Julia Hartley-Brewer - prayer
Extremism

Julia Hartley-Brewer: it’s “bloody stupid beliefs” like prayer which help create acts of terrorism

Even as  Tobias Ellwood MP was trying to get the blood to flow once again through PC Keith Palmer’s heart, tweets of blame and judgment were flying about like a swarm of hornets, and some of them stung. Perhaps none more painfully than the red-hot nail hammered into the skulls of Christians and people of all peaceful faiths by talkRADIO journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer. “Can everyone stop all this #PrayforLondon nonsense,” she scolded. “It’s these bloody stupid beliefs that help create this violence in the first place.”

She drives the point in, cruelly twisting the glowing shaft as she does so, and then applies a blowtorch to fry the heads of the helpless thousands whose simple impulse was to pray for the victims of the attack, and for their families, and for the emergency services which responded so swiftly and brilliantly, and for Tobias Ellwood as he was administering CPR to PC Keith Palmer, who tragically died.

But don’t pray for him, or for his family, or for any of the victims or their families, or for London. Because it’s bloody stupid beliefs like that which cause acts of terrorism.

Prayer helps to cause terrorism? It is causal? Really?

Had Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeted thoughtlessly in haste? Was it just a poorly-worded tweet of ill-considered religion-bashing, even before anyone knew very much at all? An instinctual prejudice that the perpetrator was a professing Muslim, which some call ‘Islamist’, and so all the bloody stupid followers of all bloody stupid beliefs must share the culpability: if you pray, you give succour to terror. She didn’t mean that, did she?

Julia Hartley-Brewer - London terrorJulia Hartley-Brewer - London terror 2

 

She clearly meant it: prayer causes terrorism. The motivation of the prayer is unimportant: all bloody stupid prayer is the same.  The faith behind the prayer is immaterial: all bloody stupid faith is malignant. The doctrine of God behind the faith behind the prayer is irrelevant: all bloody stupid doctrines of God lead to mutually destructive anarchy and hate.

So the next time you see a knife-wielding man ploughing a 4×4 through crowds of pedestrians over a London bridge, consider that only moments earlier he had been praying about blessing his neighbours and loving his enemies. Just before he slices into a policeman, remember that he had been meditating on the Prince of Peace and how best to turn the other cheek. He might even have been contemplating how to put away his weapon, for all who live by the sword shall surely die by the sword. Servanthood, peace and reconciliation will have been the burning desire of his heart. He doubtless intercedes daily for those who oppress him, and seeks healing, sharing, loving, giving..

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Rom 5:8-10).

Doesn’t it matter to Julia Hartley-Brewer that, rather than killing one’s enemies, Christians believe that God gave his Son to die for them? Doesn’t it matter that this has implications for their behaviour and the motivation of their prayers; that to be ‘saved by his life’ means to enter into a life which recapitulates the pattern of Christ’s self-giving? To imitate Christ is to be empty of self and to serve, heal and love..

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil 2:-313).

Those who follow Christ – that is, Christians – are reshaped in Christ, remoulded in grace and peace, and must deal with their enemies in the same way that God in Christ dealt with His enemies:

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not..
Be of the same mind one toward another..
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:14, 16a, 17-21).

Here is no seed of vengeance, no exhortation to mass slaughter, no hate or terror: Christians are to bless their persecutors and minister to their enemies, returning good for evil.

A bloody stupid belief, indeed.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Goodness! Such an unfortunate twittering, I fear. Had Ms. Hartley-Brewer stopped at criticising hash-take Je Suis…. and teddy bear depositing, I would have agreed – such things strike me as the response of the Eloi to Morlock invitations to dine, but I agree with His Grace – prayer does not cause this, Christian prayer at any rate. I am not sure, despite what we are repeatedly told, that Christians and Muslims pray to the same God – in fact I understand scholars see Allah’s origins elsewhere, but this is not my area of expertise.

    • Coniston

      Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Muslims do not believe Jesus was Divine or the Son of God. They do not believe in the Trinity, and most think that Mary is one of the Christian Trinity

    • Liberallondoner

      It is quite funny watching you Christians trying to distinguish between the two pointless superstitions of Christianity and Islam.

      • PessimisticPurple

        Not nearly as funny as watching lotus-eating atheists drifting along on the back of 2000 years of Christian civilization yet in complete ignorance of the fact that ideas have consequences.

    • vsscoles

      You are right, but it is dangerous to say so.

  • Maalaistollo

    Well, at least she can’t be accused of bigotry, can she, because that is a failing restricted to those who do not share her viewpoint.

  • 1649again

    JHB is just another egotistical big mouthed media atheist blowhard trying to draw attention to herself to promote her media profile and earnings.

    • john in cheshire

      She’s very aggressive in her tweeting, isn’t she? Is that because there are no apparent consequences that might cause her to modify her behaviour?

      • Liberallondoner

        I think she is entitled to be aggressive: asking people to pray for London is at the very least tactless towards the secular majority many of whom consider religious faith, of which prayer is a manifestation, is, again at the very least, one of the causes of this tiresome terrorism.

        • Terry Mushroom

          Why is it tactless? Why should all people of religion be lumped in with these murderers? How are the prayers of Christians, Jews, Hindus – and yes, many Muslims – one of the causes of this outrage? What is your proof?

          • Liberallondoner

            Perhaps you tell me how many non-believers in sky-fairies have committed acts of terrorism like this recently.

          • Andym

            What’s a “sky fairy”?

          • Liberallondoner

            I think you know the answer. It is a term frequently used to describe the god that so many people believe in without evidence.

          • Terry Mushroom

            What do you mean by “evidence”?

          • Terry Mushroom

            Oh dear, another illiterate.

          • Liberallondoner

            There is a marked correlation between high levels of education and people free of religious belief. See the tables in “God Delusion”.

          • Terry Mushroom

            People with “high levels of education” are not necessarily wise, have common sense, or able to make judgements or know anything much outside their sphere of study. They can also be intellectually arrogant, not know their limitations or know anything much outside their university, school or work. Take this from someone with a “high level of education”.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I question the quality of education in these tertiary institutions and their propagandist cultural marxist agenda.

  • 1649again

    Alas if earlier generations of Christians had adopted the approach advocated by His Grace there would be no Christians left by now as Islam would have extinguished it by the Middle Ages and countless generations of Christians would have lived in darkness. I read a study of the Christian church in the old Roman Province of Africa, probably the most vehemently Christian part of the pre-Islamic world, which had been utterlry extinguished by the late Middle Ages. Effectively nothing left.

    • Anton

      That can only be because the church there ceased to be faithful, in ways that are probably beneath the radar of historians. We are promised that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church. It is growing in North Korea, one hears.

      • 1649again

        Physical extermination and forcible conversion works Anton and to decry those subject to it is beneath you Anton. Only Is;am has done it comprehensively and ruthlessly over centuries.

        • Anton

          The more we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow: the blood of Christians is seed – Tertullian, Apologeticus ch. 50. Islam does not deserve the respect you accord it of being an exception to this rule. There is a greater power behind Christianity than behind Islam.

          • 1649again

            I don’t respect it at all. It’s Satan’s response to God’s intervention in the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Roman persecution was spasmodic and really only driven by Christians’ refusal to sacrifice to the Emperors, not by a desire to exterminate a faith for its own sake.

            Islam is unique in that it seeks to exterminate Christianity by any means possible and has managed do do so in many former heavily faithful places and for you to say that these Christians’ faith cannot have been good enough because they were wiped out is shocking to me.

            As for quoting Tertullian, the man who became a Montanist heretic and who was effectively an Arian in his view of the Trinity, he is hardly someone I would place credence upon.

          • Anton

            Islam is based on a book that is two-minded, a book that preaches physical war and peace at the same time, and this is why you find its followers – including at individual level – constantly shifting between the two. If its principal end was to eradicate Christianity then Christianity would not have survived openly as it has in Egypt, which has been politically Islamic for more than 1000 years; would not have survived openly in the Islamic Middle East equally long until recent years; nor in al-Andalus in dhimmi form.

            But that is to do with Islam’s scriptures. Let’s look at our own.

            Paul: Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

            Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

            Christ: I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

            I do not accept that Christ meant that the church will die out where resistance to it is too strong (but survive elsewhere). It will die out where it is not strong enough in faith. Where Christians are martyred for their faith, the church grows: that was the pattern in the pagan Roman Empire and it is the pattern in China and North Korea today. North Korea is ranked as more oppressive toward Christians than any Islamic land by Open doors and Release International (two major charities that assist the persecuted church worldwide), and they report that the church is growing in that land. If there, then anywhere. God has given us what it takes to build a church in Islamic lands by similar means.

            And we are doing. Please read David Garrison’s recent book A Wind in the House of Islam about how, for the first time in 1300 years, Muslims are coming to Christ in mass movements across the Islamic world.

            None of this, nor even “Love thine enemy”, is to decry robust political action against Islam. But that should be seen as secular action and not as a step in church building.

          • 1649again

            I’m sorry, I don’t agree with much of that. Military and political action is required. We need to repeat the Reconquista.

          • Anton

            Who is “we”? Do you mean the church or the nation? They are not the same, and I wonder if you have an underlying assumption that they are?

          • 1649again

            Both, as with Spain and Portugal.

          • Anton

            But Christ has all authority in heaven and earth, and therefore it is He who is permitting Islam to rise here. We Christians, who have the mind of Christ, need to consider why.

            It is an unprecedented phenomenon. It is also potentially terrible, and suggests judgement. At the same time our family structure has gone to blazes – divorce rates, children born outside marriage, children living with one parent all up to 50% from a historically stable less than 5% – while a (secular) study across all of human history and geography finds that all cultures that go promiscuous and wreck their family stability soon fall (Sex and Culture, JD Unwin 1933).

            The rise of Islam here is impending judgement for the sins behind family breakdown. Unless we take action at political level to curtail that breakdown, action against Islam is action against the vehicle of God’s judgement, and is futile. That’s not a popular message – Jeremiah was cast down a well for preaching the same about the encroaching Babylonians – but I believe it to be true.

            God will bless robust action against Islam here only if at the same time family breakdown ceases to be fuelled. That has to be drastic action. Only something like a total end to all State benefits for women who are unmarried at the time they give birth and also for the nine months before, and serious sanctions against men who don’t support their children conceived within marriage, might do it. Otherwise, in the absence of a financial collapse, Islam will take over; and we shall have deserved it. Another lesson of history is that “a great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within” (Will Durant), and we should not blame Islam if it merely administers the coup de grace.

          • 1649again

            I agree with the internal problem and this issue is far bigger than just Islam, but Islam is the nemesis for our sins. That said it must be resisted in the here and now for our children’s sake and the struggle of it may well bring back many to Christ, if only our church leaders would stand up and denounce Islam for what it is with none of this ‘all Abrahamic faiths together’ crap. Jehovah and Allah are not the same, not remotely so.

          • Anton

            Totally agree about Jehovah/Allah, although debating that issue gets beyond soundbites very quickly and it is better for Christians to concentrate on advocating that Jesus is divine, which also sharply distinguishes us from Muslims and is clearer to listeners. Resisting Islam is futile if it is the nemesis for sins that we as a nation continue to do. Those sins must cease if Islam is to be fought off.

          • 1649again

            Not resisting Islam is a recipe for suicide, not just for ourselves, and the struggle may rouse many from their materialistic apathy. The church should be taking a lead.

          • Anton

            We – meaning the nation – are already committing suicide: that is the point of Durant’s comment in the light of family breakdown. Islam would merely administer the coup de grace. If the nation fights Islam with its back door spiritually wide open because of the sins of family breakdown then it will lose, and the bloodshed would only be worse than if it surrendered quietly.

            Yes the church should be taking a lead, absolutely so. We – meaning this time the people of Christ – should be saying that Islam and these sins must be fought together. Fighting only one or the other is useless. For me, at least, this is a fight that I need to make from a congregation that ‘gets it’. I can’t fight the spiritual battle if I am constantly being knifed in the back by liberal apostates. If you are able to, God bless you, but I can’t. I must put my energy into fighting (spiritually speaking) Islam and the bitter fruits of secularism.

          • 1649again

            If the entire nation has to be morally perfect before it can fight back then it’s lost Anton – we shouldn’t have fought in 1939 by that standard.

          • Anton

            We need to distinguish between spiritual and physical battles before making that analogy. What I am saying is that battling Islam politically – which will mean physical confrontations involving our armed forces and police – is worse than useless if we as a nation do not desist from the things for which God is raising Islam as judgement.

            Therefore my attitude is to be against political action against Islam within the UK if no political action is going on (or undertaken at the same time) against the policies that promote family breakdown. If, however, a government were to take on both, then I would be all for it.

            These are, of course, enormous changes of policy. But that is not my point.

          • 1649again

            I can’t agree with that conclusion Anton.

          • Anton

            I would be glad to be wrong.

  • bs

    Sorry your Grace, but this was disingenuous of you, “She clearly meant it: prayer causes terrorism”.

    That’s not what she meant, nor what she said. What she said was that the urge to prayer is derived from faith, and it is faiths that “help create” this violence in the first place. Plenty of people agree with that, and sadly they have much historical and current evidence for their point of view (something which ‘faith’ eschews the need for) – your namesake was burnt to death because of differences in ‘faith’. You believe there is a God in the Christian image and have faith in his goodness and love and concern for humanity, and that is your right. Others believe that such a faith is without evidence, absolutely absurd and dangerous- that is theirs.

    To profess the importance of one’s faith by offering prayers at the very moment of a murder almost certainly committed by someone who is labouring under the misapprehensions of what he thinks is a ‘faith’ involves a complete failure to appreciate that not everybody believes that ‘faith’ is a good thing.

    You disagree – but it is interesting that you don’t engage with the gravamen of the argument against you, you mis-portray it in your attempt to demonise somebody who has no truck with ‘faith’. Your approach is symptomatic of adherents of faiths throughout history. Take the blinkers off – just as you and others are entitled to hold your faiths and think that your faith has a contribution to make in the immediate aftermath of a faith-based atrocity, there are others who think that faith per se is a disastrous notion – these people do not distinguish between faiths and are entitled to be upset when, as they see it, somebody decides to pour petrol on the flames by suggesting that the solution to faith-based violence is more faith.

