Tomb sealed2
Meditation and Reflection

Easter Eve: dead, buried, bereft

 

..he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah..(1Pt 3:19).
..For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (1Pt 4:6).

The future died, entombed with all hope and messianic expectation. Holy Saturday is silent: the dead are buried, and yet not entirely lost. Even as the women wept and the disciples were crushed by an apocalypse of suffering, Jesus was drawing those who had died into fellowship with Him.

By entering the realm of death, He preached salvation to the departed spirits. Christ is not concerned only with the living: He gives the hope of faith to the dead, and death cannot hinder this glorious redemption. The hell and foresakenness of the cross were followed by the hell and heresy of Godlessness. But still He selflessly saves those who are lost. His love is not only for Israel’s dead: it is catholic, ecumenical, universal. The gospel is not only for those who live today, but also for yesterday’s generations and tomorrow’s nations. If Christ can mysteriously fellowship with the dead, His descent into hell was not suffering, but the beginning of His exaltation: Christus Victor.

For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living‘ (Rom 14:9). The dead are dead in the shadows: their resurrection is yet to come. But the dead have rights. Not even death cannot separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38f). Those who died await His coming. He is not yet risen, but they cannot see. The eternal fate of the unredeemed world and the trial of all generations are waiting in a graveyard for a cosmic spark of life. We have faith, but the hungering, thirsting, yearning to be with Christ is an unbearable agony. How long must we wait? Come, Lord Jesus, come soon.

  • Anton

    He will. Globalisation and the return of the Jews to the Holy Land are both biblical preconditions and although there have been plenty of end-is-nigh preachers through the ages these signs have never taken place before. “The end will come like a flood” – Daniel. One autumn in Jerusalem (Tabernacles) He will be back. But trust no man who gives a year, at least more than 7 years ahead.

    Imagine universal just government!

    • David

      Yes, we can wonder when, but we are not to devise cunning schemes to ascertain the date, for no one knows except God.
      But when the wonderful hour arrives, it will be sudden and unmistakable.
      So Christians of all types must wait patiently, whilst getting about the tasks that we are each allotted, for The Kingdom.
      And I say, in expectation,

      Come Lord Jesus, come !

      But in the meanwhile work for the good, witness to the truth, fight evil, and pray for wisdom and guidance.

      • sarky

        Come lord jesus, come!

        Be careful what you wish for. You do realise that for the prophecy to be fulfilled, millions upon millions will have to die horrendously?
        Not something I would be happy to wish for.

        • Athanasius

          There’s already 180,000 per year dying horrendously in their mothers’ wombs, and that’s just in Britain alone. I’m no end-timer, Sarky. All this “look for signs in the heavens” stuff is pure heresy. What I’m saying is that it Ill behooves any secularist to criticize God for not preventing massacres which humans, exercising their God-given free will, choose to undertake. Those children died in the service of humanist freedom: let’s not forget every one of them was a conscript.

          • David

            Well said ! Thank you.

          • sarky

            Yes but it’s all part of god plan isn’t it?
            From which you can conclude that he doesn’t give a damn or he doesn’t exist.

          • Back to foreknowledge and predestination, Sarky. You really should Google these terms.

            Imagine a Being who exists out of time and who in a split second can know everything – every single thing – all possible combinations of creation; all possible outcomes. We have to approach this in a logical succession of contingent events to comprehend it. God wants to create man to share eternal happiness with Him. Yet, He also wants man to choose this for himself. He permits man’s fall and He permits individual men to turn to or to turn away from Him. He gives each man sufficient grace and assistance and knows every single persons response to the offer of faith. He then orders history – but it’s all based on man’s free will and it’s all foreknown and predetermined by Him.

            Mind blowing ….

          • sarky

            Wow all that, yet not a single piece of evidence for his existence.

          • The Explorer

            The sort of proof you require will not be forthcoming this side of the Apocalypse. It may not be forthcoming for you after it.

            “If the modern materialist saw with his own eyes the heavens rolled up and the great white throne appearing, if he had the sensation of being himself hurled into the Lake of Fire, he would continue forever, in that lake itself, to regard his experience as an illusion and to find the explanation of it in psycho-analysis, or cerebral pathology. Experience by itself proves nothing. If a man doubts whether he is dreaming or waking, no experiment can solve his doubt, since every experiment may itself be part of the dream.” C S Lewis.

            Bit of a bugger, isn’t it? The Explorer.

          • sarky

            And obviously untrue.

          • The Explorer

            What is?

          • Linus

            If a man experiences things that are sane and normal and operate within the recognisable parameters of the physical world we all know, it’s highly unlikely he’s dreaming.

            It’s when the miracles start, like people coming back to life or animals talking or water transforming into wine that he needs to start doubting what he’s seeing. It’s both reasonable and rational to enquire into the nature of seemingly miraculous occurrences. Most end up being relatively easily debunked. And for the few that remain unexplained, nothing about them suggests divine intervention, merely that we don’t yet possess the knowledge we need to understand what happened.

            God could end all of this speculation tomorrow if he wanted to by appearing in glory for us all to see. Complex identical dreams can’t be shared by multitudes, although group hysteria is a well-documented phenomenon, for example at Fatima in Portugal when a bunch of religious obsessives all swore they saw the sun jumping about in the sky. You can fool a group into believing they’ve seen a single event. You can’t fool the whole of humankind into believing that a heavenly host coming down from on high and setting up camp in Central Park or the Jardin de Luxembourg is a dream. If it’s consistently there over time and reported as being there by multiple and reliable witnesses and anyone can come along and see for themselves and they all see the same thing, you can be pretty sure it isn’t a dream.

            Christians often claim that Atheists wouldn’t believe in God even if he appeared in front of them, but this is patently false. They also claim that his appearance would take away our free will, but the angels see God and they still have free will, as proved by Satan’s decision to rebel.

            Basically the Christian arguments are all false propositions. They say that if there’s no proof, we wouldn’t believe it even if there were some. Which is patently false. We won’t believe in God if you offer us proof like his image appearing in a fried cheese sandwich. But we will believe the evidence of our own eyes if the events we witness are also witnessed over time by many other people. That’s the basis of scientific proof: consistent and peer reviewed results over time.

