Sects2
Islam

Let’s stop reviling Islam with ‘Islamism’, and call the cult what it really is

 

Rather like the Naming of Cats, the classifying of Islamic sects is a difficult matter, and it’s certainly not just one of your Eid-Al-Fitr games. As we’ve witnessed the widespread vexation felt by thousands of peace-loving Muslims over the derivation of ‘Islamism’ and ‘Jihadism’ from their more metaphysical meanings, it is pardonable that devout adherents of Allah the All-Merciful and Most Merciful – those who don’t want to slit your throat when they wish you ‘salām’ – might object to the appropriation of their religion by terrorists or the denigration of their sacred doctrine by otherwise beneficent journalists.

Why should serene Sufis have their sanctified glossary desecrated by a splinter of militant Sunnis? Why should the irenic Ahmadiyya have their consecrated creed perverted by a cult of merciless Shia? After all, we don’t call the funeral-picketing Fred Phelps and his stone-throwing Westboro mob ‘extremist Baptists’ or ‘Christianists’. We don’t refer to the murderous Army of God as ‘radicalised Catechists’; or the eschatological Hutaree zealots as ‘evangelical Biblicists’ or ‘sacerdotal Salvationists’. No, it has been our custom instead to adopt a vernacular categorical approach to pietistic aberrations in order to distinguish (for the most part) violent sectarianism from the central tenets of Christianity, thereby preserving (to a large extent) the sanctity of what Christians hold dear.

Thus, out of the hallowed Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in AD325, the Church began to fragment into the unblessed Nestorians and the less-blessed non-Chalcedonians or Monophysites, and thence (to cut a long ecclesial story short) to the cavilling Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant denominations with their immutable traditions, infallible doctrines and mutual excommunications. And thence (necessarily abridging ecclesial history further still) we arrive at everything from Lutheranism and Anglicanism to the Brethren, the Klu Klux Klan, Christadelphianism and the fraternal societies of Friends and St Pius X. Once you neglect the Patristics, disregard Christian tradition and repudiate the authority of Scripture (allegations, of course, which all of the above would refute), there is no end to the plethora of end-times-ushering, pogrom-supporting, cross-burning, pillar-of-fire-worshipping ideologies which might lay claim to a Christian foundation.

But we don’t refer to Guido Fawkes as a ‘Catholic extremist’, or call him a ‘Christianist’ suicide bomber (though, of course, he didn’t intend to blow himself to smithereens in the hope of spending eternity with the Virgin Mary). To the Protestant State his identity was suspiciously ‘Catholic’, and by that affiliation he and his co-religionists were judged to be spiritually subversive and politically radical. Fawkes was a religious terrorist, but he was not a Christian terrorist: the epithet is a Christological corruption if not a theological oxymoron. Soldiers in the Lord’s army are exhorted to make converts through patient and kind inculturation, humility and love; not coercion, subjection and barrels of gunpowder.

We are now a thousand years on from the filioque disputes of the Great Schism, and five centuries on from the sola fide anathemas of the Reformation. Denominational terms of abuse have largely yielded to a more enlightened acceptance of doctrinal difference and pluralism in ecclesiology – though ‘Protestant’, despite being woven into the fabric of the UK Constitution, is still occasionally flung around with disdain: as recently as 1998 the Catholic Herald expressed the view that it had become “the battle cry of murderers”. In the quest for ethno-nationalist Christian dominion, the fusion of tribal religious identity with political aspiration is a murky world.

And so it is with Islam. But if suicide bombing, child soldiers, beheading, kidnapping, rape, massacres, mutilation, torture and the selling of women as sex slaves are not intrinsic to Islamic spirituality, then those professing Muslims who appoint themselves as the spokesmen (for they are always men) of Allah, and who advocate and participate in such barbarism, cannot be Muslims, or at least not ‘true’ Muslims. So what might we call them? What is their creed?

The fons et origo of what we now refer to as ‘Islamic extremism’, ‘Islamism’ or ‘Jihadism’ is, in fact, the ‘Wahhabi’ strain of Sunni Islam – or ‘Wahhabism’, for those who insist that the sect is a whole Isra and Mi’raj away from Islam. It emanates from the 18th-century desert musings of Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the land we now call Saudi Arabia. His followers don’t call themselves ‘Wahhabis’, for the term is considered derogatory: they prefer instead to be known as ‘Salafists’ (‘salaf’ being Arabic for ‘ancestor’, thereby signifying lineal theological descent from the time of Mohammed). Their vocation is to purge the land of decadence and purify their religion of error, idolatry and superstition. You can’t grasp the theological mission of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, the Taliban or ISIS without understanding the spiritual inspiration of the Salafists and their historical patronage by the House of Saud.

But since we’re still bowing our flags out of respect for deceased Saudi kings and dispatching our Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales to trade oil and arms with those who mourn, we’re not much inclined to point an accusatory finger at the malignant host.

Of course, it isn’t just the Saudi strain of fundamentalist Islam which lives by the sword: there is persuasive historical evidence for frequent pan-Islamic jihadist military revivals, and the written testaments to Mohammed’s propensity to massacre merchants and execute annoying poets is not really in dispute. But it is a fruitless pursuit of applied theology to argue endlessly over what constitutes ‘authentic’ Islam; to discern which parts of the Qur’an and Hadith are doctrinally literal and which are culturally allegorical. As in all mainstream religions, and in all denominations within those religions, there are liberals, progressives, conservatives and ultra-conservatives. And they’re all busy excoriating and excommunicating one another. You cannot discern theological authenticity from unknowable reason.

But what we do know is the identity of the principal contemporary ultra-conservative doctrine of Mohammed. It is Wahhabism that seeks to conquer and subdue. It is Salafism that outlaws Western education; denies freedom of expression; enforces conversion on pain of death; blows up ancient tombs; burns down temples and churches; beheads apostates; flogs infidels; stones raped women and hangs gay men and boys.

It is Wahhabism that is infiltrating our schools and university campuses. It is Salafism that teaches intolerance of other beliefs and religions; that radicalises our youth; prohibits religious satire; bans all representations of Mohammed; enforces ‘sharia law’ in Tower Hamlets; insists on the mandatory wearing of the veil, and orchestrates endless campaigns for cultural supremacy, agitating for the biggest mosque, the tallest minaret and the loudest call to prayer.

Wahhabism is a fanatical creed of political poison and religious intolerance which the devout House of Saud has been promoting with alacrity, courtesy of our tolerant multiculturalism, religious relativism and benign democratic liberalism. They train their imams at the taxpayers’ expense, and freely harness our airwaves for their missiological outreach.

Wahhabism doesn’t laugh: its Allah doesn’t get jokes; its Mohammed doesn’t smile; its adherents don’t watch Coronation Street or study Voltaire. There is no freedom of conscience, no advancement of equality and no acceptance of either the Universal Declaration or European Convention of Human Rights. The oppression is being propagated by Saudi arms deals, Saudi oil, Saudi charities and Saudi diplomatic handshakes. Against this nuclear surge of charm and religio-political zealotry, all enlightened and progressive expressions of Islam are drowned out by a theocratic narrative of apartheid, misogyny and enmity.

Jews and Christians might be “people of the Book” and there may be “no compulsion in religion”, but Wahhabism isn’t overly concerned with the glyphs of abrogation – the belief that the later commands and prohibitions of the Prophet nullify his earlier actions and pronouncements (quaranic or hadithic). Wherever and whoever Mohammed smited, tormented and beheaded, his example is to be emulated with zeal. Since there is no scholarly agreement on canonical chronology, we arrive at a bleak Prophetology: whatever Mohammed did that was murderous and whatever he said that was belligerent renders void everything he ever did or said that was charitable, benevolent and humane. This is the Wahhabi religious paradigm: it is an ideology of perpetual hostility directed towards all who do not subscribe to its immutable precepts – certainly Jews, Christians, Yazidis, Hindus and atheists, but also all those wishy-washy Shi’ite, Sunni, Sufi and Ahmadiyya who are not Muslims in the ‘proper’ sense.

Yet if we are not prepared to entertain a cherry-picked Christology which portrays the ‘authentic’ Jesus as a vandal, an advocate of physical abuse, an exponent of violent extremism and a fomenter of hate and division, we might reconsider the pervasive Prophetology which interprets Mohammed only by his bloodiest atrocities and most brutal injustices. The Hadith tells us that Mohammed certainly did these things, but the Bible tells us that Jesus drove the people from the temple courts ‘with a whip made of cords‘. In a violent frenzy he ‘scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables‘. In his own words we learn: ‘I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.‘ Further still, he came to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother‘.

This is fragmentary theological apprehension and flawed scriptural exegesis. Indeed, it is no exegesis at all. But it cannot be dismissed as the primordial ‘fire and brimstone’ Old Testament doctrine of the cult of YHWH: it is the character of the Son of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. If comprehension of these divine tantrums requires consideration of their Sitz im Leben – what biblical scholars call their ‘setting in life’ – in order to discern why the Prince of Peace occasionally behaved like a turbulent priest, we might do Muslims the courtesy of applying the same depth of historical exposition to the simplistic and often anachronistic dogmatism which teaches that beheading is Islamic and that Mohammed was a terrorist. All applied theology is contextually bound and sociologically corrupted: ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly.’

Let us therefore drop the vernacular ‘Islamism’ and engender instead a knowledge of ‘Wahhabism’ or, better still, ‘Saudi Salafism’, so that by the time we come to mourn the passing of King Salman of the House of Saud, we might think twice before we lower our national flags as “a mark of respect” for an absolute monarch whose country is the cradle of brutal theological corruption, and whose political brand propagates a creed of intolerant indoctrination, violence and hate.

  • John Matthews

    its an excellent thought provoking piece. I think we need some distinctions to show the difference between Jihadiism (using war to spread Islam) and Islamism (using politics to impose Islam) there are also distinctions to be made between voilent and non-voilent extremism.
    We certainly need to hold House of saud to better account on the case of Wahhabism.

    • The Explorer

      When Canadian oil supplies are a certainty.

  • tiger

    The Saudi tentacles run deep throughout Britain and the British Establishment. Saudi money has been carefully deployed through “educational funding” and “buying favour” with people with influence. Simultaneously they have formed links with the most powerful people in our society demonstrating their “friendship and charm”. These influential people fawn at their very mention, whilst quaking at the very thought that they might offend and loose the vital “trade” they need to maintain to keep them in power. This also extends to the USA.

    My late mother (a very wise and well read lady (particularly Churchill) who passed away in 1981 wisely counselled; “Saudia Arabia is the biggest threat to Western civilisation on the planet. Be very wary in your dealings with this serpent for his venom is deadly”. Her prophecy is now apparent

    • Manfarang

      You have John Philby to thank for all that.

      • Anton

        Harry St John Philby, the British liaison with ibn Saud after the British army officer WHI Shakespear’s death? (And father of traitor to MI6, Kim Philby.) Philby snr had to be sharply reminded that London preferred husayn bin ali, a much more moderate Muslim keeper of Meccan and Medina whom ibn Saud eventually overthrew, largely because Britain was not willing to commit its own troops to an Arab tribal war. That is hardly surprising in the decade after World War I but O what a shame.

        • Manfarang

          From 1915 to 1927, Ibn Saud’s dominions were a protectorate of the British Empire.

  • magnolia

    This should be required reading for the Foreign Office, as they appear not to understand from whence the danger comes.

    I thoroughly agree that it is shameful that flags flew half mast at Westminster Abbey for an arch persecutor of Christians. Sometimes the illogicality of reasons given is beyond “Alice in Wonderland” and it feels like you are in a bad dream.

    The only thing I would question is that I have always heard the only version in which a whip is mentioned when Jesus cleared the temple is where pigs are also mentioned, and that would be a normal method of the day of clearing them out.

    • No pigs, but cattle and sheep (John 2:14-15). You are right that the whip was used to drive them out.

      • magnolia

        You are right. Sorry, that was defective memory, hopefully something to do with this headache!

        • Dominic Stockford

          Jesus sent the demons into the herd of pigs, thus causing their destruction (demons and pigs!).

          • Miles Christianus

            Devilled ham?

          • The Explorer

            Where do demons go when they die?

          • magnolia

            I don’t know. McDonalds?

          • The Explorer

            Burger King.

          • magnolia

            Possibly Mablethorpe. It would explain a few things.

          • The Explorer

            That’s too profound for me.

          • Demons don’t die, they’re immortal spirits. The pigs perished. The demons headed across the sea. To France … probably.

          • The Explorer

            Take it up with Dominic, I’m with you, on both counts.

          • … en route to the Americas too.

          • Dominic Stockford

            They don’t, they go to destruction, eternal destruction – not pleasant. Revelation 20:1, and Psalm 103:4.

  • What would radical, extremist, fundamentalist Christianity look like?

    Some thoughts here:

    https://marprelate.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/wanted-radicalized-extremist-christians/

    • Martin

      Excellent Martin

      And so very different from the fundamentalism based on the writings of a warlord.

  • If only it were so. ISIS profess the same teachings as Muhammad. Wahhabism is the teaching of Muhammad. With respect, the writer is admirably generous in examining Islam, but Islam is murderously disposed to all non-Muslims. The Koran and its supported literature as unambiguous on this score.

    • Manfarang

      Strangely enough I have met many who worked in Saudi Arabia without coming to any physical harm.

      • The problem is Islam, not Muslims. The essential teachings of Islam are murderous but many choose to ignore them in order to live a normal life. Try to support free speech or freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia, and then see what happens.

        • Manfarang

          The Five Pillars of Islam are the framework of the Muslim life. They are the testimony of faith, prayer, giving zakat (support of the needy), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime for those who are able.

          • Islam has a pathological hatred of non-Muslims, and that murderous hatred it delineated clearly in the Koran and the hadiths. What you said is irrelevant.

          • Manfarang

            In the Middle East when I lived and worked there I was aware of an anti-Western feeling but in the west there is an anti-Arab feeling.
            When I was at university in England, many years ago, I went to some of the student Muslim Society meetings. There was no hatred there and no extremism either.I used to know among others Iraqi students who were sent to Britain to study in those days.

          • Anton

            The anti-Western feeling in the Middle East is due mainly to colonialism which the locals regard as a a more subtle continuation of the Crusades. As regards your university Muslim soc, to get a fair picture of Islam you have to study it where it calls the shots.

          • Manfarang

            The shots? Security Guards practice on Thursday nights near the oil refinery.Yes I have lived where it calls the shots.

      • Anton

        Me too but did they proselytise peaceably for Christ in the streets?

        • Manfarang

          They didn’t need to. Services are held in private flats.Much more interest in Christianity there than in England.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Hmmm, this wonderful country where you can’t even take a bible with you when you enter?

          • Manfarang

            In that case,you can drown your sorrows with another kind of spirit which is widely available.

  • IanCad

    I can see it! Any day now:

    “Fatwah declared against long-dead English martyr”

    Tread carefully YG.

    Great post. I would like to think that I speak for many others in expressing my thanks to you for the – generally – bold and insightful essays you freely publish.

    Watch your back. If Mo don’t get you the censors will.

    You have the heart of it – Saudi Arabia. And the Gulf States.

    A most timely post as this AM it was announced that Saudi Arabia is the No. 1 importer of arms; displacing India.

    Forget ISIS. Let’s go after Arabia.

  • Dreadnaught

    Steady on there Cranmer – you are venturing close to the truth and bound to be offending someone somewhere. Bravo.

  • Albert

    Surely this is a piece of satire.

    • The Explorer

      There’s a perennial problem with satire: there’s always someone to take you seriously.

      • There’s a perennial problem with the naming of cats, more like.
        *chuckle*

        • Anton

          TS Eliot cracked it.

          • Sssshhhh ………. edit and delete the comment.

    • carl jacobs

      If it is satire, it’s awfully good satire. I will admit however that I wasn’t quite sure how to react to it and so felt no burning desire to respond to it.

      So what is your case? Why do you think it is satire?

      • Lol …. master irony first Grasshopper.

