William Nye 3a
Freedom of Religion

Should Christians in the public sector 'keep mum' to get on?

 

“Christianity is being subtly ‘silenced’ within the public sector in the UK because of a civil service culture which treats speaking about faith as ‘not the done thing’,” writes John Bingham in the Telegraph. ” Interviewing William Nye (a former senior civil servant and Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales and now Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council and Secretary General of the General Synod of the Church of England), we read of the “secularising spirit” that “permeates the machinery of government”, which results in the “squeezing out of Christianity” from national life.

Further, we read that the Christian faith is now seen as “odd and unusual” within the public sector: “Christians working there now rarely ‘reveal’ their beliefs except to close friends for fear of being viewed as biased..” Mr Nye adds: “It is now a joy for me to be in a place where, although having spent 20 years not talking about my faith… one can talk more openly about it.”

Mr Nye should be careful, for within the Church one can only talk more openly about the ‘theology of nice’: God forbid that you might hold an orthodox Christian moral view on (say) matters of gender, sexuality or the killing of babies in the womb. No, these things are divisive and nasty. But, yes, generally, the Church is a place where one can talk more openly about a certain view of Jesus, and it’s easier than doing it with Sir Humphrey.

But then we get:

“People who aren’t in the public sector don’t realise quite how that secularising spirit has led to the silencing of Christians.”

“[It is] not universal – obviously there are chaplains in hospitals, there are chaplains in prisons – and I don’t think it is minsters doing it deliberately.”

He added in many cases it is likely that ministers probably had “no idea” that it was going on and that but that few officials would even let it be known that they were Christians.

There are quite a few Christians not in the public sector who are more than aware of how the “secularising spirit” is coercing Christians to self-censor and keep mum about their beliefs. Even chaplains in hospitals and prisons are becoming increasingly subject to the state’s spiritual-moral orthodoxy of ‘respect’ and ‘toleration’, on pain of disciplinary action, investigatory harassment or enforced resignation. It isn’t that ministers have “no idea” that this is going on: it is simply that the vast majority are religiously illiterate and a good many understand perfectly and are complicit in the secularising agenda.

It was observed in 2011 that David Cameron is “surrounded by secularists“: Joseph Devine, Roman Catholic Bishop of Motherwell, said the Prime Minister “has surrounded himself with religiously illiterate, secularist advisers”. As a consequence, “the coalition is carrying on from the previous Labour Government, forcing people to act against their conscience or face punishment from the state”, and so “religious liberty is suffering”.

William Nye is simply corroborating what many have long known. It is what Pope Benedict XVI referred to as “aggressive secularism“: as Joseph Devine says, the country has “passed into the grip of secularist militants”. This has been possible because the Prime Minister and many of the Cabinet are religious illiterate – to the extent of apprehending Christianity through no other prism but that of ‘equality justice’.

It is not that David Cameron doesn’t ‘do God’; he manifestly does and will doubtless continue to do so. It is quite simply, for him, that strategic matters of politics and urgent questions of economics considerably outweigh nebulous issues of theology. And so there is perhaps something in the Bishop’s perception that the Prime Minister is surrounded by the ‘religiously illiterate’: his principal advisers are drawn from the worlds of journalism and PR, and the secondary tier are lawyers and economists.

The Conservative Party has long-suffered the perception that the Parliamentary Party is disproportionately composed of lawyers and accountants: the number of QCs and FCAs on the green benches has helped to sustain the perception that it is the party of the rich. While the odd token minority might be appointed to a peripheral advisory body, it is observed that there is no Anglican to advise on constitutional issues relating to the Established Church. And no Christian at all to advise on behalf of those who are profoundly concerned by the apparently inexorable deification of ‘equality’ and the increasing intolerance of religious dissent.

If the ‘Big Society’ means anything, it must have depth and breadth. If it has no breadth, it is not big. And you can’t get much more breadth than the broadness of Christians who constituted the Big Society centuries before it became a expedient political slogan. Mr Nye said that he had been asked recently to suggest possible candidates from within the civil service for a senior post in the Church of England – “a job which requires the candidate to support the Church’s Christian aims”. He said: “I had to say ‘you know I’m not sure I would be able to think of many people because, why would I know about anyone in government who is a Christian unless they are a personal friend?'”

Do all Christians in the civil service hide their fires under a bushel? Is the political culture so hostile to Christians that to disclose a faith Jesus would be detrimental to advancement, if not fatal to one’s career? Mr Nye adds: “Personal friends might have revealed to me that they are Christians but other people in government, central government departments, wouldn’t do that. They wouldn’t let it be known that they were Christians.”

We are, of course, exhorted to become ‘all things to all men‘ in order that some might be saved (1Cor 9:19-23), and that includes apparently living ‘under the law‘ (ie, aparently denying the  freedom of salvation in Christ). Should Christians in public service shroud themselves in secularity in order to manifest virtue and effect righteous policy? Should they be silent about their faith in order to demonstrate it by example? If it is not a “‘done thing’ to talk about religion in the 21st century, especially in government”, do we contend for liberty and challenge the oppression or work quietly and humbly to be salt and light in the world? Do we need to use words to evangelise?

Mr Nye observes: “There is a lot of support, I think, for the Church of England doing its job as the Queen said ‘gently and assuredly’ – for the quiet work of the Church of England. But quiet work shouldn’t mean silent.”

In some cultures, of course, it does demand silence in the public sector, often on pain of arrest, incarceration, torture or summary beheading. But British Christians vacate the public sector at our peril, for it will not be filled by a benign or liberating expression of neutral secularity. The question is, as sheep among wolves, how are we to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves without being thought a total nutjob or getting the sack?

  • What we are seeing is nothing else than the outworking of Gramsci’s ‘Long March through the Institutions.’ The way to counter that is not for Christians whinge about it- but to begin our own long march to reclaim the BBC, the Government, the judiciary, the family from the secularists.
    The clue is in the name- humanly speaking, it’s a LONG march- and it begins with the Universities. Instead of being hotbeds of socialism and atheism, they must become hotbeds of Christianity. This is already beginning- the Christian Unions are doing splendid and productive work- so if you want to see society changed, make more Christians or support financially those who are doing so, and even more importantly, pray for them; and God willing we shall find that 2 Chronicles 29:36 applies to us.

  • dannybhoy

    “Christianity is being subtly ‘silenced’ within the public sector in the UK because of a civil service culture which treats speaking about faith as ‘not the done thing’,” writes John Bingham in theTelegraph. ”

    “Further, we read that the Christian faith is now seen as “odd and unusual” within the public sector: “Christians working there now rarely ‘reveal’ their beliefs except to close friends for fear of being viewed as biased..”

    Christians are going to have to face up to the fact that making a stand for their Lord Jesus may cost them. It may involve ostracization, physical or verbal abuse, group bullying and no more party invites.
    That’s the way it goes, and I’m sure there are people here who have experienced some or all of those things, and for the right reasons.. (i.e. they weren’t being ott swivel eyed bible bashers)
    What our Lord experienced, His Church will experience from time to time. Certainly our brethren across the Middle East know all about it.
    So rather than worrying about being accepted, or respectable or fitting in, let’s get to grips with our faith and why the only way to God is through Christ Jesus, Sviour and Lord.
    Let’s stop playing games in our churches and congregations and start getting real with one another; develop a Christian fellowship that goes beyond an hour’s service on a Sunday..
    Those in public service should speak out for the Christian view and know that they will be supported by Christians unafraid to make their voice heard.

  • sarky

    “Odd and unusual” within the public sector.

    I don’t think it’s just within the public sector.

    • CliveM

      There is an obvious response to this, but in the spirit of the new year I will refrain from giving it.

      Happy New Year Sarky.

  • Dreadnaught

    Christians have missed out on the trick that gets Christianity rebranded as as a Race. Do that and you will have the same lever in law as Jews and Muslims.

  • Martin

    We already have Anglican prelates in the Lords, and a fat lot of good they’ve been. I can’t see Anglicans making any impact. We need a few good men with a Calvinist viewpoint to challenge the political correctness of those in high places. Trouble is, so many places of higher learning are corrupted with worldliness that the godly avoid them.

    • dannybhoy

      Or Arminians preaching the need for salvation, the ability to accept salvation and the eventual consequences of choosing not to accept God’s free gift of salvation..

  • preacher

    As the late Dr Lloyd Jones wrote – ” Watch the Statesmen & the politicians – even some of the leading ones. Although one is given to understand that they practically never attend a place of worship on a Sunday, they are using increasingly the words religion & Christian. They seem to think vaguely that Christian teaching can help solve the problems of State. Though they are not active & practising Christians themselves ! ” ( Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones – “Studies on the Sermon on the Mount” ).
    A good example of how the public sector & many politicians see Christianity & the Church as a political tool to be used as & when necessary. But jettisoned when not needed.
    But we must also look to ourselves in case we are inclined to be led by their example & become closet believers. Afraid of the opinions of others & failing to preach the true gospel to all who will listen. Preferring instead to entertain enquirers with so called Signs & Wonders or a social message which is no gospel as it is short term, safe & undemanding but loses the whole point of Christ’s incarnation – in short to provide our salvation by His own sacrifice on Calvary.

  • CliveM

    The previous post by HG highlighted the trials of a Christian convert and what he has had to suffer for his faith.

    If the worst that happens to the rest of us is a negative impact on our career, maybe we should count ourselves as fortunate.

    • dannybhoy

      The saddest thing is that many Christians believe being faithful means being ‘nice’, being agreeable, avoiding unpleasantness, or social embarrassment.
      But being ‘nice’, doing kind things and giving to charities is not all there is to being a believer..
      Just imagine a rumour circulates around your church…
      “Hey, Jesus is going to join us on the PCC. Isn’t that wonderful?!
      Or,
      Hey, Jesus is our new diocesan representative and he wants to run through some issues with us….!
      Hmmmmmmm…

      • CliveM

        It would be interesting.

        Also a little frightening.

        • dannybhoy

          It would indeed Clive.
          In my background we were encouraged to think in terms of “What would Jesus do?” for any given situation. but to actually have Jesus come and join our congregation….?
          (Danny hyperventilates)

          One can almost imagine what we as the disciples might have felt like when He sent them out two by two…

          • CliveM

            Probably as well for us it is unlikely to happen.

          • dannybhoy

            (He was looking right at you when He said we should heal the sick….)

          • CliveM

            Ah but when it’s in the bible, you can turn the page :0(

          • Pubcrawler

            “What would Jesus do?”

            I’ve never really liked that phrase or approach. It assumes that his mind can be knowable, yet in his actions he was constantly confounding expectations, even of those closest to him who knew him best.

          • dannybhoy

            Well I saw/see it as a kind of Christian “situation ethics”, in which one’s actions or words would be in line with basic teachings of the Lord, but not necessarily Bible chapter and verse stock response.

          • Pubcrawler

            That I have no problem wih. And I suppose ‘How does Jesus want me to apply and act upon his teachings in this situation?’ is a bit of a mouthful.

          • dannybhoy

            phraugwhar’dusay?

          • Pubcrawler

            A little early for festivities, isn’t it sir?

      • preacher

        Hi dannybhoy & a Happy New Year !.
        I totally agree with you. Time for many to pick up their Bibles & read again what the Real Jesus was like, then go & do likewise don’t you agree ?.

        • dannybhoy

          I’m going to sidestep that one and just say that I think there’s a whole lot of (Heavenly) shaking going on….
          and of course it starts with me.

          • preacher

            Sounds like we have the next winner for Strictly Come Dancing bro’ !.

          • dannybhoy

            I think 2016 is going to see a lot of us Christians doing the Jitterbug.

          • sarky

            Im pretty sure most of you will still be stuck in a ‘time warp’.

          • dannybhoy

            Whaddya mean by that?

          • sarky

            Erm.. The ‘time warp’ is a dance, it’s also something many of the correspondents on here seem to be stuck in!

          • carl jacobs

            Ya know. That movie is terrible. The only redeeming thing about it is the music.

          • sarky

            Wadya mean? Goddammit janet it’s a classic!!

          • carl jacobs

            The script is awful. The acting is awful. The cinematography is awful. I remember watching it and thinking “Why would anyone make this movie?”

          • William Lewis

            The music isn’t that great either but apart from that …

          • dannybhoy

            Never heard of it.

          • carl jacobs

            Google “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

          • Anton

            It describes David Cameron: “It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right…”

  • Bob

    Things not going quite according to plan, eh? This mass conversion everyone talks about not sweeping all before it? All those millions of Christians in far-off places like Africa and China not translating into real power on the ground in the UK?

    Here’s an idea! Open the migrant floodgates and let them pour in! Not Muslims of course. But any Christian African or Chinese who rocks up to Calais should just be waved through and given a passport and a vote on arrival.

    It’s the only way you’ll get any power back. But a word of warning: few of new arrivals will be Anglican. Many will be Catholic. The UK with a Catholic majority? Prayers for the Pope in Westminster Abbey and the Queen curtseying to Bergoglio when he comes to reconsecrate the kingdom?

    Now that would be a sight to see! Almost worth the sacrifice of living under a Catholic dictatorship just to see the Tory Party collectively choke and die from a fit of apoplexy.

    • IanCad

      You may be closer to the truth than you think Bob.
      That third paragraph may not be so far off.

      • Bob

        Oh come on, in the real world the Muslims will get here first, and Westminster Abbey will have minarets, and the next queen will be crowned in a burqa beside her beardy husband, and both will be wearing crowns topped by crescents rather than crosses.

        In the real paranoid Christian world, of course.

        Everywhere else things will go on as they have before.

        • The Explorer

          Islam takes rather a dim view of queens of any variety. Would Islam permit a queen in her own right: given that a Muslim husband can divorce a wife, but not the other way round, that daughters inherit less than sons, that it takes the testimony of two women to equal that of one man, and female evidence regarding rape is discounted?

          • Bob

            Jordan, which is (as you may know) a Muslim country, has a Queen.

            As the next two people in line to the British throne are men, and as both are married to women, and as the current Queen can’t have more than a decade at most left in her, then barring accidents, terminal disease or (yet another) divorce, the next reign will also see a Queen being crowned in Westminster Abbey.

            She may only be a consort and not regnant, but no less of a queen for that. And whether the ceremony is Christian, Muslim or secular in nature, the title won’t change, and neither will the British penchant for seeing the head of state (if a man) and his wife stagger down the aisle of a place of an ancient monument wearing half a ton of bullion covered in flashy stones on their heads.

          • The Explorer

            As far as I know, Jordan has a king: Abdullah II. The king has a wife (female).

          • Bob

            The wife of the King of Jordan is the Queen of Jordan.

            I’m not sure how much simpler I can make the explanation. Will words of one syllable help?

          • The Explorer

            She’s queen because she’s the wife of the king. She’s not queen in her own right: which was the question I put that you have sidestepped.

          • This exchange has a pissoiur-gate air to it.

          • Bob

            Queen Ahmadilidyn of the Urmiya Dynasty of Persia. Succeeded her father as queen regnant in 1208.

          • The Explorer

            “Jordan, which is (as you may know) a Muslim country, has a Queen.” 1208, and she’s still reigning?

          • Bob

            Your question was “would Islam permit a queen in her own right…?”

            I have demonstrated that it not only would, it has.

            What has Jordan got to do with it?

          • The Explorer

            I think there’s some confusion over ‘has and ‘had’. I don’t think I am the source of that confusion.

          • Bob

            No confusion. There is a precedent in Islam for a female monarch. What has already happened, can happen again. The potential is there. Potential is a present concept. Hence the past and present forms of the verb “to have”.

          • The Explorer

            True. On the other hand, “Islam had a female monarch” is not the same statement as “Islam has a female monarch.” “England had the death penalty for theft” is not the same as “England has the death penalty for theft.”

          • Bob

            Again, at the risk of repeating myself, but it appears that you’re incapable of accepting one single answer to a question and require it to be hammered home several times, your enquiry was “would Islam accept a queen in her own right…?” The answer to that is YES. It has already happened.

            Your question was asked using the conditional tense. WOULD Islam accept a queen in her own right? Whether there is currently a queen regnant in a Muslim country is therefore beside the point. To fully answer your question, one needs only to show that there is the potential for a Muslim queen, which past precedent proves beyond a shadow of a doubt.

            Your petty attempt to salvage some kind of victory from my answer by quibbling – incorrectly, as it turns out – over tenses shows the desperation of your need to always be right. In this instance, as in so many others, your assumption that Islam does not allow for female monarchs is demonstrably wrong. Suck up your defeat in a dignified manner and move along to the next wrong-headed, hostile and easily refutable line of questioning. Or continue to flog a dead horse and expose yourself to further ridicule. Your choice. Either way, it’s 1 to Bob and a big fat 0 to the Explorer. Perhaps even a -1, the penalty being incurred for sheer stubborn stupidity and malice.

          • The Explorer

            Would Islam accept a queen in her own right?
            Yes, Jordan had a queen in 1208. Perfectly acceptable answer.
            Yes, Jordan has a queen in her own right now. Inaccurate information.

          • Bob

            I did not say that Jordan currently has a queen in her own right. I very clearly indicated that the Queen of Jordan is a queen consort. To say I did otherwise is a bald-faced lie. False witness, in fact.

            Bad Christian! Not only are you a poor loser, you turn nasty when confronted with evidence of your error and start lying to cover your tracks!