            But Christians prefer to believe that we don’t want to believe because we’re in rebellion, or fooling ourselves, or whatever other little fairy story they’ve made up in their benighted little minds. It’s one more piece of evidence that places their faith in the realm of dogmatic wishful thinking.

          • The Explorer

            Challenging points here, Linus, in a well-argued post. I’ve broken my responses down into four categories.
            1. Lewis didn’t suggest that materialist reductionism was true for all non-believers, but he did see it as a danger for a particular sort of mind set. Its destructiveness is shown in the dwarfs of ‘The Last Battle’.
            2. Your point about miracles is essentially that of David Hume. Since it’s a powerful argument, a response to it would take a long time. May I refer you instead to two of Hume’s near-contemporaries: Thomas Sherlock and Gottfried Less? Both of them clearer than I could be.
            3. God could end all this speculation, rendering this discussion superfluous, but He doesn’t, and He won’t. Faith is needed until that moment when faith becomes unnecessary, and that is the only option on the table. That is the point I was making to Sarky.
            4. The point about motives for not believing is a very good one. There are intellectual difficulties involved. (And difficulties and disagreements remain after conversion; certainly in my case.) But it is not a simple case of dispassionately examining the facts. For one of the key Christian facts is human rebellion, which has broken our natural link with God, and which clouds our response to the facts.
            Much can be blamed (from your perspective) on the parable of Dives and Lazarus. The rich man, if you remember, wants to send Lazarus to warn his brothers. Abraham says if they do not accept the law of Moses, they will pay no heed if one should rise from the dead. A difficult statement: make of it what you will.
            New day. New thread. Happy Easter to you. (You will, I hope, accept the sentiment if not the belief behind it.)

          • William Lewis

            No evidence?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Or you can conclude that you don’t know (understand) God’s ways.

            “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

          • sarky

            Not a good enough answer!

        • Anton

          Prophecy can’t be stopped. It was never God’s will that those people die, for his design was for a better world; evil is due to the moral freedom God gives us and our endless wrong choices. Someday soon he will act to put it right. That is why we wish for Christ’s return. Most people in the West probably live comfortable lives today, but we are not the world.

          • sarky

            It was never gods will? ? Of course it was, he knew what would happen and put all the pieces in place so it would.

          • Anton

            Plenty happens that is not God’s will, because he gave us the most precious gift of all, moral freedom rather than puppetdom. But we blew it.

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps there are moral beings elsewhere in the vastness of the universe who didn’t blow it and are living in a sinless state. No being-specific Jesus required there. It’d be a bit of a shame if their universe were destroyed because of us after our being-specific Jesus comes down on the clouds. Or perhaps it’ll just happen on our world while the rest of the universe carries on.

          • preacher

            Hi DanJO. that’s a BIG perhaps, but who knows? I think we’ve got enough to deal with down here trying to stop the madness on our own globe.
            Or another BIG perhaps is that He’s GOT to return to stop us destroying ourselves & the Cosmos.

          • Anton

            Indeed, but I’ll leave the speculative theology of intelligent physical life elsewhere in the universe to CS Lewis. The physicist Enrico Fermi wrote a famous paper, Where Are They?, arguing that our failure to detect them meant pretty strongly that there wasn’t intelligent physical life anywhere else in our vast but finite universe. (I say “physical” because of angels, of course.)

          • The Explorer

            Are you a Calvinist atheist?

        • preacher

          Morning sarky. Sorry I had to leave yesterday, but it’s a busy time at the moment.
          Just another quickie as I’m off again I’m afraid.
          Just to note that billions have already died All will have to, no exceptions I’m afraid. Life is a one way ticket. When you reach the terminus here, you’ve got to leave the station & get on the bus. But if you’re smart you’ll read the destination board first.
          God Bless, have a good day. P.

        • The Explorer

          On the other hand, after the Last Judgement there will be no more death.

          • Inspector General

            Quite possibly because there will be no more people around to die. Hence ‘last judgment’…

          • The Explorer

            Yes. A new mode of existence in a new Heaven and Earth.

          • … or Hell.

          • The Explorer

            Quite.

          • sarky

            No because like the inspector said, they will all be dead? How can you possibly see this as a good thing?

          • The Explorer

            They will be alive again in resurrection bodies.
            The alternative ultimate scenario is the permanent extinction of all living things when the planet comes to an end.

      • Christus Victor! Yes indeed.
        But if Christ has not atoned for my sins; if He has not taken My punishment upon Himself (Isaiah 53:5), I am still in my sins and must somehow atone for them myself and take upon myself the punishment due.
        If that were the case, it is hard to see how Christ is the Victor. Substitutionary atonement is absolutely fundamental to the Christian faith.

  • magnolia

    The harrowing of hell and the ability of Jesus’s self-sacrificial love upon the cross to offer salvation for those already dead are topics many gloss over and I am glad to see them here.

    The cross stands gloriously in the centre of Time, and its glory is inestimable.

    Thank you for this.

  • len

    The Cross stands marking a point in time between the Old and the New creation.It is a wise man that perceives this….
    Only the Creator can bring forth Life out of death….

  • Linus

    Generation after generation of Christians have prayed for Christ to come again (if indeed there ever was a first time) and yet still he does not come. Puts the whole “ask and ye shall receive” nonsense into perspective, doesn’t it?

    Reasonable people would have started to wonder by now whether he’s ever coming. This promise eternally unfulfilled can only be due to one of two things: either he doesn’t give a damn about you and your sufferings and will come only when he decides to and for reasons that have nothing to do with you, or he just doesn’t exist and can therefore never come.

    But by all means, continue to pray and plead and bleat for this saviour who cares so much about you that he can’t even be bothered to turn up. The more time you spend grovelling on your knees, the less time you’ll have for persecuting gays, women who are pregnant and don’t want to be, and everyone else you hate.

    • Inspector General

      And what exactly is wrong with persecuting pregnant women who wish to kill the independent life they carry?

      The wailing wall of choice for with it homosexual disappointees these days is Pink News comments. It will be like coming home for you…

      • Inspector, Linus is on a mission to undermine Christian faith. PN devotees have no need of a man of perdition. They are already ‘converted’. He wrote yesterday:

        “If I can do anything to accelerate that inevitable demise (figurative, of course) then it’s my moral responsibility to do so.”

