serve Him through our own choice and free will or chose to defy and reject Him. All our personal and human history is about this unfolding of God’s plan and our choices about where we stand.
            God exists throughout time and created the material world in an instant. In a moment He knew all that ever was to be, all that ever could be, all the choices of every individual in every situation. And He ordered His creation to achieve His will. Because He knows how we will act, he bestows gifts and graces to all those He calls and who chose to act in accordance with His Divine Plan.
            We are given repeated chances and opportunities. He also knows those who will reject His call, those who refuse to participate in His plan and opt to oppose Him, despite repeated opportunities and chances. He takes all these choices and individual actions and, because He is all powerful, all Merciful and all Good, brings good even out of evil.

          • dannybhoy

            “What I think happens is that an omnipotent God to whom nothing is
            unknown and nothing is hidden doesn’t compute with our limited,
            polarized and very binary reasoning abilities and we choose
            predetermination out of fear of reducing God to our level.”
            I think if we really understood what God can do and how much he sees through us, we would perish on the spot.
            Perhaps that’s why He said to Moses,
            “No man can see my face and live”

            Exodus 33> Complete Jewish Bible.
            “17 Adonai
            said to Moshe, “I will also do what you have asked me to do, because
            you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”
            18 But Moshe said, “I beg you to show me your glory!” 19 He replied, “I will cause all my goodness to pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce the name of Adonai.

            Moreover, I show favor to whomever I will, and I display mercy to whomever I will. 20 But my face,” he continued, “you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at me and remain alive. 21 Here,” he said, “is a place near me; stand on the rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you inside a crevice in the rock and cover you with my hand, until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand, and you will see my back, but my face is not to be seen.”

          • avi barzel

            The problem is that we never really understood this, as we cannot imagine anyone or anything smarter than us. The recent debates about artificial intelligence and how it may impact us in fifty years’ time are starting to bring the point closer to home, though. As someone put it, we will be utterly defenseless against a program or a machine that can anticipate anything and everything we can think of or try to do. So, all those clever sci-fi stories about people outsmarting machines simply because we are these cute, quirky and utterly unpredictable humans with hidden genius and blonde at our sife will simply be silly stories and wishful thinking. And that’s intelligence only from machines we can theoretically construct.

          • dannybhoy

            “The problem is that we never really understood this, as we cannot imagine anyone or anything smarter than us”
            That’s obviously a collective ‘we.’ Personally I have no problem imagining people smarter than myself.
            You must have a pretty big opinion of yourself.
            Deluded possibly. 😉

            I don’t know how near or beyond that scenario we will get.
            My faith tells me that God will wrap all this up one day, but when no one really knows.
            I think that is why it is so important to know and trust the nature of God, as revealed to your ancestors Avi.

            Malachi 3 Complete Jewish Bible

            “Look! I am sending my messenger
            to clear the way before me;
            and the Lord, whom you seek,
            will suddenly come to his temple.
            Yes, the messenger of the covenant,
            in whom you take such delight —
            look! Here he comes,”
            says Adonai-Tzva’ot.
            2 But who can endure the day when he comes?
            Who can stand when he appears?
            For he will be like a refiner’s fire,
            like the soapmaker’s lye.
            3 He will sit, testing and purifying the silver;
            he will purify the sons of Levi,
            refining them like gold and silver,
            so that they can bring offerings to Adonai uprightly.
            4 Then the offering of Y’hudah and Yerushalayim
            will be pleasing to Adonai,
            as it was in the days of old,
            as in years gone by.”

          • Predestination is revealed throughout Scripture, Explorer. Just how it works escapes us because we are finite beings attempting to comprehend an infinitive Being and using anthropological terms.

          • dannybhoy

            God is just, God is compassionate, God forgives when we sincerely repent.
            God wishes that all men turn and repent. Therefore to assume that as regards salvation God chooses some to save and some to damn cannot be true.
            That’s all that matters.
            I think God chooses men for certain tasks (Moses, David the King, the Prophets) , but that is different to salvation.

          • Jack would say God saves those who respond to faith and initial grace. He permits those who chose not to respond to be damned. He foreknows our decisions.

          • dannybhoy

            ” He permits those who chose not to respond to be damned.”
            Where does purgatory fit into that? All men are offered salvation, and that offer remains until their dying day. We as Christians are called to witness to the power of that salvation through our actions and our prayers,

          • Agreed, all men are offered salvation – not all accept it.