    The fact that you can quote inspirational passages and point to the blameless life of Christ himself does not alter the problem of ‘faith’, members of all ‘faiths’ can do that. The problem with ‘faith’ is the same for all faiths, whether they be religious or political (ultimately extreme forms of totalitarian beliefs are based in faith). The combination of strong non-evidence based beliefs and human nature has always been combustible and there is no indication that will change – the world need an awful lot less faith, not more of the ‘right’ kind.

    • Terry Mushroom

      “..there are others who think that faith per se is a disastrous notion – these people do not distinguish between faiths and are entitled to be upset..”

      Why are they entitled not to distinguish between faiths? Why can faiths be treated as “all the same”?

      I note that Philip & Axelrod’s three volume Encyclopedia of Wars chronicles 1,763 wars over human history. The authors categorise 123 as being religious in nature: that’s 6.98% of all wars. Subtract those waged in the name of Islam (66) the percentaage is cut by more than half to 3.23%.

      Do have figures that contradict that?

      • Richard B

        Terry, about the time you were writing I was looking at the accumulating database of attacks since 9/11 instigated by Muslims against non-believers and their ‘brethren’. Yesterday’s cowardly event makes 30,500 per http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ – and the number of killed and injured many multiples of that figure!!

      • Anton

        The bellicosity of Islam is also quantified in Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations.

      • bs

        I certainly believe you can make distinctions between faiths in some respects, some are way more problematic than others, especially if they are explicitly political, and I would include Islam in that category. But my point was a different one. For all their differences, which I accept are substantial, every faith shares the essential requirement to believe powerfully in a God whose concerns include a detailed stance on human existence and conduct, and often to proselytise. Adherents of the major faiths believe that it is their faith/God that has handed down true morality to mankind. History shows that the mixture of such beliefs and human nature is combustible. Thankfully Christianity and the vast majority of its adherents have retreated significantly from the 16th Century position of considering that their faith justifies faith-based discrimination, wars, and atrocities, but it is difficult to make a case that the civilising effect on adherents since that period is solely due to more faith.

        These issues are complex – I completely accept that much about the way in which we organise ourselves which is good can be shown to have derived from aspects of Christian teaching, I am very content to cherry-pick from Christianity (not something the faithful like) and acknowledge its contribution to the developments of dignity of the individual, modern democracy, and rule of law, but my essential point is that anyone who says that their approach is governed by a ‘faith’ should have the breadth of mind to accept that others consider that to be per se a bad starting point, not a source of comfort, and something to be challenged. Those of you who disagree do themselves no favours by avoiding this essential question.

        • carl jacobs

          You can’t cherry pick from Christianity because it is an integrated whole that is founded on the power and authority of God. You would be left with rootless assertions like “All men are equal” that you can neither derive nor sustain. It is only God that presents the authority to restrain human conduct. What you are in fact claiming is that man should not have faith in God. Rather man should have faith in himself. I can tell you where that will lead.

          • bs

            You make my point precisely, perhaps without realising it – I can’t argue with you because you have your faith, it is right, and I have to accept it lock-stock and barrel or be in error.

            I accept that by his life, teaching, and example Christ was as close to perfection as any man in history that I am aware of and I believe his teachings are a good basis for a life well-lived. Because of that, I think we are much more lucky than not to be living in what I term a post-Christian society – but I also believe that our society has in many important respects moved on from accepting some aspects of Christian dogma and is prepared to challenge it more, which has made society a better and happier place.

            Our differences stem from an essential point of departure – I believe that there is no evidence for the existence of a God of the sort that you claim (that does not make me an atheist, more a sort of Deist who thinks there may be some power behind it all, but not one who pays a close attention to humankind or morality).

            I think that one consequence of your pre-occupation in defending ‘faith’ per se is that more dangerous faiths than 21st Century Anglicanism, such as Islam, are given too much respect by acceptance that ‘faith’ is good starting point for a world view.

            My take is that faith is a bad starting point, which opens up the full range of challenges to the threat of creeds such as Wahhabism.

          • carl jacobs

            And my point is that your distinctions are wholly arbitrary. Who told you that…

            dignity of the individual, modern democracy, and rule of law

            … are good things? What does the word “good” even mean in a world without God? You don’t possess even so much as the standing to condemn the killings that are the motivation for your original post.

            In 50 years, when the Age of the West is over, and what we have known as “Western Europe” is gone forever, what will you say?

          • bs

            I don’t need someone to tell me that something which is obviously objectively good and benefits the majority of people is just that. The fact that we can discuss our profound differences without resorting to violent language, let alone violent conduct is a good thing, which would not have been possible in the past.

            If we allow Western Europe to have gone forever, it will not be because of our failure to accept the existence, without evidence, of a Supreme Being.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t need someone to tell me that something which is obviously objectively good

            Thus you confess your faith in man.

            In the first place you have assumed the existence of something called “good” without actually establishing that it exists. You further assert that this standard of “good” is objective without providing an authority to establish it as objective. In fact you – limited finite creature that your are – have simply bootstrapped a standard out of thin air and privileged it on your own authority for no other reason than your own preference. If you had the courage of your convictions you would stand with Nietzsche and admit there is only power. But that way lies despair.

            it will not be because of our failure to accept the existence, without evidence, of a Supreme Being.

            The man born blind says “Where is this evidence for light?” Nevertheless, this wasn’t my point. Your only criteria to establish the truth of your notion of “good” is success. When the culture that sustains your notion of “good” itself dissolves, what does that say about your objective notion of “good”?

          • bs

            You can call it faith in man – the thing is that man exists, and man’s capacity for thought and analysis from what he observes also exists – we don’t need faith to know that.

          • PessimisticPurple

            Of course you can cherry pick. It’s called “Protestantism”.

        • Terry Mushroom

          How can I not accept that others consider that faith is per se a bad starting point?

          However, they need to consider the lives lost during regimes that wanted nothing to do with God – Stalin, Mao, Hitler Chiang Kai-shek, Lenin, Pol Pot, North Korea, Albania.

          “Almost 170 million men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed or killed in any other of a myriad of ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is as though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power, not germs.” (R J Hummel, Lethal Politics and Death by Government)

          I don’t defend Christian violence. One reason it’s so wrong is because it so badly fails Christianity’s own founder and His standards. However in giving us her explanation of Christian failure, Hartley-Brewer must also explain the far greater violence of those who would actively deny God’s existence.

          Jesus says that the primary cause of all wars and violence, indeed all evil, comes from within the heart of man. Does Hartley-Brewer agree? And what is her solution?

          • bs

            I’m sure Hartley-Brewer agrees that the primary cause of all wars and violence, indeed evil, comes from man – that’s my view anyway. The human condition may mean that there is not a ‘solution’ for that, certainly not claiming the existence of a Supreme Being without evidence; although man’s innate capacity for bad can be ameliorated – odd though it may seem on any objective measure the world is a less warlike and violent place now than it has ever been. You will have noted that nearly all the ghastly regimes you cite boosted the ability of their rulers to cause mayhem by some form of deification or other of the ruler, by making cultish claims of supra-human omnipotence. History shows that man’s innate capacity for horror is not much pacified by the belief that life is ordained by some Supreme Being who it is desirable to worship and to follow.

          • Terry Mushroom

            You’re right. Those regimes were led by people who, in various degrees and ways, demanded the worship that is due to God alone. And it’s true that those 20th century regimes have ended.

            But what’s the “objective measure” that you’re using that shows that we’ve now really finished with the wars to end all wars? That the hearts of men and women are “less warlike and violent” than they’ve ever been? That’s a truly remarkable claim.

          • bs

            Human capacity for horror has not changed, I’d agree with that. I must confess that my assertion was on the basis of something I read the other day that I cannot now find – I found it rather astonishing myself, but it was coherent and seemed to be properly sourced and evidenced about global conflict deaths and suffering more generally. The closest I can get immediately is this site which demonstrates that on many criteria of woe and misery, the world is improving contrary to what one might otherwise expect from what we see in the news. http://humanprogress.org/ . Partly this is because we are now aware of awful situations which previously we would not have been aware of, and 24hr rolling media has changed the way we consume and hear of tragedies – but I’d certainly accept that Syria, parts of Iraq, and South Sudan seem to be a pretty good approximation of hell on earth right now.

          • Terry Mushroom

            There’s a scene in the 1981 Gallipoli film where someone rejoices to a swagman just in from the Outback, “The War is over! It’s over!”

            The puzzled swaggie asks, “War? What war?” He’d wandered for four years, doubtless encountering some people on his way, and it hadn’t percolated.

            I found a letter from my mother to my father, fighting in New Guinea in WW2. “Have you ever been in the back of a truck?” Mum asked. Her apparent innocence shocked me. But then, how would she know?

    • alternative_perspective

      The question comes down to what is faith?
      If by faith one implies unwarranted belief – then this is not a Christian concept but it is perhaps a valid secular definition.
      If one defines faith as a synonym for trust, then we have something more approaching a Christian conception.
      But the Christian conception also says that faith is a gift and a choice. Thus it cannot merely be trust for that is neither given nor does it cost anything.
      When a Christian says they have faith, they are implying they have faith in the salvific power of Jesus’ redemptive act on the cross but it is also intrinsically tied to the cost this entails – dying to the world and being raised to life in Christ but, where is the gifting dimension?
      In my opinion the gift is in a change of perception.
      Christian faith is evidentialist. It is based in the testimony of individuals’ experiences of God; in the witness of the church to its apostolic *gift*; in the witness of the scriptures, in the testimony of the heavenly bodies, in the observation of purpose and design in the ordering of the universe, in the recognition of non-material, atemporal, non-spatial causation outside of the universe, in the connection of objective morality with an objective moral law giver and so on… but many individuals can take the same data and yet come to a different conclusion. In fact the same individual can approach the same data and come to different conclusions at different times. It is here that the “gift” is offered – in the ability to interpret the data in a manner which is consistent with the originator of the data.
      For example: 1, 3, 7
      You would be correct to determine that the next in the sequence is 11. But that would not be the correct extrapolation as I determine it. As I intended it the next number is 15, it could even have bee 22 or any other solution to the pattern but they’d have been wrong. You may have realised this but without my statement of intent you wouldn’t know whether its 11, 15, 22 or another.
      I would argue that faith is trust. It is a choice. But most importantly it is a gift from God of his holy spirit – the ability to interpret the data consistent with its creator’s intent.
      So if we talk about faith as you have – you in reality are super imposing on us a definition we do not subscribe to. It is an act of cultural imperialism. More over it is self-defeating for in reducing and proclaiming such a definition as proffered; one is implicitly stating the validity of one particular unwarranted belief that all should conform to. That is, one is intrinsically claiming the right to objectively define faith thus and impose it on us all – which none has. Furthermore in doing so one is seizing the authority to make claims about faith, which are simply not supported by the evidence.
      One cannot condemn faith whilst simultaneously claiming its authority to justify said condemnation. Here in lies the intellectual problem with such claims about “faith” as given by secular commentators, their own definition is intrinsically self-refuting. Thus the claim about faiths being a cause of this terrorism is therefore also self-refuting.

      • bs

        Thanks for this response. I think your key objection to my viewpoint is, “if we talk about faith as you have – you in reality are super imposing on us a definition we do not subscribe to. It is an act of cultural imperialism”. I would say my position is more an act of “empiricism” rather than of cultural imperialism. I would say that what you refer to as “data” is self-probative material which is incapable of independent verification; similarly, to say that faith is a gift puts the cart before the horse. I think that your arguments are bootstrap arguments. I cannot accept that what you cite gives rise to evidence of a supreme being who is an objective moral law-giver in the form of a God – although I can accept that there is such a thing as objective morality, which arises from a study of the human condition over generations. I also accept that Christ’s teachings hailed from the best and most original insight into the human condition of which I am aware, one which has aged very well despite the numerous abuses and deliberate misconstructions of of it by unscrupulous individuals and organisations over history. I also think that we are going through a period when some dangerous dogmas of moral relativism are far too prevalent. I do not believe that all religions are basically the same, far from it, but I do believe that most share the essential characteristic that their adherents hold that there is sufficient evidence for the existence of a supreme being who has set down rules for our conduct and that we must obey those rules and worship the giver. I do not believe that there is such evidence. I do not claim the authority of a different ‘faith’ or dogma for that position, I say if you want to make the claim that a supreme God has revealed his truths to you, you need to prove the existence of this God – and you cannot. I can’t see how that is intellectual suicide.

        • alternative_perspective

          In reality no one in philosophy talks about proofs anymore and haven’t really done so for the best part of a century.

          I think we can give good arguments that are more likely than their negations from which we can derive warrant for rational belief.

          The gift to which I refer is a central part of Christian belief. One cannot believe the truth of the Christian proclamation and live its life without the Holy Spirit. One may find it rationally more plausible than not but this doesn’t mean one would accept it heart, mind and spirit. “Many are called”

          The argument for a creator from our observation of objective moral values is a powerful one because it is based in the negation of an original argument for atheism and our human experience.

          Summarising:

          1. if there was a god we would see an objective moral system
          2. we do not see such a system
          3. therefore there is no god.

          Theists turned this on its head:

          1. if there was a god we would see an objective moral system
          2. we see such a system
          3. therefore there is a god.

          To defeat this one needs to disagree with points 1 and 2. You have already stated that you agree with point 2 so one would need to refute point 1.