            How is that kind of behaviour going to get you to heaven?

          • The Explorer

            “She may only be a consort and not regnant, but no less of a queen for that.”
            That seems to me to be a dubious statement: akin to saying that Prince Philip is a king in his own right and will be the next monarch if he outlives the Queen.

          • The Explorer

            As a matter of interest, what is your information source for Queen A? SInce my knowledge of Persian history is minimal, I did a quick check. Most confusing, but all I could find for 1208 was Muhammad Sanjar. (He had more than one name, but all of them were male.)

          • Bob

            Try “Decline of Muslim States and Societies” by Musbah Islam. The dates given for the reign of the queen referred to variously as Ahmadilidyn or Soulafa Khatun vary somewhat according to the source, but all agree that she did exist and did reign as queen regnant in what was indubitably a Muslim kingdom.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you.

          • Bob

            De nada.

            By the way, that’s Spanish, not French. I hope you won’t use it as an excuse to start building castles in Spain.

          • Anton

            She is mentioned as Sulafa Khatun on the Wikipedia page about her dynasty:

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

    • @ Bob—The Chinese would be a bad idea. The Zambian politician Michael Sata said in 2007: ‘We want the Chinese to leave and the old colonial rulers to return. They exploited our natural resources too, but at least they took good care of us. They built schools, taught us their language and brought us the British civilisation. At least Western capitalism has a human face; the Chinese are only out to exploit us.’

      Africans would be a bad idea as well. The King of the Zulus said last month that South Africa’s National Party ‘had built a powerful government with the strongest economy and army on the continent’ but blacks are now ‘destroying the gains of the past.’

      • Bob

        Sigh! CHRISTIAN Chinese, not the evil atheist Maoist robot variety. Christian Chinese would heal the sick and feed the poor and pound on the gays and undercut the Jews and force them out of business, and all would be as you desire. Better Chinese restaurants too, one imagines. And when you think about it, does it really matter whether your Sunday host is made of wheat or rice flour?

        Christian Africans might be a slightly riskier proposition. You might want to lock up your children in case they start exorcising them, and anyone with too pale a complexion should probably invest in hair dye, fake tan and dark glasses, but if you can distract the new arrivals with old tires and cans of petrol and then steer them in the direction of Soho, Vauxhall and Canal Street, you should be able to avoid the worst…

        • @ Bob—Western Christianity dug its own grave when it signed up to Third World immigration and Islamization. Chinese Christians are best advised to remain in China, where Christianity does at least have a future, however precarious.

          • Bob

            Fine by me.

            So you’re resigned to Christianity disappearing from public life in the UK and becoming even more of a minority faith that it just isn’t polite to mention at work, then?

            Good to know!

          • The Explorer

            When it’s gone, you can attack the Muslims instead.

          • Bob

            What, you mean all this is just target practice in preparation for the real fight?

            Hmmm, I don’t think so. If that were the case, I’d have to give credence to the fevered imaginations of Christians and their Muslim invasion fantasy. As they’re patently off their heads, that would be rather silly of me, don’t you think?

          • The Explorer

            You’ve got more neck than an ostrich, and a comparable method of dealing with reality.

          • Bob

            What reality is that? The invisible omniscient being kind of reality? Or the wafer turned into human flesh that still looks and tastes like a wafer kind of reality? Or the human sized angels with wings that have barely enough musculature to keep them attached to their bodies but somehow still permit them to fly kind of reality?

            The list goes on, but I can’t be bothered to type it all out. I’d be typing all week.

          • The Explorer

            Muslim invasion. You raised the topic, and now you’re evading it. I think we ought to set up an ostrich alert that we can apply to you posts when you hide from the issue,.

          • Bob

            Muslim invasion? I think we ought to set up a paranoid fantasy alert that we can apply to your posts whenever you try to turn a simple, containable refugee phenomenon into some kind of unstoppable biblical catastrophe.

          • The Explorer

            Ostrich alert!

      • The Explorer

        Such a strong economy that with the sacking of the South-African Finance Minister the Rand has slid to 24 to the Pound. (!3.7 pre death of Mandela: still bad enough when the original ratio was two to the Pound.)

  • sarky

    As someone who works in the public sector I cannot agree with any of the paranoia above.
    I have colleagues who are openly christian (not many I might add) but they have no problems or recriminations for speaking about their faith.
    The public sector has faith networks that promote an understanding of christianity (and other faiths) and holds events and marks events in the Christian calender. Before christmas we all had an email explaining what Christmas was and why christians celebrate it.
    You might enjoy playing the ‘victim’ card, but the truth is for the vast majority of christians, practicing their faith at work isn’t even an issue.

    • CliveM

      Good post. I may not agree with all of it, but it’s a good post.

    • Bob

      Christians practicing their faith isn’t an issue if it doesn’t involve persecuting others. It’s only when they insist on imposing their beliefs on everyone that they start to become a problem.

      I once worked with a Christian who made life hell for another colleague once it became known she’d had an abortion. It was vicious, nasty stuff, like turning his back whenever our colleague came into the room, refusing to speak to her, refusing to answer her emails and phone calls and referring to her as a whore and a murderess.

      Of course he was disciplined, then demoted, and then finally his employment was terminated. But he cried “persecution” the whole way, setting himself up as a martyr for his faith, and whipping up all sorts of ill feeling and animosity.

      That’s the kind of Christian who’s going to have a problem working in a secular environment. Those who keep their beliefs private and don’t try to impose them on everyone will have no problems at all.

      • You’ve made that up Bob.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          He made that up, did he? From my own experience of people, thankfully only a very small number, who have tried to use their “Christian” beliefs as a pretext for harassing other people at work – including, I might add, other Christians – I very much doubt it.

          • Guglieimo what Bob describes in his post is alien. It just does not ring true, in my experience of people it was the other way round. Christians at work were ridiculed and mocked in a jovial manner by the atheists. There was banter that went both ways though. You might well get one or two overzealous and judgemental Christians there is a rotten apple in most sacks, but I doubt they would have turned their backs on the woman who got the abortion when she walked in the room as Bob describes. Maybe the Christian man just didn’t like the woman and he used the knowledge of her abortion as an excuse to be nasty, in which case he’s not really
            a Christian.

            I’ve worked with born again Christians and a Jehovah’s Witness too and none imposed their beliefs on others, not even the Jehovah lady who collared me at the bar of the firm’s national conference. She told me all about how her and her husband had become JW’s and where they lived and their lifestyle, yes she extolled the virtues of being a JW, maybe she was trying to convince me that way but it didn’t work.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Marie1797, what Bob describes in his post does ring true to me, since I have had experience of professing Christians in a former workplace behaving in a very similar way, only even worse. As I have said, such people are only a very small minority, thank God.

            “…in which case he’s not really a Christian.” A brilliant example of the “No-true-Scotsman” argument.

          • And I think you’re a fake and phony just like Bob.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, of course, Marie1797. Anyone who brings forward facts that you don’t happen to like must be a fake and phony. They couldn’t possibly be anything else, could they?

          • Well I think they are something else figments of your imagination, they’re certainly not facts. It’s not that I don’t like what you and Bob have said at all, it’s simply not characteristic of British Christian temperament.

            What your characters Bob and Guglielmo are trying to do is attribute a more primitive middle eastern type temperament to Christians in this country in order to make a point.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, I think that I know whether what I experienced was a fact or a figment of my imagination. In ascertaining that, I have one very considerable advantage over you, Marie1979: I was actually there. You weren’t. I have said that there exist professing Christians who behave like that, and I know that because I have had the misfortune to come across them. Yes, I have said it “in order to make a point” – in order to make the point that it is, sadly, true.

            I have already explicitly said that such people are only a small minority, and I hope and believe that I am right about that. I have NOT implied that such conduct is “characteristic of British Christian temperament”, nor have I tried to “attribute a more primitive middle eastern type temperament to Christians in this country”. Those are just straw men that you have constructed.

      • David

        Lay down in a dark room, apply a cold compress to your forehead and try to think of something pleasant for a change. Soothing classical music may also help. Alternatively take a slow country walk, somewhere very peaceful, taking care to concentrate, almost studying, the beauty surrounding you.
        Hopefully such simple measures will help you regain control of your racing, caustic imagination.
        If it doesn’t I’d advise you to seek professional help. Good luck and God bless.

        • Bob

          Well thank you for the advice, but as I’m not overwrought in any way, shape or form, it’s rather unnecessary.

          If ever I need calming down however, all I’ll need to do is read the fake archbishop’s latest plaintive missive. Christians weeping and tearing their hair over the fact that their religion is being expunged from public life is the perfect antidote to any kind of stress or nervous upset. Contemplating a Christ-free future when devotees of the tribal death cult that used to rule us confine their weird rituals and sour-faced judgments to the privacy of their own homes is enough to put a spring in anyone’s step.

          • The Explorer

            “Contemplating a Christ-free future.”

            Better hope that Christians have got it wrong, and you won’t be doing that for eternity.

          • Bob

            They have and I won’t. If they were right, there’d be some EV-I-DENCE. There isn’t, so they’re not.

          • William Lewis

            Where have you looked?

          • Bob

            Everywhere. None to be found.

          • William Lewis

            I am evidence that it is true but you never visited, Bob.

          • Bob

            You’re evidence of nothing but the ability of man to invent weird and wonderful stories to explain perfectly humdrum and everyday events.

          • William Lewis

            I’m glad you think it a wonderful story but I haven’t invented anything. I told you you should have visited. Looks like you’ve cut rather too many corners in your everywhere search for evidence, Bob.

          • Bob

            Personal testimony is not evidence. It’s merely opinion.

            Evidence can be quantified and verified. Where’s your tangible, measurable evidence that admits of no other explanation than the existence of an invisible, omniscient deity?

            You have none. If you did, like all Christians hungry for the limelight, you’d have run to the tabloids with it and scientists would now be busy analysing it and attempting to debunk it, but they wouldn’t be able to … and that would be headline news. There was nothing about it in the papers today, so I can only deduce that this evidence of yours just doesn’t exist.

            If I’m wrong, let’s see it.

          • William Lewis

            You just do not understand the meaning of the word. I suggest that you look it up. Hint: it’s not spelt EV-I-DENCE.

          • Science will prove that there is a God. Prof Fanti has proven that the Tourin shroud is authentic. It’s only a matter of time.

            Here an article on Prof Fanti’s fascinating study of the shroud.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/9958678/Turin-Shroud-is-not-a-medieval-forgery.html

          • Bob

            The Tourin (sic) shroud was carbon dated to the medieval period. The panicked excuses given by the Church that the sample used must have been taken from an area of the cloth repaired at that time, or that there must have been “laboratory contamination” (so which is it?) have never been proven by subsequent testing.

            Nothing could be simpler than to take samples from several areas of the cloth and test them all. Strangely enough, the guardians of what is most probably just a fraudulent medieval curiosity won’t allow this.

            It’s almost as if they’ve got something to hide…

          • Science has moved on since the 80’s. Carbon dating has been proven incorrect and usurped by Fant’s more advanced method.of dating.

          • Bob

            So says Fant (sic). And as his findings comfort religious zealots in their imaginary beliefs, of course they’ll defend him to their last breath without bothering to verify the science behind the claims.

            Calibrated radiocarbon dating remains one of the most accurate dating methods known to science. This is because results can be compared to known and accurately dated artifacts from a particular period.

            If the Church wants to put this to bed once and for good, all it has to do is submit samples for testing. The fact that it won’t speaks volumes about its fear of an unwelcome result. It’s already happened once. The Vatican will do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

          • Anton

            Actually I don’t believe the Shroud is authentic for both scientific and scriptural reasons (see above). My faith does not rest on it at all.

          • Bob

            You’re not a superstitious Catholic who sees signs and wonders in mummified bits of saint and the Blessed Virgin in a grilled cheese sandwich.

          • Anton

            Correct. And I am against politicised churches. But I do share with Catholics the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was divine and died for my sins.

          • Bob

            You only have to look at the campaign to block equal marriage, which was spearheaded by churches, to see the falsity of the claim that the Church (whichever part of it you belong to) is not politicised.

            The “seamless robe of Christ” is a political garment. Any church that seeks to influence public policy is political.

          • Anton

            “Any church that seeks to influence public policy is political.”

            I agree. In a democracy, Christians have a right to influence public policy as members of that democracy. The point is that they should not have priority because they are “the church”.

          • Bob

            No, they should not seek to influence political debate as a church. They can do what they like as private individuals.

            To my way of the thinking, the Anglican and Catholic Churches (among others) should now have the legal status of political lobby groups. They both spoke out against equal marriage as churches. They both actively campaigned against it. The Anglican Church even voted against it in Parliament. They should therefore be subject to the same level of public scrutiny and taxation as any political lobby group, and the Queen should quit the Anglican Church because membership of it puts her political impartiality in jeopardy.

          • Anton

            I agree(d).

          • Anton

            This is not true. Carbon dating is much more reliable than the methods used by Fanti, because the clock involved in carbon dating is to do with the atomic nucleus and is unaffected by heat, moisture, sunlight etc. The methods used by Fanti, relating to changes with time in the cellulose in the linen fibres, are based on clocks which do depend on those things – things which vary for differing samples of cloth, moreover.

            Her is why I, a believer in Jesus Christ, do not believe that the Turin Shroud is his burial shroud:

            * In the 14th century Bishop d’Arcis of Troyes in France drafted a letter to a man he believed was Pope, in Avignon, reporting an investigation by an earlier bishop of his diocese. His letter ran: The Dean of… Lirey [in the same diocese]… not from any motive of devotion but only of gain, procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted, upon which by clever sleight of hand was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say, the back and the front, falsely declaring that this was the actual shroud in which our saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb… and further to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them, pretended miracles were worked…after diligent enquiry and examination [the earlier bishop] discovered the fraud and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the artist who had painted it, to wit, that it was a work of human
            skill and not miraculously wrought.

            * The radio-carbon tests dated the Shroud to the 130 years before d’Arcis’ letter, accurate to a few decades. The tests were run in 1988 by Oxford University, Oxford, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona. These laboratories also dated various materials of known age, including one from roughly the time of Christ. Results on these other materials confirmed the accuracy of the dating procedure, and all three laboratories agreed that the material tested from the Shroud was mediaeval. The samples of cloth used had been rigorously washed of any later contamination before the testing was done. Claims that the sample were from an “invisible repair” done on thte Shroud by mediaeval experts do not hold up; such repair techniques can be done only on small holes and they are invisible only on one side of the cloth, but no such patches were detected even when specifically looked for on both sides (after the claim of invisible mending had been made) by Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, the mediaeval cloth expert involved with the Shroud at the church’s request.

            * The elongated body proportions of the Shroud image are typical of mediaeval art specifically.

            * The image has been reproduced using only techniques available in the 14th century – specifically, by wet-moulding a cloth over a bas-relief, letting it dry, and rubbing powdered pigment on with a dauber, just like a rubbing is taken of a gravestone. This disposes of objections that the 3D nature of the image could not have been fabricated by mediaeval artists.

            * Isaiah (50:6) foresaw that Jesus would have his beard pulled out during his final torments, but the figure on the Turin Shroud has a forked beard.

            * John (19:23-20:7) indicates that Jesus was stripped of clothing and crucified naked; after that, more than one piece of cloth was used to wrap his body with preservative spices, and a separate cloth was placed over his head. It is very difficult to reconcile this account with the claim that the Turin Shroud is a cloth placed over Jesus’ entire body and head.

            * If Jesus’ face was visible on his burial cloths, it is strange that the gospel accounts don’t mention this.

            We have better grounds for faith than this.

          • The Explorer

            There is evidence, but you aren’t aware of it because your data is inaccurate. But we went over all this ground in your Linus days, and I see no point in fruitless repetition.

          • Bob

            There is no evidence, but you won’t accept that because you can’t distinguish between make-believe and reality.

          • The Explorer

            There is evidence. Last time round, I cited books by experts. This time, I’m not bothering. I’d give the analogy of horse to water; only, I like horses.

          • Bob

            Books by “experts”? I think we have a different definition of the word “expert”. Fantasy writers who masquerade under the name of “theologian” are experts in nothing but dreaming up nothing out of nothing. Physicists who, despite the total lack of evidence for the existence of god, still insist on believing in him are experts at nothing but the management of cognitive dissonance. Those are your “experts”. A motley and unconvincing crew trying to pass off childish fantasy as reality.

          • The Explorer

            Stop hiding behind generalities, and give the names of the particular theologians and physicists of whom you are sceptical. Then we can go over their credentials together.

          • Bob

            You’re the one who wants me to change my mind. So why don’t you give me a list of the theologians and physicists who convince you? Or is evangelization just too much work for you?

          • The Explorer

            Yes, when it’s been done already and ignored.

          • Bob

            Fine by me. Then I won’t have to waste any time refuting arguments I’ve already refuted.

          • The Explorer

            And you won’t have to back up your allegations about theologians and physicists with evidence.

          • Bob

            Bring ’em on then. Or are you afraid that I’ll blow them out of the water and undermine your faith?

          • The Explorer

            I’m reminded of a telephone conversation in a Mutt and Jeff cartoon.

            “Hello. who is this?”
            “This is me.”
            “Who is ‘me’?”
            “I don’t know who you is, who is you?”
            “I didn’t call you, you called me.”
            “Well here I am, what do you want?”