      • Albert

        Well, to prevent too long a post, I’ll stick to two clues:

        Let us therefore drop the vernacular ‘Islamism’ and engender instead a knowledge of ‘Wahhabism’ or, better still, ‘Saudi Salafism’

        There’s no doubt that the nastiest elements of what is called Islamism seem to have a Wahhabi origin: IS and Al Qaeda and I think the Taliban. But, as DanJ0 pointed out, go back a few decades and the worst terrorist excesses would be associated with Shia Islam and Iran: Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad to mention a couple, to say nothing of a certain incident in a US Embassy and the contemporary willingness (wrongly in my view) to see Shia Iran as a mass exporter of terrorism, instability and Islamic revolution in the region. My point being, it’s obviously ironic to say that terrorism is a uniquely Wahhabi/Saudi thing – it’s so absurd.

        The second is the comparison of Jesus and Mohammed:

        Yet if we are not prepared to entertain a cherry-picked Christology which portrays the ‘authentic’ Jesus as a vandal, an advocate of physical abuse, an exponent of violent extremism and a fomenter of hate and division, we might reconsider the pervasive Prophetology which interprets Mohammed only by his bloodiest atrocities and most brutal injustices. The Hadith tells us that Mohammed certainly did these things, but the Bible tells us that Jesus drove the people from the temple courts ‘with a whip made of cords‘. In a violent frenzy he ‘scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables‘. In his own words we learn: ‘I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.‘ Further still, he came to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother‘.

        I would have thought the comparisons here deserve no comment.

        Having said that, personally, I think the basic idea here is a good one. If we treat Muslims as if they are all terrorists, we do them a profound injustice. That kind of injustice tends to make a small proportion of people behave badly. I also agree with the value of asking serious questions about the historical Mohammed, but, like it or not, that picture is mainstream and largely unquestionable for many Muslims of whatever stripe.

        • The ‘tell’ is the opening six words, Albert.

  • educynic

    I’m sorry, YG, but this is barking up the wrong tree.

    The Fred Phelpses of this this world have no traction within the Christian community because there is broad recognition that, whatever correct theological points Phelps made, his actions were such that not even a tiny proportion of those calling themselves Christians would give him even tacit support.

    For the core of Christianity is that we are all sinners, that we all rely on God’s grace, that we talk to each other out of our failure and sinfulness, not out of any personal righteousness.

    It is the job of the Muslim community itself to distinguish between its sects and marginalise the extremists with which they do not wish to be associated. Instead there is tacit approval from far too many Moslems for the Wahabi agenda, not least because an obvious and logical consequence of being a Muslim is to want to live under Sharia law.

    As Christians, our job is not to try to find accommodation with ‘nice Muslims’ but rather to know our own faith, to see how different it is from the whole of Islam and to bring the gospel to those who live under its shadow.

    • “I’m sorry, YG, but this is barking up the wrong tree.”

      Not if the cat is up there, it isn’t.
      *chuckle*

  • preacher

    Excellent Dr Cranmer. But you know I can’t help thinking as you stated above, that religion can be detrimental to the truth.
    From the Lord’s time, it was the majority of the Sanhedrin who opposed Him & throughout history, revivals have suffered most opposition from the Church or at least many of her ministers.
    One feels that since the preaching of ” Christ and Him Crucified ” has been dropped in favour of a less ‘Threatening’ God who draws all to Paradise in an unregenerate state by many Christian fellowships. We have grieved the Spirit & created a vacuum with no relevance or power to proclaim the gospel effectively.
    We have I feel been too busy ‘Doing’ Church that we are often not ‘Being’ Church.
    Which is why many who post here have recognised the desperate need for a Holy Spirit revival, sooner rather than later, to reinvigorate the Churches & offer the true gospel to those of other cultures & beliefs to erase their sins if they so wish & give them eternal life.
    Possibly this could staunch the flow of young people travelling abroad to die in so called jihad.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes.

    • Sirbastion

      Indeed preacher, out of all the possible answers, whether in word or deed, that we could give to the current Islamic problem or to any other worldly opposition which causes us to suffer as Christians, to preach the gospel is the only one with which we will never have any regrets for doing or after thoughts of, “Was that the right thing to do and would my Lord be pleased with me”.

  • sarky

    This is probably the most important post I have read here. Time and time again I have seen islam and its followers demonised in comments here. We have got to stop looking at all muslims as murderous barbarians who are out to change our way of life.
    I have muslim friends and this could not be further from the truth. In my experience they are the same as you and me. They have the same hopes, aspirations and fears.
    Been able to differentiate between good and bad islam is a step on the road to understanding. Undetstanding is a step on the road to reconciliation.

    • DanJ0

      Yet Wahhabism has and is polluting Islamic thought here in the UK such that some of our Muslims citizens, typically young and male, are violent or support violence even though they aren’t Salafists. In fact, I daresay many of them don’t know much about these political themes and schools of thought in Islam.

      • William Lewis

        This is perhaps the most pertinent to us here. There does not appear to be much in the way of counter factual or argument or dogma from the other schools of Islam. Or at least none that dare speak its name.

        • Manfarang

          Sufism

          • Pubcrawler

            Gesundheit

          • Manfarang

            Yaakov

          • Miles Christianus

            My favourite is when drinking with an Iranian friend: the drill here is “Salaam’ati” with the response “Noush”.

          • Yahdeekum Allah wa youslah balakum

      • sarky

        Young males have always been attracted to violence, be it footbatll hooliganism or joining groups like the edl or national front.
        Disaffected muslims kids are just doing the same but are doing it through a twisted version of Islam.
        We need to understand what makes these groups so attractive and then find a way to counteract it.
        I doubt very much that religion or politics are a driving force, they are just the excuse.

    • You make a good point. However, what would happen if you were to suggest to your friends that their daughters marry a non-Muslim and their children be brought up in another religion? What would happen if their sons or daughters decided to abandon Islam? What would happen if their chidren at school were made to read an accurate biography of Mohammed and critically analyse his life? Take any one of these scenarios and you will see why there are no Muslim societies which do not oppress their non-Muslim minorities. There is a difference between Islam and Muslims, however ALL Muslims with only a miniscule exception subscribe to the same central beliefs, which are inimical to freedom of thought and freedom of life.

  • DanJ0

    It’s curious that a few decades ago, it was mainly the Shi’ite States i.e. Iran and Syria, which were promoting and exporting terrorism and their clerics were issuing Fatwahs authorising violence. They were the bête noire of the Middle East.

    • Uncle Brian

      Now it’s a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who seems to be in command, at least at a tactical level, of the allied operations against the Islamic State in the Mosul area.

      • IanCad

        The Persians have been around for a long time. As have the Egyptians; both now bulwarks against IS/Arabia.
        When will Hague apologize to Assad and the British people?
        But by a whisker we would have been in there on the side of ISIS.

        • William Lewis

          The ineptitude and/or ignorance shown by the Foreign Office was sobering.

    • Albert

      Exactly. That was one of several clues that Dr C was having a good laugh when he posted this, and is having a good laugh at some of the comments.

  • James60498 .

    I am sorry but I really cannot take someone seriously, particularly someone who claims to be a conservative Christian who uses the fact that”they (Wahhabis) don’t watch Coronation Street” as a means of beating them over the head.

    For all my criticism of BBC News and associated programming, it is really garbage like Coronation Street that is responsible for turning many people away from conservative Christianity and towards so-called liberal secularism. And if, by some slight chance that I am wrong, then at least one of the main writers will be disappointed as he proclaimed that was his aim.

    Having just tried to find reference to an article precisely relating to that point, some of what I have discovered about Coronation Street is far worse than I imagined.

    Personally if Wahabbism and its followers don’t watch it then good for them. And if you and your followers do, then that explains a lot.

    • sarky

      Who would have thought, the end of civilisation as we know it caused by. ……corrie!

      • The Explorer

        A symptom of the end of civilisation, rather than the cause.

    • magnolia

      I think your comment about “Coronation Street” is unfair to His Grace, and even to us, his regular communicants. I suspect few, if any, here, watch soaps very much, if at all, and none watch “Coronation Street” with a copy of Voltaire’s works propped on their knees for the odd few minutes when some brain cells kick in.

      His Grace’s point describes what Muslims might not engage with, and “Coronation Street” was an illustration of lower culture, and “Voltaire” of higher culture taking more brain cells, nothing more than examples, even imagery, and not to be taken too literally.

  • David

    An amusing and surely tongue in cheek article from our master wordsmith.
    I have no grudge against Muslims as such.
    Indeed I am continuously amazed that so many have managed to live relatively peaceful lives given the violence encouraged within their scriptures and the oppressions enshrined in their legal code.
    Islam is in its pure form a murderous, frozen and backward looking faith that knows not any love for humanity. Islam desperately needs reform. The only other alternative, if the whole world is not to become a bloody battlefield, is for it to be parked in a securely locked repository of history. The only question is not if, but when and how will these very necessary seismic shifts occur ?

  • “Muhammad … He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men.
    As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity ….

    On the contrary, Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning, Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine
    teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms. Nor do divine pronouncements on the part of
    preceding prophets offer him any witness. On the contrary, he perverts almost
    all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into
    fabrications of his own, as can be. seen by anyone who examines his law. It
    was, therefore, a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read
    the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity. It is thus
    clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly.”

    (Thomas Aquinas)

    “There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology…

    A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again.

    There are no priests; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude if lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet produces an endless procession of Mahomets.”
    (GK Chesterton)

    • Powerdaddy

      The madness of religion, but what’s the cure?

      • A relationship with the living Christ.

        • Powerdaddy

          Is a relationship with anecdotal testimonial reports even possible?

          • Miles Christianus

            More anecdotal testimonial reports than for any contemporary, including Julius Caesar? Are you a betting man, Powerdaddy?

          • William Lewis

            You’re thinking of Paddy Power.

          • Powerdaddy

            Do you mean there are contemporary anecdotal testimonies for Jesus?
            Evidence?

          • Miles Christianus

            “Thousands of historical writings document Jesus’ existence. Within 150 years of Jesus’ life 42 authors mention him in their writings, including nine non-Christian sources. During that same time period, only nine secular authors mention Tiberius Caesar; only five sources report the conquests of Julius Caesar. Yet no historian denies their existence.” Habermas and Licona (2008)
            If you want evidence of fact, do some research.
            If you want evidence of truth, I’m afraid that’s where the pesky “faith” thing becomes involved.

          • Powerdaddy

            Nothing during his lifetime.
            Anecdotal testimony and faith will never be accepted as a way to truth by the rational.

          • Miles Christianus

            Yet anecdotal testimony will stand in court of law. Irrational?

            BTW – be careful when talking about “truth” from a scientific perspective: Better to stick with “proven facts according to the prevailing paradigm”.

          • Powerdaddy

            Textual anecdotal testimony, written decades after the fact, By unknown authors, with no eye witnesses, would NOT be admissible in a court. Why would you think it would be?

            Anecdotal testimony and faith will never be accepted as a way to understanding reality by the rational.

            Is that any clearer?

          • Miles Christianus

            PD – I’ll deal with this a paragraph at a time.

            1. There were. It would be. I do because I work with the law.
            2. See the final paragraphs of my last two postings to you.

            Peace.

            Miles.

          • Powerdaddy

            Courts of law do not generally allow hearsay as testimony, and nor does honest modern scholarship. Hearsay does not provide good evidence, and therefore, we should dismiss it.

            If you do not understand this, imagine yourself confronted with a charge for a crime which you know you did not commit. You feel confident that no one can prove guilt because you know
            that there exists no evidence whatsoever for the charge against you. Now imagine that you stand present in a court of law that allows hearsay as evidence. When the prosecution presents its case, everyone who takes the stand against you claims that you committed the crime, not as a witness themselves, but
            solely because they claim other people said so. None of these other people, mind you, ever show up in court, nor can anyone find them.

            Hearsay does not work as evidence because we have no way of knowing whether the person lied, or simply based his or her information on wrongful belief or bias. We know from history about
            witchcraft trials and kangaroo courts that hearsay provides neither reliable nor fair statements of evidence. We know that mythology can arise out of no good information whatsoever. We live in a world where many people believe in demons, UFOs, ghosts, or monsters, and an innumerable number of fantasies believed as fact taken from nothing but belief and hearsay. It derives from these reasons why hearsay cannot serves as good evidence, and the same reasoning
            must go against the claims of a historical Jesus or any other historical person.

            Authors of ancient history today, of course, can only write from indirect observation in a time far removed from their aim. But a valid historian’s own writing gets cited with sources that trace to the subject themselves, or to eyewitnesses and artifacts. For example, a historian today who writes about the life of George Washington,
            of course, can not serve as an eyewitness, but he can provide citations to documents which give personal or eyewitness accounts. None of the historians about Jesus give reliable sources to eyewitnesses, therefore all we have remains as hearsay.

          • Miles Christianus

            If you want to stay with the legal model ( though let’s not stray into Kafka), third party evidence is admissible in England and Wales.

            Don’t think I’m attempting an ad hominem attack on you, PD – I admire your scholarship.

            Peace.

            Miles

          • Powerdaddy

            ffs.

          • Miles Christianus

            Nice.
            Out.

          • Powerdaddy

            Born out of frustration, and you know why.

            Please tell what type of court deals only in hearsay.

          • Miles Christianus

            Awesome. How did you know that “Born of frustration” was my favourite James track?

            I didn’t say that any court deals only in hearsay. I said that third-party evidence is admissible in the courts of England and Wales.

            P.S. Who put brown owl eyes on the butterfly’s wings?

          • Powerdaddy

            Awesome?
            How about a little more honesty?

            And thank God the courts don’t except hearsay, or the opposite of this little news clip would be true.

            UK free schools are now banned from teaching creationism as an
            alternative to evolution. The theory faces rising opposition in the UK, unlike in the US where private schools championing creationism receive millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

            According to government documents, schools found teaching the
            doctrine as a fact will be in violation of the state Funding
            Agreement.

            As part of a “broad and balanced” education, British
            free schools will no longer be allowed to teach creationism as if
            it were fact. In future, its teaching will be confined to
            religious education classes, as long as it is not presented as a
            valid alternative to established scientific theory.

            P.S.Owl eyes, butterfly wings? Evolution!

          • Miles Christianus

            Honesty???

            I win £5 with your “evolution” answer — I would have won £10 if you’d replied with “Darwin” Hey ho.

            FYI, I’m not a creationist.

            And I said (for the third and final time) that third-party evidence is admissible in court.

            What about who gave the leopard spots and taught the birds to sing?

          • Powerdaddy

            And for the last time.

            Take your Bible into a court.

            Tell them they accept third party anecdotal testimonial textual hearsay.

            Demand the Bible is written into law as fact.

            Will you do that?

            Or do you understand now?

            As for leopard spots and whatnot, we both agree it wasn’t creationism.

            P.S.
            The drinks are on you then seeing as you’re flush now

            🙂

          • Miles Christianus

            My Bible is always in court – one swears to tell the truth on it (don’t worry, you can also “affirm” this, if you want).

            What you having 😉

          • Powerdaddy

            Yes and you can also swear on Sihk, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim books.

            And what of it?
            It wasn’t the point I was making, was it?

            Triple Scotch and fisticuffs 🙂

          • Miles Christianus

            So your point is that I should demand that the Bible is written into law as fact?

            I wouldn’t do this as “fact” is valid only as long as the paradigm that it supports and is subect to is accepted. This is fine for science; in fact crucial for proper scientific rigour.

            Faith is a different matter. Faith has mystery at the heart of it, Faith is simply accepting that there is an Ultimate that is a fundamentally unknowable truth. It’s being circumspect enough to acknowledge that we don’t, can’t and never will have all the answers. And those of us with a personal God regard Him as the closest we can get to understanding this Ultimate.

            Do you want ice with that? I think they’re calling time soon.

          • Powerdaddy

            No. My point was….Is a relationship with anecdotal testimonial reports even possible?

            It was you who said the courts accepted anecdotal testimony.Then you called me irrational because of this.( I know they can under certain circumstances but not in a way that makes me look irrational).You kept pushing this point. I just called your bluff.

