Pastoral Letter 3a
Church of England

#PastoralLetter (3): a plea for religious liberty in an era of secularity

 

Having responded to the Preface of the Pastoral Letter from the House of Bishops “to the people and parishes of the Church of England for the General Election 2015″; and also to their first section, ‘Who is my Neighbour?’, we continue with the Bishops’ exposition of the relationship between ‘Christian faith and political activity’, which is a strong theological, missiological and constitutional exposition of the raison d’être of the Church of England:

6 Some people, including some in the positions of influence in the media, politics and elsewhere, claim that religion and politics cannot mix. They assert that religion belongs solely to the private sphere and must not trespass into the realm of political or economic life. Although this is often treated as a universal truth, it is a view largely confined to the modern-day European context. In previous centuries, and in most parts of the world today, it has been accepted that religious belief of its nature addresses the whole of life, private and public. It is not possible to separate the way a person perceives his or her place in the created order from their beliefs, religious or otherwise, about how the world’s affairs ought to be arranged.

All but the most aggressive secularists will agree with this, and certainly natural conservatives. For the Christian, faith must be both publicly proclaimed and lived out in spirit and in truth: it is not a matter for the closet but for the world. When politics yields unjust laws which oppress (as it sometimes does), the Christian ought not to be prohibited by virtue of his faith from entering into the realm of controversy. What is important to note, however, is that there is nothing in the training, education or intellectual attainments of the bishops which better qualifies them to pontificate on politics than the average voter. But they may, in a free society, certainly do so – so long as they remember the sanctity of their vocation to save souls above the more agnostic inclination to march alongside striking workers.

Interestingly, this is the Bishops’ first mention of ‘Europe’, and they are critical of the political dogmatism (“universal truth”) of an asserted secularity in its political functions and economic life. Here we have the first allusion to an episcopal blessing upon the tradition of continental Christian Democracy.

7 The claim that religion and political life must be kept separate is, in any case, frequently disingenuous – most politicians and pundits are happy enough for the churches to speak on political issues so long as the church agrees with their particular line. But Christian engagement with political issues has to go deeper than aligning the church with one party, policy, or ideology.

This is the point upon which many Conservatives feel the Bishops are not quite being even-handed. The political issues which the Letter raises and seeks to address most robustly are identifiably those which most occupy those on the left (as highlighted in the response to ‘Who is my Neighbour?’). If the Bishops choose to highlight their own idiosyncratic Guardian-informed priorities but ignore the concerns of millions of Daily Mail-reading others, they must explain why. Why is environmentalism worthy of episcopal intervention but not abortion? Why highlight concerns about aggressive economic capitalism but not the systematic erosion of national sovereignty? What the Bishops choose to mention and what they decide to omit may be seen to constitute the foundations of a political agenda, which becomes an abuse of their freedom and an abdication of the responsibility to become all things to all people – whether socialist, liberal or conservative (all lower-case). Whether purposeful or accidental, the Bishops communicate a message on faith and morals which inclines toward collectivism rather than individualism. Both, of course, find scriptural footholds. But given the corporate nature of the messenger (and the known, openly left-wing allegiance of the communication teams of both Church House and Lambeth Palace), it is no surprise that many Conservatives increasingly view the Church of England as another parliamentary bench of opposition.

8 Observers of the global scene will recognise that religion, far from withering on the vine as urbanisation, industrialisation, wealth and education increase (the theory of secularisation), has a growing public profile and cannot be ignored as a political force. Without a grasp of the power and meaning of religion, it is impossible to understand the dynamics of global politics today.

This is an important point which meets with considerable agreement. Pervasive soulless materialism and the arid dialectic of scientific positivism, far from satisfying the human thirst for knowledge, have revived many of the pre-Enlightenment arguments about the meaning of existence, the nature of truth, the primacy of freedom of conscience, the sources of civil authority and the Law of Nature. Globalisation has not killed God, but it has certainly challenged some parochial conceptions. It would be interesting to hear more from the Bishops about which forces they believe to be particularly influenced by religion today. It is a complex but hugely important subject.

9 Some of this resurgent religion has been harmful. It is a mistake to imagine that all manifestations of religion are essentially similar or always benign. But the challenge to politicians is to understand how faith can shape communities, nations and individuals for the good. The answer to “furious religion” (that is, the religious impulse turned in on itself or used to justify oppression and conflict) is not to marginalise religion in general or see religious faith as some kind of problem. It is to acknowledge that religious commitment is extraordinarily widespread and that people of faith within all the historic traditions have much to offer to a vision of a good society and a peaceful world.

The first sentence is an undoubted allusion to what has become known in the vernacular as ‘Islamism’ (though, more accurately, Saudi-Salafism), but not exclusively so. Properly mindful of extremist elements in all religions, the Bishops are careful to stick to the generalities. But while they are correct on their substantive point – that it is quite wrong to throw the Christian baby out with Wahhabi bathwater – it is not at all clear why they bring other religions into their thesis at all (even if not by name), as by so doing they complicate their argument. There are significant theo-political differences between Christian and Islamic theology (to name but one) which would manifest in quite different political exigencies. Political Islam, in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood (to name but one), is experiencing (and causing) global upheaval in the contemporary context. Faith may indeed “shape communities”, but does not the Christian faith yield a superior regular tetrahedron?

And why do the bishops here deploy the neutral language of a multifaith polity (which is not neutral at all) instead of making the case for the transformative power of Christianity (which is their preserve)? If “furious religion” is to be mitigated or extinguished, it is surely muscular Christianity which ought not to be marginalised as the national expression of religious identity, or subjugated to the benign liberal banalities of multicultural inclusion and equal fruit. Christianity is established for a purpose, and that purpose is to proclaim the name of Jesus and to manifest the love of God – to free the captives (individually) and to foster peace and reconciliation (in community). Not all  “resurgent religions” are allies in this pursuit: where they are, the Church must embrace them as blessed partners; where they are not, the Church must call out the evil.

It is not ‘religion’ of reason or recent opinion that makes the good society, but the historic vision of the old paths which were revealed to us by God through Christ. The episcopal task is not to foster “religious commitment” or to exhort “people of faith”, but to (re-)discover and expound the true theological foundations of our national political commitment. Certainly, this may not be expressed today as it was in the nineteenth or any preceding century, but cultural sociology changes words and meanings, not divine truths or natural laws. If the Church is to involve itself in the business of government – as it should – and if Christianity is to influence our national politics – as it must – then the Bishops must discern the effects of (post)modernity upon their own apprehensions of theology: they must grapple honestly with the sometimes corrosive premises of liberalism and radicalism, and differentiate more transparently between the partial philosophies of socialism and conservatism (if possible, apart from the recommendations of their Socialist advisors and/or chaplains). To do so is not to sully the gospel, but to scrutinise the political paradoxes of our era with timeless truths and transcendent thoughts. The Church of God’s people must be free to enter the political fray, but the Bishops might better appreciate their own theological provisionality and dispensability when they adopt a broader political spectrum and consider a longer historical perspective.

