Shiraz Maher 2
Freedom of Religion

May we no longer say Jehovah's Witnesses are not real Christians?

 

Dr Shiraz Maher is a lecturer at King’s College London and a Senior Fellow of The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR). His list of expertise includes terrorism, Al-Qaeda, radicalisation, the Middle East, the ‘Arab Spring’ and Islamic political movements. His latest book is an illuminating history and political theology of Salafi-Jihadism. Dr Maher is, by all accounts, an eminent academic and a respected authority.

In the wake of the appalling murder of Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah, a member of the Ahmadiyya community, for the alleged crime of “disrespecting Islam”, Dr Maher reportedly wrote on Facebook that he does not regard Ahmadis as Muslims, or words to that effect. Dr Maher is now under investigation by King’s College London for the apparent crime of disrespecting educational/institutional orthodoxy.

Perhaps Dr Maher was a tad insensitive. After all, Asad Shah had only just been stabbed in the head: his family and friends were still grieving, and along comes this pompous academic to pontificate on the validity of Mr Shah’s faith, thereby lending credence to the assassin’s motive; namely that Ahmadi’s are not ‘proper’ Muslims, not least because they “disrespect” Islam by distorting key doctrines, in particular the finality of the consummate prophethood of Mohammed. By taking verses out of their immediate context and imposing the ‘revelations‘ of Ahmadi founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Dr Maher takes the reasoned historical-theological view that Ahmadis are not real Muslims, but a cult; and that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was not a prophet, but a heretic.

Quite why this merits a formal investigation by King’s College London is something of a mystery – until, that is, you grasp that the Ahmadiyya are aggrieved by the slur that they are not sufficiently Islamic to be real Muslims; a grievous ‘offence’ perpetuated by the Muslim Council of Britain, no less:

The Muslim Council of Britain reflects the clear theological position expressed across Islamic traditions: namely that the cornerstone of Islam is to believe in One God and in the finality of the prophethood of the Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him. We understand that this is not a tenet subscribed to by the Ahmadi community. The MCB Constitution requires our affiliates to declare that Messenger Muhammad peace be upon him is the final prophet and whoever does not subscribe to that declaration cannot be eligible for affiliation with the MCB. Given this fundamental theological difference with the Ahmadi community, the MCB is not in a position to represent or be represented by the Ahmadi community.

Despite our clear theological beliefs, we note that pressure is mounting to describe this community as Muslim. Muslims should not be forced to class Ahmadis as Muslims if they do not wish to do so, at the same time, we call on Muslims to be sensitive, and above all, respect all people irrespective of belief or background.

Such bigotry, religious intolerance and petty-fogging dogmatism leads directly to ‘hate crime’, as we have seen time and again.

But if the repudiation of heretical Islamic religious doctrine may no longer be made by respected theologians and other academics, by what rationale may faculties of religion and theology assert that the traditional teachings of the Church Fathers must be taken as fundamental Christian orthodoxy? Surely we may not be so ‘racist’ as to assert that it’s only the more robust Sunni Muslims who are stabbing limp-witted Ahmadis in the head; that your average Methodist or Quaker isn’t about to take a 200-mile trip in an Uber taxi just to stick a knife into a purveyor of the Watchtower? But isn’t a leitmotif of Islamophobia precisely that your average Sunni Muslim isn’t likely to that, either?

If Dr Shiraz Maher is to be racked by the King’s College London inquisition for believing and expressing that Ahmadis are not ‘proper’ Muslims, then all orthodox Christians in academia must beware, for Jehovah’s Witnesses and Millennial Dawnists have been seeking the means of optimal inculcation since the ‘Disappointment of 1844’. If Dr Maher may not express the view that Islamic orthodoxy hinges on the finality of the prophethood of Mohammed, then by what rationale may any university lecturer insist that Charles Taze Russell was a heretic; or that Christianity hinges on the belief that the incarnate Jesus was ‘of one substance’ with the Father; fully God and fully man?

No, we must be tolerant and inclusive of the belief that Jesus attained his divine nature at the age of 30, when he was baptised; and that he is no longer a human being and so will not return as a man; and that he did not rise from the dead, but his body dissolved into gasses and was supernaturally removed from the tomb. The ‘orthodox’ teachings on the Trinity, Incarnation, Resurrection, Atonement, Christology and Parousia do not matter. If Ahmadis are real Muslims, then Jehovah’s Witnesses must be real Christians. Gainsay in the university ‘safe space’ at your peril.

  • Ian G

    Perfectly correct. The real issue is why do some Muslims kill some Ahmadis but no Christian has killed a JW -to my knowledge. We are being not not to think but to react solely on the basis of emotion.

    • If we deftly leave aside anti-Jewish pogroms, forced conversions of Animists (Pagans), witch and heretic persecutions and inter-Christian religious wars, perhaps. But the JW were not around for that long and were only noticed in 30s when their numbers grew. And even in secularized Christian societies they experienced (and still do), an inordinate amount of hostility, so much so that they consider themselves as the most persecuted religion in the 20th century.

      • Anton

        They will experience genuine persecution when they try to export JWism to Saudi Arabia, Iran and North Korea. Until then they are just whining.

        • To borrow a line from the Clinton clan, define “genuine.” Obviously you’re talking about severity.

          JW were subject ro severe violent rioting in the 40s, in the US and elsewhere, and are still banned in about 20 countries.

          • Anton

            I didn’t use the word “real” but am happy to change what I wrote to “serious persecution”. I didn’t know that and I would be glad of information, but I reckon that what happened to committed Christians (all denominations) under Stalin, Mao Hitler and in Pakistan exceeds anything that happened to the JWs in North America, taken over the entire 20th century.

          • Yes, I noticed my error right away and corrected. Anyhow, what makes the JW case unique is that there were routinely persecuted, physically by mobs and authorities and banned, even as other religions received civil rights. Here’s a fairly balanced article from a secular, human rights perspective:

            http://www.freeminds.org/history/conflicts.htm

            I didn’t know about the cruel treatment their received here, in Canada, under the War Measures Act, including jailings of entire families, separation of children from oarents, prohibition of assembly and even prison camps.

          • Anton

            It seems that in the USA they ran into trouble for refusing to salute the flag during WW2. There is a category issue here: they would call this religious persecution whereas I’d call it political.

          • Yes, that was the most frequent stated reason for their persecution in many of the cases. But not all religious pacifist groups which rejected the state and its institutions were treated the same way. And, if you look at the riots…pogroms, really…against them in the 40s, they were conducted by church groups, Protestant and Catholic, with clearly manifested theological rationales behind them.

            Persecutions of JW always involved bans on their membership and assembly and publication of their religious tracts. In the article you will also note that in the US (and to some extent to Canada), the issue of this singling out and persecution of JWs is responsible for most of the freedom of religion legislation we all benefit by, as they won most of the cases in the higher courts. So, yes, while rejection of the state and its aparatus was an issue, that rejection was theologically based (that all states and institutions are Satanic) and the courts acknowledged that conviction as an issue of religious conscience.

          • Anton

            Some of the court cases were about mobs who attacked them and I have no sympathy with such attacks. But in regard to what went on during a world war, I’ve little sympathy with people who get a hard time for refusing to salute the flag. A war is a time of national emergency.

            They should of course be free during peacetime to behave like that, and attacks on them are deplorable at any time, but their main speakers seem to have gone out of their way to ask for trouble, then complained when they got it during a time of war.

          • Hm, I can understand reasonable penalties or at least temporary suspension of some rights to pacifists, but forced saluting of flags? Such extreme secular jingoism doesn’t sit well with me in peace or war. It’s not like they were showing contempt for their country specifically; it was their strict definition of idolatry which may be extteme for us, but still just within Judeo-Christian logic. And once you make such demands during times of war, good luck dropping them later.

          • Anton

            I don’t call it a matter of Judaeo-Christian logic, or JW faith. I too think it is daft to enforce flag-saluting, but also daft to refuse when there is a war on. I regard it as a political matter and if they see it as religious then I differ from them. Most emergency measures were lifted reasonably soon after.

        • CliveM

          They where badly persecuted by the Nazis and many died in the camps.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_in_Nazi_Germany

          • Anton

            I didn’t know that and am corrected; thank you.

          • The only other religious group aside from Jews to be totally banned, hunted down to every single member and slated for destruction.

          • CliveM

            They at least had the option to renounce. Also during the last years of the war almost none were gassed. They were persecuted, some died, but the Nazis didn’t actually try to destroy them as they did with the Jews. At least according to Wikipedia.

          • True. The difference being that they were ethnic “Aryans” and could be “reformed.”

          • CliveM

            What would have happened to them if the war had been won is debatable, but with their usefulness ended I suspect things would have got worse.

          • Given their history, most would have hung on stubbornly to death…as many did in Malawi recently…but I imagine their children would have been taken away for “reprogramming,” since they were mostly ethnic Germans and Poles.

          • CliveM

            True. There is something melancholy about reviewing mans inhumanity. You do wonder how God puts up with us at all.

          • I wonder at times too and about the created conditions which allow for such, but this close to Passover, I’ll hold my peace.

          • CliveM

            Have a good Passover when it comes Avi.

          • Thank you! This Friday, before Sundown.

      • Ian G

        When the Christian persecutes he or she steps away from Christ. It is not His way and the believing Church has learned that lesson The hostility most JWs face is a door shut in their faces when they come knocking – yet again, or the legal consequences of denying a blood transfusion to a dying child. The established facts are that in the 20th/21st Century Jews and Christians face the same enemy. Christianity is the most persecuted religion on earth and Israel the most hated nation.

        • That is the case in the West now, after a substantial battle for religious freedom in the courts, but the history of JW persecutions in the 20th century is rather substantial and surprisingly brutal. This is an eye-opener article, a brief history of these persecutions, which I also cited for Anton below:

          http://www.freeminds.org/history/conflicts.htm

  • Uncle Brian

    … their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was not a prophet, but a heretic.

    Just like Mohammed, then

    • Hmm. Can a founder of a new and distinctly different religion, and its first member, be a heretic? At most, M was an apostate from the perspective of his tribal Pagan religion.

      • Pubcrawler

        Well if this new religion is a cobbled-together and half-backed mishmash of, shall we say, rather non-mainstream elements of existing religions, seasoned with the occasional convenient revelation, and its founder proclaims the ensuing hotchpotch to be the true version of those religions, I think such a charge can be brought.

        • See my reply to Brian on the syncretism and the subjectivity thing. I should say, though, that it’s the first time I’ve come across a Christian argument that Islam is a heresy. I do understand the rationale, of course, but I thought some sort of a formal, organization-level declaration is required.

          In the case of Judaism, Christianity was deemed a Pagan heresy…as long as it was safe to do so. When the Jewish centre shifted to Christendom, the rabbinic courts composed an unusual relativistic theological solution: Trinitarianism notwithstanding, Christianity was given the status of a non-Pagan monotheistic religion, but Jews who converted willingly became both Pagans and heretics in religious classification.

          • CliveM

            Of course Judaism and Christianity are both seen as heresies by Islam. With both having corrupted the pure faith.

          • Of course! It’s a sport we can all indulge in.

          • Findaráto

            Heresy is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a crime of non-conformity and as such has very little to do with religion and a great deal more to do with temporal power.

            Label someone a heretic and you’re really calling him a threat. Prosecuting heretics was merely a way of protecting one’s own interests by making the threat go away. Preferably by killing it.

            Christianity led the way in murdering heretics. Now Islam does the same, and Christians bleat about it! How was the Zaventem bombing any different from the fires of Smithfield, the French Bartholomew’s Day massacre or a Spanish auto da fe?

            Christianity has just as much blood on its hands as Islam. But Christians ignore that and criticise Muslims for doing what their own Churches did, and would no doubt still do if the civil authorities hadn’t wised up to the pathological nature of the personalities that run them and deprived them of the power to do more harm.

          • Pubcrawler

            ” syncretism and the subjectivity”

            Yes, I agree, it depends on whether one has to be a ‘splitter’ to be a proper heretic.

            “I should say, though, that it’s the first time I’ve come across a Christian argument that Islam is a heresy.”

            That doesn’t surprise me: in these multi-culti ‘we’re all People of the Book and it’s all the same God really and please don’t upset them’ times it probably doesn’t get much of an airing, but it goes back to St John of Damascus (died 749) at least. If you have the inclination, you can read it here:

            http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/stjohn_islam.aspx

          • What I meant with my surorise over the heresy charge is that I wasn’t aware of a time when Christianity treated Judaism and Islam as heresies. They were unbelievers and eternally damned sinners and as such were treated either with cold tolerance or legal and social disadvantages and periodic outburst, while heretics and witches were deemed as separate categories and at times with great severity whike Jews and Muslims were unmolested.

            Some of the theologians, especially those in the East …the turbulent “ground zero” of Islamic expansion in the midst of Christian and Zoroastrian communities… may have held differently, but Church law was clear on the definition of heresy as an internal, inter-Christian problem.

            It seems to me that no matter how much Islam has borrowed from Judaism, Christianity and other neighbouring religions, it’s too disconnected and far-out theologically from any of them to be judged as an internal issue of heresy.

          • Pubcrawler

            I agree that it’s not a proper internal heresy, but it embraces Christology that had already been declared heretical. Whether that outweighs its pagan (some might even say demonic) origins and makes Islam itself heretical is moot, and I have no particular opinion. I was just observing, in answer to your question, that a case could be made, and has been from time to time since the emergence of Islam.

          • …it embraces Christology that had already been declared heretical.

            I didn’t know this, but it doesn’t surprise me. Islam made a ludicrous hash of Jewish scripture, to the point where one wonders whether some 7th century Jewish wags weren’t putting Mohammed on for the sheer joy of it. This begs the question, though, whether what you think is an adoption of a Christian heresy or just another far-out misinterpretation.

          • Pubcrawler

            “adoption of a Christian heresy or just another far-out misinterpretation”

            A bit of both, I think: a garbled version of the Arian heresy that he learnt from conversing with a monk (as reported by John of Damascus):

            “This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk,* devised his own heresy.”

            * This may be the Nestorian monk Bahira (George or Sergius) who met the boy Mohammed at Bostra in Syria and claimed to recognize in him the sign of a prophet.

          • It’s not often that humour, especially the dry and wry sort, carries through to our own times and languages, but the first citation made me laugh.

      • Uncle Brian

        Avi, it’s an allusion to something Belloc wrote in The Great Heresies:

        Mohammedanism was a heresy: that is the essential point to grasp before going any further. It began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. It vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was – not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing. It differed from most (not from all) heresies in this, that it did not arise within the bounds of the Christian Church. The chief heresiarch, Mohammed himself, was not, like most heresiarchs, a man of Catholic birth and doctrine to begin with. He sprang from pagans. But that which he taught was in the main Catholic doctrine, oversimplified. It was the great Catholic world – on the frontiers of which he lived, whose influence was all around him and whose territories he had known by travel – which inspired his convictions. He came of, and mixed with, the degraded idolaters of the Arabian wilderness, the conquest of which had never seemed worth the Romans’ while.

        https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Great_Heresies/Chapter_III

        In Dante’s Inferno Mohammed is punished as a schismatic:

        http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_muslimbrotherhood10e.htm

        On a different subject, if I may, Avi, for a moment: Is it true about “Czechia”? Is that what they now want their country to be called in English? It doesn’t sound right, somehow.

        • Of course, there can be no final definition, since to a large extent, heresy in the eye of the beholder. Still, it’s typically used to denote a splinter group which separates doctrinally from its parent group. In Islam’s case you have a formerly pagan messianic claimant who cobbles together a new religious concoction from the doctrines of two minorities in the Pagan Arabic peninsula; Judaism and Christianity. I would call that syncretism, and all major religions are to at least some extent syncretisic. Even mine…and let’s not get into yours 🙂

          Yes, it’s official. Czechia. Sounds normal to my ears, as it’s the word in most Slavic languages (pronounced Chekhia), but it does sound odd in English. For a while it looked like Czeska was going to be it (from Ceska Republika/Czech Republic). I miss the old Ceskoslovensko/Chechoslovakia…it twisted up a lot of Anglo tongues in my time to my great amusement.

          • Uncle Brian

            … and let’s not get into yours 🙂

            Sound advice, Avi, which I will follow willingly.

        • Anton

          Belloc is a little out of date now. A few brave scholars are now examining 7th century Arabia from original documents, from its interactions with other cultures, and without Islamic presuppositions. The results are interesting.

  • Martin

    Surely the point is that they are entitled to say they are not real Moslems but not entitled to go around killing them. In the same way, I’m entitled to use the Bible to distinguish between true and false Christians but not to kill those who are false, as other have done in the past.

    • The Explorer

      We’re not supposed to kill those who leave the Faith. But Muslims should kill apostate Muslims. Interesting if we do get parallel sharia law as Rowan Williams suggested. What is murder under one legal system would not be murder under another.

      • Still, what makes a killing into a murder is the absence of a legislative process. I’m not sure mainstream Muslim canon law allows an individual to kill an apostate on his own.

        • Ivan M

          It’s.the outlaw theory, Avi. An Ahmedi is by definition an heretic. He is part of the walking dead as far as hardline Sunni theology is concerned. They don’t usually act on it, but if it happens it is not blameworthy.

          • Yes, I understand the theology part, Ivan, but the question is whether Islamic law prevents or sanctions an indivindual Muslim from defining, judging and executing without a legal process involving contemporary authorities.

          • Ivan M

            I see. I misunderstood. The legal end is as you say not at all clear.

      • Martin

        TE

        The difference between the two religions is that no one can be enticed to become a Christian, it is a work of God, but anyone can so become a Moslem.

        The law of our land was long ago based on Christian belief, those lands where Islam holds sway base theirs on Qur’an. It seems we must abandon justice for mediaeval power mongering.

  • Dreadnaught

    When a host country becomes intimidated by an alien culture the only answer is to terminate the relationship with hard nosed rejection.

  • Stephen Wigmore

    Of course the fellow should not be punished for expressing his view about who is not a Muslim. But he’s also wrong. We need to keep distinct descriptive and normative claims. To any outside observer Ahmadis and JW’s are Muslims and Christians respectively. They share an overwhelming resemblance to other members of their faith, albeit out on the margins.

    Normatively we might want to say they are incorrect Muslims or incorrect Christians, or in the old terms heretical Muslims and heretical Christians, but in a perfectly good, ordinary descriptive sense they are still examples of those religions.

    • Anton

      JWs do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth is divine in the sense that the universal Creator is. Do you consider that this belief is a necessary part of the definition of a Christian? I do, and so I ask you – courteously – why you do not.

      • CliveM

        Who is he to say? Where lies his authority? What defines ‘overwhelming resemblance ‘?

        • pobjoy

          There is but one source for the definition of Christian that makes any coherent sense; it is the 66 books known as the Bible, that are utterly predicated upon the notion of a christ, from first page to last. The basis of that notion is that there is only one perfect being, and that only the sacrifice of a perfect being can atone for sins.

    • carl jacobs

      The grestest offense I ever gave to a Mormon was when I said he wasn’t a Christian. But he isn’t of course. Mormons are polytheistic pagans. The Christian and Mormon only share an outer veneer of symbols and words that have no common inner meaning. What looks common to the outside world is in fact an illusion. Classification must take account of this difference. Otherwise we privilege a social classification that treats religion not as a metaphysical but as a cultural phenomenon.

  • pobjoy

    Close to, the noise of crackling will be deafening. The heat will warm the hands of vagrant demons. Any who say that a Christian is a member of a particular organisation had better be made of asbestos.

    • bluedog

      Ceramic tiles are all one needs, trust me.

