Norman Lamb Tim Farron
Democracy

Norman Lamb's tactics prove only Farron deserves to be LibDem leader

 

By this weekend 61,000 LibDem members should have received their leadership ballot papers. It’s a straight shootout with the prize of either dragging the party back from the precipice of obscurity or plunging them over the edge to become a political irrelevance.

Delving into tim2lead.com and backnorman.co.uk two distinct pictures emerge. On the centre-left we have Tim Farron who believes in the right of people to live their lives free to say what they think and protest against what they dislike, and that ‘the beauty of the natural world, like music and poetry and art, matter more than profit or growth’. And on the slightly-less-centre-left we have Norman Lamb, the ex Minister of State for Care and Support, who believes it is caring to assist ill people in taking their own lives, wants to see cannabis legalised and thinks that it is important that the new leader put their full support behind same-sex marriage.

Farron is by far the bookie’s favourite and following the recent shennanigans of Norman Lamb and his campaign team centring on Farron’s utterly benign expression of Christianity, the decision for LibDem members has become a whole lot easier.

Norman Lamb claims that he was entirely unaware of his team asking leading questions of LibDem members during phone calls, quizzing them on what they thought of Farron’s views on abortion and gay marriage. These things don’t come out of thin air though. Lamb has been picking away at Farron’s stance and voting record on abortion, same-sex marriage and assisted death ever since he threw himself into the leadership contest. He may not have attacked Farron’s faith directly, but the implied subtext is that it makes him unsuitable to lead the party and it would appear with a good deal of certainty that Lamb’s team decided this was going to be a key aspect of their offensive strategy. Such brazenness was always going to raise the alarm sooner or later though and the revelations paint a picture of a campaign smacking of desperation.

By focusing his attentions on subjects where Christians are seen to be at odds with the populist zeitgeist, Lamb is seeking to present himself as the one contender who can begin to make his party widely appealing again. He has made it clear that in his opinion to fully support same-sex marriage and assisted dying are fundamentally Liberal principles. His campaign literature talks about his ’intolerance of discrimination of every kind’, but the vibe is that certain ‘illiberal’ views will not be approved of or condoned if he ends up in charge.

It’s no wonder that there are more than a few Christian LibDem members getting a bit twitchy and starting to feel excluded because of the rhetoric about their faith. As one member has publicly put it:

Current discussions within the party haven’t always been a pleasant experience for me as a Christian. Some in the party seem to have decided that people of faith have no logic, no reason, and shouldn’t hold party positions. I have been told that faith is irrational and that “True Liberals” don’t let faith influence them.

The Liberal tradition of moral crusading, radical dissent and opposition to institutionalised privilege has a long and established history, but unlike Farron, Norman Lamb is attempting to forge ahead with a form that ignores the place that Christians have held within the party, shaping and guiding it over the years. Non-conformist Christianity in particular, has always had a strong liberal vein emphasising equality of every person before God and individual liberty and responsibility.

Possibly the greatest name in Liberal history, William Gladstone, who served as prime minister four times between 1868 and 1894 was adamant that Christianity should be found at the centre of politics. In his book Experiments in Living: Christianity and the Liberal Democrat Party, Stephen Backhouse writes this:

Throughout his career Gladstone believed in reciprocal rights and duties of people and groups. This position was outlined as early as Gladstone’s first book The State and its Relations with the Church, published in 1841.

Here the state is conceived as a sort of mass ‘person’. As a ‘person’ the state enjoys a moral purpose derived, ultimately from following the will of God. Within this framework, the state thus needs to enjoy a healthy relationship with religion; the church, as the deposit of teaching and tradition, acts as the conscience of the state, always pointing it towards its calling… A state that completely severs its relation with religion is incomplete. What is worse, shorn of conscience or a sense of ultimate value beyond its own existence, such states are prone to tyranny.

Lamb would seem to have little interest in the Christian morality that has shaped his party. Instead he has thrown his lot in with the secularist/humanist liberalism that espouses freedom of the individual to define their own morality and increasingly places limits on tolerance of differing opinions, under a less than equal banner of equality. It is almost as if he would prefer that those who have strong beliefs based on faith rather than an entirely secular form of rationalism, went and found a home elsewhere.

If this is the option on the table, which genuinely is illiberal, then it can only lead to a single conclusion: For the sake of the Liberal Democrat party, there is only one candidate worthy of the position of leader and his name is Tim Farron.

  • Royinsouthwest

    The LibDem Party has long ceased to be the party of people like Gladstone, or even the party of Lloyd George who despite his undoubted talents and achievements, had a rather disreputable side to him. A victory for Norman Lamb might be a good thing since it would help the party to disappear down the plughole of history.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I would urge Farron and other LibDems like him to join UKIP. I think he’ll find more liberty there than in a party that has openly condemned those who disagree with the views of Lamb as “bigots”

      • CliveM

        He’s pro Europe??

  • sarky

    This is an irrelevance. The Lib Dems are spent force.

  • ” … it is caring to assist ill people in taking their own lives, wants to see cannabis legalised and thinks that it is important that the new leader put their full support behind same-sex marriage.”

    Add support for abortion, and the above is in harmony with the opinions of many who claim to be Christian these days.

  • David

    The only party that supports free speech, freedom of conscience for Christians and all others, and admittedly in a rather vague way, our Judaeo-Christian heritage, is UKIP.
    The pretend “liberal” laws pouring out of Brussels, based on Humanism, are very illiberal, being intolerant to traditional Christian views.
    Humanism is intellectually dishonest as it doesn’t even acknowledge that the historic source of treating humans as being, intrinsically in possession of “rights”, is of course the Genesis idea that we are all made in the image of God, and therefore must be treated with respect.
    That idea wasn’t invented by any movement except Judaism and the Gospel of Christ that flowed from it.
    The Lib-Dems seem exceptionally confused to me, even compared to most political parties.