        He feels a moral obligation to ‘preach’ against Christ during this the most Holy of seasons.

        “Even if only one single person reads my comments here and goes away wondering if Christianity has all the answers after all, I’m doing my bit to consign your moribund religion to the past, where it belongs.”

        But why? Is it an altruistic desire to save us from ourselves? Let’s see:

        “If Christianity has anything to do with it, the LGBT community is in for a tough time. You’re our sworn enemies and will stop at nothing until you’ve reduced us back to the state of oppression and subjection that you imposed on us for centuries. Fine words about loving your neighbours are just window dressing for deeply malevolent intentions. This is the true face of Christianity. If it gains any kind of political power or influence, we’re in danger of losing all our legal protections and being hounded out of our jobs, our homes and our relationships. We’ll all become Alan Turings. This is what the Church wants: a world where gays are shunned and reduced to living on the margins of society as a harassed and stigmatized minority.”
        The man is an internet hero for the cause; a ‘rainbow warrior’ who stamps his foot, types his bile and whimpers:

        “We won’t let that happen. Never again.”

        Well, that or he’s just a self obsessed nutter on the loose ….

        • The Explorer

          Linus seems to think that Christianity’s main belief is the need to persecute gays, and that the main threat to the LGBT community is from Christians.

          But the gang who kicked Michael de Gruchy to death back in 1969 were probably more under the influence of the local pub than of the local church. And it wasn’t church youth clubs initiating the “queer-bashing” rituals that followed for years afterwards.

          Much hostility to homosexuality is Darwinist in inspiration, in reaction against a biological dead end. That, certainly, was the view taken by the Nazis.

          • Anton

            Quite. A good friend of mine who identifies as gay was “queer-bashed” in the 1980s and never accused his assailants of being Christians.

          • sarky

            Gay bashing doesn’t have to be physical. Quite a few christians on here guilty of that! !!!

          • Anton

            Some might have been, but I try to distinguish between sin and sinner and am happy to be admonished by third parties if they consider otherwise.

          • The Explorer

            That’s shifting the argument away from the point I was making. My point is that even if all Christians were eliminated, there would still be disapproval of homosexuality among those who remained.
            As evidence for this I would cite the historical phenomenon known as “queer bashing” that began with a murder in 1969 and continued at least to the end of the 1970’s. It was physical, and carried out by non-Christians.

          • Inspector General

            There are now sixty variants of HIV, Explorer. Nothing sinister about that, all viruses mutate to avoid destruction by anti bodies. Mother Nature is well on the case, and HIV will go on and on.. It is quite possible Linus himself carries that dreadful disease, and is keeping well quiet about it…

          • DanJ0

            “Much hostility to homosexuality is Darwinist in inspiration, in reaction against a biological dead end.”

            You don’t believe that, surely?

          • Athanasius

            Why not? All Christians being evil does not preclude other groups from being completely evil too.

          • DanJ0

            Beating people up because their relationships don’t naturally produce children? That’s a stretch, and then some, surely?

          • The Explorer

            Do I believe Darwinism led the Germans to do terrible things? Absolutely.
            1. The Herero genocide, drawing directly on Darwin’s statement about the higher races eliminating the lower.
            2. The Night of the Long Knives. Biological dead end was exactly the view taken by Rosenberg. He lumped Christian (especially Catholic) celibacy and heterosexual infertility in with homosexuality and would have exterminated all three given enough time.

            A year or so ago there was a documentary about gay bashing in Russia. There was a red-headed woman co-ordinating things who used a garbled Darwinism in justification.

            Do I believe the gang who killed de Gruchy were conscious Darwinists? No, they were probably just macho drunken thugs, But unconscious Darwinists wanting to victimise the different, yes. As far as I know, not one of them was a Christian.

          • Anton

            Garbled Darwinism is right. Darwin understood natural selection but wrote before the genetic mechanism of heritance was understood. Nobody who understands them two denies the fact of either and the question in contention between evolutionary biologists and Christian fundamentalists is how much they can explain in how long a time? Without entering into that discussion, too many people slag Darwin without understanding that he provided only half of a theory, too many people confuse social darwinism (evil) with scientific darwinism (factual), and too many people suppose that philosophy is an adequate basis to discuss advanced biological science. In my own subject of physics, mathematics acts as a barrier keeping out laymen talking twaddle, but the biological sciences, unfortunately for them, have no such filter.

          • The Explorer

            Ernst Haeckel thoroughly Germanised Darwin, and through him arose the German social Darwinism that had such deadly effect in West Africa. Niall Ferguson has a truly dreadful chapter (dreadful facts, I mean, not dreadful Ferguson) on what German social Darwinism did for the Herero. Social Darwinism also pervaded Nazi sexual ethics.
            My point is not to argue that social Darwinism is correct: simply that it exists and is hostile to homosexuality as not conducive to the survival of the fittest.

          • Anton

            Haeckel’s view that ontology is a brief recapitulation of phylogeny is today a straw man up by Christian fundamentalists to be knocked down and is not taken seriously by evolutionary biologists. KE von Baer, who actually preceded Haeckel, was the great scholar of how embryo development came about.

          • The Explorer

            As I said, I am not concerned with whether or not Haeckel was right: merely with whether or not he was influential. The historical record suggests that he was. The chapter on Haeckel in Wiker’s ‘Architects of the Culture of Death’ is pretty damning.

          • Anton

            I believe you.

          • DanJ0

            “Do I believe Darwinism led the Germans to do terrible things? Absolutely.”

            That wasn’t what I asked, and you know it.

          • The Explorer

            Am I personally concerned about biological dead ends? No. Involuntarily-childless heterosexuals lead worthwhile lives. Christ said some would be celibate for the sake of the KIngdom, and that there would be no marriage in Heaven. Those obsessed with breeding are either master-race theorists or those who see our genes as our only immortality, and who want to pass them on to mark their place in the world. But I believe that the world itself is passing away, and that there is another sort of immortality.
            Do I believe that homosexuals are capable of love? Yes. Do I believe there are health risks in gay sex not present in vaginal sex? Yes again.
            I answered the way I did the first time because my original post was not about what I think, but about what other people think. I wanted to make that point.