            But try taking the Bible to court and make those demands anyway.You might just make the local papers 🙂

            As for the rest of your post…. Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don’t have evidence.

            Drunk it already, and they’ve called time.Don’t worry, I’ll get you one next time 🙂

          • Miles Christianus

            PD – while we’re waiting for taxi…

            Never tried to make you look irrational, sorry if if you thought that. I kept banging on with that point because it is simple “fact”. As i pointed out later, this may change if the paradigm changes (in this instance, legislation).

            That’s why I went on to make the distinction between that which is constantly being challenged and that which is constant.

            Believing in something you think is there. or know is there but can’t prove, there’s dark matter. is it neutrinos, WIMPs or something else? Hopefully the new LHC programme will shed “light” on this.

            What I’m getting at is that theory and faith are similar, yet with the distinction that theories are there to be proved or disproved, whereas faith does not require this — rather the challenge is to understand life through its lens. Think of it as a thought experiment, if you want to take a rationalist stance.

            Anyway, we could stand here talking all night, and probably will again.

            See ya.

          • Miles Christianus

            Sorry, I’ve just noticed that you’ve changed your quest for “truth” to one for “reality”. Thank you, yes, that is much clearer.

          • Powerdaddy

            Anecdotal testimony and faith will never be accepted as a way to understanding reality by the rational.

      • sarky

        Education, education, education.

        • Miles Christianus

          Education from whom?

        • carl jacobs

          Yes, that Lenin. He was dirt ignorant. If only he had more schooling.

        • The Explorer

          One version of education is learning the Qur’an by heart.

      • Dominic Stockford

        The Holy Spirit.

  • chiefofsinners

    There are many sects, many non-violent Muslims and many violent Muslims. There are many violent non-Muslims and many non-violent non-Muslims.
    None of this is our concern.
    Humanity consists of two groups: sinners and sinners saved by grace.

    • And yet ………..

      Pope Benedict studied Islam extensively and in 1997, whilst still a Cardinal, shared his thoughts with German journalist Peter Seewald. His comments were generous but held a warning about multiculturalism and about Islam:

      “There is a noble Islam, embodied, for example, by the King of Morocco, and there is also the extremist, terrorist Islam, which, again, one must not identify with Islam as a whole, which would do it an injustice.”

      However, he added, Islam does not fit in with Western culture and civilization:

      “Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours; it embraces simply everything. There is a very marked subordination of woman to man; there is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society. One has to have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

      As Pope, during a lecture, in September 2006, in Regensburg, Germany, he quoted Emperor Manuel II Paleologos:

      “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

      Several Muslim organisations responded:

      “We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose the jizya tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (being killed by) the sword. … God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the Mujahideen.”

      • Miles Christianus

        Even the non-violent shades and sects are profoundly anti-Christian: Note the seemingly benign graphic heading this article. “He begets not, nor is He begotten”. Also, while making a big deal of Isa being a beloved prophet, His divinity is denied and “swoon” or replacement theories promulgated to deny even His death on the cross. All this was retroscripted to appropriate and yet defile the truth for Mo’s self-promotion.

        • Indeed. To attribute divinity to a created entity is the only unpardonable sin in the Quran.

          “[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.”
          (Quran 19:30).

          “And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to
          resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.”

          (Quran 4:157)

          • Old Blowers

            it never ceases to amaze me that i am told that the names of people coming into the UK on visas have within them either Islam or Mohammed (and its plethora of variations) and that Mohammed (and its plethora of variations) is the only name allowed to be abbreviated by two initials and not the one like the rest of us if the space to write the names is limited.i.e MD!! The even get special treatment from the west so that a single M is insufficient for that name!

            Their religion is securely ensconced within their very names to ensure the remembrance of what they are is brought constantly to mind.

            And Ernst has never come across a muslim with the name ISA within it. let alone as the first name..It is always remembered that He is a Jew, you see but His name is useful in propaganda and some of the numpties of Christianity swallow the gumpf wholeheartedly that Isa is revered in Islam.

          • Islam has a jumbled up account of Jesus – a mixture of a variety of heresies and prophesies lifted from Jewish and Christian Scripture..

            However, one thing is clear, they hold that the belief Jesus is God is a rejection of God’s divine oneness and this is the one unpardonable sin in Islam.

          • Miles Christianus

            I would like to think that as Muslims know the name of Jesus, they are redeemable — that they are almost there. They just need to take the quantum leap of acceptance of Jesus as God. They already have the language, talking of “submission” and “the perfect man”. They just need to realise of Whom this really applies.

          • Individual Muslims may well be. Islam, as a faith? It would require more than a “quantum leap”. It would necessitate the dismantling of their theology.

          • Miles Christianus

            Jack. Sorry, I should have qualified this as referring to individuals. The religion in toto is completely irreconcilable with Christianity.

          • They will never do it – opposition to Christianity is fundamental to Islam. Christianity has the trinity and Christ, which they consider to be abominations. The true problem is – Allah is not God, and Mohammed was not a prophet.

          • Watchman

            There are an increasing number of Muslims having dreams and visions of Yeshua and are becoming Christians aided by their knowledge of Yeshua from the Koran. Many testimonies of these people can be easily found online.

          • Powerdaddy

            And Christianity is a mish mash of the stuff and nonsense that came before it.

            It’s all much of a muchness, if you ask me……

          • Albert

            I just wonder if you could give some more information here.

          • Powerdaddy

            Herakles, Dionyses, Orpheus, Osiris, Hermes, Balder, Adonis etc,etc,etc……………….

          • sarky

            Mithras!

          • William Lewis

            Bless you.

          • Powerdaddy

            Of course!

          • Albert

            I think if you want to make a case, you need to give more details. What are the similarities? What are the historical channels through which these deities somehow ended up being mixed up as Christianity? What is the evidence that that is what has happened?

          • Powerdaddy

            Just research sarky’s suggestion of Mithras.

            Better to look for yourself than get second hand info from ‘some chap’ off the net.

            It’s very interesting stuff. Let me know what you think when you’re done….

          • Albert

            The last time I checked, the Mithras thing was debunked by proper scholarship in the 19th Century.

          • Powerdaddy

            I didn’t mention all the deities I could have, hence “etc etc etc”
            Skew the historical findings anyway you want but the point is, nearly all of Jesus’s attributes & achievements are not original. Some god or other has done them before – walking on water, being born of a virgin etc, etc, etc.

          • Miles Christianus

            PD – The conflation of the things attributed to Christ with the deities mentioned didn’t appear until over a century after His death and resurrection (there are no documentary or oral narratives to support these assertions before that time). And don’t come back with “Evidence?” again. Do your own research this time.

          • Albert

            Yet again, not really an answer to the questions. And here you say “skew the historical findings”. What historical findings? You haven’t given any! And yet you are the one making the claims.

            The reality is everything is like something else. Given that, it is obvious that one can come up with similarities between other things. But when one does proper scholarship on them, one finds firstly difficulties in making the cross-over (hence my question about historical channels) and secondly, that the similarities are only superficial. For example (and I’m going by memory), what people claim in paganism as being born of a virgin, is not in fact anything like what Christians claim, since it means that the virgin has sex with the god, but that is a million miles away from Jesus. Secondly, Jesus was a real historical figure. These deities do not have that claim. Thirdly, Jesus was certainl human, in paganism these figures tend to be demi-gods. Fourthly, what similarities seem to be there, tend to count in favour of the Christian claim, for, in a Jewish context, which is anti-pagan, you wouldn’t make up such details, because the teaching would lose credibility.

            Then you have to look at the historical evidence from the Christians. If Christianity is a mish mash of pagan ideas then the Gospels are myths. Have you studies ancient myths? What characteristics do they show? How are these features manifested in the NT? How has the mythologising process taken such hold in such a short space of time? But this level of detail is lost on superficial minds and those who have certain psychological needs, when it comes to knocking religious people.

            So rather than saying Skew the historical findings anyway you want, I can say make spurious and debunked claims anyway you want, it won’t make it history.

          • Powerdaddy

            Buddha (500 years before christs existence) and Jesus.

            Both went to their temples at the age of twelve, where they are said to have astonished all with their wisdom. Both supposedly fasted in solitude for a long time: Buddha for forty–seven days and Jesus for
            forty. Both wandered to a fig tree at the conclusion of their fasts. Both were about the same age when they began their public ministry:

            “When he [Buddha] went again to the garden he saw a monk who was calm, tranquil, self–possessed, serene, and dignified. The prince, determined to become such a monk, was led to make the great renunciation. At the time he was twenty–nine years of age… “Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age.” (Luke 3:23). Both
            were tempted by the “devil” at the beginning of their ministry: To Buddha, he said: “Go not forth to adopt a religious life but return to
            your kingdom, and in seven days you shall become emperor of the world, riding over the four continents.” To Jesus, he said: “All these
            [kingdoms of the world] I will give you, if you fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). Buddha answered the “devil”: “Get you away from me.”

            Jesus responded: “…begone, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10). Both strove to
            establish a kingdom of heaven on earth. According to the Somadeva (a
            Buddhist holy book), a Buddhist ascetic’s eye once offended him, so he
            plucked it out and cast it away. Jesus said: “If your right eye causes
            you to sin, pluck it out, and throw it away;.” (Matthew 5:29).

            THIS IS JUST 1 EXAMPLE.THERE ARE MANY MORE…………….

          • Albert

            Firstly, Buddhism isn’t one of the examples you gave. Secondly, the similarities are superficial, in the sense of being unimportant. Unless a Christian is a fundamentalist, he is quite content with the idea that certain styles may enter the story-telling to make a point. Thirdly, the truth that Jesus gives is universal, so it wouldn’t be surprising if, in some respects, some of what he taught or lived had been grasped in some form before him. Fourthly, your point proves too much. If we are to accept that similarities indicates influence, then we must assume that the story of Jesus is directly influenced by the story of the Buddha. Now this, in itself, is highly questionable – there is no evidence for it, nor, given the nature and age of the text of the NT and the Jewish culture which formed it, is it likely, on the contrary, the NT authors weaken their message when they include things that look pagan, so why do it? And I can say all this without fisking your claims.

            Are you aware that early Christians, like St Justin Martyr, noticed the similarities between Plato and the OT? Now the OT books in question are older than Plato. St Justin’s solution? Plato copied Moses. Do you believe that on the strength of the similarities? If so, why? If not, why not?

            So I’m left with all the same unanswered questions as before:

            If Christianity is a mish mash of pagan ideas then the Gospels are myths. Have you studied ancient myths? What characteristics do they show? How are these features manifested in the NT? How has the mythologising process taken such hold in such a short space of time?

          • “We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them.”
            (Saint Justin Martyr)

            “The Spirit of Christ wrote the law on the heart of Socrates. Socrates believed what he read there, he had confidence in it, and he obeyed it. So, since Socrates followed the Spirit of Christ, even without knowing what he was following, yet he did follow that Spirit, therefore Justin was right in saying Socrates was Christian (for he followed the divine Word, the Spirit of Christ).”
            (Father William Most)

          • Powerdaddy

            This is getting out of hand.

          • Albert

            Or to put the matter another way, people like Powerdaddy who think they are making some kind of argument show they do not know what Christianity is (beyond a Sunday school grasp of the topic).

          • Powerdaddy

            Not really. This is, (invoking Christian magic is responsible for earlier religions), ANOTHER black mark against a so called ‘perfect God’.

          • Albert

            Are you really that ignorant? If God reveals himself in creation as well as in Jesus, then it is not surprising to find that some of Jesus’ teachings were discernible before him. As the Bible says:

            For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
            Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

            They [Gentiles] show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them.

            But you use the word “magic” to make up for the fact that you cannot answer the questions I raised against your claims. Even people who take your point of view won’t fall for it.

          • Powerdaddy

            ‘Are you really that ignorant?’

            You should know how many different answers Christians can give to the same simple questions.

            Try it for yourself.

            How old is the Earth?

            Is evolution correct?

            Were there religions before the O.T.?

            Should women be allowed in Ministry?

            Your 1st sentence was unfair, no doubt you are ignorant about other beliefs in one way or another.

            Anyway. …..my first comment about Christianity being a mish mash of what came before it still stands. Almost all of Jesus’s attributes and achievements were mirrored in earlier beliefs. Not much of what he done was original. The stream of similar powers and stories running through different religions that predate and run up to Christianity is blindingly obvious.
            If you now agree to this my point is made.

            But your response to this is magic.
            Magically, according to you,God gave us the power to know of the major parts of Jesus’s works centuries BEFORE they happened. Were these earlier religions God’s trial runs for Christianity? None of what you are trying to say makes sense.

            And what is wrong with the word magic?

            How else would you perform a miracle without magic?

            What other word should I use instead of magic?

          • Albert

            You should know how many different answers Christians can give to the same simple questions.

            Certainly, there is no reason why all Christians should have identical answers on every point. But you are claiming as Christian something that is contrary to mainstream Christianity. Thus you are attacking a straw man and your following questions are moot.

            no doubt you are ignorant about other beliefs in one way or another.

            Certainly, but I do not make disparaging remarks about beliefs I am ignorant of. You do (or to be accurate, you try to, since you what you actually do is misrepresent Christianity).

            my first comment about Christianity being a mish mash of what came before it still stands.

            Well, what is a mish mash? A collection or mixture of unrelated things. I cannot see that you have provided any evidence that Christianity is that.

            Almost all of Jesus’s attributes and achievements were mirrored in earlier beliefs.

            And I’ve said that I don’t have a difficulty with that. Although I have to say, I wonder where you find an antecedent for the Christian belief in the Trinity. Moreover, I don’t think your going to find anything more than superficially similar to our doctrine of the incarnation (and therefore also, our doctrine of salvation). But here’s your chance to substantiate your claim.

            But your response to this is magic.

            No it isn’t. My response, very clearly put in the scriptural quotes was that God as creator has reflected himself in his creation and this is accessible, albeit in an inchoate way, to humanity. Where’s the magic?

            Magically, according to you,God gave us the power to know of the major parts of Jesus’s works centuries BEFORE they happened.

            No I didn’t. You are very unsubtle in your thinking.

            And what is wrong with the word magic? How else would you perform a miracle without magic? What other word should I use instead of magic?

            If by “magic” you mean nothing more than “supernatural”, then “magic” is not objectionable. However, the word “magic” has extra layers of connotations – such as doing things by spells or fraud. Now this is clearly not how God is claimed by Christians to work. Thus, I think the word “magic” is unhelpful. If by “magic” you mean nothing more than “supernatural”, then I suggest it would make better sense to use the word “supernatural”. If on the other hand you mean something other than that, then I retain the right to disagree with your use of the word. What do you mean by “magic”?

          • Powerdaddy

            I prefer the word magic. Miracles are the stuff of magic, aren’t they?

            The Bible does not give us a doctrine of a trinity, the historical record shows that modern Christian trinitarian beliefs were not formulated until about 300 years after the death of Jesus Christ, but in pagan religions trinitarian beliefs date back to ancient Babylon, thousands of years before Jesus Christ. The coequal, coeternal, one substance, three in one trinity is not a Christian Biblical doctrine; yet there are those who insist that it is the cornerstone of Christianity.

            Bit pushed for time at the moment or I would’ve responded to more of your points.

          • Albert

            I prefer the word magic. Miracles are the stuff of magic, aren’t they?

            What you think the claim is that God is performing a spell? If you seriously think that is the claim you are a fool, but suspect, you are just trying to wind me up, so either give reason to think miracles are spells or withdraw the claim.

            The Bible does not give us a doctrine of a trinity, the historical record shows that modern Christian trinitarian beliefs were not formulated until about 300 years after the death of Jesus Christ

            That rather depends on what you mean.

            in pagan religions trinitarian beliefs date back to ancient Babylon, thousands of years before Jesus Christ. The coequal, coeternal, one substance, three in one trinity is not a Christian Biblical doctrine;

            As usual, we need more details if your evidence is going to prove anything stronger than that you know how to google. But if what you say is true, why does it take so long for the Church to formulate her doctrine of the Trinity, and why are the issues so specialised theologically? Surely, the sheer difficulties of the discussion tell against your point. But we seem in any case to be back to the point where I asked you whether you think Plato got his ideas from the OT. Given your fallacious moves of superficial similarity equals transmission, I can only assume you do think Plato got his ideas from Moses.

