Giles Fraser Faith Politics
Democracy

Giles Fraser: Would Jesus vote? Yes, but absolutely not Conservative

 

Anyone who thinks that Christianity and politics should never mix must be highly irritated at the moment. A week doesn’t seem to go by without some form of conference, event or launch where these two subjects take centre stage, giving media types more than enough to pontificate about in the process. As someone who has made a commitment to studying and discussing the matter on a regular basis, I have to say that I am greatly encouraged. As we head towards this year’s General Election, a growing movement is taking shape: the widespread involvement of Christians in politics, which has played such a crucial part in defining this nation’s history, is being rediscovered with a new-found passion and vigour.

Last Saturday saw the turn of Christian Aid, the Children’s Society and Greenbelt coming together for their first ‘Faith in Politics?‘ conference at London’s City Temple. Given the ethos of Greenbelt in particular, along with that of the Rev’d Giles Fraser and self-confessed ‘bearded lefty’ Dr Rowan Williams, who were the headline speakers, there was a good chance that the day was going to have a more Socialist flavour to it.

Certainly, during the opening sessions, any Ukip supporters would have been uncomfortably squirming in their seats as their party was targeted on several occasions. Giles Fraser, never one to hide his left-wing fervour, commented that “Nigel Farage wouldn’t recognise a Judaeo-Christian value if it bit him on the bottom”. Rowan Williams raised this too during his keynote speech. He talked of the “Ukip factor”, where a minority sets the agenda – in this case immigration – and the other parties respond by competing to be perceived as tougher than their neighbours. The result is an increased and unsubstantiated rise in anxiety which spreads with great ease. Dr Williams said there was a real need to deal with the “stupid stereotypes” that people live with. To counter these views he called for a theological anthropology from Christians, i.e., a restoration of trust in our fellow humans rooted in God’s trust in us. He added: “It’s not about – God forbid – protecting Judaeo-Christian values. You will search Scripture from end to end and you will not find the term Judaeo-Christian values… so for goodness’ sake let’s park that term.”

This was a curious thing to say when his entire address was centred about the need for more truth, trust, justice and other fundamental Judaeo-Christian values in our political system.

However, despite the bashing of Ukip, the most controversial topic of the day had nothing to do with the usual concerns that our politicians fight over. Instead it was whether or not Jesus would vote.

Giles Fraser was in no doubt: “Obviously yes,” he said. “I’m even puzzled why we would ask the question in the first place. Jesus was fully human, fully involved in the politics of his day.” Colin Bloom, Director of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and also on the panel. disagreed: “The answer that I have is that I don’t know. For nearly 2,000 years men and women standing on a soap box, holding a microphone or writing a blog have sought to speak for Jesus Christ in that kind of way. What we can speak about is this: What would His followers do and what should His followers do? And I think without any question that they should vote. If they have the opportunity to exercise a democratic vote then they should. Then it comes down to what kind of party should they vote for and what sort of person they should vote for. I’m pleased to tell you there are Christians in all parties and we mustn’t get seduced by the lazy narrative that says somehow Christianity is the preserve of one political party or one way of thinking.”

Fraser later responded: “I find it odd that you think that Jesus would be above the fray, beyond this conflict of party politics. The idea that (Jesus) walks five foot above where the rest of us walk and wouldn’t get his hands dirty, involved in the messy business, is actually a renunciation of the Incarnation. The whole point of God becoming fully human is that God is fully involved in the plumbing of our lives and that is politics. I’m not trying to say that this leads to any political conclusion about who you should vote for, but in the idea that, in theory, all political parties should be given the same treatment, and Colin does the same sort of relativism here where he goes there are Christians in this, there are Christians in that and there are Christians in the other party, well so what? Christians can be wrong. This could be actually leading to the conclusion ‘vote Tory’ – it isn’t.”

Talking about whether Jesus would vote is, of course, hypothetical, and at one level pointless: democracy didn’t exist in first-century Palestine. On another level, though, the conclusions we reach can potentially impact our attitude toward politics.

The danger with Giles Fraser’s thinking, despite his assertion that we can’t pin Jesus to one political party, is that by dismissing the alignments of some Christians involved in politics as being wrong, we come to the conclusion that Jesus would rule out voting for certain parties, and therefore so should we.

If Jesus were on earth in this country right now, there’s every reason to believe that He would be befriending politicians and engaging with our contemporary politics, but for Him to actually vote would cause all sorts of serious problems of allegiance. It would be similar to the Queen doing the same. As the theologian NT Wright recently said: “The question of whether Jesus would have voted is rather like asking whether the referee is allowed to score a goal in a football match.” Jesus was fully human and also fully divine. How could God in Jesus align Himself through the ballot box to one party, which could then potentially claim to have Him on their side? Every political party is flawed: none is perfect when it comes to questions of truth and justice. Jesus’ purity and holiness can never be contained within man-made structures.

But we are not God, and that makes things very different for us. We do get to vote, and there are decisions and consequences that go with that responsibility. Giles Fraser (and Lord Williams to a lesser extent) may think that Ukip and the Conservatives are not to be trusted, but there are plenty of Christians who have come to a different conclusion. The latest figures from the Evangelical Alliance put support for the Conservatives amongst Evangelicals at 28 per cent, and at 12 per cent for Ukip. Amongst Roman Catholics, who are traditionally the most left-leaning Christians, a recent poll found 29 per cent intend to vote Conservative and 13 per cent Ukip.

To dismiss outright such a large number of fellow Christians is anything but helpful. Christians ought to be willing to have sensible, grown-up discussions about the merits and failings of different political parties and the flaws in their policies without jumping in and accusing those they disagree with of being somehow mentally deficient or treating them as outcasts.

Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Democracy isn’t faultless, but we could certainly do a lot worse. It’s what we have and we need to make the most of it. None of us can say for sure whether Jesus would have voted or not, but through our imperfect system we have a chance to do our bit to bring God’s kingdom (Judaeo-Christian) values into the world. When it comes to poverty, injustice, freedom and respect for each other, our democracy gives us the opportunity to edge things in the right direction.

And just because some Christians believe that those values might just come from voting Ukip (or Green, or SNP), doesn’t mean they deserve to be belittled or to have their views peremptorily dismissed.

  • Albro

    Anyone who believes in Sky Fairies, should really not be allowed to vote

    • The Explorer

      Is belief in other sorts of fairies okay?

      • Albro

        Only those at the bottom of the garden. Any other are probably Spanish and will hybridize with the native ones. Ooops sorry thats Bluebells.

        • The Explorer

          Thank you for the clarification.

          • Miles Christianus

            Yes, unfortunately. But we can still have our Imaginary Friends, etc. etc. And apparently Darwin created fish with legs. True – seen it on really clever and witty bumper stickers.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I didn’t think fairies lived in the sky?

      • The Explorer

        Dawkins does. He also thinks there’s a flying spaghetti monster and an orbiting teapot.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          I guess that’s what happens when you don’t believe in a proper God

          • Miles Christianus

            Actually, I’ve never seen Dawkins. Does he exist?

          • Inspector General

            Until the Inspector has seen {ahem) his hole, he too will deny Dawkins existence.

    • saintmark

      Are the faeries in the Somerset woods okay then?

    • Inspector General

      Anyone who believes there is no higher authority than man in the vast unknown is rather limiting his perspective, don’t you think…

    • Little Black Censored

      Sky fairies in the very first comment! It usually takes a little longer. Albro perhaps some sort of prize.

  • Graham Wood

    Poor Giles Fraser and Rowan Williams with their confused and muddled theology of politics. Fraser posits the question: ” whether or not Jesus would vote.”
    Even to enter into such speculation serves no purpose and is far removed from the spiritual and bodily needs of people and their primary need to be reconciled to God through the Gospel message.
    However, we do have an inkling as to who he would NOT give his support to, but rather would condemn.
    To take but two examples: It is inconceivable that he would condone the blatant attacks by the official policies of all three main parties upon the divine right to life of the unborn child via infanticide by abortion. Or upon the sacrosanct status of heterosexual marriage (as opposed to Sodomy) which he ordained from Creation with all the concomitant evils which flow from this policy endorsed and encouraged by them? Upon the right of children to know and be nurtured by their natural parents?
    How can he who is “the resurrection and the life” support acts of blatant evil in its destruction?
    The Gospel informs us accordingly that he came to destroy the works of the devil not to perpetuate them.

    • Shadrach Fire

      It fails my understanding how anyone can vote for those who introduced SSM, adoption by same sex parents and anyone who wants to extend abortion.

      • Linus

        How do you extend abortion? Do you mean there’s a political party in the UK that supports infanticide? Is it Ukip? Are they proposing anti-immigrant pogroms targeted at kindergartens and primary schools?

        Wow! That’s a bit extreme. Doesn’t sound like a vote winner to me.

        • alternative_perspective

          If you accept abortion then logically there is no good reason not to kill the unborn right upto birth. The arbitrary cut-off being birth. But as any number of people have queried: what magical properties does passing through a vagina imbue the child?
          Thus the next fall back position is personhood but as rightly noted children do not develop a sense of person until many months into life, so why not allow infanticide. You joke but this IS the philosophical position of a number of atheistic ethicists from Oxford and no doubt held by a minority of likeminded MPs.
          Another argument is dependency but very few human beings are able to exists outwith soceity’s institutions and constructs and irrespective of how well you swim one if fully dependent on a ship whilst steaming across the Pacific.
          Whichever way you cut it limiting abortion, rather than outlawing it demands special pleading and for many the woman’s right to choose trumps every argument. So perhaps there are not parties advocating further liberalisation of the abortion laws but I’m absolutely certain there are MPs would would vote for it and a majority who would oppose and further restrictions.

          • Athanasius

            Didn’t that great Nobel-winning scientist (and, being a scientist, therefore an authority over our atheist friends who always make such a piety of “thinking for themselves”) James Watson once expound that newborn infants should not be declared human until they’d passed a series of tests, Spartan-like, thus allowing them to be killed with impunity if they didn’t make the grade?

        • Little Black Censored

          “Doesn’t sound like a vote winner to me.”
          Don’t give up hope!

  • Busy Mum

    “Nigel Farage wouldn’t recognise a Judaeo-Christian value if it bit him on the bottom”. Giles Fraser needs to remember that at the Judgment, he will have to account for every idle word.

    “He talked of the “Ukip factor”, where a minority sets the agenda” Rowan Williams needs to understand that the agenda being set by minorities is precisely why so many of us are turning to UKIP. Some minorities are clearly more equal than others in his book.

    • saintmark

      I’m sure Mr Fraser would not class you as a Christian if you’re voting for UKIP, he’d probable consider that you have lost your salvation or are a daughter of perdition

      • Busy Mum

        Too true – thankfully, ultimately it is God and not Mr Fraser who gets to decide whether or not somebody is a Christian.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Although Fraserburgh spoke harshly, I do doubt that Farage really would know what a Judeo/ChristIan society ìs. He probably just wants it the way it was when he was boy.

      • Busy Mum

        Regardless of Farage’s grasp of the subject, using language referring to human nether regions shows that Fraser’s grasp is even worse; somebody who lays claim to being a reverend should use language to match.

  • DaveL

    How easily Christians fall into a “Jesus would vote for the party *I* find most acceptable” mindset.

    Maybe he’d run as a candidate?!

    • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

      I should think he’d be more interested in helping people than sitting in a Palace deciding what people should do. Maybe our Archbishops could learn a little from that?

      • magnolia

        When Bishops live in a Palace, and few do, it is in a flat within the palace, and the rest is given over to diocesan offices or let out. Get with the times! You are several centuries out in your perceptions.

