Stephen Fry Just Pray tweet 2a
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Don't gloat over Stephen Fry quitting Twitter: he's an ally in the battle for freedom

 

During the Bafta ceremony on Sunday evening, Stephen Fry made an acerbic comment about the dress sense of one of the award winners. He referred to Jenny Beavan’s appearance as being that of a “bag lady” – a remark made all the more cutting since she happens to be a quite brilliant costume designer of some considerable renown. “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady,” he quipped, extempore, as only the best of them can.

Cue Twitter onslaught. “Misogynist swine..”; “..your comment about Jenny Beavan was disgusting!”; “My opinion of @stephenfry just went right down after such rudeness”; “a really unkind, uncalled for comment.. Disappointing”, etc., etc.

Fry responded with characteristic candour: “Will all you sanctimonious f***ers f*** the f*** off Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet.”

He has not (so far as we are aware) left the planet, but he did subsequently delete his Twitter account. In a humourless world of censored imagination, where every joke offends and amicable repartee incites outrage, even the comic actor must guard against being comical. It’s a point that’s been made time and again by Rowan Atkinson. The Age of Enlightenment has morphed into the Era of Censoriousness, in which everything that might be perceived as a cause of harassment, alarm or distress must be expunged by the brooding cyber-mob on behalf of the supposedly harassed, alarmed and distressed, even if they are not so. Vicarious fretting on Twitter is such a wonderfully smug way to signal one’s social-self-righteousness. Poor bag lady: what a complete and utter bastard that Stephen Fry is.

He explained his departure:

Fry on Twitter

His decision to quit Twitter (again) has yielded some harsh criticism, abuse, mockery and gloating. It’s not all unreasonable: Stephen Fry wasn’t averse himself to whipping up his Twitter hordes when someone or something offended against his (occasionally hyper-) sensibilities. He who lives by Twitter will die by Twitter, you might say. No matter how reasonable and intelligent one tried to be in challenging some of his beguiling obsessions and mono-manias, his Twitter devotees and disciples would invariably descend in “a tsunami of derision and displeasure“, and he did nothing to intervene.

But Stephen Fry suffers from depression. And he suffers badly. It’s not just the occasional bout of black dog, but weeks and sometimes months of bipolar purgatory. Walk with him through The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, and then spout your unfeeling judgments about his depthless charisma and thin skin.

Some people despise him for his celebrity, his wealth, his husband, or perhaps (more accurately) they resent his polymathic mind and scintillating wit. And some Christians see in the final sentence of his vindicatory valediction a gratuitous swipe at Evangelicals. It may rather be a reasoned polarity, but it isn’t important; really, it isn’t. Whatever you think of Stephen Fry, his celebrity, wealth, husband, mind or wit, he has been and is an undoubted ally in the culture war against invidious censorship, intimidation and coercive political illiberalism.

It isn’t only our elected politicians bartering away our sovereignty, liberty and sacred birthright in Brussels: we ourselves, in the way we use social media, are destroying the foundational freedoms of liberal democracy. A technocratic, managerial, orthodox way of thinking is being inculcated as a pious expression of social justice. All injustice and inequality will only be eradicated when we can control every utterance, or bludgeon dissenting wits into oblivion. This is the new consensus: social-media emotion as the primary tool of honing social stability.

The infantile Twitter horde will ultimately drive out all foundational reason because its conception of humanity is embittered by its own social impotence and intellectual inadequacy. When, today, a manic depressive can’t innocently quip about a friend’s dress sense without being damned to destruction, then tomorrow, be assured, our societal coercion will reach its fulfilment in a dogmatic and uniform conception of spiritual normality.

  • Your Grace a very measured and considered response to another “Twitter Storm” this time directed at Stephen Fry. Honestly what these people don’t understand is that if you wish to criticize someone and you resort to cruel name calling or just being generally unpleasant you have lost the argument.

    I do wonder how many of these people would have had the courage to say these things to Mr Fry’s face rather than from their keyboard behind their locked front door. Also how would they respond to someone asking them the question “and how do you justify speaking to someone like that who has a history of long term mental illness” Would they just continue to shout? Depressingly from my experience they probably would.

    I do wonder if as the Christian ethos of this country is being replaced by the “me! Me!” Culture is not encouraging such behaviour, but for Mr Fry that will be of little comfort.

    Sometimes Twitter resembles those woman knitting at the foot of the guillotine or the crowds shouting for death in the Colosseum, we may live in a Hi-Tech world today but seems human nature hasn’t changed that much.

    • The trouble is they lose the argument but win the battle; they succeed in their aims.

  • Trouble is having a private joke or teasing a friend over a public tannoy doesn’t have the same meaning or appeal to everyone listening. The baying mobs are too stupid to think further than the end of their own noses.

    • magnolia

      Private jokes in public understandably confuse people; best kept private where the context is understood by all concerned surely?

      • IanCad

        No Way!
        Let ’em get confused.

  • Anton

    All true, but there is another even simpler – and entirely secular – principle involved here: if you can’t take it then don’t dish it out.

    • William Lewis

      Indeed, Anton, and it’s sad that he still puts such great store in the mob that is a twitter storm. You would have thought he would know by now, or is his need to be adored so great? Who knows? I hope he recovers a wiser cyber operator.

  • So … because a person is a friend of someone else and because they suffer from a mental disorder, it’s okay for them to pass a rude comment on them in public? What if someone at the BAFTA’s had called Fry a fat, dishevelled old man, past his sell-by date? Would he have a hissy fit if others leapt to his defence?

    • We don’t know, someone ought to test the water.

    • len

      Sometimes ones ‘rudeness’ is another`s’ banter.’
      The everyday’ banter’ in workshops in Liverpool where I worked would have started fights in similar workshops in Sussex its a matter of perception and intention.

      • Anton

        Yes, they’re a violent lot in Sussex compared to Liverpool.

  • magnolia

    He seems to be cornering the market in being habitually insensitive to women and then going off in an oversensitive huff. All geese and ganders – the same applies to both. Surely to goodness it is possible to be funny and speak as a gentleman. Surely!?

    As for speaking of men having husbands it is a manifest absurdity made no less ridiculous by repetition. The whole history of the semantics and cultural notifying of the word being ignored, all our history is suggested as being next to nothing, a vapid wisp of smoke before the “now me” needs of the minority.

    As for leaving twitter isn’t that just commonsense getting in a look in. Such things should be used with the greatest of care anyway. Shrinking oneself down to 15 words is bound to engender misunderstandings galore, speaking as one who is prone to being misunderstood in 10 or 100 times that amount!

  • len

    The admiration of’ the world’ is a very fickle thing. One senseless remark or a misconstrued remark is enough to topple one from a previously held position.
    Sometimes less is more and a simple’ thank you’ might have sufficed?.

    • sarky

      Happens to me all the time 🙂

  • sarky

    To kind of quote Arnie…….he’ll be back!

    • carl jacobs

      Ah-nold. Not “Arnie”

  • James60498 .

    The English Defence League is an ally against allowing Islam too much “latitude”

    The Labour Party is an ally in my desire to see Cameron kicked unceremoniously out of Downing Street.

    Stalin was an ally in defeating Hitler.

    Would I work with him on issues where we agreed? Yes.

    I have no idea what goes on in Twitter. But just because someone agrees with me in one area, no matter how important doesn’t automatically make him acceptable.

    • Dreadnaught

      You think Cameron is bad? You should reserve judgement for when Ozzy Osborne is the post.

      • James60498 .

        Would Ozzy Osborne seriously do a worse job?

        Now, of course if you mean George Osborne then that’s a different matter. As I said to a Tory canvasser at the GE, the only problem with the Tories dumping Cameron is that, at that time at least, he would have been replaced by May, Osborne or possibly Johnson.

        So yes. Whilst retaining my desire to see Cameron hurled out, the most likely current replacements don’t make me any happier.

        • IanCad

          I’m not so sure James; There seems to be a little more rumbling from the rank and file.
          There again; I’m a sanguine soul. Maybe that’s why I’m so often disappointed.

          • James60498 .

            Hope you’re right. The Tory members don’t really like kicking out their leaders though, even when the MPs do.
            And many of us who would have been keen to kick Cameron have of course left and been replaced by liberal Cameroons.

            It is probably just talk but maybe you and other proper conservatives can turn it into more than that.

        • Dreadnaught

          Well at least with the original Ozzy – what you see is what you get …’Shaaaaarrron… isn’t that right Sharrrron’

  • Dreadnaught

    So he cracked a ‘Luvvie’ in-joke that didn’t offend the woman – what the big deal? Jack Benny was always being portrayed a being mean and based most of his act on going along with it. Ernie Wise didn’t wear a syrup but may have had short fat hairy legs. Dean Martin was fond of the booze and played along with other peoples gags. WTF is wrong with the aggrieved feminists who nobody has ever heard of until social media came upon the scene. Can’t see the point of anyone Tweeting or ‘following’ Tweeters – Get a life people.
    I wonder if Cranny is considering ditching this ludicrous communication format?

    • alternative_perspective

      I think you’re experiencing the logical conclusion of a secular society when religion and truth are squeezed out of the public sphere.

      Quick logic.

      1. If objective truths exist God exists

      2. Objective truths exist

      3. God exists.

      The negation of this is obvious. We live in a society where publicly, God “does not exist”. Therefore the logical conclusion is, in the public domain: objective truths do not exist. Everything in the public domain has descended in to subjectivity.

      But interestingly Nietzsche’s observations of humanity’s Will to Power is evident, nicely summed up as: dominate others lest you are dominated by them.
      Couple this attitude with a subjective moral edifice and you have bitter people trying to dominate others with their subjective truths, lest they be dominated by them. Twitter is merely a concentrated 144 character version of this. A groupthink of like minded individuals boldly displaying where society will follow.
      Interestingly, in their private spheres these people almost never affirm the subjective nature of truth, preferring to say that rape and murder for instance are categorically: objectively wrong. No one, I’ve met says rape is justifiable and murder is context dependent. Thus publicly people affirm with their lips that God is dead but privately, via the logical steps highlighted above, implicitly invoke God by their beliefs and language
      .
      It is the mass psychosis of society.

      • Dreadnaught

        We don’t need a theocracy or religious diktat to to curb stupidity – ridicule not regulation will do the job. Sticks and Stones lad.

      • cacheton

        Show me that objective truth exists.

        You can’t, because it would be you doing the showing, and therefore necessarily subjective.

        Objective truth does not exist.

        But that does not mean that god does not exist.

        • Martin

          Cacheton

          You know God exists, but you won’t admit it.

          • cacheton

            I know god exists and freely admit it. Jeez Martin.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            The evidence is that you pretend God does not exist.

        • The Explorer

          “Ginger beer tastes nice.” That is a subjective statement. It is true for me, but it might not be true for you.

          “Stick your hand in the fire and your hand will get burned.” That is an objective statement. It is true for me and for you.

          Therefore, objective truth exists: the burning is not simply a matter of opinion.

          • Uncle Brian

            “Whiskey tastes like gasoline.” Now where did I see that one, only the other day? Objective or subjective?

          • The Explorer

            I wouldn’t trust the judgement of anyone who drinks gasoline. I imagine it would destroy the taste buds, and affect the brain.

          • carl jacobs

            Objective truth. Absolutely.

          • Phil R

            objective.

          • cacheton

            Remember those multi-dimensional aspects of being? Here’s one. We both have physical bodies, therefore physical ‘truths’ apply to us both. The moment you leave the physical, it is all subjective. The physical ones are ‘shared subjective’ rather than objective.

          • The Explorer

            The moment you leave the physical it is all subjective. Is that objectively true?