          • Powerdaddy

            O.K.

            I think we have to back up a little. Can we clear up one thing at a time?

            I typed…….

            And Christianity is a mish mash of the stuff and nonsense that came before it.
            It’s all much of a muchness, if you ask me……

            and

            Jesus’s attributes & achievements are not original. Some god or other has done them before – walking on water, being born of a virgin etc, etc, etc.

            I understand the first comment may get your back up a little but the second comment shows you why I said it.

            Vigin birth, walking on water, rising from the grave, water to wine etc. have been praticed in several different religions many centuries before Christ.The next religion just borrowed some parts or was influenced in some ways by the last one.Christianity was just the next one in line for these ideas ( virign birth, rising from the dead, tempted by the devil etc.etc.).Just seems logical to me and I mean no offence by it.
            What do you think?

          • Albert

            Powerdaddy, the issue here is precisely what you are claiming. I have said that we would expect there to be similarities, but that these similarities are superficial. I gave the Virgin Birth as an example of that – this is probably the easiest to understand. But there are similar issues with the Trinity and Incarnation. Secondly, I have shown that mere similarity does not imply cause and effect – this is the purpose of my reference to Plato -which you have not answered. Thirdly, I have therefore pointed out that you need to show some way of transmission, and I have set out the conditions which you would need to meet to demonstrate that. You have done nothing to address those points, but neither have you explained why you do not need to. At the moment therefore, I think you are guilty of an irrational prejudice – and a superficial understanding of the ancient religious world in general and of Christianity in particular. You know, much of this stuff was dealt with over a hundred years ago – just because Stephen Fry repeats it on QI every now and again, does not make it fact.

          • Powerdaddy

            I agree. The similarities are superficial. Especially to a believer. But these themes run through multiple earlier religions and are included in Christianity.
            Sticking to this point only, why do you think these themes (walking on water, risen from the dead, water into wine, healing the blind etc etc) were being believed by the public before God had revealed them through Jesus?

          • Albert

            Assuming the similarity (and I think it is distant, because Jesus was clearly a real historical figure, whereas these other deities tend not to be so), I think it is because the ancient world saw the world much more symbolically than we do. For example, in biblical times the sea represents death and chaos. Hence to walk on it implies sovereignty over death and chaos. Thus it is perfectly possible that two different cultures might ascribe such an idea to God (or god). But that does not prove influence, it just means that the same themes crop up symbolically again and again because they are important to people. People see the world as a conflict between good and evil, and they see these things as symbolic of that. That does not mean God might not actually do what people had already imagined, on the contrary, it means that God might do those things because he would be the more readily understood.

            I can’t see any significance of all this though because I cannot see any reason to assume transmission, and even if that were the case, it would commit the genetic fallacy to assume that the story therefore had no significance in the Gospels.

            However, in Jesus’ case, the walking on water does not come from some kind of pre-Christian, pagan tradition, but from the OT. For example, the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep in Genesis 1.

          • Powerdaddy

            So what you are saying is that God is not original and placates his people with a stories that are already familiar to them? So it is easier for them to except? And earlier religions with similar tales have in no way influenced Christianity?
            Or

            Christ’s word is eternal and is written on the hearts of all men, so all the religions with these ideas written in them at an earlier time that have been copied by the Bible are linked because of this eternal word.

            Are these earlier religions connected or not connected to Christianity. You seem to want it both ways……

          • Albert

            I’m just not sure that you understand what the word “God” names – it’s that that makes me assume you are an atheist. God is the reason why everything that is not God exists. He can hardly be described as unoriginal. In orthodox Christianity, God reveals himself to us through nature and through special revelation like Jesus and the Bible. Therefore, since some of what he reveals in Jesus is already available in an inchoate way in nature, it is to be expected that people will have already come up with some similar ideas or symbolism. The fact that that is the case, is in no way a problem, therefore. However, as these things come to us in Jesus the message is not drawn from them, but from the source that those religions were striving after, namely God.

            Now if God is to communicate with us, he must use symbols, words, practices etc. which we understand (unless of course he communicates simply by some kind of miraculous understanding). Thus if some symbols are already well-known, then it is not surprising if these get used. However, it is also necessary to see that God is not just repeating these things, since they did not exhaustively or even accurately grasp the nature of God.

            Are these earlier religions connected or not connected to Christianity. You seem to want it both ways……

            No, this is your misunderstanding arising from your own unclarity about theology. I can very easily say that Christianity can use pre-existing symbols (provided they are modified) and that some pre-Christian religious ideas contain truths in an inchoate way which will be properly revealed in Jesus, without suggesting Christianity is derivative. To show that Christianity is derivative, therefore you need to show that it really has come from those other religions, and, apart from coming up with (what you admit are) a set of superficial similarities, I cannot see that you have even begun to do this.

          • Powerdaddy

            Thanks.

            I think I fully understand you now.
            I am on the other side of the fence.
            It looks and smells like syncretism.

            Zoroastrianism and earlier ideas made your religion what is today. I cannot derive a God from any of this ancient religious chatter, the next one built on the last.

            Superstition upon superstition X 5 or 6 thousand years.

          • Albert

            Yet another religion named! No, I don’t think you’ve understood a single word I’ve said. Or perhaps you have but are too proud to admit how far from understanding what you contemptuously rejected. You began with a particular position, apart from noting that the similarities are superficial (a point which I think undermines this present comment of yours) your position has not changed. This is despite the fact that, you have done nothing to show that Christianity is derivative, you have not answered any of the evidential points that would be required to make your position reasonable. You have not addressed any of the awkward implications of such a view. And here you are returning to the same identical position which you have not been able to support. Evidence and reason clearly have no bearing on your thinking, and because of this, I assume (perhaps wrongly) you are an atheist.

          • Powerdaddy

            Yet another religion named!

            Yup, there are tousands!

            No, I don’t think you’ve understood a single word I’ve said. Or perhaps you have but are too proud to admit how far from understanding what you contemptuously rejected.

            Nope, I hear you loud and clear. But your stance on rejecting syncretism is only valid if the particular God you believe in actually exists. To agree to this we need proof of his existence first…….

            You began with a particular position, apart from noting that the
            similarities are superficial (a point which I think undermines this
            present comment of yours) your position has not changed.

            Yes and no, in the narrative of each individual religion the events are superficial, but the actual events themselves are EXACTLY the same. e.g. walking on water is the same as walking on water. Virgin birth is the same as virgin birth (and yes, some other religions have the same ideas as christs conception). turning water into wine is the same as turning water into wine. Rising from the dead is the same….. (you get the point) etc etc etc etc etc……

            This is despite the fact that, you have done nothing to show that
            Christianity is derivative, you have not answered any of the evidential
            points that would be required to make your position reasonable. You
            have not addressed any of the awkward implications of such a view. And here you are returning to the same identical position which you have not been able to support.

            I think it is far more ridiculous to assume that all the different religions, including your own, have origins and conceptions that were all independant of each other. Especially from the same group of populations and from the same locations.
            And yes I understand that Christs word is eternal and other Godly magic and the like, but if you are invoking this Godly magic you first need proof of this Gods existence, dont you?

            *Syncretism as a concept is more believable than any one religion is*.

            Evidence and reason clearly have no bearing on your thinking, and
            because of this, I assume (perhaps wrongly) you are an atheist.

            Where is your evidence that supports your religion as true??, and what is your reason for you choosing that particular religion??

            One things for sure, im a skeptic, other than that I really dont know.

          • Albert

            My point about another religion being named was that you have never substantiated your original claims about the religions you named there.

            But your stance on rejecting syncretism is only valid if the particular God you believe in actually exists. To agree to this we need proof of his existence first…….

            Well, I have no difficulty philosophically defending my belief in God, but your position is fallacious even if I don’t defend it. You are assuming Christianity is derivative, simply because you find some similarities with other religions. I have pointed out, on numerous occasions, that this is fallacious. Similarity does not demonstrate cause – you have elementary error of reasoning post hoc ergo propter hoc the irony is that if science followed your reasoning, we’d all believe junk science.

            The fact that the beginning of Shostakovich’s second symphony sounds a bit like the beginning of Stravinsky’s Firebird does not mean that Shostakovich copied Stravinsky. The fact that Plato has similarities to Moses, does not make Plato derivative. I have set out the questions you need to answer to show Christianity is derivative, and pointed to the evidence you would need to provide to make even a hypothesis, but you have failed to do any of that, and just resort to assuming the point that needs to be proved. The fact that you do so in a post which claims you are a sceptic is highly ironic. You’re a sceptic about what you want to be sceptical about, but not about the things you claim yourself. This kind of intellectual inconsistency makes you suited to be an atheist in a secular world. This kind of atheism may be psychologically fascinating, but it does not get us nearer to reality.

            EXACTLY the same. e.g. walking on water is the same as walking on water. Virgin birth is the same as virgin birth (and yes, some other religions have the same ideas as christs conception). turning water into wine is the same as turning water into wine. Rising from the dead is the same….. (you get the point)

            Fine, let’s have the details, and let’s see. To save you doing too much googling, let’s hear the example of a Virgin Birth, without the deity copulating with the woman, leading to a real historical figure being understood by the religion as the hypostatic union.

            I think it is far more ridiculous to assume that all the different religions, including your own, have origins and conceptions that were all independent of each other.

            It sounds like you’re conceding you cannot provide the evidence to make your position rational. Anyway, I’ve never said that all the different religions have to have different origins and conceptions independently of each other. We need the details, please, of how exactly Christianity is derivative. You’ve now narrowed your horizons so there are fewer examples to appeal to. And note, you’ve just described someone who thinks that Plato was not derivative from the Bible ridiculous. Well done, that was a good move!

            you first need proof of this Gods [sic] existence, dont [sic] you?

            No, I don’t need that – you make irrational claims. I can perfectly well believe that Plato is not derivative from Moses without claiming divine intervention. Is that your view? A miracle occurred to ensure Plato said similar things to Moses? Seriously? Now if you agree to that, you are a superstitious fool. If you don’t agree then your own point fails against me.

            *Syncretism as a concept is more believable than any one religion is*.

            Is this meant to be some kind of self-evident a priori truth? Or is there some kind of mystical authority behind it?

            Where is your evidence that supports your religion as true??, and what is your reason for you choosing that particular religion??

            Of course! the need to change the subject because you cannot rationally defend views you will not reject. In brief, I would follow Aquinas and Newman in answering your points here. How would you answer them?

            One things for sure, im a skeptic, other than that I really dont know.

            The great irony about scepticism is that we require some kind of knowledge in order to doubt other claims. So my question is: what do you believe in that enables you to doubt other things? Why do you believe such things?

          • Powerdaddy

            Do you believe syncretism has been occurring throughout history ?

          • Albert

            There are examples of it, throughout history.

            Now see what’s happened here. I’ve given an immediate answer to your question. Why have you not answered the questions I have asked you?

          • Powerdaddy

            You do know that proof of your Gods existence IS NEEDED to make your stance acceptable? ?
            If you can’t do that then Christianity is just another example of this syncretism. Why would it be anything else without this proof?

          • Albert

            Look Powerdaddy, I’ve already answered that point at least twice and I’ve indicated the grounds on which I would defend my position. I’ve set out the standards by which you need to show your position is rational, you have not done so. I have answered your questions, you have not answered mine. You are serially ignorant of religious and philosophical matters, your reasoning is full of logical fallacies and yet the way you express yourself is abusively contemptuous of those positions you do not understand and cannot reason around. That’s why I assume you’re an atheist. Only someone who stands so close to his own culture could get away with being so uncritical about his own beliefs.

          • Powerdaddy

            I bet you could easily see syncretism in, let’s say, Polynesian religions. But you can’t seem to see it with your own silly religious ideas.
            I. Wonder. Why.

            Is your God easier to prove than Christian syncretism?

            If so prove it.

            If not – polish your sky hook in some other company

          • Albert

            Here’s how arguments work: the burden of proof rests on the person making the claim. You have made a claim, you have to provide the evidence and reasoning. I have set out the kinds of things you need to do. You haven’t done so, and are now resorting to begging the question. The point about begging the question is that people only beg the question, because they cannot provide the evidence or reasoning. Now as it is your argument, you have fill in the gaps. Moreover, your begging of the question looks particularly irrational, because I have already provided a counter example (Plato) which makes your assumption look foolish.

            Moreover again, I have indicated the kinds of grounds I would use to defend my Christian faith – you have not replied to that at all. So let’s just sum how badly this has gone for you. I have answered your points you have not answered mine. And yet the burden of proof rests on you. How like an atheist – you seem to assume that if you re-express commonplace opinions, that makes you convincing. It doesn’t. It must makes you (ironically) derivative.

          • Powerdaddy

            Here’s how arguments work: the burden of proof rests on the person making the claim.

            ?This is a Christian website.?

            My argument of syncretism is against your and other Christians (and of this website) original claims, and a stance you seem to take for granted, that your God and Christianity are both true. I would like to see the evidence that you have that has convinced you that Christianity is true.

            When / if you do this syncretism will be totally pointless…….

          • Albert

            Read Aquinas and Newman and you will see my reasoning – if you want to narrow the question to something more manageable, say, the existence of God, then yes, I’d be happy to set out a little more detail.

            But your assertion is that Christianity is derivative. Do you not see that that is a claim? You have given no evidence for this except to say that there are some similarities – although details are entirely lacking at the moment. Moreover, Christianity doesn’t have to be true in order not to be derivative. I’ve demonstrated that point already and you have not answered it. So at the moment, you are building castles in the sky.

          • Powerdaddy

            Not so much a derivative.
            More like a new bunch of silliness with some themes teachings and events from earlier religions.
            If you answer to syncretism is “God wished it to look this way”, prove God.

          • Albert

            Why do you think it is silly and what is the difference in your view between “derivative” and some themes teachings and events from earlier religions. ? Finally, why do you never provide actual sources. I put it to you, as I have put it you before that there is no previous teaching remotely like the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the hypostatic union of an actually historic figure. But if you have evidence, provide it.

          • Powerdaddy

            Each individual religion to it followers is unique.

            You have said already God uses symbology from earlier beliefs. To me that is derivative, to you it is a sign of God’s magic.

            Prove your God exists.

            Let me in on this “Truth”

          • Albert

            I see you are persisting in refusing to answer the questions and requests for information which I direct to you. But, I have argued that these things are necessary for you to make your position rationally justifiable. Thus, I think you are irrational – the fact that you persist in using words like “Magic” despite the fact that such words have, as I have shown, connotations that are not appropriate here simply adds to the anti-intellectual feel of your posts.

            If the symbolism refers to a different belief from an earlier belief, then surely the belief is not derivative. After all, on your model, Nazism is derivative from Hinduism because of the use of the swastika.

            As for God’s existence, I would defend the following arguments:

            1. The kalam argument

            2. Way 1

            3. Way 2

            4. Way 3

            5. Way 5

            6. Fine-tuning argument

            Let me in on this “Truth”

            Since you are manifestly irrational, you’re not likely to be let in on the truth by rational argument are you?

          • Powerdaddy

            The kalam is not logically sound.

            The big bang theory doesn’t give a finite time for the existence of the universe. Only on how it appears now. Matter could well be eternal.

            Seems just as fair as saying magic is eternal.

          • Albert

            The kalam is not logically sound. The big bang theory doesn’t give a finite time for the existence of the universe. Only on how it appears now. Matter could well be eternal.

            Two problems here. Firstly, denying the truth of one of kalam’s premises does not show kalam is not logically sound. An argument can be logically sound by still false, if one of the premises is false. So you are making a category mistake, which is very compromising – it shows you have no understanding of the philosophy you are using. But that’s what I would expect, since you are demonstrably irrational. Secondly, kalam provides a series of philosophical arguments to demonstrate the past-time cannot be infinite. How do you answer them?