        By the way perhaps you are fine with men who kick footballs around a big field living in the equivalent of gated palaces (whilst holding no brief of responsibility for serious issues nor using their gardens for repeated community social events)? If you do not protest at the vacuity of a social order which promotes this you are a hypocrite yourself, but perhaps you had never stopped to think outside the box of your favoured prejudices.

      • Anton

        Quite so. Jesus does outrank Archbishops a little in church hierarchy, and He didn’t even have a house let alone a palace (Luke 9:58).

  • The Explorer

    Is the question “Would Jesus vote?” or “Does Jesus Vote?” I suppose it depends on whether or not you think Jesus is dead or alive.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Giles Fraser seems to be in tune with the values of the party that in local government in many English cities deliberately turned a blind eye to the mass rape of thousands of mainly white British girls over a period of more than ten years by men who were mainly muslims of Pakistani origin.

    Does he really think it is right to permit evil in order to maintain your politically correct credentials?

    • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

      Not surprising given the church’s record on covering up for paedophiles.

      • Anton

        Why was Chris Tavare so different in batting style for England and Kent?

      • alternative_perspective

        Do you know who Fraser works for?

        • Inspector General

          Marx?

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    Good to see the C of E keeping out of politics and dealing with the problems of poverty by selling it’s assets to support the poor.

    But answer me this: If the C of E has decided to pick sides why on Earth should a minority religion, and many would say a hypocritical and sexist one, be entitled to have seats in the House of Lords?

    • magnolia

      Nice cup of tea and a hobnob from Mrs Proudie, and a calm down in a comfy seat dear?

      There is a lovely facility to change typos and for those of us who squirm inwardly at the it’s when it doesn’t mean “it is” would you kindly change it to “its”. Thanks.

  • dannybhoy

    Interestingly, out of four UKIP activists I met with recently, three of us regularly attend Anglican churches and describe ourselves as Christians..
    Secondly, my personal problem with Socialism as a political philosophy is that it ignores the fallen, self centred nature of man.
    As practiced in this country it allows the growth of Union autocracy, growth of the benefits culture and growth and interference of the State. It paints the rich and successful and businesses as “the privileged and exploitative enemy,” and champions individual freedom over individual responsibility.
    Whenever this country votes in a labour government, they follow it up by electing a conservative government to clear up the mess.
    Lastly I can’t see any real Scriptural support for the socialist philosophy. The passages used by socialists are examples either of a theocratic society (OT) or from the early days of the Church.

  • Inspector General

    More prostitutes maids these modern so called priests than servants to
    Jesus. Isn’t it time Fraser did a ‘Bruce Kent’ and left the priesthood, if
    that’s what he calls it, and fully join up with the soft Marxists he so
    admires.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      The Marxists will have to be patient a little longer while he completes his priestly progression from not understanding Jesus to totally denying Him

      • The Explorer

        The Marxists should be good at patience. The withering away of the state has been an awfully long time coming; and, if anything, seems to be heading in a direction that is the opposite of Marx’s predictions.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Giles Fraser’s “understanding” of Jesus is bizarre to say the least. The question of whether He would have voted is about as useful as which supermarket He would shop at. Fraser is one of those people who constantly try to bring God down to a human level. He expects God to think as he does. He does not seem to believe that Jesus could take a completely different view of politics. All political parties and their supporters are part of a fallen nature. Why would Jesus have endorsed one group of sinners in preference to another group?

    • dannybhoy

      I agree with that, and I think Len said something similar last week.
      My own minor involvement in politics is based on the Scriptural injunction to be salt and light, also that like it or not our own lives are inextricably linked with the world.
      So having been unemployed several times -once for two years- I was grateful for tax payer funded benefits.
      Having had long term asthma and now COPD I am grateful for the NHS.
      I am grateful I live in a still free society offering all kinds of opportunities and affording protection and the rule of law.
      So I don’t see how Christians can avoid being involved with society , even though our main responsibility is to serve God and share the Gospel of salvation. Our Christian forefathers who helped shape and improve society saw no contradiction and neither do I.

  • Albert

    Great post! Fraser says:

    Jesus was fully human, fully involved in the politics of his day.

    This perhaps signals the fundamental fallacy in liberal theology – Jesus is a human being, therefore whatever I am like and experience, as a human being, Jesus also experienced. The incarnation just doesn’t work like that. He shows us what it is to be human, he isn’t trapped by our ignorant and sinful half-life as a human being.

    Having said all that, I suspect (although for quite different reasons) that Jesus would not vote Conservative. But the question of who Jesus would vote for, is really just a way of emphasizing one’s own opinion. The truth is, we just don’t know – we have to answer in our own consciences, not in his.

    • Inspector General

      The idea that Jesus would involve himself in one of man’s divisive constructs, to wit, a political party, is ludicrous.

  • preacher

    Just typical of the ‘New Age’ teaching that is rampant in many Churches today.
    They have never preached the gospel, because they don’t know it or simply, they aren’t Christians & don’t care.
    I wonder when we’ll see Clegg, Milly & Cameron attempt to walk across the Thames or even to Brussels. Now that would be interesting for starters. LOL!

    • Inspector General

      One thinks most have dispensed with irrelevances to modern life, sadly, to free themselves to do secular work for the people who apparently have had enough of eternal truths.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      “I wonder when we’ll see Clegg, Milly & Cameron attempt to walk across the Thames ”
      Now that would be a sight worthy of the TV licence fee. No lifeboats allowed though. 🙂

  • sarky

    Isn’t ‘would jesus vote’ the wrong question? If jesus is god and therfore all knowing, he would know the outcome of the election therfore making his vote pointless. The question should surely then be ‘would jesus influence the vote’?

    • Inspector General

      One tends to view Jesus as of God rather than God, and therefore would not be all knowing as such.

      • Oh dear ………

        • Inspector General

          Time to run away and hide, what!

          • There is no hiding place, Inspector.

          • Inspector General

            It’s the Trinity you see. Makes no sense. Never did. Jesus himself said that his father is God. The Inspector for one takes his word on that. A direct creation by the almighty on this earth, in other words. It’s all there. It all fits.

          • sarky

            How not? Even I understand it. Cannot water also be steam and ice?

          • Inspector General

            One has reached a higher level of understanding. Christ’s divinity is not in doubt. He is immortal. As one said, Jesus is of God but not God.

          • Linus

            Isn’t that Arianism?

            This from a Germanophobe…

          • The Explorer

            No. The essence of Arianism is that Christ was not eternal, but was created before the ages by the Father as an instrument for the making of the world

          • Linus

            Ah yes, so the Inspector would be an Anomoean then? Or a Heterousian?

            I’m a bit weak on Christian heresies. I have enough problems with the faith itself without looking for more in the various sects and variants that have peeled off from it down the ages.

          • The Explorer

            About the only thing we can’t get him for (but give him time) is Theopaschitism

          • Inspector General

            One could be flippant and say ‘working on that one’ but no. One is earnest in his offerings today.

          • The Explorer

            One that might interest you is the Heresy of the Free Spirit. Very French one, that: a Gallic variant of Apollinarianism. It’s associated with Marguerite Porete. She was burned for it, of course: at the Place des Graves in Paris in 1310.

          • Linus

            You mean the place de Grève, which is now the place de l’Hôtel de Ville. That’s where most of the people murdered by the Church (sorry, by the civil authorities after having been condemned for heresy by the Church, which amounts to the same thing – no sanctuary for heretics, eh?) were put to death.

            The story of Marguerite Porete ou Perette is well known as she was the first victim of the Church to be burned on the place de Grève. I know little about her supposed heresy however, but a little light reading will soon remedy that. My apartment is about a 5 minute walk from the Hôtel de Ville. Next time I walk through the square in front of it, I’ll think of poor Marguerite and what she suffered at the hands of a cruel, ignorant and benighted clergy.

          • The Explorer

            Place de Grève indeed. My apologies for the error.

          • dannybhoy

            “Wot?”
            This from a Cockney..

          • carl jacobs

            Jack?

            Doctrinal clean-up on aisle two.

          • Lol ……. oh for the days of the Inquisition.

            One notes Anton is taking responsibility for the Inspector’s imaginings religious enlightenment. One wishes him many hours, and hours, of edification.

          • carl jacobs

            Well, he claims to be Catholic so he’s your responsibility.

          • Jack is leaving it to the Holy Spirit, Carl.

          • Inspector General

            Ah yes, the Holy Spirit. Angelic activity at the behest of God. One is at a loss why more use was not made of angels by the early theologians. There are nine choirs of the things. They were divinely created for a purpose…

          • The Explorer

            Docetism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism: the Inspector is expressing them all, and he doesn’t even know it.

          • Inspector General

            The RCC is an excellent vehicle to adhere to for the purposes of worshipping God. One can thoroughly recommend it. The Inspector would rather not speculate on the soundness of what is called the protesting faiths.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s modalism, Sarky.

          • sarky

            No its not. All three are coexistant.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Actually I am not convinced that the Inspector General doesn’t have a point. Wouldn’t the nature of the Incarnation impose some limitations on Jesus? Before His Ascension he would not have been able to be in two places at once. He experienced hunger, thirst, physical exhaustion and great pain. God the Father would not experience those things. He also experienced temptation, something that the Father would not experience.

          Jesus himself said something that implied that he was not all-knowing. When talking about the end of this Age and his second coming he said he did not know exactly when that would be and only the Father knew.

          • sarky

            So he was just a man then. Makes more sense.

          • Royinsouthwest

            That was not what I wrote nor was it what I meant. An electron is both a particle and a wave. Of course waves and particles have very different properties and the properties exhibited by electrons depend on what physicists are trying to observe. Physicists can only observe wave properties or particle properties, not both simultaneously. But electrons do not change their nature according to what physicists are doing.

          • Inspector General

            He was rather more than just a man, even you must admit that.

          • Inspector General

            One bestows upon Jesus the rank of archangel. His presence on earth was as much a learning curve for him as he came to appreciate his extraordinary powers, as it was for mankind to hear him. Even right at the end, when in his pain and fright he called out to God for having abandoned him, he still didn’t realise that he was immortal. You cannot kill an archangel.

          • Royinsouthwest

            I think archangels, like us, are creations of God whereas, to use a phrase from one of John Wesley’s hymns, Jesus was begotten not created.

          • Inspector General

            ‘begotten not created’ is from man’s view. We should have paid greater attention to what Jesus said he was about. We (mankind) couldn’t even get that right. Rather typical of us…

          • Anton

            Archangel is a rank within the category of angels but Jesus is not an angel. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe he is, but they reason from the same scriptures as Trinitarian Christians and reach the extraordinary conclusion that Jesus is the Archangel Michael. Is the Inspector a Jehovah’s Witness?

          • Inspector General

            No. Jesus was a direct creation by God, and not Michael.

          • carl jacobs

            One person.. Two natures. We neither divide the person nor confound the natures. Jesus is both infinite eternal God and finite limited man. He is not God stuffed into a human body. He is not a divine man. He is both God and man. It’s called the hypostatic Union and we do not comprehend it.

          • Inspector General

            We bestowed upon Jesus the godship that only the Almighty can lay claim to. Jesus did not ask us to do that for him.

          • The Explorer

            He forgave sins: something only God has the right to do. How about, “Before Abraham was, I am,” for a provocative statement.

          • Inspector General

            The forgiveness of sins would be in a son of God’s remit. No problem there then.

          • The Explorer

            It caused controversy. See ‘Luke’ 7:49.