  • Inspector General

    One still cannot understand the connection between the clergy and politics.
    Yes, intervention as a matter of last resort, by all means. But daily commune
    with Caesar’s realm, no. If you can’t rely on a church to escape the divisions
    of secular involvement where can you go. And what happens if the priest makes it
    perfectly clear he disapproves of your politics, what then. In the past, rogue
    priests were driven out of their livings by the furious mob. We’re rather too
    sophisticate for that now, but there are other churches around…

    • Inspector, one cannot be a closet Christian. Consider the success of the homosexual lobby and the abortion lobby.

      • Inspector General

        Fight the good fight by all means, but just don’t hold your political rallies in the nave.

        • Or leave your Christian faith in the Church after Mass on a Sunday.

  • Inspector General

    Forgot to mention this before. This pastoral letter is a damnable extensive
    thing, is it not…

    The old rule of thumb applies here. The less a policy holds water, the
    longer that policy takes to explain.

    True every time, sure you’ll all agree…

    • Uncle Brian

      Inspector General

      The Anglican bishops’ election “letter” is something like five or six times the length of the one issued by the Catholic bishops. It certainly didn’t take the Catholics long to explain their policy on abortion—“The unborn child is vulnerable and defenceless”—or on marriage, “founded on a loving and faithful relationship between a man and a woman.”

      http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/02/24/full-text-england-and-welsh-bishops-general-election-advice/

      • Inspector General

        Indeed Brian. One wonders how long the post election “Pastoral Letter of Disgust” will be after UKIPs expected surge, and whether or not it will be in the Mein Kampf style of bitter regret by the management on being stabbed in the back by an errant flock that has disgraced itself.

  • “For the Christian, faith must be both publicly proclaimed and lived out in spirit and in truth: it is not a matter for the closet but for the world.”

    If we really believe God’s degrees are for our greater good – that personal and structural sin not only offends Him but damages individual man and undermines the common good – then the temporal and spiritual realms cannot be kept separate.
    What Christians need to do is translate God’s laws into the language of everyday life by evidence based analyses of the impact of deviating from His commandments. There is a natural law accessible to everybody. For example, arguments against homosexuality, divorce and abortion can all be advanced on the basis of the demonstrable harm they do to society. It’s the same with economic policies, debt and building a just nation where none starve and all can meet their potential. To challenge these things solely by quoting Scripture, as important as this is, will be ineffective in a secular and increasing atheist age.

    • Inspector General

      Jack, there are plenty who want to strip the church of it’s charitable status. Imagine the taxes due then. And that is exactly what will happen in the end if this jaunt into political party territory isn’t stopped.

      • Jack thinks there’s something here that could be said about serving God and mammon. It’ll come to him.

      • Linus

        If churches want to play politics then of course they should be free to, as long as they play by the same rules we all have to play by. That means paying all the taxes that any political lobby group has to pay on all income, all salaries, etc.

    • Linus

      Homosexuality does no demonstrable harm to anyone. This is why all Western societies now accept it as part of the normal spectrum of human sexuality.

      • Shadrach Fire

        You are so deluded. Stonewalls influence in Westminster and Education is horrific. Their attack on family life has been to make their lifestyle acceptable.

      • Inspector General

        Exercising an influence many times greater than the tiny numbers of devoted adherents. Rather sticks in the craw, that.

      • Linus,
        You surely can’t be ignorant of the health risks, both physical and mental, in homosexuality.
        There was even something about dysentery in Pink News last year.

      • William Lewis

        There is evidence that homosexuality is harmful. Look at suicide rates, mental illness, STDs, relationship breakdowns, harmful sexual practices, for instance. Perhaps the realism on which you base your life is somewhat selective?

        • Linus

          None of what Christians love to call “the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle” are unique to being gay or even to gay sex. They occur in varying rates throughout the population.

          Higher suicide and mental illness rates are largely caused by bullying and parental and/or social rejection, which can happen to anyone, but clearly happens more frequently to gay people.

          You don’t have to be gay to catch an STD. And the gap is closing. Young adult straights have far higher rates of STD infection than their parents do now, and did when they were younger. STDs are passed on not specifically by gay sex, but rather by any kind of sex. The rate of infection is higher among gay men than it is in the general population, but lower among lesbians. This is because men – all men, gay or straight – are programmed to want more sex than women. The higher STD rate among gay men is simply down to greater opportunity. If women wanted as much sex as men, there would be no difference at all between rates in the gay and straight communities.

          You also don’t have to be gay to break up with your partner. Need I remind you of the straight divorce rate?

          You certainly don’t have to be gay to indulge in “harmful sexual practices”. 50 Shades of Grey is not targeted at a gay audience, yet it’s one of the best selling books of recent years and despite awful reviews, I believe the film is doing well too.

          Nothing on your list is a danger unique to the gay community and given the historical perscution we’ve been subjected to, and in some places still are subjected to, higher rates of these problems are to be expected.

          Or are you saying that higher rates are always proof of sin? In which case it must be sinful to be a woman, because their suicide and mental illness rates are higher than among men. And it must be sinful to be old, because guess what, old people have a much higher mortality rate than any other group in the population! Down with women and old people! And their sins shall be visited upon them, blah blah blah…

          • Grouchy Jack

            “Higher suicide and mental illness rates are largely caused by bullying and parental and/or social rejection, which can happen to anyone, but clearly happens more frequently to gay people.”

            “This is because men – all men, gay or straight – are programmed to want more sex than women. The higher STD rate among gay men is simply down to greater opportunity.”

            ROFL …. what self pitying, self justification – and inaccurate too.

            The male homosexual ‘desire’ can never, never be satiated. That’s why for a large number of its suffers it’s associated with high risk activities, paraphilia,. promiscuity and fuelled by drugs. It’s a self destructive, self absorbing, narcissistic mental and moral disorder.

          • Linus

            Homosexuality is not a mental disorder. It is not listed in either the ICD or the DSM, the two most widely used classification systems for psychological disorders, and has not been for a generation or more.

            Homosexuality is a naturally occuring and morally neutral variation of human sexuality. This is confirmed by the overwhelming consensus of all mental health professional governing bodies in the Western world. Even the Chinese agree. The British Royal College of Psychiatrists states: “There is now a large body of research evidence that indicates that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment. However, the experiences of discrimination in society and possible rejection by friends, families and others, such as employers, means that some LGB people experience a greater than expected prevalence of mental health difficulties and substance misuse problems. Although there have been claims by conservative political groups in the USA that this higher prevalence of mental health difficulties is confirmation that homosexuality is itself a mental disorder, there is no evidence whatever to substantiate such a claim.”

            Note the use of the word “whatever”. It reveals Sad Jack’s lies for the twisted and outmoded religious propaganda they are. One sad old man who took a psychology night class in the mid 1960s, or thereabouts, and retained only the lessons that confirmed his religious prejudices claims to be more of an expert than the combined minds and experience of virtually every reputable mental health professional in the developed world.