  • CliveM

    Of course in matters of faith people should be allowed to argue and defend their belief as what constitutes a ‘true’ Muslim or whatever.
    What do the University authorities think they are policing here? Who are they to decide?
    That said, at the very least the timing was crass.

    • Anton

      I must say, I am not inclined to defend him from the King’s College authorities with the words “Je suis Shiraz Maher”.

  • sir_graphus

    The key point seems to me not whether Ahmadis are proper Muslims, but so many mainstream Muslims seem to think it acceptable to kill an Ahmadi for not being a “proper” Muslim, and that a not so tiny minority will actually commit the crime.

    • pobjoy

      There is no such thing as a Muslim. There are people willing, or unwilling to speak as Isaac Watts did:

      ‘When I survey the wondrous cross
      on which the Prince of glory died,
      my richest gain I count but loss,
      and pour contempt on all my pride.

      Love so amazing, so divine,
      demands my soul, my life, my all.’

      • IanCad

        How could this saintly man, who wrote such divine words then go on to write such horrible verses as these:
        No; that would be diverting the thread; another time, another topic.

        • pobjoy

          How are these words horrible?

          ‘Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
          Save in the death of Christ my God!
          All the vain things that charm me most,
          I sacrifice them to His blood.’

          That’s taken largely from Paul’s declaration of his own faith.

          ‘See from His head, His hands, His feet,
          Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
          Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
          Or thorns compose so rich a crown?’

          It’s a rhetorical question, surely.

          ‘Were the whole realm of nature mine,
          That were a present far too small’

          Horrible? Or based on Jesus’ comment that the whole world would not be worth trading for one’s soul?

          • IanCad

            No pobjoy, I was not referring to the later verses of the subject hymn; which, along with Samuel Stone’s “The Church Has One Foundation” is one of my two favourites in the hymnal.

          • pobjoy

            Then I know not of which verses you wrote.

        • Uncle Brian

          Isaac Watts is the poet we have to thank for supplying the raw material for some of Lewis Carroll’s parodies. One example among several found in the Alice books:

          ‘Tis the voice of the sluggard, I heard him complain,
          “You have waked me too soon, I must slumber again.”

          … which Carroll turned into:

          ’Tis the voice of the lobster, I heard him declare,
          “You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.”

          Apart from his invaluable contributions to our enjoyment of nonsense verse, does old Isaac deserve to be remembered for anything else he wrote? Probably not.

  • Findaráto

    His body dissolved into gases and was supernaturally removed from the tomb?

    So he wasn’t beamed up by Scotty then? And he didn’t jaunt away like the Tomorrow Person he undoubtedly was? Or maybe he wiggled his nose like Samantha Stevens, or folded his arms and nodded his head like Jeannie … no, he dissolved into gases which were somehow supernaturally removed from the tomb.

    How exactly? Was his tomb equipped with an extractor fan? Or some kind of absorbant material that fixed the gas, like silica gel? An angel or a dove could then have swooped down to collect it and transport it back up to heaven, where it could have been wrung out into a Jesus shaped mould and left to set. Perhaps this is why the apostles didn’t recognise him at first when he came back. He wasn’t properly dry yet, so his nose may have run…

    It doesn’t get much more ridiculous, does it? Are there Christian sects who believe that Jesus was buried with Harry Potter’s invisbility cloak? Or that he was the same race of alien as Maia in Space 1999 and transformed himself into a small insect to creep out of the tomb unobserved? Either explanation would be as plausible as supernaturally transported gases, and much more entertaining. I could get on board with the Church of Space 1999. Martin Landau as a brooding Joseph. Barbara Bain as a stony faced Virgin Mary … our would she be Elizabeth to a willowy Anouska Hempel’s Mary? 70s chic with all those flares and all that clingy polyester. Heaven!

    • Anton

      I hope you wasted a lot of time writing that!

      • Pubcrawler

        I hope you didn’t waste a lot reading it!

      • Findaráto

        A waste of time? Pointing out that your fictitious god is about as credible as a 70s schlock science fiction TV series with its cheesy special effects?

        I don’t think so. Anything that helps the poor sods who might look at these pages remember that you’re all suffering from a collective delusion and are in fact no different to sad Trekkies or even Scientologists has to be a good thing.

        Dressing up delusion as sage reflections on current affairs doesn’t change or ameliorate the delusion one bit. Neither does it make it come true. Moonbase Alpha was a figment of the overactive imagination of some 70s screenwriter and the Bible is the Iron Age equivalent.

        When I’m bored with you I pop over to a Scientologist site where you can learn all about the evil Emperor Xenu and how he transported those who opposed him to Earth in spaceships that looked just like Douglas DC8s and then killed them all in volcanoes. Apparently we’re just mindess apes and our spirits are actually the ghosts of those victims. An unlikely story, of course. But no more unlikely than a story about a corpse being magically transformed into gas and hoovered up to heaven, resolidified and then sent back to save us.

        Save us from what? The kind of gullible idiot who believes such ridiculous fairy stories? Perhaps the Bible is just code for “whosoever shall believe this nonsense deserves everything he gets…”

        • Anton

          You must spend a lot of time at that Scientology site…

          • Pubcrawler

            Not enough.

          • Findaráto

            Scientologists are good for a laugh, although for po-faced outrage when you poke fun at their silly stories about instantaneous corpse evaporation, resolidification and reanimation, it’s hard to beat a Christian.

            Otherwise seemingly rational individuals are revealed to be superstitious, credulous children who pin their hopes on a Big Daddy in the sky who’ll come and make the lives they’ve so comprehensively ballsed up all better, or failing that, promises them a sort of drugged up bliss after they die. If only they’ll love and obey him now, they’ll be able to score an eternal supply of divine crystal meth. God as Walter White. What a vision!

        • Albert

          Pointing out that your fictitious god is about as credible as a 70s schlock science fiction TV series with its cheesy special effects?

          Even setting aside the use of the word “fictitious”, this statement is demonstrably false.

          • Findaráto

            Go ahead then, demonstrate away! This should be good…

            Shall I save you the time? You say God exists because he must, he must, he weeeeally must, otherwise what’s the point and we might as well all give up now?

            Go on then. Give up. I won’t though. It’s a beautiful day today and I have lots of fascinating and interesting things to do. So I think I’ll postpone topping myself for another day when I’m at a loose end. Which may take some time. There’s so much to do and see, you see…

          • Albert

            I would typically defend the following arguments, with varying degrees of confidence:
            Kalam
            Ways 1-3 & 5 and variants.
            Fine tuning
            Versions of the moral argument

        • chiefofsinners

          I do feel that we have been ungrateful. None of us has ever thanked Ratty for the effort he invests in our spiritual welfare, the compassion and the winsome tone of his entreaties. Yet he loves us enough to be patient, to suffer insults and to continue his attempts to open our eyes. What could motivate such tenacity? Nothing of this earth, surely.

          • Findaráto

            Sorry to disabuse you of your fond notions, but I have no intention of helping anyone who regularly comments on this blog to see the light of secular reason. You’ve made your choices and have chosen religious obscurantism and superstitious nonsense. So be it. Your choices are yours.

            It’s the lurkers who interest me. If they’re not ranting about their imaginary god as convinced Christians are wont to do, that probably means they’re undecided and few well-chosen arguments will make them realise just how ridiculous all this religious nonsense really is.

            So go ahead and drown in the sea of crazy you’ve decided to swim in. You’re beyond all human aid and assistance anyway. It’s those who might be foolish enough to be dipping their toes in the water that interest me. If I can persuade them to pull back, I’ll have performed a useful public service. One less religious obsessive makes society just that little bit better for everyone.

          • chiefofsinners

            How very public spirited of you. What motivates you to care about these people you will never meet?

    • chiefofsinners

      I wonder what happened to Linus?

      • William Lewis

        Dissolved in his own acid?

        • bluedog

          Resolidified as Findus.

      • dannybhoy

        No. You don’t.
        Dogs let sleeping lie..

    • dannybhoy

      Say it was an alien…..
      But it wasn’t.
      It was the God of all creation demonstrating once and for all His love for mankind

      • Findaráto

        Prove it. If you can’t, it’s just an unsubstantiated claim made all the more ridiculous by the sheer improbability of anything like that ever happening.

        • dannybhoy

          “…by the sheer improbability of anything like that ever happening.”
          Sez you.
          But what if someone had told you that what appears to be solid isn’t solid, but rather atoms whirling around at fantastic speeds….
          Or that e = mc2..?
          Or that there is no apparent end to the universe?
          Christians believe that God is self existent, outside of time, aware of everything that is going on in the universe He created (like maybe we exist in in His mind, and we think what we understand is all there is, but He knows different…?)
          I can’t prove it, any more than you can prove you pov.
          But my little old pooh brain tells me that if indeed there is a God, a Supreme being, I can never really comprehend Him.
          I have to trust what He reveals of Himself to me..
          And that’s where I’m at. I trust God because what He says about Himself and His character makes more sense than anything else I have ever heard from anyone.

  • john in cheshire

    I agree that every individual has the right to their own views and the right to express them, even when they are distasteful and/ or distressing. What I find amusing is this more like the pot calling the kettle black. Just because a larger muslim group think that a smaller muslim group are not proper muslims, doesn’t mean that the larger muslim group is any less a cult.

  • Sigfridiii

    All sorts of cults claim to be “Christian” or claim the symbolism of the Cross for their organisations, but if they do not accept the central tenets of the Christian faith, spelled out in the historic Creeds, then they are not Christians. Fortunately Christians do not go around bombing their places of worship or murdering them in cold blood. On the whole the Church is very polite about JWs, Mormons, Quakers, etc. This is the difference between the Christian faith and a certain other cult which makes it dangerous for its own official teachers to denounce people as apostates – since there is every likelihood that someone will treat those apostates accordingly.

    • Anton

      “On the whole the Church is very polite about JWs, Mormons, Quakers, etc. This is the difference between the Christian faith and…”

      Historically, the illegitimate marrriage of Christianity and politics has led to intolerance of heretics very nearly as bad as that which you speak of.

      • Sigfridiii

        The Church (at least in England) has long been separated from any influence within the State. At the heart of the Church’s teaching is the commandment to love thy neighbour as thyself. Not an injunction to be found in the death cult which is busily bombing its own adherents as well as everyone else.

  • chiefofsinners

    And so, we welcome the Inspector General to the fold of Christian orthodoxy. The poor man will be devastated.

    • carl jacobs

      Ummm … Roman Catholic orthodoxy. Let’s not draw too wide a net.

  • carl jacobs

    This is all about the control of definitions. Why are the Ahmadi aggrieved? Because this academic is applying a theological framework that places them outside the camp. They are trying force the Academic to apply a contextually sensitive theological framework. In other words, they want him to assume the truth of Ahmadi doctrine when he talks about the Ahmadi.

    • Anton

      The heat in this debate is in Pakistan, rather than the UK, where Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims a few decades ago and it has led to clashes.

  • preacher

    To me, this simply highlights the difference between the beliefs & actions of different faiths which makes a universal religion impossible.
    Dr Shiraz Maher is entitled to his opinion. One would have hoped for a little more sensitivity on timing, if indeed their was any real need to express an opinion at all !

    We all have freewill & must be prepared to accept some flack for our beliefs from those that criticise & disagree.

    I understand the Bahai’s have also suffered the same discrimination & attacks.

    When men seek to judge as God. A Pandora’s box is opened that can not be closed, & evil will come out to blight many lives.

  • carl jacobs

    Archbishop Cranmer

    As an aside, what happened to TGI Monday?

    • Anton

      I think you’ve been away for a few days, Carl; during that time Cranmer offered the regulars here a vote on whether to prefer TGIMonday or a weekly contribution by one of the commenters named “Mrs Proudie of Barchester”, which would provide a weekly summary of the news in a somewhat Trollopian manner. Voting was for the latter and you can see the first result two threads earlier.

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, I saw that. I was wondering rather why TGIMonday got the axe. There wasn’t any necessary reason why Mrs Proudie and TGIMonday should be competed against each other.

        • sarky

          I think they probably ran out of cake and wool.

          • IanCad

            Also tends to curb Findarato’s venom.

          • chiefofsinners

            I suspect it is intended as a forum for the more light hearted, even facetious, communicants to get it out of their systems. Thus leaving the serious commentation to high-brows such as I.

          • The Explorer

            Yes. He must be very disappointed. But he’s probably visiting their Facebook community instead.

          • Findaráto

            So I can add the Fatuous Four’s scalps to my collection, can I?

            Well done me!

            So who’s next? That Proudie termagant with her dishwater prose and hobnob fixation? Hardly worth the effort. Yawn!

            If this is the best Anglicanism can do, even the most optimistic predictions of its demise have been wildly underestimated. At this rate Lambeth Palace will be redeveloped into bachelor pads and an underground sex club before the decade is out.

            What shall we call it? “The Rack” maybe? Welby could sell tickets on the door in a leather mitre and suitably redesigned crozier, and once inside there could be strategically placed confessionals, altars and dungeons in every dark nook and cranny.

            Hmmm, I smell a large profit! Now who should I start talking to so that when the building comes on the market, I get first dibs? Boris, maybe? Now there’s a good idea! He’d probably even stump up some of the readies to get the project off the ground.

      • IanCad

        Really Anton there was no vote. At least not in the conventional sense.
        No choice was offered – just the invitation to register approval for Mrs P without the opportunity to do likewise for TGI.

        • Anton

          Ah, I clearly don’t understand how the upvotes and downvotes work.

          • IanCad

            Me neither! What use that down arrow is for, is beyond me.
            I will restate my preference: Give TGI thirty minutes and Mrs Proudie a weekly slot also.
            HG has been doing this for ten years with the aid of but few junior rankers. One tremendous achievement. This is not just an agony aunt blog.

          • CliveM

            I believe that the down arrow was disabled by disqus, so why they don’t remove it I don’t know.

          • carl jacobs

            I use it to remove an accidental upvote of myself. You can also revoke an upvote if you so choose.

          • CliveM

            I just tap on the upvote again. It seems to remove it in both instances. However whatever works!

          • You can also remove your up vote by clicking again on the up arrow. Perhaps that’s what you meant with your second sentence…American is still hard for me to decipher and you’re still struggling with English.

          • dannybhoy

            Right on!
            I may have my reservations about how it’s presented but I think it has real value on Archbishop Cranmer. I am more than pleased to see the return of Mrs. Proudie, but I don’t see why ot should be one or the other…

          • CliveM

            You’re late to this parade!

          • dannybhoy

            Right, but what I did was rearrange the order of comments because I noticed there were a few long threads going on that I (sobs) had no knowledge or part in…
            I really don’t see why we can’t have both (figuratively speaking) Mrs. Proudie and the TGI team..

      • dannybhoy

        Oh Oh Oh!
        I don’t remember that!
        I submitted a question to them, and seeing as you wouldn’t deal with my question to you, I feel you owe us….
        :0)

        • Anton

          I’m getting confused; my comment led to replies explaining how upticks and downticks work (not very well), all of which I hope you read before writing the above; but I’m not sure who you are now addressing – me or Carl or Cranmer or Another. If me, do say which question I’ve failed to reply to. I’ve not knowingly ducked any question from you.

          • dannybhoy

            Indeed you haven’t Anton. You are the kindest of souls.
            See my response to our mutual friend and brother Clive.
            (Incidentally you should really consider getting a copy of Robert Hutchinson’s “Searching for Jesus.”
            The man is a Catholic and like myself spent some years in Israel, learnt the language etc.
            He is far more eddicated than myself, and has written a scholarly and informative book that any keen Christian should have in their library.
            In Christ Jesus,
            Danny.

          • Anton

            Sounds good stuff. For archaeology that backs up scripture I recommend Garth Gilmour (a reputable archaeologist), and for textual analysis of the gospels, Josh McDowell and also much work by the Jerusalem school of Messianic Jews.

    • Negative (even hostile) reception by many communicants and poor viewing figures (compared to regular Monday posts) persuaded them to focus on building their Facebook community instead.

      • carl jacobs

        Unfortunate.

        • sarky

          Sounds like they bottled it to me. Rome wasn’t built in a day!! Sounds so typical of the church, things get a bit tough so you just give up.

          • William Lewis

            Why do you constantly have to … oh I can’t be bothered.

          • sarky

            Very good!

          • dannybhoy

            Yes Sarks,
            and we all know where you think you’re coming from, don’t we..

  • Albert

    As a Catholic, I am sometimes told by Protestants that I am not a Christian. I think them ignorant and absurd to say this. But I defend their right to say this without some kind of disciplinary response.

    • sarky

      Catholics are Christians???

      • The Explorer

        Christians, so secularists and theological liberals tell us, are those who try to lead a good life. Atheists are Christians. Buddhists are Christians. They’d say Muslims were Christians if they weren’t afraid of the Muslims killing them in reprisal. Satanists are Christians if they’ve tried to be consistently bad. That shows loyalty, and loyalty is a good thing. So Satanists are secretly good.

        • They’d say Muslims were Christians if they weren’t afraid of the Muslims killing them in reprisal.

          Bwahahahahaha!

      • Albert

        Apparently, we’re Muslims – according to one (admittedly wacky) Protestant poster!

      • pobjoy

        Anyone who goes to Mass sacrifice cannot be ‘in Christ’.

    • carl jacobs

      The question turns on the weight given to the fact that Rome teaches an objectively false Gospel.

      • Albert

        Well we can all make comments like that mutatis mutandis.

        • carl jacobs

          But the question was “Why would a Protestant assert that a Catholic is not a Christian?” That’s why. A Roman Catholic would (and until very recently did) assert his own reasons for why a Protestant was not a Christian

          • Albert

            But the question was “Why would a Protestant assert that a Catholic is not a Christian?”

            No it wasn’t.

            That’s why.

            No, you said it was a “fact” that Rome teaches an objectively false Gospel. But this is not a fact, it is an opinion.

            A Roman Catholic would (and until very recently did) assert his own reasons for why a Protestant was not a Christian

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s true, at least not if your claim is that the Catholic is reflecting Catholic teaching. For us, a person becomes a Christian at baptism. Therefore, Protestants are Christians. This is also evident from the fact that Protestants have been called “heretics”. But to be a heretic, you first have to be a believer. Therefore, the Catholic Church did not teach that Protestants are not Christians

          • pobjoy

            Correct me if I’m wrong

            There are people alive today who can clearly recall being told by very stern men in black cassocks that they had no chance whatever of being saved, while they were Protestants. That was before Vatican 2, of course, and its forced admission, in the face of public opinion, that Protestants were Christians. Of course, Vatican 2 may have been called because of the looks of perfect equanimity on the faces of the anathematized.

            Though, in 2007, Herr Ratzinger attempted to reverse that volte face with another!

            “It is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to [Protestant communities], given that they do not accept the theological notion of the Church in the Catholic sense and that they lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church.”

          • Albert

            There are people alive today who can clearly recall being told by very stern men in black cassocks that they had no chance whatever of being saved, while they were Protestants. That was before Vatican 2, of course, and its forced admission, in the face of public opinion, that Protestants were Christians.

            This is very confused. Firstly, the idea that it is impossible for a non Catholic to be saved did not first come into Catholic teaching in Vatican II. You find it in Pius IX, for example and the Jesuits in particular had been teaching the idea quite explicitly for centuries. Secondly, in Catholicism, being a Christian is not the same thing as being saved. So your move from your false belief that Protestants are not saved to your conclusion that therefore they are not Christians is entirely false.

            “It is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to [Protestant communities], given that they do not accept the theological notion of the Church in the Catholic sense and that they lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church.”