          • DanJ0

            “Much hostility to homosexuality is Darwinist in inspiration, in reaction against a biological dead end.”

            You don’t believe that, surely?

          • The Explorer

            Put it this way. There is hostility to homosexuality that does not derive from Christianity, and that would survive if Christianity and Christians were eliminated. Where does it come from? Three thoughts.
            1. Tribalism. There’s a twitchiness about Muslim versus indigenous birth rates. I’m not saying it’s accurate; I’m saying it’s there. More births in London 2012 to immigrants than natives. Why bother to give a statistic like that, unless there’s unease about it?
            2. The influence of ‘The Selfish Gene’. Propagate yourself. As Sidney Deane said when he was on this blog, his aim in life (THE aim in life) is to perpetuate himself before he dies. That view has permeated society and influenced those who have never even heard of the book. Ensure your own form of immortality has become a motive for reproduction.
            3. As I said in an earlier post, a lot of unconscious Darwinism. I say ‘Darwinism’ as a convenient label because the victimisation of minorities was around before Darwin and ‘Darwinism’ simply describes a pre-existing phenomenon. And I’d say that survival of the fittest, rule by the violent, social Darwinism, call it what you will controls many of our toughest council estates. If you want to see the implications of atheism in action, look there.

          • DanJ0

            You’re over-thinking it, I’m sure. Some people are viscerally disgusted by it. Some people feel threatened by it. Some people like to attack the weak i.e. minorities, Some people are informed by religion, either self-righteously or for the love of punishing people. Some people are manifesting self-hate. Some people like to control. Some people just hate difference. I would bet money though that almost no-one gives a feckin’ hoot that people like me are not contributing to the birth rate!

          • The Explorer

            You may well be right. Certainly, your analysis of religion as one motive among many sounds far more plausible to me than Linus’ claim elsewhere on this thread: “Christianity taught the world to despise us. Their religion keeps that hate alive.” It’s that second sentence of his that I question. I think the hate would survive if the religion disappeared. That’s all I’m trying to say really, and just musing as to reasons.

        • CliveM

          Happy Jack

          That is how he sees his calling. However I don’t see it as a concern, anyone that obviously bitter and troubled doesn’t represent an attractive alternative.

    • The Explorer

      At least the gays can’t be blamed for getting the women pregnant.

      And when gays ARE instrumental in women becoming pregnant, the pregnancies are not unwanted because the women are well remunerated.

    • Joseph Ratzinger reflected on Holy Saturday.

      “In truth – one thing is certain: there exists a night into whose solitude no voice reaches; there is a door through which we can only walk alone – the door of death. In the last analysis all the fear in the world is fear of this loneliness …

      What Christ did on Holy Saturday was to walk “through the gate of our final loneliness. . .in his passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there is he. Hell is thereby overcome, or, to be more accurate, death, which was previously hell, is hell no longer.”

      “Death is absolute loneliness. But the loneliness into which love can no longer reach is – hell.” The terrifying prospect of hell, by rejecting God’s generous love and offer of redemption, is “deliberate self-enclosure.”

      • David

        Exactly, and well said Happy Jack.
        Hell is self chosen, inhabited by those who prefer rebellion and desolation, to the love of God and the company of those who joyfully submit to God.
        Praise be to God.

      • Linus

        Deliberate self-enclosure?

        You’re seriously regaling me with the philosophical musings of the ex-witchdoctor-in-chief who’s shut himself away from the world in the Vatican garden with his boyfriend and then criticizes others for deliberately enclosing themselves?

        I wonder what it is about the concept of irony that pious Catholics just don’t get?

        • There’s more than one prison and you display clear signs of spiritual morbidity. It’s shows in your self absorption, self admiration, pomposity, and grandiosity. You manifest this with every hate filled comment you make. Of course it masks a fundamental existential fear, and the emptiness and self isolation you experience. And because you wallow in it ,and proclaim it as “good”, it is “deliberate self-enclosure”.

          That groundless comment about Emeritus Pope Benedict says more homosexual gossip mongers than it does him. A rumour and tittle-tattle started by an openly homosexual ‘Catholic’ journalist ‘suggesting’ Pope Benedict may be a closet homosexual. Narcissism, envy and jealousy for attention seem to be second nature in your self-enclosed world.

          Wake up, Linus.

          • Linus

            Ever the nasty bitch I see, Sad Jack.

            Keep those claws sharpened. You never know when you might need to try to scratch someone else’s eyes out.

            Whatever the nature of the relationship between your retired chief witchdoctor and his lackey, the reputation of priests for illicit sexual activity certainly makes it pertinent to ask the question. What do they get up to in the secluded glades of the Vatican garden on those long hot Roman summer nights?

            One gets the feeling that even if a real paparazzi (and not the fake German kind) were to catch them in flagrante delicto and publish the photos, you’d find some kind of excuse to declare it was all an Atheist plot. Because a pope can never be wrong, can he? Whether he’s called Ratzinger or Montini … or Borgia or Medici. Dogmatic confidence is unbreakable. Sanity caves in well before it does.

          • You’re wilfully sinking further into your own created stinking cesspit, Linus. Jack pities you.

          • Linus

            Sniff yourself, Sad Jack. Only someone as far gone in willful delusion and malevolence as you could fail to be felled by the stench you give off.

            There is no devil, but if there were, you’d clearly be one of his minions. As it is you’re just an evil old bigot who’s got hating down to a fine art.

            Your time is almost done. Why not try to do some good with the few years (months? weeks?) that remain to you? But no, a leopard cannot change its spots that easily. Spend a lifetime attacking and manipulating others and that’s all you know how to do. You’re beyond pity because pity can have no effect on you. There’s no way back from total degradation.

          • Satan is real Linus and, from what Jack can discern, he has you firmly in his grasp. All your comments betray this.

            None of us know how long we have we left in this life. Jack may go tomorrow; he may live another 30 years; who knows? So what? Perhaps you need to reflect more on that. It’s not a game and ultimately time runs out for us all and God does let us go our own way.

    • magnolia

      Nice try…or should that be nasty try?