            Now that’s one heck of a superiority complex. Justified by what, exactly? Does Sad Jack’s admittedly extensive catalogue of personal mental health issues that come across so clearly in his bigoted rantings and ravings here make him a world authority on psychological disorders? Do mental health professionals seek his advice, or is it more likely to be the other way round?

          • Grouchy Jack

            “However, the experiences of discrimination in society and possible rejection by friends, families and others, such as employers, means that some LGB people experience a greater than expected prevalence of mental health difficulties and substance misuse problems.”

            Assertion, unsubstantiated by empirical research.

            “Although there have been claims by conservative political groups in the USA that this higher prevalence of mental health difficulties is confirmation that homosexuality is itself a mental disorder, there is no evidence whatever to substantiate such a claim.”

            This is a political statement. The evidence is there; the contest is interpretation. It’s ‘politically incorrect’ to understand homosexuality as a disorder.

            “Homosexuality is a naturally occuring and morally neutral variation of human sexuality.”

            There’s absolutely no evidence homosexuality is naturally occurring in man. None.

            And what model are you using to state it is “morally neutral”?

            Poor Lino.

          • Linus

            Homosexuality is a naturally occuring variant of sexuality observable in many species, including humans. There is no evidence that it’s a mental illness. None.

            And of course you’re going to say that anyone who disagrees with you is making a “political statement”. Which means that the greatest minds in the field of mental health are victims of the machinations of a gay lobby that has brainwashed them into trotting out its agenda on cue. We’re that powerful and that evil. In fact, we rule the world. We ARE the global elite and we’re all lizards too. Even Sad Jack’s Argentinian clown bows before us. Or at least he does in Sad Jack’s tortured imagination.

            Is anyone surprised that this sad excuse for a man portrays himself as an expert on narcissistic personality disorder? He’s certainly a textbook example of the condition himself. I’d say “Physician heal thyself” if it wasn’t clear he was beyond help.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Read the findings of these studies, poor deluded Lino.

            http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/homosexuality/top-10-studies-showing-risks-to-couples-in-same-sex-unions.html

            “Homosexuality is a naturally occuring variant of sexuality observable in many species, including humans.”

            No, same sex acts have been observed in animals and occasionally, in some situations, these animals stay together. There is no genetic cause. “Homosexuality” is a man made concept. Initially, it was used to label this deviancy from the norm; now it is used to legitimise self identification with same sex desire.

            Here’s a gift from Jack; a gift based on his many years of experience in countering disorders. Let’s call it an early ‘wedding’ present.

            The next time you embrace your partner, remind yourself it is not your ‘beautiful’ body reflected in another you are ‘loving’. Instead it is rotting, maggot infested, gangrenous flesh. See it, feel it, touch it, taste it and smell it. Keep this in mind at the moment of release. This might stop you becoming what you suppose you desire.

          • Miles Christianus

            Christians bad. Christianity bad because of Christians. Religion bad because Christians are religious,

            Linus, dude; I’m seeing a theme running through your posts. Chill, read. learn.

          • William Lewis

            Linus, you said that homosexuality does no demonstrable harm to anyone. I am arguing that the higher rates of suicide, mental illness, drug taking, relationship breakdown, STD transmission are, in fact, demonstrably harmful. These do not have to be unique to homosexuals to be demonstrably so, just more prevalent. You can argue that these are the result of social pressures against homosexual behaviour and, no doubt, this will be, at least, contributory in some cases. It has certainly not been shown that this is the only factor. It can also be argued that homosexual behaviour is inherently disordered, whether you believe in the ordering “life force” that is trying to prevent the information in your DNA from being scattered to the four corners of the universe, or just the inherent compatability of male/female sexuality, or the divine nature heterosexual marriage.

            Whatever. The point is that your statement that homosexuality does no demonstrable harm to anyone is demonstrably untrue.

          • Linus

            You have a lot of confidence in your own judgement. I have the entire body of Western mental health profession supporting my point of view. Who supports yours? A few priests and a lot of poorly educated amateurs and prejudiced bigots with religious axes to grind.

            The statement that homosexuality causes demonstrable harm is demonstraby UNtrue. I call the British Royal College of Psychiatrists – and every other reputable association of mental health professionals in the Westen world and even in China, as expert witnesses. Who can you call on? Discredited quacks like Lesley Pilkington and religious obsessives like the vulpine and tightly wound Andrea Minichiello Williams? Oh, and the venerable doctor of psychology (self-proclaimed) that we know here as Sad Jack.

            Good luck convincing a jury with that ragtag band of rank amateurs.

          • William Lewis

            I am not making a judgement but discussing the reality. Something you need to be “au fait” with if you are going to base your morality on it!

            Have a look here for some “impartial” examples.

            Note that for instance that:

            The National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) carried out a review that showed that LGB people are at greater risk of suicidal behaviour and self harm. The risk of suicide is four times more likely in gay and bisexual men, whilst the risk of depression and anxiety were one and half times higher in LGB people. Stonewall‟s “Prescription for Change‟ report found higher rates of suicidal thoughts and self-harm in lesbian and bisexual women compared to women in general. In addition, LGB people can face discrimination and poor experiences of care which can also impact on mental health.

            and this from a Stonewall report:

            The majority of pupils who experience homophobic bullying have symptoms consistent with depression. Around a third (35%) of gay young people who aren’t bullied are also likely to be depressed compared to just five per cent of young people generally

            But it’s not just about mental health. The issues with physical health, promiscuity, relationship breakdown etc all take their toll.

          • Linus

            Greater minds than yours have analysed these statistics and attributed the cause to parental and social rejection.

            I was never actively bullied at school, but I can tell you that the derision and hatred leveled at anything gay and the constant negative reinforcement of the message that gay is bad and “less than” takes its toll.

            Luckily I’m blessed with a naturally resilient nature and I don’t bruise easily. I’m more likely to turn people’s hatred back on them rather than take it to heart and weep and wail about how sad and unloved they make me feel (which they don’t – all I feel for them is contempt). But we’re not all like that. Some of is take the constant insults and put-downs to heart and it takes a toll on their mental health.

            ALL oppressed minorities suffer from elevated levels of mental illness. It’s part of the way oppression works. You constantly denigrate your enemy in an attempt to wound his self-image, thereby destabilizing him and rendering him easier to manipulate and destroy.

            Higher levels of mental illness in the gay community are down to you and the constant war of hatred and denigration you wage against us. Christians claim they love us, but we all know what really motivates them. They want us to stop contradicting them and disappear. By suicide if necessary. That’s the reality of Christian “love”. A warped and twisted power game played by the devotees of a Middle-Eastern death cult.

          • William Lewis

            One begins to question your sanity.

          • Grouchy Jack

            “I have a lot of confidence in your own judgement. I have the entire body of (sic) Western mental health profession supporting my point of view.”

