catholic school statues
Education

Catholic School removes statues of Mary and Jesus to be more inclusive

In this season of rampant anti-statue-ism, where Cecil Rhodes must fall, Edward Colston must tumble, Robert E Lee must be toppled, Captain Cook must yield, Admiral Horatio Nelson must be pulled down and even poor Mahatma Gandhi must hit the dirt, it appears that symbols and memorials of the past have become our battles of the present: drab and cold grey monuments have morphed into vibrant Technicolor movements for change – not so much an organic change of culture as a crusade to revolutionise apprehensions of history and truth. Yesterday’s wise and virtuous are today’s racists and bigots: why would we want to memorialise wickedness or celebrate evil? Don’t statues of a conquering white supremacist and slave-traders offend against all that is noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable?

A Roman Catholic school in California, the San Domenico School in San Anselmo, has gone a step further: Mary must fall; Jesus must tumble; Mary and the baby Jesus together is just too much for non-Catholics to cope with, and so their statues must be pulled down.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The Holy Family is offensive to non-Christians, and so, in the name of inclusion, their images must be expunged from a Catholic school?

“If you walk on the campus and the first thing you confront is three or four statues of St. Dominic or St. Francis, it could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn’t want to further that feeling,” (said) Amy Skewes-Cox, who chairs the school’s board of trustees.

Cecily Stock, who is head of the school, said most students are not Catholic.

“Over the last few years we’ve had fewer Catholic students as part of the community and a larger number of students of various faith traditions,” Stock said. “Right now about 80 percent of our families do not identify as Catholic.”

…”Our goal in this shift was in alignment with our strategic plan that was approved by our Board of Trustees and Dominican Sisters of San Rafael in June of 2016 and reflects our commitment to continuing a 167-year tradition of inclusive education,” Kimberly Pinkson, director of marketing and communications, told Fox News.

There’s an interesting debate about mission to be had here, in particular about the Christian mission in education, but the knee-jerk temptation for many will be to denounce the school’s ‘betrayal’ of its Christian heritage and ‘denial’ of its foundational ethos, or decry the ‘liberal’/’weak’/’insane’ headteacher and board of trustees for their offensive compromise with the world: “Articulating an inclusive foundation appears to mean letting go of San Domenico’s 167-year tradition as a Dominican Catholic school and being both afraid and ashamed to celebrate one’s heritage and beliefs,” said Shannon Fitzpatrick, a parent with an 8-year-old son at the school.

You could take the line that this is fundamental denial of Christ: ‘But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven‘ (Mt 10:33). But we’re talking here about statues, not ethos. You can eliminate the word ‘Christian’ and still be Christian; you can topple a statue of Jesus because it is nothing but an effigy and it’s more important that he is Lord of your heart than a marble block in the lobby. God is beyond being: Christ is beyond that which captivates the gaze.

These statues might provoke visions and render visible the invisible, or they might stand as confirmation of spiritual petrification. Some may worship, revere and adore them, for they make present that which is wholly ‘other’. But in a school of moral formation and intellectual development, where the majority know little or nothing of the God of alterity, what love and gift of salvation is really encountered in an effigy?

There may, of course, be aesthetic illumination in the form of Jesus and his mother for those who believe, but if secular liberalism rejects Adam’s Fall, and that is the pervasive belief of students and parents, what purpose do statues of God-centred redemption actually serve? If they are considered stumbling blocks to the weak, are they really indispensable? Are not schoolteachers a better living incarnation of Christian values, and a superior reification of Christian ethos?

The task of education is to emancipate humanity from ignorance and poverty through enlightenment and empowerment so that people might be masters of their own destiny. In Roman Catholic schools – indeed, in all Christian schools – the intellectual and moral aspects of education are complemented by the mission to reunite fallen humanity with its creator. Is it not possible to contemplate the ethical Christ without statues? Is it not preferable to inquire into the consonance of Christianity with reason in the absence of outward forms and images of divine relationship?

Christian education is a box of competing tensions: there is the pursuit of knowledge, the formation of character, the facilitation of social harmony, issues of moral utility and questions of ultimate truth. These combine to bring children from darkness to light by guiding them from their caves of ignorance into open spaces of truth. To be Christian is not to be obsessed with statues, but to be concerned with authentic relationship with God. Christian education must ultimately liberate children to engage intelligently with a range of conflicting belief systems and a spectrum of mutually exclusive philosophies: the precise content of a child’s belief is less important than the manner in which it is held. Are students really gleaning virtue, wisdom and civility from the zealous defence of statues? Are these marble forms really intrinsic to children’s spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development?

God’s presence in a Christian school is not contingent on images and effigies: His Spirit is ubiquitous, and the institutional ethos and cultural values flow from the faith of those who govern, lead and teach. You may consider the removal of Christian statues to be somehow symbolic of an ever-encroaching secularism, but Christ himself might just enter this school’s lobby and topple such idols, for all teaching is confessional: it is adult hearts and mouths which convey beliefs to children’s minds and inculcate values in their souls. Jesus might just be a little more concerned with the indoctrination of society’s biases, prejudices and mores than with the ossification of his infancy and his mother’s perpetual virginity.

  • Martin

    Glad to hear they’re getting rid of their idols. I’d still not want my children or grandchildren to go to a church school that follows the teaching of Rome.

    • Dolphinfish

      You’d be hard pressed to find one.

    • Little Black Censored

      You only have to decide not to send them to such a school. Sending them there and expecting the school to adjust itself to your views is something else entirely.

      • Martin

        I doubt it could adjust itself,

    • Dreadnaught

      Stock said schools operated by the Catholic Church, such as St. Isabella, Marin Catholic and St. Anselm, tend to have larger class sizes and lower tuition costs. Tuition for an incoming kindergarten student at San Domenico is $29,850.
      Now it makes sense – it’s all about the bottom line than being forced to remove iconography symbolic of the faith and bringing in more non-Catholic punters. Reducing the number of statues/icons visible from 180 to 18, would make the place less overtly Catholic and more marketable. Less of an attack on Christian faith and iconography; more about management in the education business.

      http://www.marinij.com/social-affairs/20170824/san-anselmos-san-domenico-school-creates-stir-by-removing-catholic-statues

  • Watchman

    It seems they’ve done the right thing for the wrong reasons!

  • Hmm did you really just highlight a US Catholic school’s odd decision to remove the marks of its own heritage and ethos in order to reignite the old accusations of idolatry?

    I think we’re mixing up issues here. I’m sure as a protestant you object to Catholic statues. But as an indication of the advance of the insidious inclusiveness agenda surely this is only to be regretted by all right thinking people.

    • Watchman

      It is interesting, Will, that the Catholic catechism has plagerised the the commandments, except It has missed out the second commandment about making and bowing down to idols but retained ten by splitting the commandment on coveting into two commandments. I wonder why this is?

      • meltemian
        • john in cheshire

          You beat me to it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with statues but worship of them, praying to them is wrong.

          • Little Black Censored

            How many Christians do you know who pray to statues?

          • john in cheshire

            I’d say no Christians pray to statues but there are many who call themselves Christian who do.

          • Martin

            John

            I’d quarrel with those who claim their statues are of God.

        • IanCad

          So right, but substitute “Statues” for “Idols” as jinc just stated.

        • Watchman

          You lost my attention Mel, when, in your link it said: “4. We believe the Catholic Church alone has the authority to give to God’s people an authoritative list of the Ten Commandments. ”

          What arrogance! There was I believing it was Yahweh through Moses.

          Some years ago I was on holiday in France and I found myself in Lourdes. There, in the trinket shops they were selling bottles in the shape of Mary to be filled by the water from the spring in Lourdes. I’m not quite sure whether the important item was the bottle or the water but in either case I would call it idolatry.

          • Albert

            And if God has chosen to give his commandments through his people, the Church, is the Church arrogant to claim that authority?

          • Watchman

            But He hasn’t, Albert.

          • Albert

            Well obviously, we believe he has. You may disagree, but that does not make us arrogant, for we do not believe this because of any good in us.

          • Watchman

            You’re right to think that there is no good in you – or any of us for that matter. So why would He then entrust you with making the rules?

          • Albert

            He doesn’t. The Church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. In entrusting it to the Church, which has Christ as its head, he entrusts it to himself. We are simply instruments in that. I think your post shows one of the many ways in which Evangelicalism is inadequate from a biblical point of view: you just don’t seem to see the Church as being anything more than the members of the Church. And this is plainly not what scripture says.

          • Watchman

            If you read Paul’s discourse on the church as The Body of Christ you would realise that he isn’t talking about yours.

          • Albert

            Well he certainly isn’t talking about anything Protestant. It’s his body, not something DIY.

          • Watchman

            It’s you who keeps banging on about Protestant, not me. I’m talking about those who have accepted the blood of Jesus as a price paid for their salvation. They are the true Church and inhabit the Kingdom of Heaven. Read your Bible, Albert, it has everything you need to know.

          • Albert

            It’s you who keeps banging on about Protestant, not me. I’m talking about those who have accepted the blood of Jesus as a price paid for their salvation.

            That is not sufficient for being a member of the Church. If it were, it would be impossible to expel such persons, but it is clear that they can be expelled.

            Read your Bible, Albert, it has everything you need to know.

            I have read my Bible. One thing I have never found said there is that it has everything I need to know. Do give the passage.

          • Watchman

            I really don’t understand most of your post. You are obviously living on another planet or caught up in another gospel which has a man-made edifice at its head.

          • Albert

            I make two points:

            1. Scripture teaches the Church expel Christians for various reasons. Therefore scripture teaches one can be a Christian and be outside the Church.

            2. Scripture does not teach sola scriptura.

            I find it odd you think this is confusing. If 1 is confusing to you, you don’t know your Bible. If you can find a scripture passage to deny 2. do so.

          • Watchman

            Your your understanding of the church and mine are different. Yours is a man made institution which has long since turned to apostasy in order to gain worldly political and financial power. Mine is the church which exists as many ekklesia all with Jesus at the head of each one. Paul advised all churches that in order to retain purity in the church they should expel anyone who did not hold to the truth of the gospel and would lead anyone else into unholy living. Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this world and His Church were part of that Kingdom.

            2 Timothy 3:12-17 HCSB
            [12] In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. [13] Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. [14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, [15] and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, [17] so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

            Verse 17 indicated that scripture, in itself, is all that is necessary for man to live a life satisfying to Him.

          • Albert

            Your first assertion about the Church is just an assertion and be rebutted with an assertion. As for your point about Paul, it was the teaching of Jesus I was talking about:

            “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

            Thus it is possible for a Christian to be removed from the Church because of sin. And so it follows that being a Christian is not sufficient to make one a member of the Church.

            Verse 17 indicated that scripture, in itself, is all that is necessary for man to live a life satisfying to Him.

            That’s risible. Scripture also says that steadfastness is necessary for completeness (Jas. 1.4) but it does not follow that steadfastness alone is sufficient. For the word complete is not the same as sufficient. A single penny is necessary for a pound to be complete, otherwise it will only be 99 p. But a penny is not therefore a pound. Thus I can clearly believe scripture is necessary for for the man of God to be complete, but that does not mean that scripture alone is sufficient.

            But that means we are without a proof from scripture for the doctrine of sola scriptura. But the doctrine of sola scriptura just is the doctrine that we can find everything necessary in scripture. And since sola scriptura is not found in scripture it is self-referentially contradictory. No one actually believes it.

            So 2 Tim 3 would only be a problem for Catholics if we said scripture was unnecessary. But we don’t say that, we say: All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. But your Protestant human tradition goes beyond that, and claims, absurdly scripture alone and that everything must be found there.

          • Watchman

            Albert, it is important to recognise that the word “church” every time it is mentioned in the NT is the Greek “ekklesia”. Its meaning is assembly or congregation of those called out either into a synagogue or a building in which Christians met. When Jesus used the term it can only have meant synagogue because He had not yet died and been resurrected so no Christians existed. In Jesus’ time only Jews were the ones called out, separated for God’s purpose, but under law and not grace. Paul and the other epistle writers refered to the ekklesia as the local assembly of believers and sometimes wrote to churches, emphasising that each ekklesia stood on its own, for example Paul wrote to all the churches in Galatia in his letter to the Galatians. Jesus universal Church was not referred to as an earthly church but as a heavenly entity. On this earth the only references to church are as separate, self governing assemblies guided by the Holy Spirit with Jesus as the Head. There is no concept of an umbrella organisation such as the Catholic Church or the Church of England; these are man made organisations which have no meaning, they are not an assembly or congregation. So when Jesus and Paul were talking about removal from the church they could only mean from the synagogue or the assembly of Christians.

            On your second point about the completeness and inerrancy of Scripture one of the best exegeses I’ve read is from David Guzik which is too long to copy here but you can access it here:

            https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-2Ti/2Ti-3.cfm.

          • Albert

            When Jesus used the term it can only have meant synagogue because He had not yet died and been resurrected so no Christians existed.

            You don’t think that Jesus had any sense at all of what was coming next?

            Paul and the other epistle writers refered to the ekklesia as the local assembly of believers and sometimes wrote to churches, emphasising that each ekklesia stood on its own, for example Paul wrote to all the churches in Galatia in his letter to the Galatians…On this earth the only references to church are as separate, self governing assemblies

            Firstly, the Church is clearly more than the gathering, since it is the body of Christ. Secondly, it is false to see the local churches as self-governing, since they are manifestly under the authority of the apostles – the letters themselves show this. There is an overarching unitary authority presupposed and often explicitly exercised in the NT scripture. Thus the Protestant model of church is nothing like the NT. They are man made assemblies, which rupture the unity of Christians, contrary to the prayer of our Lord.

            On your second point about the completeness and inerrancy of Scripture one of the best exegeses I’ve read is from David Guzik

            What you mean by best is that Guzik assures you that you are right. But perhaps Guzik is not right. There’s an awful lot there of Guzik saying “X means Y”, but does it? Consider this line:

            ii. Complete means the Bible leads me into everything I need. If I will be both a hearer and a doer of the word, I will be complete as a Christian, thoroughly equipped for every good work. This reminds us that we are not in the business of building sermon appreciation societies, but in equipping the saints for the work of ministry.

            But does it mean that? The Bible doesn’t say that; Guzik does. And here’s the problem, if the Bible doesn’t say that, and we need to rely on Guzik, then clearly the doctrine of sola scriptura is voided by the very evidence that is advanced in its favour. What is overlooked by Guzik and others is that scripture does not say ever that sola scriptura is true. On the contrary, there’s a lot in scripture about tradition. Ah says the Evangelical, but all that tradition is in scripture. And if I ask for the proof that all that tradition is in scripture, the evidence given is that it must be so because 2 Tim. 3 says scripture makes a man complete. But as I have shown, making a man complete, does not mean that scripture is sufficient, it could mean that scripture and tradition is sufficient, for example. To know that doctrine, that scripture is sufficient, we need to rely not on scripture, or the word of God, but the word of man – Guzik in this case. And so we can see that sola scriptura is not in fact believed by anyone, for the man who tries to believe it, denies it in that very act.

      • Albert

        Can you provide the evidence in Hebrew for the separation of these two commandments, please? As far as I am aware, the number is a matter of convention. Catholicism agrees with the Jewish Talmud, Luther and Augustine. Reformed Protestantism follows the LXX and Philo. This is curious since Protestantism normally doesn’t do that. I wonder why that is?

        • Watchman

          I’m not quite sure what your asking. The evidence for two rather than one commandment for covetousness came from Rome when they decided to make the number up to ten in order to cover up the fact that they like making graven images to worship. Why would they exclude this commandment unless they enjoyed breaking it? The Talmud, Luther and Augustine are not authorititive sources, except to a Romanism of course.

          • Albert

            This is completely unhistorical, and fails to take account of what I wrote. The Hebrew does not include numbering. The numbering is part of tradition. Different traditions have different numberings. The only curiosity is why the Reformed Protestants followed authorities they normally rejected.

          • Watchman

            The authority that I follow is the Word of God only. Why would I need any other?

          • Albert

            And the word of God gets to you how? Consider this. God gave the 10 Commandments through the people of Israel. Now the Israelites are not arrogant in believing that, it is a simple fact. But the Church is greater than Israel, so how can the Church also be less than Israel?

          • Watchman

            The church is not greater than Israel. Those who believe are adopted into the family of Abraham so how can we be greater than Israel. The New Covenant belongs to Israel and by the Grace of God gentiles were permitted to be party to it by our adoption.

          • Albert

            Jesus is the Son of David and a descendant of Abraham. But he is greater than both.

          • Watchman

            Don’t be silly, the analogy is a false one. He was the Son of God.

          • Albert

            And you think there is no connection between the Church and Christ? No wonder your ecclesiology is so negligible.

          • Watchman

            The Ten Commandments are only for the Jews. They do not apply to the gentiles, never have.

          • Albert

            Really? You can commit adultery and murder and steal?

          • Watchman

            Why do I have a need of history or man’s tradition. The God I worship is the same yesterday, today and for ever. He exists outside time and has let His will be known through those He elected to write it down.

          • Albert

            But your whole argument rested on history. It is only tradition that numbers the commandments one way or another. If you now eschew tradition, you withdraw your argument.

          • Watchman

            I do not have a view on the Ten Commandments, I am not Jewish and they never applied to me or any of my ancestors so the numbering system is of no interest to me. I was merely pointing out that your church has given itself permission to worship idols by omitting that particular commandment from its catechism.

          • Albert

            The Ten Commandments apply to Christians, for the moral law applies to Christians. A modification has to be made to the commandment about the sabbath, because of the resurrection and the command about images has to be seen in the light of the rest of scripture. Just as the commandment about visiting the sins of the fathers on the children, needs to be seen in the light of Ex.18.17.

            I was merely pointing out that your church has given itself permission to worship idols by omitting that particular commandment from its catechism.

            Two falsehoods there. Firstly, we do not worship idols. Second, the part of the commandment about graven images is in the Catechism.

            Now if you do not think the Ten Commandments don’t apply to you, why do you have such worries about all this any way?

          • Watchman

            What evidence have you that the early church were commanded to keep the Ten Commandments? The Commandments are law and the church was removed from the curse of the law. The apostles and elders wrote a short letter to the churches before sending their own members to ensure that they were being taught the truth.
            Acts 15:28-29
            “[28] For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision-and ours-to put no greater burden on you than these necessary things: [29] that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. You will do well if you keep yourselves from these things. Farewell.”
            This was the extent of their prohibitions.

            Jesus teaching on the law contained this exchange:
            Matthew 22:34-40
            [34] When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. [35] And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: [36] “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” [37] He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the greatest and most important command. [39] The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. [40] All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

            I can only assert that as your idols, statues, icons and beads seem an indispensable part of your equipment they must have some value to you and as such are idolatrous. Both yourselves and other denominations have buildings which seem important to you. I would regard this as idolatry. And perhaps you should read what Dominic wrote on this thread.

          • Albert

            What evidence have you that the early church were commanded to keep the Ten Commandments?

            Because most of the Ten Commandments is part of the moral law, which must be kept. You’ve decided to quote Matthew 22, but why did you miss out Matthew 19:16-19

            And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
            17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
            18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
            19 Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

            As for Matthew 22, Paul himself explains what that means in Romans 13:8-10

            Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
            For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
            Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.

            Now here’s the irony. Having attempted, rather eccentrically, to say that the Ten Commandments do not apply to you, you then seem stuck on the images of the Ten Commandments, which is curious, because the making of images is the one commandment that God positively commands to be broken. But since you have voided the authority of the commandments, you appeal to your own authority and insight:

            I can only assert that as your idols, statues, icons and beads seem an indispensable part of your equipment they must have some value to you and as such are idolatrous. Both yourselves and other denominations have buildings which seem important to you. I would regard this as idolatry.

            But you don’t have any authority or particular insight in all that. The fact that something is valuable to us does not mean it is an idol. In suggesting that it does, you show how little scripture you know. Consider how the Temple is loved in the OT or Jerusalem – even the dust is valuable (Psalm 102.14). Does the OT then teach people to worship the Temple of Jerusalem. Or are we to assume that they worshipped the Ark because of what is said in 2 Samuel 6?
            Or did they worship relics because of 2 Kings 13.21?

            It seems to me that you condemn scripture with these accusations, which, as I point out, rest on your own insight and authority, and go rather contrary to the word of God himself.

          • Watchman

            You are vexatious Albert. You don’t understand the concept of the New Testament church and confuse the Old Covenant with the New Covenant; being under the law and the removal of the curse of the law. When Jesus told him to keep the law it was because he was under the law. I am not under the law because the curse of the law has been removed by the redemptive power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. As a gentile I was never under the law but must pay attention to Jesus commandment to those who put their faith in Him.

            Churches are not the Temple for as Paul said our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. Temple is Old Covenant, our bodies are the temples of the new covenant. Your theology is really very confused. Do you want to live under the law, then you will be judged by the law?

          • Albert

            You are vexatious Albert. You don’t understand the concept of the New Testament church and confuse the Old Covenant with the New Covenant; being under the law and the removal of the curse of the law.

            What you mean is that I have a different view of these things from your Protestant human tradition. I have never heard of someone say quite what you say about Ten Commandments before. You seem to move from “We are not under the law” to “therefore the Ten Commandments have been abolished.” That’s just confused.

            When Jesus told him to keep the law it was because he was under the law.

            This argument might make some sense, if I had not quoted the passage of St Paul I did. The fact is that all of the commandments appear elsewhere in the NT, even after the cross. For example,

            1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

            1 Timothy 6:1 … that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

            Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

            Or consider Romans 13 as cited before.

            You confuse several things. You do not have to keep the ceremonial law of the Jews because it has been done away with by the cross. You do not have to keep the ethnic law of the Jews, because you are a gentile. But the moral law you must keep or you will not enter heaven:

            But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

            And

            Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
            [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit,
            [21] envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

            And this is to say nothing of the passages already cited.

            Churches are not the Temple for as Paul said our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit.

            For reasons that escape me, some Protestants seem to think that when Catholics speak of the Church they mean a building. Beats me as to why…But yes our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, but there is more than that. The

            and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

            It is as living stones together that is also taught.

            Your theology is really very confused. Do you want to live under the law, then you will be judged by the law?

            I do not accept Protestant theology on all this, but as I trust the scriptures cited in this post show, Protestant theology is hardly that of scripture. When you say “judged by the law” you seem unclear as to how the law applies to Christians. I will not be judged for not being circumcised or for wearing mixed fabrics, but if I have committed adultery or committed murder and not repented of it, of course I will be judged for that – the Bible says so (see above).

          • Watchman

            OED synomyns for idolatry include:
            idolization, idolizing, fetishization, worship, worshipping, adulation, adoration, adoring, reverence, glorification, lionizing, lionization, love, admiration, loving, admiring, hero-worshipping.

          • Albert

            How precisely does that list help you, particularly in the light of my previous post? You accused us of stuff we find in the Bible! So failing to argue from the Bible, you’ve appealed without clarification, to the OED!

        • cagedvole

          Look at Exodus 20, and you’ll see that if you do want to split the commandment against coveting into two, the first of those is going to be
          Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house.

          • Albert

            Your point being?

          • cagedvole

            That if you split the last commandment in 2 to make up the number after subtracting the one about graven images, you’ll find yourself with a whole commandment entirely aimed at Homes & Gardens readers 🙂
            Who no doubt are as covetous as the rest of us, but it still seems disproportionate.

          • Albert

            Well firstly, the Catholic Church is following the ordering of Deuteronomy. Secondly, I think it odd that you so belittle the distinction scripture itself makes. When Paul wishes to give an example of a sin against the law, he picks coveting. Obviously it was important. And in Colossians 3 he says:

            Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

            He distinguishes a variety of sins which you might say are all covetousness. We follow this kind of distinction. Do you object to it?

          • cagedvole

            Distinctions are fine, but otiose here. You might if you liked say they’re all covetousness, but as such they’re all covered by the commandment Thou shalt not covet.
            Do you feel the need of subsections to cover all the varieties of stealing – embezzlement, highway robbery etc?
            You’re heading for the mindset that says homosexual behaviour must be fine because it isn’t mentioned in the decalogue.

          • Albert

            The distinctions are found in scripture, so it is telling that you are unhappy.

            embezzlement, highway robbery

            Embezzlement is indeed covered by two commandments – stealing and bearing false witness.

            You’re heading for the mindset that says homosexual behaviour must be fine because it isn’t mentioned in the decalogue.

            I’d love to see your reasoning there. Do set it out, with the premises.

          • cagedvole

            Don’t talk like an idiot, Albert.
            I say “distinctions are fine”, and you reply that my unhappiness is telling?
            I’d love to see your reasoning there, do set it out :-p

          • Albert

            You didn’t just say they were fine, you said they were otiose. But they are those of scripture. Therefore, you are unhappy with scripture, finding it otiose.

            Then I asked you to defend a claim you had made, and you decided to duck that. I wonder why. Please explain how I am heading for the mindset that says homosexual behaviour must be fine because it isn’t mentioned in the decalogue. If you can’t please have the humility and truthfulness to withdraw a false accusation.

          • cagedvole

            Scripture also says that Aaron’s priestly robes had bells and pomegranates all round its hem.
            Would you agree that the bells and pomegranates are fine, but otiose in this context? Go on surprise me, tell me you wouldn’t :-s

            If you say that the Decalogue needs separate commandments to cover distinct types of coveting, one umbrella prohibition being inadequate; then the same would apply to adultery and all the rest.

            Many will argue that homosexual behaviour must be fine, because there’s a new, modern understanding of it, which is not explicitly mentioned in the Decalogue.

            You might tell them that ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ covers it – which it does; but you’d be on dubious ground while contrariwise arguing the necessity of 2 separate and distinct ‘coveting’ commandments.

          • Albert

            Would you agree that the bells and pomegranates are fine, but otiose in this context?

            Yes, but that does not mean that every distinction is otiose in this context. If we are talking about the nature of covetousness, then it would appear that the distinctions scripture makes about covetousness, especially when they are mirrored in the very commandments we are talking about, are anything but otiose.

            If you say that the Decalogue needs separate commandments to cover distinct types of coveting, one umbrella prohibition being inadequate; then the same would apply to adultery and all the rest.

            I didn’t make the major premise there and I deny it. I simply say it is legitimate and point out that there are a variety of different ways of breaking up the commandments, and that none of these was can be claimed to be the only one. Having grown up in the CofE my instinct is to follow the Anglican numbering you defend. No one in the Catholic Church cares about that. As for your comment about adultery, that’s just silly since the command (unlike covetousness) cannot be broken up. It simply says “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” If it added a list of different types of adultery, then perhaps it could be, but it doesn’t. So your point is bizarre.

            Many will argue that homosexual behaviour must be fine, because there’s a new, modern understanding of it, which is not explicitly forbidden.

            It is a key part of scriptural interpretation that we properly understand what is said about things. After all, scripture says we must not make graven images in the commandments, but on several occasions commands the making of images. Therefore, the matter cannot be as simple as you claim and it is important to know that. But no such argument can be made for homosexuality, so the argument fails.

          • cagedvole

            This is what it comes down to, without so many hairs needing to die the death of a thousand splits:

            God gave commandments, ten only in number, that were to be for all ages and all peoples.
            You think covetousness such a uniquely abstruse and multi-faceted sin that it had to take up two of them.
            Nonsense.

            (and btw, claiming the alleged fact of there being two as a proof of importance is a petitio principii)

          • Albert

            Firstly, the number of the commandments is not mentioned. Secondly, the numbering we use is used by some Protestants as well. Thirdly, the numbering we use is Jewish, so it is not in itself connected with images. Fourthly, while you say it is splitting hairs, I would point out that the opening commandment(s) and the last commandments(s) are unique in breaking the commandment down to bits:

            “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

            and

            “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house;

            you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

            Now you can complain about splitting hairs (I suspect you haven’t read much OT law in which case), but the hair splitting is in scripture. I can equally complain that you split hairs because “thou shalt not worship graven images” is clearly contained in You shall have no other gods before me.

            So it is just silly of you, and frankly unscriptural for you to say:

            You think covetousness such a uniquely abstruse and multi-faceted sin that it had to take up two of them.

            No I don’t think it is uniquely so. I think the commandment against idolatry is similar.

            And btw it is an example of petitio principii to assume that your tradition on this is the right one, given that the scripture itself, does not include the numbering.

          • cagedvole

            I do think the Protestant numbering is right, but I didn’t construct an argument using that as a premiss, so how petitio?

            It sounds as if you now want to proceed on the assumption that there may actually be 9, or 11 or more Commandments.
            That would really take the stuffing out of the whole Catholic position.

          • Albert

            Well, it just looks to me like I’ve applied your own medicine to your own position and now you want to change the subject. I’ve also begun to expose your unwarranted assumption about the Catholic motivation in this, as being false. And so what you’ve done, is change the subject. The petitio here works because, if I accept your argument, and then play it back at you, your own position can only be shown to be right on the prior assumption that it is right.

          • Albert

            Incidentally, is your interest in all this to defend Watchman’s point (where you joined the discussion) that Catholic numbering stems from the Catholic practice of having statues etc.?

          • cagedvole

            What else?

          • Albert

            I thought so. Because it’s interesting that you don’t bother to investigate the Catholic reason. As I have shown, the Catholic numbering is Jewish and therefore not associated with images, and it is also Lutheran, and so not restricted to Catholicism. But the reason the Latin West went in this direction is the authority of Augustine. And what he says is nothing to do with images. He says this:

            it seems to me more fitting that the first group be accepted as three, and the other as seven, because those three which pertain to God seem to make known the Trinity to those diligently contemplating. And truly the commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me,” is itself explicated more completely by the prohibition of worshipping images that follows. Further on, coveting another’s wife, and coveting another’s house, differ as much in the sins as in the commandments themselves.

            So he regards your distinction as, to use your own expression, splitting hairs. Obviously, if you cannot worship other gods, you cannot worship idols. However, the difference between say jealousy over a neighbour’s property, and lust after his wife, are clearly two different sins – as endless scripture shows – even if they can both be called covetousness.

            Moreover, Augustine’s reasoning is that it is fitting that there should be three commandments relating to God, as Trinity (he even enumerates them by person) and seven relating to our duty to man (as being a good “moral” number in the Bible). Nothing to do with images then. But don’t let a nasty prejudice be undermined by actual evidence – if you do that, you might become a Catholic – as I found.

          • cagedvole

            Why then in Exodus is the prohibition against coveting a wife, supposedly a commandment in its own right, buried down the list of other things not to be coveted? don’t forget the Biblical rule of first mention 🙂

          • Albert

            I thought we’d been through this already? You are simply following Exodus 20. If you read the commandments as they appear in Deuteronomy 5, you will see that the order is different, and that coveting a neighbour’s wife is not buried down the list. That fact, also shows that the numbering is clearly more flexible than you allow – even within scripture.

            It is really sad that, even when you are confronted with the evidence that answers you, you still try to pass judgement on your neighbour. Perhaps if you didn’t begin with a cynical judgementalism of your neighbour, but in charity assumed the best of him, things would be better? Why worry about the order of the 10 Commandments (which is flexible and motivated by nobler issues than you seem prepared to allow), when you should be following the commandment to love your neighbour and your enemy?

          • cagedvole

            cynical judgmentalism? That’s a bit heavy. I’m only disagreeing with you. I’ve no problem assuming the best about your personal character, while remaining persuaded that you’re wrong on this issue :-p

          • Albert

            Well just a moment. From the beginning your attack on Catholicism (not me) has been based on a series of unevidenced and ultimately false assumptions, in which you have assumed the worst of your opponents. I call that cynical judgementalism.

            Now when you say that you remain persuaded that I’m wrong on this, what do you mean? That despite all the evidence to the contrary, and none in its favour, you remain persuaded that the Catholic position is motivated by concern for images?

          • cagedvole

            1) Catholicism for centuries has been deeply into the wrong use of images (even to the extent sometimes of mingling its practices with outright paganism or Voodoo, never mind so-called Mariolatry).

            2) The church of Rome numbers the Commandments in such a way that when they’re listed in short order, graven images aren’t mentioned.

            I think you’ve persuaded me that it’s difficult or impossible to say which of those two facts is cause and which effect 🙂

            Your position though is that they have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, am I right?

          • Albert

            1) Catholicism for centuries has been deeply into the wrong use of images (even to the extent sometimes of mingling its practices with outright paganism or Voodoo, never mind so-called Mariolatry).

            False, and undefended.

            2) The church of Rome numbers the Commandments in such a way that when they’re listed in short order, graven images aren’t mentioned.

            Also false – I’ve pointed this out already. Just look at the Catechism.

            I think you’ve persuaded me that it’s difficult or impossible to say which of those two facts is cause and which effect 🙂

            Since neither point is true, and a proper, evidential explanation already exists, your points are neither cause nor effect.

            Your position though is that they have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, am I right?

            Obviously, since neither is true.

          • cagedvole

            Here are the ten Commandments, as listed in short order in the Penny Catechism and taught to generations of children:

            1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
            2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
            3. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
            4. Honour thy father and mother.
            5. Thou shalt not kill.
            6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
            7. Thou shalt not steal.
            8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
            9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.
            10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods.

            My other point of course couldn’t be demonstrated by any single post, so congratulations, you get to stick with denial 🙂

          • Albert

            This is hilarious! Firstly, the Penny Catechism for children, is hardly an authority. Do you not have Sunday school books? Do they not simplify things? Are not children’s Bibles simplified? To see quite how silly your point is let’s consider

            10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods.

            On your logic, the Church has deliberately suppressed you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s

            Seriously? And your second point cannot be demonstrated at all because it isn’t true. It’s like me saying “Protestants eat babies” and when you say they don’t, me repeating it as if it is true.

          • cagedvole

            you’ll find the penny catechism has its imprimatur and nihil obstat, indeed the CTS brought out a new edition only 2 years ago.
            That’s the form in which generations of catholics have been taught the ten Commandments; which was my point.
            (I don’t actually think you could possibly learn them from that masterpiece of obfuscation, the modern catechism. Whoever drew up the penny version had a much better grasp of the nature and purpose of catechesis).

            As for the improper use of images, next time you’re around any biggish catholic church, circumspice. :-p

          • Albert

            you’ll find the penny catechism has its imprimatur and nihil obstat, indeed the CTS brought out a new edition only 2 years ago.

            What does that actually mean? It means that there is no error in it and so nothing should stop it being printed. It does not mean that it is therefore a complete and exhaustive account. If you want that, there best you can do is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I could produce a book and it could be an imprimatur and nihil obstat. It wouldn’t mean the book had any authority in itself.

            The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the other hand, is authoritative and far more exhaustive. So why don’t you consult that? We all know the answer.

            That’s the form in which generations of catholics have been taught the ten Commandments; which was my point.

            In England. But that’s hardly the Catholic world is it? And I can honestly say I have never seen it used. And it is meant as a summary, not as a comprehensive account. People are expected to grow from there, not end there.

            As for the improper use of images, next time you’re around any biggish catholic church, circumspice. :-p

            You don’t know what you’re talking about. Anyway, Protestants eat babies.

          • cagedvole

            haha, nice one Albert 🙂 Yes, they’re delicious, though I couldn’t eat a whole one.

            I couldn’t care less if the full unreadable catechism gives more nuanced obfuscation; that’s got nothing to do with anything.
            The point is that these short summaries like the penny catechism (widely used in the US as well as Britain) have been around since the Reformation in many languages, and they, not the theologians’ in-house tomes, are the source from which catholics have got such knowledge as they have.

            Hence, the faithful see no commandment against graven images, but they do see churches and shrines full of the things, having candles lit before them, being prayed and vowed to, having their toes kissed and all the rest of it.