          • cacheton

            You don’t believe in different dimensions? But you believe in god? Where is he then?
            I stand by my statement, objective truth does not exist. It’s something scientists use to do science in the physcial dimension in which we all find ourselves, therefore they can get away with calling it objective, and it’s something that many other people would like to exist but have no reason to believe it does.

          • The Explorer

            I believe that there is a spiritual dimension beyond the material, and that we are mind, body and spirit. If that’s what you mean by multi-dimensional, then fair enough.
            As for the non-existence of objective truth, if you wanted to get to New York, would you go by aircraft, or by flying carpet?

          • cacheton

            New York is a physical place is it not? Therefore you have to use a physical mode of transport to get your physical body there. What is the relevance of the flying carpet here?

          • The Explorer

            Why opt for one physical mode of transport rather than another? I know lots of people who buy plane tickets. I don’t know one who buys a flying carpet ticket. Why is that?

          • cacheton

            Why is that?
            Because in the physical dimension planes work and flying carpets don’t? Whatever point you are trying to make, I don’t think I’m getting it.

          • The Explorer

            I was simply re-iterating that physical objective truth exists. Planes fly, and carpets don’t, because of the laws of physics. So if objective physical laws exist, do objective moral laws exist as well: emanating from the same divine lawgiver?

          • cacheton

            No. Why should they?

          • The Explorer

            Macro and micro. If God has laws for how the Universe functions, He might also have laws for how people function. You can follow the laws of physics and make a successful plane; or ignore them, and make something that crashes. You can follow the Ten Commandments and have a successful society; or ignore them, and have a society that crashes.

          • cacheton

            How do you know god has laws for how the universe functions? Being the universal creator, wouldn’t he go on creating all the time, or do you think he stopped at some past point in time?
            People are not only physical. And they have free will. That is not compatible with ‘laws for how people function’.
            Plus what is your coherent explanation of the Ten Commandments being what god’s laws are, even if they exist? I didn’t realise they were supposed to stop society ‘crashing’. I thought following them gained eternal life for christians.

          • The Explorer

            Science looked for laws – and found them – because it believed in a lawgiver.
            Peter Hitchens, having spent time in Moscow and Mogadishu, speaks of the huge differences that can be observed between Christian societies and all others, even in the twilit afterglow of Christianity.
            Following rules to gain salvation is Islamic, not Christian.

          • cacheton

            ‘Science looked for laws – and found them – because it believed in a lawgiver.’
            Er, no. They OBSERVED that certain physical laws exist, and thought it might be a good idea to take advantage of them. Belief does not come into it.

        • carl jacobs

          I note in passing that the statement …

          Objective truth does not exist.

          … is itself an objective truth claim, and therefore self-refuting.

          • cacheton

            Try ‘truth is subjective’ instead then.

            Then subjectively you can make the statement ‘objective truth does not exist’.

          • carl jacobs

            You haven’t said anything new. “Truth is subjective” is a just a different way of saying “Objective truth does not exist.” How do you know truth is subjective? What binding authority establishes this assertion as fact?

          • cacheton

            ‘How do you know truth is subjective?’
            How does anyone know anything at all? It is always THEM doing the knowing, therefore is necessarily subjective.

            How do YOU know that truth is objective?

          • carl jacobs

            cacheton

            You are the one in the interesting position of asserting objective truth claims to deny the existence of objective truth. I am just pointing out your inconsistency.

            How do YOU know that truth is objective?

            Because God exists and He reveals truth to men. Now you will say to me “I don’t believe that.” That isn’t my problem or concern. As I have told you before, I don’t require your agreement.

            How does anyone know anything at all?

            Yes, that is the right question. And it identifies the epistemological crisis that is killing the West dead. We have decided that we can’t know anything at all – that the one knowable objective truth is that there are no other knowable objective truths. And in our despair we have turned to autonomy – because we may not know objective truth but we each of us know what we individually want.

            The problem is one of authority. Any man can declare absolutes. But that same man cannot begin with himself and derive absolutes that are invested with any authority. He cannot begin with himself and comprehend the transcendent. Truth must be revealed to him by authority or he will never possess it.

            The Nihilist answer to this dilemma is “Truth is meaningless. There is only will exercised through power.” It is a vision of existence red in fang and tooth and claw. It at least has the virtue of being honest.

            The Progressive Answer is “I am Enlightened and therefore I am Truth.” It is self-identification as self-deification. It is the vision of certain men as gods among men. It is the self-deception of a man who looks inside himself and presumes to find wisdom.

            The true answer is “God reveals Truth.” It is the vision of God sojourning with men. But men will not receive Him and so they chase after anything else. Literally anything.

            Answer how you wish, but be consistent with your answer. If you deny God, you deny the possibility of Truth. If you deny Truth, you deny the possibility of good and evil. You eviscerate morality at it root. Accept that reality. Embrace it. Preach it. Live it. It is embodied in the certain knowledge that there is no difference between giving a child a cup of water and killing him for sport. For where is the authority to define the difference?

          • cacheton

            Wow- thankyou for this answer. And it will take time for me to reply.

            Firstly, I am not asserting objective truth claims. How could I, while at the same time asserting that they do not exist? ‘Truth is subjective’ is not an objective claim, but those for whom ‘objective’ is an inherent quality of truth will see it as one, and thus dismiss it. I would then ask those people to show how truth is objective. They can’t.

            You don’t require my agreement, and I don’t require yours. That is because our truths work for us. That does not however make those truths objective. You may decide that for your belief system to work truth HAS to be objective. Maybe, but believing it is so just for convenience will not withstand much scrutiny, which may or may not be a problem for you.

            We have decided that we can’t know anything at all?? Really? There is a bible verse which has the answer to this. Know thyself. Our despair is the result of our failure to do this. No objective truth is needed to do this, but guidance is necessary, or at least useful.

            Why should absolutes be ‘invested with authority’? If they were, then they would not be absolutes would they. ‘(Man) cannot begin with himself and comprehend the transcendent.’ But he can begin with the transcendent and comprehend himself. This is what I choose to interpret the bible as saying when it talks about putting god first.

            I am not a nihilist, and do not see truth as meaningless, though I know some will see ‘subjective’ as necessarily being meaningless. On the contrary, people’s truths have measurable physical effects on their physical bodies, and thus can be shown to exist. That does not make them objective though.

            That ‘progressive’ answer lacks honesty. Anyone with the least spiritual understanding will know that someone who claims that they are enlightened is, by definition, not enlightened. We all have the potential however. If the man looks inside himself keenly enough and with appropriate guidance it is well documented that he cannot be self-deceived because (as anyone who has done this will know) after a certain point there is no more self to be deceived. Know thyself.

            Your concept of God revealing truth to men, sojourning with men, objective truth etc is one of a god separate from you. Even the bible contains an explanation of how this illusion of separateness came about, the so-called ‘fall’ following eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The church chooses to take the view (and takes advantage of the view) that this means we are all condemned. I choose to see it more as an opportunity.

            As for ‘there is no difference between giving a child a cup of water and killing him for sport.’ This kind of argument for the existence of objective morality always baffles me. Are you telling me that you need some kind of objective something to tell you that there really is a difference between giving a child a cup of water and killing him for sport? Honestly?

        • carl jacobs

          Show me that objective truth exists.

          Why am I suddenly thinking about fireplace pokers?

  • Findaráto

    Anyone willing to criticize has to be willing to be criticized in turn. What Fry seems to want is complete freedom to speak his mind while refusing to accord the same freedom to anyone else.

    What we’re witnessing here is just another unedifying example of luvvie entitlement syndrome. He thinks he can say whatever he likes, but is outraged when others claim the same right.

    I’ve never thought a great deal of Fry’s much-vaunted intellect, which appears to me to be nothing more than a talent for bons mots and memorizing obscure trivia. Can anyone tell me an original thought he’s ever had? Or does the regurgitation of everyone else’s ideas all mashed up together and slathered over a dry piece of toast like honey count as genius these days?

    Twitter is exactly the right place for Stephen Fry. The witty, if derivative, one-liner is what he’s good at. He’ll be back. Where else is there for him to go?

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      “Fry’s much-vaunted intellect, which appears to me to be nothing more
      than a talent for bons mots and memorizing obscure trivia”
      Indeed. He is (or rather his public persona), is summed up by the description ‘A Stupid Person’s idea of What an Intelligent Person is Like’.

      • IanCad

        Cutting too close to the bone for me.
        Ouch!

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          I did not originate that, possibly it was Peter Hitchens.

          I happen to know some genuinely bright people and, on the whole, they don’t go around trying to show off how smart they are. If anything they exemplify the saying ‘The more you know, the more you know that you don’t know’.

          • IanCad

            It was the first quote that hit a raw nerve.

          • bluedog

            The heroine who used that line to describe Fry is none other than the cocaine-snorting sometime lesbian comedienne Julie Burchill.

    • chiefofsinners

      You say it well. In any other age this man would have been extensively ignored. He is a parasite feeding on the adulation of those too dim to think of one liners for themselves.

      • Anton

        18th century higher culture was stuffed with people who are as you describe!

    • David

      He was once described as being.
      “the stupid man’s idea of a clever one”

  • I don’t know why anyone goes on Twitter. It lends itself to little more than rudeness, facile bons mots and put-downs. As such, I would have thought it was the ideal vehicle for Fry. However, it seems that if you live by Twitter, you also die by it.

  • chiefofsinners

    Oh dear. The twatterati has turned on itself. The only interesting, entertaining or useful thing it has ever done.
    Proverbs 26:37 “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return upon him.”

  • chiefofsinners

    Stephen Fry, in case you’re reading, for the love of God, please don’t become an evangelical Christian.

    • Anton

      ??

      More joy in heaven…

      • alternative_perspective

        The key’s in the last two words.
        😉

      • chiefofsinners

        Oh alright. Perhaps he could go straight to heaven then? Or join Jack’s lot?

        • Anton

          You don’t think he’d change?

          • chiefofsinners

            We Christians have to love each other. Liking each other can be a lot harder.

          • Anton

            You won’t have finished changing either…

        • No, Fry hates the Catholic Church with a passion beyond containment.

          • Dreadnaught

            He’s not all bad as some make out then.

        • carl jacobs

          Heh.

          Or join Jack’s lot?

          Now, now, CoS. We wouldn’t want to wish an even worse fate upon Stephen Fry. Your sentiment might be natural but truth be told … you are being hyperbolic. You know better. You are too well taught not to know better.

  • CliveM

    A lot of this is simple virtue signalling, the sanctimonious and self righteous sitting at home, with their smart phone, parading their virtue to the world. Look at me, theyre saying, aren’t I wonderful, I’m even more right on then Stephen Fry!

    Luke 18:11, with acknowledgement.

    • David

      “Luke 18 : 11”

      Spot on verse !

  • IanCad

    “—an undoubted ally in the culture war against invidious censorship, intimidation and coercive political illiberalism.”

    Spot on! We don’t need resumes or application forms from any who wish to join the cause.

  • CliveM

    Freedom of speech is important. Freedom to offend is important. The freedom not to be offended isn’t.

  • Uncle Brian

    I have been living abroad for quite a long time now, which is probably why, until this moment, I had never heard the name Jenny Beavan. I have no idea who she is or what she looks like . The question I haven’t seen answered here is, Was the “bag lady” quip fair criticism? Did she deserve it?

    • CliveM

      She dresses eccentrically!
      She wasn’t offended by all accounts.

    • James60498 .

      I haven’t been living abroad, and I hadn’t heard of her either.

      Hopefully we can both now forget about her and never hear of her again.