          • Anton

            But he didn’t criticise Thomas for calling him “My Lord and God” in John 20 did he? And you can be sure he would have done if Thomas had been wrong about such an important matter.

          • Inspector General

            Chalk one up for your side Anton.

          • Inspector General

            Jesus would be interested from where all that came from. As he didn’t say it himself.

          • carl jacobs

            And so when He said “Before Abraham was, I am” to what did He refer?

            When He said “I am the first and the last, the Living one. I am He who was, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive forevermore. And I hold the keys to death and hell” to what did He refer?

          • Inspector General

            When this man here said that Jesus is of God, he meant it. Jesus was always part of God before becoming extant in his own right.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s not what He said. He declared Himself the First and the Last. That is a direct claim of Deity. He isn’t saying He is part of God. He is claiming to be God.

          • Inspector General

            Step forward Carl Jacobs….

            Everybody, this remarkable man understands Jesus IN FULL. Frank, out of that seat, Christ’s real vicar is flying over…

          • You should pay attention to Carl.

            How can you have gone 55 years with your head in the sand about the Incarnation? You claim to be a devotee of the TLM. Is it the Latin that stopped you paying attention? Or is just the tradition you cling to?

          • Now you’re confusing yourself, Inspector.

            What you actually said was: “Jesus was a direct creation by God …”

          • Inspector General

            The problem with the early theologians was that they just couldn’t allow “We don’t know that” or “it’s a mystery, that one” to be an option. So you end up with the Trinity to tie everything together, sort of, in a way, of a fashion… The Inspector could go on but you’ve got the message.

          • Who are you to Fudge, Inspector?

          • Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear ……….

          • Anton

            Isaiah 9:6 says that a child will be born who will be called “mighty God”. Supposing that this is Jesus, and that the calling of him as divine is accurate (the prophecy is portrayed positively not as idolatry) then Jesus is God. And not therefore created.

            I completely agree that the Trinity is mind-blowing. Get used to it!

          • Inspector General

            ‘Called’ mighty God. Not necessarily IS mighty God. Isaiah wasn’t wrong, was he…

          • Anton

            If he is not mighty God then Isaiah would have portrayed people calling him such as idolatry, but the portrayal is unambiguously positive.

          • Oh dear, oh dear …….

          • The Explorer

            Seconded.

          • Been talking to Jehovah Witnesses, Inspector?

          • Roy, Jack thinks you need to brush a bit on your Christology and the nature of the Incarnation. As for the Inspector, he’s in a world of his own on these matters. Slept through his religious education, one suspects.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          And He is definitely English…

        • Dominic Stockford

          Oh dear indeed – sounds a bit Unitarian to me…

    • The Explorer

      It’s a profound theological question, and all credit to you for posing it. The Jesus of the Gospels expresses surprise at unexpected faith, and disappointment at lack of faith. He asks, “Who touched me?” of the haemorraging woman.

      • sarky

        I only ask because surely any ‘influence’ by jesus would then interfere with our free will. In my own humble opinion, as free will is an integral part of what it is to be human, god/jesus would leave any matters, such as elections, to us and not look to impose any kind of influence.

        • The Explorer

          That’s an even more profound question. I’m not going there, other than to say that if people choose to ignore God, God respects them enough to leave them to it. That is my understanding of Hell. That may be the way in which God influences a nation’s vote: by allowing the dignity of terrible choices.

  • Anton

    Rowan Williams stated that “You will search Scripture from end to end and you will not find the term Judaeo-Christian values… so for goodness’ sake let’s park that term.”

    Thankfully Rowan Williams, who apparently knows how to use a concordance but not how to read scripture, has been “parked” as Archbishop of Canterbury.

    The Law of Moses is the source of most of these values: the king to be under the law like everyone else, for instance, because each person is in the image of God. Witnesses are needed before conviction can be made.

    Christians from other cultures recognise a continuing legacy of the effect of the Bible on national life in the West. Vishal Mangalwadi, for example, is an Indian Christian who has been imprisoned for standing up against the caste system and has degrees in both Eastern and Western philosophy. Much of his writing is about the origin of Western values in the Bible and their coming to India – however imperfectly – with the British Raj.

    And slavery was abolished by Christians campaigning passionately on the Bible with such verses as the golden rule of reciprocal treatment (Matt 7:12). Although the pro-slavery party 200 years ago also quoted Bible verses it did not require great expertise in theology to debunk their arguments. The Bible is not infinitely flexible, for if it were then it would have no meaning whatsoever. Unfortunately that is the tacit position of theological liberals like Rowan Williams, who have taken a good salary from the collection plates of the faithful while sowing doubt. Frankly it makes me angry, but I accept the constraints of my Lord over how to express that anger, for “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”.

    • alternative_perspective

      “Bible is not infinitely flexible, for if it were then it would have no meaning whatsoever. Unfortunately that is the tacit position of theological liberals like Rowan Williams, who have taken a good salary from the collection plates of the faithful while sowing doubt”
      Excellent observation.

  • Anton

    I do think that “Would Jesus vote, and if so then how?” is a great question. But let us be wary of people who claim to know the answer.

  • Dominic Stockford

    We have to exercise great care in voting. If someone has signed up to a clear statement to support the teaching of Scripture on various moral issues, then we have a good start. Further, we should remember that we are not voting for a party but for an individual – and individuals when encouraged, can vote according to their own conscience and disregard whatever ‘party banner’ they started off under.

    However, the matter of Nicky Morgan should give us all pause for thought. Stepping into the role as a self-declared Christian she has done nothing for Christians and everything for secularism.

    The question ends up, who can I vote for, who is not only declared as a Christian, but will ‘dare to be a Daniel’, and act as one as well.

    As ABCranmer says, Jesus simply wouldn’t have voted.

    • Are Roman Catholic’s Christian, Dominic?

      • Anton

        Jack, your use of the apostrophe is a catastrophe.

        • Eh?

          • Anton

            Ah, you’ve edited it out! That plural referring to “Roman Catholic’s”

          • Linus

            I can still see it.

            Sad Jack is a Scot. He’s proud of the torture he inflicts on the English language. It’s all part of the vengeance he feels he has to inflict on the hereditary enemy. Never mind that his bible tells him that vengeance belongs to the Lord. Some hatreds run deeper than religion.

          • *sigh*

            – For the silent reader –

            Jack is Jewish-Irish and is a stranger in a foreign land, i.e. Scotland.

          • Linus

            Irish, Scottish, same difference. They’re all bitter and tremulous Celts itching to get their own back on the dominant colonial power. We have the same problem here with the Bretons and the Basques. These peripheral peoples don’t half carry a grudge…

          • Royinsouthwest

            The Bretons and the Basques have plenty of reason to bear grudges for the way in which the French tried until quite recently to suppress their languages and cultures.

          • Linus

            They shouldn’t be vengeful if they’re Christian. They’re supposed to forgive and forget and be sweet little baa-lambs towards us. It says so in the Bible, doesn’t it?

            Of course the Bretons, Christian or not, are not distinguished by their baa-lamb-like attitude. Quite the reverse. A greater percentage of the Breton population claims to be Christian than the national average, and a lot of their cultural identity is based around Christian observance, for example the annual Chemins du Tro Breizh pilgrimage. And still they continue to be pugnacious and unpleasant towards the rest of the French, and talk in that odd language of theirs whenever a Parisian comes into their bar or restaurant … and you just know they were all speaking French before you walked in.

            I don’t know the Basques well enough to comment, but I’m reliably told it isn’t much different there. Perhaps even worse given the semi-independent state that eggs them on from the Spanish side of the border.

            So whatever happened to Christian forgiveness?

          • magnolia

            ” …be sweet little baa-lambs towards us.” Not quite. Not being deflected by rancour is one thing, being a doormat is another. Christian forgiveness is a very particular animal, and I think you have maybe not studied its stripes or been compelled to live within its skin.

            Was Jesus instantly docile towards the moneychangers in the Temple? Did he fold before the asking of hard questions, or turn them back on his opponents in ways they had never expected to follow and ponder what Jesus did, and he whilst simultaneously making them assess their own closeness or not to
            the Kingdom of Heaven. We are asked to be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” How? By attempting, in the power of the Spirit, to increasingly follow Jesus- who very clearly was no wet blanket.

          • Linus

            France has long since repented of and apologized for what happened in Brittany and the Basque Country. Laws have been changed and local languages are now promoted rather than repressed.

            In the face of plenary repentance, should the true Christian response be moody resentment and constant harping on errors committed in the past? WWJD?

          • magnolia

            I see it took you an hour to convert to the point of view that “What would Jesus do?” is a sensible and solid question!

            I am never in favour of moody resentment nor rancour, even when I do it myself!

            Good for the French if they started treating the Bretons better; I was disputing the assumptions behind the phrase of yours I quoted and don’t know a lot about the particular dispute, though I have also encountered the “change the language in the pub” phenomenon in Jersey, Guernsey and N.Wales. It always feels a little silly…

          • Eh?

          • Anton

            Et iterum: from a comment of Jack’s on the preceding thread as accessed at 1330 on 4th March 2015:: “Jack has browsed some of these ‘testimonies’. The one’s he’s read, all contain distortions of Roman Catholic teaching.”

          • Eh?

          • Anton

            Jack, please say more than “Eh?” and I’ll attempt to be more constructive. I credit you with literacy so I am now wondering if you have a nonstandard keyboard or a software incompatibility of some sort.

          • Happy Jack

            Grrr ……..

          • Dominic Stockford

            Thank you for making me aware. It is interesting that as an ex-Roman priest I probably have a rather better idea about it than the vast majority of those still RC’s!

          • Ummm …. not if your ‘testimony’ is anything to go by. It’s a gross misrepresentation and caricature of the Catholic faith.

          • Dominic Stockford

            They know you well here. Your answer was predicted, almost to the word.

          • Come now, Dominic, don’t be so sheepish. At least Jack speaks his mind and doesn’t spin words. And as he’s said, Jack has read your account and it is riddled with fundamental misrepresentations of the faith.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I have been taking the funeral of one of our congregation members – as far as I can know I shall be meeting her again in the future.

        At risk of starting the Reformation conflict all over again…

        I subscribe to the Doctrines of Grace, as well as the 39 Articles of the Free Church of England, & the 13 Articles of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion – I also hold the Savoy Declaration to be a ‘jolly good’ statement of faith, as is the Westminster Confession. I also believe the Holy Bible to be inerrant and infallible of itself, and requires no interpretation of man beyond that which the Holy Spirit guides true believers into. It is God’s Word, and He is God, after all.

        Holding to any one of which (above) would mean that I would not hold the Church of Rome to be a Christian Church – it preaches “another gospel”. Galatians 1:9.

        As to an individual, although I would, on the whole, not find it possible that an individual who subscribes to all Romish Doctrine could be a Christian, there are many members of that body who, though not accepting Roman Doctrine on matters that undermine the saving power of the Completed Works of Jesus Christ alone, still (for reasons that therefore baffle me) remain members of the Church of Rome. They could therefore be Christian.

        • That’s a “No” then once one strips out all the dancing around.
          “Romish Doctrine”, how terribly quaint.
          Since you’re assessing the faith of others, how about another Church you left, the Church of England? Jack seems to recall reading you consider only 2% of the population to be Christian.

          • Dominic Stockford

            When it comes to clarity my answer wasn’t no, it was ‘probably not’ – which is rather different.

            The CofE doesn’t have the same doctrinal issues built in, which could create a different result.

            This country is full of people who think that they are Christian because they want to be, or because they are in one denomination or another. But when the Bible’s teaching is considered we find that denominationality ends up having no real bearing on it.