            Again, you are confusion the concept of “Church” with the concept of “Christian”. You can be a Christian without your community being a Church in the Catholic sense.

            So this post, rests on several confusions, the concepts of salvation, Christian and Church, as well as an error of fact.

          • pobjoy

            This is very confused.

            It’s you that’s confused. For many centuries, ‘popes’ declared that there was no salvation beyond their aegis. That made sense. If it was true that God was eaten in the Mass, there could be ‘no life’ in those who did not eat at Mass.

            It was when people realised that this dogma was total nonsense that the Vatican realised it had to chase people, as populists, instead of beating them up, if they dared disagree, in the old way. That was at Vat 2.

            The crazy thing is, that when Catholics realised that the Proddies next door could stay in bed Sunday mornings, without damnation, while they trailed off on empty stomachs in freezing cold, they realised that they were right mugs.

            Some of us knew that would happen.

          • Albert

            For many centuries, ‘popes’ declared that there was no salvation beyond their aegis.

            Nothing I said denied that.

            If it was true that God was eaten in the Mass, there could be ‘no life’ in those who did not eat at Mass.

            So you think that the Catholic Church taught that a baptized baby who died without receiving communion, went to hell?

            It was when people realised that this dogma was total nonsense that the Vatican realised it had to chase people, as populists, instead of beating them up, if they dared disagree, in the old way. That was at Vat 2.

            So how do you explain Pius IX on this?

            The crazy thing is, that when Catholics realised that the Proddies next door could stay in bed Sunday mornings, without damnation, while they trailed off on empty stomachs in freezing cold, they realised that they were right mugs.

            I think, as so often with people who are presumably atheists, your condemnation of religion far exceeds your understanding of it.

          • pobjoy

            in Catholicism, being a Christian is not the same thing as being saved.

            Protestants were told that they could not be saved, even though they were baptised. The Vatican’s current catechism has it that all ‘properly baptised’ persons are ‘in Christ’.

            Go figure.

          • Albert

            Protestants were told that they could not be saved, even though they were baptised.

            Therefore, as I said, in Catholicism, being a Christian is not the same thing as being saved.

            Go and do some research.

          • pobjoy

            Find your spectacles.

          • Albert

            How exactly is that a reply? So far this evening, I must have found six or seven errors of fact in your posts.

          • Cressida de Nova

            In my religious education we were never told Protestants or any other religious denomination could not be saved.

          • pobjoy

            May I be so rude as to ask how long ago that was?

          • bluedog

            irrelevant.

          • carl jacobs

            No, it’s not.

          • bluedog

            Yes, it is. We know where CdeN stands, and that’s the position of what she describes as a cradle Catholic. Non-cradle Catholics enjoy subordinate status, as do Protestants. The time at which these views were absorbed doesn’t seem to be hugely important, unless you wish to benchmark them against shifts in Catholic dogma. What we see are very strong Catholic beliefs that are typical of a certain strata in French society.

          • carl jacobs

            Yea, it is the question, and you introduced it. You said:

            I am sometimes told by Protestants that I am not a Christian. I think them ignorant and absurd to say this

            So why then would a Protestant say this? Because Rome teaches an objectively false Gospel. Now, you will call this opinion – by which you mean “Divorced from the authority of the RCC.” Indeed you call it “ignorant” and absurd” precisely because to you Roman Catholicism is Christianity. But I renounce the RCC and all its works and all its ways. I care nothing for its authority. I am holding the RCC to a Scriptural standard and it falls far short.

            I don’t make statements about RCs but I will not compromise on the failings of Rome. The Reformation was not a big misunderstanding. The difference between Rome and Geneva is not cosmetic. It is essential. Those Protestants who would say otherwise are simply not well enough taught to know the difference.

          • Albert

            Yea, it is the question, and you introduced it.

            No. It’s a question you introduced having read my post.

            Now, you will call this opinion – by which you mean “Divorced from the authority of the RCC.”

            No. It is an opinion because it is not a fact – it is not a fact, even to many people who do not accept the authority of the Catholic Church (I was one).

            Indeed you call it “ignorant” and absurd” precisely because to you Roman Catholicism is Christianity.

            You really are losing your touch. Obviously, that isn’t true. I would have called it ignorant and absurd as an Anglican. Why? Because it was evident to me then, that as much as I rejected Catholicism, it was still Christian.

            I don’t make statements about RCs but I will not compromise on the failings of Rome. The Reformation was not a big misunderstanding. The difference between Rome and Geneva is not cosmetic. It is essential. Those Protestants who would say otherwise are simply not well enough taught to know the difference.

            So are you saying that I am not a Christian?

          • carl jacobs

            As I said “I don’t make statements about RCs.” But really I should be asking that question of you. I know what the RC teaches. It stinks of idolatry and corruption and death. I am condemned seventy times seven by the Council of Trent – or at least I would be if I wasn’t already condemned by EENS. And do you know what Jack says to me about this? He says I am “irremediably ignorant”. That’s his “Get out of Jail Free” card to avoid following Roman doctrine to its logical conclusion. By I am not ignorant. I hate what the RCC teaches and do so with open eyes. I reject the Pope and the Magisterium. I reject the Marian dogmas. I reject the sacramental system of justification. I call the Mass idolatry and the priest an idolator.

            So what say you of me? Am I condemned?

          • Albert

            Christ is the judge. You may well be damned Carl (as might I), but it is not the fact that you aren’t a Catholic that will damn you.

            So what say you of me? Am I condemned?

          • Not being a Catholic won’t help.

          • CliveM

            Who knows what you get up to in the safety and privacy of your home…….!!!!!!!!!

            But from what I see, I don’t think so.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You will have to get use to being hated for being a Catholic Albert. It is not upsetting at all when you consider the character of the person who is hating your religion.Au contraire it should reinforce your good judgement in leaving Protestantism behind. You are one of the lucky ones Albert.
            Who cares what he says of you…the poor guy is full of hate…
            spare him a prayer or two in his miserable existence.

          • Albert

            That you Cressida. I’m not worried by the being hated. I’m more perplexed that someone as intelligent and well-read as Carl may think that. But then again, since he has a blind spot about the Commandment Thou shalt do no murder, perhaps I should’t be so surprised.

          • carl jacobs

            I didn’t say anything about being Catholic. I listed defined dogmas that must be believed on penalty of anathema.

            And as I said, I refuse to make pronouncements on RCs. It is not a question I am capable of answering. I will say this. The Roman gospel cannot save. If I didn’t believe that, I would be Catholic.

          • Uncle Brian

            “The Roman gospel”, Carl? Outside the closed circle of people who use that jargon term, the phrase conveys no clear idea either about the Roman Church or about the Gospel. It serves merely as a label to identify the speaker as a member of a particular group.

            It’s a bit like the expression “bourgeois democracy”. When you read it or hear it, you know at once what kind of political tendency the speaker wishes to be recognized as a member of, but does it actually prompt you to stop and reconsider your views about the validity of the electoral process?

          • Invincibly ignorant, Carl.

          • William Lewis

            What does Carl have to do to climb out of this ignorant morass and make an informed decision?

          • bluedog

            Amazing. A few threads ago Carl and Albert were in loose union deflecting the atheist onslaught. Now they are brawling like kids in the kindergarten. Let’s hope Nogods and his crew of groupies and post-modern secularists are not watching.

          • carl jacobs

            The principle thing I told those atheists was “Be consistent.” My opponent quickly threw down some bravado and some bullshit and ran the other way. Why? Because he couldn’t face the implication of his inconsistency and he had to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible. But here’s the thing. I can’t tell them to be consistent unless I am willing to follow my own advice. Protestants have to be willing to face the implications of what they say.

            We claim the Reformation recovered the Gospel. Well, that has a very certain implication, and we need to own it. If we are going to claim that the Gospel was recovered from Rome, then we are asserting that Rome was teaching a false gospel. Else why would it need to be recovered? The gospel that Rome taught in 1540 is (with some significant deviations) essentially the same gospel that it teaches in 2016. Well, if it was false in 1540, then it is just as false today. We as protestants have to face that reality. People allowed themselves to be martyred for that reality. Are we going to say they died for nothing? Are we going to say they died for a secondary issue? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t die for the difference between Amillenialism and Premillenialism. Are we therefore going to deny that the Reformers had reason to separate from Rome in the first place? The falsehood of the Roman gospel is principle justification of the Reformation. If we are going to recant that position, then we need to place ourselves back under submission to Rome. If we won’t recant, then we need to face the implication of what we are saying.

            There are three marks of a true church: 1) True Gospel 2) True Sacraments 3) Church discipline. Rome falls at the first two rails. Clearly. It’s not even debatable for a Protestant. Rome teaches a false gospel. Rome does not possess true sacraments. We can’t just sweep that into the closet, and sing “kumbaya”. If we are going to claim the title, then we need to follow the implications all the way to the hard end of the road. We need to ask the question “What does it mean to say that Rome teaches a false gospel?” We have no problem asking that question about Mormons or JWs. Why do we flinch in the face of Rome? Because they are our allies in the fight against secularism? That isn’t good enough.

            Albert said that it was “ignorant and absurd” to question the Christianity of the RCC. No, it isn’t. It is unfaithful to the Gospel to refuse to ask that question. It is in truth one of the most important questions that Protestants face. And it’s time we had the courage to ask it. RCs certainly have no difficulty asking that question about us.

          • The Nicene Creed teaches us the true marks of the True Church of Christ.

            The True Church is ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC.

            Only the Roman Catholic Church can validly claim all four marks. It is the Roman Catholic Church which has always been and continues to be that Church which Jesus Himself established almost 2000 years ago.

          • bluedog

            Roman conceit.

          • One rather believes the conceit was on the side of the likes of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin.

          • William Lewis

            The RCC falls at the first post.

          • bluedog

            ‘Only the Roman Catholic Church can validly claim all four marks.’

            And having made that statement the RCC also announces its right to determine that every other Christian denomination is non-compliant. Humility fail.

          • bluedog

            An excellent post, Carl, and I must also congratulate both you and Albert for your exceptional performance in dealing with Nogods, most educational and very well done. It’s not so much Kumbaya as that deeply entrenched Anglican instinct for the via media. We know about Calvin, his teaching is in the XXXIX Articles and we know about Rome, whose bishop hath no jurisdiction. But culturally, and in the strictest confidence you understand, our liturgy and our practices are very Roman. So we can’t escape that part of our history and yet we do place great emphasis on the Gospel and we utterly reject the magisterium. However, we happily affirm our Christian belief in reciting the Nicaean Creed with its prayer for the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Somehow the edges are not so hard the way we do things.

            Who we are has a bearing on what we think and believe. Part of me is of French Huguenot descent. There is a large family tree that pointedly starts in 1685, written in English for the first time. At some point a family fled in fear of their lives after their King, Louis XIV tore up the Edict of Nantes. Consistent with the Auld Alliance, they went to Scotland. So the dangers of Roman intolerance are well remembered and understood. But on the other hand I have a great uncle who preceded His Grace. Where does the loyalty lie? Thank God for the via media.

          • carl jacobs

            There is no via media. It is an illusion. That was the whole point of my post. A man needs to choose – Geneva or Rome. There is no middle ground.

          • William Lewis

            I have no need to choose either. Nor has my God required it of me.

          • carl jacobs

            You can certainly reject them both. But the Via Media is a search for a middle way between “Faith plus Works” and “Faith Alone.” There is no middle way between those options. One precludes the other.

            At the most basic level the argument between Catholic & Protestant reduces to this question: “Is faith necessary for salvation or is faith sufficient?” There isn’t any way to fudge that question so it can be answered “They’re both right.”

          • William Lewis

            Indeed, on some individual issues there are clearly opposing views but I think there are truths and falsehoods present in all three movements. None is perfect. You have argued that two are fatally flawed but I think that you are positing a choice between the bondage of the will and the bondage of Rome and that seems a false dichotomy to me. The Gospel should set us free from all bondage.

            For me, the most important thing the Reformation gave us is the Gospel; the freedom to read it, teach it and live it for ourselves without enforced mediation. And yes men died for this and we should not forget.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not arguing the difference between Arminian and Calvinist. I’m arguing the difference between faith and works. Look at what you just said …

            the most important thing the Reformation gave us is the Gospel.

            Why did you need the Reformation to get the Gospel? Why didn’t Rome give it to you? Because Rome didn’t have it. What does it mean to say “Rome did not possess the Gospel?”

            This is the question from which so many flee.

          • William Lewis

            Understood.

          • bluedog

            And the winner is, ‘…..Canterbury!’

            Keeping one’s distance from Rome spares one the hierarchical sense of superior piety and authority that is the curse of Roman adherents. The Romans don’t do humility either.

            Important also to spare oneself the irreconcilable chasm between free will and predestination that destroys the credibility of Geneva. And the Calvinists absolutely do not do compromise, it’s a very narrow church not a broad church.

            Lutheranism could be very fashionable next year. Must do some reading.

          • carl jacobs

            Start with “Bondage of the Will.”

          • Uncle Brian

            There are not now, and never have been, any Protestants other than Calvinists. Is that really what you’re telling us, Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            No. In fact I haven’t mentioned Calvinism. I have used Geneva as a literary parallel with Rome. I use it to represent the Reformation.

          • Carl can do nothing without the intervention and assistance of the Holy Spirit.

          • William Lewis

            So our hope is that the Holy Spirit does not move, so that Carl remains invincibly ignorant and is saved?

          • Hah … Being invincibly ignorant does not mean one is saved. It means there is a chance one might not be condemned. Far better to be a member of the Church, hear the Gospel and access the Sacraments. Whilst salvation is not guaranteed, at least one is in the right place.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Make the sign of the Cross Jack…Carl is spewing hate everywhere. You should pray for him…he’s a sad guy !

          • There is no hate, only disagreement.

          • carl jacobs

            What did I write? Oh …

            Well, it’s the same concept.

          • ‘Invincibly ignorant’ of what?

          • That membership of the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation.

          • Jesus was also ‘invincibly ignorant’ of that ‘fact’.

          • dannybhoy

            You honestly believe that Jack?

          • IanCad

            I endorse your rejections Carl. As well, could add a few other observations such as the claim to be able to change times and laws.
            However, both Catholics and Protestants recite The Apostle’s Creed. Perhaps a little adjustment is made to on the part of Protestants to the meaning of the word “Catholic.” As well, among the various denominations, to the understanding of “The Communion of Saints.”
            Niggles aside, this glorious creed is a declaration by all of those who recite it, that they are wholly Christian.

          • bluedog

            Exactly, IanCad. Christ’s Church on Earth should be collegiate not hierarchical. We don’t need opposing parties staking out their claims of superior piety. Life’s too short.

          • CliveM

            Sage words bluedog, sage words.

            Why must we try to create enemies amongst those who should be our friends and division with those who are our neighbours?

            This raking up of old resentments is pointless.

          • dannybhoy

            Darn Right!
            Me and my Church of the Roly Hollers stay out of this kinda thing. It ends up with people saying things they don’t really mean and regret afterwards..

          • carl jacobs

            Liberals recite the Creed as well. Do you accept them simply because they recite it? The Creed is insufficient until the clauses of the Creed are given doctrinal content. People tend to do that implicitly. To serve then as a unifying device, the Creed must be given explicit definition. But when you try to do that, all these issues will re-emerge.

            You are in effect saying “Let’s unify around the words of the Creed and just assume each man’s understanding is orthodox – unless of course we know it isn’t.” That begs the question. Is Roman understanding orthodox?

            If you want to say “Yes” then you will have a hard time justifying the initial separation from Rome.

          • CliveM

            Carl

            But how correct does our understanding of doctrine have to be? Do we have to get it all right? Are errors not allowed?

            Can we talk about others being Christian brothers even though they come to different understandings?

          • carl jacobs

            That’s the right question, Clive. The answer is “We all have our imperfect knowledge.” And yet somehow we are able to discern that Mormons are outside the fold. How? We can understand with sufficiency that they reject the essentials. Now. Ask this question. Is “Faith Alone” an essential? Of this subject Luther said “Justification Is the Article by Which the Church Stands and Falls.”

          • CliveM

            Carl

            Sometimes I think we all get so obsessed over ‘redemption through works’ or ‘faith alone’ that both have been replaced with ‘doctrine ‘ above all else.

            And what is worse, is that the differences are very often down to nuances of understanding.

            We have enough unfriendly sources in the world, I wonder why we should make it easier for them.

          • IanCad

            Carl,

            I’m not talking unity, neither am I going to over analyze or dissect a plain statement of belief.

            The Apostles’ Creed

            I believe in God, the Father almighty,
            creator of heaven and earth.

            I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
            who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
            born of the Virgin Mary,
            suffered under Pontius Pilate,
            was crucified, died, and was buried;
            he descended to the dead.
            On the third day he rose again;
            he ascended into heaven,
            he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
            and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

            I believe in the Holy Spirit,
            the holy catholic Church,
            the communion of saints,
            the forgiveness of sins,
            the resurrection of the body,
            and the life everlasting.
            Amen.
            Anyone who recites and believes this, is, as far as I’m concerned, a Christian and a brother. Doctrine go hang!

          • carl jacobs

            No. It’s a question you introduced having read my post.

            If you prefer, I will construct it this way. You said:

            I am sometimes told by Protestants that I am not a Christian. I think them ignorant and absurd to say this

            You are wrong. The statement is neither ignorant nor absurd, and for this very reason – that Rome teaches a false gospel. Now, I understand that Rome uses “Christian” in a different way than I am using “Christian.” I am using it as being synonymous with “the Elect.” I am imposing a Protestant definition on the word because that definition is essential to why we must ask the question. I am not interested in some sacramental definition according to baptism. If that was all this was about, I wouldn’t have even posted.

            It is an opinion because it is not a fact

            It is opinion as much as saying “Jesus is divine” is an opinion. And we are both well aware that there are legions of people willing to deny that opinion. Do either of us care? But really now. Was it even three days ago that Martin posted saying he would exclude Catholicism from Christianity? And you responded by saying “You (Martin) don’t have the authority to make that definition.” You didn’t talk about opinion at that time. You talked about authority. So I asked “What does he lack to make that definition?” Whereupon you launched an attack on Sola Scriptura because you knew exactly where I was going. When a RC attacks Sola Sciptura he is doing so to establish the authority of the Magisterium – which is what you really thought Martin lacked.

            Is a dogmatic statement by the Magisterium of the RCC mere opinion? You are not responding to me in your own authority but in the authority of the RCC. You can call what I said opinion because you have a dogmatic statement to establish fact. That is why you dismiss it – not because it is opinion, but because it contradicts RC dogma.

            You really are losing your touch.

            You are better than that, Albert. I am losing nothing. This kind of comment does not establish you as some kind of authority over what I say.

            What I said is consistent with the definition I applied when you made your statement. When you say “Christian” to me, I hear “Redeemed”. I apply a Protestant claim of assurance, and specifically reject the Roman scheme of justification that leads to uncertainty. I do not apply Roman categories. You at least need to understand what is behind the statement that you called “ignorant and absurd.” It doesn’t apply Roman categories either. It is a reflection of the implications that follow from Rome’s false gospel. To wit “Can a man believe what Rome teaches and still be saved?” That is a deadly serious question.

          • Albert

            ow, I understand that Rome uses “Christian” in a different way than I am using “Christian.” I am using it as being synonymous with “the Elect.”

            That is not how the Bible uses these terms.

            It is opinion as much as saying “Jesus is divine” is an opinion.

