Married at First Sight
Marriage and Family

Married at First Sight? Channel 4 make marriage a throwaway commodity

 

Over Channel 4’s 33-year history there has been a whole range of programmes which have found their way into the nation’s hearts. Where would many of the older generation be without their weekday dose of Countdown? It’s brought us Phil and Kirsty, Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs, the genuinely inspiring Educating Yorkshire, classic comedies including the irrepressible Father Ted and the hard-hitting Dispatches documentaries. On the other side of the coin. it’s also brought us programmes we’d rather it hadn’t. Can we truly thank Channel 4 for Big Brother and the vast majority of the voyeuristic and vapid reality shows it spawned?

This week it plumbed new depths with Thursday night’s Married at First Sight, on which a panel of so-called experts bring together singles who have never met; introduce them to each other at a registry office, and then see if they can cope with six weeks of full-blown married life. The idea is that through extensive questionnaires, psychoanalysis and DNA testing, our relationship gurus can find the perfect match and give the show’s victims participants the best shot at a relationship that will pass the test of time. On the off-chance that the couples decide that the pseudoscience behind their coming together turned out to be a load of stinking brown stuff, then they have the option of getting divorced at the end of the series and carry on as if it had all been nothing more than a bad dream shared with several million other people.

Once upon a time, at a moment which some progressives would prefer had never happened, marriage actually meant something. It was a contract between two people who had resolved to join in union to share every part of their lives, with the explicit intention of making it last until death brought it to a close. These were solemn vows of commitment, made in the presence of family and of God, with the full intention of honouring them through thick and thin. Of course, this ideal would not always go according to plan, but the hope and expectation were there.

Marriage, once a foundation stone of our society, now lies cracked and crumbling through neglect and exposure to the elements of modern relationships. Self-sacrifice and mutual submission have given way to individualism, unrealistic expectations and a belief that if I’m not getting my needs met, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

The respect for the institution of marriage has been eroded to the point where we now find a whole group of well-toned and driven thirty-somethings, who are just too busy with their careers to find love, asking for Channel 4 to do the job for them in front of the TV cameras. Anyone with any sense knows that love is a mysterious and unpredictable thing that defies understanding and logic, yet the show’s panel, made up of academics and, bizarrely, a Church of England vicar, believe they have the skills to plug it into a scientific formula and come up with the perfect match.

The Rev’d Nick Devenish apparently agreed to play a part in this social experiment because he heard “a cry for help from young people who have a serious intention and want to have a serious commitment to a life-long partner, but are finding it hard to find that person”. One can’t help but think that either he was duped into taking part or has a very odd understanding of what is most likely to lead to a lifelong commitment. Does he really place such little value in the words of the marriage service which, presumably, he has used on so many occasions?

Marriage is a way of life made holy by God,
and blessed by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ
with those celebrating a wedding at Cana in Galilee.
Marriage is a sign of unity and loyalty
which all should uphold and honour.
It enriches society and strengthens community.
No one should enter into it lightly or selfishly
but reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God.

This is a series which claims to be of scientific value, but watching it creates a deep sense of unease beyond the feeling that the producers see marriage as nothing more than a vehicle for exhibiting a dubious form entertainment. Of the 1,500 applicants, only three couples were matched. Of these, one broke down straight away because the potential groom’s family persuaded him to pull out. It could have been an opportunity to allow this couple to get to know each other and see if anything developed, having supposedly been so ideal for each other. But no, that didn’t fit with the show’s format, so the plug was pulled without them even meeting. Conventional dating should never get in the way of television ratings, after all.

So that left Kate and Jason, whose mother was filmed visibly upset and in tears, discussing her son’s forthcoming marriage; and James and Emma, whose father refused to attend the wedding service (though the programme ignored that inconvenient fact).

We’ll mostly likely never know the damage done to family relationships and friendships by Married at First Sight. But that is the careless level at which Channel 4 operates. Marriage deserves all the support it can get for a multitude of good reasons, but Channel 4, irrespective of the their claims, is only undermining it further. As the Marriage Foundation has said in a response to the show:

This programme, despite its ‘experts,’ shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the nature of commitment and marriage. If these couples do succeed – and very good luck to them – it will be in spite of this silly programme and not because of it.

  • Graham Wood

    Banal, trivial, and irrelevant to real life and the institution of God given marriage.
    Why waste time writing on yet another distortion of the real thing?

    • …. because, actually, this is where television is probably reflecting reality.

  • Dreadnaught

    The good thing about this trashy kind of programme is that it highlights how culturally abrasive are forced, arranged, polygamous or gay ‘marriages’ that have seeped into what passes for mainstream British cultural norms and accommodations.
    Worse than this from C4 in my opinion is the Pravda News at 7. Currently serving up Saint Jon Snow dripping his bleeding left-wing heart out over the state of the population and politics of Gaza, heaping blame on Israel but never revealing the truth about the infighting and subversion and long term ambitions of Hamas.
    Set against this dumbing down of marriage and openly biased news reporting,a show like the original Big Brother seems positively cerebral in retrospect.

  • Please Gillan, do not get Happy Jack started on this subject …..

  • Albert

    Curious, I can’t see that this is any more objectionable or untraditional than the same-sex marriage promoted by the same Dave this blog encouraged us to vote for.

    • James60498 .

      I haven’t watched the programme, but that was exactly my view when I first heard about it.

  • Perhaps we should nominate the good Inspector as a ‘contestant’. Who knows, he may find a good woman willing to accept him (and his cat).

  • Martin

    Would it be fair to say that you are not required to marry the person you love but to love the person you marry?

    Now down the ages many have married those they have not met but I doubt that the skills of the experts are as good as to risk a lifelong marriage on.

    • mbtimoney

      I think you’ve made a very good observation there. I would add that part of the difficulty is limiting love to the emotional level, which diminishes in intensity over time. Love in marriage, especially in Christian marriage, should be modeled on the love of Christ which was exemplified by service and sacrifice. I think the highly individualized nature of the society in which we live makes the thought of loving another through sacrifice and service an affront to personal freedom.

  • CliveM

    I suppose this is another form of arranged marriage, except instead of the parents organising it, you have a panel of ‘experts’. Strangely you could argue that it many ways this is a very traditional way of organising a marriage. All down through history and in many different cultures organised marriages have happened, getting married for love is a recent expectation.

    Of course Channel 4’s behaviour still stinks of cynicism and exploitation, but that’s the modern media.

    • …. the difference, Clive, is the “get of marriage free” card after the trial with the option of a divorce at the end of the series. People may have had arranged marriages in the past but the vows for life they took actually meant something.

      • CliveM

        Agreed HJ, I suppose it’s a modern twist to the arranged marriage. In its ignoble way, the whole thing undermines marriage by devaluing it further. Another chipping away of the institution. A small chip perhaps, but another one of many.

        I wonder are they expected to have sex on the wedding night? If not I suppose they could possibly go for an annulment?

        Another thought, what does it say about current society that people are happy to hurt their family in such a way, simply to get on TV?

        • The programme reflects and reinforces the modern “let’s suck it and see” approach. We live in a throwaway culture that now includes children in the womb and marriages.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Disposable babies, disposable elderly, disposable morality, disposable relationships, disposable spouses, anything to do with society disposing of God?

      • chiefofsinners

        It does all sound rather similar to the reason the CoE began…Henry VIII marrying people he’d never met and wanting divorces shortly afterwards.

  • CliveM

    As I didn’t watch this, did they include same sex couples?

    • Linus

      Do you think they could find any gays or lesbians stupid enough to take part?

      It takes a special kind of blind idiocy to fall for something that’s so clearly just a cynical ratings ploy. The kind of blind idiocy that can only be the result of brain cells destroyed by years of alcohol and/or drug abuse. In the men at least.

      I rather suspect that in the women, an ever-faster ticking biological clock may be responsible for such poor decision making. Their “I want a baby and I don’t care with whom!” hormones must be flooding their brains with chemical common sense suppressors. There’s no other explanation.