          • dannybhoy

            And just to throw another rabbit into the pot, there is the influence of the fallen angel Lucifer, who both tests us (Yoab) and hinders God’s agents (Daniel) and according to the New Testament os the prince of the power of the air.,,
            I think man is capable of great evil, but there is in the spiritual realm an even greater power of evil to which masn can give himself to.
            Personally and in a weird kind of way I accept that we live in a cause and effect, sometimes unstable world . That’s how it is.

            It is people who do evil things to each other, and that is as a result of personal choice, although there may be extenuating circumstances and influences that have made us much nastier than we really wanted to be.

            As creatures separated from God we want to live as long as we can and be as comfortable as we can be. As tribal creatures we have a place in the pecking order of our society and that usually means obeying whoever is in charge.
            That’s why ultimately I think only our Lord can truly judge us for our actions. because only He can see into our hearts.

          • avi barzel

            I keep on discovering these hidden conversations…my notificstions appear to be crapping out…sorry, if it seems I ignored you or anyone else.

            Regarding evil, my position is that it is something which is uniquely human. There is no power aside from God; no demons, malignant or benign forces or spirits, rebellious or fallen angels. The good and evil inclinations, the yetzer ha-tov and the yetzer ha-ra describe properties of our nature and character and both can be harnessed for good.

          • dannybhoy

            “I keep on discovering these hidden conversations.”
            Me too, and comments that seem to come and go..
            I do think there is a greater evil than the evil man can think up.
            It could be argued as perhaps you might, that when man lives his life in accordance with the theory of cosmic meaninglessness, then why not do whatever you want.
            Nothing then has any value or meaning anyway. It seems to me to descend into a kind of madness.
            Interestingly though no one can actually live as if there is no meaning because we are designed to live with sense and structure.
            However I think there are other dimensions besides the one we move in, and yes I believe in spiritual beings who serve God and those who serve that fallen angelic being named Lucifer.

          • CliveM

            I like that idea. God is omnipotent, but allows us to be random.

            If he didn’t, how could there be free will?

          • Linus

            There are only two options, your N°s 1 and 2.

            N° 3 is logical impossibility. If God surrenders omnipotence, he is no longer God. Omnipotence is a basic characteristic of God, so without it, he is no longer God.

            The best you can do is say that that God chooses not to exercise the omnipotence that he always remains in possession of. In which case, not only does he permit suffering to happen when he could prevent it, he is also culpably responsible for that suffering because he sits back and lets it happen. Which of us would be praised for sitting back and watching a man being beaten to death without interfering?

            So there you have it, your only choice is N° 2. If God exists, he must be an evil sprite. If it is the will of God that we should suffer, God must be a devil. As fallible creatures, perhaps we’re just not capable of appreciating that atrocities are good because they serve whatever purpose God has for them.

            You’re worshipping something a lot more sinister than you realize. Or you would be if God existed and wasn’t just a way for you to deny option N° 1.

          • The Explorer

            Excellent post, Linus. A pleasure to debate with you!. You’re right into Boyd territory. Boyd argues that omnipotence is an import from Greek philosophy. Western theology went wrong with Augustine. (You would agree, but for different reasons.)
            Boyd ends his book with the thought that God will make it up to Zosia somehow, and to her mother. He has that option because he believes in an after life. So does God; thus, God has that option as well.. You don’t have that option. Hence your paragraph 3.
            Your paragraph 2 is exactly the proposition considered by Boyd. He explores it, and rejects it as monstrous.
            Boyd espouses ‘open’ theology. I don’t; but I still find I agree with much of what he says

          • William Lewis

            God seems to allow evil for a time. This permits free will (and, therefore, love) but with the proviso that justice will, ultimately, be done. Meanwhile He is prepared to suffer, personally, the consequences of evil and, in so doing, provide a way to combat its affects. A seemingly strange approach, I grant you, but it also establishes hope in suffering which should not be underestimated. However, there are no easy answers to the problem of suffering. For an atheist there is no answer nor even any recompense. Suffering just is.

          • Your options are not correct, Explorer.

            It is the Will of God that man has free will. He therefore permits evil. What is “evil” but the absence of “good”. And “good” is loving God and living according His Will. He doesn’t want mindless robots. That’s why He permitted the Fall. He did not will it, though He foresaw it.

            And, He always brings good from the evil He permits.