    • IanCad

      ” — we should remember that we are not voting for a party but for an individual — “
      You have the heart of the matter Dominic.
      Something all too often forgotten – Representative Government.

      • James60498 .

        Are we? Yes. I know theoretically that we are, and I was happy that for most of the early years when I was a member of the Conservative Party my MP was pro-life and shared many of my other views too.

        My current Conservative MP is conservative and has a good voting record including various rebellions. Assuming that none of the other candidates with a chance of winning are solidly pro-life then I would probably have voted for him.

        BUT. In the last six weeks or so I have received four items of post from the Conservative Party.
        One was a letter from Cameron.
        One was a “joint letter” from the MP and Cameron which had clearly come from Tory HQ.
        The other two were leaflets setting it up as Cameron v. Miliband.

        This is a clear attempt at turning it into a Presidential election. And I wouldn’t vote for Cameron, for all the tea in China as my grandma used to say.

        So, whilst I agree that we are nominally voting for an individual the Tories are attempting like never before to make the individual their appalling leader. So I will have to look further.

        • IanCad

          True; we are participating in a quasi-presidential system.
          Made all the more so by the prospect of a referendum.
          An exercise that should be no part of our political system.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Some areas have in recent years voted in independent candidates in local elections. Time to get some independent candidates in parliament too.

  • “How could God in Jesus align Himself through the ballot box to one party, which could then potentially claim to have Him on their side?

    Never heard of the secret ballot, Gillan? Jesus said: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Is voting rendering unto Caesar or is it a way to defend and promote His Kingdom?

    • Correct me if I’m wrong Happy Jack, but I don’t recall Jesus aligning himself with any group that existed at the time. He had his own agenda and promoted it accordingly. I can’t imagine it being any different if he was here now.

      • Linus

        Sad Jack wa’sn’t (sic) around then. If Je’su’s (sic) came back today, of cour’se (sic) he’d join the Mon’ster (sic) Raving Catholic Party, or whatever Sad Jack call’s (sic) hi’s (sic) politico-religiou’s (sic) movement of one.

        • Happy Jack

          You are trying Happy Jack’s patience, Linus.

          • Linus

            I thought you’d wa’shed (sic) your hand’s (sic) of me, Sad Jack.

            You ju’st (sic) can’t keep away, can you? Like a moth to a flame…

          • The Explorer

            I’m getting sic of reading this.

          • Linus

            Tee hee!

            I’ve made my point then…

          • Happy Jack

            “Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.”

          • Linus

            More borrowed words from the ultimate narcissist who believes that God believes everything he does. Which came first, I wonder? God or Sad Jack? Or are we dealing with one and the same entity and Sad Jack is just his latest avatar?

          • Happy Jack

            “People with narcissistic personality disorder often display snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes.”

          • Linus

            Keep on gazing in the mirror, Sad Jack. It seems to be dawning on you slowly, but one day you may see yourself as others do.

          • Happy Jack

            “A person with a narcissistic personality disorder will have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. He may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, he may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make himself appear superior. Or he may feel depressed and moody because he falls short of perfection.”

          • The Explorer

            Wasn’t Echo the companion of Narcissus? Expect a similar-sounding reply to what you’ve said.

          • Linus

            Such soul baring is unusual from Sad Jack. Sociopaths are rarely so honest with themselves. Maybe there’s hope for him yet … although at his age, it’s unlikely.

          • Happy Jack

            “Narcissists don’t get jokes and they don’t make jokes, except for sarcastic cracks and the lamest puns. This is because, lacking empathy, they don’t get the context and affect of words or actions, and jokes, humour, comedy depend entirely on context and affect. They specialize in sarcasm about others and mistake it for wit, but narcissists are entirely incapable of irony.

            They come mighty close to parody in their pretensions and pretending, so that they can be very funny without knowing it.”

          • Linus

            More confessions from Sad Jack. He knows himself better than I realized. And yet he still persists in his pathetic attempts to manipulate others.

            What amuses me the most is his incapacity to follow through on his own histrionic vows. He’d washed his hands of me. And yet here he is rising to the bait and snapping like a crazed, yet clearly geriatric and increasingly senile shark. Full marks for consistency, Sad Jack. Say one thing and do another, eh? Why, you could almost be a Catholic priest.

          • Happy Jack

            “Narcissistic patients try to sustain an image of perfection and personal invincibility for themselves and attempt to project that impression to others as well.

            The narcissistic patient’s will have contemptuous disregard for the physician, who is denigrated in a defensive effort to maintain a sense of superiority and mastery. Only the most senior physician in a prestigious institution is deemed worthy of respect as the frightened patient seeks an external reflection of his or her own fragile grandeur in the doctor. More junior members of the health care team may be the targets of derision as the patient seeks to establish hierarchical dominance in order to counter the shame and fear triggered by illness.”

          • Linus

            So we have to add delusions of grandeur to narcissism and sociopathy in your catalogue of personal mental disorders, do we Sad Jack?

            Of course that’s just the opinion of a private individual. I’m not a mental health professional. A real physician does not diagnose someone he’s never met over the Internet. How could he when he has no background on and no knowledge of the person? To do so would be to contravene every professional code of conduct known to the medical profession.

            If you had any kind of mental health qualification, what you’re doing right now, if you weren’t doing it under the cover of anonymity, would see you struck off immediately and permanently as the careless, dangerous, manipulative and deeply unintelligent fool you are.

            With every amateur “Psych 101” pronouncement you write, you sink deeper into your own trap. The sociopath who’s so messed up that he treats anyone who disagrees with him as sick in the head because he can only see the world around him through the lens of his own sociopathy. That’s not a medical opinion, but it’s clear enough for anyone with a gram of common sense to see.

          • Happy Jack

            Oooooooooo ….. hit a nerve.
            Poor Linus.

          • Linus

            I don’t mind if you hit your own nerves, Sad Jack. All this public self-harming hurts nobody but you.

          • Happy Jack

            Happy Jack has; it’s your narcissism that causes you to think otherwise and to flaunt yourself this way for his attention.

          • DanJ0

            It’s like a holiday for me at the moment. 🙂

        • The Explorer

          Sic post, Linus.

      • Good afternoon, Gillan.

        Happy Jack was supporting your point, not disputing it. It’s unlikely Jesus would publically campaign for or align Himself with a particular party. One suspects He would pose some challenging questions for candidates, as He did in His day to leaders of the various Jewish groups.

        Would He vote? Who knows? Jack suspects He might but, and this is the point Jack was making, votes are secret so He wouldn’t be seen to be aligning Himself with a particular party.

        Hope this clarifies matters.

      • Dominic Stockford

        So much so that he was executed, and the vast majority, VAST majority, said ‘good riddance’.

  • Linus

    WWJD? is such a pointless question. Why even bother asking it if you know that he would do exactly what you decide is right?

    Voilà the entire history of Christianity and its many schisms explained in 4 letters and a punctuation mark…

  • Mike Stallard

    An obvious point which is often forgotten:
    If I identify with the Labour Party, I am cutting myself from all the other parties, even the Greens. It is absolutely no accident that when the Church of England was the Tory Party at prayer, Methodism and non conformity flourished. Surely the Church ought to be greater than one political party?
    My own vote will be cast, of course. But I shall not be discussing it with anyone else. It is my business.

    • chiefofsinners

      Amen. Christians find enough to disagree about without bringing politics into it.

  • Kiran Page Singh Lotay

    This article made me think of this passage in Joshua. It’s actually quite instructive.

    “Once when Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you one of us, or one of our adversaries?” He replied, “Neither; but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and he said to him, “What do you command your servant, my lord?”” – Joshua 5:13-14

    God is neither aloof and above our political process nor willing to “take our side”. He works his purposes out, and we seek to listen to his words and obey him.

  • Anton

    Mr Fraser is confident which party Jesus would vote for. Is he as confident which church Jesus would attend?

    • Dominic Stockford

      There is a novel about that – called “Joshua” I think. fascinating.

      He ends up starting his own!!!!!

  • carl jacobs

    The Lord Jesus is a King. He doesn’t vote. He reigns. The question is fundamentally flawed.

    • Linus

      Isn’t that monarchism?

      This from an American…

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, it is. And you yourself will proclaim Him the rightful King.

        • Linus

          You’ll have a hard time persuading a Frenchman to recognize a monarchical form of government. By what right does this Jesus fellow claim to reign? Anyone can say “my father created you and the world and everything in it, so it all belongs to me”. They can say it, but can they prove it? The burden of proof weighing on such a claim is enormous.

          Of course, if I’m presented with convincing proof, I may well have to concede the point and proclaim this Jesus person as king. But I still won’t like the idea. Kings are naff.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            You have a monarchical form of government – it’s just that you change the head of it more frequently than the Grim Reaper does ours…

          • carl jacobs

            The guillotine is quite effective at promoting a change of heads.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Ah yes indeed, dear Carl…

          • Linus

            When did you last vote for your head of state?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Well if we did, and you put your name forward, I think you’d make an excellent queen…

          • Linus

            Thank you, but monarchy is not a career I aspire to. Look elsewhere for someone to play a pantomime dame loaded down with bullion and vulgar, Russian oligarch-style gemstones. I’m sure the estimable and flamboyant Grayson Perry would have a crack at the job if you offered it to him.

          • alternative_perspective

            I am always in awe at the arrogance of people who would talk down to God.
            Linus, even if you were at the resurrection you wouldn’t believe. Your choice is rooted in blind will disguided by a pseudo-rationalism.
            You talk about burdens of proof but, as an atheist, you make an absolutist claim to the non-existence of God whitout presenting any evidence for the claim. Moreover, the Christian can point to natural theology: the cosmological, teleological, moral and ontological arguments for God’s existence and many more. The Christian can point to the witness of the church, to the countless millions of personal testimonies: ranging from the gentle to the out right miraculous and critically the Bible.
            The atheist is left trying to rebut each of these but usually just ignores and dismisses them out of hand (how foolish). Moreover by positing an absolute (there is no god) whilst simultaneously deniying the existence of absolutes; the atheist is forced to build their beliefs on a self-refuting argument (how foolish).
            And finally the atheist is left with a burden of proof to prove this absolute but what tests and knowledge could possibly be arranged to prove the existence of a being who describes himself as immaterial, love, other and who deliberately hides from the arrogant and who only reveals himself to the diligent seaker who humbly asks: “are you there”. Clearly there are no test, no arguments and the body of knowledge required is infinite.
            Now perhaps you will retort to agnosticism, fair enough: an intellectually honest seeker is a good thing. But let us be very cleay: there is a world of difference between the absolutist atheist and the agnostic. Now before you fall back, on the frankly meaningless, defence that atheism simply means “without god of gods” I would point out that cats and nematodes share that self same state – its a vacuous point.
            Perhaps before demanding God shows up and puts on a West End musical for your entertainment you should critique your own assumptions and the burdens of proof already laid upon your supremely-confident self.

          • sarky

            Linus is not the one making fantastic claims, therfore the burden of proof is on you!

          • William Lewis

            Linus claims that the balance of probabilities indicate that there is no God. Is that not fantastic?

          • DanJ0

            The chances of it being the god of the Bible seem rather long to me. The scale is all wrong, for starters. It probably worked for people in the Bronze Age when our planet was the centre of the universe but we know it’s not now and we know that the universe dwarfs us beyond our imagining. An unknown creator thing which may or may not have immanence, perhaps so.

          • William Lewis

            What would be a suitable scale for a God-created universe?

          • DanJ0

            We can’t even see parts of it with our most powerful detectors! Yet this is a theistic god who cares deeply what every single one of us does in the bedroom, amongst a whole raft of other trivial things.