  • carl jacobs

    Gillan

    Christianity is being driven from the Public Square because its presuppositions are so at odds with the prevailing spirit of the age. We begin with externally imposed order that establishes certain boundaries. People in the West no longer believe in those things. They see our advocacy of them as little more than a self-serving way to control how they live. Their perspective is that man is a self-created being who is free to establish his own rules and change them at will. So, yes, open Christianity is now a liability, and it will impeach a man’s ability to do certain things. Yes, our “illiberal” perspective is being excluded, and deliberately so. “Christian” is fast becoming an epithet of contempt and not a measure of respect.

    Live with it. Count the cost. It’s the natural order of the world.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Carl, I thought you knew better than that. The Gospel is not for changing.

      • carl jacobs

        Where did I say the Gospel was changeable? I said the culture does not want to hear it. Neither do they recognize the moral imperatives that flow from it. What I said is that the natural order of the world is re-asserting itself in the West. It currently revolves around self-worship and will eventually morph back into paganism. Either way, we are out.

        I believe the world will generally decline into greater and greater unbelief as it descends to the last day. Until the last of the elect is gathered. And then the end will come.

        • sarky

          According to most who post here christianity is flourishing in Asia and Africa. So unless you only count ‘the West’ as the world then you may be in for a long wait.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            I am well aware that the West is not the world. I attribute the state of the West to judgment, and do not consider it at a bellwether of the Last Day. I do however believe that the wealth and power and liberty of the West is not long for this world. What we have will be taken from us. We were given much, and look what we have done with it.

          • The Explorer

            It might speed things up. It might mean the number of the Elect is reached more quickly. If I understand Paul correctly, when full number of the Elect is reached, God will call time on the world.

          • sarky

            I thought that was a jehovas witness thing???

          • The Explorer

            ‘Romans’ 11:26. Calvinists would say that the Elect are those whom God has chosen, Arminians that the Elect are those who have chosen God. Either way, there is a requisite number of Gentiles: a number known only to God.
            JW’s used to talk about 144 000, but when JW numbers exceeded 144 000 they added a second tier to the saved. That’s a wacky (in my view, heretical) reading of ‘Revelation, and has nothing to do with what Paul is talking about in ‘Romans’.
            Orthodox Christianity sees the 144 000 as symbolic of a great number, not literal : the twelve Tribes (Israel) multiplied by the twelve Apostles (the Church) multiplied a thousand times (the uncountable multitude of the redeemed).

          • sarky

            Do you actually believe revelation is prophetic, or a commentry on the time in which it was written??

          • The Explorer

            Both. There are those (Preterists) who say it’s just about the clash of the early Church with Rome. There are others (Futurists) who say it’s all about the End Times.
            I’m an Idealist. For me the Millennium is now: the time between the First and Second Coming when evil is restricted (compared with what it might be). Eventually, the restriction will be lifted, evil will be given full rein, and that will precipitate the end of the world.
            To sum up, for me ‘Revelation’ is the record of Christianity’s fight with Rome, the ongoing conflict through time of the People of the Beast with the People of the Lamb, and a very broad picture of how human history will end.

          • sarky

            I definately side with the preterists on this. In context it ‘kind of’ makes sense. Looking at it as a fortelling of things to come, it’s just nonsense.

          • The Explorer

            Given your assumptions, that’s absolutely the right decision. I respect that. What I don’t respect is liberal theology that affirms God and denies the Resurrection.
            No God; no Resurrection; no prophecy. Fine.
            Allow a God who is behind the processes of Nature and who is outside time, and Incarnation, Virgin Birth, Resurrection and prophecy all become eminently possible. So do angels. (And fallen angels.)

          • sarky

            Gematria shows 666 to be nero, which again suggests revelation is historical rather than prophetic.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, given the significance of numbers in ‘Revelation’ that’s certainly one likely explanation of 666. But it’s not the only one. Christ’s number is 7. The Beast is a counterfeit Christ. However many times he tries to be 7, he can only be 6. 666 for convenience, but he could be 66666666 etc as the Beast recurs through history. The Beast exists whenever Man claims the authority that belongs only to God. Nero is an example of such, but only one of many.

          • Pubcrawler

            “However many times he tries to be 7, he can only be 6. 666 for
            convenience, but he could be 66666666 etc as the Beast recurs through
            history.”

            Unless my cotton-wool brain is missing a trick here, that kinda only works using arabic (strictly, Hindu) numerals, not the various Greek or Roman notations.

          • The Explorer

            Pass. I know that since Hebrew used letters also as numbers, 666 when written in Hebrew characters spelled out NERO CAESAR.
            For the rest, I’m obviously missing the problem. 666 is not 777. VI VI VI is not VII VII VII. If 666 is false religion, I don’t see an issue with how it is represented numerically.
            But we are certainly in the territory where it is salutary to remember that the New Testament was not written in English.

          • Pubcrawler

            My problem is that the number as given in the text is not six-six-six but six hundred and sixty-six, each part of which is represented in Greek, Latin and Hebrew ‘numerals’ with a different character.You can’t just stack up repetitions of the character for ‘six’ to get ‘six hundred and sixty-six’ , which I think that particular interpretation requires.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, a very good point. My understanding is that the number is represented in different ways in different manuscripts: the equivalent of six hundred and sixty-six (which is completely unambiguous) against 666 (which can be read either way). Thus my NEB translation is six hundred and sixty-six, and my NIV translation is 666. N T Wright thinks the number represents Nero, Leon Morris thinks it represents falling short. Both draw their evidence from the original, not from translation.

            Complicating it further is the fact that some manuscripts have 616, which would seem to confound both the Nero theory and the falling-short theory. There’s also the issue of when the book was written: Nero or Domitian as the persecuting emperor.

            Even if it is Nero, that doesn’t confirm a Preterist reading in the way required by Sarky. Is it Nero as historical figure, or Nero as symbolic figure? Or both? After all, Babylon is both the ancient city and the symbol of human organisation in rebellion against God.