          • The Explorer

            Boyd’s options. Partially mine, too; but not entirely. I’m not an advocate of open theology.

          • This is not open theology, Explorer. Jack does not accept God’s knowledge is dynamic and His providence flexible. He exists in a moment – not in time.

          • The Explorer

            Sorry, in a rush. Off blog soon. Open theology: future is not fixed. That belief has ramifications across Boyd’s thought. God can change his mind. All TOO fluid for me.

          • Dreadnaught

            We kill to eat; just as any animal but unlike the animal ‘we’ do it humanely.
            Leave out the ‘L’ in Triple and you’d be nearer the mark.

          • The Explorer

            Carnivorousness isn’t really what they’re talking about. But to know that, you’d have to read the essay.

          • IanCad

            Good One!

    • dannybhoy

      I like Linus, and I’m glad he continues to batter us with his presence.
      He does have a good writing style.
      On occasion he forgets his role as an “Angry and victimised homosexual, resentfully living in France with a weakness for pastries and Christian invective..”
      and throws us a few pieces of fruit into which we as angry and bitter scorpions can harmlessly inject our poison…
      🙂

      • Anton

        O dannybhoy!

      • William Lewis

        Linus would never batter us with his presence. Though he has been known to fricassée from time to time.

        • dannybhoy

          Very good.
          I think we must show the man as much love and grace and witness as possible.
          Whilst he’s here……

          • William Lewis

            What? You mean no more jokes about the French? Ooh la la, Monsieur!

          • dannybhoy

            Humour is a wonderful thing, I love it. Providing that it’s never used with malicious intent, bring it on!
            Linus (I noticed earlier) is teaming up with some other thorns..
            That is always the way.

          • Yes, a bunch of little pricks.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh Dear!
            It seems to me this thread has gone downhill somewhat. Call me pompous, call me stuffy, but I don’t think poking fun or pointed comments at Linus helps change his jaundiced view of Christianity (dunno about Judaism) in the slightest.
            I don’t want to be a part of that even if it’s in jest.

      • The Explorer

        Linus has a great sense of humour with regard to God, Christians and the English. He had can Ibsen to his list.

      • avi barzel

        Agreed, the man is smart and funny and does things with the English language which are astounding. His “battering” is merely a defensive posture, an attempt to maintain his identity, but like most he is here because something resonates. We shall assimilate him. Resistance is futile.

        • dannybhoy

          His “battering” is merely a defensive posture, an attempt to maintain
          his identity, but like most he is here because something resonates. We
          shall assimilate him. Resistance is futile.

          Very perceptive Avi. We always rail at that which has hurt us most.

        • Avi, Happy Jack has tried to introduce Linus to the world of Cranmer. Alas, he has failed. Now, would you be prepared to adopt partner befriend Linus and help him settle in?

          When dealing with the French remember:

          “Time and again in the last two centuries, France has refused to come to grips with its diminished status as a country whose greatest general was a foreigner, whose greatest warrior was a teenage girl, and whose last great military victory came on the plains of Wagram in 1809.
          (John J. Miller and Mark Molesky)

          • avi barzel

            Jack, why do I get the uneasy feeling that you’re trying to unload a mangy, irascible old tomcat that you adopted in a moment of irrational goodwill and maudlin generosity? Fess up; he’s been scratching your furniture and peeing in your shoes, hasn’t he?

          • dannybhoy

            Very good Avi!

          • No, no, no …. Linus believes Happy Jack has ulterior motives. You are younger. He will know you have a feisty wife and a teenage daughter and this will lessen his pederasty anxieties.

          • avi barzel

            Yeah, right. Why should any of that inhibit him from creeping up on me from under the couch and trying to hump my leg?

          • CliveM

            Do aged Tom cats do that sort of thing? In thought it was more the preserve of uncastrated dogs.

          • Linus

            Ah yes, the old predatory homosexual trope. Wondered when that would be trotted out. And by whom. Odd that the culprit should be the Jew rather than the closet case. But you never can tell what side the next homophobic epithet will hit you from.

            Rest assured, your leg is safe from me. All of you is safe from me. From that knitted green tea cosy on your head, right down to whatever brand of discount supermarket shoes you wear on your feet. Your profile picture is as dissuasive as any of Sad Jack’s creepy “come into my parlour said the spider to the fly” speeches. He just sounds repellent. You look the part.