          • William Lewis

            Perhaps the God that exists outside of space and time cares little for the relative size and age of a man but rather more for the love contained therein?

          • dannybhoy

            Good one William!

          • William Lewis

            Thanks, dannybhoy

          • sarky

            And if that love is contained within an atheist?

          • William Lewis

            What does an atheist believe is the purpose of his/her love? Where do they think it has come from?

          • DanJ0

            I feel love too, and I care. Perhaps you ought to localise that aspect of your god hypothesis and recognise it applies to human experience even in the absence of your god.

          • William Lewis

            The love you feel is, apparently, a set of complex molecular reactions “designed” by a random process to preserve the information contained within your DNA. Think nothing of it!

          • DanJ0

            The classic mistake of a religionist who doesn’t understand the basics of evolution by natural selection. This ranks just below saying we’re all descended from monkeys.

          • William Lewis

            I’m not sure what you are getting at here. Just because the love that you feel has passed through the filter of natural selection, doesn’t mean that its generation was any less accidental. It just means that it has some kind of link or affinity with some of the other filtered, randomly generated biological functions.

          • The Explorer

            Is it an either/or issue? Why not the big things as well as the little ones. Along the lines of, “He who can be trusted with little things can also be trusted with great things.”?

          • Inspector General

            Shouldn’t think God peeps into bedrooms. If we are created in his image, then the almighty would appreciate privacy.

          • “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

          • dannybhoy

            But DanJ0, us Christians accept all of that. We believe that however vast the universe is, God is bigger. That’s the beautiful thing.
            Not only that, but God doesn’t think that we are trivial or “matter in motion.” He values you and me so highly that He sent His Son into the world as a man to die for us and offer us eternal life with Him.

          • sarky

            Don’t understand why he couldn’t have just forgiven is without getting his son brutalised and murdered.

          • The Explorer

            Presumably, if He could have He would have.

          • sarky

            What do you mean if he could have? He’s god!

          • The Explorer

            Another profound question. Are there limits to what God can do? Can he force people to love Him if he has given them free will? Can He deny His own Nature? Can he declare a circle a square? Is spiritual reality such that He cannot ignore sin?

          • God cannot contradict His own nature. That is His only limitation. How to give His creation – men and angels – free will without contradicting His nature?

          • The Explorer

            Agreed. I thought that, effectively, was what I had said: with examples. Or am I becoming like our good Inspector?

          • You did say it. Jack spelt it out. The Socratic style has its limitations, Explorer.

          • The Explorer

            Granted.

          • sarky

            How about:-
            god can only be all powerful if there is nothing he cannot do. God cannot lie, therfore god cannot be all powerful.

          • The Explorer

            Personally, I believe that the world is currently in a state of successful rebellion. But God’s power is such that one day all unrepentant rebels will be removed to where they can indulge their practices (including lying) on one another.
            In the resultant remade world there will be no lies, and no need for lying, for truth will prevail.
            C S Lewis made the point that the damned are successful rebels to the end, and that the gates of Hell are locked on the inside. IN that sense, I agree that God is not all powerful. In that sense, the human story has scope for genuine tragedy.

          • That’s the classical protestant version of the atonement. There are others. What you’ve omitted is that Jesus is God who became human and willing sacrificed Himself out of Love. It’s not about the Wrath of God bearing down on His innocent child. It was man who brutalised and murdered Jesus Christ.

          • sarky

            Yes but under the influence of god.

          • Free will and human nature, Sarky. God isn’t a tyrant.

          • sarky

            But what if pilate had released jesus?

          • Pilate was responsible for his actions, Sarky. Because God has foreknowledge of exactly what is to happen, doesn’t mean men aren’t responsible for their actions. Jesus knew what was to happen to Him, the sequence of events. and all the parties involved. God permits these things – he doesn’t cause them.

            Here’s the thing though, God also knows the outcome and is in control. He gives the graces and gifts to those He knows as His own, those He foreknows will respond to His call, to shape the course of human history.

            Another Christian mystery – predestination and God’s foreknowledge and how He brings good from evil.

          • sarky

            If there is predestination how can there be free will? Sorry but this has never made sense.

          • Ah, to the heart of a difficult and complex issue that has exercised minds for centuries and was a significant cause of the reformation..
            If you are a Calvinist, then you will believe that before creation God preselected the Elect for Heaven and Hell. To the Elect, chosen randomly, He gives ‘irresistible grace’. The damned He leaves alone and, because man can only sin without His grace, as they are totally depraved, they will inevitably sin and be consigned to Hell. The ‘free will’ that a man has is predetermined by God. If you are not amongst His Elect, you must inevitably be damned because all you can do is sin. Those who are Elect, by His unmerited grace, are rescued from total depravity, given new natures, and are guaranteed Heaven.
            The Catholic Church has no settled theology on predestination. However, it does not teach that God predetermines – chooses – those who are to be damned and saved before He creates them. This is no free will at all – except to sin. The Church teaches that God Foreknows His Elect and how they will use the gifts of grace He dispenses. Everyone is offered sufficient grace to turn to God; not everyone responds and so this does not become efficacious grace. God knows in advance how we use His gifts – based on our free will. Man is not totally depraved but his soul is wounded and damaged and he can, once he is given God’s initial grace, turn His life to Him – if he so desires.

          • sarky

            Hmm this would suggest that man was deemed fallen before eve. God doesnt play fair.

          • Why does it suggest that? Adam and Eve were given a free choice too. It’s that account that demonstrates God’s offer to man. Again, some Calvinists will argue God predestined the outcome. A Catholic will say God foreknew the outcome but that both Adam and Eve were capable of saying “No” to the external temptation of Satan and “Yes” to God.

          • sarky

            Still think god doesn’t play fair. Why not hide the tree of knowledge if it’s so dangerous? Adam and Eve were without sin, not exactly difficult to tempt. I.e. How can you do wrong of you don’t understand wrong? If I put a bowl of chocolate in a room with two toddlers ( best example of pure) and tell them not to touch it, then my Mrs comes in (best example of the devil) and says go on you can have some, what do I honestly think is going to happen?
            Like I said, god doesn’t play fair.

          • Phil R

            All sin has a price that has to be paid.

            We all realise this without acknowledging it

            Someone must pay the price

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            Because God is holy, and that holiness demands that sin be punished. Your real problem is that you don’t comprehend the nature and extent of your guilt. If you did, you would understand.

          • dannybhoy

            God demonstrates His holiness and righteousness and forgiveness to the whole of creation* by condemning evil e.g. selfishness, lust, hatred, murder and exploitation. The Scriptures make it clear that God turns away from evil. He can’t just excuse it or forgive it without also punishing it, because that would be capriciousness.
            All created beings need to know one of God’s integral qualities is holiness. Evil has to be condemned and punished.
            So God demonstrates His holiness, righteousness and compassion by showing us all through Christ how we are supposed to live, and then allowing Himself to be put to death in your place and my place.
            Thus evil is condemned, evil is punished and God’s compassion demonstrated.

          • DanJ0

            All mere assertion to suit yourselves. From the outside, it sounds quite absurd.

          • sarky

            No!

          • Inspector General

            The balance of probabilities tells us that Sarky doesn’t exist. But unfortunately, here you are…

          • William Lewis

            You’ve done the calculations then?

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            You think the spontaneous origination of consciousness from nothing more than a chemical reaction is not a fantastic claim? You need to re-think your understanding of “fantastic.”

          • dannybhoy

            “The atheist is left trying to rebut each of these but usually just ignores and dismisses them out of hand (how foolish).”

            The critics of Christianity in the West take so much for granted. Even their freedom to criticise or blaspheme is a freedom they wouldn’t enjoy as “a human right” outside of the West.

            In a Muslim country criticism simply isn’t tolerated, and I think most major religions do not allow for overt criticism of their faith; perhaps because their faith is what defines them.

          • sarky

            The same could be said of christians.

          • dannybhoy

            You miss the point Sarky. We (at least I), live on a country shaped by Christianity, where Christianity remains the historic religion and whose adherents can point to many great and Godly men and women who worked to make this a better, freer, more just society according to Christian values.
            As Alternating Perspective says, I have a basis for my faith, I can point to examples of the faith and the positive influences of the faith.
            Were I in a Muslim nation I would be killed for being a Christian
            Whereas you would be killed for being a parasitical atheist and Linus for being a homosexual -or he might be taught the theory of flight, depending on which country it was..
            But here in this Christian country neither you nor he would come to harm.
            That’s the difference.

          • sarky

            Parasitical?

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely!
            A true atheist believes that there is no meaning in the universe. The universe ‘just happened’, life ‘just happened’ and living beings are essentially matter in motion.
            If you read what atheistic philosophers say about these matters you would know that is their belief.
            Their problem is that man cannot cope with a meaningless universe (some have tried and went mad), so they ascribe meaning to it in order to give themselves meaning.
            So in your case you deny the validity of Christianity or the existence of God, whilst enjoying all the benefits that come from living in a society built on those beliefs!
            Ipso Fatso, you’re a parasite.

          • sarky

            I live in a society that in no shape form can be called christian. I am not the one feasting on the long dead corpse of christianity in the UK.
            I enjoy benefits and freedoms that have come despite christianity.
            As for a meaningless universe, I can quite happily live in one as I am able to find my own meaning.

          • dannybhoy

            This country was inflluenced and shaped by Christianity. That cannot be denied.

            The benefits and freedoms are from Christianity as Christians believe in the value of man as being created in the image of God, and confirmed by the fact that Jesus Christ came into the world to secure salvation for all who believe and commit their lives to Him.
            You do not have those values in other faiths or cultures.
            Or surely you would have moved to escape that long dead corpse…
            Your own meaning is built on sand Sarky. You can only say that you choose to believe your life has meaning, because the logical conclusion of your own philosphy says it hasn’t..

          • dannybhoy

            Further…
            Read Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. During this entire play two men carry on trivial conversation while waiting for a third man to arrive, who never does. Our lives are like that, Beckett is saying; we just kill time waiting—for what, we don’t know.

            In a tragic portrayal of man, Beckett wrote another play in which the curtain opens revealing a stage littered with junk. For thirty long seconds, the audience sits and stares in silence at that junk. Then the curtain closes. That’s all.

            French existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus understood this, too. Sartre portrayed life in his play No Exit
            as hell—the final line of the play are the words of resignation, “Well, let’s get on with it.” Hence, Sartre writes elsewhere of the “nausea” of existence.

            Camus, too, saw life as absurd. At the end of his brief novel The Stranger, Camus’s hero discovers in a flash of insight that the universe has no meaning and there is no God to give it one.
            Thus, if there is no God, then life itself becomes meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance.

            Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god#ixzz3TRGymVba

          • dannybhoy

            Even further..
            “Friedrich
            Nietzsche’s Influence on Hitler’s Mein Kampf”
            http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/133p/133p04papers/MKalishNietzNazi046.htm

          • William Lewis

            “As for a meaningless universe, I can quite happily live in one as I am able to find my own meaning.”

            Then the meaning that you find exists only in your head, for it cannot exist anywhere else in a meaningless universe. Something that exists only in your head would normally be called a delusion.

          • DanJ0

            All your thoughts exist solely in your own head, as does everyone else’s. If that means we’re all delusional then, hey, sign me up!

          • William Lewis

            In not talking about the thoughts but the concepts and entities that they convey.

          • sarky

            What, like god you mean?

          • dannybhoy

            You see Sarky, you do the same thing as DanJ0. I gave you quotes from atheistic philosophers, where they have thought through to the logical conclusions of their thinking, and you ignore it all.