          For morality to be objective is must be rooted in something other than our humanity. Its origin must be intelligible, unchanging and binding. A moral law which is culturally conditioned or temporal is subjective & unreliable; one that is not binding is not a law and one which is internally incoherent without reference to purpose is ad hoc and contrived.
          Thus what transcendent origin of morality exists that is eternal, intelligible, coherent and commands a morality? No natural source can explain this; abstract objects (if they exist) are causally impotent (the number two never made anyone do anything), nor is there any mechanism for creating coherent, intelligible and purposeful laws that would be as applicable to humanity at all stages of its development as it would a species on the other side of the universe.
          The only explanation with sufficient explanatory power is an intelligent agency.
          Moreover we know that the (multi/uni)verse had an external cause and that the sign posts of design are irrefutable: design obviously being a facet of intelligence. Thus we either attempt to wed multiple ad hoc, naturalistic solutions together to weave an explanation for the origin of creation; its “intelligently” configured states and the existence of objective morality or we employ a single theistic one. If we value Occam’s razor then we should adopt the least contrived explanation. The theistic solution falls out as the most reasonable solution.
          It is not a proof and one can surely construct alternative arguments as suggested above but it seem to me that the theistic solution is more reasonable than its negation.
          Regarding faith – I believe my statement still stands. Even if your approach is empiricist is does not convey nor embody any sense of authority. There is no reason why I should submit to your definition even if it seems to be empirically supported. This is in part one of the reasons why logical positivism failed as a yardstick for truth. How do you prove empirically the criterion “everything must be empirically verifiable”? You can’t, this in part is why philosopher abandoned this measure in the late 1950s – hence contemporary society’s descent into relativism. I stated my understanding of faith as a trinity of evidential, gifted and chosen belief. This seems to fit the Biblical model to which I ascribe.
          If faith is as you define it – unwarranted belief (lacking any evidence or even in contradiction to the evidence) I couldn’t claim to have faith. I couldn’t claim to say I believe in God because I willed it alone – I didn’t, there were definite points or invitation. Even if I had chosen to believe on my own, I couldn’t have maintained it, if it lacked evidence or worse still stood in contradiction to the evidence. I cannot believe “A” when the observable truth is NOT(A). But the Gospels are remarkably reliable historical texts, without parallel in antiquity. The arguments for an external intelligent agency are both powerful and elegant. And finally, the witness of billions of Christians and my own experiences cohere and point towards the Christian conception of God.
          Thus under a reductionist definition of faith – I have no faith. But surely, since as I am a Christian and I do believe in God’s existence, the veracity of the Gospel accounts, the truth of the resurrection explanation and hope in Jesus’ return – I do have faith. Thus surely that definition of faith cannot be true?

          • bs

            The second of your three-stage arguments might be an interesting refutation of the first – but I think that both are no more illuminating than the old chestnut about whether a four-legged object is a dog or a table.

            This seems to be your key:

            “For morality to be objective is must be rooted in something other than our humanity. Its origin must be intelligible, unchanging and binding. A moral law which is culturally conditioned or temporal is subjective & unreliable; one that is not binding is not a law and one which is internally incoherent without reference to purpose is ad hoc and contrived.”

            I am interested that you point to ‘intelligible’ origins and the need for reference to ‘purpose’. I’d argue that is consistent with my view that morality does not have to be “unchanging” to be objective. What is regarded as objectively reasonable and moral in society can change slowly over time as our understanding of the world around us and especially of causation develops – this does not merit the epithets subjective and unreliable – changes can move in either way. What was previously thought of as morally acceptable can become thought of as immoral and unacceptable as we understand more about consequences of our acts or omissions, as well as vice-versa. Homosexuality might be a good example – we now understand that homosexual inclinations are not a pure choice (although the act is), and we know that homosexual acts occur within the animal world. We know that natural disasters such as volcanoes, drought, or inundation do not result from homosexuality, and that its practice does not prevent man from reproducing himself – whatever might have been the objectively reasonable justifications for homosexuality being considered sinful in Biblical times do not stack up today.

            Humans have the intelligence to notice over generations of experience what conduct has undesirable repercussions, however nice it may feel at the time, however tempted one is towards it, and to develop and hand down codes of what conduct is worth adhering to in the long run. I find it rather sad that the belief that an outside agency is the only possible explanation for such matters is part of the basis for belief in a Supreme Being.

  • Steve Davie

    Surely the wider point is one made in the Dawkins debates years ago. It can’t be that having faith or religion is wrong, because Ms H-B is professing faith herself in saying ‘I’ll tweet what I want and you tweet what you want. Does that sound OK for you?’ Yeah, that sounds fine to me, so long you believe that I can be selfish as I like so long as I let you do the same.
    So, which faith do I fancy? The one where people pray for each other and sometimes that prayer drives them to action – which action? Slagging other people off [or driving their car into a crowd] because they don’t like their opinions? Or the actions of caring and loving to the extent that the police and paramedics did yesterday … or that Jesus did in dying for us? Well, give me Jesus anytime.
    But, have a heart for Ms H-B who is clearly in need of understanding, kindness and mercy [… and prayer!] herself because she doesn’t understand her own faith. And she speaks for millions of others, mores the shame. We need more faith understanding not less, particularly when we realise that actions tell us a lot about the faith that is underneath them.

  • Ah, dear old Julia Carpet-Chewer. She has a track record for attacking religion – all religion – without thinking too much.

    Although I am no fan of Pope Francis, and not a climate alarmist, I think this old piece of lovely Julia’s packs in about as much anti-religious nonsense as possible.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/politics-blog/11682830/If-we-need-the-Pope-to-teach-us-about-science-then-God-help-us-all.html

    • Cressida de Nova

      If she is anti religion why invoke God’s help at the end of the article. It always amazes me how these airheads manage to acquire tertiary attainments and paid employment. She cannot even advance a logical argument.
      What are you doing here Eccles? You are supposed to be in the wilderness for Lent.:)

  • Richard B

    The clueless continue to rant and rage instead of stopping to consider and realise the realities of spiritual war and the battle we’re all in. The one and its cohorts who tried and failed to usurp the Almighty still has its unsanctified stooges serving its ends via strategies snaking their way through religions, politics, media and mankind’s intellect and emotions.

  • carl jacobs

    Wait. I thought the problem was nationalism. Wasn’t that why the EU was needed – to usher in a thousand years of peace for Europe? It was going to suppress the particularity of nationalism. Brexit was going to lead to war – in secular Europe. I remember that argument being made quite frequently. It wasn’t religion that was the problem. It couldn’t be religion since religion is largely dead in Europe. But there was still the spectre of war because of the nation state.

    Something is not adding up here.

    • Terry Mushroom

      If that’s American irony, then I like it.

  • carl jacobs

    On the other hand, there are possibilities in this type of argument. It can be adapted to other circumstances.

    1. All Communists are Leftists.
    2. Communists kill people.
    3. All Leftists kill people.

    You could make it work.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Carl, that sort of logic may work well in algebra, but it doesn’t have much relevance when it comes to human nature

      • carl jacobs

        That argument represents a logical fallacy – the exact logical fallacy used by Julia Hartley-Brewer.

        1. All Muslims are religious.
        2. A Muslim killed someone.
        3. All religious people are potential killers.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          I notice you added the caveat “potential” this time. “All religious people are killers” would be blatantly untrue

          • carl jacobs

            Yes. Because she added that qualification for exactly the reason you said. Do you not understand the purpose of my post?

          • betteroffoutofit

            Except … it is surely ‘fact’ – not ‘opinion’ – that all PEOPLE are potential killers.

  • Mungling

    I suppose this is what happens when progressive/secular orthodoxy teaches that all religions are equal. What was undoubtedly originally meant to extend the sympathies of a largely Christian nation to other systems of belief is now being used to extend antipathy directed towards one particular religious groups to all religious groups. Besides, criticizing Islam, or at least segments within Islam, would get one branded as racist but criticizing all religion simply makes one an enlightened secular progressive.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I have to say YG, that given the enormous significance of yesterday’s massacre, I’m a little disappointed that you focus on the stupid tweet of some pumped-up reporter who was obviously high on a cocktail of rage and ignorance.

    I would prefer to take issue with what the Prime Minister said about the attack. It was along the lines that any attempt by these people to change our values and culture is doomed. That statement disappointed me because…

    (a) like all political statements about terror attacks it assumes the objective was to change society whereas in reality it was design to hurt individuals and to hurt the nation, probably out of revenge. In that respect they have been totally successful

    (b) our liberal culture, including the government, authorities, and media are fully complicit in changing society to conform to muslim “requirements”. Examples include turning a blind eye to gender selection abortions, FGM, and grooming of white girls by Asian men. The terrorists don’t need to do anything themselves, it’s all being done for them.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I don’t think they simply want to ‘hurt’, they really do want to overthrow, in favour of Islam.

  • Church leaders in the West who welcome Muslim immigration have, by now, persuaded the general public that Christianity is indeed a bloody stupid belief. What could be more stupid than pitting a religion of ‘grace and peace’ against a religion of violence and terror, and then proclaiming the resultant mayhem (in the words of the ridiculous Welby) ‘a gift not a threat’?

    A recent blog post by Alfred W Clark, ‘Is Contemporary Christianity a Suicide Cult?’, may make uncomfortable reading but seems to me to pack a great deal of truth into its few lines.

    • Anton

      It is society that has become feminised in the way he states, and from there the disease got into the church.

      • alternative_perspective

        I don’t see the feminisation of the church as the problem per se but it is a symptom and has certainly accelerated the decline.

        My personal theory is the church, especially due to the reformation’s association with the enlightenment, is in the thrall of modernist reductionism. Over simplifications prevent people holding complex arguments and positions in tension. People perceive a paradox and conclude it is a contradiction, rather than the paradox it is truly is: “a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.”
        As such people filter scripture according to their worldview and political leanings, rather than allowing these to be filtered by scripture. As such we see the bifurcation of beliefs and the appropriation of one or the other, which in reality should be held together.
        Take law and grace. People contemplate the two and cannot fathom how they should be held in tension – so they don’t. They either become legalistic or throw the law aside but what is grace if there is no law? What is deliverance if there is no judgement to be delivered from? What is love if the act of love is a meaningless gesture?
        In my opinion, today’s church is too reductionist and finds it impossible to grapple with apparent paradox and so fails to respond in the balanced way it would, were it to hold both poles of the argument in tension rather than favouring one or the other.

    • David

      Thanks for the link, Johnny. I agree with him. “Turning the other cheek” is not about refusing to defend our faith and indeed civilisation. Quite how we get out of this suicide attitude though is not clear.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Turning the other cheek only makes sense to Orthodox Jews

        • Dominic Stockford

          And to Jesus Christ, and to his followers to whom he advocated such an action.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Jesus Christ was an Orthodox Jew whose robes had tzitzit

          • Dominic Stockford

            Moving away from your disservice to ‘fully God and fully man’:

            “and to his followers to whom he advocated such an action.”

          • Manfarang

            He was a Jew. He didn’t wear a black hat.

          • Paul Greenwood

            He wore tzitzit on his robes

          • Manfarang

            5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

          • Paul Greenwood

            and women don’t wear mantillas in church either

          • Manfarang

            Tichel

      • @ David—Quite how we get out of this suicide attitude

        Western Christianity needs leaders worthy of the name who are prepared to elevate the needs of Christianity and Christians above all other faiths, thereby cocking a snook at equality and committing modern sacrilege. But given the current political and media power arrayed against Christianity, such leaders wouldn’t last five minutes. At some point in the slow strangulation of Western civilization, I’m hoping that the indigenous will decide they’ve had enough and reject the political parties that have betrayed them these last 70 years. Christianity’s best hope, I think, would be to ride on the coat-tails of that rebellion.

        • Anton

          Christianity’s best hope is to ride on the coattails of Christ, guided by the Bible.

          • @ Anton—Western churches, in cheerleading for mass immigration, have turned against the people; one might say the churches have been riding on the coat-tails of the Antichrist. The churches’ betrayal has badly tarnished Christianity, which must somehow reconnect with, and prove its loyalty to, the people if it is ever going to be more than a minority interest.

          • Anton

            The problems of church hierarchy in my view, but that’s another story. Without a hierarchy the church IS the people in it.

        • David

          Yes.

      • writhledshrimp

        I think C S Lewis said somewhere that if there is such a thing as a just war then not going to war must in some circumstances be sinful.

        • David

          Noted.

    • alternative_perspective

      Just read the blog. Didn’t make me uncomfortable at all. He tells it true. He succinctly demonstrates that there is an intellectual / theological incoherency in much of the Western church’s beliefs. I think he’s spot on there.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I note that the RC church leader is going off to Rome with 4 British Imams to visit the Pope. They seem to think this will help. I’ll leave others to describe what it will really do.

      • Anton

        Who is? Nichols?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Yes, that’s the chap.

          • Anton

            Where did you find that? I can’t.

          • Dominic Stockford

            It was on the news at lunchtime. I think in the London local news after the main news. Being mentioned with adulation.

      • Paul Greenwood

        I thought this pope was big on Islam not at all Regensburg Speech stuff

      • Busy Mum

        I suppose it depends on what they mean by ‘help’. Jesuits dissemble and Muslims have taqiyya…..

        • Dominic Stockford

          I can’t see it helping Protestantism!

          • Busy Mum

            Exactly!

  • magnolia

    Well, goes to prove that Augustine was right to say that “our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you” (you being God). Ms Hb seems a hard writer that jabs at the paper and has lost the rubber on the (unchewed, for that might signify reflection) end. Very restless. Let us hope- and pray- she finds some peace of mind.

  • David

    Mouthing off such crass prejudices, based on sheer ignorance of the facts, is the result of a left-liberal political culture that firstly, propagates the false idea that all faiths and moral systems are of equal value, and secondly, ignores all the facts, including history.
    Facts regarding this present outrage are, as yet, few indeed. But speaking generally, Christianity and the civilisation that it, until very recently underpinned, is in an altogether different category to that which has inspired a rampant killing spree in many of the capitals of the west.
    However the present strain of Christianity peddled by the mainly, left-liberal leaders of Churches, recommending a policy of surrender is wrong. Good things need to be defended with whatever vigour is necessary to ensure the triumph of good over evil.

  • chefofsinners

    Julia showed great clarity and insight by writing that this comment was “not beneath me at all.”

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes. It seems difficult to get much lower.

  • PessimisticPurple

    I presume the lady meant that the habit and discipline of prayer inculcates a certain propensity towards extremism, justifiable in the religious mind by the concept of sub specie aeternitatis. And, of course, her logic is impeccable. After all, when people give up the childish comfort blanket of a supreme being, they will, naturally, thereafter agree on everything else, and all strife will cease in the world, will it not? It worked a treat in the Soviet Union. That Trotsky bloke only got an ice pick through his ear hole when he went to Mexico, didn’t he? Nothing to do with his atheist mates in Mother Russia. Cambodia was an earthly paradise, and who would not wish to live in China under Mao? No, I’m with JHB on this one.