  • Arden Forester

    Stephen Fry has talent but is a complex character. He tries hard to be witty but he has little of the quality that Oscar Wilde was able to transmit to people.

  • The Explorer

    Hitherto, I have never been an admirerer of Stephen Fry, but his comment to his Twitter critics has made me change my mind.

    • “Will all you sanctimonious f***ers f*** the f*** off Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet.”

      Not terribly erudite.

      • The Explorer

        I wasn’t admiring his erudition. I was admiring his ability to convey his meaning without ambiguity, and with due emphasis.

        • He’s a tad over sensitive to criticism, Jack feels.

          • The Explorer

            Look at the ridiculous comments he was getting. One tranche of over reaction deserves another. Personally, I feel that the original comment that sparked all the trouble was both unkind and unfunny.

          • Jack agrees with you on both counts. That’s the nature of Twitter though and having 12 million followers has consequences.

          • William Lewis

            I think Fry probably realised that too. Hence the OTT defence.

  • Martin

    If we have to have Stephen Fry as an ally I for one would give up. No, he’s not of value when you have the God of all the Earth on your side.

    • Uncle Brian

      Antes só que mal acompanhado. You’re better off alone than in bad company. (Loose translation.) Old Brazilian saying.

      • Dreadnaught

        Oh goodness me, that handsome motorcar appears to have broken down ‘Você tem a batttery eu vou ter as rodas’ Old Liverpool saying.

        • Uncle Brian

          Careful, Dreadnaught! You can get into trouble for making unkind remarks about the Scousers. Remember what happened to Boris Johnson! (Good quote, though.)

          • Dreadnaught

            Ah yes – I forgot about the Scousa Nostra!

          • Uncle Brian

            Ah yes – I forgot about the Scousa Nostra!

            I hope the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster isn’t reading this. He might be tempted to pronounce an anathema upon us all.

          • Dreadnaught

            Arrray ewuddenwuddee?

        • Anton

          Parliamo Glasgow…

          • Dreadnaught

            Lieu Macari!

          • Anton

            Let Stalk Strine?

          • Dreadnaught

            To a Drongo? Strewth Cobbler thats a definite now now.

          • Findaráto

            It’s “cobber”, isn’t it?

            Caught out by intuitive text perhaps? Or do Australians really use the name of a dessert as a term of endearment (or opprobrium, for all I know)?

          • Dreadnaught

            It was meant as a bit of a joke.

  • len

    IF the Apostle Paul could be totally transformed by a work of the Holy Spirit then Stephen Fry or indeed anyone else would not be a problem if their mind was not totally closed. All it takes is a revelation of the Truth regarding Jesus Christ to break through the layers of deception and darkness to set the captive free . The Truth (regarding Jesus Christ ) will and does set the captives free from the domain of Darkness.
    With God nothing is impossible…

  • len

    I suspect Jesus Christ would get into a lot of trouble in some Churches today(if they allowed Him entry) Jesus was labelled’ a friend of sinners’ and scorned by the self righteous.
    Supposing Jesus accepted an invitation for a meal and was invited to speak at a gay dinner party?.
    Half(probably more )of his present day Christian followers would leave outraged at His behaviour. Jesus was also friendly with down and outs , prostitutes, even tax collectors…
    If we do not have the heart of Jesus for those suffering , the outcasts of society the broken hearted ,the drug addicts, the alcoholics, the downcast then perhaps we have missed something vitally important?.

    • Phil R

      Those you call the outcasts are the most receptive because they have no gods. They have no money, family, pride, prestige, career etc.

      and perhaps the most relevant for us today in the West. They do not worship themselves.

  • Shadrach Fire

    The problem for the Bi-Polar sufferer is that one is convinced that all that one does and says is normal. If you did not believe that, then one would not do it.
    Consequently what they say has to be measured against their scale of mania at the time. Hardly anyone else can know that so it is often a safe guess to assume that their actions are suspect.
    With some sufferers their moods are seasonal and at times are normal, but, there is always a but, that but one can’t always be sure.
    For someone in the public eye it is ever so important that they measure their actions and words with great care for they can never be sure at what state they are in.

    • A characteristic of many people with a bi-polar condition, even when they are perfectly well, is impulsiveness. Usual social ‘rules’ and inhibitions may not constrain their behaviour. They can be somewhat reckless and ‘on the edge’.

    • IanCad

      Bi-Polar??
      A lot of nonsense in my view. Give me a person who is out with it – and hang the consequences. At least we know where they stand.
      Lord protect us from navel-gazing mealy-mouths who are so concerned as to what others may think of them that become mute, or as ants.

      • Shadrach Fire

        You clearly have never met anyone who suffers from this disorder. It is a chemical disorder of the brain that creates great mood swings. You can’t just get up out of it. Sufferers are very frustrating to others but there is so little that can be done apart from mood stabilisers like Lithium.
        This does not mean I like Stephen Fry. He is an obnoxious git. Better when he played idiots on TV.

        • IanCad

          But don’t you think it’s been over diagnosed? Think of all the kids – and adults – who have plain old temper tantrums. “They’re Bi-Polar; give them some Ritalin.”

          • CliveM

            I think you’re confusing your disorders. Bi polar (what use to be called manic depression), isn’t treated by Ritalin.

            I have a relation who suffers from being bi-polar. They have been sectioned three times. It wasn’t a case of being a bit down or needing to “get on with things” they had a serious and complete breakdown and were a danger to themselves. It was unmissable.

          • IanCad

            I’m not saying there’s no such thing Clive – just that it is should not be a catch-all diagnosis for normal unsocial behaviors.
            In the case of children a good thrashing is often most helpful.
            For adults a punch on the nose was a time honoured cure.

          • James60498 .

            I do think you are getting mixed up between ADHD and bi-polar.

            If someone who doesn’t actually know what it is uses it as a throw away remark, which appears to be what you may hear from time to time, then that isn’t really a reason for actually giving a “good thrashing” to those who have it

            I too know someone with it. And I really don’t think a thrashing would have helped him.

          • IanCad

            Indeed I was. Thank you James.
            Let me also state that I have the greatest sympathy for those in such a condition, and wish more was help was available for both the sufferers and their families.

          • CliveM

            Yes thanks James, I couldn’t think of the initials.

            I couldn’t get OCD out of my head!

  • In an imaginary conversation with God, Fry says he would tell him:

    “How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?”

    “I would say: ‘bone cancer in children? What’s that about? Because the God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac. Totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him?! What kind of god would do that?”

    • The Explorer

      He’s presupposing that the world and people are as God meant them to be. If that were true, he’d have a good case.

      • sarky

        But we are as god meant us to be. He is god after all.

        • Anton

          What *did* they teach you at that church you went to for (was it) 18 years? I have no problem with your not believing as I do, but you don’t appear to know what Christians actually believe.

          • Pubcrawler

            You blinked before I did: I was struggling to come up with a polite response. Astonishing level of non-understanding, isn’t it?

          • sarky

            No.

          • Anton

            ‘Morning Sarky, my take on this is that God created us with choice because otherwise we would be simply puppets, mere animated aggregations of atoms, and God cannot have a real relationship with puppets or vice-versa. But, in falling for Satan’s trap, we lost that choice and we are unable to avoid sin. (Presumably Satan abused his choice earlier.) We were not created with that inability, but it is now part of us – and it is for its outworkings in our own lives that God will judge all guilty, not for the sins of others – unless we accept his amazing offer to commit to Christ. Thnat offer was made at great cost.

            If I may hazard a guess, you have never really felt that you were sinful to your core, or the horror of it. People who have do not doubt that they need a saviour. Forget the “what abouts” (what about babies etc) and look at yourself. I doubt that I am better than you or you are better than me and I know what I am like without Christ.

          • sarky

            Depends how you class sin. If it is acting on your nature, then guilty as charged. Have I done bad things? Of course and plenty of them. Do I feel horror? Of course I don’t. I feel no regret over anything,because I’ve learnt from them and they’ve made me who I am today. Do I deserve to burn in hell for not getting it right all the time? Hell no.

          • IanCad

            Sarky,
            Why? Why? Why? Do you atheists reject the Word of God yet so enthusiastically embrace the falsity of the pagan doctrine of an ever-burning Hell?

          • sarky

            I dont. Its just that many of your contempories do (apparently jesus spoke more of hell than of heaven).
            I just use it to get a point across.

          • IanCad

            Sadly many do. Pornography may be at the root. Mediaeval depictions of Hell.

          • Anton

            He didn’t. Jesus no.1 topic was the Kingdom of Heaven. His no.2 was money.

          • DanJ0

            I’m not worried at all about ceasing to exist. Why would I be? Yet any rational person would worry if they were to be tortured forever (whatever that means without space-time). I’m regularly told by Christians that I’m going to burn in hell. Luckily, I think Christianity is very unlikely to be true so the threat isn’t very effective.

          • Anton

            It’s not horror at what you do or have done, it’s horror at what you are like. I think you’ve never felt that, and I’m not therefore surprised that you gave up Christianity.

          • sarky

            Sorry but I can never see a day when I feel horror at what im like??

            Prehaps its my high self esteem and sense of worth (not in a bad way I might add)

          • Anton

            Christians don’t feel bad about themselves, for by God’s grace we get a heart transplant. But we know we needed it.

            Try any of these:

            * God made the world good yet it is in a bad state today. Do you think that you are at root better than the people who have mucked it up? You are made from the same stuff as them, and I mean psychologically as well as physically. This is all about that stuff, not about behaviour.

            * I trust that you approve of those of the 10 Commandments that govern relations between people (NB I’m not talking about those between man and God). What’s your score? NB There’s no point in saying “I didn’t break the law yesterday” to a policeman who has just nabbed you for speeding.

            If you dare, ask your best friends and family to list your worst points. Contrast with the Jesus of the four gospels.

          • sarky

            I see where your coming from. The old Ray Comfort ‘what do you call someone who tells a lie’ school of ministry. Listen I’ve heard it all before, many, many times. What you call sin, I call human nature and I am never going to apologise for acting upon that nature.

          • Anton

            I guess you think that you are simply doing the best you can. I do that too. But so, in their own opinion, did many of history’s butchers. It’s not good enough.

          • sarky

            It is for me.

          • Anton

            Yes, really serious introspection can be too horrible.

          • sarky

            But thats the point. It’s not.

          • Anton

            Then I question whether it’s really serious. What’s the difference between you, me-without-Christ, and Adolf Hitler?

            There was guy in the trial of Eichmann trial (a Nazi who was kidnapped to Israel) who said he had a moment of horror in the witness box when he realised that he could equally well have done what Eichmann did in his place, and done it to Eichmann. *That’s* what I’m getting at. Don’t you think you could do it too?

          • sarky

            No.

          • Anton

            Yet Christians get called Holier Than Thou by atheists!

            I’m sure you wouldn’t do it if you were slipped into his shoes tomorrow, but after a few years of small moral compromise after small moral compromise, like most people who did OK under the Nazis had had to make…

          • sarky

            That would only work if all germans were mass murderers, which they clearly weren’t.

          • Anton

            No, but they were all capable of it after sufficient compromise, as are you and I.

          • sarky

            Sorry dont agree.

          • Anton

            Well you do by your own keyboard have this in common with history’s worst villains: you think you aren’t a bad man.

          • sarky

            Thats because I’m not 🙂

          • Anton

            What do you think the difference is between men who behave badly like Hitler, and yourself?

          • sarky

            A conscience.

          • Anton

            In those people who behave spectacularly badly, their conscience was anaesthetized by degrees. What makes you think that couldn’t happen to you, as you said above?

