Alien Christmas Nativity
Education

Surely Jesus would approve of 'Christmas with the Aliens'?

 

I distinctly remember my very first school Nativity play. Being a rather quiet and unassuming child, I was bypassed as the major roles were cast and left with the other also-rans. I ended up being given the ‘filler’ role of third shepherd.  As this was in the days before you could get nativity costumes off-the-peg from Amazon for £10.99, we had to make our own, and mine consisted of one of my father’s old shirts, a tea towel and a borrowed sheep.

When it came to the actual performance it was pretty simple: just sit around the side of the stage trying not to look too bored. All I remember, though, was sitting down cross-legged, realising that my shirt was not quite long enough. I spent the entire time trying to keep my highly unfashionable baby-blue Y-fronts covered up and out of the audience’s view. I still haven’t completely gotten over it.

School Nativity plays are part and parcel of this country’s cultural history. We all have our stories to tell, either of painful rejection or, for a select few, memories of glee having been handed the role of Mary or Joseph. Then there’s the amusing story of the angel who wet herself – such yarns keep the memories alive.

Those of us who are parents have the joys and heartache of living through this all over again through our children. As we sit watching them go through one of their key rites of passage, we know Christmas is almost upon us and that we will hold these precious moments in our mind’s eye and treasure them forever.

Times have moved on and, according to Netmums, only a third of primary schools do ‘proper’ nativities now, but given our emotional attachment to this traditional part of school life, it’s not surprising that 65 per cent of parents say they wished their children’s school staged one. Now, instead, nearly half of schools are giving us Christmas with the Aliens or various other adaptations featuring apparently random and bizarre characters making their way into the plot in the hope of meeting baby Jesus.

Is this the level our education system has sunk to, where the beginning of the greatest story ever told has been deemed too dull for modern audiences and in need of a serious makeover?

Well, having been to several of my own children’s Nativity performances, I can report that things aren’t as bad as they might seem – at least for some schools.

I’ve sat through the above mentioned Christmas with the Aliens, and it’s actually quite good. At our local school the youngest children have a traditional Nativity, but after that, to avoid repetition, embarrassment and boredom, they get a whole lot more interesting and complex. Christmas with the Aliens is a full-blown musical with extensive dialogue and, in our case, some really impressive props. We’ve also had other versions entitled Prickly Hay and A Midwife Crisis.

All of these have been written by a Christian company called Out of the Ark. Rather than watering down the Christmas story they actually do the opposite, explaining it all in quite a missional way as the characters seek to learn about the meaning behind the events they are witnessing. Sadly, these days a significant proportion of children have little understanding of any religion, including Christianity, and these plays do a great job of helping those with minimal knowledge both to understand the significance of the birth of Jesus and to grasp its relevance to us all right now. This sort of production is going to be infinitely more engaging for an eight- year-old Year 4 boy or girl than a stodgy and limp version of the ‘actual’ Nativity.

So, if the Netmums data is accurate, it looks as though most of our schools are still doing quite well. What is more concerning is the growing number of schools who are producing a multicultural mash-up, chucking in bits of different religions to appease everyone, but by doing so please nobody. Even worse are the secularist versions entitled ‘Winter Celebrations’ and so on, which suck out all references to Jesus leaving an empty, vacuous shell.

In my experience, the variation in quality and substance is mostly down to the beliefs of teachers.  In those primary schools that I know and have visited, there are surprisingly high numbers of Christian teachers whose faith and understanding of religion are the forces that keeps Nativity plays going. Where you don’t see that commitment, or even hostility, there’s a good chance you’ll be getting a less than satisfactory outcome.

There’s something slightly ironic about Ofsted’s recent push to tackle faith schools, making sure they promote ‘British values’ and picking them up on all sorts of indiscretions (some quite minor) and hammering their ratings accordingly. It’s ironic because it’s well known that in the past many schools have flouted the requirements relating to spiritual aspects of education, which they obliged by statute to provide. Schools are now being criticised not because they don’t have religious ministers coming in, but because those ministers don’t come from a wide enough range of religions. When, in the past, schools failed to invite such representatives to speak to students, Ofsted didn’t appear to be overly bothered, most likely giving a mild ticking off and demanding that they try harder, which would doubtless be reiterated when they paid their next visit, four or five years later.

If British values are supposed include an appreciation of our heritage, then school Nativities should surely be right at the top of the list. Schools that take the Christian element out of these – to the point where they are no longer recognisably Christian – aren’t demonstrating any respect toward Christianity, or to any other faith for that matter. It’s like saying that we’ll teach you the history of the British Isles but we won’t mention any kings, queens, prime ministers or national heroes. What is the point of that exactly? Secularism, which drives religion out of schools, not only deprives students of the full panorama of human experience; it is also fundamentally deceptive, if not dishonest.

In an interview yesterday at ConservativeHome, the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, was very happy to talk openly about her Christian faith. When asked whether Ofsted’s attempts to root out extremism in our schools might lead to the imposition of secular, politically-correct dogma, she replied: “Well there is always a danger, but as a Christian Secretary of State for Education, that is not what I want to see.”

Perhaps Nicky Morgan and Ofsted need to treat school Nativities as a sort of litmus test. They are still hugely popular with parents of all beliefs and none. They have a distinct role to play in teaching young children about the Christmas event and informing them about the origins (both pagan and Christian) of a cultural festival that is as popular now as ever it was.

If the school Nativity play is killed off, censored or suppressed over the coming years, it will not only represent the gross failure of our education system to promote the moral, social, cultural and spiritual development children need; it will also deprive millions of parents of the inexpressible joy of reminiscing about the time they laughed and cried with pride as the third shepherd tended his sheep.

  • dannybhoy

    “Being a rather quiet and unassuming child, I was bypassed as the major roles were cast and left with the other also-rans..”

    Snap! Me too. I was given the role of the innkeeper’s son tasked with opening the door to the tired and desperate travellers..
    I got to utter the immortal words, “Who is it?”
    Which first experience of treading the bards made me wot I am today…..

    • Jack attended a small school and had to perform several roles …….. ;o)

      • dannybhoy

        I can imagine that Jack. You were the pastry faced kid wiv a perpetual sniff.
        I bet.

        • Jack was many persons ….

          • dannybhoy

            Eponymous Jack was a hero of mine!
            Did you pick up on my joke or was it that bad? 🙂

          • Rolls eyes ….

          • dannybhoy

            🙂
            (sniggers softly into grubby palm…)

    • CliveM

      I had to hold a star on a stick, got bored and tried to balance it on my thumb……………….

      Never realy been into am/dram since!!

  • Albert

    The trouble with including aliens in the play is that it conveys a sense of unreality (quite apart from the fact that it prevents the proper story being heard).

    Why not just go the whole hog and include Father Christmas coming to visit the Baby Jesus? Dumbledore could turn up as well. That way the secularists can compromise belief in Jesus just as soon as a child ceases to believe in Father Christmas, works out that Harry Potter isn’t real etc.

    • SidneyDeane

      Indeed there is no good reason to differentiate any of those fictional characters. Is there, Albert?

      • Albert

        Indeed not, Father Christmas, Harry Potter and Dumbledore are all equally fictional characters and do not need to be differentiated.

    • carl jacobs

      Albert

      We never taught our kids about Santa for just that reason. Instead, we got a videotape … hey, it was long time ago… about St Nicholas. (A disturbingly Catholic videotape, iirc). Anyways, one day when my older daughter was about five, she was going through a check out line with her Mom when the cashier asked “What did Santa bring you for Christmas?” And my daughter said “Santa’s dead. He is in heaven with Jesus.”

      I was SO proud.

      • Albert

        Excellent – and I’m so proud that the Catholic Church was, in a small way, able to lend a hand!

      • Was that the year you bought her her very first taser?

    • dannybhoy

      This is for HJ Albert, but your comment provided the inspiration…

    • bluedog

      The trouble with introducing aliens into the play is that it raises the question of whether the aliens recognise Jesus as the Son of God.
      If Christianity is the truth, they must.

      • Albert

        Good point! They must recognize Jesus if they are rational beings. But they may not be of course. There’s an interest issue of natures though. The traditional view is that “what is unassumed [in the incarnation] is unhealed”. If alien nature is not assumed, is it healed? All very confusing.

    • Albert, there has been a tradition in our local parish that the children come to the Christmas Eve mass in costume and we have a little party for them afterwards. During the Mass they all sit round the crib. While 90 percent of them will be in costumes from the Nativity story, we always get a few “others” – I can remember the Grinch, the Gruffalo and Darth Vader one year. Our PP just smiles, gives his annual pointed talk about all being welcome at the birth of the Christ Child, eyes the zebra with floppy ears and comments about really interesting first century donkeys, and the Mass starts. I have never seen any sign that the children confuse reality and unreality as a result – they just enjoy it. As indeed they should.

      • Albert

        I think your PP has it right, however, I wonder what sign would be shown that the children are confusing reality and unreality? How are you measuring this?

        • Simple answer – one year the PP asked the children “How many of you would really have been at the Crib” – not a single hand went up. An eight year old said “We’re all too young”. When he finished laughing, he asked “How many of you are dressed as people who would have been there?” – the correctly costumed children raised their hands. He then said “How many of you would be welcome there?” Every hand went up. I think that shows a pretty good grasp of reality to me 🙂

          • Albert

            Very clever!

      • That’s not a tradition; it’s a local custom. One hopes your priest doesn’t wear a flashing red nose and antlers just so the children feel even more included.

        • tradition (n) –
          the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice (dictionary.com)

          Since this has been going over 30 years and some of the children now are offspring of those who were there when it started, I think it qualifies, HJ 🙂

          • One generation isn’t sufficient to constitute a tradition. Since it’s post-Vatican II, it doesn’t count anyway.

            And what about the red nose and antlers?

          • If he’s ever worn a red nose and antlers, HJ, I must have been at home with flu that year. But I have my doubts 🙂

          • Jack fears red noses might soon be mandatory ……..

  • James L

    Good post Gillan, cutting through lots of the knee-jerk outrage in the press. Also, let’s not forget that much of what we consider as the ‘traditional’ Nativity story is not a particularly accurate reflection of what the Gospels actually say (see Kenneth Bailey’s ‘Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes’).

  • IanCad

    A lovely post Gillan,
    No! Aliens have no place in such a traditional ritual.
    What was done with the sheep? Alive? Dead? Did you eat it? Ride it? Wear it?
    Health and Safety would not have approved.
    I’m sure The Inspector will suggest other roles for the sheep in a fully diversified/inclusive Nativity.

  • Busy Mum

    Even a traditional nativity play is questionable as to its holiness, but the modern ones are just plain irreverent, even blasphemous. They are gross distortions of the gospel records so do nothing to further the children’s understanding of Christianity. Quite the opposite in fact, because the children see the ‘Christmas story’ as just that- a story, something amusing, something to be toyed with, something to be played around with – whilst OFSTED insists that all other religions must be treated with the utmost respect. British children are being taught that the only religion they may laugh at with impunity is Christianity.

    Islam holds all the cards whilst it reveres its prophet to a greater extent than the Christian religion reveres Jesus.

    I refuse to join with nominal Christians in laughing Christendom into oblivion.

  • SidneyDeane

    “the greatest story ever told”
    Haha you cant be serious? It’s barely even a story. You really should open another book. There’s lots more out there you know.

    • carl jacobs

      Sidney

      Yet again a misrepresentation of secularism

      And every time you make this change you are told the same thing. You are equivocating on the word ‘secular.’ There is the secularism of the American Revolution and there is the secularism of the French Revolution. You preach the former and practice the later.

      • SidneyDeane

        If you care to give an example?
        (By ‘You’ i assume you mean secularists rather than me personally. I practice what I preach mate.)

        • carl jacobs

          Sidney

          You mean the difference between the place of religion in America in 1793 and the place of religion in France in 1793 isn’t example enough?

          • SidneyDeane

            I mean an example of how we “practice the later” (sic).

          • carl jacobs

            Sidney

            The French Revolution considered religion a malignancy to be expunged. The American Revolution considered religion a virtue to be harnessed. Now which attitude have you expressed on this weblog? In Post after post after post after post after post after post after post?

            Your concept of secularism intentionally drives religion out of the public square and into the margins. You are perfectly fine with religion so long as people keep it to themselves. But once people enter the public square, they must adopt a properly secular mindset which assumes that man is not subject to God. It amounts to an establishment of philosophical materialism. A man can believe what he likes in private. He can act as he likes in his own private world. But the beginning of his interaction with others is the required assumption of man’s sovereignty.

            That’s what people here mean when they refer to Secularism. But whenever that practical reality is pointed out, you run away from what you otherwise manifest and instead say “Secularism is a place of neutrality between religions.” You suddenly reject the French model of the materialist public square, and sound very much like a Founding Father.

            Your posts say otherwise.

          • SidneyDeane

            So you were talking about me when you said “You” and not secularists generally.
            So you also said that “I” preach the American model but practice the French. Now you’ve just said my post after post after post portrays the French.
            You don’t know me or what I do day to day so you’ve no idea what I practice at all. So let’s leave both me and the contradictions above to one side and instead examine secularists generally, which is more interesting.
            Can you give me an example of secularists adopting the type of secularism you disagree with. For example, when have secularists sought to remove religion from schools? Which school?

          • carl jacobs

            Sidney

            You don’t know me or what I do day to day so you’ve no idea what I practice at all.

            I know your posts, and your practices here. That is the subject, and so that is sufficient for purpose. Your posts are generally full of acid and contempt. As in…

            Haha you cant be serious? It’s barely even a story. You really should open another book. There’s lots more out there you know.

            You know just how condescending and insulting is that statement. You also know it is ignorant, but you don’t care. The intent was to insult. Are you seriously going to deny this?

            So you also said that “I” preach the American model but practice the French

            Again, are you seriously going to deny that you consider religion a malignancy best expunged? Will you tell the multitude here assembled – those who have also read what you have written – that you have not expressed this attitude in your posts? If I cared enough, I would dig up examples. As it stands I am confident enough in my assertion that I don’t think I need to do so.

            Can you give me an example of secularists adopting the type of secularism you disagree with.

            Sure. Why don’t you just review the many posts dealing with the intersection of culture and Christian morality on this weblog. We can start with Abortion if you like – and the establishment of specifically materialist notions about the nature of man as the only allowable basis of law.

            For example, when have secularists sought to remove religion from schools? Which school?

            Who said anything about removing religion from schools. The damn Bolsheviks didn’t “remove religion from schools.” What you demand is that in the school the truth claims of religion are judged according to the truth claims of irreligion. It’s not about curriculum. It’s about the worldview that determines the content of curriculum. That is the secular model that you demand.

            Do you know why there is a large Catholic School system in the US? Because when the public school system in the US was constructed in the 19th Century, it was overtly Protestant. This in secular America. The Catholic bishops understandably didn’t like it. This is what you won’t tolerate – that religion should be taught with public authority. You want religion denied by public authority.

            That’s the difference.

          • Both rebelled against rightful authority.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            We are legitimately sorry about the formation of Canada. It was an unintended consequence. At the time we were perhaps too focused on our own concerns. There was no intent to saddle the British Empire with Canadians . it just sort of… happened. It’s been 240 years. No point in still holding a grudge.

          • Offer Texas in reparation then.

          • carl jacobs

            You couldn’t handle Texas. We’ll give you NYC instead. And maybe the West Coast of California. And Massachusetts but only if you keep the Kennedys.

          • Texas can retain a degree of self government and we’ll permit representation. You stole it anyway. We just want a rightful share of the GDP and oil revenue. Jack would have suggested Montana as well but for its proximity to Wyoming.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, but Texas is Red state area, and only blue state territory is on offer. Really, NYC and Massachusetts are prime real estate. Plus they are already culturally European.

          • Reparation , Carl, not off-loading. Justice demands we get Texas.

          • carl jacobs

            What off-loading? They are both part of the original colonies to which England once held a tenuous if entirely dismissable claim. And the value received would be considerable. Certainly equivalent to the value of Canada.

            Besides. It’s for your own good that you don’t get Texas. You would end up a colony of your own colony within five years.

          • Carl.

            Before the “enlightenment” inspired colonial revolt, the territories being discussed were subject to the legitimate authority of King George III. Jack suspects the real reason for the deistic “secularist” constitution was to serve as cover for clear scriptural teaching making this indisputable. No self respecting, bible believing, sola scriptura, (catches breath) Protestant could dispute this. Solution? Make the constitution and the bill of rights humanist and deist and avoid the issue. Brilliant move and all part of and driven by the agenda of the Illuminate.

            And this is not about monetary value. Such thinking! So typically representative of the amoral ‘balance-sheet’ outlook of the modern capitalist mind-set. No. This is about Justice. This demands punishment and pain. The crime against the King contributed to his declining ill health. A fact hidden by the Illuminati and not too widely known. Surrendering Texas falls way short of the restitution demanded by Justice but Britain understands Mercy and Forgiveness, being more Catholic in outlook.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            The psychic pain of losing NYC and Massachusetts would be extraordinary. Far more severe than losing Texas. Trust me on this. I wouldn’t lie.

          • Once Texas is bedded into its new role, we’ll tackle NYC and Massachusetts.

          • carl jacobs

            The pain of losing all three would be too much to bear. You’ll have to be content with NYC and Massachusetts.

          • This is sheer intransigence! It will have to be settled before a higher authority. The UN or the Pope? Jack will let you choose.

          • carl jacobs

            Well, we own the UN so… I think we will choose the UN and simply veto this whole idea of Texas.

          • You cannot veto a UN resolution, Carl. Honour demands you comply. Put the past right and accept the decision. Have you no shame?

          • carl jacobs

            Hey, you were the one imprudent enough to toss the question to the UN. Don’t go blaming us for you lack of foresight. Now that Texas is off the table, can we get around to discussing when you will take possession of NYC? Preferably before the next Presidential election.

          • So, its off to the Vatican then.

          • carl jacobs

            Unfortunately… We don’t recognize the Vatican as a legitimate authority. Church and state and all that. And you have already bound yourself to the UNs decision. You can’t change after the fact just because you don’t like the decision.

          • The UN have made no decision. Besides, you indicated you “owned” said organisation and would veto any unfavourable outcome. Jack is willing to compromise on the international body. How about the Russian Orthodox Church?

          • carl jacobs

            You don’t seem to understand, Jack. The issue has already been committed to the UN. It can’t be withdrawn. Besides, I rather like the decision being in the hands of the UN. It seems the appropriate authority capable of rendering the appropriate decision.

            Don’t you think?

            Since the US has a veto, there certainly will be no binding UN decision requiring the US to give up Texas. So for purposes of this discussion, the decision is already made. So can we please now discuss the transfer of NYC to British sovereignty? Nov 2016 is less than two years away.

            Wait. Did I really just use the phrase ‘binding UN decision’ in a sentence? Has anyone actually ever used that phrase before?

          • A one word response, if you please, Carl.

            You, on behalf of America, will hand over NYC and Massachusetts as reparation for the unlawful rebellion of the American colonies?

          • carl jacobs

            Unlawful rebellion? No. This is about the damage caused by the inadvertent creation of Canada.

          • Go back and reconsider the situation.
            There was a lawful authority with whom you may have had just cause to complain against and seek concessions. But to take up arms?! This was ungodly behaviour and most certainly unbiblical. You were no better than the French. Canada merely demonstrates evil beget greater evil. It’s the way these things work. Your nation was founded on a crime against King George III and legitimate authority. This wrong must be set right in the name of Justice. Until then, there will be no peace in your land.
            (The so called “constitution” and ungodly “bill of rights”, put in place to hide this crime, we’ll tackle later.)

          • William Lewis

            Jack, sterling negotiations with Carl re reparations, but between you and me I think we are going to have to take his offer of NYC and Massachusetts. You see we are going to have a hell of a job getting Texas out of the Caribbean sea, whereas NYC and Massachusetts should come out nicely and just float back across the North Atlantic. Also, I’m not sure where we would put Texas but NYC could probably replace the Isle of Man, I understand it has quite a strong finance industry, and we could probably donate Massachusetts to Ireland as an apology for past indiscretions. They are half Irish anyway and it would be quite amusing seeing them wonder why they emigrated in the first place. Obviously anything on the eastern seaboard is worth a shot. Florida has a nice climate, but it might be a bit unseemly having that sticking out into the Atlantic. Just my twopence worth.

          • It’s in the hands of Rome now, William.

          • William Lewis

            Yikes

          • Well get Texas – Jack has contacts.

          • William Lewis

            True enough Jack but only one lot decided to engage in the barbaric practice of throwing away perfectly good tea!

    • Pubcrawler

      ‘ there’s no reason why the nativity play should be the jesus birth story.’

      Well, there’s a clue in the word ‘nativity’.

      • saintmark

        Maybe he meant naivety play

    • dannybhoy

      Oooooh you’re so cross Sidney!
      Why? If you dislike Christianity so much (and incidentally get treated kindly and patiently) WHY be so grumpy?
      I comment on lots of sites, but don’t feel the need to insult or denigrate secularists or atheists..

      • SidneyDeane

        Eh?

      • CliveM

        I’ve been rude to him, but he had just been particularly offensive!

        • dannybhoy

          You’re a nice man Clive.
          A very nice man…

          • CliveM

            I am well aware of my failings.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, I ain’t and you don’t need to share them with me Bro!

          • CliveM

            Eh????!!!!!!

          • dannybhoy

            Well, I said you’re a nice man
            (a very nice man)
            which you followed up by saying you were well aware of your faults.
            and I said I don’t I don’t need to know them
            In case you were gearing up for a confession…)

          • CliveM

            Dannybhoy

            Rest easy. You notice I don’t have one of those “silly monikers” that Bish Alan Wilson gets so het up aboot!!

            I’m confesin nuffin!!

          • dannybhoy

            Who is this Bishop Alan Wilson anyway?
            I’m glad you’re staying quiet. (Public) confession is not always good for the soul my friend.

          • “Who is this Bishop Alan Wilson anyway?”

            A very good question. Jack suspects ‘he’ is a self-created moniker used to cover identity and to express its authors shadow side.

          • dannybhoy

            “its author’s shallow side??”

          • Clive will explain. Happy Jack is too busy negotiation reparation for the American Revolt.

  • carl jacobs

    When, in the past, schools failed to invite such representatives to speak to students, Ofsted didn’t appear to be overly bothered

    It makes no difference whether religion is delegitimized by being ignored, or delegitimized by being leveled into a collection of man-made constructs. The objective is to teach that God and Santa Claus have the same ontology. We have pronounced, declared, defined, and affirmed that the essence of man is freedom, and God is an unacceptable imposition on that essence of man. So either way works. It must eventually produce a desperate poverty as men increasingly find nothing to live for but their own desire.

    The West has become the Prodigal. The pockets still bulge with inheritance, but not quite so much as before. And the women are still plentiful in not so enticing. And the self-indulgence still pleases if perhaps the delight is gone. But we would not live in our Fathers House. We would make our own way in the world.

    And the famine is still to hit the land.

  • Busy Mum

    “This sort of production is going to be infinitely more engaging for an eight- year-old Year 4 boy or girl than a stodgy and limp version of the ‘actual’ Nativity.”

    Well, yes, of course it would be much easier than telling eight-year-olds that this baby was going to be called ‘Jesus, because He was going to save His people from their sins’. The word ‘sin’ in a primary school would not be stodgy and limp; it would be a ground-breaking, earth-shattering and revolutionary return to what Christianity is actually all about. The downside might be a ticking-off from OFSTED, if not the sack, for having subjected said eight-year-olds to emotional trauma and damaging their ‘self-esteem’ and reducing their ‘sense of self-worth’.

    • Uncle Brian

      What would be the reaction if they staged a Passion Play in Holy Week?

      • CliveM

        I would love that to happen. That is such a good idea.

      • Busy Mum

        My experience of Easter in schools is that C of E schools focus on the Resurrection (less discussion of why Christ died = still no need to bring up the ‘sin’ word) and that secular schools focus on the murderous behaviour of the Jews in order to stoke anti-Semitism.

        • Uncle Brian

          There are places here in Brazil where they still stage open-air passion plays every year in Holy Week, a tradition imported from medieval Portugal that never died out. The usual programme, I believe, is a dozen or so episodes beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with the Resurrection. Now that you mention it, I have an idea that sin and atonement don’t get much of a look in. The emphasis is more on the spectacle, the noise and violence: the crowd scenes, the scourging, the
          nailing to the Cross, and Judas hanging himself. A friend of mine told me he took part in one several years running, when he was younger. I must ask him about it!

  • Happy Jack wanted to be Joseph in his school’s nativity play. When they gave him the role of Innkeeper he objected but they ignored him. During the play, when Mary and Joseph knocked on the door and asked if he had a room for them, Jack smiled and said, “Yes, sure. Lots of room. Come on in!”

    Jack enjoys nativity plays. They should stay as true to the biblical narrative as possible. A certain artistic licence permits donkeys and cattle – not aliens.

    • Linus

      Adult character really is laid down in early childhood, isn’t it?

      One would have thought your teachers might have identified this propensity to dig your heels in and take a stand against the prevailing wind, and given you a role where you couldn’t cause too much mayhem. Third lobster, maybe. Or confused noise without…

      • It sure is, Linus, and other qualities, predispositions and orientations too. That’s why children have a right to a mother and a father, who remain together throughout their lives, and why a clear, moral framework is necessary. One can recover in later life but it is fraught with difficulty.

        • Linus

          Good parenting is very important, I agree. But good parenting can be given by any combination of parents, or even by one parent alone.

          I’ve known plenty of heterosexual parents whose children turn out to be perfect disasters. Just as I’ve known plenty of same-sex parents and single parents who’ve raised well-adjusted, happy children. It’s all about individual parents and the work they put in.

          I suspect you were probably raised in another time when labels and archetypes played an important role in defining who you were and could expect to be. But the world doesn’t work that way any more, at least not nearly as much as it used to.

          I won’t tell you to “get with the program” because your character is clearly defined by refusing to get with it and I can’t tell you to be who you’re not. But as much as you rant and rail, the program won’t change. Some children will grow up in a home with a mother and father. Some will not. Some will be rich. Some will be poor. All will have the chance to do something worthwhile with their lives.

          • Jack rarely “rants and rails” and “the program” is the same as it’s always been.

          • dannybhoy

            Linus,
            Trust me.
            You can’t have same sex parents.
            It’s a biological impossibility.
            Same sex carers yes.
            Parents No.

          • Linus

            Anyone who provides parental care can be considered a parent. That’s why we call those who adopt a child its “parents”.

            Same sex biological parenting is not yet possible, but it soon will be. Advances in reproductive technology mean that it will soon be possible to combine DNA from any two gametes. What value then your arguments about the difference between parenting and caring? And what value your assertion that reproduction alone maketh a marriage?

          • Selfish love of self leading to procreation – the natural hedonistic end point of same sex relationships.

            One ought to be able to marry oneself, promise never to leave yourself, to stick by oneself through thick and thin, not to cheat on oneself with a second party, and to promise to acquire an artificial womb for when the time feels right to recreate oneself.

          • William Lewis

            Good parenting takes love, time and devotion. That’s why the biological parents are the best bet. They have “skin in the game”. Homosexual and single parents are missing a mother or father and are suboptimal. If you had ever been a heterosexual parent you would know about gender differences and how they affect parenting.

          • Linus

            One person’s “suboptimal” is another person’s “challenge” and yet another’s “opportunity”.

            Life is by its very nature suboptimal. You don’t get to choose the perfect parents … and parents who may be perfect for one child may well be suboptimal for another.

            Children generally cope with whatever you throw at them. They can thrive in all sorts of situations that some may judge to be “suboptimal”. They all have to live with the choices made by their parents, carers or guardians, which will not necessarily or even routinely be better choices just because they’re made by a heterosexual couple.

            Stupid, feckless and irresponsible straight couples bring children into the world every day and raise them in suboptimal ways. The ability to produce a child doesn’t make you a good parent. So this idea that children are always better off with their biological parents is clearly false.

            What produces the best outcomes for children is loving, caring and responsible parenting regardless of gender.

          • William Lewis

            You seem to be hedging your bets there. First you claim that a suboptimal environment can be viewed as a challenging opportunity, but who are you to impose that “challenge” on other people’s children? Then you claim that the gender of the parents is irrelevant to an optimal environment for raising children, which is ideological rubbish. The evidence of the psychological, emotional and developmental problems caused by absent father or mother figures is clear for those with eyes to see.

            and this:

            “…So this idea that children are always better off with their biological parents is clearly false.

            is a straw man.

  • Meanwhile, in a town near you, the Bishop of Buckingham (who has a book to sell), helped by Canon Rosie Harper, has penned a modern, reconstructed play based on new research.

    In one scene, elderly residents of Bethlehem are being assisted to end their lives with dignity, surrounded by friends and neighbours in the midst of an early Christmas party. Volunteers are being sought for these parts to add authenticity. This creates more rooms for unexpected, pregnant travellers and free bed and board is being offered to immigrants from Egypt drawn to the town because of employment prospects and generous benefits. In another scene, fairies are included so that everyone can dress up and be “fabulous” and express their true gender identities. Traditional costumes are so boring and reflect the sexist and misogynistic values of the times.

    In further efforts to compensate for the patriarchal prejudices of the original script, so constrained by the culture of early agrarian society, all roles are being reviewed to ensure they offer equal opportunities for boys, girls, the transgendered, transsexuals, the confused and those yet to choose.

    (Happy Jack’s Shadow Self)

    • Linus

      Sounds like a fun night out. Can I buy tickets online?

      • Applications through Face Book. Why limit your expectations, Linus? Jack suggests you go one better and ask for a part in the play.

        • Linus

          Good idea. I could interpret the role of Joseph as a gay man contracting a mixed orientation marriage with a pregnant single mother-to-be in order to hide his orientation and avoid homophobic violence.

          The range of emotions to express would be a great challenge. Relief at finally acquiring a beard. Revulsion and anger at the necessity of having to acquire one in the first place. Amused if slightly irritated toleration of the beard’s religious mania and her “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” approach to her pregnancy…

          Hmmm, there might be something in this. If the bish would like to contact me to discuss scripts and his vision as director, I’d be only too happy to speak to him.

          • Linus more humility, please. Alan, as he likes to be known, is very busy what with award presentations to attend and the like.

            Besides, Jack suggests a less active part. A clue. The song for you in the scene an updated version of “My Way” The final selection does however, rest with the producer and director.

          • dannybhoy

            “Good idea. I could interpret the role of Joseph as a gay man contracting
            a mixed orientation marriage with a pregnant single mother-to-be in
            order to hide his orientation and avoid homophobic violence.”
            ‘Cept it wouldn’t be true Linus, and I have never heard of ANY true Christian of ANY denomination threaten violence to a homosexual man or woman.

            It’s against our faith and your rights.
            Now some others might pelt you with rather large stones to see how much blood they could draw, but they definitely wouldn’t be Christians

          • Linus

            So who gets to define what “Christian” means? You? Who made you the supreme arbiter in these matters?

          • dannybhoy

            Linus.
            Well if it can’t be me who accepts the promise of new birth
            and redemption, and the basic tenets of what it means to be a Christian as taught down through the centuries, howsabout you get HJ’s take?
            My fear for you is that you are so adamant that this can’t be known, you may find that God will grant you your wish and it won’t be known
            Even in my own pre Christian days I didn’t believe in mocking or testing God.

          • Linus

            Absolutely not! I am not adamant that the truth of Christianity CAN’T be known, only that nobody has ever presented me with convincing evidence that it is. I judge not on the basis that Christianity CAN’T be true, but rather on the basis that those who are telling me it is true have no evidence for this other than personal opinion.

            Put it this way: if the Bible contained another book (let’s call it the Book of ET) that talked about a planet called Zog and its blue and purple striped sky, you would probably believe such a place existed merely because it said so in your holy book. I however would neither believe in it, nor not believe in it, in the sense that I would have to admit that a planet called Zog with a blue and purple striped sky MIGHT exist somewhere, but the mere mention of it in a book would not be evidence enough for its actual existence. Zog would be a hypothetical planet rather than a real one. At least until we could locate it, send a probe to it and start receiving data that backed up the biblical description of it.

            To me God and Zog are both hypothetical constructs. I can judge the likelihood of their existence based on my own knowledge of the universe around me and compute that according to currently available data, there’s very little chance they actually do exist. But I can’t discount their existence entirely. Not yet, at least.

            And as for testing God, I don’t think it’s possible to test a hypothetical construct. I can test and pass comment on your opinion of what God might be like if he actually exists, but as we have no way of knowing whether he does, I can never test and pass comment on God himself. God, if he exists, is beyond our knowledge and therefore beyond our criticism. If I seem to criticize God, what I’m actually criticizing is your description of him.

          • Linus, if God exists, hypothetically speaking, what do you imagine He might be like?

          • dannybhoy

            whaddya mean, ‘He’?

          • Oooops ……….

          • dannybhoy

            That’s a good question HJ
            I already thought of that, but decided you could do the honours….. 😉

          • Linus

            Supposing the first cause to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining has no logical basis at all. If something created our universe

          • Martin

            Linus

            You know the God of the Bible exists, He gave you that knowledge when He created you. You’re request for ‘convincing evidence’ is simply dishonest as whatever we presented you’d still say was insufficient. As Jesus points out in the parable of the rich man & Lazarus:

            “And he said, Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers —so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment. But Abraham said, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them. And he said, No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent. He said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead. (Luke 17:27-31 [ESV])

          • Linus

            Religion as a circular and self-fulfilling prophecy is probably the most mindless and contemptible misuse of intelligence there is.

          • Martin

            Linus

            Except for your religion of self worship, of course.

            As I said, you already know God exists, a knowledge that is more persuasive than any further evidence could be. Your calling religion mindless is merely your conceit.

          • Linus

            Loving all the fruits of the Spirit I’m seeing in your responses. By which I mean precisely none.

            Keep up the good work! Your petulant and accusatory comments illustrate much better than I can the poison that fuels religion.

          • Martin

            Linus

            For a start, it’s an act of love to tell you of your failure. You really need to see how your mind has been poisoned by your rebellion against God. If you don’t know how far you’ve fallen you can’t seek the only remedy available.

          • Linus, if you accept big bang cosmology and molecules to man evolution, then you accept the premise of an uncreated first cause too. Just that yours is mindless.

          • Linus

            In a universe with an apparently linear temporal dimension, I accept the notion of a first moment in time. What that first moment correlates to, we commonly call the Big Bang, although that’s just a pop science name that doesn’t necessarily describe what actually happened.

            Truth is we don’t know what happened. It’s beyond the realm of our knowledge, for now at least. We can speculate, but until we gather evidence to support those speculations, they remain mere speculations.

            Mindless or mindful, the first cause is unknown. Calling it God and creating a fanciful mythology around it just fills the void with comforting stories.

          • Linus, an infinity of creators is logically impossibility. We just would not be here if there was an endless succession of creators stretching back indefinitely. Use your intelligence. There must be a First Cause. What would this Being be like? Why would this Supreme Being create the universe? Why you?

          • Linus

            I don’t think I ever talked about an infinity of creators. But there’s nothing to suggest that the creator of our universe, if such a being exists, wasn’t himself created. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a succession of creators, which could number from one to who knows how many millions. Perhaps every sentient life form, if there have ever been any other sentient life forms, has developed to a point where it creates another universe. Perhaps we’ll do the same one day. Or perhaps not.

            The point is: we don’t know. So saying that we have a creator and that he is uncreated is stepping outside our zone of knowledge into the realms of supposition and, quite frankly, pure fiction. We just do not know.

          • One can use reason and logic, Linus. A succession of creators would still need a First Cause. Man would have to use existing matter so science can never create something from nothing; nothing can come nothing. Where did this something from? And logically, you cannot have infinite regress or we’d never be here.

          • Linus

            But I never talked about infinite regress. That’s a red herring you’ve introduced. It has nothing to do with my argument.

            Our first cause may be another created being or beings. If that’s the case then of course they must have a first cause, but that too could be a created being or beings. There could be several iterations of created universe out there, of which we are just the most recent. Or maybe we’re the first and only universe to exist.

            And who knows, perhaps there are aliens somewhere in this universe who’ve already created a sub-universe, so perhaps we’re not even the most recent iteration of creation.

            The point is: we don’t know. So it’s pointless to speculate.

            As to the first cause of the very first universe, will we ever know what that was? We could be so far removed from it that our chances of finding out what it was are non-existent. We can make up stories about that first cause and tell ourselves they’re the truth, but just like the origin myths of various nation states, we’ll be fooling ourselves. Englishmen who think their kingdom was founded by King Arthur or Japanese who claim their emperor is descended from the sun goddess have substituted fiction for historical fact. We don’t have to know what the first cause was to know that we’re here now. Which is all that matters really.

          • “We don’t have to know what the first cause was to know that we’re here now. Which is all that matters really.”

            That all rather depends on why the First Cause created us, wouldn’t you say? And also whether this Being, through nature and through revelation, has communicated these reasons and intentions to us. Jack agrees we can’t ‘know’ in the positivist, scientific sense of being able to run experiments and demonstrate materially the existence of a Creator. However, it stands to reason such a Being exists and always has.

            “We could be so far removed from it that our chances of finding out what it was are non-existent.”
            Depends what you mean by “find out”. On our own we are incapable of this. Science cannot go beyond time, space and material. Jack would say your wild theories are all less likely than the more simple explanation.

          • Linus

            You’re assuming that the first cause is sentient and all-powerful and that it has a plan that includes us.

            I wouldn’t call that a “simple explanation”. In fact I’d call it just about the most involved and complex explanation possible.

            Wild theories of supernatural beings who exist outside of space and time and whose existence cannot be proven must forever remain wild theories precisely because they can never be proven.

          • William Lewis

            I’d have thought that the level of ordered complexity of this universe strongly suggests a mind being the first cause. And seeing as you don’t have any other hypothesis for a first cause, just an “I don’t know”, you don’t appear to have much to offer in the debate.

          • Linus

            An admission of ignorance is always better than a fantasy deity dreamed up in your own mind, with some help from the Church and Michelangelo Buonarroti, of course.

            In any case there can be no debate about the first cause because none of us has the first idea what it might be. You can contribute whatever dreams and fantasies your imagination can come up with, but at the end of the day they’re just your flights of fancy.

          • William Lewis

            “In any case there can be no debate about the first cause because none of us has the first idea what it might be.”

            Speak for yourself. Don’t go dragging me into your wilful ignorance.

          • Linus

            So you know all about the first cause, eh? Did the knowledge come to you in a dream or perhaps you think that what’s written in the Bible is more than just a collection of ancient myths and superstitions?

            Either way, what you consider to be “knowledge”, I consider to be suppositions, stories and folk tales.

            You’re perfectly at liberty to believe what you will, of course. But just because you believe it doesn’t make it true. And simply claiming it to be true without offering any coherent explanations beyond “it says so in the Bible” just reinforces the image Christians as dogmatic and willfully ignorant.

          • DanJ0

            Christianity has a slight advantage over (say) Islam because its adherents claim they come to know their god experientially through the notion of the Holy Spirit. Not that this knowing seems to impart common knowledge, or necessarily comes through a shared experience, or seems to resolve doctrinal differences, or stopped them killing each other during the internecine religious wars, but hey.

          • William Lewis

            There are many spirits Danj0 and it is possible to be deceived. Also Christians are hypocrites in transition – we sin all the time. Then there are the sometimes contradictory (doctrinal, violent, ritualised) demands of religion … Personally I know there is a creator God. I see Him in action through the Spirit of His Son and my experience tallies with descriptions in the Bible. And I have heard many other reports, past and present, that tally with my experience. The evidence is clear, as far as I am concerned.

          • DanJ0

            I note that you’ve written that as a subjective statement, which I think is a necessary thing for peaceful co-existence with others. I wish more people wrote about their beliefs in that way, even though the content of their beliefs has universal scope. But anyway, back to the point, we’re not talking about outliers here. The significant denominational differences within Christianity say something important about the quality of this knowledge and personal experience of god. It appears to be a sort of gnosticism without meaningful gnostic knowledge. Obviously from the outside where I’m standing, it looks like a self-induced state of mind thing based on prior expectation. The Beatles went through a phase of that, I believe. But if your actions are benign then who’s to complain really?

          • William Lewis

            “I note that you’ve written that as a subjective statement, which I think is a necessary thing for peaceful co-existence with others.”

            Well, I think we all extrapolate the subjective into the objective, but I agree that an awareness of that is helpful for rubbing along together.

            “The significant denominational differences within Christianity say something important about the quality of this knowledge and personal experience of god.”

            I am not sure that there are significant denominational differences between those who follow the Way of Christ. Although there are, of course, insignificant ones. Unfortunately, there are religious overhangs which often get in the way and can lead to this:

            It appears to be a sort of gnosticism without meaningful gnostic knowledge.”

            which should be a great source of regret for all concerned. Having said that, I have seen that the apparent lack of “gnostic knowledge” starts to fall away as soon as people take a step of faith (credo ut intelligam). It all seems a bit arse-about-face, but God’s ways are not our ways apparently.

            “Obviously from the outside where I’m standing, it looks like a self-induced state of mind thing based on prior expectation. The Beatles went through a phase of that, I believe.”

            That’s probably because you have a prior that negates the spiritual. The Beatles may well have had spiritual experiences but, as I said, there are other spirits.

            “But if your actions are benign then who’s to complain really?”

            Well, the truth is important too I think.

          • Linus

            And you call this an advantage?

            A religion that admits the possibility of personal revelation is bound to decay into hundreds if not thousands of sects and subgroups as various individuals claim a unique insight into the nature of God. They’re like a crowd of fractious children all shouting “I’m right and you’re wrong! No, I’m right and you’re wrong! No, you’re all wrong and I’m right!!!” And the tantrums when they realize that others disagree with them!

            Still, from a secular point of view, all this disagreement is highly satisfactory. Imagine the power Christianity might wield if it hadn’t decayed away from the imposed, centralized model of the medieval Church into the warring remnants that subsist today. It would be like Islam in its single-minded stranglehold over society, although in saying that, even Islam has divisions and disagreements, which hopefully are the first signs of its eventual decay too. Clearly they have a way to go before they plumb the depths of Christian disunity, but the signs are there for all to see and they’re very encouraging.

            It’s like these big monotheistic religions are tidal phenomena that wash over the landscape carrying all before them and then slowly drain away leaving isolated pools behind to slowly evaporate in the sun. Let’s hope the fish stranded in those pools develop lungs and the ability to walk on dry land before their habitat dries up and they choke in the mud.

          • dannybhoy

            Well
            I reckon you can die happy then Linus.
            You’ve convinced yourself to your satisfaction that there is no answer, so off you go!
            Spread the good news and may God bless you.

          • dannybhoy

            Linus,
            So in essence you don’t believe in the Christian understanding of God (to believe in anything “Zog like” would be stupid because Christians also believe in true science)

            You don’t say whether you have sincerely prayed and asked God if He exists and if He would reveal His existence to you..

            You present as a rather petulant child who doesn’t know what he wants, but is going to scream and shout until he gets it…. 🙂

            Maybe you just need attention Linus?

          • Linus

            Judge Christianity by the quality of the arguments used to defend it. When logic and common sense paint Christians into a corner, they always resort to ad hominem attacks. It’s really quite pitiful!

          • God has plainly revealed himself through the creation and through his Christ, but as we read in John 3, men choose to reject the evidence and they ‘choose darkness rather than light.’ You can call this ‘logic and common sense’ if you like, God calls it rebellion.

            Your choice, your consequences.

          • Linus

            Maybe Allah has revealed himself through creation and Mohammed. Or maybe Vishnu has revealed himself through creation and the Vedas. Or maybe Amaterasu and the 8 million kami have revealed themselves through creation and the person of the emperor of Japan. Or maybe none of the above, including God, have revealed themselves in any way and what you call creation is due to entirely godless phenomena.

            You can only believe that creation is proof of God if you accept it as dogmatic and unsupported fact. And that’s a free choice on your part. It’s what adults say to mask their inner child’s shriek of “I’m right and you’re wrong and if you don’t shut up I’ll hit you!” God is really your fist by proxy, isn’t he?

          • dannybhoy

            Linus
            you were on here a week or so ago throwing out all sorts of questions and objections. People including myself tried to answer, to be helpful, but you ended by saying that you weren’t convinced, that the arguments were not convincing, and that Christians always fell back on some sort of get out clause. (I haven’t got the exact quote to hand, so forgive inaccuracies)
            Now you’re back again picking holes, making fun of the Nativety etc. etc.
            Are you hoping that people will tell you to go away so that you can then say that Christians rejected you?
            Or they have no answers, but for some strange reason you want to come back and continue throwing insults.
            Logically one would consider going to the Muslims or the Jews to see if they have better answers.
            No Christian claims to have irrefutable proof for their faith.
            It wouldn’t be faith otherwise.
            We satisfy ourselves that we have enough evidence to convince us to take that step of faith, and most of us find that God begins to change our whole outlook from within by the power of the Holy Spirit.
            Now of course that may mean that we are easily persuaded or even duped, or perhaps we’re simply not as bright as you!
            So what do you think draws you back here??

          • Linus

            What draws me here? That’s easy! The boundless opportunities your conversations provide to illustrate the absurdity of Christianity and the animus of Christians towards the LGBT community.

            If even just a single gay person reads these exchanges, realizes how toxic Christianity and Christians are and flees from you, my efforts will not have been in vain.

          • dannybhoy

            There are gay people who read these exchanges Linus. They just don’t make such a fuss as you do!
            If you think we are toxic absurd and anti gay we are, should we then add obsessional masochism to your list of talents?

          • Linus

            I think most gay people who read these exchanges laugh, shake their heads and then go about their business reflecting on the craziness, gullibility and deeply ingrained prejudice of Christians. But there may be some who’ve had the misfortune to be raised by Christians or who’ve been drawn into Christianity at some point in their lives who might benefit from another point of view.

          • dannybhoy

            “I think most gay people who read these exchanges laugh, shake their heads and then go about their business reflecting on the craziness, gullibility and deeply ingrained prejudice of Christians..”

            So why aren’t you going about your business too, Minus?

            I reckon it’s because for all our craziness, gullibility and prejudice you know that we respect you and care about you.
            That’s what draws you back, old son.
            Not only would I and others here happily give you a big hug and wish you well; none of us thinks we are better than you or look down on you.
            God bless us – everyone!

          • Linus

            There are vulnerable young gay people out there who need protecting from the Christian wolves. Most of them will never come within a hundred clicks of a dusty Anglican blog of course, but you never know. Some have the misfortune to be born into it. They need to know there’s a way out.

          • dannybhoy

            Ho Ho Ho!
            Well maybe you could form a group? You could lead them..

            I have absolutely nothing against gays, but I’m dead against the desecration of marriage, and dead against children being born into this world to satisfy the whims of people who wish to be parents, yet love or are attracted to people of their own sex.
            That is not good.
            The Church needs to look at how it treats homosexuals who want to become Christians, but as St. Paul says here..
            1 Corinthians 6:
            9 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

          • Linus

            You have nothing against gays, as long as we make sacrificial eunuchs of ourselves in order to reassure you that your holy book cannot be mistaken.

            Never ask something of someone that you would never ask of yourself. At least Catholic priests are honorable enough to practice what they preach. Well, a small percentage of them, maybe. The few who aren’t asexual (and therefore sacrificing nothing), molesting children or sleeping with their parishoners…

            But it’s the mark of the true Anglican, isn’t it? Laying heavy burdens on other people’s shoulders and lifting not a single finger to help them carry them.

            Let’s see how that behavior is rewarded in this heaven of yours if by some appalling and unlikely twist of fate your religion turns out to be true. I’m in two minds over the prospect of sharing hell with the likes of you. There might be some satisfaction in seeing your smug conviction of being saved thwarted by your own actions, but on the other hand, it’ll be bad enough without having to listen to you bleat about how unfair it is for all eternity…

          • dannybhoy

            “But it’s the mark of the true Anglican, isn’t it? Laying heavy burdens
            on other people’s shoulders and lifting not a single finger to help them
            carry them.”
            Linus, I’m not an Anglican. We attend an Anglican church.
            Big difference.
            See,
            “difference” and “DIFFERENCE.”
            Bleat how unfair it is for all Eternity?
            I thought you didn’t believe in life after death??
            Anyways,
            so convinced/brainwashed/duped am I by my understanding of God, that if He sent me away from His presence because I am a divorced man. guilty of all sorts of sins both of the mind and of the action, I would not question His judgment.

          • Linus

            I don’t believe in God and eternity, but my mind is just as capable as yours of envisaging hypothetical situations.

            I have to say that’s not always a blessing. Like right now. Envisaging an eternity in hell with a divorced non-Anglican adulterer bleating on about how just his punishment is sounds almost Pythonesque. Like the dungeon scene in The Life of Brian.

            Oh well, good thing it’s highly unlikely ever to happen!

          • dannybhoy

            But that’s not what you were saying Linus,,
            You said,
            “The boundless opportunities your conversations provide to illustrate the
            absurdity of Christianity and the animus of Christians towards the LGBT
            community.”
            So you don’t believe
            You think Christians are evil, wolves, self centered and smug.
            You don’t want to spend eternity in Heaven..
            What’s left?

            Have you got a televison?

          • dannybhoy

            Christian wolves?
            Christian wolves??!
            Now I know you’re trying to yank my chain.
            I have never ever met a Christian with any physical or moral resemblance to a wolf!
            In my travels through life I have met the deceived, the deceiving and the deceitful. Those driven by lust or an obsession…
            There be wolves…
            ps dear Sir,
            You do realise that the more time you spend here the more likelihood there is that God will speak into your life?
            Beware! You could become a repentant seeking salvation.
            I would attend your testimony and subsequent baptism…

          • Linus

            Every Christian I’ve ever met has been a wolf. Most of them try to hide it by dressing up in lamb’s clothing and pretending to be meek and mild. But all of them are motivated by the same selfish determination to BE SAVED!

            Nothing gets between a wolf and its prey. And nothing gets between a Christian and his dream of eternal bliss. They’ll throw anyone under the bus as long as they can get a seat on it. If the bus actually existed then at least I might understand the motivation. But to sacrifice others for an unproven dream – now that’s the real definition of selfishness and egotism.

          • William Lewis

            There’s always a way out from Christianity. Jesus always gives you a choice. Even so it’s good to know that you are now this blog’s “gay lifeguard” in case any unsuspecting gay should wander in and not be able to find his way out again.

          • Ah, a brave Crusader for homosexuality. You stay because you want homosexuals to flee from “us”.

          • A Christian, in behaviour, will be Christ-like. Jesus, who we are called to emulate, never expressed hatred towards those suffering in sin or encouraged violence towards them. Quite the opposite, in fact. He died for you Linus, to offer you the chance of forgiveness.

          • Martin

            Linus

            The Bible gets to define what Christian means.

          • Linus

            The Bible is just a collection of words on paper. It defines nothing in and of itself, but it does tell us how those who wrote it would like us to define things.

            As the book was written by humans, the definitions must also be human. Just because those humans claim they were inspired by God doesn’t mean they were. People lie. They can also be deluded or misled.

          • Martin

            Linus

            The Bible’s author is God who, as someone has said, used men as a man uses a pen to write the Bible.

            It is without error and is the primary source for Man to learn about his own nature and the nature of God.

            When you claim to not know that there is a God, when you pretend that the Bible is not His word you are lying.

          • Linus

            So everyone who disagrees with you is a liar, eh?

            That’s the philosophical equivalent of closing your eyes, stuffing your fingers in your ears and shouting to drown out what you don’t want to hear. It’s a child’s solution to adult problems.

          • Martin

            Linus

            Disagrees with me? No, you disagree with yourself, you lie to yourself, stuffing your metaphorical fingers in your ears & trying so hard to avoid hearing what you tell yourself.

            That’s why the Psalmist calls you a fool.

          • Linus

            The writer of an ancient and much edited text may have had unpleasant things to say about those who disagreed with him, but that’s common behavior amongst deluded religionists.

          • Martin

            Linus

            And I see from that comment that you’ve gained your knowledge of the Bible from equally ignorant Atheist websites.

          • DanJ0

            Isn’t that what Senior Pastor Robby Gallaty from some Baptist megachurch in the States was advocating recently? Moreover, his reasoning was quite similar in parts to those of Martin from here, also from a Calvinist-oriented Baptist sect as far as I can tell. It’s a fairly short hop from insisting that homosexuality is a choice and that society should stigmatise homosexuals to this sort of thing if one holds the bible to be true to the point of believing in young earth creationism etc. Some of these Calvinist types are very stark and dark people, religiously speaking

          • dannybhoy

            Mega church/smeggah church!
            You have to get a balance DanJ0, in all things.
            Someone I know attended a Baptist Church that taught predestination. Not many years later they converted to Judaism. I think I know why…
            My take is that
            God is Holy and Righteous.

            God is Just and FULL of compassion!
            EAGER to forgive the repentant
            ABLE and WILLING to come into our little lives and make positives out of negatives.
            He does NOT hold over our heads past failings and sins.
            If we ASK Him He will take any situation that we have screwed up and bring something positive out of it.
            He LOVES us little mortals that He endowed with intelligence, emotions and free will.
            He takes NO PLEASURE in a man or woman who go to their death still ranting and raving against Him.
            Hell was designed for the evil one and the beings that followed him in rebellion. It wasn’t intended for man.
            If a man or woman ends up in Hell, it’s because they hated or resented or blamed God so much, that they wouldn’t be happy in Heaven.

          • Inspector General

            No, don’t do that. Not straight off. Tell you what, how about some originality. You portray Mohamed as a repressed homosexual with a predilection for child sex, and see how that goes.

            Then, assuming you’re still alive, you can queer the nativity story for us. What do you think…

          • Linus

            You display a typically Christian willingness to let other people do your dirty work for you while standing aside and saying “not my fault!”

            I wonder how your God, if he exists, will judge you for inciting someone to commit an act that would clearly provoke religious fanatics of another ilk to commit violence against him.

          • Inspector General

            But Linus, you have it all wrong. As Christians, we love you,
            and we hope that one day you will love we too. It’s you types insistence to gay the world against our wishes that we’re not too happy with.

            Just trying to save you from yourself, you know. There is no
            such thing as spontaneous homophobic violence. But if gay people do thrust their sexuality in other’s faces, well, these things happen. As for this man, toleration of your condition is the answer. But don’t push it…

          • dannybhoy

            IG
            what have you done about your steam computation machine?

          • Inspector General

            Solved the problem. On an attack…
            First, telegraph the boiler room to cease shovelling
            Second, remove battery, and allow capacitor discharge to take place in contraption. One has used 90 minutes, but will try for a hour next time. Not an inconvenience at all really. The washing up here doesn’t do itself.
            Third. Replace battery and observe ‘Windows did not shut down properly’ message, ‘do you wish to recover’
            Fourth. Send message sticking two fingers up to assailant.

          • dannybhoy

            What a case you are.!
            Sometimes I wonder whether you have a theatrical background. or spent too much time guarding the Khyber…

            😉

          • Inspector General

            My dear fellow, had we guarded the Khyber, we wouldn’t be plagued with c__k s_____s marriage as we are…

          • dannybhoy

            Breaks into
            “Shall we dance?” from the King and I…..

    • dannybhoy

      Very good Jack!

  • William Lewis

    I’m not really sure of the point of adding aliens to the Nativity as I’d have thought that the angels would have covered all the bases in that regard – particularly the shepherds’ reaction when they saw one.

    “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” There’s enough extra terrestrial drama right there.

  • len

    There is a school of thought that suggests that’ aliens’ are demonic in origin.(Sounds pretty way out I know) But when we consult the Bible the notion is not perhaps so strange or so new?.”As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man”(Matthew 24;27)
    So what exactly was happening in the days of Noah?.
    There was something very strange going on within human DNA and it seems only Noah and his family were unaffected.
    Jesus and aliens …no.!.

    • dannybhoy

      I recommend Alien Intrusion by Gary Bates, a Christian expose of aliens. elfs and goblins…

      • Surely our very own David Icke is the foremost expert?

        • dannybhoy

          David Icke is somewhat eccentric to say the least and seriously deceived to say the truth.

          • CliveM

            Eccentric seriously underplays it. During my brief experiment with Facebook, someone sent me a link to his website. He appeared to be suggesting that Europes Royals spend their leisure time, hunting down and killing young adults and children in elaborate hunts!

            Frankly in more enlightened times, a carefully padded room would have been provided.

          • dannybhoy

            You flirted with facebook too? It scared me.
            One moment I am a (relative) nobody, then within a couple of days I have friends all over the world! I am evidently related to a large family of goatherders some where in Somalia…
            Hellpp! Let me out!!
            And eventually I did.
            We have a lot in common young Clive.
            Well, apart from your incredibly humdrum and humble, peasanty even. origins….

          • Happy Jack enjoys Facebook. Once you learn how to control content and who can see and interact with you, it is a most excellent way of communing with close friends and family. Jack has brothers, nieces, nephews, and their offspring, all over the place. To talk with them and share photos etc. is a joy. Letter writing and phone calls, even inferior and Sype, are not so good.

            Plus, one can check in on the Bishop of Buckingham from time to time to see how an intelligent and erudite conversation takes place.

          • CliveM

            “Humble origins”, their is nothing humble about me!

          • CliveM

            Ps I see Facebook as literally ‘Hellish’. I shut it down during the Scottish referendum.

  • Inspector General

    Spacemen, Aliens ???

    It’s rather peculiar, to this man’s mind, that so many people easily accept the concept of these things existence, including the likes of Dawkins, when there has, to date, been absolutely no evidence whatsoever that intelligent life exists outside of this planet. Nothing. Zilch. There has not even been a microbe discovered that did not be proved to have originated on earth.

    And yet so many of the same dismiss the possibility of a divine creator, when said creator’s work is so visible to those who open their eyes to it.

    Mystifying really, but there you go. God help man if there really are extra-terrestrials on their way. Just to have achieved that travel will make them our superior – intellectually, technologically and maybe even physically. Man in general is far from the sharpest tool in the box as it is…

    • CliveM

      Good point. That’s the problem with atheists, will believe almost anything.

      • DanJ0

        Except theism, of course. By definition, really. Probably not angels and demons either. Oh, and the creator of the universe in all its immense size becoming a man, allowing himself to be nailed to a tree and left to die, so he can resurrect himself and hang around for a while so that people write some accounts of it. The creator’s human mother ascending to heaven without needing to die might not have made it onto the believe-in-almost-anything list. Hang on, there’s also a belief in a saint’s bone fragments healing people in a way impossible in nature, I expect. I suppose the notion of purgatory and heaven and hell might be a little hard to accept as an a-theist too. Burning bushes speaking to beardy blokes in a deep, stentorian voice? I doubt many a-theists are too sure about that. A man temporarily parting a sea so his people could escape from their oppressors? Well, that’s certainly a bit tricky on the belief front. But yeah, you’re pretty much on the nail there. We’re a gullible bunch on the whole, and no mistake.

        • If Christianity were true, hypothetically speaking, what difference would faith make to your life, Danjo? .

    • DanJ0

      This sort of conceit always amazes me. The immensity of the universe cannot be described and understood in human terms. We’re one species of millions on a tiny planet orbiting a small star lost in a vast galaxy of perhaps 200 billion stars which is itself one of probably 170 billion galaxies in observable space. Our galaxy alone is 120K light years across. It’s understandable that a self-aware species in Neolithic times gazed up at the night sky, sans light pollution, and wondered why they exist and posited some sort of god thing but, really, now we know enough to at least understand how physically insignificant we are in the universe if nothing else, it’s surely time to let go of the conceit.

      • The Universe isn’t “big” to God.
        When someone offers a credible materialist explanation for DNA then Jack will better understand atheism.

        • dannybhoy

          That’s one of the things that blows my mind is that God created the universe and time began but He Himself is outside, independent of it, but can interact with the space time continuum.
          God has no need for time, and get this, it may just be that this universe is really really tiny, or really big!

      • Inspector General

        DanJ0. The immensity of the universe is not lost on those with a higher intellect, such as this man. As for conceit, you are at grand master level and this man doffs his hat to you…

        • Well said, Sir. Indeed, very well said, Sir.

        • DanJ0

          Yet you write what you did up there. Curious.

      • Inspector General

        Something that might interest you, It’s only in the last few years that science has decided that the distance between an atom’s nucleus and the electrons orbiting it is greater than previously thought. Hence, a shed full of collapsed star will weigh more than the Earth. When you look at a physical object, would that you knew it, you are staring at mainly space.
        And you go on about troglomites and their observations…

      • CliveM

        “The immensity of the universe cannot be described and understood in human terms.”

        Well we can agree on that.

      • Danjo, you are assuming that life creates itself spontaneously given certain conditions, and that given a very large universe this is bound to happen all over the shop. When the Inspector say there is zero evidence of aliens he is as you know merely stating a fact.

        But the biochemistry is quite clear on this. Multiple impassable road blocks exist to the spontaneous emergence of life. Molecules to man evolution is the conceit we should abandon.

        Psalm 19 ‘The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.’ If this planet IS special, and our creator tells us we SRE significant, the arrogant ones are those who deny it.

        • DanJ0

          “When the Inspector say there is zero evidence of aliens he is as you know merely stating a fact.”

          He’s saying there is zero evidence available to us so far on our planet. He could, of course, have left it at that but, as you know, he didn’t so I set the context for another inference. There’s more to be said too. Afterall, all the life we know on this planet is carbon-based and uses DNA-RNA biology. There may be other types of life and/or biological processes elsewhere, given that the laws of physics appear to be universal but not necessarily laws of biology.

          • DanJ0

            The conceit is really that we have looked around in the past and realised we’re at the top of the tree of life. We’ve then gone on to infer that because we’re here and our environment is very well suited to our needs, it was designed specifically for us and that we’re somehow special in all of the universe. Even if there was an intelligent designer and creator of the universe, and even if on top of that it maintains the very essence of the universe moment by moment too, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are unique, and special, and alone. Or that we are more than just biological life. Theistic religion no doubt made sense in Neolithic times, the scale was right for it as a geocentric world with sparkily things in the firmament and powerful events occurring to us which were hard to understand and accept as merely natural. However, the scale seems very wrong now even if it’s still logically possible and theistic religion feels anachronistic and very contrived to me.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Actually we’ve been told that our environment is designed with our needs in mind, it is merely your conceit & desire to live as you please that causes you to reject what God has said.

          • DanJ0

            I think I’ll ignore your other stuff as you’ll just start your broken record thing, demonstrating your religious nuttiness yet again. It’s quite lucky really that you got caught up in this weird religious sect of yours, rather than (say) coming across Marshall Applewhite, otherwise I expect you’d have joined Heaven’s Gate instead. No doubt you’d have been found dead, clutching your interplanetary toll, rather than following homosexual a-theists around an online forum. Phew. How things turn out, eh?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You do realise that your position is closer to the likes of “Heaven’s Gate” than is mine?

          • DanJ0

            I chose it specifically to make the point. You were probably ripe for whatever cult or sect was around, as were those gullible people who bought into it at the time. It wouldn’t have worked so well if it was a cult that was just slightly more outlandish than yours in the same direction.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You fail to get my point. You are the gullible one who has fallen for the cult you are in. Indeed, you have joined a cult even more outlandish than Heaven’s Gate, that requires you to pretend that God doesn’t exist.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, you’re clearly from a weird and slightly disturbing sect, and you have a malicious streak to boot. You ought to ask yourself what would Jesus do in these situations, instead of following whatever your sect seems to inspire. Really, you’re completely off message in terms of Christianity. It’s not good. Not good at all.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            There are few sects as weird as the one all Atheists belong to, fancy pretending God doesn’t exist when you know He does.

            As I’ve said before, ‘what would Jesus do’ is silly, since Jesus is eternal God who knows all things & certainly knows the hearts of men. I’m merely a Christian, trying to do what is right & warning of the wrath to come.

            You appear to have a very strange idea of what Christianity teaches, which is not I suppose surprising, when you consider some of the views expressed here. I’m not called upon to persuade you, just present you with the truth. If God saves you He will do so, whatever you may wish.

          • DanJ0

            Is this one of your lot, Martin:

            http://www.christiantoday.com/article/new.zealand.pastor.prayed.for.suicide.of.gay.christian.author/44053.htm

            He probably thinks himself a Christian who is just trying to do what is right and warning of the wrath to come too. Vicious and deluded fool.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            I’d disagree with him, since the Bible makes it quite clear that homosexuals can be saved, some of the members at Corinth had been homosexual & Rosaria Butterfield springs to mind.

          • DanJ0

            *shrug*

            Matthew 23:27 to both of you.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            So you, a sexual pervert who considers himself goo, dares to criticise the morality of others? I know my sin & I do not excuse it, but neither do I wear it on my sleeve like a badge of pride.

          • DanJ0

            I judge you by your own chosen standards and find you wanting in many respects. You appear to be spiritually dead despite your claims to be otherwise. You are observably evil here by the standards of your own religion. You appear to be devoid of Christian love, and you revel in your sin. Indeed, it’s clear that you very much enjoy your malice. You’re a public disgrace to your religion, and bring it into disrepute by your behaviour.

          • CliveM

            “The conceit is really that we have looked around in the past and realised we’re at the top of the tree of life.”

            Actually, we know we are not at the top, that positions Gods alone.

            I don’t know of a theological reason why it would be necessary to believe we are unique. CS Lewis wrote a Space Trilogy which had this as a theme.

          • DanJ0

            “I don’t know of a theological reason why it would be necessary to believe we are unique.”

            That’s what theists almost always believe though, isn’t it? It’s a vestigial thing from when geocentricity was all the rage, I expect.

          • CliveM

            If I remember right (and I’m sure I will be shot down if wrong) Pope Benedict made a statement on the subject, effectively saying that believing in the possibility of alien life, was not in contradiction with Christianity.

          • Well, it isn’t, is it?

          • CliveM

            I think I said that!

          • No. You just reported that Pope Benedict said it. You know Jack likes to be clear on such things. It wasn’t an infallible statement, just a personal opinion.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            You have to read the full thread. I started by saying I didn’t know of any theological reason why aliens could not exist and referred to CS Lewis. DanJo said however that theists tended to believe they couldn’t, so I quoted Pope Benedict just to give an idea of the range of Christians who don’t oppose the belief in aliens theologically.

            I was in a rush, the wife was complaining!!

          • DanJ0

            Well, what I wrote was really to point out that theists almost always believe we are unique, even if it is not a logical necessity from theology.

          • CliveM

            Amended!!!

            Yes quite right.

          • James60498 .

            That doesn’t explain at all why what the Inspector said was in any way conceited.

            If he had said “there is no such thing as aliens and anyone who believes in them is an idiot” then maybe you would have a case.

            But he (clearly) didn’t and you (clearly) don’t.

          • Is this the statement you regard as “conceited”?

            “And yet so many of the same dismiss the possibility of a divine creator, when said creator’s work is so visible to those who open their eyes to it.”

            If so, you’ll have to demonstrate why. And you’ve rather egged the pudding with all this:

            “The conceit is really that we have looked around in the past and realised we’re at the top of the tree of life.”
            We have moved on slightly since we lived in caves. Nowadays we look around and better understand the awesome nature of the natural world and contemplate the processes that resulted in man. There is no scientific explanation for all this at all. Not for the big bang; not for the chemical composition of the universe; not for DNA. All these “things” just worked together miraculously and resulted in little planet earth and mankind.
            “We’ve then gone on to infer that because we’re here and our environment is very well suited to our needs, it was designed specifically for us in advance and that we’re somehow special in all of the universe.”
            Have we “inferred” all this? All that is being logically inferred, through reason, is that a Creator is needed who designed the Universe and, as a result, man exists. As for being “special”, this depends on what attributes we ascribe to the Creator. Then we’re in the realms of theology guided by natural and divine revelation.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You have no basis for those statements, they are merely wishful thinking.