  • vsscoles

    Hartley-Spewer ought to team up with the dreadful woman Hopkins who writes for the Daily Wail – they would make a lovely couple.

    • Meanmistermustard

      What did you disagree most about her article in the DM today?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Apart from her complete lack of hope, due no doubt too her lack of faith in Jesus Christ, I thought KH wrote rather well in the DM today.

      • vsscoles

        It is always confrontational and always based solely on Hopkins’ personal prejudices. A rant for cash which merely generates heat rather than light, and so makes the situation even worse than it need be.

  • Retired Paul

    There is a lot of blame being allocated around this attack. The security people, who did not bolt the gate. The government, for their ‘anti-islamic’ (whatever that means) actions. Christians (always a good target for blame).

    Has anyone thought of blaming the bloke with the knife?

    • Merchantman

      ‘has anyone thought of blaming the bloke with the knife?’-
      -Or what ‘told’ the bloke to kill the unbelievers’?

    • vsscoles

      The gate was open to allow the Defence Secretary’s car into Palace Yard, on a working day for one of the busiest of legislatures.

      • Retired Paul

        Does this make the police guilty? Or the security team negligent?

        I still maintain the bloke with the knife was probably the cause of this and should carry has share of the blame.

        But I do accept the argument that the people who encouraged him to set out to kill should also carry a significant amount of blame.

        • vsscoles

          I was making your point for you.

  • Anna

    Islam has been God’s tool to judge unfaithful Christians in the past. When the Christians of the ME, who once sent missionaries as far as China, lost their lamp stand, Islam took over. Europe was spared because of the Reformation and the cleansing of the church. Today, Christianity in Europe is fallen, and the old enemies are back waving their black flags, with the gates being opened to them by their own elected leaders. 2 Chronicles 7:14

    As for Julia Hartley-Brewer, she is poorly informed, lacks discernment, and needs our prayers.

    • Anton

      Exactly so.

      • Tosh.

        • Anton

          Thank you for your constuctive contribution to this debate.

          • “Europe was spared because of the Reformation and the cleansing of the church.”
            You really think this comment, which you agreed with, is anything but tosh?
            Europe was saved from subjugation by the Ottomans as a result of Catholic nations defeating the Turks in battle.

          • Anton

            Western Europe for a start, Greece and parts of the Balkans had been over-run; also the Orthodox and Persians at the other Ottoman borders played a part. In the 1530s there were no established “protestant nations” but protestants willingly fought under Catholic command when the Ottomans tried again in 1532. In the 17th century others here have documented how protestants were involved at Vienna. you write as if protestant nations abstained but the accident of history is simply that they had no borders with the Ottomans.

          • 1649again

            And Cromwell used his navy under Blake against the Muslim pirates of the western Mediterranean despite being at war against the Hapsburgs as well.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You’re welcome !

          • Anton

            “And also with you”.

    • alternative_perspective

      Although it was catholic Poland that stopped both the Islamic invasion of Europe at the Battle of Vienna and the atheist incursion in 1920 at the Battle of Warsaw.

      • Anna

        I believe, on the basis of scripture, that God’s protection was over protestant Europe then, but not any more.

        • A protection secured by The Holy League – a Catholic alliance. Protestant Europe had been forging military and commercial alliances with the Ottomans, against Catholic states and the Catholic Church.

          • Anna

            Well, God delivered Judah under Jehoshaphat by letting their enemies destroy each other!

          • You support an alliance between Islam and protestant states? Wonder how that would have worked out.

          • Anna

            My point is that when the church is faithful, the nation is protected. The alliance was between the Ottomans and the princes of these nations, not the churches.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Miracle on the Vistula

        • Anton

          Vienna is on the Danube.

          • Paul Greenwood

            1920 Pilsudski’s Victory was on the Vistula

          • Anton

            But not against the forces of Islam.

          • Paul Greenwood

            accepted graciously

      • 1649again

        The Hapsburgs and Polish at Vienna also had a good number of German Protestant allies, who knew the greater peril when the saw it.

        • For 300-years the Holy Roman had been fighting the Ottomans. The battle in 1683 was fought by the Habsburg Monarchy, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire, under the command of King John III Sobieski. All Catholic and known as The Holy League. The Pope hailed King Sobieski as the saviour of Christendom. He also also granted the Polish king the title “Defender of the Faith”.

          Sobieski had entrusted his kingdom to the protection of the Blessed Virgin (Our Lady of Częstochowa) before the battle. Sobieski began the marches to Vienna from the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Pope Innocent XI commemorated his victory by extending the feast of the Holy Name of Mary to the entire Church. When it became known that 300,000 Turks were advancing on Vienna, Pope Innocent ordered that rosaries be recited in the religious houses and churches of Rome. The same prayers of supplication were offered throughout the Empire. The Polish armies entered the battle singing the Bogurodzica i.e. Mother of God – Theotokos.

          The words:
          “Virgin, Mother of God, God-famed Mary!
          Ask Thy Son, our Lord, God-named Mary,
          To have mercy upon us and hand it over to us!
          Kyrie eleison! (Greek)

          Son of God, for Thy Baptist’s sake,
          Hear the voices, fulfill the pleas we make!
          Listen to the prayer we say,
          For what we ask, give us today:
          Life on earth free of vice;
          After life: paradise!
          Kyrie eleison!”

          • 1649again

            No problem with any of that HJ but don’t forget the Lutheran Germans who joined (think it was Saxony at least).

          • Yeah, after decades and decades of conspiring with the Turks against Catholic states, a few turned up.

          • 1649again

            What a miserable ungracious comment. The principal European allies of the Turks were the Catholic French who allow muslim warships to operate from French ports and who had an active alliance with the Ottomans for decades.

          • Anton

            Yes, absolutely. Francis I’s alliance with the Muslims against his fellow Catholic Charles V.

          • It was a scandalous alliance against the Holy Roman Empire.

            Ottoman power was used by the French to intervene in favour of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Empire, after a request for Ottoman help by William I of Orange, so that a Dutch-Ottoman alliance was considered and a letter was sent from Suleiman the Magnificent to the “Lutherans” in Flanders, offering troops at the time they would request, and claiming that he felt close to them, “since they did not worship idols, believed in one God and fought against the Pope and Emperor”. Various religious refugees, such as the Huguenots, some Anglicans, Quakers, Anabaptists and Jews (Marranos) took refuge at Constantinople and in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans supported the Calvinists in Transylvania and Hungary and also in France.

            Remember The Battle of Lepanto in 1571? A victory of the Catholic Holy League – a coalition of European Catholic maritime states arranged by Pope Pius V.

          • 1649again

            Perhaps if the Holy Roman Empire hadn’t gone around oppressing dissenting Christians by force it might have had better support from protestants when the Ottomans came knocking.

            I celebrate despite this the role of the Holy Roman Empire and Holy League in fighting Islam.

          • Perhaps … but if it hadn’t … perhaps there wouldn’t have been a Holy League or any unity in those states that did eventually repelled Islam and save Europe.

          • 1649again

            Given that some Protestants states marched to defend an Empire with which they had been not many years before locked in a vicious war – the Thirty Years’,War – because they saw the greater danger I rather think you should be more gracious and generous.

            As ever you show that the hard core fundamentalist RCs are like the Bourbons of whom it was said, “They forgot nothing and learned nothing.”

          • Anton

            Your usual trick of saying more about it than the person who used it to rebut your previous point, then changing the subject.

            Charles V might have done better against the Ottomans by enlisting with Francis I rather than fighting him. They were both Catholics.

          • Bit of a naïve comment from one who wouldn’t want Popes to interfere in national and international politics.

          • Anton

            I didn’t say that the Pope should involve himself; I said that Charles V and Francis I should have recognised what they had in common instead of playing overgrown playground games at each other, and united against the Turks.

          • bluedog

            Exactly. During the Turkish assault on Vienna in 1683, Louis XIV went so far as to peel a few western principalities off the HRE.

    • alternative_perspective

      For people who would eschew Grace. There is the law.
      For those who would cast off the laws of God, there are the law of less entities.
      This judgement is not only Christians but on a civilisation that benefitted enormously from the gift of law and grace but which stole its form and called it human nature. God is once again revealing the truth behind human nature and the spiritual entities that love to twist and corrupt the same.

    • “Europe was spared because of the Reformation and the cleansing of the church.”
      Quite an assertion.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Well it is getting near the month 500 years ago when Martin nailed his Theses to the Schlosskirche door in Wittenberg and they have just spent €5 million restoring the church.

        • Anton

          October 31st!

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Recently the German government thought that they were getting too many national holidays, so they removed Reformation Day.

            Upon which, they celebrated Halloween instead. (Must have got the idea when students from Durmstrang paid a visit to Hogwarts for the Triwizard Cup.)

      • Cressida de Nova

        A tad biased besides being misinformed, don’t you think?

        • Indeed.

          Notice today that the countries with a high Islamic immigrant problem are ones that succumbed to the Reformation, ones that abandoned Catholicism and Orthodoxy, or ones who willingly embraced secularism and French Revolution anarchy along with Enlightenment heresies.

          Protestants in northern and central Europe sought and established alliances with the Ottomans in opposition to the Catholic states and the Catholic Church. Protestants considered Islam closer to it than Catholicism.

          • Anna

            Please note –
            1. That the crusades failed to achieve their objectives, despite being fought on the orders of the ‘Vicar of Christ’, and brought much dishonour to Christendom.
            2. Spain was under the Moors for a very long time.
            3. The ME Christians were either Orthodox or Catholic.

            Hardly success stories. If we believe – as the scripture states – that God protects the righteous in the day of trouble, then clearly there was a reason why these churches failed. Even you must agree that the Roman church of that period was hardly above reproach?

            In contrast, Protestant nations were spared Islamic incursions. Today, of course the Protestant churches are unfaithful, and the sword is coming towards their lands.

          • The facts speak for themselves. European protestant nations were protected from Islamic expansion by the Catholic Church and Catholic nations, not because of protestantism but despite protestantism.

          • Anton

            The facts are susceptible to different interpretations. Secularism is vulnerable to Islam but is an abuse of the freedom that began to be wrought at the Reformation.

          • Anna

            I would give the credit to God rather than the RCC, especially when the pope failed in his own objectives with regards to the Crusades despite being infallible!

          • How silly. The Pope isn’t infallible in matters temporal.

          • Anna

            Yet, the pope commanded them to go in the name of Christ bearing the a flag with the cross! Was or was he not acting as Christ’s representative?

          • He wasn’t acting infallibly, that’s the point. He called individuals and nations to arms to protect Christians in the Holy Land. The Crusades reopened the Mediterranean to commerce and travel and consolidated the collective identity of the Latin Church under papal leadership.

          • Anna

            How convenient to suggest that each time the Pope fails, he is only human like the rest of us, but when he says things contrary to scripture then he is infallible! Nice loophole.

          • 1649again

            I think it’s called sophistry Anna?

          • Martin

            HJ

            As always, when the infallibility of the pope is brought into question by obvious facts we are told that in that respect the pope isn’t infallible.

          • Another daft comment.

          • Martin

            HJ

            A precise analysis of what you just did.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Anna fits very neatly into the definition of a bigot. Very islamic in that sense.

          • 1649again

            Given that one of the Pope’s crusades stabbed the Byzantines in the back in 1204 and fatally weakened the Greeks’ ability to fend off Islam, the Papacy hardly covered itself in glory and has a lot of ground to make up before lecturing others on what they did or didn’t do to repel Islam.

          • Anton

            Might help if the Pope doesn’t kiss the quran too.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You have been told countless times the Pope is only infallible when making an ex cathedra statement. Something you choose to ignore to make a false argument or you could be incredibly stupid
            the latter being possibly the case.

          • Anna

            Do you mean like Caiaphas in John 11:49-52? We know that this is not how God the Holy Spirit led Peter, Paul and the other apostles – granting them accurate guidance on some occasions, but allowing them to be deceived at other times. So whose successor is the pope?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well that is not surprising Jack. However I don’t think that Protestants would unite with Islam against Catholicism today….although I could be wrong….the old hatreds seem to be very much alive if this blog is any indication.

          • bluedog

            Justified suspicion, Cressida, not hatred. The maiden names of both my grandmothers were French names ending in vowels. One of the strangest moments of my childhood was seeing the name in writing of some pretty cousines with whom we played occasionally. I thought it ended in ‘..way’, but I was wrong, it was ‘…ouet’. The St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre casts a long shadow.

          • Zach V. Roretz

            A chapter in Decline of the West is “Pythagoras, Mohammed, Cromwell”. Comparing them all as puritan movements. Kenneth Clark in the epic “Civilisation” compared the aggression of the reformation with the spread of Islam.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Thanks….I’ll check this out ! The Reformation certainly caused a lot of damage to the world.

          • Zach V. Roretz

            The english answer to Spengler was Toynbee and Christopher Dawson. Dawson is lamentably overlooked now, but really the historian of the 20thC par excellance. See his first book, “Progress and religion”, or “The Gods of Revolution”.

        • Anna

          Interesting comment from someone who hardly ever presents facts or information, and whose preferred method of debate is an ad hominem attack!

      • Martin

        HJ

        A pretty accurate assertion.

    • Dominic Stockford

      This is a good summation of what faces Europe.

      • Anna

        Sadly

  • Andrew Holt

    I think Julia Hartley-Brewer was angry because she is afraid. This was a terror attack after all. Being afraid she lashed out on Twitter. As an intelligent woman she now knows and yet can’t understand why a follower of Islam should take his religion and holy book seriously enough to kill innocent men, women and children and still be referred to as a soldier by his co religionists in ISIS. We are paying a high price for the theological and spiritual ignorance of our commentators, politicians and sadly, our Christian leaders. This morning the Today programme dragged the husband of Jo King, the politician, murdered by a white supremacist nutter on to the show to claim some sort of equivalence with yesterday’s atrocity. That, to me, is symptomatic of something far more frightening than the murderous actions of this Muslim maniac. It demonstrates that we are essentially leaderless. I thank God though that we are not ignorant of the devil’s schemes.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Brendan Cox is one of those people who think the only response these attacks is to light more candles, hug more people, and be an apologist for a religion he clearly doesn’t understand. He’ll be doing the same thing after the next attack, and the next, and the next, because he accepts it as our liberal duty to tolerate our own slaughter and the slaughter of those around us at the hands of Islamists. He will do nothing to defend anybody; just cry for them when they’re lying dead in a pool of blood. The BBC love all this of course.