            No connection whatsoever, no sirree 🙂

          • Albert

            I think we’ve been through all the evidence on this and we have seen that there isn’t actually any evidence on your side of the debate (unless we count your cynicism, which isn’t evidence of anything useful here).

            The only other thing to point out is that the reason some Protestants have worries about images is (i) because they have a limited view of the OT, and don’t seem to realise that images are commanded to be created and used there, and (ii) that the incarnation, together with people’s grasp that pantheism isn’t true, changes everything. All too often, the reason Protestants don’t accept images is because they don’t believe in the incarnation.

          • cagedvole

            O’Rilly?
            I don’t recall going through any evidence for catholic non-use of images, let alone all of it. Let’s have it, if you’ve got some!
            As for OT use of images –
            there’s the brazen serpent, which Hezekiah later destroyed precisely because the people had started making it an object of worship; and there’s the cherubim with the mercy seat, which were out of sight of all in the Holy of Holies (and faced inward in any case).

          • Albert

            There’s another error of logic: moving from the misuse of something to its illegitimacy. Do you think God was wrong to command the creation of the serpent?

            The evidence I was referring to was the evidence concerning the commandments.

          • cagedvole

            no, I do not think God was “wrong”. Duh.
            So, do you want to make the OT exemplary for the use of images, or don’t you?

            A couple of days ago you not inappropriately compared your argument re the commandments to an imaginary one in which you say “protestants eat babies” and I say oh, no, they don’t, and you reply “oh, yes, they do”. The unifying factor being that all the time, you know as well as I do that what you’re asserting ain’t so.

            But, my dear chap, don’t let us fall out; I’ve just been voting up some of your remarks on J Rees-Mogg, which made me feel quite warm and friendly toward you. Nobody’s wrong about EVERYTHING :-p

          • Albert

            So, do you want to make the OT exemplary for the use of images, or don’t you?

            No I don’t. I’m just pointing out that it is a little odd to make so much of a commandment that the OT itself does not keep absolutely. Secondly, I am pointing out an error of logic on your part. The fact that something can be misused, does not make it wrong in itself.

            A couple of days ago you not inappropriately compared your argument re the commandments to an imaginary one in which you say “protestants eat babies” and I say oh, no, they don’t, and you reply “oh, yes, they do”. The unifying factor being that all the time, you know as well as I do that what you’re asserting ain’t so.

            Quite. You are ignorant of my position, and I am not ignorant of yours. But there is another unifying factor – the idea of repeatedly saying what someone else believes, even when they say they don’t.

            What I find odd about Evangelicals like you, is that you never bother to ask why we do what we do.

            Thank you for the upvotes.

          • cagedvole

            you’re welcome.

            You’ve just told me that you know all about my beliefs, but I don’t recall claiming that about yours. When did I?

          • Albert

            I never said I know all about yours. I just know you don’t eat babies. But you seem to think that we worship statues, which we don’t.

          • cagedvole

            “….you are ignorant of my position, and I AM NOT IGNORANT OF YOURS…”

            … you can call it worship if you like; I didn’t.
            Catholics do bow down, pray, light candles, make vows, lay offerings etc etc before/to statues.

          • Albert

            “….you are ignorant of my position, and I AM NOT IGNORANT OF YOURS…”

            Yes, and this was in direct response to your comment:

            you not inappropriately compared your argument re the commandments to an imaginary one in which you say “protestants eat babies” and I say oh, no, they don’t, and you reply “oh, yes, they do”. The unifying factor being that all the time, you know as well as I do that what you’re asserting ain’t so.

            So in the context, my comment was that I know your position on eating babies. I obviously wasn’t claiming I know you whole position exhaustively.

            … you can call it worship if you like; I didn’t.

            This is what you said:

            Catholicism for centuries has been deeply into the wrong use of images (even to the extent sometimes of mingling its practices with outright paganism or Voodoo, never mind so-called Mariolatry).

            When you said that, did you mean not to imply that Catholics worship images (and/or Mary, for that matter)?

            Catholics do bow down, pray, light candles, make vows, lay offerings etc etc before/to statues.

            Absolutely (although the “to” there is confusing). That does not mean we worship them.

          • cagedvole

            I can’t quite see what there is still to huff and puff about.
            Worship is a pretty slippery term, but it was yours, not mine. If i’d meant it, then I would have said it!
            What I said was
            “….Catholics do bow down, pray, light candles, make vows, lay offerings etc etc before/to statues…..”

            You can call that worship if you like, and in many instances you may well be right, though only God knows for sure.

            I prefer to err on the side of caution, and just call it a wrong use of images; what happened in Israel with the brazen serpent.

          • Albert

            What’s wrong with Catholic practice in regard to images?

          • cagedvole

            Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image….thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.

          • Albert

            Okay. Consider our Lord, he says:

            “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax.” And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
            They said, “Caesar’s.”

            Do you not know that the moment they show they have the coin that Jesus has won this discussion? For they have a graven image, which shows they do not keep the law! Do you have coins? Do you have photos – the likeness of anything in heaven above on in the earth beneath? Do you download pictures on your PC? Then you have violated the commandment in the way in which you wish to judge us. Do you not know that the judgement you give will be the judgement you get? You had better hope that the position of Catholics is correct, for you rely on it.

            Now, as we’ve seen, the commandment is not absolute even in the OT. But you wish to judge us by a greater strictness.

            Secondly, the commandments do not always pass over directly into the NT without change. The moral commandments do – you’re not allowed to commit murder or adultery. But the ritual elements differ. For example, did you keep the commandment about the sabbath by going to church yesterday? Are you aware that at no point in the scriptures is this commandment rescinded? Neither is it transferred to Sunday. So if you did not worship yesterday, beware lest you be judged by the letter of the law by which you judge us.

            Now the commandment against worshipping other gods clearly holds absolutely. But in the new dispensation, the commandment against images (never absolute anyway) no longer holds without qualification, for a number of reasons. Firstly, prior to giving of the Law, people did not have a clear idea of God. Therefore, they tended to worship the creation, rather than the creator. The OT law therefore prohibited the making of images and the use of images (again, not a total prohibition) so as to teach people that God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man neither is he reduced to images etc. In this way, God led people from the pantheism which had ensnared them. This was necessary, for the incarnation could hardly be received by people who did not already have a view of God’s transcendence. But since God has now become a human being, we can see that this element of pantheism – in his judgement, if not in yours – is no longer a problem. If people make images now, they know that those images are not their God.

            This leads to a final issue. The first maker of an image was God himself. He made man in his own image and likeness. So why if God makes images, does he prohibit others from doing the same in the commandments? Quite simply, because that image of God is damaged and distorted in man. But now he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature And so we are taught:

            He is the image of the invisible God

            So not only do you sit in judgement on Catholics (and hypocritically so, like the Pharisees in the render unto Caesar story, for you have images yourself), but you sit in judgement on God, who never made this prohibition absolute, and who is, contrary to your disapproval, the supreme maker of images of God. God has, in his greater mercy and wisdom, overcome the very deficiencies in man which caused him to prohibit images.

          • cagedvole

            That’s quite a casuistical tour de force – Newman-esque, almost.

            God is a God of truth, and when he prohibited the making and serving of images, it meant what we all know it meant.

          • cagedvole

            “….Now, as we’ve seen, the commandment is not absolute even in the OT. ….”
            No: we haven’t seen that. You’ve asserted it, but that’s different.

            As for my own supposed hypocrisy in having coins and worshipping on Sunday, what of it?
            Does your church teach that two wrongs make a right?

          • Albert

            I don’t really care what you think. As far as I am aware, you have no special insight in interpreting scripture. You have already shown that, like so many Evanglicals (though happily not all), your knowledge of scripture is quite limited – seeing as you were apparently unaware that Catholicism follows Deuteronomy in the order of the commandments. You’ve now just determined that you wish to be judged by the letter of the OT law, even though you do not keep it yourself and you have not even made an attempt to answer the arguments I gave. Instead, you characterise them as casuistical tour de force – Newman-esque, almost and so you indicate your ignorance of their provenance (despite the fact, that you know all about this, so much as to sit in judgement).

            So when I put all that together, I’m not going to care what you think: as scripture says, “On the scales you are lighter than a breath.”

            Yet you presume to know the meaning of the commandments, in the light of the mystery of the incarnation. Apparently, you don’t know the scripture which says:

            My heart is not proud, Lord,
            my eyes are not haughty;
            I do not concern myself with great matters
            or things too wonderful for me.

          • cagedvole

            yes, I knew Rome followed Deuteronomy. The question is why, in view of the Law of First Mention?
            I thought as a catholic, you might be pleased to be compared to Newman :-p

          • Albert

            I don’t see how you could have known that, given the comments you made. You had also made no attempt to understand the history. Yes, I like the connection with Newman, but not if you add “casuistry” to it – since that term is now derogatory. I see how reason to think Newman or me to be guilty of such. As for the Law of First Mention, where is this found in scripture? It’s not a concept that occurs in Catholicism as far as I am aware and I think it is a very odd concept for any Christian to follow. But if you wish to appeal to such a law, then I would suggest you read Genesis 1.26-7.

          • cagedvole

            as the first mention of “image”, you mean.
            Well – men may in a certain sense be “images”, but are we to worship men?

            Newman was a casuist and a half. You should read his Tract XC

          • Albert

            as the first mention of “image”, you mean

            And you accuse me of casuistry!

            Well – let’s allow that men may in a certain sense be “images”, but are we to worship men?

            No, but then we don’t worship men. We have images as God does.

            Newman was a casuist and a half. You should read his Tract XC

            That’s telling. Of all the things you could pick to illustrate your point, you decide to pick Tract 90 which was written at a time of increasing crisis for him. A time when he was simply trying to hold everything together, which he himself later admitted actually could not be held together. So to use Tract 90 to prove your point, and somehow claim it is representative of the man, really is the pits both intellectually and morally.

            In any case, Newman’s argument was that in interpreting the 39 Articles in surprising ways, he was doing nothing more than what the CofE was doing already. He just took the same Protestant method and applied it to Catholic teaching. Of course it didn’t work, and so he left Protestantism. But that’s because he wasn’t a casuist. Had he been, he would have remained a Protestant, perhaps making casuistical arguments about image, or inferring universals from unrepresentative particulars.

          • cagedvole

            You: if you wish to appeal to [the law of 1st mention], then I would suggest you read Genesis 1.26-7.

            Me: as the first mention of “image”, you mean.

            You: And you accuse me of casuistry!

            That reply makes no sense whatsoever that I can see.

          • Albert

            Me: as the first mention of “image”, you mean.

            Yes.

            That reply makes no sense whatsoever that I can see.

            You seemed to be wanting to evade the question of the making of images by making some kind of point about Gen.1.26 being only “image”.

            I asked you to provide a biblical basis for the law of first mention. Why should I accept this law? And in view of the fact that we do not worship images, you are yet to provide an unanswered argument for why Catholic use of images is wrong.

          • cagedvole

            Did you by any chance in your reply replace “And you accuse me of casuistry” with plain “Yes”?? A logic sticking-plaster :-p
            Sometimes, I kid you not, I’m unsure whether I’m reading profound casuistry or just profoundly muddled thinking.

            You can google First Mention. It’s one of the rules of sound hermeneutics, which of course you aren’t obliged to accept, in fact I’m afraid in your case, you’ll be obliged to rule it out.
            The fact that Rome follows Deuteronomy is common knowledge. The point, though, is that strong reason is required for that: for bypassing the Commandments as originally given.

          • Albert

            Did you by any chance in your reply replace “And you accuse me of casuistry” with plain “Yes”?? A logic sticking-plaster :-p

            I don’t understand this. But I can see that you are not defending your point about being made in God’s image.

            Sometimes, I kid you not, I’m unsure whether I’m reading profound casuistry or just profoundly muddled thinking.

            The arguments I gave for images are late patristic, so I hope neither.

            You can google First Mention. It’s one of the rules of sound hermeneutics, which of course you aren’t obliged to accept, in fact I’m afraid in your case, you’ll be obliged to rule it out.

            Of course I can google it. But I am asking you to defend it.

            The point, though, is that strong reason is required for that: for bypassing the Commandments as originally given.

            Augustine gives his reasons, which I have cited and you have not answered. Secondly, “bypassing” would only be a fault if the law of first mention has been defended. But it hasn’t. Thirdly, the law of first mention is bizarre for a Christian. It would mean we should prefer to the OT to the NT, but as it is, it is the other way around. Even within the OT, we have a developing revelation. For example, in the commandments God promises to visit the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation, but in the Ezekiel he says no man shall die for the sins of the father.

            This being so, one could argue that the later commandments are better.

          • cagedvole

            I think I see. you got your wires crossed, mis-arranged your sentences and then whipped out something that could have passed for a cutting riposte, if it had been in the right place. It baffled me for a while, because I was expecting it to make sense. Schoolmasters have to disentangle their pupils’ thoughts for them, but no-one’s paying me
            :-p

            So, still doing your work of disambiguation for you, I’m now guessing you think God’s creating Man in his own image is the same as people making statues?
            Let’s ignore the loopiness on the face of the comparison (not to mention the ridiculous inherent hint of God “bowing down to, or serving” Man). Either they’re different, or else the rules are different for God. We can say that with confidence, since he plainly forbids image-making to his people.

            As for First Mention, look it up for yourself, lazy :-p It’s a well-tried principle that sheds light on all the great Biblical themes, and my “defence” would simply be to stress the reasonableness of the explanations which you can find for yourself.
            Since you MUST reject it so as to justify Rome on this issue, I think we can save our time 🙂

          • Albert

            So, still doing your work of disambiguation for you, I’m now guessing you think God’s creating Man in his own image is the same as people making statues?

            Overlapping, rather than the same. They are both images.

            not to mention the ridiculous inherent suggestion of God “bowing down to, or serving” Man

            That would be ridiculous suggestion -which is why I didn’t make it. You did.

            We can say that with confidence, since he plainly forbids image-making to his people.

            A commandment which is never absolute and is in any case contingent upon certain other things being in place – a point I’ve made already, a point which, since you have not answered it remains standing. So I don’t know why you persist in making a point you are apparently unable to defend.

            As for First Mention, look it up for yourself, lazy

            There’s nothing lazy about my not looking it up. I’m just interested to see if you are actually capable of producing an argument or some evidence, instead sneering all the time.

            It’s a well-tried principle that sheds light on all the great Biblical themes

            Except for the fact that the Bible presents a progressive revelation, as I’ve pointed out already.

            and my “defence” would simply be to stress the reasonableness of the explanations which you can find for yourself.

            It’s your argument, so you should defend it. It seems you can’t.

            Since you MUST reject it so as to justify Rome on this issue, I think we can save our time 🙂

            I don’t even get to thinking about it like that. I can see no reason to accept it. I don’t have to reject it: it has nothing going for it.

          • cagedvole

            “….That would be ridiculous suggestion -which is why I didn’t make it. You did…..”

            Look again. What I said was that even though it’s somewhat implied by likening God’s image-making to ours, we’d leave it out of consideration.

            This caught my eye though:
            “….a commandment which is NEVER ABSOLUTE….”

            Who told you that?

          • Albert

            Look again. What I said was that even though it’s somewhat implied by likening God’s image-making to ours, we’d leave it out of consideration.

            Well that doesn’t make much sense. It wasn’t in consideration until you raised it. So you raised it to say you weren’t raising it. We know that rhetorical tool

            Who told you that?

            It’s in the Bible…

          • cagedvole

            OH, NO, IT ISN’T!!!!

          • cagedvole

            ….you have to supply the intonation there for yourself 🙂

          • Albert

            If a commandment is absolute, it will always apply in all circumstances. But this commandment does not apply in all circumstances:

            And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”

            and

            And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends.

            Therefore, this commandment is not absolute.

          • cagedvole

            This is where you get to if you feel free to drop the inconvenient parts of God’s Word . In this case, you’ve accidentally mislaid the second part of that Commandment, “thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them”, which shows that not the mere making is in question, but the all-important purpose and usage

            Another bit you’ve accidentally lost is the later reference to “nehushtan”.
            As soon as the people began behaving towards the brazen serpent like a bunch of worshippers with a relic, they were sinning, and it had to be destroyed.

            Meanwhile the cherubim were hidden with the Ark, facing inwards, since they themselves had only one symbolic purpose, not to be served but to serve. The High Priest got to see their backs once a year, no-one else ever at all.

            Thus neither of your two evidential pillars actually supports your grand sweeping claim that the OT encourages use of images.

          • Albert

            This is where you get to if you feel free to drop the inconvenient parts of God’s Word .

            So are we agreed then that the commandment against images is not in fact absolute?

            Another bit you’ve accidentally lost is the later reference to “nehushtan”.

            We’ve been through this already. The issue for the moment is whether the commandment is absolute. The fact that the bronze serpent was commanded to be created shows the commandment is not absolute – even in the OT. That the serpent may have been misused later does not mean God did not command the serpent to be created.

            Meanwhile the cherubim were hidden with the Ark, facing inwards, since they themselves had only one symbolic purpose, not to be served but to serve.

            The divine command about the positioning of the cherubim is not evidence that God did not command the creation of these images, but evidence that he did.

            Thus neither of your two evidential pillars actually supports your grand sweeping claim that the OT encourages use of images.

            Oh dear, the logic really failing here. I have proved that the command against images is not absolute, and you have inferred that there I mean the OT encourages the use of images. It’s as if I had said, The OT commands the death penalty in certain circumstances, and you inferred that I meant that the OT encourages killing people.

            And what is so bad about your position is that I have already answered all this before. I did not say that the bronze serpent and the cherubim were the reason we have images. I said that they show that the commandment against images is not absolute. This means it is really problematic for you to be so condemnatory on these grounds, especially when there are other commandments, which the Bible never relativises which you do not keep yourself.

            In this case, you’ve accidentally mislaid the second part of that Commandment, “thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them”, which shows that not the mere making is in question, but the all-important purpose and usage

            I have answered this point already.

          • cagedvole

            The Commandment is absolute, and is against making images with a view to bowing down to them and serving them.
            It’s “both – and”, I’m afraid.
            It’s no good claiming that in two very specific cases images are MADE, and trying to make that justify not only the MAKING but also the cultic USE of them.

            “..I have answered this point already..”

            True for you, probably several times in fact – you’ve answered it by saying “I have answered this point already” :-p

          • Albert

            If something does not always apply, it is not absolute.

            It’s no good claiming that in two very specific cases images are MADE, and trying to make that justify not only the MAKING but also the cultic USE of them.

            Which is not what I did, in fact, I made it clear that it is not what I am doing. Odd you keep repeating these points.

            True for you, probably several times in fact – you’ve answered it by saying “I have answered this point already” :-p

            Are you actually going to engage with the arguments I have given for 1. the reason why God prohibited the making of images and 2. the reasons why that prohibition no longer applies? Because at the moment you are looking like a troll.

          • cagedvole

            But it does always apply. All of the decalogue does, even though much of the holiness code is superseded in the New Covenant.

            Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, to bow down to it or serve it.
            That is one commandment, which will always be absolute.
            Moses didn’t break it when he made the serpent and the cherubim, because nobody bowed down to them or served them, or was ever intended to.

            You work hard to separate it into two parts, which I believe you think makes it possible to get round it; but God is not mocked.
            You do good to no-one by propagating the notion that with clever enough argumentation, and by dividing them minutely, the commandments can be nullified.

          • Albert

            Moses didn’t break it when he made the serpent and the cherubim, because nobody bowed down to them or served them, or was ever intended to.

            Just a moment. I was talking about the making of a graven image. As for bowing down, it is try this does not happen to images, but it does happen to the ark, which is not God, but represents God, and of course, has images on it.

            You work hard to separate it into two parts, which I believe you think makes it possible to get round it

            It’s not a question of getting round it. It is a question of working from the bottom up, rather than racing to the conclusion as you do. Let’s take this a step at a time. You agree, do you not, that the commandment against the making of images is not absolute?

          • cagedvole

            No, I’m afraid I don’t agree.
            Don’t you see? by framing the question so, you’ve already slipped in an illegitimate premiss, ie that there is such a commandment.
            There’s no commandment “against the making of images”.
            There’s only a commandment against the making AND MISUSE of images.
            You could for clarity call it a commandment essentially against the misuse of images which one has made.

          • Albert

            I’m afraid you’re not undermining yourself. Here is the list of commandments that you follow:

            1. Do not have any other god before God
            2. Do not make yourself an idol
            3. Do not take the Lord’s name in vain
            4. Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy
            5. Honor your mother and father
            6. Do not murder
            7. Do not commit adultery
            8. Do not steal
            9. Do not testify or fear false witness against your neighbor
            10. Do not covet

            Now you have been arguing all the time that the Catholic Church has illicitly united what you regard as the first two commandments. But now you wish to follow the Catholic Church in uniting them:

            you’ve already slipped in an illegitimate premiss, ie that there is such a commandment.
            There’s no commandment “against the making of images”.
            There’s only a commandment against the making AND MISUSE of images.

            Now we make no bones about the fact that we do not think that this/these commandments apply to Christians in the way in which they did in the OT. You haven’t answered that, and in attempting to maintain your own assertion you have contradicted yourself.

            Would you kindly explain whether you go to Church on Sunday or Saturday and if so, why, please? I’d also be interested, if I may, in your church’s position on remarriage after divorce.

          • cagedvole

            On the contrary, I categorically state them to be two separate commandments. Which part of that is difficult to understand? I can’t see the difficulty.
            Your formulation of the ten as numbered there shows it quite clearly. An “idol” can be defined as something made on purpose to direct worship to; so the first two commandments are
            1) against having another god, and
            2) against worshipping idols one has made (which would not be gods, but which are still forbidden.)
            I shouldn’t be at all surprised to find you’re defining “idol” differently; but if so, and pending an agreed definition, I explicitly reject your formulation of the decalogue.
            Are you with me so far?

            Jesus said
            ‘…..till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law….” but you say you make no bones about claiming the second commandment is already a dead letter.
            Better if you did make some bones, & show a bit of humility before presuming to declare God’s word void.

            As for the other points, briefly –
            I believe that for Christians, Sabbath-honouring has been transferred to the first day of the week. The reason is that the early church as well as the church through all the ages has thought so.
            But if that’s wrong, what follows? Nothing evidential for your present purposes.
            It would follow that most churches are in breach of the fourth commandment.
            It would not follow that the 4th commandment has been annulled, or affected in any way.
            You can have fun proving till you’re blue in the face that various Christians are disobeying this or that commandment, but what of it?
            We knew that already. It’s the reason Mankind needed a Saviour.

            My church disagrees with divorce and remarriage, if you think that’s of significance.

          • Albert

            On the contrary, I categorically state them to be two separate commandments. Which part of that is difficult to understand? I can’t see the difficulty.

            Well what you had said was:

            There’s no commandment “against the making of images”.
            There’s only a commandment against the making AND MISUSE of images.
            You could for total clarity call it a commandment against the misuse of images which one has made.

            Looks pretty contradictory to me.

            An “idol” is properly to be defined as something made on purpose to direct worship to

            Then it is irrelevant because we do not worship images.

            Then your post becomes really bizarre:

            Jesus said
            ‘…..till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law….” but you say you make no bones about claiming the second commandment is already a dead letter.
            Better if you did make some bones, before presuming to declare God’s word void.

            So you’re in favour of circumcision? You don’t eat shell-fish, and you avoid making any kind of image – even a photograph, or downloading a picture onto your PC. But then of course, you say:

            I believe that for Christians, Sabbath-honouring has been transferred to the first day of the week, since the early church as well as the church through all the ages has thought so.

            But the commandment says we should keep the Sabbath on the seventh day, not the first. And the authority that transfers it is tradition, not scripture.

            It would follow that I and a lot of other people have been breaking the fourth commandment.

            Well you just said: Jesus said ‘…..till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law….” So yes. It seems by your own standard that you are breaking the fourth commandment. Or you could just admit that the commandments do not simply transfer over to Christianity in a straightforward way.

            And my church disagrees with divorce and remarriage.

            In all circumstances?

          • cagedvole

            “…Looks pretty contradictory to me…”

            What contradicts what, exactly?

            You’ve given me far too many idiocies to go through in one post, but what about this –
            “… It seems by your own standard that you are breaking the fourth commandment. Or you could just admit that the commandments do not simply transfer….”
            You’re saying that if a commandment is consistently broken, it means that that commandment has been voided – it’s been shown not to be transferable to modern believers, and hence ceased to be applicable.

            Can you see any problem with that?

          • Albert

            I’m finding it very hard to take your seriously. You are so quick to accuse of things like idiocy without providing any evidence, that frankly, I question your sincerity. Moreover you lace most of your evasions with sneering contempt, which in the absence of argument is a poor show.

            As for the first point, in one comment you say it is one commandment in another you say it is two.

            You’re saying that if a commandment is consistently broken, it means that that commandment has been voided

            No I’m not. I’m accusing you of hypocrisy. I’m saying that you attempt to hold Catholics to a standard that you don’t keep yourself.

            Can you see any problem with that?

          • cagedvole

            I apologise – truly 🙂 It’s not really contempt, only I just can’t help seeing the funny side in these kind of discussions. Please revisit your own earlier posts and see some of the unpleasant things you’ve said to me! We should be able to have a bit of to-and-fro without taking offence, I think 🙂

            Now, please help me out – show me what I said to suggest “it was one commandment” (and what “it” was).

            Re the breaking of the commandment, don’t you see? We ALL break them all the time, you and me both, which was my point, not anyone’s hypocrisy. That’s NOT the issue. Never mind who’s breaking which, but I don’t accept that the commandment not to have idols can be declared not a commandment after all.
            When it comes to Exodus & Deuteronomy, the burden of proof is with you: you need a good reason before you can complete ignore the foundational account of the giving of the commandments.

          • Albert

            Please revisit your own earlier posts and see some of the unpleasant things you’ve said to me!

            I trust that will show I attack what I regard as phoney arguments, not you personally (except insofar as you do what you accuse others of doing). If that is not the case, then I apologise.

            Now regarding how many commandments there are about idols, you have said both:

            On the contrary, I categorically state them to be two separate commandments.

            and

            There’s no commandment “against the making of images”.
            There’s only a commandment against the making AND MISUSE of images.

            Now that is just contradictory, is it not?

            We ALL break them all the time, you and me both, which was my point, not anyone’s hypocrisy.

            I’m not talking about sin. I am saying that we all acknowledge that these commandments do not always transfer directly into Christianity. Therefore, it wil not do simply to keep quoting the commandment against images as if that settles anything. Just as a seventh-day sabbatarian must do more than quote the commandment about the sabbath (and instead engage with the argument for the transference to Sunday), so it will not do for you to simply quote the commandment against images. You need to engage with the argument in favour.

            I don’t accept that the commandment not to have idols can be declared not a commandment after all.
            When it comes to Exodus & Deuteronomy, the burden of proof is with you: it is not ok simply to ignore the foundational account of the giving of the commandments.

            I have given the argument in some detail. You have not answered it. You just called casuistry, and hoped I wouldn’t notice my argument was not touched by that insult.

          • cagedvole

            well, I’ve had some difficulty checking out your old posts (where apparently the said argument was to be found) because I couldn’t do a straight scroll-back all the way, but it’s Saturday, and I got tyhere in the end 🙂 (and found one or two interesting bits on the way, such as
            “…The Ten Commandments apply to Christians, for the moral law applies to Christians. A modification has to be made to the commandment about the sabbath, because of the resurrection…”
            who knew?)
            Also some casual insults here and there, so don’t you go all snowflake. You called me cynical and judgemental for eg, but did i go into meltdown? I think not 🙂

            Anyway, the killer argument doesn’t seem to be there. You expatiated on which churches followed whose tradition, and some nice ideas of Augustine re the symmetry of the numbering (as if the arranging of it was his prerogative).
            You didn’t even touch on why it’s perfectly permissible to pretend the original, foundational account of the giving of the commandments was never written.

          • Albert

            If you sit in sneering judgement on someone, you can hardly complain if they call you out on it.

            the killer argument doesn’t seem to be there.

            Well you haven’t answered it here, so perhaps you haven’t found it. I post it again here:

            Okay. Consider our Lord, he says:

            “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax.” And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
            They said, “Caesar’s.”

            Do you not know that the moment they show they have the coin that Jesus has won this discussion? For they have a graven image, which shows they do not keep the law! Do you have coins? Do you have photos – the likeness of anything in heaven above on in the earth beneath? Do you download pictures on your PC? Then you have violated the commandment in the way in which you wish to judge us. Do you not know that the judgement you give will be the judgement you get? You had better hope that the position of Catholics is correct, for you rely on it.

            Now, as we’ve seen, the commandment is not absolute even in the OT. But you wish to judge us by a greater strictness.

            Secondly, the commandments do not always pass over directly into the NT without change. The moral commandments do – you’re not allowed to commit murder or adultery. But the ritual elements differ. For example, did you keep the commandment about the sabbath by going to church yesterday? Are you aware that at no point in the scriptures is this commandment rescinded? Neither is it transferred to Sunday. So if you did not worship yesterday, beware lest you be judged by the letter of the law by which you judge us.

            Now the commandment against worshipping other gods clearly holds absolutely. But in the new dispensation, the commandment against images (never absolute anyway) no longer holds without qualification, for a number of reasons. Firstly, prior to giving of the Law, people did not have a clear idea of God. Therefore, they tended to worship the creation, rather than the creator. The OT law therefore prohibited the making of images and the use of images (again, not a total prohibition) so as to teach people that God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man neither is he reduced to images etc. In this way, God led people from the pantheism which had ensnared them. This was necessary, for the incarnation could hardly be received by people who did not already have a view of God’s transcendence. But since God has now become a human being, we can see that this element of pantheism – in his judgement, if not in yours – is no longer a problem. If people make images now, they know that those images are not their God.

            This leads to a final issue. The first maker of an image was God himself. He made man in his own image and likeness. So why if God makes images, does he prohibit others from doing the same in the commandments? Quite simply, because that image of God is damaged and distorted in man. But now he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature And so we are taught:

            He is the image of the invisible God

            So not only do you sit in judgement on Catholics (and hypocritically so, like the Pharisees in the render unto Caesar story, for you have images yourself), but you sit in judgement on God, who never made this prohibition absolute, and who is, contrary to your disapproval, the supreme maker of images of God. God has, in his greater mercy and wisdom, overcome the very deficiencies in man which caused him to prohibit images.

          • cagedvole

            This is way off the point: it’s not what I asked you.
            I don’t want to know your thoughts on images and hypocrisy.

            I want to know how you justify pretending the original, foundational account of the giving of the commandments doesn’t exist.
            It’s as if you claim that Moses, and by implication the Lord himself, got it wrong the first time, and so you help him out by just discounting that.

          • Albert

            I want to know how you justify pretending the original, foundational account of the giving of the commandments doesn’t exist.
            It’s as if you claim that Moses, and by implication the Lord himself, got it wrong the first time, and so you help him out by just discounting that.

            Would you kindly show where I have made either claim? Or how you seem to think you can infer either claim from what I have said?

          • cagedvole

            Why do you ask where, silly, when I said not that you claimed it but that it’s AS IF you did?
            In other words, the claim is implied by refusing all cognizance of the original version of the commandments.

            Maybe I should have said I already know your thoughts on images. But, hah – if you mean I break the Sabbath commandment, I have your own authority for saying it’s now modified, so it turns out I don’t :-p

            Have a good week – (seriously) 🙂

          • Albert

            Why do you ask where, silly, when I said not that you claimed it but that it’s AS IF you did?

            I think you’re splitting hairs again. If you don’t think I said it or meant, why would you mention it, instead of answering the argument – something you continue to do.

            Maybe I should have said I already know your thoughts on images. But, hah – if you mean I break the Sabbath commandment, I have your own authority for saying it’s now modified, so it turns out I don’t :-

            No you don’t have my authority, because my authority is nothing to you. The issue is, on the standard by which you judge me, you break the sabbath commandment.

          • cagedvole

            The claim that the original version of the commandments is null and void is directly implied by your refusing cognisance of that version. It’s there in the text, but you in effect pretend it isn’t.

          • Albert

            But it’s only your claim that what you give is the original version (I assume by that, that you mean the numbering).

            Now one is denying anything. We acknowledge that the commandment originally banned images and their use, in any context (i.e. including those you use). Other commandments like the one about the sabbath are similar. If you wish to accuse us of wrong doing your answer must understand the reasons we believe the commandment was given, and why we think such a situation no longer completely applies.

          • cagedvole

            I don’t mean the numbering, or not as such.

            I mean the fact that in the original version of the commandments as given by God’s hand, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife” doesn’t head the list of things not to covet, and so cannot plausibly be picked out and isolated to stand as a separate commandment in its own right.

          • Albert

            But that assumes this human law of first mention, which you have failed to prove from scripture, and which clearly flies in the face of the fact that actually, there is a progression of revelation in scripture. The later set of commandments is therefore at least as plausible as the first. After all, if the change is illegitimate, why was it made?

          • cagedvole

            I’m told that with the Koran, whatever was said later is held to cancel anything earlier that it contradicts (and there are such contradictions).
            THAT would be a “progression of revelation”, but nothing of the sort applies to the Bible. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and what he says, stands.

            If the list of things not to be coveted appears in different versions, the only possible conclusion is that the order doesn’t matter.
            It’s literally the only possibility, since the alternative is to declare Moses (and God) wrong the first time.

            The principle of first mention is a useful hermeneutical guide, not a piece of legislation 🙂

          • Albert

            THAT would be a “progression of revelation”, but nothing of the sort applies to the Bible. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and what he says, stands.

            So you don’t think Jesus is in any way an advance on Moses, despite what it says in John 1.17?

            If the list of things not to be coveted appears in different versions, the only possible conclusion is that the order doesn’t matter.
            It’s literally the only possibility, since the alternative is to declare Moses (and God) wrong the first time.

            It’s obviously not literally the only possibility. It could be that circumstances change, meaning a change in presentation is important. It could be that both are equally valid meaning a presentation of both is necessary. For example lots of stories appear in slightly different forms in the Gospels. But that does not mean that whichever came first was wrong.

            The principle of first mention is a useful hermeneutical guide, not a piece of legislation 🙂

            I don’t think it is plausibly a useful hermeneutical guide, since it seems to fly in the face of the Gospel.

          • cagedvole

            “….For example lots of stories appear in slightly different forms in the Gospels. But that does not mean that whichever came first was wrong…..”

            That was the point I was making about the 2 lists of ‘things not to covet’. The Exodus list can’t be cancelled by the Deut one.

            “… It could be that both are equally valid ….”
            Yes indeed, as I believe is the case with the coveting list. But that means that the list is not given in order of importance; for that to be so, the versions would have to be the same.

            There’s no problem unless and until someone wants to pick out one clause (“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife”) and claim it’s a separate commandment which stands on its own. Before that could possibly be valid, you would need it to be demonstrably first in importance, in both lists.

            What the Bible says, God says; and what God says, stands.

            Tell me something said in the OT (by God, not by some mendacious character being reported) that became untrue later?

          • Albert

            The Exodus list can’t be cancelled by the Deut one.

            Who said it was being cancelled? This is the problem, you keep insinuating that I have said things I haven’t or meant things that cannot be inferred from what I have said.

            Yes indeed, as I believe is the case with the coveting list. But that means that the list is not given in order of importance; for if it were, the versions would have to be the same.

            I simply don’t follow this logic.

            There’s no problem unless and until someone wants to pick out one clause (“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife”) and make it a separate commandment which stands on its own. That could not possibly be valid unless the clause in question stood demonstrably first in both lists.