      • The Explorer

        Maybe the next stage will be the generating of the baby for the edification of the viewers.

        • Linus

          The next stage? Where have you been for the past 30 years?

          You do lead strange little sheltered lives, you Christians, don’t you? Tune into just about any TV programme with straight couples in it and sooner or later you’ll see them attempting to reproduce.

          Or perhaps your TV has a chronometric transponder in it and only picks up black and white broadcasts from the early 60s?

          • The Explorer

            Are you talking simulated, or the real thing?

          • Linus

            You don’t have to have any procreative intent to make a baby. It isn’t about what you want or desire. It’s a purely mechanical affair.

            From the reproductive point of view, there’s no essential difference between the act performed by a married man and woman who love each other vewwy much, and the worst and most anonymous porn coupling you might see on the Internet. Both provide a delivery system for sperm to get to ovum. You’re just as likely to fall pregnant from one as from the other.

            If you want to see such things on-screen, the Internet provides you with an array of options. Subscription TV channels too. Perhaps C4 or even the BBC are working on a documentary following the reproductive process from the first twinkle in a straight couple’s eyes to birth and beyond. If so, I’ve no doubt it will be a ratings hit. But I don’t think I’ll be watching it.

          • The Explorer

            You’re barking up the wrong tree. I was predicting the next stage. Since I don’t watch the programme in question, I won’t be watching any of its offshoots either.

  • Orwell Ian

    We have come to expect all our Statist TV Channels to take an anti-family so-called progressive stance. But this must be a new low even for C4. Simply unbelievable.
    I hope Dave wasn’t watching or throwaway marriage will become a British Value, those opposing it subjected to Extremism Disruption Orders and on their way to Room 101.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Where Channel 4nicate goes, the BBC will want to follow.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The government still own channel 4.

  • The Explorer

    We now need a new version of ‘Blind Date’. If you’re a contestant, you can’t specify in advance what the gender or age of your prospective date must be. After all, that would be sexist/ageist in this era of equality.

    Couldn’t do the verbal questions any more, because that might be a giveaway; but you could get round it with electronic question and answer.

  • Linus

    It’s odd, but after reading this post I’m left with an image in my mind of a swinging stable door. When I look inside, there isn’t a horse to be seen, and from the thick layer of dust coating everything, there clearly hasn’t been for quite some time.

    Marriage is no longer a lifetime unbreakable contract with no get-out clause. It’s an agreement that two individuals enter into of their own free will that can be canceled at any time by common agreement, or contested and invalidated by one partner if common agreement is not possible. It has been this way for the last 50 years. How is it that Christians are just waking up to that fact?

    As for this ridiculous TV programme, it’s not the first time reality TV has plumbed the depths of bad taste and it certainly won’t be the last. If these people are stupid enough to marry without knowing each other, and solely on the advice of quacks and crackpot “experts” in pseudo-scientific nonsense, then more fool them. And more fool the idiots who watch the show.

    • dannybhoy

      Linus,
      I still remember you in my prayers.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Yes.

    • chiefofsinners

      “Marriage is no longer a lifetime unbreakable contract with no get-out clause.”
      Mine is.

      • Linus

        Let’s hope your wife (or husband?) feels the same way, then. It may take two to tango, but it only takes one to demand and obtain a divorce.

        Imagine the scene in the courtroom. “Please your worship, my religious nut of a husband acts like a tyrant and makes me cover my hair, and I’m not allowed to make any of the decisions that affect our lives because he insists I obey his every command, and I just want out!” says the Christian’s long-suffering wife.

        “You poor woman!” replies the judge. “We can all see for ourselves how your husband’s eyes swivel in their sockets while he utters “hallelujah, praise de Lawd!” every 10 seconds. So despite his opposition to this divorce, I’m granting it to you unconditionally, and slapping a permanent restraining order on him so that he won’t ever bother you ever again.”

        And thus many marriages will come to an end. One can only hope that the divorcing partner finds solace in a new relationship, while the divorced partner always has the consolation of religion and the knowledge of his own martyrdom to distract him from the bleak reality that no sane human being can stand being in his company.

        • chiefofsinners

          For Christians there is a higher court, with a supreme judge and a perfect law.
          Some day it will place a very permanent restraining order on you. Hallelujah, praise de Lawd!

          • Linus

            The only thing that gives a Christian a bigger thrill than the prospect of his own salvation is his belief that all those who oppose him will burn in hell.

            Apart from the utter ludicrousness of the beliefs themselves, it’s principally the sheer unpleasantness of those who espouse them that has contributed to Christianity’s catastrophic decline over the past few decades.

          • chiefofsinners

            There is no joy in the death of a sinner, but there is a joyful prospect of a world without sin. If you’re there, I will be the first to kiss your French cheek.

          • Linus

            If I’m where? In your imaginary cloud cuckoo land with all the sky fairies and rainbow-coloured My Little Ponies?

            As this strange destination exists only in your imagination, I feel reasonably assured that my French cheek is secure from English depredations. When we die, there’ll be no kissing of any body parts because we’ll be dead, and dead people don’t kiss. Or breathe. Or think. Or even exist.

            You didn’t exist before you were born. So what makes you think you’ll exist after you die? A few words on a dubious copy of an ancient document written by tribal herdsmen?

            *Shrugs shoulders and rolls eyes…*

          • chiefofsinners

            Maybe we’re in the universe you have imagined, one without a first cause or a purpose, where every action, word and thought of your life is utterly meaningless.
            A universe where the surface of Pluto is covered in craters ‘cos it’s billions of years old.
            Tribal herdsmen versus scientists – you choose. God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
            Shrug your shoulders and roll your eyes if you like. I can’t be offended because in your world no action has any greater or smaller meaning or value than any other.

          • Linus

            Why would I care if you’re offended or not? Your reactions are your own to deal with as you see fit.

            My life has plenty of meaning, because meaning is not dependent on an imaginary god that you dream up because you want a daddy to hold your hand and tell you everything’s going to be alright. Religion is for infants. Adults prefer to face the unknown and simply accept that we don’t have all the data and cannot therefore know everything.

            Pluto is not covered in craters because there’s some interesting geology going on there, which we may not understand at the moment, but which will become apparent as we study the new data we now have access to.

            But of course as a religionist you prefer to preconceive your ideas and then try to shoehorn the universe into them. God is a concept that only a lazy mind could dream up. A sky fairy to magic away all the inconsistencies and inexplicable things we see around us. You don’t want to put in the hard work needed to collect the data and figure out what it all means. You just want daddy to wave his magic wand and make everything perfect for you.

            It’s an intellectually bankrupt philosophy, but you’re old enough to make your own choices. So toddle off and play with all the other infants in your make-believe world of gods and angels and My Little Ponies. It’s no skin off my nose. You have less and less influence in the world and can neither halt nor even appreciably slow down the march of secularism.

          • chiefofsinners

            What meaning does your life have?

          • Linus

            My life has all the meaning I require it to have, but exactly what that entails is no business of yours.

            Of course the only reason you want to know is so you can try to demolish that meaning, and attempt to persuade me that only your imaginary god and his magical powers can stop me from sinking into ultimate despair.

            Your aim is to undermine and destabilise my world view in the hope that fear will make me fall for your simplistic explanations. Why is that, I wonder? Are you so little convinced of your own faith that you require others to be persuaded of its truth in order to reassure you that you’re not fooling yourself after all?

            I’m afraid you’re barking up the wrong tree with me. Go convince yourself that your invisible god really exists, and that the silly stories Christians have invented about him over the centuries are something more than fables and fairy tales. When you believe it yourself, you’ll blush when you remember your crude attempts at evangelism that were nothing more than a vain attempt to dispel your own doubts by convincing others that your tall stories were true.

            Show me a passionate evangelist and I’ll show you a future atheist. If you have to work so hard to convince others, you’re clearly not convinced yourself.

          • chiefofsinners

            Why do you work so hard to convince me?