      It is a psychological feature for many that what they most hate in others is what they most hate in themselves, and I might suggest that waspishness is what you hate, as well as going on and on, for you “bleating”. You have the option of forgoing it in yourself, and then it might not annoy you, even in its lesser forms, in some others quite so much.

      Trying to wind people up really isn’t nice behaviour, or productive.. Do you really think these are new thoughts that are going to make people say ” Oh, shock horror, I had never considered thinking that…..oh, it’s true…my faith has gone down the plughole…?” A bit simplistic and naive as an expectation as your barbs are not complex. You must be rather younger than most here, if you think these will come as new taunts.

      • Linus

        And there goes the tiresome woman whose kneejerk response to any disagreement is the infantilization of he who disagrees.

        Rise above your hormones, if you can. A whole world of adult conversation exists beyond the limited horizons of puericulture and childcare. The ovary is not the primary thinking organ of the body. You also have a brain. Why not use it?

        • magnolia

          Linus, you don’t read like an adult. And you do read like a prototype gay misogynist who would like to exist in a world without women. Your patronising attitude to childbirth, female hormones and childcare says it all. You take the biscuit for bigotry, because you are bigoted towards groups which add up to most of the human race, and an extreme anti-humanist.

          • Linus

            And you read like a priggish mother who’s itching to teach everyone a lesson and tell them where they’re going wrong. If anyone disagrees with you, out come the strident accusations of misogyny and childishness. A standard tactic from Christian women whose identity and intellect are limited by the role of sainted mother they cast themselves in.

          • preacher

            Magnolia a word of advice, Leave him alone in his misery.

          • magnolia

            You are right. He would be happier if he could moderate his outbursts but he is a lost cause and no way wants to. He is on “ignore” unless and until he learns to play decently.

    • Anton

      That’s a false dichotomy, Linus. We always pray for him to come, in two ways: as holy Spirit to our persons, and again in glory but it could not happen without globalisation and the return of the Jews to the Holy Land. Now that those things are well under way, compare the remaining unfulfilled prophecies with the way the world is going and ponder how they could have been foretold so long ago.

      “and everyone else you hate”

      I don’t, and it is not good to assume you know what is going on in other people’s minds.

    • anam

      Here is another perspective. There are more things in heaven and earth than we know about. Advanced Astrology (not the stuff in newspapers) show how significant the times we are living in now are. (In Genesis it says “Let them be for signs”…referring to the stars and planets. The Magi in Matthew 2: 1-2 “we saw his star…”.)
      https://youtu.be/mNYd7jURqZI

      • Inspector General

        Thankfully, this man doesn’t need three planets to align before he takes an important decision, standing on one foot facing the wind, and if you had any sense about you, neither would you…

      • Linus

        I agree it’s easy enough to get from Christianity to astrology. When you accept one form of black magic, why not another?

        I have about equal amounts of faith in both. Which is to say, none at all.

        • Inspector General

          hmmm. There was a time when you people were crying out for tolerance. Now you want to sodomise the world. Why is this?

          • Linus

            A typical old bigot’s response – everything must be sexualized, presumably because your mind is constantly preoccupied by the thing you can no longer manage to do.

            What makes you think anybody wants to sodomise your old carcass? There may be a few gay necrophiliacs out there. But I’ve never met one.

          • Inspector General

            Your devotion is a young man’s game. They all admit to it, and a few with guilt, but that won’t stop them. Nobody loves an old queer. And here you are well past your own best by date. Club tonight, is it?

          • Linus

            Interesting to know you relish the thought of me as a lonely and bitter old gay man. And who said that Christians only want good things for their enemies?

            Whoever it was had clearly never met a Christian.

            I just ran your good wishes past my fiancé. He laughed and enquired “c’est qui ce pauvre con de refoulé ?” I showed him your avatar. He laughed again, harder this time.

            I won’t translate. You can work it out for yourself…

          • Inspector General

            Oh Lord, you’re still up. Look, on Pink News there was a case of a gay man looking for a house share for two. All his efforts have come to naught, when he freely admitted he was going to move his boy friend in. Some of the rebuttals were accompanied with “but there are children around here”. Now, has there been a mass outbreak of Christianity in the letting area or are Christians merely the champions of what others hold as decency….

          • Linus

            Christians taught the world to despise us. Their religion keeps that hatred alive. Their stubborn resistance to treating us like human beings with equal rights compounds the injury. If some ignorant person who’s probably never been to church more than a couple of times in his life and certainly has no Christian faith thinks it’s OK to discriminate against us, who’s behind that attitude? Who’s been building homophobic attitudes into the culture for two thousand years? And who perpetuates them now?

          • Inspector General

            There is no hatred. The church merely frowns upon homosexual behaviour as it does with so many anti family indulgences. It will not change, ever, because acceptance means educating all children that the entire homosexual setup is a valid lifestyle that rivals the heterosexual norm. That can never be, because it simply is not true. You must live your life out with that in mind, and maybe one day you will realise that the greater good is far more important than concern for the selfish few, the majority of which have no time for God anyway due to their devotion to the here and now and the immediate pleasures that brings.

      • Anton

        The man in this clip needs to reread the Old Testament in which as a Christian he professes to believe in order to see what God has to say about divination.

        Very occasionally God sends signs in the heavens to do with events on earth so great as the incarnation, the crucifixion and, someday, the second coming. Most of the time… forget it. A scientist called Shawn Carlson in the 1980s tested astrology in a double-blind experiment (crucially!) run and with protocol devised in cooperation with several leading US astrologers. The results were at chance levels.

    • chiefofsinners

      Dear Linus
      The church has been expecting your comments. Peter’s 2nd letter, chapter 3 says:
      “You must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
      But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

      • Linus

        And that prophecy will hold until the end of time. Or as long as anyone gullible enough to believe it is still alive. Self-fulfilling prophecies are the best kind – they have no sell-by date and can just go on and on and on forever.

        Your great grandchildren’s great grandchildren will still be expecting the world to end and still quoting that same prophecy to other Atheists in the far off future. Or at least those of your great grandchildren’s great grandchildren who are still Christians. Given the catastrophic decline in Church membership throughout the 20th century, a few hundred years hence how many Christians will there be to keep the prophecy alive?