            The issue is about your word “fact”. I think that the word “fact” implies something established. This being so, it is false to say that it is a fact that Catholicism teaches a false Gospel. Thus your use of the word “fact” appears to be a rhetorical device: it implies something is established, which isn’t and it saves you arguing for a premise on which your conclusion depends. Therefore, it seems to me to be a device to gain ground illegitimately.

            Was it even three days ago that Martin posted saying he would exclude Catholicism from Christianity? And you responded by saying “You (Martin) don’t have the authority to make that definition.” You didn’t talk about opinion at that time. You talked about authority. So I asked “What does he lack to make that definition?” Whereupon you launched an attack on Sola Scriptura because you knew exactly where I was going. When a RC attacks Sola Sciptura he is doing so to establish the authority of the Magisterium – which is what you really thought Martin lacked.

            You are beginning to sound like DanJ0 – assuming you know what other people are thinking – or else, for the rhetorical value, making it appear that you know what they are thinking. In fact, what you have said here is completely wrong. Your question implied I needed to have a clear answer to it in order to deny that Martin had such authority. But that again is rhetorically to claim more ground than you have argued for. If I claim that Texas is not part of the USA, it is no fault of your answer that I do not have the authority to make that claim, that you do not give a clear account of the authority that would be needed and how it would be obtained. Martin does not have the authority to make such claims, you do not need to be a Catholic to see that.

            When a RC attacks Sola Sciptura he is doing so to establish the authority of the Magisterium

            Why could he not simply be doing what lots of non-Catholics do: attacking the doctrine because it isn’t scriptural? To attack it, I only need to be interested in establishing what is biblical and what is not.

            Is a dogmatic statement by the Magisterium of the RCC mere opinion?

            It is not a fact, but neither is it the interpretation or opinion of an individual.

            That is why you dismiss it – not because it is opinion, but because it contradicts RC dogma.

            I would have dismissed it as surely as an Anglican as I do now – it is bogus on its own terms. I do not need the authority of the Magisterium to tell me that.

            You are better than that, Albert. I am losing nothing. This kind of comment does not establish you as some kind of authority over what I say.

            You said that you knew what I meant, but what you said was false. Perhaps if you stopped assuming you know what I mean. You are often very good at seeing through people, but sometimes you are just plain wrong, and until you realise that you will, IMO be losing your touch. The fact that the opinion you imputed to me could plainly not be my opinion, if you had given it some thought, makes this failing in your post all the more telling.

            When you say “Christian” to me, I hear “Redeemed”.

            I think you need to look more closely at the Bible more closely, and of course, what you mean is that Catholics are not redeemed. Man up Carl! If you don’t think Catholics are Christians have the balls to say it.

          • Ivan M

            Albert, sorry to ride on your post. But you can understand from the general tenor of the exchange with assorted Protestants that it is never ever politic to apologise for a single damned thing.

          • Albert

            Thank you Ivan. Perhaps it’s a Protestant problem – things are true because will, not truth. I apologised for a mistake I made in a thread last week!

        • Anton

          Et tu…

          • Albert

            ??

    • pobjoy

      without some kind of disciplinary response

      Is that out of mercy, or because it is now illegal?

      • Albert

        I’m fascinated by the fact that someone has upvoted this comment before I’ve even answered the question! Reasonable people draw conclusions after all the evidence has been heard.

        The answer to the question ought to be obvious – it is not because it is illegal, for what I said was:

        I defend their right to say this without some kind of disciplinary response.

        There’s nothing illegal about not defending their right. The illegality only comes into play if I violate their right. So in saying I defend their right, I am going beyond the law, that is, beyond what is required of me in law.

        But neither is it an act of mercy. Mercy relates to things that are not required in justice. But I said “I defend their right”. Now rights are not about mercy, but about justice and justice is the reason I defend their right.

        • pobjoy

          I’m fascinated by the fact that someone has upvoted this comment before I’ve even answered the question!

          You should get out more. Catholics do that by the thousand, every day! But in this case, it’s obvious that the question is rhetorical, and any response from Catholicism is pure wriggle.

          • Albert

            You’re seriously suggesting that giving what is the only possible interpretation of my own words is “wriggling”? Really?

            And as for it being rhetorical, what’s it rhetorical for?

        • “… someone has upvoted this comment before I’ve even answered the question!”

          Pobjob asked a very pertinent question, so I upvoted his comment.

          Not just in the case of Catholics, but with almost any group of people who seem to have given up past wrongdoing, it is important to ask what motivated their change.

          Have they changed because they have seen the error of their ways and found a more humane approach, or because the present consequences of doing those things far outweigh any benefits?

          • Albert

            But the question was answered in the post he was replying to!

          • Not really. I understood that you were expressing your own views.

            What does the Catholic church believe? Do they deplore the Inquisition, for example? Do they now see forcible conversions as unchristian? What were their reasons for giving up their historical practices? Perhaps you could enlighten me.

            I find the overall approach of the modern popes and various Catholic organisations peaceful, and I do not doubt their sincerity. But does changing course equate to an admission of past guilt?

          • Albert

            What does the Catholic church believe? Do they deplore the Inquisition, for example? Do they now see forcible conversions as unchristian? What were their reasons for giving up their historical practices? Perhaps you could enlighten me.

            The Catholic Church has set out her teaching on human rights in a range of places. The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium to the Catechism on Social Doctrine would be the places to start.

            But does changing course equate to an admission of past guilt?

            Not necessarily, but the explicit apologies of popes do. See here:

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

          • Thank you.

      • Findaráto

        We could always test the water by voting in a Catholic government and giving it a large enough majority to legislate as it pleased.

        Ten to one they’d be burning heretics at Smithfield (or anywhere else convenient for the task) within the lifetime of the first parliament.

        “Oh I’m not allowed to murder anyone, so I’m against murder!” says the representative of the organisation that once murdered on an industrial scale.

        Who can trust them?

        • pobjoy

          Who, indeed.

        • Albert

          There are countries with Catholic governments. How many have given the death sentence for opposing their Catholic beliefs? There have been atheist governments. How many have given the death sentence for opposing their atheistic beliefs?

          • Findaráto

            No Western Catholic country, like Poland or Italy for example, would dare impose Catholic rule for fear of isolation from its neighbours and eventual regime change imposed from outside. But you can be sure that if the whole of Europe turned Catholic, as many Catholics pray it will, and had nothing to fear from outside, the burnings would soon start again.

            Catholics currently go as far as they dare, but if they think nobody will stop them, they’ll go as far as they like. And they like burning heretics in the name of Christ. A quick look at any history of the Reformation shows you that.

            Of course Protestants may not be much better. But as they’re more fragmented and can never agree on anything, there’s less to fear from them.

          • Albert

            This is just prejudice isn’t it? You ignore the thing that matters most: Catholic teaching, and plumb for an argument that make your position completely unfalsifiable:

            No Western Catholic country, like Poland or Italy for example, would dare impose Catholic rule for fear of isolation from its neighbours and eventual regime change imposed from outside

            To show how silly this is, let me rework it:

            The reason Britain doesn’t execute Catholic priests any more is because no Western country, would dare impose anti-Catholic rule for fear of isolation from its neighbours and eventual regime change imposed from outside

          • pobjoy

            The reason Britain doesn’t execute Catholic priests any more is because Catholicism no longer poses an overt existential threat to Britain. But that does not mean anything, for the future.

            It’s such bad luck, being a Catholic.

          • Albert

            So, you’re view is that if Catholicism was perceived to pose an overt existential threat to Britain, Britain would execute Catholic priests?

          • William Lewis

            Are Catholic priests not the foot soldiers of RC expansion?

          • Albert

            No – that’s the job of MEPs apparently. 🙂

          • CliveM

            It’s all a Catholic plot Albert, except where it’s the Masons,

            Or the Atlantians
            Or the Jews,
            Or possibly the Lizard people
            Or the CIA

            So many conspiracies, what to do?

          • Albert

            You missed the EU (actually, no, that is a Catholic plot, apparently).

          • Anton

            I shall never forget some Jews angrily complaining to Dvid Icke that when Icke said giant lizards disguised as humans ran the world, he was obviously using the phrase as a code for Jews; and Icke equally vehemently insisting that he did mean giant lizards. That was in an episode of Jon Ronson’s TV series “Secret rulers of the universe” some years ago. Truly amazing.

            Is your avatar ice skating?

          • CliveM

            Yes! Well known Scottish painting called the Skating Minister (if I remember right).

            Happy Jack when he found out made a comment that I was clearly skating on thin ice.

            Which amused me somewhat and kept it.

          • Anton

            Thank you; it’s very fine.

          • CliveM

            You should get one.

          • Anton

            No thanks; if in doubt, take the “t” out of Anton…

            Here’s your Skating Minister:

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

          • William Lewis

            They are more 5th columnists. 😉

          • pobjoy

            The UK government executed spies in WW2.

          • Albert

            So, in principle, you don’t think it would be wrong to execute Catholic priests, if you think they are spies.

          • pobjoy

            Catholics burned Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley and many more, for saying that you could not make bread into God. So hanging a Catholic priest, or indeed any other Catholic, seems at least quid pro quo.

          • Albert

            I think you are making my point for me…

          • pobjoy

            We are agreed, then, that all Catholics can be hanged, or even burned, and they cannot raise even whimper, let alone cry, of ‘Injustice!’

          • Albert

            You are indeed a faithful atheist.

          • pobjoy

            🙂 1.2 billion Catholics, and they are blown into oblivion by one Protestant, as perceived.

          • Albert

            Are you a Protestant?

          • pobjoy

            So you lied.

          • Albert

            What? I thought you were an atheist and then you made a comment that implied you were a Protestant. I think you need to understand the meaning of the word “lie”. Being confused or mistaken is not the same thing as telling a lie.

          • Ivan M

            One thing for sure, he has turned out to be a bigger pain in the ass than Linus in his various guises. Quite a remarkable feat.

          • Albert

            Quite. It’s one thing to throw in the odd joke. It’s quite another not to contribute to the discussion. Perhaps he thinks he is contributing.

          • Albert

            And anyway, you said:

            We are agreed, then, that all Catholics can be hanged, or even burned, and they cannot raise even whimper, let alone cry, of ‘Injustice!’

            But you must know that that is not true. So if anyone lied, you did.

          • CliveM

            A comedian I think. Needs a new act.

          • IanCad

            Let’s bring this up to date Albert.
            There are many on this blog who – mistakenly in my view – consider radical Islamist preachers an existential threat.
            If things heated up I wonder if those same gentry would push for the summary execution of those same turbulent priests.

          • pobjoy

            Islam took its cue from the totalitarianism of the Roman Empire’s ‘church’. The Qu’ran could have been written by Byzantine ‘theologians’ wanting a christian-free border to the east.

          • bluedog

            Well the Byzantines certainly had a Christian (note capital for proper noun) free border to the East. It was populated by the Seljuk Turks who became Muslim on their passage through Persia. Is that what you meant?

          • pobjoy

            Down, mad dog.

          • bluedog

            meaningless

          • Albert

            Quite.

          • Findaráto

            The reason Britain doesn’t execute Catholic priests any more is that we are no longer a theocracy ruled by bigoted religious obsessives determined to impose their beliefs on everyone.

            A Catholic regime however would be just that: a religiously obsessed government whose primary concern would be to enforce religious conformity. As few would obey unless the penalties for not doing so were severe, the crime of heresy would have to carry with it a fearful punishment.

            Protestants might do the same, but Protestantism is by its very nature a fragmented faith and would therefore struggle to dominate an entire country, let alone a continent. But Catholicism could. Its centralised structures and insistence on uniformity would make it dangerous indeed if it could summon the kind of political support needed to form governments.

            Of course it can’t, so we’re safe from the fires for the time being. But if it could, it would. The proof of that can be seen in the fact that it already has. And what has happened once can always happen again.

            Beware the Catholic priest dispensing voting instructions from the pulpit. All that peace, love and forgiveness will soon turn into bloody revenge if ever his church gets the political power it so covets.

          • Albert

            The reason Britain doesn’t execute Catholic priests any more is that we are no longer a theocracy ruled by bigoted religious obsessives determined to impose their beliefs on everyone.

            I think I’d sooner be a Catholic priest in a bigoted theocracy, than in atheist dictatorship. I’d be more likely to live. The rest of your post is pure prejudice and does not take account of my previous answer.

          • pobjoy

            Of course Protestants may not be much better.

            If the name of a Catholic executed for religious reason, rather than criminality, can be offered, it would be of interest.

          • Findaráto

            Edward Wightman, burned for heresy during the reign of James I. He committed no civil crimes. All his transgressions were of a religious nature.

          • pobjoy

            Wightman was not a Catholic. James, otoh, was, in sympathies.

    • steroflex

      As a fellow Catholic, I remember the IRA…

      • As a fellow Catholic, Jack remembers the RUC and the UDA.

      • James60498 .

        The Irish Republican Army, many of whose members were/ are atheist wanted/want to remove “the British invader” from Ireland.

        Yes. Most of its supporters are in some way Catholic but that’s because that was the general religion of Ireland. And most of the other side are Protestant, because that was the usual religion of the “British invader”. Sinn Fein is a very atheist organisation.

        If you travel round Northern Ireland the flags flown are the Irish Tricolour and the Union Flag, and also the Ulster Red Hand.

        Whilst the battles in NI are usually presented as Catholic v. Protestant, in fact the history is much more complicated.

      • Albert

        Does the behaviour of the IRA mean Catholics are not allowed to impugn religious elements of Protestantism?

    • Hameed

      You are missing the point that Khatm e Nabuwat are in general out to kill or persecute Ahmadis wherever they can ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35928848 ). Maher is a Khatm a Nabuwati and so is the killer. It sounds like Maher is taking side of his fellow Khatm e Nabuwati killer and demeaning the Ahmadi murdered person by calling him infidel which sounds completely irrelevant otherwise in a murder case. If Maher were not taking sides would he bring religion of the murdered person in question?

      • Albert

        I’m not missing that point, indeed I take it very seriously. The question is though, does it follow that because some Muslims wish to kill Ahmadis, that therefore opinions about the Islam of Ahmadis is off limits? That seems rather a leap to me.

        • CliveM

          Interesting question. I suppose I could see circumstances when it should, but would be pointless to try.

          • Albert

            I think the circumstances when it should would be something like it has been decreed that all non-Muslims must be put to death. In those circumstances, I think it would be very unjust to declare that Ahmadis are not Muslims.

  • The Explorer

    Speaking of the 1844 Disappointment, I am always staggered by those who presume to give a precise date for Christ’s return
    when Christ himself said He didn’t know. The JW’s have had some other disappointments with their dates since then.

    The other problem is the 144 000. Effective evangelism led to that figure being exceeded. Fortunately, the Leadership were up to the challenge: two tiers of believers.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    I had a great disappointment in 1844…

    • chiefofsinners

      My train left at 18:43. How different our lives might have been if you’d shown up on time!

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        That had me splitting the gusset….excellent!

      • Anton

        I haven’t had a drink since 1959 !

      • Old Nick

        And then the great disappointment of 7:02, otherwise known as The Archers

        • Anton

          Poor Helen. Can’t even do a proper job of murdering her appalling husband.

    • The Explorer

      You found out about Mr Slope?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Indeed yes…but one copes, one copes…

    • Don’t think you can easily appease us after your unacceptably long and never explained absence, Madam. At least not without a groaning tray of hobnobs and a steaming pot of spicy Peruvian chocolate.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Not even if the next pair of crocheted long johns sent to the frozen north has an even bigger flap than before? tsk tsk!

        • Truth be known, Lady Barchester, the last pair was already a size too large. Big enough to accommodate our North itself. Last reports have it that it has been warming the whole of James Bay.

          • sarky

            Big enough to ‘hold back the river’ ?

      • CliveM

        Did you never read her good bye statement. It brought tears to my my glass eye.

    • dannybhoy

      Me too, in 1984.
      But I was very tired that evening..

  • Aran’Gar

    Quakers are still Christians?

    I thought they’d moved well beyond that.

    • Anton

      Quakerism was never tied to the Bible very closely. As a result, in the era of institutional Christianity when everybody read the Bible, Quakers were among the most serious Christians, whereas today it is drifting toward the New Age. That is the problem of having no anchor.

      • dannybhoy

        ” Early Quakers were Christians who rejected the structures and offices of the established church. Believing in the idea of the ‘priesthood of all believers’, they rejected professional priests, and held all life and all places to be equally sacred. They turned their backs on ritual sacraments and on the churches in which they were carried out. Instead they met in each other’s homes, and later in purpose-built ‘meeting houses’ where they waited, as they believed that the first Christians had done, for the Holy Spirit to guide them.”
        http://www.lancsquakers.org.uk/history.php

        I think perhaps they have wandered away from their original Christian beliefs, and now have share similar views to the Bahai faith and Jainism…..

        • preacher

          Sad but true danny. Perhaps a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water ? Surely that is why the Bible was given to us, & it was resisted so strongly by the ‘ orthodox ‘ church at the time, leading to many martyrs who produced translations & dared to print them. We should be thankful & read it daily. It’s dynamite & still banned in many countries, some atheist, others because different beliefs fear that the truth properly applied will deliver their adherents from the power of false religion.
          The Quakers, it seems focused to much on one item, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is essential but not the only requirement for a balanced Christian faith.

          • dannybhoy

            Any (Christian) group that waits for the Spirit to move them or speak to them, puts its self in danger of being led astray by a n other spirit..
            We gather together to worship God. That is both our duty and our delight. We don’t do it to get anything or to be blessed or be anointed; we do it because God is worthy of our praise.
            Not to acknowledge Him in this way is to open ourselves to the carnal man or spirit influences that are not of God.

  • balaam

    When you meet with Jehova’s witnesses. Then it is their refusal that shows they are not the same as othodox christians, not your accepance of them.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Oh dear. You’re not suggesting that you’re anything like the eye of Sauron, are you? We always thought you were one of the jollier members of the Cranmer Club.

    • sarky

      Sauron?? Nah, just a bit gollumy!

  • Hameed

    False analogy by Archbishop Cranmer to make a false point. Point about Maher is not what he believes or not, or expresses or not but how and when he did it. His expression that the murdered is an infidel, among other things, seems to want to water down the atrocity of murder as the killer is of the same type of Muslim as Maher himself ie a Khatm e Nabuwati. If you match this with the typical attitude that Khatm e Nabuwatis have towards Ahmadi Muslims (‘Kill Ahmadis’ leaflets found in UK mosque: BBC) then the concern starts to make sense as his statement could start to sound like; Lets not go as far as killing Ahmadis (in UK at least) despite the fact that Ahmadis are (despicable) infidels.

    For many, his expression of crudeness at this precise moment is rather too blunt for human sensibility and in any case his statement about Ahmadis being infidel is ill timed and ill mannered.

  • Hameed

    Archbishop Cranmer unfortunately does not know much about the issue at hand. What he does not realise is that EVERY sect of Islam is calling others infidels and some, like Shias, Deobandis, Wahabis etc, are actually butchering each other even to this day. Question is who will decide who is Muslim enough? There is a basic rule of Shahda ie ‘There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God’ and Ahmadis believe in that. Beyond that its impossible to find any two sects who agree on everything. If Archbishop Cranmer could understand Urdu/Arabic he would find numerous youtube videos with Islamic sects calling each other infidel and more such as worthy of killing.

    • But in Britain we have freedom of speech and are free to criticise other denominations without violence and criminal investigations that is until you lot came along and ruined our lives.

      • cacheton

        Well one could argue that ‘this lot’ are only taking their thoughts and words to logical deeds, whereas in this country we tend to stop at the thoughts and words. ‘This lot’ are showing more obviously the divisions enhanced by any ego-based religion, not only their particular one.