          • Pubcrawler

            “And I still don’t really see the problem with the falling short idea.”

            In principal I have no problem with the numerology, so long as it’s restricted to 6 per se, not a stacking up of several of them. I just don’t think that people in antiquity thought of numbers in that way, because of the nature of their various numeral systems. If other examples of such a thing, whether biblical or pagan, exist, then I will concede.

            “My understanding is that the number is represented in different ways in
            different manuscripts: the equivalent of six hundred and sixty-six
            (which is completely unambiguous) against 666 (which can be read either
            way).”

            My Greek NT writes it out in full: ‘hexakosioi hexekonta hex’ (six hundred and sixty-six). Whether that’s for clarity or because that’s the way it’s done in the best manuscripts I don’t know, the appartus isn’t very helpful on that. The only ones I’ve found pictures of have ‘numerals’, always of the ‘six hundred and sixty-six’ variety, not the ‘six-six-six’ variety, so ‘unless I see with my own eyes’ I’m going to be dubious on that. But I think it highly unlikely because Greek numerals simply don’t have that ambiguity or flexibility — the ‘unit-tens-hundreds’ value of a character is intrinsic and unique, as opposed to our system in which that value depends on its position in relation to a decimal point (which hadn’t been invented at the time). So 60 is a distict, single character (the letter ‘xi’), different from that used for 6 (the otherwise obsolete ‘waw’ or ‘digamma’): to represent 66 you have to combine the two according to the additive principle, not reduplicate the one as we do.

            Some manuscripts do have 616 (that is, six hundred and sixteen, not 6-1-6), and the one I’ve seen an image of has it in ‘numerals’ rather than written out in full. Generally considered an outlier reading these days, though. (There’s also a variant 646 (six hundred and forty-six), but not well supported, and the error can be explained in palaeographical terms without much difficulty.)

            Sorry, that’s all very contorted, but I hope you can untangle the particular difficulty I have, and why.

            On the date of composition, identity of the Beast (Nero, Domitian, A.N.Other) or prophetic value of the book I have no comment; I’m with the Orthodox on this in regarding even its canonicity it with extreme caution and therefore being reluctant to make too much of anything in it, lest one fall into the sort of dangerous and potentially heretical territory that you mention above.

          • The Explorer

            Thanks for all that. The numbr of the beast is bad enough, but when one gets to the Millennium…
            Incidentally, some commentators see an unholy trinity of dragon and two beasts as parody of the real trinity. So a six for each of the fakes. The ‘Beast’ is a principle, not a person. I personally find that explanation helpful.
            Regards.

          • sarky

            Hmmm not convinced. Just find it a bit sad that there are christians who base their whole world view on a bonkers book that is in all likelihood not prophetic. They literally can’t wait for the end of the world and there are some who actively try to hurry it along (mental Americans drawing up plans and putting together finances to Reinstate Solomons temple)

          • The Explorer

            Futurists, I agree, are a problem. As I said, I don’t agree with them. Unchecked, Futurism leads into the errors of the JW’s: specifying the year in which the world will end. (Which Christ forbade His followers to do.)

          • grutchyngfysch

            You know the Second Coming isn’t solely outlined in Revelation right? Even if you ditched Revelation you would still have the fundamentals from the Oliviet discourse and the epistles not to mention Daniel.

          • carl jacobs

            Preterists believe it is prophesy, sarky. They just believe it has already been fulfilled.

          • sarky

            That may be the case, but if so it kind of changes things doesn’t it?
            (You can knock all this rapture/armegeddon nonsense on the head)

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            There are five basic eschatological positions in Christianity.

            1. Preteriem.

            2. Amillenialism.

            3. Historic Premillenialism.

            4. Post Millenialism.

            5. Dispensationalism.

            Positions 1 and 4 are footnotes in a theology textbook. Position 3 you will find here and there. Positions 2 and 5 dominate the landscape. Position 2 is by far the dominant position in the church.

            Almost everything you think you know about eschatology is derived from something called Pre-Tribulation Rapture Dispensationalism. That’s the “Left Behind” stuff. It was unknown in the Christian church until around the turn of the 20th century. A man named John Darby developed the exegesis behind it, and it took hold because it was supposedly a “historical grammatical reading” of the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel. The historic position of the church is Amillenialism. But around the turn of the century the established denominations started drifting into liberalism. Dispensationalism became in some places a touchstone for historical grammatical exegesis precisely because the liberal churches were Amillenial. The historical understanding came to be seen as liberal interpretation by a certain segment. You cannot believe the tenacity with which they will defend this assertion even to this day.

            Now why did I mention this? Because again you give evidence of commenting on a subject that you do not understand. This is what I mean when I say you should learn what you are talking about before you starting saying things like …

            You can knock all this rapture/armegeddon nonsense on the head

            No, I can’t. You are wrong. I can say that with confidence because I know what the rapture is. I know what the Bible says about it. I know what the Dispensationalists say about it. I also know when Dispensationalists say things about it that aren’t supported by Scripture. Do you?

            I don’t much care that you think this is all nonsense. You think that it is nonsense because you live in a world where human actions cannot be known before they occur. You reject the idea of prophesy out of hand because it represents a discontinuity and your immanent materialist universe cannot account for discontinuities. I don’t live in that cold dead universe, sarky. And I pity you for choosing to live there.

          • sarky

            Don’t pity me, I live in reality and its wonderful.

          • carl jacobs

            Explorer

            There is no difference between Jew and Gentile when it comes to the Elect.

          • The Explorer

            I agree, but there are those who don’t.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s that Darby guy. He gave us Dispensationalism with its wooden-headed exegesis right as Liberalism was making inroads.

          • The Explorer

            Exactly so. But remember, I was talking to Sarky and I didn’t want to get into technicalities with a non-believer.

          • Phil R

            And South America

        • bluedog

          ‘And then the end will come.’ With Obama singing Amazing Grace to a global audience?