          • Linus

            Convince you of what, exactly? That your god is imaginary and that all this energy you expend trying to convince others to believe in him is just another expression of the weird mix of narcissism and self-doubt that all Christians suffer from? I don’t have to tell you that. You know it already.

            Many of your intended victims do not, however. Many of the LGBT youth you would like to ensnare in your narcissistic ego-worshipping cult and then torture until they have nervous breakdowns and try to kill themselves have no idea of what really motivates you. If a little effort on my part opens their eyes to your true nature and they shun you and your pernicious attempts at evangelisation, I’ll have done something truly worthwhile.

          • chiefofsinners

            As I understand it, you believe in a universe which is virtually infinite and which will last virtually to infinity. It is so complex that we cannot know it. In comparison our lives are so short and small that they are infinitely insignificant.

            There is no God to dispense moral absolutes so no-one can claim to be right or that anyone else is wrong, The infinite complexity of the universe means we cannot separate good from bad even if anyone could agree what that meant.

            So why do you bother with anything? Everything is meaningless.

            You remind me of a poem by the American EE Cummings. Here’s the best of it:

            death(having lost)put on his universe
            and yawned:it looks like rain
            (they’ve played for timelessness
            with chips of when)
            that’s yours;i guess
            you’ll have to loan me pain
            to take the hearse,
            see you again.

            Love (having found) wound up such pretty toys
            as themselves could not know:

          • Linus

            There is indeed a widely accepted theory that the universe is virtually infinite. But as theory is not the same as fact, anyone who “believes” in it is treading on very dangerous ground.

            Unsupported belief is what turns you from a rational being into a gibbering religionist. If you believe rigidly in unsubstantiated scoentific theories, you’re no better than a crazed Christian who believes in gods and demons and ressurection.

            What dogmatists of both secular and religious persuasion can’t cope with is uncertainty. They flee from it and take refuge either in ancient myths or the latest neat, plausible, but ultimately unproven theory. It’s as if uncertainty terrifies them, so any fairy story, or any lie, will do, as long as it fills the void of knowledge that reduces them to such an undignified state of fear and trembling.

            But the truth of the matter is that we just don’t know enough to be able to pronounce definitively on the origins of the universe We don’t have enough data. We can accept that current theories provide a plausible explanation, but until we have solid data that backs up the theory, theory is what it remains.

            Some are so overwhelmed by fear of the unknown that they invent a god and endow him with the ability to rescue them from their predicament. Others find solace by building a wall of fact and science around themselves, even when the facts and science they want so desperately to believe in are largely just theoretical. Very few face the lack of knowledge, accept it for what it is, and look to their own perceptions of the world to find meaning.

            Uncertainty doesn’t frighten me. So I have no need to invent a daddy god who’ll hold my hand and make everything all better. Neither do I need to place all my faith in interesting but unsubstantiated scientific theory. I’m perfectly content to shrug my shoulders and say “I don’t know, but neither do you!” and then get on with living my life.

          • chiefofsinners

            So you don’t know that I’m not right?

          • Linus

            In order to ascertain the plausibility of any theory, we need to study the supporting evidence.

            Unfortunately there is no supporting evidence for Christianity. Not a shred of verifiable physical or contemporary historical evidence. All we have is a book compiled several hundred years after the events it relates are supposed to have taken place, from disparate and heavily edited writings of dubious authorship. There’s no archaeological evidence that anything described in the New Testament ever happened, or that any of the people referred to, apart from one minor character identifiable from a recently discovered inscription, ever existed.

            In the absence of ALL evidence, your theory is nothing more than conjecture. But even conjecture is subject to the basic laws of physics that condition and limit our existence. People just don’t come back from the dead, so any theory that relies on resurrection must be false. If you want me to convince me otherwise, then please show me a properly documented and independently verified example of a resurrection. And while you’re at it, I’d also like to see a properly documented and independently verified example of a demon-possessed pig, a linguistic analysis of glossolalia that shows it to be something more than pure gibberish, a prophet whose predictions can be shown to be more accurate than random guesswork, and some kind of proof – anything will do – that Christians, who are supposedly transformed by their perfecting religion, are any better than anyone else. They divorce at the same rate as everyone else. They murder at the same rate as everyone else. They lie, cheat and swindle just like everyone else. Christianity has no measurable effect on them at all, or if it does, nobody has ever been able to show it. How can that be?

            Show me some evidence that your theory is more than just an exercise in human fantasy. Otherwise get thee gone and leave the way clear for adults who can present me with facts rather than unsubstantiated fiction.

          • chiefofsinners

            Attempting to measure the impact of Christianity on individual behaviours will inevitably founder on the definition of a Christian. One part of the biblical definition is that a Christian does not continue in habitual sin. The bible is also clear that many who have considered themselves Christians are not. However the restraining influence of Christianity on society is evident in various places and at various times in history. Likewise there are many individual stories of changed lives.
            Unfortunately you won’t ever prove God with logic or the scientific method. You can get close if you’re willing to think openly, but most are not, and God makes perfect sense to those who believe. But ultimately God has clearly stated that He is beyond human comprehension and therefore can only be known by faith.
            Why do you insist on the scientific method or on logic? What authority have you believed to tell you that this is the only way truth can be discerned? To Christians, science simply describes the hand of God. Repeatable experiments and scientific ‘laws’ illustrate that there is an unchanging God upholding creation. We all have the same evidence, it’s just a question of which belief system you use to interpret it.

          • Linus

            Christians do not continue in habitual sin?

            So there are no Christians then. Or are you claiming to be sin-free? How is that possible given the concept of original sin? Or does your particular flavour of Protestantism (which alone among all believers upholds the true faith, of course…) not believe in the concept?

            In any case, if there’s no commonly agreed benchmark for deciding who’s a Christian, then all we can do is take people at their word and consider them as Christians if that’s how they self-identify. Only a subset of these may be true Christians according to your definition, but if this is so, then presumably their behaviour will be so virtuous that it must affect the general rates of sin amongst the whole group.

            So why is there no appreciable difference in crime rates amongst Christians and the population in general? All those true Christians should be dragging the average down, so overall there should be far fewer crimes committed by Christians than by non-Christians. But this is not the case. How can that be?

            The truth of the matter is that Christians are no different than anyone else except in one point: their extremely good opinion of themselves. They’re Christians, so they’re better than everyone else. In their own heads, at least.

            But the statistics give lie to such blatant narcissism. Christian marriages are just as likely to end in divorce as non-Christian marriages. Indeed in the US, they’re more likely to end in divorce. Christians commit adultery just as much as anyone else. By just about every measure, there is no difference in their behaviour, and certainly no sign that a “hard core” of true believers makes the group as a whole better behaved than the general population. Statistics prove your outrageous claims of extraordinary virtue to be nothing more than self-congratulation and hot air. They prove you to be either a liar, or completely deluded. So which is it?

            I have a sneaking suspicion it’s probably the latter. Someone who can ask the question “why do you insist on the scientific method or on logic?” is clearly a few cards short of a full deck. What other methods of accurately verifying fantastic claims are there? Feeling? Belief? Blind prejudice? Tea leaves? Slaughtering a chicken, ripping its guts out and seeing what patterns you can find in its entrails?

            Only logical thinking and scientific method provide verifiable results. Everything else is guesswork, or delusion, or plain charlatanism. If it’s not, then prove it. Oops, that’s exactly what you’re totally incapable of doing, isn’t it? But it galls you when someone won’t take you and your witchcraft seriously, so you make high-sounding claims about divine inspiration, when what you really mean is that every idea that strays through your head, no matter how abject, must be the absolute truth because YOU thought it. No proof is required if YOU say something, is it? Because YOU can never be wrong.

            Aïe, aïe, aïe ! Les pauvres chrétiens et leur folie de la grandeur …

          • chiefofsinners

            Where do you get your statistics about Christian crime rates, divorce rates etc.? I’m not familiar with these so can’t really comment on them.
            Christians continue to sin, but we fight against it being habitual, we strive to remove it from our character and we seek the help of others in holding us to our high standards. Thank you for your many reminders.
            We don’t think we’re better than other people, we know we’re just as bad or worse.
            Each day I strive to do good and not evil, because this is what pleases God. It makes a difference – if I wasn’t motivated in this way then many of my actions would be different. Before I was a Christian I was selfish, now I am less selfish. For me, these are the verifiable results. The scientific method yields no information about about my moral condition, nor even a way of determining right from wrong.