        Hmmm, let’s see … I’ll try to find some followers of Zeus or Mithras and ask them the question, shall I? Their reply should be fascinating…

        • chiefofsinners

          The point of this text is not to give Christians something to answer atheists with. The last sentence is the most important, revealing the mind of God towards you and the way Christians should respond to you.

        • chiefofsinners

          The point of the prophecy is not to give Christians an answer for atheists. It’s the last sentence that matters. It defines the attitude that the church should adopt towards people such as you, which is to be patient. As far as God is concerned, you’re worth the wait.

          • Linus

            Say rather that I’m the one that got away.

            Of course the Church wants to suborn as many people as it can. It lives and breathes by the number of devotees it can convert and hold on to. Falling numbers and plummeting revenues threaten its existence. Someone has to pay all those clergy to sit around making up new ways to describe a non-existent god.

            When the Church finally fizzles out, perhaps the government should create a Department of Jollying People Along and give jobs to all the ex-priests and ex-vicars who spend their days dealing with the flotsam and jetsam of society. An unpleasant job no doubt, but one is grateful to the dogged of collar and bucked of tooth who undertake it.

            Just think, if Monsieur le Curé Couille-Molle des Squames-de-Peau didn’t humour my maiden Tante Blanche (pure of name, dark of heart…) and keep her busy embroidering hassocks and altar cloths and scolding the harassed inhabitants of her sleepy little village into doing the Lord’s (i.e. her) will, she’d probably come after me. And that would be unfortunate.

            The State should take over the social element of the Church’s activity. Give old Tante Blanche a case worker rather than a curé. Preferably someone with a psychology degree who could section her and get her the help she needs rather than just pandering to her religious fantasies.

          • chiefofsinners

            There are about 2 billion Christians alive today – as many as there have been in the whole previous history of the church. You might think you’re the one that’s got away but the net is closing in. Keep swimming. Soon you’ll be right in there amongst the flotsam and jetsam.

          • Linus

            So it’s a numbers game, eh? And in 2000 years Christianity hasn’t been able to convince even a third of the human race.

            What seems clear is that superstition grows in response to war and uncertainty as desperate people clutch at straws and cling to anything that gives them a feeling of security and confidence in the future. The two elements it needs to thrive are fear and ignorance. We can’t get rid of fear because the world and the people who live in it are unpredictable and there will always be natural disasters and conflicts to contend with. But we can do something about ignorance. And slowly we are.

            Education will be the weapon that defeats superstition. It will take time, but slowly the world will learn that knowledge is our best bulwark against uncertainty.

            Religion fades as standards of living rise and access to education increases. We’ve seen it happen in the Western world and it’s only a matter of time before it happens elsewhere. It isn’t a smooth process because life isn’t smooth and societies change in response to all sorts of internal and external factors. Religion won’t go quietly as there are too many vested interests involved, so there will still be times when it seems to be on the increase as people respond to traumatic events by seeking refuge in old habits and familiar solutions. But in the long term it will die back inexorably.

            Religion’s time is coming to an end. We’ll gradually become a rational people. The road will be long, but then Christianity knows all about the long haul. 2000 years haven’t sufficed for you to conquer the world. A tenth of that time has seen large majorities in countries like France adopt secularism as their creed.

            It’s not just me who got away. My entire country did so as well. Christians are a shrinking minority in France, as they are in most other parts of Western Europe. Ignorance and fear still reign elsewhere, but time and education will change that. The days of religion as a major force in society are numbered.

          • chiefofsinners

            And yet the church grows in China, with a history of the state ‘re-educating’ Christians, with living standards rising, with their children out-performing all western countries in academic tests. A previously secular country, increasingly turning to religion. Maybe this is the future for France.
            The church in the west has declined because distraction, diversion and amusement opportunities have increased, saturating the minds of most with materialism and popular culture. Your language gave us the word ‘amuse’, meaning to delude or deceive. People don’t want to and don’t have to think about the things that really matter: Life, death, good, evil, God, eternity, the claims of Jesus Christ.

          • Linus

            The Chinese market for consumer goods is developing at a spectacular rate.

            How much more growth will there be in China for the Church when all the distractions that we’re used to here become as common for them as they are for us?

            If all it takes to halt the spread of religion is a tv or a tablet, how powerful can god be? If he’s desperate to save us, he doesn’t seem to be trying very hard.

          • chiefofsinners

            To return to the origin of our conversation, God is trying hard by delaying Jesus’ return for a long time.
            Prior to that he tried hard by sending his son to die for us. Miracles have been performed at various points but always with the same result: some believed but those who would not did not.
            Creation speaks of God but only to those who will listen. God doesn’t impose Himself. Humanity has always had a choice. One day he will impose himself and the choice will be gone.

  • From a 1600 year old homily of Holy Saturday.

    The Lord’s descent into the underworld
    “Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

    He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

    I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

    See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

    I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

    Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.”

  • Shadrach Fire

    Kirby Clements

    This is my friend, Bishop Kirby Clements from Atlanta, posted on Face Book.

    Everything about the cross is negative since on the cross He made an end to sin; crush the head of Satan; crucified the world; put an end to the old Academic order. If we just take people to the cross and not take them past to resurrection it is a deficient journey. Resurrection is positive for all the results and benefits for carrying on life are given. Resurrection marks the beginning.. It is the resurrection that provided for the ascension and the enthronement of Jesus and the sending back of the Holy Ghost.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Hmmm. I disagree. Everything about the cross is not negative. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Not very negative, that.

      • Shadrach Fire

        I think he was saying that the cross was putting to and end of things. The Resurrection was the beginning of things.

  • Dominic Stockford

    O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the
    crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and
    rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the
    coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life;
    who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
    God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    The Prayer Book collect for today – reminding us that we ARE saved through Christ Jesus.

  • David

    Chaps, of both sexes,
    I really do suggest that the best way to help our friend Linus is to not engage with him and his silly, immature barbs. But I also do suggest that we should pray for him.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Exactly what I was thinking too

    • Inspector General

      David, non engagement and point ceding are brothers who have the same father – passive resignation of what will be.