      • wiggiatlarge .

        I think the actions of Brendan Cox are all about Brendan Cox, and have been since the moment his wife died, having lost his job under dubious circumstances and his wife no longer there to support him he has milked the sad event for all its worth, cynical, yes but not without reason

        • Paul Greenwood

          Brendan Cox was “adviser” to Gordon Brown. Jo Cox was “adviser” to Sarah Brown and before that to Glenys Kinnock

          • Dominic Stockford

            So he couldn’t even do a job properly.

    • Paul Greenwood

      You really have swallowed the bait ! I don’t think this man did this for Islam and I am no fan of Islam. This was peculiar. That man they are burying in Londonderry and his fan base were able to bring 3 tonnes of HE into England in 24 months and blow up Arndale Centre in Manchester, Baltic Exchange, etc etc and even fire a rocket at Downing Street.

      These “ISIS-types” can only wield a knife, crash a car, crash a truck, wield an axe, throw gas canisters into subway trains in Hamburg, or blow themselves up. They all have indestructible passports and leave ID cards around. This man was so lucky the gate was open or it would have been a wasted journey.

      I simply cannot see how these people are so amateurish when Fanatical IRA men (I did not say Catholics) could do so much more damage

      • CliveM

        Oh no, a conspiracy theorist.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Quite the opposite in fact. The Conspiracy Theorist in the pejorative sense is yourself for blaming Islam

          • CliveM

            Did I, I’m sure you can obtain the quote where I said that.

            If not conspiracy theory, what would you describe your speculation as.

          • Paul Greenwood

            “Speculation” or Discrete Facts in search of clarification

          • Merchantman

            oh dear an Equivalencer., except we’re worse.

          • Paul Greenwood

            really ? So tell me about Adrian Elmes from Kent

          • bluedog

            Elmes’ attack has been claimed by ISIS, who probably knew nothing about it. But that’s not the point. Elmes converted to Islam. We aren’t being told much about his background and network.

          • Paul Greenwood

            no nor who steered him and you won’t find out

          • bluedog

            One can be sure that the authorities will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to find out who was behind Elmes/Masood, and they will succeed. What they will not do is disclose the results of their efforts for obvious operational reasons. If they successfully penetrate an Islamic terror cell by any means, they will scarcely jeopardise their own work by making an ill-judged announcement. Would you not agree?

          • Paul Greenwood

            I frankly have no interest in knowing. I am already tired of Adrian Elms. Quite why he rented a car in B’ham and drove into London paying congestion charge defies comprehension as if hiring a car is not possible in London

        • 1649again

          Yep, my suspicions now confirmed.

          • CliveM

            Mine too.

      • Andrew Holt

        It’s by no means amateurish. The damage is psychological, creating fear, paranoia and suspicion and eventually capitulation to mollify the sensibilities of Muslims.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Hardly. They can’t do that with car bombs in Damascus, Beirut, or Baghdad

        • bluedog

          All the evidence suggests that community attitudes are hardening, not appeasing, in the face of Islamic terror. The authorities are handicapped by their culpability as instigators of the Muslim invasion. The loss of credibility implicit in an admission of error mitigates against any apology for destroying the social fabric of Britain.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Not sure it does, but it does undermine the credibility of The System

      • vsscoles

        The security services have become immeasurably more professional since the Troubles, having learned many lessons during that time and having technology available today which was the stuff of science fiction in 1968. They defeated the IRA, and they have prevented many terrorists ever since from achieving their brutal goals. They are the unsung heroes of our era.

        • Paul Greenwood

          My point still stands. These terrorists cannot must a truckload of explosives – not in Berlin, not in Nice, not in London. Can’t they find fertiliser ? Why are they unable to do anything major ?

          “The IRA’s South Armagh Brigade was tasked with planning and carrying out the attack. It had also been responsible for the Canary Wharf bombing in February, and the Bishopsgate bombing in 1993. Its members mixed the explosives in Ireland and shipped them by freight from Dublin to England. In London, the bomb was assembled and loaded into the back of a red and white Ford Cargo box truck. On 14 June it was driven north towards Manchester, accompanied by a Ford Granada which served as a ‘scout car’.” Wiki

          Why can’t these terrorists build a bomb ? The Irish border is porous, the German borders are porous. The guns used in Paris came from The Balkans. The backup supply was carried in a car through Germany. There are truck convoys on the A4 from Poland daily and from Turkey and The Balkans daily crossing from Austria

          • vsscoles

            The UK intelligence services of today have such a comprehensive grasp of the terrorist environment that it is practically impossible for terrorists to do what you suggest. A lone wolf operator might just slip through the net, but with communications now so effectively monitored, any conspiracy to commit such a crime is likely to be detected and nipped in the bud. (The security services elsewhere in the EU are somewhat less sophisticated and therefore there are easier targets over there for the terrorists.)

          • Paul Greenwood

            We shall see – with your confident assurances everyone is safe

          • vsscoles

            Not 100%, foolproof safe – but a lot safer than we were during the Troubles, and a lot safer than other EU nations.

          • Paul Greenwood

            `You are only as safe as the minute that just passed. The minute up ahead could change your life. You have no idea.

          • bluedog

            If you don’t believe Islam is to blame, please tell us who is the motivator of the attack and the motives of the motivator.

          • Paul Greenwood

            String-pullers who use MK Ultra techniques possibly combined with narcotics or SSRIs. Who they are I don’t know – we never get to the core – Saudi backers are rarely apprehended. They were flown out of the USA after 9/11 and some vanished from Orlando. They will flit from the UK in time to receive a BAe salesman in some air-conditioned palace and drink single malts.

            Tony Blair should never have allied Imams into prisons – they convert and subvert

        • Maalaistollo

          I thought the IRA weren’t defeated, but bought off, by acceding to a large measure of their political demands. The tendency of UK governments to surrender to terrorism has surely been noticed by the followers of the RoP, whose religious and cultural requirements quickly become the default position, either because the government tacitly accepts that Islamisation is inevitable, or because it is not prepared to take the robust steps necessary to resist it.

          • Anton

            Indeed, and Rowan Williams’ comments on Sharia in 2008 didn’t help.

          • vsscoles

            The security services had become so effective that the IRA was forced to drop its campaign of terrorism and to accept that there was not going to be a united Ireland. It lost and peace won.

          • Martin

            VSS

            The question then becomes, why were the nationalists given so much?

          • vsscoles

            Catholic grievances – which should have been addressed in the 1960s – were finally resolved in the Good Friday Agreement. The IRA wanted to put an end to the Six Counties and to unite Ireland under Dublin rule. Democracy won, despite the terrorists. The IRA did not get a united Ireland. They might in future, when they outnumber the unionists demographically, and win a referendum to that effect. But that will be a democratic process, the ballot box rather than the Armalite.

        • Martin

          VSS

          The case of Jean Charles de Menezes indicates that the security services are still as incompetent as ever.

          • Anton

            That was the police, wasn’t it?

          • Martin

            Anton

            They were working as a team I believe.

          • bluedog

            Hardly. Inevitably mistakes are made, but in the greater scheme of things, better to be safe than sorry.

          • Martin

            BD

            Hardly safety for the poor innocent who was shot, or their family. Indeed, it serves the aims of the terrorist to have police shooting random members of the public. That they failed to deal with the situationaids the terrorist further, since it means that we cannot trust the Met.

          • bluedog

            Obviously not a successful operation. But given the ‘fog of war’ it is impossible to conduct any such operation without the risk of error. However there is no mass movement still demanding marches to Downing Street in memory of de Menezes. Outrage has moved on.

          • Martin

            BD

            It was not war and there is no excuse for killing an innocent man. To do so does the terrorists work for them.

          • bluedog

            It was an accident. The ‘fog of war’ is a metaphorical term used to describe a rapidly evolving operational situation where information is inevitably incomplete. However, the west is clearly at war with Islam, and Islam is inside the walls.

          • Martin

            BD

            It was a failure of control, a failure to manage the situation, a failure by those directly involved to think and assess the situation. Those who failed and killed an innocent party then proceeded to cover up what they had done, and got promoted. Senior management in the police and the government failed to ensure that those responsible faced up to their responsibility.

      • Sarky

        They are total amateurs, lone wolfs, without the organisation and logistics that the IRA had.

    • Dominic Stockford

      She is afraid because she has no faith in Jesus Christ, and thus no true hope.

      • Anton

        Churchill was secular at heart and not afraid.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          He did drink a bottle of champagne each though

          • Anton

            Brandy wasn’t it?

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Anton, have you ever tried drinking a bottle of brandy in one day? I can guarantee you wouldn’t be able to find your nose, never mind run an empire

          • Anton

            Winston Churchill was a greater man than I, and had also had years of practice.

            I am told that his last action at night when sleeping in the protected War Rooms under Whitehall was to grunt “Bugger everybody”, turn the light out and go to sleep. A man who can do that is necessary at such times. I’ll bet Hitler didn’t.

          • Paul Greenwood

            He also used Enigma feed to know when to leave London during bombing raids

          • Anton

            I don’t believe that. He operated in a bombproof shelter when necessary in London. Is this a Chinese whispers version of the myth that he knew when Coventry was going to cop it but kept quiet?

          • CliveM

            It’s agenda time.

          • Paul Greenwood

            It is fact.

          • Anton

            Please provide evidence that he left London during bombing raids because of Enigma intelligence.

          • Paul Greenwood
          • bluedog

            The link doesn’t answer the question. In any event, the British Cabinet that formed around Churchill after the fall of France in May 1940 would have appreciated the merits of ensuring Churchill’s survival. He came to be emblematic of Britain and his death may have triggered a collapse in morale leading to defeat and occupation. But we will never know and it seems pointless to speculate, although potentially good TV.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Not so. Dahlerus was in discussions with Halifax and RAB Butler at the FO about an Armistice. Churchill faced being deposed during 10 days in mAy 1940 and so ordered RAF bombing raids on German cities to hinder any peace talks. UK began civilian bombing of German cities in May 1940

          • CliveM

            Did he really, good man that Churchill.

          • Paul Greenwood

            why do you think RAB Butler never succeeded him ?

        • Paul Greenwood

          He was also prepared to use anthrax weapons in Germany; kept the blockade on through 1919 after the Armistice starving a million people; permitted the Bengal Famine of 1943; was quite prepared to see Ethnic Germans murdered in Czechoslovakia in 1946-47; and clearly was as “secular” as Stalin in some of his approaches

          • Anton

            Yes, but stop changing the subject. I’m taking Dominic up (courteously) on the relationship between fear and faith.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Although, despite what another here seems to be saying, Churchill did fantastic wonders for our country, Europe, and indeed the world, I still hold to what I said. Some of his words that he wrote about ‘Mohammedans’ tell me that he was seriously afraid of the threat that they posed. And I am sure he was afraid at other moments too – he was just one of those people who can avoid showing it!

        • Merchantman

          Churchill, who in those pre PC times was able to discuss and relate the similarities of the Koran to Mein Kampf; something we apparently are not allowed to do.
          A proper comprehension of what this war is about would be highly advantageous. Since the recent outbreak started in the 1990’s there has never been a meaningful discussion on MSM or by the Government. The left is largely content shut down the debate by calling out the Islamophobia ‘defence’, or if that wears a bit thin presses the entirely bogus equivalence of Islam to Christianity.

          • Anton

            Churchill went PC?

      • Sarky

        I’m not afraid, angry, but not afraid.

        • Martin

          Sarky

          If you weren’t fraid you wouldn’t be pretending there’s no God.

          • 1649again

            Come on, that’s pathetic. Engage, persuade, but don’t make stupid comments like that.

          • Martin

            1649

            It’s a precise statement of his position. Like Adam, cowers in the bushes knowing God can see him.

          • 1649again

            You can’t know that’s what he really thinks in his inner heart. Comments like that do Christians no credit at all.

          • Anton

            Romans 1 says something about the generic inner state of non-Christians. Whether it should be said in front of them is a matter for debate, of course.

          • Martin

            1649

            I have it on the best authority:

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
            (Romans 1:18-23 [ESV])

          • 1649again

            If he really doesn’t believe in God how can he fear Him? That verse proves nothing in this case.

          • Martin

            1649

            He doesn’t believe God, but he knows He is there.

          • 1649again

            Oh be serious. He’s wrong about god but doesn’t know it. That’s all.

          • Martin

            1649

            I am deadly serious, he knows about God but suppresses that knowledge.

          • Sarky

            Dont worry about Martin, he’s just sore because the Westboro baptist church turned him down for being too extreme.

          • Sarky

            What are you waffling on about now??
            Havent you got some crayons to put away or something?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Keep pretending, otherwise the sky might fall on your head.

    • betteroffoutofit

      ” . . . an intelligent woman. . .” The woman who made the remarks HG posts is “intelligent”!?!
      Perhaps the quoted word has been re-defined, like so many others.

      Idiot that I am, however, I’d suggest that prayer involves faith that the MIND can/should move towards Truth. Prayer also proceeds from Hope. Prayer begins to realise Charity (the Love of God and Godly things).

      Perhaps this personage has never humbled its id-ego-superego sufficiently to allow contemplation of any of those three or four (Faith, Hope, Charity – and Truth). She/It doesn’t know what prayer is.

      • Cressida de Nova

        I agree. Intelligent is not a word I would use to describe her.

        • Martin

          She’s a journalist.

  • chefofsinners

    Belief systems do often contribute to radicalisation but prayer does not. Prayer is asking God to act rather than acting ourselves, so prayer cannot lead to acts of terror.
    Julia’s argument is that if the whole is bad then every part of the whole is bad. The fallacy of division.
    The real concern is the depth of prejudice that would lead someone to advance such an obviously flawed argument. #PrayforJulia.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Probably her prejudice, but also a large dose of religious illiteracy

    • carl jacobs

      If evil proceeds from wrong belief, then the obvious way to redress evil is to correct wrong belief. Since people with wrong beliefs are evil in themselves, there exists a wide range of possible remedies. Especially for the recalcitrant.