            So your answer to Augustine is what exactly? Because he disagrees with you about the nature of coveting. Because he follows a distinction found in the scripture, which you seem to be uninterested, therefore, Augustine is not just wrong, but wicked?

            On your other point – what the Bible says, God says; and what God says, stands.
            Tell me something said in the OT (by God, not by some mendacious character being reported) that became untrue later?

            Easy. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

            And

            Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.

            Whereas the NT makes clear we do not have to be circumcised. Then there are all the ritual laws.

          • cagedvole

            “……The Exodus list can’t be cancelled by the Deut one.

            Who said it was being cancelled? This is the problem, you keep insinuating that I have said things I haven’t ….”

            Oh Albert you are a card 🙂 Have another think about that. I was wholeheartedly agreeing with what you had just said!

            But I’m disappointed…
            I thought you meant actual matters of fact that stopped being true :-s

            We all know that the Holiness Code was only for the Theocracy of Israel, didn’t apply to non-Jews anyway, and passed away with the coming of the New Covenant, which it was a pre-figuring of: the freedom that succeeds it Paul typifies by Isaac, the child of promise (where Ishmael was the child of bondage, standing for Israel and the old covenant) That’s all explained in the NT as you say, and clear enough.

            The men to whom that momentous change was revealed, and who explain it, were the very same who gave their imprimatur and nihil obstat (to use language that should resonate with you) to the moving forwards of the Sabbath.
            It didn’t cease to be a commandment – that really would make your point for you. But you’ll note that the passage you quote has nothing to say about which number day it must be kept on – only that it must be kept.
            You want to say it can only properly be kept on Saturday, even though that’s not your own belief or practice. You want to stand with one foot on the old covenant and one foot on the New.
            Uncomfortable.

          • cagedvole

            ….Why do you want to make out Augustine is wicked?
            He’s a non-authority, nothing worse than that.

          • Albert

            But you’ll note that the passage you quote has nothing to say about which number day it must be kept on – only that it must be kept.

            Not true, it says it must be kept on the seventh day, which is Saturday.

            You want to say it can only properly be kept on Saturday, even though that’s not your own belief or practice. You want to stand with one foot on the old covenant and one foot on the New.
            Uncomfortable.

            No I don’t want to say that. Why do you keep telling me what I think. My point is that the commandment does not transfer directly to the NT. Jesus makes a difference.

          • cagedvole

            “Why do you keep telling me what I think.”

            Add question marks at the ends if you prefer; no need to take offence. I’ve found it can be a mistake to address what you seem to me to be saying, because you really mean something different. That’s just a way of testing out whether I’ve followed.

            You see, when you said
            “….lots of stories appear in slightly different forms in the Gospels. But that does not mean that whichever came first was wrong…..”
            I replied that that was exactly what I had meant about Exodus and Deuteronomy.
            Now, who could have guessed you would come straight back with a complaint about putting words into your mouth?? I was agreeing with you!

            “Me:
            the list is not given in order of importance; for if it were, the versions would have to be the same.

            You:
            I simply don’t follow this logic…..”

            It seems simple to me. Can you tell me the problem?

          • Albert

            Now, who could have guessed you would come straight back with a complaint about putting words into your mouth?? I was agreeing with you!

            Does it every occur to you that might just be unclear?

            It seems simple to me. Can you tell me the problem?

            My problem was that I thought you were arguing against me, and I couldn’t see the relevance of what you had said to any defence of your position.

          • cagedvole

            You say a thing, and I tell you that was exactly what I meant, and it’s unclear? [note the question mark]. Oh well, that’s probably past praying for.

            But about the 2 lists – you’ll recall in Exodus it goes
            1) house
            2) wife
            3) manservant
            4) maidservant
            5) ox
            6) ass… (etc)

            while in Deuteronomy it’s
            1) wife
            2) house
            3) field
            4) manservant,.. etc

            Well, what do you think….are the things listed in order of importance, so as to show the comparative seriousness of coveting any one of them?

          • Albert

            I suspect different forms of covetousness are more tempting for different people. That may account for the difference. It strikes me that lust is different in kind from the other kinds of covetousness, and that may also account for the difference – it could be for example that there is a development between version one and version two.

          • cagedvole

            But it wasn’t the fluctuating prevalence or attractiveness of each form of coveting that I asked about, but its objective seriousness as a sin. I want to know if you’d say the lists are so ordered as to show a graduated scale of seriousness?

            If so, ‘development’ between list one and list two could only mean that in the space of one man’s lifetime, the coveting of property ceased to be quite so serious in God’s eyes, while lust became more serious in God’s eyes.

            Now, to be as clear as possible, was that what you meant?

          • Albert

            I think that there are a variety of possibilities here. For example, it could be that something became more of a problem and that accounted for the difference. However, I suspect I have a less literalist view of inspiration than you do. I would see development in scripture as also being about the human authors developing and deepening their understand of God’s will.

            That development takes place is undeniable. Consider these two:

            for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me

            But in Deuteronomy, we read:

            Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.

            And the theme is taken up in Ezekiel:

            Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.

            Now given my account of scripture, there is no problem here. But it seems you have a problem with it. Do you think God changed his mind, or do you think the law of first mention, means we can ignore this difference, and stick to the Ten Commandments’ account?

            You see, it seems to me, that, yet again, you try to hold us to a standard you cannot possibly keep, and which, if you did keep, you would be violating scripture.

          • cagedvole

            I don’t think there is more than a superficial difficulty with those passages.

            When the Lord says in Exodus “….I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me…” it’s not judicial punishment that’s meant.
            This isn’t about inflicting the death penalty (and after all if it were, third and fourth generations probably wouldn’t even enter the equation).

            This is a universal spiritual law that can still be seen tragically in operation, and will never go away. Parents who mess up with sin don’t only wreck themselves but their children, and so on through generations unless by God’s grace.

            The later passages you quote are the ones about actual judicial punishment for specific wrongdoing. They laid down necessary rules to set Israel apart from other ancient (and less ancient) civilisations in which it was common practice to wipe out the innocent along with the guilty, to pre-empt blood feud.

            No, I don’t think God changed his mind, or improved on his first thoughts, or had to tweak and fine-tune the Decalogue to suit later generations.

            …..I also can’t help wondering exactly what you mean about “holding [you] to a standard [I] cannot possibly keep”??
            Refraining from putting to death the children of those who have wronged me has never really been a problem for me :-p

          • Albert

            This isn’t about inflicting the death penalty, and after all if it were, would third and fourth generations even enter the equation??

            So just to be clear, you believe that God punishes the innocent for the sins of the fathers? That is to say the righteous sons will be punished by God for their fathers’ sins? Have not read:

            For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints

            You say:

            This is a universal spiritual law that can still be seen tragically in operation, and will never go away. Parents who mess up through sin don’t only wreck themselves but their children, and so on through generations unless by God’s grace.

            I don’t think it is plausibly referring simply to the consequences of evil actions. After all, he also says:

            Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

            Surely, he is referring here to more than just “If you honour your parents, the natural consequence will be that your days will be long. It is clear from the OT that punishment and reward is more than that.

            Moreover, is punishing the children for the sins of their fathers, consistent with the mercy of Christ? It isn’t even just!

            No, I don’t think God changed his mind, or improved on his first thoughts, or had to tweak and fine-tune the Decalogue to suit later generations.

            So you believe that the commandment to worship on the 7th day of the week still holds?

            Refraining from putting to death the children of those who have wronged me has never really been a problem for me :-p

            I’m not referring to that. I’m referring to things like the sabbath. Why don’t you keep it, as scripture says on 7th day?

          • cagedvole

            Just to be clear, – though it’s pretty hard to be clear ENOUGH for you to get a point – I believe that God does not punish the innocent for the sins of the fathers. That was why I said that the passage from Exodus doesn’t mean that.

            Just to be clear also – do you believe parents can sin without the sin affecting their children for ill?
            Have you children, just as a matter of interest?

          • Albert

            Just to be clear, – though it’s pretty hard to be clear ENOUGH for you to get a point – I believe that God does not punish the innocent for the sins of the fathers.

            You really are incredible. Firstly, that God does punish the sins of innocent for the sins of the fathers, is found in the commandments that you are so inconsistently defending. Secondly, obviously I noticed how you interpret that, for you said:

            This is a universal spiritual law that can still be seen tragically in operation, and will never go away. Parents who mess up through sin don’t only wreck themselves but their children, and so on through generations unless by God’s grace.

            And I replied

            I don’t think it is plausibly referring simply to the consequences of evil actions.

            And I then gave an explanation of why I think your view is implausible (and explanation which you haven’t answered, and so still stands). So you can see how silly you look when you now say:

            it’s pretty hard to be clear ENOUGH for you to get a point

            Obviously, I have got the point that you believe that punishing of the children is to be demythologised, for I have answered that point. But at the same time, I can see, as you apparently cannot, that your position must have some use for the language of God punishing the children, for the Bible says so and you are so firmly bound to a literal interpretation of (some) of the commandments.

            Now I keep asking this question about the Sabbath day. Why don’t you keep the sabbath on the 7th day, as scripture says?

          • cagedvole

            I do. I work and do all I have to do for six days, and on the seventh, I worship God as commanded.

            There’s one kind of sin that justly incurs punishment from the powers that be, ordained by God: an example is murder, which so far as I know has never in any civilisation not been forbidden and subject to penalty.

            There’s another kind, with which the penal system has no concern, but which yet is its own punishment. it’s well summed up in the words of the commandment as “hating God”, but you won’t find any specific judicial penalties assigned to it either in the OT or the NT. Thought-crime was still just a twinkle in Satan’s eye :-s
            Paul in Romans 1 says that when although they knew him, men refused to honour him, God “gave them up” to the uncleanness they were choosing. Note, neither they nor their children “died for it”. He didn’t drop a wall on them or otherwise zap them with anything in the usual categories of “punishment”.

            However, the consequences of this, apparently un-punished, sin do truly descend to the third and fourth generations. I’m quite surprised anyone would dispute that, since it’s all around us exactly as in Paul’s day, or indeed as in Moses’.

            “… you believe that punishing of the children is to be demythologised,…”
            you’re not putting words into my mouth, are you?
            Better try again, if so – I’ve no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

          • Albert

            I do. I work and do all I have to do for six days, and on the seventh, I worship God as commanded.

            You worship on the Saturday then, as scripture says?

            Now regarding the punishment of the children, for the sins of the fathers. Your idea seems to be that they are punished for their own sin – namely hating God. But the text says they are punished for the sins of the fathers – i.e. someone else’s sin.

            you’re not putting words into my mouth, are you?

            The difficulty is that your position seems unclear, and somewhat mobile. Now in addition, do you take photographs, download pictures on your PC etc.?

          • cagedvole

            I worship on the seventh day after working for six, as scripture says.

            “Now regarding the punishment of the children…”
            Just how exactly are you defining “punishment” here? and where did i say children hated God or were punished for hating God?

            Unclear and somewhat mobile, – i know you are, but what am I? :-p
            Am I to conclude that you didn’t KNOW what you meant by “demythologizing the punishing of the children”??

          • Albert

            I worship on the seventh day after working for six, as scripture tells me to.

            Yes, but scripture does not just say work for six days and then have a sabbath. It’s more precise than that, as you probably know, and that’s why you don’t to answer the question honestly. Game will be up.

            Just how exactly are you defining “punishment” here? and where did i say children hated God or were punished for hating God?
            Unclear and somewhat mobile, – i know you are, but what am I? :-p
            Am I to conclude that you didn’t KNOW what you meant by “demythologizing the punishing of the children”??

            To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what your position is. It seems to be being made up on the spot. I’ve tried to understand it, but as you are so evasive – you don’t even answer simple questions – it is pretty hard to work out what you mean. What seems pretty clear is that on your numbering, you violate commandments 4 and (ironically) 2. If you didn’t, you’d say so. But it’s not that you violate them through temptation. You know full well they don’t apply exactly as writ to you.

          • cagedvole

            No idea what my position is? Why, only this afternoon it was obvious to you that I believed that punishing of the children is to be demythologised.
            Now it looks as if I’ll never even find out what that means 🙁 since you don’t even answer simple questions! !
            Oh no, sorry, that was me.
            Oh and also you know that I know full well the commandments don’t apply exactly as writ to me – (whatever THAT means :-s)

            I’ve been telling you what I believe, all along – why would I do otherwise? I think maybe you had some preconceptions, which wouldn’t necessarily fit. Never mind,
            I wish you well 🙂

          • Albert

            No idea what my position is? Why, only this afternoon it was obvious to you that I believed that punishing of the children is to be demythologised.

            But then you added to your position and it now seems either that it is different from what it appeared at first, or that you have changed your mind.

            Demythologising is a ordinary theological term. It means getting rid of the mythological element and getting to the moral or meaning of a story. It’s typically associated with liberal biblical interpretation (e.g. Jesus did not really feed the 5000 – that’s a myth, but the meaning of the story is that we should share). But it has it’s uses when it is applied to a passage that isn’t meant to be taken literally. So for example, I thought your view was simply that children suffer for the sins of their fathers, not because God actively punishes them, but because the faults of the fathers damage the family (e.g. plunging them into poverty).

            I’ve been telling you what I believe, all along – why would I do otherwise?

            You are incredibly evasive when it comes to any question whose answer would put you in a position of tu quoque. This gives the impression that you are less than candid. For example, I’ve repeatedly asked you about which day of the week you worship on. But you won’t answer, except to claim, using some kind of mental equivocation that it is the seventh day of the week, rather than the first. This is despite the fact that Sunday, the day of resurrection, is the first day of the week. I ask about images, whether you have photos etc. but you give no answer. It’s obvious why.

          • cagedvole

            We know what demythologise means, silly. Even Bultmann wouldn’t have thought it made sense there.

            The truest sentence in your last post is “i’ve repeatedly asked you…”. You can say that again (and probably will).
            Guess what? I confirmed that I worship on Sunday. I told you the reasons. I gave the distinction as i understand it between images made to worship, and others. Apparently you didn’t read those posts.

          • Albert

            We know what demythologise means, silly. Even Bultmann wouldn’t have thought it made sense there.

            Well obviously you don’t know what it means. It has a wider application than simply Bultmann’s use of it. Are telling me you didn’t know that but then thought it would be a bright idea to call me silly for knowing it?

            Guess what? I confirmed that I worship on Sunday. I told you the reasons. I gave the distinction as i understand it between images made to worship, and others. Apparently you didn’t read those posts.

            Am I right in thinking that your idea is that worshipping on the Sunday is in accordance with the commandment because you have six days of work and then worship on the seventh? BTW as far as I can see, this is the first time you’ve admitted to worshipping on a Sunday, not a Saturday. I’d I’m right, it is a bit rich for you to say

            The truest sentence in your last post is “i’ve repeatedly asked you…”. You can say that again (and probably will).
            Guess what? I confirmed that I worship on Sunday.

            The reason I kept asking that question is that you have repeatedly avoided answering it. Now that you have, we need to consider which day the sabbath is commanded to be in the 10 commandments.

          • cagedvole

            Trust me, “demythologise” is Bultmann’s best-known meme. Don’t expect a debate about its proper use though. It was a bad idea in the first place, and hasn’t stood up well.

            “Mental equivocation” – yeah right. Only Rome would feel the need for a special technical term in that area. I tend to think that when you mean some variant of “lying” it’s better to say so at once.
            Here’s what I said, according to Disqus, “8 days ago”:

            “…I believe that for Christians, Sabbath-honouring has been transferred to the first day of the week, since the early church as well as the church through all the ages has thought so.”

            Don’t tell me you’ve reached a time of life when you have 20th century heresies at your fingertips, but can’t recall what was said last week :-p

          • Albert

            Trust me, “demythologise” is Bultmann’s best-known meme. Don’t expect a debate about its proper use though.

            I know about Bultmann. I’m pointing out that the word has uses beyond his use of it.

            I was evidently wrong about what you had said about Sunday, and I apologise. I couldn’t find that on disqus when I checked. Hence, I qualified my comment:

            BTW as far as I can see, this is the first time you’ve admitted to worshipping on a Sunday, not a Saturday. If I’m right

            “As far as I can see” and “If I’m right”.

            Don’t tell me you’ve reached a time of life when you have 20th century heresies at your fingertips, but can’t recall what was said last week

            I think you’ll find most people are in that state.

            Anyway, the issue is with this claim here:

            I believe that for Christians, Sabbath-honouring has been transferred to the first day of the week, since the early church as well as the church through all the ages has thought so

            There is no basis for that in scripture. It is a revision, found in tradition, based on the idea that in the light of Christ, the commandments do not always apply in a straight forward way. You’ve conceded the point I am making.

            Now, as to the commandment in question, do you have photographs, do you download pictures etc.?

          • cagedvole

            For a believer, the straightforward way of reading the commandment is that we are to work 6 days and keep the seventh to the Lord; that’s all.

            “Sabbath” in Hebrew only signifies the generic idea of cessation or rest, and you can point to nothing at all in the text to suggest that it’s all-important where you count from, or which six days.
            Certainly not under the New Covenant; Paul warns us against the kind of thinking many times.
            See Col 2 v 16-7 for only one example:

            “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

          • Albert

            For a believer, the straightforward way of reading the commandment is that we are to work 6 days and keep the seventh to the Lord; that’s all.

            Not so. The OT does not have named days of the week, but numbered days of the week. The commandments not only say which numbered day of the week is the sabbath, but gives the reason for it.

            Certainly not under the New Covenant; Paul warns us against the very kind of thinking many times.
            See Col 2 v 16-7 for only one example:
            “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

            I’m not arguing for a seventh day sabbath. I’m pointing out that you accept that the OT commandment does not transfer over straight-forwardly to us. On which note, do you have photographs, download pictures? Have you ever made a drawing or a sculpture of anything?

          • cagedvole

            You’re not getting it, Albert – what you are getting, is tiresome.
            I’ve already said what I believe about all these points. So probably you didn’t read it, but there’s nothing to stop you.

          • Albert

            No cagedvole, you are tiresome. You have doggedly stuck to a position, which is abusive about my faith and for which you have provided no evidence. I don’t find your responses at all convincing, where you respond at all, that is, and yet you persist in holding the same opinions. Obviously, you recognise that the commandments do not transfer over to the Christian world without clarification – but you only recognise that when it suits you.

          • cagedvole

            No, YOU are tiresome :-p

          • Albert

            Coming from someone who seems to stick his tongue out at every opportunity.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I understood you to previously say that sin against the law was that against the ceremonial law. Have I misunderstood you?

          • Albert

            Yes, you have misunderstood. I said that circumcision was the example par excellence of a work of the law.

          • Martin

            Albert

            That wasn’t the question.

          • Albert

            It looks to me that it was. Which question were you asking?

          • Martin

            Albert

            As you said, “And there’s a classic evangelical error, to confuse good works with works of the law. They’re not the same.”

    • David

      Well put.

  • Graham Wood

    When we have finished with statues, then of course, a start must be made on other vestigial remnants of other shameful relics of a past imperialist or Christian history. Pictures.
    A Lib/Lab/Con committee should be set up immediately to begin a thorough audit and search of the National Gallery and other outdated institutions which guiltily hoard portraits of numerous other national rogues and vagabonds who the ignorant British public mistakenly assumed should be held in high esteem.
    (Need not bother with Tate Modern filled as it is with detritus from building sites)

    Let’s start recruiting now for a national “A” Team of Red Guards who can be called in at a moments notice at the behest of the Committee, aided by idle and underemployed university chancellors. Any other suggestions for this most worthy cause?

  • David

    You can approach this specific matter of a statue of Mary and Jesus in a Catholic School in many different ways.

    Approaching from a personal point of view, I’ll say this. We were able to send our two children to a very good C of E primary school just a few hundred yards from the house. That was over twenty years ago and much has changed for the worse since then in western society, and possibly in that school – I simply don’t know as we no longer live in the neighbourhood.
    But if I, a conservative protestant Christian, found myself as a parent having to choose between a secular, purely state run school, with all that that implies in terms of indoctrination in left wing, cultural Marxism, or a Catholic School known to be good, with a wholesome Christian ethos, I would not hesitate to choose the Catholic School.

    Moreover I would want the Catholic School to be a catholic school including its symbols of faith in form of statues. For the removal of the symbols would be almost certainly be the precursor to the smothering of its Christian values, practices and ideals.

    • Marcus Stewart

      David: this is indeed why church schools are in such demand. So why remove the distinctiveness? Turkeys voting for Christmas.

      • David

        Exactly.

    • Coniston

      I hope this will be denounced by Catholic Authorities in the US, but the Catholic Church there seems to be splitting in much the same way as the dear old CofE here. I have heard of a determined effort by traditional Catholics in this country for re-evangelisation – http://www.schooloftheannunciation.com

      • David

        Agreed. All the Churches are being assaulted by rampant, aggressive illiberal ‘liberalism’. The very culture of the west is under direct attack. I wish the traditional Catholics well in re-evangelising their whole Church.

        • Watchman

          I don’t – it’s not a Christian church.

    • Coniston

      I hope this will be denounced by Catholic Authorities in the US, but the Catholic Church there seems to be splitting in much the same way as the dear old CofE here. I have heard of a determined effort by traditional Catholics in this country for evangelisation – http://www.schooloftheannunciation.com

  • B flat

    This article is very emotively and very poorly argued, using quite mistaken categories and concepts. Education is a box… Really?
    In any civilised institution, such as a government property, or a hospital, a radical proposal for elimination of a characteristic element, eg, flower beds, or filing cabinets, would have to be justified. In this article, opposition to the removal of characteristic statues from a Catholic school is labelled as obsessive.
    Articles in this blog are usually of a very edifying quality. I hope this is an exception.
    The writer seems suited to apply for a job as an SJW.

  • Father David

    There is one statue of Mary that I wouldn’t mind being removed that is the Assumption of the BVM in Chartres cathedral aka Our Lady of the Cream Cake. Surely, this Traditionally built Mary is far too obese to get airborne and should be removed forthwith.

    • Albert

      I’d lose the terrible one in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral. It looks more like Wonder Woman.

      • Martin

        Albert

        Isn’t Wonder Woman who you think Mary is?

        • Albert

          If you mean, insofar as God himself is born as man of her, then yes, that’s pretty wonderful. But that’s not who Wonder Woman is in the cartoon sense.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Except that the Bible also tells us that she sinned and also had other children. She was as ordinary as it gets, yet among the people of God.

            Clearly only Wonder Woman could remain a virgin after childbirth. That really is from a cartoon.

          • Inspector General

            The Higher Understanding has it that there was no fall of man. We are as our creator designed us. Hence, just being alive cannot be a sin.

          • Albert

            Except that the Bible also tells us that she sinned and also had other children.

            Where?

            She was as ordinary as it gets,

            Errr…have you ever read the annunciation narrative?

            Clearly only Wonder Woman could remain a virgin after childbirth. That really is from a cartoon.

            It is hardly a greater miracle than being a virgin while pregnant with the Son of God, so wouldn’t a secularist say:

            Clearly only Wonder Woman could remain a virgin while bearing the Son of God. That really is from a cartoon.

            You just don’t think these things through.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Where:

            While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
            (Matthew 12:46-50 [ESV])

            Or why would Jesus give such a rebuke?

            Nothing is the annunciation narrative pictures her other than an ordinary woman.

            Curiously the pregnancy was foretold as a miraculous event, there was no foretelling of a miraculous birth.

            “And the midwife went along with him, and stood in the cave. Then a bright cloud over− shadowed the cave, and the mid− wife said, This day my soul is magnified, for mine eyes have seen surprising things, and salvation is brought forth to Israel. But on a sudden the cloud became a great light in the cave, so that their eyes could not bear it. But the light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and sucked the breast of his mother, Mary. Then the midwife cried out, and said, How glorious a day is this, wherein mine eyes have seen this extraordinary sight!” Protevangelion of James

            Sounds a bit like a StarTrek transporter beam.

            Perhaps I do think these things through.

          • Albert

            Or why would Jesus give such a rebuke?

            That’s not a rebuke. He is simply showing that his family is not limited by bonds of blood. Jesus says: whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

            Now Mary does the will of God as the annunciation story shows.

            Nothing is the annunciation narrative pictures her other than an ordinary woman.

            She is an ordinary woman in the sense that she is not divine. That’s true.

            I’m intrigued by your reference to the Protevangelion of James. When I was a Protestant this wasn’t scripture. Is it now for you lot?

          • Martin

            Albert

            It is a rebuke, since his mother and brothers sought to interfere in His ministry.

            Did I say the Protevangelion of James was Scripture? It is, however, from such dubious documents that you derive your nonsense. Documents that at one time were declared heretical by Rome.

          • Albert

            It is a rebuke, since his mother and brothers sought to interfere in His ministry.

            That’s not clear from Matthew 12.

            It is, however, from such dubious documents that you derive your nonsense.

            Please provide evidence.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It is certainly clearer than your claims of Peter’s leadership and transubstantiation.

            So can you show me any other ancient document that answers the question of how Mary could remain a virgin after childbirth.

          • Albert

            It is certainly clearer than your claims of Peter’s leadership and transubstantiation.

            Why/how?

            So can you show me any other ancient document that answers the question of how Mary could remain a virgin after childbirth.

            I don’t know. But then as the manner of Mary’s virginity post partum is not defined, I don’t need to.

          • Martin

            Albert

            There is no clear evidence that Peter was the subject of what Christ said and transubstantiation is not something found in the Bible or the early writings.

            Seems to me that you have no basis for Mary’s perpetual virginity other than the writings of heretics.

          • Albert

            There is no clear evidence that Peter was the subject of what Christ said

            One has to be wilfully blind to say that.

            and transubstantiation is not something found in the Bible or the early writings.

            The word is not there, just as Trinity is not there either. But the idea is found in scripture and in the early writings.

            Seems to me that you have no basis for Mary’s perpetual virginity other than the writings of heretics.

            “Seems to me” yet again, it comes back to you.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Where does Christ say to Peter “you are the rock on which I shall build my Church”? And Peter is clearly not much of a rock anyway, with his wobbling all over the place.

            Transubstantiation is found nowhere in Scripture or the early writings.

            There is no evidence to support the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity apart from the ravings of heretics.

          • Albert

            Where does Christ say to Peter “you are the rock on which I shall build my Church”?

            He says:

            κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς

            Transubstantiation is found nowhere in Scripture or the early writings.

            The belief that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ is taught in scripture and is plain in the early writings.

            There is no evidence to support the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity apart from the ravings of heretics.

            Like Luther and Zwingli.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Again, where does Christ say to Peter “you are the rock on which I will build my Church? It isn’t Matthew 16:18.

            No, the belief that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ is nowhere found in the Bible or the early Christian writings.

            Luther and Zwingli had been taught by the heretics and it took a while to expunge such errors. However you derive your belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary from such as the Protevangelion of James.

          • Albert

            Again, where does Christ say to Peter “you are the rock on which I will build my Church? It isn’t Matthew 16:18.

            Let me put the passage literally:

            You are rock, and on this rock I will build my Church.

            And elsewhere, Peter is simply called “rock”. If you can’t get the point then you have clearly been blinded by your blind guides. Now if you want to prescribe to the Lord precisely how he expresses himself, then take your complain to him.

            In the meantime, I notice the special pleading of Protestants: they won’t accept Jesus calls Peter rock and say he will build his Church on this rock, but they will somehow try to get sola scriptura out of 2 Tim.3. Special pleading or what?

          • Pubcrawler

            Albert

            A year or so ago the much-missed Uncle Brian asked me about the Greek of that verse and I burnt a fair bit of midnight oil on my reply. Link below, for interest (I do not propose to join in this discussion).

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/archbishopcranmer/gay_marriage_bishops_can8217t_be_bullied_with_demands_for_8220greater_clarity_and_consistency8221/#comment-2891164284

            I have found subsequently that my conclusion is in line with the Orthodox interpretation, which pleases me.

          • Albert

            Thank you for this. I think if I pick on one point you raise, it is over the Petros, petra thing. Assuming this passage goes back to Jesus, he did not say it in Greek, but in Aramaic.
            In Aramaic, the word for rock is the same both times, so what Jesus said, was, as I put it “You are Rock and on this Rock”. Petra of course is feminine and so in Greek needs to be masculinized. It’s like the difference between Stephanie and Stephen.

            Now I notice that slightly higher up the thread Carl characterises this argument as Catholic apologetic. I make two points. Firstly, he does not answer the argument. He just scares us into thinking there is something wrong with it because it is Catholic apologetic. At best that is just the genetic fallacy. Secondly, I have not got this point from Catholic apologetic, but from my Protestant World Biblical Commentary. This includes the view that any attempt to make the petra anything other than Peter is contrary to the plain meaning and usually motivated by anti-Catholicism.

            You mention what you regard as the quirkiness of “on this rock” as opposed to “on which”. I can only say that the form may seem unusual to you, but seems to be pretty normal in the OT, and I don’t really see the Hebraic culture as prioritising economy.

            Second, the demonstrative pronoun, which I don’t recall anyone I’ve read giving any consideration. Like English, Greek distinguishes between this (‘here’, ‘by me’) and that (‘over there’). Here we have ταύτῃ, which is the that form. So the petra is marked as something distant, away from the speaker.

            But if that is correct, it would simply indicate that Peter is distinct from Christ – i.e. that he has genuine authority in his own right (albeit that it is delegated, as it were).

            Now as for whether your interpretation is the Orthodox one, I doubt one can speak of “the” Orthodox interpretation and I would also point out that the East is not neutral on this matter. But I would point out that no lesser an authority from the Christian East than Saint Basil the Great, sides with the Catholic reading here.

          • Martin

            ALbert

            But Jesus doesn’t say “on you I will build my Church” He says “on this rock I will build my Church”. The whole conversation is about Christ, not about Peter, so it requires a change of emphasis to make the rock on which Christ would build His Church Peter. Indeed, Peter would have been a very shaky foundation.

          • Albert

            I think your human religion blinds you. The passage is plainly about Peter. Obviously, Peter as a man is a shaky foundation. But the point is that it rests on grace and providence.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Seems to me that it is very clearly about Jesus and who He is:

            Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them, But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
            (Matthew 16:13-19 [ESV])

            And you will even note that Jesus doesn’t say that Peter worked it out for himself, it was revealed to him.

          • Albert

            Seems to me that it is very clearly about Jesus and who He is

            That depends on whom you refer to by the word “it”. The sentence And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church has Jesus as the subject, but surely not as the object.

            And you will even note that Jesus doesn’t say that Peter worked it out for himself, it was revealed to him.

            Your point being?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The subject of the whole passage is Jesus, and why should He not be the rock?

            My point being that Peter’s statement did not give him merit.

          • Albert

            My point being that Peter’s statement did not give him merit.

            No one said that it did, and to say that it did, one would need to clarify the meaning of the word “merit”.

            The subject of the whole passage is Jesus, and why should He not be the rock?

            Well it is not remotely what it says. It does not say “I am rock and on this rock I will build my Church.” It’s downright bizarre to think that Jesus, without warning switched to speaking of himself without warning in this sentence, when the pun in question is on Peter’s name, not Jesus.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The whole passage is about who Christ is, not Peter. The problem is, If Christ had said , “you are the rock and I will build the Church on you” there would have been no doubt, but He didn’t. I have to wonder too, why you would think that the foundation of the Church could possibly be one poor fallible man. And as Paul said:

            For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3:11 [ESV])

            so it is clear that the Bible says the foundation of the Church is Christ.

          • Albert

            The whole passage is about who Christ is, not Peter.

            That is just manifestly untrue.

            The problem is, If Christ had said , “you are the rock and I will build the Church on you” there would have been no doubt, but He didn’t.

            I find the distinction mind-blowingly small. Perhaps though he didn’t make it as clear as you demand he should have done, so that those with hard hearts do not turn and repent, as he says elsewhere.

            I have to wonder too, why you would think that the foundation of the Church could possibly be one poor fallible man.

            Because I believe in God’s grace.

            And as Paul said:
            For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3:11 [ESV])
            so it is clear that the Bible says the foundation of the Church is Christ.

            Again you raise your fists against God’s word. Have you not read:

            you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, the passage is about Christ, who He is. It isn’t primarily about Peter.

            And, of course, there is no evidence elsewhere that Peter was the person they went to with questions. The council at Jerusalem wasn’t even chaired by him, he just testified. And there is no evidence that Peter ever led a church.

            God’s grace doesn’t put its foundation on a man, rather on the Man Christ Jesus.

          • Albert

            Now as for Luther and Zwingli, if scripture is so unclear that they can’t get away from the alleged heresy, then clearly the doctrine on which the whole Protestant edifice fails. And you killed it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The edifice is the Church, not Protestantism. And let’s face it, some people still think you can baptise babies.

          • Albert

            The edifice is the Church, not Protestantism.

            And that’s the most true statement you’ve made!

          • Martin

            Albert

            Why would you think my position was otherwise, the people of God are the edifice not built with hands.

          • Albert

            Well there it seems we agree!

          • Little Black Censored

            The Bible doesn’t “tell” us any such thing. You have chosen one interpretation.

          • Dominic Stockford

            She herself tells us that she required a ‘redeemer’ – only the sinful require a redeemer. Also, it tells us in several places that she had several children, boys and girls.

          • Martin

            Of course it does.

          • Watchman

            You’re quite right, Martin, there was no need for Mary to be sinless; sin comes through the male line. Eve was the first to sin yet the sin was counted as Adam’s. Adam was responsible for the fall, not Eve, and we inherited the sin of Adam.

      • Father David

        Albert – I couldn’t agree more.The vivid blue Ely BVM is a bit of a blot on the architecture of that delightful light and airy building where she currently resides.
        Pleased to see that the wife of your namesake – Victoria was “Churched” in the first episode of the second series. Unlike Elizabeth I – Victoria could hardly be referred to as “the Virgin queen”. All a bit steamy, it was, for my liking – We were not amused.

    • Martin

      David

      Since they are idols they should not exists in a church claiming to be Christian.

      • Father David

        I suggest you take a trip to Seville to the church of the Virgin of Hope Macarena (Patron Saint of Bullfighters and Gypsies). There she is all dripping in lace and jewels – you’d either love it or you’d have a heart attack. Every Good Friday it takes 16 hours to take her on her golden carriage to Seville cathedral. On one occasion some hot-headed Protestant threw a bottle of red wine at her and her face still bears a red stain as a result – no wonder the dear lady cries glass tears.

        • Martin

          David

          Proves that it is not Christianity.

          • Father David

            Let’s apply a variant of the Duck test. If it looks like Christianity, acts like Christianity and sings like Christianity, then it’s probably Christianity.

          • Watchman

            No it’s not, it’sa fake imitation of Christianity. Satan is the master of deceit and can make it appear to be Christianity.

          • Father David

            Ye Watchman and ye holy one – Martin. You are both being very papal, if I may say so! You decide what is or is not Christianity and if we don’t agree with your particular take on the Christian Faith then it is anathema. Quack, Quack!

          • Watchman

            David, To be identified with Martin in this way I regard as a complement. Thank you. No we are not papal, which, to me, means that we make it up in order to increase our power and esteem but we read and believe the Word of God and test every opinion against it. We are aware that Satan is active and deceitful and that we are living in the last days when this deceit will increase and apostasy will be present in many who call themselves Christian. In the case of the RCC this apostasy has been evident almost from the beginning and has built itself into a wealthy major political world power at the expense of the poor. It preaches another gospel and it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

            Forgive me if I do not address you as “father” because Jesus told us
            “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”

          • Father David

            So, I take it from this that you are not very ecumenically minded then?
            Bless you!

          • Watchman

            I think we probably have a different understanding of ecumenicism. You may be talking about uniting the various man made organisations under one roof whereas I would mean the whole Church of Christ which is organic rather than organisational and consists of every born again believer on the planet. It is the Church invisible and is not made by the will of men as denominational churches are.

          • Father David

            By “born again” I presume that you mean “baptised” for baptism is, of course, a second, spiritual birth? When referring to the “Church invisible” do you mean the “Church Militant”?

          • Watchman

            Being born again is the point at which a decision is made to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation and to follow Him. Baptism is performed at the concious decision of someone who is born again in obediece to being identified with Him in His Death and Resurrection. Your infant baptism is an invention of your church and has no Biblical foundation; possibly replacing circumcision in the confusion between old and new covenants. No, I do not mean “Church Militant”, I mean all those throughout the world who through God’s Grace have received salvation of whatever denomination.

            My hope and faith is in Jesus Christ not in any denominational rituals or claimed authority.

          • Father David

            So what happens to those who don’t conform to your definition of “Born Again”?

          • Watchman

            David, please don’t call it my definition, it is a term used by Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus and according to Him they cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

          • Father David

            So, if entry into the Kingdom of God is forbidden where do the Unborn Again go post-mortem?
            After a life-time opposing religion – does Lord Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited get into the Kingdom when on his deathbed he makes the sign of the cross?

          • Watchman

            I’ll let you read Revelation 20 & 21 to come to your own conclusions on your first question.

            Your second question presumes that anyone knows what is in Lord Marchmain’s heart; but as he was fictional the question is not only hypothetical but nonsensical.

          • Father David

            Surely, the fictional can be applied to and offer insights into the actual and if a real and corporeal person after opposing religion all their life made the sign of the cross on their death-bed, which is certainly more feasible than “nonsensical”, would they be granted, by the Grace of God, membership of the Kingdom of God?. Your answers are far from being direct and appear to me to be most evasive, Watchman. I ‘d be interested to know what angle you take on Our Blessed Lord’s Gethsemane prayer – “That they should all be one”, as you seem to be very fond of being divisive rather than engaging in promoting unity

          • Watchman

            We should never speculate on someone’s relationship with their Creator or try to come to conclusions on how He will deal with them. You can use fictional characters if you wish but it’s fruitless because it leads nowhere. I find your theoretical assumptions preposterous largely because it really is none of your business!

            Unity comes only through the Holy Spirit teaching and convicting each individual that they may act in unison; you cannot have a unity in Christ outside His Will for His Church. There is no mention in the New Testament of forming an umbrella organisation and calling that a church. Each church was an ekklesia, those called out to be His Body with Him as the Head. It was independent and answerable only to Him and the leadership He appointed in that church. This is The Church, His Church and it doesn’t need man’s intervention in creating things according to the world order and not His.

          • Father David

            Now, now Watchman, let us not forget the virtue of Christian courtesy and let us be more temperate in our use of words.and cease from descending to the depths of deploying insults. Most unbecoming for one claiming to be a Born Again Christian. Remember the words of the Good Book – “Let not the sun go down on your wrath” Bless you.

          • Watchman

            What insults? I spoke plainly. If you want to hear some strong language try reading Matthew 23; I think I was certainly more polite. Your mockery is noted as is your evasion of the issue.

          • Father David

            What evasion? All I get from the man in the flat cap is certainly not plain speaking more like obfustication and yet more selective Biblical texts and a refusal to give a specific answer to a specific question.

          • Watchman

            Please tell me what question I have not answered and what obsfuscation.

          • Father David

            Well, I’m not sure that excluding 1.2 billion Roman Catholics from the Kingdom to come is a very Christian thing to do? Such expulsion just because they are not averse to a statue or two adorning their churches acting merely as a focus for devotion is altogether a very pleasant thing to do! Do you also think that our brothers and sisters from the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches are also similarly excluded due to their fondness for icons?

          • Watchman

            I have not excluded anybody, David, it is up to each individual to respond to the gospel and up to God to decide which of those responses were genuine acceptances of His offer of salvation. I cannot offer an opinion on anyone’s standing with Him. My views on statues and icons is that they are, in themselves, harmless but best avoided because they offer temptations to the unwary. I own some icons bought in Russia but I regard them as no more than interesting works of art.

            Revelation 18 offers some sage advice to those Christians inside your church:
            “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” To understand the context of this you have read chapters 17 &18.
            From this we must assume that there are some believers inside your church; as Jesus said he had sheep in other folds. In Sri Lanka recently Catholic told me that in his church many were being “born again”, including his mother, and it was creating quite a stir in his church.

          • Father David

            So, can’t statues also be regarded as “works of art”. Personally I regard icons, like the Orthodox themselves do, as “windows into heaven”
            Blessings,

          • Watchman

            I think its a matter of personal taste what one regards as an objet d’art and what one regards as an object of worship or adoration.

            The rich young ruler came to Jesus and was told to sell everything, give it to the poor and follow Him. He went away sorrowful. He was guilty of idolatry: his money was his idol. We can all be guilty of this sort of idolatry, it doesn’t need an icon or a statue.

            To me it’s much more relavent to read psalm 8 and look at he stars or a flower to worship the Creator because it is Him who spoke it into being.

          • Martin

            David

            Define Christianity.

          • Father David

            Presumably you own a Dictionary Martin? Then if I were you I’d look it up – it’s there under “C”.

          • Martin

            David

            I would define it as God, in His mercy, choosing before time began who He would save. Coming as a man to die on the cross to bear the sins of those He has elected to salvation. Coming as the Holy Spirit into the heart of the sinner and changing them so that their desire is for God, justifying them and granting them faith so that they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Working in their lives so that they become more like Him until they are finally united with Him in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

            I think your understanding differs.

        • Watchman

          Sounds a bit like idolatry to me.

  • Inspector General

    A lady headmistress has done this. Probably unilaterally. To be ‘inclusive and welcoming’. How embracing is that!

    Be in no doubt – this kind of nonsense awaits in a future Church of England infested with lady bishops.

    {Snort}

  • Stig

    As a Reformed Christian I have always felt uneasy about the use of idols and graven images in Catholic churches. The second Commandment says “do not make for your selves images of anything in heaven or on earth, or in the water under the earth. So not bow down to any idol or worship it….”. Catholic friends tell me that it is not the image they are worshipping, but what it represents. So they claim they are worshipping God, not the idol, but I’m not convinced. In any case, the first commandment says we should worship no one but God, so why do they worship Mary?.

    • Albert

      Are all images idols, Stig?

      • Martin

        Albert

        That you bow down to them proves they are.

        • Albert

          So all images are idols, Martin?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The ones you bow down to are.

          • Albert

            Firstly, that’s not the question I’m asking and secondly, it is not true.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It’s certainly an answer and are you saying you’re not a true child of Rome who bows to the idol on the altar?

          • Albert

            I’m saying you don’t know what you are talking about in your accusations.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Is the term genuflect? seems to me that that is idolatry.

          • Albert

            You don’t normally genuflect to a statue. But genuflecting isn’t worship – look at all those Protestants bending the knee to their monarchs. Are they worshipping the monarch?

          • Martin

            Albert

            What of the crucifix on your altar, is that not the object of your action?

          • Albert

            No – stupid question.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then what do you bow to?

          • Albert

            Bowing to something is not the same as worshipping it. See for example Genesis 27.29.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What you do is worship.

          • Albert

            Says you on your own authority.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Trouble is, it isn’t just me, is it.

          • Albert

            Of course, there are those who think the number of the elect is smaller than the number of the damned. Whether that’s true or not, I am surprised at you appealing to an ad populum.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Yo claimed I spoke on my own authority, I pointed out that I am not alone. Nothing to do with ‘ad populum’.

          • Albert

            Okay you speak with other people who also speak on their own authority.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, we speak with the authority of the Bible, idolatry is condemned.

          • Albert

            Idolatry is certainly condemned.

          • Martin

            Albert

            And what is at the head of this blog is a picture of idols.

          • Cressida de Nova

            No one genuflects to a statue.

          • Martin

            Cressida

            How about the crucifix on the altar?

      • Stig

        Only if people revere or worship them. I can remember in one Catholic church being told that I should kiss the feet of a statue of St Peter. I’m afraid I did so, to avoid causing offence to a friend, but I didn’t feel comfortable about it.

        • Albert

          If you felt uncomfortable about it, you were right not to do it. But would a Catholic who does so actually be worshipping the statue (or indeed St Peter)? Presumably, in Acts 20.37, they weren’t worshipping Paul.

    • Inspector General

      Can’t see the problem. Statues, and indeed paintings, are adornments and nothing else. To be honest, one finds the protestant in extremis deprecation of these oft beautiful things ludicrous and a sign of mental instability and unwarranted intolerance resulting from unquestioning obedience of that which was never intended.

      • Martin

        IG

        I’d say God’s word is rather clear on the matter.

        • Albert

          That’s because you don’t know much scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I know enough to avoid idolatry.

          • Albert

            Evidently not. You apparently worship your own judgement.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Oh dear, sounds like a lack of argument.

          • Albert

            I was answering an assertion of yours. What is asserted without evidence can be denied without evidence. Hard to fault my lack of argument in response to your lack of argument.

          • Martin

            Albert

            That I avoid idolatry?

          • Albert

            You didn’t give an argument that you avoid idolatry. In view of Colossians 3.5 I can only say I don’t know whether you do. There are many forms of idolatry, including worship of one’s self.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Allowing the Word of God to direct our lives is NOT worshipping any ‘thing’.

          • Albert

            Indeed not, but that is not what I am complaining about here.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Following the Word of God and trusting what it says is not worshipping our ‘own judgement’. Clearer?

          • Albert

            That’s fine. But it’s not only that that Protestants do.

          • Sarky

            Your profile picture would suggest otherwise.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            If you understood it you wouldn’t say that.

        • Inspector General

          Martin. The Higher Understand says that the 2nd commandment is the direct result of the Golden Calf outrage. This religion, which was what the Egyptians followed, had to be blood purged from the tribe. The knives came out and the apostates slaughtered. Moses didn’t want this kind of thing ever happening again. Hence, your man laid it on thick. Too thick, it seems…

          • Martin

            IG

            There is no higher understanding, sorry.

        • Little Black Censored

          The key to understanding that statement is in the words “I’d say”.

          • Martin

            You think it doesn’t?

      • Little Black Censored

        “Adornments and nothing else.” In many cases no doubt, but in others, windows into spiritual reality, as for instance are the icons in eastern churches.

        • Inspector General

          Indeed. Aids to spirituality they can be.

    • Linus

      Get your sin right.

      They don’t worship Mary, they venerate her.

      Venerate, from the Indo-European root wen-, meaning to desire or want.

      They don’t worship Mary, they desire her. It isn’t idolatry they’re guilty of. It’s lust.

      Why do you think they veil her, just like Muslims? Sexual desire must be kept under wraps.

      • Martin

        Linus.

        venerate 1620s, from L. veneratus, pp. of venerari “to reverence, worship” (see veneration). Related: Venerated, venerating.

        • Inspector General

          Not so, Martin. Venerate translates from the Latin as adore. And there’s nothing you can do about that, including attempting to misrepresent the word!

          • Martin

            IG

            And adore is worship.

          • Inspector General

            And hate is love while we are at it…

          • Martin

            IG

            Somewhat silly.

          • Inspector General

            Just trying to humour you…

        • Linus

          Yes, the Romans used the verb veneror as a synonym for adoro, colo and revereor, but only in reference to sky pixies. When used to refer to men (or women), the verb had the meaning of doing reverence or honour to, or alternatively to beseech or supplicate.

          Not even Catholic Pixtians claim that Mary is a sky pixie. They say she’s merely (merely!) an immortal woman who flounces about in Pixie Paradise wearing half a ton of bullion on her head, bleating at the sky pixie who knocked her up (and the sprog too, probably) to save this person or that person and generally being the most annoying kind of woman it’s possible to be: a professional whiner, pleader and nag.

          When they say they venerate her, as a woman, the meaning of the Latin verb from which the English verb derives is clear enough. Which is not to say that some Pixtians don’t worship her. When you see an hysterical Catholic on his or her knees before a statue of Mary it’s often very clear that veneration has spilled over into worship. But that’s not what Catholic dogma teaches.

          My point is that the original meaning of the term from which the Latin veneror derives is wish for, desire or strive to obtain. Therefore a basic sense of desire is inherent in all subsequent usages. This is the undercurrent in all veneration: it’s basically gimme, gimme, gimme.

          Catholics may think on a conscious less that all they’re doing is giving reverence to or honoring Mary, or even beseeching her for favours. But on a unconscious level their language reveals them to be wanting her, yearning to have her or what she can give them. It’s lust by any name. Covetousness too. All Pixtians and Catholics in particular have venal, self-serving motives at the root of their faith. You try hard to dress them up as selflessness but language reveals you for what you really are.

      • Lollia

        Not idolatry then, just sex?

        • Linus

          As I said in another post, some Catholics do worship Mary in idolatrous fashion, but in doing this they go against the teachings of the Catholic church. Only if Mary is a fully fledged sky pixie can she be worshipped as a sky pixie. But the Catholic church teaches that she is not a sky pixie but rather a woman, therefore she can only be honoured and beseeched rather than worshipped. They use the verb “venerate” to describe this action.

          My point was that the origin of “venerate” reveals the selfishness that underpins the act. The root word that gave rise to “venerate” meant “want, desire, strive for” and the act of wanting, desiring or striving for a person, or for what that person can give you, is commonly referred to as lust.

          Another word might be cupidity. Or self-serving. However you describe it, it’s basically a selfish act and if you’ve ever heard Catholics when they pray to Mary, you’ll understand just how selfish they can be. It’s all about what they want or can obtain from her.

          If she really existed and I were her, I’d come out on strike on the first day. What on earth did she do to Sky Pixie to receive the punishment of two millennia (and counting) of listening to the whining and wheedling of millions of greedy and selfish Catholics? I know the Pixiebook says that Sky Pixie Jr. hated her, but honestly, what kind of a son would do that to his own mother?

          So much for divine benevolence, eh?

          • Lollia

            Yes very well put; you have obviously gone into it in more detail than me. Though I am not sure about “sky pixie”; -we don’t need to offend Christians more than necessary,-though I know it is difficult not to offend the professional “offendees”.

          • Linus

            I think we do have to offend them. Whether they’re professional offendees or not (and it’s clear they are), they’re also professional offenders. They’ve spent the last two thousand years offending the LGBT community and are now getting a taste of their own medicine. Nobody reasonable could complain about that, but when have Pixtians ever been reasonable?

          • Lollia

            Actually I agree entirely,-I was just trying to soft-pedal as I am such a Jolly Nice Chap; but as you say, it does not work. Anyone who thinks 3000 year old faith statements trump (no pun intended) empirical data and rational theory,–is an Absolute Shower, and deserves ridicule.

          • Linus

            As you say, being nice to them doesn’t work.

            Of course a lot depends on how one defines “work”. If it means “convert them to my way of thinking” then you’re on a fool’s errand. These people let no fact stand in the way of their dogmatic certainties. As such they are unpersuadable, so all that being nice to them will achieve is to raise their hopes of converting you. That’s why they want you to be tractable and polite. All predators prefer docile prey.

            If however by “work” you mean “persuade them to coexist with and tolerate you”, then again, being nice will achieve little. Mainly for the reason already stated above, but also because, as predators, Pixtians cannot respect any position that robs them of the hunt and the kill. They can no more tolerate your unmolested presence here than a lion can tolerate a grazing antelope. Their nature forces them to move in for the kill. Even the most toothless and aged lion will still try to take down his prey, even when he can barely hobble over to it and start trying to “gum” it to death.

            If you’re nice to him, he’ll keep sucking away, doing you no harm of course, but otherwise being very annoying and covering you with stinky old lion slobber. And you’ll soon get tired of that.

            No, the only thing that does “work”, by which I mean keeping the mangey old beasts at bay while demonstrating to others how impotent and deluded they are, is to be very unpleasant to them indeed. Show them who’s boss. Debunk their ridiculous myths and treat them with all the contempt and ridicule they deserve.

            Trust me, it’s the best result you can hope for. But if you’re too “naice and polaite” to shake ’em off, you’re on the wrong site.

          • Lollia

            Absolutely, I couldn’t have put it better. The term Toxic Christian is too good for them. Hopefully they will all kill each other as mutual heretics.

          • Linus

            I don’t wish them dead. I don’t have to. Most of them are elderly and therefore not long for this world. When they die their bigotry and hatred will die with them. For every 10 that croak, only one younger person will take their place, so their extinction is assured. And they know it. I think it’s part of what makes them so bitter. They know that when they’re gone, their churches will collapse and disappear.

    • Dolphinfish

      Typical Protestantism. The graven images thing is part of the FIRST commandment, not the second. In that context, it becomes apparent that mere images are, in themselves, harmless. Presumably, that’s why God ordered the Israelites to fashion images of angels to put on the Ark of the Covenant. Unfortunately, the protestants split the graven images from the “I am the Lord they God” bit, presumably because they “felt” that’s what God SHOULD have commanded. How’d that song go? Feelings, oh oh oh feelings…

      • Albert

        Excellent. And the fact that Protestants follow authorities for this split that they normally eschew is telling.

      • Martin

        Except Rome worships their idols.

        • Albert

          We don’t have idols and we don’t worship them. You don’t have images because you don’t know your scripture and you don’t really believe in the incarnation.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What you do is bow down before them. Moses would have had no doubt that you were worshipping them.

          • Dolphinfish

            You’re speaking for Moses, now?

          • Martin

            I don’t have to, what He wrote is crystal clear.

          • Lollia

            What language did he write in?-Egyptian?–in which case the Israelites would not have understood,– Hebrew? –when did he find time to read and write it?–it probably did not yet exist anyway,-the oldest Stele found so far is written in Proto-Canaanite; Is that the language of the 10 commandments?–very confusing.
            perhaps it was King James English (which was actually already 100 years antique by that time,-for dramatic effect).

          • Martin

            If you’re so ignorant why do you consider this is the place for you to be?

          • Lollia

            I think you must be the ignorant one. Moses did not write anything. The Pentateuch was not written up (reverse-engineered) until centuries later.
            I was only joking about the language problem-you took me seriously.

          • Martin

            And your evidence is?

          • Lollia

            Biblical scholarship. Your evidence that he did is?

          • Martin

            Doesn’t sound much like scholarship to me, more like the invention of something new to impress the ignorant.

          • Anton

            How then do you explain that the prophets excoriate Israel for disobeying a legal code that didn’t exist?

          • Martin

            Moses speaks for himself.

          • Albert

            Then Moses would have been wrong.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, Moses would have been right.

          • Albert

            The key word in my post was “Then”. I do not think you can speak for Moses. However, it is unclear how far ahead Moses saw, and so he would have been surprised by a lot of Christianity. When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit

          • Martin

            Albert

            You imagine that he could not see that idols would one day meet with God’s approval?

          • Albert

            No, but then what we do is only regarded as idolatry by those who do not know what worship is.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It is worship.

          • Albert

            No it isn’t.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course it is, you just dare not admit it.

          • Albert

            Why should I accept this claim?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Because it is obvious to those of us outside your cult.

          • Albert

            As I’ve said before, it all comes down to you in the end, not scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, it all comes down to the clear teaching of Scripture. It is that you have another authority that tells you how to ‘interpret’ Scripture.

          • Albert

            Your ideas are not in scripture. They are made up. Let’s face it, you don’t really know scripture very well.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It sounds as if you’re just throwing stones now.

          • Lollia

            I am sure the “pagans” and polytheists would have made exactly that same point.
            eg the Golden calf worshipped by the Israelites;–not therefore an idol at all, but probably the ancient venerated mother goddess Hathor of the Egyptians, which the Israelites had adopted;– a far longer pedigree than Yahweh.

          • Albert

            No. They worshipped their images – at least sometimes. We worship only God the Holy Trinity. What’s your point about a far longer pedigree?

          • Lollia

            How do you know or distinguish between worship and veneration, or between and idol and a representative statue of

          • Albert

            It is a matter of the heart and mind Lollia. When I venerate the Virgin Mary I know I am not worshipping her.

            The point about a longer pedigree was just to illustrate how man-made “historical” religions are equally phoney.

            That’s a fascinating suggestion. Could you kindly set out the premise of that argument, please?

          • Lollia

            I expect that the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans etc were also fully aware that they were also “venerating” the statues of their gods, but “worshipping”the actual gods themselves. They were not stupid,-they knew you can’t manufacture gods to order out of stone, wood or metal;-.besides, they had the ancient myths about the origins of their gods,-for which statues were not a necessary requirement.
            So are you saying that you only “venerate” the Mother of God,-not worship her?-what about Jesus,–venerate or worship? Do you venerate the statue but worship the actual VM, or merely venerate them both?

            It is not a logical argument; it is just common knowledge that the Christians regarded their “new” religion as superseding Judaism,-a new Covenant,-the NT superseding the OT. Likewise, Islam superseded the previous versions of the Abrahamic faiths, and later Suras of the Quran superseded earlier ones;
            ( hence the contradiction of Islam “being a religion of peace”,–and also promoting “kill the Infidel”.
            Marcion tried to detach the NT from the OT, and pretend the lovey-dovey “Christian Father” was not related to the bloodthirsty genocidal sadistic Yahweh of the OT, (presumably the one Jesus worshipped),–but Marcionism was branded as a Heresy–ie a lie.

          • Albert

            I expect that the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans etc were also fully aware that they were also “venerating” the statues of their gods, but “worshipping”the actual gods themselves.

            The Biblical writers appeared to have thought they worshipping the statues.

            So are you saying that you only “venerate” the Mother of God,-not worship her?-what about Jesus,–venerate or worship?

            Is this is a serious question? Why don’t you do some research? Obviously, we worship Christ and venerate Mary.

            Do you venerate the statue but worship the actual VM, or merely venerate them both?

            Seriously, how ignorant are you? It is unintelligent to ask such questions when even a cursory acquaintance which what you critique would answer such questions for you.

            It is not a logical argument; it is just common knowledge that the Christians regarded their “new” religion as superseding Judaism

            Your argument was about antiquity indicating authenticity, now you move to pointing out Christianity regards itself as the last instalment. Why do you keep changing your mind?

          • Lollia

            I was seeking information first hand without having to google it, but I should have.. I am sure it would not have been so violently abusive. Obviously I have not studied the difference between worship and veneration in detail because it is not exactly at the top of my list of priorities; I am sure I can get by without such information.

          • Albert

            If you’re going to criticise others without bothering to understand them first, then I would say you aren’t actually getting by at all. If you try to look down your nose at someone because you believe you have the high ground then don’t be surprised if they expose the fact that you don’t have the high ground. Your previous post had indicated contempt, but it was apparent that your contempt was based on ignorance and prejudice.

          • Lollia

            OK forget it.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Martin is wrong not Moses.

          • Albert

            Quite.

      • Lollia

        More likely they just ignored his commandment and stuck the “angels” on anyway;
        rather like when much later the mother of Emperor Constantine wanted an icon,-and Constantine (or Eusebius, Lactantius etc) said: “There is not, and cannot be such a thing as Christian art”;—that didn’t last long either. People like their statues and pretty paintings.

    • Little Black Censored

      So they haven’t convinced you? Poor old them!

    • Marcus Stewart

      Stig: You might feel uneasy, but that’s hardly the point.

    • Dominic Stockford

      They kiss them. They rub them. They bow down before them. They light candles to them. They get upset if they’re moved to a different spot. Of course they’re worshipping the object.

      • Marcus Stewart

        Through the object – not the object itself. Reality lies under the form of another. The Body and Blood of JC lie under the form of bread and wine. You disagree with the theology, but please at least characterise it correctly.

        • Dominic Stockford

          No, which is why I spoke of people getting aerated when a statue is moved. If it was ‘through’, they wouldn’t mind if it was on one side of the church or the other. But the anger and rage I have seen on people’s faces when someone dares move a statue or a picture of their beloved ‘saint’ to a different spot clearly demonstrates that it is the statue or the painting that they care about. And rubbing a hanky on a statue and taking it away as a ‘blessed object’, which I saw more times than I cared to in the bad days when I was an RC priest, clearly shows that they ‘worshippers’ hold the object itself to be in some way special, capable of giving blessings, and worthy of worship.

  • john in cheshire

    Next they’ll be targeting Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
    I notice the pagan angel of the North is left untouched.

    • Martin

      Be nice to see both monstrosities go.

    • Linus

      Does the pagan angel of the North advocate submitting gays and anyone else who disagrees with it to fiery eternal torture?

      Thought not. So it can stay.

  • Albert

    You may consider the removal of Christian statues to be somehow symbolic of an ever-encroaching secularism

    Yes, it’s like the Protestant Reformation all over again.

    • Martin

      No, the Reformation had nothing to do with secularism, but everything to do with Biblical doctrine.

      • Albert

        The removal of the sacramental from the world secularised it.

        • Martin

          Albert

          Sacraments are not of the world.

          • Albert

            Obviously not. They sanctify the world.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, the world is bound for destruction.

          • Albert

            That’s funny, in my Bible it says:

            For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. Since you obviously don’t know your Bible, I’ll give you the reference: Romans 8.19-21.

            You really do walk into these things, don’t you Martin?

          • Martin

            Albert

            This creation will be destroyed and God will create a new Heavens and a new Earth. Apparently you don’t know the Bible.

          • Albert

            It’s funny how I tend to reply with quotes from the Bible and you don’t. The point is that the world itself is to be sanctified. Obviously, that will require a new form, that may require destruction, but it is to be sanctified.

          • Jonathan

            “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17

          • Jonathan

            “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Revelation 21:1

          • Albert

            Yes, but if you look at Romans, it is clear that the new earth is made of the old one. Just as the resurrected body, though new, has not replaced the old, but is a transformed version. Martin’s point is a form of Manichaeism.

          • Jonathan

            “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:10-13

          • Albert

            I think this is very confused. The issue is whether the world itself can be sanctified. Clearly, as scripture says “The form of this present world is passing away.” But that does not cause us to accept some kind of Platonic dualism, in which a world created good by God, is incapable of being set free of the bondage to decay.

            Now the setting free certainly involves a destruction of sorts – the form of this world is passing away – just as the body is in a sense destroyed, even though the same body will rise. Transformation necessarily means the ending of one form and the beginning of another. The world is capable of transformation, which is why sacraments, like the incarnation, are part of the heavenly invasion. Failure to see that will lead to a denial of Christ.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Moving the goalposts when Scripture doesn’t suit you.

          • Albert

            The Bible speaks with a wonderful richness about the world. On the one hand is it created good and loved by God so much that he sends his Son (unlike Martin, I assume you don’t need references!). On the other hand, the whole world is in the power of the evil one etc. The key thing is that we need to keep both poles in play.

            The danger of having only love of the world, is that it leads to pantheism, denial of sin etc.

            The danger of having only the evil of the world, is that it fails to understand the goodness of creation and the saving work of Christ.

            So scripture puts both things together. There is the passage about destruction and the passage about being set free. It’s quite easy to reconcile the two. This world as it is now is passing away (destruction), but the new world will be made from it (set free).

            That’s not moving the goal posts. That’s just attempting to be faithful to the full richness of the scriptures, against one-sided readings.

          • Martin

            Albert

            How can our resurrected bodies, that have rotted away, not be completely new?

          • Albert

            They will still be made of the matter of this world. Do you not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

          • Martin

            Albert

            But what is matter than the will of God.

          • Albert

            The matter is caused by the will of God, it is odd to say it is the will of God.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If God speaks it into existence, what is it other than the will of God?

          • Albert

            I think there’s a category mistake between the nature of something and the reason for it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then how would you explain matter? The deeper we dig the more we find information at the heart of things, the reason becoming the thing.

          • Albert

            Matter exists because God chooses to cause it to exist but that does not tell us that matter is the will of God, only that it exists by the will of God. After all, angels also exist because God chooses to cause them to exist.

            Now if we say that what God causes to exist is the will of God we would have to say that matter and angels are the will of God – i.e. they are the same thing. Which is absurd, for an angel, being spiritual, has no matter in it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So what is matter composed of, if not the will of God? And why should not angels, and our spiritual nature, be composed of the will of God?

          • Albert

            Matter isn’t composed of anything, it is the thing that material things are composed of. Now the reason these things cannot both be composed of the will of God is that if they were, matter and spirit would be the same thing (the will of God), but as it is they are, so to speak opposites.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then what are they composed of, what is their source?

          • Albert

            God causes matter to exist, but that does not mean the material cause of matter is God’s will.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What then is “the material cause of matter”?

          • Albert

            Do you know what the expression “material cause” means?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Are you going to answer my question?

          • Albert

            Your question is non-nonsensical, hence I asked my question to flush that out.

          • Martin

            Albert

            My question followed your wording, are you saying you were writing nonsense?

            What then is “the material cause of matter”?

          • Albert

            The wording is what I am denying because it is nonsensical. Now if you are asking for the material cause of matter, then the question is nonsensical. If you are asking something else, then I can only say you are unclear. Do you know what the material cause of a wooden table is, for example?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The wording is yours, don’t blame me.

          • Albert

            The wording is my trying to understand what it is you are saying. What are you asking?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Your statement:

            “God causes matter to exist, but that does not mean the material cause of matter is God’s will.”

            From which my question arose, what then is the material cause of matter?

            My point is that the source and origin of matter is God’s will.

          • Albert

            There isn’t a material cause of matter.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then why make the statement? It is clear, if matter arises at the will of God then mater is the will of God.

          • Albert

            As I have said from the beginning, matter is caused by God’s will, but it is not composed of God’s will.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It all depends on what you mean by composed of. Seems to me that if something exists from nothing because God God willed it to be then it is formed from God’s will.

          • Albert

            If you mean that it is made of God’s will, in the way that a wooden chair is made of wood, then surely you can see the problem.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Quite unlike a wooden chair.

            By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
            (Hebrews 11:3 [ESV])

          • Albert

            Well then I think we are arguing over differing meanings of words.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Not really.

          • Albert

            Material cause has a specific meaning, and it excludes the possibility of something spiritual, like God’s will. A material cause must be something material – i.e. physical.

          • Martin

            Albert

            ‘Material cause’ was your term, not mine.

          • Albert

            It was me trying to understand what you meant.

          • Martin

            Albert

            But you used the word. It is interesting that so much of what goes on at a microscopic level is governed by shape. Damage the shape and the process fails, the shape is information. Equally at a sub microscopic level we find information, and what is information but the content of words.

          • Lollia

            Do you take anything seriously from a drug-crazed lunatic on Patmos who had been at the magic mushrooms again? (they used to grow there, and there were no laws then about using drugs,-even soft ones.)

          • Jonathan

            There are ten uses of “sanctified” in the bible, the split of these ten is: ten refer to people and zero refer to the world.

          • Albert

            So what? Sola scriptura isn’t in the Bible either! I’m just using the term “sanctify” to mean set free. However, it is clear that sacraments are more than that and the sacraments are instituted in scripture.

            But you seem to me to be missing the point. The Bible clearly has some use for this world beyond destruction. That’s why it speaks of this world being set free. Moreover, in the Bible, even God blesses things, so what’s the problem?

          • I’m just using the term “sanctify” to mean set free. However, it is clear that sacraments are more than that and the sacraments are instituted in scripture.

            The word ‘sanctify’ (Greek, hagiazo) does not mean to be set free, it means to be set apart (for holy purposes). And ‘sacraments’ are found nowhere in Scripture.

          • Albert

            I’m not sure about that. I think being set apart involves being set free. And sacraments are in scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            And there I was thinking you would know the passages.

          • Lollia

            Perhaps you both read different bibles?

          • Martin

            Perhaps we have different authorities.

          • Lollia

            What on earth does that mean?

          • Albert

            It means they are an instrument in what scripture says:

            For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.

          • Lollia

            Sounds a bit circular to me.

          • Albert

            Really? How?

          • Lollia

            If you believe everything in the Bible because the Bible itself says it is true, then that is a self -referential circular argument. You need extra outside sources.
            I think I made that reply to another post elsewhere, where the argument was made more explicitly.

      • Dolphinfish

        Secularism follows from Protestantism.

        • Martin

          Not at all.

        • Merchantman

          No it emerged out of the so called enlightenment and neo-classicism

        • Watchman

          You mean like Islam follows from Romanism?

          • Dolphinfish

            In fact, Islam IS a heresy of Catholicism, as secularism is a heresy of Protestantism. The difference is that Islam was not an inevitable consequence; secularism was.

          • Watchman

            Catholism is a heresy of Christianity so Islam is really bottom feeding isn’t it. If you look at the history of the origins of Islam there is nothing original in its doctrines. They were harvested from Judaism, the Sumerian religion the local culture and the what was purported to be Christianity that Mohamed found when he spent time in the markets of mecca. The ideas of jihad, taqiyya and the concept of Dar-el-Islam and Dar-el-harb came from his observations of the way that the church operated: slaughtering anyone who disagreed with them; lying if it suited their cause and control of the land in which they operated. This church was not Christian but a false church built on the lust of men who wanted power and control. Islam imitated it rather efficiently. I’m sure you don’t want to be reminded of the St Bartholemew Day’s Massacre and the inquisition but they are there as a reminder of the true nature of your church.

          • Lollia

            Secularism is not a heresy of anything; you are making a category error.

        • Lollia

          I thought it followed from a practical consideration of the importance of separation of Church and State, and the avoidance of yet more repressive theocracies.

          • Dolphinfish

            You thought wrong. Separation of Church and state is a Catholic concept dating back to the beginning (“reader unto Caesar…”). The authority of the state is based on natural law and as such it’s legitimacy was always recognized by the Church. Separation itself does not lead to secularism; Protestantism does.

          • From the Dictatus Papae of Hildebrand (Gregory VII), 1075.
            .
            The pope is the only one whose feet all prices must kiss.
            The pope may depose emperors.
            The pope may be judged by no one.
            .
            If that is not insanely megalomaniac enough, try Benedict VIII and his papal bull Unam Sanctum of 1302.
            .
            ‘Both the spiritual sword and the civil sword are in the power of the Church. The civil sword is to be used for the Church, the spiritual sword by the Church………We declare, state, define and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary to salvation for every human being to be subject to the Roman pope.’

          • Lollia

            Ah, those were the days.

          • Anton

            Martin M is arguing AGAINST those things.

          • Lollia

            Quite right too.

          • Lollia

            I am talking of more modern times, eg th USA. the founding fathers were mostly deists, but they believed strongly in separation of Church and State,–which is what secularism is. you don’t necessarily have to be atheist to be secularist;–though in practice I think they are largely synonymous. There are many Christians, and of course Islamists who hink Theocracy is natural law, and that we should be ruled by priests and Imams and Sharia Law (and “God’s” Law).
            The Romans thought so; the Roman Emperor was Pontifex Maximus long before Christianity.

          • Anton

            Secularism is an abuse of the freedom that began to be won at the Reformation.

      • Albert

        oops up clicked in error!

        • Martin

          You know it makes sense.

          • Albert

            🙂

        • len

          lol.
          Careful Albert , people will start talking.

    • carl jacobs

      Still pining for the Holy Roman Empire, I see.

      • Albert

        I was never part of it. But I would like Christianity to recapture the imagination of the West.

        • Lollia

          Don’t you mean -you would like Christianity to recapture the West,-for the Roman Empire?

          • Albert

            Firstly, the Roman Empire you speak of and the Holy Roman Empire Carl mentioned are not the same thing. And secondly, in answer to your question, no. What a bizarre thing to think I would be after.