          • sarky

            I have read it all many many times and I totally agree that at a basic level life is meaningless. In the grand scheme of things my life means nothing. Does that mean that I can’t find meaning in life? Of course not, that’s just stupid. I try and make the most of everything that life has to offer because this is my only shot. The idea that life only has meaning if god exists is quite frankly ludicrous.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            As I have said many time. Atheism is tolerable for the rich man because he can use his money to purchase experiences. He fills up his barns and says to himself “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” Of him it is said “Thou fool!”

            The reason you can find no meaning in experiences is because experiences cannot answer the question “Why?” Meaning in life is found in the answer to that question. So long as you are never seriously pressed to answer that question, you can enjoy your experiences and pretend they provide meaning. You might even make it through your whole life like that.

            Cross your fingers and trust to luck, I guess.

          • DanJ0

            The likely answer to the question “Why?”, framed in cosmic terms anyway, is “Just because”. The answer sets you free when you understand it. It’s up to us to provide our own local meaning and purpose, and to accept our own mortality with grace.

          • carl jacobs

            “Because” is not an answer – as every parent knows. It’s an admission that there isn’t an answer. One’s ability to tolerate that non-answer will depend completely on the specifics of the question being asked. If you were a woman snatched off the street and sent to Western China to disappear into the sex trade, you probably wouldn’t be framing the question in terms of accepting your own mortality with grace. Nor if you were her parents – who will spend every minute of every hour of every day of every year wondering what happened to their daughter. Is she dead? Is she alive? And there will never be an answer for them. Just a black ugly emptiness.

            You will enjoy your freedom. Just so long as you are able to keep it.

          • DanJ0

            Well, feel free to keep your comfort blanket close to hand if it helps you deal with the possibilities of things going tits up in your life. However, it has no pull or hold on anyone else who prefers to deal with reality as you can’t demonstrate its truth objectively.

          • William Lewis

            There’s none so blind as will not see.

          • DanJ0

            *passes over a white cane*

          • DanJ0

            I used to have similar discussion sub-threads with Carl Jacobs. He used to argue how tidy moral absolutism is, and how his god gives everything meaning and purpose, and how despair is the only alternative, and how awful if would be to live and die without being remembered forever, and how it gives people hope and comfort if they have a crap life or are in an apparently hopeless situation, and how dark and bleak our universe is without his god hypothesis, and so on. I used to blow it all out of the water by simply asking: But is it actually true?

            It just looks like a mental comfort blanket to me, and I’m not the sort of bloke who needs his blankie now I’m an adult. My life has local meaning, and that’s enough for me. We all have to deal with being self-aware in an uncertain world. I get on with that, and my world is not dark and bleak at all. It’s a very beautiful and awesome place, when one is open to seeing it.

            I’ve stood in the Himalayas during the night looking up, and been moved to tears by the sight of the night sky unpolluted by artificial light. How can I be led to despair by that, even though it demonstrates my apparent insignificance? You guys simply don’t experience the world in the right way, it seems to me, and you want to drag the rest of us down with you. No chance.

          • carl jacobs

            I used to blow it all out of the water by simply asking: But is it actually true at the end of the day?

            Heh.

          • dannybhoy

            DanJ0

            “He used to argue how tidy moral absolutism is, and how his god hypothesis gives everything meaning and purpose, and how despair is the only alternative, and how awful if would be to live and die without being remembered forever, and how it gives people hope and comfort if they have a crap life or are in an apparently hopeless situation, and
            how dark and bleak our universe is without his god hypothesis, and so on.”

            I do understand what you’re saying and in some ways I agree with you. We all think differently don’t we, and Carl’s way of expressing things is not mine, even though I don’t disagree with what he is saying.

            Were I not a Christian I might take comfort in believing that this life is all there is. But it wouldn’t answer my sense of wonder at this world, the vastness and mystery of space and how it all came about.
            Nor the miracle of seeds which for all the world resemble dried mouse poo, and yet placed in the ground become beautifully coloured flowers waving in a warm simmer breeze.
            Or even that microscopic egg and seed which once united develops into a beautiful baby boy or girl..
            Then the uglier side of life where a child may witness violence between his parents, or see cruel bullying of another child who is ‘different’ in some way.
            The rather hypocritical tendency we have to judge and condemn other people whilst excusing our own failings.
            My life and personality changed for the better when I became a Christian, because not only did I find the most wonderful peace, I had a new source of power in my life that began to change me from within. That power -the Holy Spirit – began to turn my eyes away from me and my world to God and His world. That power gave me a caring and concern for the people around me, and to befriend and include the friendless and excluded.
            That’s what it’s about for me, to be a conduit of God’s love and care and to share with those who will listen what God has done for me.
            I am still filled with wonder at the natural world,, I enjoy a pint or two and perhaps a good brandy; a meal and a laugh with good friends, or to pray together with them.
            It’s not about condemnation or being self righteous or obsessive. It’s about being in a relationship with God and being myself.

          • William Lewis

            Of course not. There is objective evidence that God exists but your claim to be living in a meaningless universe means that there is no evidence that your life has any meaning, other then your unprovable, untestable and irrational claim to have conjured meaning out of the meaninglessness from which you were created.

          • DanJ0

            You’re equivocating again.

          • William Lewis

            How so?

          • DanJ0

            I can loop around this point as long as you like. People like me are not conjuring meaning and purpose out of nothing. We’re finding meaning and purpose in the local reality of our lives. That is, our actual lives which we experience moment by moment as reality. Compare and contrast that with the universal meaning and purpose you conjure out of your god hypothesis, whose existence you are unable to objectively demonstrate. You merely want it to exist and you proceed on the basis that it does. That’s conjuring meaning and purpose pretty much out of nothing, other than a meme which you’ve inherited from humanity’s distant culture past.

          • William Lewis

            “People like me are not conjuring meaning and purpose out of nothing. We’re finding meaning and purpose in the local reality of our lives.”

            You miss the point. I am not saying that you are conjuring meaning and purpose out of nothing. I am saying that the reality from which you derive meaning is, according to you, itself meaningless. Hence the allusion to a conjuring trick. Furthermore, it could be argued that, as the meaning you derive does not exist anywhere else in this meaningless universe, it must be a delusion of sorts.

            I, on the other hand, am not establishing meaning from a meaningless reality but from a creator God, for which there is objective evidence, who created me for a purpose. Whether you believe this is reality or not is immaterial.

          • DanJ0

            “I am saying that the reality from which you derive meaning is, according to you, itself meaningless.”

            Hence, my claim of your equivocation.

            “Whether you believe this is reality or not is immaterial.”

            I’m happy to point out the tautology anyway.

          • William Lewis

            Your equivocation claim doesn’t help your predicament though and your tautology assertion is baseless.

          • DanJ0

            “I am saying that the reality from which you derive meaning is, according to you, itself meaningless.”

            The equivocation, right there, in black and white.

            “I, on the other hand, am not establishing meaning from a meaningless reality but from a creator God, for which there is objective evidence, who created me for a purpose.”

            You invent a god locally which gives you universal meaning, and claim the meaning gives you a purpose. You’re indulging in a conjuring trick. I’m simply getting on with my life.

          • chiefofsinners

            Out of genuine interest, what have you found?

          • sarky

            A world full of endless opportunity!! The love of my wife and children, the company of friends.
            A love of music, film, art and literature, an appreciation of beauty. Do you want me to go on?

          • chiefofsinners

            OK. I understand. You have found enjoyment. I thought you meant you had found meaning, maybe purpose. Without wanting to be too depressing, something that will be left when all these good things are gone.

          • DanJ0

            Why does it matter that when our consciousness turns off, the local meaning and purpose disappears too? If sarky has kids then he has a purpose, if he chooses to recognise it. I see that all around me: adults living their lives through their kids for a time. The dependencies in that relationship are real and meaningful, whether or not in 100 years anyone remembers or cares any more. Leave the cosmos to itself, that’s layer pollution in terms of thinking. Do an Ecclesiastes of sorts: ask yourself where you were when the foundations of the earth were laid and why you should be concerned about that beyond your own life limits.

          • chiefofsinners

            It was Job who was asked where he was when the foundations of the earth were laid. The point was that he had no right to question the infinite wisdom of God because God has a higher understanding and purpose. – A purpose that cannot be discerned with human reason and therefore requires faith if it is to be appreciated. A purpose that encompassed Job’s suffering as well as his prosperity.
            Ecclesiastes demonstrates the futility and emptiness of all that mankind chases after.
            I have ‘done’ them both. They made sense. They brought meaning and purpose like I had never imagined.
            I misunderstood Sarky to be saying that he had found something comparable.

          • DanJ0

            “It was Job who was asked where he was when the foundations of the earth were laid.”

            An allegory, presented by the author of Ecclesiastes, surely. Otherwise the callousness of god there ought to be sickening to right-minded people. It’s my favourite book of the Tanakh as it goes.

          • chiefofsinners

            Eh? You’ve lost me… Job 38 verse 4 says “where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”
            Are you saying that the author of Ecclesiastes wrote Job? Not likely due to language differences.
            I’d like to refute allegation of callousness against God but don’t really know what you mean.

          • Watchman

            But when I reflect on what you have written on this blog I see an anger and an emptiness that is seeking something more than you have. What other reason have you for being here?

          • sarky

            Really? I am extremely happy with what I have. As to why I’m here, I enjoy a good debate with people with opposing views, nothing more nothing less.

          • DanJ0

            You’re really scraping the barrel there. Give it up. You and your ilk don’t own our country now simply because Christianity was religiously dominant from the Norman conquest until the Enlightenment. Jeez.

          • dannybhoy

            Danj0
            I haven’t said anything about ‘me and my ilk owning the country!”
            I am pointing out that atheists do not have a basis for meaning, so they either ‘borrow’ one or pretend they have one which gives them enough comfort that they may feel life is worth living. I backed that up by quoting some atheistic philosophers who were honest enough to admit that life has no meaning.
            I also said that were this for example a Muslim nation you and he would both be dead, because they don’t tolerate atheists or homosexuals, and that’s a fact.
            So you can both make your statements and interact with us pathetic Christians safe in the knowledge that we value you.
            So there.

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps that was the Holy Spirit talking there, spreading the love 😉

          • sarky

            Ive been called worse 🙂

          • DanJ0

            “You talk about burdens of proof but, as an atheist, you make an absolutist claim to the non-existence of God whitout presenting any evidence for the claim.”

            I’m an a-theist and I don’t make any such claim. You need to read around, I think.

          • Dominic Stockford

            He will see the resurrected Christ – let us hope, and pray, it is sooner rather than too late.

          • Albert

            What kind of evidence would you regard as proof and why?

          • “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

          • Albert

            Quite. Or even further ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’

          • CliveM

            I have heard atheists say that (or similar) all my life. For many even that wouldn’t be enough. Proof isn’t what they’re after, rather vindication.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said Clive. Before my own conversion I can remember seizing on any old thing to justify my remaining god of my own little kingdom…
            All these folk who demand proof or revel in our failings will not humble themselves to sincerely pray and ask God to reveal Himself to them.

          • carl jacobs

            At the last moment, neither proof nor evidence will be required. The truth will be manifest. And the unbeliever will be too busy trying to cover himself in the ground to care about his prior rationalizations. He will know the King and he will fear the King. He will bow before the King and he will declare Him worthy.

            At the last he will worship his Creator.

          • bluedog

            The family of Charles De Gaulle never celebrated Bastille Day.