        • The Explorer

          Which religions do you consider to be non-ego-based?

          • cacheton

            None.
            Though Buddhism provides methods to dispel the illusions of the ego, even in doing that one is not completely free of it until one reaches Nirvana, or Enlightenment. Christianity does not seem to have a name for the ego free state, except I suppose ‘Christ’, though christians seem to consider that this refers to one historical person and is not really a state of being.

          • William Lewis

            The ego free state does not exist, for without the ego there is nothing.

          • cacheton

            Ego-transparent state would be more accurate I admit, as having an ego is part of the requirements of incarnation.

          • William Lewis

            Transparent to what/whom?

          • cacheton

            God. Our ‘higher’ spiritual nature. The one which, being incarnated, we have mostly forgotten about.

          • William Lewis

            Christians are in Christ, so there is no need to become transparent to God.

          • cacheton

            I think you will have quite a job trying to explain what you mean by ‘in Christ’ to someone who does not share your belief system.
            I presume you do not mean ‘like Christ’, as there are numerous examples of that not being the case.

          • William Lewis

            One way of looking at it is that we take on the righteousness of Christ. So when God sees us He sees Christ’s righteousness.

            I would ask you to explain what a person who’s ego is transparent to their higher self means but I doubt I’d get a meaningful answer.

          • cacheton

            Your first paragraph is christianspeak, not intelligible to most people.

            Jesus is the answer to your second.

          • William Lewis

            The only word that non-christians might have difficulty with is “righteousness” which most people should be able to look up. Apart from that it seems fairly straightforward. I’m surprised at your lack of comprehension.

          • cacheton

            Just by recognising someone as god’s son does not mean you suddenly take on his qualities. Many people calling themselves christians amply demonstrate this.

          • William Lewis

            Apparently God disagrees.

          • cacheton

            And you know what god thinks? From your biased interpretations of the book you call the bible, without being able to explain why you believe it may have been written or inspired by god?
            I see.
            Do you REALLY think that all people calling themselves christian are righteous? Do you ever listen to the news?

          • William Lewis

            “And you know what god thinks?”

            I know some of the things that He has said.

            “From your biased interpretations of the book you call the bible…”

            I’m not alone in calling it the Bible.

            “Do you REALLY think that all people calling themselves christian are righteous?”

            No, I REALLY do not.

            ” Do you ever listen to the news?”

            Yes.

      • Anton

        Hameed has not stated that he is a Muslim; nor does it follow from what he has written.

        • He reads Bangladeshinews24 and comments in Bengali my guessing he is a Muslim.

          • Anton

            If Hameed is an Ahmadiyya then would your comments be appropriate in view Cranmer’s original article? You could always ask him.

      • CliveM

        The Ahmadi have not ruined our lives. They are not a ‘you lot’. They are peaceful and generally law abiding. One of the errors of Islam that their founder said he was here to change was the violence endemic in it at the time. They deserve our sympathy. They have been badly persecuted.

        • Well they have in a way because they attract violence from the other lots who are violent. Frankly they should all go somewhere else where they can indulge in slugging each other to death and leave us out it.

          • CliveM

            They don’t slug it out. They don’t go looking for violence. They are hunted out and victimised.

          • By their mere existence they attract it. they should go home and take their enemies with them.

    • cacheton

      Hameed what do different sects and denominations gain by calling each other infidel?
      They gain the feeling of superiority, that it is they who are RIGHT. Right? And that others are WRONG and as such need to be killed.
      There is no more obvious proof than this that peace, spirituality, purity, integrity etc have nothing to do with their ‘faith’, it is designed only to thrill the human ego.
      What would it take, do you think, for people to understand this?

    • dannybhoy

      Hameed, despite our church history the Christian Scriptures do not teach the persecution and murder of non Christians.
      We know what is going on in the Middle East and the persecution of Christians and minority faiths, but what does the Koran actually teach regarding the treatment of non Muslims or ‘different’ Muslims?

      • cacheton

        The Koran, like the Bible, teaches whatever resonates with the egos of the people who are reading it.

        • alternative_perspective

          Again another claim to truth but without evidence, and in fact I believe against the evidence.
          You make a lot of assumptions, whatever resonates with the ego of the person who wrote them, I suppose?

          • dannybhoy

            ‘Ego’ and associated words figure a lot in this gentleman’s comments.

            Cacheton knows why… ;0)

          • cacheton

            Of course! You got it!!!

        • The Explorer

          Can you name me a book to which that doesn’t apply?

          • cacheton

            There are no books to which that doesn’t apply. Come on Explorer you knew that already!

        • William Lewis

          Your subjective opinion doesn’t resonate here.

      • preacher

        Seconded ! the ten commandments state thou shall not kill ( or murder ) God knows the heart of man is full of evil constantly & that he would break all ten, but in justice He had to give the laws to warn that breaking them would result in condemnation on the day of judgement.

    • alternative_perspective

      Hameed, I think you’ve missed the point.

      AbC’s argument isn’t in regard to what every sect of Islam is stating, it is what the tyranny of the secular academy is doing.

      I believe he is making the point that Muslims have the right to codify and describe their religion as they choose and include / exclude those they wish in accordance with those codes: as you evidenced. He is broadly supporting that right and “calling out” the “inquisitive” nature of the academy in its pursuit of religious orthodoxy as THEY define it…not as whichever Islamic sect or council defines it.

      He then extrapolates that under the auspices of this new “divine council of the academy” Christians may be “compelled” to include in their number those whom they themselves define as heterodox, lest they cause Offence to any aggrieved JW.

      This is a comment on the actions of KCL; Dr. Maher and the Ahmadiyyas are somewhat incidental.

  • Hameed

    Unlike JW, which basic Islamic tenant Ahmadis do not believe in? Can Archbishop Cranmer reply? Its easy to compare anyone to JWs so for many Christians the matter is settled from the get go.

  • len

    Going through the comments sections here is a really sad indictment of religion …of any sort.Glad I got out of’ religion’, out of ‘denomination’.
    Islamists kill almost anyone (even each other)
    Some other religions have killed (some in the millions) Atheists are not blameless in this.
    So what induces those within religion to kill?.

    ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your
    father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to
    the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his
    native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
    (John 8:44)

    Jesus Christ was crucified’ by religion ‘ and preached a message of love and forgiveness so I am glad that I follow Him and not ‘religion’.

    • cacheton

      ‘So what induces those within religion to kill?.’

      The fact that there is a book on which that religion is based, irrationally believed to be written or inspired by God, which can be interpreted to sanction killing of other people who do not share this belief, or who do not agree with your interpretation.

      • Anton

        Clearly communists believe Marx was divine then.

        • cacheton

          No, but they know he actually physically wrote a book and like his ideology. Unfortunately they found themselves unable to apply it to everyone, communist leaders somehow considering that the ideology was not applicable to them.
          Followers of Religions however irrationally believe that a non-incarnate being wrote or influenced a book, and then take what is written in that book as their ideology without question and apparently in fear of what might happen if they didn’t.

          • Anton

            Adult converts worldwide do not take the contents of any religious book without question; they subject it to intense sceptical scrutiny before committing to its contents.

          • len

            Precisely.
            Where in the N/T does it sanction killing?.

          • sarky

            Luke 19:27:
            But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

            As well as Matthew 10:34:
            Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

          • Anton

            The Luke 19 quote is part of a story Jesus tells in which he puts words into a man’s mouth and exhorts his followers, who were listening, to avoid the fate of that man’s victims.

            The Matt 10 quote is about how faith in Christ will divide people, believers from unbelievers. Tell me, where in this passage is any exhortation to believers kill nonbelievers?

          • sarky

            That wasn’t the question

          • len

            Wrong answer then ?.That’s seems to apply to anything that doesn`t fit in with your atheist worldview

          • sarky

            The question was about sanctioned killing. Not killing of unbelievers by believers.
            Nothing to do with right or wrong answers.

          • Anton

            In neither place is killing sanctioned. In one of those places it is mentioned.

          • dannybhoy

            Luke 19:27 is a parable Sarky, but indicates a greater truth: that those who deliberately turn away from God’s authority will suffer the consequence.
            I don’t have a problem with that..

          • sarky

            Of course you don’t…why would you have a problem with people condemned to suffering just for exercising free will.

          • dannybhoy

            If there is a God and that God makes it clear that whilst He disapproves of and will condemn the bad things that we do, He nevertheless loves you; why would anyone spurn that?
            What can we say against Christ whose life on earth was one of love, forgiveness and service.
            What did He say or do that we moral beings (not you of course, because you have no need of morals), can possibly object to? What did He say that we find so outrageous?
            The truth is that we want to be our own god, and live our lives as we want to live it, and excuse ourselves when we breach our own code.
            That’s man’s real problem. We don’t want to acknowledge Him and His dominion.

          • sarky

            We don’t want to be slaves.

          • dannybhoy

            ” Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
            Romans 6:16

            ” While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.”
            2 Peter 2:19

          • cacheton

            If only.

          • dannybhoy

            He’s talking about converts, cach, not people who are born into a faith…

          • cacheton

            So what type of scrutiny did muslim converts turned jihadis use i wonder.

          • dannybhoy

            They are taking the Koran at face value, even though it means that millions of essentially innocent people will die.

          • cacheton

            What is wrong with taking a book you believe to have been written or inspired by god at face value?

          • len

            It would take a fool to blindly follow a religion without examining the content of that religion and the motives behind those who initiated that religion.
            One could look at the Old Testament of the Bible and see the harsh punishment of sinners and conclude(as you obviously have done) that the God of the O/T was a ‘vengeful God’.I believe Richard Dawkin’s and countless others have done the same.This false impression of God is based largely on a lack of knowledge about the motives and the Plan of God for the redemption of mankind

            There is a transition between’ pre Christ’ and ‘post Christ ‘ because if God had not restrained evil ‘pre Christ’ the whole human race would have been so contaminated by sin a Messiah would not have been possible.

            But there is no such ‘transition ‘ in Islam .Islam has no Messiah only the false hope of ‘the Mahdi’ coming who will execute all non Muslims.Islam cannot change and those bound within it have no hope of redemption.

          • alternative_perspective

            All claims to truth demand good arguments, reasons and or evidences to support them… where’s yours?
            “Followers of Religions however irrationally believe that a non-incarnate being wrote or influenced a book, and then take what is written in that book as their ideology without question and apparently in fear of what might happen if they didn’t.”
            All claims to truth demand good arguments, reasons and or evidences to support them… where’s yours?

          • cacheton

            Firstly, I do not make any claims to truth.
            My evidence is mainly experience, which is necessarily subjective.
            In fact, yes fact, all experience is subjective, and life IS experience. There isn’t anything else to it.

            However, as you rightly point out, a claim to some kind of exterior truth needs good arguments, reasons and evidences. Where are those regarding the bible being somehow inspired by god?

        • IanCad

          Anton,
          Allow me to repeat the gist of a post from about three years ago which partially addresses your point.
          I was raised in a Marxist home. We attended church on a more or less regular basis. The justification for this was the notion that the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ broadly followed those of Marx. Note the order of precedence.

      • len

        Who did Jesus Christ kill ?

        • sarky

          Just read ‘Thomas’ Gospel Of The Infancy Of Jesus Christ.’

          • Anton

            How long after Jesus was that written? Do you believe dialogue in books written about Henry VIII today?

          • sarky

            Do you use that same logic on the bible?

          • Anton

            Of course. The gospels were written by eye witnesses or from eye witness reports within a generation. Please now answer my question.

          • sarky

            And we all know how reliable eyewitnesses (if they actually were) are don’t we.

          • The Explorer

            Some eyewitnesses, then as now, are better than others.

          • dannybhoy

            Read the book,
            “Searching for Jesus” by Robert Hutchinson.
            How many times do I have to tell you?

          • sarky

            Not interested. Will probable be the same old Regurgitated nonsense I have seen time and time again.

          • Anton

            Perhaps you don’t know of the Jewish tradition of keeping the words of a rabbi accurately. Very different from the Greek tradition of putting words into the mouths of others according to what you think they would or should have said!

          • len

            Another’ lost gospel’. You believe that rubbish then?.
            I think you would believe anything that reinforced your unbelief in the God of the Bible?

          • sarky

            ???? I don’t believe in any of it. Just putting it out there.

          • CliveM

            If you don’t believe your own argument, why should we!

          • William Lewis

            Good point Clive. Perhaps we should discount anything sarky “puts out there” on principle.

          • CliveM

            Generally I do…….

          • William Lewis

            Sarky is like the boy who cried wolf. One day he’ll say something useful, constructive or insightful and we’ll all be like “yeah, whatever”.

          • sarky

            It goes back to the point of this article. There are so many variations of Christianity, all claiming to be the truth. The fact that there are so many variations would lead most people to believe that it can’t be the unedited word of God, but a man made construct twisted to meet different agendas.

          • The Explorer

            The thing is, we don’t accept any of the lost gospels. We think they are Gnostic distortions written long after the event once the Gnostics took an interest in Christianity.

            The Nag Hammadi manuscripts were found near the site of a monastery. That does not mean the monks necessarily accepted them. They might have wanted to know what they said. In my library I have works by Lucretius, Rousseau, Marx, Fraser, Russell, Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I disagree with all of them, but I’m interested in reading what they say. But anyone who didn’t know me might take their presence on my shelves as evidence of acceptance.

          • sarky

            Your argument doesn’t make sense. Written documents from that time are relatively rare and were expensive to produce. Why would monks go to all that effort just to discard them?

          • Pubcrawler

            Or, they were written by Gnostics and discarded by orthodox Christians. Or, they were in the collection of an orthodox monastery and discarded when the official NT canon became established.

            “Written documents from that time are relatively rare and were expensive to produce.”

            Shouldn’t be overstated. See how much has turned up at Oxyrhynchus. Delux copies would be expensive; workaday stuff not so much. Papyrus was cheap, scribes plentiful.

          • sarky

            Discarded or hidden?

            Perhaps not all Christians held the official cannon to be truth. In fact it’s dubious that it had to decided what was and what wasn’t true.

          • Pubcrawler

            There are works sometimes attributed to Shakespeare that are generally regarded as not part of the official canon. The same goes for Xenophon, and many others before, between and since. Does that cast doubt on the validity of the official canon of those authors’ works?

          • The Explorer

            The monks didn’t copy them since they were heretical documents. They probably acquired them from Gnostics to find out what the Gnostics were thinking. They might have buried them if there was a heresy inspection. If you know ‘The Name of the Rose’, the contents of the Library, and the visit by Bernado Gui then you’ll know the sort of thing I mean.

          • dannybhoy

            There were lots of ‘out there’ groups buzzing around then as there are now Sarks. It just depends what they were into.
            An excellent book on biblical textual criticism and archaeology, “Searching for Jesus” by Robert Hutchinson.
            Not too scholarly, but full of facts and references to the various schools of textual criticism.
            Enjoy!

          • dannybhoy

            “The Existential Argument against atheism focuses on how the atheist must borrow from the Christian worldview in order live their own lives.

            Because of the way this article will be written, I am going to start out by presenting the premises of the Existential Argument against Atheism:

            1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.

            2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.

            3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.

            4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.

            5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.

            Conclusion: Atheism is false.

            Sarks, you don’t believe anything much.As an atheist you don’t even follow through with the logical conclusions of the philosophy, because if you did you’d have to accept what all the real atheistic philosophers believed.
            But you don’t. You’ve said so. You live in an atheistic la la land, where things have meaning because you want them to.
            So maybe you should consider where you’re at first….

          • sarky

            Don’t know where to start really. This is quite possibly the biggest pile of crap I’ve ever read. Substitute the word ‘atheist’ for ‘christian’ and you will see why.
            As for things have meaning because I want them to. Exactly!! What is the problem with that?? I apply my own understandings and meaning to things because I’m not restricted by a religious worldview, I’ve taken off the blinkers and I love it. I don’t need god for my morality, my understanding of the world and my place in it. I have no fear of death or judgement because death is just part of life. I accept that my life is meaningless in the grand scheme of things and I’m fine with that. I’m here for the blink of an eye and I will do my damnedest to make the most of it. God is meaningless to me, I am just one of billions who have come to that conclusion and live bloody good lives despite it.

          • dannybhoy

            “I accept that my life is meaningless in the grand scheme of things and I’m fine with that. I’m here for the blink of an eye and I will do my damnedest to make the most of it”

            But atheists like for example the Maquis deSade believed that whatever IS, is RIGHT. On that basis he could exploit (please cover your ears Mrs Proudie), women with the greatest cruelty imaginable. And he did..

            “https://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/a-to-z-of-sexual-history-s-is-for-the-marquis-de-sade-god-daddy-of-sadism

            So okay, he’s got your teenage daughter. Explain to him why he shouldn’t abuse her for his own pleasure. After all, there is no basis for morality in a meaningless universe.

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/marquis-de-sade-rebel-pervert-rapisthero-9862270.html

          • sarky

            Bollocks. Morality is not yours and yours alone. Remember there are plenty of Christians who have committed heinous acts. Even satanists believe that all acts should be consensual and not cause harm.
            There will always be messed up people who do atrocious things, a lack of God doesn’t make it OK.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s what you’d say to him? Remember the Marquis de Sade believed that what is, is right. So if he as a man was more powerful than a woman. he felt free to abuse her.
            There is no morality, no consensuality. Only superior power granting one the ability to impose one’s will on another.

          • sarky

            And that has f##k all to do with atheism, just the sick twisted mind of a psycho!!

          • William Lewis

            How is it twisted? Seems a rational atheisic position to me.

          • sarky

            Shows your ignorance of atheism.
            It’s a lack of god not morality.

          • William Lewis

            No, it’s you who still doesn’t understand the consequences of atheism. I am not saying that all atheists are amoral or immoral. I am saying that amorality and immorality are rational positions for an atheist to take.

          • sarky

            No they are not….at all. Your whole argument rests on morality only coming from god. This is clearly not true. Morality existed long before your god.

          • dannybhoy

            But he would argue that in the absence of a God, he is accountable to no one but himself for what he does with his life.
            That was at least commensurate with his atheistic philosophy. Who’s to say he was was sick and twisted, and on what basis would you make a judgement?

            As you yourself said,
            “As for things have meaning because I want them to. Exactly!! What is the problem with that?? I apply my own understandings and meaning to things because I’m not restricted by a religious worldview, I’ve taken off the blinkers and I love it.”
            Would you not extend the same freedoms to other people?

          • CliveM

            Skewered by his own words.

          • dannybhoy

            Morning Clive. How are you?

          • CliveM

            I’m not bad and how are you.

            It is a beautiful spring morning where I am!

          • dannybhoy

            And here in Norfolk. Plus we’re celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary..
            Huzzah!

          • CliveM

            Congratulations DB!

            Imagine, that poor woman, having to put up with you for 25 years!

            May you enjoy many more.

          • dannybhoy

            many more….??? ;0)
            My long service medal is in the post evidently.

          • William Lewis

            Congrats!

            Am a fan of North Norfolk myself. Lovely place.

          • dannybhoy

            Thank you William. We (courtesy of the wife) have relatives in Sheringham, but we are pretty much south west of there, towards Kings Lynn. The coastal road from Sheringham round to Hunstanton is a nightmare in the summer months, but if you appreciate big skies, big fields, plenty of wildlife and sleepy villages filled (mostly) with gentle and friendly people, then Norfolk is the place to live.
            Long may it remain a backwater.

          • sarky

            Accountable?? We are all Accountable to the law of the land.
            As for freedom, again, it has to be within the law.