          • Phil R

            The most cynical piece of ……

    • Coniston

      ‘Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next’ – Dean Inge.

  • Jack likes this quote from Gladstone: “As a ‘person’ the state enjoys a moral purpose derived, ultimately from following the will of God. Within this framework, the state thus needs to enjoy a healthy relationship with religion; the church, as the deposit of teaching and tradition, acts as the conscience of the state, always pointing it towards its calling…”

    Whatever happened to make it all go so wrong? The heresy of “Modernism”, identified and defined by Pope Pius X in his encyclicals Pascendi dominici gregis and Lamentabili sane exitu, in 1907, took root in ‘fashionable’, ‘scholarly’ circles in Christianity; that’s what.

    The Catholic Church introduced an “Oath against Modernism” in 1910, for all Catholic bishops, priests, theologians and teachers. This was abolished by Pope Paul VI in 1967, exactly a year before the release of Humanae Vitae. In Jack’s opinion, it was to reaction to this encyclical which provoked the undeclared schism in Catholicism that has been running ever since and is coming to something of a head under Pope Francis.
    One clause read:

    ” (I)… firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way…”

    If only ….. but in our liberal age, this is seen as authoritarianism and denying men the use of personal conscience and private interpretations of the bible and what God is saying to us.

    Much of what passes for ‘Christianity’ in 2015 is accommodating and adjusting itself to the values of the world – sex before marriage, serial living together and having various children by different ‘partners’, contraception as a passport to recreational sex, divorce and remarriage, abortion if ‘mistakes’ are made, homosexuality, euthanasia.

    Where will it all end …. ?

    • Linus

      Where will it all end … ?

      In the universal acceptance of secular humanism as the only intellectually sound basis for rational discussion, of course.

      We’re getting there. Slowly, but surely.

      • William Lewis

        If secular humanism is the only intellectually sound basis for rational discussion then what is the (sound or otherwise) basis for secular humanism? Obviously it cannot be rational discussion because then your theory would be circular. I guess the opposite of intellectually sound, rational discussion would be something along the lines of facile, irrational prejudice.

        • Linus

          The sound basis for secular humanism is evidential proof. Proof that the earth and all organisms on it evolved according to naturally occurring processes abounds. Where’s the proof for your omnipotent god?

          Archaeology? Nope. A single inscription bearing the name of a peripheral character in the gospel accounts is all you have. No proof there…

          Historical? Show me the contemporary accounts supported by multiple independent witness statements. There are none…

          Logic? So evolution must have been divinely initiated because otherwise how did it start? Well, how did God start? If God is the first cause, who or what first caused God?

          God moves the problem of origin back one step, that’s all. And in doing so, it requires you to believe in something for which not a single shred of evidential proof exists: magic. It’s a child’s explanation of the incomprehensible. Like the Ancients who ascribed earthquakes and volcanic activity to the actions of gods and spirits, modern Christians still cling to their myths in an attempt to make sense of a complex world where we clearly do not have access to all knowledge. Yet, at least.

          Rational discussion can only be founded on what we know to be true, and what we admit we do not know. Inventing magical solutions to fill in the gaps in our knowledge is primitive behaviour. There is no rationality in superstition.

          • The Explorer

            That there’s good evidence for micro evolution is uncontroversial. That was noted as long ago as St Augustine when he defined nature as self-developmental.
            Macro evolution is more problematic. I don’t think the evidence of the fossil record is anything like as conclusive as you suggest, but I speak as a complete amateur and am happy to defer to experts.
            I remember an interview Dawkins had with Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly said Dawkins was excellent at describing the process once it got going, but did we know what started it in the first place? Dawkins said no, but science is working on it.
            As to what caused God, you are doubtless aware that this question – and the answer to it – is at least as old as Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover.

          • Pubcrawler

            ” I speak as a complete amateur and am happy to defer to experts”

            As do I, being a mere lapsed Classicist. But my long experience with Greek philosophers and rhetoricians has given me a good eye for the different between evidence and fancily-arrayed but groundless assertion.

            Anyway, to the point (briefly because, well, there’s a clue in my tag): On the matter of the problems with macroevolution, the later chapters of John Lennox’s God’s Undertaker* are really, really, really good. At times the maths and the statistics (algorithmic information theory?!?!?) are well above my pay grade and make my head hurt, but I can comprehend enough to see that there are indeed difficulties with a purely materialist explanation, whereas before reading it I was quite happy to accept the concept. (The phrase ‘evolution of the gaps’ has stuck with me.)

            On the ‘Who made God?’ business, pp. 182ff. nail it.

            *I forget who it was here recommended it, a year or so ago — Albert? — but whoever it was, thank you very much.

          • Phil R

            The sound basis for secular humanism is evidential proof. Proof that the earth and all organisms on it evolved according to naturally occurring processes abounds”

            There is no proof Linus. There is an increasingly untenable theory. Nothing more.

            But of course schools are instructed by “liberal” humanists to teach it as fact or be closed down.

            Stalin stop laughing!

          • Linus

            There is so much proof that denial of it verges on the ridiculous. It certainly marks you down as a blind zealot capable of ignoring any fact, no matter how blatantly obvious, if it doesn’t support the predetermined conclusions of your dogmatic beliefs.

            True craziness is the denial of reality in pursuit of a fantasy. I have to assume that not all Christians are as deluded as you. But it’s interesting to know how crazy crazy can get, and even more interesting that you can always find it here on this unfortunate website.

          • Phil R

            There have been tens of thousands of attempts to prove Evolution in the lab. All have failed. Every single one.

            Also take 100 scientific certainties “facts” of 100 years ago. Very few have stood the test of time

            Today we laugh at what we Science decided 100 years ago was fact. 100 years ago they will also laugh at our scientific “facts”.

          • Linus

            And today we laugh at you. Scientific theory evolves as we gain more knowledge, but blinkered religious ignorance and bigotry remain the same and never lose their power to amuse.