            Poor, deluded Lino.

            http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/homosexuality/top-10-studies-showing-risks-to-couples-in-same-sex-unions.html

      • Royinsouthwest

        If most people were homosexual the human race would die out.

        • Linus

          But most people are not gay so the human race won’t die out.

          If most people were celibate we’d have the same problem, yet celibacy is not a sin.

          And in any case, the Christian solution for gay people is for us to remain celibate, so either way, no babies…

      • Watchman

        It was certainly harmful to the the people of Sodom!

        • Linus

          The sin of Sodom was lack of hospitality. It says so in your holy book.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Yeah, anal gang rape is pretty inhospitable as it goes.

            “Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.””
            (Genesis 19:4-5)

          • Linus

            It says in your holy book, and I quote: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

            No mention of homosexuality whatsoever. But of course that won’t bother Sad Jack. He’s already set himself up as a world authority on mental health issues and claims to be right when his opinions run contrary to the ICD and the DCM. So why wouldn’t he also dispute the Bible’s authority?

            Sad Jack knows better than God. I wonder how that can be … is he the Second Coming? Or just a mad, bad old fool?

            I’ll leave you to reach your own conclusions.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Not much of biblical scholar, are you?

            Uncontrollable homosexuality was the end result of a people who abandoned their innate knowledge of God and His laws. They were finally abandoned by Him and given over to total mental and physical depravity.

      • Phil R
    • cacheton

      ‘If we really believe God’s degrees are for our greater good’

      Surely you are only qualified to judge for yourself, for your greater good.

      ‘arguments against homosexuality, divorce and abortion can all be advanced on the basis of the demonstrable harm they do to society.’

      Go ahead. Without quoting scripture. We’re all waiting.

      • Nah …. Jack has made them before. Scroll through his past posts and do some research on-line.

        Google: ‘What is Marriage (by Sherif Girgis, Robert George and Ryan Anderson) for a cracking secular argument in favour of marriage between a man and a woman. You can even download a PDF version.
        Any questions, then just ask Jack.

  • carl jacobs

    then the Bishops must discern the effects of (post)modernity upon their own apprehensions of theology

    Oh, the Bishops know well the effects of post-modernism on the CoE. How could they not? They have set themselves to the task of creating a thoroughly post-modern church. That’s the difficulty with effectively entering the political fray on behalf of the Christian faith. You have to believe it first.

  • carl jacobs

    btw. One has to admire the Archbishop’s tenacity in responding to this letter, but the last Google reference I could find for it was on Feb 26th. I am sure the Bishops are quite interested in Archbishop Cranmer’s opinion since he seems to be the only one still reading it.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Maybe they are reading this entire blog thread? Then again, probably not…

  • David

    The C of E episcopacy are playing a dangerous game. Are they unaware of that ? I believe that they are, cocooned as they have become in a particular liberal religious, and politically soft leftists world view.
    They are increasingly isolating themselves from a large proportion of their most loyal congregants and the Conservative Party which, perhaps surprisingly, still attracts a good number of voters who naively, believe that party to be conservative in some undefined, yearn – full sense.
    The rift between the bulk of the bishops and patriotic, Ukip party members like myself, who are also plain traditional protestants is now indeed immense. We share neither a theology nor a political world view.
    The Inspector is absolutely right when he asserts that soon the reaction from the ever so slowly dying Conservative Party may well be to propose removing their charitable status. Labour, Greens, SNP, and the sad rump of LibDem’s will be delighted to support such a move, and indeed gleefully push for it.
    Deeply misinformed and uninformed regarding life for the average person, these bishops understand not the ever changing air of politics. They have distanced themselves from much orthodox theology. They continue as ornaments of dubious aesthetic value, serving little useful purpose. We need far fewer of them and the resources presently needed to support their establishments should be returned to front line evangelism and church building and planting. That’s where the action is and that’s where The Holy Spirit is to be found working, not in the Bishop’s Palaces.

    • cacheton

      How can you tell ‘where The Holy Spirit is to be found working’?

      What if secularism IS THe Holy Spirit working to shed Christianity of its dogma and irrelevance to contemporary life?

      • carl jacobs

        There is nothing less relevant than a church that has shed its dogma. You can find them everywhere. They are staffed with social activists and attended by the generation born immediately after WWII. No one pays any attention to them because they have nothing to say. They are quite literally dying.

        The Church does not exist to run soup kitchens. It does not exists to pander to the appetites and desires of the unbelieving world. It exists to communicate the Gospel – to confront people with the reality of sin and judgment, and point them to salvation in Christ. The unbelieving world hates that message. Indeed, if the unbelieving world starts praising us for our message, then we know we are doing something wrong.

        If you want the Church to be relevant in these days, then you must remember the relevance of the Prophet Jeremiah. He was no less relevant when he was thrown into the pit for three days than was Elijah when he humiliated the prophets of Baal. The question you must ask is “Relevant to whom?” Relevance is not determined by victory or defeat. It’s not determined by large crowds and mass conversions. It is determined by faithfulness. The victory is already won.

      • David

        You are a joker I assume, or just possibly a genuine inquirer ?
        Dogma is the nothing more than or less than, the belief of The Church, based upon the balanced full reading of all the NT texts, written by those who accompanied Jesus’ life on earth, and then reflected upon by, amongst others, the wise and godly Church leaders of the first three centuries.
        A church stripped of its dogma is not part of The Universal Church, but merely a outlet for social activism, which will ultimately falter due to its abandonment of its inner core of beliefs.
        Just in case you are a genuine inquirer I hope that helps.
        Carl Jacobs’s reply below is an excellent – he got in first whilst I was outside on target practice.

  • cacheton

    ‘It is not possible to separate the way a person perceives his or her place in the created order from their beliefs, religious or otherwise, about how the world’s affairs ought to be arranged.’

    Nor is it possible to disregard the fact that not everybody has the same beliefs.

    ‘For the Christian, faith must be both publicly proclaimed and lived out in spirit and in truth’.

    Why? Why is living faith out in spirit and truth not enough by itself?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Because the Bible says we should live it publicly.

  • Shadrach Fire

    An individual’s thinking affects the way they behave and live. No one does something they think they should not.
    A Christian therefore should think and behave the way of the Book and carry that into their life, both political and social. Sadly some so called Christians let politics control and influence their thinking and their life. It was amazing how prominent Christians voted for SSM. Only a liberal socialist Christian could do that.
    There is no doubt that we should not stand back and let evil people destroy the social way of life that we believe in. We must get involved and be salt and light.

  • Inspector General

    Regarding the stripping of charity status.

    Did anyone see Same Sex Marriage coming? And when it came to be discussed in parliament, is there none who follow Cranmer who were not absolutely stunned by the support our esteemed parliamentarians gave this sop to the mighty homosexual community? And who wasn’t surprised to find a triple or quadruple lock on any possibility of the CoE being coerced into allowing this disgrace to take place in a Anglican church? They had to come up with something, pretty damned quick, that even if all our blighters in Westminster worked on it together, they could never unpick it. Do you really think militant gays are going to leave it at that?