          • DanJ0

            Thinking a little more on this … given that there are millions of species on this planet, and taking account of the immensity of the universe, I wonder why all life here is based on DNA-RNA biology? A creative creator could have used all sorts of encoding and replicating techniques, mixing and matching as it goes. Afterall, it seems to have quite a flair for design when one looks at the wonderful and diverse types of life here. It’s almost as if a very, very rare event happened at some point and the result was a successful encoding and replication mechanism from which all life has derived. Blimey.

        • William Lewis

          Indeed Dawkins is already doubting the molecules to man scenario by suggesting that life came to this planet from somewhere else. He hasn’t quite put two and two together and identified the source as the breath of God though.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, he now believes in “panspermia”
            (Oooh! be still my beating breast)
            Life originated “out there” and was brought billions of miles by UPS asteroid delivery just in time for a cooled down world to nurture and develop..
            At heart of all this ‘life seeding’ is an unshakeable faith in evolution and the ability of ooze to turn into guinea pigs and such..
            Given enough time and accidental (but fortuitous!) intervention by a meaningless universe…

          • William Lewis

            Panspermia! That’s a new concept for me. So asteroids are like cosmic spores hurtling around to find a suitable planet. I understand anthropomorphism, but this seems like “bio-evolutionary-morphism” to me. But Dawkins does have form in using his evolutionary hammer to crack every nut – memes for instance.

          • dannybhoy

            Here’s a link William. You may find the clip disturbing….

          • William Lewis

            Directed panspermia. Now this is true. I saw it on that Prometheus documentary. At least I think I did.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, but there are other types of panspermia..
            But as this is a family/mixed blog I will refrain from causing offence or frightening the ladies…
            Suffice to say that here you have a very intelligent Nobel prize winner arguing that a branch of ‘Dominoes’ somewhere ‘out there’ had the ability and inclination to hurl an asteroid pizza across the universe, without even knowing whether the recipient could pay…

          • William Lewis

            “Yes, but there are other types of panspermia..
            But as this is a family/mixed blog I will refrain from causing offence or frightening the ladies…”

            *shudders*

          • …hence the hysterical search for and propaganda about extra- terrestrial life on Mars, comets, anywhere. Dawkins and chums know very well that the biochemical facts (entropy, laevo cheirality of functional amino acids, necessity of enzymes, peptide bonding, information etc, etc, etc) absolutely rule out the origin of even a single strand of protein let alone a cell via undesigned processes on earth. So they shift this insoluble problem to outer space where it can be buried and obfuscated under a mountain of Darwinian ‘might have beens’.

            Such doubts cannot of course be admitted in public.

      • Martin

        DanJ0

        It doesn’t really work like that. You need to show that the nature of the creation of life is a natural, as opposed to designed, event. You can’t even demonstrate the descent of all life on this planet from an original form so you’ve got some way to go.

        All you have is a philosophical belief, you have no science, no evidence, so I suggest you stop whining & presenting nonsense claims.

        • CliveM

          Cheap shot Martin.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Not really. Atheists presents themselves as a sort of intellectual elite when all they have is a pretence that fails any sort of real intellectual vigour.

            They spend their lives siding with any movement that is against God and raise it to a cause, as they have done with homosexuality.

          • sarky

            Simply not true. Without the constraints of a god or religion we are free to accept people for who they are. We also attach ourselves to all sorts of movements, many of which I’m sure god would approve of. As for pretences that fail intellectual vigour, the same can be said for Christianity.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            They are also free the kill whomever they want and harvest them for goods. Or sell them for profit. Or use them for pleasure. Moral freedom means no constraints. At all. It means good and evil are abstract concepts that have no exiatence outside of your mind. It means that the only limitation on a man’s reach is the strength of his arm.

          • sarky

            Wasnt so long ago christians Where selling people for profit is it??

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            It was primarily Christians who abolished the slave trade, and with the decline of Christianity, slavery will certainly return. But to your point. You can judge us by over own standard and find us wanting. We declare an objective authority which binds us whether we are hypocrites or not. We allow for the possibility of hypocrisy.

            But what authority exists in your world that is capable of judging you? In your world, power is morality. The winner is by definition right. Good is a tautology. When the West falls, then Western morality will fall with it. By definition if will have been proven wrong.

            Where does that leave you?

          • CliveM

            ” and with the decline in Christianity, slavery will return”

            Ain’t that the truth. We can see it happening already. Not just in the ME, but here in Britain.

          • sarky

            I dont need an authority to judge me. I am judged by my actions and those actions are judged by my friends, colleagues and family. Their judgement is all that matters. Power is not morality, morality is morality and my morality is the same as yours, not god given but an evolution of ideas.
            As for slavery coming back, when did it go away?
            Its also nice to know that you allow for hypocrisy, not to would be hypocritical!

          • Morality is “an evolution of ideas”? You’ll have to explain that one a bit more. Why should Jack be obliged to follow the “ideas” of your friends and family? And if he doesn’t, what can you do if he has more power than you?

            He and his friends might have evolved “ideas” where we believe it is okay to take everything weaker people have, turn them into slaves and, when it’s not worth feeding them anymore, kill them? Is that morality too?

          • sarky

            Jack, all im trying to say is that a shared morality seems to have evolved universaly for the human race. Studies done on tribes that have had no outside contact, show that they share a common morality with us. The morals we share obviously have an evolutionary advantage. People do step outside this morality and this is why we have evolved a justice system. I do agree that ‘some’ do go against the many in pursuit of power, but this is not the norm otherwise there would have been no condemnation or war against the nazis or in the modern world, no disgust at the activities of IS.

          • Sarky, you’re not suggesting there is a universal moral code that human beings share, are you?

          • sarky

            Evolved, not god given.

          • Across all cultures?

          • sarky

            At a basic level, yes.

          • Hmmm … basic level?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Every post you make reveals your view of yourself as an intellectual elite, your self worship. That’s the nature of Atheism. You judge everything against your own opinion & sneer at anything that challenges your feeling of self worth.

            To take two causes you espouse, homosexuality & abortion, you champion them, not because they have value in themselves but because they are in direct contravention of what God has commanded. You serve the interests of your master, the accuser.

            You imagine that God would approve of causes you support? The problem is that unless the cause is supported in order to glorify God it does not meet God’s requirement.

          • sarky

            To say I champion causes just because they contravene god is utter rubbish. As an atheist, god isnt even a consideration. Remember I dont believe in god!!!!!!! I champion causes that I feel are right for me. I never judge on opinion but on facts. My lack of religion allows me to judge things from am unbiased point of view. An open mind is a blessing!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Since you know God exists but desperately try to pretend He doesn’t, God is always a consideration in all you do, your bias. You do not have an open mind, nor are you rational. As you say, you judge by what is right in your own eyes, which really says it all, you are your own little god.

          • sarky

            Amen to that!

      • dannybhoy

        DanJ0,
        You should get or borrow a copy of Alien Intrusion, by Gary Bates.
        He has a whole section on the size of the universe, the problems of travelling at the speed of light, and the time space continuum. Then he goes through the all the weird “Spock like” solutions people have come up with to overcome these problems; all of which are currently unprovable and with our current technology untestable.
        The alien hypothesis he also covers in great detail (he has been involved with UFO research for many years. I won’t tell you what he and even other non Christians believe, but they ain’t aliens.

        • *gasp*

          Not demons from a third dimension who have returned to mess with us?

          • dannybhoy

            Not returned Jack, they never left!
            Job 1 and Revelation 12

      • William Lewis

        The universe is indeed mind-boggling, but not half as mind boggling as a mind that boggles at it. There really should be nothing at all – statistically speaking.

      • Linus

        Oh dear, another devotee of the Gospel of ET recites his creed and conjures up aliens out of thin air. Well, not even thin air really. Out of wisps of interstellar gas and far away stars and galaxies, all of which are far more insubstantial and irrelevant to our daily existence than the air we breathe.

        We know of no sentient life forms other than ourselves. So there are no ETs. Yes, the universe is a big place. But there’s no inevitable correlation between size and intelligent life. Look at Texas…

        Seriously though, if we ever come into contact with alien life then ET will become a reality we have to deal with. But until that day comes, if ever it does, they remain fictional beings who have no relevance to our daily lives. Just like God.

        Introduce me to an alien (or God) and provide me with reasonable proofs of his extraterrestrial origin (or his divinity) and aliens (or God) will become part of my world. But until that happens, they’re just hypothetical maybes.

        • dannybhoy

          “Seriously though, if we ever come into contact with alien life then ET will become a reality we have to deal with. But until that day comes, if ever it does, they remain fictional beings who have no relevance to our
          daily lives. Just like God.”

          But just think Linus,
          An alien to rant at!
          You’d really enjoy that I’m sure. If you could manage to let the murphgas out the tyres of his interstellar MissionMicra you could hold him captive”
          His little ears would start melting, he’d be stunned..

        • DanJ0

          This is a first for me both here and elsewhere, being described as a devotee of the Gospel of ET. Bizarre.

          • William Lewis

            Have you ever phoned home?

        • bluedog

          ‘But there’s no inevitable correlation between size and intelligent life. Look at Texas…’
          The intellectual snobbery of the Euro-elite.

          • Linus

            What, I’m part of the elite and I didn’t even know it?

            Well that’s cheered me up no end! 🙂

          • bluedog

            Heavens! An intellectual snob with an inferiority complex. What a day!

          • Linus

            Ciel! A judgmental Christian? Now there’s something I thought I’d never see…

          • carl jacobs

            Hilarious. First he writes…

            But there’s no inevitable correlation between size and intelligent life. Look at Texas…

            … which is what you might call “judgmental” – at least if you are minimally fluent in the English language. And then he writes…

            Ciel! A judgmental Christian? Now there’s something I thought I’d never see…

            Emphasis mine. Something else he will never see, I guess.

            And it’s complete with a French word, because only sophisticated intelligent people slip French words into sentences, and mostly to demonstrate their sophistication and intelligence. Wait. Was that judgmental?

            Anyways, I guess the false humility of…

            , I’m part of the elite and I didn’t even know it?

            … is pretty obvious by now. Darn. Now that was judgmental.

          • Linus

            Nom de Zeus, quel nœud de vipères …

            But interesting to know that my native language is still seen as a sign of “sophisticated intelligence” in the Anglo world.

            I must bear that in mind the next time I hear an Englishman or an American slagging us off because we refuse to reduce everything to its basic monetary value.

            “It’s just bluster to cover up an innate inferiority complex,” I’ll remind myself. “They really think of us as sophisticated and intelligent, but they just can’t bear to admit it, poor things.”

            Well, I suppose I’d have a chip on my shoulder too if I’d been forced to live in grey and ugly concrete and brick cities all my life and been raised on a diet of grease, sugar and beer. We’re not all born with the same advantages.

            Ah well, as we’re all agreed that the French are sophisticated and intelligent, and as sophisticated and intelligent people never crow about their good fortune, to say more on the subject would be inappropriate…

          • carl jacobs

            You are French. Well, that explains a lot. I’ll say this for you. Your English is excellent. I perceived your use of French as an affectation. Apologies for that. If I had realized, I would have made allowances.