          • sarky

            Don’t agree. I think they were pretty f****d up to start with.
            I can’t obviously say for sure, but I’ve stood up for what I’ve believed so far no matter what the consequences.

          • Anton

            it seems you are saying that evil is a consequence of being messed up young. But don’t you think that there are plenty of people who were messed up young who *weren’t* evil (whether in politics, family or business)? So mustn’t it be something else?

          • sarky

            No, I think some are born with the cheese aleady slid off their cracker. A bad upbringing then just exaggerates it.

          • Anton

            So it’s genetic? Heritable?

          • sarky

            Bit of both.

          • Anton

            How can you be so sure, when research that is entirely secular is far from reaching any such attribution?

          • sarky

            Of course I can’t be sure, it’s just my opinion.

          • Anton

            And you are entitled to it. But what is it supported by, even in purely secular terms?

          • sarky
          • Anton

            Quite: it says we don’t know.

          • sarky

            Think I didn’t make myself clear. I totally understand about the ‘fall’ and sin ente
            ring the world etc.
            My point is the fall (if you believe in it) cannot be or fault, its all down to god.
            god meant us to fail from the start (and as he’s god he also knew we would)
            god created us knowing full well
            that our children would suffer bone cancer and that all the evils of the world would happen. …yet he did nothing.
            You will probably throw in the old free will chestnut. What free will?? Tell me, how can a perfect being, with no knowledge of sin be tempted? It would be like giving a toddler cancer because you put a big sweet in the room and told them not to touch it when you left and ofcourse they did. Stephen Fry is right

          • Phil R

            Was it God’s plan for the child to have bone cancer? No it was not God’s plan. Did God know that the child would get cancer? Yes he did. Why did he not create a perfect world where pain and death were absent? He did and we rejected it, but we are told he will again.

            Would it not be better for the child who has bone cancer for God to cure him?

            We are not God. That is simply not our decision as it goes far beyond cancer.

          • sarky

            “He did and we rejected it”

            Rubbish, do you not read your bible? the fall was a honeytrap, a set up of the worst kind and it was your ‘loving’ god that initiated it.

            Phil, can you be tried for a murder that was committed by someone else, on the other side of the world that you had no part in??? No? But that is exactly what god has done to you. You are suffering and the world is suffering because you’re nasty little god has judged you on the actions of another and you call that fair?

          • IanCad

            No He hasn’t.
            No law – no sin.
            We are not punished for another’s crime.
            Original Sin may need reviewing.

          • sarky

            Is that because it makes absolutely no sense????? Unless of course its just an allegory then the world as it is makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

          • IanCad

            If you mean OS, then; Yes! Another invention of man.

          • sarky

            If god and the bible are an invention of man, then the world makes sense.
            If they are not, then the world becomes a very confusing place.

          • The Explorer

            Add Satan to the mix, and it makes a bit more sense. Delete Satan, and there’s either Dawkins’ “blind, pitiless indifference” or we have a devil running the show.

          • sarky

            Think I’ll go with Dawkins, makes more sense.

          • The Explorer

            Provided you can account for what got the whole process going in the first place.

          • IanCad

            Faith helps with the confusion. Problem is; Man takes the truth and lickety split, puts his own spin on it. Augustine and stubbornness – the dreadful duo.

          • sarky

            Or man just made the whole thing up.

          • The Explorer

            We live with the consequences of decisions made by politicians past and present.

            We live with the consequences of being the children of our parents and their genes.

          • sarky

            Hardly the same is it.

          • The Explorer

            Similar principle. You are the victim (or beneficiary) of the decisions made by your ancestors. Generations yet unborn will live with the consequences of our current levels of debt.

          • sarky

            Debt didn’t cause cancer or condem to you to an eternity in hell.

          • The Explorer

            Agreed. Gordon Brown condemned us to an eternity in debt.

          • sarky

            Not me personally.

          • The Explorer

            The British nation as a whole, present and future. Actuarial principle: true for the mass if not for the individual within the mass.

          • Anton

            Just wait until the present fiat currency fails, which it is looking likely to do on a timescale of not very many years; meanwhile the governors of State banks talk openly of banning cash so that they can enact negative interest rates (ie confiscate part of your bank account every month) without you storing it under the mattress.

          • sarky

            Sorry but I was never one for conspiracy theories.

          • Anton

            It’s not a conspiracy, Sarky! Mark Carney said it openly at a speech in Northern Ireland last year (18th September), triggering this petition:

            https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/109727

            and Janet Yellen of the Fed has said the same.

          • Ivan M

            As long as the government exists, there will be fiat currency. Otherwise we go back to the barter trade.

          • Anton

            No, the alternative to government fiat currency is the currency that evolved spontaneously in marketplaces, namely precious metals. They are the people’s choice of currency. Fiat currency, comprising coins with less precious metal in them but of the same nominal value, minted by government and enforced by legal tender laws, is a government steal. Paper money unbacked by precious metal amplifies that steal many times over.

          • Ivan M

            The goldbugs have been claiming this. In a situation where the government loses its authority to issue recognised legal tender, it should be similarly disabled when it comes to enforcing property rights. Having gold somewhere is just a magnet for thieves, they’ll just take it. When your seller knows that your bank has just been raided by Bonnie and Clyde, they will not accept any promissory notes from that bank, much to our chagrin.

          • Anton

            What I said is simply a fact in the history of money. Fiat currency collapses have happened many times. do I understand that you are in favour of government confiscation (invariably at penal rates) of privately held gold and silver, which is the only way that individuals can store their value in readily exchangeable form at a time when governments, in deep debt, are looking to grab what they can?

            Talk of silver and gold makes people think of rich men, and rich men attract little sympathy; but silver isn’t very valuable per unit weight, and burying their wealth as precious metals was the only protection that many ordinary French people had against the Nazis during that occupation. Today governments are more subtle.

          • Ivan M

            Fiat money collapses when the authority of the government collapses. As long as the wartime Japanese government looked durable, their “banana” dollars – as was known in Malaya was legal tender for goods and services. But once it became apparent that they were going to lose, few and that too under duress, accepted those dollars. It is the authority of the government that backs the value of the currency. For example the US dollar has been rising in spite of the supposedly poor state of the economy as it is a safe haven backed by the might of US armed forces.

          • Anton

            Fiat money collapses when the government can’t or won’t pay its debts. That may or may not be part of a wider collapse of government authority.

          • Ivan M

            Yes, as is happening in Venezuela right now.

          • William Lewis

            “Rubbish, do you not read your bible? the fall was a honeytrap, a set up of the worst kind and it was your ‘loving’ god that initiated it.”

            The honey was poison and the price for it was a rejection of God’s one prohibition. God did not set the trap. He warned Adam and Eve not to touch it. It was the devil who set the trap with his poisonous lies. God allows us all to reject Him at any opportunity.

          • Ivan M

            The primordial parents had the maturity of children. They did not foresee the consequences for us in 2016. By setting up the Forbidden Fruit as something utterly special, it was inevitable that Adam and Eve would fail. It was only a matter of time. The story is like one of those fables about how mankind had immortality in its grasp, but blew it in the end. I believe something strange must have happened, but I do not take it literally. This something must be the beginnings of civilisation. One sees it in the treatment meted out to Cain, the first farmer who couldn’t understand why his herder brother Abel was beloved above himself. This is an echo of the immemorial hatred that settled peoples have for the nomads (pace Northrop Frye). By shedding the innocent blood of Abel, Cain was then able to go on to build cities. Pretty much the story of mankind.

          • sarky

            If the world was perfect prior to the fall, what was the devil doing there?

          • The Explorer

            Eden and the world were not the same thing. (Even if you treat Eden as mythical, in the myth they were not the same thing.) Tradition says the Satanic fall predated the human fall.

          • sarky

            Seems to be alot of falling, strange, considering how wonderful being with god is supposed to be.

          • IanCad

            Probably the same as he’ll be doing during the millennium.
            The earth will be in the same condition as prior to creation.

          • sarky

            Not what im getting at.

          • IanCad

            Please make it clearer.

          • sarky

            How can something (allegedly) so evil exist in something so perfect? Surely his mere presence would make it imperfect, which would kind of put the whole story on its a**e.

          • IanCad

            Because we were given the freedom of choice and the law. More importantly; the presence of God.
            Man did not have to fall. He choose to.
            I know! this raises difficult questions. The foreknowledge of God, predestination, etc. We can overcome through Christ who is the light. We will not always see through a glass so darkly.

          • sarky

            But man didn’t choose at all, it was a trick. Like I said we were set up by god to fail. What part of that can’t you see?

          • IanCad

            Not failure Sarky.
            Eternal Life!!

          • sarky

            Only for a small percentage. Don’t think you can class it as a win.

          • Anton

            The Book of Revelation makes explicit that Satan is bound during the Millennium, or at least until just before it ends, when he is freed to stir up a final rebellion.

          • Ivan M

            He’s been doing this all the time with no end in sight.

          • Anton

            I see an end to it in Rev 20:1-3, which lie ahead.

          • Ivan M

            It is always lying ahead. That is the beauty of it. Not fully determined, but sufficient to see the pattern when one is dying.

          • Anton

            One day it will happen.

          • IanCad

            True Anton. There is some debate though as to what “Bound” describes. I am not making any assumption as to what your view.
            Some maintain that Satan is bound in chains, others suggest that as there is no-one to tempt this is the “Binding” referred to.
            I’m more in sympathy with the latter view.

          • Anton

            Of course there’s someone to tempt – the nations. Those verses say so explicitly.

            I suspect we have differing views of the millennium and I don’t particularly want to ‘do’ eschatology just now, but what do you think that “so he can no longer deceive the nations” means, and why is it written?

          • IanCad

            Anton,
            Brevity is the soul of blogging and here you have tasked me to be brief about a subject which has been haggled over “Forever”.
            OK, I’ll try:
            Millennium starts when Christ returns at the Resurrection. The dead redeemed rise just before the living righteous, and meet Christ in the air. The wicked die, the bad dead stay dead.
            Satan can no longer deceive nations as there is no one left on earth. The Millennium ends when the Holy City comes to earth, when Satan is loosed a little while.
            There! that wasn’t too bad!
            BTW. I have only the Laodicean episode, and the conclusion yet to watch of the Pawson series. Wonderful, very informative. Thank you.
            It must be a bit disappointing for David Pawson to have over three thousand viewers for the first video and then drop down to less than eight hundred at the last.
            Preachers have to develop a thick skin.

          • Anton

            Yes; I hadn’t counted those numbers or watched the clips on YouTube, having persuaded a friend to buy the two videotapes of that presentation soon after it came out. He and I were also at David Pawson’s teaching day on Islam, which subsequently appeared on DVD and in book form.

            Like you I’m a premillennialist, but I take the Millennium to be on earth, during which Christ’s resurrected faithful are the administrators of His world empire centred on Jerusalem, each in their own nation (hence the fact that the end won’t come until the gospel has been preached to every nation). The faithful preside over the survivors of the Antichrist’s last war/holocaust, who reproduce and die during the Millennium in the usual way. Then Satan is released, stirs up the people, is put down, and the rest of the dead – the faithful from the BC era and those who died not in faith, are resurrected and the latter sent to the flames. Then the New Jerusalem for the rest.

          • IanCad

            Not to sound prideful Anton, but here we are posting differing views on a subject that has consumed about as much ink as any I can think of.
            Let me say it – one would be hard put to find the controversy expressed so briefly and succinctly as we have.

          • Anton

            Don’t forget that we agree on pre vs postmillennialism and (I think) on the timing of the rapture; and we haven’t gone farther into the differences between us. No point in doing either, but the subject has not remotely been exhausted by this exchange.