          • avi barzel

            You’re so French in that self-pitying, hysterical Latin drama queen way, Linus. Moderately cute on a twenty-something mademoiselle; not so much on a fiftyish guy. O, shit, I’m prejudiced against tomcats, a homophobe, now probably a Francophobe, evidently an ageist and a chauvinist and I wear discount shoes on my size 12 feet, a green tea cosy on my head and I repel you. I must say, though, the latter is quite a relief….

          • Rofl … I now

          • avi barzel

            Alright, but what am I supposed to feed him? He’s French and doesn’t understand refined delicacies such as schmaltz herring, pickled eggs or chicken grease on a slice of bread.

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            “Refined delicacies.” Is that what they call it these days?

          • avi barzel

            Yes. And I don’t like the undercurrents of your comment. Sounds like you don’t believe me.

          • carl jacobs

            Undercurrents?

          • The term is sub-text.

          • avi barzel

            Possibly, but I prefer undercurrents.

          • Carl. is American and will not understand the term. You must learn to be culturally sensitive.

          • You must discuss the domestic arrangements with Linus. With a little give and take things should be fine.

          • avi barzel

            You should be in counselling, Jack. Those two sentences could save 60% of failing marriages.

          • Sadly, Avi, what should be true isn’t so these days. What breaks marriages is the modern idea of ‘self-fulfilment’ – the focus being on self and not on other.

          • Linus

            Yes, you are a homophobe and probably a Francophobe too, although at the moment you’re principally showing yourself to be a Linusphobe, which I have no doubt is a phobia extended to anyone who has the temerity to disagree with you.

            That’s what happens when middle aged straight men suddenly realize they don’t call the shots any more. We now have equal marriage, you didn’t want it and you’re furious that society chose to ignore you. You! He whose opinions are sacred and must be obeyed. How dare they?

            We dared. And we’ll keep on daring. And all the Muslim bogey men and other spurious slippery slopes you can invent to try and stop us won’t halt our progress a bit. You and your imaginary gods are being consigned to the dustbin of history where you rightfully belong. That’s reality, and all the dire prognostications of impending doom and revenge that you call down on us only exist in your head. You’re now principally defined by your impotence and your enraged yet toothless threats and warnings. That’s what this entire blog is. An exercise in frustration, futility and increasing irrelevance. As such I think my time here may fast be coming to an end. It’s certainly been an eye-opener. I hadn’t realized exactly how much hatred and bigotry still existed out there. Now I do. Forewarned is forearmed.

          • “Forewarned is forearmed.”

            This from a Frenchman? ……… Maginot Line.

            Q: What’s the motto of the US Marine Corps?
            A: Semper Fi

            Q: What’s the motto of the French Army?
            A: Arrête, tombe et courir

          • Linus

            Stop it Jack! No, really! With every catastrophic attempt at an easy French phrase you reveal more and more of your profound ignorance. It’s becoming painful to witness.

            I wonder, could Sad Jack’s need to display his profound ignorance get any more toe-curling? I’m embarrassed on his behalf.

            Some people just don’t know when to shut up and cut their losses.

          • “Some people just don’t know when to shut up and cut their losses.”

            Not a French weakness given your nation’s display of valour on the battlefield during the past 300 years, or and during Nazi occupation. Plenty of shutting up; not much cutting of losses unless it was the lives of others.

            This without mentioning your own cowardice and amorality in refusing to consider assisting children being murdered and forced into sexual slavery in Nigeria. The reason? An ‘in principle’ objection, just in case they grow up to be ‘homophobes’.

            The motto for the French: “Stop, drop and run” is appropriate.

          • Linus

            And yet … sad old Jack can’t speak French, his Latin is gleaned from lists of quotations, and his opinions came straight out of the Ark, pausing only to be formatted by the Catholic Thought Police before being piped directly into the hollow space he has where most of us have a brain.

            Poor Jack, your ignorance has been exposed for all to see. There’s no going back now. And not much time left to fill the void with real knowledge. Let’s pray your imaginary god can fill in the blanks. He’s certainly going to have his work cut out for him.

          • avi barzel

            Yeah, fine, whatever, but telling everyone about my discount shoes (Boxing Day Week, 30% off) was hitting below the belt. The guys here will never let me live this one down as I trundle over to the dustbin of history….

          • It’s jokes about the tea cosy hat that you should fear most, Avi.

          • avi barzel

            That kippa is one of my favourite ones. Hand-knit in Israel, pricey, no discount. Impenetrable to insults.