      As it is written “The Enlightened will not always strive with lesser man.”

  • Paul Greenwood

    Who is it that organises the Instant Logos ? I was bemused how fast a Westminster Tube symbol popped as a new Event Logo yesterday ! Previously the speed with which Charlie Hebdo T-Shirts were available was interesting. Then the defiant spoutings and candles and placards and pseudo group-defiance for a “manifestation”.

    Maybe it is Facebook carrying a planted meme from some PR Agency or something but I think it is creepy. I wonder if Richard Gutjahr was in London yesterday ? He is one to watch having a front seat at both Nice and Munich “events”.

  • wisestreligion

    May I mention yet another phobia that we need to recognize, and this is the biggest of them all: Religiophobia. In the West, man has been running from religion for a century or more, but we never find that spiritual Switzerland; man always re-creates religion because he needs it and, as Christians know, that is how we are made.

    Of the trinity of significant religions in the UK; Christianity, Islam and Liberal Atheism, it is the last which needs the spotlight shone on it, and this appears to be the religion to which JHB nods, despite some of her sensible political views. This religion, presenting itself as a neutral higher awareness above all other beliefs, has all the temporal power today. This religion should take most of the blame for not just yesterday’s atrocity at Westminster, but for most of the growing dysfunctionality in our society.

    After all, Muslims like yesterday’s attacker are just dutifully following the example of Mohammed and his successors who, within a century, had forced by the sword the submission (“Islam”) all the peoples from India to Morocco. Christians, meanwhile, follow Jesus in loving and praying for others. And the 3rd religion? Liberal Atheists fill the heart’s need for God by trumpeting their self-righteousness. Adopting ever more arcane causes on which to parade their moral superiority and to enjoy hating the dissenters. Their vision, derived from Marx, is of people stripped of their historic culture all mixed up together as uniform happy units in a new utopia. Any sign, like yesterday’s terrorist attack, that might rationally suggest that their plan is not working is met with only one response: we need more Liberal Atheism and more authoritarian Liberal Atheism.

    • Sarky

      Last time i checked atheism was not a religion (unless a lack of belief in god/s and the supernatural has a different meaning in your dictionary)
      I think you’re confusing atheism with multiculturalism, something the religious have been endorsing for decades.

      • Paul Greenwood

        It requires much more devotion that a religion to have such certainty

        • Sarky

          It really doesn’t.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        Your god is yourself and the supernatural is your intellect.

        • Sarky

          And the utter tripe is thee.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            So tell me, who is the authority in your life, is it not yourself? And who is the most important person on your life, bearing in mind that the personal pronoun gives you away.

      • wisestreligion

        “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your
        god” – Martin Luther 1529. Come down off your superior perch, Sarky, and join the rest of us in the market place of beliefs.

        • Sarky

          Except I’m not superior, i just don’t hold your beliefs.

      • Watchman

        I could never be an atheist, it requires far too much faith.

    • Dominic Stockford

      They see neither the failure of their system, nor the inherent dichotomy involved in the increasingly authoritarian nature of their Liberal Atheism.

    • IanCad

      “—-people stripped of their historic culture all mixed up together as uniform happy units in a new utopia.”
      So right! So right! Now; let’s guess who wants to run the show.

    • Manfarang

      Not the West. Northern Europe. In the rest of the world, religion is part of life.

  • maigemu

    This woman almost had me searching for prayers for her, imprecatory psalms. But the grace of God intervened.

  • Andrew Holt

    If he didn’t do it for Allah, who did he do it for?

    • Paul Greenwood

      He is also thought to have worked as an English teacher and been a bodybuilder.

      So he is probably a Steroids abuser

      • betteroffoutofit

        Certainly – my experience of their kind as ‘teachers of English’ suggests that’s not what they’re actually teaching.

        btw, I’m curious. What is the mozzie attitude to, or involvement with, drugs? Does anyone here have info?

        • Anton

          Paul Ray is a Christian who got converted in prison for drug dealing in Luton and says the attitude is that drugs are a great way of making money for the cause while bringing the kaffir low:

          http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=1601

          • betteroffoutofit

            Thank you!

        • Paul Greenwood

          Much like yours I suspect but it is the “redeemed” petty thief or druggie that “finds Allah” and “atones” by sacrificing others

        • Stephen Raftery

          No to alcohol, but heroin, ecstasy, etc are OK

          • betteroffoutofit

            Thank you.

  • betteroffoutofit

    Good idea. Especially if everyone else’s chances depended on one’s leaving.

    • Dominic Stockford

      That’s why Toby the MP will be told off. It isn’t his job to put his life at risk, its his job to stay alive to help others. Though what he did should still be commended highly.

  • chefofsinners

    Today the world’s good and great condemn this attack but mourn the man responsible for the terrorist attacks of the 1970s and 80s.
    Why?

    • IanCad

      Because he didn’t indiscriminately target innocents. Did he?

      • 1649again

        You’re joking right?

        • IanCad

          I have heard it from his supporters that any non-targeted victims were “Unfortunate accidents.” It is a hard thing to turn the cheek but they were bigger and meaner than me.

          • 1649again

            So they didn’t mean to plant bombs in the Post Office tower restaurant (I missed that one by three hours), pubs in Birmingham and elsewhere, Enniskillen etc…..?

          • Anton

            I was in London at the time of the Harrods bombing and had planned to walk into the centre but ran late and therefore missed walking past it at around the time it went off.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Pubs in Guildford too, and as Anton says, Harrods (where my sister did get caught up in the middle of it, though remarkably without injury).

    • bluedog

      At least we were spared the indignity of seeing the perpetrator being awarded a life peerage, which one feared was in the offing. Still, there’s always the possibility of Lord Adams of Falls Road.

      • chefofsinners

        Lord Righton of Brighton.

    • CliveM

      They’ll cosy up to IS (or its successor) one day.

  • Inspector General

    Oh Lord! Women and their knee-jerk emotions, what!

    Let’s forgive the silly thing. She had a go at something called ‘reasoning’ but slipped up and fell on her arse. Obviously, she and reason are not best acquainted.

    Now, sweetheart. If you’re reading this, dry your eyes, pretty your face and get stuck into the washing up. Housework doesn’t take care of itself, you know! And your chap could probably do with a brew while you’re at it…

    • chefofsinners

      How fortunate that you have never written something hastily on the internet, slipped up and fallen on your arse.
      White with no sugar, please.

      • Inspector General

        Yes.

      • Anton

        Sweet enough already?

        • chefofsinners

          No more armchairs either. Suite: enough already.

          • Anton

            Divan suite or diving suit?

  • Inspector General

    “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to commit to a six foot hole in the ground, no less a personage than Martin McG…”

    “Stop. We’ve a more urgent burial to perform”

    “What could be more urgent than putting McGuinness under?”

    “Multiculturalism. It’s deader than he is, and we want it buried just as quick. Nay, quicker”

    “Right. We’ll start again. Multiculturalism was born not of honest man, but of self-serving proto Marxist politicians. Lo, such was the conspiracy of our so called representatives, they were all in it together at the end, nearly all the wretches at Westminster. It grew as a poisonous weed in the morning, and died its death in the evening. Choked by the reality than cannot ever be admitted to, racial profiling, and the evil that spilleth out of the cultural baggage that certain aliens brought with them. We now send the thing back to the devil where it came from. Amen”

    “Thank you, padre. A final word from your Inspector General. We can now all go forward as one people, Britons, in our United Kingdom, with our British values, and no one else’s. Especially you Scots! I can see you sneaking out at the back as I speak, you know!”

    • IanCad

      I share your optimism; the tide is turning.

      • Inspector General

        We are living during an exiting time, Ian. Multiculturalism is no longer an option, simply because it doesn’t have to be now. It’s all change. The northern races are sliding to the political right, slowly but unstoppably.

        We can now live without having to ‘share and dilute’ our superior culture with ruthless types and can so dispense with that terrible compromise. And all because you won’t find an MP dependant on the electorate to return them back to Westminster who’ll even utter that awful word today!

        • wisestreligion

          Our politicians are frozen like rabbits in the headlights. If they now realise the multicultural game is up, what is the alternative? The Chatham House survey last month showed that Britons opposed mass Muslim immigration by 2 to 1. Yet so far not one of our 650 MPs have dared to voice the people’s view.

          • Inspector General

            The alternative, sir, is to believe that alien immigrants who have moved to the UK wish to live here because they are impressed by our civilised nature. And not wish to impose their far from acceptable homeland ways on us for that reason.

          • Anton

            Clearly the next ‘populist’ cause to attract a political party, now that UKIP has won. Who is our Geert Wilders?

        • bluedog

          ‘The northern European types are sliding to the political right, slowly but unstoppably.’ Indeed, IG.

          And the Left has devised the term alt-Right, which only they understand, to describe this return to reality. One suggests use of the expression ‘alt-Left’ to describe those who still place their trust in multiculturalism and the proscriptions of the Frankfurt School, whose British campus seems to be ‘Christchurch, Oxon.’.

  • Martin

    Seems to me that she is simply ignorant, which, considering she is employed as a journalist, would be rather worrying, except that most journalists seem to be ignorant.

  • chefofsinners

    Julia takes aim at religion in general rather than perhaps Islam in particular, or Islamic extremism in particular. Why? Cowardice, because by doing so she knows she won’t become the next Charlie Hebdo. So rather than name the problem and take the consequences, she smears Christians.
    Suppose her tweet had read: “Will everyone stop this #Islam nonsense. It’s these bloody stupid beliefs that help create the violence in the first place.”
    She would no longer have a job.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Good point chef. Even JHB is probably under the control of political correctness.

    • Dominic Stockford

      But Islam IS the problem. All it takes is a quick read of the Koran to know that it is the opposite of a ‘religion of peace’.

      • chefofsinners

        There remains a vast body of Muslims who are appalled by yesterday’s violence.
        Islam is a false religion, but by far its worst effect is not the thousands who die through terrorism, but the millions who will die without Christ. We will not win them by accusing them of terrorism.

        • big bwana

          It’s just a pity that that same body of Muslims aren’t appalled by the violence, misogyny and paedophilia of Mohammed.

          • chefofsinners

            They just don’t believe it. With care, deaf ears can be opened. With careless insults they will be cut off.

          • Anton

            Their scriptures are two-minded, and we know what that leads to.

            Every human on earth can be preached to, although there are better and worse ways to preach to each. But nobody should feel inhibited from discussing political solutions to political problems because of the risk of “hurting feelings”. Hurt feelings don’t lead to hospital and the morgue.

          • chefofsinners

            Some here would evangelise Muslims with the twin messages that they are all terrorists and that Mohammed was a paedophile. One suspects that this strategy will meet with only modest success. The lessons of Mars Hill must be learned.

          • big bwana

            I didn’t realise that limb amputations for blasphemy included the ears, wasn’t that just a punishment of ancient Persia?

            Maybe I’ve got something wrong here but I always thought that Muslims regarded Mohammed as The Seal of the Prophets and therefore someone whose life and example was to be held in high regard.
            What we say we believe affects who we are, even if we don’t really believe it.

          • bluedog

            Start tweeting, CoS. Lead them towards the Light in your own inimitable way.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I agree. But the man who did this is a muslim. And it is the Koran that directed is actions.

        • Watchman

          Unfortunately there are a vast number of Muslims who are encouraged by such violence.

        • 1649again

          In a recent poll in France 23% of Muslims said they sympathised with Islamic terrorism. Given that they were speaking to a complete stranger who was probably a kaffir, I suspect the true figure is far higher.

          It’s probably not as bad in the UK, although if one excluded the Ahmadi population, we might be catching up fast. The issue is that there is a clear trend of each Muslim generation being more radical than the previous.

          I’m afraid you, like the secularist elite, are guilty of wishful thinking Chef. Dire times lie ahead.

    • digpig

      As far as I know Islamist terror has killed less than 60 people in the UK up to now, but Roman Catholic and Protestant terrorism has killed well over 3,500 people in the UK since 1969.

      Don’t tell me the troubles in Northern Ireland were political; they were inspired by religion and how people read, or did not read, the Bible and their blind obedience to Bishops, Popes, pastors, and preachers of all sorts.

      • chefofsinners

        I will tell you the troubles were sectarian, social, rooted in wars and immigration from hundreds of years earlier. Religious differences exacerbated things, of course, but no reading of the bible would lead to terrorism.

      • Inspector General

        the troubles in Northern Ireland were political

      • Manfarang

        Religion defined the political divide. I met many who had no personal religious beliefs.

      • Royinsouthwest

        It was all about conflicting nationalisms – should Northern Ireland be part of the Republic or remain part of the United Kingdom.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    It’s started again.

    (Comm) In the red corner, Happy Jack and his team; in the blue corner, Anna, 1649, and their team. And they’re off! (roars, cheers, and boos from the crowd.)

    (Comm) And he’s down!

    (Ref) ha-wun! ha-tü! ha-three! ha-four! . . . (Comm) and he’s up again . . .

    that being the accent they used to use — do they still use it?

    • 1649again

      LOL. Very good. Sometimes however one has to challenge HJ’s highly twisted use of history.

    • Anton

      Or it was ONE-UH, TWO-UH, THREE-UH…

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I remember Giant Haystacks…

        • Dominic Stockford

          And Big Daddy.

          • Inspector General

            Yes. Magnificently portrayed by Burl Ives.

        • chefofsinners

          I had a few memorable moments in them as well.