          • dannybhoy

            [To] all my Atheist friends.
            Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.
            We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination.

            ~~~~~I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may. At least that’s what my genes are telling me to say.”
            https://winteryknight.com/2014/01/16/an-atheist-explains-the-real-consequences-of-adopting-an-atheistic-worldview/

            As an atheist you’re a fraud Sarky! :0)

          • sarky

            No, I just hold a different point of view. That’s the joy of atheism, no orthodoxy to cling to.

          • dannybhoy

            As that atheist said, you’re borrowing from the Theists in order to create the illusion of a basis for your morality. Not just your morality, but love, loyalty, compassion. A meaningless universe cannot give you meaning, however much you like to pretend it can.

          • sarky

            Sorry Danny but that’s just rubbish. Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly on any of those things and all those things can easily exist in a meaningless universe. I find meaning in things all the time, in fact it’s subconscious most of the time.
            Why do you struggle so much with understanding that? Or is it that you think that by trying to make me think my life is meaningless without god you will somehow convert me?

            I DON’T need a god in my life to find meaning. The fact that my life is meaningful is evidence that you are so so wrong. Perhaps I’m just stronger than you and I find meaning in reality not fairytales.

          • dannybhoy

            “Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly on any of those things..”
            Agreed
            “….and all those things can easily exist in a meaningless universe.”
            Not according to people much cleverer than wot you or I are…

            “The fact that my life is meaningful is evidence that you are so so wrong. ”
            No it doesn’t. It just means that you are very selective in your atheistic beliefs. In fact one could describe you as a pick’nmixer…

            Anyway I certainly wouldn’t insult you by using this cyber-conversation to convert you. What I am really picking you up on is what you do here all the time. Namely, examining and ridiculing Christian people’s beliefs. So I’m having a good look at what you say you actually believe, and questioning it.
            I am also providing you with material from other thinkers -preferably but not exclusively atheists, that support my doubts about your own position.
            Here’s another clip..
            Christians argue that the existence of universal and objective morality is evidence for the existence of God. C. S. Lewis provides a classic example of this argument in Mere Christianity.1 In The God Delusion, however, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University claims that morality is grounded in evolution and that a person can be moral without God or religion.

            Dawkins acknowledges that on the surface Darwinism seems to be inadequate to explain goodness and morality. After all, what is the survival value of such sentiments? He nonetheless attempts to explain morality through his “selfish gene” theory by which genes ensure their own survival by encouraging altruistic behavior, such as through reciprocal altruism or aiding one’s genetic kin.2

            Dawkins also argues that if our morality is grounded in our “Darwinian past” then we can expect to find universal morals that transcend cultural and religious boundaries. He cites studies that allegedly demonstrate that religious people do not differ from atheists in their morals.3 He concludes that “we do not need God in order to be good—or evil.” continued>>>
            http://www.equip.org/article/can-morality-be-based-in-our-selfish-evolutionary-past/

          • Findaráto

            No atheist need borrow from Christianity in order to live his life.

            Justice, love and forgiveness existed as concepts before Christianity and will continue to exist when Christianity is long forgotten. They stem from the cooperative social structures of gregarious animals like ourselves. Nobody need ever have heard of Christ in order to experience all of these things, and the fact of experiencing them does not mean he’s borrowing anything from that religion.

            This is one of the weakest claims
            Christians make and provides substantial evidence of their myopia and self-regard.

          • William Lewis

            “Justice, love and forgiveness existed as concepts before Christianity”

            Who’s talking about the concept? It’s who decides to implement them that’s the issue. An atheist has no need to implement them and can easily generate a nice competitive advantage over his fellow man by not implementing them.

            “No atheist need borrow from Christianity in order to live his life.”

            Quite. Why would he bother?

          • Findaráto

            Atheists have every reason to practice justice, love and forgiveness.

            These three principles strengthen the bonds between members of the group and a strong group is advantageous for the individual in the long term.

            Behaviours that favour the strength of the group are therefore to be prioritised over short term individual gain.

            In some groups this clearly doesn’t happen, but evolution tells us why. Behaviours fall across a random spectrum, but not all behaviours benefit the group. Selfishness will weaken the bonds between group members and render them less likely to endure. Therefore societies that favour justice, love and forgiveness are more likely to be successful in the long term.

            No God is needed for any of this to happen. Just common sense and an ability to understand the concepts of cause and effect.

          • William Lewis

            “Therefore societies that favour justice, love and forgiveness are more likely to be successful in the long term.”

            An sensible atheist should realise that has no interest in society in the long term. Far better for him to milk the system while he can. Really his best long term prospects are to drown in a river delta in a bid for fossilisation.

          • chiefofsinners

            Precisely so. Individual advantage and social/group advantage are clearly in tension. Nice guys come last. True in reproductive terms.

          • dannybhoy

            The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a pseudepigraphical gospel about the childhood of Jesus that is believed to date to the 2nd century. It was part of a popular genre of biblical work, written to satisfy a hunger among early Christians for more miraculous and anecdotal stories of the childhood of Jesus than the Gospel of Luke provided. Later references by Hippolytus of Rome and Origen of Alexandria to a Gospel of Thomas are more likely to be referring to this Infancy Gospel than to the wholly different Gospel of Thomas with which it is sometimes confused. It would appear to be unrelated to the Canonical Gospels.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infancy_Gospel_of_Thomas

        • cacheton

          As far as I know and understand, nobody.

          But neither did he write the bible.

          • len

            The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Bible,as Jesus is part of the Trinity He also is the Author….

          • cacheton

            A wild claim with no logic, evidence or reasoning whatsoever. You have to make your assertions accessible to everyone, not just those who have already espoused your belief system. If you want to appear credible that is.

          • dannybhoy

            “A wild claim with no logic, evidence or reasoning whatsoever.”
            Why no logic?

            “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
            Is it unrealistic to accept that what we see is made up of atoms which we can’t see with the naked eye?
            Can you point to the part of a seed or bulb that causes it to grow?
            Of course you can’t, and yet you assert there is no logic in believing that the Source of Life and Creator of stars can communicate with man (spiritually) made in the image of God.

          • cacheton

            ‘Is it unrealistic …… the naked eye?’

            No, because with certain instruments we can see that this is the case.

            ‘Can you …to grow?’

            No, but we observe that this IS what it does.

            Neither of these could refer to your last paragraph however.

          • dannybhoy

            There are things within our world which exist yet we are unable to experience or validate them with our five physical senses.
            We cannot explain how seeds or bulbs grow, but they do.
            That they do is technically a mystery. We cannot explain the mechanisms that make it happen.

          • cacheton

            And that makes it ok to be unable to explain what you believe, or why you believe what you believe? Many would, and do, disagree.
            Re seeds, we have observation. Re your beliefs, we have ….?

          • dannybhoy

            “Re seeds, we have observation (of a miracle of life) Re your beliefs, we have ( the miracle of changed lives, charities and ministries and people willing to die for their Saviour….

          • cacheton

            Re your beliefs we also have alot of other things which I’m sure you know about which are not good advertisements for those beliefs.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re welcome of course to present your case.
            I don’t think we Christians have all the answers.
            There are things which perhaps are as much a mystery to me as they are to you.
            The difference is (perhaps) that my faith in the eternal God leads me to say that God will never do anything which is at variance with His revealed nature. That the Lord Jesus came into the world in accordance with the Father’s wish, and showed so much love and concern for people to the extent that He laid down His life for us is enough to justify my confidence in Him.

          • cacheton

            God IS. God does not DO anything. It was humans who killed, etc etc apparently in the name of God.

            Very honest of you to admit that Christians do not have all the answers. But it also seems that your belief system sees to it that you will never have all the answers, and also sees to it that you should be satisfied that you won’t, therefore should not bother even looking or asking.

          • dannybhoy

            Yet in terms of the world around us, in terms of what it means to be human and how society functions, Christians continue looking and asking questions.
            In terms of eternity and origins though Christians are content to accept a supreme Being who is self existent and can never be fully comprehended by that which is created.

          • cacheton

            ‘Yet in terms of the world around us, in terms of what it means to be human and how society functions, Christians continue looking and asking questions.’ …

            but do not accept any answers which point outside their doctrine and beliefs.

            ‘In terms of eternity and origins though Christians are content to accept a supreme Being’ …

            who is somehow judgmental towards them, and separate from them, even thought they cannot explain how …

            … ‘who is self existent and can never be fully comprehended …’

            there you are, satisfied that you will never have all the answers. that is just so …. uncurious!

          • dannybhoy

            At the heart of all we as humans experience and question, there IS a mystery. Is that not so?
            Philosophers, scientists, artists and theologians all seek to provide an answer which fits with the facts.
            Christians, Jews and people of other faiths believe that a Supreme Being or gods created everything, including man himself.
            Christians and Jews accept the reality of God. They see no problem between true science and faith in God, because they believe a rational God created a universe that runs on observable and researchable laws.
            As Johannes Kepler said,
            “”O God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee.”
            http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Biographies/Kepler.html

            But the created will never fully comprehend the Creator.

          • cacheton

            ‘At the heart of all we as humans experience and question, there IS a mystery.’

            There is a difference between:

            – recognising the mystery when all human faculties have been exhausted and everything makes sense mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

            – granting things that do not make sense mentally, emotionally and spiritually ‘mystery’ status so as not to challenge one’s religious beliefs.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh garbarge do what speak you!
            Christians -especially evangelicals- have heard all the arguments arrayed against our faith. Our belief in Truth means that we cannot live with ‘Pretend’ or ‘Ignore’ or shout “Lah lah lah with our fingers in our ears..
            No one is born a Christian. We choose -and are chosen to be Christians. But unlike some, we face up to the challenges and accusations of those who don’t believe.
            Even if I cease to exist when I die, I would far rather have lived my life as a disciple of Christ Jesus my Lord. As it is I believe there is more after this life, and the idea that there is a Creator God who loves all men makes more intellectual sense to me than anything else I have heard so far…

          • cacheton

            ‘Our belief in Truth means that we cannot live with ‘Pretend’ or ‘Ignore’ or shout “Lah lah lah with our fingers in our ears..’

            So how do you explain that this is what we see you doing all the time? You cannot explain how Truth is objective, or how any thing at all is objective for that matter. So you pretend and ignore, saying well we believe that truth is objective because …. because …. well it just is …. because it is …… it just is.
            Your BELIEF in truth means that you are shouting lah lah lah and not using your critical thinking faculties.

            ‘we face up to the challenges and accusations of those who don’t believe.’
            Whilst shouting lah lah lah without addressing many of the points put to you, and when you can’t explain the ones you do address you say they are down to miracles or mysteries, or that you are not supposed to understand everything anyway because you are not god.

            ‘Even if I cease to exist when I die…,’

            So what if you do, or don’t cease to exist. You will be dead! So you will not mind either way. What do you gain from living your life thinking and minding what will happen after you have died, living in the future rather than the present?

            ‘As it is I believe there is more after this life, and the idea that there is a Creator God who loves all men makes more intellectual sense to me than anything else I have heard so far…’

            I would suggest that you mean ’emotional’, not intellectual. There is nothing wrong with it being emotional rather than intellectual, but that belief and that idea do not belong on the intellectual level, so why would you want them to be put there?

          • dannybhoy

            “So how do you explain that this is what we see you doing all the time? ”
            As I said, I am an ordinary joe, a Pooh of limited brain.
            Yet as far as I understand the writings of people far more learned than myself, it seems to me that no one has come up with an answer that satisfies everybody and is scientifically provable.
            So I can do my own dreaming and thinking and pondering too, surely?
            Do I mean emotional rather than intellectual? Good point, but going back to the event of my conversion, it was the revelation of my hypocrisy that made me realise that were I to have come before God on judgement day, God would be quite right in passing a guilty verdict on my life.
            Because He had graciously opened my eyes to the fact that I was a sinner, a hypocrite.
            That was the start of my new life, and as the years went by I learnt more, experienced more and reflected more.
            I found out for example that there are some very clever scientists and intellectuals who own Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. So I read their stuff, I read Richard Dawkins, I watch debates and so on.
            That doesn’t mean I swallow everything that Christians or atheists write. I think about what they’re saying and either agree or disagree. (Or perhaps I misunderstood what they were saying! ;0)
            But each one of us must have enough credible evidence to convince our intellect that what we are being asked to believe is true. And I tend to think that most thinking people’s problems with faith is initially intellectual and ultimately moral.

          • Findaráto

            We observe no miracle when we see a seed sprout and grow. Seeds sprout and grow all the time. Take a seed, place it in soil, water it and it will grow. Every time, with the odd exception.

            It’s a funny kind of miracle that you can produce to order for all to see and repeat merely by following a set of simple instructions. Miracles are by their very nature rare and unrepeatable events. But what could be more commonplace than watching a seed sprout?

            Of course we don’t quite know how to make a seed and start it growing ourselves. But we’re not that far away from finding out. Experiments in which artificial structures replicate many functions of a living cell have been successfully carried out and more progress is being made all the time. Artificial DNA has been successfully transplanted into bacteria and new man-made species created. It’s just a matter of time before we figure out how to produce artificially replicating cell structures and then your “miracle of life” will be no more of a miracle than any other manufacturing process.

            Our ancestors thought that lightning was created by gods and used as a weapon to punish. We now know it’s merely a discharge of static electricity generated by water and dust particles in the atmosphere. Primitive man can perhaps be forgiven for creating myths and superstitions to try and explain what he didn’t understand. Modern man should be ashamed of himself for doing so. There’s always a reasonable explanation even if we don’t have sufficient data to understand exactly what it is yet.

          • len

            I am somewhat amused by atheists because when they say “there is no God” because this is an assumption that Atheists have all the data about everything in the Universe.

          • Findaráto

            Most atheists do not say there is no God. They say there is no evidence that suggests there is.

            We don’t know everything about the universe, but we know quite a lot about our own particular corner of it. And none of what we know offers any concrete evidence that any god or spirit exists.

            If after several thousand years of searching we haven’t been able to turn up the slightest piece of evidence that god exists – a god that we’re told wants us to believe in him – then it very much looks as though there’s nothing to find.

          • William Lewis

            Your subjective assessment as to the credibility of any logic, evidence or reasoning cannot be trusted or reliably assessed by anyone else.

          • cacheton

            Of course it can. Don’t take my word for it, think it through for yourself!

          • William Lewis

            Obviously I wasn’t including me.

      • preacher

        Well I’ve never killed anyone who doesn’t share my belief or agree with me & there are many !.
        How do you know without doubt that God did not inspire the writing of the Bible ?. Interpretation is a different matter, dependant entirely on the motives of the interpreter.

        • sarky

          How do you know god didn’t inspire the bible?

          The mistakes, inaccuracies and inconsistencies prove that it is a man made construct

          • bluedog

            You mean only God is perfect? Since when did God exist?

          • len

            How do you know god didn’t inspire the bible?

            Don`t do you mean ‘did?’

            Prophecy in the bible has proved to be 100% accurate…How do you explain that?.

          • cacheton

            …. to those who need it to be in order to prop up their faith.
            Depends on how you interpret it ……….

          • len

            Faith doesn`t need’ propping up’ Faith is a gift of God.
            Humankind is so degenerate that God has to give His own faith to humans for them to be able to perceive Truth….

          • cacheton

            God has faith? What does god have faith in?

          • len

            Himself.

          • cacheton

            And you have a scriptural reference for that I suppose.

          • sarky

            That’s the thing about prophecy, given time most things will come to pass. Doesn’t make it true.

          • len

            Go away study Bible prophecy then come back and we can discuss the relevance of bible prophecy….

          • sarky

            Why would I study supernatural nonsense?? Think I’ll stick to facts.

          • chiefofsinners

            I prophesy that you will become a Christian.

          • sarky

            And I prophesy you will become an atheist.

          • chiefofsinners

            Already have. Before becoming a Christian.

          • sarky

            Arhh there’s hopen yet then.

          • preacher

            Sorry Sarks missed your reply ! .
            I expected better from you old mate than this old chestnut.
            I think you’ll find that the framework or construction of, in particular the New Testament gospels are so poor that it has no comparison with any work of fiction.
            To specify one small point. No description is given of the main Character, further more the writers give different accounts of various acts & teachings of the main character, plus the chronologies jump around like frogs on a hotplate.
            Many things remain that would have been censored if it was a work of fiction, i.e Peter’s denial of Christ.
            Altogether more like notes or entries in a diary than a novel.

          • sarky

            None of that proves divine inspiration. In fact if god was communicating his will to us, why do it in such a ramshackle way?

        • cacheton

          Right, so even if it could be shown or argued that God DID inspire the writing of the bible (which it can’t), the result would be the same, the interpretations are biased.

          • len

            ‘Interpretation of the Bible ‘is the cause of many heated discussions on this blog…Those within the RCC claim their bunch of guys have got interpretation all buttoned up but this is clearly wrong as Jesus (the Author and finisher of our Faith) has promised the Holy spirit as interpretor on the Bible (only fair as he also is the Author) but try telling those within the confines of the RCC that!.

          • cacheton

            Jesus is not the Author of Faith. He knew nothing about faith, not needing it himself as he KNEW.

          • len

            Are we going off on a ramble up the garden path?

          • cacheton

            No.
            Jesus said, if I remember rightly as recorded in the bible, so it may not be correct, but it resonates anyway: I AM the way, the truth and the life. Not I have, or I know about, or If you become a christian I will show you, or anything else.
            That is not faith, that is knowledge.

          • len

            If someone is’ the author’ they are the Creator..So if Jesus is the Author(which He is) of faith) then this is self explanatory.

          • cacheton

            I really do not follow this.
            Do you have any scriptural references which demonstrate (as far as any reference could, which it couldn’t, but anyway …) that Jesus had faith, used faith, was the Author of anything at all (ie: wrote anything down)?

          • William Lewis

            We have no faith in your subjective opinion on this.

          • cacheton

            Just as I have no faith in your subjective opinion that the subjective opinions in the bible were influenced by some subjectively objective being outside of the subjects who wrote the words…

          • William Lewis

            We have no faith in your subjective opinion on this either.

          • dannybhoy

            The difference is this: Christians accept their sinfulness, their failures, their inconsistencies and inadequacies.
            But they accept them because they believe in One who is without sin, never fails, is always consistent and complete.
            That is God. God is self existent. He created all things for His own pleasure. One day He will wrap up this cosmos and create a new one.
            He can do this because as the self existent Creator of all things, He can do whatever He wants within the bounds of His own revealed nature. Jesus is the physical manifestation of the Godhead, the physical demonstration of God’s holiness, compassion and love for His particular creation Man.
            God is so big and vast and resourceful there is nothing we can do that He is unable to forgive, put right, or else bring forth good from.
            That’s what we Christians believe, and the grounds for that belief is in the Scriptures.
            You can reject it of course,but millions upon millions of people down through the ages have lived their lives in accordance with it.

          • cacheton

            Hmm I’m wondering how your version of god puts right or brings forth good from child sexual abuse. I suppose your faith just trusts that he does, even though the evidence we have here on earth is that it is detrimental to lives, and the perpetrator is fully aware of this? Some perpetrators are even some of those millions who have lived their lives in accordance with ‘it’. But they know god will forgive them and put it right, right? How twisted is that!