          • Linus

            “…when evangelicals and non-evangelical born again Christians are combined into an aggregate class of born again adults, their divorce figure is statistically identical to that of non-born again adults: 32% versus 33%, respectively.

            Thirty percent of atheists and agnostics had been married and subsequently divorced. However, the three-point difference from the national average was within the range of sampling error, suggesting that their likelihood of experiencing a dissolved marriage is the same as that of the population at-large.”

            Barna Group research, 2008.

            I can quote more studies and statistics if you like, but I’m sure you get the picture.

            And as for your anecdotal personal evidence that basically boils down to “it works for me so it must work for EVERYONE!”, you don’t honestly think I’m going to take such an unconvincing sales pitch as “gospel” truth, do you? Your evidence isn’t scientific and it hasn’t been independently verified, so we only have your word to rely on. And who, if I may be so bold as to ask, do you think you are that I should place any trust in you whatsoever?

            Let’s examine your arguments in detail, shall we? Perhaps a bit of logical analysis will help me to establish whether you’re trustworthy or not.

            First, you said that real Christians “do not continue in habitual sin”. When challenged on that statement, you then modified it to “Christians continue to sin”. So which is it? Do you sin or don’t you? Striving not to sin is not the same as not continuing in habitual sin.

            Also, saying that Christians do not continue in habitual sin implies that they are better than non-Christians. Sin is supposed to be bad, therefore someone who does not commit it must be better than someone who does. But then you say “we know we’re just as bad or worse”, which implies that you do know you sin just as much as anybody else.

            Quite honestly, with such a jumble of contradictory claims, statements and admissions, are you really surprised that I don’t take you seriously?

            There may be effective advocates for the Christian faith out there (although I’ve yet to meet one), but I’m afraid that you are not one of them. Quite the reverse. After reading through your attempts to convince me of the truth of Christianity, I’m left with the impression of someone with a chaotic and inconsistent mind whose arguments are so badly constructed, they collapse in the face of even the gentlest challenge.

            I can’t say for certain there’s nobody out there who can convince me of the truth of Christianity (although I’m well over 99% sure of it), but let’s face it: that person is most assuredly not you.

          • chiefofsinners

            At the start of this conversation, when I said that my marriage was permanent, you were quick to point out that it did not only depend on me, but also on my spouse. You went further and said that as a Christian, my spouse would be likely to view me as a ‘loon’ and want to divorce me. There is some truth in what you said. It is a reason why the divorce rate for Christians might be higher than they would wish.
            A moment’s thought produces other obvious reasons that might raise crime and immorality rates among those self-identifying as Christians:

            First, those with evil intent are attracted to the cloak of respectability that Christianity affords. Paedophiles, for instance, view churches as soft targets and, tragically, they are right.
            Second, churches attract people with problems. Jesus was called a ‘friend of sinners’ and replied that it is the sick who need a doctor, not those who are well. Those who, by the standards of this world, consider themselves ‘good’ fail to see their need of forgiveness and avoid churches. Those who have fallen as far as is possible find it easier to acknowledge their sin. So a church is composed of broken sinners on the mend. But those who come addicted to drugs or sex or with violent personalities are rarely transformed instantly. The bible teaches that a new nature lives alongside the old and wars with it.
            As for being ‘chaotic and inconsistent’, that impression is the result of me trying to explain detailed Christian doctrine in a simple fashion, and assuming that you understood it better than you do.
            I did not modify my statement that Christians do not continue in habitual sin. I think you have missed the word ‘habitual’. All Christians sin, but they do not choose the same sin over and over again. The bible is clear that those who do this are not actually Christians even though they may claim to be.
            The right view for Christians to take of non-Christians is ‘but for the grace of God, there go I’. In other words if I am any better than anyone else I should take no pride in it. In the past I wasn’t better than others and in the future I might do something awful. For this reason the apostle Paul described himself as the ‘chief of sinners’.
            No-one will ever convince you of the truth of Christianity. No-one ever convinced me; It was a divine miracle. If you were to ask God for faith, it would be given to you. I dare you to try it.

          • Linus

            There is no god to ask. I can ask thin air if you like. In fact I have. When I was a child it would have made my life far simpler to actually believe all the nonsense they were teaching me in catechism class. I would have had far fewer conflicts with my teachers and even certain members of my family.

            Belief would have spared me a world of trouble and subsequent legal complications caused by my grandfather, who attempted to tie up his estate in such a manner that it wouldn’t devolve on me, and would instead pass to a dutifully pious cousin. He didn’t succeed, but he had a good try, and his attempts caused a permanent estrangement between my father and certain of his younger siblings.

            I’m sorry for the pain that caused my father, although it certainly wasn’t my fault and he never blamed me for it. But on reflection, it was probably for the best that the two sides of the family haven’t been on speaking terms since I was 9 years old, or I would have been obliged to invite the dreaded cousins to my wedding, and their ostentatious and offensive manner of declining the invitation might have spoiled an otherwise perfect family celebration. So in the end, my grandfather’s and uncle’s malevolence worked in my favour. The best laid plans of mice and men, eh?

            Of course I couldn’t know that when I was 9 years old. At that age, all I wanted was a solution to my grandfather’s hostility and the pain it was causing my parents, so I did ask the thin air to give me faith. But it didn’t. I can’t say I was surprised.

            Since then I’ve been worked on by priests, bishops, a vicious old abbot and even a psychotic nun. They all declared me a lost cause. So, although I have no objection to you continuing in your clumsy efforts at evangelism, I have to warn you that better people than you have tried, and failed, to convert me.

            I’ll repeat to you what I said to them: show me some evidence of this god of yours. Something. Anything! But don’t tell me I have to believe in an invisible, intangible will o’ the wisp. I’m not a child, and even when I was, I knew how to tell the difference between fairy stories and reality. Present me with some real, concrete evidence and I’ll consider it. But if you’re planning to dazzle me with signs and wonders, you’d be better off sparing yourself the effort and stopping now.

          • chiefofsinners

            I am very sorry for the pain that religion has caused you and ashamed of what was done to you as a child in the name of Christ. You are not a lost cause.

          • Linus

            You have nothing to be sorry for and need feel no shame. What was “done to me as a child” had little to do with Christianity, and everything to do with an unpleasant and autocratic old man’s determination to make everyone bend to his will. The fault was not Christ’s. How could it be when Christ is nothing more than a myth? The problem was caused by a martinet’s anger at being disobeyed by his grandson (and son – my father was firmly on my side). Religion was just the excuse.

          • chiefofsinners

            Well, I’m still sickened by it. Maybe it shows that one thing in the bible is true: “the heart of man is desperately wicked.”
            A Christian view of pain is that it is there to tell us all is not well. Do you have a view on why emotional pain exists, or is it just bad luck?

          • Linus

            My grandfather wasn’t wicked. At least, no more so than anyone else. He could be very kind and generous under the right circumstances. But an overprivileged life and the hubris that comes with it made him believe that he could enforce his standards and beliefs on everyone else. Call that wicked if you like. But if it is, then what does that make you? You want to enforce your beliefs on everyone else and prevent marriages you don’t approve of because they don’t conform to your articles of faith. So how are you different to my grandfather?

            I don’t think of my grandfather as a wicked man. He was deluded, and deluded people are always dangerous, but he didn’t start out with the express intention of causing pain and harm. It’s just that his own prejudices were more important to him than other people. And he couldn’t respect the right of others to decide for themselves.

            Even in his time he was a bit of a dinosaur. Had he been raised differently and taught to respect diversity, I’m sure things would have turned out very differently. But he wasn’t, so they didn’t.