            By way of connection, my father fought in France. He was almost killed in France at Mortain on 6 Aug 44. Fighting the Germans. In France. But then he wasn’t from Texas so I guess that would be OK with you.

          • CliveM

            Hilarious, from the nation who would sell its own Grandma…………,..

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Yes, but you eat molluscs…

          • Linus

            And you eat hobnobs.

            Molluscs are a valuable natural source of protein. And quite delicious in a garlic and parsley sauce.

            Hobnobs are made of concentrated sugar syrup, sawdust and gearbox lubricant. I hope you at least have yourself checked for colon cancer every now and again. We wouldn’t want to deprive Ukip of one of their voters just yet…

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Ah, the unmistakable nasal twang of a Gaulois-puffing L’etat c’est moi mollusc-slurping Hollonde-voting Je ne regret rien croaking onion-selling Vichy-collaborating inhabitant of La France Profonde…did I miss anything out, dear Linus?

          • Linus

            Wrong on almost all counts, as per usual.

            – Don’t smoke and never have.
            – Have never been king, so l’état is definitely not moi
            – I do like molluscs and am quite happy to eat them. Don’t like them? Don’t eat them. All the more for me.
            – We do not talk about how we cast our vote in France. It’s considered to be a vulgar Anglo-Saxon habit, like your penchant for starting conversations with “Oh yes, and I earn 250,000 lbs a year, how much do you earn? What? You won’t say? Oh I must be richer (and better) than you then…”
            – “Je ne regret rien” is not a French sentence, so I have no idea what you mean by that. As I said before, it really would be better for you to confine your comments to a language you understand and can write with some degree of accuracy. Anything else is just a public display of ignorance.
            – The Vichy government ended in 1944, long before I was born. Are you accusing me of pre-birth, nay, pre-conception collaboration? I suppose it’s no crazier than many other Christian beliefs…
            – I live in central Paris. “La France profonde” has a similar meaning to “the shires” in English. Really, your ignorance of the meaning of even the most basic French phrases is quite staggering!

            If I missed anything out, I’m sure our ersatz Geraldine McEwan will have her waspish word to say.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Oh you live in Paris…that explains everything.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            So you don’t deny selling onions?

          • Linus

            I and no other member of my family have ever been in trade.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Not so, you trade in sneers…

          • CliveM

            Dear Lady

            You should not be lowering yourself in communicating with this, for want of a better word, Gentleman. Being French he won’t have a job, so cease your enquiring. He will only mistake your gentle concern, for something less kindly.

            He judges others by his own standards.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            But his ego is of Montgolfier proportions…

          • Linus

            Oh dear, English linguistic ignorance rears its ugly head yet again.

            I think the word you’re looking for is Montgolfière. Never mind, the quality of French tutor available to a provincial bishop’s wife must of course be extremely prejudicial to her chances of ever being able to speak the language with any degree of accuracy and elegance. “Marci beaucul” for trying, but let’s stick to a language we both understand, shall we?

          • CliveM

            But his sense of irony is of a Mongolfier ball size!

          • CliveM

            He’s French, nuf said.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            But his English is awfully good…

      • SidneyDeane

        And to think, God made the whooooooole thing just for us.

    • James60498 .

      Very well written. How on earth (or in the universe) that can be regarded as conceited is way beyond me.

      • carl jacobs

        James

        It makes perfect sense to regard it as conceited – once you assume that man is a random event explainable by natural processes and probability distributions. Why should those conditions occur exactly once and in exactly one place? In fact the assumption dictates the exact opposite conclusion for if it did occur only once in one place, one might be forced to doubt the random nature of the event.

        Where you begin determines where you end up.

        • James60498 .

          But the Inspector didn’t even say that life is restricted to one place. He just said that he finds the idea that some people reject God because they can’t see Him and yet easily (underlined) accept the existence of ET even though they can’t see them as being nonsense.

          On the other hand of course anyone can regard anything as conceited if they like.

          • carl jacobs

            James

            Unbelief in God is logically prior. People do not fail to see and then disbelieve. They disbelieve and therefore fail to see.

          • sarky

            The many testomonies of ex christians would disagree with this. Despite belief they saw nothing which led to disbelief.

          • carl jacobs

            They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19

          • sarky

            Why do christians always default to ‘they cant have been real christians’ when people leave the church?? Look at Jonathan Edwards in the Uk, wouldnt even compete on a sunday, are you saying he wasnt a real christian?? Just face it, christians lose their faith and many say it is the best thing that happened to them, opens up a whole new world! !!

  • sarky

    To me the issue of nativity plays is the same as council prayers. When the majority of people watching and taking part don’t believe, then what is the point? Surely without belief the story becomes meaningless? The plays are just about parents turning up and going ‘arhhh’ at their kid dressed as a donkey, the content is totally lost on them.

    • Martin

      Sarky

      The demand from parents to attend these events is high, so who are you to say they shouldn’t happen? They are, after all, recording a historical event.

      • sarky

        Really?? Wheres your proof? Even the bible h a s different versions of events. There is a good show on the history channel called ‘bible secrets revealed’. Watch this then tell me the nativity is history.

        • Martin

          Sarky

          The versions differ from each other but don’t contradict. In fact the Bible neither contains contradictions nor errors.

          If you think such programmes as “Bible Secrets Revealed” are anything more than entertainment for the masses then you’re clearly desperate to accept what they say. Much the same can be said of the writings of the likes of Dan Brown.

          • sarky

            Dan Brown is a writer of fiction. These programmes are made by historians and acheologists. As for contradictiins and errors, watch the programmes, you might learn something.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            The programmes are as much works of fiction as any book written by Dan Brown. All you are likely to learn from them is how gullible you are.

    • William Lewis

      “Surely without belief the story becomes meaningless?”

      Are you saying that all make-believe stories are meaningless?

    • Is that it, Sarky? You were made to dress as the rear end of a donkey one year? It is, isn’t it?

      • sarky

        Yes, and kid in front had a penchant for sprouts. Not a pleasant experience! !

        • Who knows what deep sub-conscious trauma was caused at such a tender age. It could account for all sorts of things in your life. You must seek immediate professional help.

    • SeekTruthFromFacts

      It’s possibly educational to learn about something that was absolutely foundational to the worldviews of almost everyone in Britain from about 800 to about 1970?

  • grandpa1940

    A very long time back, I was selected, (selected that is on the basis of, “who sits there, does that!) to take part in our Grammar School Nativity Play. Now the play itself was quite a big deal in our school, and every year a single theme was chosen, and although the basics, such as Mary, Joseph, Baby etc. remained as constants, the supporting cast altered according to the master who authored that year’s script!So there I was, all togged out in a very ‘natty’ Roman Centurion’s cloak, uniform etc. including a sword which was just a little bit too long for me, as I was only four foot ten tall when I was fifteen! (Late bloomer or something!) My part, which was of course crucial to the plot, was to send a soldier to demand a room at the inn, and to express annoyance at the very idea of a Roman Centurion being turned away from a warm fire etc.!

    So the soldier returns with the bad news that all the rooms are full, and my line was to step forward while saying, “This is the last straw!” Which would normally have worked except that my sword, which I previously mentioned was rather long, caught some hay as I swept it forwards, so that this big clump of hay landed about four feet in front of me after what I do admit was a rather deft curving motion through the air! Of course this particular piece of theatre brought the house down, much to the displeasure of our headmaster, who got up, halted the play and ranted on for about three minutes about the sanctity of the play, and how we weren’t supposed to laugh at a Nativity Play, and on, and on, and on!

    The ONLY person to get off ‘scott free’ was me, as I was deemed innocent! Happy days indeed!

    • William Lewis

      God may not be mocked, but He certainly has a sense of humour.

  • Inspector General

    DanJ0, you’ve rather taken this man aback with your objurgating. You hang on to your dreams and hopes of intelligent alien life if you want. You make the Inspector seem like some callous fellow trying to prize your beloved comfort blanket from your infant hands. You hold onto it for as long as you wish – until you don’t need it anymore…

    • DanJ0

      “You hang on to your dreams and hopes of intelligent alien life if you want.”

      Actually, I have neither. It just seems quite likely given that we’re here and the universe is so bloody large, beyond what we even see, and so very old compared to us as a species.

      Good use of objurgate up there though. Who knew you had such sesquipedalian inclinations?

      • cough … cough …. cough

        Jack’s pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis is playing up.

        • CliveM

          No body likes a show off!

      • Inspector General

        A much neglected word, that one. It was ‘word of the day’ back in the fourth form, so one recalls…

        • Inspector General

          Do they still do ‘word of the day’ in downbeat comprehensives one wonders…

          Monday to Friday

          “Illiterate”
          “Unemployment”
          “Failure”
          “Poverty”
          “Suicide”

          Of course, London schools excepted. One understands English is by no means universally spoken therein….

          • Inspector, Ofsted have changed some of the words recently to reflect the new social order. Can you guess what they are?

          • Inspector General

            Right then class. Following OFSTED’s dismal rating of the school, you will all have received a letter from the headmaster castigating you for your crapness. Some of you bleeders want to know what the final line ‘GFY’ stands for. I have asked the headmaster who has informed me that G is for ‘go’ and Y is for ‘yourselves’

            Class dismissed.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re incorrigible Sir!

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I think the word has been changed to Head Teacher…

          • CliveM

            Inspector

            My son is in year 6. He is expected to do spellings and I will say that the words mandated by the National curriculum are challenging and are at least in par with what was required in our school days.

            Of course I will admit we are not in London and his school is one of the best performing schools in St Gloustershire, but they are the same words as used nationally.

            Ofsted should be shut down and their employees banned from teaching or any future contact with children however.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed Clive. Politicians have turned education into a political football. Immigration became a poltical football. Health, and so on.
            At least everything King Midas touched turned to gold…
            We have far too many politicians far too many quangos.. All parasites living on the backs of the taxpayers.
            (OOh-er! Starting to sound a bit left wing there….. 🙂

          • CliveM

            Nothing Left wing in believing we are over governed.

            It’s what happens when organisations don’t need to justify themselves by results. They just grow.

          • dannybhoy

            One could then say that the growth in confusion chaos and economic decay is directly linked to the growth of political management…

          • len

            As one who attended a Comprehensive Inspector I can think of a word that describes those who would approve of your attitude towards them but the courtesy I acquired there towards my fellow man forbids such talk…..

          • Inspector General

            Did you really. Go through the same school gate as rough thicks during the socialist dream. One would never have known :->

          • len

            Did you never play with ‘the rough boys’ inspector?.
            Might explain a lot?. 😉

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Mr Slope still does, dear Len…and his case comes up Monday next…

          • SeekTruthFromFacts

            You do know that London state schools get the best results in the country, don’t you?
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19151471
            Since that report was published in 2012 more research has been done and it seems possible that the biggest single factor is that immigrant kids work harder, forcing white British kids to up their game and so improving standards for everybody.

          • Busy Mum

            Don’t forget that the government spends twice as much per head on London children than those in rural schools – £7k per pupil as opposed to £3.5k in the country last time I looked (a couple of years ago). My nephews and nieces in the metropolis certainly get all sorts of things for free which we rural parents have to pay for….

    • SidneyDeane

      “this man”

      why not ‘me’?

      • Inspector General

        The Inspectorate is much more than just one individual…

        • SidneyDeane

          Oh. A mentalist. Religion does prey on such people. Bless.

          • Inspector General

            You’re a bit of a dead space Sid. Tell the inspector, when did it all start to go wrong for you…