    We know one thing for certain. The removal of tax concessions is in Big Gay’s wish list. They make no secret about it either. They continue to be the biggest enemy of Christ in this land, far exceeding Islam. And why not. Few of them are religious. In fact, many on PN are still angry about being born into a believing family who were not all that impressed when their scions announced they had chosen the gay lifestyle instead. Their fury stems from that time and it still burns strong in them.

    Gentlemen, you have been warned. Everything’s up for grabs in these no longer certain days. If you want to chance the financial strength of the CoE, keep voting for the usual suspects, if you don’t, look around and find a party that celebrates this country’s Judeo-Christian heritage. The one the Inspector has in mind may have its faults, but there is new hope there…

    • Anton

      All of Westminster’s attempts to make the CoE waterproof from having to provide gay ‘marriage’ are worthless in (of course) the European Court of Human Rights, as Mr Cameron was informed at the time.

      Of course it would help if the bishops spoke with a clearer voice on the overall subject than Rowan Williams ever did.

      • Inspector General

        To paraphrase Hermann Goering. “Whenever I hear about the Court of Human Right’s, I want to reach for my revolver”

      • Royinsouthwest

        Why should anyone care what the Court of Human Rights says? Did the Apostles obey God or Man?

        • Anton

          That was my view until the sanctions it has were pointed out on an earlier thread. Ultimately you are right of course but it would lead to huge ructions.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Someone said that Farage would not know what a Judeo/Christian society was if it bit him in the bum. He seems a Hail and Hearty sort of fellow but they are probably right.

      • Inspector General

        UKIP is a broad based movement. The movement needs a leader atop and Farage is no better or no worse than anyone else. One expects you’ll find somebody out there who will claim the man is covered in scales, but then, they would say that.

        • Dominic Stockford

          When interviewed on one occasion he did at least have a Bible on the bookshelf behind him (in his own home). Not that he would really understand it – nor would he lay claim to being a Christian – which is rather more honest than some politicians one can think of.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Wasn’t that his Cigar box?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Gift Aid is a Trojan Horse. Many charities, and even churches, have acted in such a way as to find that they now depend on it for their continued financial existence. And when it vanishes many of them are likely to plunge into financial debt from which they will never recover.

      • Anton

        Well said!

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    The bishops say that ‘people of faith within all the historic traditions have much to offer to a vision of a good society and a peaceful world.’ Note that the etiquette of diversity makes it impossible for them to say ‘the Christian vision of a good society’. If the bishops are this mealy-mouthed when Christianity is still by far the majority religion, what chance of the Church ever calling out the evil?

    • Inspector General

      One’s GP in the past advocated an improved vision for yours truly, not that he needs one as he is fit. It involved forsaking tobacco and drinking no more than 3 units of alcohol a day, with periods of complete abstinence. Just goes to show how well meaning visions are just not achievable.

      • How many units are there in a litre of Whiskey, Inspector?
        As for smoking, Jack is under instruction to stop. He’s acquired one of them there electronic puffers. Very good too. Probably be outlawed by Europe soon – bastards. With what he saves, he has upgraded his regular tipple.

        • Inspector General

          Jack, There’s 30 units in 70cl. One also produces his extremely nourishing home brew, which is more of a health food than drink, so is excluded from the totals. A pint is one of his five a day, don’t you know. Two pints is two. And so on.

          • Inspector General

            or is it 22. No, think it’s 30

          • 28 and 40 in a litre – Jack just googled it.

            A litre should last 2 weeks. Mind you, Jack does have to share with the ‘others’.

          • carl jacobs

            Ya know. It is possible to go through a whole day without drinking alcohol. Or a week. Or a month even. I do it all the time. My wife got me 12 bottles of beer for the Super Bowl and I still have eight remaining.

            So there is an easy solution. Don’t drink for a few days and save up some units. Then indulge in one reasonable moderate drink. Simples.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Hmmm …. how are the art lessons going? And have you got a bandana for your growing hair yet?

          • carl jacobs

            You of all people should not be taking that statement seriously since you constantly assert I have no creative imagination.

          • Grouchy Jack

            You show no signs of one. That’s why Jack asked.

          • carl jacobs

            Perhaps you don’t know where to look.

          • Grouchy Jack

            That’s too enigmatic for Jack.

          • carl jacobs

            What is the sound of one pencil drawing?

          • Jack would tell a joke about a pencil – but would there be any point to it?

          • Dominic Stockford

            I had a half a glass of wine last week, very nice too. Might have another later this week. Not necessary though.

          • carl jacobs

            Seems to be the difference between Protestant moderation and Catholic indulgence.

            😀

          • Grouchy Jack

            Did you give anything up for Lent, Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            No, no, no. We aren’t changing the subject. I want props for that manifestation of comedic genius.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Jack gave up expectations of protestants changing – just for Lent.

          • it was good. Credit where it’s due. Even Grouchy up-voted it.

          • CliveM

            Clearly never been to Scotland. Drink and Protestantism have long been happy partners. Interestingly the North Europeans have tended in general to be the biggest drinkers and the most Protestant.

            What the………… 07:23, time for a drink I think.

          • Inspector General

            ‘Super Bowl’? That’s one of those fairly new water saving toilets over here…

          • Inspector, a message from Andre:

            “While I’m at it, please give my love to his lordship. All of it. ;)”

          • carl jacobs

            Inspector

            In your honor, I drank a bottle of beer tonight. Just one, of course. Two would have been one too many.

          • Miles Christianus

            Carl

            I was in Wilmington, NC. recently with some Marines from 2MEF — Contrary to popular belief, Americans can drink (and the beer was the strong-ish craft stuff, not near-beer p155)

          • carl jacobs

            Miles Christianus

            I didn’t suggest otherwise. I was merely demonstrating (beyond any possible shred of doubt) that the vision proposed to the Inspector was unachievable only because the Inspector refused to achieve it.

          • Miles Christianus

            Carl.

            Apologies. I’ll wind my neck in.

            PS – do you know if Yuenglings is available in Britain? 🙂

          • carl jacobs

            Not a clue. I’m an American. 🙂 Sapporo is my beer of choice. There’s a Canadian around here named Avi Barzel. He likes Coors Light for some reason. Who can understand Canadians?

          • Miles Christianus

            Who indeed? They still drink Labatt’s for pete’s sake. Actually, Yuenglings is from Pa., so you may not get it round your way. Nice, though.

          • Mind over matter – Carl’s attended military motivational classes.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            It’s not a coincidence that “Protestant” rhymes with “discipline.”

          • Hmmm ………..

            The belief of a protestant
            can be terribly intolerant
            as it’s quite inconsistent
            with the bible’s insistent
            there’s a Loving assistant
            Who’s offer to all is sufficient

          • carl jacobs

            Refusing to think outside the box, I see.