          • Lollia

            I was merely pointing out that in my humble opinion the (Christianised) Roman Empire would probably have liked to get back their lost colonies, eg Britannia. (Romans departed around 410 AD)
            -and yes I know it was different from the later Holy Roman Empire, which according to Voltaire (I think it was),–was neither Holy, nor Ronan, nor an Empire.
            Calm down.

          • Albert

            Why on earth would you impute such a position to me without evidence? It looks like prejudice to me.

          • Lollia

            Nope; just a historical observation; relax.

          • Albert

            It’s not historical and it’s not an observation and stop telling me what to do.

          • Lollia

            If you are that wound up I can prescribe something if you like?

          • Albert

            I’m not wound up. I’ve just caught you out, and you don’t like it, so you try to change the subject.

          • Lollia

            This is getting silly, and unworthy of two exalted intellectuals like wot we are.
            I’m sure your are just fine,-I’m just fine too; let’s leave it at that.

  • Linus

    Actually no, statues of the sky pixie’s babymomma and her sprog offend virtually nobody. Not really. They may offend aesthetic sensibilities given their almost uniformly kitsch ugliness, but as far as feelings go, they don’t do a great deal of harm.

    It’s interesting to know that Pixtians think they do offend though, and are even willing to tear them down as a result. Interesting because the less visible your religion becomes, the more quickly will disappear from the collective consciousness and the less harm it will do.

    I therefore encourage all administrators of Christian schools and colleges to consider tearing down their Christian artwork. Who knows who may sue you if you don’t? Do you really want that kind of liability looming over your budget? Demolition is by far the cheapest alternative.

    • Manfarang

      “Actually no, statues of the sky pixie’s babymomma and her sprog offend virtually nobody.”
      Someone had a good whack at the icon of the Black Madonna.
      http://www.polandbymail.net/onlinepics/arp429a.jpg

      • Linus

        That was done by a bunch of shameless Hussites.

        What do you expect when sky pixie worshipper turns against sky pixie worshipper? Peace and love?

      • Albert

        Why reply to Linus, when he describe Jesus as “her sprog”?

        • Inspector General

          You are witnessing a soul in a state of demonic transformation. By the time his last breath is taken, he will be barely human in spirit, and then Satan will claim him, for God’s angels will surely not come for him.

          Take note of what is happening to him, and gasp in awe…

          • Linus

            Looking at your reflection in a glass again are you, old fool?

            Don’t worry, Cave Ogre is just as imaginary as Sky Pixie. I agree that you’re hideously ugly and that the sky pixie’s angels would flee from you if they actually existed. But when you die, your ugliness will die with you, so chin up, deliverance will come soon enough. You won’t have to suffer being you for all eternity.

          • Inspector General

            And it came to pass that Linus expired. And he was at peace. They laid him out, but after three days the soul was still with the body. They took him, and placed him in a box, and the soul was still with the body. He would not be received and he now knew this. And the box was placed in the cremator, and this really upset him…

          • Linus

            Yawn.

            That’s right, old psychopath. You go ahead and amuse yourself with fantasies about me being tortured to death. It’s about what I’d expect from you.

            Meanwhile I’ll be getting on with my life, occasionally chuckling at the thought that mad Pixtian (well, semi-Pixtians) old fools feel so impotent they have to imagine my fiery death in order to assuage their rage and hatred.

            Careful you don’t choke on it, old man. I doubt what’s left of your brain can stand any more oxygen starvation without withering and dying altogether.

          • Inspector General

            Read it again. The death of the body but not the soul. The grey and white mass that is the brain no longer functions as a device to operate the organic body. A soul deserted. That is your fate…

          • Linus

            Yawn.

            So you’ve dug out the crystal ball, have you? And now you’re casting horoscopes on behalf of your Sky Pixie and telling him what my fate should be.

            Careful old degenerate, he doesn’t like it when you dictate to him how the future should go. It gets on his pixie-wick. That’s what the Pixiebook says, at least.

          • Lollia

            Didn’t Ezekiel say something about “the soul that ?sinneth?-it shall surely die”.

            But we can’t have souls dying can we?–then there would be nothing to torture and burn in everlasting Hell-fire where the worm dieth not, and those who have teeth-nash them.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t take bearded OT prophets too seriously. Highly overrated they are, in one’s not so humble opinion. Anyway, we have much the same type on this site, and you’ll spot them very easily. Their arrogance is breath taking at times….

          • Anton

            Soul and spirit are not the same; check the meanings of NEFESH, RUACH and NESHAMAH in Hebrew, the language that Ezekiel wrote in.

          • Lollia

            I think you are just making that up! When I was a medical student , the first thing our Dean said to us was that in 30 years of doing general surgery he had never yet found a soul anywhere in the anatomy.

          • Inspector General

            Your dean failed to find evidence of a soul while conducting general surgery, did he. One would wager he also failed to find any evidence that the unconscious subject was a rational thinking human being with wants, needs, ambitions, loves and ideas. No. What he would be operating on was just a living mass of animal. Which is just as well, as perhaps he would be somewhat put off if the subject were to awake and ask him his take on the EU referendum.

          • Lollia

            I must stop trying to be ironic; Christians have no sense of humour. The Dean like me, was an atheist and therefore did not believe in a soul,-immortal or otherwise.
            Of course it depends on what you mean by a soul. I don’t mind using it as a collective noun for one’s personality and memories–but certainly not anything supernatural inserted by a god into one of our ancestorsl-as Catholics believe, “(ensoulement”).

          • Pubcrawler

            “I must stop trying to be ironic;”

            Mmmm. You wouldn’t happen to be American?

          • Lollia

            American!!–How dare you!!!

            I am British–(and half Dutch-South African and French Huguenot).

          • Inspector General

            No. Keep on being ironic, if that is what it was…

            Do you know what career atheists have in common with certain rodents. It’s this. Just as said rodents would rather bite off its entrapped limb should it be so caught in a trapping device, the career atheist goes through a similar agony of desperation when faced with the possibility of admitting to a creating god.

            Good night.

          • Lollia

            Yes I suppose this illustrates the total inability of Christians to understand any other attitude except beliefs. No we are not desperate. No we do not really secretly want to believe. No we do not steadfastly reject God in the face of overwhelming evidence of his existence. All we ask for is that you show us some of this overwhelming evidence,-then if we find it plausible we can accept God into the body of established knowledge and build upon that.
            But until you can do that we regard God-belief as totally irrational and toxic and the enemy of reason, logic, common sense, (real) science, technological, sociological, epistemological advance, and Life itself.

          • Anna

            The evidence is all there for those who truly seek. You need to make up your mind first whether you wish to be a seeker or a scoffer? If you prefer to remain a scoffer then the evidence will continue to elude you. Humility is essential. As many atheists who later became Christians will testify.

          • Lollia

            I have sought for over 60 years, I have not found, and have sought other things instead. there is no evidence, as many Christians who later became atheists will testify.

          • Anna

            Sorry, I could not have guessed that you were in your sixties- you ‘sound’ so young! I’m in my forties.

            You say that you sought evidence of God’s existence, but may I ask you as gently and respectfully as I can – was your search characterised by an attitude of humility? Did you truly seek for it yourself, or demand that Christians present you with the evidence? There is a difference. Did you approach the matter as a learner? If someone wished to learn a foreign language, how far would a know-it-all superior attitude get them? Not very far, I’m sure you’ll agree. If I were blind, how foolish I would be to deny the existence of colour, just because it lies outside my own experience – it requires some humility to admit that the others, perhaps, possess a faculty that I lack.

            Many people say they will believe in God if He will present to them the evidence for His own existence. Imagine you belonged to an obscure tribe in S America and were informed that a faraway country called USA had sent a man to the moon. If you refused to believe and demanded that the ‘moon guy’ turn up at your door with his spaceship to convince you; then you could scoff all you like, but you might never find the evidence. If there is indeed a God who rules the whole universe, then you must seek Him, for you owe your very existence to Him. Humility is the key. God reveals Himself to every earnest seeker. The revelation happens at a spiritual level. A tiny step of faith is necessary to humbly ask God, “If You really exist, please reveal yourself to my understanding” and wait patiently for Him to answer. Consider these scriptures- Matthew 18:3, Jeremiah 29:13, Deuteronomy 4:29, Romans 11:33, Isaiah 55:8-9, John 6:37.

            So, perhaps the first thing to do is to work on one’s own attitude. My late father, who was born in the twenties and served as an altar boy in church, turned away from God and religion in his late teens. He was the scholarly type and although universities in his time still treated Darwin’s theory as, well, theory and not fact, he was convinced that there is no God, and even ‘experimented’ with communism for a while. In his fifties, he grew increasingly unhappy with the results of ‘godlessness’ on society and families – the increasing greed, selfishness, family breakdown and sexual perversion distressed him. He also observed first hand the difference between his condition and that of my mother, a committed Christian- the peace and assurance she enjoyed contrasted so sharply with his own lack of peace. After her death, he began to seek God with an earnest desire to find out; and then he had a ‘God’ encounter after which it is impossible to doubt. The ‘Christians’ you mentioned who later became atheists probably never had such an experience because then one ‘knows’ beyond all doubt.

            I would encourage you to keep seeking a bit longer.

          • Lollia

            I am not generally a supporter of false humility for its own sake,-so I did not consider it at all in my various “researches”. I was brought up an Anglican. My father belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa where I was born. I was soaked in religion at Public school; then I work up one morning when I was 17, having presumably been sleeping on the God-problem, and said to myself these very words: “This is all a load of bollocks,-I am not going to believe in it any more”–and never have since. Since then I have educated myself in Medicine and Science, ancient history and Philosophy, and yes–Theology (on the principle of “Know your enemy”)
            I agree that no-one knows anything beyond any doubt,-that is why atheists are also agnostics. But there is a matter of probabilities, and my research concluded to me that God is preposterous and improbable,-not least because he does not seem to care how rude I am to him. Where is his renowned propensity for vindictive genocide and smiting as in the OT,-or his threats of hellfire and Damnation as outlined by Loving Jesus?
            You will have to present better arguments than you have so far;-and yes I do demand evidence, and so do millions of other atheists; (we are now the majority in the U.K., and increasing in the USA. You no longer have a monopoly of patronising demonstrations of your “humility” over us.
            How humble is it to keep pestering people who don’t want your God,-and refusing to take £No” for an answer?
            In short: “Put up or shut up” (and I don’t mean to be rude,-I am just quoting.)

          • Anna

            Did I touch a raw nerve there? I am sorry you think you are being pestered. You came on this blog with all these negative comments about Christianity, so you shouldn’t mind if your approach is challenged a little. I think I have accurately pinpointed the flaw in your search- you were never a seeker; you ‘passively’ demand that others produce the evidence. Totally different. Sadly no one comes to an understanding of God this way. To be a seeker or a learner, you do need to begin by admitting your own ignorance. You decided at a very young age that there is no God, and this seems to have prejudiced your search. I doubt that the study of Medicine led you to this conclusion. I am a doctor myself and I know too many Christian doctors including many in my immediate family. We find that our work is considerably enhanced by our faith.

          • Lollia

            You don’t get it. I decided I did not accept the existence of God on the basis of lack of evidence;-that is how it is done.
            And you?–you decided at whatever age, that there was a God and this has prejudiced your search for a natural explanation of the world;-sauce for the goose?

          • Anna

            Sorry, but that is not how it is done; not if you want to know the truth.

            This is why I said in my earlier post that you must make up your mind whether you prefer to be a seeker or remain a scoffer – scoffers will always be blinded to the truth about God. In my own case, I was open to both possibilities. Both my parents, despite being very educated people, had different views at that stage and I was unsure. As I sought the truth, I received a clear revelation which transformed my thinking.

            I hope you will reconsider your position. Anyway I will stop ‘pestering’ you- this is my final post on the subject. I wish you well.

          • Anton

            I came on a Christian blog because Christians invade our turf all the time, They try to take over, science, education, law

            Our turf? Who is “us”, and are you aware of the role of Christian belief in forming Western education systems and law in the last 2000 years?

          • Lollia

            –and a bit more on Christian “logic”;–which seems to be that the more absent and unrevealing a person (God) is,-then the more he is actually present and revealing. The more absent he is,–therefore the more present he is; His absence indicates his presence,–his transcendence indicates his manifestation, he is spiritual but he can interact with physical Matter, eg smite people and move mountains.
            Sorry, but I do not subscribe to logical absurdities. I suggest you first decide whether God is coming or going, here or there,-then we can discuss it further.
            meanwhile look up the laws of logic:
            1, A thing is itself (law of Identity.)
            2, A thing is not its opposite (law of non-contradiction)
            3. A thing is one thing or the other,-not both at once. (Law of the Excluded Middle).

          • Inspector General

            “But until you can do that we regard God-belief as totally irrational and toxic and the enemy of reason, logic, common sense, (real) science, technological, sociological, epistemological advance, and Life itself.”

            One can see where you are coming from, and yes, you do have a point, as the lesser achieving races do use their god as a club to beat people who are different to them. But you need to ascend beyond those awfuls and separate them from the equation. One doesn’t care for some head-rag wearing bearded thug whose mutilated his daughter to be representative of mankind. Do you?

            ‘Epistemological’ is a grand word, isn’t it. Must try and throw that around in the future…

          • Lollia

            Yes I enjoy flashing it around my Philosophy group; (they still don’t know what it means after 16 years of meetings;-but as The Grand Convenor of U3A Philosophy One feels duty bound to persist.
            (Sorry about the asteroid strike on your head comment in another post, some of these toxic Christians get me a bit tetchy.)

          • Lollia

            Gosh!-archaic or what.?This is the 21st century; two thousand years have passed,-or four thousand if you include Yahweh,-that Midianite tribal desert god and his Asherah (girl-friend), and brother of Baal, who was adopted by the Israelites. Apart from people of (various) faiths being clobbered by everyone else ever since,-has anything really significant happened,–apart from a lot more religiously-inspired bloodshed that is?

          • Inspector General

            Yes. One concedes you are right. The idea of a creator of this intricate world is completely ludicrous. We are but the result of stone soup hit by lightening…

          • Stig

            And could all be wiped out in the next five minutes by random factors ifno intelligence is in control. A world without God is a very scary place. We don’t know enough to control it, So if nobody else does….

          • Inspector General

            Astro-physicists are unsure of many things, but up near the top is why Earth isn’t hit by something big from the asteroid belt travelling at 15 miles per second once every 50 years. Divine Providence says this man…

          • Lollia

            Well you shouldn’t. The history of the Earth, moon, Mars etc shows they are covered in asteroid impact scars. Earlier in the history of the earth, about 4 billion years ago, it suffered the great asteroid bombardment. Eventually most of the asteroids get used up and having hit the planets they become part of them; the bombardment slows down and the planets get a longer respite..
            Ever heard of the recent Tunguska impact in Siberia, around 1910 I believe?
            Sooner or later our luck will run out and we will get another big one,– probably right on your Christian head.

          • Inspector General

            Silly you! The Tunguska hit was a pop gun compared with something the size of the Empire State building hitting the Atlantic at 15 miles a second. And we nearly ran out of luck the other year when something big and horrible passed closer to the earth than where the moon orbits.

            When an Astro Physicist was asked about how intensely these extinction dangers are monitored, he whined that the area of space concerned was vast. One presumes what he was alluding to was that a certain amount of luck would be needed to give adequate warning of one on its way here. That’s a word you won’t hear used outside the intimacy of scientific circles – ‘luck’!

            Come on, admit it. You scientific types get by on a wing and a prayer a lot of the time!

          • Lollia

            Well at least these pesky scientists noticed it in the first place,–which is more than Jesus did, unless I missed a “revelation” from him.

          • Inspector General

            What an odd post!

          • Anton

            No point bothering to monitor it Inspector, for there’d be nothing we could do about it.

          • Lollia

            Indeed, but a bit more complicated than that; about a billion years worth of lightning strikes and chemical evolution;-more than 2 seconds anyway, before primitive life appeared. I wonder who created the creator?–or if he is infinite,-how does that work?-and how did the writers of Genesis know anyway?

          • Inspector General

            Yes. One can picture the scene. The only thing that would be missing is an appearance by Boris Karloff. Who takes on the role of Frankenstein, by the way? No other entity around then but God.

            As for particles and bits of stone ‘getting together’ then you’re in for a disappointment. You see, particles and stuff are inherently lazy things that prefer to do nothing. However, given a kick-start by an outside agency, they reluctantly oblige. Even then, they need some form of guidance, a computer program in way, and that would be evolution. One does agree with you that life or perhaps more accurately what became life had to be started in some physical way, but without the laws of physics provided by the creator, not a hope.

          • Lollia

            The “lazy particles” are not inert billiard ball things, but contain atomic power (as in explosions.) If an outside force is needed to get them together , then of course the Christian superstitious solution is to invent an “Agency” to give then a kick with his Divine Foot, The actual outside force is Gravity–which is a fundamental natural force.
            When a sufficient mass of “lazy particles” happens to randomly drift together, their innate mutual gravitational attraction causes massive gravitational collapse into, eventually.- stars. Nuclear fusion in stars, and eventually explosion into supernovae, creates all the heavy elements of the Periodic Table,–and from then on chemical evolution occurs and builds up into complex organic biochemical creatures like us.
            You can see from the foregoing that all these events occur through logical necessity;-ie one thing leads to another;–and that is the origin of your “Laws”,-just regular processes which have so far lasted long enough to be given the label of a “Law”;–purely descriptively.

            I should really make a charge for all this work;-or you could just read a book on Astro-Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

          • Inspector General

            Gravity is a what? Oh yes, fundamental natural force. We’ll leave it at that then. We won’t try to find out who this force answers to…

            What else have you spilled out? Oh, this is good…

            “You can see from the foregoing that all these events occur through logical necessity”

            Bold statement that. We haven’t discussed logic. Or necessity. There is no law of logic. There is no right or wrong. Can’t be. There is no supremacy from whence these artificial constructs can exist under says you. There is no necessity. It’s all random, remember. It just happened.

            As for the Periodic Table, we can only gasp at the beauty of the intricacy of design therein. Yes, the word used was ‘design’. How can it be other?

            I hope you’re taking note of all this and learning…

          • Lollia

            Actually scientists are trying all the time to discover more about gravity, and everything else, as you should know; but to ascribe it and other problems to “God-did-it”” is to throw up your hands in superstitious defeat;–and just when I was beginning to think you were a cut above the other commentators..
            The physicist Andre Linde has proposed Cosmic Natural Selection as the “logical” solution, seeing as how evolution operates at the chemical, biochemical, biological and sociological level;;(it does really! To me this implies evolutionary natural selection all the way down.
            If it wasn’t for scientists (including Nwton and Einstein you would know nothing of gravity or anything else; you would assume it was Cherubs pulling you down into Hell.
            If you think you are so superior to scientists why don’t you become one yourself, and get a Nobel prize for explaining gravity, instead of rubbishing those who do all the hard work. (and you probably will get an asteroid on your head after all)

          • Inspector General

            Relax, woman. No one’s taking your precious atheism away from you. But it has to said, numerous physicists of note, including Max Planck, make room for God, even if its being makes no other sense to them than its part in what was and what is.

            Take note of mathematicians. They put great store in little i. You would know that little i is the square root of minus one. Something that cannot, by logic, exist. But little i is alive and well today. And doing his stuff for clever types satisfaction in their equations!

            There is no charge for this education, but you might want to make a donation to our host.

          • Anton

            Well minus one sheep cannot exist either, but we are used to the notion of negative numbers. “Little i”, the square root of -1, is a bit like that.

          • Lollia

            Thanks but I already know all that, and yes “i” has its uses as an “operator”;-it is not a number as such. I am glad you are not trying to convert me; i think I could be forgiven for thinking you were; nor am I trying to take away your precious Christianity either, but just trying to moderate your hysteria over people like me who think differently. Now that you have discovered I am not a woman, (thankfully you did not have to grope me to find out),-you could also moderate your sexist misogyny. I am happy to continue chatting. I have had the same trouble here in Jersey where I live (the island, not New Jersey); every time we have a replacement Vicar over here (I usually vanquish them and the leave), the first thing they do is to attack atheists,-so I am forced to write a letter to the Jersey Evening Post showing them they error of their ways. Sometimes they settle down and behave,-other times they carry on more insidiously hoping I won’t notice. I think you know who I mean;–he left Jersey a while ago and went back to the mainland,-but contributes to this site. I found this link just now; quite amusing, and very informative.

          • Anton

            every time we have a replacement Vicar over here (I usually vanquish them and the leave), the first thing they do is to attack atheists,-so I am forced to write a letter to the Jersey Evening Post showing them they error of their ways.

            You really are a legend in you own mind, aren’t you? I doubt that Gavin Ashenden was worried. Anyway, here’s a question that you avoided earlier: WHY are the laws of physics beautiful? In full, why is the mathematical expression of the laws of physics the most beautiful maths around (for there is such a thing as beauty in maths)? What explanation have you, other than that they were ordained by a deity with an acute sense of beauty?

          • Lollia

            I’m sure he wasn’t; in fact we have had lunch together and got on splendidly; nice chap.
            I never avoid sensible questions,–I might have accidentally missed it. So,–As you know, Beauty is in the Eye of the beholder, and also changes with fashion; example?–most people consider mountains, valleys and burbling brooks beautiful;–but nor Dr Johnson. When he was touring Scotland with Boswell, he asked for the coach blinds to be closed in order to shut out those “horrid crags”.
            Other people grow used to ugliness and end up almost finding it beautiful.
            there are equations in maths and Physics that I believe are extremely ugly and messy; (I am not a maths expert, (no really!),-but I believe Schrödinger’s equation is like that, (but I am sure he loved it).
            What is essentially “beautiful” about say E=MC(2). Why should it be considered beautiful? Any ideas? True, -it is short and pithy,-even I can understand it.
            “Fuck”-is also short and pithy;–is it beautiful?
            Other features which are considered “beautiful” are Symmetry –of face and body,–most likely because symmetry usually signifies health and fecundity in a potential mate. We like bright colours because these reminded our distant ancestors of ripening fruit, and therefore a meal, Some apes/monkeys mimicked this (unconsciously) by natural selection, and sported brightly coloured bottoms at time of oestrus,- and thereby a promise of sex to potential mates,-who no doubt found it very beautiful;–would you?
            Dogs like disgusting smells.,–do you? Starving animals eat carrion (yum-yum); Do you? So you see, Beauty is relative and even inter-species specific.
            It has been fine-tuned by evolutionary natural selection, and is demonstrable by scientific study of nature, in the field, Like Darwin did). It is reasonable to suppose that the so-called fine-constants, and satisfaction of equations have a similar explanation, but scientists do not jump to conclusions and say: “it must be so”;–they actually observe and measure. That is the difference between Science and Faith.
            I have not made all this up: I have been trained as a Doctor in all the relevant sciences, and have als studied Philosophy (and even Theology!). I try to get at the (real) Truth of things.

          • Lollia

            ps As you know, the Greeks were pretty good at “Beauty”,-despite being pre-Christan and worshipping lots of “pagan” gods and goddesses.. Why did God allegedly reveal Beauty to them, but nor to his chosen people the Jews,-who had no art, except a bit copied from the Egyptians and Assyrians,- and who thought it a “sin” to present the human form; as did their cultural descendants the Christians (for a long time), and the Muslims, (still do,-their art is mainly non-representational geometric).
            Art and beauty have evolved throughout history, as a memetic equivalent to genetic biological evolution. No Divine Revelation necessary. We can do it ourselves because we are human and we are smart.

          • CliveM

            Considering the quality of your responses here, I find that hard to believe.

          • Lollia

            Have you forgotten? Part of Christian Virtue is believing everything on Faith,-without question.

          • CliveM

            Really? My point proven I think.

            Before criticising something, you should find out about it first.

            Saves embarrassment later.

          • Lollia

            Who is embarrassed? As in previous posts back to me, this reply seems to be an incoherent non sequitur.

          • CliveM

            Apologies if my simple language it to difficult.

          • Lollia

            Sorry if I was rude.

          • CliveM

            That’s OK, apology accepted.

          • Lollia

            ps You should read my copy of Sir Peter Atkins book “The Periodic Table”.
            He is professor of Chemistry at Oxford, and an atheist..
            Yes the periodic table is “designed”;–by natural selection like everything else.
            There is a “logical” progression from Hydrogen with one proton in the atomic nucleus up to Uranium with around a 100 or so ( I forget exactly how many).
            So each element is built by adding one extra proton to the atomic nucleus. It does not take a god to do that,–just atomic trial and error,-like a jig-saw puzzle.
            In addition, several more heavy radioactive elements eg Plutonium have been invented by atomic Physicists;–so are they gods as well?
            I can make a bigger pile of stones by adding one pebble at a time;–am I God?
            I only quote conventional well-established Science, I do not make it up as I go along, like a Christian.

          • Inspector General

            Oh, what a howler! Plutonium exists naturally…

            One has come to the conclusion that you are not a very good atheist. You haven’t thought your stance through properly. However, what really had this man spluttering his whisky was reading that you fancy yourself as a bit of a philosopher. With a woman’s mind? How’s that done?

            But back to the Periodic Table. Such grace. Such beauty. Such design.

          • Anton

            No isotope of plutonium is stable. It occurs in nature only transiently in radioactive decay chains.

          • Lollia

            OK, having just googled Plutonium I see that traces of it do exist naturally. I didn’t claim to know everything. With typical Christian “logic” you will no doubt abusively claim that because I don’t know Everything, therefore I do not know Anything. Just give me a few moments and I am sure I can come up with an obscure fact that you don’t know;–until you go off and google it yourself as I have just done. Enjoy your cheap victory; I have better things to do. You could also try being more polite.

          • Inspector General

            A 77 year old female impersonator with anger issues…

            It’s cheery good bye then!

          • Lollia

            Not necessarily; I’ve just popped up again; can’t help myself; It’s good to talk; I must be lonely; Ah—-!

          • Inspector General

            Can’t help you. Plenty of God mocking sites on the WWW. Off you go…

          • Lollia

            Ah–so you are actually human, not just Christian; revenge is sweet; now you are going to “shun” me because I dared to mock your God. Would Jesus approve of your lack of love? Don’t worry, I am off again,–for good.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t take this the wrong way, but you come over as a silly old cantankerous bugger. Not a challenge to one’s intellect, you see.

          • Lollia

            Yes very true,-I am one of those. It is the prerogative of being of a senile age,-as well as being forced to defend by unbeliefs all the time.
            I blame my parents (that is what they are for).
            I am glad we are speaking again; I want to be nice really.
            I have just been musing philosophically, having consumed a Paella for supper, that 16 years ago I had just retired from full time work, and taken up U3A Philosophy, made some new friends and bred some more Boxers, (dogs, not pugilists), and joined two Choral groups, (I sing a bit ). It has gone so quick, so I expect the next 16 years will also fly, and I will be 93;–a bit much to expect to get there.

          • Anton

            I can help with the questions in your last sentence. Astronomy and physics indicate that the universe is getting bigger. (Don’t suppose that the universe is expanding into a void beyond itself, for the universe *is* everything. Rather, the distances we measure between objects increase – this is a definition of expansion that is internal to the universe.) By using the observed rate of expansion and size of the universe to work backwards, guided by Einstein’s general theory of relativity which relates mass, space and gravity, we infer that the universe began as a single point thousands of millions of years ago. It has since expanded to what we see today; scientists call the explosive start of this expansion the ‘Big Bang’. Science and scripture – the opening line of the Bible – accord that the universe had a beginning. (In contrast Buddhism, acknowledging no creator, holds that there was no beginning.) Einstein also showed us that time and space are related, so that not only space but time stems from the Big Bang. Time is part of the creation, just as space is. God created time; that is why he is sovereign over it. Asking what happened before the Big Bang is like asking what is north of the North Pole; the analogy is mathematically quite close. (The same wrong thinking is clear if you ask when God created time.) It is meaningless to ask what God was doing before he created the universe, because before is a time-word. The way to deal with the who-created-God paradox can also be found in this point: the question is predicated on a notion of causality that involves time, but this is a false premise.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Sounds like they had Dan Browniacs way back in those days also.

          • Lollia

            I am already gasping with mirth.

        • Linus

          Sprog isn’t sufficiently descriptive for you?

          My English slang vocabulary is limited, but I can supply a number of French equivalents if you prefer.

          Môme, larve, morveux, gnard, chiard, loupiote, poulbot, moujingue, mioche …

          Will any of those do?

    • dannybhoy

      You’re on the wrong blog Linus.
      This is a Christian blog.
      We believe in and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.

      You place yourself in serious danger by mocking Him.

      • carl jacobs

        If you ignore him, he will eventually get bored and go away. The only thing that keeps him here is that people respond to his provocation.

        • dannybhoy

          Maybe I’m a naive softy, but whilst I agree that Linus seeks attention there is more than that. Why does he attack Christianity on a Christian blog?
          Lots of atheists scorn our faith and couldn’t be bothered to discuss/dialogue with us.
          Linus does, and my feeling is that he needs our rejection to validate his rejection!
          In other words it’s not just an intellectual rejection, it has its roots in some emotional incident which directly or indirectly caused him pain.
          If we outright reject him, how are we showing Him the love and grace of our Lord Jesus, how are we being different to other people?

          • Lollia

            Sometimes its is not enough merely to scorn your faith,-but we get so goaded by the smug assertions that we just can’t help rising to the bait;-though some of us try not to overdo it, and in any case try and be polite. The thing is, it is not possible for a rationalist to have a rational discussion with a person of faith, simply because a person of faith is irrational by definition, and we talk past each other. Also, because we have a rather mischievous temptation to mock.

          • carl jacobs

            Speaking of smug assertions …

          • Lollia

            Do go on.

          • A mischievous temptation to mock. O, aren’t we so “woke” and naughty, tee-hee!

          • Lollia

            Well you must admit you invite universal ridicule by your idolatrous worship of the contents of a miscellaneous batch of ancient scrolls written by puffed up ignoramuses who thought their little patch in the middle East was the whole world.
            I wonder if any of them ever holidayed in the French Riviera?

          • CliveM

            Yet being so rational you still don’t get the inherent irony of your post.

          • Anna

            Of course, you understand the universe so well, being rational and all that.
            Something out of nothing…
            Order out of chaos…
            Improbable accidents…
            Fine tuned universe…
            Greater miracles than any recorded in the Bible- particularly if there was no external agency to initiate any of it.

            If this is what you believe, surely, you have greater faith than we, poor, irrational Christians, could ever summon up. Who can blame you for being so tempted to mock us?

          • Lollia

            You make the error of thinking that because science does not (yet) understand Everything,–therefore it does not understand Anything.

            “Something out of Nothing”–Aristotle denied this claim.
            When we know more about “Nothing” then we can clarify this issue.
            eg Does Nothing exist?–it is a contradiction; if nothing exists then it is not Nothing. The Catholic Church rejected some of Aristotle’s conclusions (The Condemnations of 1277).
            In its wisdom the Catholic Church decided that God created the Universe “Ex Nihilo” (out of nothing). So blame the Catholic Church,–not me.

            God is presumably an ordered being,–right? Infinitely intelligent powerful etc, and perfect in every way. Therefore he was not Chaos; he was Order; yet you are suggesting that he created chaos out of his own Order?
            Bo it is us heaTHWNA

          • Jonathan

            In fact you are Linus. I claim my £10. Now blocked…

          • Lollia

            O no I’m not;-I am another.

          • magnolia

            “Wise as serpents and gentle as doves” includes the notion of not being led down the garden path I think!

            At any rate Linus has said many times why he posts, namely to annoy and goad. He is honest that he follows a pleasure principle. Goading people gives him endorphins and he is hooked on that. Tout simple.

        • Watchman

          Love your neighbor, Carl even if he is a jerk. Ask why he does it?

          • carl jacobs

            With Linus it has long since digressed into casting pearls before swine. Slap your sandals against the door frame and leave him in peace.

        • Lollia

          Ignore whom?-God or Linus? Must be Linus,-God has already gone.

          • carl jacobs

            So I begin to suspect that you are Linus Mark X. We’ll have to see.

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m not sure Linus, even in jest, could bring himself to be so orthographically inept.

          • Inspector General

            Linus is an irredeemable bugger. If you are a bright young thing of child bearing age, know this. Any male issue you have will be attractive to Linus and others like him. Isn’t life unfair when all you want to do is be nice to everybody!

      • Linus

        I’m on exactly the right blog.
        This is a Pixtian blog.
        You believe in and follow Sky Pixie Junior, the only son of Sky Pixie Senior, born to a woman who was not his wife, if we’re to believe her story that is, corroborated as it is by no eyewitness account, nor by any factual evidence.

        As both Sky Pixies are entirely imaginary, I place myself in no danger at all by mocking them. And in any case, if there is such a thing as a god, by mocking the Sky Pixies I am in no way mocking him (or her, or it) because he (or she, or it) can’t resemble the violent, cruel and deeply unpleasant sprites that you worship. If god is benevolent then he (or she, or it) can’t be the Sky Pixie of the Pixiebook. That character is a psychotic and genocidal maniac.

        No, I don’t mock any god who might, but probably doesn’t, exist, but I sure do mock the imbeciles who worship the clearly fictional Divine Smurfs of the Pixtian Pixiebook. Why? Because they’re evil homophobes who have persecuted, tortured and killed people like me down the ages and would again if we ever gave them the chance. They deserve much, much more than a little mockery. But I’m content to see their church dissolving around them. The despair they must feel is all the reward I need.

      • Lollia

        Yes let’s try and be civil. Yet,-you imply that Jesus will punish Linus, but why not just leave it up to Jesus whether or not he is offended? There is too much of trying to make God/Jesus obey your orders and suggestions; sounds rather as if you have created him in your own image?

        • Dominic Stockford

          It’s simple. God is very clear about what will happen to those who mock him – In Nahum we are reminded that God is a jealous God, and will justifiably (he is our creator after all) vent his wrath on those who reject or mock Him.

          • Lollia

            It’s even simpler; after the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians, the kings of Judah took fright and assumed that Yahweh was cross with them,-and the only plausible reason was that they were more polytheistic than monotheistic; so Kings Hezekiah, Josiah etc did a major crackdown and destroyed all the pagan “High Places” and enforced Yahweh worship, because Yahweh was a “jealous God”. it was religious propaganda to make the Judahites conform. Did it work?–No!,–soon afterwards Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians and the people carried off in exile. So much for Gods promises..
            During and after exile the scribes reverse-engineered their scriptures so as to make them appear “prophetic”; (they often did that).

          • Just in case you are tempted to offer more nuggets of your attempts at biblical criticism, I don’t think Dominic will waste much time on this. Neither will I.

          • Lollia

            See nothing; hear nothing; learn nothing; Just read your bible.

        • dannybhoy

          The Bible says that God is not mocked. I was brought up not to mock other people ‘s beliefs, even if I disagree with them. I do not want to be responsible for encouraging Linus to mock or denigrate the God I believe in.

          • Lollia

            Yes the Bible says that the Bible is right; ever heard of circular arguments?
            As I said,-words were put into God’s mouth by Jewish priests in order to get the people to abandon polytheism.
            You need to read some non-Biblical sources to get a more balanced view. Try the Enuma Elish, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and other sources from the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, Pharaoh Mer-en-Ptah records that he made a punitive expedition to Canaan and clobbered the Israelites there, around 1209 BCE; their first mention in history;-interesting.