          • Linus

            Charles de Gaulle was known for his monarchical sympathies. Not surprising considering his origins among the pious Catholic bourgeoisie. Those born into the entry level of an elite are, through a mixture of aspiration, ambition and a desire to rise in the hierarchy, generally its staunchest supporters. The de Gaulles pushed this to the limit by claiming a spurious noble origin. Pretending to be what they were not in order to try to become it. For an extremely tall man, Charles de Gaulle indulged in some very small behaviour.

            And by the way, there’s no such thing as “Bastille Day”. We celebrate our Fête Nationale on the day the Bastille fell, but only because it symbolizes the start of the Revolution. The name “Bastille Day” is an English invention. It means nothing to the average Frenchman.

    • He was also a man, Carl.

      • carl jacobs

        Yes. This has what to do with anything?

        • Well, let’s say there was a representative democracy in place in Judea, He might have wished to set an example by engaging in the political process – questioning candidates and exercising a secret ballot.

          • carl jacobs

            But there wasn’t a representative democracy in place in Judea. The timing of the Incarnation was not some randomly selected occurrence. It’s pointless to speculate about counterfactuals that could never exist. It’s like asking “What if Jesus had been born in Japan?” The question is irrelevant because it fails to account for the Providence of God.

            The question is not “How would Jesus vote?” It’s not “What would Jesus do?” The question is “What would Jesus have us do?”

          • “It’s pointless to speculate about counterfactuals that could never exist.”

            Yes Jack understands all that, Carl. It’s called using one’s creative imagination. It’s interesting and it’s not heresy to speculate about such things.

          • Shadrach Fire

            There was a form of democracy Carl. The boy Jesus spent time talking with the Elders in Jerusalem and they were amazed at his knowledge and wisdom. This may well have influenced their thinking.

          • carl jacobs

            Shadrach

            I’m having trouble understanding this comment. Palestine was ruled by the Romans either directly or through surrogates. There was no democracy at all.

          • Watchman

            I bought a book recently which begged the question “how would Jesus vote”. I didn’t realise when I bought it that it was an American publication. You’ll be happy to know that Jesus would have been a good Republican!

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. It’s amazing how quickly Jesus can come to resemble the image in the mirror. It’s a common failing of all men.

          • Watchman

            But would you be happy to assert that He would have voted for the party which upheld the principles of Torah?

          • Happy Jack thinks Jesus would have voted for the person who best represented the Will of His Father.

          • Watchman

            And isn’t this will firmly recorded in the Torah?

          • Indeed.

          • Watchman

            Jack, I am merely collecting ammunition to fire at you later!

          • Happy Jack

            Grrrr ………

      • Shadrach Fire

        That is also true. He said render unto Cesar (George Osborne) that which is Cesar’s.

      • chiefofsinners

        He had to be a man in order to be king.
        The point of the incarnation was not that God should gain the right to vote.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Maybe a new form voting could be created (or has already be done) and we all have five votes. The candidate that accumulate the most votes wins. Is that called proportional representation? I would like to be able to say that I like this person best but would rather this other one to that other one.

    Carl; How does the voting on issues perform in the US. Is it a benefit in relation to moral issues?

    • carl jacobs

      The great issues of morality in the US have been decided almost exclusively by judicial fiat. Somebody files a lawsuit. The Supreme Court carves out a new right according to its positivist reading of the Constitution. That’s how we ended up with a Constitutionaly protected right to sodomy even though sodomy was illegal in every state of the Union when the Constitution was ratified. People do not realize they don’t have rights anymore. They have judges.

      The Christian Coalition, et al was a reaction to this legal strategy. It was supposed to overturn with legislation what the courts had wrought. But it failed. The politicians paid them lip service but never invested any capital in the cause. All it did was show the Moral Majority to be a minority. There isn’t much to do now but wait for the whirlwind. For the wind has without doubt been down.

  • Miles Christianus

    How did Philip become an apostle?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Jesus invited him to be one.

      • Miles Christianus

        Like we invite people to represent us?

  • CliveM

    It’s an interesting claim that Jesus would vote. Seems to me that considering that Israel was an occupied state, Jesus had remarkably little to say about the big issues! I believe he would be sickened by the parties and condemn them equally.

    You see I think what God does is challenge all our preconceptions about him. Indeed God rather the conforming to our beliefs about him, repeatedly confounds our expectations. Which is one reason why the Jews had such difficulty in accepting his as their Messiah.

    Anyone who claims to know what God would do is either a fool or a liar.

    • Miles Christianus

      I’ve given up on second-guessing Him. Too often have I asked for a sign and gotten one, only to either wish I hadn’t, or been left thinking “What?!?”. To try and know the mind of the Ultimate is the ultimate folly.

  • Joshua 5:13-15.

    • Are you suggesting an armed uprising, Stephen?

      • I am drawing attention to a fascinating Christophany which I suggest has a bearing on the ‘WWJD?’ question.

        • He appeared to Abraham as a traveller; to Joshua as a man of war. Joshua’s question to Christ demonstrated his desire to know the will of the Lord, and a readiness to do it. So too did Abraham’s invitation. All Christians must align under Christ. However, today His Body is so divided on the fundamental issues.

          • Miles Christianus

            Jack. I applaud and second your call for ecumenical fellowship. Though we are many, we are one body…

          • Christians should stand together on the fundamentals of our faith against a common enemy. Unfortunately, his minions are in the Body of Christ spreading confusion.

          • Miles Christianus

            True. Too often we define ourselves by what we are not, rather than what we are. Despite various schisms, I think we can, at an almost visceral level, agree on what unites us. I’m interested, however, on who you think the enemy is; and if you mean the Enemy, how he manifests himself.

          • The enemy is both the Enemy and sinful human nature; neither have changed since the dawn of time. Here’s a little

          • Miles Christianus

            Hmmn. Although I subscribe to David Niven’s political outlook in “A matter of life and death” (Conservative by nature, Labour by experience), I do question whether our church hierarchy are moving away from God seeks Man (in His image) and back to Man seeks God (in our image). However, by disparaging “liberal progressivism” you don’t mean disregard for the poor, do you?

          • No. The issue is how best to assist the poor – primarily through the State or through Christian charity. The “liberal progressivism” Jack was referring to was theological, not political.

          • Miles Christianus

            Si, claro.

          • Estamos de acuerdo.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s right! Christians should stand together on the fundamentals against the principal enemy of Romanism…

            … Oh, hi Jack. 😀

          • Hi Carl.

            Yes, Jack has been reading all about how he needs to be saved. It seems he is ensnared and enmeshed in a diabolical, pagan, idolatrous, superstitious system. If he doesn’t free himself from it, he’s damned. Romanism is all about works, chants, false worship and rituals. Nothing at all to do with a personal faith in Christ and His grace. Quite shocking. Did you know that Romanism has actually infiltrated the Church of England and corrupted it? Astonishing. It’s dastardly hierarchy is scheming to bring down all ‘Bible believing Christians’ via the deceit of ecumenicalism.

            This is serious stuff ………..

          • carl jacobs

            Well, that was no fun. I was trying to provoke, irritate and otherwise annoy the little blue grapefruit.

          • Happy Jack

            Grrr …….

          • Well said Jack.

            I am not going to engage in any more Protestant versus Catholic arguments here unless very sorely provoked, and then unwillingly, but will give you my hand over what you have actually said here.

            As Protestants say about Mary the mother of Jesus, if you want to honour her, do as she says. See John 2: 5 ‘Whatever He (Jesus) says to you, do it.’

            These are Mary’s last recorded words in Scripture and hopefully we can agree we all ought to follow them.

    • dannybhoy

      Joshua 5:13-15 Complete Jewish Bible
      13 One day, when Y’hoshua was there by Yericho, he raised his eyes and looked; and in front of him stood a man with his drawn sword in his hand.
      Y’hoshua went over to him and asked him, “Are you on our side or on the
      side of our enemies?” 14 “No,” he replied, “but I am the commander of Adonai’s army; I have come just now.” Y’hoshua fell down with his face to the
      ground and worshipped him, then asked, “What does my lord have to say to
      his servant?” 15 The commander of Adonai’s army answered Y’hoshua, “Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy.” And Y’hoshua did so.

      I think this could be the Archangel Michael, Commander of the (angelic) Armies of God.

      • TimeForTea

        I would say in this instance that the commander of Adonai’s army is an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ because holy angels don’t allow themselves to be worshipped (Rev 19 and 22)

        • dannybhoy

          Good point TFT. But he does say that he is the commander of the Lord’s armies, and we know from the book of Daniel that there are these archangels with special roles.
          In short…. I dunno.

          • TimeForTea

            I do just happen to think in this case we can.

            As you say is no doubt that there are distinctions between Angels and their ranks and roles. Cherubim and Seraphim are examples and again as you note some are named in specific roles. For the Lord, Michael (in battle he fought against the prince of the power of Persia in Daniel 10 and fought Satan for the body of Moses (Jude 1:9).) and Gabriel (prophetic messenger) are the most mentioned I think.

            Lucifer was, ‘the anointed Cherub that covereth’ and led worship in heaven before he fell. (Eze 28:12-19) He is the only angel I think recorded in the bible that specifically requested to be worshipped (Mat 4:9) though not the only one that fell. It was because of this and his pride that he fell. Satan’s desire was to be ‘like the most High’ (Isa 14:12-14).

            That is what gives me the surety in this case because no angel of the Lord would allow himself to be worshipped and that we are bid not to worship them. (Col 2:18)

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, I checked some of the commentaries TFT, and you’re right. As you say an angel wouldn’t accept worship. What’s interesting is that angels are also beings with free will, yet are not physical creatures that reproduce like us..

          • TimeForTea

            I agree that they have free will and that as a direct creation of God they don’t need to reproduce. They are obviously distinct from humans which are sons of Adam.

            I think there’s evidence that they do have some choice about their raiment or dwelling as well. Jude 1:6 talks about the angels that left their first estate. I believe they can lose that which we seek to gain, after we are born again, (John 1:12) which is to be the sons of God.

            Briefly, for something I found a very interesting study, as opposed to the more widely taught ‘Canaanite view’ the old rabbinical view of Genesis 6 and the days of Noah is, that when the sons of God, (the ‘beneha elohim’), communed with the daughters of men (the ‘benot haadam’), they produced the Nephilim (rendered ‘giants’ in the English in Gen 6:4).

            This was one of the reasons for requiring the flood to cover the whole earth. It wasn’t just a sin problem, it was a gene pool problem. Noah is described as perfect in his generations (Gen 6:9). designed to thwart the plan of God such that Christ couldn’t be a son of Adam and therefore not be our Kinsman Redeemer.

            Certainly an interesting study I found.

          • dannybhoy

            (OT)
            Interesting indeed, and I have read that the knowledge of these ‘hybrids’ are present in some cultures. I also read that the fossilised skeletons of gigantic people have been found all around the world. My Jewish friends tell me however that some rabbinical sources say that these ‘fallen ones’ were ordinary humans who turned away from God, rather than actual fallen angels. According to this line of thought if they were angels, and angels are unable or have no need to reproduce, how could they have had sex with human women?

          • TimeForTea

            I’ll have to look it up but I do believe the Hebrew here does hint towards something more deep than simply humans that turned away from God. Certainly that’s something I would take from Noah being different and apart from others on the earth being ‘perfect in his generations’ and the use of the term ‘sons of God’.

            Jesus does indeed say that angels are not given unto marriage but he doesn’t describe them as sexless. They are always described as being men. If there are no female angels in Heaven as there is no reason to reproduce then there would of course be no need to marry. There could therefore be a temptation if they saw ‘that the daughters on men were fair’ to sin. We know that Satan fell so they do have some control over choices they make.