          • Not when it comes to The Book.

          • carl jacobs

            I was referring to your apparent attachment the restrictive idea that words can only rhyme phonetically. Have you not heard of conceptual rhyming?

          • That’s what Jack meant too. Some things just are and you don’t mess with them.

          • Inspector General

            Think the Landlord at the Mouse and Wheel believes it to be 30, unfortunately…

          • 70cl should last 10 days !!! Are these GP’s mad?

            Jack distilled Poitín back in his days in London. Learned the process from his grandfather as well as his closely guarded original recipe. Still has his copper Pot in the shed.
            Now Jack has retired …….

          • CliveM

            Drink your units, you can’t take them with you!

          • William Lewis

            I like it. Would make an amusing bumper sticker.

          • CliveM

            Thank you! Should I copyright?!!

        • Miles Christianus

          Jack – While I’m waxing lyrical about my visit to the Carolinas, loads of folks were “vaping” there – apple brandy flavour being quite popular. Good on ya for escaping the weed of vice — took me ages.

          • Jack’s on the Golden Virginia variety to wean himself off the damn stuff. It’s only been since the start of Lent, so a long way to go.

          • Miles Christianus

            If you’ll allow me another southern states tangent – Driving from DC to NC through Virginia i saw fields full of the stuff – thought they were big dock leaves at first. There were tiny tobacco farming towns dotted along the route, and each one had a church every 50 yards or so, on average three per hamlet of 300 people max.

            Also, Praying for your successful release from the evil leaf: I feel your pain. Seriously, if I can do it – you can.

        • carl jacobs

          A unit of 80 proof Whiskey is equal to 25 ml. There are therefore 40 units of alcohol in a liter. A unit is equal to one-third of a pint of beer, or one-half a glass of wine.

          This means that in one day you can drink:

          1. 1 pint of beer.
          2. 1.5 glasses of red wine
          3. Just about two standard shots of whiskey.

          That should be sufficient for anyone.

          • Uncle Brian

            Carl, we may be up against a problem of language here. In British and American English, gallon, quart, pint and gill are all different; so is the fluid ounce; and so, apparently is the “proof spirit” formula:

            Alcohol proof

            From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

            Jump to: navigation, search

            Alcohol proof is a measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in an alcoholic beverage. The term was originally used in the United Kingdom and was defined as 7/4 times the alcohol by volume (ABV). The UK now uses the ABV standard instead of alcohol proof. In the United States, alcoholic proof is defined as twice the percentage of ABV.

            Rounded to the nearest ml, 1 U.S. gallon = 3.785 litres,
            1 UK gallon = 4.546 litres, almost exactly 20 percent more.

          • carl jacobs

            Brian

            Yes, I understand that ‘Proof’ is defined as “Double the alcohol by volume.” And a shot is 1.5 ounces or about 42 ml. However, if British units of measure are different from the US, that could be a problem.

          • Uncle Brian

            OK, Carl, thanks. Yes, British units are different: the gallon, quart, pint and gill are all about 20 percent larger than the U.S. units. But it gets worse. Unless things have changed recently, the “single” (= shot) of whisky, vodka etc., varies from one pub to another. There isn’t – or wasn’t, in my day – a single standard measurement that they all have to conform to. It might be, say, one-quarter of a gill in one pub but a bit more or a bit less in the pub next door. If the Inspector General sees this, I’m sure he will be able to bring me up to date.

            Let me ask you something else, on a different subject. Apart from Hillary Clinton, who are the other possible runners for the Democratic Party nomination? Is Rahm Emanuel one of them? Even after he first took over as mayor of Chicago, we still used to hear his name from time to time, but not any longer. He seems to have dropped out of sight. Has his Washington career come to an end?

            Thanks
            Brian

          • Inspector General

            Brian, there is by law standard units of measure for pub spirits. One recalls sometime late in the last century, the optics of every pub had to be altered as the standard single had increased. Going further back, all licensed premises had to display a notice which gave the volume of the units, spirits and liquor, parts of a gill, and probably fluid ounces for the beer. This alongside other notices such as ‘The Passing of Betting Slips Is Strictly Prohibited’ and ‘At The Calling of Time, you have 10 minutes to consume your remaining drinks’. (This was later changed to twenty minutes, but by then the necessity to display the sign had ended, one believes. Teenage regulars of the 1970s will also recall when pubs closed at 10:30pm Sun to Thu, and 11pm Friday or Sat. If in a tourist area, you could apply for a permanent extension to 11pm all week, Sunday excepted. To have live music you needed a “Singing Dancing and Fighting” licence (as we called it then) which was by no means automatic and only lasted one day usually unless there was a festival on. If your premises was part of a foot policeman’s beat (remember those), you would expect to see the fellow before 10pm, where the barmaid would hand him a hot mug of tea with a drop of ‘something to keep the cold out’. If you were driving, and had slightly more than your allowed pint and a half, you would depart the pub at 9:55. The police changed shifts at 10pm and were too busy with that to notice anything else.

          • Uncle Brian

            Thanks for the update, Inspector. I certainly remember the notices with the measurements in gills, but the rules and regs have changed too often since then for me to keep abreast of them all!

          • Inspector General

            Back then, if you were arrested for being drunk, which never happened to the Inspector General, as would expect of a man of his standing, and judged by the police to be ‘incapable’ (as some who were known to him were) you were pushed into the van and put into a cell for the night. Whereupon around 6am, you would be turfed out. Timing was important here, as if they held onto you for much longer, they would be obliged by law to provide you with breakfast, and that wasn’t going to happen!

  • Dominic Stockford

    “It is not ‘religion’ of reason or recent opinion that makes the good society, but the historic vision of the old paths which were revealed to us by God through Christ.”

    Many other Christians manage to say this, it is indeed a great sadness, and a blight upon our ‘national church’ that the bishops cannot. I do not know what they are overseers of, but it isn’t ‘Christ’s’ church any more.

  • Doctor Crackles

    Your Grace,

    When politics yields unjust laws which oppress (as it sometimes does), the Christian ought not to be prohibited by virtue of his faith from entering into the realm of controversy.

    Is abortion unjust or an abomination? Is the promotion of sexual immorality unjust or an abomination?

  • Phil R

    While the Bishops waffle along the real battle takes place around them and what exactly do they comment about?

    Here is a gay author writing about the gay story books he writes for schools and why he spends so much time in schools recruiting.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/s-bear-bergman/i-have-come-to-indoctrinate-your-children-lgtbq_b_6795152.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

    • Shadrach Fire

      And they say, homosexuals do no one any harm. My left foot they don’t.

  • Phil R

    Come on Bishops.

    You could say what you say in a more straightforward and forthright manner and perhaps we could understand you (What is the point of your letter if nobody will read it or understand it)

    Listen to this guy talk about freedom of speech and learn about communicating with real people.

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/03/08/watch-a-drastic-warning-about-the-future-of-the-west/

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace.
    Concepts become facts the more they are repeated.