          • Martin

            Linus

            Secular humanism has clearly nothing to do with evidence as you demonstrate when you claim Evolution is science. If Evolution were science you would be able to repeatedly demonstrate with living organisms the descent of all life from the last common ancestor. In fact you cannot even produce that last common ancestor.

          • Linus

            Scientific method does not require the possession of absolute knowledge as a prerequisite before undertaking research – which would be absurd, because why do research if you already know everything there is to know?

            The existence of a “last common ancestor” can be theorized from what we already know about evolution. The fact that it hasn’t yet been identified doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. The Higgs boson had never been identified until recently, yet physics models predicted its existence based on a theory supported by so much hard evidence that the chances of it not existing were infinitesimally small. So it was no great surprise to anyone when it was finally found. And it will be no great surprise when traces of the “last common ancestor” are found. It will merely be the tidying up of a few loose corners in a theory so well established and so well supported by all the evidence, with not a single shred of credible evidence to contradict it, that its accuracy cannot be doubted by any reasonable mind.

            Which is why Christians don’t believe in evolution, of course.

          • Martin

            Linus

            But the secular method does require the observation of the claimed process. Unfortunately Evolution is entirely without observation of the process that turned the LCA into Man. Unless you can demonstrate that process you have not science but philosophy.

            On the other hand you claim to have no knowledge of God, an absolute claim, yet we know that God has placed within each one of us the knowledge of what is good and the knowledge of Himself. Thus having evidence within yourself you pretend not to have it in order to call yourself an Atheist.

            However you do believe in Evolution, for it gives you an excuse to dismiss the obvious conclusion that all things were created by God. You believe in fairy tales to avoid the conclusion that you are a sinner under God’s condemnation.

          • Linus

            I suppose at least there’s some kind of comedic value in your rambling assertions.

            It’s black comedy of the most cringe-worthy kind though, and one never feels good about one’s self when one laughs at the afflicted. But sometimes they’re so comical that you just can’t help it.

            On a more serious note however, have you ever talked to a mental health professional about these voices you hear in your head? I’m told that certain medications can work wonders with hallucinations and paranoid delusions…

          • Martin

            Linus

            There is nothing comedic about knowing you will end up in Hell. I should do something about it if I were you.

          • Linus

            And the comedy turns to farce…

          • Martin

            Linus

            And you know all about farce. Indeed, your life is devoted to it. Sadly it will end badly.

          • Linus

            Of course my life will end badly, because it will end in death, and death for a being that likes life and wants as much of it as possible must always be a defeat.

            Christians try to take the sting out of mortality by fantasizing about immortality. They’re like the clone waitresses in the film “Cloud Atlas” who dream of exaltation when the fate that really awaits them is to be knocked on the head and turned into food for more clone waitresses. Their faith is a pretty façade designed to conceal an ugly reality.

            Atheists understand the truth of what lies ahead and don’t feel compelled to dress it up in fond hopes and vain wishes. Reality may be harsh, but it’s never farcical.

          • Martin

            Linus

            The point is that Christians do not fantasise, nor does life end with death. You aren’t even an Atheist since you know God exists and will judge you on that great day. Either you accept mercy or you regret it for eternity.

          • Linus

            Ah, the whack job par excellence of the board keeps exposing his narcissistic personality disorder for the world to see.

            You believe in God, so everyone must believe in God, and if they say they don’t, they’re lying, eh?

            Time to ask your shrink for a change of mrdication, I think. The anti-psychotics he has you on currently aren’t doing the trick at all.

          • Martin

            Linus

            Where did I say “everyone must believe in God”? What I said is that everyone knows God exists, a quite different thing.

          • Coniston

            Many Christian scientists believe in evolution (not necessarily every aspect of evolutionary theory as at present taught), and see no contradiction with the belief that God – who is not in space and time – started the process (see below). Brian Cox rightly says that the universe is full of awe and wonder; Christians would concur.

            Alister McGrath (PhD – Doctorate – in Molecular Biophysics at Oxford University; he later moved to Cambridge University & is now Professor of Theology at King’s College, London University); he has written very many books on theology & science, & is an Anglican priest.

            John Polkinghorne (a former Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, now an Anglican priest); author of many books on science & theology.

            Denis Alexander (Chairman of the Molecular Immunology Programme at Cambridge University & a Christian).

            Simon Conway Morris (Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at Cambridge University); he is a Christian and recently preached on a BBC radio service.

            Francis Collins (a prominent geneticist, who headed the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute which unravelled the whole of human DNA, and who is a Christian – author of ‘The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief’).

            Revd. Dr David Wilkinson (he got his PhD – Doctorate – in Theoretical Astrophysics, then became a Methodist minister & now lectures in Theology & Science at Durham University.

            Michael Reiss (Professor of Science Education at the London Institute of Education; PhD in Evolutionary Biology and
            Population Genetics). Also an Anglican priest.

            Bob White
            FRS, Professor of Geophysics at Cambridge University.

            John Bryant,
            Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Exeter University.

          • William Lewis

            Good points but unfortunately does not fall within the remit of secular humanism so will have to be filed under irrational debate. QED I’m sure you’ll agree.

      • The Explorer

        “Till the war-drum throbbed on longer and the battle-flags were furled
        In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the World.
        There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe
        And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapped in universal law.”

        ‘Locksley Hall’ 1842.

        Then came WW1, WW2, Auschwitz, the Gulag, Mao, Pol Pot. All the products of human rationality (PoL Pot being a disciple of Rousseau.)

        • Linus

          And when the Christians were in charge, we had the Crusades and the burning of heretics.

          Christian “innocence” is stained with blood. Accusing Atheists of having a monopoly on atrocity is hypocrisy of the worst kind.

          • Phil R

            The Crusades Linus? The Crusades were a good thing.

          • Pubcrawler

            All except the fourth one, anyway.

          • The Explorer

            Linus, old chum

            I didn’t say anything about Christianity. I merely mentioned some of the consequences of the acceptance of secular humanism and its rational decisions.