      • In Essex, he’d receive a smack and be told to man-up. It’s not the Christian way ….

    • preacher

      Well David, whatever his problem is, you won’t get any sense out of him so if he wants to keep posting, let him, he’s doing more harm to his own cause than anyone here is,- all own goals poor fellow.

      I don’t know of a single person who has been won for Christ by argument.
      Our task is to assist people to find the answers they seek, not to make the case for God. A wise old believer once said, “If you see a lion being teased, you don’t have to defend it – Just open the cage door”.

      Prayer is the answer. Not acrimony.

      • David

        Then,
        Let us pray….

        • preacher

          Agreed. pray for his release from any interference & for him to be free to choose for himself as his freewill must be involved before his choice is made.

          • preacher

            At last! my computer crashed twice as I was typing this response!.

          • Spoooooky ….

          • preacher

            Nah! My old pastor said “If you throw a rock up a dark alley & you hear a yell, you’ve hit someone or something!” LOL.

      • dannybhoy

        I agree. I think we should be able to engage with Linus whilst ignoring his baits and barbs, because to respond in kind harms us more than it harms him.
        If Linus were simply here to bait us he would have pretty much given up by now. There is something more, and I wouldn’t want us to give him grounds for his anger.
        So let’s all remember him in our prayers.

        • IanCad

          Danny – and Mr Preacher, Linus has been with us a while now and what an education he must be getting on this sometimes fractious Christian blog. It often gets hot and heavy and we give to him and each other as good as we get.

          That said, the basis of our faith is Christ crucified. On which we pretty much all agree, and that, Linus most surely must have already gleaned.

          Insults, ridicule, patience, persuasion; and, most importantly, prayer. We have not yet tried song. This old favourite pretty much covers what most of us believe:

          Maybe it will resonate with him.

          • Linus

            It did resonate with me. It set off a little bell in my head that sounds whenever I hear trite sentiment expressed by hypocrites. Call it a Pharisee Alarm if you will. I hear it all the time on this site…

          • Poor Linus … he can’t even laugh at himself.

          • preacher

            Well we’ll just have to laugh with him or for him but please, not at him.

          • Pubcrawler

            it’s probably getting local interference. You should get it recalibrated.

        • magnolia

          He is here to bait. Just look at his picture. If he scents a crack in the armour or a point at which he could hurt he goes for it, full tilt, even if he is wrong and it is water off a duck’s back. He expressed gladness at the deaths of Christian martyrs and used it to taunt people. He expressed sympathy with Judas. I really think at this stage there is not “something more” or at least you could waste a decade trying to unearth it at the bottom of the dung heap upon which this cockerel believes he is the singing master, as the French would say.

          It is not a matter of giving him grounds or not for his anger. He cares very little indeed about any of us. The anger is simply repackaged projected anger felt towards some of his closer acquaintances in his offline life.

          Pretty much a lost cause though there is nothing prayer cannot achieve……ultimately.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t let him get to you, Magnolia. While he is here, he is a representative of his unfortunate affliction. It is that which drives him. Tail wagging the dog, if you will. Allow him to present what his types are aiming at, which we don’t care for, a new gayer world, and the acid that involves.

          • magnolia

            He doesn’t get to me. It is all a game to him, with certain obvious methodology. Keep it to that level and nothing goes too wrong! He is not to be stroked, fed, allowed close, or pandered to!! So much is well understood!

            It is for those who know him offline to engage further.

          • preacher

            Hi Magnolia. I agree with you, I know that there is nothing that will work as far as engaging in discourse with him.
            But it seems we are agreed that prayer is the only answer.

            So often today, many Christians underestimate the power of heartfelt prayer. Really going into the throne room of the Lord Who we call our Father & begging Him to hear us & answer yes to our petitions.
            So much of the Bible points to the power of God which is released in answer to prayer. Jesus Himself spent hours in prayer, The apostles saw mighty things when they asked God to act.
            God has the resources that we lack, He can do anything, He spoke the Cosmos & our World into being.
            Revivals have broken out, without man’s planning, but in answer to the prayers of the weak or elderly.

            When Christians pray, the Devil trembles.
            In todays World with all the technology at our disposal, we organise – religious entertainment, in the hope that if we can emulate the World, we will bring in converts.
            It doesn’t work!.

            But it means that the prayer meeting is the worst attended & supported area of Christian ministry.
            We ignore prayer at our own peril. All the men & women of renown were first & foremost Prayer warriors.
            If there’s one thing that I could entreat the Christians on this Blog to do more of, it would be pray.

            Our host here has spent so much time & effort to enable us to reach a World Wide section of society with the gospel, that we must thank him for the opportunity he has provided & encourage the Global Church to roll it’s collective sleeves up & get praying.
            May God Bless You this Easter & for the rest of the year. P.

          • Inspector General

            Just in case prayer doesn’t work, preacher man, get your fists ready. It’s the Inspector’s way. “Fight the good fight, with ALL your might”, what!

          • preacher

            I’ve used them in the past, but why try & stop a tank with a pea shooter when you have a bazooka in your Bergen?.

            Many blessings on you Brother. P.

          • dannybhoy

            Happy Easter old chap!

          • magnolia

            Happy to pray, and do pray. It is enjoyable, if hard work at times, All the same John Wesley spent the first 4 hours of the day in prayer and said the Devil had the advantage of him if not. Most of us have neither the ability nor the aptitude to spend half or quarter of that if we are honest. And sometimes I have prayed for years about people, e.g alcoholics, and all that has been accomplished is a scraping into the right place at the last moment, and that with help from better prayers. I think we are all to some extent equal, but there are definite levels, and that whilst “the prayers of a righteous man are mighty in their effect”, and I have seen that, that does not go for all of us, or so it seems.

          • preacher

            I know, I’ve had trouble with prayer too. I think it’s a problem with the speed that everything goes at currently.
            We don’t have time to stop, we have all become so hyper-active that if it’s not instant we find it hard to wait.
            E.Mail, mobile phones, Euro Tunnel Express trains, the list is endless. But thinking of the amount of time that we spend when we talk to enquirers or exchange posts on sites like this, we’d probably save time by bringing the Lord in earlier than we do.
            I remember one of Cromwell’s Civil War Generals once prayed this revealing prayer before a Battle. “Dear Lord, you know how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, Do not thou forget me!”. He survived the Battle so maybe his prayer was answered.
            I think it’s like any discipline, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Patience & training are the answer.
            As Snoopy once commented in Peanuts “Diets always start tomorrow!” I believe that we could be amazed at what we’d see if we really got serious with God in prayer.
            God Bless you encourage you & keep you happy & safe @ this special time. P.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said preacher!