            As to why I was born into such a family, well of course it was nothing more than the luck of the draw. My parents met unexpectedly, fell in love MOST unexpectedly, and married in spite of significant parental opposition on both sides. You have to remember this was just at the time when Rainier de Monaco had married Grace Kelly, and French society was still reeling from the shock of having to assimilate a barbarian Anglo-saxon movie star with her flashy Hollywood clothes, middle class ideas and uncouth accent into its midst. So my French grandparents were aghast at the prospect of a similar taint sullying their family. Quelle honte ! they wailed. Quelle mésalliance !

            My English grandparents weren’t particularly thrilled by the prospect of a “frog” for a son-in-law either. Although they were somewhat mollified by certain aspects of his situation that made the match not entirely undesirable for a daughter whose beauty was starting to become more of a problem than an asset. I’m told there was more than one rich American sniffing around. So they decided that France had to be better than Long Island, and packed her off to Paris with a trousseau that my French grandmother took one horrified look at and told the housekeeper to cut up for dusters. Next came a week at Dior in order to kit her out in frocks that wouldn’t disgrace the family name. Then several months of intensive English accent eradication. I came along about a decade later, after a few false starts, as my ever-charming grandfather termed my elder sisters.

            And that was my family. Not perfect. But not monstrous either. I don’t feel as though I was particularly hard done by. Indeed in some ways I’m very lucky indeed. But it was all down to blind luck. I was lucky in my parents, less lucky in my grandparents, but overall I have little to complain of. Random chance has been kind to me. That’s what happens in games of chance. Some win. Some lose. But either way, you make the best of what you’ve got. What else can you do?

          • chiefofsinners

            No – your grandfather was no more wicked than me or anyone else. That’s the point really. We all end up causing others emotional pain, leaving scars on the victim and usually guilt in the perpetrator. Science doesn’t have much to say about this – no evolutionary reason for it, although
            psychiatrists and drug dealers earn a good living trying to treat the symptoms. Physical pain is well understood as a warning mechanism that the body is being damaged.
            To a Christian, emotional pain is a similar warning in relation to the soul. None of life’s pain is blind luck; it is intended to turn us to God. Maybe you’ve mis-read the message.

            Your family story is fascinating – thank you for the
            insight. You should write a book. Something similar happened in my family when a relative met a marquess through a newspaper lonely hearts column. You leave me wondering whether your maternal grandparents had any religious convictions. I guess I’ll have to buy the book to find out.

          • Linus

            Thank you for the suggestion, but cashing in on the eccentricities and excesses of one’s family by writing a book about them is an enterprise fraught with so many potential pitfalls that only a fool would risk it.

            For the record though, my maternal grandparents were devout Catholics. Like everyone, they were products of their generation. Their criteria for approving of potential son-in-laws were simple.

            1) He must be a Catholic.

            2) Preferably a Catholic of good family, and well-connected.

            3) Means would be nice, but not at the expense of overall Catholicity.

            4) He should bring with him potential for disposing of other daughters in Catholic wedded bliss. A brother. A schoolfriend. Any unmarried Catholic boy with a pulse and a reasonable fortune would do.

            5) He should be English if at all possible. Ampleforth would be preferable to Stonyhurst of course, but if he must be foreign, please God don’t let him be an American. Of Irish extraction. With a “compound” in Squinkeesquonkeetucketport. Gaaahhhh!!!

            My father obliged them in all points except the last. But it could have been a great deal worse, so on balance they were quite happy with their daughter’s choice. They were far more tolerant of their unconventional grandson than my father’s parents were, but I put that down to their mild but persistent xenophobia more than anything else. I was French, so of course I was going to be strange and unusual, and they took my refusal to conform pretty much in their stride, although there were some tense moments.

            One of the worst happened when I introduced them to my first boyfriend. He was a scholarship boy from Sheffield with a delightful accent and a working class Protestant upbringing. My exercise in building bridges across the class divide was their idea of hell on earth, I think.

            They treated my boyfriend in exactly the way you might suppose that a polite and pious Catholic couple would treat the Devil incarnate who had forced his way into their home. When he came to stay for a week over the summer vac, they were welcoming and kind, but slightly cool and distant, and constantly rushing off to the chapel to pray.

            The bedroom they had prepared for him was as far removed from mine as the geography of the house permitted. The exercise turned out to be somewhat of a logistical nightmare for them, as two very pretty female cousins were also in residence, so the position of my boyfriend’s sleeping quarters not only had to keep him as far away from me as possible, but also not put him too close to the cousins should God suddenly decide to convert him into a red-blooded heterosexual overnight. They couldn’t bung him in a servant’s garret because that would have been a slight on his modest origins. So they ended up putting a camp bed in my grandfather’s library and he spent a week sleeping with Cardinal Newman, Chaucer, a battalion of silverfish, and my grandfather’s geriatric labrador, who was rather mystifyingly (as a sweeter creature was never seen) known to the family as “Crippen”.

            They thought they were safe and that Crippen, who had an annoying habit of barking three times VERY loudly whenever anyone entered or exited what she rightfully regarded as her own private kingdom, would warn them of any attempt of mine to invade the library and engage in unspeakable acts of depravity with my devilish friend. Little did they know that Crippen and I were old allies, and that in exchange for a cold pork sausage snaffled from the larder when the cook’s back was turned, she was more than willing to turn a blind eye to violations of her territory.

            Ah, what memories I have of a wonderful week made even more wonderful by the sure knowledge that I was thwarting the homophobic impulses of my well-meaning but hopelessly clueless grandparents. My grandfather never found out what acts of debauchery had been committed in his favourite armchair, and on his desk, and on the hearthrug in front of the fire. Crippen held her tongue, and although buying her silence cost me dear in stolen sausages, she passed away soon after, and my secret passed away with her. I’ve never revealed it – until now. But as all of the principle persons involved are no longer with us, except me and my ex-boyfriend (who now lives in the US and can therefore be considered as virtually, if not actually, deceased), there’s no need to keep it a secret any more.

            And no, that slight rumbling you hear is not the sound of my grandparents spinning in their graves. It’s just your own heart beating faster as a result of Christian indignation and a worrying fear that your own grandchildren might also disobey you and treat everything you hold as sacred with little or no respect. That’s the real problem, isn’t it? How dare they not submit to YOU and YOUR morality?

            Christianity! The human desire for power and control erected into a religion and inflicted on countless generations of innocent children…

          • chiefofsinners

            Hilarious. I haven’t had such a good laugh in days. If you don’t publish I might have to do it myself.
            To my eternal regret I am off on holiday for a few weeks, so I can’t probe your past any further. First to the country pile and then I shall invade your beloved France. I trust Lake Annecy will be far enough away from your summer quarters that no sausages will be going astray in the night.
            If you get a free moment, try talking to the ‘thin air’ again. Something along the lines of ‘if you’re there, show me’ sometimes does the trick.

  • dannybhoy

    Voyeurism is the new face of television for the masses. When one considers sci fi films and books like “The Running Man” or Farenheit 451, or of course 1984 and even the Mad Max films, it is amazing how (unredeemed) life seems to end up imitating art.

    Using violence and humiliation as sanctioned tools of the State, we see how easy it actually is to control people and deprive them of their dignity and worth. I didn’t much care for Richard Attenborough as an actor, but I do remember him in ” The Angry Silence” when he played an ordinary employee who refused to strike..
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053602/
    You will see in this film the power of the majority and how it is used to humiliate, ridicule and torture a decent human being who wouldn’t go along with the mob…

    To ridicule marriage is to ridicule He who created us male and female. In a successful marriage both man and woman make concessions, see themselves through the eyes of another, but know they are loved and valued and ultimately realise the sacrifices both have made in order to make the relationship work and give their children security by setting an example of sacrificial love and forgiveness.
    You don’t make fun of that kind of commitment..

    • The Explorer

      Soaps see themselves as having an educative role. Choose a social issue that needs addressing, and the viewing public will follow suit in their own lives/attitudes..