          • William Lewis

            Presenting an alternative point of view.

          • sarky

            Its a perfect world, there should be no alternative.

          • William Lewis

            How can you define/have perfection if there is no alternative?

            In any case apparently the new Heaven and Earth will be even better than Eden – so it wasn’t perfect.

          • sarky

            Right, so there will be an alternative after the second coming? Its just I can’t remember reading about that in the bible.

          • William Lewis

            Sheep & goats?

          • sarky

            Is that the best you’ve got?

          • William Lewis

            Does it not answer your question?

          • sarky

            Not even close.

          • William Lewis

            Bummer

          • cacheton

            ‘How can you define/have perfection if there is no alternative?’

            God IS perfection, and cannot BE anything else. But he can create things that SEEM different to that, including this physical dimension in which we find ourselves where in order to understand things their alternative has to exist aswell. The choice is yours.

          • The Explorer

            “Subdue the Earth.” Why was that necessary, if the world was already perfect?

          • sarky

            You answered your own question.

          • The Explorer

            How?

          • sarky

            Exactly, why was it necessary?

            And if the earth was imperfect to start with, the whole story makes absolutely no sense.

          • The Explorer

            The Earth had potential, but needed developing. What’s wrong with that?

          • sarky

            Thats not what the bible says, otherwise god wouldn’t have rested on the 7th day.

          • Phil R

            “can you be tried for a murder that was committed by someone else”

            And that in essence is the current liberal lie. “We are all individuals” we cry, but is a person rich/poor, or a good husband or a liar, or a thief, a whore or chaste, educated or uneducated, solely by his own efforts?

            Or does the community and family bear a good deal of responsibility for his adult behaviour?

            Traditional societies recognised this and they understood corporate responsibility. If we are to truly reduce crime we will need to rediscover it.

          • sarky

            Thats rubbish and you know it. We are all responsible for our own actions.

          • Phil R

            ” We are all responsible for our own actions”

            The community that the individual lives and is brought up, never influences the adult attitudes and behaviour?

          • sarky

            I heard a story of two brothers who were put into care after seeing their father murder their mother. One became a successful businessman, one a homeless drug addict. When asked why they had ended up where they were, both answered ‘my background’.

          • Phil R

            I am sure there is a great deal more to this story.

            Are you leaving something out?

            e.g.

            Which brother was the Christian? Or which brother found a good role model, a good wife, good friends, moved to a more law abiding part of the country.

            People never make themselves. But they can change what they have become with the help of the community or a good Church.

          • sarky

            I’ve missed nothing out.

            As for the rest. Absolute crap. People make it by themselves all the time.

          • Phil R

            E.g. If you were born in a remote hillside in Tibet in 1640 orveven today, no matter how hard you worked your options are limited by the community you grew up in

          • sarky

            You’re clutching at straws now.

          • Phil R

            No straws I will give you another example

            Most of my kids attended public schools. Statistically children who attend these schools tend to do better than those attending inner city comps

            They also have two parents and a reasonable family income (so far).

            Statistically they have a far far better chance in life due to the community they grew up in.

          • sarky

            But there are examples (and plenty of them) of kids who have gone to public schools who have gone completely off the rails. Conversely, there are plenty of examples of kids who have made it despite the worst possible start.

            My wife is the best example I know. She had a crap upbringing, left school with nothing and is now an NHS manager.
            If you have the drive, background is immaterial.

          • Phil R

            Well done your wife.

            examples like this are rare though

          • sarky

            So why send your kids to public school?

          • Phil R

            Nice brochures, good PR depts and of course snob appeal. I did not go to one.

            For some of my kids they would not have got anywhere near the grades or the self confidence in a comp

          • sarky

            How could you possibly know that.?

          • Phil R

            Some of my kids have attended comps for part of their schooling.

            Some were good. Most just seemed to be interested in improving the scores for the bands of kids that Ofsted measure to determine “success”

          • sarky

            Ofsted measure all kids

          • Phil R

            State Schools a

          • sarky

            Is that not a good thing?

            Or should we just let them drown?

          • Phil R

            Do I really need to spell it out?

            If you are deemed to be working at grade B or higher or F or lower, you are not going to get the help to improve your grade. All effort is to get as many Cs and above as possible inc maths and Eng.

            Literally everything else comes a poor second. Sport, drama, debate, extracurricular, DofE, Turning a B into an A or a F into a E. None of these matters as the school is successful on one criteria only. Number of Cs and above at age 16

          • Anton

            Yet we are judged as individuals.

          • Phil R

            That is why judgement must always be from God, never man.

          • chiefofsinners

            The story of Adam and Eve is simple: they chose to disobey God. The point for each of us is that we have chosen the same.
            Suffering in this world will be replaced by everlasting joy for all those who choose it, and for those too young or incapacitated to choose for themselves. The suffering of this life is light and momentary by comparison.

          • sarky

            They were given no choice but to disobey god, set up to fail. How can you be so blind.

          • dannybhoy

            God meant us to fall?
            Nah.
            The first thing to accept is that God is not like us and God doesn’t lie. He has no need to lie,or tease or taunt or play games.
            And the reason I believe that is because of Jesus.
            So God might have known from all eternity or foreknowledge or whatever that Adam would fall, but it wasn’t pre planned. There is nothing in the Scriptures that backs that idea up.

          • sarky

            That doesn’t make sense. If god knew, planning didn’t even come into it, he could of stopped it but he didn’t. At the very best he’s guilty of gross neligence.

          • The Explorer

            Insufficient evidence of Himself. Gross negligence. You’ll have a lot to accuse Him of when you encounter Him.

          • sarky

            Or not.

          • dannybhoy

            I always make sense Sarky.
            Except when I’m having a senior moment. A senior moment..
            I repeat..
            “The first thing to accept is that God is not like us and God doesn’t lie. He has no need to lie, or tease, or taunt, or play games..”
            Let’s just say that you see your beloved child about to do something that may physically hurt or endanger their life..
            “Keep messing around that hot stove and you’ll get burnt…”
            “Look both ways when you cross the road..”
            So God creates man, like man can now create artificial intelligence, but much more sophisticated.
            He is interested in His creation and what he will make of the world he finds himself in.
            (Eve’s off shopping for fig leafs somewhere): it’s “a man time..”
            He fellowships with him in the cool of the day, this little creature that He has endowed with intelligence and free will..
            Amazing.
            It’s not important what God knew or didn’t know about what Adam’s choices would be; it’s only important what Adam chose to do: and Adam chose to disobey and there were very serious consequences.
            As I see it (based on my own conversion experience), man wants to be his own master. He doesn’t want to ask God what’s best, he wants to find out for himself. He is afraid that if he allows God into his life, there won’t be any more fun..

          • sarky

            “It’s not important what god knew or didn’t know about what Adams choices would be”

            It absolutely is. Its the whole crux of it.

          • dannybhoy

            Explain yourself, miserable sinner.
            Do you mean that if God knew we were going to screw up He shouldn’t have made us?

          • sarky

            No, if he knew we were going to screw up he should have taken precautions to stop it, like putting the tree of knowledge somewhere out of reach (you wouldn’t leave a bottle of bleach on the floor with a toddler)

          • dannybhoy

            I see what you mean, but again doesn’t it come back to who God is?
            Let’s say for example there is no God. No divine or cosmic interference; just us.
            We are perfectly free agents who function best in tribes. Those tribes help form our self image, our values, rights and responsibilities and so on.
            And there is no God.
            We just ‘happened.’
            Who’s fault would it be for example, of one free being hit another free being, raped his wife and stole his money?
            Who would we blame?
            Or perhaps there is no blame? It’s just how things are.

          • sarky

            You’re right. It’s just how things are.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah!
            You haven’t answered the kvestion Herr Sarks…

            Whilst Christians don’t deny it’s how things are, we have come to believe there is a spiritual dimension to life and it is possible to know God and serve Him in the world.

          • sarky

            And I’ve come to believe there isn’t.

          • Ivan M

            I can vouch for the veracity of the last two paragraphs.

        • The Explorer

          Are you a Calvinist atheist?

          • sarky

            Baptist.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you.

          • dannybhoy

            Westboro?

          • sarky

            Just call me fred.

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

      • carl jacobs

        If that were true, he’d have a good case.

        No, he wouldn’t. You are anthropomorphizing God by making Him a contingent agent in His own creation.

        • The Explorer

          God meant children to have bone cancer, as part of his glory?

    • CliveM

      Virtue Signalling

    • Findaráto

      It seems to me that if he thought there was any risk of God existing, Fry would be a fool to use such intemperate language in describing him. And although he’s clearly no genius, he’s also no fool. He couldn’t have got to where he is today if he didn’t have some kind of intellgence.

      The fact that Fry does employ such strong terms when speaking of God should tell us something about the depth of his conviction as an atheist. If you have no fear of God, you feel free to say what you like about him.

      I don’t think Fry is attacking God in the passages you quoted above. How could he when he clearly believes there is no such thing? What he attacks are Christian beliefs. And I think this is why Christians are so offended by him. Not because he attacks an omnipotent being. Omnipotent beings can, after all, stick up for themselves. But rather because he attacks your cherished ideas about the order of things and, by extension, your grip on reality.

      That’s the real cause of Christian antipathy towards non-believers like Fry. It’s got nothing to do with God and everything to do with you. If there is a God then nothing Fry can say will take anything away from his power and sovereignty. But when he rubbishes what you say about God, he attacks you. And that’s what makes you so angry, isn’t it? How dare he contradict you? If you say something, it must be the truth, right?

      Hmmm …

      • Anton

        How do *you* respond when someone attacks by misrepresentation a community with which you deeply identify yourself?

        • Findaráto

          Yes, it’s human to get in a snit when someone attacks your identity, isn’t it? A Christian would say it’s because we’re a fallen race. But aren’t Christians supposed to be redeemed? Isn’t the Spirit supposed to move among you quieting anger and promoting calmness and serenity?

          I see almost no evidence of that on this blog. Expressions of anger are the rule rather than the exception. If Christianity does what it says “on the tin”, it should be virtually impossible to provoke a Christian to anger. Why then is it so very, very easy? “Because we’re fallen too” is no explanation because it fails to take account of the perfecting work of the Spirit.

          Observation leads me to believe that Christians are every bit as fractious and argumentative as anyone else. I see no evidence of the Holy Spirit at work among them and therefore can see no reason to believe that such a thing as the Holy Spirit exists.

          Of course if may also exist “out of time” and be trapped in a frozen eternity and therefore unable to act. Without a temporal dimension in which to act, God would be stuck in there too. Unless he and/or his Spirit can obtrude into the universe and there become subject to the (at least) four dimensions that govern our existence, how can they act here? Indeed how can they even leave a timeless place when the very act of leaving is a sequential process involving a start and a finish? Time is required in order to leave one place and enter another. So if heaven is timeless, logically nobody can possibly leave it.

          If there’s another dimension in heaven that allows sequences without requiring a first action (infinite regression rears its ugly head…) I’d like to know what it is and how it works. Imagine being able to complete a series of tasks without any one of them being the first (or the last) one. How do you think that works?

          • The Explorer

            “Expressions of anger are the rule rather than the exception.”
            Can you give some examples on this thread?

          • Findaráto

            Many of the less than glowing descriptions of Mr Fry are clearly motivated by anger at the way he rubbishes Christianity.

          • The Explorer

            The most unflattering description of Mr Fry is the one given by you.

          • James60498 .

            And very good it was too.