    Went to ‘The Good Right’ ‘@TheGoodRight’ but is was not good, it was very bad.
    Just tweeted that the first article I looked at was by Tim Montgomerie.

    Now that the Gay marriage controversy is over, Tim Montgomerie examines a new movement to put a pro-marriage agenda at the heart of politics.

    First, the assumption that the controversy is over, far from it, it’s just we can’t do much about yet. Then he develops the concept by enthusing over the benefits of marriage and of course how now Gays can be married we are more united than divided. The benefits of marriage have little if anything to do with SSM. You just can’t justify SSM by supporting the benefits of heterosexual marriage.

    Such is the way with spin and deceit. They almost have you convinced that their argument is fair and reasonable and that it is you has it all wrong. Just as the Serpent spoke to Eve. Be ever vigilant and on your guard.

    • Phil R

      The gay marriage controversy is over..

      Here are two gay three person “marriages”

      http://www.mercatornet.com/conjugality/view/15750

      The three women in America are perhaps the most interesting and the author’s prognosis now that child is on the way.

      The gay marriage controversy is over..

      It is only just beginning it seems as gays always need to push for the next thing.

      • The Explorer

        It’s a bit like, “The King is dead. Long live the King.” They need their own version. Maybe they have it. There was that guy camped outside The South African Embassy in London until apartheid ended. Then it ended. What does a guy like that do next? Fortunately for the gays, there are still lots of things to push for.

        • One ‘hero’ in the frontline for ‘rights recently said:

          “As long as people can provide a home and they have support, I don’t see why anyone should be denied the right to be a parent.

          I didn’t choose to be gay. I was born that way. I was born unable to have kids. I can’t just go out and have sex with a woman. Being a dad was a high priority in my life and now I’ve done it.”

          How did he claim this ‘right’? He used his mother as a surrogate for IVF – his sperm and a donor egg. His son is also his brother; the child’s mother is also his grandmother.

          “I understand that not everyone will agree with it, but I have a son and I am very happy.”

          That’s good – he’s very happy. How about his child?

          The father is a single parent. Academic research has overwhelmingly demonstrated that children brought up in a happy marriage by both their biological parents do better in every way than those who aren’t. And, the conclusion of a study in 2013 was that surrogate-born children were more likely to suffer from behavioural and emotional problems, and depression, than those carried by their biological mother.

          Is there no end to his selfish insanity?

          • Linus

            There’s certainly no end to Sad Jack’s selfish insanity. Actually yes … there is! In a few short years his brain will be mush and we’ll be spared his incessant homophobic abuse. Not long now…

            While we’re waiting, I say good luck to this man whose mother acted as a surrogate for him and his son. When it comes to reproductive technology, if it can be done, it will be done. Today it’s surrogacy. Tomorrow 3 parent babies. And the day after tomorrow (in fact probably within a couple of years), babies created from the stem cells of two same-sex parents.

            That’ll take the wind out of Sad Jack’s sails. How do you condemn a gay couple for depriving a child of its mother when it doesn’t have a mother to be deprived of?

            Changing birth certificates to read “Parent 1 & Parent 2″‘instead of “Father & Mother” was clearly a prophetic development. The days when we assumed that every child had opposite sex parents are drawing to a close.

            Brave New World or just another advance of medical science? I tend to think we’ll cope perfectly well with this new development. Man is nothing if not adaptable. And if you can tell a child that his two fathers really are his two fathers and there’s no missing mother to worry about, why should that bother him?

            All you need to do is explain that babies can be made the oldfashioned way or, when two daddies love each other very much and can afford a specialist team of genetic engineers and a nine month lease on a rent-a-womb, they can also be made according to a new and improved formula. I don’t see that being any more traumatic for a child than knowing he was conceived in a test tube. Or as a result of a drunken fumble, come to that.

            The only aspect of it that really bothers me is the whole rent-a-womb thing. We French just don’t like the idea of surrogacy and the commercialization of the human body. If they can develop an artificial womb, my objections would disappear. But if we descend into science fiction horror and end up with axolotl tanks à la Frank Herbert’s Dune series of books, then I’ll think we’ve definitely gone too far. But why not some kind of mechanical device?

            Maybe sometime in the future every home will have one, a sort of fish tank sitting in a corner of the living room, growing a new baby every few months (maybe gestation can be accelerated, who knows?) No more stretch marks and varicose veins for the ladies, and no more painful and traumatic births for children. Just fish ’em out with a net,
            then scrape some fresh skin cells from your arm and someone else’s knee, or elbow, or cheek. Shake ’em up together with the right cocktail of drugs and chemicals and pour ’em into the tank and hey presto, the next batch of sea monkeys is on its way!

            You could mix and match and have children with a wide variety of partners. One of every sex. One of every colour. Maybe with a bit of extra manipulation, you could even get new colours. A blue child, for example. Or a heliotrope one with green polka dots…

            And what future for Christianity in all of this? Virgin births would become commonplace events. Concepts of fatherhood and motherhood would change radically. What would happen to
            Christian sexual morality if childbearing becomes a techology rather than a physical process?

            As I said, if it can happen, it will. Should be interesting. The Sad Jacks of this world might want to thank their lucky stars that they won’t live to see it, or if they do, they’ll burst a blood vessel in impotent rage and spare themselves the outrage of having to figure out whether God loves manufactured babies as much as the other kind.

          • Phil R

            There are many roads in the future Linus and not all of them will go anywhere.

            The IVF thing is interesting. You cut out the millions of sperm for one fertilisation.

            If I believed in evolution, I would consider this significant.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Jack is neither Sad nor Homophobic. His cry is for the children and our society as a whole. Gays are so selfish, they just think of themselves and what they want.

          • The Explorer

            Let’s hope a Hitler equivalent doesn’t hijack the process and decide to manufacture future offspring to a particular formula. One can guess what would be there: and what wouldn’t. be.

          • Mad Jack

            Jack is now as Mad as Hell.

            “When it comes to reproductive technology, if it can be done, it will be done …

            ” … babies can be made … when two daddies love each other very much and can afford a specialist team of genetic engineers and a nine month lease on a rent-a-womb, they can also be made according to a new and improved formula.

            What would happen to Christian sexual morality if childbearing becomes a techology rather than a physical process? “

            There you have it. The words of a narcissistic homosexual envisioning the depraved end vision of the ultimate Fallen man.

          • “What is this talk of death? God knows well that as soon as you eat this fruit your eyes will be opened, and you yourselves will be like gods, knowing good and evil.”

            “You belong to your father, that is, the devil, and are eager to gratify the appetites which are your father’s. He, from the first, was a murderer; and as for truth, he has never taken his stand upon that; there is no truth in him. When he utters falsehood, he is only uttering what is natural to him; he is all false, and it was he who gave falsehood its birth.”

          • CliveM

            Then they will simply become a commodity. It’s a strange world view that it’s enough that something makes you happy to justify something as profound as the creation of life.