          • dannybhoy

            Firstly in view of your religious knowledge you should also know that devotees of all faiths would react (some violently) to anyone mocking their god(s) or their faith.
            Secondly that other historical versions of Creation and God exist proves what?
            That the Bible came from those sources or vice versa. Seeing as Abraham’s ancestors came from that region anyway, it seems likely that the fundamentals of these stories and descriptions of God have a common source wouldn’t you say? It is obvious from the Genesis account of Abraham that the idea of one supreme deity was quite common amongst the peoples of that region.
            To say,
            …words were put into God’s mouth by Jewish priests in order to get the people to abandon polytheism.
            is frankly laughable. You seriously believe that there were men who would risk their lives and livelihoods in a polytheistic society to proclaim that there is but one God?
            Ever read the story of Amenhotep IV aka Akhenaten?
            What about Paul’s experience in Ephesus? Acts 19 23-41.
            The only way one or a few men can go against the accepted religious and cultural values of their society is if they hold positions of great power and influence, or are willing to use violence in order to impose their ideas.
            Or they are so convinced of the truth of their beliefs that they are willing to accept opposition, persecution and even death -without retaliation.
            Logically then, either they were seriously deluded, perhaps deceived or what they believed was/is actually true.

          • Lollia

            Yes of course they had a common source[ that is why they are called Abrahamic faiths; but they go back much further. Polytheism is a feature of city life where there are lots of gods for everything.
            Monotheism is for desert nomads with nothing but sand and sky to look at.
            Yes people do risk their lives, Christians have done it since Roman times, and still do. So do others with man-made “Faiths” like Nazts and Communists, and people of other religions and none.
            Yes, as an amateur Egyptologist I know all about Akhenaten thank you.;-so what? Do you think we shall all worship the Aten then?
            What about Paul in Ephesus?-he had to flee for his life because being a fanatical Christian he could not desist from pestering everyone, until he really upset the silversmiths who specialised in manufacturing statues of the Goddess Diana
            No-one likes to have their livelihood threatened. So what else should I know about him?
            To answer your variation on CS Lewis of “Lord, Liar or Lunatic” fame;–yes I think you are all deluded.
            Ever read Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”.

            –and now I am signing off–again. This is too much hard work. I may unsubscribe.
            Let me know if Jesus finally shows up;–I’ll find him some more wine.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re right. Blogging can be very time consuming and can lead to extreme covert behaviour such as hiding in toilets with a muffled keyboard for fear of being discovered by your wife..
            Well I won’t answer your response then, although I have indeed read The God Delusion”.
            I have it on my shelf next to Robert Winston’s “The story of God” and Limbaugh’s “Jesus on trial” and Keith Ward’s “Is religion irrational?”
            Then there’s Justin Brierley’s new book entitled “Unbelievable?” He does a radio show of the same name and says,
            “Why after ten years of talking with atheists I’m still a Christian..”
            So, sorry you’re going Lollia and I wish you well.

        • Inspector General

          The only person punishing Linus is Linus, and he does it daily, for reasons best known to him. When he appears here, one does give him a helping hand, because he seems to like the pain. He’s been indulging in suffering ever since he realised that when he walks into a room and announces he’s a practising homosexual, people do not take to their feet to give him a standing ovation with wild cheering. This greatly annoys him as he is Narcissus reborn and not just A N Other.

      • Leave it, DB. When Linus starts foaming in his waspish, passing-aggressive nag at religion, it’s usually because the Inspector burned him by calling him a pervert. He’ll get over it in a day or two…unless the Lollia thing (which may be another Linus personna) remains to keep Linus company and encourage him.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    In an essay entitled WOMAN, G.K.Chesterton tells us:

    My correspondent says, “Would not our women be spared the drudgery of cooking and all its attendant worries, leaving them free for higher culture?”
    . . . . .
    Women are worried about housekeeping, but those that are most interested are the most worried. Women are still more worried about their husbands and their children. And I suppose if we strangled the children and poleaxed the husbands it would leave women free for higher culture. That is, it would leave them free to begin to worry about that. For women would worry about higher culture as much as they worry about everything else.

    (A) Isn’t that where, albeit without less direct physical violence, we have been heading since this essay was written just of one hundred years ago?

    (B) Since we have a resident expert, does this “higher culture” have anything to do with the “higher understanding”?

    (C) And do either of these, either directly or in opposition, have anything to do with what is happening in that California school?

  • carl jacobs

    This makes perfect sense to me. Too few Catholic children to sustain the school, so the school is rebranding itself as vaguely culturally Catholic. It’s following the market in pursuit of non-Catholic parents who want their kids out of the public school system. The end result will be the subordination of Catholic teaching to a voluntary sidebar.

    The essence of religious teaching is the incorporation of the religious worldview into the instruction. Symbols aren’t necessary for that to happen but they represent a physical realization of commitment to that worldview. In this case its WYSIWYG. Or perhaps that should be “What you don’t see is what you don’t get.”

    The school will eventually cease to be Catholic because that’s what the school’s leadership thinks it needs to do to survive.

    • Linus

      WYSIWYG?

      I’ve finally seen the light! There really was a Great Flood and an Ark!

      And you come straight out of it.

    • Lollia

      That’s Darwinian Natural Selection for you.

      • carl jacobs

        Here’s the thing, Lollia. I don’t suffer fools gladly. Have a nice day.

        • Lollia

          O I am so chastened! So you don’t accept Evolution either?–that figures; still living on the 8th century BCE?

  • dannybhoy

    California?
    CaliforniA??
    The laid back, waccy baccy homeland of New Age gurus and selective pantheism??
    Not too much to worry about there then…
    No need to tell our Jack.

  • IanCad

    A dangerous precedent. Next stop – ban all religious art.

    • Marcus Stewart

      Ban the priest, more like.

      • Martin

        Both

  • Marcus Stewart

    While I agree with much in this article I suggest that: (i) removal of some of the distinctiveness of the RC school – its “visibility” – renders it that much less attractive to those who positively want such a school; (ii) the “thin end of the wedge” argument surely applies: what else could be jettisoned in inclusivity’s name? Assurance surely needs giving – but I doubt I’d be convinced…; (iii) inclusive ed. in an RC school surely includes teaching RC distinctiveness – its culture – if not of its exclusive truth?; (iv) I suspect many of us on this site know that what concerns/offends (reasonable) Muslims most is secularism, not overt Christian expression – so this won’t appeal to them, if it’s designed to. Though I suspect it’s NOT designed to, but more for “offended” secularists… who’ll expect yet more concession (and congratulate themselves that they won.

    Yesterday’s gospel reading (Mt) was Peter’s confession that “You are the Christ” – in a pagan locality. This is understood not to be a coincidence but a normative declaration of Faith in a hostile context. Need I say more?

    I’m certain that this won’t do a damn thing to attract more pupils, which seems to be the bottom line. What it will do is merely add to the homogeneity of local schools while offending confessing parents (and some pupils?) As such it’s deeply foolish and one that I hope attracts much consternation against the dross of management-speak and psychobabble spouted in its defence.

    • Coniston

      But what is happening in this country to Church Schools, both Anglican and Roman Catholic, which are in areas where nearly all the pupils are Muslim? Are they watering down, or abandoning the Christian message? Very probably, but I don’t know.

      • Dominic Stockford

        In the UK there is now a declared difference between a ‘church school’ and a ‘faith school’. According to the ‘right thinkers’ CofE schools are not faith schools, they’re only church schools, which means that the faith is irrelevant.

        • Lollia

          But surely the job of a Church school is to promote Faith? If that is incorrect and it leaves faith to Faith schools,-then what actually is it for?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Exactly the question I put, but got no answer to. I guess, if ‘Christian faith’ is no longer exclusively saving, and therefore it doesn’t matter what you believe (as so many CofE priests and priestesses and bishops and bishopesses believe these days) you wouldn’t have any answer.

      • Marcus Stewart

        Voluntary-aided schools are faith schools. The governing body employs the staff and sets the entrance criteria. School buildings and land are usually owned by a charity, often a church. Voluntary-controlled schools are a cross between community and voluntary-aided schools. So the former are distinctively faith schools (not only Christian); the latter more wishywashily so.

        • Coniston

          Thank you.

  • Inspector General

    Like it or not, Western civilisation is a direct result from Christ’s visit. Perhaps if he never appeared, we’d have become the Soviet Union or China at its worst.

    • Sarky

      Nah, man would have just made up some other god.

  • Leo Kronberger, MD, MSc

    If San Domenico School do so, it should not be more bear “Roman Catholic” in its papers.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It must cease to be RC because it doesn’t have a few lumps of stone and wood around? Bit odd that.

  • carl jacobs

    It would be really interesting to learn how many non-Catholic students in the school come from nominally Protestant families.

  • I can shed no tears for the statues. The school has done the right thing, albeit possibly for the wrong reasons:

    ‘Take carful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female………’

    • Marcus Stewart

      Protestants aren’t expected to.

      • Dominic Stockford

        ? God intends no-one to make such images.

        • Marcus Stewart

          Irrelevant: this isn’t a debate about the RC Church’s theology, whatever axe you have to grind, and many posters here seem to have lost the point. If this were about statuary / icon / imagery per se, fair enough. But it’s not. Nor is the RC Church interested in other traditions’ views, established centuries ago like its own. They know well enough what Prots think; they don’t agree; and that’s that. The removal of statuary in this case has nothing to with Protestant theology.

          • carl jacobs

            Good post

          • Dominic Stockford

            Why not? It should be. This is a Protestant blog, not and RC one. We have every right to challenge. If you don’t like it don’t come here, instead of pretending that we simply have to bend over and accept your unbiblical views.

          • carl jacobs

            This doesn’t have anything to do with the theology of icons of statues. This Catholic school is transforming itself into a Catholic-lite school in order to make itself more attractive to the majority of its customer base. Catholic schools are consolidating all over the US because there is more capacity than Catholic children can support. This school is choosing to make itself non-sectarian to survive.

          • Marcus Stewart

            If this is a Protestant blog, why a report about a RC school? You simply miss the point, which is emphatically NOT about denominational theology.

          • Martin

            Marcus

            That is the question you should as the writer

          • cagedvole

            “PROTS”???
            Tsk, what sort of hate-speech is that?!?

          • Lollia

            The correct term is “Proddies”.

          • cagedvole

            hardly an improvement……watch out, the Thought Police are behind every bush

          • Chefofsinners

            Prots have no problem with effigies. Guy Fawkes, for instance…

    • cagedvole

      Definitely for the wrong reasons 🙁

  • Dominic Stockford

    Excellent question which blows the ‘higher understanding’ out of the water completely.

    • Inspector General

      Not quite, Dominic. The Higher Understanding will remain as both inspiration and succour for those who want to aspire to things greater than smashing up statues…which is rather barbarian in nature and unsurprisingly beloved of ISIS.

  • Chefofsinners

    The thing is, these Catholic statues are kind of iconic, aren’t they?
    Still, the Pope seems to have lost his marbles, so why not the rest of ’em?

  • maigemu

    I thought they might want to be inclusive of Protestant iconoclasts like me.

    • carl jacobs

      Serious Protestants won’t send their kids to a Catholic school. So who are these non-Catholic parents that patronize this school? They are parents who want their kids out of the Public school system. They don’t want anything to do with a school run by “crazy fundamentalists”. They are looking for a nice traditional school with a nice traditional structure that teaches discipline, respect for authority, yada yada and doesn’t pay too much attention to new educationaloid ideas. In other words they want the form of religious education without the content.

      • Bingo! Explains the flood of upper middle class non-Jewish kids to liberal Jewish day schools. Although, what is happening now is that those schools are starting to go as PC or even more PC than the public system. Well, at least there are no territorial race wars in the cafeterias. Yet.

      • IanCad

        “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:5

      • Manfarang

        In other words Asians looking for a good school

  • cagedvole

    Amy Skewes-Cox eh? –
    I feel sure there are 2 or 3 puns lurking in that name somewhere.

  • David

    Squabbling about Catholic as opposed Protestant theology is to miss the main point here, by a country mile. This is really about a concerted attack on all Christian symbols (including statues), Christian ideas and the democratic ideas that Christian cultures permitted to arise.
    This is a just one small, but in its own way significant, attack on the right of parents to have their own children educated within the ambience of a demonstrably, outwardly Christian school.
    For goodness sake – don’t fall into the trap of squabbling between different interpretations of Christianity – grasp the bigger picture – and defend wider Christianity, the freedom to be Christian and educate your child as one !

    • Inspector General

      Praise be! A grown-up arrives. One had quite given up hope…

      • David

        Thank you Inspector.
        Some people can’t see the woods for the trees.

    • CliveM

      Completely agree. We really need to focus on the main issue here and try and avoid a fruitless debate on secondary issues.

      • David

        Thank you Clive. As the Inspector below says, you’re another “grown-up”.

      • carl jacobs

        “Secondary issues” is the wrong word choice. The reasons behind Roman use of these statues and icons directly involve primary issues. This controversy has nothing to do with that argument however.

    • len

      Well put David.

    • Martin

      David

      Then the post should have been about what is common.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Indeed so.

        But of course, the blog isn’t as he says. Its about an RC school reneging on its visible presentation of its doctrine in order to be ‘right on’, and ‘progressive’. Which in turn makes it about theology, and so the theology/heresy of iconography is utterly relevant.

        • CliveM

          It maybe about theology, although I doubt it if I’m honest, but if it is, the school hasn’t taken this decision because its changed its view on the theological basis of the statues, it has done so to fit in with secular values.

          Frankly I suspect the schools board doesn’t give a tinkers cuss about the theology of iconography.

          • Dominic Stockford

            If it doesn’t give the proverbial about theology, then surely this blog IS about theology. Even the RC church (and peeps who visit here) are, surely, concerned about their theology enough to want to put a stop to this undermining of it. What is more, it is the perfect answer to the constant sniping from RCs on this blog about their claims to theological ‘unity’, and about their claim that Protestantism is theologically ‘divided’.

      • David

        It is – the now clear and desperate need to defend freedom to practice ones faith, according to ones conscience, which includes obtaining an education for your children free of anti-western, anti-Christian brainwashing.
        We either face down cultural Marxism together – and win, or we all squabble and lose !

        • Martin

          David

          However Rome is not without its own record on oppression.

          • David

            Who is perfect ?
            Isn’t that what Christ teaches us ? ?
            Grow up man !
            All faiths have had their dark period, including Luther advocating killing rebellious German peasants !
            Don’t be trapped by the dark phase to be found in each and every religious expression, or we’ll ALL be trapped by secularism !

          • CliveM

            You’re on a roll tonight David!

          • Martin

            David

            And it took the reformers some time to shake off what had been taught by Rome.

          • cagedvole

            all faiths have their dark period – in Rome’s case beginning when she departed from Biblical truth, and still ongoing.
            I think there have been patches of light, temporal or geographical, interspersed.

        • We are witnessing the de-Christianisation of the world, whether it be statues or plaques that have been up for hundreds of years, suddenly people are demanding they be taken down, got rid of, destroyed. what will replace them I wonder?

          • David

            Like you I have my fears and questions.
            But never underestimate the immense power of the God that we both love and serve to send His Spirit to save human souls.
            The risen Christ will always triumph !

          • I’m afraid so, Marie. What will attempt to replace them are symbols of the new Paganism, some which we know, some which are yet to be invented and others that haven’t been used in millennia. I guess we’ll see. And for any coreligionists lurking out there, don’t crow over this. This is not the 60s or the 70s, when liberals promised the world and the decline of Christianity was a relief. The Christians today are not the same ones as yesterday; they don’t wield the sword and most of the old Jew-hating arseholes among them are either dead or nearly so. We’re now stuck glaring at each other in confusion in the same leaky boat, facing off against unforeseen enemies; a militant Islam and a deceptive secularism on steroids, mainly a cleverer type of Marxism with a much better strategy and tactical approach. And the meanies are still coming after us, don’t fool yourselves, but this time they’re trying with the Christians first. Niemoeller revised: First they came for the Christians….

          • bluedog

            Brilliant post, Avi, and mirrors one’s own thoughts. There is a strong community of interest and the emerging need for a co-ordinated survival strategy. One aspect of this, as nuclear proliferation continues unchecked, relates to the future of Israel. Is it a viable proposition in the long term and what is the fall-back position? Serious thought needs to be given to this matter.

          • Thank you. Yes, serious thoughts about possibilities and contingencies are undoubtedly made by people much smarter than I in that department. Having no better options, apart from doing what little anyone in my position can, I will trust in the judgement and mercy of the Almighty, who allowed for the miracle of an impoverished, scattered and nearly destroyed Jewry to rise above the forces of normal history, rebuild itself and claw back a portion of its Promised Land.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jews are a good example of persistence, getting back up on deck and never yielding to adversity.Lessons to be learned there. It is so refreshing to read a post filled with warmth giving thanks to the Almighty.I would like to think the two years in Vienna contributed to a little of that aspect of you….:)

          • Of course it did, Miss Cressida, competence and learning (not to mention strict discipline which has me still clicking my heels and bowing like a Prussian when being introduced to a lady) are to be honoured regardless of the source. A good enough dictum for the great Maimonides, good enough for me.

          • Anton

            Er, since when was Vienna in Prussia?

          • The quick heel-click and bow, which we had to perform also whenever a teacher passed by, is from the pre-WW I days when Prussian military customs were all the rage even in Austro-Hungary and otherwise lackadaisical Vienna. While you people developed a gentleman culture based on upper class conventions, your Germanic cousins did the same, but based theirs on Imperial officer conduct, and most of the officer corps was Prussian.

          • dannybhoy

            Who would have believed that on the twentieth century something as evil as the Holocaust could have been planned and implemented?
            In terms of human history I believe in the overall sovereignty of God and His Covenant with Israel.
            God could have stopped that unspeakable evil, but He didn’t. The Jews were left in no doubt that they were not safe anywhere in Europe,and from this great horror came the impetus for the birth of the State of Israel.
            Another great miracle, and even though Israel remains a democratic and secular State, she has yet to fulfil her true Covenant calling by a holy God..

          • I’ve long abandoned attempts at a theological explanation, DB; there isn’t a clear agreement among our rabbis anyway, and while there are some good ideas about why mankind behaves the way it does, generally I reject explanations which try to suggest what God did or din’t do and why, and what it may mean in the great scheme of things. Elie Wiesel said something about not asking where God was during the Holocaust, but where was man, and that one rings the truest.

            I do try to understand it as an unusual historical calamity, at the end of a chain of other calamities, though. There is a certain connection between events in Spain, the Crusades, pogroms and such, and those can be studied and evaluated rationally. God has given us a working world, a true miracle of Creation, with knowable physical and sociological laws, and brain to process the nature of His Creation. My general conclusion is that for us to survive as people, we need strong communities that are solid and distinct and at the same time harmoniously connected to their neighbours. And, that we need a strong nation state which is founded on Torah and tradition on one hand, and a modern and dynamic one at the same time. And that’s a tough enough trick to pull as is, without second-guessing God on top of it!

          • dannybhoy

            Hi Avi,
            A busy day here with various distractions such as bonfires in the rain (so no neighbours hanging out washing), checking some concrete path patching (done yesterday) and then a surprise visit from goddaughter and family..
            Hmmmm..
            I certainly agree that s*** happens on a global scale; take Cambodia’s killing fields, the Russian revolution, the Gulags, Mao’s purges etc. All the results of man’s trying to achieve a better world without God -the ultimate rebellion if you will.
            The Holocaust was not God’s doing but man’s. Why then did He allow it? Perhaps to show the depths of depravity to which Godless men can sink. Was it worth allowing the horrible deaths of millions of Jews and others?
            Only He who sees both the living and the dead can know.
            Luke 20:38King James Version (KJV)
            “For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”
            As regards a modern Israel, I think you are right. I personally believe that God hears and honours the prayers of the devout Jews who yearn after Him, who worship Him. Israel needs a religious heart, a community who honour God with their lives and worship. And as a democratic and secular nation she must accept those who do not believe and do not walk according to the Law.
            What we (Jews and Christians) have to do is pray that the Almighty will protect her and deal gently with her until the time comes when through her all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.

          • Why God allows things and intervenes at other times is the issue I leave aside because there is no clear or definitive “policy” in scripture. We are made in His image, which would be impossible if we did not have total freedom of action on some level. This of course begs the question of how predictability predestination works with freedom of choice. These are old and unsolved issues of course, and given our limited brains, we’re unlikely to work them out. So, I always come back to the simple stuff, namely, do what’s explicitly asked, avoid what’s prohibited, take counsel and direction from the Sages, enjoy the good things of our world and leave everything else to God.

          • Or it could be replaced with Islam, the death cult that one dare not criticise.
            A German journalist has been given a 6 month suspended sentence and 100 hrs community service for comparing Islam to National Socialism stating Islam is a fascist ideology and publishing a factual photo of Hitler shaking hands with Amin al-Husseini the grand mufti of Jerusalem during WW2 on his Facebook page.

            https://www.infowars.com/germany-journalist-gets-6-month-suspended-sentence-for-criticising-islam/

          • Anna

            “The Christians today are not the same ones as yesterday; they don’t wield the sword and most of the old Jew-hating…”

            No true Christian could ever do harm to the Jews, or anyone else for that matter. We might disagree with you and believe that you are misguided – and of course you think we are wrong about the Messiah – but we know God loves you and calls us to do the same (Romans 110. Corrie Ten Boom remembers her father praying each night for the restoration of Israel, and for Jews to return to their homeland. Many of us pray regularly for the ‘peace of Jerusalem’ and for Israel to be protected from all harm.

          • Lollia

            Secular Humanism-ie universal love for the sake of love , and not for the sake of Jesus, Church, God or any such absurd invention.

          • God, Jesus and the Church are not absurd inventions unlike secular humanism dreamt up by man to try and usurp the practice of Christian faith because they didn’t want to be religious anymore, took hold in the 60s and 70s.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      At the risk of making fun of Thomas Aquinas, how many upticks can one cram into one click?

      (I think the answer depends on whether they are fermions or bosons.)

      • Hmm, you threw a red herring with the angels. But as no mass is involved in an up-tic, no particles, sub-particles, anti-particles or angels are at issue so, a quantum gravitational treatment is inapplicable. The problem is one of basic programming, abstract logarithmic instructions to trigger a function, so a simple change of instructions would allow for an infinite number of up-tics, or none at all.

        • carl jacobs

          Man is incapable of realizing infinity within a computer program. You could instantiate a ridiculously large integer, but it would still be infinitely smaller than infinity.

          • A series of numbers is not a depiction or achievement of infinity, Carl, it’s just a theoretically endless series of abstract symbols. In the above case, the “infinite” number would end when the Sun goes red dwarf on us all and the computer in question gets fried back to helium and carbon atoms or whatever.

      • David

        Apologies, as my knowledge of physics stopped at “A” level, which has stood me in good stead so far. So I’m more of a Newtonian sort of chap. I’ll leave the intricacies of nuclear physics to the egg heads.

        • Lollia

          You can always do a bit of googling like the rest of us. Try Einstein, Lawrence krauss, Richard Feynman, Sean Carroll,–The Large Hadron Collider, Quantum Superposition.& Entanglement.

          • Pubcrawler

            “a bit of googling like the rest of us”

            It shows…

            I’m sure Anton will enjoy conversing with you about physics.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m staying shtum.

          • Shtum as a Golem, I’ve heard people say.

          • It’s a thing with seculars; hanging out at museums and planetariums, taking in science shows, gazing at the eclipse as if they’re about to discover some great secret, looking at and reading stuff they don’t actually understand. Looking for stuff to fill a spiritual void. And then, after all that work, they go and get bamboozled with half-arsed scams like “global warming” and are willing to live like peasants and give their money away to green tech shysters to save the world.

          • Pubcrawler

            And hold Dawkins’ screeds as Holy Writ.

          • You know, I can understand someone like Dawkins, whose writing I’ve read. Some very good points, some quite naive ones, but at least a serious attempt to develop an atheistic theory with its own epistemology. It’s the goofs, the trendy, semi-educated head-nodders who just recite the trite talking points and fixate on the petty insults who annoy me.

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed. I had in mind those who quote his pithier apothegms as if they’re some sort of proof text.

          • Oddly enough, for all the talk about science and reason, atheists fail to understand that by the rules of evidence they claim to adhere to, the debate is inconclusive when kept at the level of the two core fundamentally un-falsifiable and impossible to prove empirical claims; created existence versus one that just happened. The question of why does anything have to exist in the first place is to the advantage of the theological approach.

            This is why they try to move the argument from this basic binary choice to attacks on details; the theories of specific religions, beliefs and scriptures. These are much easier to tackle with a whole array of tricks and fallacies such as authority, straw men, red herrings and so on and also, because not all theological beliefs can be simultaneously true. In that scenario, religious variety, contradictions and disagreements can then be presented as evidence of falsehood.

          • PS: Pithy apothegms, I like that. A spluttering of fricatives, like in Bugs Bunny’s, “suffering succotash!”

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s a good word. And thanks to your highlighting it I see that I had at first carelessly used the USan Latinate spelling rather than the etymologically more correct Johnsonian English one. Sloppy for an ex-Classicist with strong Hellenist leanings, that.

          • Always glad to have helped…even when I haven’t the foggiest as to how.

      • Chefofsinners

        How many Nephilim can dance on the head of a Neanderthal?

    • Chefofsinners

      The point which we can all reflect on is how much we need the traditional trappings of our faith. How much can we imitate the apostle Paul in becoming “all things to all men in order that we might by all means save some.”?
      As Cranmer writes, Christian schools are an opportunity to live out our faith and display Christ in our actions. The decor is of secondary importance.

      • David

        Personally I think symbols are useful in reminding us of our beliefs, but we mustn’t become lost in them. Also it varies with learning styles. Some people are mainly word based, as I am. Others learn visually, or through music and song. Many learn mainly by doing actions. We need to attract all types of people and most people benefit from a variety of different experiences, even well outside their main learning method.

    • dannybhoy

      Absolutely David. One of the great weaknesses of the Western Christian Church is our obsession with doctrinal correctness rather than rejoicing in our salvation.
      Actually this nit picking destroys Christian fellowship and unity -and I think grieves the Holy Spirit.
      It is not that doctrine is unimportant, but devout Christians should have their eyes upon the person of Christ and how they can serve Him.

      • David

        Yes totally agree.

    • Lollia

      Anton.
      Some of my posts seem to be getting deleted as spam. They say they will get it corrected, but some are days old and still the posts are not in the general discussion. I replied at length to your most recent one to-day about Beauty, 1st Sept about 2:30 my time.
      I am not sure how these things work,-but if some of my serious replies are being censored and deleted, I do not think much of it; it does against the spirit of free discussion. I expect I have annoyed the controller, or whatever. I always reply to everything in an appropriate manner;(some of the comments I receive are not so appropriate). I have tried to with draw from posting altogether, but then I receive unkind comments from some people, which I cannot ignore.

      • David

        Did you send this to Anton, because as you see I received it ?

        • Lollia

          Yes I did; sorry about that;. I could not think of another way of contacting him to assure him that I was attempting to reply to his last post, but believe I am being censored;–or maybe I am just paranoid; -or don’t yet know how to work around the site.

        • Lollia

          Oops,–after all that, my reply to Anton appears to be in. Sorry to bother you.

          • David

            ’tis not a problem.

            But censorship on Cranmer’s site seems unlikely. It usually consists of His Grace ‘growling’ – in a very episcopal way of course – at whoever has overstepped the mark. In others words, I think you’d know.

          • Lollia

            Yes,-he frightened me!

  • len

    Secular Humanism posits itself as ‘liberal ‘but it is the most repressive, intolerant society,( outside of communist countries).
    Secularism(the religion of man) pits itself against the Creator and wants to remove any , and all , traces of God so that it might reign supreme.
    Such is the arrogance of man and the futility of his actions.

    • One of the things I am most looking forward to next month is the disappearance of the ghastly Charles Darwin and his beard from our £10 notes.

      • Go on, Martin, he wasn’t ghastly, here’s my loving portrait of him as a young man: http://avibarzel.daportfolio.com/gallery/950099#15

        • I can see now why he grew a beard.

          • What? A fine, noble English face, Martin. Probably Saxon with a mix of Norman. You better plonk your visage on your avatar for comparisons if you want to cast stones!

        • Chefofsinners

          More than a passing resemblance to a young Donald Trump, especially in the toupe department.
          What’s with the long list of food (mostly non-kosher) on the back cover?

          • PeterKovatchev

            LOL! I got tired of the old “Ipsum lorem” standard text filler (which is real Latin text, btw) and chanced on this one.

          • Chefofsinners

            Ah. I thought Darwin was proposing the survival of the fattest.
            And have you become tired with the name ‘Avi Barzel’?

          • No yet; using work computer and the thing defaulted to my colleague’s account who was last on it. Trying to fix remotely and might have to delete my comedic nuggets to the disappointed howls of the masses.

          • Chefofsinners

            His picture bore an uncanny resemblance to yours.

          • You have imbibed in too much salt which blurred your vision, Chef, when slurp-testing your soups with the ladle…unbeknownst to the patrons, who’d be horrified. Of course I wouldn’t go and tell on you, knowing that you’d keep mum about any tiny little slips and errors of mine….

      • Lollia

        What a shame to denigrate a great man. Darwin was an English country gentleman. He was set to go into the Church like many of his “class”. His experiences as a Naturalist and the loss of his favourite daughter Annie, to pneumonia, made him realize that religion is a sham. Apart from that, he revealed the truth of the origin of species;–no mean feat. Have some respect.

        • CliveM

          He certainly tried to take the credit.

          • Lollia

            Whatever do you mean? He was rightly awarded the credit for his book “On the Origin of Species,-published in 1859, delayed by 20 years because he was worried about outraging people like your good self. Alfred Russell Wallace conceded priority to Darwin both chronologically and because of Darwins prior writing-up of his empirical data and the theory of Natural Selection of random variations. His own grandfather Erasmus Darwin had tinkered with the idea, so had others like Chember’s book “The Great chain of Being, and Lamarck’s theory of “Inheritence of acquired characteristics”;-but these were all incomplete and inaccurate. The ancient Greeks also had ideas, eg. Aristotle, Empedocles.
            The God-soaked Jews of course were complete scientific non-starters and ignoramuses, with their flat earth and firmament supported on pillars with a water tank above to supply the rain, and their Intelligent Design by Yahweh.
            There may be design, but it is not intelligent,-it is just random naturalistic cobbling together,–and as an anatomist I can give you dozens of examples; Try Richard Dawkins favourite for starters,–the recurrent laryngeal nerve, (especially in Giraffes).

          • CliveM

            Snort you’ve been on here all of two minutes and you think you know all about me.

            Must be the rationalist in you that makes you so capable of jumping to conclusions.

          • Lollia

            Whatever do you mean? (again). I have said nothing about you.
            You made an erroneous statement: “He certainly tried to take the credit.”, –and I tried to correct it.

          • CliveM

            Take a look at your post. A rationalist like yourself will be able to work it out. If not.. …………………..

          • Lollia

            No, beats me. Perhaps my post should have gone to someone else,-maybe dannyboy>
            I can assure you I never knowingly make personal ad hominem comments; I try and stick to answering the posts themselves, I am not very practiced at performing on these sites and maybe a muddle occurred.
            Apologies if that was the case,
            Anyway,-what’s wrong with being a rationalist?

          • dannybhoy

            Nothing. Christians are rationalists so you’re in good company. And without wishing to sound patronising well done for apologising. Stick around kid.

          • Lollia

            Thanks.
            I should qualify “Rationalists”, as the term was also applied to continental philosophers as distinct from the British Empiricists.
            I sympathise with the latter. Continental Rationalism is too much like armchair theorising which can lead one astray.
            Nothing like empirical data.

          • dannybhoy

            Well I should also qualify my statement that Christians are rationalists. We are rational as far as our intellects and bodily senses are concerned, but when those qualities are satisfied that a ‘leap or step’ of faith is rational, we move into a different place.
            That is we become aware that this God we have now received forgiveness from, who has sealed our new life by giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit, is actually far beyond our understanding. Much bigger and grander and awe inspiring than we ever imagined. To the point where we begin to understand that quote “His ways are not our ways..”
            That’s when non Christians start thinking that Christians are dumb/naive/credulous, and our faith is irrational.

          • Lollia

            Yes I have to say it is irrational as we understand it;–specific detailed outlandish unnatural claims contrary to all evidence, based just upon “feelings” wishful thinking , bible reading and Sunday school stories. As Carl Sagan said: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

          • dannybhoy

            And I think that extraordinary evidence happens internally to the ‘new believer’.
            It’s almost like the end result of a long process which starts as a grain of mustard seed in the intellect and inner self and comes into fruition when that individual passes from spiritual death to spiritual life.
            The process cannot be explained only experienced. Even after almost fifty years I can still remember that amazing sense of inner peace that suffused my being when I asked God into my life.

          • Lollia

            You are quite incorrigible, (and no doubt you think the same of me).

            I may retire from more commenting,-it is too time consuming trying to answer everybody with a long essay.
            Give God my love.

          • CliveM

            I’m not accusing you of ad hominem attacks. I’m pointing out that on very little evidence you’ve jumped to certain conclusions about me.

            I’ve no objection to people being rational.

          • dannybhoy

            Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved. Why then express them in the language & arrangements of philosophical induction?.—

            As to your grand principle—natural selection—what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts. Development is a better word because more close to the cause of the fact. For you do not deny causation. I call (in the abstract) causation the will of God: & I can prove that He acts for the good of His creatures. He also acts by laws which we can study & comprehend— Acting by law, & under what is called final cause, comprehends, I think, your whole principle. You write of “natural selection” as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent. ’Tis but a consequence of the presupposed development, & the subsequent battle for life.—

            https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

            …It was during the beginning of the voyage that Darwin read the first volumes of Charles Lyell’s “Principles of Geology” and became convinced by his proof that uniformitarianism provided the correct understanding of the earth’s geological history. This intellectual preparation, along with his research on the voyage, was critical in leading Darwin to later accept evolution. Especially important was his 5 weeks long visit to the Galápagos Islands click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. It was there that he made the observations that eventually led him to comprehend what causes plants and animals to evolve, but he apparently did not clearly formulate his views on this until 1837. At the time he left the Galápagos Islands, he apparently still believed in a traditional Biblical creation of all life forms.

            Ask most folks who came up with the theory of evolution, and they’ll tell you it was Charles Darwin.

            In fact, Alfred Russel Wallace, another British naturalist, was a co-discoverer of the theory — though Darwin has gotten most of the credit. Wallace died 100 years ago this year.
            Wallace developed some of his most important ideas about natural selection during an eight-year expedition to what was then the Dutch East Indies — modern-day Indonesia — to observe wildlife and collect specimens. Few places on earth can rival this vast archipelago’s tremendous diversity of plant and animal life.

            Wallace collected more than 100,000 insect, bird and animal specimens, which he gave to British museums.

            “By 1855, Wallace had come to the conclusion that living things evolve. But he didn’t figure out how until one night three years later. He was on the island of Halmahera, ill with a fever, when it came to him: Animals evolve by adapting to their environment.”
            http://www.npr.org/2013/04/30/177781424/he-helped-discover-evolution-and-then-became-extinct

            Which is what we Christians can go along with; our Creator God designed life forms with the ability to adapt to their environment.That might also explain why over time human beings have developed different physical characteristics that help them cope with their environment.