            The thing is, Christians believe that humanity is fallen. Humans, including Christians, get things wrong. It’s Utopian secularists who believe in human perfectibility here on Earth. They’re the ones with the explaining to do when things go wrong the way the Twentieth Century did.

            Secular humanism does bad things does not mean:
            1. That secular humanism does only bad things. (It does good things as well.)
            2. That only secular humanists do bad things. Religious people have made some spectacular screw ups, too. (Although I don’t personally believe the Crusades are in that category, given the logistical and communication limitations of the time.)

          • Martin

            Linus

            So you would suggest we should allow IS free reign throughout the world, rather than act as the Crusades attempted to do and restrict their expansion by force?

            Let’s face it, if men were to follow the teachings of the Bible there would be no burnings or forced conversions. Such things are the acts of wicked men, among whom Atheists figure.

          • Dominic Stockford

            They weren’t Christians, they were Roman Catholics.

          • Linus

            I’m no fan of the Catholic Church, but what little logic there is in Christianity certainly supports its claim to speak on behalf of all Christians.

            Catholicism relies on doctrines that were laid down centuries ago by common accord and have been maintained largely unchanged by a Magisterium that preserves them from undue influence from larger-than-life personalities and self-proclaimed prophets.

            Protestantism on the other hand is merely a personality cult writ large. Or small, as some of these sects that claim to be the one true Church are so tiny they may only have a few tens of followers. Some God-obsessed “seer” proclaims the Gospel according to his own personal tastes and preferences and then manages to gather a flock of unquestioning sheep around him, and suddenly centuries of religious consensus are meaningless?

            If there is a God then it makes sense to me that his word would be apparent not in the extremist rantings of any one individual, but rather across entire populations. A Church that maintains a uniform theology across multiple and varied cultures who all agree with each other in the essentials of their faith is vastly more credible than a myopic sect planted in some far-off, politically unstable and unfeasibly drizzly country, where if they’re not dying of famine because the potato crop has failed – again! – then they’re hallucinating because some weird fungus that thrives in damp grain silos has turned their bread into magic mushrooms.

            Call it the Presbyterian Church, or Westboro Baptist, or whatever you like, Protestantism is one man’s word against another. There can be little of the Holy Spirit in it unless the Holy Spirit only talks to deranged Irishmen, or crazed Kansans, or mean-spirited Swiss Calvinists. Alone among humanity YOU are God’s elect?

            It always comes back to narcissism in the end, doesn’t it? Your reflection is the most beautifulest in the world, so God must speak through you.

            It really is too infantile for words.

      • Phil R

        Secular humanism reached its peak in growth rate from the years 1910 to 1940 this worldview has been declining ever since and now has the slowest rate of growth golf all religions

        • Linus

          Secular humanism isn’t a religion. It’s a philosophy.

          Most of those who adhere to its general principles don’t identify as “secular humanists”. They just know there’s no god and don’t bother with all the philosophical agonising that goes with officially identifying as non-religious. They therefore don’t show up in surveys that attempt to measure religious adherence. A certain percentage of them may be classified as “other” or “don’t know”. But in general they don’t even bother filling out the questionnaire when they know it’s about religion. Why bother when you consider the whole concept as a waste of time?

          Call them secular humanists, or non-religious, or just too damned busy to give a monkey’s for you and your imaginary god. But don’t discount them as non-existent. There are more of them than there are of you, and they rule the world. So pretending they don’t exist would be a little futile, don’t you think? Perhaps not quite as futile as pretending an invisible and omnipotent sky fairy wants you (but more particularly me, or anyone else who refuses to obey you) to bow down and worship him, but futile enough…

          • Phil R

            Secular humanism is philosophy/ worldview/ religion that was and is ferociously and uncompromisingly, imposed. Hundreds of millions of murdered are testimony to its evil.

            You worry about Islam, when your worldview is responsible for the most suffering.

            You worry about personal freedom when your worldview insists on the elimination of any opposing views.

          • Linus

            Religious obsession and the rambling, ranting and paranoid behaviours that accompany it are so sad to witness…

          • Phil R

            “the rambling, ranting and paranoid behaviours that accompany it are so sad to witness”

            Especially from Humanists.

            You know all about paranoia.

            You need a new name Paranoid Humanists. It suits you and describes why you will stifle debate by any means.

          • Linus

            Debate with mentally unstable Christians is not possible. Sooner or later they start shrieking about evil Atheist plots and the Devil and from there it just gets more and more incoherent and crazy.

            Never mind. There are so few of you, the harm you can do is pretty limited.

          • layreader

            British Humanist Association has less members than the British Sausage Appreciation Society. That doesn’t stop the BBC being desperate to hear its views on everything and giving it all the air time it wants.

        • John Thomas

          What DO you base this on, Phil? Maybe those who are officially signed-up to secular humanism (members of secular humanist societies) may be in decline, but those who (knowing it or not) have a secular humanist world-view are, I’d say 95%+ of the population – sadly.

          • Phil R

            If you look at the worldwide stats the picture is that humanism growth barely keeps pace with population increases. Whereas Islam and Christianity are each more like 3 or 4 times population growth

            Western Europe is the problem. But we are increasingly irrelevant numerically and hence statistically

    • Shadrach Fire

      “The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way…”

      Jack, send this to the wooley and liberal Bishops. This is just as valid to them as any Roman Catholic.

      • Coniston

        I have recently been re-reading the detective novels of
        Josephine Tey (real name Elizabeth Mackintosh, born in Inverness).
        She is a far better writer than I had realised. In ‘The Franchise Affair’ (1949), a relatively minor character who does not appear in the story but who is often referred to, is the Bishop of Larborough. Though written over 60 years ago the bishop’s views have an uncanny resemblance to some present day woolly and liberal bishops & lesser clergy in the CofE. It is clear that Tey disapproves of such views.