            Our exchange has a similar level of futility.

          • Anton

            Here I am, Bob. I’m a research physicist and an evangelical Christian. Take me on.

          • Bob

            Present your evidence for the existence of God and I’ll gladly take you on. Without knowing why you believe in god, I cannot refute your “reasoning”.

          • Anton

            YOU made the claim that Christian physicists needed cognitive dissonance to square their views on God and physics, so you explain why – or be seen as unable to defend your views when you bump into somebody who knows what he is talking about on the subject.

          • Bob

            Cognitive dissonance can result from causes too numerous to list here. I cannot know which type you’re afflicted with until I know why you say you believe in god.

            You’re not scared of being exposed as inconsistent, unscientific and unprofessional, are you?

            Imaginary heaven forbid!

          • Anton

            It’s you who are backing off, isn’t it?

          • Bob

            I’m backing off because you refuse to engage in debate by supplying the information necessary to pursue the discussion?

            I don’t think so. I’m perfectly ready to engage in debate, only I can’t do so with an opponent who’s too scared of revealing the foundations of his beliefs for fear of being confronted by the untenability of his position.

          • Anton

            I don’t believe you when you say that you are perfectly ready to engage in debate. YOU made the claim that Christian physicists suffer from cognitive dissonance, so YOU explain to this Christian physicist why.

          • David

            Yawn !
            Your repertoire of diatribes is an exceedingly narrow one.

          • CliveM

            You can say that again.

          • “…simple measures will help you to regain control of your racing, caustic imagination.”

            The suggestion is you concocted this whole story, Linus. Yep, that’s right, made it all up. And, it does sound rather far fetched.

          • Bob

            Sorry, what was that, Dodo? I didn’t quite understand because your argument was stomped on by a huge Dodo shaped mass of pure hypocrisy.

            When dealing with habitual liars, it’s best to remember they think you’re just like them. If they’re Christians, they’ll pretend to repent in order to cover their tracks. But we all know that nothing changes. Once a devious liar, always a devious liar.

          • The Explorer

            HJ made two simple statements.

            1. A suggestion was made that you concocted the story. A perfectly true statement. Marie made the suggestion, and five to date – me among them – have agreed with her.

            2. It sounds rather far fetched. Another true statement: which is why five people have agreed with Marie’s suggestion.

            “Once a devious liar, always a devious liar.” When a statement like that is made by a liar, why should believe it? You might be lying.

          • Bob

            As Christians are so fond of reminding us, the number of people who believe something has no bearing upon the truth of it.

            You don’t believe what I say because you’re angry that I don’t take you seriously. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of Dodo’s book and pretend to repent. Stroking the narcissism complex of your average Christian seems to be the best way to pull the wool over his eyes. What do you think, Dodo? It worked for you.

          • CliveM

            So what do you think you want to repent of? Morally vacuous comments about kidnapped girls? Lying about multiple personalities? Made up stories about ‘Christian’ work colleagues?

            So many choices, so little time.

          • Bob

            All these false accusations could be falsely repented of if I had a mind to waste my time trying to convince you that I believe in your imaginary god. But I don’t, so I won’t.

            Dodo on the other hand…

          • CliveM

            No to do so would require a conscience.

            Precious little evidence of that.

          • The Explorer

            “You don’t believe what I say because you’re angry that I don’t take you seriously.”

            I believe some of what you say, but not the comments that are unsubstantiated and flagrantly untrue.

            One of your greatest weaknesses is creating caricatures about your opponents, and then applying them as if they were true.
            You say I want to change your mind. I don’t. I’m simply defending some of the things that you attack for the benefit of others, I don’t suppose for a moment that I’ll persuade you: you have far too clouded a mind.

            You say I’m angry. You’d like me to be, but you have no way of knowing what my actual sentiments are. What criteria do you have for assessing anger in what is written: other than your own presupposition?

          • Bob

            You believe what you want to believe. You’re a Christian. It comes with the territory.

            Anger comes across clearly enough in your posts. You hate being contradicted. You hate that others find your imaginary god impossible to believe in. The tone and content of your responses convey that unmistakably. It’s true that without any physical evidence, I can’t prove this definitively. However the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming, although I stand ready to be corrected if you can produce sworn statements and timed, tamper-proof recordings of your heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological measurements showing a state of zen-like calm when composing your responses to my posts.

            In the absence of such evidence, I’ll venture to keep on believing in the high probability of your anger. Mere denial on your part won’t influence this opinion, because I already know you’re an expert at claiming that things are what they are not. You’re a Christian. It’s what Christians do.

          • The Explorer

            “Anger comes across clearly enough in your posts.” Only because you are determined to find it there. I’m not a universalist: I’m perfectly resigned to the fact that many will choose not to believe in my God. My God, when He was incarnate, told me to expect as much.

            Zen–like calm would hardly be appropriate for a Christian. Factors other than emotional state can affect heart rate. Medication can affect blood pressure. Beta blockers have far more effect on what’s happening to my heart than anything written by you (or anyone else).

          • Bob

            Not another Christian at death’s door doing his utmost to stave off the encounter with this god he says he worships and loves and wants to be with!

            Handsome is as handsome does. What handsome says is completely beside the point.

          • The Explorer

            ‘Philippians’ 1:21

          • Bob

            He goes on to say that he wants to die but choses to live because others need him so badly.

            Historical diagnoses are fraught with difficulty, but could this be one of the first recorded cases of narcissistic personality disorder?

            A nasty piece of work, this Saul of Tarsus. How do you like worshipping at the altar of a man who clearly worshipped himself?

          • The Explorer

            If Christianity were about narcissism, you’d be one of its greatest devotees.

          • CliveM

            I think that if Bob/Linus developed a sense of irony, or the rediculous, he would cease making such embarrassing statements.

            Sometimes I think he’s a computer programme, churning out standard responses against key words/phrases.

          • Malcolm Smith

            Bob, I don’t know whether the story you told is the truth or not, but I do know that you are wasting your time on this blog. It is written by Christians for Christians to discuss how their faith intersects with politics. You are not going to add anything to the discussion by ranting and raving against the fundamental premises of the blog.
            I don’t seek out blogs whose philosophy is completely contrary to mine, and then rant and rave against it. I would gain nothing in the process, and achieve nothing except to make myself frustrated and angry. You might like to take the idea to heart.

          • CliveM

            Isn’t it interesting that as Linus he scorned the idea of him working as being too ‘petite bourgeois”!

          • “Once a devious liar, always a devious liar.”

            Except there are some who will repeatedly deny they have lied even in the face of insurmountable evidence. These are pathological liars who’s egos are so fragile they cannot bare exposure.

            “If they’re Christians, they’ll pretend to repent in order to cover their tracks.”

            You don’t have to be a Christian to understand lying is wrong or that this has shades and degrees of immorality. Do you comprehend this? Frankly, it has been embarrassing of late watching you deny you have previously posted here as Linus in one thread whilst acknowledging you have done so in another. Then to come out with an blatant and obvious fabrication about an imaginary workplace colleague. Is it the same with the *story* about the lad you knew at boarding school?

          • Bob

            And there are others who will pretend to repent so as to be accepted back in to the fold where they have every intention of continuing to lie as much as they ever did.

            Sound familiar, Dodo?

            And by the way, you might want to ask the doctors to dial back your medication. It’s affecting the part of your brain that distinguishes between homonyms, which can be the first sign of an imminent stroke.

          • There are indeed those who show false remorse in order to gain acceptance. Jack expects you know all about this. Then there are those who are genuine and simply commit the same error again. Then there’s the category you fall into.

            You have no need to lie. Why do it? Dodo didn’t gratuitously lie to score debating points or attract attention. And he didn’t make up tragic tales for dramatic effect. That’s cheap and it’s very nasty.

          • Bob

            I don’t know in detail what Dodo did as I wasn’t around at the time to witness it. But I do know he pretended to be someone he was not. I also know that the culprit loves to accuse others of his own misdeeds. Spreading the blame makes him seem less guilty.

            The thing about poachers turned gamekeepers is that you always have to keep an eye on the bag. Ten to one it’ll be getting lighter and lighter and there’ll always be a good excuse. “Very sorry, m’Lud, but the birds just ain’t breakin’ cover like they used to.” Of course they ain’t. They’re being culled on the sly most nights.

            Once a deceiver, always a deceiver. The scam may be more subtle and less easy to detect this time, but a scam there will be.

            So what’s the latest plot, Dodo? What’s the deal with your recent fishing expedition for sympathy and good will? Now you’ve returned from your strategic leave of absence, what new skullduggery and base plots are you hatching?

            Time will tell. It always does.

          • You really must not judge others by your own devious, deceitful, and contemptible attention seeking standards.

            “Once a deceiver, always a deceiver.” Tsk, anyone can change if they choose to – even you.

            So tell Jack, why the succession of new identities? And why make up tragic tales of people being harmed by Christianity?

          • Bob

            Of course, anyone can change, can’t they Dodo? If they can’t, there’s your credibility shot.

            Everything about you reeks of an unreformed character desperately trying to persuade everyone you’ve changed. The accused turned accuser, desperate to spread the blame and encourage others to forget that he ever transgressed by singling out new scapegoats, new sinners, anyone who takes the heat off him.

            You’re like those bent politicians who, no matter how sleazy the scandal that brings them down, always think they have the right to take their former place rather than retiring into the sort of anonymity that shows real contrition.

            Forgiveness is the manipulative narcissist’s saving grace. They demand it as their right, and accord it to nobody, and the sheep are none the wiser.

          • No – Jack is just naming you for what you are. You really have no sense of shame. Jack has no need to shift any blame as he made his peace with the blog owner many months ago. You’re recognised for what you are by most folk on here. Now “get thee behind me.”

          • Bob

            Speaking of shame, Dodo … have you ever felt any? Of course you’ll say you have. You want people to believe you experience the full panoply of human emotions. But it’s just another one of your lies, isn’t it? You’re too busy calculating your advantage and figuring out what to do and who to manipulate in order to get what you want to have time for the kind of small feelings felt by small people.

            I won’t tell you to get thee behind me. I prefer to keep my eyes fixed firmly on the source of danger. It’s rather like when there’s a poisonous spider in the room. As long as you can see the beast, you’re safe. Lose sight of it and that’s when you’ll feel the bite of its fangs and the poison will start to flow.

          • Get thee behind me …

          • Bob

            You’re repeating yourself, Dodo. Is it dementia or just a pretended side effect of the anaesthesia you want us to believe you’ve undergone recently?

            Poor Dodo, perhaps he is gravely ill after all. We only have his word to rely on, and as that word has proven to be so very unreliable in the past, who knows what his true state of health is?

            One thing we can be sure of though, which is that if he thinks he can get some kind of advantage out of it, his health will take a sudden turn for the worse as he plays the sympathy card for all it’s worth. That’s what coldy calculating, self-serving manipulators who use religion as a weapon to try to influence and dominate always do.

          • CliveM

            Hi Happy Jack

            You’re explaining and engaging with someone who has absolutely no moral compas, integrity, honesty, humanity or conscience. In short you are wasting your time.

            Anyone who takes pleasure in the capture and rape of girls, or makes the kind of comments that he has about your and Explorers health, is too loathsome for words.

            Leave him to his bitterness. Indeed don’t deprive him of it.

            It’s all he has.

          • Agreed …. As Dreadnaught said it’s also the best way to ridding the weblog of this pestilence. He’s beyond a troll and is actually a very disturbed person. Jack will pray for him.

          • CliveM

            He certainly seems not to have boundaries.

            In truth he seems a very sad, unhappy individual.

          • Thank you for the card, btw. You swine, Sir.

          • CliveM

            Hope it gave you a smile ;0)

          • Indeed it did …..

          • Hi happy Jack

            It’s good to see you up and about. Sadly I seemed to have missed the round robin about sending cards to you. A hug will have to suffice!

          • Thank you Hannah. Jack was surprised to receive cards and it was all very unexpected. Your cyber hug is most welcome.

          • Hi Bob

            It’s comments like the following which makes me not bother with the comments section here :

            “What’s the deal with your recent fishing expedition for sympathy and good will? Now you’ve returned from your strategic leave of absence, what new skullduggery and base plots are you hatching?”

            That’s a pretty nasty thing to say to someone who’s extremely ill and is receiving treatment for cancers , by anyone’s standards . Perhaps you should retract and be a British gentleman?

            Also of course if you’re not Linus and only started posting here a month ago, how do you know anything about “dodo” in the first place?

          • Bob

            I know about Dodo because his exploits have been recently discussed here.

            Do you have documentary proof of Dodo’s state of health, or are you just gullible enough to believe what he says?

          • Hi Bob,

            I don’t have “documentary proof ” and neither do I require any. What I will say is that I’ve debated Happy Jack for something like four years , so know him as well as anyone else here and consider him to be a ‘cyber’ friend.

            I’ve often been a big critic of his theology, worldview, not least on Judaism and also homosexuality , but by the same token have learned a lot from him and in retrospect appreciate his many challenges and his somewhat dogmatic approach, I’ve felt has helped me immensely .

            I have no axe to grind as I’ve moved on, but I’m popping in from time to time to see how the old gang are, rather than engage in frequent commentary here, but as I do have a soft spot for Jack, I felt I needed to say something to you being silly and abrasive to and about him personally.

          • Bob

            You are of course free to believe that Dodo is trustworthy and benevolent. I am free to believe he is untrustworthy and malevolent.

            Everything about him confirms his desire to confront, dominate and twist others to his will. If my responses to him seem harsh, it’s only because I’m answering him in the same register he uses to launch his attacks on others. He doesn’t like the taste of his own medicine. Bullies never do.

            Apparently he’s got you thinking that it’s perfectly OK for him to attack anyone with the vilest of accusations, insinuations and outright lies, but if someone responds in kind, that’s beyond the pale.

            If you can’t see the hypocrisy in his blatantly manipulative tactics, he’s sure got you fooled.

          • Ivan M

            Bob / Tutanekai / Linus, give it up. As HJ and Explorer have pointed out, your story of a Christian co-worker harassing some woman for having an abortion is a porker. For if this had happened you would have mentioned it many months ago. Going by the Roman principle of Law, that the first thought is the true thought, you certainly would have made much play of it since it fits in with your agenda. We have however not heard of this before from you.

            You have a good gig here, as a resident gadfly and perpetual harasser of Christians. Don’t blow it by deflection, in your trademark ways.

          • Bob

            To paraphrase your holy book, woe upon him who accuses his neighbour of bearing false witness without having adequate proof to back up the accusation.

            Christians go to hell for that kind of transgression. Or they would if there was a hell to go to and their imaginary god chose who to put there.

            Not my problem though. I am not my brother’s keeper. You carry on thinking ill of your neighbour. It’s par for the course amongst Christians. They talk about love but they practice hatred and suspicion. This is one of the reasons their religion convinces fewer and fewer people.

          • Seadog

            I will kick against the pricks, and say that you speak truth to fantasy, Bob.

      • CliveM

        The huge gaping hole in this fantasy tale of yours, is your description of the disciplinary procedure. If a person calls anyone a whore and murderess in an office they are sacked. Immediately. Not disciplined, then demoted, then sacked.

        Just sacked.

        Apart from anything else, the Company would be keen to ensure no legal action was taken by the lady in question.

        As Marie says, You are a liar. A poor one, but a liar.

      • Anton

        Please provide further details – year, location to within 100 miles, initials of the people concerned.

        • Bob

          To supply such details might compromise the anonymity of the principal persons concerned, which is not something I am prepared to do.

          A little research would probably turn up their current locations and contact details, allowing me to get in touch with them and request permission to divulge such information. However for the purposes of proving a point on an obscure blog, I’m not prepared to dig up skeletons long buried that might cause significant distress to others.

          Put yourself in the position of the woman concerned. How would you feel if a former colleague whom you haven’t seen for 25 years called you out of the blue asking for permission to supply details of an affair under which one hopes she has drawn a line?

          As an unforgiving and condemnatory Christian looking to punish women for terminating their pregnancies, no doubt you’d revel in the opportunity to cause her pain and distress. But that’s not going to happen.

          You’ll just have to take my word for it, which of course you won’t, because it doesn’t suit you to believe in events that don’t support your fictional narrative of loving and caring Christians and evil and wicked atheists.

          Believe me or not, but the truth of the matter doesn’t change according to what supports your heavily skewed and partial agenda.

          • Anton

            You have me wrong: I am asking because, below, people are doubting your claim on the grounds that anybody calling someone a whore and a murderer would be instantly sacked. I find that a strong argument so I requested further details.

            I know personally a woman who was pressed by social services into having an abortion and regretted it ever since. She subsequently became a Christian and now has an inner awareness of God’s forgiveness for it. The Christian is not to condemn but simply to warn that it is God who condemns – or forgives. We are no better than those we warn.

          • Bob

            In the case in question, the verbal abuse only started once the abuser’s attempts to lead a campaign to isolate and persecute the woman had failed. The rest of us rallied around her in a display of considerable solidarity. The abuser found himself isolated and heavily criticised for attacking the woman in such an unjustified and unprofessional manner. Being exposed as a judgmental busybody is what caused him to boil over and launch the verbal attack that finally cost him his job.

            Had he exercised the discretion commanded of all Christians by the very founder of their faith (or whoever wrote that particular story) not to judge, he would have kept his job. But he chose to condemn and punish rather than examine his own behaviour. He acted like a true Christian. Like all of the Christians on this blog, who are always so very eager to criticise and condemn others, and so very loath to acknowledge their own sins.

            The most we ever hear on these pages are words to the effect of “I too am a sinner … but I won’t tell you what I’ve done, because then you might not take my right to criticise others seriously, so let’s draw a veil over my sinning and concentrate on dissecting the sins of others. As painfully as possible. It’s so much more fun then examining my own conscience!”

            This is the entire raison d’être of this loathsome little blog. Identify someone you want the world to condemn as a sinner, expose the details of his depravity in the most negative amd humiliating manner possible, and then invite others to join you in the ritual sacrifice until he’s well and truly plucked, trussed, roasted and smoking on the altar of your desire for vengeance.

            Who will take vengeance on you, I wonder? Quite probably no-one and when you go phut all your viciousness and hatred will go phut with you. But on the off-chance there is a god, and the bible is more or less his word, you’re all in just as much trouble as me. Possibly more, because at least I’m honest about not believing, whereas you claim you do, and then act as though you don’t.

            Not all those who cry “Lord! Lord!” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who live out their faith rather than pompously talking about it like scribes and Pharisees. I may be paraphrasing, but I think that’s the upshot of what the bible says. So how many Christians will there be in heaven? Precious few of those who post here, it seems.

          • Anton

            Thank you for the further details, at least as seen through your eyes.

            “he chose to condemn and punish rather than examine his own behaviour. He acted like a true Christian.”

            Please define a “true Christian” and say where you got the definition from.

          • Bob

            My definition of “true Christian” is drawn from the consistently judgmental and condemnatory behaviour of every Christian I have ever interacted with.

            The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Christian pudding claims to be made out of all that is sweetness and light. Bite into it though and you soon realise it’s as bitter and unpleasant as any other. More so because of the grandiose claims it makes that just aren’t delivered on.

          • Anton

            You’ve not met the ones who converted me then. The only valid definition comes from the Bible, of course.

          • Bob

            I’ve not met the ones who pulled the wool over your eyes? That may be true. But were you to introduce me, I’m reasonably confident I’d soon show you what really lurks under their calm and seemingly imperturbable facades.

            To paraphrase EF Benson, if some may be said to have come into this world with a silver spoon in their mouth, others are born with the apple of discord gripped firmly in their hand. Show me a Christian saint and I’ll show you how to strip away his mask and expose the beast that lurks beneath. And there’s always a mask. And the more beatific and serene it is, the more ferocious and destructive the underlying beast.

            In my experience Christianity is merely one way to mask that ravening wolf. It changes nothing fundamental about a person. He may gaze upon his reflection in a looking glass and swear blind that he’s a new man, but he too has been fooled by the mask, and will continue to see what he wants to see while the beast carries on as if nothing has changed.

            This is perhaps the worst aspect of Christianity: the ability it gives to its followers to fix their attention on a pious and totally fake reflection of themselves while utterly ignoring the havoc their true nature provokes.

          • Anton

            You are entitled to your opinion.

          • Bob

            As you are to yours.

  • len

    If you have the sort of Christianity that you would rather keep quite about then its probably the sort of Christianity that’s not worth having.?.

    As John the Baptist said about Jesus “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. (Matthew 3;11)

    Any Christian full of ‘the Holy Spirit and fire’ will not be able to keep quiet about his faith……despite all opposition.
    The disciples witnessed the Crucifixion of Jesus and were threatened with the same fate if they preached the Gospel but they continued to do so.All but John suffered violent deaths for preaching the Gospel (which is a pretty good indication that they had witnessed the risen Christ why else would they all risk death for the Gospel?.)
    Part of the reason for the decline of Christianity in the UK is uncommitted Christians and weak leadership.The Holy Spirit could change all that….

    • dannybhoy

      The Holy Spirit will change that when we decide to be 100% for Jesus..

      • len

        Many are losing their lives today as they have done in the past for following Jesus Christ and I can only commend their commitment and hope we in the West never have to face the atrocities many brother and sister Christians are suffering .today. As one part of the Body of Christ is affected all of the Body suffers.
        It is probably persecution which separates the wheat from the chaff this may seem harsh but the history of Christianity is one of persecution from without and from within and growing despite that…..

  • grutchyngfysch

    [Disclaimer: I work in the private sector.] I have a colleague who endlessly spends his time arguing over his peculiar brand of left-wing politics, and is universally acclaimed (by left-wing and right-wing colleagues alike) as lazy. No doubt, were he to be fired as a consequence of his conviction-caused poor work, he would take it to be a consequence of his political beliefs. And in a way, he’d be right: his political convictions are invasive to his ability to be a good employee.

    I’d in no way argue that the content of his beliefs should mean that he should be unable to express them at work (idiotic though I may believe them to be). I enjoy working in an environment where it is possible for people to express diametrically opposite views and still work productively with one another – indeed, I’d say that it is foundational to professionalism to have good working relationships with people who you cannot personally find any shared ground with. But where a belief impinges on the ability to work, it’s time to think about whether the holder should be working there.

    I’m always clear about my faith – in my CV, in interviews, and in working life. If a prospective employer doesn’t feel comfortable with that, my honest response would be that I’d rather know so that I can stop applying. Why would I want to work at an organisation whose values are so alien that they find mine threatening?

    But by the same token, we are at work to work. If I upset or make the conditions of work unbearable for someone else, whether the harm is worthy of being described as criminal or not (I go with not in most cases) it is still the fact that I have harmed my employer by harming a fellow employee. Why should I expect that to be free from consequences?

    It’s easier to draw the line where values are only incidental to the work being done. How it plays out with roles such as counsellors, where the values of the employee intrinsically affect the service they provide, is going to be a lot messier. I’d prefer to permit people to just be upfront about their assumptions and then have a system in place to allow individuals to be by-passed (in much the same way that I have a choice not to purchase my groceries from a Halal butcher). But in the absence of that, Christians are going to have to take a long serious look at certain roles (civil wedding registrars for instance) and ask whether they can fully fulfil what their employer requires of them. If they can’t, then it’s maybe time to think about alternative employment, or even perhaps getting together with fellow believers and forming a co-operative to provide a different service. I’d certainly use them.

    • dannybhoy

      Good post that, “He whose name is unpronouncable..”

      When I go for or rather when I went for jobs I would mention church involvement and christian voluntary work under hobbies and work experience.
      But your prospective employer is looking for a worker who’s going to be an asset to the firm or business.
      They can tell from your demeanour and conversation what kind of person you are.
      And you’re there to work not evangelise, but you seek your opportunities and try to set a good example as a worker.

      • carl jacobs

        He whose name is unpronouncable

        I think it is pronounced “GRUT-ching-fish”

        • dannybhoy

          Yeah but you have to have a cold to pronounce it properly, dode chu??

          • carl jacobs

            I dunno. I normally just say “Grutch.”

          • dannybhoy

            Sounds vaguely medically unpleasant to me.
            But then I’m not a stoical American..

          • carl jacobs

            Shouldn’t that be “stoic American”? Sounds better. But, yes. We Americans are known for our natural stoicism.

          • dannybhoy

            -You could be right. I haven’t-
            No you are right, I just checked.
            But Americans aren’t known for it.

          • grutchyngfysch

            It’s middle English. Means “griping/moaning/complaining” in one word. I miss that it isn’t a real word any more. I like grutchyng.

          • dannybhoy

            ” I like grutchyng.”
            There’s probably a cream for it.
            Or you could wear gloves.

            Or stop reading middle English.
            Or…..

          • grutchyngfysch

            Yn the meene tyme the grutchyng of the puple, as of men sorewynge for trauel, roos ayens the Lord. And whanne Moises hadde herd this thing, he was wrooth; and the fier of the Lord was kyndelid on hem, and deuouride the laste part of the tentis.” (Numbers 11:1)

            If you’re not reading Wycliffe, you haven’t read the Bible 😉

          • dannybhoy

            I see Pubcrawler marked you up.
            Huh!
            Like he knows anything about Wycliffe…

          • Pubcrawler
          • dannybhoy

            :0)

          • dannybhoy
          • Anton

            Lollardy forever!

          • Pubcrawler

            Like ‘grouching’, then.

      • Malcolm Smith

        In that case, the social work and the probation work are both operating on immorality, and it is up to Christians to call it our and demand it be reformed.

        • dannybhoy

          Our job as Christian citizens is to influence social policy to be more in line with Christian values, and we already have Christians in politics and law working towards that end.
          What we don’t have (correct me if I am wrong), is the whole Christian community playing its part in supporting those working at the coal face.
          We should be doing this by emails to our MPs, government and involved organisations. We should be more aware of what the issues are and why change is necessary.
          In recent times Christians have come to believe that being a good and effective Christian means being a good person and staying away from contentious issues, willing to compromise rather than confront.
          I think change is on the way.
          Btw, here’s a link to the Code of Ethics for Social Workers..
          http://cdn.basw.co.uk/upload/basw_112315-7.pdf

          You’ll see that whilst there is a lot we can agree on, there are some values we might struggle with.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Eye opening stuff. What precisely determines social justice if all concrete moral values are absent the workplace? How does one empower mutually exclusive moral positions? What does one do when one man’s convictions are oppressive to another?

            The whole thing is written as though no actual moral system need underpin the ethics advocated – but at the same time, there is no sense in which social workers are “free moral agents”, capable of taking whatever moral position best serves the practice of their task or vocation and a rather stronger sense that there is in fact an actual, concrete moral system, but it is an uncodified and unspoken system replete with taboos which must not be transgressed.

            I wonder, under the terms outlined in the document, if such an unspoken system of morality could ever be truly considered “accountable”.

          • dannybhoy

            ” What precisely determines social justice if all concrete moral values are absent the workplace? How does one empower mutually exclusive moral positions? What does one do when one man’s convictions are oppressive to another?”
            Which is why I decided there was no point in pursuing a career in social work or probation work either.
            That’s not to say other Christians are wrong to be either, but I could see all kinds of scenarios which would cause me problems as a Christian.
            Someone once said that moral values are fine – as long as you’ve got a fully belly and a safe place to lay your head…

            I think your comment illustrates the moral hoops we all (even Christians), jump through from time to time in order to survive or thrive.

          • There are many good Christians in both professions, Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed.
            I am a Christian solutionist Jack.
            Faced with a moral problem I would want to offer a solution in line with the teachings of Christianity. The humanistic principles governing both disciplines wouldn’t allow me to do that.

          • This is true and it is becoming increasingly more difficult. Nevertheless one can still assist people to make moral choices in their lives and reflect on the options confronting them and consequences.

          • dannybhoy

            Maybe I lacked the subtlety!

        • Anton

          There should be no such thing as a local-government-employed social worker. Unlike doctors they did not exist before the State invented them. They answer to government and, even though many have good intentions, they are part of the problem.

    • carl jacobs

      I had been sitting here (suffering stoically with a cold) wondering whether I had the energy to write something, and here you have done it for me.

      • grutchyngfysch

        I’d say hope you feel better soon, but real men don’t need sentiment, so I shall just nod in your general direction instead 🙂

        • carl jacobs

          Well said,

      • CliveM

        “Suffering stoically”

        And yet we still get to hear about it :0)

        Now a real stoic………….,,,,

        • carl jacobs

          It was merely a description of reality. That’s allowed.

          • CliveM

            Pah, a real stoic would discuss philosophy whilst his arm is being amputated and would make no reference to it!

            Hope you get over it soon.

          • Hmm. Would a stoic have volunteered this information unsolicited? And would he have drawn attention to private suffering?

          • CliveM

            I think we both know the answer to that Happy Jack.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m sad, Jack. I just watched the last “Poirot”. If you look close, you might notice the faint outline of a micro-tear. Nothing more needs to be said.

      • Ah, a bout of the wicked ‘man-cold’. An awful affliction. One is sure your wife and daughters will be giving you all the care and attention required.

  • DanJ0

    There ought to be a term or phrase for keeping stuff private for fear of career damage or being looked at sideways by colleagues. Oh, wait! How about being “in the closet”?

    • carl jacobs

      Well, yes. That’s actually the correct model. As homosexuals come out of the closet, Christians must go into the closet. Why? Because the basis of moral judgment has shifted. Objective divine creation has been replaced with subjective self-creation. What was once considered shameful and perverse is now normalized. That shift necessarily implies judgment on those who still see shame and perversion. This is why the campaign focuses on bigotry and hate. The self-evident purpose is to silence by stigmatization. It was once considered shameful to engage in homosexual activity. It is now considered shameful to judge homosexual activity as shameful.

      There is no doubt in my mind that I could be fired for saying at work some of the things I write on this weblog. I also have no doubt that others could say about me many of the things that are said on this blog by unbelievers, and no consequence would accrue. I have seen it happen. I have seen it happen on the official company webpage. “Inclusion” doesn’t mean that everyone is included. It means that everyone’s individual conception of truth is considered true, and must be hermetically sealed away from all others. Which works just fine – unless you happen to believe that all individual conceptions of truth are not true. Only post-moderns need apply.

      There isn’t any neutral ground here. The company is not enforcing neutral ground between employees. It judges me, and tells others that my judgments are not just wrong but evil. It is enforcing a ruthless moral orthodoxy. You may think that good or bad. It is however a fact that it is happening.

      • Bob

        It’s all in your holy book. You know, as you reap, so shall you sow.

        Christians are being driven underground and fearing for their jobs if they dare to say that other people are perverted and should be condemned to eternal damnation. When you had the freedom to say it, the people you condemned were driven underground and had to fear for their jobs and sometimes even their lives. Now it’s your turn.

        And that’s unjust how, exactly? Isn’t divine retribution and “what goes around, comes around” a basic part of Christian belief? Oh, and the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children too?

        Whine all you like. If your religion is true, you’re getting what you deserve. If it isn’t, then blind fate has given the advantage to another group and it’s just tough luck on you. Either way, you have nothing to complain about. If there’s such a thing as justice, it’s being done.

        • Malcolm Smith

          No, it is not justice. Justice means that the wicked are condemned and the righteous approved. Anything less is wickedness.

          • Bob

            In other words,you get to say and do what you like, but nobody else does.

            If that’s what you call justice, no wonder you find yourself relegated to the margins of society. Entitlement syndromes on that scale make it very difficult for the individuals thus afflicted to function adequately as anything except dictators or self-proclaimed martyrs and pariahs. Fate has denied you the role of dictator, so your path in life is clear. Enjoy treading it.

      • DanJ0

        I was actually just inviting a recognition of similar treatment, rather than drawing a direct link between homosexuality and stigmatisation of homosexuals by some Christians. However, there is some sense of justice being enacted when those who have stigmatised their victims in the past are becoming victims of stigmatisation themselves and suddenly don’t like it very much. That said, I’ll stand by our Christian citizens and defend their right to be a bit odd and out of favour, and to have some unusual and unsavoury views. Their having a diverse lifestyle is fine by me, I don’t expect them to hide it even in the workplace.

        • Inspector General

          Damn good stuff DanJ0! That’s how the Inspector feels about homosexuality, in as much as he doesn’t blame homosexuals for being homosexual and you types have every right to queer if you want to, albeit behind a closed door of course (not a public lavatory either…), not in front of children, and without scaring animals, and certainly NOT in the local woods. But it’s all a question of influence in society, isn’t it? So would you say we are different sides of the same coin? You doing your very best to subjugate Christianity and presenting it as odd, unusual, unsavoury, and the Inspector pointing out it’s so bloody ironic you saying that…

          So, whom will triumph? One must say at the moment it doesn’t look good for the Christians and militant LGBT has the upper hand, but who knows what’s around the corner. And now we are forever stuck with Islam: If politicians can smell out an advantage for permanently reasserting their Christianity (maybe even to the level of living their lives as Christians) to reassure the voters, they damn well will. We both know that…

          • DanJ0

            I’m not trying to subjugate Christianity at all. I’m happy for it to exist alongside other lifestyles. As I say time and again, I actively support Article 9 of the ECHR. But that doesn’t mean I can’t point out that some of its beliefs are odd and unsavoury. Christianity shouldn’t get special protection from the criticism other belief systems, both religious and political, get from the man in the street.

          • Inspector General

            As you say, to cut to the chase, that if government policy were to readopt Christianity – the best moral compass this country has ever or will ever have – you would be beside yourself with secular grief. Like the ECHR, do you, so you would miss it when we sign off from the damn thing….

          • DanJ0

            For the hard of thinking, I actively support the principles in Article 9 of the ECHR whether or not we sign up to the convention. As for State operating according to Christian principles, if that happens then so be it. I expect the majority of the population would be opposed to the idea now so it’d probably require a bit of a coup d’état. Similarly with a State operating according to Muslim principles.

          • Inspector General

            That would be the majority of the population who put their religion down as Christian, then…

          • DanJ0

            Lol. You’re still trying to bang that old drum? Bless.

          • Inspector General

            Makes you wonder why we bother having religious adherence as a box on the census form if people like you feel free to ignore the findings

            : – <

      • DanJ0

        “Because the basis of moral judgment has shifted. Objective divine creation has been replaced with subjective self-creation.”

        Naturally, there’s also a problem when there are competing ‘objective’ interpretations of morality e.g. Christian and Muslim. In that case, it’s not who is right (both may be wrong, and probably are) but who has the upper hand.

        • cacheton

          And your opinion that they are objective is based on …..?

          • DanJ0

            Huh? I presume our Mr Jacobs was using “objective” there in the sense of “factually true”, or perhaps “independent”, with the context ultimately being about morality. He has a long history of asserting his beliefs as fact, bless him, despite their lack of foundation. I have replies for various possible strands of argument around this, from claims about relative morals to assertions about sexual morality based on genital purpose.

      • cacheton

        ‘As homosexuals come out of the closet, Christians must go into the closet. Why? Because the basis of moral judgment has shifted. Objective divine creation has been replaced with subjective self-creation.’

        I like your closet imagery. But I would make two points.

        Christians do not have to go into the closet. If they want to be taken seriously they are advised to refrain from justifying their opinions solely on the grounds that they are Christian (and only a certain sort of Christian at that), the same as anyone who is not religious has to have a robust and explainable justification for their opinions (if they are in public office). There is no reason that religious people should have the privilege of not having to justify their opinions and have them considered on the same level as those of everyone else.

        And what are your robust explainable justifications for this ‘objective divine creation’ as opposed to a subjective divine creation?

  • wondering_soul

    For what it’s worth, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence is avowedly Christian, though he doesn’t go out of his way to force it on people. It’s clearly not been detrimental to his career.

    • DanJ0

      Nicky Morgan is the Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities. She also campaigned and won her seat as a Christian. That makes the second role a little ironic, really.

      • Phil R

        Because she might see equality as equal treatment or opportunity

        Rather than preference for favoured minorities?

        • DanJ0

          Well, it doesn’t seem to have damaged her career. She voted against same-sex marriage and was a trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship before taking the job. Afterwards, she lauded the provision of same-sex marriage and seems to have changed her mind, much to the annoyance of some of the Christian political pressure groups. I assume she’s still an active Christian. Perhaps she’s found herself able to divorce her role from her personal beliefs, Tim Farron-like, and perhaps she offered that to the Prine Minister when he was considering candidates.

          • Anton

            One has an obligation to one’s constituents as an MP but her career-facilitating change of mind is, to put it gently, a matter for concern.

          • Phil R

            Of course not. It is an integrity light Conservative Party nowadays

          • Anton

            It is pretty light on conservatism too.

  • bluedog

    One has to think, Your Grace, of the dilemma faced by the socialist Left. The days when intellectuals of the Left could offer the working class a political partnership are gone. The working class has divided into two unequal parts, one self-employed or aspirational, the other unemployable. The second part shares many attributes with third world migrant demographics, with whom it naturally aggregates in both social and economic measures of performance. But it is to this second group, this new underclass, with its thrilling cultural diversity, its disadvantage and its subsequent status as victims of social and economic inequality that the Left has now attached itself.

    Insulated by immense privilege, Cameron is immune to the culture war being waged by the Left as it re-positions itself to become the ambassadors of the underclass, and as the apologists and propagandists that must necessarily promote and justify the disadvantage of this demographic. His own career leads him to feel comfortable with his media based advisers, whose estate naturally links them to the opinions of the Left. Believing what he is told by these advisers offers the line of least resistance for Cameron in a busy schedule. Cameron may describe himself as a Christian, and he may call Britain a Christian country, but one somehow doubts that he would be comfortable debating Christian belief in the face of Corbyn’s secular Marxism.

    As Christianity preaches self-reliance rather than dependence on the munificent state or obedience to Allah the merciful, it follows that Christians are at odds with the new zeitgeist. Christianity has become offensive in its that message is perceived to be culturally insensitive to those whom the Left now champions. Having been educated by a religiously illiterate system, the Left could never conceive that Christ commanded, Let the last be first. Sadly, in this particular competition of ideas, the ignorant seem to be winning.

    • IanCad

      ” A Social Analysis of The New Britain” by bluedog.

      Reviews: A concise and accurate reappraisal of this sorry land, brilliantly done in one blog post – A must read.
      IanCad

    • Anton

      Great idea that Cameron should have to define and defend Christian values in debate. That is what Archbishops are for, if they are up to it…

  • Yes, the public sector must not be vacated, and I courteously submit that we must be prepared as BIble-believing Christians – even in public life – to be thought of as extreme, out of the mainstream and as religious nutters. The alternative is that we try to uphold a Christian position without actually being overtly Christian, for example by resorting to sociological research arguments rather than saying it is because the word of God says so (this has happened with much of the opposition to same sex marriage).

    It is tragic, for example, to see politicians who once supported Section 28 – a totally Christ-honouring position – having resorted to a complete turnaround and now supporting same sex marriage becuause of the pressures to conform to liberal orthodoxy. Paul describes how it is the lot of faithful Christians to be “made as the filth of the world” (1 Corinthians 4:13).

    Desiring to be acceptable to mainstream thinking is at the root of most false teaching in the churches. John the Baptist most definitely entered into the public sphere, when he denounced Herod for his adultery and incest.

    Nor should we be ashamed of asserting a six day creation a few thousand years ago in the public realm, because rejection of this BibIical teaching under pressure of secularist intellectual respectability makes a mockery of the fourth commandment as laid down in Exodus 20:11 and leads to a rejection of Scripture’s authenticity as a whole.

    • sarky

      Your last paragraph sums up why christianity is rejected. No one who looks at the evidence can seriously accept a 6 day creation 6 thousand years ago.

      • Anton

        Agreed. YOM clearly means “age” in Genesis 1, just as “day” can in English (eg the day of steam power). The clash with Christianity today is far more in the arts than the sciences and I am a walking counter-example to my brother Peter Simpson’s last paragraph. People give up too quickly – on both sides of the debate – on trying to reconcile science and Genesis.

        • dannybhoy

          If one accepts that cosmic natural processes ‘invented’ by our Creator God were responsible for the formation of our habitable earth, what part do you think evolution took in the arrival of animals Anton?
          And what then is man?
          A creature made in the image of God, or a part of Darwin’s tree of life?
          See to my poor mind the issue is that if God intended this universe we live in, how did He do it?
          Did He as the Bible says speak it all into being through the Word, or was it all a long, slow, blind, haphazard evolutionary process, with life originating from some Divine chemical soup?

          • Anton

            I’m a physicist, not an evolutionary biologist, and you’ll get more wisdom out of evangelical Christian biologists (such as Graeme Finlay) than from me, but off the top of my head I accept the evolutionary account of animals and believe it can be squared with Genesis. I believe God took a specific non-human hominid in the Middle East some thousands of years ago and did something miraculous to him that made him “in the image of God”. As we are all today in the image of God but also fallen, working out exactly what that means is not as easy as it seems.

            As for evolution being blind, too many evangelicals are unhappy that so-called ‘random’ events might have given rise to man while being happy to see God at work in apparently chance events such as meetings between people that lead to evangelism or marriage. I plead for consistency. God doesn’t do Random; it only looks that way to us, because of our lack of knowledge.

          • dannybhoy

            I have no axe to grind here, only to explore with you as a brother in Christ the implications of our views on Creation.

            God created the heavens and the earth and set in motion the processes that resulted in the world being habitable.
            When it was stable enough He created life -or the spark that ignited the evolutionary process,
            and eventually a hominid arrived that perhaps God did something special to giving him more intelligence and a spirit; separating him from the rest of the animal world. That then resulted in a man conflicted between his animal self and his spiritual self?

          • Anton

            I don’t currently understand what you mean by animal self and spiritual self. The Hebrew view is that mind and body are one.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, animals don’t have a spirit, so that hominid would not have had a spirit. Correct?
            So God not only caused his brain to grow, but He also somehow gave him a spirit as well.

            Therefore when we look at man we see behaviours which originate from his hominid tribal ancestry and that would be in line with the evolutionary model of development.
            The question then is does the evil that men do originate from his primate ancestry, or from free will?

          • Anton

            Animals and man have a nephesh but only man has a neshamah according to the Old Testament, and it is neshamah that God blew into Adam. The trouble is that “soul” and “spirit” are assumption-laden translations of these words. I’m far from clear myself and I simply do my best to find and live in ponderance of the questions that most people in these discussions find difficult.

          • dannybhoy

            “I simply do my best to find and live in ponderance of the questions that most people in these discussions find difficult.”

            I agree, but I think in trying to reconcile what our intellect tells us must be so with what the Bible tells us we run the risk of undermining the spiritual authority of the faith.
            In other words, if so much of what Jesus taught is based on the Genesis account, then in seeking that unifying theory of faith and science, are we in danger of losing our certainty?

          • Anton

            I’m not!

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

            I think there’s an uneasy grey area there which allows for a Christian to accept the teachings of Scripture…

            Hebrews 11 (ESVUK)
            3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

            and accept they just don’t know…
            Or go down one of the Christian evolutionary paths which then runs the risk of undermining the authority of Scripture.

          • Anton

            I think it’s more manly to say sometimes that I accept scripture and don’t presently know in full how to reconcile it with some of the findings of science, than to insist that “science must be wrong”. Certainly some science conflicts with some understandings of the Bible, but the Hebrew is more divergent and poetic (even while not being mythological) than most people realise. It can be hard to live in the resulting tension, but I find it fruitful – and helps secular people listen to the gospel.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, I’m not saying science must be wrong, but I try to be aware of all the arguments against Creationism and offer reasonable responses.
            There are good arguments both sides, but personally I stay believing that however God did it He did it, and it was in line with what the Bible teaches.
            No conflict between faith and science, I accept it by faith.

          • Anton

            There is conflict between miracles and scientific laws, although aside from that I believe there is active harmony since God is behind both. When I converted I changed from the view that scientific law was immutable to the view that God ordained scientific law (hence the beauty of the laws of physics, attested by both secular and religious physicists), but that he might sometimes break those laws via miracles in order to make a point to his creation.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh I think we broadly agree on everything. I’m not sure about your hominidy thing though. I think that’s out of wack with Christian theology!

          • Anton

            I’m not sure either – remember I’m a physicist evangelical Christian, not a biologist evangelical Christian. But I can ask questions that ANYBODY in this debate finds difficult, different questions addressed to different positions (including atheists).

          • dannybhoy

            Anyone can ask questions Anton -and as Christians we should ask questions. It’s not easy to find people who are willing to discuss without becoming dogmatic, or so way out that one starts to feel uncomfortable…. ;0)

          • Anton

            Actually it took me a long time to find the questions. Asking the right questions is more than halfway to the full answer. But I’m still on the road…

          • dannybhoy

            We’ll always be on the road in this life, but the most important thing is acting on what we do know. Following Jesus, learning to hear His voice and being obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

          • Anton

            Yes.

          • Read the quote by Benedict again:

            “Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: ‘In the beginning was the Logos’. …Logos means both reason and word — a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.

            John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.”
            (Pope Benedict XVI)

          • dannybhoy
          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, that seems to match how I read John 1.1. Poetic as the traditional translation is, I think it clouds what John was trying to say, and the Greek text would be better done into English as ‘The Word was there at the beginning‘. (I’ve tried and failed many times to articulate what I think the distiction between the two forms of words is, so I hope you get it.)

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t know any Greek outside of ‘efharisto para poli’ but that’s my understanding, that Jesus the Word was there at Creation and the Spirit of God ‘brooded’ on the face of the waters..
            Which makes sense if God is indeed three distinct expressions of the (unity) One God..
            It seems to me that if this reality is not the only reality, then eternal life in a new heavens and a new earth will be a new reality.
            So in our world there are physical laws that operate, but the designer of those laws can suspend them for His own purposes. (I think Avi said that recently.)
            We have to maintain an equilibrium whereby we apprehend the physics and science of our world without ruling out the reality of God’s supranatural realm as revealed in Scripture.

          • Pubcrawler

            I don’t find anything to disagree with there.

            In a similar vein to something i said over at Hannah’s blog the other week, I see Scripture as predominantly for instructing and leading the faithful into a deeper understanding of and relationship with God. The nature of his creation we can try to understand with the intellectual aptitudes he has given us. One would hope it’s not too difficult to keep the two things distinct 🙂

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I think that too,

            Words are conveyors of communication. The danger is when we think that those words convey everything.

            They can’t.

            Reading one of Paul’s or Peter’s or John’s epistles gives us one level of understanding, but actually being there with them, looking into their eyes and watching their facial expressions and gestures would be altogether different.

            If you have ever been in a worship service where your very being has been affected through the worship of God through song, one could easily imagine being caught up into another reality.

            Like Paul mentions in 2nd Corinthians 12..

            “Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.”

          • Pubcrawler

            “Reading one of Paul’s or Peter’s or John’s epistles gives us one level of understanding”

            Yes, and as I said over there, it’s only one fragmentary side of a dialogue, so we’re lacking an awful lot of context.

            “How do you see it?”

            Well, as Archbishop Edmund Blackadder said: “Yes, that is a knotty one!” This has been a ‘live’ issue for me in the past (about which I will say no more on a public forum), and I didn’t always handle it as diplomatically as I would now. Short answer is that I don’t know, only God knows, but I’m inclined to agree with you. John 21.21f. is my guide here.

          • Pubcrawler

            “The question then is does the evil that men do originate from his primate ancestry, or from free will?”

            Gregory of Nyssa (admittedly probably not in the context of a discussion on evolution) said: “Sin does not exist in nature apart from free will; it is not a substace in its own right.”

          • Dreadnaught

            I believe God took a specific non-human hominid in the Middle East some thousands of years ago and did something miraculous to him

            Isn’t this account [creation] merely creating a satisfying answer to fit the orthodoxy of the text?

          • Remember, the “Word” is also “Logos” which is rationality and Truth itself.

            “Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: ‘In the beginning was the Logos’. …Logos means both reason and word — a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.
            John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.”

            (Pope Benedict XVI)

          • dannybhoy

            I have no doubt that an almighty all powerful God could just speak it all into existence, and if Jesus said it was so, it was so.

        • IanCad

          Perhaps we should also consider “Without form and void.” Well understood as the state of the earth at creation – perhaps less known is that the same conditions will exist at the millennium.
          Jeremiah 4:23

          A head start – so to speak.

          • dannybhoy

            Never noticed that before, Ian. Very interesting.

            “The prophet in vision saw the extent and extremity of this destruction, and he here gives a most lively description of it, which one would think might have made those uneasy in their sins who dwelt in a land doomed to such a ruin, which might yet have been prevented by their repentance. [1.] The earth is without form, and void (v. 23), as it wasGen. 1:2 . It is Tohu and Bohu, the words there used, as far as the land of Judea goes. It is confusion and emptiness, stripped of all its beauty, void of all its wealth, and, compared with what it was, every thing out of place and out of shape. To a worse chaos than this will the earth be reduced at the end of time, when it, and all the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.”
            Matthew Henry’s commentary

          • Anton

            A literal translation is “the earth was without structure, and empty”. In the first three YOM of creation, God imposed structure by differentiating light from dark, then above (sky)
            from below, then land from sea. Then came three more YOM
            in which he filled the emptiness, populating the heavens with stars, the sky and sea with birds and fish, and the land with animals and humans – with life,in all its diversity, activity, tenacity and intricacy. In context, Genesis 1:2 is best translated as “the earth was unstructured and unpopulated.”

          • sarky

            How did he manage light on the first day, when the sun wasnt created until the fourth???

            To anyone with even half a brain cell its obvious genesis is allegorical.

          • Anton

            YOM means era and the first three YOM are about structuring things while the second three are about populating those structures. Perhaps you are assuming that the six YOM are strictly consecutive, which is not stated?

            “To anyone with even half a brain cell its obvious genesis is allegorical.”

            The trouble with that is that the genealogies in Genesis run from named persons, whom you take to be mythical archetypes, to historical figures. Where in the chain does one shift to the other; and how and why?

          • sarky

            Which historical figures?

          • Anton

            There’s a genealogy in Luke 3 which runs from Adam to Jesus and I expect you believe that Jesus of Nazareth existed even if you disbelieve his divinity.

          • sarky

            Actually no, not really. The lack of contemporaneous accounts andmentions in the writings of the time lead me to believe he is more myth than mr. He seems to be a mish mash of different people and beliefs that were floating around at the time.

          • Anton

            There are four contemporaneous accounts and we have earlier copies of them than of accounts about Julius Caesar. Is he a myth too? Aristotle? Plato? Let’s have some consistency!

          • sarky

            As far as I’m aware contemporaneous means ‘at the time’, and again, as far as I’m aware all the bible accounts were written years later.

          • Anton

            And Aristotle, Plato, Alexander, Caesar? What are the earliest surviving manuscripts we have about them? Centuries later.

          • sarky

            The difference for me is that the evidence for their existence is not found on the pages of their own holy books. There is no need to lie, exaggerate or embellish their existence. As for jesus…

          • Anton

            O come on, you atheists say that the Bible is just a history book not sacred, then when I take it as such you grumble at that too.

            We got into this because I said that the genealogies moved from people you believed were mythical to historical figures. Do you deny that the Jews had a King David? He’s in that genealogy too.

          • sarky

            Well you have to add a little credence somehow.

          • In amicable discussion Anton, in all places in the OT where yom is used alongside a number it means a 24 hour day. The repetition of “and the evening and the morning morning were the first, second etc day” confirms that 24 hour days rather than ages are in view. If ages were meant, Exodus 20:11 is meaningless, and the 4th commandment is based on a false premise.

          • Anton

            Peter: I have a friend in the same congregation as me who is a young-earther. It can stay amicable.

            Yom can only mean “era” in Job 15:23 and 18:20, and I expect that the “yom with a number means 24 hours” argument was proposed by young-earth Christians, to try to settle the ambiguity. But it could simply be coincidence if the occurrences are few, and “yom plus a number” is rather a vague phrase. Please give these occurrences, as I would like to examine them side by side with Genesis 1.

            “Evening” and “morning” are interpretive translations of the Hebrew of Genesis 1. The original Hebrew gave only the consonants (the Masoretes added the vowels later). “There was evening and there was morning” can equally well be translated as “there was disorder and there was order”, in perfect correlation with the movement from chaos to order throughout chapter 1 (recall “the earth was unstructured and empty” in verse 2). BKR is the Hebrew word translated as morning (pronounced BOKER) but it could equally well be BAKARA (meaning controlled order).

            Exodus 20:11 is based on an analogy.

            Then there are the scientific arguments for an ancient earth, from cosmology and geology independently. God invented the laws of nature and he does not contradict himself. I do think that the people who should be listened to most seriously in these debates are evangelical Christians who understand the science – just as the best people to witness to the young in our congregations about the perils of promiscuity are people who have lived that lifestyle and then come to Christ and repented.

          • Dear Anton, Thank you for your fascinating comments.

            There are 410 places in the OT where yom used with a number equals a 24 hour day. So I can only give a brief sample of references – Genesis 8:3,4,6,10,12, Genesis 16:26, Leviticus 14:10. Is it likely that the same word should be rendered differently from its translation in 410 other verses when translating Genesis 1?

            Re the Masoretes, why did they deliberately use the pointing for evening and morning rather than that for order and disorder? It is because they thought this to be what the original stated. Surely these Hebrew scholars had a better understanding of their own language and of what specific words Moses intended to use in Genesis 1 than we today could possibly hope to attain to.

            Re Exodus 20:11, the analogy is based on the creation week. If day were to equal age, then the analogy demands that we should only have to observe the sabbath once every few million years.

            With Christian greetings to you.

          • Anton

            Peter,

            I don’t have much confidence in the Masoretes. They were prepared to tinker with their own scriptures in order to make Jesus less Messiah-like. The Hebrew script they came up with could never be translated into Greek that matches the Septuagint Greek translation from before Christ’s time, in the passages we take to refer to him. And they reduced the number of YHWHs in Isaiah, compared to the earlier Dead Sea scroll version, in a fit of excessive piety about the name being too holy.

            I once went to a concert of Bach’s unaccompanied violin music by a man who played from a photocopy of Bach’s original score. It is, apparently, unclear in various places, and modern scores make a decision one way or the other at each ambiguity. The guy had to make a decision each time he played it but he still preferred to have the composer’s original before him. (I learnt this because it was a small venue and we were able to chat to him during the interval.) I don’t think that Bach meant it to be ambiguous but perhaps God did.

            What carries over in Exodus 20 is the pattern of six periods of work followed by one of rest. God is so great compared to us; is it not reasonable that his timescale is greater too? To him a thousand years is but a day (2 Peter 3:8).

          • Thanks for that Anton. Is it not pertinent to ask, Why did the 72 scholars who produced the Septuagint translate the two Hebrew words as evening and morning rather than order and disorder? As these men predate the Masoretes and since parts of the Septuagint are even quoted in the NT, this gives them an even greater authority.

            Is it not the case that the motivation behind the advent of the day-age theory was a desire to make Scripture conform to the old earth geological thinking which became prominent in the 19th century rather than purely issues of Hebrew pointing and morphology?

            Yours courteously.

          • Anton

            That’s rather a biased way of putting it. I’d say that the findings of science made people realise or recall that there is an ambiguity in the scriptures as they were originally written.

            Some people thought that geocentricity was implied by such verses as Psalm 104:5, but we now recognise that that was too straitjacketed an interpretation. (I trust you agree?) The situation here is analogous.

            The Septuagint translators were well over 1000 years distant from the writing down of Genesis (some believe more – I am convinced by PJ Wiseman’s account of how Genesis got written, which knocks the liberals for six). That’s long enough for the original ambiguity to have been lost, especially in view of the exile during that time.

          • Whilst much respecting your arguments, Anton, in ongoing friendly interchange of ideas, does not the following verse set the 24 hour day theme for the rest of the chapter? – Gen. 1:5 “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day”. Does not the context of light, darkness, day and night mean that evening and morning must also have the same reference?

          • Anton

            There are three, not two, meanings of YOM in Hebrew and also of ‘day’ in English: (a) era or age (as in Job 15:23); (b) one complete cycle of light and dark, ie 24 hours; (c) the part of the 24-hour cycle during which it is light not dark.

            So there are two meanings already in Genesis 1, and you and I differ over whether these are (a) and (c), or (b) and (c).

          • Not sure “Day of darkness”in Job 15:23 means an age, Anton, but rather a distinct period of immediate judgement, so b and c are not ruled out.

          • Anton

            It’s a day of darkness, and as definition (b) includes a period of light and definition (c) is entirely light without any dark, it can’t be them and can only be (a). I’d translate it as a “time of darkness”. Perhaps you are thinking that “age” necessarily means a very long time, but the point is that it is not a fixed length of clock time.

          • Is not the rotation of the Earth being established in Genesis 1:5?

          • Anton

            I’m not sure. See also verses 16-18 which don’t sit well with verse 5 in a strictly time-ordered sequence.

          • IanCad

            Danny,

            My wife loves Matthew Henry and regularly cites him during our squabbles.

            “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

          • dannybhoy

            I like that.
            I think that’s perhaps what I hear my wife saying as I come around after another ‘disagreement..’
            I’m all for equality between males and females. Equality of worth, different responsibilities.

        • sarky

          Maybe it’s because it’s all square pegs and round holes.

      • carl jacobs

        No one who looks at the evidence can seriously accept a 6 day creation 6 thousand years ago.

        Yes. Given that he rigorously applies a prior assumption of continuity. But why should he make that assumption? Special creation is by definition a discontinuous event. The problem with your statement is that it is blind to its own inherent presuppositions. What you are truly saying is:

        Given that no discontinuities can ever occur, no one who looks at the evidence can seriously accept a 6 day creation 6 thousand years ago.

        That’s quite a different statement.

        Now what other assumptions are buried in your original statement? You should look for them. They will define for you the dogmas of your own faith system. Because that is precisely what the assumption of continuity is – a dogma.

      • chiefofsinners

        “No one who looks at the evidence can seriously accept a 6 day creation 6 thousand years ago.”
        Lots of us who have, do.
        I know a man who is a research biologist at a well known university. He’s not a Christian, but is certain that evolution cannot be the origin of life. Like civil servants, he keeps his thoughts to himself because he want to keep his reputation and his job. How many more are there, I wonder? And how much of society trusts the scientific establishment to have the answers that they can’t really understand?

        • sarky

          When the majority of scientists across all the scientific disciplines concur that the world is considerably older than 6 thousand years and could not possibly have been made in 6 days, then I tend to believe them over a bronze age book.

          • chiefofsinners

            And if you had lived 600 years ago, when they concurred that the earth was flat and orbited by the sun you would have believed that.
            40 years ago when Thalidomide was said to be good for morning sickness, you would have encouraged your wife to take it.
            In 1996 when President Clinton announced ‘life on Mars’ you believed that.
            Now you believe in multiple universes. And you believe that 95% of our universe is composed of dark matter which we can’t detect.
            Your trouble is that you’ll believe anything – except the truth.

          • sarky

            The reasons you listed are why I believe in science. As New evidence comes to light old theories get discarded. Unlike the bible which is stuck in the bronze age.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes – science is trustworthy because it keeps proving itself wrong.

          • Anton

            The ancient Greeks first figured out that the earth was round and the fact was never forgotten in Europe.

            The multiverse concept is speculative and the phrase, like many at the research frontier, has various shades of meaning. Some I reject on metaphysical grounds; others relating to phase transitions differentiating sectors of the universe a long time ago are not inconsistent with the data we have gained today. Can you set out with comprehension the differing versions of the multiverse hypothesis?

            Ditto dark matter – intelligent life appears to exist on one planet out of billions, so why should not the scale of things extend to a form of matter we have not yet detected, just as 1000 years ago we had not detected many galaxies? God’s creation is majestic.

          • dannybhoy

            Always strikes me as funny that people who believe that the universe just ‘happened’ and that it has no ultimate meaning end up devising hypotheses to give it meaning, or explain away the things they can’t explain.
            Like, “Life will find a way….”

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes, dark matter may well exist and so may multiverses. Then again, experience shows that it is most likely that scientists will change their minds multiple times about this. None of them seem able to set out anything with comprehension.
            I have no argument with Christians who choose to ‘reconcile’ their faith with science in some way, if that’s what they want to do.
            My argument is with those non-Christians who put their faith in science rather than God, then use science as a platform to criticise faith. At the heart of this is an irreconcilable contradiction: they say science can be trusted because it keeps changing. They count it a virtue that they are told one thing today and another tomorrow.

          • Anton

            Of course scientists will change their minds about questions that currently comprise the research frontier. That’s the way science makes progress. And of course it is legitimate to seek to reconcile science and scripture, since God underlies each.

          • chiefofsinners

            That’s fine for good scientists who remember the limitations of the scientific method. The problem is the other 99% of the population: scientists like Dawkins and Brian Cox who confidently assert that their science is the only knowable truth and the vast flock who trust them, including some who post on this site.

          • Anton

            Without disagreeing, it’s more complex than that. Let me first comment on the two scientists you have mentioned. Cox is in my own subject but I’ve not watched any of his output – partly I’ve nothing to learn at the level he presents, partly I find his style irritating, partly I don’t watch TV any more – so I can’t comment on him. The key to understanding Dawkins is that he is first and foremost a controversialist. He was a controversialist in genetics before he ever became one about religion by presenting bad arguments against it. (NB I defend only Christianity against his arguments; I leave the defence of other faiths to their own adherents.)

            By definition the general public sees only popular science, and all of the careful caveats involved in the correct statement at lay level of a result from the research frontier get edited out. A scientist knows that he will get more exposure if he puts a spiritual slant on his results – more often than not today, New Age rather than outright secular materialist atheist. But if you don’t give that slant, or if you insist on the caveats, you won’t get invited back. In particular, the media want stuff from the research frontier because that’s news, but if you include a reminder that the theory you are presenting is speculative then you will be told you aren’t showing courage in your convictions and you won’t be asked back. The result of these selection effects is that the popular science you see is a long way from the actual scientific process. That gap has widened during my research career.

    • dannybhoy

      “The alternative is that we try to uphold a Christian position without actually being overtly Christian, for example by resorting to sociological research arguments rather than saying it is because the word of God says so (this has happened with much of the opposition to same sex marriage).”

      I think that’s a sensible approach for Christians to take regarding moral/social issues in a secular society. We present our arguments or objections in a framework that people can understand.

      We are citizens of a heavenly kingdom living in a mainly secular society.
      It is not our job to make the UK into a Christian kingdom.
      Nor to make the UK population nicer, give more to charity, or take in all the refugees the world has to offer.

      Our job is to bear witness to the Gospel as in 2 Corinthians 5:19>
      ” that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

      That’s the heart of the Gospel, and anything less than that is at odds with the Gospel record.

    • Anton

      We must have faith that secular arguments and revelation coincide over what laws are best for society. We should be inspired and informed by revelation and seek the corresponding secular arguments for those laws and then deploy them when debating with secular parliamentarians.

      • Thank you for your reply, Anton. In polite response, why is it necessary to couch our arguments only in secular terms? Should not the parliamentarians who have undermined our Christian civilisation by redefining marriage be told that they have done just that and are offending the holy God? Did John the Baptist say to Herod, “Statistics prove that adulterous and incestuous marriages are less stable”?.

        Whilst I am not suggesting this of your good self, should we be ashamed of the word of God, that which our Lord told us to proclaim from the housetops, precisely because He saId it? Did our Lord counsel, “Only repeat my teachings in a manner which the secularists will find acceptable? Let their worldview be the yardstick of your manner of presentation”?

        • Anton

          There’s a difference between evangelistic speech and public debate over what the laws should be. We should do both, but in the latter we need to speak a language that secular people will understand.

        • dannybhoy

          “why is it necessary to couch our arguments only in secular terms? ”

          For my part because we are citizens in a worldly society which doesn’t own Christian faith or values.

          That’s why I gave that link to the Code of Ethics for Social Workers..
          http://cdn.basw.co.uk/upload/b

          Even if we went out and preached the Gospel we would still have to couch it in terms that people understand, as the anointed evangelist Billy Graham used to do. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit was very much in evidence.

    • David

      Most genuine Christians would say that they do indeed have a duty to defend Christian positions. However you raise important questions about how that is best done.
      So should we quote Scripture or use secular arguments, perhaps drawn from high quality research, that align with the Christian position ?
      It would be wonderful to simply quote Scripture but the general public will simply not understand what it means, and may even harden in their stance against us, simply out of irritation.
      But we can be loyal to Christian teachings, and therefore Christ Himself, by using good quality secular, research based arguments directed at the general public; it will be received as both reasonable and more easily understood. To be persuasive we have to use the neutral tools that honest, academically rigorous, good quality research sometimes supplies. Of course to a Christian audience we should also remind them of the Biblical position, so that their use of secular, neutral arguments is, in their heads, grounded in the faith.

      • Thank you David for your well thought out comments. You wrote, “By using good quality secular, research based arguments directed at the the general public, it will be received as both reasonable and more easily understood”. I must courteously disagree here. How unbelievers will react is being the made the yardstick for Christian conduct. This contradicts Ezekiel 2:7 : “And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear”.

        Whilst I would not deny a secondary role to sociological arguments, as Christians our primary authority is always the word of God. Debating current moral and social issues is a wonderful evangelistic opportunity, especially since God’s law is a schoolmaster to lead men to Christ. However, if we deliberately keep God out of the argument, that evangelistic opportunity is lost.

        May I give a prime example of why using the word of God is paramount. Lord Carey (whom in other respects I have a high regard for) was a leading figure in the Coalition for Marriage campaign, but at the height of the campaign he said in an interview with Sky News that there was nothing morally wrong with homosexuality, which is a complete misrepresentation of God’s word, but very acceptable to the secularists. So this meant that the Coalition for Marriage, which focused on secular arguments (albeit good ones), nevertheless allowed itself to be identified with the rejection of Scripture in this particular way.

        If we examine the 10 Reasons given why the same sex marriage legislation should not go ahead used by the Coalition for Marriage, http://c4m.org.uk/downloads/10reasons-print.pdf (and I agree that they are good secondary arguments), please note that there is not a single reference to God or the authority of His word. I know that those behind c4m are fine people and do indeed believe the Bible, but I nevertheless dispute this conscious avoidance of Scripture when dealing with a secular society.

        When the apostles and prophets addressed non-believers, they used, “Thus saith the Lord”. Our Lord Himself frequently said, “It is written”. I contend that God’s word must be proclaimed publicly and that we should not give the appearance of being ashamed of it when debating issues with non-believers.

        • David

          Your position is well thought out and argued, and thank you for it.
          Our two positions are perhaps closer than you might be thinking.
          I totally agree that for Christians “our primary authority is always the Word of God”. That is what, first and foremost, instructs us, leads us and inspires us. This is where we turn when we face new challenging assertions from the world.
          So the question is when, and at what stage do we quote directly from the Bible and when do we use other sources that our listeners will be more familiar with, and probably respect more readily ? What will catch their attention and start them looking in the right direction, as opposed to what will simply cause them to switch off, and maybe become irritated or even hostile ? I fear that simply starting off our pitch to them using Scripture will, because they are unbelievers, result in them turing off, or worse.

          Then there is your point about whether we should consciously avoid any references to Scripture, as the c4m campaign did. I agree with you that to consciously avoid all references to The Bible is a mistake. However I would not lead with it. The opening thrust of the argument, to persuade the not sure, uncommitted public should be a neutral secular one I suggest, with the Scriptural underpinning of our beliefs brought in later.
          That is my intuitive understandings of how best to reach the unbelieving public. However if you have greater experience of what works, I am happy to look at the evidence. I wonder whether there any case studies pointing to both success and failures, as that would be very helpful.

        • cacheton

          ‘I contend that God’s word must be proclaimed publicly and that we should not give the appearance of being ashamed of it when debating issues with non-believers.’

          It is not a question of shame. It is just that what a religious person thinks God has written will never be of any consequence when debating an issue with a non believer – why should it be if that religious person has no argument to support his belief that God wrote the words?

          • The non-believer’s rejection of God’s word is not because of insufficient ‘secular’ arguments to support the truth of Scripture, but because of a rebellious heart which prefers sin and unbelief.

            The Lord Jesus Christ performed many miracles to authenticate His teaching, but most of the non-believers were determined to reject HIm anyway despite them.

            So it is not proofs and arguments which the atheist needs but a declaration of God’s law applied by the Holy Spirit to his heart, so that he realises his sinful and condemned condition. When non-Christians *feel* their sin (the Spirit’s work), nothing will stop them coming to the Saviour.

          • cacheton

            ‘The non-believer’s rejection of God’s word is not because of insufficient ‘secular’ arguments to support the truth of Scripture,’

            Yes it is, in part.

            ‘but because of a rebellious heart which prefers sin and unbelief.’

            No, it is because it is now widely recognised that many of those who are traditionally seen as spiritual guides in society (and if you really are a pastor you are presumably one of them) are not interested in spiritual truths to the point where they cannot even recognise them, but persist in promoting unspiritually inspired interpretations of an ancient book.

          • The Lord Jesus Christ endorsed the authority of the Old Testament and the New Testament was written by the Spirit of Christ working through human authors. So to reject the Bible is to reject Christ and His teaching.

            Courteously, rejection of what the Bible says is because people do not like what it says. Human pride does not like the Bible’s emphasis upon sin.

            The greatest spiritual truths which I am interested in are that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

          • cacheton

            ‘The Lord Jesus Christ endorsed the authority of the Old Testament as His own word and the New Testament was written by the Spirit of Christ working through human authors.’
            You have absolutely no evidence for that whatsoever. It is widely understood that Jesus did not write the bible. Come to think of it, did Jesus ever write anything at all? Probably not, as he knew that this would create more problems, and the evidence shows that he would have been right about that!

            The main reason people do not like what the bible says is because taken literally it promotes divisiveness, which most people, Christian or not, recognise is the opposite of Jesus’s teachings.

          • The Explorer

            “taken literally it promotes divisiveness, which most people, Christian or not, recognise is the opposite of Jesus’s teachings.”

            “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a son’s wife against her mother-in-law; and a man will find his enemies under his own roof.” ‘Matthew’ 10: 34-36

          • cacheton

            Yeah like I said, taken literally it promotes divisiveness. Thank you for illustrating my point so clearly.

          • The Explorer

            Macbeth is described as “Bellona’s bridegroom”. We recognise metaphor? He was not literally married to the goddess of war. But the point of the comparison remains: he fought fiercely.

            Christ’s sword may be metaphorical (like the one that comes out of his mouth in ‘Revelation’) but the point remains: acceptance and rejection of Christ will lead to divisions within families.

          • cacheton

            Not if the person concerned is truly Christ-like and constantly practises unconditional love towards the other family (or society) members. Of course those non Christ-like qualities may prevail in some situations and families and societies will appear to be divided. But Christ, and the Christ-like person, will always know that there is no real separation, only the illusion of separation in our current physical dimension as incarnated beings.

    • cacheton

      ‘by resorting to sociological research arguments’

      OK. So what are the sociological research arguments against same sex marriage and in support of a six day creation a few thousand years ago?

      • The Explorer

        Re SSM, try the American Family Research Institute, or the 2014 CDC report on STD’s.

        • cacheton

          STDs? Are you saying that it is not possible for homosexuals to have safe sex??

          • The Explorer

            I’m no expert. The authors of these reports are. Take it up with them

    • Lots of sympathy with these comments. I do think, in defending a Christian viewpoint it is legitimate to use arguments derived from common sense, sociological findings, and any other recognised ‘authority’. However, to keep silence about faith arguments is to play into the hands of those who wish to deny faith arguments any place in the public square. Further, there are surely occasions when the prophetic warning of judgement and a call to repentance should be part of the arsenal.

  • David

    Significant breaking news – the Belfast preacher accused of hate speech towards Muslims has been acquitted ! It has been reported on Breitbart London.

    Free speech is essential – short of inciting violence our public speech must be free of legal sanctions.

    My prayers (and those of many others) have been answered.

    Let the glory be to God !

    This has made my day. We must continue pushing back against the enemy’s attempts to push us out of the public square.

    • dannybhoy

      Wonderful news for the Church of Christ.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        It’s actually good news for everyone. This was a very nasty attempt to censor any criticism of Islam. It focused on the preacher in his pulpit, because that’s about as extreme as censorship of political and religious opinion gets – even the Nazis hesitated to do that one. The Christians tend to get it in the neck when nobody else will stand up and be counted, as here.

        • dannybhoy

          The pastor was speakng on LBC to Nick Ferrari this morning, explaining his position.
          He made it clear that he doesn’t reject Muslims (he has a few in his congregation). but he out and out rejects the teachings of Islam.
          I think it’s wonderful that he was found not guilty, because that would have been a serious blow to freedom of speech in the context of a Christian minister expounding Christian truths in a country built on Christianity
          And that’s the elephant that politicians and sociologists tend to overlook.
          This country didn’t just appear out of the ether as a multicultural society belonging to anyone and everyone who fancies living here.
          We have historical roots we can trace back over a thousand years. We have a history of development and societal change. Of religious strife and evangelical revivals and subsequent social reforms that have improved life for all, and made it a desirable place in which to live.
          That’s the real context in which the man was speaking.

          • Bob

            We do have historical roots that can be traced back well over a thousand years. Back to a time when Britain was not Christian and pagan ideas and customs were the accepted norm.

            When Christianity came along, it absorbed many of those customs. Yule became Christmas, for example. The feast of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre became Easter. Christianity would not be what it is today in Britain were it not for our pagan ancestors.

            Therefore, the logical outcome of your argument that secular Britain should acknowledge and respect its Christian roots just because they were there before secularism was, is that we should actually acknowledge and respect our pagan roots. They were there first, after all.

            So, pagan practices like slavery and human sacrifice should be reinstated, Druids should be given seats in Parliament, the Queen should perform ritual sacrifices at Stonehenge at winter solstice, and anyone running for public office should paint themselves blue and live in a wicker hut. And as for those hypocritical Christians who decorate pine trees and hand around chocolate eggs on days that belong to other gods, well they should cease and desist forthwith! How dare they refuse to bow down to the pantheon of Valhalla at winter solstice? How dare they hijack Eostre’s egg as a symbol of the birth of their foreign and unBritish deity?

          • dannybhoy

            “Therefore, the logical outcome of your argument that secular Britain should acknowledge and respect its Christian roots just because they were there before secularism was, is that we should actually acknowledge and respect our pagan roots. They were there first, after all.”
            But we should all have to believe and prove that our ancient pagan society offered more advantages in the realms of freedom, education, science, the arts, medicine and health and the internet wouldn’t we?
            What do you imagine would be the catalysts that would bring that pagan society somewhere in line with this society’s achievements Bob?
            We know for example, remote tribes that don’t come into prolonged contact with other advanced tribes keep on doing what they always did. They don’t change because there is no catalyst for change.
            Many countries in the world have been changed or modified by contact with nations whose cultures are more advanced. But without a clear understanding and appropriation of the catalyst(s) that inspired those advances,the changes will only ever be partial.

            Take for example the Arab Spring, and the desire for democracy and freedom.
            It couldn’t and didn’t happen, because Islam does not have the core values that allow for democracy to flourish.

            I like the bone necklace by the way… pass the woad would you Bob?

          • Bob

            I agree that Islam and democracy are currently incompatible, but religions change in response to the development of their host cultures. Islam will change too. It’s just a matter of time.

            Take the example of Christianity. A hundred years ago it was unthinkable that women could ever be priests. And then society changed, gave women the vote, admitted them to positions ot political influence, and the Church followed suit.

            The argument that Britain’s Christian roots deserve to be acknowledged because Christianity is somehow superior to other religions is only of value if the objective superiority of Christianity can be proven. A simple review of the injustices and atrocities perpetrated by the Church should be enough to refute that ridiculous idea.

          • dannybhoy

            Okay,Pagan Bob,
            Please tell us which religion is superior to Christianity and then explain why you aren’t living in a country that practices it, or at least why you aren’t extolling its virtues (from the comfort of your armchair in suburban Britain?)

            “..Christianity is somehow superior to other religions is only of value if the objective superiority of Christianity can be proven.”

            Again, look at the moral teachings of Christianity, at the person of Christ Jesus and His life and tell us where He is flawed, where He was hypocritical etc.. Then look at the influence of Biblical Christianity across the world and explain how something that is a lie or delusional can have so affected and inspired so many people down through the centuries.
            Bob.

          • Bob

            There is no religion superior to Christianity. All religions are equally inferior. In different ways, of course.

            The reason I’m not living in a country that practices a religion other than Christianity is that long, long time ago a crafty Roman emperor with a crowd control problem realised that the bleak little death cult preaching blind obedience to authority that was festering away in the lower income areas of his empire was the answer to every despot’s prayer. So he imposed Christianity on his people, who then imposed it on the rest of Europe, creating a continent-wide, authoritarian and self-sustaining religious dictatorship.

            Another (Holy) Roman emperor (well, his generals and army) beat back the only serious challenger to Christianity at the gates of Vienna, meaning that minarets never made it to Merton (well, not until quite recently at least) and that’s why the UK has Christian roots.

            All the “dude, my religion is objectively superior” crap is just the conventional bragging of the braindead sports fan who’s stoked his team is top of the championship league.

            Well, WAS top of the championship league. I hate to break this to you, but relegation is looming…

          • dannybhoy

            You totally failed to address my points, which doesn’t surprise me Bob.

            I’ll tell you something. I’m 70 this year. I’ve (gratefully) been a Christian for 48 of those years, and I’ve experienced ragging, rejection, ridicule and hostility.
            Not pleasant, but not too much of a problem.
            I actually prefer honest antagonism to constant questionings from people who have no intentions of searching for the truth.

          • Bob

            I addressed the only point that made sense: why does Britain have Christian roots? The rest of what you said is meaningless. Fictional messiahs are written to be perfect, and Christianity can only be condemned for slaughtering and persecuting its way across the world.

            If you’ve wasted nearly 50 years of your life believing in a myth, that’s a shame for you, but it could be worse. You could have spent 50 years hooked on narcotics. The net effect would have been about the same, but you’d be a lot worse off from a health and finance point of view.

          • dannybhoy

            “and Christianity can only be condemned for slaughtering and persecuting its way across the world.”

            That’s stoopid and inaccurate Pagan Bob.
            The Christianisation of Europe began with missionaries not armies.
            More details please and I’ll rubbish them too.

          • Bob

            You’ll rubbish every fact presented to you because you’re caught in the grip of a fantasy, so reality cannot be allowed to intrude.

          • dannybhoy

            No flies on you Bob.
            Eh?
            Seen right through me and exposed my fragile grip on reality!
            Sharp as a tack, Bob.
            Sharp as a tack.

          • Bob

            Glad you agree with me. Could this be the first crack in the protective walls of lies and fairy stories you’ve built around yourself in order to shut out the cold, hard light of reality?

            It makes no difference to me whether you acknowledge the real world or not. I don’t care if you feel you need to cower behind your god delusion. Indeed it may well be your only protection against losing your mind when faced by the utter indifference of the universe towards you, me and everything.

            No,I don’t object to the moral cowardice of Christians. If you want to snivel about the pointlessness of a universe without god and invent a big strong Daddy to make everything better, go right ahead. It’s your coping strategy, so knock yourself out.

            What I hate is when your inability to deal with things as they are causes you to invent reasons to persecute others. That’s when you cross the line from pitiable to contemptible. Taking out your existential angst on other people makes you nothing more than selfish bullies. And I don’t like bullies. They’re the lowest form of life.

          • Anton

            Eastern Orthodox Christians call it Pascha, not Easter, a word which comes from the Jewish springtime Passover festival at which Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. I prefer to call it Pascha for precisely the reasons you have given, although St Paul makes clear that Christians are not required to commemorate it (or anything else), at that time of year or any other. The mission strategy of taking over pagan festivals was advocated by Pope Gregory in a letter sent to his missionaries in England in the early 7th century (reproduced in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, book I, ch. 30), but it leads to syncretism.

            Jesus was born in a foreign nation but his message was for all, including you.

        • Anton

          I thought it was unwise of him to have such words uploaded to the internet in view of our heinous laws against free speech, but I am delighted that he has been acquitted.

    • Anton

      Great! Can anybody post a link?

    • Dreadnaught

      I too am glad to hear this news from a freedom of spech aspect .Now you would think that with this old chap’s example, the rest of the higher clergy would be ringing the bells and co-ordinating in building up the momentum. It won’t happen of course. It will be interesting also to me to see if the NSS and BHA have anything to offer too.

      • David

        Yes, fighting to protect freedom of speech is vital for a very broad spectrum of interests. In fact the spectrum is so broad that it can unite parties that are opposing contestants in other arenas.
        There was a moment, not long ago, when I feared that the establishment were determined to crush free speech. But now, happily, after a number of cases have been won by Christian Concern for the Nation (CCFN), it appears at the moment that my fears will not become the permanent reality.
        However the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, which someone said once, I remember not who. It is undoubtedly that the case that liberty, for nations, organisations and individuals will always have to be stoutly defended against the never ending, always changing forces of totalitarianism, which sometimes wears a deceptively friendly face !

  • cacheton

    ‘It is not that David Cameron doesn’t ‘do God’; he manifestly does and will doubtless continue to do so.’

    Many of us ‘do God’, but that does not mean we defend literal and spiritually uninformed interpretations of the book known as the ‘Bible’ which was written by humans living in a society very different to ours.

    • The Explorer

      “written by humans living in a society very different to ours.”
      Does that account for total authorship in your view, or do you allow a role for divine inspiration?

      • cacheton

        No more than there could be in any other book. 2000 years ago it may have been appropriate to use threats and other emotional manipulations to make society evolve, we’ve got past that now and people who still take these threats etc literally are keeping society back rather than moving it forwards.

        • The Explorer

          If there is no divine revelation, then I’d say there’s a case for scrapping the Bible, rather than trying to update it. The same goes for all the other holy books that hold back society (and what holy book doesn’t?)

          On the other hand, we have to first establish that there is, in fact, no divine revelation. Three issues occur to me.

          1. The Bible’s own claim to be God’s self-revelation. (And the evidence or otherwise for the Incarnation and Christ’s claims about himself as the fulfilment of prophecy.)

          2. Whether there is any inspiration in other holy books. (We know where the Qur’an got the idea from.)

          3. Homer and Virgil cite the Muse. Is there any sense in which they are inspired as well; although not holy books as such? Tolkien said that he prayed for help when writing ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Is that inspired in any way, given its Christian theme?

          • dannybhoy

            Spot on Explorer.
            That’s how I feel, and I think anyone who believes in objective truth has to take that line. Otherwise our faith is no more than a comfort blanket.
            I think there is a case for saying that whilst Christ Jesus is God’s ultimate revelation to man, those who for whatever reason don’t accept Biblical Christianity but are nevertheless genuine seekers after truth, will have some relationship to God.

          • cacheton

            ‘That’s how I feel, and I think anyone who believes in objective truth has to take that line.’

            Yes but then the next question for a true seeker would surely be ‘ WHY do I believe in objective truth?’

          • The Explorer

            If truth is not objective, does it exist?

            Take the stresses for the Comet. When the designers got it wrong first time round, the wings cracked. Comet II was okay after they rectified the error.

            You can say the stresses for wings are a matter of opinion and true for you, but Nature will not agree with you. Fly in a faulty plane – or choose a flying carpet, if that’s your truth – and good luck to you. Bye bye, Cacheton.

          • Anton

            Wings? I thought that the cracks propagated from the right angles of the square windows, and when round windows were installed the problem went away.

          • The Explorer

            Could be. The article I read said. wings. The point is that there was a problem that could be rectified. In one of Christ’s parables talents are given to three servants. In another it’s ten. Which is the correct version? Or is it what is done with the money rather than the number of servants the point of the story?

          • The Explorer

            Had a quick look at Wicki article. Metal fatigue was the problem. WIngs were thought originally to be the issue (I read the article years ago) because the wings came off on the second accident, but they were just part of a wider problem: later rectified as you describe.

          • Anton

            “A year after entering commercial service the Comets began suffering problems, with three of them breaking up during mid-flight… This was later found to be due to catastrophic metal fatigue in the airframes, not well understood at the time…. Design flaws, including dangerous stresses at the corners of the square windows and installation methodology, were ultimately identified.”

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

            Are we both right? Metal fatigue maybe, but any cracks have to start somewhere.

          • cacheton

            Yes. Inner truth exists. And there are certain reliabilities to the reality of being physical beings, like if you pour boiling water on your foot it will burn. Or if you do not adequately understand the stresses for the Comet, the wings will crack.

          • dannybhoy

            For all the reasons I and others have stated elsewhere, sir.
            Just because you do not accept the Christian arguments for the faith does not mean they are invalid or wrong. In fact if you did some research on the web you will find websites where atheists and agnostics or those of other faiths argue over Darwins’s theories and the latest evolutionary model, or abiogenesis.
            Here’s a link to a Jewish view…
            http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/A_Reasonable_Argument_for_Gods_Existence.html

          • cacheton

            ‘does not mean they are invalid or wrong’

            just unfounded and therefore not particularly useful in the search for truth.

          • dannybhoy

            You read it all?

            Here ladies and gentlemen, is the item that Cacheton in ‘his unbiased search for truth’ is rubbishing..

            “Two articles, based on my recently published book Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist, provoked a heated response from many non-believers who strongly disagreed with its contents. The first was an excerpt that appeared on Aish.com, and the second was an article written by Rabbi Adam Jacobs, managing director of Aish Hatorah, NYC, and columnist for the religion section of the Huffington Post, entitled “A Reasonable Argument for God’s Existence.” That blog elicited an avalanche of 8,000 “Liked this” postings to Facebook and 6,500 comments.”

            http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/A_Reasonable_Argument_for_Gods_Existence.html

            Then there’s this youtube debate..