          • Lollia

            Well googled. I think you prefer Wallace because he did not accept human evolution (on religious grounds). Darwin said to him; “I hope you have not too completely murdered our child”,–meaning Evolution by natural selection, but denying human evolution) Humans have evolved (and developed),-so Wallace was wrong). Yes I am well aware that Darwin read Lyell’s Geology, and this cheered him considerably as it gave the Earth an ancient history and chronology for accommodating Evolution; How does this help your Faith conclusion?
            You mention “Development” as being a better word then selection; it is categorically different, not “better”; natural selection happens-no argument. “Development” is also thriving as “Evolutionary Development” (Evo-Devo), and is a hot topic amongst modern evolutionary biologists; so both terms are true (but different).
            How does your theological reasoning produce God as the creator of causation?
            Don’t you see logical necessity between cause and effectt? Try dropping an egg on the floor-(cause);–it breaks, (effect). God-did-it?–I don’t think so. Consider the 1st law of Thermodynamics–The kinetic energy of the egg is transferred into heat energy when the egg hits the floor;-no energy is either created or destroyed.
            You make the elementary error of thinking that because we humans call consistent regular events “laws”,–therefore there is a law-Giver (God); The “laws” are “descriptive” of present consistent events, not “proscriptive”,-ie prescribed by God. . The Laws might drift and change over future deep time,-and in any case we can only observe about 5% of the Universe,-the rest being dark matter and dark Energy. It therefore cannot be said that we know the universe is fine-tuned for us, if we are only aware of 5% of it.
            You allege: ” You write of “natural selection” as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent” I most certainly do not; that is your own position;-are you getting confused?.
            You say:”’Tis but a consequence of the presupposed development, & the subsequent battle for life.—”;–yes I know,-that is my evolutionary position. Are you trying to swap roles and make me the theist and you the naturalist?
            You say: “& I can prove that He acts for the good of His creatures.”
            OK show me:
            North Korea and Kim Jong Un? Universal pain, sickness, death, destruction, floods and storms (Texas USA), cancer childbirth etc–looking after us? You must be joking. it is only Science which helps to alleviate our misery.
            Even the writers of Genesis could see that we have to struggle for survival. God coluld cure it, but he is too bust enjoying punishing us for the “fall”, the old sadist!
            It would be a lot easier if youy could just read some books instead of forcing me to write long corrective essays at my age; have you no heart?

          • Lollia

            ps You say:
            “our Creator God designed life forms with the ability to adapt to their environment. That might also explain why over time human beings have developed different physical characteristics that help them cope with their environment.”

            You offer no evidence that there is a God that designed us. But if there is and he did: then what kind of “us” did he design? Which one of our ancestors was his starting point?
            Proconsul? Kenyanthropus platyops? Australopithecus afarensis? Homo heidelbergensis? Homo erectus? Homo habilis?–which was his model to be further modified by random environmental natural causes? Why leave it to random Nature anyway?
            Having started designing us why then leave it all to chance for our further development? Would you do that if you were an engineer?
            You say: “This might also explain–“-yes indeed it does, but you would know that if you had read a book on evolution by an evolutionary biologist, -and not (I surmise) by a Priest!

          • len

            Do you have ‘The higher Understanding?.’ because there someone you just must meet.

          • Lollia

            Can’t think what you mean Do .you mean”: Am I a Gnostic?

            No definitely not.

          • dannybhoy

            Hint:
            We all struggle with the fact that comments don’t group under threads, but if you preface your responses with the name of the person you intended it makes it easier to follow.
            (Not that I do it very often).
            “You make the elementary error of thinking that because we humans call consistent regular events “laws”,–therefore there is a law-Giver (God)”
            No, I accept that events may be regular for a time but change for whatever reason. I believe in God as a Creator, that doesn’t rule out change.
            Erm.. hang on!
            “You say:”’Tis but a consequence of the presupposed development, & the subsequent battle for life.—”;–yes I know,-that is my evolutionary position. Are you trying to swap roles and make me the theist and you the naturalist?
            You say: “& I can prove that He acts for the good of His creatures.”
            I didn’t say that! Are we getting our wires/comments crossed?
            I believe in a cause and effect world, where things go wrong geologically and environmentally, and mostly through bad human choices..

          • Lollia

            yes good idea.

          • len

            No I refer to ‘the Inspector’, who has the higher understanding , we often wait for him to enlighten us.

          • Manfarang

            The more degrees proof the higher the understanding.

          • Lollia

            Ah,-sorry.

          • Chefofsinners

            The Inspector’s heresies are very close to Gnosticism. Modified by alcohol and ignorance.

          • dannybhoy

            No not a priest. I do read atheistic scientific and philosophical articles, because either there is a fundamental truth or there is not.
            I accept the Biblical account(s) of the creation of man and woman. I know there are differences but that doesn’t bother me because I believe the evidence points towards a Creator God a first Cause without beginning or end.
            For example if evolution is true and there are various expressions of life all over the universe, it doesn’t diminish the need to understand how and why (Abiogenesis)

            The idea that it’s all an accident is to me ridiculous. Design indicates a Designer.
            Have you never noticed how evolutionists like to say ‘It all just happened’ yet they go on to explain that the most simple life forms responded to environmental changes, genetic variables or the impulse to develop/divide/multiply..
            They talk as though this irrational, happenstance thing called ‘Life’ gave birth to ‘Nature’ and ‘Nature’ encouraged or impelled life forms to develop.
            I find it far easier to accept that a sentient self contained Being without beginning or ending, created the universe and life forms capable of reproduction and adaptation.

          • Lollia

            I think a lot of our differences are down to language. Words like “accident” do not help, they give a biased meaning. Also “purpose” and “teleology” cause confusion. There is no teleological (purpose) to Evolution,-it just turned out as it has, You may ask, but why us/ Why me? I must be a special creation. You talk as if humans are the only life form, and that someone or something made us. But look around you,-evolution did not only produce is, it produced all other possible and conceivable forms. Has each and everyone one of those got a God-given Higher Purpose? I would say not, at least not beyond the basic purpose of feeding and breeding,survival and solving problems through intelligence,–just as we do. Other animals don’t speak human languages,-obviously,-but they still communicate with each other and to a lesser extent off-species communication as well,–if only warning growls. All the abundance of life occurs because of random genetic drift and genetic mutations and sexual re-shuffling of genes. This produces vast variations, and natural selection sorts them out into different ecological niches,–fish in the sea, birds in the air, and quadruped mammals and primates , Ungulates etc on land,–and also we are encroaching into other domains by using our brains and inventing technology. But it is still a struggle to survive;-there is no benign God looking down on us, _(unless he just looks but does nothing to help.)
            This is not a “Faith position” as some Christins like to mockingly call it (forgetting their own murky faith positions)’- it is the result of hard work and discovery and getting ones hands dirty and penetrating into dangerous places like the sea bottom, pot-holes, Space.
            How many Clergymen do that?–they much prefer the comfort of the armchair in the Rectory.
            Of course some of them perversely make a point out of pretending they are doing it for God just to show us atheists.

          • Anton

            You are entirely right about biological evolution. What you ignore is that there are two possible scenarios for the evolution of life:

            1. It came into being in a way that is incredibly improbable based on the information we have about biology and about the environment provided by the earth during its history, so that if you rerun the scenario with a few very minor changes then life would not have appeared.

            2. Evolution is convergent given the laws of chemistry and physics and life would always have appeared and look rather as it does today.

            Can you not see that each of these is utterly remarkable, and strong evidence for an intelligent designer? Intelligent design of the sort propounded by some Christian fundamentalists is nonsense, but that the initial conditions be so set up as to lead to life (in scenario 1), or that the laws of chemistry be such as to lead to it (in scenario 2), points very strongly indeed to an intelligent designer at a deeper level. As do the laws of physics in themselves, by the way. (I am a research physicist.)

          • Lollia

            1, We can’t say, after the event, whether it was improbable or not;-compared to what? Winning the lottery is totally improbable until you win it,–then it is 100%..
            Life obviously began,-therefore it was at least possible; no magic required.
            it would be a miracle if Life began in the complete absence of any chemical materials available. You can’t make a cake without ingredients, but if you have the ingredients and a recipe for sticking things together through innate chemical bonding, followed by chemical natural selection, then you end up with complexity,-including Life.

            3. That is possibly true, given that carbon was naturally selected as being the “best” atom for forming multiple bonds, and logic dictated the course of evolution after that. Don’t forget all the dead ends and extinctions; it is quite possible that we might have been intelligent Dinosaurs, or rats rather than intelligent apes.
            it is possible that alternative Life elsewhere could be based upon Silicon (if there was no carbon available). or Ammonia perhaps,-maybe not as efficient as carbon-based life,–in which case “we” could be totally different from what we are now.
            The Christian evolutionary biologist Simon Conway Morris wants to impose his beliefs upon Nature, and is therefore in favour of you suggestion that Lfe as we know it would always have appeared; but it ain’t necessarily so.

            One can agree that there is design, but it is not conscious Intelligent design, (consciousness is a product of evolution, not a consequence of it).
            Not only hypothetical alien chemical Life but the carbon-based Life of Earth,has gone off in all directions, producing all the different species, about 30,000 species of Jellyfish, and perhaps 100,000 species of beetles;–who needs all those?-not very intelligent..
            The human body is full of imperfections: the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the appendix, the coccyx, the entire vertebral column is “designed” for a quadruped, not a biped like us, the retina of the eye is wired back to front with optic nerve fibres, we have a sewage outflow barely controlled with an inefficient sphincter, stuck in the middle of the perineum, which is out sexual playground. some of us have the urge to use this sphincter as a sexual orifice (and the mouth also). All stupid, dangerous, unhygienic, inefficient “design” features. If you think an omnipotent God did that, think again. If God is a Civil Engineer he should be struck off.
            I am a medical Doctor by the way, which includes Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Venereology, as well as Physics, Chemistry, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics and amateur studies in Astrophysics and Cosmology.- and Philosophy.

          • Anton

            Good show! I have a doctorate in theoretical physics, in which I have pursued research at Cambridge and other universities. My fields of interest include quantum theory, statistical mechanics, and data analysis for colleagues doing experiments both astrophysical and terrestrial. I am also interested in the relation between probability and inductive logic, which runs as far back as Hume. It is because Karl Popper accepted probability but rejected induction that his philosophy of science – and Kuhn’s – was ultimately incoherent. (David Stove has skewered them, even though he didn’t understand probability in full.) Kuhn was a better *historian* of science, and it was that which gave him his idea of paradigms; but without induction to say that one paradigm better fitted the data than another, probabilistically speaking, he had to say that paradigms came and went as arbitrarily as clothing fashions, which is absurd. (Nihil tam absurde dici potest, quod non dicatur ab aliquo philosophorum – Cicero.)

            Like you I find the evidence for biological evolution, particularly vestigial organs and interspecies homology of noncoding DNA, to be decisive. I have defended this reasoning in dialogue with my fundamentalist Christian brethren on this very blog. Their claim that because they can’t see an evolutionary pathway from A to B, ‘therefore’ there isn’t one, involves an obvious non sequitur. At both organ and molecular level they ignore the fact that intermediate structures might have had intermediate functions (the “exaptation” argument). Nick Lane has gone a long way to filling in some supposedly unbridgeable gaps in his remarkable books. Animal bodies clearly resemble a large building that has been added to, piecemeal; I learnt of many examples from Neil Shubin’s book on Tiktaalik, “Your Inner Fish”. Please consider, though, the possibility that God wanted to demonstrate the underlying unity of all life forms rather than design each animal separately.

            I did read Conway Morris’ book “Life’s Solution” and found his examples of parallel/convergent evolution to be striking, but his main argument that life would always evolve to look roughly as it does, and that the reason it is so rare is that planets having environments that permit it are incredibly rare, is now looking incorrect. Many planetary systems around stars have been discovered in the last decade.

            Where you may be in need of information is the meaning of the original Hebrew of the Book of Genesis (which I take as a Christian to be a correct account). It is a matter of regret to me that my fundamentalist brethren adopt the most antiscientific interpretation of this book. There are others – and I do not mean mythological interpretations, either. I wouldn’t be too quick to suppose that hominids which are physically almost identical to us are necessarily human. And of course I believe the earth to be billions rather than thousands of years old.

            It is no coincidence that science began in a culture in which everybody believed that there was an underlying order in nature, because it had been put there by an intelligent creator; and that we might find it if we looked. If the fundamental physical constants of the universe were only slightly different then life could not have evolved. Isn’t that remarkable? (I’m happy to ‘do’ the anthropic principle and the multiverse.) Also, there is a beauty in mathematics, and the mathematical expression of the laws of physics turns out to be incredibly beautiful. Why might that be?

          • Lollia

            Thanks for that; very interesting and a lot more enlightened than most of the fare on offer from others. I thought I had unsubscribed, but still seem able to view and post. I have written (and partly filched off the internet) a commentary on Eugene Wigners original question about how and why is mathematics so apt for describing the Universe,-for a talk for my U3A Philosophy group. The answers I have uncovered seem to indicate that only some of it is, and of that, much of it is logically and physically necessary and obligatory,-eg the value of Pi, and Pythagoras’ Theorem, and Euclidean geometry.. Some of it has been artificially invented in order to solve problems,-eg calculus. Gödel’s Theorem seems to limit the applicability of Arithmetic anyway..–Though I am no mathematician it seems to me that Wigner’s problem does not seem such a problem after all. A lot more maths seems to be just unnecessary fiddling with numbers as a pastime just to see what is possible.
            Anything which seems symmetrical appears beautiful to humans (probably because natural selection selected symmetrical faces and bodies as a sign of health and fecundity). Emmy Noether’s principle that the laws of Physics emanate from broken symmetries seems to me to be quite satisfyingly beautiful. eg A pencil balanced on its point is unstable; it falls over into a randomly selected direction and position, signifying a now- fixed “Law”
            Just like the fundamental forces condensed out of the cooling of the Big Bang, into the Strong and Electroweak, forces; all through logical necessity alone.
            I am surprised you are impressed by “” Please consider, though, the possibility that God wanted to demonstrate the underlying unity of all life forms rather than design each animal separately.””. of course there is an underlying unity of all terrestrial; life forms, via the Last Common Ancestor, and basic DNA and RNA which are common to all life,-and the notion that each and every animal ,plant, fungus etc was separately designed and manufactured (only to die again within hours or days for some of them),–is totally absurd. This is what special creation by God implies,–but even some Christans are able to see this, and instead try to claim that “God created Evolution” in order to duck the absurdity.
            This however is almost worse; God, an ordered, stable omnipotent Being decides to ditch carefully ordered design and instead throw open Evolution to the random forces of genetic variation and drift, and random selection events caused by environmental changes, and somehow thinks this a better way to make intelligent life forms who can then sycophantically worship him for ever, when they finally emerge some 4 billion years later.
            What a twisted entity he must be;–unless he doesn’t exist?

            Yes I would be interested to know more about the linguistic origins of Genesis.

          • Anton

            The explanation of Wigner’s “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in describing the physical world is simple. (Pure) mathematics is, as I think GH Hardy said, the formal study of pattern. And the patterns that appear in nature are far richer than the patterns that man can think up by himself. Simple as that.

            So far, we may agree. I would go farther and say that the patterns in nature were created by God, and God is smarter than man – which is why the patterns in nature are richer – and god also has a higher aesthetic sense, which is why the laws of physics are incredibly beautiful maths.

            Allow me to expand on that last point. All mathematicians, whether secular or religious (and regardless of which religion), agree that there is such a thing as beauty in mathematics, and agree on which mathematics is beautiful. This is a form of beauty that you need some training to appreciate, unlike the beauty of the sky at night or a sunset; but given that training then the beauty can clearly be discerned wherever it manifests. Now, I’ll not put words into your mouth; I’ll simply ask you afresh: What is your explanation for why the mathematical expression of the laws of physics are the most beautiful maths, please?

          • Lollia

            I could send you lots of literature by other mathematicians commenting on Wigner’s thesis,-but as explained in my previous post (a few seconds ago), I will not,-for the reasons given. You obviously like Wigner because he is Christian-friendly, but not being a professional mathematician I will not comment further,-other than to point out that Christian rhetorical debating tricks always demand expert evidence from non-experts (myself),–but then refuse to examine professional evidence when the non-expert amateur tries to provide authentic expertise.. Apart from Math,– Evolution and geology are also prime Christian targets for this kind of subterfuge. That is not fair play,
            Yes I agree , pure maths studies patterns,–but also relationships in Nature.
            I think most unbiased mathematicians agree that there are necessary logical connections between events in nature; some of these are obviously causally connected and can be neatly classified into “causes” and ” effects”;–others not so. It is generally better to see nature as a continuum.
            Einstein asked if “God” (his metaphorical prime mover) could have “set up” the Universe any differently? In the video I sent you,-whichj I believe you have not bothered to look at,–it shows God attempting to adjust and re-set the dials on his Fine-Tuning machine,–but they stubbornly refuse to be moved away from their “necessary” settings.
            If there is a multiverse, and if different Universes have different apparent fine-tuning, the individual settings cannot be changed and twiddled separately, but instead are inter-dependent. I thin k most Physicists agree on that, (see Sean carroll, Victor Stenger etc)–(whoops, there I go again,-trying to quote expert sciientists—bad, very bad).
            Examples of necessary relationships?–I hear you ask: How about “pi” . How could it possibly be arbitrarily twiddled, by a God or anything else.
            How about the square root of 2: could you re-tune that?
            If maths is so perfect and rational, why are Pi and root 2 irrationall numbers with decimal places that on to infinity apparently; Rather messy, unless of course you use the fallacy of equivocation to translate Enlish into Christianeze so that it switches from “messy” to in-messy and “Beautiful”..
            See Tertullian fir blatent equivocation “”If the Church says black is white, then it is”. Friedriche Nietzsche noted how Christians further equivocate by their “inversion of morality”, where “weak” is now “strong” in their ersatz new language; good and bad are inverted, turning the other cheek is a vrrtue, -but not always if it suits some Chrisitians to turn to violence.
            I tried to explain in my last post how notions of beauty are subjective and relative,-but you won’t have it, as it is not Platonic enough (Christians adopted Platonic philosophy).
            If I look up at the night sky I see pretty points of light and patterns like the constellations and the Milky Way. I also see a mess, and the possibility that one of those pretty shooting star things could end up penetrating the atmosphere and landing on my head. The sun’s warmth is beautiful and balmy,-but would you want to be positioned say 10 miles from it?
            If I look at a scenic landscape, and find it beautiful for the reasons given previously,–colours, contrasts, vast size, light and shade like a picture, the sense of the solitary and being “one with the Universe”,–I also see another mess,–crumbling rock faces, overflowing rivers and floods, volcanic eruptions, notice-boards on beaches warning not to enter caves because of the extreme danger of rock falls, drowned bodies being washed up, sharks, jelly fish stings etc etc.
            All beauty is an illusion, just as freewill is an illusion; the nice bits cancel out the bad bits.; human behaviour is largely pragmatism and self-interest.
            The most stupid aspect of all is that after a lifetime of toil to just survive, and maybe even prosper a bit, and settle down and enjoy it,–we find that it is now time to die of cancer, old age or whatever. How about the children who die within minutes, days, weeks, months of being born,–sometimes in agony (unless alleviated by scientific medicine).
            How fine-tuned and beautiful is that? To anybody but the most God-besotted, it is all just arbitrary evolutionary processes which govern everything.
            If you want to know more about logic, patterns, mathematically relationships and necessary connections,–why not just read the Philosophy of mathematics,–not just by Wigner, but everybody; get a broader view.

            Now it is breakfast time. I cannot keep writing these long essays; life is too short.

          • Anton

            So I obviously like Wigner because of his religious beliefs? It was you, not me, who brought him and his comment into this discussion, and I’d forgotten what his religious beliefs were until you brought them up. How about a little rhetorical consistency?

            So your response to my comment about beauty in the mathematical expression of the laws of physics is that all beauty is an illusion. That’s a clear enough response; thank you. I suggest that you enter into dialogue with a secular theoretical physicist about the beauty of the laws of physics and with a secular mathematician about the notion of beauty in mathematics. I infer that you are a hardline materialist who believes that everything not physical matter is an illusion – love, hate, joy, sadness, and the laws of physics, for example. I doubt that you live your life as if those things don’t exist.

            Your understanding of the multiverse is way too poor for you to base any inferences about the existence of intelligent life upon. We don’t even know what caused inflation of the early universe. My own preferred guess is that Einstein’s theory of general relativity needs generalising to take spacetime torsion into account, with its origin in matter containing bulk aligned quantum spin (so-called Einstein-Cartan theory), and that the consequences of that in the short period after the Big Bang will look more different than we suppose. Or maybe hidden variables (HVs) will be discovered beneath quantum theory. (The so-called no-HV theorems merely rule out certain *classes* of HVs.) These are speculations of comparable worth to the multiverse, and everything that you are reading in the popular science books about the multiverse is speculation too, but the books don’t tell you that. In any case, since we don’t have a quantum theory of gravity today we cannot approach the Big Bang more closely than the Planck time, and anything about what happened before that – multiple big bangs, etc – is further speculation.

            As for philosophy of mathematics, it schismed into four schools about 100 years ago and no one school has a fully satisfactory foundation. Have you read Morris Kline’s book “Mathematics – the loss of certainty” on this subject?

            I think you will find that it was Ignatius of Loyola, not Tertullian, who came out with that absurd quote about black and white; and did so in defence of a church system (Catholic hierarchical absolutism) that is discrepant with the Bible.

          • Lollia

            I am trying to keep this short.
            Yes I have mostly read all the same books as you,–and others besides,– and Hidden Variables etc are quite familiar to me, so you are name-dropping unnecessarily; and yes we don’t know everything, and yes “there may be more to it than is dreamed of in my philosophy”; (that always comes up, so I thought I would get it in first0.
            Yes I am sure Ignatius Loyola quoted what Tertullian is alleged to have said;-maybe I am wrong about that and I am thinking of Tertullian’s “Credo quia absurdum est”, which he is also alleged to have said,-though some people argue about that also.
            Just like Pope Leo X is alleged to have said while offering a toast at a very sumptuous (and therefore un-Christian) banquet”: What profit this superstitious fable of Christ has brought us”;–though Catholics swear blind that he didn’t, and try to rationalize it if he did.
            The problem is that Christianity,-having been kick-started based upon a few second-hand homilies of Jesus plus some Jewish mysticism, pagan myths, and distorted Neo-Platonism,-has evolved over the last 1700 years when it was forced upon the Roman Empire, into a giant house of cards, with allegations of who said what to whom, (as if it mattered),–flying back and forth between different groups of heretics as it evolved via tens of thousands of different mutations into the conflicting mess that it is to-day; hence all the argument.
            We have discussed Beauty in Maths and got nowhere, even though I mentioned Pi and root 2. How about the physical necessity off Pythagoras Theorem?-could it possibly be any different than what it is? The Babylonians were using it a 1000 years before Pythagoras formalized it; the Egyptians must also have been using it for building the pyramids, having already discovered how to plot a straight line and a right-angle, and find the vertical; why?–because all those mathematical entities are physically necessary relationships.
            They produced the logical consequential developments of Euclidian geometry, and Archimidean levers, and hydrostatic and optical observations. Calculus was developed twice, by Newton and Leibnitz, to solve measurement problems stemming partly from military requirements, and quantum mechanics came out of observation of the velocity of light and developed into Particle Physics., out of which emerged radio and TV and the Large hadron Collider.
            Yes, you can call all that beautiful if you insist,-but it is a trivial observation and certainly does not “prove” the existence of s disembodied Mind floating around creating things for his own amusement.
            Human Love is based upon sex, which is based upon the “Darwinian Imperative to multiply and spread one’s genes; (even the writers of Genesis worked that out when they said “Go forth and multiply”.
            Love is the “Romanticisation of sex”,–as someone else said, (not me).
            “love, hate, joy, sadness” are all the emotions you would expect among a highly socialized species of interacting ; you see it in higher primates like Baboons, Chimps, Bonobos as well. (I am surprised you missed out “courage”.
            I am glad you have belated recognised that I am a Materialist/ Philosophical materialism is a respectable philosophical position, and correlates best with what we know about human psychology.
            (It is not wanting the latest gadget;–that’s “Consumerism”).
            If you study neurology and neurophysiology and cognitive neuroscience, you will under stand that Mind is based upon the workings of the physical brain,–whose basic anatomy is very similar among other primates, and among Dolphins, Whales and others,–for evolutionary reasons.
            The truth of materialist science is making AI possible and intelligent robots possible,-and also explains that politics,–relationships between States is based on pragmatism,-ie doing what “works”. Just follow Donald Trumps musing on North Korea,–whether to bomb them to smithereens, negotiate with them, love them,-or ignore them. Even for a God-soaked American President, there seems to be precious little about turning the other cheek, loving them as fellow human beings, trying to avoid Guam and Washington being nuked, how to avoid upsetting Russia and China (too much),-and how to suck up to the Republican vote and get -re-elected.
            All pragmatism.–not a god anywhere.

            can we please have a truce now/–I have other things to do.

          • Anton

            I am glad that you are familiar with the notion of hidden variables. My point was that popular science books, to which you are restricted through no fault of your own, do not give sufficient caveats when discussing the early stages of the Big Bang. Speculation is fine provided that it is clearly labelled as such. Those labels get dropped in popular science writing. I gave two alternative possibilities that need not invoke the multiverse concept to get from the Big Bang to the present.

            I think Loyola was not quoting Tertullian, for the point Loyola was seeking to make had nothing to do with Tertullian’s. Neither did Tertullian write “Credo quia absurdum [est]” (although he did write its equivalent).

            https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Tertullian

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

            I am deliberately not a Roman Catholic but I fear that you have misquoted Leo X also. Please search for “It has served us well, this myth of Christ” on the page

            https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Pope_Leo_X

            to see that the earliest known attribution is to a protestant anti-papal protestant writer. You would do well to verify your sources a bit more closely.

            It is true that love, hate, joy etc do not exist as material objects. But your view that they do not therefore exist at all is based on an extra axiom that only the material is real; nothing else. This is a statement of faith no less than any of mine. And you contradict it every day when you express joy, sadness, etc.

            Is Pythagoras’ theorem physics or maths? Depends whether you include the statement that the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the squares of the other two sides by the right angle IN EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY (in which case it is maths), or whether you use the discrepancy from Pythagoras’ result to infer the curvature of the space you are in.

            My best guess, like yours, is that Trump is not a Christian. It’s not my business ultimately, though.

          • Lollia

            I may have replied already but lost it. Yes I agree about popular science bookS being speculative and only for the mathematically Naive,-but we do what we can

          • Anton

            I think you’ll enjoy Kline’s book and I wish you well with it.

            I don’t see that my words suggested that God exists because you (Lollia) are not a professional mathematician, and I certainly did not intend that inference to be drawn from what I wrote!

            I did say that the Tertullian quote was attributed to him.–OK, so Somebody presumably said it;–that is the point.

            Standards!

            Wave-particle duality is probably the oddest thing about quantum theory, but the formalism gives no encouragement to the view that subatomic particles ‘do’ love, hate, joy etc.

            At present we have the “standard model” into which six numbers have to be put according to their values determined by experiment. A future theory might derive a relation between those six, however. Then all of the present reasoning would go out of the window. This has happened before. A century ago a particular constant called Stefan’s constant, to do with radiation from a heated body, was determined in terms of Boltzmann’s constant and Planck’s constant and the speed of light. Also the Rydberg constant appearing in the observed pattern of the spectrum of the hydrogen atom was determined in terms of some of Martin Rees’ ‘big six’. The same thing might happen again. Please remember that even if we had a theory which successfully predicted the outcome of all physics experiments, but had six constants needing to be put in by hand, theoretical physicists would still seek a theory that predicted identically with fewer constants, until one day hopefully nothing was arbitrary.

          • Lollia

            Thanks for that,- I will keep trying to learn more Maths and Physics.

          • Anton

            Glad the roof is fixed and enjoy Kline when it comes!

          • Lollia

            If you are a research Physicist, how do you get on with other physicists?-or do you not “compete” in the same field, as you are Christian and I think nowadays most of them are atheist? I am thinking of Laurence Krauss, Sean Carroll and suchlike.
            you are bound to clash over Cosmology and First cause Arguments.
            Perhaps you work on other things? I found this interesting analysis of the Fine-Tuning Argument

          • Anton

            Sean Carroll and I have a good mutual friend, although I am not a cosmologist. As the Big Bang says that the universe had a beginning and the opening sentence of the Bible says the same thing, where is the clash? I take the six days of creation in Genesis 1 to refer to six eras; the word YOM in the original Hebrew has exactly the same ambiguity as does DAY in English, in that it can mean ERA or AGE, as in the age of steam power. It can only mean ‘era’ in Job 15:23 & 18:20, for instance.

            I regard anything that involves the union of quantum theory and general relativity (Einstein’s theory of gravity) as speculative, given that we don’t yet have a working theory of quantum gravity. The multiverse stuff ultimately comes out of a regime where such a theory is needed.

          • Lollia

            The Israelites, already having a creator god, and speculating about where “everything” came from, would naturally conclude that their god “must have “(as Creationists say” -done it. After all , there were only two choices,–either it had always been there, or some-One must have made it. The idea that it might have arisen naturally out of a some-Thing did not occur to them.
            If there is a Multiverse that will rather take the wind out of the sails of those who say that “the Universe” had a beginning;–yes,-our “parochial little corner” of the Multiverse had a beginning at the Big Bang,- but the multiverse is probably infinite and uncaused,–and just an inexplicable brute fact. there would have been more than one BB anyway, as both String Theory and common sense surmise. BBs were and probably still are popping up all over the place, but we can’t detect them-yet. We just have to keep looking.
            Otherwise we are obliged to think that the ancient Israelites had “special ancient knowledge”, and God kept them informed of all his creation activities–the stuff of looney conspirator theories. They obviously had no technological Science,-as they never mention their radio telescopes or particles accelerators,-and there are no remains of them in the Judean desert.
            I think it important to retain some grasp of reality,-no matter how much people love their religion.

          • Anton

            Don’t talk of the multiverse and accuse me of speculation!

          • Lollia

            I suggest you look at the relevant part of that link I sent you; there is an indication of possible early evidence foe a Multiverse;keep an open mind, even if it does upset your faith. this is how new scientific knowledge is discovered.
            Your Inspector General does nor want to talk to me any more,–so, I am off again,-for good; new lands to conquer.
            Bye.

          • Anton

            I am aware what the multiverse is and of the discussions for and against it without needing to look at links. There is strong indirect evidence for an early expansion of the universe (inflation) so rapid that other parts of it are inaccessible to us today even if we could travel at the speed of light, and perhaps the laws of physics are different in those; we live in the bit in which the laws of physics are favourable to life. But to say this with any authority you have to have a metatheory governing how and why the fundamental constants and even the equations expressing the laws may differ from bit to bit. We don’t have.
            Bye.

          • Lollia

            Yes I am aware of all that,-as I should be,-for you are just quoting standard cutting edge astrophysics back to me; (where does Jesus come into all this?).
            If you bother to look at the link,–as you seem to be aware of possible variations of the Constants (if they really are constant,–Brian Greene explains (the standard theory), that new and different Big Bangs would likely have very different Constants, -with very different possible outcomes for any life that might emerge,–if it did.
            Ask Sean Carroll; he will probably say: “I do not agree with your Ontology”.

          • Anton

            I’m sorry but this is a discussion between you and me, not one between me and the author/presenter of a link that you put up, to be refereed by you. It is fine for you to quote the work of others in support of your own view even as you expound your view, but I haven’t the time or inclination to set out my explanation of the multiverse in response to a link that you put up without accompanying explanation of your own. I might make a lengthy reply and then just find that you put up another link even if you don’t actually understand the content of these links properly. I’m sure you wouldn’t do that as a dirty rhetorical trick, but such dialogues would merely take a great deal of my time while not improving your understanding of my position. So I ask you to summarise in your own words why you believe the multiverse argument does not imply any fine tuning. The Wikipedia article on the multiverse points that the word itself has several different meanings, after all. If you provide your own summary then I’ll gladly respond.

          • Lollia

            Yes exactly; you are describing my own attitude. I noted long ago,–(to myself), that arguments between atheists and Christians begin as personal exchanges,-but then when all the ammo has been used up,-each side brings out the big guns and starts “going nuclear”; (it must be a law of nature,–see North Korea),–and each side draws on professionals until eventually they resort to primary sources, ie books and journals on the topic in question,–and the whole affair degenerates into a “Battle of the Books”. The books being the Bible on one side, and contemporary science and Philosophy on the other.
            I confess I started the process on this occasion,–as I felt I was not getting though to you.
            However, the Bible (a collection of writings by unsophisticated people going back to the 8th century (plus prior oral tradition),–is just not up to it. How could it be?–it has not kept pace with the evolution of knowledge.
            Therefore the Christian side has to bring up their reserve battalion of Christian “scientists” –those half-scientists who have polluted their science with unevidenced speculations (“must have dones”,–or “only a Superior Being could have—” etc.)
            The Christian side starts using unscientific jargon , as well as unphilosophical Christian jargon (Hypostatic Union”–“Trinity”, until they have invented a new language “Christianeze”.
            Therefore the two opposing sides are literally talking past each other and further progress is impossible. Any attempt to talk degenerates further into childlish “Yes it is”,–“No it isn’t” exchanges.

            Hope that analysis helps. I suggest we both cease trying to communicate.

          • Anton

            Please stop misrepresenting me. I happen to believe that “hypostatic union”, which *you* mentioned, not me, is largely a bullshit phrase from philosophers immersed in ancient Greek culture who became Christians but who remained culturally Greek rather than Hebraic. Such philosophers did huge damage to the message of the gospel, which is basically a simple one if unpalatable to many. They complicated it unnecessarily. All that a believer should say is that Jesus of Nazareth is both fully human, and fully divine in the sense of the creator written of in the Old Testament. HOW Jesus is both is something that man cannot know without being told, and the Bible, which believers toake to be the word of God, does not tell.

            Now, I don’t expect you to agree, because you are not a believer (and I respect your freedom to believe whatever you like); but I do expect you to understand what I am saying even if you disagree with it. I guarantee to conduct any discussion on this blog in my own words, and to use references to the Bible merely to show that what I say as a Christian is actually biblical. I guarantee not to quote the Bible for ideas without first expounding those ideas in my own words. This is the proper way to proceed. You must think I am a mug if you want me to engage in extensive critiques of works you quote by 3rd parties, without your showing me any genuine understanding of what they are saying. That way I would do all the work and you can just put up link after link without having any real understanding of what those links are saying and without your doing any work, ie without engaging in a genuine discussion with me.

            You saw me excoriate so-called “Christian scientists” who argue that the earth is thousands rather than billions of years old. Categorise me with them as believers in Christ but do not categorise me with them so far as science goes. I don’t know why you bring them in. It is me you are in discussion with.

          • Lollia

            “Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved. Why then express them in the language & arrangements of philosophical induction?.—”

            Please list these and I will try and answer them.

            Science works partly by Inductive Inference; and anyway, I am an amateur Philosopher and run my own U3A Philosophy group,-so I speak the lingo a bit.

          • dannybhoy

            You seem to believe that Christians are afraid of the sciences, but a person does not become a Christian through blind faith.
            You should know that. Faith is based on intellectual capability and moral integrity.
            There are really bright Christians (I shall not name names on this blog) and there are not so bright Christians. But all can only take that step of believing faith if their intellect is satisfied that such a step is justified.

          • Lollia

            Yes I agree there are bright Christians , and these have contributed to science,–though not, I would maintain, because Jesus was whispering scientific facts into their ears, but because they left their religion outside the door and concentrated on doing empirical science..
            I realize some people can lead a sort of intellectual double life in this way.
            And of course great science is also done by atheists and Hindus etc;–though Islam appeared to give it up 1000 years ago. Also Chinese, ancient Polytheist Greeks etc.
            To me (and many others), Faith is accepting unevidenced claims as proven facts.
            I have no objection to a general benign faith in progress, or in oneself and one’s nearest and dearest.
            There are of course differing opinions about what constitutes intellectual “justification” of particular faith claims.