      ‘East Enders’ a while back observes to itself that the two groups most in need of a nudge towards the enthusiastic acceptance of gay relationships are Muslims and Christians. So ‘East Enders’ builds a gay couple into its story line: one a Muslim, the other called Christian. (The gay couple itself is fair enough; that simply reflects life. It’s the particular nature/naming of the gay couple I’m getting at.)

      • dannybhoy

        “Soaps see themselves as having an educative role”
        Yes, soaps are driven by a non Christian world view, and whether the makers/script writers are volitionally anti Christian or ignorantly anti Christian, they are under the influence of the evil one, and as they see it, it’s good for ratings or teaching tolerance or whatever.

        People search for happiness, acceptance, self fulfilment. But it always ends in tears.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I thought their search always ends in the pub?

          • dannybhoy

            Very sharp….
            :0)

          • Dominic Stockford

            …to the bottom of the glass…

          • dannybhoy

            You are on top form Dominic..

          • Dominic Stockford

            And I loathe adverts….

            …and soaps

      • And in Coronation St we have the C of E trendy gay vicar in an active sexual relationship. They had booked into a pub to stay the night only to be told they had to have single rooms or leave as the landlord told them he did not tolerate their sort in his establishment. After an argument and them leaving in a huff, one of their ‘do gooder’ neighbours happened to report the incident to the local rag. The gays didn’t take things any further.

        • dannybhoy

          Wow!!
          I stopped watching Consternation Street years ago..

          • Soaps are manipulation for the masses.

          • dannybhoy

            Indeed. And the god of this world wants to keep on manipulating..

        • The Explorer

          Exactly. I know that with the real-life b & b incidents in which the owners were taken to court, the gay community were divided about whether this was good for the cause or damaging. (Perceived victimisation of elderly widow types, husband in the Bull case suffering heart attack as a result etc not going down too well with Joe Public.)

          Didn’t see ‘The Street’ version because I don’t watch soaps with regularity (other than to see from time to time what the public is absorbing), but it sounds like a call for circumspection.

          Certainly the practising gay vicar is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind about influencing public opinion.

          • Exactly, and the water was being tested further when the gay vicar in Corrie later had to attend an official Church meeting and social event afterwards. He took his lover and introduced him to the Bishop as a friend not as his partner because of the current rules. The lover was upset and the next day there was a scene in which the dilemma was that the vicar would have to choose the Church or his lover? But the vicar wanted both and is carrying on with his actively homosexual relationship whilst still an active member of the Church. The message was how silly the Church rules are,

          • Orwell Ian

            Sadly, even entertainment is riddled with propaganda. Mind control manipulation molding opinions and attitudes day in, day out. Embedding what elite “progressives” promulgate as new norms and values in the minds of the unthinking.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          Might as well my twopenneth’ – I was unfortunate enought to catch the tail end of Hollyoaks” a couple of times, only to see the two gay men snogging. This programme is aimed at schoolchildren and it is clearly intended to make them immune to this kind of thing; to accept it as normal in fact. I found it offensive as an adult. The truth is that if you portay anything as normal to young people, they grow up regardig it as normal. The propagandists are very clever, they know that in order to truly brainwash you have to get ’em young. “Brave New World” predicted this with its indoctrination of children during their sleep.

          • DanJ0

            “This programme is aimed at schoolchildren and it is clearly intended to make them immune to this kind of thing; to accept it as normal in fact.”

            It is normal, and it’s aimed at mid to late teenagers.

          • But the Church teaches children a moral and harmless lifestyle.

          • DanJ0

            The Church teaches a morality according to Christianity, and it teaches people to waste their lives on make-believe. That’s hardly harmless.

          • Make believe to you and other atheists maybe but harmful, no. Clarify what you mean as harmless? If you mean shielded from some of the evils of the materialist world I would say that’s a good thing.

          • DanJ0

            At best it’s a false consciousness; a distraction from what is real. At worst, it’s an ideology which can create misery. I’m thinking of the former culture oppression in Ireland, and the guilt-tripping shenanigans most cradle/lapsed Roman Catholics seem to feel, as an example. You know, I saw a couple of Mormon missionaries from America today. They seemed happy enough and I suppose it must be a bit of an adventure coming over to the UK. But, really, why waste their precious time and ours here latching onto disinterested people trying to spread their religion? I also saw a group of Jehovah Witnesses doing their thing on people’s doorsteps instead of going out for the day in the glorious sunshine we had here. I’d just spent the early morning walking all over Bradgate Park. I won that one there, I think.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, for both Mormons and JWs their salvation has to be earned by evangelism in a way that it doesn’t for Christians; and since I agree with you that both their sets of beliefs are erroneous they are engaged in a futile exercise when they could be having fun. If we can be certain that there is no after life, then your view of life is the best we have available.

            I can’t prove that Odin does not exist, but the evidence for his existence is poor. Likewise, the evidence for the beliefs of the Mormons and JWs (if one explores the origins) is also poor. The evidence for,say, the resurrection of Christ seems to me to be far more firmly grounded than any of the other three examples. The resurrection, if true, has implications for the after life.

          • dannybhoy

            “At best it’s a false consciousness; a distraction from what is real.
            We know what is real and what is real is that human beings often hurt other human beings inb order to get what they think they want.
            There are very few rich and famous people who are also fulfilled and happy. Most of us non Christians run hither, thither and yon looking for happiness and security.
            The peopke who are truly happy are those who have seen themselves as God sees them, repented and accepted His forgiveness and redemption.

          • The Explorer

            We’re into Pascal’s wager territory here. They waste their lives only if their beliefs are untrue. (Which they may not be,) And if their beliefs are untrue, they won’t know it once they’re dead.

            And if you’ve spent your life making whoopee, so what if you can’t take your experiences with you? A fulfilled life and a restricted life both end in the same nothingness.

            We may, of course, be remembered by those who knew us, and even by posterity if we are particularly famous/notorious; but when the human race dies out who will remember any of us, and what will the quality of any life matter?

          • DanJ0

            “And if their beliefs are untrue, they won’t know it once they’re dead.”

            But they’d have still wasted the only life they had. Also, they ought to consider Pascal’s Wager for a god called Allah too.

          • The Explorer

            Pascal thought about Allah, and dismissed him as derivative. If Christianity is true, Allah is superfluous; if Christianity is untrue, so is the derivative Allah. For Pascal, Christianity and atheism were the only two serious options on the table.

          • DanJ0

            Clearly Islam is not completely derivative, so Islam may be true and Christianity false. Also, Pascal’s Wager in principle and Pascal’s thoughts about it are not inseparable.

          • The Explorer

            Muhammad was very aware of the derivative problem “They say that Is no more than an ear” . Hence his contention that Islam is the original revelation, corrupted by the Jews and Christians, and restored by Muhammad.
            The problem is the total lack of any documentary evidence for this; whereas Judeo/Christianity has incomparably the best set of documents to emerge from the ancient world.

          • dannybhoy

            You are living in a society largely shaped by Christian values Dodo.
            Think about it.
            The only atheistic societies regarded people as mouldable and disposable.
            Especially people like you.
            Millions were killed and starved in the name of Atheism. You would not have been allowed to say similar things in Communist Russia or China, or North Korea.
            The only other societies available to you are shaped by their religious values.
            Think about it before you come out with any more nonsense.

          • DanJ0

            In the name of atheism? You’re the one speaking nonsense, sunshine.

          • dannybhoy

            There is no purely atheistic State, DanJ0.
            You said,
            “The Church teaches a morality according to Christianity, and it teaches
            people to waste their lives on make-believe. That’s hardly harmless.”
            And I am saying there is no better alternative to a Christian society, even a post Christian society.

          • DanJ0

            “Millions were killed and starved in the name of Atheism.”

            Nonsense.

          • dannybhoy

            To create a society, no sorry, to mould a society through force into an anti religious society is atheistic.