            Selfish is just one of the milder words that can be used.

          • Inspector General

            You ought to stick with ‘Mad Jack’…

          • Uncle Brian

            Inspector, please take a look at a reply to Carl Jacobs that I posted just a few moments ago, about pub units (singles). It’s about 15 to 20 comments down from this one.
            Thanks
            Brian

          • Too wearing, Inspector.

            Happy Jack rarely experiences true anger. He couldn’t live with it for long.

          • The Explorer

            Great avatar.

          • The Explorer

            Babies from stem cell tissue. I can’t see it catching on with heteros, given the existing alternative.

          • “Many are the pangs, many are the throes I will give thee to endure; with pangs thou shalt give birth to children …”
            (Genesis 3:6)

            “Here is a people all one, with a tongue common to all; this is but the beginning of their undertakings, and what is to prevent them carrying out all they design?.”
            (Genesis 11:6)

          • The Explorer

            That is true. in ‘Brave New World’ the sex act is 100% removed from procreation. However, what gets procreated is rigidly defined by the needs of the State: the sort of point I made earlier, and that doesn’t feature in Linus’s free-choice paradise.

          • Linus

            Never mind, Sad Jack. You’ll be long dead by the time reproductive technology becomes commonplace, so you’ll probably never have to encounter a manufactured human.

            They’re coming though. The next generation will have to deal with their existence. Religions predicated around the sovereign and unique power of God over life and death are going to have a hard time dealing with a world where life no longer depends on the bodily functions they ritualize and codify into sins and virtues.

            There’s nothing in the Bible that would prevent my partner and I from commissioning an embryo created from a blend of our stem cells. As the technology currently stands, the only means of gestating such an embryo would be to implant it into a surrogate, which is something we would be reluctant to do because we’re uncomfortable with the implications of surrogacy. But the Bible does not condemn such arrangements. There is no commandment that states “ye shall not use a woman’s womb to incubate your embryo in exchange for 50 shekels of silver” or however much these rent-a-womb agreements cost.

            One wonders of course how Sad Jack will cope if a manufactured human ever does cross his path. He’ll be pretty old by then. He’ll probably resemble a fatter version of the old guy in the wheelchair with the bell from “Breaking Bad”. Will he start furiously chiming out the morse code for “abomination” and wet himself in anger, frustration and impotence?

            Careful Sad Jack, that may be the point at which the tired and harassed staff in your nursing home decide it’s time to book that trip to Switzerland they’ve been planning for you for some time. A one way ticket and home by freight. If medical science ever develops an artificial womb and my partner and I decide to take the plunge and commission a child, we may consider naming it Jacquouille in your memory.

          • “One wonders of course how Sad Jack will cope if a manufactured human ever does cross his path.”

            Why Jack would love the person as a creation of God with a unique Divine soul. You can manipulate the process of physical conception and even interfere growth in the womb; no one can manufacture an immortal soul and that is what makes us truly human.

            “Religions predicated around the sovereign and unique power of God over life and death are going to have a hard time dealing with a world where life no longer depends on the bodily functions they ritualize and codify into sins and virtues.”

            You’ve entirely missed the point of morality in that statement. You really suppose God’s Law will allow humanity to descend that far into depravity? Gravity still operates even if man ignores it and pretends it doesn’t exist.

          • Linus

            Ah, so God will smite us down before the first same-sex parents baby-making kits hit the shelves, will he? Just like he did before the first test tube babies were born. Or before abortion was legalized.

            Oh no, wait a second … he didn’t strike us down then, did he? So what makes you think he’ll do it now? Because you want him to? Is Sad Jack God’s personal assistant now? Manage his diary, do you? Is a Sodom-like apocalypse coming our way next Tuesday, or haven’t you worked out a diary date with the Almighty yet?

            If Atheists had a centime for every time a Christian has warned us of imminent divine retribution, we’d be rolling in it. But no such luck compensates us for having to put up with Christian prognosticators and naysayers. We just have to listen to them drone on about doom and destruction that are always coming tomorrow. Tomorrow. Sad Jack loves you, Tomorrow. You’re always a day away…

          • Inspector General

            Linus – duff adults, adults who don’t think or act as the norm and who are in essence sterile drones, producing duff children through the monstrosity of the life laboratory. How long are these gruesome fruits of man’s corruption likely to live for. Months, a few years maybe? What devastating congenital illnesses will they have to suffer before death finally carries them off. Would a disgusted world see them as the undead? Would a disgusted world forgive you for your selfish intent? Would the children themselves forgive you, or turn on you for the unspeakables that you are that have wilfully brought those hapless freaks to life?

            Do give it some thought, you odd fool…

          • William Lewis

            Thanks for the warning. It’s good to be reminded of what would constitute a homosexual paradise now and then.

        • Shadrach Fire

          Fortunate!

  • len

    God`s Moral law is the best foundation a civilised society ever had , but as soon as you mention the word’ God’ atheists on ‘principle’ will object to it..

    • DanJ0

      Well, I usually just ask: “Which one?” 😉

      • len

        Which atheist?. “They know who they are” 😉

        • Anton

          Yes, but DanJ0 doesn’t believe that and you can’t put a paragraph like yours into the legal code of a people that doesn’t have a national covenant with God. You’re ‘blanking’ him which isn’t right.

        • DanJ0

          You’re welcome to try to demonstrate the truth of your beliefs but in the meantime, and I daresay it’s going to a long, long time, I think the best thing for the rest of us to do is carry on as we are on the quite reasonable assumption that you’re merely indulging in wishful thinking. Not that I object to your having your wishful thinking, despite what you claim, as long as you don’t try to foist the damned thing onto the rest of us.

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

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

          • len

            I have no intention of ‘trying to foist the damned thing onto you Danjo’ unlike secularists I believe people have a choice as to what to believe….

          • DanJ0

            Yet I say here time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time again that I fully support Article of the ECHR which protect the right of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, etc to believe what they like and manifest it subject to the usual restrictions in society so you’re lying like a cheap watch.

          • len

            Even’ a cheap watch’ is right twice daily.

          • DanJ0

            This isn’t one of those times by the look of it.

      • The One who created you ……..

  • len

    Looking through the comments section the thing that springs to mind is the presence of a particular way of thinking which betrays the presence of the ‘carnal mind’.The carnal mind is not only restricted to ‘fleshly things’ but is a particular way of thinking energised by a dead spirit, dead to the Spirit of God but alive to’ all other sorts of spirits’ in direct opposition to the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob….

    ” For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.” (Roman 8:7)

    So this ‘carnal mind’ is dug in behind walls of prejudice and resists all attempts to reason with until the dead spirit within this person longs for the life it once lost….There is no way a dead spirit can revive itself unless the Spirit of God breathes Life into it.
    Some will sleepwalk through this life and pass into oblivion without ever knowing that Life was available to them and will resist the Holy spirit through the imposter who has imprisoned their ability to see the Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.