          • Lol …. very good, then Jack shall not comment adversely on it. He didn’t know one could obtain a hand knitted kappa.

            Jack was surprised Linus did not comment on your wind swept hair. On the upside, your glasses and Smartphone passed the Linus StyleStaspo examination so these must be upmarket.

          • avi barzel

            It wasn’t wind-swept, my hair. Greased with engine oil and sweat from working on the truck with my friend who said I need a better selfie because the last one made me look like a passed-out bum. Smartphone’s getting on and I’m behind on the specs fashions because I can’t handle the big 70s kind that are in now. I can’t imagine what Linus ever saw in me. You, that’s easy, everyone loves a smiley face in a black Borsolino hat.

          • So manly …….

          • Linus

            You’re a muscle queen, eh Jack?

            Why am I not surprised…?

          • Linus: exemplum de simia, quae, quando plus ascendit, plus apparent posteriora eius.

          • He loves you really. That’s his opening move.

          • avi barzel

            I’m pretty thick that way. I tend to miss non-verbal cues.

          • Hmmm … 80% of communication is non-verbal.

          • CliveM

            Ok try having a discussion which is non verbal……….

          • Err ….. ce est un homme de raffinement et de bon goût? Toutefois, vous pourriez avoir à regarder les réverbères.

          • William Lewis

            Never mind the peeing in the shoes. It’s the claw in the face you’ve got to watch out for.

          • avi barzel

            The discount shoes snub of his….

        • carl jacobs

          Avi

          Linus is here out of anger and animus. There isn’t any resonance.

          • avi barzel

            You are likely right. He’s too sensitive for such sports, though.

  • Uncle Brian

    I think Albert has got it right with his comment that “We can summarise what the Holy Father taught:

    1. Everyone has the freedom of speech.
    2. Given human nature, if you insult someone, you can’t be surprised if they react violently.
    3. Responding violently is wrong.”

    I would add this. Francis was undeniably too quick on the draw with his bunch-of-fives-up-your-gob routine. It looks as though – once again – he hadn’t thought out in advance what answer he would give to this all too foreseeable question about the Charlie Hebdo murders. On the other hand, it was never going to be an easy job for him to find the right soundbite answer to the question. Obviously he couldn’t come down on the side of the murderers, but in his position as the head of the world’s largest Christian church, equally obviously he had to avoid saying something that could be seen as condoning the kind of no-limits caricatures of Christian belief that have been staple fare in the pages of Charlie Hebdo. What short, one-sentence answer would any one of us have given in Francis’s place? It’s a tough nut to crack.

    • Anton

      Yes, which is why you need a man of wisdom in the position.

      • Ivan M

        The man is wise enough for this age. The scholarly Pope Benedict would have given a Regensburg address which no one will read.

    • “What short, one-sentence answer would any one of us have given in Francis’s place?”

      Le mele sono cose cattive défilé.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        Che cazzo vuol dire quello?

        • Language, William !!!

          Una mela marcia rovina il barile.

          • Uncle__Brian

            Didn’t Francis once let slip a “che cazzo” while standing at the window and addressing the crowd below him in St Peter’s Square? If the Holy Father is allowed to get away with it, then surely we all are!

          • Practicing Catholics only … as we have Confession.

    • SidneyDeane

      “Obviously he couldn’t come down on the side of the murderers”

      Obviously!

      “but in his position as the head of the world’s largest Christian church, equally obviously he had to avoid saying something that could be seen as condoning the kind of no-limits caricatures of Christian belief that have been staple fare in the pages of Charlie Hebdo”
      He couldnt condone free speech basically. That’s the problem, he doesnt believe in free speech so couldnt answer a very simple question and assert it. He of course wants Christianity and the Catholic Church to be above satire and criticism because well… he doesnt want any more home truths of paedophilia getting out does he. He also knows that religion cannot stand criticism, which is why all religions throughout history (all several hundred of them, not your modern christianity which just happens to be the belief system alive when you lot just happen to be alive) have set blasphemy laws and kill those who breach them.
      Now that there are no more blasphemy laws in the uk and Christianity is a very big elephant sized easy target what do we see? Ever declining numbers of christians and ever increasing numbers of atheists. Hehehe.
      Im sorry Mr Pope but were going to keep on ripping your belief system to complete shreds and youre going to suck it up and like it. Until you all disappear that is. And even then we’ll remind everyone how stupid you were.