            State atheism is a popular term used for a government that is either antireligious, antitheistic or promotes atheism. In contrast, a secular state purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. State atheism may refer to a government’s anti-clericalism,which opposes religious institutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, including the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen.
            State promotion of atheism as a public norm first came to prominence in Revolutionary France (1789-1799).[1] Revolutionary Mexico followed similar policies from 1917, as did Marxist–Leninist states. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917–1991) and the Soviet Union
            (1922–1991) had a long history of state atheism, whereby those seeking social success generally had to profess atheism and to stay away from houses of worship; this trend became especially militant during the middle Stalinist era from 1929 to 1939. The Soviet Union attempted to suppress public religious expression over wide areas of its influence, including places such as central Asia.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism

          • DanJ0

            Nice try, but no cigar. It always amazes me how religionists try to support that daft claim. Presumably you feel you need to attempt some sort of defence about the well-known short-comings of our Christian history. I’m sure almost everyone knows about the socio-political ideologies of (say) Mao and Stalin.

          • dannybhoy

            I didn’t say that things have always been good in Christianity.
            I am saying that you are enjoying the benefits of living in a society shaped by Christianity, and there are no and never have been, any benign atheistic societies; except ones that used violence.

          • DanJ0

            “Millions were killed and starved in the name of Atheism.”

            Nonsense.

          • dannybhoy

            What were they killed in the name of then?

          • DanJ0

            I expect most of them during Mao’s time died either as a consequence of the failings of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist state control, or due to the personality-cult thing that seems to pervade attempts to follow a communist-oriented socio-political philosophy.

          • dannybhoy

            “either as a consequence of the failings of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist state
            control, or due to the personality-cult thing that seems to pervade
            attempts to follow a communist-oriented socio-political philosophy.”
            Which was based on..
            “Marxist–Leninist atheism (Russian: Марксистско-ленинский атеизм) is a part of the wider Marxist–Leninist philosophy (the type of Marxist philosophy found in the Soviet Union), which rejects religion[1][2] and clergymen as well as advocates a materialist understanding of nature.[3] Marxism–Leninism holds that religion is the opium of the people, in the sense of promoting passive acceptance of suffering on Earth in the hope of eternal reward. Therefore, Marxism–Leninism advocates the abolition of religion and the acceptance of atheism.[4][5] Marxist–Leninist atheism has its roots in the philosophy of Ludwig Feuerbach, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin.[6]”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist%E2%80%93Leninist_atheism

          • DanJ0

            You’re simply sailing past the actual reason each time. Those people died in such numbers because of misguided attempts to instantiate a particular political philosophy [1]. The result each time was a totalitarian regime typically based on a personality-cult, following a period of cultural revolution and social upheaval, at the end of the day. Yes, that particular political philosophy also encompasses an atheistic view of the world but it’s the political philosophy itself that’s the problem. It makes invalid assumptions about human nature and the way human societies have developed and how they work in practice. That is, as a political philosophy it’s fundamentally flawed and I daresay will always fail in practice.

            [1] The First French Republic has its own particular context, and should be considered independently.

          • dannybhoy

            No I’m not sailing past the actual reason. If you remove the worship or even acknowledgement of God from society, you have to replace it with something or someone else.
            That is why Stalin, Lenin, Hitler Mao, Pol Pot, and a few ‘also rans’ developed personality cults.
            As one philosopher said, “If God is dead, than man must be his own god.”
            Or words to that effect.
            Atheists in the West are in a sense parasitical, because they flaunt their unbelief safe in the assumption that they are free to say what they want and enjoy the benefits of a culture based on the teachings of Christianity. The only attempts at truly atheistic societies are those I mentioned above.

          • DanJ0

            “If you remove the worship or even acknowledgement of God from society, you have to replace it with something or someone else.”

            But the overwhelming majority of those deaths were either due to systematic failure of totalitarianism, or political purges to bolster or protect the power base of personality-cult leaders. We still see exactly that in North Korea at the moment. You want it to be primarily about atheism to suit your desired narrative, but the atheism/materialism inherent in Marxist-Leninist political philosophy is coincidental in the wider picture.

            “Atheists in the West are in a sense parasitical, because they flaunt their unbelief safe in the assumption that they are free to say what they want and enjoy the benefits of a culture based on the teachings of Christianity. ”

            Christians are merely an anachronism here. You enjoy your religious freedoms here because of the Enlightenment. We’re a liberal democracy. It’s classical liberalism that underpins our culture today. You should be on your knees thank libertarian-leaning liberals like me for trying to maintain that. When England was under Christian hegemony, there was very little religious freedom. During the religious wars across Europe, people who held the wrong sort of Christian belief at the time were ruthlessly oppressed as heretics by the Church and the Christian State.

          • Dreadnaught

            We like to think we have freedom of speech but that freedom is being severely eroded by ‘equality’ laws relating to hate speech or causing offence – thanks to religion. No difference here in what Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism etc took to be offensive to the regiemes and their icons.

          • dannybhoy

            “But the overwhelming majority of those deaths were either due to systematic failure of totalitarianism, or political purges to bolster or protect the power base of personality-cult leaders.”
            So why did it fail? Because the cult of man failed. We can both agree that the medieval church was wrong because actually it was an extension of the old concept of Empire; God’s kingdom on earth. I don’t agree with that concept.
            But Christians who read the Bible believe in Christ Jesus and salvation are to be found in every area and discipline of life. We don’t go around slaughtering people who disagree with us, we do believe in being good citizens, we don’t see a conflict between our faith and science. What we do have is a coherent basis for our moral beliefs which serves us as citizens of God’s kingdom and citizens of our nation.

          • DanJ0

            “So why did it fail? Because the cult of man failed.”

            It fails for the two broad reasons I have already given: It makes invalid assumptions about human nature and the way human societies have developed and how they work in practice. Liberal democracy works pretty well in practice despite it not relying on a delusion about a god or gods. You should be very glad to be living here at this point in history. You have considerable freedom to hold your minority religious views and beliefs as a result.

          • dannybhoy

            Liberal democracies have been around since the 18th century and owe their development to ideas developed during the age of Enlightenment.
            Yet in Great Britain much social reform came about through the inspiration and action of the Evangelical Christian movement..
            I think that it is the lingering influence of Christianity which holds the societies of Europe together. Look at how EUrope buckled under the violence and brutality of Nazism for example.

          • DanJ0

            “We don’t go around slaughtering people who disagree with us, we do believe in being good citizens, we don’t see a conflict between our faith and science.”

            Well, these days anyway now you don’t have the power. Also, there are self-identifying Christians here who are rather off-piste as far as science is concerned, preferring to hold to religious interpretations in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

            “What we do have is a coherent basis for our moral beliefs which serves us as citizens of God’s kingdom and citizens of our nation.”

            Well, apart from so-called sexual morality when you try to extend the reach of your minority religious beliefs over other people. No-one cares whether you live according to your own interpretation of sexual morality yourself, of course. That’s the beauty and benefit of a society based on libertarian-liberal values.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely!
            It is offensive to see two men kissing on a show designed to reach impressionable young people.
            What we are seeing is the application of the psychological truth that if you present something as ‘normal’ to children they will grow up believing it is normal, and in a very few generations you will accept more amoral teaching and more perversion.
            The secular solution to the consequences will be more counselling and medication.

          • Busy Mum

            As a parent of teens, I can assure you that the the younger generation considers all sorts of things to be normal, of which I had never even heard at their age. The vast majority also considers these things to be natural, desirable and an improvement in society and anybody who says otherwise is a heretic, and one of those ‘dangerous’ adults from which children must ‘keep themselves safe’; that’s the latest buzzphrase, by the way. All adults are potential risks so children must learn how to ‘keep themselves safe’ and the state defines what constitutes danger… .

  • Two thoughts.
    Firstly, we were told that same-sex ‘marriage’ would not have a deleterious effect on real marriage. Well now we know. When marriage ceases to be what it has been since the beginning of time, it becomes simply a wax nose to be pushed into whatever shape anyone wishes. Next stop group ‘marriages’ aka Polyandry. Do not think this has come about by chance. It has been the deliberate policy of many ‘forward-thinking people’ for many years. Cameron and Co. are just the ‘useful idiots’ who have helped to bring it about.
    Secondly, there is nothing in this world so abominable that you can’t find a C of E cleric to support and/or bless it.