    • dannybhoy

      The Scriptures are our authority and the early church model should be our guide, but overall I agree with your analysis Jack.

      • The Scriptures must be our sole authority and our only guide.
        The unbelievers and deceivers were coming into the churches right from the start (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15; Galatians 1:6-10; Jude 4; Revelation 2:20 etc.).

  • len

    What we are seeing with the rise of aggressive secularism and the side lining( and the eventual outlawing) of Christianity is the rise of the last reign of ‘godless man’.
    Man has been given thousands of years to come up with a culture that can be right and fair without relying on God and all these attempts have failed.This last attempt is the last throw of the dice before God steps in to stop us totally destroying ourselves and the Planet.
    So we are really going to see what sort of chaos will overtake us in a Godless world…At the beginning God spoke into the chaos and created order now without God the world is returning into chaos….
    God ordained an order over all His creation one man one woman to join together physically and spiritually and to create a family…
    Man is in the process of overturning God`s order and putting his own ‘order’ over creation and I believe God will give man enough ‘rope to’ to pursue this course unto its natural end……

  • Inspector General

    This isn’t a post about who is going to lead a political party which is currently lying on the floor, still recovering from the bloody good hiding the electorate gave it. No sir, it is not. It is a post about whether Scott can still support the damn thing if a necromancer is in charge.

    It’s never too late to become a man of firm principle, Scott. Let us know how you get on…

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gillan,
    I’m afraid the Inspector may be right. Let not your views be coloured by do-gooding values but find the living true Christ and invite him to dwell in your heart as a living person. Only then will you be able to abandon religion and rely upon Holy Spirit, living within you for guidance and interpretation of the Gospel.
    Sorry to say it old boy but your cover has been blown over time. Get a Life. The Life of the living Jesus. He will be your friend and guide as he is to those whom he indwells.

  • CliveM

    My memory is shaky, but is this the same Tim Farron you did a post some time ago, who you exposed as a bit of a back slider with regards his Christian principles now he was within sniffing distance of leadership?

    I don’t know who will be leader, but I think the LD’s will get the leader they deserve.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I think that it is difficult for any politician to be truly Christian in our current political system. UKIP is an exception, but the other parties are too steeped in moral relativism to allow their members to proclaim a Christian worldview. For members of the LibDems it is pretty well imposssible to espouse the party’s policies and be Christian. Even the so-called “Conservatives” have adopted the same level of intolerance to Christian beliefs shown by the more culturally Marxist parties. Look at David Camerons comments yesterday on Pink News. I wonder whether he really believes any of it. Or, is he simply too afraid to not say those things? Our political system could one day collapse through moral corruption, just as Greece’s economy has collapsed through financial corruption. Our politicians cannot serve two masters. Diluting one orthodoxy with another is not an option It That is an indication of doubt, which is just as destructive as going on the offensive.

  • layreader

    At least Liberal Democrats get to vote in their leader. Anglicans don’t, and there’s rather more of us..

    • You want the laity to elect the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops? How would you determine legitimate suffrage of the Church of England given it is the Established Church and open to all?

      • dannybhoy

        Exactly.
        There are some great churches and ministries in the CofE, but that ‘broad church/established church’ bit, means the CofE is always trying to keep the various factions happy.

      • layreader

        Not easy, but you have to try. You could start with membership of electoral rolls, for example. At least that is better than no democracy at all, which is essentially what we have at the moment. Neither is there any transparency in the selection of bishops, nor any attempt to make it so.
        Or you could the church’s existing electorate, which is members of deanery synods. At least a deanery synod would then have some purpose.

        • Pubcrawler

          “At least that is better than no democracy at all, which is essentially what we have at the moment.”

          Hmm. On what grounds? So that I can get a handle on where you’re coming from: What do you perceive as the problems with the present method, and why do you think that greater/some democracy is the solution?

        • Shadrach Fire

          In theory the Church should be Theocracy, not a democracy.
          A theocracy however requires there to be Godly anointed people in senior positions. So which comes first? Now that we have an Evangelical AofC he should sack a few and promote a few. Trouble might be with the Synod. Who knows where they stand.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Evangelical? Only if the emphasis is on the ‘jelly’.

    • Inspector General

      Best fellow to approve the AoC is the Pope. As used to happen…

      • Dominic Stockford

        Oh? Does the Pope now accept that his RC theology is blasphemous deceits and dangerous heresies then?

        • One suspects the current Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t actually believe that nonsense himself, let alone the Pope. However, one never knows with the current Pope.

          Best all round, if Canterbury and Rome resolved their differences and right order restored in Christ’s Church in Britain.

          • Dominic Stockford

            If the AoC doesn’t believe that then he shouldn’t be the AoC – it is part of the core faith principles of his denomination.

          • Bit outmoded now though, don’t you think?

          • Dominic Stockford

            The truth is always the truth. It never gets outmoded. No matter how men may wriggle and squirm to try to make round square and square round they will never manage it.

          • Well, we are agreed on that. That’s why Jack remains a Catholic.

        • Inspector General

          “blasphemous deceits and dangerous heresies” Such will be Anglicanism tomorrow at the current rate…

    • CliveM

      It’s altogether possible that the problem with the CofE is to much democracy.

      • layreader

        The C of E could be not democratic at all, like the RC church. I wish I could believe that the alternative to democracy is theocracy, but I can’t see how that works out in practice, other than by episococracy (is that a word??). But we do have this weird 1960’s form of synodical government which, like many other things dreamed up in the 60s, is past its sell-by date. It disenfranchises almost everyone apart from the clergy, and the tighter the church’s finances get, the notion of ‘no taxation without representation’ becomes increasingly hard to justify.

        • Coniston

          The trouble with ‘democracy’ in the Church (General Synod is a prime example) is that whatever the current fashionable beliefs are about what should be the Church’s faith and practice, are enacted. Then with every succeeding generation the Church moves further and further away from the true Faith.