            And of course, you have only responded to one argument – I gave 6. But to be fair, you haven’t had the chance to do the relevant googling.

          • Powerdaddy

            It is not logically sound because
            we have no examples of things being added to reality or “begnning to exist” which have causes. The only
            observation we have of causes involve pre-existing things changing form or being rearranged.

          • Albert

            That is not a way of showing an argument is logically unsound, that is simply you challenging the other premise. You are still making the same category mistake as before.

            we have no examples of things being added to reality or “begnning to exist” which have causes. The only observation we have of causes involve pre-existing things changing form or being rearranged.

            So? You seem to be working on the assumption that we can only know or conceive of something if we have direct experience of it. But that is false, for several reasons:

            1. We have no experience of the truth of the proposition: we can only know or conceive of something if we have direct experience of it. Thus that proposition cannot be true as it defeats itself.

            2. If we have to have experience of something in order to be able to conceive or know something, we wouldn’t be talking about the big bang or the eternity of matter, for we have experience of neither.
            3. Kalam gives logical reasons to show time cannot be infinite. If those reasons are sound, then time cannot be infinite and so it had to have a beginning.
            4. If 3 is true, then we are left either with a beginning without a cause (something we have no experience of, and therefore not something we can believe in the light of your original proposition) or we have to believe that something began with a cause (something we cannot believe for the same reason). But that’s now absurd, your position seems to entail:

            1. We cannot believe that the universe began
            2. We cannot believe that the universe is eternal
            3. We cannot believe the beginning of the universe was caused to exist

            4. We cannot believe the beginning of the universe happened without a cause.

            To which, I will add that, for unanswered logical reasons:

            5. Past-time cannot be eternal.

            Therefore,

            6. The universe began.

            And that puts us back onto 1. again. So for all of these reasons, we can say with confidence that you answer to the kalam argument fails. And if it fails, we are left with the unanswered argument (together with the 5 other arguments you haven’t even addressed). And let us remember that you haven’t provided any evidence to defend your original claims, neither have you refuted any of the arguments I have used to show your position entails believing absurdities. And yet you seem determined to maintain all your positions. Now that’s irrational.

          • Powerdaddy

            1) The universe that begins to exist has a cause for its
            existence

            2) the universe begins to exist

            3) therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence

            The syllogism becomes entirely circular, and thus logically invalid.

            What is happening is you are trying to make a generalised rule about other things to apply that rule to the universe. But there are no other things, (magic?) so the only thing that has begun to exist is the universe itself. We cannot seek to prove a conclusion about the causal behaviour of a one-off event merely by asserting it in the premise.

          • Albert

            But that isn’t the syllogism, is it? You are either ignorant or dishonest. The syllogism is:

            1. What ever begins to exist has a cause.
            2. The universe begins to exist
            3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

            Now that is a logically valid syllogism and there is no circularity in it. That means that to answer it, you cannot talk about logical validity or circular reasoning, you need to deny one of the premises. Now bizarrely, you are not only denying premise 2, you seem to be denying that anything begins to exist! Moreover, your position is (ironically) atheistically circular, for you say But there are no other things, (magic?). Well obviously, if you begin with atheism as established (with your customary misrepresentation of theism), it’s not surprising that you end with atheism. But that’s not rational, it’s special pleading.

            Have any of your posts been accurate and relevant to the position you are trying to defend, because I can’t remember one, if it has.

          • Powerdaddy

            Six different ways to dress a turd.

            This argument does not prove the universe needs a cause.

            Even if this argument were valid (it’s not) you still don’t get to a God.

            But you decided that the cause (not proven) is a God, But not just any God but the God of the bible! Where is your evidence for your conclusions? Where is your evidence for the need of a cause?

          • Albert

            Six different ways to dress a turd.

            Given that you are yet even to express the simplest of these arguments accurately, I cannot see how your dismissal of all six can be rationally justified.

            This argument does not prove the universe needs a cause.

            The argument has been stated and you have not defeated it. Therefore, the argument would seem to stand.

            But you decided that the cause (not proven) is a God, But not just any God but the God of the bible! Where is your evidence for your conclusions? Where is your evidence for the need of a cause?

            I have set out the basic shape of the way in which I would defend my Christian faith (my reference to Aquinas and Newman), but I said I would not seek to defend it all at once. For the time being I am defending only classical theism (what we call praeambula fidei, I’m not going to go any further, until I am convinced you have some idea of what the word God does not name) . Now given that that was my express intention, I find it rather unreasonable of you to critique me for having done nothing more than I said I would do – especially as you have not given any response to the basic shape of my position.

            So my aim is, at this point, to defend classical theism. Of course the arguments given result in classical theism – you appear not to be aware of how. I’m guessing you haven’t read tomes like the Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles book 1 or the first part of the Summa Theologiae or the massive God, His Existence and His Nature by Garrigou Lagrange.

            And in the meantime, what have you said that has actually defended your original claim?

          • Powerdaddy

            Defend premise 1

            It assumes that things can begin to exist. On what grounds is this assumption made?

            This is an unfounded premise which cannot just be assumed without any justification, and currently there is no justification to make it according to known physics. According to current knowledge energy (which is what matter consists of) cannot be created nor destroyed. The energy that exists in this universe is, as far as we know, permanent.

          • Albert

            Seriously? You don’t think things begin to exist? Have you always existed?

            The second paragraph just makes the usual scientistic confusion over physics and metaphysics. Of course, from our point of view, energy is neither created nor destroyed, but to observe that does not explain why that is so – especially not at the metaphysical level. You’re beginning the question again.

            justification to make it according to known physics

            This is the centre of your confusion. The question of why there is a universe (or multiverse, if it has come from some other universe) is not, ultimately, a question of physics and science, but of metaphysics and philosophy.

            So again, far from answering even one of my six arguments, all you have done is to show you don’t understand the easiest of them. And of course, we are still awaiting any evidence to support the rest of your claims.

          • Powerdaddy

            “Have you always existed?” seriously?

            You still haven’t justified your first premise.

            Did the energy in this universe “begin to exist” at some point, or has it always existed? This is currently an unknown. There is no justification to say either way. Especially in this context, there is no justification to say that it did begin to exist. Hence the premise is unfounded.

          • Albert

            You seem a little coy about this. Firstly, you objected to premise 1 on the grounds that i t assumes that things can begin to exist and then, when I remarked on how odd it was to question that things begin to exist, you try to change the subject. Of course, you are quite wrong here. Premise 1 does not assume that things can begin to exist – it simply says that if they could, they would need a cause. You could, if you wanted argue that since there is no cause, it follows from this premise that there was no beginning (although that would be rather spectacularly to beg the question).

            Now concerning the first premise, obviously whatever begins to exist has a cause – this is proved by the very point you are making. If that premise isn’t true then something comes from nothing – but that flies in the face of the principle that energy cannot be created (a point you confidently asserted earlier, but now seem to be doubting). Thus, if there is a part of the argument you shouldn’t argue with, it is premise 1.

            Did the energy in this universe “begin to exist” at some point, or has it always existed? This is currently an unknown. There is no justification to say either way. Especially in this context, there is no justification to say that it did begin to exist. Hence the premise is unfounded.

            No that’s not true. It may be that physics cannot be sure it has found a beginning, but that past time is not eternal can be argued philosophically. You need to answer those arguments. They are contained in the kalam argument, which you have failed even to express properly, let alone answer. And yet you called it a turd!

            And I’m still waiting for a reply to the other five arguments, and a defence of your original claims. Do you ever worry that perhaps your position isn’t rationally justified? It doesn’t sound like you’ve done much thinking about it – another reason for me to assume you are an atheist.

          • Powerdaddy

            I have already stated that matter/ energy could well be eternal. It is you who is glossing over this.

            “Premise 1 does not assume that things can begin to exist – it simply says that if they could, they would need a cause.”

            IF we are dealing in IFs then you may have me onside, that’s IF you can acknowledge matter/ energy could also be eternal :- after all there’s more than one side to an IF. IF you don’t think this do not use IF again.

          • Albert

            How do you answer the arguments that past-time cannot be eternal?

            IF we are dealing in IFs then you may have me onside, that’s IF you can acknowledge matter/ energy could also be eternal :- after all there’s more than one side to an IF. IF you don’t think this do not use IF again.

            I wasn’t dealing with the argument at that point – merely observing a non-sequitur in your position – on top of the surreal questioning of the fact that things begin to exist.

            As to past-time being eternal, St Thomas Aquinas says it is possible, while Muslim philosophers and St Bonaventure say it is not. Personally, I think that the impossibilists have the best arguments – infinite past-time results in numerous contradictions. But if you think those arguments are just “turds” (you’ll have to take on mathematicians like Hilbert, philosophers like Wittgenstein, and perhaps physicists like Hawking who said “Mathematics cannot really handle infinite numbers”) show how you know better.

            And this is your problem. I can concede that matter/energy is eternal and still accept the universe needs to be caused. But even if, per impossibile you showed mater/energy are eternal, you would still be unable to show they weren’t caused and therefore you would be caught on the other arguments. The metaphysical entailments of atheism are such an utter minefield, it is not surprising, few atheists go into them – preferring instead to misrepresent theistic arguments. I was reading Bertrand Russell the other night, and his misunderstanding of the arguments for the existence of God “made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes.” And he’s supposed to be perhaps your best man.

            So: how do you answer the philosophical arguments that show past-time cannot be eternal? How do you answer all the other arguments I gave, and what is your evidence to support your original position?

          • Powerdaddy

            “You seem a little coy about this. Firstly, you objected to premise 1 on the grounds that i t assumes that things can begin to exist and then, when I remarked on how odd it was to question that things begin to exist, you try to change the subject.”

            Im not coy at all and im not changing the subject. Prove premise 1.

          • Powerdaddy

            Only someone who stands so close to his own culture could get away with being so uncritical about his own beliefs.

            And you spoke of irony earlier. ……

          • Albert

            You just don’t get it, do you? I am a religious person living in a secular society. I assure you, I am very critical of the culture in which I live

          • Powerdaddy

            The main reason you are living in a secular society is down to your God. If is messege wasnt so weak I and everone else would believe in him.If his messege wasnt so weak there would be no other religions.
            He knows exactly how to convince me (and everybody else) but chooses not to do so. And to hell with us, eh?

            You are free to leave this culture if you so wish. Take your silly religious ideas (and the muslims too) back to the middle east where it belongs and should have never left.

          • Albert

            Well that just looks racist to me. But you’re quite wrong about secularism. Secular people don’t want the truth, they want to be free – sadly, they don’t understand that it is only the Truth that can set us free.

            On which note, I notice, with interest, your failure again to respond to the questions I have asked.

          • Powerdaddy

            What is the “Truth”?

          • Albert

            In Western culture, that question is meant to indicate cynicism. Is that your intention?

          • Powerdaddy

            More sceptical than cynical tbh.

            But most of all I am interested in your answer. What is the “Truth” ?

          • Albert

            Jesus Christ is the Truth.

          • magnolia

            I doubt that you have heard of the Johannine comma, but you might care to look it up. There are actually several NT references to the Trinity, and references also in the OT. None of them have anything to do with Ancient Babylon. The Ancient mystery religions are a load of third rate guff and nothing to do with Christianity. For a start we have no secrets, but are open and transparent. You don’t learn one thing at one stage, and then have someone say, “Ah, but there is a deeper meaning, and though you thought this word or this letter or symbol meant x at the lower levels, it now means y!” That is not our way; that is not “The Way” so you can forget that Babylonian nonsense.

          • Well, yes. One can probably find ‘evidence’ for whatever one wants. All the early myths suggest to Jack is that man has an inner knowledge of God that drives us to seek Him. This has been buried and needed God to reveal Himself to man.

            It is interesting that you mentioned the possible influence of the Jewish understanding of God on early Greek thought. Some believe it may also have had some influence on Indian religious thinking too.

          • Albert

            True. My guess is that Powerdaddy will not think Plato got his ideas from Moses. But to concede that, would be to undermine his own point.

          • Have you read this address by Pope Francis, Albert?
            http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-communion-and-liberation-movement
            Very powerful and moving.

          • magnolia

            You are missing the point. Take that Mithras bit: it is similar because it was a parody that came after, I repeat after Jesus. So “not original” as an accusation is really a bit much in the circumstances, is it not?

          • Powerdaddy

            I made references to Buddha earlier. He predates Jesus by 500 years. He said and done some very similar things.
            Buddha is not the only example.

          • magnolia

            Well you might think he said and did some similar things, but I can assure you he didn’t, which is why I am dressed as I am without a shaved head, and didn’t worry about tipping chemicals over my children’s heads in the days when they got headlice.

            Although some have said “Judge not that you be not judged, for the judgement you give will be the judgement you receive” is similar to Karma, it is only a bit. Karma is a system that operates in a particular way, whereas that sentence suggests that if you don’t set off a series of events that makes that true in this life, which you might well, nevertheless you will face God’s judgement in the next according to that you gave, amongst other meanings.

            There are also so many differences, Jesus never freaked out over a worm cut in half by a plough, nor led a life wrapped in cottonwool at any stage. On the contrary the metaphors of farming were core. Buddha was never crucified for the sins of the world, claimed to forgive sin, nor went around healing people. All key to Jesus.

            Christian mysticism insists that any mystical system is ploughed back into good works. Being “out of it” in a state of nirvana (a kind of emptiness) is NOT recommended, and in some denominations seen as positively dangerous. We also don’t believe in reincarnation.

            Overall the differences are major, and the similarities minor. There are more similarities with Sikhism, actually, but again many differences, including very key ones.

          • sarky

            Mithra has the following in common with the Jesus character:

            Mithra was born on December 25th of the virgin Anahita.

            The babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger and attended by shepherds.

            He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.

            He had 12 companions or “disciples.”

            He performed miracles.

            As the “great bull of the Sun,” Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.

            He ascended to heaven.

            Mithra was viewed as the Good Shepherd, the “Way, the Truth and the Light,” the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah.

            Mithra is omniscient, as he “hears all, sees all, knows all: none can deceive him.”

            He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb.

            His sacred day was Sunday, “the Lord’s Day,” hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.

            His religion had a eucharist or “Lord’s Supper.”

            Mithra “sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers.”

            Mithraism emphasized baptism.

          • magnolia

            Wow….you don’t say, a late 1st Century to early 4th century cult. I read that “no ancient source preserves the mystery of the cult” and that what is known is gathered from literary scraps and guessing from pictures. Justin Martyr referred to their ritual meal as a parody of Christianity.

            A major image seems to be Mithras slaughtering a bull in a cave.

            Hard to see how you can leap on all that with a cry of glee, and, really a bit desperate.

          • sarky

            Just pointing out what’s out there. Not jumping on anything, I don’t care either way.

          • Albert

            As I’ve said to Powerdaddy, the Mithras thing has been debunked – over a hundred years ago.

          • Coniston

            Read C. S. Lewis’ ‘Myth Bercame Fact’.

          • Miles Christianus

            This was a real problem for me. I thought that the Gospels had retrofitted the OT prophets to cinch the authors’ message. Through study and, yes, epiphany, I came to believe that the central narrative and message of the Gospel is the truth. Not so the Quran – a blatant and self-contradicting synthesis (there is no abrogation in the NT)

          • Anton

            He is; it’s in chapter 3 of the Quran. but they key point, as Jack highlights below, is whether he is divine and that is where Muslims and Christians must divide.

      • Coniston

        Did not Benedict’s Regensburg address also point out that Islam is not amenable to reason?

        • Islam the religious system or Muslims?

          Pope Benedict believed in the use of reason – that’s what his Regensburg lecture in 2006 was about. It focused on the interplay of faith and reason. Jack thinks he wanted to show how reason untethered from faith leads to fanaticism and violence and he diagnosed Islam as a religion inherently flawed by fanaticism and one that avers reason.

          Here’s perhaps his central thoughts about Islam:

          ““God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.”