    • The Explorer

      And probably a participant.

    • CliveM

      With or without SSM, this would have happened. Where there is a buck, there will be a media executive.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I haven’t seen the show, so I can only judge by your article Gillan. It sounds awful, typical of Channel 4’s desperate trash and airwave effluence. The idea of “science” being able to bring couples together in a successful lifelong relationship is highly dubious to say the least. This shows just how devalued marriage has become to much of society. I will probably avoid watching it so i don’t get into a bad mood.

    • magnolia

      LCD culture excuses all by reference to the (false) god of (pseudo)-science.

      “It was the chemistry, see; we couldn’t help it.” Thus the excuse for all kinds of immorality, incest, cheating on best friends, spouses and siblings. Real scientists must find this grossly ghastly, I guess.

  • DanJ0

    I suppose it’s marginally better than that Channel 4 You Are What You Eat thing with ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith and her stool sample analysis.

    • dannybhoy

      Anyone willing to support that motion?

      • Pubcrawler

        Ew!

        • dannybhoy

          Well I’m glad the penny dropped for somebody..

  • Inspector General

    It’s a rather sad fact that Britons at the lower level of intellect spend more time considering what their next car will be than about the woman they would (ideally) spend the rest of their life with. It seems that if she so condescends to sleep with the fellow, she’ll do, for now…

    • … so what make will your next car be, Inspector?

      • dannybhoy

        Very good Jack.
        I think women mostly want to be loved, appreciated and protected.
        Men struggle with this.

      • Inspector General

        The Inspector is in the marvellous situation of no longer having to run a vehicle, Jack. It has saved him many thousands over the years, and the public transport where he resides is rather good.

        One does stand by his post. You do realise that…

  • David

    The programme clearly mocks marriage, and cynically uses the victims.
    Such debasement !
    Other than live sadistic sex acts, what new depths are left to plumb ?
    Was it Roy Jenkins that abolished the office of censor, in the form of a Lord Chancellor of something or other, and with such pompous self-congratulation too, I recall ?

    • Orwell Ian

      It’s all superficial. Before anyone gets too excited about Russian saintliness it pays to dig a little deeper:

      http://alexanderboot.com/content/russia-saint-and-don%E2%80%99t-you-dare-forget-it

      • I had read about agent Mikhailov! Time will tell.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Straight pride. I’d support that

      • DanJ0

        Curious. Do you feel that gay people are trying to force you feel shame for being straight or something? That’s what Gay Pride was essentially about: collectively standing up, pushing back, and refusing to be unjustly shamed. Now, if you said Christian Pride then maybe you’d be on to something …

        • The Explorer

          Wouldn’t the opposite of Christian pride be atheist pride?

          • Dreadnaught

            Wouldn’t the opposite of Christian pride be atheist pride?
            I’d say Muslim pride would be more appropriate – but then I would …

          • The Explorer

            Yes, that would apply equally well as the opposite of either of the other two. (Assuming it’s possible for something to have more than one opposite.) The alternative would be ‘Religious Pride’, but I can’t see the Muslims, Jews and Christians being very happy to be in alliance with one another.

          • Dreadnaught

            Why restrict yourself to the big three .. there’s hundreds of religions – but only one basic idea; that gods exist.

          • The Explorer

            It gets complicated. Atheists would say that all religions have got it wrong: including Christianity. (And they may be right.)

            Christianity would say that atheism has got it wrong, and so have other religions where they differ from Christianity. Some have come pretty near the truth; others, they would disapprove of as much as atheism does. Atheism is infinitely preferable to some religions. It isn’t just a case of believing in a god; it’s the sort of god you believe in. As Wesley once put it, “Your God is my Devil.”

          • Dreadnaught

            But what about other religions?

          • The Explorer

            Hinduism would say Christianity is another path to God (understood as impersonality). Buddhism would say it isn’t because there is no god, and only through Buddhism can you escape the cycle of existence. Islam would say Christianity is wrong. Christians are destined for Hell, just as atheists, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all other non-Muslims are.

          • DanJ0

            The point I was making there was that Christians seem to be encouraged to feel shame about manifesting their religious beliefs in public. On that basis, a Christian Pride march would follow the original premise of the Gay Pride march: we collectively refuse to live in the shadows or be shamed and stigmatised for it. Go for it. Play up on the public stereotypes of Christians for maximum effect. Dress and act like Derek Nimmo. Have your vicars and priests were frocks in public. Sing along to Onward Christian Soldiers playing on a sound system. Heck, have it on the same day as Gay Pride so that we can have a sound clash in a Notting Hill Carnival style with It’s Raining Men by Gloria Gaynor. But I bet Gay Pride would be more popular with the general public. 😉

          • The Explorer

            Fair enough. I see no point in ‘Straight Pride’. You grow up; you discover your sexual orientation. Unless choice of sexuality is a reality,no achievement is involved, beyond surviving into puberty. What’s to be proud about? (The case for gay pride, I concede, is rather different.)

        • Dreadnaught

          It saddens me to see ‘gays’ parading their overt sexual preferences with much of their tackle on display in some colourful but bizarre public parade. We used to say what happens between consenting adults in private is no ones business but theirs – I’d much prefer they kept it that way.

          • DanJ0

            I’m no fan of Gay Pride but I recognise its historical value. As for the rest, if some people (say) have a problem with two men or two women kissing each other in public but not a man and a woman then that’s their own personal problem to solve. It wasn’t that long ago at all that some people had a problem seeing a mixed race couple in public, and possibly there are still some antediluvians around who still think that.

          • Dreadnaught

            A brief kiss ok, but prolonged full on tonsil tickling is another matter – same applies to hetros I say.

          • DanJ0

            I agree in principle. I find it pretty grim to see people making out (to borrow an Americanism) in public. But what goes for heterosexuals goes for homosexuals too, as far as I am concerned. That some people find one offensive but not the other is neither here nor there.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          I don’t see anything wrong in being happy to be straight. It doesn’t mean we [straight people ] feel persecuted; we’re just happy being what we are.

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps we should have a White Pride too on that basis.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            I’m certainly happy being white. That doesn’t mean I dislike people who aren’t white. Why should I be ashamed of it?

          • DanJ0

            Then why have a [hypothetical] White Pride or a Straight Pride? The basic premise is nonsensical.

  • sarky

    Is my marriage lessened by this programme? No
    Are my vows cheapened? No

    is it crap tv? Yes

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Agreed that your marriage is not lessened in your eyes, but it is lessened in the eyes of society in genera, not just as a result of this programme. The government also values it less which is why marriage gets little support through the tax system, especially families where dad goes out to work and mum stays at home to raise the children.

  • preacher

    Haven’t seen it, wouldn’t watch it, brain still working – not turned to mush.
    Vicar, idiot. should look for employment elsewhere, ( If anybody would/could employ him ).
    Ratings will soon get rid of this rubbish!.

  • len

    Is nothing sacred? Apparently not ……once you have’ crossed the line ‘(indeed several lines) anything is possible, everything is permissible because no one knows where the boundaries are any more…..
    Seems the vicar could do with a bit of direction too.

  • Phil R
  • Andrew M

    Arranged marriage is essentially what it is which has happened for centuries the world over and still is with generally two non consenting adults. Here you have two couples who ARE consenting adults having an arranged marriage by “experiment” and a lot of support from the various people involved with this. If you watched the programme yes there were los of reservations about it but in todays none speaking texting and online society why not.
    I have watched the first two episodes and thought it was very good, all the experts involved had the best interests of the couples at heart and I think it will be an interesting journey for the to couples as they find each other and themselves.
    They have entered into marriage with open hearts and minds and want it to work, now you cannot tell me that all marriages are entered into with as much commitment as these two couples are ?
    I will continue watching avidly.