          • dannybhoy

            “Hmm I’m wondering how your version of god puts right or brings forth good from child sexual abuse.”
            My version of God says that those who knowingly and deliberately abuse children (and don’t forget my wife and I have worked with sexually abused children), will until the day they die have the same opportunity to repent as anyone else. and I know this because the Scriptures make it clear that God would rather we repent than die.
            Similarly the victim of abuse may, may in this life find salvation and and love and some healing.
            But even if this doesn’t happen, in eternity God will give joy and peace that wipes away all tears.
            This is entirely consistent with the nature of God as revealed in the Scriptures

          • cacheton

            They have the same opportunity to repent, and then can knowingly abuse again with the same opportunity to repent afterwards, and then can knowingly abuse again with the same opportunity …. ad infinitum.

            Perpetrators have it better than victims using your framework, it seems.

          • dannybhoy

            Not so my dear critic,
            There is no guarantee of forgiveness for someone who carries on abusing. Salvation is a life changing experience. The progression of salvation as sanctification is a rocky one.
            Christians fail, but some Christians achieve great things for God. I think it always has to do with our background, the teaching and example set by parents, and how quickly we lay hold of St Paul’s exhortation,
            17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
            2 Corinthians 5:17(ESVUK)
            It seems to me (and of course I could be wrong!) that man has physical or carnal urges that he shares with other creatures that reproduce. The (born again) spirit within him is constantly at war with his natural and selfish inclinations.
            Sanctification is the process whereby born again man by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit learns to overcome the power of those inclinations.
            But you can’t fool God. He knows what’s really motivating you!

          • cacheton

            You contradict yourself.

            ‘those who knowingly and deliberately abuse children will until the day they die have the same opportunity to repent as anyone else.’

            ‘There is no guarantee of forgiveness for someone who carries on abusing.’

            It seems some people are guaranteed forgiveness, others not. How convenient.

          • dannybhoy

            All are offered forgiveness, but not all will accept it. Salvation is not about achieving perfection, it is about being reconciled to God, and the heart that recognises its own imperfections will want to live a life pleasing to God.

          • cacheton

            ‘All are offered forgiveness’…

            in return for a surrendering of much of their critical thinking faculties. Tough choice.
            I am personally not convinced that, in the nagging knowledge that one has surrendered much of one’s critical thinking faculty, this type of forgiveness is terribly permanent, stable or ultimately desirable.

          • dannybhoy

            That is your choice of course, and I respect it But it is ridiculous (not to mention arrogant) to say that we have to surrender our critical thinking in order to receive salvation.
            As a result of my conversion and consequent interactions with educated Christians and non Christians over the years, I am more aware of the arguments for and against, and of issues I had never thought about before my conversion..
            I think this is true of most Christians.

          • cacheton

            If you believe in a god that loves everybody equally, but also loves some people more than others, and that this is the god who is giving you ‘salvation’, then you are surrendering at least part of your critical thinking faculty in order to have this ‘salvation’.
            There is nothing arrogant about this observation.

          • dannybhoy

            “If you believe in a god that loves everybody equally, but also loves some people more than others,”
            Where on earth do you get this idea that God loves some more than others?

            ” For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

            ” Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
            Ezekiel 18:33

            “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11
            You arrogance lies in not knowing what the Bible teaches, yet acting as if you do. Or if you do deliberately distorting what God Himself says about man.
            To me it’s simple. If a man or woman truly hates the concept of God/ God Himself / Our Lord Jesus Christ and Christianity/ consciously and deliberately worships and serves Satan, then they sure as Heck ain’t going to be happy in Heaven..
            So God gives them the consequences of their freewill choices.

          • cacheton

            We always come back to the same point.

            ‘what God Himself says about man.’

            You think that you know what god says, thinks etc. Because you believe that he wrote a book. This is an inexplicable, irrational belief.
            And you think that people who do not know, or do not interpret in the same way as you, what the bible ‘teaches’ are arrogant??

          • dannybhoy

            Where do I say He wrote the Scriptures? There are 66 books and letters written over hundreds and hundreds of years accepted as inspired by God.
            But those books were written by men inspired by God’s Holy Spirit.
            Apart from the ten commandments written by the (metaphorical) finger of God.
            I totally accept the Jewish Scriptures in the form of the Tanakh, being the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.
            I am prepared to accept that the Genesis account of Creation may be an allegory, but remain convinced that God was behind it, not chance nor evolution.
            There are things I ponder on, and they live on hooks in a cupboard in my mind marked, ” Mysteries, Paradoxes and Bafflers.”
            But they don’t bother me too much, because God’s revelation of Himself in the Scriptures makes far more sense than anything else I have read about or heard espoused.
            Belief in God allows for the sciences, the arts and philosophy. It allows for man to explore his world and the cosmos, and none of that need jar with faith in the One who created it all.
            It seems to me that the real sticking point is where God’s commands for man’s behaviour and morality clashes with what we as individuals want.
            Further, I think the struggle centres around our physicality as creatures. The urges and appetites we share with the animal world which are quite normal, but somehow distorted to varying degrees in Man.
            Which takes us back to our father Adam in the garden of Eden… :0)

          • len

            What are you saying then..?

          • preacher

            The same applies to your earlier defence of Marx. You believe he wrote it, how, were you there & saw it ? was it dictated by him & written by a secretary ? was it ghost written from his notes ? perhaps a group effort ? My point is that you accept it as fact because it fits what you want to believe. But you then admit that communist leaders felt the ideology didn’t apply to them, ipso facto they were biased in their interpretation to suit themselves.

          • cacheton

            I don’t think the communist leaders even thought about it much, so intent were they on enforcing the ideology.
            I accept that Marx wrote the book because he was a physical person, and therefore capable of writing a book. The book is then interesting, or not, regardless of who wrote it. Unlike the bible, which is largely uninteresting, though because some believe it was written or inspired by god, and therefore SHOULD be interesting, it is interpreted to be saying something terribly important, even though it might not be saying anything of value at all. Similar to those leaders, some christians are so attached to the bible being ‘true’ they cannot even entertain the thought that it might actually not be.

    • Findaráto

      So if the devil exists and is a murderer then why is it that he doesn’t murder everyone just after they’ve committed their first mortal sin, but before they’ve had a chance to repent? That way he could have thwarted God’s design and exterminated the human race within a couple of generations.

      But maybe he wants as many of us for hell as possible, in which case he’d be wiser to knock us off after we’ve had a few children. So how come he doesn’t murder all menopausal women? And how come gay people and the infertile can live as long as anyone?

      Unless of course there is no devil to murder anyone…

      • The Explorer

        He’s spoiled for choice. He can afford to be magnanimous once in a while.

        • Findaráto

          If he wants to thwart God then he can’t afford to be magnanimous at all. Every soul saved is a victory for God and an erosion of the devil’s potential power base.

          Would a truly evil being whose aim was to overthrow God pass up any chance to marr his design?

          If the devil’s a murderer, he’s a pretty inefficient one. Most of us won’t die murdered. So what’s he waiting for? Does he actually want God to win? Or does he just not exist at all?

          • The Explorer

            You’re being very Manichaen about this. It’s not a contest of equals. Michael is the Devil’s opposite, not God. As someone said, we’re in a situation between D Day and V Day. The Devil has lost, but can still do a lot of damage before final defeat. Every soul lost to God is a victory for Satan.

            That’s why George Steiner was wrong in ‘The Death of Tragedy’ to say that Christianity killed tragedy. It didn’t.

      • chiefofsinners

        Is that the best argument you can come up with?
        Satan incites murder. His role in tempting men to evil is a well understood area of theology. By some of us.

        • Findaráto

          Careful. Are you sure you’re not bearing false witness? Where’s your proof that a being called Satan exists and that he incites anyone to murder?

          If you’re going to cite Bible stories as proof, they won’t stand up in court.

          • len

            Just take a look around people blowing themselves and others up, teenagers torturing and killing defenceless old ladies etc etc,the list is endless the evidence everywhere…..but of course this is all just ‘human nature’ which has progressed so beautifully through the evolution process….man is nearly perfect now…..

          • chiefofsinners

            The authority which says Satan exists is the same as the authority which says bearing false witness is sinful. So I’m in the clear either way.

          • Findaráto

            Self-justification is a wonderful thing. You can do no wrong because you say so, so we can all see who your ultimate authority is.

      • len

        A rather childish response I expected better.

        • CliveM

          Why?

          • len

            I don`t know really , hope spring eternal?

  • TrippingDwarves

    Maybe it’s a question of sincerity. We can all believe in our own faith, be it religious, political or whatever, but we should also, in our dealings with those of other faiths, always start from the standpoint that they, no matter how wrong we might think them to be, are sincere in their beliefs and hold them to be true. Therefore, we should allow them to practice their faith, without let or hindrance, just as they should allow us to practice ours, wherever we, or they, happen to be. However, when we come to those who refuse to allow others to practice their faith and try to either criminalise them or ostracise them, or treat them harshly in other ways, because of their faith, then I think the sincerity is gone and we are left with a lust for power.

    • cacheton

      And if those people of faith sincerely believe that their faith requires them to treat others harshly or even kill them? In killing others they believe they ARE practising their faith.

      • TrippingDwarves

        Then their beliefs become an ideology and their motives power. Can a person be forced to believe? Truly, in their hearts, by force? I don’t think so, not without severe threats or indoctrination, which is not then sincere. But the same can be used to make a person submit, but submission is not belief and should not be regarded as such.

        • cacheton

          Belief, by definition, is submission to something one does not KNOW.

          • TrippingDwarves

            Indeed, and this can be done voluntarily. But my question is can it be forced? If forced, is it sincere? And are those who enforce it, truly sincere in their beliefs? Or are they really only seeking power over others?

          • cacheton

            I think I see what you mean, but even if they are seeking power over others, and even if this is explicitly pointed out to them, they are able to continue to do so because they are doing it in the name of religion. In other words, ultimately, as long as religion has a special status in society, they can, and will, get away with it.

          • TrippingDwarves

            Indeed, which is very worrying. We need to start seeing things for what they truly are and not be swayed by others’ sense of grievance or victimhood. And grant no special privileges to those who use force to assert their control over others.

          • cacheton

            And how do you propose we do that if we continue with ‘freedom of religion’?

          • TrippingDwarves

            Isn’t that exactly what we should have? Freedom of religion within and without all faiths?

          • cacheton

            Surely that is impossible if the ‘religion’ part requires its adherents to use force, emotional and/or physical, to exert control over others.
            It would take the adherents to realise that this is in effect what they are doing, and choose to stop it, but the survival of their religion depends on it. It is therefore not going to happen is it!

  • pobjoy

    Catholics burned Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley and many more, for saying that you could not make bread into God. Now did anyone ‘important’ actually believe that a man whose hands could have been committing murder, sexual abuse or mere theft one night could confect God the next morning? Most unlikely; and remember, that the crimes of the Vatican’s agents throughout Europe were as much a cause of the Reformation as the theological issues.

    But the point here is that transubstantiation is not a theological issue. It is an issue of civil polity, that has nothing necessarily to do with religion. Because, not anyone can turn bread into God, the claim has it; and, without that bread-into-God, a person can be ostracised, even burned alive. Only men controlled by the Vatican can do this magic, so whoever controls the Vatican is potentially in control of society. So, you show me a priest, I’ll show you an enemy of democracy and freedom— one whose political role gave precedence to Islam, was taken up by mullahs, and is today shown by the terrorists of ISIS.

    • On December 25, 2013 at St. Jacek parish, while distributing Holy Communion, a Sacred Host fell to the floor, and was picked up and placed in a container of water. After some time it begin give a red appearance. The then-bishop of Legnica, Bp. Stefan Cichy, appointed a Commission whose task was to observe the phenomenon. In February 2014, he removed a fragment of the red matter and deposited it on the corporal. In order to analyze the fragment, the Commission ordered the taking of samples and conducted appropriate tests by different competent authorities.

      The final judgment of the Department of Forensic Medicine states:

      “The histopathological tissue fragments were found containing a fragmented part of the skeletal muscle. … The whole image … is most similar to the heart muscle … as it appears under the strains of agony. Genetic studies indicate the origin as human tissue.”

      In January this year, I presented the whole matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Today, according to the Holy See, I recommend that the parish priest, Andrzej Ziombrze, prepare a suitable place for the Relic so that the faithful might give it honor. I also ask for visitors to be provided relevant information and to offer thorough catechesis to help properly form the faithful in their understanding of eucharistic worship. Moreover, I’m ordering that a book be provided to record any graces received or other supernatural events.

      I hope all of this will serve to deepen veneration for the Eucharist and will profoundly impact the lives of those approaching the relic. We see this marvelous sign as a special expression of God’s kindness and love, Who so humbles Himself before man.

      I cordially ask for your prayers and I bless you,
      + Zbigniew Kiernikowski
      Bishop of Legnica

      http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/eucharistic-miracle-confirmed-in-poland

      • pobjoy

        ‘the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.’

        2 Th 2:9-12 NLT

      • Findaráto

        ROFL!

        So which “Department of Forensic Medicine” is this then? The one where they just happened to be analysing some human remains the day before a package containing a wet cream cracker stained with red ink was brought in by some overwrought priests looking to put their backwater diocese on the map?

        Where’s the independent confirmation of these findings? Where’s the proof that cell tissue wasn’t substituted for an ordinary host?

        If we’re to take this seriously then we’ll need to repeat the experiment. A host will have to be dropped under laboratory conditions and its transformation into human flesh observed and recorded by multiple independent witnesses for this to be a convincing miracle.

        Otherwise the simplest explanation is that you’re looking at a fraudulent priest trying to make a name for himself and his church. Think of all those pilgrims who’ll come flooding in if this miracle is approved. The man in question hadn’t visited Lourdes or Fatima recently, by any chance?

        • “If we’re to take this seriously then we’ll need to repeat the experiment. A host will have to be dropped under laboratory conditions and its transformation into human flesh observed and recorded by multiple independent witnesses for this to be a convincing miracle”

          ROFL

          You do understand what a miracle is, Linus? It’s an event inexplicable by the laws of nature and is an act of God.

          • Findaráto

            You mean it’s an event witnessed by so few people that delusion or collusion (in order to deceive, of course) remain the most likely explanations.

            In the absence of convincing evidence witnessed by independent and reliable sources under laboratory conditions there is no miracle here. Just a bishop with an eye to the main chance wondering how he can snaffle a bit of the trinkets trade that keeps Lourdes going for his own impoverished backwater of a diocese.

            He whom the Lord elects to receive random bits of his flesh will also quite probably be on a fasttrack to promotion. Today archbishop of a Polish dead end, tomorrow a cardinal in Warsaw, and then who knows? Bergoglio isn’t eternal and it’s about time another Pole got the top job, eh?

          • len

            ‘It’s an event inexplicable by the laws of nature and is an act of God.’

            Not always! Discernment is needed…But you are not allowed discernment Jack ….Which makes you wide open to deception….

          • Actually, Jack is. There is no requirement on Catholics to accept these miracles as authentic. The Church leaves it to individuals to decide.

        • At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up
          to tell him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder at the back of the church. On going
          to the spot indicated, Fr. Alejandro saw the defiled Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.

          On Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6. They clearly show that the Host, which had become a fragment of bloodied flesh, had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.

          On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Cardinal’s representatives, Dr. Castanon took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to prejudice the study, he purposely did not inform
          the team of scientists of its provenance. One of these scientists was Dr. Frederic Zugiba, the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist. He determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”

          Two Australians, journalist Mike Willesee and lawyer Ron Tesoriero, witnessed these tests. Knowing where sample had come from, they were dumbfounded by Dr. Zugiba’s testimony. Mike Willesee asked the scientist how long the white blood cells would have remained alive if they had come from a piece of human tissue, which had been kept in water. They would have ceased to exist in a matter of minutes, Dr. Zugiba replied. The journalist then told the doctor that the source of the sample had first been kept in ordinary water for a month and then for another three years in a container of distilled water; only then had the sample been taken for analysis. Dr. Zugiba’s was at a loss to account for this fact. There was no way of explaining it scientifically, he stated. Only then did Mike Willesee inform Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated Host (white, unleavened bread) that had mysteriously turned into bloody human flesh. Amazed by this information, Dr. Zugiba replied, “How and why a consecrated Host would change its character and become living human flesh and blood will remain an inexplicable mystery to science—a mystery totally beyond her competence.”

          http://www.loamagazine.org/nr/the_main_topic/eucharistic_miracle_in_buenos.html

          • preacher

            Sorry Jack, but this sounds like the false manifestations seen in some of the wilder Charismatic fellowships mainly on the other side of the pond.
            You know them, gold dust falling from the ceiling, Angel feathers floating down, gold teeth replacing fillings etcetera.
            The problem is, it fools the desperate & gullible & brings the real gospel into disrepute & scorn from unbelievers.

          • Unbelievers will scorn anyway and, whatever happens at Charismatic meetings, there are such things as miracles.

          • preacher

            Yes, but why supply them with the ammunition ? Many other people listen to & read accounts of debates & read books both for & against the faith. Many are searching & seeking for the truth that only Christianity provides.
            Yes miracles do happen & I consider myself a Charismatic, but we are entrusted to preach & present the gospel with the intention of souls being saved & this bizzare type of showmanship is I believe a hindrance rather than a help.

          • Well, “bizzare (sic) type of showmanship” rather overlooks the possibility of these reported events being actual Eucharistic miracles.

          • preacher

            Mistake already corrected before your reply. Nice for all you guys in a holy huddle. But of no practical use in reaching the lost or proclaiming the gospel to them so that their sins will be forgiven & they will not be judged & condemned then ?.

          • If miracles they be, then they are direct actions of God and have a purpose. Why ignore them?

          • preacher

            Why would God give such a useless & confusing sign ? & why can you not discern it ? what purpose did this serve ?.
            I’m not trying to attack your beliefs. As you can see, I reject the more extreme manifestations of some of those who claim that the gold dust etcetera are signs & miracles & they are not Roman Catholics. This has all the hallmarks of an enemy who wishes to discredit the faith & destroy those who honestly seek the Lord.

          • len

            ‘If miracles they be’ ?

            ‘In the last days’
            ‘For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.’

            (Matt 24 :24)

          • preacher

            I’m afraid our friend has gone or is sulking len !.

          • len

            Probably still digging in that hole? LOL.

          • preacher

            You know, for the very first time in my life, I feel sorry for a pontiff !. Can you imagine how embarrassed the poor guy must have been, it could make one psychotic about spending a Penny.

          • No one “performed” signs and wonders in either example. The consecrated hosts underwent changes. And, of course, we know the elect cannot be deceived.

          • len

            As my daughter often says “Whatever”

          • With a dad like you, is there any wonder?
            Wot eva.

          • len

            There is such a thing as’ blooming ridiculous’ but that doesn`t seem to have stopped the RCC from taking this on board?.

          • Findaráto

            ROFL!

            Well the holes in this one are big enough to drive a whole fleet of buses through. Abreast.

            Firstly, the doctor’s name is not Zugiba but Zugibe. How accurate is a story that can’t even get one of the main characters’ name right? What other “small and unimportant” details have been altered, exaggerated or even downright falsified?

            Secondly, this Zugibe character has form when it comes to “proving” Catholic miracles. A devout Catholic (but of course that’s neither here nor there, is it?) he’s been prominent in efforts to debunk the findings of the team that dated the Shroud of Turin to the medieval period. When a miracle hangs in the balance, apparently Dr Zugibe is the Catholic Church’s go-to man. They can always rely on him to make the science say what they say it should.

            And finally, the good doctor’s findings are not supported by peer review or independent confirmation. How confident is he that his sample wasn’t tampered with? Was he present when the host was dropped? Can he testify that it wasn’t replaced by human tissue before he received it? Has he sworn that he himself didn’t replace it?