          Benedict clearly identified the central danger in Islamic ideology – a divine power divorced from reason, whose absolute will is its own justification.

        • Uncle Brian

          Even if that wasn’t his intention, the repercussions across the Muslim world provided overabundant evidence of that.

  • Anton

    Your Grace,

    When Christians fight physically in furtherance of their faith it is against the gospel message and in contradiction to the life of Christ. When Muslims do so it is in fulfilment of the commands of their scriptures and prophet.

    “Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them; seize them, beleaguer them, lie in wait for them in every strategy” (Quran 9:5, the ‘verse of the sword’), “Fight… until there is no more resistance… and the only faith is in Allah” (Q8:39), “fight the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness” (Q9:123), and “fight those who do not believe in Allah… until they pay tribute… and feel themselves subdued” (Q9:29). The word ‘fight’ is based on the root qatala,
    meaning making war on, with intent to kill. Believers “fight in his cause, and
    slay and are slain” (Q9:111), “when you meet the infidels in battle… as you are
    commanded” (Q47:4).

    Today we see Islam undergoing its own Reformation ie back to its scriptures, pretty much on schedule if you credit Toynbee’s timetables of civilisations.

    I am entirely in favour of political moves to distinguish between violent and peaceable Muslims and promote the latter. The problem is that the latter are the nominal ones. Are these not the people whom Muhammad called munafiqun, ie hypocrites? The problem is that a nominal Muslim need only reread the Quran at any time in order to become an “evangelical”. (The term “fundamentalist” is used essentially by secular people and is not helpful in its failure to distinguish between religions.)

  • Uncle Brian

    It was only the other day, it seems, that Muslim mobs in Egypt’s cities were being given free rein to burn down churches and persecute Christians. But the recent murder of 21 Copts by Muslims in Benghazi has prompted the Egyptian military regime to be more supportive of the country’s Christian minority:

    Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi […] has announced the construction of a church in honor of the martyrs in Minya, [where] numerous Coptic churches still bear the signs of the latest attacks carried out by Muslim fanatics.

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1351000?eng=y

  • fred m

    Mohammedanism is bad news in any form. The Koran is a manifesto of hate against all humanity by followers of a perverted gangster (who may not actually have existed as a single person). By their fruits ye shall know them. We don’t need knowledge as much as we need resolve.

    • Manfarang

      Of course. No one worships a man (Mohammedanism).

      • fred m

        ‘ism’ means doctrine ie the doctrine of Mohammed. But, currently, the ruler of North Korea is worshipped and quite a few others.

        • Manfarang

          Muslims worship Allah not Mohammed.The view you hold of Islam is a recent one arising out of the end of the Cold War.
          No more threat of communism then invent a new enemy.

          • fred m

            I know very well that Muslims worship Allah, I could hardly be made more aware of it. But, if Mohammed was not divine why is it blasphemy even to represent his image?

          • Manfarang

            Shirk is the sin of deification or worship of anyone or anything other than God. Literally, it means the establishment of “partners” placed beside God. It is the vice that is opposed to the virtue of Tawhid or belief in the oneness of God, i.e., monotheism.

  • Inspector General

    Four men travelling in a railway carriage. A militant muslim, a non militant muslim, a Christian and a Jew. An argument develops. Guess which two men were thrown out the carriage to their deaths by two others.

    • dannybhoy

      Cryptic…

      • Inspector General

        Make a good GCSE question, don’t you think…

        • dannybhoy

          I do. Indeed I do.
          You are a scholar Sir,
          Yes indeed!

    • Shadrach Fire

      Two men walking through a wood when they meet a Grisly Bear.
      One gets on his knees and start praying. The other does up his trainer laces.
      The praying one asks what are you doing, you can’t out run the bear?
      The other says I know but I’ll get a good head start while he stops for you.

  • BlowItAllUp

    When people hate something so badly, they become blind to other aspects of it. Such as the good aspects. They tend to misunderstand the most obvious things, turning them into reasons for hate. And then their hate for that one thing consumes them so much that they have to spread it. They have to spread the poison of hate to the hearts of other people as well. They plan and plot and prepare themselves with all sorts of defences and arguments to contradict anything good said about it, but they’re just trying to convince themselves of the lies that they’ve told. We all know that. Honestly, how can someone not think before passing judgements?

    If anyone here knows about the French Revolution, they will know that Christianity itself is what induced the hate for the restrictions of religion, which are in fact, good for the people. I’m not insulting Christianity, but I’m just stating a fact. It was the reason why now, people get to state what is right and what is wrong. The change from absolute morality to relative morality. But these things are usually cut out from the history books, as to what really happened, what really changed as a result of that revolution. And now, people think that Islam is responsible for all this religion-hate jazz. Pssh. Go do your research first.

    • Inspector General

      The French revolution was all about heavy taxation and a general disdain of the population by the ruling classes, involving more than its share of cruelty. But above all, the revolution was, as many, caused by people going to bed hungry on a regular basis.

      But don’t let that stop you from putting your own stamp on the occasion. Many others have, so why should you miss out.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Your third last paragraph fails the argument, imho.

    The Bible never gives generic commands to ALL Christians to do any of those things, or to commit murder. However, the Koran DOES give generic commands to all Muslims to commit such actions. That difference must be acknowledged, yet that paragraph fudges the significant difference.

    • Miss this bit in the third paragraph:

      “Once you neglect the Patristics, disregard Christian tradition and repudiate the authority of Scripture (allegations, of course, which all of the above would refute), there is no end to the plethora of end-times-ushering, pogrom-supporting, cross-burning, pillar-of-fire-worshipping ideologies which might lay claim to a Christian foundation.”

      • dannybhoy

        Scripture, Reason and Tradition – beliefs and practices derive from an integration of all three in Christianity.
        The danger surely is that Reason and Tradition can crowd out Scripture becoming its interpreter. I don’t buy Tradition whether Catholic or Anglican. In fact I think tradition and the interpretation and application thereof created the schism between the priesthood and the laity.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Thank you – good answer.

        • Christian Tradition existed before the New Testament was written. Abandon Tradition and a church will splinter and fracture every time someone applies reason to Scripture and arrives at a different interpretation and conclusion that others disagree with. On the one hand, you’ll have fundamentalist and rigorists; on the other, liberal progressives. That’s one reason why the Church is Apostolic.

          • Martin

            HJ

            But what Rome proclaims is not Christian tradition but the traditions of men.

          • Well, that’s a whole different discussion and not an avenue Jack’s going down just now. At least you appear to accept Tradition as a valid component of the Church.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Tradition is always subject to Scripture, like anything else.

          • Christian Tradition preceded Scripture and is endorsed in Scripture.

          • Martin

            So what Christian tradition did Abraham follow, or Moses?

          • Jack’s talking about the New Testament – he rather assumed you would understand this.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Why, Abraham & Moses are saved in exactly the same way as any Christian.

          • Yes …….. and Jack is sure the Apostles taught this as well as write about.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So Abraham & Moses are Christians.

          • Of course they are.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So why would you assume I’d only use the NT. The Scripture of the OT preceded and governed what was done in the NT times.

          • The New Testament has equal validity and more so in that it reveals the fullness of the Old Testament. This contains a positive endorsements of oral teachings and traditions. What does the Old Testament say about written scripture – alone?

          • Martin

            HJ

            So what did the writers of the NT, and Christ Himself, use as the basis for their arguments, and what did Paul say about Scripture.

          • There’s remarkably little in Scripture about the authority of Scripture and certainly nothing supporting Scripture alone.

            2 Timothy 3:16
            “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

            Romans 15:4
            “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

            The Old Testament Scripture is described as “profitable” and there for “learning”. And, as Jack has already posted, there’s much more about giving authority to the teachings and traditions passed on by the Apostles.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Then present what you think gives authority for your claimed traditions.

          • Already have – just scroll up.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Really, where.

          • Now you know that was a criticism of the Pharisees.

          • Martin

            HJ

            As it is criticism of any who create man-made rules.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack,

            Acts 2:42-47 English Standard Version Anglicised

            The Fellowship of the Believers

            42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

            They devoted themselves to the teaching, not the the traditions.. The only ‘traditions’ I am aware of is the Lord’s Prayer and the eucharist/holy communion/the breaking of bread, also instituted by our Lord.
            It was that same apostle’s teaching, anointed and confirmed by miraculous works of the Holy Spirit, that built the Church, not man made traditions.
            The purpose of the letters of Paul, Peter, James and John was to ensure that the teachings of our Lord were followed and observed in all the congregations of believers. I see no hint of robes, palaces, crowns or hierarchies of priests..

          • “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.”
            (Corinthians 11:2)

            “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
            (2 Timothy 2:2)

            “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”
            (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

            “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.”
            (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

            You should also have a browse through the ‘The Didache’, dated by most scholars to the late first century. It is the oldest written catechism and deals with Christian ethics and rituals.

          • dannybhoy

            My first question would be “Why then, ain’t the Didache included in the writings of the New Testament?”

            http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html
            http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.viii.i.iii.html

            “Some Christians thought Didache was inspired, but the church rejected it when making the final decision which books to include in the New Testament.”
            https://www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/study/module/didache/

            Your ‘traditions’ and my ‘teachings’ are the same thing. I reject the kind of tradition that tells me how it should be done and when it should be done and who should do it, what they should wear, where they should stand, how to bow, what colour one’s costume should be, etc. etc.

            These are traditions that some love, and regard as more important than the faith itself. It’s called religion and ritual, and if you don’t do the ritual right you might not get to heaven..

            That’s the kind of tradition I’m talking about.

            Isaiah 29:13 English Standard Version Anglicised

            ” And the Lord said:
            “Because this people draw near with their mouth
            and honour me with their lips,
            while their hearts are far from me,
            and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men..”

          • The Didache is a first-century treatise, written before A.D. 100. Doctrinal teaching is presupposed – one reason it didn’t enter Church Canon; and it wasn’t written by an Apostle or an immediate associate, hence it wasn’t deemed Canonical.

            “I reject the kind of tradition that tells me how it should be done and when it should be done and who should do it, what they should wear, where they should stand, how to bow, what colour one’s costume should be, etc. etc.”

            There is two aspects to that. As a Catholic, Jack accepts the Sacraments as an actual means of infusing sanctifying grace and they have to be properly administered – form and matter. What you’ve listed above is a series of practices around the Sacraments that can change.

            “These are traditions that some love, and regard as more important than the faith itself. It’s called religion and ritual, and if you don’t do the ritual right you might not get to heaven..”

            Again, if the Sacrament isn’t administered correctly then its effects will not hold. For example, in the Eucharist if the words of consecration are not spoken then the bread and wine will not be changed into Christ’s Body and Blood.

            Ritual reflects one’s theology too. There is no division between faith and ritual, if they are understood correctly.

            There is a Latin maxim that addresses the importance of worship: “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”. It means: “The way we worship is what we believe.” How we worship reflects what we believe and determines how we will live.

          • dannybhoy

            “As a Catholic, Jack accepts the Sacraments as an actual means of
            infusing sanctifying grace and they have to be properly administered –
            form and matter.”
            Well, I won’t go into that Jack, because whatever the differences between us I regard you as a brother in the Lord, as I hope you do me, and we are both old enough to know better than to argue..

            I am involved in our local ‘Churches Together’ group. So far we’ve had the Anglicans and Baptists on prayer, and this week it’s the Catholics..
            Needless to say I am looking forward to it, as I hear the Catholic priest is also pretty keen on Buddhism..

          • Oh God, please not a ‘progressive’ Priest! That said, some argue Socrates was a Christian; so why not Siddhārtha Gautama?

          • dannybhoy

            I am genuinely looking forward to hearing what the man has to say for himself. I know he originates from London and is in his forties (I prised this out of him at a Churches Together meeting. I am a very friendly and inquisitive person. People don’t always appreciate it though…)

          • Powerdaddy

            Because he predates christ by 5 centuries?
            ?

          • The Word is eternal. Christ existed in every age.

          • Powerdaddy

            That. Old. Chestnut.

            We both know you’re smarter than that.

          • Gethsemane, Calvary and the Resurrection were historical events with an eternal impact – in time and out of time.

            The Transfiguration reveals this.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack a follow up on said Catholic priest. We went last night. This man is a convert to Zen Buddhism in all but name. He made so many references to the teaching of Buddha and even Hinduism. He said we can’t know God because nobody knows who or what God is anyway..
            As the end of his talk on Catholic prayer (minimal) he had the group engage in an act of prayerful meditation accompanied by those little cymbal bells Buddhists use. My wife and I did not join in.
            After wards I questioned what he was saying, and even more surprisingly a few believed he was quite right to follow Zen “because all religions lead to God” -whoever he is!
            I was admonished by a lady who told me that we can’t accept a lot that is in the Bible anyway because religion is evolving all the time..
            Whaddya make of it?

  • Declan Kennedy

    “we might do Muslims the courtesy of applying the same depth of historical exposition to the simplistic and often anachronistic dogmatism which teaches that beheading is Islamic and that Mohammed was a terrorist.”

    Why? They will refuse to accept it, just as they refuse to accept the theories of scholars like Crone and Cook. The doctrine of naskh makes any such kind of analysis irrelevant.

    • dannybhoy

      I agree. The great problem will be (as indeed it has been in the Church) that regardless of whatever sect (and whether out of fear or loyalty,) Muslims will close ranks in the face of kuffar questioning or criticism. I suspect that this is why we hear no organised moderate Muslim voice. Not because there are no moderate, peace loving Muslims, but they can’t or won’t speak out.

  • Doctor Crackles

    Your Grace, you appear to making a distinction between bad Islam and good Islam, with good Islam being compatible with a Christian democracy and therefore deserving of our support and encouragement in these difficult times. I am not sure.

    In my estimation that in Britain we have the conditions perfect storm: that is a growing Muslim minority in a nation that is in a state of declining of population, economy and morality. Even if there are Muslims who aren’t interested in Islamic dreams they are enough who are infused with the Muslim superiority complex and have utter contempt for their fellow countrymen. If our own state of moral degradation wasn’t enough the Koran clearly states:

    Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (Koran 3:110)

    Rather than Salafists I am actually more concerned about the so called ‘moderate’ Muslims, because without a supportive wider Umma the radicals could not operate. As with the IRA and the Nazis the Islamist are part of a wider community. A community that stays silent about slave markets, beheaded journalists and Jew shooting.

    My reading teaches me that wherever Islam is it will seek to dominate as this is the will of Allah.As Islam grows in strength and number in the West it is only a matter of time before Muslims will wish to assert themselves and their creed.

    Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29)

  • Q: Why did the litter of Muslim kittens become Christian?
    A: Because they finally opened their eyes.

    Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a cat?
    A: A big furry creature that purrs while it sits on your lap and crushes you.

  • As I read the comments on this topic, I cannot help wondering how many contributors have ever made friends with a Moslem or even spoken with one.
    Please enlighten me.

    • Doctor Crackles

      I know an Egyptian and a Pakistani through work and I have nothing but praise for them. That said they cannot be said to be that religious and the have to work hard for their living. This latter fact is the key and is a reason why we should be disturbed by the indolence caused by our welfarism. The devil makes work for idle hands, including bloody rebellion.

      • Pubcrawler

        “the indolence caused by our welfarism”

        Not just ours. When I was last in Her Majesty’s Duchy of Aquitaine it was noticeable that the only people I saw hanging around the streets during the day were not the feckless French, as you might normally expect, but those from sub-Mediterranean climes. Even out in the sticks, which surprised me somewhat.

    • DanJ0

      I work with nearly a dozen now, all doing their daily prayer thing.

      • Inspector General

        It’s nearly over for you then, DanJ0. One understands closet cases are up for the same push off the high building as homosexual divas…

        • DanJ0

          They’re no different from the rest of my colleagues, at least on the face of it anyway. The ritual wash and prayer thing seems to be a right faff to me but they seem to manage. I’ve been to the pub quite regularly with two of them, though they obviously don’t drink alcohol there.