          • Findaráto

            Indeed, but I’m not a Christian so I can be as unflattering as I like. And my comments weren’t made in anger. Just bemusement that a man who clearly isn’t a genius should be perceived by so many as such.

            So what’s your excuse? You’d expect bad behaviour from a heathen, but where’s all this fruity spirit you and your fellow Christians are supposed to be full of. You can’t hide your actions behind mine. No matter what I do, you’re held to a higher standard than me. Why can’t you live up to it?

          • cacheton

            Because they’re fallen, inherently sinful, BAD, and need saving. They have to repent to be saved, but can sin as much as they like and will be saved anyway through repentance, even though they are supposed not to sin. What higher standard did you have in mind?

          • The Explorer

            Show me my unflattering comments about Fry, made in anger, for a start.

          • magnolia

            “you’re held to a higher standard than me”

            But while we might, and only might accept that, because actually we believe that God judges humans rather than God only judges Christians, you don’t.

            So either you remain constant to what you actually believe, which is no one is held to any standard by anyone, other than the State, and all else is irrelevant, in which case the only logical position is not to criticise anyone for not doing what you regard as unjudgeable, or you are in the sphere of hypocrisy, defined as demanding of others what you do not do yourself.

            You cannot have it both ways, leaping from one position to the other as it suits you.

          • Findaráto

            Who said I believe we’re not held to any standard? I believe there’s a general consensus regarding standards of behaviour that we should all abide by in order to live in society. The consensus is worked out by every generation in response to many factors, like cultural development, technology, a modern sense of justice, etc.

            By that standard Christians are hypocrites because they preach one thing and do another. It’s perfectly permissible to judge them because our current social consensus does not condemn judgment, as long as it’s made in light of all the available facts.

          • magnolia

            There is no general consensus.

            I doubt if there has ever been a more dangerous contradictory and potentially conflagatory mish mash of many different worldviews in the UK.

            As for “worked out by every generation” presumably that means that if you were ever to wake up and find yourself in a Muslim area you would be happy for the community to condemn and take punitive action against any non-Islamic action you might take? No….thought not.

            Are you sure your “current social consensus” is anything more than your own views inflated by a quarter-remembered MORI poll, or by your own social bubble, self-selected, of people who largely agree with you?

            I doubt whether any human being on planet earth does every good thing they encourage in others. We can get over-exercised on the hypocrisy question. However to hold any human being to self-confessed higher standards than your own in a judgemental way because they hold a different worldview is one of the more startling and intense forms of it I would think

          • Findaráto

            There is a general consensus, but because it doesn’t coincide with how you think the country should be run, you deny it exists. This is typical Christian propaganda – any system that isn’t run in accordance with your religious dogma is painted as chaotic and doomed to failure.

            Britain hasn’t been run along Christian lines for some time now, and surprise, surprise, we’re still here! There hasn’t been a revolution, or the breakdown of society, or a zombie apocalypse. We have stable government, and although we live in time when that government is having to deal with a series of difficult problems, there are no signs of the imminent meltdown of social order – which is what Christians seem to want. Anything to be proven right, eh?

            And in terms of the charges of hypocrisy, your posts condemn you far more eloquently than I can. So I’ll leave them to speak for themselves.

          • magnolia

            You are living in a comfy bubble, I imagine. I am not into propoganda, but libertarian actually. The sort that will not countenance victims, particularly children and young adults being victimised and used.

            British law actually does still have a partial underpinning of Christian belief.

            If it should ever go completely God help us as it will be awful.

            Your Utopia if realised may completely do away with Christianity; you probably have no idea what that entails. You think there is some kind of general consensus of decency. There is no such thing. Why did Jesus get crucified if there was a general consensus of decency? Why did Stalin succeed? Why did Pol Pot? Why did Hitler? Why do people get raped in public, scream and no one comes to the rescue?
            Why did two world wars happen? Why did the gulags?
            Where was all this efficacious general consensus of decency? Where? Where was your general consensus of decency when little kids got vapourised at their desks when our country with the Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

            Don’t give me your general consensus of decency. It stinks. Don’t blame God who is all good for the evil deeds of humanity either, and then praise the common decency of the people who ARE to blame. Ridiculous. Where was the general consensus of decency? It stopped nothing.

            As for the last ad hominem paragraph; your problem, not mine.

          • Findaráto

            Actually your problem, not mine. Nobody who reads your tightly wound rants can be in any doubt that anger and outrage are all that motivate you.

            This is the sort of Christian witness we need more of. Bitter and tremulous accusations that show exactly what drives religious faith.

          • magnolia

            “Tightly wound”; exactly what does that mean please? It might sound superficially to mean something but what? I like logic.

            On what subject do you feel I rant? Please prove your point.

            Upon which subject on which I have expressed distaste do you logically and without ad hominem argument disagree? Why?

            How could Christian faith be driven by bitterness? That’s rather an unlogical whopper to swallow….

            I can see a case for suggesting it might be driven by mortality, or a desire to know a right way to live, or a moral searching, or a search for reality, but by bitterness and a desire to make accusations?

            And whence tremulous? Or is that just hoiked out cos I is a woman? Yawn……

            In skipping lightly over the human atrocities I mentioned, not for their own sake but to prove a point that humans are not decent by “general consensus” as millions of prematurely dead and tortured in the 20th Century would attest if given the chance” you twist and prevaricate instead to say: “no one can be in any doubt that anger and outrage are all that motivate you.”

            Since when did you speak for the millions, or the whole world? Does this little piece of rhetoric hold any water whatsoever? Well……no, actually. No substantive evidence exists whatever for your rhetorical assertion.

            I’m getting a bit bored with this. There are decencies of debate, and this is getting unpleasantly personal with low substance.

            .

          • Findaráto

            For a pretty typical example of your usual rant, look no further than your last post.

            It’s all there. The bitter and overblown accusations, the judgment of everyone except yourself, and of course the obligatory (I paraphrase, but the meaning is exact) “you’re only arguing with me because I’m a woman, you damned misogynist”

            Hysterical accusations coupled with a sense of grievance, the whole fueled by an egocentric religious mania characterise every post you write. “Tightly wound” doesn’t even begin to describe your character. Your imaginary God help anyone standing next to you when the strain gets too much, something gives and you start to unravel like the tightly wound cord you are.. The sudden release of so much negative energy could take someone’s eye out…

          • magnolia

            You make one heap of assumptions there. We live in a land of free speech, and you are free to be prejudiced, but my points were not about myself, but debating points about the issues raised..

            Yes the use of words like “hysterical” and “tremulous” to make clear that women should not join in a debate has a somewhat gruesome history. I make no apology for calling you out on that; it is reprehensible. First time I softened that with a degree of humour, which you chose to ignore in your paraphrase. Take me as speaking on behalf of most women on that. Call me egoist if you will, but the world is full of women who don’t need that kind of nonsense.

            If you find Christian belief revolting as you make clear you find it so why are you on a Christian site trolling Christians for being Christians, insisting on your own interpretation of our Christian motives with which we disagree and then talking about “negative energy.”

            We aren’t going to say “Oh wonderful you offer me despair where I once had hope, the joys of new atheistic hatred where I once had agape love with my Christian brothers and sisters. Wow I now see the dark: let us all be realistically dismal and aspire to be like Dawkins”.

            End of Debate because sadly you are not debating, but just repeating ad hominem stuff ad nauseam. Shame as I am happy to debate, but then you are showing signs of possibly being Linus Mark 7, so that would be hopeless anyway.

          • Findaráto

            I have no interest in debating you. You specialise in accusing others of ad hominem while you sling ad hominem at them, and of judging and condemning everyone, and then laying an extra charge of misogyny on top of everything else when they object.

            I’m quite happy to debate with a woman. Just not with one like you. I wouldn’t debate with an hysterical, accusatory and manipulative man, either.

            So yes, this “debate”, which was never one to begin with but rather just a means for you to issue your judgments and condemnations from “on high”, is at an end.

          • magnolia

            If I have made a less than glowing description of him it is that having been openly misogynistic and annoying thousands of women when he spoke of women’s sexual attitudes, instead of listening he just felt sorry for himself, said “la la la”, blocked his ears, never apologised, and continued with sporadic misogynyistic outpourings.

            Oh and then there is the semantic meddling, the ghastly limerick in prime time, and above all the horrendous play “Latin”, a sympathetic portrayal of paederasty.

            All in all he is being let off pretty lightly, and should be down on his knees repenting. He has no respectable platform from which to rubbish Christ.

          • Findaráto

            Way to go turning the other cheek.

            Shouldn’t a Christian judge (with a jury thrown in for good measure, it seems) be a contradiction in terms? Aren’t you told that judgment belongs to your God?

          • magnolia

            No, it isn’t. Scripture needs balancing. Of course we all judge. Of course there are responsible Christian Judges, QCs, barristers and solicitors. Judgementalism is not the same as judging. If we made no judgements mass murderers would be out wandering the streets, and that would clearly be silly. If judgement were totally wrong what are Jesus and John the Baptist about calling people “vipers”. Nor would Jesus’ words in John 7.24: “Do not Judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement” make any kind of sense whatever.

            It is over hasty judgement, moral self-righteousness and moral oneupmanship that are frequently condemned. Christians are very free to comment on all social issues. Yes we should be slow to condemn, but on the other hand we should be right in there if we sensibly assess that someone is in danger from another person.

          • Findaráto

            “We should be slow to condemn…”

            Don’t make me larff! All you do is condemn! It’s the only reason you ever post.

            There are many hypocrites on this blog, but you really do stand head and shoulders above most of them. Saying “we should be slow to condemn” in the middle of a series of rapid-fire condemnations takes hypocrisy to a new level.

          • magnolia

            Your answer to my many questions is ad hominem and insubstantial. I am unimpressed by this New Atheism.

          • dannybhoy

            Condemnation is not the same as holding and expressing an opinion with which you disagree.

          • Findaráto

            Correct.

          • Lienus

            Unlike my comments, which are all motivated by love for my fellow man and a deep respect for the beliefs of others.

          • Anton

            Jesus spoke some harsh words too. He is our model. You may legitimately compare Christians against him, but not against your idea of how you think we should be.

            Remember too that you see the words of the regulars here – and only some of those too – and not their deeds.

          • magnolia

            I feel very calm and serene thanks, just having laughed at Lienus’ remark till I cried with mirth.

            People on here may get a little narked from time to time, and righteous anger may surface for the unborn, the elderly and the vulnerable, and sometimes we disagree with some heat (but the vast majority later find themselves in amicable agreement on another topic and don’t harbour grudges!) and occasionally a nutter gets on, but by and large there is a thoroughly pleasant debate with lots of humour and even the odd in joke, and insider-references which outsider peasants, ( let us briefly experiment with taking our cue from luvvie entitlement) have absolutely no right not to understand..!!..

          • Lienus

            I don’t understand God either, which means he isn’t real, of course. Neither do I understand you. I am sure you left the lid off the toothpaste this morning but you say it was trapped in a frozen eternity without a temporal dimension and therefore the act of removing it happened in infinite regression. It was easier when I co-habited with that time lord. At least he clipped his toe nails.

      • Ivan M

        Your main point makes sense. If Mr (small) Fry really felt the fear of God, he would not go around abusing him. For example, few would dare abuse Obama to his face. And he is only the US President. What more of a Being that can annihilate puny humans in an instant. Strictly speaking there cannot be a crime called blasphemy, since if one believed that a being like God exists, one would be circumspect. This doesn’t exclude burnings at the stake by civil authorities, since they could be looking at the social control aspect of leaving the taunter unpunished.