            Philosophy, Science and the God Debate (Part 1) – Alister McGrath, Keith Ward and John Lennox

            This is not to say that these offer absolute proof that we Christians are right, only that there are other valid viewpoints.

            Here’s one I find fascinating..
            http://www.icr.org/article/complicated-cells-leave-no-room-for/

          • cacheton

            No I did not read it, I was answering your post (which is why I quoted what you yourself had written) not commenting on what someone else said. The internet is full of weird and wonderful things. If I find myself with a free day and the inclination to watch/read yet more God debates etc I will do so.

          • dannybhoy

            Well that’s a strange attitude for someone who talks about the search for truth…

          • sarky
          • The Explorer

            The Bible would agree. We are hard wired to co-operate because we all have conscience implanted in us. It’s why moral codes the world over tend to be the same. The Bible says the problem is not that we don’t know the codes; we do. The problem is that we follow them imperfectly because we are fallen.
            I would have thought survival of the fittest would have more of a problem with hard-wired altruism than Christianity does. Whatever ensures survival is right. If loving your neighbour will do it, love your neighbour. If killing your neighbour will do it, kill your neighbour. Whichever is appropriate for the situation.

          • cacheton

            1 – can be discounted straight away for what I hope are obvious reasons.
            2 – we would have to explore why some books are deemed ‘holy’ and others not.
            3 – the Muse. Now we are getting somewhere! Yes, they experience the Muse as a ‘higher’ (for want of a better word) presence that inspires them. There is however no guarantee that this ‘higherness’ (for want of a better word) will translate into physical reality in the form of a book or poem or piece of music or whatever, and then be recognised by people who read or listen as being ‘inspired’. Homer and Virgil have apparently been recognised over the ages by many people – great. As I see it the problem with the bible is that, only BECAUSE it is the bible, people try and get ‘meaning’ or ‘spiritual instruction’ out of it even if there may be none there. The importance is attached to the supposed ‘fact’ that it is divinely inspired, rather than the actual text of the book, the other way round to Homer and Virgil, and this produces many distortions – inevitably – and is now proving detrimental to society.

          • The Explorer

            Re No 1. No, I’m afraid they’re not obvious. Please explain why.

          • cacheton

            ‘The Bible’s own claim to be God’s self-revelation.
            (And the evidence or otherwise for the Incarnation and Christ’s claims about himself as the fulfilment of prophecy.)’

            Christ’s supposed claims and his Incarnation, even if true, are not evidence that what the bible claims is true. Anything can be written in any book Explorer – you know that!

  • cacheton

    Mr Nye adds: “Personal friends might have revealed to me that they are Christians but other people in government, central government departments, wouldn’t do that. They wouldn’t let it be known that they were Christians.”

    Actions speak louder than words!!! And Christians do not have a monopoly on Christ-like qualities, far from it.

    • The Explorer

      “And Christians do not have a monopoly on Christ-like qualities, far from it.”

      When Americans were asked in a survey if homosexuals were 3%, 23% or 40% of the population they opted for 23%. Though the MSM had not given them this figure in actual words, the media had given them this impression through ceaseless repetition, in the hope that reality would follow propaganda. (In the most recent US census, the number of self-identifying homosexuals was 1.6%: probably about half of the actual number.)

      If Christians do not have a monopoly of Christ-like qualities, it would be interesting to know what the relative proportions of Christ-like Christians and non-Christians are.

      I have encountered Christ-like heathens, and heathen Christians, but the majority of Christ-like people I have come across have, in fact, been Christians. A Barna survey of 2009 found that Christians were seven times more likely to give time or money to charity than were unbelievers. That WOULD give Christians a monopoly, and in my experience the Barna ratio is probably about right.

      If there are vile and cruel Christians, let us not forget the vile and cruel among the secularists, or exaggerate the number of secular saints along the lines of the survey about homosexuals.

      • cacheton

        Ah! But we would have to define Christ-like qualities first! I suppose that ‘real’ Christians may think they would be better placed to do that than someone like me ……. !! Because they would go by what it apparently says in the bible maybe …..

        • The Explorer

          You mentioned Christ-like qualities without defining them. Go ahead and we can continue from there. (Unless, of course, all opinions are equally valid: in which case the discussion would have to start further back as to whether or not some opinions can be right, and others wrong.)

          • cacheton

            I don’t think it is question of opinion, it is a question of relationship. If you are constantly consulting the bible to see what it says that Christ said or did, and then because you define yourself as a follower of Christ you say or do whatever you interpret the bible as saying, that is not relationship that is opinion. Some say that we do not have any other means of knowing, which indicates they do not have a relationship with Christ, all they have is opinions derived from their interpretations of the bible. This really is very sad, as this is often what Christians think is being Christ-like. Unfortunately they are two very different things.

          • The Explorer

            “I don’t think it is question of opinion.” That’s just your opinion. Who says you’re right?

          • cacheton

            Relationship does.

          • The Explorer

            In your opinion.

          • cacheton

            No, in my experience. Relationship transcends opinion – try finding intellectual arguments to explain why you are in love with someone as opposed to someone else.

          • The Explorer

            Quite so. The argument that everything is a matter of opinion is untrue if true, and so destroys itself.

          • cacheton

            No it’s on a different level. The relationship level is deeper than the intellectual opinion level. Relationships are states of being, opinions are built up intellectually from less-than-God-like states of being from which we have drawn some sort of conclusion, their origin can be traced, and the less-than-God-like states of being can be explored and healed.

      • sarky
        • The Explorer

          Interesting, but superficial. Money goes to the Church. The issue then is what the Church does with the money. Church hostels for the homeless (my church has one) have to be funded somehow. How do you suppose missionary hospitals are funded?

          If the money simply went to pay salaries, maintain buildings etc there would, I agree, be an issue. It’s a problem with many charities, where the CEO is on over £100, 000 and three quarters of what’s raised seems to go in admin costs. As some medieval German bishop said, the poor are a goldmine.

          • sarky

            I think the point its trying to make is that christians are compelled to give through tithes and offerings, whereas, atheists give of their own free will.
            If you take away this ‘forced’ giving then the figures don’t look as good for christians as some commentators would suggest.

          • The Explorer

            When I was an atheist, I did a couple of collections for secular charities. The paltry amounts donated were quite an eye opener.

          • sarky

            Depends on the charities.

          • The Explorer

            Quite true. I wasn’t trying to extrapolate a universal principle; simply making an observation. in passing.

  • Inspector General

    In case he’s not around in the next couple of days, the Inspector would like to wish all of Cranmer’s following a most happy, cheerful, sober and pork free Charlie Hebdo day on the 7th

    Remember chaps, there is no god but Allah. All praise to Allah. And Mohamed is his prophet. Peace be upon him. It might be worthwhile writing that down and keeping it about your person. It is the stuff of life so they say. You might get to keep yours by spouting it should you ever find yourself on your knees with a Kalashnikov pointing at your head. Assuming they give you the opportunity, that is…

    (Do try not to spend all of the day on your prayer mat with your arse in the air…there’s good fellows…)

    • Anton

      Going about with a copy of the Islamic shahada (declaration of faith) in your pocket in case you get held up by jihadists is not an option for Christians; see Matt 10:33. It might catch on with atheists though.

      The Islamic prayer attitude is taken from Christian practice of the early mediaeval Middle East. I’d sometimes prefer such reverence to the stuff that often goes on in modern worship.

      • Inspector General

        That’s good, as it may well replace ‘Dieu et mon droit’ in time…

        • Pubcrawler

          Not ‘Deus vult’?

    • David

      Just for your information, Inspector.
      The early Christians adopted that bums up prayer posture, I am told.
      Moreover I have seen Coptic Orthodox priests (but not laity) use it in rural Ethiopia, when approaching the sanctuary – shuffling along on their knees, for a short distance, with pauses to pray as described – interesting !

      • Inspector General

        May well be a racial trait, David. After all, this lot were worshipping the sun, moon, or whatever else their earlier superstitions called on them to prostrate themselves to…

        • sarky

          So did we??????

          • Inspector General

            We evolved. Not all of mankind evolves naturally. Some have to be led by the nose, and for others, even that doesn’t seem enough…

          • Shadrach Fire

            Did God evolve?

          • Inspector General

            Interesting question. As you might know, the Inspector is of the firm belief that the reason mankind exists at all is to provide entertainment and amusement to the Almighty. One goes further, and suggests that we may have been conceived as a disposable item, but that somewhere along the way, the doings of some of us so enthralled God that he made provision to salvage the souls of some. If that be the case, then yes, God has undergone a form of evolution…

    • Andre´Kristian

      By dint of Your rich forbearance, allow this loyal lackey to express his exuberance. Your comment is confoundedly entertaining, sir!
      It´s a delightful thought if we were given the charming opportunity to correct some of those kneeling, bearded boars by means of a good old hay-fork and with combined strength of our shoe-soles.
      One man fastens the neck of the prayer-ful delinquent with said fork, whilst the other aims a doughty kick at his unsightly buttock! (One may repeat this gesture.) Steel-clad boots for maximum efficiency, of course.
      Should we restrict ourselves to this commendable deed? Nay, sir! The next refreshing measure must be to hold a cigarette lighter next to his facial shrubbery. At least if the rotter refuses to make use of the offered razor. This should do the trick and beautify his appearance, if such a miracle is possible.
      After this reputable day-work, I would be enchanted to see You as my honourable guest at the nearest decent pub. Drinks on me.
      Cry havoc and clean out!
      Yours obediently, Andre´;)

      • Inspector General

        Andre. We must remember that muslims are our brothers in humanity. Retarded brothers, it is true, and held in the grip of a death cult, also true. But brothers they be. It falls to the white races who have provided so much of the world’s worthy civilisation and men’s rights to educate these wretches as best we can.

        There must be no persecution of them, even for wearing their ghastly straggly beards. It is they who persecute, not us. We dirty our hands if we go down their terrible route. Besides, let them be known and easily identified by their appearance. The devotees of this terrible faith.

        Instead, efforts should be made to arrange voluntary repatriation for those who find Europe not Islamic enough for their taste. These are the fellows who would strive to have more than they are already getting from the concessions made to these ill fitting people. By violence, sadly.

        So, with hope in our hearts let us continue to fight our corner, and failing a complete ban on low intellect coloured immigration, for it is not just the muslim who is more trouble than he’s worth, keep fighting until we pass on to let our younger types come to the fore. One desires that these words of wisdom from this old imperialist, the Inspector, finds a warm reception from you.

        • Andre´Kristian

          Leonine lord lieutenant,
          allow Your licentious lackey to forward his earnest estimation.
          My vision of a sound future, liberated and delivered from ill fitting adherents of alien creeds, is quite compatible with the ideal state according to the imperial, Irish Inspector.
          Very decent of You to pardon my blithe and jocular figment of the imagination, sir!
          Fair enough, as members of the superior race, we must consider a certain code of honour by exercising an irreproachable conduct.
          (I guess this knacky knight also has to forget about the two-handed sword, battle axe, mace and thorn apple, damn it 😉
          This drivelling squeamishness, performed by our respective petticoat governments, makes me infuriated. This mismanagement produced and directed by the effeminated dastards gathered around the fizzing, evil-smelling cauldron in Brussels, should be dispatched into eternity. Blasted hags and rotters! No sense of propriety.
          In concord and harmony
          Yours affectionately, Andre´
          HEARKEN! The saluting cannons in the distance, discharged to Your honour, sir!

          • Inspector General

            A most stirring reply, Andre. One suspected as much that you did indeed indulge with some playful musings on the subject of alien beards, but one has learned that our detractors will grab hold of such (the honest jovial, not the beards, unfortunately) and attempt to discredit us with them. Just shows the state of their socialistic desperation.

            One is further edified by todays BBC news: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed changes to make it easier to deport asylum-seekers who commit crimes, after the New Year’s Eve sex attacks on women in Cologne.”

            This is a most excellent state of affairs, and could perhaps mark the beginning of the resistance to Islamic ways and unfortunate customs. God the bless the no nonsense Germans. Now, all we need are our respective governments to act accordingly. There is hope there, as it is far easier to follow than to lead…

          • Andre´Kristian

            Renowned and revered,
            with matchless elegance crowned –
            Yes, I have read about this chancellor and her late attempts to curb convicted migrants by stricter rules, rules that should have been practised from the very beginning of this damned invasion.
            Woe worth the year of 2005, when I believe she made her famous enter as the first female chief. One can only hope that Merkel is also the last.
            Regarding our beloved UK, it takes men of YOUR calibre and glorious ambitions to steer England to prosperity. A complicated mission to find them amongst the numerous hordes of perfidious, procumbent politicians and reprehensible recreants.
            However, cudos and felicitations to UKIP, the one and only praiseworthy party, straightforwardly willing to prohibit this plaguy and noisome occupation.
            As an impromptu, allow me to share my own motto, worded thus:
            May each and every man know his duty and act according to that principle.
            In conclusion, since I don´t drink, to uphold a salubrious liquid equilibrium, please have a doughty dram on behalf of Your fervent lackey, my insuperable Inspector. Yah-yah!
            (I do hope You´re able to see beyond my linguistic errors and imperfections, sir. Mayhap my fair intention makes them pardonable 😉
            In perpetuity, under Your command,
            Andre´

          • Inspector General

            Indeed Andre. There is a suspicious pool of water on the Reichstag floor, and a rather red faced Merkel nearby…

            One must congratulate you on your amazing gift of expression, if he hasn’t already done so. Can’t say one has ever found it wielded to such a grand and thoroughly effective extent as you can manage. And you a Swedish fellow, to boot! To revive a memorable line from the film ‘Blazing Saddles’, you use your tongue better than a twenty dollar whore…

          • Andre´Kristian

            Joy-bearing tidings, my debonair enchanter!
            The Inspector is, in good sooth, my solace and he whets my aspiration. Rattling metaphor in the last sentence!
            Now, Your portly pencraft was immediately perceived, once upon a time, in the depraved and decadent fenny grounds of PN. Thereupon an auspicious arrow was forced through my cardiac region, notwithstanding the audacious archer himself was quite unconscious of the delightful incident. It´s too late and fatal to remove it and, alas, no antidote available.
            My baronial bachelor, Your collection of comments is a rich font of knowledge, out of which the incurious and not yet enlightened can explore an affluence of wisdom.
            (Your devastating s-appeal is an exquisite bonus 😉
            Andre´, with all of his 1,69 centimetres.
            “Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit.”

          • Inspector General

            Yes, “those were the days my friend, I thought they’d never end”, as the song goes. The Inspector was publishing under his nome de guerre, “Silly Old Bastard”.

            Alas, one was rumbled eventually, and they sent unpleasant viruses to the Inspectorate that wrecked his keyboard, and now requires him to copy and paste the question mark and the letter of the alphabet that comes after Y.

            Fellows have received gongs of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for a damn sight less, I can tell you…

          • Andre´Kristian

            God-fearing warrior,
            to attract Your invaluable attention is the greatest recognition that has befallen this old fox 😉
            Little Mary Hopkin, yes. Charming voice! Times have changed since then and not so much for the better.
            I venture to say that PN is a precarious pitfall for any respectable fellow to visit. I loathe this newspaper, its appalling articles promoting loose living and disorderly conduct, and I loathe its degenerated consumers.
            Please pardon my imaginary figment this devilishly late night, but wouldn´t it be a spiffing idea to plant a smacker on their rosy buttocks by dint of a red-hot waffle-iron?!
            (This cherished dream includes the lunatic lampooner named Bob, as a small token of our gratitude for his diabolic diatribes and priggish prancing on Cranmer.)
            To receive such a multitude of libellous filth must have been a trying ordeal for You, sir. A GRAND exploit to continuously be the master of those situations!
            Therefore, The Victoria Cross, awarded for valour in the face of the enemy, would be a consistent reward for the I G.
            Any frantic foe of the Inspectorate, is a foe of mine! We shall never prostrate before the populace!
            With true fervour in every line and in between,
            Andre´

          • Inspector General

            Victoria Cross is a bit over the top, Andre, but an OBE would be most fitting, for services to sane humanity, as the citation would read. One is most impressed that you recognise the “promoting loose living and disorderly conduct” that PN encourages and worships. These wretches cannot number more than a couple of thousand these days, as AIDS removed many of the worst from life itself.

            it will be 5 years since the Inspector came across Cranmer this year. Just about the only sensible blog on the world wide whatever. It warms a fellows things to know that you too are exposed to his wisdom.

            Anyway, that’s it for this thread. Do join in the current next time. One detects you have friends there who wish to interact with you, as does this man before you.

            Pip Pip!

  • Shadrach Fire

    Forgive my late intervention Your Grace but this a most important article. I feel there should be an unspoken expectancy that those who run this Christian Country should be Christian. It should go without saying that the rules/laws should automatically be tempered with Biblical precepts.
    It is those who do not proscribe to Godly ways that should be careful of revealing their hand.
    Topsy Turvy are we and it must be reversed.

    • Rhoda

      “this Christian Country” – when ? What do you mean by “christian country”?

      • Inspector General

        UK Census 2011. Believe it. It ain’t no poll..

        • Anton

          No wonder Muslims here think badly of Christianity!

      • Old Nick

        The public religion of England (regardless of individual’s private beliefs and practices) is that represented and practised by the Church of England. You may not like it, but that is a Fact about our Constitution.

        • Anton

          Does God define Christianity or does man?