          • Inspector General

            Still, they’re better than the awful Christians in your life…

          • DanJ0

            To be frank, most of the Christians I know are hideously self-righteous and not actually very nice people. They include some people at work, and several friends’ parents. But I do recognise that I’m probably unlucky in that set. I don’t know any socially of my age, other than a couple who are ‘cultural Christians’. One young bloke I used to work with wasn’t too bad, we had a laugh at times but he used to man the guitar in a group at the local Elim church.

          • Inspector General

            There’s a thing, most homosexuals this man knows about (on Pink News) are totally self centred to the exclusion of everything and everybody else. It’s absolutely astonishing, the way they conduct themselves. And ‘rights’. You’ve never heard the half of what they are after. One’s particular favourite just now is their demanding of £4000 per annum of a drug that cuts the chances of contracting HIV through anal by 84%. All so that they can sodomise strangers without having to use a condom.

    • Inspector General

      One has read about Albert Speer. He was a ‘good’ Nazi and wouldn’t have harmed anybody. But as Hitler’s Minister of Armaments, he kept the dream going for longer that it deserved. One really can’t fault the man, other than for his sterling efforts for the Nazi war machine.

      • carl jacobs

        Well, there was the whole ‘slave labor’ thing.

        • Inspector General

          But Carl, he was non militant, don’t you see…

          • carl jacobs

            That’s true. He was like an architect. He built models of the new Berlin for Hitler to fantasize about. And artists are generally considered to be of superior enlightenment. You might be onto something here. I shall have to consider it…

          • Inspector General

            He WAS an architect. But he was still a muslim, or should that be Nazi…

          • Manfarang

            And Hitler was a Catholic.

          • Inspector General

            Hitler was walking through his desert. The devil appeared and told him to look around. Everything would be his, he was assured, if he followed Satan’s way. At the very instant that he nodded in acquiescence, Hitler left the Catholic Church.

          • Anton

            He was baptised at birth as a Roman Catholic but showed no interest whatsoever in Catholicism as an adult.

            to me this shows not that Hitler was Catholic but that baby baptism is a nonsense.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Not engineers, though. They ain’t even creative, let alone in possession of superior enlightenment – especially American ones.

          • carl jacobs

            Grumpy … Not Grouchy. Is this really your level of familiarity with the classics?

          • Grouchy Jack

            Like cats (hint, hint) you don’t get to pick Jack’s name. Went to a rally of old cars once.

          • Inspector General

            Carl, one recommends Speer’s “Inside the Third Reich” which illustrates this architect’s extraordinary closeness to Hitler, a situation he was hoping would not be his fate, which lead to his equally extraordinary appointment as a war minister.

    • Uncle Brian

      Many years ago, yes, but I now live in a place where the Muslim population is virtually nil.

      • Well there are very few Moslems in the Anglo-Saxon enclave of east Devon but I have known two chap through business, one of them for about 16 years.
        The one guy is the most friendly and charming fellow you could wish to meet. He is very moderate- you would only know he’s a Moslem because he doesn’t drink or eat pork. I may be quite wrong, of course, but I can’t see him marching me up Exmouth beach wearing an orange jump suit.
        The other chap was more devout. He was forever going off on the Haj, but for all that he was very kind and friendly. He devotion to Allah didn’t do him much good, because while he was off in Mecca and Medina his business went bust. I lost touch with him after that. Maybe he’s out in Syria now, but somehow I doubt it.
        I only mention these things to say that not all Moslems are swivel-eyed loons or homicidal maniacs. In my limited experience, they are as appalled as we are at the doings of I.S, and very embarrassed by them.
        Friendship and prayer are more likely to win them for Christ than hatred and aggression.

        • Martin, you’re right to say that individual Muslims may, through the grace of Christ, be good men and some may accept the Christian faith.

          Pope Benedict, who had great experience and knowledge about the Islamic religious system, never altered his conviction that Islam’s propensity to live by the power of the sword must be moderated. He saw this violence as intrinsic to a theological system that eschewed reason and had the potential for violent fanaticism at its core – a divine power divorced from reason, whose absolute will is its own justification.

          “Certainly, it has elements that favor peace, as it has other elements. We always have to seek to find the best elements that help. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other’s identity. The defense of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative, and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization.”

          As Pope, he hoped that frank and sincere dialogue would create a more tolerant atmosphere in the Middle East for religious minorities. The great challenge, as he saw it, was to find credible forces within Islam who could and would be willing to engage in a discussion based on reason.

          As for the liberal, pluralist West, he never changed his position:

          “Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours; it embraces simply everything. There is a very marked subordination of woman to man; there is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society. One has to have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

        • Dominic Stockford

          I believe there is a small house turned into a mosque, in Exeter. But is small, and has few attending it. That may have changed since we moved away, but knowing the area well I doubt it!

    • Dominic Stockford

      There are many in this area (West London) and we have a convert to Christianity from Islam in our congregation.

      • Uncle Brian

        Are you sure your convert won’t mind the fact being brought to the attention of the general public on Cranmer’s website? Is he/she confident that there can be no risk?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Their family knows full well where they are, and they have even, on one occasion, returned to the country of origin to visit their elderly and physically failing relatives. It was an ordeal for them, indeed, but one of fear which was not borne out on this occasion.

          In fact, there are several such people in this area, and the majority of churches in West London will have a number in their congregation. Indeed, one area nearish her that I know, is full of Muslims who make use of the local Christian congregation for football training for their children – the pastor is a converted muslim, as are several of the congregation. And he uses that to reach out to them with the Gospel. They simply think he is weak and foolish and can’t be bothered with doing him/them any harm or causing them any trouble.

          • Uncle Brian

            That’s very interesting, Dominic. We don’t seem to hear very much about ex-Muslim Christian pastors and their flocks. Could it possibly be something the media prefer to keep quiet about, or is it just my fault for not looking at the right websites?

          • Dominic Stockford

            I think the media is uninterested. There are more such around than you might realise, and many congregations, certainly in London, with a number of converts from Islam among their numbers.

            The ministers I know don’t hide their previous ‘faith’.

          • Uncle Brian

            I hadn’t realised that there were any at all! If the mainstream media don’t want to get involved, it sounds like something that would make an interesting post right here on Archbishop Cranmer’s blog.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The most ‘famous’ is of course Michael Nazir Ali – well known to be a convert.

          • Uncle Brian

            I thought he was born and brought up in the C of E, that his parents had been converts. Is that incorrect?

          • Uncle Brian

            I’ve just looked at his Wikipedia entry. It says his father was a convert, but it also says that Michael himself became an Anglican only at the age of 20. So you’re right, I think he can be described as a convert.

          • Dominic Stockford

            “Michael Nazir-Ali was born in Karachi, Pakistan to James and Patience Nazir-Ali. He has both a Christian and a Muslim family background. His father converted from Shia Islam. He attended the Roman Catholic-run St Patrick’s college in Karachi and began attending Roman Catholic services and identifying as Christian at the age of 15”

            Given his place of birth, and given that before 15 he identified as other than Christian, I think he is. However, you may be right. Next time I see him I shall have to ask what he thinks – though I see him very infrequently.

      • Inspector General

        One is familiar with the term ’24 hour suicide watch’ but not that of murder watch….

    • Pubcrawler

      There was one at school back in the 1970s, Asian family exiled from Kenya, about as camp as Freddy Mercury, so probably not ISIS material.

      I worked with a couple, both of whom were regulars in the pub at lunchtime, and no shunners of the alcohol or ciggies. The woman was married at least twice, both times to kuffar.

      I’ve known two or three others socially, again hardly observant as in all cases alcohol was the thing we had in common.

      There’s an elderly couple live a few doors away from me, Pakistani I’d guess from their dress. They are unassuming and friendly, and I’ve done them the odd bit of fetching and carrying as they are both very frail, but neither speaks much English so I don’t know much about them. I suspect they might be Sufi and came over here to escape the rise of the more radical Islam that began to take hold in Pakistan in the 1970s. Which turned out well. . .

      Aside from that, well, I live about 100 yards from the local Islamic centre, so there’s plenty around — can’t walk down the pavement for ’em sometimes — but they seem indifferent to me and I happily ignore them (and their convenience stores and eateries) too.

    • Watchman

      I know several who live in a town nearby. One of them did some work in my house and I got to know him well, making him a bacon sandwich every morning he was working. He also told me that after Friday prayers they all went to the pub afterwards. The town used to have a brewery and a pork pie factory and when they closed it was the Muslim community that was hardest hit. It is difficult to describe this community as religious: they share a common heritage and it is more of a social and cultural grouping.

    • I have. I wrote about it in a Kindle essay collection.

      I was shocked at the extreme anti Jewish feelings of a largely secularised Iraqi Mulsem doctor I once knew. Disturbed by the revolutionary zeal of another I knew at uni. He was studying nuclear physics before returning to Iran

      . Another Iranian student I knew told me his parents were worried about him coming to England in case he became a Christian and then got into drunkenness, fornication and disrespect of parents which is of course, for them, normal Christian behaviour in Christian England where they assume everyone is a Christian. Peter Hit hens makes this point-religious but non-fanatical Muslims don’t want to integrate into our decadent society. And why should they?

      A lot to reflect on.

      I have a business relationship with a Pakistani heritage Muslim but we never discuss religion or politics. He is a decent man who has treated me well.

  • Q: What do you say when a Purrrrr evil plan is foiled?
    A: The cat’s out of the bag!

    • Shadrach Fire

      It’s time for bed Jack. Back in to your Box, good boy.

      • Just had a catnap, Shadrach.

        • Shadrach Fire

          I thought you had just let the cat out of the bag, not naped it?

    • Pubcrawler

      Q: What’s a jewish cat’s favourite festival?

      A: Purrrrrrim

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,

    You were on top form today. Did you eat a whole set of the Oxford Dictionary with some Latin text books thrown in? Then with a great belch you expunged this voluminous work upon us. LOL

    Orwell said ‘Never use a long word where a short one will do’ and he could have said ‘why use five words when one will do’ but I think that was me.

    If your going to eradicate the Saudi Royal family, could you please wait till they have paid for their order with us! No, go on, do away with them if you must.

    I know that their are many and varied Christian denominations but I don’t see them as being at variance on the main issues and for several centuries they have not been violent against other religions as a particular pursuit of the religion. No where in the New Testament does it suggest murder against non adherents. Yes, Jesus got angry at the Temple with the Merchants but he did not slay them, he just wanted to make it clear that his house was a house of prayer.

    Followers of Mohammed seem to be more divided than I had realised. Of course those peaceful Muslims would be horrified if they thought their beautiful religion was based on such a violent and despicable foundation.

    His grace may want us to make Christianity less of a threat to other religions and be more welcoming, yes but they need to show us that they are not a threat to us and I don’t think they can do that. Although

    • Dominic Stockford

      Indeed so. And for all the vilification of Westboro and its adherents (justified or not is not my concern at this moment) I can’t seem to find anywhere that they actually indulge in physical violence – but please correct me if I am wrong. They certainly don’t go round murdering people.

      • Linus

        They want the state to murder all gay people who refuse to submit to a life sentence of mandatory celibacy. Is that not violent enough for you?

        • Yawn…..I already made that point.

          Westboro baptist sect number fewer than 100 persons and are detested by almost all Christians, including me, but they DO NOT carry out violent acts. Muslim terrorists DO carry out violent acts and as we read here last week, a quaryert of UK Muslims sympathise with them. It is either deliberate dishonesty of evidence of seriously illogical thinking to compare them with IS and All Queda.

          Don’t let the facts get in the way of your ranting Linus.

          Truth is, Christianity was our best, maybe only, defence against the restless lust for conquest of Islamic jihadism. Now we have abandoned that defence.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Stephen. Liking the whole of Christendom to the Westboro group would be like linking Jesus himself to Barabus.

          • Let’s be honest here, there are ‘Westboro-type’ members in all the Christian denominations – and amongst atheists too.
            Just saying ……..

          • Agreed. I have compared Fred Phelps to Richard Dawkins many times. Both an embarrassment to their co-religionists.

            Incidentally, both men believe (believed in the late Fred Phelps’ case) in determinism and no free will, yet both criticised opponents for the choices they made…

            Phelps and Dawkins, 2 peas in the same pod, or more like 2 pees in the same pot……

          • Linus

            Secular humanism is the best defence against all crazed religionists, be they Muslims, Christians, Jews or whatever.

            Islam is currently pushing back against secularising forces, as did Christianity in an earlier age. Part of that pushback takes the form of spectacular acts like the recent Paris attacks. But one terrorist outrage does not translate into the collapse of the West and the victory of Islam. We’ll deal with them and they will not prevail.

            Christians want us to think we’re in real danger however. They squawk about how the sky is falling, hoping to panic us into thinking we’re in real danger and our only hope is to be found in their magic spells and incantations.

            We’re not that foolish. Both religions are nonsense. Both are relics of an unenlightened past. One can’t save us from the other because both are doomed to fade away into marginal obscurity. Let the cold hard light of science in on Christian and Muslim mysteries and they shrivel away to nothing.

          • Secular humanism is the best defence against Islamification? Once again, you aren’t just wrong but boldly asserting the complete opposite of the observable facts.

            The Crusaders weren’t right in everything they did, any more that the Allies against Hitler were, but they understood the danger and effectively prevented Islam from conquering Europe. You’ll ‘deal with’ the half a million or so extra Muslims pouring into Europe every year, will you? They will deal with you when they grow strong enough. People are already afraid to speak.

            Now the secular humanists are in charge of once Christian Europe, and we have Islamification as a result of their actions. And if you say anything about it you are called a racist bigot or ‘squawking the sky is falling’. where else are you going to go, you can hardly admit you are wrong, can you?

            Secular humanism is a religion. And you are that foolish. Science arose principally in Christianised Europe and has no terrors for Biblical Christianity. Many of the scientific disciplines were founded by Christians like Newton, Kepler, Maxwell, Faraday, Pasteur, Mendel, Boyle etc, etc. The Christian faith has a rational, historic base.

            You haven’t come up with a single atheistical cliche that I haven’t already refuted on my http://www.questiondarwin.com site, and that’s not even original. In future when this kind of stuff is posted I will refer to the refutations I have offered here, and your refusal to engage.

          • Linus

            Yes, secular humanism is the best defence against the Islamification of Europe. It’s the best defence against all crazy conspiracy theories and the whack jobs who peddle them via miserable little websites full of misquotes, dodgy statistics and bad spelling.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Thank you Stephen (below post).

          Linus you know well that there are many and various groups that want the state to do all sorts of things, but the vast majority of those groups, as with Westboro, do not actually want to do it themselves, and have no intention of doing it themselves. You could well call them cowardly, but you can’t call them violent.

          • DanJ0

            That probably applies to our Muslim citizens as a group too.

  • The Naming Of Cats

    The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
    It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
    You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
    When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

    First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
    Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
    Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
    All of them sensible everyday names.
    There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
    Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
    Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
    But all of them sensible everyday names.

    But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
    A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
    Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
    Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
    Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
    Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
    Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
    Names that never belong to more than one cat.

    But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
    And that is the name that you never will guess;
    The name that no human research can discover–
    But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
    When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
    The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
    His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
    Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
    His ineffable effable
    Effanineffable
    Deep and inscrutable singular NAME.
    (T. S. Eliot)

    • Powerdaddy

      Woof!

      (A Dog)

      • No good if the dog is kept in a kennel. The effect of the bark soon wears off.

        • Powerdaddy

          A dogs place is at its masters feet. Anyplace elsewhere is a waste of a best friend.

          • True. However, even good, faithful dogs get old and toothless.

          • Powerdaddy

            It happens to the best of us all, but remember, every dog has his day 🙂

    • Pubcrawler

      As Terry Pratchett so wisely observed (The Unadulterated Cat), what’s the point of giving somethng a name if it never comes when you call it?

      • Hmm … moot point if Muslims respond when “called”.

        • Pubcrawler

          True, cats don’t exactly practise obedience/submission.

          • There’s the old expression – “like herding cats” i.e. attempts to organise the uncontrollable.