          • dannybhoy

            “Yes I agree there are bright Christians , and these have contributed to science,–though not, I would maintain, because Jesus was whispering scientific facts into their ears, but because they left their religion outside the door and concentrated on doing empirical science..”
            No one except perhaps spiritualists and mediums believe any non corporeal or supernatural power speaks in their ear..
            God designed man with a brain and the ability to reason and question.
            But Christians would accept (without being able to offer scientific proof) that God does speak to us/guide us and protect us. It is ridiculous to ask for scientific proof of God, because belief is based on faith guided by reason. If God were to project a holographic muscular forearm into our atmosphere every month say, we would have no need of faith; we’d all believe.

          • Chefofsinners

            Faith is not accepting unevidenced claims. It is accepting unproven claims, where evidence is inconclusive, as it almost always is. In life there is usually a judgment to be made on a balance of probabilities. Faith bridges the gap between probability and certainty. Or improbability and certainty.
            Science often erroneously claims to have proof. But who gets to decide what constitutes proof? This is the right of each individual. People of faith take issue with the scientific community when it seeks to appropriate this right to itself. It has a tendency to be totalitarian, setting standards of proof and expecting all humanity to acquiesce, claiming to be the sole arbiter of truth and deriding those who choose to differ.
            Christian theology explicitly identifies that God is only knowable by faith, which by implication gives a secondary role (at best) to the scientific method and logical deduction.

          • Pubcrawler

            Neatly put, Chef.

          • Chefofsinners

            Bit wordy, I thought, but experience shows that punching people and shouting ‘idiot’ has limited efficacy.

          • Pubcrawler

            There’s wordy, and there’s Linus.

          • Chefofsinners

            Best fun is winding him up, with the rule that you can only use one word for every twenty in his previous response.

          • Pubcrawler

            I aim for a ratio of 1 : 50. Always been a tad laconic, me.

          • Hi

            Illegitimi non carborundum! Is the Latin I remember!

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, it’s Latin of a sort.

          • Hi

            My Martian is much better. Martian script is similar to pictorial hieroglyphs and pronounced with a Geordie , West Midlands , Essex and Yorkshire accent, depending on caste.

          • Pubcrawler

            Yeeeeeeeeeees….

          • Hi

            Except all the castes are primus inter pares to each other. There’s the worker, merchant , warrior and religious castes. I would say Brummies would be the merchant caste, like the Jewellery quarter and a city of a thousand trades. …

          • Lollia

            Accepting unproven claims is jumping the gun;–you need hard evidence.
            Faith does not bridge the gap between probability and certainty,–there is no definable gap,–there is only increased probability,-which is only attainable by more and better science..
            There is no mathematical certainty or absolute proof which is not tautological,–only the need for yet more probability.
            When we have 99.999999% probability we regard it provisionally,-as a fact,–but still available for revision.
            Science is cautious you see,–it does not make sweeping ontological claims and call it “knowledge through faith”. Science demonstrates its high degree of probable truth by its utility. Planes actually fly. The light consistently comes on every time you press the switch.
            There are not “other ways of knowing,–there is only knowing , and not-knowing.
            Compare that with the “results” of faith;–unanswered prayers, contradictory religious beliefs, religious violence and intolerance, one natural disaster after another, possible impending nuclear war with North Korea, the blithe assumption that it is quite normal and natural for a disembodied Mind of God to be floating around somewhere in space/time doing Good Things, and yet completely undetectable,–even by using the same methods of detection that have given us information on the ultimate structure of Matter, of the edge of the universe, Black holes, the Big Bang, possible other universes. But no,–all that is trumped by impoverished Christian superstitions.
            Has it never occurred to you that there is no factual precedence for the existence of a Mind without a physical brain and body to support it? try studying human anatomy and physiology for starters.
            Of course Science sets tight standards of proof and evidence,–the alternative is a chaos of undisciplined irrational beliefs. rejection o0f such standards is just an excuse for laziness and not bothering to actually find things out.

  • Martin

    This sermon deals with the subject somewhat better.

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=8617239391

  • Excellent words, Your Grace. The spread of this medieval iconoclastic mania is getting out of control in short order. Started off as a barely-related response to the church shooting in Virginia or somewhere around there, then emerged as a related complication focusing on Civil War statuary, but intrinsically related to the epidemic of TDS…the Trump Derangement Syndrome that’s heated-up beyond anything I’ve witnessed. Now it’s a blooming plague, a grinning skeletal Apocalyptic rider. And even you folks across the Big Puddle have caught it…some even going after my hero, the Lord Admiral Nelson of valiant memory, may his statue rest peacefully and safely atop that tall and smooth Corinthian column!

    Me, I better dig around the attic space, find that Confederate flag I picked up in Georgia as a souvenir thirty odd years ago (when they were part of State flags and even Black people in the South flew them!), to submit it on my knees with tearful mea culpas at the desk of our local Constabulary. This world is going nuts much faster than usual, YG, please appoint someone to make it stop….

  • CliveM

    Presumably these parents have a choice in schools if so why on earth send your kid to a Catholic school if you have a problem with Mary and Jesus. Further, why is the Church allowing this to happen? If it wants the school to ape secular values, why not go the whole hog and make it fully secular?

    On a related point did anyone read the article by the Sky journalist suggesting that Nelson should be toppled of his column for his support of slavery?

    I’m clearly not drinking enough.

    • See Carl’s comment below. I think you folks in the UK might be witness a new-to-you school trend that’s been ongoing for quite a while in North America, as our public system crapped-out before yours.

      • CliveM

        I think his excellent post addresses my first point, but not so much the second.

        • The Adm. Nelson thing? Accusations of ignoring the slave trade and halting its imminent ban. Of course, if it wasn’t for Nelson to secure the oceans for the British fleets, the suppression of the trade and the elimination of slavery would not have been possible later on. But that’s too complex for most, I guess…

          • CliveM

            No the why doesn’t the RCC simply abandon the school?

            However you and dodgy geezer (no not Carl) have made good comments regards Nelson.

          • Not easy to sell a school building for a good sum and to work through with headaches of the bureaucracy of a Catholic school board is my guess,

          • Inspector General

            Greetings, Avi. One has read that when Nelson was a ship’s captain, he had, over the course of a particular sailing, 48% of the crew, including marines, flogged.

            Now, the question is, which one of the scurvy dogs aboard was the compilling statistician, and was he himself stroked by the cat….

          • Most likely the ship’s surgeon, Inspector. In between dealing with amputations, burns, the scurvy and cannon shot splinters, they often saw themselves as natural philosophers, most being men of learning and curiosity in an age when anything and everything, from beetles to human antics, was to be categorized and calculated. Officers weren’t whipped, which is probably why the fellow retained his senses enough to offer a precise, rather than a round number…

          • dannybhoy

            Frankly it bothers me not a jot what Admiral Lord Nelson believed about slavery.
            Various kinds and conditions of slavery have existed since Adam and Eve had children..
            And continue to exist.
            Nelson was an English patriot, a great seaman and strategist who led and inspired the Royal Navy.
            If I wanted to obsess about slavery I could concentrate on Captain John Newton, slaver turned Christian..

          • PeterKovatchev

            If I were to obsess about slavery, I’d turn my attention to Africa and the Muslim world, where slavery is real, common and brutal, and seems to be growing. Tearing down a few General Lee or Admiral Nelson statues won’t help their plight, but it will sure distract.

          • dannybhoy

            Yeah..
            Who are you anyways…?

          • PeterKovatchev

            One of Adm. Nelson’s Nile captains and his second in command, Sir James Saumarez of the HMS Orion. At your service, Sir.

          • dannybhoy

            I thought so.
            You’re a distant and possibly mildly deranged cousin of our very own Inspector General..

          • PeterKovatchev

            The word “mildly” is so relative, situational and imprecise…

          • dannybhoy

            You’re new here and I’m being polite..
            New blood is always welcome.

    • Dominic Stockford

      RC schools love to have non-RCs coming in, so that they can convert them to their way of thinking. They’d compromise anything to get them in – some of the issues around schools and baptism I encountered years ago were enough to make your hair curl.

      • You must have different types of RCs in your Isle. Here, in the Canadas, the RC school systems are quite anemic and mostly secularized, especially in Ontario, where they are the only separate school system to be government-funded, which compels them to accept and leave alone non-Catholics. My parents put me in a Catholic boy’s school in Vienna for two years (no idea why); the school left me and Rosenzweig, another Yid, alone during religion classes and worship and never tried to proselytize, but I picked up quite a bit of theology out of interest. Excellent school with brilliant teachers who introduced us to university-level issues and …something which I still appreciate…Latin. Best run school I’ve ever attended.

        • Manfarang

          The Catholics run good schools in Thailand but no effort is made to convert the Buddhist students who make up the large student majority.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Not true. There were only a few non Catholics at my school and they never participated in religion lessons. Also I have never seen anyone rubbing statues with hankies in Church. Your fabrications are ridiculous…all lies . I’m not surprised you were given your marching orders.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Accusing me of lying is about as low as it gets.

      • CliveM

        My teacher wife, a Protestant, works at a Catholic school and has never witnessed those issues and concerns you’ve reported. And no one has tried to convert her.

    • Dodgy Geezer

      …On a related point did anyone read the article by the Sky journalist suggesting that Nelson should be toppled of his column for his support of slavery?…

      Nelson was completely uninterested in the ethics of slavery. He was a military man in a super-power struggle, and his interests lay entirely in strategic military opposition to Napoleon on the high seas. As part of this belief he wanted to keep the British possessions in the West Indies as important naval bases. The professional Left-Wing offence takers are trying to morph this into slavery support….

      • Dominic Stockford

        Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, said that if he could win the Civil War without freeing a single slave, then he would.

        • Anton

          But why was there a civil war?

          • Dick McCrillis, Norfolk, Virgi

            Short answer: there was a war because the southern states claimed a right of secession that the president of the United States determined was a remedy that violated every tenet that joined the Several States under the Constitutional order. It was accompanied by violent acts of rebellion, and the federal government used its greater violence to suppress it.

          • IanCad

            Got into this with Anton and Carl a few months back. Have to admit I was bested. They weren’t buying the War of Northern Aggression and States’ Rights stuff. Had to turn tail but I didn’t know about the Corwin Amendment then. They both would have had to work a little harder to force me to skidaddle so soon.

          • Dick McCrillis, Norfolk, VA

            It is a very complex subject that turns on the highly volatile issue of managing the intractable differences between the slaveholding states, the abolitionist movement and their political partisans, and the Constitutional fault lines that were exposed and exacerbated by the existence of chattel slavery over a huge portion of the American population. In my opinion, I believe that the Lincoln quote referenced above indicates that he believed the institution would collapse of it own weight if left alone. Buying and maintaining slaves was a hugely expensive proposition, and if the commodity market (cotton, in particular) prices ever dropped, there is little chance the slave owners could have maintained their hold on that population. The states of the Confederacy forced the issue in much the same way that the citizens of the 13 colonies did in the buildup to our Revolution: they seized federal (Crown) arsenals in order to create a de-facto armed force that could repel federal (Crown) enforcement of law. Violence begets violence, and over 800,000 Americans paid the price between Fort Sumter and Appomattox.

          • carl jacobs

            Because the election of Lincoln meant no expansion of slavery into the territories. That was the proximate cause.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Because the North hated the idea of secession – it was not about slavery.

          • Northern taxes and tariffs kept the South away from manufacturing and the Confederates’ plans for separate trade deals with the UK threatened the Union. Had slavery been the only issue, the North would have let it die a natural death or would have gradually ended it with compensation for the owners, as other countries did.

  • So how long then before Catholic schools become Muslim schools I wonder?

  • Mungling

    I am convinced that this argument misses the mark. Could a school such as this be an effective, Christian school without outward symbols of its Christianity? Absolutely. It would, however, take an incredibly optimistic (dare I say, naïve) reading of the situation to believe that it what is happening here. This school is removing reminders of its Christian heritage because it no longer wants to be associated with Christianity. Pretending that this is anything but a rejection of Catholicism (in particular) and Christianity (in general) is a serious misread of the situation.

    There’s another problem that boils my blood when it comes to these types of discussion. In a cultural obsessed with diversity and tolerance, this is a remarkable demonstration of intolerance. After all, they schoolboard is suggesting that incoming students are SO bigoted that they are offended by Catholic symbols in an Catholic institution. I can guarantee that if I were offended by a different class of symbol, that it would be I that I would be in the hot seat.

  • Lucius

    Your Grace, I believe you have missed the mark. The statues are not being removed out of some (misguided) concern of idolatry, a new found commitment to educate through hearts and mouths absent outward signs of faith, or an effort to avoid negative biases or prejudice. There is no such moral sentiment underlying the school’s decision. The school itself makes this rather plain, stating that statues “could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn’t want to further that feeling.”

    I take the school’s remarks at face value. And clearly, its reasoning is not grounded in any good faith Christian thought; but rather, secular notions of diversity and tolerance, which have a deeply troubling undercurrent of intolerance when it comes to Judeo-Christianity and virtually all socio-cultural institutions and traditions within the Anglosphere. To paraphrase our Lord and Savior, if you will not be ashamed of Me before men, I will not be ashamed of you before My Father in Heaven. Yet the school’s reasoning for removing the statutes– fear that Christ’s image may be alienating to those of other faiths– seems dangerously close to being at odds with out Lord’s guidance not be ashamed of Him before men.

    • Well said.

    • David

      Yes as you say, we must proclaim the Risen Christ and His Gospel.
      But first He was born – as a human baby, to His mother Mary, a woman greatly blessed of God.
      We must proclaim all these things !

      • Manfarang

        Jesus son of Mary.

  • Chefofsinners

    JERUSALEM: Breaking News.
    The Roman Catholic school of Our Lady of the Immaculate Ofsted Report has erected a statue of Herod I in its entrance foyer.

    Headteacher Mr Dipstick O’Toole said: “We are keen to reach out to child murderers, who have been excluded by the church for too long. Any Christian-inspired work of art under 2000 years old will be destroyed.”

    All statues of the Holy Family are believed to have fled to Egypt.

  • Bernard from Bucks

    A young Christian student, called Alice;
    One peed in a Catholic chalice.
    The headmistress agreed,
    It was done out of need
    And not out of Protestant malice.

    • Lollia

      Ha!

  • Anton

    This act represents the victory of one lousy Christian theology over another.

  • michaelkx

    I know it is off topic
    but have you seen this. “MP’s anger as Christian Child forced in to
    Muslim foster care, against her and parents will.” Now for give me
    if I am wrong but did not a Christian couple have there foster
    children taken away because they were Christian? Were is the equity
    the lentil eating one’s keep making a very loud noise about.??? come on
    your Grace look in to this.

    • dannybhoy

      When they say “Christian” they probably mean ‘nominal.’
      However this is a horrific case, and has been discussed on LBC Radio this morning. According to one person Tower Hamlets Social Services does not have a good record of adhering to lawful guidelines or best practice.
      I emailed the department to try and get an official statement, and I would urge anyone concerned to do the same thing. It is your right as a citizen. We MUST use our freedoms to politely and respectfully hold individuals and organisations to account.
      If we DON’T exercise our rights -especially as Christians, we are allowing injustice and evil to triumph.

      • Pubcrawler

        Latest news on this is that a judge has ordered that the child be removed from the foster family and entrusted to her grandparents.

        • CliveM

          Good news.

        • Good…but it took an international outcry. Next time the authorities will be ready with mandatory media restrictions, info black outs and court orders. You know, to protect the privacy of the children….

          • Pubcrawler

            Tower Hamlets SS tried all that. But the judge wasn’t playing ball.

          • This time.

          • Pubcrawler

            One also wonders whether the judge in question, being a practising Muslim, will be getting a little friendly ‘pastoral’ visit from the local imam’s associates.

    • Breitbart (US) reported on this.

    • dannybhoy

      Found this article this morning from the Telegraph..
      “Amid the growing row over the child’s care arrangements, The Telegraph can disclose that an extremist Islamic preacher helped in the recruitment of foster parents.
      The imam, Shakeel Begg, hosted a workshop for would-be foster carers just months after the High Court ruled him an “extremist Islamic speaker” who had “promoted and encouraged religious violence”.
      If true it reinforces the general perception that Tower Hamlets has serious problems with elements from within minority communities distorting local government services.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/30/christian-girl-fosteredin-muslimhome-can-rejoin-familyjudge/

  • Sybaseguru

    As a reformed church member (albeit Anglican) I can agree with the argument that they are not needed to be a Christian based institution. However, they are part of history, and a useful reminder of where we’ve come from so we can learn both positive elements and negative elements. If nothing else they remind us of human fallibility – that even the best of us are flawed – something the intolerant secularists won’t accept, but which is the basis of Christianity

  • IanCad

    As “Inclusivity” seems to be the motivation for the removal of a statue; How long will it be before the Bible is removed for the same reason?

    • Watchman

      Not too long, I wouldn’t think. When a prison chaplain loses his job for reading the bible in church we know that it is likely to be banned as full of “hate speech”.

    • Sarky

      Is it even in schools??

  • Dreadnaught

    Stock said schools operated by the Catholic Church, such as St. Isabella, Marin Catholic and St. Anselm, tend to have larger class sizes and lower tuition costs. Tuition for an incoming kindergarten student at San Domenico is $29,850.

    Ah… now it makes sense; it all about the bottom line and the need for punters.

  • Dreadnaught

    Stock said schools operated by the Catholic Church, such as St. Isabella, Marin Catholic and St. Anselm, tend to have larger class sizes and lower tuition costs. Tuition for an incoming kindergarten student at San Domenico is $29,850.

    Now it makes sense – it’s all about the bottom line than being forced to remove iconography symbolic of the faith and bringing in more non-Catholic punters. Reducing the number of statues/icons visible from 180 to 18, would make the place less overtly Catholic and more marketable.
    Less of an attack on Christian faith; more about the education business.
    http://www.marinij.com/social-affairs/20170824/san-anselmos-san-domenico-school-creates-stir-by-removing-catholic-statues

  • Dreadnaught

    Three attempts at posting. Is there a problem?

    • dannybhoy

      No, I can read you l-l-l-##udddd and a n ddanddlloud cl cl clear.

      • Dreadnaught

        Cheers dan. Not showing up on mine.
        until now!

        • dannybhoy

          The ZX Spectrum is a bit long in the tooth now Dreadders. We’ve all moved on to the turbo boosted steam powered versions…

          • Dreadnaught

            Cheeky bugger – you mean I have to upgrade! After all these years – must have been better reception on the old boat.

          • dannybhoy

            F f Fff u ffu 88###ccccck
            Ssssssometimes vvvvvVVa lves can sstterr ster sstttt ick-
            If you’re using inffffffferior ff*&@uel..

          • Dreadnaught

            same to you!

          • PeterKovatchev

            Makes sense, if your boat was to a cell tower

          • len

            Perhaps the steam pressure dropped a little?

          • PeterKovatchev

            He actually went out of character and upgraded to electrical and a lightly used Babbage difference engine recently…just needs to lube the bearings and gears with good whale oil.

            Dredders is not responding. Probably got all emotional over the flood of encouragement and helpful tips he’s getting from us, his true and loyal comrades.

      • Pubcrawler

        Ditto

    • PeterKovatchev

      The latest operating system updates seem to glitch with punch card systems, Dredders. See if there’s a patch for that and if not, upgrade to paper tape….

  • Dreadnaught

    Stock said schools operated by the Catholic Church, such as St. Isabella, Marin Catholic and St. Anselm, tend to have larger class sizes and lower tuition costs. Tuition for an incoming kindergarten student at San Domenico is $29,850.

    Now it makes sense – it’s all about the bottom line than being forced to remove iconography symbolic of the faith and bringing in more non-Catholic punters. Reducing the number of statues/icons visible from 180 to 18, would make the place less overtly Catholic and more marketable. Less of an attack on Christian faith; more about the education business.
    http://www.marinij.com/social-affairs/20170824/san-anselmos-san-domenico-school-creates-stir-by-removing-catholic-statues

    • carl jacobs

      Exactly.

  • PeterKovatchev

    You never know when good classical education will come in handy.

    • dannybhoy

      Sarkys motivation is of a baser kind..

      • PeterKovatchev

        My point exactly.

    • Pubcrawler

      Quotidianly, I find.

      • PeterKovatchev

        Sounds excessive. Didn’t know quotidian works as an adjective…learning something every day.

  • Chefofsinners

    Ideal preparation for life in modern Newcastle.

    • Pubcrawler

      Indeed. Very good Classics department at Newcastle.

  • len

    Statues (or idols, whatever you prefer to call them) are so last year.The in thing now is ‘ holograms’. With the multi faith movement gathering force we can now have a collection of our fave religious personages appearing and disappearing at will.Atheists can have their own special corner with nothing in it at all and sometimes this nothing goes* bang *and a beautiful creation appear out of the cosmic chaos.’
    This is definitely the way forward ,and there will be something to please eveyrbody.

  • len

    There is some weird stuff going on here tonight.Posts are flying off into the ether and then magically re- appearing again.So its not just you Dredders. Strange things afoot?.

    • Chefofsinners

      It’s the end times, Len.

      • Anton

        Post Truth.

    • Inspector General

      Nothing wrong at Inspector Towers, Len, and one uses a steam powered laptop contraption. Rather surprised you have problems considering Blessed are the smug in Christ, as they say, what!

  • Hi

    For Clive M and Inspector re Nelson ,he was a British patriot who held the line against Napoleonic fascism, just as a hundred years later Britain was the last outpost to oppose Nazism .

    Enough said.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=atI6a6GMgzo

    • At this rate, they’ll be hollering to remove monuments to RAF pilots and remaining Lancasters in museums…because of Dresden.

      • H avi ,

        As an aside check out this well cool pro Israel blog, I was invited to pursue after I was banned from the Jerusalem post.

        https://disqus.com/home/channel/notthejerusalempost/

        • Goodness, what got you banned? Not that it’s hard; the JP has swung to the left and censors like mad. I haven’t been on it for ages, prefer Arutz Sheva and like to get a proper perspective from people like Caroline Glick…who’d be Israel’s PM if it was up to me.

          Folks at National Review tried that when the website allowed posts from Face Book only. Years ago I wanted to do a blog like that for our CBC, which was censoring . My take on this is that it’s better to develop a well designed and well written issues blog as a primary mission and a spot for alternative comments from other media in a secondary section. No one wants to feel like he’s in the doghouse, waiting to kvetch on articles that can’t even be posted there. This is the only way we can get back at the heavy handed types; patronize new media companies to compete with and drag market share away from the main stream ones.

          • Hi Avi,

            In one of my “moments ” – I think after the last Gaza skirmish when the terrorists had slaughter those boys and began to lob missiles at Jewish civilians and then the pogrom in France and the attempted storming of a synagogue their and the violence toward Jews in Britain and all those ghastly parades by the far left – I angrily said Israel should deport the Palestinians to South Georgia in the Antarctic or the moon.

            It’s getting worse and worse , God help us and especially my older nieces and nephews at university:

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3ghskSSNcWM

            I don’t understand the casual ignorant hatred , we’re less than 0.5% of the British population , which has contributed immeasurably to every single field of human endeavour, including medicine , science and business, we’ve suffered in a holocaust and pogroms, and yet still in the so-called enlightened progressive 21 st century, we are attacked with violence, conspiracy theories and a self righteous mob, over the mere existence of the world’s only Jewish state and for being Jewish.

        • dannybhoy

          Crikey, you could get lost in that blog! Do you know how it came about Hannah?

      • Hi

        You are absolutely right and I think bomber Harris will be the first victim, even though we had the Blitz. My own view . I’ve been doing a lot of research into bombing and military warfare for a novel, plus documents and memories from my deceased and also asking my living relatives who are still alive about war. There’s a lot I’ve taken in, but my understanding is that whilst war is ghastly , taking the enemy down swiftly is what military tacticians and strategists prefer in order to stop even more people suffering and dying. Hence why Truman was right to drop the nukes on Japan and why Israel had to strike swiftly in 1967. They all had a job to and they did it.

        • Pubcrawler

          It would be a fitting sign of Antifa’s intellectual vacuity for them to want to take down memorials to those who took on and defeated actual Fascists.

        • The Inspector is a bit of WW II buff, I believe; a good chap to bounce ideas on. There are several old films, some documentary and others instructional on YouTube which depict the difficulties of the bombing missions, how they were laid out in groups, the reason for the rigid formations and how difficult it was to get to, aim at and actually damage or destroy a target.

          • Hi

            I’m more sort of simplified : If they attack or hurt us , strike back and bomb the bastards! Sorry I’m not bring very liberal and stuff. But sometimes these silly chaps need a thorough thrashing and not just like face book memes!

            But these clip says it all

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FfKGUF9uDxU

            And when our Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent a battle fleet in response to a foreign invasion of British territory by leftist fascism :

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xxcsGcV8s9g

          • Manfarang

            Have you ever heard of the dirty war?

          • CliveM

            Coincidentally I’m reading a book on bomber command. A lot of its members admitted to guilt about aspects of the bombing. Particularly the deaths of women and children.

          • I was watching the Falklands armada steam south on the telly reports, surprised why Canada didn’t step in at least with some supply or merchant ships outside of the exclusion zone even.

          • Hi

            Because the west thought of it as a colonial war, even though the indigenous people of the Falklands is like a British Cornwall – Tunbridge Wells fusion and the Falkland islands are British sovereign territory and always have been. Even the penguin rock hoppers are clearly British rockers. In fact many of the trimmings of the old colonial empire are more British or as British as the Inspector .

            Like Gibraltar, which is widely hour has (by percentage) one of the word’s largest Jewish populations . I go on “vacation” often to Gibraltar: did you know the reason for Spanish claims to Gibraltar stemmed from the initial treaty which forbade Jews from settling there? The British ignored that clause and all the synagogues sing (as ours do) God save the Queen in Hebrew.

            Check this out from the Sephardi Gibraltar choir:

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4AFqUdCMfb8

          • CliveM

            The Americans flew in rigid formations, the RAF in “streams’. Plenty of books etc on Bomber Command.

          • Ha! Good one. I had it reversed. Not that I’m biased and reflexively assumed that the Brits are rigid by nature, or anything silly like that.

          • CliveM

            Its because we flew mainly night missions and the US daylight raids. You can’t fly in close formation at night!

          • Ouch, yer right, that learned me!

        • carl jacobs

          Not sure what you are looking for Hannah but you might try this if you are looking for information on WWII bombing techniques.

          https://aviationshoppe.com/wwii-bombers-bombardiers-information-file-a-31.html

          This is what you call primary source material.

          There are also Bombardier Training films on Youtube that were made by the USAAF during WWII. Check out Zeno’s Warbirds iirc.

        • CliveM

          Bomber Command were made victims immediately the war ended. Not one of Churchill’s better moment’s.

      • len

        The memorial to the RAF Bomber Command was only put up in 2012 . That’s how controversial bombing Germany was to many people .I wonder how long before they want to remove that as well?.

        https://www.rafbf.org/bomber-command-memorial/about-memorial

        • Unbelievable. Did people forget how savage the Luftwaffe bombings were and how close England came to defeat?

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Avi,

            Here is an interesting book: Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World by David Bodanis.

            There are two chapters on radar during the Second World War, ch. 7 dealing with Britain’s defences and ch. 8 dealing with the area bombing of Germany.

            In ch. 7, we read how Churchill’s scientific adviser, Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell) nearly blocked the adoption of radar, but Henry Tizard (head of Imperial College) fought that round, so Robert Watson-Watt’s work was accepted. But when it came to bombing Germany, Lindemann persuaded Churchill to listen to Harris.

            (There is an interesting section later on Alan Turing.)

          • Thanks! It’s funny, but control of electricity is a civilizational watershed that’s under-appreciated, It will eventually lead to serious AI (actually it’s already here), which will either end us or change us beyond recognition.

            It occurred to me, during one of the exchanges here actually, when I was looking up a fact and checking the correct use of a word, that in few short years, we’ll all be able to do this instantly, without even stretching our brain to come up with search terms and to inspect and select for relevance. From that it will be another short hop to letting my PC’s AI app to take over and run the arguments for me while I nap or watch Netflix, since it will have me figured out from my previous posts, surfing and even by extrapolating plausible responses for novel situation. We will not know who or what we are communicating with. Or when an system AI will choose to “help” things along by subtly changing our communications to meets objectives it has decided on, all on its own and its other AI “friends.” Creepy, and that too is already here, but not on the consumer mass market yet.

          • dannybhoy

            He who wins the war writes the history..
            The Allies won ww2 but Germany won the economic peace.

          • And the old line gets turned on its head when the winners turn into whining, self-flagellating wimps!

          • len

            People seem to have short memories.

    • CliveM

      I know Hannah. I was highlighting how this stupidity is spreading.

      • We live in different times. My extended family lost people to American bombs targeting industry, yet my grandfather, a partisan, helped to hide and move a downed rear gunner from a B-24 Liberator and move him through various local partisan units in the mountains to the Yugoslav partisans who had ways to smuggle out such pilots, probably across the Adriatic, to the US airbase in Italy. People were made of sterner stuff and understood the nature and cost of war, even when they were affected by it.

        • CliveM

          Generally speaking my family was lucky in surviving in both the trenches of WWI and also WW2. The one I know of who died was a rear gunner in a Lancaster.

          • The toughest place on the Lancs; fighters got better results strafing from the rear. Read a few war biographies by these gunners. All alone in the back, in sub zero howling winds, waiting for lead and tracer from an unseen fighter to crash through the perspex and rip you apart. The conclusion I reached is that I would turn into a hysterical blob of blubber and beg for a deserter’s court martial before they even try to stuff me into the seat. And the reality is that men, kids really, used to study and compete for the honour!

          • CliveM

            Yes did you know that the Browning 303 machine gun by 43 was so in effective that serious consideration was given to removing all the turrets and increasing the speed of the Lanc. If noting else there would be 2 fewer deaths every time one was shot down. What stopped it happening was firstly it was thought it would have a negative impact on Crewe morale and increase the chance of aborted raids and secondly Harris was likely to negate the speed benefit of the lighter Lancs by increasing bomb load. By the end of the war however some lancs were fitted with radar guided machine guns and a few of these would ride at the back of the stream to take on the night fighters.

          • Anton

            I thought that the midships turret sticking up was fairly quickly removed form Lancasters in order to increase speed, but Tail End Charlie remained because the turret did not slow the plane down.

          • CliveM

            It was removed from the dambuster bombers, but not generally. ( I believe).

          • Anton

            Ah, OK. I’ve met the controversial Jack Holsgrove and find his account entirely convincing.

          • CliveM

            ? Haven’t heard what he says.

          • Anton

            He designed the bomb release gear for the dambusters raid. That’s not particularly controversial. What is, is his claim that the planes took off that night with the bombs fully armed; and that the arming switch in the cockpit, usually flicked during transit over the channel, was rendered inactive and the pilots not told. The reason Holsgrove was given – and was unhappy about – was that Bomber Command wanted any Lancaster that was shot down en route to the target to blow up and preserve the secret. He says that this was accomplished by getting him to fix a wire in the right place under the fuselage of each Lancaster at the start of the runway seconds before take-off, and that he personally communicated by torch with the pilot of each Lancaster to the effect that the last-minute change the pilots had been told was necessary had now been done and the pilot should take off. Holsgrove says that the risks of a mass take-off with live bombs was so great that RAF Scampton was totally evacuated, control tower included, and that only he and the crews were on the field during take-off. He also says that the next morning he was told to walk from one end of Scampton to the other parallel to the runway and denied the usual bicycle for the purpose, and that he found out why when a car drew up and the king briefly congratulated him. The king’s diary is blank for the time in question, and his previous and next engagements are such that he had time to do this. He got no medal in order to maintain secrecy, and was kept far from any engagement with the enemy which might have led to his capture.

            I know a distant relative of Holsgrove and got an audience with this man who was by then 90 years old.
            When he published his account the official RAF historians openly claimed he was a fantasist, but they have not been able to falsify anything that he claims and supporting evidence has trickled out. Many still doubt him, I should add.

            Separately, I knew a Cambridge don who had been a Tail-End Charlie in Lancasters.

          • CliveM

            I haven’t heard of that before. I have to say whilst not dismissing it, there was a lot if kit, bombs etc. that the RAF would of liked to keep equally secret. Bit scary if that had been the usual way of dealing with such an issue.

            I’m going to have to look into it, as my gut feeling is I don’t believe it, but you never know.

          • Anton

            If you do, please read his own account in full.

          • Pubcrawler
          • CliveM

            Thanks great photo. ☺

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s a video…

          • CliveM

            Apologies my kindle didn’t show that for some reason. Will reopen on my phone!

          • A bit late in that game; Germans were using big antenna-type radars on their night fighters early on.

          • CliveM

            Yes. The Lanc did have radar earlier, but not radar guided machine guns.

          • Surprising that no one came up with a mid-air refueling method…a mechanical solution possible for the technology back then. Would’ve been nice to have had fighter escort all the way to the target and back.

          • CliveM

            My father was in the RAF, post war, but despite my family loyalty I have to be honest that with the exception of Dowding and Harris (to an extent) the Senior leadership of the RAF in WW2 was second rate. The head of the RAF decided that long range fighter support was not viable as he believed it would have to be twin engined and that was a compromise solution that wouldn’t work. Of course the Americans showed that fighter support was possible and used it to finish off the Luftwaffe.

          • Credit for the degradation of the Luftwaffe should be given to the Russians as well, who from little airfields hidden away in forests and the marshes in the East, chipped away at the Germans with their basic, but superb Sturmovik fighters and even with old converted WW I Polikarpov bi-planes flown by the “Night Witches,” women pilots who flew night missions and to avoid search lights and the ack-ack, would turn off their engine when bombing German airfields and fuel depots (only. The swooshing sound of the canvas and plywood body made the German peasant soldiers think of the sound witches’ brooms. These silly Polikarpovs did rather well against the Messers in an air duel; they were stupidly slow, but very maneuverable and it was hard to line up for a shot. Even then, most rounds would just go through the canvas, causing little damage to the craft’s integrity. In my home town there was a “veteran” Polikarpov re-converted to crop duster that used fly over our house on the way to the fields, with its distinct sowing machine clatter sound. It’s why the Russians called their heroic lady pilots “seamstresses”!

            Weird tales from aeronautic history.

          • carl jacobs

            The Russians …. pffft! It was the 8th Air Force and 15th Air Force that ground up the Luftwaffe, thank you. In fact, some historians argue that the principle benefit of the strategic bombing campaign was the massive diversion of the Luftwaffe away from the Eastern Front. They are wrong about that being the principle benefit, of course. But it is true that the Luftwaffe was consumed as it tried to stop the Allied bombing offensive.

          • Sorry for the qualified, modest mention of the Russian air campaigns, Yank! And no offense intended to the 15th. But tying up the Luftwaffe at Kiev and reducing its aircraft down to about 400 on the Eastern Front in ’43 must have helped a little, no?

          • carl jacobs

            Sort of like how the French helped with the liberation of France? Or would that comparison be unkind?

            Why exactly did we liberate France anyways?

          • CliveM

            Yes we do still in the west forget about the importance of the Russian front.

          • CliveM

            Yep we do tend not to give the USSR its proper credit.

          • CliveM

            Visibility was also very poor. They tried several different turrent solutions, but none were particularly successful.

      • Hi

        my post wasn’t meant as a rebuke. I read your stuff and couldn’t find it !

  • Pubcrawler

    Almost the Wombles theme, that.

    Caesar adsum jam forte,
    Brutus aderat.
    Caesar sic in omnibus,
    Brutus sic in at.