      • dannybhoy

        ‘s rubbish compadre.,
        We Christians accept that many think we’re weird, or dumb, or sheep, or scaredy cats who need a crutch to make it through life.
        Mehhhh, it comes with the territory.
        What we get upset about is insults and slights to our Lord Jesus who willingly died on the cross for us.
        It’s like say, someone donated a liver or a heart that we might live, and you come across some person who knew them and starts bad mouthing them.
        How would you feel?
        What would you say?

        • cacheton

          ‘It’s like say, someone donated a liver or a heart that we might live,..’
          No it isn’t, there are no physical parts of Jesus’s body in yours.

        • Findaráto

          The comparison with an organ donor is false because organ donors are humans like you and me, and badmouthing them can significantly impact their power and sovereignty. If your God exists however, nothing anyone can say about him can take away his divinity. He’ll always win, come what may. So why get so upset about criticism of him? It makes no logical sense unless you’re actually reacting to criticism of yourself.

          I can harm you. I can’t harm God.

          • Anton

            You are perfectly right there. But it’s not God that you often criticise, not least because you don’t believe he exists.

          • William Lewis

            “So why get so upset about criticism of him?”

            Because it’s not right and we believe that there are such things as right and wrong.

          • Lienus

            Yes, all hail the power and sovereignty of organ donors. We must never impact this precious thing.
            Allons enfants de la patrie,
            Le jour de organ donation est arrive…

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            Oo wel yoo dunate yur organe to?

          • Lienus

            Doent talk so dirty. Zees is a respectable website. You can go over to Peenk News if you want zat sort of theeng.

          • Allosexuels admirateur

            I luv it wen yoo go all bossy.

          • dannybhoy

            But you don’t believe God is real and I do.
            You don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and I do.
            Even more than that God is the very centre of my life. Not an optional extra, an app or a lifestyle choice. I love God I hope that I will have the courage to accept martydom if it came to it.
            So when people mock my Lord it hurts.
            Same as Muslims feel about their faith.
            ‘Cept they’re more likely to saw through your neck and take your head off…

          • Findaráto

            Didn’t Archbishop Welby say something recently about there being no law that protects anyone from being offended?

            Christians should perhaps take more heed of his words. We have no blasphemy laws any more, so it’s open season on gods and religions.

            It’s tough being a Christian, isn’t it? Muslims are exhorted to take vengeance on anyone who insults their prophet – in contravention of the law, of course. And the law will punish them if they commit any crimes in the pursuit of their religious “obligations”.

            Christians however are told to turn the other cheek. They never do though. Unless it’s preparatory to opening their mouths in order to complain bitterly while they strike a pose of entirely ersatz martyrdom.

            This is probably what makes them so unpopular. They’re like the whiny, brainy, but slightly autistic kid in class who finds social interaction with his peers almost impossible due to his debilitating obsessive/compulsive disorder. All he can do is rail at them. All they can do is treat him as a pariah.

            The poor kid probably suffers, but what can anyone do about it? His singleminded demands that everyone should bend to his will are entirely unrealistic, so his predicament is of his own making, and even if he may not be entirely responsible for his own behaviour (given the Christian habit of brainwashing their children from an early age), he must still suffer the consequences of it.

          • dannybhoy

            Well I’m not a believer in corporate religion. The Archbishop has to juggle what the Scriptures teach, with what Church tradition teaches and what he has to say or not say to ensure the CofE meets their civic/societal obligations.

            So of course people will be offended. The Scriptures say so.
            Of course people should have the right to speak out against religion (especially the ones that don’t bite back..), but that’s only half the story isn’t it?
            See, there are laws and rights, but there are also qualities like good manners and common decency. Those qualities are essential in allowing social discourse and interaction.
            So why would I go out of my way to insult another person’s religion or culture, just because “no one has the right not to be offended”?
            I’m a council estate kid of Geordie parentage. I wasn’t brought up to insult other people’s beliefs or appearance -least of all because you’d probably get a smack in the mouth..
            Christians believe all people deserve respect, but they turn the other cheek when they’re being attacked for being a Christian. All other situations are up for discussion.

          • Findaráto

            All people do deserve respect. But God is not a person. People are not invisible and intangible. People have bodies and you can see and feel them and talk to them and, in most cases, get an audible answer from them.

            When was the last time you touched God? When did he last speak to you in an audible voice that you could have recorded and played back so we could all hear what he had to say? When was the last time he appeared anywhere except in your own head saying what you decided he should say?

            Show me God the real person and I’ll be more than happy to accord him the respect due to every real person. Otherwise he’s no more real than Mr Darcy, Little Dorrit or Frodo Baggins.

          • dannybhoy

            “Otherwise he’s no more real than Mr Darcy, Little Dorrit or Frodo Baggins.”
            (Danny’s heart begins to pound…)
            You mean Little Dorrit wasn’t a real little person?
            (Gasp!)
            How can this be??

            I have experienced real answers to prayer, real guidance and real provision in my Christian life, and I have also read about people of other faiths who have had similar experiences.
            Check out this vidclip..

            I have witnessed what I would call false healings too.
            But for me my understanding of the nature of God is based on the life of Christ Jesus and the Scriptures. I have no doubt that there is much more to life than what we are currently equipped to see, but in order to see more we must be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.

          • Findaráto

            Anecdotal evidence, all of it self-reported, is of no interest in establishing the truth. What’s needed are properly researched, documented and verified case studies.

            Vague claims of miraculous healing, or miraculous life interventions, or miraculous conversions, are nothing more than claims. The ones I’ve seen don’t even stand up to the most basic level of scrutiny.

            By all means, build your life around anecdotes. But don’t expect others to. What you’re doing is casting around for anything to support what you want to believe, retaining only those stories that do without even checking them for authenticity and then claiming you have “evidence” that proves your beliefs are true.

            You don’t. All you have are stories. And stories, entertaining and appealing though they can be, do not help us to establish the truth.

          • dannybhoy

            “By all means, build your life around anecdotes. But don’t expect others to.”
            I don’t. People are free to believe what they like, as long as it doesn’t undermine or diminish our cherished freedoms or lead to extremism, persecution or fear.
            “What you’re doing is casting around for anything to support what you want to believe, retaining only those stories that do without even checking them for authenticity and then claiming you have “evidence” that proves your beliefs are true.”
            I’m casting around?
            How do you work that out?
            You know nothing about me!
            I became a ‘born again’ Christian at the age of 22, nearly 48 years ago. The greatest thing that ever happened to me. Been through many of life’s problems and disappointments.
            In work, out of work, travelled, lived abroad, years of voluntary work,narrowly escaped bankruptcy. served as a town councillor…
            You’re trying to project onto me something I don’t recognise at all. Believing in God requires taking a step of faith. I believe in God because His existence and His character makes the most sense of what I see and experience. If God were to prove His existence to us, then we would have to believe, wouldn’t we?
            What then happens to free will?

          • Findaráto

            Free will is a red herring.

            Nothing in the Bible indicates that the presence of God negates free will. If it did, Adam and Eve could never have fallen. Neither could Satan have rebelled.

            God does not hide away from us because of free will. There can only be two reasons why he would. Either he doesn’t exist, or he’s looking for a particular kind of follower to save. One who will believe in his existence without having any proof of it. In other words, the quality he most prizes in humans is not obedience or love, it’s credulity.

            Why does God only save the credulous? Why would he want to surround himself for all eternity with easily-led and naive children who’ll swallow any tall story?

            Doesn’t bode well for his benevolence, does it?

          • dannybhoy

            ” In other words, the quality he most prizes in humans is not obedience or love, it’s credulity.”
            You’re missing out the men and women who resisted the claims of the Gospel. Consider CS Lewis..
            ““You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”
            http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/681434-you-must-picture-me-alone-in-that-room-in-magdalen
            There are lots of testimonies of scientists and intellectuals who came to faith reluctantly.

            Of course your observation has an element of truth. There are Christians one might describe as credulous; naive even. But that’s not really a problem. As long as you can find Christians on your own level to argue and dispute with, it shouldn’t matter that some are not as bright, should it?

          • Findaráto

            Intelligence seems to be no protection against credulity. C.S. Lewis’s faith was as credulous as that of any simpleton. The only difference his intelligence made was in the complexity of the excuses he made up to justify God’s deafening silence and complete invisibility.

            Credulity seems to be linked not so much to intelligence as to ego. The more self-regarding the person, the more likely they are to set the evidence of their eyes and ears aside for a story they want to be true. And as for all the nonsense Lewis wrote about being dragged to Christianity kicking and screaming, I wouldn’t set too much store by it if I were you. Why struggle so hard against something that made so little difference to his life? He was a fusty middle-class academic before his conversion, and remained so afterwards. What practical difference did his faith make to his life? Was he constrained to follow lifelong celibacy? No. Did he have to give up his comfortable middle class lifestyle and wear sackcloth and ashes and live in a cave? No. His religion required so little of him that it’s hard to believe he had any great struggle coming to terms with it. That he wanted everyone to believe it was a great struggle, I don’t dispute. But if you look at his life before and after conversion, you’ll find no signs of a struggle at all. No seismic changes, just more of the same with the only outward change being church on Sunday.

            Is this what you call transformation in Christ? I call it complacency in Christ. The same life as before with a divine seal of approval to add an extra dimension of smugness to his entitlement syndrome. Not a great advertisement for Christianity, at least not for anyone who sets store by a real search for truth rather than self-validation.

          • dannybhoy

            Hmm… many Christians across the world would say that the books written by that ‘fusty old CS Lewis’ greatly helped them, inspired them, broadened their thinking about God and engendered a great deal of affectionate respect for him. You would agree that we should always consider a person’s background in shaping the person.
            Was he credulous because of his self regard?

            It is said of St Paul, ” 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 2 Corinthians 10:10

            You might even consider his conversion. He was a highly trained zealous Rabbi, who was responsible for the deaths and imprisonments of the early Jewish believers in Christ.. (Acts 8 and 9.)

            Was Francis Crick credulous because of his self regard? After all, he won the Nobel prize for his work on DNA. He then went on to postulate a variation of the theory of panspermia..
            http://ofbacteriaandmen.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/francis-crick-and-directed-panspermia.html

            You obviously have a good knowledge of Christian things, may I ask if you are one of the disillusioned?

          • Findaráto

            You may ask anything you like, although I make no promise to answer. In this case however, I’m quite happy to tell you that I have never experienced faith in any kind of god or deity. Nor do I believe in ghosts or fairies or pixies or sprites. Or hobbits or elves or dragons or ents. Orcs and goblins and trolls I also dismiss as make-believe. Little green men, UFOs, lizard people … name whatever legend or urban myth you like, unless you can produce compelling evidence to back up your claim, I won’t believe it.

            Credulity is not the inevitable outcome of self-regard, but it does appear that the kind of personality type that fills in gaps in its knowledge with fantastical stories and invented detail is particularly prone to it. When you want certain ideas about immortality and glorification to be true, it doesn’t take much to persuade yourself they are. What’s at stake isn’t your intellect, it’s your honesty.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, intellectual honesty is something that true Christians and other people of faith have in common, and is actually essential to their religious belief.
            Any true Christian confronted with absolute proof that they have been believing a lie, would be devastated, but would have to face up to it.
            A true believer relies on his or her intellect* to bring them to making a step of faith.
            Hebrews 11>
            “11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
            *From a Christian point of view I think there is a difference between faith and credulity.
            As a Christian I have read many articles on evolution and abiogenesis and some of Dawkin’s stuff. Had lots of discussions with atheists, and people of other faiths. I have had/have my own questions, but perhaps after nearly fifty years of being a Christian, I accept that some of my questions won’t get answers this side of eternity.
            I enjoy discussing with non believers because it is both challenging and stimulating, but I haven’t much time for people who seem to be playing games.