          • Miles Christianus

            Oddly enough, just last week my son asked if we could train our cats to be guide cats for blind people. I had to explain why that would be a bad idea.

          • *chuckle* …. you’ve just got to love the innocence of children.

    • Andre´Kristian

      Merely a lucky fortuity this tourist noticed Your absolutely splendid contribution to this site! I salute You, valued sir! Should You be in any agony regarding the delectable assignment of carefully selecting a name for any of Your protege´s, why not simply and boldly call the little brat Andre´?! While I´m at it, please give my love to his lordship. All of it. 😉

      • How gracious of you to say so, Andre. You are clearly a man of great perspicacity. Alas, Happy Jack has no control over the naming of the ‘others’. They pop up from nowhere and he has no control over them. Jack shall pass on your affectionate salutations to the noble Inspector.

        • Andre´Kristian

          In all lowliness, please accept my sincere gratitude! (From one smoker to another 🙂 Respectfully Yours, Andre´Kristian P.

  • Linus

    It’s perfectly reasonable to call radical Islam what it is: radical Islam. Giving it a different name is just window dressing.

    The Islamic religion has many interpretations, but they’re all Islam. So why call the interpretation you don’t like by another name? There can only be one reason: spin. You have a vested interest in making people believe that religion is a postive experience when radical Islam shows that it clearly is not. So by giving it another name you hope to dissociate it in the public mind from mainline religious thought and recategorize it as political extremism.

    Radical Islam is religion run amok, but it’s still religion. It’s still Islam. Fundamentalist Christianity is exactly the same. You might not refer to the members of Westboro Baptist Church as Christians, but I can assure you that the rest of the world does. We generally use the word “fundamentalist” to describe the nature of the Christianity espoused by the Phelps family, but everyone views them as Christians. A specially crazy and extremist variety of Christian, no doubt (although not unusual – there are regular commenters on this site who could give them a run for their money), but Christian nonetheless.

    There’s no difference in my mind between a radical and a moderate Muslim, or a fundamentalist and a moderate Christian. You all believe in invisible, immaterial beings you call gods and spirits, who interact with the world and demand certain things from us as the price of an unproven life after death. This common belief marks you out as different from secular individuals. You have far more in common with each other than you do with us. And we see you as one group.

    • Typical Dawkinist ‘reasoning’

      Islam can be violent

      Islam is a religion

      Christianity is a religion

      therefore Christianity is violent.

      And of course Hitler was a Christian and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot just happened to be atheists, which had nothing to do with their crimes, whereas the crimes of religious people are always caused by religion…..very simple world view if you can train your mind to accept that kind of stuff.

      • Graeme Pietersz

        Hitler was a Christian AS A CHILD. He was the head of an organisation whose ideology has been declared incompatible with Christianity by the church he was baptised in and he did not pratice Christianity in anyway (not even at his wedding, as nominal CoFE members do).

      • Linus

        Violence has been an integral part of Christianity throughout its history, or are you not aware of the Crusades, the Inquisition, the anti-Semitic pogroms of the Orthodox Tsarist régime and the judicial killings carried out until quite recently in the officially Christian United Kingdom, and which still occur in the unofficially Christian United States, where Christian judges condemn criminals to death, Christian executioners kill them and Christian victim families attend the executions in order to satisfy their need for vengeance?

        Christianity is a religion built on violence and death. Its founding act is an act of violence. You may claim that your own particular interpretation of the faith is peaceful and non-violent, but the reality of it is that war, persecution and capital punishment have always been carried out in the name of Christ, so Christianity is just as stained with blood as any other faith.

        • Linus you are culpably ignorant.When you say ‘The Inquisition’ may I assume y you mean the Spanish Inquistion? That was was a vicarage tea party compared to the Pol Pot inquisition. Pot was a Paris educated atheist. Spanish inquisition executed about 5,000 over 300 years, Pol Pot inquisition 2,000,000 in 2 years-and in living memory.

          Read Robert Spencer of the Crusafes-they were essentially a long defensive response to armed jihadism. If our ancestors hadn’t militarily resisted Jihadism you’d be talking Arabic and maybe having a flying lesson.

          Islam is inherently violent according to the teaching and example of its founder. Christianity is inherently peaceful according to the teaching and example of its founder.

          The blood soaked 20th century shows what can happen when atheist philosophies and men unrestrained by the fear of God. govern nations.

          Historically ignorant anti-Christian attitudes like yours have doomed Europe to Islamifcation.

          • Linus

            Pol Pot was a communist dictator. His creed was a reaction against the excesses of Christian absolutism and employed many Christian tactics to get its own way. It preached peace and brotherhood and practised oppression and murder. It may have done this on a larger scale than the Church, but the principle remained essentially the same.

            A murderer who claims to be better than another murderer because he killed fewer people has, I think, missed an important point.

          • I had a little bet with myself that you would come back exonerating atheism for Pol Pot’s crimes, and I won, but you have moved to a new level of crazed denial by actually attributing his crimes to Christianity!

            And I didn’t, as you wrongly imply, justify the Spanish Inquisition-as a Protestant I might have fallen foul of it. Just doing some math to show that professed Christians at their historic worst are much less bad than atheist governments.

            As for Pol Pot being a communist dictator, you do know that communoism is an atheist philosophy, don’t you?

          • DanJ0

            I’m an a-theist but not a totalitarian communist. There’s a clue in there.

        • dannybhoy

          Linus,
          I see it is essential that you cling to these arguments because it’s how you justify yourself as a sinner before God.

          • Grouchy Jack

            God eventually accepts a man’s decision to resist His grace. When knowledge of Him and His law, written on all our hearts, is not only ignored but sin becomes acceptable:

            “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

            Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
            (Romans 1:28-32)

        • Royinsouthwest

          Violence has been an integral part of Christianity throughout its history, or are you not aware of the Crusades, the Inquisition, the anti-Semitic pogroms of the Orthodox Tsarist régime …

          The earliest of the examples you mentioned is the Crusades. The 1st Crusade was launched in 1095, more than a thousand years after the death of Christ. In other words we are closer in time to the 1st Crusade than the earliest Crusaders were to the time of Christ.

    • Powerdaddy

      Well said.

    • Graeme Pietersz

      “demand certain things from us as the price of an unproven life after death” incorrect.

      Who regards teh Westboro Baptist Church as Christian. They worship a supernatural entity that hates everyone – Christain’s worship a God who loves everyone – and we have a name for an entity that hates everything.

      • Linus

        The Westboro mob may well be devil worshippers for all I know, but the devil is an integral part of Christian myth and the Phelpses use the Christian bible to justify their beliefs. The same bible gives several example of God’s hatred. He hates Esau. He hates everyone in Gilgal, wherever that may be. He hates liars and the proud and those who bear false witness. And fags, of course.

        God may love, but your own holy book tells you he’s perfectly capable of hatred too. The Phelpses may be concentrating on the hate and not allowing for the love, but God’s intentions can certainly be interpreted in this manner. Indeed they are, by the Phelpses, who, as they accept Christ as their saviour, are certainly Christian according to the commonly held definition.

        • Grouchy Jack

          Westboro Baptist’s are fundamentalist protestant Calvinists who take his teachings to extreme, some might say, logical conclusions. It defines itself as defending the Five Points of Calvinism. It considers membership in other religious groups to be devil worship, stating these other churches are “Satanic frauds preaching Arminian lies”.

          So stop all the brooding and self pity. Man up for goodness sake. Homosexuals are not alone in being hated by them. Every religion under the sun is; we’re all predestined for Hell, unless we subscribe to their Calvinist belief system – which we cannot because that’s up to God alone. .

          Catholic priests are described as “vampires” and “Draculas”. Apparently, Catholic priests suck semen out of male children’s genitals like vampires suck blood from their victims. Pope Benedict XVI was “The Godfather of Pedophiles” and the “Pervert Pope”. They launched a website called ‘Priests Rape Boys’ saying, “Every time any person gives any amount of money to the Catholic Church, that person is paying the salary of pedophile rapists.” As for Catholics: “There are over 1 billion Catholics in the world – that’s one out of every six people alive today – and every single one of them will split Hell wide open when they die – period. And there is nothing they can do about it.”

          They also condemn the Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Baptists, saying: ” .. their preachers have shirked their responsibility to tell people the truth about sin, and instead lie to them about what the Lord their God doth require of them – their preachers and members, without exception … are all going to Hell!”

          The Eastern Orthodox Church comes in for it too because of the veneration of the Virgin Mary: “There is no scripture that supports bowing down to kiss images … or praying to Mary! She was a human being, who God predestinated to bring forth the Lord Jesus Christ, and to raise him.”

          Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism all come in for similar treatment. However, they are opposed to racism and the use of physical violence by groups such as neo-Nazis and the KKK: “we don’t believe in physical violence of any kind, and the Scripture doesn’t support racism. … The only true Nazis in this world are fags.”

          Beware of fundamentalism …………….

    • The Explorer

      I disagree with the statement in your second paragraph that we want religion to be seen in a positive light. I don’t think that has ever been the case about religion generally.
      The Jews did not see Baal worship as a positive thing. They said children should not become burnt offerings. Paul suggested some pagan offerings were made to demons. The Spaniards were shocked by the Aztec sacrificial altars caked with human blood. The British (although they may have exaggerated the extent of it) took a dim view of Thugs strangling travellers as an offering to Kali.

      • Linus

        Christians disapprove of some religious practices, but not of religion itself. They see any kind of faith as positive in the sense that there’s always a chance it can be suborned and turned into faith in Christ.

        What Christians hate is an absence of faith, because someone who refuses to believe in an idea or concept unless he’s presented with concrete evidence to back it up can never be persuaded to worship an invisible, ineffable, untouchable and incorporeal god.

        • magnolia

          Heaps of atheists have become Christians, so it is entirely inaccurate that they are never persuaded to worship God. Even beginning to list the names would be tedious as there are so many. There are some fantastic and thoughtful testimonies from ex-atheists out there, and some amazing NDEs which have turned people’s lives upside down.

          • sarky

            Careful Magnolia, there are also thousands of christians who have become atheists with some extremely thoughtful testomonies.
            As for NDEs probably got more to do with the drugs people were on.

          • magnolia

            Actually recent NDE research completely refutes that simplistic and inadequate stuff about experience being able to be put down to drugs distorting perception. They didn’t even find this much touted correlation between lack of oxygen and NDEs. Indeed most NDEs report heightened sensation and awareness, not lessened.

            An interesting one is Ian McCormack’s account. Another is of a Russian atheist doctor. Both came back to life in the morgue, no less, with the tab around the toes. Gave the people there a shock and a half!!

            They learnt from the experience, the experience led them to the Bible, and then they understand parts of the bible with greater vividness than some who have studied it for years. It comes sparklingly alive for them. You could watch the Youtube videos if you have spare time. Much better than the rubbish served up on TV.

          • sarky

            There was a thread on this a couple of weeks ago where I cited the story of a guy who died for twenty minutes following a motorcycle accident and said it was just like a switch bring flicked off. There was nothing.
            I thought as a christian you would refute NDEs as the majority are from non believers who seem to have some sense of a heaven like afterlife, which seems to turn christisnity on its head.

          • Royinsouthwest

            It is not surprising that he did not remember anything. Most people who are unconscious don’t remember anything when they wake up; that is why we use the word “unconscious.”

            You cannot disprove the existence of black swans by counting white ones.

          • sarky

            He was clinically dead not unconscious.

            Also you cannot prove the the existence of black swans by counting white ones!

          • Royinsouthwest

            I should imagine that most people who were clinically dead and then revived would have been unconscious. If they all could recall what went on in the interval before they were revived then so-called near-death experiences would be universal accepted.

          • sarky

            Exactly.

          • magnolia

            I refute no one’s experience. I listen respectfully, unless they are of a criminal mentality or clearly fake. I am not in the least bit unhappy if non-believers see good Angels or Jesus in the afterlife, or members of their family. I had of course much rather that they see these things than those who report seeing scary horrid things. The last who turn up to work in the vineyard get paid the same as those who have laboured all the hot sweaty day. That is just fine.

            Has he done quite well out of his story? Well, yes, he has found a Saviour who loves him immensely, and turned his life around from the self-absorbed, promiscuous and faithless life he lived beforehand. As he is in the ministry I doubt he is a multimillionaire, though you are right that contentment and a sense of purpose far outweigh flash cars, Rolex watches, expensive cocktails and gated mansions.

          • sarky

            Hold on a minute, if christianity is true, shouldn’t non christians see hell?

          • magnolia

            Thank God it is not as simple as that, which no less a person than Jesus actually attests to.

          • Anton

            But he changed his lifestyle.

          • sarky

            A brush with death will do that. Some find god, some find drink, some will find a new respect for life.
            Doesn’t prove anything.

          • Anton

            If you regard proof as a theorem in formal logic then no, but one should listen to him oneself.

          • magnolia

            Also, as studies find regularly, these do not- usually- take the from of hallucinations. Hallucinations are disjointed, characterised by bouts of peculiarity, illogical sequences, fantastical creatures, changing scenarios, even people who fluctuate between different conditions. Here you get a strong pure logical sequence that teaches people and changes their life, for the good, forever. Quite quite different. Can you not see good faces? Look out for them. Compare them to dark and /or twisted faces. Or ambiguous faces. Why not work out which way the people with the most light shining in their faces are going? As surely that is the most one could want? And then follow that way? Just a suggestion.

          • Anton

            McCormack’s testimony is amazing. Seen him twice.

  • On a point of order, for their many faults the Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist sect do not throw stones. Also they do not behead people ( although they have called for governments to impose the death penalty on practicing homosexuals) and they were opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yes, they are loathsome and an embarrassment to followers of Jesus but let’s stick to facts please.

  • Graeme Pietersz

    An excellent post. One may even wonder about the sincerity of those who want a “war against terror” but are allies of the source of its ideology.

  • Ian

    Does IS do anything in the name is Islam that Mohammad did not do?

    • sarky

      Tweet!

      • Good point. Should they actually be using modern technology at all?

        • Anton

          Wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t use guns?

          • Miles Christianus

            3 foot scimitar vs. 5.56mm and 7.62mm: I like those odds.

          • Hah …..

            Sometimes a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.

        • Miles Christianus

          This show their cognitive dissonance: They see no contradiction in destroying millenia-old artefacts due to iconoclasm yet using social media to promote themselves, including their own images.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I get your point, and agree with the thought behind it.

  • vsscoles

    The problem with your thesis, Dr C, is that islam spread from Arabia into the middle east, north Africa, Spain, eastern Europe, Turkey, etc., not by the agency of pious holy men carrying gorgeously illuminated manuscripts, but at the point of a sword and with the promise of unlimited booty – including the wives and children of those who had been removed by the sword to make way for islam. Its methods are on display currently in the hands of ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Quaida, the Taliban, and so on and so on. It is no good pretending that the killing is being done by just a few criminal elements and nutters. As they all, with one voice, claim islam as their inspiration, surely it occurs to the most reasonable of minds that there is a connection between these activities, and the cult which put the ideas into their minds in the first place?
    Equally, the only organisation capable of putting a stop to the mediaeval savagery is islam itself. The police and armed forces can only respond to the symptoms. The islamic community itself must either reform, or continue to be feared and detested in a civilised world – detested if it continues to fail to deal with the violence inherent in the sacred texts which are dinned into the minds of millions of children every day in the madrassas.

  • len

    I might have mentioned this before but……We can study the teachings of Jesus Christ and see what He told his followers to do this did NOT include the crusades , forcible conversions, the inquisition, or tell his followers to tell people that ‘God hates Gays ‘in fact Jesus Christ`s two main commands to His followers were to to Love God and to Love ones neighbour. So those who profess to follow Christ but do not obey His most basic commands cannot be called ‘followers of Christ’.

    Islam is as much political as it is religious and Islam is at peace with those who submit to its demands and its rule but Islam is at war with any who oppose its right to rule over them…So Islam can be at peace when it has has conquered all that it perceives as enemies and these can equally be other Muslims as well as the infidel. So Islam can be violent or peaceful depending on ones response to Islam…..