            I would say that just because they have no need for reproduction that means they can’t do it. Jesus had no need for reproduction. It would have spoilt Gods plan for him to reproduce being as God has only one son but I see no reason why he wouldn’t have the ability to reproduce as he was fully God and fully human. I would imagine Satan made a concerted effort to tempt Him into having a child and to spoil God plan of redemption.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Surely the commander of the Lord’s Armies is the Lord?

          • dannybhoy

            I was looking at various references for Archangels in the Scriptures and found this website..
            http://www.creation-science-prophecy.com/michael.htm
            This chap Mike Brown thinks that perhaps the Archangel Michael is also our Lord……

  • Watchman

    When the Father created us He gave us the will to do as we wanted even though this would often lead us to do things which were against our own interests and harmed our relationship with Him. This is why He chose a people with whom to have a covenant and gave them the Law as an act of love, in order to demonstrate the extent of that love but also to show what happened when we were disobedient. Could we not expect Jesus to want what His Father wanted. This entails allowing people to get on with their lives without a vast amount of state interference, to reap what they sow and put the family as the important unit of support for the individual. Wouldn’t He be appalled at the prescriptive way in which we provide services such as health and education which robs people of their choices and doesn’t allow them to take responsibility for bad decisions they made? It is difficult imagining Him wanting to vote for any current political party; they have all demonstrated there inability to understand the Maker’s instructions!

    • Miles Christianus

      While I agree with much of what you say, see my comment below on second-guessing the divine. Also, those that Jesus healed, or from whom He cast out demons weren’t necessarily “deserving” of such. Nor are we of the grace He offers us.

      • Watchman

        Miles, while it is true that His Grace demonstrates His love for us and we should expect, if we follow Him, to behave with the same love to others it is the crudity of that action as a political measure which is so offensive. If we display an ignorance of our Makers instructions or deliberately flout them we are not demonstrating love but a demonstration of political control, the very antithesis of the way that God treats us.

        • Miles Christianus

          Watchman. I hear what you’re saying. Perhaps the difficulty is in how to translate the commandments on which hang the law and the prophets from our personal conduct to a state-level.

    • Dorothy Day, a left leaning Catholic, had this to say on Britain’s Welfare State way back in the 1940’s:

      “We believe that social security legislation, now balled as a great victory for the poor and for the worker, is a great defeat for Christianity. It is an acceptance of the Idea of force and compulsion. It is an acceptance of Cain’s statement, on the part of the employer. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

      She feared the growth of an “all-encroaching state” seeing American Medicaid and Medicare as leading to “socialised medicine” as in Britain. She wasn’t a supporter of redistribution of wealth via taxes either, saying: “The less we ask of Caesar, the less we will have to render to Caesar.”

      A wise woman.

      • Miles Christianus

        And yet, what is the answer that is begged of the question “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

        • Miles Christianus

          Apologies, Jack. I Think you’ve just answered this in a different post below. Time for Miles to feed the cats and climb the dancers.

          • Climb the dancers?!

            *chuckle*

            Dios te bendiga hermano.

        • The point Dorothy was making is that this love of our brother and the desire and responsibility to help him, cannot be enforced and compelled by the State.
          She was also alluding to the employer having a responsibility to care for his brother and that this can be avoided by reliance on State welfare and benefits. She drew this from the Marxist critique of the Welfare State as a way of defusing revolution but turned it into a Christian message.

        • The words “Am I my brother’s keeper?” are attributed to Cain, who knew very well that he had killed his own brother and was giving a sarky reply to God his Maker. Not our best starting point.

          Socialism IMO has stolen many of Christianity’s clothes and sold a lot of eyewash and misinformation to a lot of decent people. It is partly because socialists are so good at coining slogans (although rotten at sums) that they have attached so much offensive baggage to the term ‘right wing’.

          They have even made most people believe that the socialist Hitler was right wing. He wasn’t. He was a Statist revolutionary, the complete opposite of a conservative. Hitler and Joe Stalin were 2 peas in the same pod, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them chained to each other in the same enclosure come Judgment.

          For me, right wing means God, tradition, family, low taxes, small state, minimal laws mainly to protect the private citizen from theft, fraud and violence, punishment for criminals, a safety net for the deserving poor (e.g. widows, orphans and the disabled-not drunkards and idlers) secure borders against unwanted foreign invaders and several other old time values.

          For Giles Fraser and chums, right wing=evil. How did we let them get away with propagandising the language so effectively?

          • In part, because man’s sinful nature under capitalism is given free reign and the logic of the unregulated market – lowest possible unit costs, maximum sales and maximising profit – tends towards exploitation, monopolies and debt fuelled consumerism. The market has no conscience.

            On the reverse side, socialism attributes this to the ‘system’ itself, not man, and seeks to provoke envy, greed and anger amongst consumers and the employed. It is divisive. It also misuses man’s empathy and sympathy for the downtrodden by attributing all the ills of poverty and marginalisation to societal structures which, whilst they do play a part, cannot be solved by a big, intrusive State or by welfare dependency or a redistribution of wealth.

          • Someone said ‘under capitalism, man oppresses his fellow man, while under socialism its the other way around.’

            If you have good laws and just people and rulers, any system from anarchy to monarchy would work well. With bad people, no system will work well. I distrust socialism more than capitalism partly because it has more pretensions to justice and demands more of my soul.

          • On that we are agreed, Stephen.

          • Miles Christianus

            Stephen. I think we agree on many levels. Ideally, I’d live solely according to the KJV and the Marine Corps handbook. Unfortunately, life tends to get in the way. Consequently, I can’t get down with any rap that does down anyone in a less privileged position than mine.

          • The KJV, not least the letter of James, is clear we’re should not do the poor down Miles. The question is, does socialism?

  • Greenbelt is a very curious grouping. I found my one visit there quite disconcerting-more New Age than the Bible. Palestinian rights and homoactivism welcome, creationism a dirty word.

    The C of E is increasingly looking like the Labour Party at prayer, or should that be in indaba.

  • len

    It seems some are in the danger of creating a ‘Jesus ‘ in their own image by predicting what He would do.
    Some of the things Jesus did were totally unpredictable such as spitting onto earth and smearing mud onto the eyes of a blind man to restore his sight.
    Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world ” because the Kingdom of God will never fit in with this present world system.

    • agneau

      You’re right – there are few less democratic places than heaven. North Korea probably shades it.

    • Old Blowers

      It seems the socialist are cocksure that Jesus would side particularly with them…Would he vote for more abortion, legalising of mind destroying class a drugs, refusal of Christians from adopting the lost souls thrown into the social services pit. I severely doubt it yet these are cornerstones of the socialist agenda. Is Jesus really Comrade Jesus?

      What are the parties going to do when Jesus returns to take all upon His shoulder? Organise select committees to state how undemocratic the 2nd coming is and the world would rather He stays where He currently is.
      Call Him to give an account of Himself before parliament?

      Old Giles reminds me of Islamists and those like JW’s that state or call on the name of Jesus yet deny who is really is but He does offer a unique name and character to attach to statements as NOBODY was ever like or is like HIM.

      If only the took the time to really know Him.!!!

      Blowers

  • Yes, we should try to influence all parties to acknowledge Biblical principles in their deliberations, but when churches focus on political issues as their primary message rather than on the gospel of personal salvation from sin, it is precisely because they have abandoned that gospel and the authority of Scripture with it. Abolish poverty and create absolute social equality (if that were ever possible) and you are still left with sinners under God’s wrath unless they repent.

    • Instead of seeing sinners, try and look for the child of God in other people. Those who constantly refer to people as sinners, are hiding from their own guilt and fear.

      For example; “Bless me father I am a sinner, but the others are bigger sinners than me.” Now is that not typical of those who go round calling people sinners?

      Let us say to God; “Thank you Father for making me worthy to know your love, and I pray for the others who are equal in your eyes to me, that they may know we are all Children of God, loved by you Father.” Amen!

      • Dear Faithful and True, Thank you for your comment. In polite and amicable response, it is not I calling people sinners, but the word of God :

        “There is none righteous, no, not one … They are all gone out of the way … for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 12, 23).

        “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8)

        It is precisely because of an awareness of the enormity of my own sin that I desire to tell others about the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is out of love for our neighbours that we have to warn them about the seriousness of sin.

        Very courteously, people are not all children of God, but only those who repent of sin and believe in Christ receive this privilege. This is taught in John 1:12 : “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.

        It is very tempting for churches to turn to a socio-economic message instead of teaching about sin and salvation. This removes “the offence of the gospel”. No one objects to being told that their standard of living could be higher, but many object to being told about the innate corruption of the human heart. It is to rescue us from this corruption that our Saviour came into the world

        I pass on these comments with warm Christian greetings and in brotherly love.

        • Dominic Stockford

          The BCP has a wonderful set of texts to start the service with:

          WHEN the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Ezekiel 18.27
          I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Psalm 51.3
          Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Psalm 51.9
          The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit : a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51.17
          Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Joel 2.13
          To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him: neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws which he set before us. Daniel 9.9-10
          O Lord, correct me, but with judgement; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jeremiah 10.24; Psalm 6.1
          Repent ye; for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. St. Matthew 3.2
          I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. St. Luke 15.18-19
          Enter not into judgement with thy servant, O Lord; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. Psalm 143.2
          If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us: but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 St. John 1.8-9

          • A fine collection of gospel texts, focusing the thoughts at the commencement of worship.

      • Dominic Stockford

        ALMIGHTY God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live (Book of Common Prayer)

      • chiefofsinners

        The thing is to not shy away from the biblical terms ‘sin’ and ‘sinner’, but to recognise that you’re no different to anyone else and probably worse. The name I use to contribute sums it up really.

        • God told Jeremiah not to let his sins drag him down, because he had plans for him, and not of destruction. I feel many have not understood my point. Whatever our transgressions, keep focusing on the fact, does not help. We need to see beyond our transgressions at what we have become, a child of God. There is too much talk about sin, so keep your sins to yourself, because many use the term against others in an inappropriate way to judge. Think of the psychology and context in which you use the term sin or sinner and pray about it.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes indeed. Satan is the accuser of the saints. However sin is the reason for the gospel and repentance is essential for salvation. The joy of forgiveness cannot be known unless sin is understood. When we preach the gospel we have to tread that difficult line of proclaiming sin and judgement without being judgmental ourselves.

            As Paul says writing to Timothy: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

  • I suggest wew ask ourselves the

  • grutchyngfysch

    I don’t think Jesus would vote for me. But He did die for me.

  • BigMach

    Interesting headline. Giles Fraser seems to have more faith in politics than he does in Jesus. Is it true that he believes neither in the virgin birth nor the physical resurrection of Jesus. As for Rowan Williams, he presided over a continuing decline in the C of E. Jeremiah would have told both these nonentities what was really facing our country and why.

  • NeartheEdge

    I admire this website’s tenacious belief in Conservatism as equally deserving of Christian support as any other political thought or ideology. That Conservative thought is of the same cast as that of Ananias and Sapphira (Act 5:1) in the early church, this is always amusing and I’d like to suggest you rename your site to reflect your real beliefs; how about, ‘Ananias woz Right’

    The whole world (outside the weird minds of conservatives) upholds Jesus as the perfect example of the battle against the core values of Conservative thought – greed, wealth inequality, class privilege – and it’s the Left who has done most in that fight with much bloodshed.

    Meanwhile how come so little comments on Sir Phillip Green’s adventures? Without much doubt he’s your kind of Christian conservative?

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