            What’s more likely? That flour and water changed into human flesh, or that the religious zealots who claim that it has are either deliberately misleading us, or have worked themselves up into such a state of holy frenzy that their delusions have overcome their better judgment?

            I know which explanation sounds most plausible to me. Occam’s razor cuts through all religious lies and delusions with remarkable efficiency.

          • Anton

            Anybody who disputes the mediaeval age of the Turin Shroud by more than 300% and claims to be a scientist, like Zugibe, should be ignored. The carbon dating is good to a few decades and the claim of mediaeval invisible repair distorting the results has been explained to be impossible by Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, the expert who was hired by the Vatican: a repair of the necessary size would be visible on the ‘other’ side, which it is not. The samples tested were cleansed so that only the linen was tested.

          • Findaráto

            No no no, you clearly don’t understand!

            When the linen samples were cleaned, they used mild green Fairy Liquid manufactured in 1988. But the silly sausages didn’t rinse the samples out properly, so some detergent was still present in the linen and gave a false result when the carbon dating was carried out.

            The modern Fairy Liquid contaminated the ancient linen and returned a date more or less at the midpoint between the two.

            That’s probably what Jack believes…

          • Anton

            Better ask him. I’m not going to get into a 3-way satire on the subject. Suffice it to say that the scientific evidence is decisive – and there are arguments from the Bible too, for those interested.

          • Findaráto

            Jack’s being notably silent on the subject, which probably means he’s read the Wikipedia article about the shroud and thought “bugger, I’m going to have a hard time defending this one, so noble silence is the best course of action”.

            I wonder what new utterly indisputable miracle he’ll come with next. The Blessed Virgin’s face on a grilled cheese sandwich, perhaps? Now there’s a solid foundation for two millennia of unwavering faith. Who wouldn’t sacrifice his life to God based solely on the fact that a Florida “work-at-home jewelry designer and mom” claims that Christ’s mother visitated her frying pan and left an indelible imprint on her favourite fat-laden treat?

            The weighty theological questions raised by such a miracle are endless. Was Mary’s numenousness transported via the starch grains in the bread? Or was it channeled through the fat molecules of the butter? Do all grilled cheese sandwiches serve as a kind of radio receiver for holy emanations, or was it just that one, and if so, why?

            Did the wind just happen to be blowing in the right direction that day? Or was Mary entering the US national debate on obesity and throwing her weight behind the “fat is fine” camp? Are we to understand that calorie-rich fried snacks carry God’s blessing and that therefore, by extension, blocked arteries and death by coronary infarctus are an honourable estate conceived of God the better to bring us more quickly to his bosom? So should we repent and slam back another slab of fried Mighty White and cheddar and wait for our sins to be forgiven?

            There’s a career somewhere in all of that for an enterprising Catholic prelate. An apostolate to anorexics and sufferers of other eating disorders. If the Blessed Virgin chose to appear to us via the medium of grilled cheese, then clearly this means that all nourishing dairy products are blessed of the Lord, and that low-calorie salads and reduced fat snacks are an abomination in His eyes. So all those skinny girls out there can pig out with a clear conscience and know that the Lord is with thee, holy Mary full of grease. Blessed art thou amongst dairymaids, and blessed are the fruits of thy churn, Cheeses…

          • Just like your arguments concerning the Resurrection. Presumably, you’d want that repeated under strict scientific conditions and to be peer reviewed too. Miracles happen.

          • Findaráto

            Miracles happen because you say they do, eh?

            Apparently all the proof we need to be absolutely sure that something, no matter how bizarre, strange and unlikely, has happened is Jack’s word! So bow down to him. If his word is truth, he must be God!

      • IanCad

        Now Jack! As I have previously stated, your loyalty must count for virtue. Credulity though, should have limits.

        It puts me in mind of this recent story:
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11892613/Congressman-drinks-Popes-leftover-water.html
        I couldn’t resist C&Ping this comment on the matter:

        GreatBrithole • 7 months ago

        Apparently, the pope also took a holy dump while he was in congress. In a display of reverence, congressman Bob Brady rushed to be the next person to use the cubicle and proudly boasted that the seat was still warm when he sat on it.

        He then invited US Senator Bob Casey, also from Pennsylvania, into the cubicle. Senator Casey brought his wife and mother in with him and they all placed their fingers in the toilet bowl.

        Mr Brady found that the pope had not flushed away the entirety of his holy dump and had left a holy floater so Mr Brady took this home with him and intends to bless his four grandchildren with it and then mount it in an aquarium on his mantelpiece.

        With a tear in his eye, he said: “I took a dump on it (the holy bog). How many people do you know who took a dump on the same, warm throne as Him while being enveloped by the over-powering ‘holy spirit’ which He left

        • len

          Lol This for real?

          • Only you could ask such a question … only you.

          • len

            😉

          • IanCad

            Len,
            I thought it was a clever and funny parody on the linked Telegraph article.

      • Terry Mushroom

        Jack, like the Turin shroud, Lourdes, or Fatima, this may or may not be true. They are not an essential part of the Catholic faith. One is not a Catholic if one does not accept them. We find our faith in scripture and tradition and the living magisterium which is where I suggest discussion should lie.

        As a fellow Catholc, while so far I disagree with Carl, I see someone of thoughtful good will who genuinely seeks truth. While passionate in disagreement, he is respectful of those with whom he discussing. Of Findarato and Pobjoy I’m not so sure.

        • Agreed … on all counts.

          Do be careful … “while so far I disagree with Carl”. Thus far, he cannot help his ignorance of Catholicism. It’s our job to educate and influence him.

      • len

        The relics trade will have a field day with this…..

        • “Believe me when I tell you this; you can have no life in yourselves, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood. The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood enjoys eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. My flesh is real food, my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, lives continually in me, and I in him. “
          The words of Jesus that tried the faith of disciples.

          • pobjoy

            The only material flesh that the disciples could have supposed was to be eaten was Jesus, the man. So, unless the twelve who remained were expecting to eat Jesus, presumably alive, the flesh and blood referred to were of the metaphorical kind.

          • Not what Jesus meant as the reaction of His disciples demonstrates. And it all became clear to the Apostles at the Last Supper.

            John 6:30 begins a colloquy that took place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The Jews asked Jesus what sign he could perform so that they might believe in him. As a challenge, they noted that “our ancestors ate manna in the desert.” Could Jesus top that? He told them the real bread from heaven comes from the Father. “Give us this bread always,” they said. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” At this point the Jews understood him to be speaking metaphorically.

            Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarised: “‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” (John 6:51–52).

            His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literally—and correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:53–56).

            Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct “misunderstandings,” for there were none. Our Lord’s listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?

            In John 6:60 we read: “Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’” These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:12–14). But he knew some did not believe. “After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (John 6:66).

            This is the only record we have of any of Christ’s followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didn’t he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.

            But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have “to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supper—and it was a promise that could not be more explicit.

          • pobjoy

            Not what Jesus meant as the reaction of His disciples demonstrates.And it all became clear to the Apostles at the Last Supper.

            So, in this explanation, the disciples who left did so because they thought that they had to literally eat Jesus. So Jesus should have called them back, and said, “Only joking! All you have to do is eat a bit of bread now and again, down the synagogue. Piece o’ cake, honest.”

            “Oh, is that all? For a minute we thought you meant that eating your body was us putting our lives on the line, like you did in chapter five. Hairy, that. Now this eating bread thing really could catch on. It’s so easy, it could even become catholic!”

            But no, sadly, Jesus had a ‘frog in his throat’, and they never heard him. And the twelve who remained went hungry.

          • Are you ill?

          • pobjoy

            🙂 The familiar old Catholic white flag.

          • Pearls before swine … or trolls.

          • pobjoy

            Come, now. You will receive another rebuke from Msgr. Mushroom, at this rate.

          • Anton

            Yet God’s word does not contradict itself and the drinking of blood was banned in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 3:17), a prohibition repeated to gentile believers at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).

          • As Jesus wrote the Law of Moses, Jack is sure He was aware of this. Our Lord’s Body and Blood was hardly the subject of kosher dietary regulations!

          • Anton

            Yet God’s word does not contradict itself and the drinking of blood was banned in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 3:17). What’s your explanation of this riddle?

          • Hardly a “riddle”. As Jack intimated, the Mosaic dietary laws do not apply to Christ’s Body and Blood. Indeed, they are no longer applicable, period.

          • Anton

            Regardless of what Acts 15 means, those laws were applicable to those present at the Last Supper, and on what basis do you say there is an exception to Leviticus for Christ’s blood?

          • Well, Jesus is God.

          • Anton

            Who is also human, And who does not contradict himself.

          • He ended the Mosaic Covenant and established a New Covenant.

          • Anton

            Fulfilled. For what that means, see our other strand.

          • Anton

            But they did apply at the Last Supper. Whatever change to the Mosaic covenant took place, it was at the Crucifixion.

          • You don’t believe Christ had the singular authority to change the Mosaic dietary laws?

          • Anton

            I believe he would never contradict his father. It’s not about authority.

          • You don’t believe Jesus could authorise exceptions? Strange.

          • Anton

            I never said that and anyway the question diverts into the meaning of words. Certainly I don’t believe he did, for God does not contradict himself.

          • Jesus was not contradicting Himself when He was looking forward to the New Covenant in His Body and Blood. He wasn’t authorising cannibalism nor the drinking of human blood. When we eat and drink His body and blood we are consuming Christ resurrected.

          • Anton

            And at the Last Supper?

          • With God all things are possible.

          • Anton

            Really? You think God would lie? Cheat? Swindle? Send prophets who hear him aright and license fornication? Or contradict Himself?

          • If God wanted to inaugurate a New Covenant and share His resurrected Body and Blood with His Apostles before His death, are you suggesting He couldn’t?

          • Anton

            To answer that we need to get Trinitarian. To do so would set two of the members of the Trinity against each other, which is inconceivable.

          • Sorry, you’ll need to explain that one.

          • Anton

            God the Father gave Israel’s law. God the Son fulfilled it, keeping it perfectly right up to his crucifixion. That is to say, his life and death fulfilled the law (eg, the sacrifices). If God the Son changed it in any way before he died, Son would be set against Father and the whole edifice would crumble.

          • The Law, as Jesus clearly taught, was not about ritual sacrifices. Remember His summary of the Law into two commandments. Was He wrong?
            You need to explain Our Lord’s words and actions at the Last Supper.

          • Anton

            Any Jew who kept those two commands would in practice keep the rest.

            Throwing the onus on me? I’m perfectly willing to explain what Jesus said at the Last Supper, but not instead of demanding you reconcile the problem for your understanding that I’ve set out – rather, as well.

          • Anton

            I too am sure that Jesus knew the Law of Moses perfectly well. But according to your interpretation of his words at the Last Supper he was telling the Jews at the Last Supper to violate it. Do you agree?

          • At the Last Supper He ended the Mosaic Covenant and established a New Covenant. Do you agree?

          • Anton

            No. The Crucifixion did that, and was a few hours later.

          • Jesus first used the words at the Last Supper when He inaugurated the Eucharist. However, Jack agrees the Mosaic Law was finally fulfilled at Calvary.

            So, lets ask the question slightly differently: Jesus ended the Mosaic Covenant and established a New Covenant. Do you agree?

          • Anton

            He fulfilled it. Whether he ended it is not capable of a Yes/No answer. Gentiles were never under it and gentile believers aren’t. Jewish believers in Him no longer needed to bring sacrifices to the Temple, but their nation – which had some autonomy under the Romans – still needed a code of law. What should it have been, and why?

          • That’s a whole other topic that Jack isn’t interested n discussing. The point is the detailed Mosaic Law was God’s law to the Jews until their Messiah came. Jesus was the Messiah and ushered in a new covenanted relationship with God. The dietary and purification laws served no civic function but were religious observances. The punishments for some other crimes were also rather extreme. Having fulfilled the Mosaic Covenant, He brought it to a conclusion i.e. an end.

          • Anton

            “The punishments for some other crimes were also rather extreme.”

            Do you think God made a mistake in commanding those laws?

          • No. He had His reasons. However, we live in different times, under a new covenant.

          • Anton

            The church does, certainly. But what laws should society enact, given that human nature has not changed?

          • We are living under a different Covenant now.

          • Anton

            Society is living under no covenant but that with Noah. The church has a covenant. But what laws governing interpersonal morailty should Christians lobby for?

          • The ten commandments, as comprehended from scripture and natural law.

          • Anton

            Surely only those governing interpersonal morality? I do not approve of blasphemy laws in a non-covenant nation.

            10th commandment isn’t a law!

          • It’s the appropriate punishments we’d disagree on.

          • Anton

            Let’s start with “Thou shalt not commit murder”. In Genesis 9 God commands the death penalty for murder, and does so to all mankind (not just ancient Israel), and in a covenant which, unlike the Mosaic, has not been subject to modification by/in Christ. That is why Paul approves of the sword – which can only mean capital punishment – wielded by rulers in Romans 13, *after* the Crucifixion/Resurrection.

          • It’s actually: Thou shalt not Kill.
            Would you apply the death penalty to those procuring and providing abortions? And how about euthanasia? What about avoidable civil deaths in war?

          • Anton

            That’s the worst mistranslation in the King James Bible. Hebrew has a different word for killing, and if killing is all that were meant then God would have been inconsistent in commanding capital punishment for anything in the Law of Moses. RATZACH is murder.

          • Ratzach is the killing of judicially innocent life – intentionally or accidentally – which may or may not be murder as we understand it.

            So, would you apply the death penalty for manslaughter? Or those procuring and providing abortions? Euthanasia? Avoidable civilian deaths in war?

          • Anton

            You are moderately skilled in avoiding the question by asking a different one back without answering. My answer is I’m not sure, and I’ll summarise the pros and ons on request. But only after you’ve answered this: Do you believe in capital punishment for murder in view of Genesis 9 and Romans 13?

          • Yes, of course, it’s an option. However, I don’t believe it is an automatic requirement and it should be up to nation states to consider its pros and cons.

            As for “authority does not bear the sword in vain!” in Romans 13:1-5, the point of this passage is that Christians must not use their freedom from the Old Testament religious Law as an excuse to violate the civil law.
            Oddly enough, Jack would support the death penalty in a Christian society, that is one that lived according to biblical precepts. He wouldn’t in a society that devalues human life like our own and would use capital punishment as an act of revenge

          • Anton

            I’d agree with that regarding some of the crimes that were capital in Mosaic Law. God did give the Israelites the option of rejecting the package. But not for murder, because of Genesis 9.

          • len

            So the disciples ate Jesus then …end of story..no more Jesus?

  • Hameed
    • CliveM

      Interesting article thank you.

  • Darter Noster

    If some authority says that Mormons or Witnesses are not real or proper Christians, it doesn’t make an awful lot of difference to the Mormons or the Witnesses, who likewise believe that the rest of us are wrong.

    Whether or not one is regarded as a proper Muslim can mean the difference between a normal life and being viewed as verminous swine, fit only for subjection, humiliation and frequently slaughter; it’s much like being labelled a Jew in Poland circa 1941.

    • Darter Noster

      Also, other Christians are much more likely to be shunned by Witnesses than the other way round.

      • pobjoy

        Other?

        • Darter Noster

          Non-Witness followers of Christ.

          • pobjoy

            So JWs are followers of Christ?

          • Darter Noster

            Yes, just as Mormons are. They have different beliefs about him, but follow him in the way they think right. Ahmadiyas are followers of Mohammed, but follow in a different way to other Muslims (or “other” Muslims if you prefer). Most controversially, they don’t believe he was the final prophet.

          • pobjoy

            Yes

            I’ve always wanted to know how a follower of Christ can shun a follower of Christ.

          • Darter Noster

            I personally don’t shun followers of Christ or indeed those of any other religion or of none. Witnesses, however, apart from those specially appointed to go knocking on doors, are supposed to strictly limit their interactions with non-Witnesses. Those who don’t, or who are considered to in some other way not come up to scratch, risk “shunning”, which is the official punishment of Witness congregations.

          • pobjoy

            If, as you say, JWs are Christians, how can they shun others that you consider to be Christians?

          • Darter Noster

            You’d have to ask them, really. Witness beliefs and the code of conduct that derives from those beliefs are extremely exclusivist, as are those of some other small Christian groups – they avoid contact with ‘worldly’ people to avoid contamination. They believe they are the chosen pure.

            Whether I or anyone else believe ourselves to be Christian is fundamentally irrelevant; we are not Witnesses, and therefore unsaved, impure sinners who risk contaminating the faithful with our beliefs and actions. To be fair, there are Christian sects and other religious groups that take such attitudes to a greater extreme than the Witnesses do.

            That attitude misunderstands the point of Christianity. God created Man in his image and shared fully in our humanity through Christ; wherever there is humanity there also is God, however hard you may have to look for him.

          • pobjoy

            You’d have to ask them, really

            They don’t agree that any others are Christians. It’s you who is saying that, and you have now failed to answer this question, twice. So it doesn’t look as though you are anything more than an incompetent Christophobe, does it? So have another go, to make that impossible to believe.

            How can a follower of Christ can shun a follower of Christ?

          • Darter Noster

            Firstly, the first time you “asked” it, it was in the form of a statement.

            Secondly – “They don’t agree that any others are Christians”; I never said that.

            Thirdly – I’m a Roman Catholic; whatever else you may claim, that hardly makes me a “Christophobe”.

            Fourthly – your command of English is as laughable as your completely misplaced and random aggression.

            Fifthly – “How can a follower of Christ shun a follower of Christ?”: I do not know and have never at any point claimed to know. I know why; that’s not the same as knowing how. That’s why I said you’d have to ask them.

          • pobjoy

            I do not know

            Neither do I. Years ago, Catholics said that Protestants were not Christians, and they refused to meet, pray and work with them. Fair enough. Then their new yellow catechism said that Protestants were Christians; but they still refused to meet, pray and work with them. That worked okay, until some dude on the ‘net pointed out that nobody could admit that others were Christians but refuse to meet and pray with them. Since then, Catholics have been in confusion, contradicting each other in every conceivable way, and a few ways you hadn’t thought of!

            So this little debacle is no surprise! 🙂

  • len

    Each religion (and those with no religion) claims to have ‘the truth’.

    The last great battle on Earth will be over truth.’What is Truth? ‘said Pilate when Truth stood before him.
    Truth cannot be discerned with a fallen intellect only with a spirit re- united with the Creator…
    ‘What is Truth ?’ says man stumbling in the dark and settles for what seems to him be the nearest approximation of what he perceives as’ truth’.

  • Anton

    But, out of idle curiosity and if I may ask, are you an accomplished ice skater? (I am not.)

    • CliveM

      No, I chose it because it’s Scottish, without being some shortcake tartan.

      Also one of my favourite pubs is in Duddingston.

      • Anton

        Thank you!

  • jeromecoates

    Jesus was stressed because he was what was new. He was the messiah which was new. The use of “Jehovah” is new for the world today. Jehovah’s Witnesses stress it today.

    These is no reason to drop the name of God (Psalm 83:18) from the Bible. It i
    s heretical to never mention the name Jehovah in religious services. Jesus was made known in his day. Jehovah is being made known by us today.

    • preacher

      Hi jerome. Surely the name Jehovah was not original as the Jewish alphabet had no vowels & these were added to make the name easier for us to pronounce. The Jews would never have used this name as it was too sacred, They mainly used Adonai instead ( another addition of vowels I’m afraid ) I think the original name was closer to YHWH, ( Anglicised to Yahweh ) but it was considered to be too sacred. They certainly held the Lord God in higher respect than many believers today,

      • preacher

        Apologies I don’t think we’ve ever discussed anything before, I just wanted to say welcome.