    • Someone has to counter the more ridiculous statements on here about Catholicism. It seems some believe Europe has been protected thus far against Islam because of the protestant reformation, even though it was the Holy League of Catholic states, marshalled by Popes, that did the praying and the fighting.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    I see the Royal Corps of Virtue-Signallers are out in force, flashing their ‘Je suis Londonien’ banners and ‘Carry on as normal’ badges. You can tell who they are – their uniforms have a yellow streak embroidered down the back. Here in Barchester I am bracing myself for the long-expected ‘far-right backlash’ which is akin to Waiting for Godot. As for the BBC coverage of the event, Lord help us.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Mrs Proudie, you are a day early. Still, your observations on current affairs are welcome at any time. I presume “carry on as normal” means be prepared to be slaughtered slaughtered by a Mohammedan at any moment. People will go back to work because they have to. The BBC like to portray it as Dunkirk spirit and ISIS see it as the usual flock of sitting ducks. My worry is that once the candles and reddy bears have been swept away, nothing will have been learnt.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Ah, dear Politically – yes, a day early but alas there will not be a column this week, due to a family bereavement – my dear mother-in-law passed away yesterday and my mind is elsewhere…I have craved His Grace’s indulgence, but will resume my scribblings next week. A sad time.

        • 1649again

          Sorry to hear that Mrs Proudie.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Thank you dear heart

        • Politically__Incorrect

          I am very sorry to hear of your loss Mrs Proudie. You have my condolences and you shall be in our prayers. We look forward to your return to this blog whenever you feel the tine is right.

        • David

          Please accept my condolences regarding your sad loss, Mrs Proudie.

        • Deepest Sympathy to you Mrs Proudie.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Sorry to hear of your loss.

        • IanCad

          My condolences Mrs P.

        • betteroffoutofit

          Please accept my condolences, Mrs. Proudie.

    • Inspector General

      There’ll be no ‘far right backlash’ dear lady. For if the truth be said, they secretly relish such atrocity. They will gain from this one in solid ground support, as they did from Fusilier Rigby, God rest him.

      • Martin

        IG

        And it gives them more excuse to impose surveilance on the general public and arrest street preachers.

        • Inspector General

          You can relax, dear fellow. Harassing Christian street preachers is an activity endorsed by proto Marxist politicians at a local level. Or at least it was. Such characters will be giving you evangelists some slack in the future. If they know what’s good for them…

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I was thinking of poor Fusilier Rigby when the news broke. Sadly, everything that was said then has been regurgitated…

        • I’m sick of hearing “lessons will be learned”. They never are. Apparently he had been on the wider MI5 radar some years ago. I think anyone who crosses the MI5 radar should be deported with their families, relatives, friends and pets. We need to reduce our muslim population.

          • Manfarang

            Push the Nationalist population to the South of Ireland eh?
            He was born in the country and was a citizen. He was also a petty criminal which gives some insight as to his motivations.

          • He had convictions for violence.

          • Manfarang

            Police said he has not been convicted for any terror offences before but had a long criminal history.
            “He was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences,” a Met Police spokesman said.
            “His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.”

          • chefofsinners

            Deported back to Kent where he was born?

          • No, to a muslim country where he would feel more at home. He obviously didn’t feel at home and British in Kent.

          • chefofsinners

            Which Muslim countries would admit him?

          • Saudi Arabia.

          • Manfarang

            No a criminal background check is required for a work visa in Saudi Arabia.

          • Libya, Yemen. They’ll have him.

          • Manfarang

            During the Lebanese civil war an American joined Amal. It wasn’t long before he got shot.

          • The perils of messing with violence and terrorism then.

  • The Explorer

    If all religions say the same thing, then yesterday’s attack was carried out by a Buddhist, a Hindu, an evangelical Christian, or a Scientologist.

    Probably we’ll never know for sure. (We wouldn’t want to: we might not like the answer.)

    • chefofsinners

      If ignorance is bliss then Julia Halfwit-Brewer is the happiest woman alive.

    • Sarky

      My money is on tom cruise.

  • The Explorer

    I like that artist bloke who wears lipstick and a dress. He’ll mock Christianity mercilessly, but won’t mock Islam (or even talk about it) because he doesn’t want to get killed.

    I’m sure our public commentators feel the same way, but lack the honesty to say so.

    A public admission by our political and cultural elites that they are scared stiff of Islam would bring some much-needed reality into our public discourse.

    • chefofsinners

      I stayed in the next door hotel room to him once. He only wears lipstick and dresses in public.

  • Manfarang

    Ignorant and stupid woman. Terrorism was and is used by totalitarian regimes and it has nothing to do with religion. The Kulaks in Russia and the Dirty War in Argentina come to mind. There are countless examples.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Terrorism is used by Western Governments – MI6 and CIA created Taliban with Saudi money; created Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; created ISIS in Camp Bucca in Iraq. MI6 and CIA developed Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against Soviet Central Asia. Bin Laden recruited Jihadis to fight in Chechnya and met with US agents in Turkey.

      • 1649again

        Go on – I can’t wait any longer. It’s the joos isn’t it or is it the lizards or the Iluminati?

        Or perhaps it’s just short sighted people with little historical perspective who don’t stop to think that in solving one problem they are creating another worse one? So what is it – a conspiracy or human foolishness?

      • Manfarang

        One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

        • Paul Greenwood

          So they say. The British spent their time in 1947 fighting the Greek Communist partisans they had sponsored during the war because Churchill had tried to restore the monarchy. Britain could not afford to fight Greek Communists and Jewish terrorists like the Irgun and Stern Gang and had to get the Truman Doctrine to relieve the burden

  • digpig

    Well there was the Bishop of Derry and several of his clergy today blessing the coffin of a murderer (supposedly repentant, but still a murderer nonetheless) and to make the point the Bishop was saying his magic words to turn the host and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, as he thinks. It was on account of episcopal support of terrorism that I left the Roman Catholic Church in 1974 and I shall never return.

    • chefofsinners

      Londonderry.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        Londonderry, Cork and Kerry, how do you spell that?

        T.H.A.T.

      • The north of Ireland or Northern Ireland? This island of Ireland?

    • What evidence do you have that the Church hierarchy supported terrorism? Sounds more like this lie was an excuse given you clearly don’t believe in Apostolic succession or the Mass.

      • William Lewis

        You ask for evidence and yet call him a liar before his reply! Perhaps it was episcopal support of terrorism that led him to question other dubious RC practices?

        • It is a lie.

          • William Lewis
          • Is that all you could find? It “proves” the Catholic Church “supported” the IRA, does it? Jack thinks not. You may as well claim the British Government and the RUC did so as well.

          • William Lewis

            Who said anything about proof? You asked for evidence of RC support for the IRA!

            Apparently, in this instance, the RCC was content to whisk away a priest suspected of involvement with IRA terrorism instead of him facing justice. Now that may not count as support but turning a blind eye isn’t much better in my book.

          • That’s not evidence of the Church’s support for the IRA. In fact, It’s clear from the article you linked to that it was the British Government and the RUC who didn’t want to bring him to justice – not the Church. If the allegations are true, better if they had laicised him or isolated him in a monastery somewhere.

          • William Lewis

            You need to read it again. There were high level talks between the British Government and the RCC. Clearly both colluded in turning a blind eye. Understandable really. I doubt that the British government wanted a Catholic priest on trial for terrorism any more than the RCC.

        • Dominic Stockford

          It was, from what he says, what God used to direct him into the truth. God moves in mysterious, marvellous, ways.

        • PessimisticPurple

          We get this a lot. Someone wants out for their own reasons, so they go looking for justification. Naturally, you’ll always find it. The desire comes first, and eventually, you’ll figure an excuse. You just need faith. Faith will justify you.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Such support rather betrays what lies behind such a body.

    • 1649again

      I did wonder how an avowed atheist marxist former terrorist who had never expressed repentance for his bloody crimes could receive Christian burial, but then remembered that the Irish catholic church has always equivocated about the IRA’s activities.

  • chefofsinners

    So the perpetrator of the attack was a British man called Adrian who took on a religious pseudonym.
    What further proof do we need that these religious types are all in it together?
    – Julia

    • IanCad

      We can only assume his adopted name, which means approximately; “Eternally Happy” is a reflection on his eschatological visions.

      No Paradise; No Virgins; No Allah. Just dead – even the memory of him shall be no more.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Just dead? I think we are told rather differently to that in the Bible. There is a conscious being dead, and an unpleasant experience (even if it is only that of knowing the truth about God and then being separated from him for ever).

        • IanCad

          I disagree Dominic. To subscribe to the concept of an eternal conscious hell contradicts the Bible; For, it would require the soul to be immortal – the very foundation of Spiritualism.

          “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die” Genesis 3:4

          “The soul that sinneth, it shall die,—“ Ezekiel 18:20

    • IrishNeanderthal
  • michaelkx

    it is not the religion that caused the death
    of those people, it was the way man has interpreted what GOD
    said that is the problem. Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, he
    did not say if they do not believe as you do kill, and bomb, till
    you get your way. The religion that must not be named, said that it
    follower are to force the unbeliever to convert to there way of
    thinking, and if you die in the process you will go to “hell” oh
    sorry paradise. Need I say more?

  • Mike Stallard

    Nah – all religions are the same. Get used to it…
    (On a more serious note allow me to recommend a classic text: Not in God’s Name” by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks)

  • len

    We are in a spiritual war between good and evil, Light and Darkness.Secularists cannot comprehend that.
    God was restraining the forces of evil until secularists told God to leave the scene and God being a gentleman did so.
    Now secularists will blame God for what is happening, they never seem to blame the real culprit which of course is Satan.

  • Holger

    What Hartley-Brewer meant was that the kind of fanaticism expressed in public and extravagant prayer easily turns to violence and destruction.

    Christians are no exception to this rule. The Crusades and the Reformation should give every Christian pause for thought. A religion that on the face of it preaches love and forebearance has had its episodes of hatred and bloody violence, in every case stridently justified by Christians as being in conformance with with Christian belief.

    A religion that could celebrate the Saint-Bartholomew’s Day massacre as a great and holy event and loudly praise those who slaughtered men, women and children for nothing more than their “crime” of rejecting its teachings, must always inspire distrust and suspicion. Out of one side of their mouths Christians pray for peace. Out of the other they encourage their believers to commit all kinds of atrocities.

    Look at the Mother and Baby homes in Ireland. Supposedly pious and caring nuns treating single mothers with utter contempt, taking away their children and selling them to the highest bidder, and then dumping the corpses of those who succumbed to their cold and callous “care” in unmarked mass graves. I bet those nuns prayed for peace and love every day of their lives. But what will they be remembered for? Crimes that any terrorist might well be ashamed to own up to.

    The problem with prayer is that it provides you with the moral licence to commit whatever act you feel you need to in order to achieve the prayer’s stated goal. Catholics praying for the disappearance of heresy felt justified in murdering heretics in pursuit of their goal. Nuns praying for the practice of chastity felt justified in degrading and punishing the unchaste in pursuit of their goal.

    Prayer is just a convenient prelude to action. Don’t be surprised to see the Christians who pray for peace today enthusiastically participating in the anti-Islam pogroms of tomorrow. Don’t trust those who pray. They say they love you. What they really want is your elimination.

    • len

      You are so screwed up Holger .I pity you.

      • Holger

        A typically inchoate and petulant comment from a Christian who doesn’t have the wit to respond to the charges and just wants to judge and condemn.

        Oh well, that’s about par for the course for this blog. Why explain and defend when it’s so much easier to condemn and anathematise?

        • len

          Your remarks are evident as to what is going on inside your brain.

          • Holger

            What, you mean I express my ideas clearly enough to give you an accurate idea of what I’m thinking?

            That’s the whole point of language, didn’t you know?

            I realise that some people haven’t evolved past the grunting and shrieking stage yet. But even then we generally know what they’re thinking. Which isn’t very much.

            Just as a chimpanzee vocalises primitive thoughts and emotions like anger or fear or dominance signalling with a series of aspirated grunts and piercing screams, so the conservative Christian uses his restricted vocabulary and rudimentary grammar to form simple sentences expressing simple ideas.

            “Hate Ay-fi-est, ooh ooh, aah, aah!”

            “In-viz-ble sky pix-ie hurt Ay-fi-est, aah aah, ooh ooh!”

            “In-viz-ble sky pix-ie re-ward me for good, pun-ish you for bad, huumph hah, hah huumph!”

            And there you have the purpose and scope of religion. The response of a primitive brain on the verge of self-awareness to the frustration of wanting to dominate but not being able to.

            Interesting to see this coming through so clearly in your posts. Like an angry little child screaming “You’re horrible, my big strong daddy’s gonna get you and then you’ll be sorry!” Only the child manages to express itself more clearly than you…

    • IanCad

      I don’t wholly agree with you, but food for much thought.

    • bluedog

      Note that the perpetrators in both the more modern instances you quote were Catholic, not Protestant. What should we conclude from that? The Crusades, as is repeatedly pointed out on this blog, were a long overdue reaction to Islamic aggression.

      • Holger

        I could have mentioned the Salem witch trials, the brutal pacification of Ireland after the battle of the Boyne, the violent suppression of the ’45 rebellion, and many more examples of Protestants being just as murderous, cruel and bloody as any Catholic.

        There are no innocents in the Christian Church. You all have blood on your hands.

        • bluedog

          The examples you list are all those where Presbyterians/Puritans have disgraced themselves. No Anglican can be expected to accept their guilt, even as an act of Christian charity.

          You say, ‘There are no innocents in the Christian Church. You all have blood on your hands.’ Sadly true, but in previous generations, frequently fighting atheists. But if one admits that Christians are not without sin, what of atheists? Will you now share the guilt of Hitler, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the rest of your presumed atheist heroes? If not, you really should in the interests of consistency.

          • Holger

            Christians share a faith even if they disagree about many of its details. They share a creed and claim membership of a community of believers. They identify as a group and therefore share responsibility for the actions of that group.

            Atheists do not share a faith. Atheism is not a faith, it’s the absence of one. There’s no such thing as an Atheist community. We don’t get together to worship imaginary gods (how could we? We have none.) In fact we have little in common with each other apart from a lack of faith and our morality is not based on a common creed.

            Christians share responsibility for their common creed. Atheists don’t have a common creed so there’s no question of shared responsibility.

          • bluedog

            If Christians must share guilt as a result of a common creed, surely the sacred tenets of equality demand that those who share no creed must equally share guilt.

          • Holger

            What “sacred tenets of equality”? That’s a purely Christian invention.

            The idea of equality is an outworking of the democratic “one person, one vote” principal. If our votes are all of equal worth then every individual must be considered to be of equal worth too, therefore space must be made for all of us to live according to our beliefs.