          • cacheton

            ‘ intellectual honesty is something that true Christians and other people of faith have in common, and is actually essential to their religious belief.’

            at the same time as

            ‘I accept that some of my questions won’t get answers this side of eternity.’

            That is not intellectual honesty is it? The only reason you believe in eternity, and that you will get there, is because of your religious belief. That is circular reasoning, not intellectual honesty.
            Nor is believing that god is everywhere, but isn’t, knows everything, but doesn’t, is unconditional love, but isn’t …. etc

          • dannybhoy

            “That is not intellectual honesty is it?”
            Well obviously I,/i> think it is, although I understand what you’re saying.
            It means that I accept there are things I have no answer for, that are up for discussion with believers and non believers alike, but are not so deleterious to my faith that everything grinds to a halt.

          • cacheton

            There you go again!

            ‘things I have no answer for’ is not intellectual honesty. There are answers to those things, which would involve a different way of looking at things which you would not accept. That is fine if you are happy with it, but you cannot claim it is intellectually honest.
            Personally I would think that the basic attributes of the god around which the whole faith is based would be fundamental to the credibility of the faith … but maybe that’s just me….

          • dannybhoy

            “‘things I have no answer for’ is not intellectual honesty.”
            It would be if they really bothered me, but frankly, they don’t.
            I’m not being dishonest. I read the anti Christian stuff, the scientific stuff (as far as I can understand it). I listen to people’s arguments and agree where they’re making a fair point and argue where I think they’re not.

            A Christian really should be honest, but let’s not rule out the fact that we don’t all have the same degree of intelligence or education, so it’s unfair to expect every Christian to understand every argument against the existence of God.
            Are they therefore intellectually dishonest?
            I don’t think so.
            By it’s very nature faith does not require all the answers to life’s questions. Only that an individual’s intellect is able to understand the arguments for the existence of God as opposed to the idea that something came from nothing, complexity came from chemicals, sentience came from impersonal atoms, and so forth.
            Some people relate through their emotions rather than their intellects. Some intellectuals enjoy playing intellectual games more than coming to some conclusion.
            A person may understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ on an emotional, intuitive level, rather than an intellectual one.
            Are they dishonest, are they credulous, or have they come to the right conclusion intuitively?

            When your wife tells you something deeply perceptive about yourself or someone else, without any tangible evidence just her ‘feelings’; are you brave enough to tell her she needs to provide tangible evidence? Or can you accept that when she is proved right, you’re never going to be able to analyse or bottle the process by which she came to that right conclusion?

          • cacheton

            ‘By it’s very nature faith does not require all the answers to life’s questions.’
            And that is why it is on the way out. It is becoming widely observed and acknowledged that faith keeps you from understanding certain things.
            Of course not everybody can be expected to understand everything. But do you not think that by now religions should coherently be able to explain why they believe what they believe? There are of course alternative ways of ‘knowing’, but if you are going to argue with words, which the bible does and on this site we do, making sense is one of the requirements. Why should anyone settle for anything less than alignment of all the ways of understanding, intuitive, emotional and intellectual? The word integrity comes to mind.

          • dannybhoy

            “And that is why it is on the way out.”
            You mean all over the world, or only the Western world?

            “But do you not think that by now religions should coherently be able to explain why they believe what they believe?”
            Regarding the Western world you have a point.
            Two things spring to mind.
            One being that all over the world people are born into their faith.
            Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists and so on. From birth the vast majority absorb the values of their culture and religion, without any overt theological problems or intellectual doubts.
            By contrast, no one is born a Christian.
            Yes they might be born into a Christian family, but they are not born a Christian.
            It is something that each individual must choose for themselves.
            In the old days when the official Church ruled, the default position was that everyone was born a Christian and was guided through the various stages but that idea does not have the backing of Scripture.
            Secondly the established churches Catholic and Anglican, include in their tenets traditions and practices that find no place in Scripture, but rather developed as the Church grew in size and influence.

            I think it is these accretions or ceremonies which put people off; making the Church look absurd, deceitful and so on.
            As Father Ted once said,
            “That’s the great thing about Catholicism – it’s very vague and no-one knows what its really all about.”
            (That’s not a dig at Catholicism btw, the CofE has similar traditions and ceremonies that to the observer seem absolutely bonkers..)

            We could discuss these things all day, and in doing so we might find there are things we might actually agree on. The key thing for me is that overall, God as described in Scripture is to me the truest representation of how God would be, that its analysis of man and his various dilemmas are accurate.
            That by being reconciled to God through Christ Jesus gives us peace, gives us inspiration, provides an underpinning for science and the exploration of the external world and love and concern for those around us.

          • dannybhoy

            You might like to explore the church website of St Helens Bishopsgate. They have quite a diverse congregation including scientists talking about their faith..
            http://www.st-helens.org.uk/resources/science
            (I should warn you the background music to the vids is extremely annoying….)

          • cacheton

            ‘So why would I go out of my way to insult another person’s religion or culture;’
            People do not go out of their way to insult another person’s religion or culture. They point out the obvious contradictions and logical inconsistencies, because they are interested in why religious people accept them. And some religious people take this as an insult, no doubt because they do not like having these pointed out to them, as they themselves realise that ideally there would not be obvious contradictions and logical inconsistencies in what they say they believe. They recognise that believing something that you do not really understand makes you look stupid.

          • dannybhoy

            “They point out the obvious contradictions and logical inconsistencies, because they are interested in why religious people accept them.”
            Which I have no problem with. I have friends who don’t know what they believe, but I guess that because they like and respect me, they try to refrain from say, blaspheming the Lord’s name. Now of course to them it’s as good as ‘Gor’blimey’, but they respect what I have told them about my faith and how (as I see it) God changed and motivated me by His Holy Spirit. I have experienced some amazing answers to prayer, I have been changed from being an introvert/depressive to an outgoing person who cares about others.
            I think God loves mankind so much that if given the opportunity He will step into your life and like a mentor or personal coach not only change your outlook, but fit you for eternal life with Him.
            Prayerfully read and reflect on the parable of the Prodigal Son. God isn’t out to get us; He wants to enrich our lives, and acknowledge Him as Father.
            I honestly believe that no one loves us like God loves us.

          • cacheton

            It sounds like you have a very anthropomorphic view of god, but if that works for you …

            So I take it then that nothing could insult of offend you! You are rare among religious people then.

          • dannybhoy

            “It sounds like you have a very anthropomorphic view of god..”
            Well up to a point I would, wouldn’t I. I am made in the spiritual image of God, God walked and talked to Adam in the cool of the evening, appeared to Moses and the elders of Israel in Exodus, and of course Jesus is the Son of God and Son of Man.
            However when we start thinking about the complexity of life, the complexity of us , and the wonders of the universe, we start to struggle with the person of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
            At that point my inability to even understand Einstein’s theory of special relativity kicks in, and I have to keep reminding myself that if a dodo like me could truly know and understand God, He wouldn’t be much of a God!
            So I have to trust,
            And my trust is based in what I can understand, which is God’s character, as fully exemplified in Christ Jesus.

        • DanJ0

          “What we get upset about is insults and slights to our Lord Jesus who willingly died on the cross for us.”

          Muslims tend to get upset when people insult their religious beliefs too. Some of them very clearly get upset when people depict Mohammed in picture or cartoon form.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed, and I made the same point below to Findarato.
            If you were my ‘bestest friend’ (which of course you’re not), I would be hurt if people made fun of you or questioned your character; and I would wade in on your behalf. If you were being attacked I would come to your defence.
            This is how we are with people who are dear to us and this is how we are in our faith.
            The difference is though that we Christians are not allowed to react when our faith or our Lord are insulted.

      • Lienus

        Eeexactly so, mon cherie. The attack of a bipolar person is most offensive, n’est pas? Eee is obviously eentelligent because ee cannot control ‘is own mind. Being irrational and unstable are most feared qualities in our opponents.
        Wee must build some kind of defence. A long, fortified wall! Zat is eet. Like M.Maginot, and zee one zey call Trump. Eet will keep out zee clever people and zee Mexicans and zee Germans and God.
        You and me, our minds are formidable, non?

        • Allosexuels admirateur

          Plouse do nit forgit moise.

      • Phil R

        We are angry because like most atheists, he constructs a christian straw man based on what he considers Christianity is all about and then decides to knock it over.

        He is then venerated as a clever guy, showing up illogical arguments etc etc.

        Most people believe that the straw man is the real Christian, because they cannot be bothered to find out for themselves what Christians actually believe.

        • sarky

          It’s not down to them to find out, it’s your duty to tell them.

      • Allosexuels admirateur

        Ee is juust an uugli pisson.

  • Lienus

    I have great empathy for Stephen Fry. The similarities between us are too obvious to list: both towering literary geniuseses, both married to men young enough to be our grandchildren, etc.
    I too know what it is to have to delete an online identity. When you embarrass yourself in front of millions of previously adoring followers the agony is exquisite. When your pretensions to intellectual and moral superiority are cruelly exposed, e-suicide can seem like the only way out. Pissoiregate left me utterly bereft. If your God was real, he wouldn’t allow suffering like that for people whose only crime has been to criticise him then make fools of themselves. Which proves your God isn’t real and you all believe in sky pixies etc blah blah.
    Fear not, Stephen. Free speech is your birthright. You are free to do and say exactly what you please: you can always blame God for the consequences. There is a bright future for you as Tutenakai Fry, In Perfect Omniscience, or Frydarato. Everyone here is too thick to guess it’s you.

    • The Explorer

      One difference between you and Fry: he had millions of adoring followers. You never had that problem.

      PS Wasn’t it Tutanekai? That’s certainly the spelling for the Maori original.

      • dannybhoy

        “You never had that problem.”

        …Ouch!

        • Lienus

          Bitch-slapped again by the so-called loving Christians. It just shows them up for what they are: f—ers who need to f— the f— off.

          • Ivan M

            f—ers who need to f— the f— off? That means they stay right? Like a-s backwards means forward.

          • dannybhoy

            Lineus,
            If you are the same as Linus, just be Linus!
            It’s unbecoming for a grown man to play these sorts of games.

      • Lienus

        It’s P.S. , with full stops after each letter, not PS you ignorant RosBif. It is an abbreviation for P.S.soire.

        • Ivan M

          Is there a tag team in operation, or just one? I ask as an admirer of your multiple personalities

          • Lienus

            Currently self identifying as tri-gender intersex, but transitioning to gender queer demi-girl.

          • Ivan M

            Too brilliant, as the other one-liner personality would have exclaimed.

          • William Lewis

            You are a tour de force, Lienus! I match your self congratulatory up vote with another.

  • chrisH

    Wish I could care more.
    He`s an atheist-and not a nice one-so why does he use words like “Christ” and insult us with “being as bad as an evangelical Christian”…deeply insulting.
    Deserves much of what he gets-although those who troll him in his world ought to be done for disability hate crimes or whatver they call them.
    He IS flaky in mental terms-and in the Top Trumps grievance lobby system , his trolls should be “called out as behaving in an “mentalist manner”…a few weeks in Sing Sing would cure them.
    Yet Fry is all over the place -supported israel against Leftimuslim trollings, dissolves in tears with gentle questions on the Lords prayer with harmless Ann Widdicombe…so I`d keep a wide berth,
    Hid autobiography is called “Moab is my washpot”-so needs maybe to acquaint himself with God and Jesus-could only do him some good…and cheaper than pills and court case therapies.