          • layreader

            Completely agree, but what appears to be democracy isn’t. Most church members have little or no interest in what goes on in General Synod, largely because it doesn’t get to vote on its membership, and thus has no immediate access to the church’s parliament.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Several conservative CofE congregations have already withdrawn and withheld their financial support, keeping all their money, and surviving very nicely thank you.

          • layreader

            Indeed they have, and carry on doing so, including a small part of your own flock down in Leigh on Sea. And if you look at the current controversy in Oxford diocese involving one of their bishops, some very big churches could threaten it. Furthermore, even the C of E’s own finances are going this way, with financially non-viable churches continuing to be closed. And all of this raises the issue of why every C of E church could not be self-supporting, and thus free themselves from issues of democracy, liberal bishops and non-scriptural theology at a stroke…
            And, Happy Jack, in describing the RC, you’ve almost described the way the C of E is at the moment, without the Synods.

          • Dominic Stockford

            ‘My flock’? I have no ‘flock’ either Biblically speaking or in some worldly sense (which is what I think you must mean), am merely minister of a small congregation in Teddington and chairman of a couple of Christian charities.

            That aside, CofE congregations could indeed easily be self-supporting if they had to be. those which had nothing of value to offer would close, those which did social work only would turn into social work centres, and those which preached the Gospel faithfully would find ways to keep doing so – as independent congregations up and down the country already do. Some of the clergy of the CofE congregations might suddenly be re-inspired to take funerals, for instance, which at the moment many of them seem reluctant to do for what can only be financial reasons (even though it is surely part of their calling to do so).

          • layreader

            Sorry, I thought you were a bishop in the Free Church of England. Must be some other Dominic Stockford, then.

            Clergy in the C of E are delighted to take funerals, when asked. However, in a secular world, they often aren’t asked, as funeral directors tend to have their own private deals. You don’t need to be ordained, or even connected with a church, to run a funeral.

          • Dominic Stockford

            1.I was, until 2011, Bishop of the Evangelical Connexion. Iretired from that role and left the Connexion then. That’s some time ago now, and what is going on in their group is not something they share with me.

            2. Undertakers I talk with are being driven mad by the refusal of CofE clergy to “be free” for funerals. And I make it a point of talking with them as good relationships with undertakers help greatly in organising suitable dignified and godly Christian funerals.

            There have been occasions when no CofE minister will do one, and I have been asked to step in. Sometimes I am able to, but it is sad when they don’t get their own minister.

          • layreader

            Perhaps they do things differently in Teddington, but clergy I speak to are constantly saddened that the first port of call is not the parish priest. Local undertakers seem to have their own deals with clergy that don’t have parish responsibililies, who can apparently charge what they like, and make a very good living out of funerals.

          • Dominic Stockford

            This isn’t just Teddington, this is the whole West of London. Many of them will say that they are always ‘busy that day’, if they can even be contacted.There is also a standard fee cap, it can’t be higher than that so there would be no point asking for more.

        • Heard of the “sense of faith” by the “People of God”?

          It’s a doctrine open to misinterpretation, but the Catholic Church actually believes in lay members, priests and bishops, in union with Peter’s successor, developing the revelation of truth. However, Catholics also believe that God invested final authority with the Pope – either through the Extraordinary Magisterium or the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium – and that the selection of bishops and priests is a matter for the Apostolate.

          So, really, its all a bit more subtle nowadays than democracy versus theocracy, with the Pope behaving more like a Monarch than a Shepherd. Times change and leadership and missionary styles have to adapt whilst also preserving that which is unchangeable.

          The Catholic Church may shrink in years to come. Judging by ‘popular’ Catholic ‘opinion’ in the West, Jack believes Pope Benedict XVI was speaking prophetically when he commented that Catholicism might well shrink and retreat to a catacomb existence in order to retain its authentic identity, allowing dissenters to do their thing outside the Church.

  • len

    ‘Lamb has been picking away
    at Farron’s stance and voting record on abortion, same-sex marriage and
    assisted death ever since he threw himself into the leadership contest’.

    Indeed, many of the’ pro same sex marriage’ proponents are not so much’ pro same sex’ marriage but merely using this as a means of attacking Christianity.The difference might seem subtle but I don`t believe it is….Why seek out Christian hoteliers and Christian bakers for any other reason than to seek a reason to attack Christianity?.
    Christians seem to be merely pawns in a much wider agenda and that agenda seems to be the removal of any opposition to the ‘ puppet masters’ in the EU.
    ‘Freedoms’ are being removed quietly and surreptitiously (much as the EU came into being) and Christians especially those who are posted as ‘watchmen on the tower’ are to be silenced in the age old method (as old as time itself) which is to ‘corrupt if possible’ if not silence through the tool of Political Correctness…But there are a remnant who will get God`s Word out regardless of threats and intimidation….

  • Martin

    It is interesting to note that LibDem membership is around 10% of the number of those who signed the petition against ‘gay’ marriage. Indeed no political parties can equal that number. What makes these people think they have the right to dictate to the rest of us what the shape of our politics should be?

    • The fact that they win general elections makes them think they have that right. David Cameron calculated that he could get ‘gay marriage’ through parliament, and that come election time, it wouldn’t cost him. Was he wrong?

      (I don’t mean was he morally wrong. Of course he was. I’m talking about the political calculation he made).

  • Mike Stallard

    De mortuis nil nisi Farron.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Interesting article. I know one woman who stood for the Limpdems in a local council election in May – she is an RC, and will probably vote for Lamb, because she would agree with him on all the things he says. So do many of the vast numbers of liberal minded RC’s in the UK!

    (and I have the misfortune to know many of them).

    • The Explorer

      LImpdems. Nice.

  • bluedog

    Is nothing sacred? Apparently Lib-dem leadership hopeful Norman Lamb has called for the children’s programme Peppa the Pig contain stories that include gay couples. This sort of suggestion used to result in arrest. Is Norman Lamb greatly different from a paedophile in making this creepy suggestion?