            There’s nothing sacred about democracy. It’s a pragmatic solution to the governance of disparate groups. Each individual agrees to be bound by the decisions of the majority as long as that majority respects his right to exist.

            Support for democracy is contingent on democracy’s guarantee of a minimum level of freedom for the individual to live his life as he chooses. Equality before the law and equality of opportunity are both key elements of that agreement. If democracy can’t guarantee them, it loses the support of those groups it fails to protect.

            Christians with their ritualised ideas of sacredness and divine will and their profoundly narcissistic belief that their way of thinking is archetypal for all humanity may see equality as some kind of tenet of a religious faith. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us see it that way. For those of no faith it’s merely one of the terms by which our society has agreed to govern itself. As such we defend it because we understand that a diverse society can only function when there is a minimum level of consensus. If one group tries to deprive others of its right to live as it sees fit, consensus breaks down and with it stability, peace and progress.

            The defenders of equality are not defending a religious belief. We are defending the only pragmatic solution to the challenges faced by diverse groups living in the same society. The alternative is dictatorship, and with dictatorship come repression, rebellion, instability and the constant danger of civil war. As a Christian you might like to live that way because of the ample oportunitles it would provide you for posing as a martyr. But the rest of us don’t find such a prospect very appealing. We want to preserve our democracy because experience has shown us that it’s the only viable system of goverment for a society like ours.

            So no, our support for equality has nothing to do with religious fervour. It’s a purely pragmatic arrangement with no religious or sacred overtones at all. You may choose to waste your life worshipping sacred cows. Indeed equality demands that you be allowed to do so. But don’t accuse us of the same kind of mindless and ritualistic behaviour. There are rational reasons for our support of equality. If there’s anything rational about Christianity, I’ve yet to discover it. Mindless zealotry is as irrational as it gets.

          • bluedog

            Heavens. What a pay-off! A single sentence mentioning ‘equality’ and Holger pounds the laptop for at least half an hour in passionate defence and justification. Despite the volume of the smokescreen you ignore the point of my post. Not unexpected.

          • Holger

            Your point was fully addressed. There are no “sacred tenets of equality” therefore nobody can be responsible for them because they don’t exist.

          • bluedog

            As you well understand, the point relates to a simple proposition: if you, Holger, can maintain that all Christians are culpable for all Christian acts, you cannot deny the equal proposal that all atheists are culpable for all atheist acts.

          • Holger

            The proposition (not proposal – is your ignorance so profound it even affects your understanding of basic vocabulary?) that all Atheists share responsibility for individual Atheist acts is untenable because Atheist acts are not motivated by an Atheist creed.

            Christian acts are motivated by a Christian creed, and all Christians share responsibility for that creed. But show me an Atheist creed that all Atheists swear to uphold. You can’t because such a thing doesn’t exist.

          • bluedog

            If all atheists equally affirm their belief that there is no god, they share a creed, irrespective of other differences. As is regularly discussed and emphasised on this blog, belief in the absence of god is in itself a belief system. It’s a negative test rather than a positive test. If you dispute this, you are simply applying a double standard, one for the Christians who you wrongly link through a common creed, the other for your atheist companions who we can agree believe in nothing.

          • Holger

            Nonsense. The absence of belief is not a creed. It’s doubt, and doubt is the very opposite of a creed. Doubt is the admission that many different explanations may be possible, but that we have no way of knowing which, if any, of them are correct, therefore we can believe in none of them.

            Some Atheists may give preference to one theory or another, or none at all. But we don’t all share the same idea about the origins of existence, therefore we cannot be defined as a single group and there can be no idea of corporate Atheist responsibility.

            Atheism makes no moral claims. Christianity does. Christians therefore bear responsibility for those claims. You are guilty by commission. You promote the same creed that has been used as justification for murder and pillage down the ages. But I promote no creed. I merely point out the ludicrousness, inconsistency and hypocrisy of yours.

          • bluedog

            You really don’t pay attention, do you? Just about every atheist who appears on this blog makes moral claims, yourself included. The standard refrain is that we don’t need an imaginary sky-fairy to tells us what to think, we’re fairies and we know.

          • Holger

            The lack of attention is yours. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to describe it as a lack of perception.

            The fact of not believing in a god has no moral implications. Atheists do not all pretend to follow the same moral code. There is no moral code attached to Atheism. Atheists are free to determine their own sense of morals.

            Christians are slaves to a moral code they claim binds all Christians. They share the same morality as those who slaughtered Muslims (and plenty of fellow Christians too) during the Crusades. They share the same morality as those who burned “heretics” alive. They share the same morality as the nuns who abused single mothers and sold their children.

            Any Christian who believes in the Christian moral code has to bear responsibility for the crimes of Christianity, all committed in pursuance of a moral code they claim to live by.

            Atheists don’t have a common moral code therefore what one Atheist does has no bearing on the moral responsibility of another Atheist. The exception to this would be Atheists who do share a moral code: Nazis, for example, or secular humanists. But what renders them culpable is not their Atheism. It’s the fact they espouse a particular moral code. One that is not binding on all Atheists as the Christian moral code is binding on all Christians.

            So you cannot accuse me of moral responsibility for the acts of Hitler or Pol Pot. I am not a Nazi. Nor do I share the moral code of the Khmer Rouge. I can however accuse you of moral responsibility for the acts of Torquemada or the Salem witch-burners. You share their faith and are therefore bound by the same moral code that permitted them to commit atrocities in the name of God. What they did, you can do. We have proof that your moral code permits it.

          • bluedog

            ‘So you cannot accuse me of moral responsibility for the acts of Hitler or Pol Pot. I am not a Nazi.’

            A curious denial. In common with the above, your moral code is answerable only to you. Bound by nothing, you can justify everything, and you do.

          • Murti Bing

            “Atheist acts are not motivated by an Atheist creed.” Wrong. Communism was a decidedly atheist creed and conducted the most horrendous slaughter and oppression all in the cause of promoting atheism. Man alive, your understanding of history is utter bunk!

          • Holger

            Sigh.

            Communism is not Atheism.

            Criticise Communists all you like. But don’t impute their misdeeds to all Atheists.

            Most Communists probably don’t believe in God. But they don’t believe in Donald Duck either. I assume you also don’t believe in Donald Duck. That being the case, if I’m responsible for Communism’s misdeeds because I don’t believe in God, you’re responsible for them too because you don’t believe in Donald Duck.

            You can only impute moral responsibility for each others’ deed to those who share the creed in the name of which those deeds are committed. Atheism is not a creed. Nobody commits deeds in the name of “not god”. Not believing in Donald Duck is not a creed either. But believing in God is a creed. Christians act in the name of their god. They therefore share responsibility for the atrocities committed in that name.

            It’s a simple enough argument, yet you clearly don’t understand it. I’m not surprised. Christians aren’t generally the sharpest knives in the drawer. But you’re proving yourselves particularly blunt today, aren’t you? Onward Christian soldier indeed. With weapons like yours, you should be grateful your general never shows up to declare war.

          • Murti Bing

            Sigh all you like. But I have to say your argument is rather silly.

            Donald Duck exists as far as he has been created by Walt Disney as a cartoon character. No one one really expects him to exist beyond that, i.e. as a living breathing duck, since old Walt never went that far, so how you can possibly see this as an analogy, I don’t know.

            As to Communism not being atheism, you need to brush up on your Marx.

            As to knives in the drawer, I may be blunt, but you are thick.

          • Holger

            God and Donald Duck: two literary creations separated by a few thousand years and not much else.

            God is nothing but a story on a page and as such there is no appreciable difference between him and Donald Duck, or Frodo Baggins, or Harry Potter. They’re all figments of somebody’s imagination. The passage of time doesn’t make any of them real.

            Your god is a literary construction, nothing more. And Communism is a political philosophy, not a religion. There is no Atheist creed. If you can’t understand that, your intellect is even more stunted than I thought.

          • Murti Bing

            I refer you to my previous post.

          • Lucius

            Equality before law is something that is largely attainable, but even there, depending on your barrister/attorney, outcomes may vary, albeit probably not dramatically, as even a great barrister/attorney cannot usually defeat bad facts. However, the idea of equality of opportunity is mere wishful thinking (and with some equality activists takes on an air of religiousity). Parenting or individual aptitude or some combination of the two will always result in some having greater opportunities then others. And I would fear greatly a government with the power to “equalize” these variances in life circumstances.

          • Murti Bing

            “Atheism is not a faith, it’s the absence of one.” Actually, atheism is not an absence of faith, but a faith in absence. Since such an absence cannot be proven, it must, logically, be a faith, that is, a sincerely held belief, albeit it one that believes there is nothing to be believed in but nothingness itself, which makes little sense on any level, given that we are all surrounded and made up of something.

          • Lucius

            I may plagiarize this comment.

    • Lucius

      Crusades are a poor example. A fair argument exists that the Crusades were an in-kind reaction to Muslim crusades that had been gobbling up large swaths of the Christian Byzantine Empire for some time. The Crusades had its fair share of immorality and injustice, but Western self-flagellation usually goes too far and is devoid of historical context.

      As far as your other examples, I don’t think any Christian would argue that Christians have not shed a fair amount of blood in religiously-inspired conflicts. The 30 Years War accompanying the Reformation being case-in-point. But as I have pointed out elsewhere, forced conversion, murder of infidels, violent persecution of heretics, among other violent acts, makes for a “bad” Christian when juxtaposed with the life and words of Christ, his immediate successors (the Apostles) and indeed the early Church. However, the same arguable makes for a “good” Muslim when juxtaposed with the life and words of Muhammad, his immediate successors, and early Islam.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, even of those who deny him.

  • Nuraini Arsad (Teja)

    I know someone who has this particular brand of atheism that has no capacity to delve deeper than the surface. It’s not possible to reason with them. Just like it’s not possible to reason with violent extremists. The reason is identical. They’ve got their heart set on a certain worldview that requires turning a blind eye to what things really are that actual people mostly believe in and live by, because that worldview explains the world in a simple way to them, which assents to what they were inclined towards already.

    The friend I mention once said as much, point blank (“I like this version of Buddhism because it agrees with what I think it should be and makes me feel good”) – which at least gives him points for moments of self honesty. I believe all of us subscribing to an Abrahamaic religion would recognise this as idolatry – with oneself as god.

  • Simon Marshall

    I have engaged the aforesaid Julia Hartley-Brewer in combat by Twitter. See my posts and her replies under @SimonMrshll to gauge her display of wit, intelligence and grasp of theology

  • Murti Bing

    It’s all part and parcel of the modern atheistic urge to bundle all religion into the same basket. They seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that the examples we are mutually advised to observe – the life of Christ (according to Christian scripture – gospels, acts etc) and the life of that other chap (according to islamic scripture – koran, hadith etc) are so diametrically opposed that to conflate the two defies all logic.

    Oddly, logic is the god to whom most atheists frequently claim allegiance.

  • Jane Robson

    I didn’t take it as her saying prayer caused terrorism – I took it that unfounded beliefs in archaic mythology was the cause of the terrorism and that prayer does nothing for anyone other than the one praying who gets some sort of feeling of superiority or pleasure out of it. It wasn’t prayer that saved those who survived, it was people and science. It wasn’t prayer that caused the idiot terrorist either – it was a ridiculous belief in a religious ideology. Christians used to do similar things but stopped about 500 years ago – Islam is just behind the times! Religion in it’s many many forms has been used as an excuse for war, murder and terror either in part or in whole (think of the IRA – partly due to territory and partly for Catholic vs Protestant – and that was just a few years ago). Having said all that, I don’t necessarily agree with the way she has put it out there, after all, most atheists just want religion to be kept to those who believe and leave it out of our lives, our government, our press, our schools and basically everywhere except behind the doors of the believers, but we also understand that statements such as ‘prayforlondon’ are meant in a kindly manner. If someone says to me ‘god bless’ (unless is it an idiot who has come to my door preaching) I just nod and move on, taking it as no more than ‘good luck’. It’s just a phrase – just the same as using OMG! as an exclamation. I would say, though, that this article missed out her tweeting TWICE that she was not saying that all religions are the same but just that prayer doesn’t do anything – something I actually agree with. #humanityfirst

    • Judas was Paid

      The issue is not whether you pray or do not pray. It is whether people are free to pray if they so choose and whether they should be criticised if they do. Further, should they be regarded as indulging in something that can give rise to terrorist actions? Are we to start looking sideways in nervous concern at those who indulge in spiritual reflection, meditation, prayer and worship of that which is higher than themselves?

      • Jane Robson

        People are free to pray to the purple-spotted flying monkey if they want to – so long as their belief in that monkey doesn’t lead them to want to ‘convert’ all others to it, insist on their ideology being more important than the next one or use their ancient book as an excuse for violence. The problem is that, throughout history, religion has been used as an excuse for violence against anyone who didn’t believe as they did. A move to a secular society without the need for archaic nonsense such as religion would at least remove one reason for man to kill each other. Granted we would still have things such as politics, land, oil and money to fight over, but it would be a great leap forward. Getting back to her point, she was saying that prayer does nothing. It’s like masturbation – makes the person doing it feel good and does bugger all for anyone else. If people want to pray, do it in private. Why is #prayforlondon seen as being a really good thing whereas if someone put #sympathyforlondon it would be seen as somewhat trite and condescending when it means EXACTLY the same thing and has EXACTLY the same effect – i.e. none at all?

  • John Davies

    People expect gratitude and respect for saying prayers when prayer is just a silly and sanctimonious substitute for action that passes the buck to ‘God’. We may as well thank them for wanking or burning money.

    • Navarth

      Prayer is one of the most, if not the most, powerful spiritual practices. Through prayer, a man acknowledge his insignificant position with regard to God and thereby abjures his Ego, which is the primary obstacle to self development. Prayer is traditionally combined with fasting and alms giving; for example the mendicant orders. Prayer is an essential human drive, along with love of kin especially one’s parents, that nurtures a healthy society and has done since time immemorial. Without prayer and contemplation of the a principle beyond oneself, a man is no more than an animal, in fact lower than an animal.

    • Judas was Paid

      Good things can flow from prayer. Please tell me what good thinks have flowed from wanking?