          • He wants to provoke you into anger. He feeds off it. It justifies him. Feel pity for him.

          • Anton

            On vigil this night Jack? Christ is risen, Hallelujah!

            Linus is not going to get me to lose my rag and I reply to him not least because many people read this blog without writing, and it is good for them to see that there are responses to the claims he makes.

          • DanJ0

            Dodo doesn’t like to think of the silent reader out there.

          • dannybhoy

            Alleluia, He is risen!

            May I wish all my brothers and sisters in Christ every blessing and a greater awareness of His love and His power in our lives..

            And to our resident doubters and deriders may God bless you and have mercy upon you.

            Especially L’Frenchie..

            Magnolia.

            You do understand I am not trying to excuse him or his utterances?

            He’s not going to be banned from this site, which in my ‘umble opinion is quite right, and he shows no inclination to leave, so what are we to do?
            Well, we can learn from him, because our responses tell us a lot about our own state of grace.

            We can accept him as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ and best of all we can pray for him and just love him anyway.

            Remember that rabbi Saul latterly the Apostle Paul, didn’t get off to a good start in Christian circles..

            “And Saul approved of his (Stephen’s) execution.
            And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.”

            Acts 8>

            “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
            Acts 9>

            I don’t think I could have loved Saul at that point, do you?

          • preacher

            Bless you Brother. Because you ARE a Blessing. have a happy Easter.

  • DanJ0

    I quite like Charles Moore’s article of today.

    • It is an interesting read, agreed.

    • David

      Agreed !
      The attempts of the angry atheists to ridicule him (Charles Moore) are both sad and ineffective. Their anger is incredible.

      • Atheism is a faith of despair. It’s adherents are alone, existentially isolated in the vastness of creation, clinging to human sensation to give life meaning. They despise faith; it exposes their self chosen abandonment. May God help them.

        • DanJ0

          Everyone is essentially alone but some of us are able to deal with it better than others. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc ought to just embrace the fact and get on with their lives if they can. It’s liberating to know that this is the only time we have and that it will come to an end at some point. It means that we ought to live in the moment, making the best of it whatever the circumstances. By which I don’t mean simply be hedonistic, which is your usual ignorant and incorrect interpretation, but to live life to the full as JS Mill and others recognised.

          • preacher

            Before I was a Christian, I used to enjoy being a loner, I think I enjoyed being independent & unanswerable to anyone.
            Nothing’s changed, I’m still a bit of a loner, just now I’m never alone I’ve got a friend who’s always there 7 I can trust 100%.
            Happy Easter D, & many more of ’em. P.

          • DanJ0

            Were you in despair?

          • preacher

            No, just enjoyed doing my own thing & still do.

      • DanJ0

        I haven’t read the comments, just the article. I don’t know why they should attack him as he generally writes very well, and his conversion to Roman Catholicism doesn’t seem to have damaged him too much. I’m an a-theist myself and I recommended the article. For me, he’s captured some truths in it: the reality of the relationship between society and Christianity through history, the often banal nature of art even when it is trying to provoke or shock, the use of sham trials by the self-righteous to do their own desires, the radical and challenging nature of Christianity at its core, and the nature of Easter which causes Christians to self-reflect every year in order to stop the typical drift towards self-righteousness.

    • CliveM

      Thanks for highlighting it. I wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise. It was interesting.

  • CliveM

    Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, the greatest day in the Christian Calendar. Today 2000 years ago the Desciples will have been tormented by their failure, frightened by the future and filled with the bleakest despair. They will have heard the Tormentors voice whispering in their ear, asking “where is your God, surely this is the proof that he either doesn’t exist or doesn’t care”.

    But we have the victory and tomorrow we will celebrate this fact.

    Let’s us ignore the tempters voice, he has already lost.

    • Inspector General

      The tormentors are here today too Clive…

      • CliveM

        And they are as irrelevant today as ultimately they were then Inspector :0)

      • Hah … ignore them.

  • David

    Let us all sleep soundly tonight knowing that tomorrow, 2000 years ago, Christ defeated death and sin and rebellion, for ever.
    Let His be the Glory !

  • preacher

    God has highly exalted Him & given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, Every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, & those on Earth, & of those under the Earth, & that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord ,to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

  • Easter Exsultet
    Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
    Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
    Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
    Sound the trumpet of salvation!

    Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
    radiant in the brightness of your King!
    Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
    Darkness vanishes for ever!

    Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
    The risen Savior shines upon you!
    Let this place resound with joy,
    echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

    It is truly right
    that with full hearts and minds and voices
    we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
    and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

    For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
    and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin
    to our eternal Father!

    This is our passover feast,
    when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
    whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

    This is the night when first you saved our fathers:
    you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
    and led them dry-shod through the sea.
    This is the night when the pillar of fire
    destroyed the darkness of sin!

    This is the night when Christians everywhere,
    washed clean of sin
    and freed from all defilement,
    are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

    This is the night when Jesus Christ
    broke the chains of death
    and rose triumphant from the grave.
    What good would life have been to us,
    had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

    Father, how wonderful your care for us!
    How boundless your merciful love!
    To ransom a slave
    you gave away your Son.

    O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
    which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

    Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God
    to see Christ rising from the dead!

    Of this night scripture says:
    “The night will be as clear as day:
    it will become my light, my joy.”

    The power of this holy night
    dispels all evil, washes guilt away,
    restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy;
    it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly
    pride.

    Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
    and man is reconciled with God!
    Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
    receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
    your Church’s solemn offering.

    Accept this Easter candle,
    a flame divided but undimmed,
    a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

    Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
    and continue bravely burning
    to dispel the darkness of this night!

    May the morning Star which never sets find this flame
    still burning:
    Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead,
    and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
    your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever.