Cathy Newman Tim Farron
Ethics & Morality

Tim Farron's Christian faith becomes an object of media scorn

 

There are plenty of people who think that you shouldn’t mix faith and politics. For some, such as the National Secular Society, they have made it a mission to keep the two as far apart as possible. But as we’ve seen repeatedly over the last few days, the newly-elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, is quite determined to make sure that, for him at least, the two should be able to come together without conflict or contradiction.

Having had a baptism of fire from the media on his first day in charge, one can’t help but wonder if he’s secretly thinking how much easier things could be if he’d followed the route of keeping things largely to himself, like his former leader Charles Kennedy did; or taking the ‘we’re just not going to go there’ approach of Tony Blair under the direction of Alastair Campbell.

The day started with The Times publishing an editorial entitled ‘Illiberal Democrat‘, which reasonably described him as an Evangelical Christian but then went on to say that “he believes that every word written in the Bible is literal truth”, which is a gross misinterpretation of what he has said in the past and demonstrates an ignorance of how the Bible, which includes poetry and allegory, was written. This portrayal of Farron as an irrational, religious fundamentalist continued by criticising him for failing to embrace the “quintessentially liberal idea that every person has equal moral worth”. All this because he didn’t fully support every aspect of the Same-Sex Marriage Act, and that he has also said that “every abortion is a tragedy”. Surely believing that a foetus is fully human is a strong indication that you do consider that each human is of equal moral worth?

John Humphreys on Radio 4’s Today programme was Farron’s breakfast port of call, and rather than being grilled over his plans for the party, Humphreys devoted much of his time to interrogating him over whether he prayed about various aspects of his job. The assumption appeared to be that praying and asking God for wisdom and help is a completely bonkers thing to do, and that it can only lead to palpably unsound decisions. You could almost hear John Humphreys thinking to himself that ‘this man actually believes that God listens to him – he’s crazier than I thought!’

Later in the day, Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News was just as obsessed with discussing Christian beliefs, and was intent on giving Farron another hard time over it. Not long after the interview began, she went for the jugular: “Personally, though, do you think as a Christian that homosexual sex is a sin?” She knew full well that if she could extract such an admission from him, there would be uproar. Farron knew this too, and replied by saying that we are all sinners. Not happy with this response she dug her teeth in: “Ok, but when the Bible says that ‘you shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination’, you don’t have any problem with that?” As you might expect, Farron refused to give a straight answer. It would be almost impossible for even the best biblical scholar to give a fully contextual and sufficiently well explained answer in the few seconds Farron had available to him.

This did not resemble a political interview: it had become a baiting exercise designed to trip up and discredit someone’s faith. And, once again, Christianity was seen as a soft target. Can you imagine the Secretary of State for Business and Innovation, Sajid Javid, who happens to be a Muslim, being repeatedly badgered over whether he agreed with the Qur’an’s sura 4:16, where it says that if two men commit a lewd act, they should be put to death? It just wouldn’t happen.

Or will we see Jeremy Corbyn being grilled at length on which bit of pseudoscience leads him to believe that homeopathy is a legitimate form of medical treatment? There’s no chance, in comparison, that the next Labour leader, whoever it turns out to be, will receive an aggressive probing about where any internal moral compass is derived, even though there is just as much necessity to find this out.

At least when Jeremy Vine asked questions of Tim Farron’s Christianity and voting record on his Radio 2 show, he allowed him to answer and then quickly moved the conversation on. The difference is that Vine is a Christian too, but more than that, he knows how difficult it is to be open about your religious beliefs in the media. Back in 2009, in an interview for the United Reformed Church’s Reform magazine, he said: “One of the things I think, which may sound bizarre, is that Christ is who he said he was. I don’t think I’d put that out on my show; I suppose there is a bit of a firewall between thinking that and doing the job I do.” He added that “blurting out” his religious beliefs would be “destructive” to his job because it is now “almost socially unacceptable to say you believe in God”.

It’s interesting to note that the criticism of Tim Farron mixing God and politics is, on the whole, not coming from his fellow MPs. Many of them from across the political spectrum are also Christians and hold similar views on the moral issues he has been attacked for. They, too, know how hard it is to hold these facets of their identity in tension, and how much of a backlash it could cause them if they were totally open and honest about some of those views which are tied, at least in part, to their religious convictions.

Instead, it is the print media and broadcasters who have developed the opinion that faith is a hindrance to politics, and that anyone who has strong religious beliefs should be treated with suspicion. So much of this is due to nothing more than ignorance and prejudice. Politicians, like all of us, get their values and motivations from somewhere: we don’t just wait for then to fall into our laps out of thin air. And anyone who thinks that a secular outlook on life is more advanced and in some way benignly neutral has bought themselves a set of the Emperor’s new clothes. Too many attitudes toward religion are simply wrong because they are based on false perceptions. The most valid journalistic approach would be to take the time to learn and understand what drives those with a faith, but it is far easier (and entertaining) to patronise them as a deluded minority who deserve both pity or ridicule.

This whole episode has demonstrated that it is not Tim Farron who is being illiberal in his views and beliefs, but rather those who have set themselves up as a liberal elite, casting scorn and treating as pariahs those who do not bow down at the throne of secularism. God has been pushed to the margins, and religious illiteracy glories in its own folly. There is absolutely nothing in this arrogance that we should be cheering about. It is nothing short of shameful.

  • DanJ0

    “As you might expect, Farron refused to give a straight answer. ”

    I think he should have openly stood by his convictions and damn his media consultants and the following day’s headlines. I found it very exasperating, as I always do when politicians twist and turn like a twisty and turny thing to avoid answering, and I think he looked the worse for it. Anyone who understands the basics of Christianity knows what his beliefs almost certainly are on the subject.

    He could have simply said that mainstream Christianity, in common with the other monotheistic religions, views homosexual activity as a sin and that as a mainstream Christian himself he personally accepts that view. After that, he could have continued to set out how that sits with his political position, as he tried to do anyway, and say that he’s also a liberal and therefore embraces diversity.

    Having set that out, he’d be in a much better position in future to explain along the way how as party leader he’d approach the availability of divorce, cohabitation, sex outside of marriage, abortion, the legalisation of homosexual activity, homosexual rights, the relationship between church and state, and so on. Those issues naturally come up precisely because he’s aligned himself with a well-known and well-established belief system.

    • magnolia

      I think the parable of the wheat and the tares helps solve the difficulty for a liberal (classic sense) Christian. That is what enables us to say a, b, c d, e, f ,and g are disallowed for Christians. We may be doing f and g and you may be doing b and c. We mostly try to find the good and struggle as best as possible, with God’s grace if you are a Christian, with less or none if not. We are not to worry- socially- unduly about the sins and different views and paths of others unless they directly affect the wellbeing/ ability to make a living/ health/ continuing life of others, Where that dividing line comes are the moot points.

      That is a libertarian approach, but one that in default mode does not condone abortion, violence nor incitement to violence, nor public harassment of any kind, which I think works.

      • However, the crunch comes when you have to enter the voting queues and cast your vote either in favour of or against legislation that contradicts Christian teaching. If one holds the view that God’s laws are objective and eternal, and there for the good of man, individually and collectively, then one’s faith becomes tested.

        • magnolia

          So how do you interpret Jesus’ Parable? Do you think I have misinterpreted or overextended it?

          • No. you’ve interpreted it correctly. However, the “wheat” shouldn’t feel compelled to appear or behave as “tares” to gain popular support.
            As Jack sees it, there is a Christian position that the world is increasingly rejecting. There are people facing moral choices about how they live and who are not hearing the Gospel message. A Christian should represent God’s truth whilst also acknowledging there is sin the world and individuals will succumb. In a liberal democracy, people exercise free will within the law. Currently, the law is based on non-Christian values. As an electorate, Jack thinks this means voting for those who hold fast to the moral law. For politicians, it means presenting secular arguments in favour of these and resisting the tide of moral relativity.

          • Richard Watson

            I don’t think God particularly needs politicians to tell everyone what they think he wants out of the general public. I don’t think Farron’s behaving as tares as much as saying ‘it’s up to you to dp and be what you feel is right, and in the end it’ll work out one way or the other’. I think this is the right approach for people in the political arena on areas of social conscience.

  • David

    What a splendid article. Well said !
    But the world has always hated truth.

  • DanJ0

    Heh. He’s just been on the Andrew Marr show (9:25) being rather clearer on his liberal position. I think he looked a lot better there by focusing on his political direction and saying that his religious beliefs are personal.

  • Orwell Ian

    Express any religiously inspired heresy against left-liberal secularism and you will be interrogated by the New Inquisition and excommunicated from polite society, but only if you are a Christian. Those of more exotic and excitable religious persuasions get a free pass.

  • Inspector General

    The question is, what is Tim Farron doing in the Lib-Democrats. At a time of electoral wipe-out, with the party examining it’s approach, surely he must realise there’s nothing liberal about his core beliefs. He’s not going to last long, it seems, and one senses it won’t be too much of a disappointment for him when he is finally relieved of command.

    We can thank Islam for suspicion and hostility to those of us who acknowledge God. One really can’t recall an earlier time when daggers are drawn as soon as a Christian enters a room. Fear of Islam is broadening into fear of all religion it seems. Can’t see an end to that for the time being.

    • Shadrach Fire

      I have seen posts pointing to the good origins of the Liberals from the whigs. The truth is that just like the Conservatives, it is not the party it was.

      • Inspector General

        Always considered the Lib-Dems a silly party in as much as they know what they don’t want much more than what it is they do. They seem to have limited any lateral movement you would need to govern the country resulting from this foolish stance, and that makes them unelectable, as they found out this year.

  • William Lewis

    I thought that Tim Farron did rather well against John Humphreys but the problem with calling homosexual behaviour a sin, as he was cajoled to do by Cathy Newman, is that you are then branded a homophobe and have thus broken one of the great modern taboos.

    • Shadrach Fire

      If one calls something a sin, it is not us that defines it as so, it is God himself and the ‘sinner’ is answerable only to God.

      • William Lewis

        Truly

  • IanCad

    Gillan,

    I heard his interview with John Humphreys and thought it quite fair. Prompted by your reaction I listened again, just a few minutes ago.

    Sorry, but for the life of me I see no fault in Humphreys’ questioning – perhaps so with Farron’s less than robust responses. Really, Tony Blair should not have been invoked so often; He’s history.

    We of faith should welcome enquiry as to our beliefs, and be prepared to answer them.

    “—and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
    1 Peter 3:15

  • Dreadnaught

    There are plenty of people who think that you shouldn’t mix faith and politics.

    Tim Farron in an honourable man who professes his personal faith and belief in a private capacity; that position should be the default position.

    Anyone with the slightest understanding of British and European history or awareness of todays theo-politics of the Middle East and the Sahel, not to mention the desire of Muslims to recreate a Global Caliphate would I imagine, fall in to that category.

    Your so out of touch Gil if you think the Muslim Brotherhood’s peaceful British Muslims don’t want to see it here; and soon.
    The National Secular Society addresses this view on all religions in British politics not just Christians. You are being rather silly highlighting just your own beliefs as being under attack and you can,t defend your own position without conferring the same degree of protection on another ‘religion’ that wishes to subsume your own.

  • sarky

    As far as I can see this has less to do with an aggressive secular media and more to do with dishonest christianity. Although you may not agree with the secular press, at least they are honest and consistent in their position. What is dishonest is christians in the public eye fudging the big questions when their faith is at odds with public opinion. Think about it, the conservatives got into power, despite having unpopular policies, by being consistent and not budging despite resistance. Prehaps christians could learn a thing or two?

    • DanJ0

      Nicky Morgan seems to be one of those fudging people. It’s hard not to think she’s pretended to rethink her views simply for political expediency and advancement.

      • James60498 .

        I think I am going to have to go away and reconsider my views. I am very concerned.

        I agree with sarky and DanJo.

        At least in part. I am not sure that the Secular Press is honest and certainly not the BBC who pretends not to have a position, but with regard to the comments of some “Christians” fudging (and that includes some of the Church leaders) they are both absolutely correct.

        • Agreed. What’s worse is these politicians who collude with moral relativism actually damage Christianity by giving the false impression it can adapt to accept immorality.

      • sarky

        Exactly!!! And the church wonders why we see them as hypocritical!

    • DT North up-voted that comment Sarky. Wonder if he’s here as a consultant surgeon, lawyer or school teacher.

      • The Explorer

        Versatile, isn’t he? The first category is the one in which I’d least like to encounter him professionally.

        • He also runs away when you point out or question his claimed professional credentials. It was he who got the Inspector banned from you know where by threatening legal action.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      Whilst I agree with your broad point I would strongly object to the use of the word ‘consistent’.

      As Gillian says, a Muslim will not be pressed about the condemnation of homosexual acts in the Koran nor Jeremy Corbyn about supporting homoeopathy.

      Similarly neither Corbyn (a strong supporter of Hamas) nor any one else with similar views will be asked why they support the murder of homosexuals, the mutilation & subjugation of women, etc. Nor will any feminist be asked why they concentrate on trivial issues like ‘No More Page 3’ but ignore important one like FGM, child-brides, etc.

  • Linus

    In my opinion we’re all entitled to refuse to disclose our beliefs. However, for those seeking public office, such a refusal may cost them dear.

    This politician is perfectly at liberty to keep silent about his views on homosexuality. But voters are also perfectly at liberty to draw their own conclusions about what that silence means, and vote accordingly.

    Nobody who supports the secular viewpoint that sexual orientation and the relationships we form as a result of it are morally neutral, unless their harmfulness can be demonstrated by rational means, will vote for someone whose refusal to express his opinion on the subject can reasonably be interpreted as condemnation of homosexuality. Who would want to take the risk of voting for someone whose faith requires him to oppose what his religion regards as sin?

    The Liberal Democrats appear to have a death wish. Electing this man as leader is the equivalent of a self-administered coup de grâce. Your Labour Party appears to be preparing to do the same, although for different reasons. It looks as though Britain is fast turning into a one party state.

    Rather unfortunate that this should be happening just at the moment when your head of state has been revealed as a childhood admirer of National Socialism.

    • Inspector General

      HM Queen was 7. At the time, there was no inference that Germany was a threat to anyone. How exactly does a 7 year old ‘admire’ national socialism ?

    • The Explorer

      In 1933, Hitler was widely welcomed as the bulwark against Bolshevism. Frank Buchman, of Moral Rearmament, thanked God for the existence of Hitler. (Later, he changed his mind.) If the Queen had made the salute in 1943 rather than 1933 there would, I agree, be an issue.

      • Linus

        “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.”

        Or the woman.

  • preacher

    I admire Tim Farron for being open about his faith, he must have known the media would hound him, but made his beliefs known. Unlike a former Labour party leader who merely hinted that he was a Christian, or a present P.M, who says he is a believer, but his rather chameleon approach would suggest that at best he could be referred to more as a Churchgoer rather than a believer.

    Whether the Lib Dems can be salvaged is total speculation, along the lines of can the Titanic be raised ?. I would prefer to have seen him with a less difficult task, but as the old saying goes ” Cometh the hour, cometh the man ! ” & the task he has chosen certainly requires a man who believes in miracles ( as many of us do ) so may you succeed & prosper Tim, & if all else fails, perhaps you would make a good candidate for next A of C.
    As for those that have set out to bait him, shame on you, you’re looking for an easy target. Be careful you are not hoist on your own petards.

    • sarky

      Bait him? If he was honest and consistent in his belief they wouldn’t need to!!

      • preacher

        hiya sarky. If the media were more honest & consistent in attacking all religions, we might respect them more, wouldn’t you agree ?.

        • sarky

          As far as I can see this is not an attack on religion, but an attack on yet another politician being dishonest.

          • preacher

            Brother, I would point out that there’s a difference between being honest when someone is trying to ridicule & draw you out on matters of belief for sensationalism, & the use of tact in ones replies.

          • sarky

            Of course I have!!! But surely a man’s faith is no place for lies and dishonesty even if it is for the use of tact?

          • Jack has to say he agrees with you, Sarky.

          • preacher

            Agreed, but tact is not necessarily lying it can be refusing to answer a question or replying that one can’t answer as the response would be used against the person as a means of ridicule or condemnation.

            But how can any of us judge another as guilty when we are as bad or worse ? Jesus’s parable about taking the plank out of our own eye, before attempting to ‘ assist ‘ another to remove a speck illustrates this perfectly.

            Many that post on here complain that Christians have a real problem with homosexual practice & focus more on it than all the other sins, & they are right.

            But sin is sin, & unless we turn from it & accept God’s remedy for it, we will be judged & sentenced according to God’s law. – Lying , cheating, stealing, adultery, murder etcetera all carry the same sentence, there are no big or little sins. Just like there is not very dead or just a little bit dead, dead is dead !.

            Regrettably we all are guilty, including the religious & the non religious. There is only one remedy, & He said ” Judge not lest you be judged, for the measure you use will be the same measure that will be used on your sins “.

            Blessings on you & your family Brother. P.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Sarky, as far as I can see he said nothing dishonest when interviewed by the media about his faith. He avoided being drawn on leading questions. That’s not being dishonest; thats being prudent. He abstained from voting re-definition of marriage bill. That is a pretty clear demonstration that he didn’t support the legislation. In a liberal democracy he should be free to hold an alternative opinion. The medias hypocrisy stands out like a sore thumb. As Gillan said, they never challenge muslims about the Koran.

          • sarky

            Sorry abstention is a cop out. Not honestly answering leading questions is a cop out. Is he a christian first and politician second? Or is his political life more important?
            Of course he is free to hold an alternative opinion, as long as he is honest about it.

          • DanJ0

            He says he didn’t support it for libertarian reasons.

          • Not to put too fine a point on it, his stated reasons for not voting on same sex marriage were disingenuous.

  • Inspector General

    Isn’t it time for a bit of honesty on this thread. Saying what is really going on. The only people who object to a Christian in charge are LGBT types. It means that they can’t foist their never ending demands on him. Ironically, it does look like they bloody well will and be successful with, as he squirms under the spotlight and swears his allegiance to their blasted cause of this mysterious beast called equality, whatever that is…

    • DanJ0

      That depends on how he tries to square his beliefs with his politics. I imagine that if he not only accepts as a Christian that sex outside of marriage is a sin but tries to put forward policies which criminalise or stigmatise heterosexuals who do that then a broader base would object.

      • They’d object but if there was enough stigma attached to sex outside of marriage then gradually it would become accepted again as sinful and there’d be less of it. The slippery slope we are on now might just be diverted away from the rocks at the bottom in time to stop us crashing into them.

        • DanJ0

          Undesirable is rather different to sinful. One needs to be religious to believe in the latter, and that’s a minority position these days.

          • Undesirable is not a meaningful enough word Danj0, it suggests that one is going to do it anyway. Sinful is probably too niche as you rightly say but, it’s appropriate and a strong word. Wrongful or degrading might be better.

            Tim Farron and others will have to invent a new language to express faith in public.

          • It’s “undesirable” because it undermines the common good. Every sin has a negative social outcome as well as a personal one. God’s moral laws are not arbitrary but there for the good of mankind – individually and collectively.

          • DanJ0

            That’s just the Dodo version of the Common Good, of course. One that can be and ought to be ignored.

          • There will be an eventual cost to ignoring God’s moral law as the foundation of one’s life and as the bedrock of society. Open your eyes. The evidence is plain to see.

          • DanJ0

            We are blessed to be living in the UK at this point in history. You should be on your knees every night in thanks for tge freedom you have. I’d much rather be living now than (say) in Tudor times when Christianity was woven through society.

          • That rather depends how you want to ‘measure’ such freedom and its benefits, Jack would say.
            It’s highly unlikely Christianity will be voluntary accepted as the basis of our collective lives again until people understand its benefits. People just want to do what they want to do, regardless of the harm caused to society. The changes in abortion, divorce and same sex relationships originated as recently as the 1930’s and took off in the 1960’s. The degrees of religious repression that existed in Tudor times do not need to be reinstated. Certain lifestyles, conducted in private, can be tolerated; life long and stable marriages can be actively promoted and divorce made more difficult; and abortion can be gradually reigned in and then banned.

          • DanJ0

            You’re a closet socialist as we know so I can see why you’d say that about alleged harm to society and your aspirations for collectivist social control. We libertarians and liberals think first in terms of individuals, followed by our society of individuals and their private enterprise, and finally about the overarching bits required to maintain a society.

          • Jack is not a socialist, so your line of argument is flawed.
            In Jack’s world, based on his faith, there is no tension between an individual and community. What screws it up is the human predisposition to sin and rebellion, and then human self justification and delusion.

          • DanJ0

            Oh come on! You surely know that you have a slightly dark Jean Jacque Rousseau thing going on. Had you lived back in Tudor times instead, you’re probably have been part of the Inquisition.

          • In the Tudor times, given the right circumstances and opportunity, Jack may well have sided with the Catholic Church, Inquisition and all. Who knows? So what? Heresy was and is a danger to both the common good of society and to the earthly well-being and, more importantly, the eternal destiny of individuals. This is 2015 and a different approach is called for. God decided Jack should live in these times and face the issues we face.

          • Inspector General

            Good post. One is impressed…

          • Except he is completely overlooking Catholic social teaching on subsidiarity which accompanies Catholic ideas of solidarity and sustainability.

            This calls for political and legal authority to be diffused, rather than concentrated. When law and government is needed, they should operate at the level closest to the problem that needs to be addressed. Most problems will be resolved by people outside the state i.e.by families, friends, community associations, businesses, churches and similar bodies. These mediating institutions help foster justice, order and virtue without the heavy hand of government intruding.

            Besides, what is libertarianism? It is not a single political idea but an approach that views government power with scepticism. It’s the “do no harm” principle, subscribing to the notion that if a person’s conduct is not a direct threat to the safety or well-being of another, it should be permitted. When should the government act and at what level? Or would any solution be better left in the hands of private individuals and/or mediating institutions?

            Danjo is no libertarian in so far as he supports the State compelling individuals to comply with “equality” legislation that is imposing behaviours on us all – including the morality we pass onto children. And Jack is not a “socialist” because he believes certain immoral and socially destructive behaviours should be outlawed – or marginalised – for the good of society.

            Thomas Aquinas in his ‘Summa Theologicae’ addresses whether human law should seek to suppress all human vices. His reply:

            “Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such like.”

            One suspects he would include abortion, divorce and same sex normalisation in his “such like”. He is not proposing a libertarian theory and does not look at the question of law from the perspective of individual freedom, but from the viewpoint of the law’s effectiveness as a method of fostering order in the community. However, he does share the insight with libertarianism that human law is limited in its effectiveness as a means to perfect human beings.

            For Aquinas, this means that the law should seek to restrain not all vice but rather those vices that are most harmful, and which result “to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained.” The orientation is different but he shares the general libertarian disposition for the limited utility of the law to make people perfect or to solve every problem. Better for the law to focus on restraining human action that results in harm to others, and harms of a particularly egregious sort: “murder, theft and such like.”

            What we’re then left with is a debate about the extent and nature of harm wrought on a society by the “culture of death” (abortion; IVF; stem cell research; euthanasia) and by the moral relativism of liberalism (all sex is okay so long as it’s between consenting adults).

            In 2012, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, in a homily ahead of the 2012 presidential election said. “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.”
            This all feels somewhat familiar nowadays, wouldn’t you say?

          • DanJ0

            I see you’ve been googling the terms and lifting statements from various webpages again.

      • Inspector General

        You’re missing the point. Is there another aspect that would have him so pilloried. His stance on nuclear weapons for example. Unlikely. He’s upset Big Gay by his past record in the house, and they do not forgive…

        • DanJ0

          Tony Blair went through something similar when it came out about his praying with George W, and that was nothing to do with your favourite subject.

          • Inspector General

            The overall impression of Christians in this country is that they are for the good. Of course, that observation does not sit well with political commentators who are secular in nature…

      • Inspector General

        …and another thing. It’s only Christian loons who are bothered about what 2 men do in the privacy of their home. He does not come over as a loon. One would like to think his attitude is that homosexuality is a tiny minority interest which deviates from humanity’s main mission, reproduction. And tiny minority interests have no right to determine social policy, such as the promotion of that interest in schools.

        • DanJ0

          Clearly you didn’t watch his interview with Andrew Marr this morning, and from your words there you’re clearly not the libertarian you sometimes claim to be. Oh well.

          • Inspector General

            No, didn’t see it. But he’s been well covered on PN you know. And what part of one’s sentiment that only a loon bothers about what 2 men do privately compromises one’s libertarianism. And where in libertarianism does it say you can’t suppress unnecessary influences on society. One takes it you have no problem with fox hunting remaining banned, whereas this man is unconcerned either way as he does not like telling people what they can or can’t do, WITHIN REASON.

    • Powerdaddy

      Honesty, honestly? From you?

      • Inspector General

        That’s rather unfair. Anyway, one merely points to the truth of the matter. It is for others to decide if the truth is valid.

    • That’s a huge generalisation. Remember many LGBT folks are Christians, too.

      • Inspector General

        Tis true, and they do get a good kicking for their faith by the thugs who are Big Gay.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Being a Christian and a leader of a liberal-left party sounds like a recipe for personal torment. A square peg in a round hole if there ever was one. The left is institutionally anti-Christian and that is Tim Farrons dilemma. How he handles that as leader remains to be seen, though looking at his track record it seems he sometimes gives in to pressure from those of a more permissive persuasion. For example, there is a good article this morning by Kathy Gyngell on “Conservative Woman”. She discusses his view that drugs should be de-criminalised, despite evidence from Portugal that it increases drug use amongst children. He does seem to be torn between his faith and appeasing the so-called “progressives”.

    The media are of course not listening to his views, but are trying to ridicule and trap him over his Christian beliefs. To his credit, he has dealt with this quite well. He was obviously expecting it and responded without taking the interviewers’ bait. I respect him for that. I think his election as leader is a watershed for him personally. We shall have to wait and see whether the burden of leadership drives him completely into the secularist camp. I hope not.

  • Selwyn Runnett

    Gillan – I very much agree with your comments. Tim Farron’s election as the Leader of a mainstream UK political party will certainly test the proposition promoted by organisations such as ‘Christians in Politics’ that Christians should be salt and light within existing political structures and parties, rather then seek to promote biblical principles or Christian faith from a specifically Christian perspective. I know back in May 2012 (in a post on ‘God & Politics’) you came out against Christian political parties, especially those, such as the CPA and Christian Party, based on promoting Christian faith. I could understand your arguments. However, you did not comment on the desirability or otherwise of a Party that would have Biblical principles at its core, similar to many of Europe’s Christian Democrat Parties. I wonder if you would change your view if it turns out that Tim Farron’s position is made impossible for him, and it becomes clear that an evangelical Christian simply can’t hold senior office within ‘mainstream’ politics in modern UK Society?

  • DanJ0

    Assuming Tim Farron’s position on the Andrew Marr show is accurate, I have no objection to his openly holding those beliefs and being a mainstream political party leader. He seems to want to present his personal religious beliefs in the context of a diverse society and act in his politician’s role according to liberal principles as well as religious ones. Presumably he feels able to balance those potentially competing principles and make his arguments accordingly on a case by case basis. I compare and contrast this with the pressure that the Roman Catholic Church tried to put on mps and cabinet ministers to vote on overlapping issues according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church or face excommunication. I would never vote for a practising Roman Catholic now but I would potentially vote for an Anglican like Tim Farron.

    • “…. Anglicans like Tim Farron” whose religious principles are secondary to Christian values in order to secure political power, do more harm than good. In Jack’s opinion, they sow the seed that Christian morality can adapt to the world and that it is only stubborn “fundamentalists” who refuse to accept this. In doing so, they undermine the faith in the public square.

      Unfortunately, the Catholic Church lost its bottle over excommunicating MP’s voting contrary to Church teaching on issues such as abortion, IVF, stem cell research, same sex marriage and divorce.

      • DanJ0

        “In Jack’s opinion, they sow the seed that Christian morality can adapt to the world and that it is only stubborn “fundamentalists” who refuse to accept this.”

        I prefer the more nuanced view that people like Tim Farron understand that their beliefs are necessarily personal in the absence of compelling evidence to support them even though they think the content of their beliefs has a universal scope. Again, compare and contrast that with fundamentalists like Salafist Muslims who insist that everyone lives according to their interpretation of Islam because they think the content of their beliefs has a universal scope. We all collectively need to fight fundamentalists who want to control the way other people live according to an ideology which does not accept dissent or diversity.

        • See, you’ve just proved Jack’s point. We are talking here about 21st century Christian understandings in the context of a liberal democracy. To hold to Christian values and want to see these represented in law, is not the same as arguing for Sharia law and imposing these as laws on people against their will. However, a malign or benign dictatorship may seek to do so at some point in the not too distant future as the West sinks into moral and social anarchy.

          • DanJ0

            Well, by observation people don’t seem very interested in Christian sexual morality and so you’ll have to try to impose on people against their will by the look of it if you want the rest of us to live by your rules.

          • No. One way or another, a time will come when people have to return to living the way God intended – by design.

          • DanJ0

            If there is a theist god, which seems pretty unlikely, then maybe so but I’d like to live as I think best in the meantime rather than as religious people from various contradictory religions expect.

          • Well, of course you would. That simply reflects the nature of man and his predisposition to sin. As for contradictory religions, there used to be a broad Christian consensus on morality in the West – up until the 1950’s/1960’s. With religious “modernism” and the “progressives”, the Church itself has fragmented and some, from most denominations, (the tares amongst the wheat) now accept contraception, abortion, divorce and same sex relationships as morally legitimate.

          • DanJ0

            But I don’t sin. The concept of sin is a religious one. Nor do I commit haram. Human nature reflects our evolution as a species. It is human nature to be a mixture of selfish and gregarious, and as we’re self-aware we want to make our own choices. Too much control and we want freedom. Too much freedom and we want control. This is why a society based on liberal democracy is probably the best political system for addressing the quirks of our human nature. No doubt our society will continue to go through changes over time, as we adjust to new technology and new interests, and that’s as it should be I reckon without any of that End Times silliness being thrown about.

          • Inspector General

            hmmm

            “End Times silliness”, what!

            There’s Prof Cox scratching his head and wondering why we haven’t been wiped out by an asteroid. You must have heard of the one that passed so close the other day as to be between the Moon’s orbit to us. That is closer than a near miss. Devine providence, you think?

          • sarky

            I thought that after the flood, mankind would never again be destroyed by nature?

          • Linus

            Silly! Asteroids aren’t nature! They’re God playing coconut shies with us. He launches a coconut in our direction every now and again whenever our sinning gets out of control, in order to thin our numbers out.

            Praise de Lawd! He’s so benevolent! Mass murder and unspeakable suffering are all part of his divine plan and examples of his boundless mercy and love for us!

            Anyway, “asteroid” is just a made-up name created by atheists to try to explain away divine intervention in our affairs by labeling it as a random natural phenomenon. Look carefully at these so-called “asteroids” and you’ll clearly see they’re coconut shaped with a fibrous shell and three little eyes. And if anyone tells you any different, they’re an EVIL SINNER and God will rain coconuts down on them until they’re pounded into pulp, just as they deserve! And if he forgets to, well, we’ll have to do it on his behalf, won’t we?

          • sarky

            That must make the holy spirit ‘malibu’ 🙂

          • Linus

            Is Malibu a spirit or a liqueur? There is a difference, you know.

          • But you do sin and you know it, Danjo. And, perhaps, you’re correct about liberal democracies being suited to human nature as it is. It gives people free will as God intended Time will tell as, in terms of human history, it is a new experiment. Jack’s point is that in this situation, Christians should be honest and open about their beliefs and advance evidence based arguments in support of Christian morality. Unfortunately, academia and the mass media, supported by organisations like

          • DanJ0

            I don’t sin because I’m an a-theist and sin is a religiious concept. I do wrong occasionally of course, and have done some things my conscience still bothers me about.

          • Matt Parkins

            The easiest way to prove to someone that sin exists is to steal their wallet.

            FYI: Sin = act of evil. Simples.

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the concept in Christianity. In the final analysis, a sin is an offence against the Christian god. I’m an a-theist so I don’t believe there is no god to offend. As such, the concept of sin only applies to me if there is in actual fact a Christian god. That said, someone stealing a wallet commits a legal offence and does wrong whether or not there is a Christian god. Simples.

          • Royinsouthwest

            But I don’t sin.

            What makes you perfect?

          • DanJ0

            I’m lovely, not perfect. But you’ve completely misunderstood the point.

          • sarky

            Don’t worry I got your point! !!

          • The Explorer

            There are paedophiles who say that they are doing what comes naturally to them. They are fulfilling the natures they were born with. They have done nothing wrong and are not criminals.

            But the law does not agree with them. Neither does Christ, who had harsh words.

            They say they aren’t sinners; God says they are. Who’s right?

          • sarky

            You (and others) always bring this argument up. You can also say the same of bestiality and necrophilia. Society has deemed these things abhorrent and thats it.
            Im sorry but it’s just a very poor argument.

          • The Explorer

            Isn’t the point that something isn’t necessarily right even if it is natural? Why is that a poor argument? Don’t tell me it’s poor; show me why.

          • We all sin at some point Danj0. What makes you the exception?

          • DanJ0

            I’m not a Christian so the concept of sin is completely irrelevant to me.

          • You’re splitting hairs now Danj0.

            You’re as guilty of immoral behaviour as the next man otherwise you wouldn’t be human, it’s just that you do not to see it as wrong and attempt to correct it due to your lack of faith.

          • DanJ0

            Splitting hairs? I’ve done plenty of immoral things over the years, to my persistent shame. I have a fine sense of morality as I’m sure most homosexual, liberal, a-theists do. But there is no such thing as sin to an a-theist. The word inherently relies on there being a Christian god, as I have explained. A-theists don’t believe in such a god so the concept is irrelevant to us. I know you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer but surely you can get your head around that. I don’t give a flying feck whether a Christian thinks this or that or the other is a sin unless what they think is a sin is also considered by normal people to be immoral too.

          • Yes I DO get it Danj0, I’m not quite as blunt as you like to make out.
            Where does your fine sense of morality stem from then if not from the
            centuries of Christian teachings. Moses’ Ten Commandments in the
            sermon on the mount to Jesus’ teachings, if there had been no
            Christianity would the human species have become as civilised and as advanced? I doubt it.

            What label do you attach to your wrongdoings and immoral behaviour instead of sin is what I was wanting to know? I suppose you make up your own rules?

          • DanJ0

            Marie, things in the moral space are right and wrong. Those are sufficient terms on their own. There’s no need to wrap it up in a religion, whether Christianity or Islam, which most of us don’t adhere to. I have no doubt that murder would be considered wrong even if Christianity was never invented. All normal people have a moral sense and a conscience, it’s just that the rationale behind it needs to be defined to reflect the intuition aspect of it.

          • Yes, but murders who are not insane don’t always think they are doing wrong, can you as an atheist explain to them why they should not have killed?
            A lot of them when in prison turn to the Bible for explanations and enlightenment.
            Not everyone has a moral sense and a conscience and I don’t think many people who lived 2015 years ago did. People have been made aware of moral conscience from Christianity and as it spread so our moral consciences developed.

          • sarky

            Cant wait- running around naked in a big garden sounds fun!!

          • The Explorer

            You can do that now. Just join a nudist colony.

          • hermit_au

            I don’t think Christians (I am one) want to impose our sexual morality on everyone else. However, sin always produces decay, degradation, and death. Christians have as much right as everyone else to advocate for the type of society our children and grandchildren are going to have to grow up in, so we try to preserve the best society we can by keeping society from openly accepting perversions as being equal to God’s (obviously) intended design. We have as much right to do so as every other stakeholder, whether in church of parliament.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Well said.

          • DanJ0

            You should argue for the type of society you want. As should our Muslim citizens who want Sharia law, of course. The rest of us should also argue back, or perhaps simply ignore those arguments. However, it’s worth pointing out that a society based on liberalism tries to construct society so that there is space for diverse interests, opinions, and beliefs, including for our Christian and Muslim citizens. If the religious argue for imposing constraint on anyone who doesn’t want to follow social rules grounded in Christianity or Islam then they’re arguing for oppressing people who disagree or hold different beliefs. I think it’s worth highlighting that so that people who enjoy their freedom recognise the religious threat to it and act accordingly.

          • Paul Robertson

            Do you follow the news? It is those who support same sex marriage that are trying to silence anyone who disagrees with them, and who are forcing their belief system on the rest of us. Christians are losing their jobs and being taken to court because they have different opinions and beliefs. What is liberal about this? Where is the tolerance or freedom in that?

          • DanJ0

            I support same-sex marriage and I encourage you to speak out. Well, I encourage you to speak out in your private lives anyway. Like me on religion or others on race, you probably ought to be careful what you say in your work environment or when you are identified with your work.

    • dannybhoy

      An atheist and scorner like yourself might potentially vote for an Anglican LibDem?
      Hold the front page!!
      ;0)

  • The Explorer

    There are those who say politics should be kept out of education. How? Selecting one literary text rather than another is a political decision. And as for history… Some define education as maintaining the status quo; others as destroying the status quo: both reflect a set of poliical assumptions.

    The same problem applies with faith and politics. Whatever your faith – whether it’s Satanism, or the worship of glow worms – your faith will dermine your world view; and contained within that world view, and shaped by it, will be your political convictions.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Well presented Gillan,
    The Media are unfair towards Christians as you point out. Tim Farron was in an extremely tight corner but held up well under extreme criticism.
    He could have just said as Pontius Pilate said, what is written is written. He did not need in his position to deny or admit to believing controversial questions. At least he has not capitulated as did Nicky Morgan and Caroline Dinenage although he voted for SSM. Stay strong Tim.
    What is written is written.

  • David

    The media reaction to this new leader illustrates very publicly just how many Christians have felt for years about being denigrated for holding sincere faith.

    I have a friend, a Humanist and Lib-Dem supporter who is adamant that Christianity is hugely protected and privileged. That’s the position Humanism claims to be the case, for us Christians. Holding that position makes them feel good about always attacking.

    So, I wonder, maybe this little episode will help wipe away the scales from his eyes.

    Our second class citizen status, not being granted freedom of conscience, thanks to the laws flowing in from the EU, an anti-Christian organisation if ever there was one, are designed to force us to bow to the altar of secularism, and that’s a fact.

    The public persecution of a prominent politician helps to demonstrate that inequity, now being suffered increasingly by Christians, ugly though it is to watch.

    • Grazzer88

      The first world is a majority Christian demographic who have been pushing public policy in politics for generations, despite secular attempts to prevent bills passing which actively detract from humanity under a presumption of holy edict, blocked almost solely on the grounds that many of them conflict with our human rights. In exactly what way has a Christian ever been anything less than a first class citizen when they can get away with exclaiming any manner of indecent statements simply by pre-fixing “As a Christian” to a sentence. Whilst it is legally impossible in some first world nations (US) for an atheist to hold office and even more so socially, as prejudice prevents anyone of faith voting for them when they actually can (even if their politics are more in sync than an alternative candidate of faith). Yes, there have been pew studies on this.

      I know plenty of friendly Christians who are a pleasure to know, but simply being a Christian doesn’t give you a free pass on being criticised for bad ideas. If an idea is bad, it should be fought against, whether it was inspired by a particular faith or not.

      Lastly, the specific criticism being made here is about his particular brand of faith. Evangelists are largely seen as a cult even amongst their peers; so much so that the Pope has denounced their activity for the very reasons mentioned in this article.

      • Jonathan James

        “Evangelists are largely seen as a cult even amongst their peers.” Really? Evidence please?

        • Grazzer88

          Apologies, i misspoke. I meant to say Creationist.

          • The Explorer

            You are a creationist if you believe that the Universe emerged as the result of purpose; rather than the alternative, as a result of chance.

            You can be a creationist and believe that the world is six thousand years old and was created in six twenty-four hour days; you can also be a creationist and believe that the Universe is 14 billion years old.

            You can presumably believe in the eternity of matter, and also in the existence of gods who played no part in bringing matter into existence, but the odds are that if you are a modern theist you will be a creationist.

          • Martin

            Grazzer

            Seems to me that you know little about Christians. Those who are really Christians, who take the Bible seriously, in the main consider Genesis to be a historical narrative.

          • Grazzer88

            Ever heard of the term “no true scotsman”? You should look it up. I was raised by Christians. I live in a historically Christian nation. Don’t presume to tell me i don’t know about Christians. By definition a Christian is only someone who believes in Christ, the details are irrelevant so there’s no such thing as “not a real Christian” unless they denounce Christ.

            Secondly, The Explorer, perhaps i should have clarified “Young Earth Creationism”, generally speaking this is accepted colloquial language in relation to the topic of Christianity. Sorry for the confusion and appreciate the input, that is correct.

          • carl jacobs

            By definition a Christian is only someone who believes in Christ,

            Of course, the devil is in those irrelevant details. Who is Christ and what does it mean to believe in Him? You can try to impose a definition on us from the outside, but you will not succeed in the effort.

          • grazr

            The effort has already been made and concluded by the powers that be. The Scholars and the judges that accept their legal definition based on academic authority. What is a Christian if not a person who follows the teachings of Christ? The clue is in the name. You are a child of that dogma and you identify as such with the label of your messiah. I fail to see these details you speak of; particularly if you only intend to invoke the No True Scotsman fallacy because you wish to disassociate yourself with the failings of your theocratic society. If a man identifies as following the teachings of Christ regardless of whether you like him or not, he is a Christian. If you wish to put distance between yourself and they because of a simple disagreement there is no argument you can use that does not also apply back on yourself. For all the rest of us know, you’re not a real Christian.

            See how that works?

          • carl jacobs

            If the definition is incapable of distinguishing between Joseph Smith, John Spong, and John Calvin, then the definition is functionally worthless. Those three share nothing in common but a set of words, and yet each could plausibly claim to be a “follower of Christ.” Your definition would then seem principally intended to de-legitimize the defining value of doctrine in favor of self-identification – which is curious because that is not a universally applied standard. It is not for example applied to political identification. One suspects this unique dismissal proceeds from the assumption that religious doctrine is trivial, and not worth notice. Given that our culture views religion in anthropocentric terms, doctrine indeed becomes irrelevant, and all that matters is the exercise of human will. I am what I say I am. I am my own creator.

            You can do whatever you like in terms of law – especially given the modern devotion to judges and their ipse dixits of Positive Law. I have no requirement to submit to it. I possess all the authority I need to define “Christian” in a right and proper way, and I will act upon that definition whether judges like it or not.

          • grazr

            Of course you are, and if you’re to breach the rights of others by practicing your faith then you can go to jail where you belong for being a sociopath, born as such or taught as such. Whether you were inspired by an asserted divine authority or not. Not that your initial paragraph is anything but a pile of nonsensical drivel. None of it follows, then you declare you are what you are despite your entire argument attempting to declare that others are not as they claim to be. Pick your stance. Either you are what you say you are or you aren’t. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

          • hermit_au

            “By definition a Christian is only someone who believes in Christ” – that may be your definition, it is not the Bible’s.

          • Grazzer88

            It’s not my definition, it’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition. If you don’t preport to use the language properly then arguing with you is meaningless because essentially you are just making it up without any academic authority. Not that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself throughout anyway, the implication of which being most Christians can’t even agree on what constitutes a “real” Christian. Academics define it as a person pertaining to the teachings of Jesus Christ, ya’ll define it as what ever the hell suits you at the time to sherk responsibility of the bad parts of your community; forever keeping up appearences that you’re the moral center of the world despite being a major source of the most tragic breaches of human rights. http://bibviz.com/#colorize:Rainbow,source:sab

          • Martin

            Grazzer

            Yes, I’ve heard of the term. I also know that the majority of people do not know what a Christian is. A Christian is one whom God has saved, not someone who goes to church, nor someone who calls himself a Christian. And since such a one knows God they consider what God has said, the Bible, to be the most important book there is. Indeed, they will treasure its words even if they go against what those who are not Christians claim.

            As to Biblical Creationism, it is more logical and has more scientific support that Evolutionism or any other idea of men.

          • Grazzer88

            Hahahahahaha.

          • Martin

            I gather you have no argument.

          • grazr

            That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. I’ve already pointed out that your “not real Christians” rebuke is fallacious and it doesn’t seem to phase you at all. Why argue with someone who demonstrates they don’t care about making a sound argument themselves.

            Although to take your last statement seriously i would agree on some level there is reasoning in it, but it’s only a rationalisation to resolve cognitive dissonance. Historically people interpreted the Bible as literal, ignorance was bliss after all and nobody had the capacity to demonstrate the earth wasn’t flat, suspended on pillars under a glass firmament with holes in it where space was water which rained on us through it, then as we entered the age of information and technology and discovered certain claims made within the Abrahamic texts are found to be false, that the sun doesn’t orbit the earth, much of it was interpreted as metaphor or poetic. But you can’t oppress societies with metaphors or poems, so the only way to throw your religious weight around whilst simultaneously claiming the texts to be honest truths is to claim magic really does happen. That flicking a leper with the blood of a crow will miraculously heal them. That the world did flood globally and somehow kangaroo’s only cared to live in Australia even if they had to swim treacherous oceans to get there after-the-fact.

            But you’re right, men do have silly ideas, the biggest of which are their deities.

          • Martin

            Grazr

            There’s plenty of evidence as to what a Christian is in the Bible, as there is plenty of evidence for the Creation.

            That you imagine that people thought the Earth was flat demonstrates your ignorance on the subject. It is, of course further illustrated by your claim that the Bible teaches the Sun orbits the Earth and that the claims of the Bible have been found to be false.

            Doubtless you are a believer in the BigBang and Evolution, neither of which have any supporting empirical evidence. The claimed evidence is, without exception, the interpretation of evidence that could equally support a Biblical Creationist view.

            All in all, it is clear that you have no answer except your ignorance and prejudice. Sorry about that.

          • grazr

            If this “evidence” was so obvious you would think that the further and higher educations would be jam-packed with religious folk, yet through high-school, college and university the average level of religiosity falls by 20% for each level. Hmm, i wonder why that is? Is it because God is generally found in ignorance? It is after-all a phenomenon found typically amongst the poor and uneducated. Or used by leaders to appeal to base emotions of the masses, notably fear. God is no longer the volcano, nor lightning, nor the sea or the moon or the sun for we have come to understand these. How long before the final bastions of ignorance are conquered? We’re already in the process of unlocking the secrets of abiogenesis so where then will your god hide? You challenge evolution, yet you reap the rewards of this scientific principle through health care whilst simultaneously denying it. It is a fact and it is observed and is all you have to do is read more than your one book. Ring species and observed speciation.

            All in all, it is clear that you have no answer except your ignorance and prejudice. Sorry about that.

            I don’t have to “imagine” people believing that the earth was the center of the universe, we know the Christian church imprisoned and tortured Galileo to get him to recant his suggestion the earth might orbit the sun, lest it undermine Christian Dogma.

            To declare otherwise makes you either a liar or a troll.

          • Martin

            Grazr

            The reason the obvious evidence is ignored is simple, pride. We prefer not to submit to the God who made us.

            Neither speciation, nor ring species provide any evidence of Evolution. Indeed, unless you can demonstrate the descent of all life from an original form you have no evidence of Evolution.

            Clearly you don’t know much about Galileo, since what got him into trouble was more his arrogance than his claims. Not of course that the authorities of that day took much notice of what the Bible said.

            As to the location of the Earth within the Universe. the quantization of the redshifts we see indicate that the Earth is very near to the centre of the Universe.

            Perhaps you need to address your pride and arrogance as well as your ignorance.

          • grazr

            Pride? Your argument is based upon a presupposition and you talk to me of pride? Is it your pride that prevents you from acknowledging the healthcare you and your family receive as a direct result of the predictions made by evolution? Will you pray away the ailment of a loved one or will you send them to hospital to be healed with antibiotics developed through understanding of evolution. See if we can predict and use something derived with the scientific method, in exactly what way is it not true, when it directly impacts billions of people on a daily basis. Where is the truth of God when he fails to answer any kind of prayer no more than random chance would allow.

            Galileo was put in prison and tortured in an effort to recant his claims that undermined the Bible. Nobody was put in prison and tortured over their arrogance. It was the arrogant doing the torturing.

            Also if you think that’s what evolution is, then it’s no wonder you don’t prescribe to it. That’s not what evolution is or claims to be, you’re talking about abiogenesis. I think it’s clear you’re not in any position to be commenting on either topics. You declare the ignorance of others whilst demonstrably knowing very little of what you talk about. Simply asserting that something is untrue does not make it so. No matter how hard you believe it.

            Your argument boils down to nothing more than your “feelies”. Pleas to emotion and misguided intuition. A complete lack of any evidence, demonstrably false and based entirely upon fallacies.

            It is ironic to accuse someone of suffering from pride when they change their stance and opinion on new information, whilst you yourself simply mold and twist the information to suit your pre-existing narrative.

          • Robbo21

            To believe that we came into being by complete random chance makes no sense. The odds of the type of evolution needed happening just once for the molecules to man evolution that is required are so big as to logically never happen. The complexity of the human body and the created world that we live in are the clearest evidence for the creator God that you need.

            Are you angry with God for failing to answer your prayers in the way you desire?

          • grazr

            That isn’t evolution. That’s Abiogenesis. If you’re going to disagree with a position, you should at least understand the position you’re disagreeing with.

            You can’t be angry with something that doesn’t exist. I am how ever angry with people who profess a moral high ground on the grounds of an unfalsifiable authority, despite statistically being more likely to have an abortion, get a divorce, rape, murder and/or steal. Whilst a population of any nation might be majority Christian, the relative population of the prisons are not synchronous.

            Also, the argument from ignorance, the claim that you can’t comprehend the complexity of the world there-for god is fallacious.

            If there is a god, which i don’t deny that there might be, it most certainly isn’t the Christian one, because it [Yahweh] is internally inconsistent.

          • Robbo21

            Rather than avoiding the issue, why not deal with the fact that molecules to man evolution is both highly illogical and improbable, to the point of being impossible.

            No-one can fully comprehend the complexity of this world. Therefore to say that such an amazing creation, with evidence of design everywhere, happened by chance makes no sense.

            Your 2nd paragraph comes across as just a rant sorry. A true Christian is someone who realises their sin, places their faith in Jesus and Him for forgiveness. Jesus calls it being born again. Many claim the name of Christ but they have never known him. When someone becomes a Christian, they do not become perfect, they do not claim the moral high ground, but they are called to live by God’s moral standards as given to us in the Bible. There should be evidence of this in their life. When someone like Tim Farron openly rejects God’s moral standards, you have to wonder if he truly is a Christian. Only God knows for sure, but it certainly raises serious questions.

          • grazr

            I appreciate the candidness of your last paragraph and if i were to honestly describe the average Christian i would describe them as such, but i would not define them as such as it does not account for honest believers who prefer to project the violence of the Bible that the more liberal would care to disassociate with. You are both reading the same book, both claiming to be born again, you are just interpreting the dogma differently. Unfortunately the Christian faith is not a single group of believers, but a conglomerate of hundreds of denominations. As i said already, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it. You don’t get to cherry pick around the advocation of slavery, or white wash over prejudice towards women and gays.

            Also at the risk of being rude to such a mannered response, some people just don’t deal well with producing models in their mind in an effort to construct and see patterns around them. Molecules to man is not that complicated when you understand the chemistry behind it. The only thing people can honestly not claim to know is exactly why there are molecules in the first place. But that also happens to be beside the point on whether there is a god or not. Because that is just an argument from ignorance.

          • Robbo21

            It seems to me that you have such a warped view of the Bible and its teachings, you are incapable of seeing it in its proper context. The Bible has stood the test of time and will always do so. I would encourage you to put your issues to one side and try and come at it from a fresh perspective. You can find a detailed answer to the issue of slavery in the Bible here:
            https://answersingenesis.org/bible-questions/doesnt-the-bible-support-slavery/
            If you don’t want to read the full article, at least read the conclusion.

          • grazr

            No, i think you are incapable of viewing the bible in its proper context and have been reading too much apologetics that you have such a warped mind you can perform icnredible feats of mental gymnastics to rationalise any sort of violence.

            As for the Bible standing the test of time, Christianity as a faith is dwindling in numbers. In fact the fastest growing demographics are athiesm and Islam. But only because now Islam has reign over the poorest and most uneducated parts of the world. As education improves, the trend towards religion dies.

            The bible’s worth is in and only in both its relation to literature and as a lesson of the failure of humanity to understand the world and itself. 2,000 years we toiled around in the mud, spreading faith by the sword. The people who believe in the bible are thus either hateful and bigoted, or simply read the bible cafeteria style and are not really an honest Christian.

          • Robbo21

            > The people who believe in the bible are thus either hateful and bigoted

            What a sad, horrible, hateful and ignorant thing to say.

          • grazr

            Explain.

          • Martin

            Grazr

            You use presupposition as much as I, indeed you presuppose Evolution yet you are not able to demonstrate that it is science. And thereby hangs that entirely bogus comparison with real science, the use of antibiotics. Evolution had no part in the development of antibiotics, indeed it has no part in any real scientific development for everything that Evolution ‘develops’ is flawed, from vestigial organs to junk DNA. If Evolution is involved it will delay the development of science.

            Nothing that Galileo claimed undermined the Bible and nothing that science has discovered has undermined the Bible, quite the opposite. You’ve developed your ‘understanding’ from those who are bigoted and ignorant.

            No, I am not talking about abiogenesis, but of course you must also explain how life got started if you want to do away with God. I suggest you go back and read what I wrote again, the words were carefully chosen. If you prefer you may reword it as “unless you can demonstrate the descent of all life from an original common ancestor you have no evidence of Evolution”. Evolution has no evidence to support it, it’s as simple as that.

            It is your argument that boils down to nothing more that wishes, you look on life and wish it had the ability to create itself from nothing to save yourself the bother of worrying about God. My argument is based on the knowledge we all have, that God exists and that He has revealed Himself in the Bible. Ask yourself, why do you hate the Bible so much?

            And finally, I have presented you with new information, yet you have not accepted it. You much prefer to mould and twist what you see to support your pretence that God does not exist.

          • grazr

            Nothing *needs* to be explained. You are just afraid of the unknown. You’d rather have an answer that is wrong rather than no answer at all. You project your insecurities onto others to protect your ego.

            You have presented zero new information, you have presented baseless accusations, appeals to intuition with null citations to peer reviewed studies and would possess no application but the dissemination of misinformation. Your stand point is from a bronze age book filled with inconsistencies and factual errors and you apply that to the world around you, the very definition of presuppositionalism. Observation of the natural world skeptically is, by its very nature, lacking bias.

            Knowledge is demonstrable, if you can’t show it, you don’t know it. You can’t show god, you can only point to things you don’t understand and declare “I don’t know, it’s god”. A complete non-answer. You have explained nothing, demonstrated nothing but your own ignorance.

            Your god is a cloak for your fear; and the fear is strong in you.

          • Robbo21

            Sorry but you are just ranting again. You accuse others of the dissemination of misinformation, but then have the cheek to say that the Bible is filled with inconsistencies and factual errors!

            The Bible has been shown to be the most historically and archaeologically accurate of ancient books. Archaeology has, over time, repeatedly confirmed the reliability of the Bible.

            William F. Albright (1891–1971), one of the world’s most respected archaeologists, is quoted as saying, “There can
            be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition.” – William F. Albright, The Archeology and the Religions of Israel, John Hopkins Press.

          • grazr

            “The Bible has been shown to be the most historically and archaeologically accurate of ancient books. Archaeology has, over time, repeatedly confirmed the reliability of the Bible”.

            You are funny.

            http://bibviz.com/

          • Robbo21

            That website just seems full of passages taken out of context and misunderstood. Very sad.

          • grazr

            Even if that were the case, it still demonstrates my argument on exactly why religion and politics need to remain separated. The very topic of the article if you had forgotten. You wouldn’t burn a witch at the stake, you “know better”. But that didn’t stop it happening in the dark ages “because the bible says so” and it hasn’t stopped it happening right now in Africa.

            As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

            So what do you propose? Because we have a dichotomy here. Either everyone is free to express their religion with the express exception of infringing on another’s right to do the same. Or you’re forced to accept the most popular denomination (note: this isn’t young earth creationism; you’d also invariably be told to accept evolution by the Catholic or English church) to enforce a single set of “correct” dogmatic rules. Something that has only ever been achieved by popular vote (The Bible itself was compiled from a series of books by popular vote at the Council of Nicaea).

            Don’t like evolution? Then help everyone rather than thinking of yourself and your butt hurt feelings. I’m fighting for your right to be protected from someone else’s opinions, including mine. The people defending this article want the opposite, to impose themselves.

          • Martin

            Grazr

            Science is about explaining, the trouble is you are afraid of the explanation, not I.

            I’ve asked for evidence, you have failed to provide it and you are the one with baseless accusation. Creationists use peer review, but peer review isn’t proof that something is true, rather it produces evidence that methodology and interpretations are correct in the view of peers.

            You cannot find any inconsistencies or errors in the Bible, indeed it explains much about the nature of Man and this World. I’d go so far as to say that any study of mankind that doesn’t make use of the Bible is doomed to failure.

            As you say, knowledge is demonstrable, so demonstrate the descent of all life from an original form. Provide evidence for Evolution, not claims that this or that is only explicable through Evolution, that is just bluff.

            You know God exists, but because you love yourself, because you worship yourself, you pretend He does not.

          • grazr

            Creationists use peer review? Then why are there no accepted peer reviewed studies? These things are published publicly and you’ll notice they never garner more than half a dozen citations. Is this why you’ve also avoided linking to any? Because they are so embarrassing? There are under-grad students with publications cited more than “creationist scientists”. Probably, because the studies by them are either largely misinformed and useless or at best, redundant.

            I cannot find inconsistencies in the bible? Here’s a couple hundred: http://bibviz.com/

            Frankly, i am under the impression you are either a troll or simply willfully ignorant. But don’t get me wrong, i completely understand, it’s so much easier just to take an existing idea, rather than observe and make up your own mind. Evolution is observed, the Bible is presupposed and lacks any authority on any subject, including spirituality; which is ironic since that’s the only solid ground religion has to stand on.

          • Robbo21

            Evolution is not observed! Changes within species yes. But that’s not what’s required for life to have evolved. To believe that human life happened by random chance is nonsense. Sorry but you can’t write the stuff you’re writing and call someone else a troll and ignorant.

          • grazr

            Evolution means “change over time”, if something has changed, something has evolved. The declaration that “species change” is vicariously a declaration that “species evolve”. Anything else is just a projection of ones ignorance of the very concept.

            Also this bewilderment of yours over “random chance” like it’s lesser of an idea than fucking “magic” is as amusing as it is asinine. The chance isn’t random, it’s natural. But if you’re happier hacking away at straw men then by all means go at it, by failing to even address the subject you fail to rebuke it.

          • Martin

            Grazr

            Of course there accepted peer reviewed studies, it’s just that some think they are better at science and reject good science. That, of course, is called bigotry. You can see many of those papers at ICR, AiG and CMI.

            And you’ve still produced no evidence.

            Posting a webpage of a ‘couple of hundred’ claimed inconsistencies is what is called elephant hurling. There is no way I can answer all of them here so how about you suggest what you think is the best and I’ll address it.

            The troll are the Atheists, those who pretend that they don’t know God exists. Perhaps you should show us where Evolution is observed, instead of just claiming it.

            Actually the Bible has never been shown to be wrong, but then we can place that down to your ignorance of the subject. Clearly you don’t know what religion is either.

          • grazr

            Rejecting bad ideas is not bigotry and to claim otherwise is disingenuous. Or do you consider the abolition of slavery bigotry?

            Alright, let’s make things easy for you, despite being told to have an answer for any and every criticism let us enable your laziness and and grant your handicap, reconsile just one for me. Ezekiel prophesied specific actions regarding Nebuchadnezzar and Tyre. It (ESV) makes specific claims that can be rebuked.

            26:10 …he will enter the city gates as men enter a city that has been breached.

            Nebuchadnezzar never entered the city, nor did he even breach it.

            26:14 “Tyre will never be rebuilt” 26:21 “You shall be no more”

            Tyre still lives, with a population of 60,000 in the city alone, 174,000 people living within the metropolitan area.

            Lastly, evolution isn’t required to disprove YHWH, Since abstaining from any positive claim is the default position and thus requires no demonstration, although it helps provide an alternative concept to “it was magic”; but since most Christians believe in evolution the argument against is really moot for the faith.

            Go now, perform your mental gymnastics.

          • Martin

            Grazr

            So who is rejecting bad ideas? That’s what Biblical Creationists do. The bad idea of Evolution lacks any demonstrated process and clearly runs counter to real science and requires a great deal of magic. That ‘many Christians’ believe in Evolution is fairly irrelevant because you probably don’t know what a Christian is and they aren’t the authority anyway. And remember, it was Christians who worked for the abolition of slavery.

            Nebuchadnezzar certainly did enter the mainland city of Tyre, though not the island. The many nations of verse 3 succeeded there. The mainland city is now buried under the sea and sand, though once it was possible to look down on it from boats. It has never been rebuilt.

          • sarky

            Funny, the majority of christians I’ve met don’t (they discovered this little thing called evidence).

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Sounds as if the majority of Christians you have met aren’t that interested in evidence, preferring their prejudice. Which raises questions over whether they are Christians.

      • David

        I am mystified !

      • carl jacobs

        Whilst it is legally impossible in some first world nations (US) for an atheist to hold office

        You wouldn’t happen to have a citation to support that ridiculous claim, would you? No, of course, you don’t.

        http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/6/essays/135/religious-test

    • DanJ0

      Second class citizens? Lol. You’ve learned that faux-victim thing from some of our Muslim citizens, I reckon.

      • David

        By all means ignore recent judicial evidence is you wish. It suits you purposes no doubt.

        • DanJ0

          Most of those have been against chancers wanting special privileges for Christians. We’ve discussed them here often enough.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Seems to me that those wanting special privileges are the sexual perverts, especially those who set Christians up by demanding the Christians sacrifice their beliefs in favour of the perversions of the perverts.

          • DanJ0

            Away with you, you damned homophobe.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Oh look, you’re using your magic word. Sorry it doesn’t work on me.

            BTW, I’m not damned, but you are.

          • DanJ0

            You demonstrate your homophobia regularly, and you have provided another example up there. It isn’t a magic word and I’m not using it as such. I’m dismissing you, as I would a racist when he says vicious, racist stuff. So away with you, you spiritually dead fool.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And you demonstrate your racism by comparing what cannot be controlled by the subject to the conscious choice to be a homosexual. You are a disgusting bigot to do such a thing.

          • DanJ0

            Go wave your “God hates fags” placards at your Westboro Baptist Church outings. You bring Christianity into disrepute by pretending to be a Christian, you evil little twonk.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You really do have a very limited number of responses, don’t you. But remember this, by equating homosexuality with racism you are being racist.

          • DanJ0

            This from the spiritually dead bloke who plays his broken record most of the time! Away with you, you damned fraud.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            As I said, you have a very limited number of responses. And the one you used above is racist.

          • sarky

            Since when has been wanting to be treated equally a ‘special privilege’?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You mean like adulterers want to be treated equally, or paedophiles, or thieves, or murderers, or gossips?

            Sin doesn’t get you anything other than judgement in the long run.

      • The Explorer

        Both Muslims and Christians learned it from PC in the race to the bottom of the plle. Victim status is where the rewards are.

    • carl jacobs

      Our second class citizen status, not being granted freedom of conscience

      This is over-stated. What has happened is that the Christian world view is no longer being used as the common assumption for creating law. Your position would logically demand that the only way for Christians not to be “second-class” citizens is for Christianity to once again dominate the culture. The West hates Christianity but isn’t yet persecuting it. We are still free to practice the faith. Note that freedom to practice the faith does not automatically include respect for either it or us.

      • sarky

        Why should you and your faith automatically get respect?
        Where I come from respect is earned.

        • David

          “Respect”
          Who mentioned respect ? I didn’t it.
          I am talking about freedom and tolerance.
          It’s secularism that demands unearned respect.

          • sarky

            Calm down Mr Magoo, if you look carefully I was replying to Carl who did mention respect.

      • David

        “We are still free to practice the faith”
        Are we ?
        Depends what you mean by practice I suppose.
        Free to worship, yes, but our practice is being increasingly prescribed,where it clashes with the now dominant atheist/humanist basis for law making.
        Legal cases accumulate where Christians politely decline to carry out actions that they consider contrary to their faith. It has gone beyond being silenced to being required to act against our conscience. The N.Ireland Asher’s Bakery case is merely the latest well known incident.
        Practicing the faith can’t be confined to inside the walls of our churches.

        • Richard Watson

          Individuals can do what they like. Businesses have to serve everyone equally.

          • David

            But that automatically makes values selected by the State, based on Humanism, mandatory.

            Such a set of values, selected by the State, is superior to every other set of beliefs, tantamount to a State imposed religion.

            Where’s the “equality” in that ?

            From where does the State obtain such authority ?

          • Richard Watson

            From the same place it gets all of its authority – nowhere in particular, i.e. convention, or lack of rebellion in the ranks to stop it.

            Notwithstanding some dubious cases, which probably shouldn’t even have gone to trial, what’s wrong with the principle that a business should serve people regardless of race, creed, colour etc?

          • David

            I think you’ll find that much of our law is now imported, or influenced, by EU law which is based on Humanism, thus eschewing Europe’s Judaeo-Christian heritage.

            The principle of “serve regardless of …..colour etc” , does, like most political theory, sound fine at a superficial glance, but the difficulties are as ever in its application. The ramifications, include the suppression of religious freedom, and without religious freedom there can be no true freedom.

            Projecting forwards, conjecturing of course, replacement of one set of laws, loosely based on Christianity, with another, based on different precepts, will over time create a different civilisation. Then there’s the impact of a growing Islamic population …..

          • Watchman

            Why?

          • Richard Watson

            Because that’s what the law says! Why do we have laws like that? It’s to avoid a society with signs outside buildings saying ‘no blacks, no jews, no irish’ or whatever.

          • Watchman

            So do you allow the law to be your moral compass? If so you have my sympathy, you are no longer a free man.

          • Richard Watson

            The law just says what you’re legally allowed to do. It’s not a moral compass.

          • Watchman

            It is if you abide by it. You are a slave to conformity.

          • Richard Watson

            That depends entirely on how great the discrepancy is compared to your own belief.

            I tend to think we need fewer laws for controlling individuals, and pretty much all opinions (but not necessarily actions) should be tolerated. I think that’s something we’re fairly close to having, although as this case shows it’s not quite there yet.

          • Watchman

            Richard, I think we are a million miles away from the law reflecting the indivual’s right to freedom. Each law restricts our freedom more and we are close to a totalitarian state. How do you boil a frog?

          • Richard Watson

            I think in many ways you are correct. The rights we gain are small victories over each other, while the wider narrative is that overall power goes to central government and large corporations.

            That doesn’t make equality and human rights a waste of time though, it just means that it’s a small improvement against a backdrop of oppression.

          • Watchman

            Richard, “equality and human rights” are merely slogans that enable them to pretend that we have rights. They are a lie. What is one persons human right is another’s oppression. If I am in business and you make it one persons human right for me to provide them a service you are oppressing me. They have no moral right to my services because any contract must be struck freely by the vendor and the purchaser. If the vendor doesn’t want to engage in a contract with anyone for any reason why should he? Your contention is evidence about how far down the road we are to an oppressive state: they have convinced you that you have to act in their prescribed way.

          • Richard Watson

            Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I’m open to consider your point of view. What’s a positive step that could be taken to make us all more free?

          • Watchman

            I’m in my 70s and have seen everything change detrimentally over my lifetime. What has happened was written about very graphically by Bertold Brecht in his libretto on the city of Mahagonny: if you give people what they want they will allow you to control them. Brecht was uncannily prophetic: consumerism has made sheep of all of us and gradually the left have established themselves at the head of all major institutions and have led the movement for control. You cannot be free from the laws, rules and regulations unless you are aware of the impact that they have on the quality of life of all of us. I am free because I live the life I was brought up to live and am willing to pay the price for any conflicts I have with our political masters. When I comply with their rules I always try do do it at my convenience. I am also free because my home is not of this world but with the heavenly hosts where we who have accepted that the Blood of Yeshua has paid the price for my wrongdoing. There is much detail to add but I suspect i will try your patience to do so.

          • Richard Watson

            You’re not trying my patience at all. Do you have a blog?

          • Watchman

            No I’m too lazy!

          • Richard Watson

            I still don’t get any sense of what to do about it. I’m not quite as pessimistic as you are, but I do sense the need to turn the boat around. But where to start?

          • Paul Robertson

            Asher’s were perfectly happy to serve everyone. They refused to DO something that went against their faith. You can’t ask people to create things or make things that go against their beliefs. Asher’s would happily have sold them their goods, but they were being asked to create a cake with a message on it that supported something that not only did they disagree with, is against the law in N.Ireland. How they could lose a case for refusing to create a cake with a message supporting something that is against the law shows how messed up the system is.

          • Richard Watson

            Yes, I completely agree. The legal decision on Asher’s was shaky at best and the law should be adjusted to reflect the original intention. In any event the case is going to appeal so it will be interesting to see what happens.

            I think it’s a perfectly good response to say that we’ll provide you with a cake, but we won’t provide a cake with a slogan that we disagree with, any more than the a newspaper has to print anything that it disagrees with.

          • Paul Robertson

            Aha something we agree on!

  • LoveMeIamALiberal

    Farron was no more hopless in standing up for his faith against Cathy Newman than most other Christian politicians, which is to say pretty hopeless.

    On abortion, he dodged the question because the next question would have been: “So you think it wrong to allow abortion in cases of rape?”. Now the honest Christian answer to that question would be “Yes, because the child conceived is still a human being worthy of respect and two wrongs do not make a right”.

    On homosexuality, he could have said he takes the view that all sex outside marriage is wrong and rebuffed any accusation of homophobia by saying he no more had a phobia about homosexuals than he did about unmarried heterosexual couples.

    But Farron wouldn’t have the testicular fortitude to say either of those things.

    • Well said.

      Sadly, not many Christians in public life have the courage nowadays. Heck, many Church leaders fudge and avoid the issues in precisely the same way.

    • dannybhoy

      It has often been stated and affirmed, that a person’s private life has no bearing on their ability or competence to serve in a public capacity. This includes politicians, entertainers, commentators, political analysts, etc. etc.
      I don’t see what bearing Tim Farron’s personal views on abortion or homosexuality has on his ability to lead the LibDems if the LibDems have democratically elected him.
      After all we’re in a democracy, and we’re not voting for a dictator. Farron is not going to determine the laws on homosexuality or abortion; the majority will. He can only express his opinion and argue for the policies he believes in.

      Another thing; no politician wants to admit to any kind of bia,s because that would mark him or her out for unwanted attention. That’s why ALL politicians try to dodge difficult questions. Why should a Christian politician be any different, and more importantly why is the MSM so selective? They don’t crossexamine or ridicule politicians of other faiths, do they?
      The spirit of the times is that no one should condemn anybody or anything except those things which it is acceptable or fashionable to condemn.
      Finally I doubt very much that these commentators/interrogators really care what these people think; they only want to score points and perhaps stir up controversy. It’s good for their careers and the agency they work for.

  • Royinsouthwest

    It is pretty obvious that Gladstone would not be welcome in the modern Liberal Democratic Party. That would not bother him. If he were to return to this world he would probably say that he would not be seen dead in the Lib Dem Party.

  • Brilliant article. We need more Christians in public office who are willing to look foolish so that they may shame the “wise”. The media are like a dog with a bone over the homosexuality debate. They have their civil partnerships, they have their marriage… why is this still going on? Because those things were never enough. They want us all to conform and believe exactly the same. It’s nothing short of a dictatorship, and the media is the minister of propaganda.

    • Graeme Stevenson

      It’s still going on because of statements like “they have their civil partnerships, they have their marriage”… as if to say, aren’t “they” happy yet? What more do “they” want? But they’re human beings, just like you, and unfortunately many Christians still seem to speak and think of homosexuals as something less than that. For many it is still about ‘us and them’ – as if homosexuals are somehow the antagonists in the situation and it is only our supposed good will that has allowed them to attain the same basic rights as the rest of us. I’m afraid it is this inherent attitude that continues to create such conflict.

      • I wasn’t talking about gay people, I was talking about the government.

  • We should give the man a chance. I
    voted for Tim because I believe he will build the Party up, put in
    structures to represent the consumer better, and empower the citizen to
    make a diffence in society. The fact he is a Christian is a bonus, but I
    am with him on compatibility. God wants the best for us – society does
    too, its just the latter doesn’t have the same knowledge or wisdom,
    despite some of the games media play to try and prove they have … avoiding issues such as gay may also just be that he has more important things on the agenda, rather than to defend his Faith, which we didn’t ask him to do …

  • Paul Robertson

    Surely one of the main problems here is that Tim Farron calls himself a Christian, but goes against what the Bible teaches. He supports same sex marriage when clearly the Bible teaches us this is wrong. The media realise he is being inconsistent and that’s why they are giving him a hard time!

    • Are we to impose God’s laws and commandments on others, or is judgement reserved for Christ himself?

      • The Explorer

        Society must have laws to function. What will those laws be based on?

        • Indeed, but it’s quite simplistic to keep answering “Jesus” and “The Bible” alternatively. There are certain laws that need to be in place for the benefit of society like… “no murder”. Same sex relationships, however, I think are slightly different. Whilst I don’t agree with Same Sex Marriage, and I was sad by the vote in favour of it, I’ve come to think that I cannot impose my belief on this issue on those who are not Christians. It is entirely different with Christians, in my view. What is done is done. Tim Farron is right – there needs to be freedom for everyone to make choices… I’m uncomfortable with the idea or the inference that we see the State as the moral compass… this issue in itself is cause to call this implicit assumption into question.

          • The Explorer

            You can use the insruction manual for an appliance. If you lose the manual you can compile one of your own by trial and error. It will end up being very similar to the manual because of the way the appliance is contructed, Some procedures work, and other don’t.

            That is Natural Law in a nutshell: rational human law will tally, by and large, with divine law because divine law is based on what is best for us, not on the arbitrary whims of a divine despot.

          • Yes, I agree… so not sure of your point here.

          • The Explorer

            SImply a statement abiut Natural Law.

            Re gay marriage. Gay sex cannot produce children. But gays are 3% of the population: neither here nor there. But if 30% of heterosexuals decide not to have children, that impacts on the future demographics of an ageing population. Immigration becomes a necessity to import what we cannot/will not produce ourselves, and that further changes the nature of the population.

            Gay marriage is signiicant in that it highlights the view of the heterosexual population that sex is not primarily about procreation. And a society that does not reproduce itself does not survive. At least it may, but in another form, with a different sort of demographic: and one, perhaps, that will not tolerate gay marriage.

          • Richard Watson

            Which then means we can ponder the question: “so what can we do about that?” and the answer is probably “nothing”.

          • The Explorer

            It may be already too late.

          • Richard Watson

            Sadly, the history of the church seems to be one of locking gates after horses have bolted rather than trying to make friends with the horses.

          • The Explorer

            Yes; although it was hedonism rather than the Church that told peope not to procreate, and since hedonism holds the reins, hedonism will have to find the solution.

          • Richard Watson

            As a world we can’t keep procreating forever. We need to think beyond our national borders and respond appropriately.

          • Richard Watson

            Appliances have manuals. However it’s not against the law for me to use my old nokia phone as a doorstop if I want to, which is certainly going against the intention of the creator and nobody else’s business but my own.

            I disagree with your implied opinion on what marriage is, and challenge you to show that it’s right that a fundamentalist interpretation of a religious book should be enshrined in law. One persons ‘God says it, so it must be law’ is another person’s Sharia. What matters in a civilised society is consensus.

          • The Explorer

            If you rammed the nokia down someone else’s throat, that would also be going against the intention of the creator, and would be someone else’s business. If you self-harm and cause costs to the NHS reviving you, you are involving others (who have to apy for yor treatment) in your actions.
            What matters in a civised society is consensus. So if a majority agree to exterminate Jews, that consensus makes it right? (A civilsed society not so long ago did something along those lines. Or at least, thay was the consequence of their vote.)

          • Paul Robertson

            You don’t need to go back to the war. The so called ‘civilised’ society we live in now currently allows thousands of unborn children to be put to death every year. If the consensus is wrong, it must be challenged.

          • Richard Watson

            Absolutely, challenge such injustices, I’m all for that. If you believe that there’s a gross injustice to foetuses dying then by all means make your argument (and I might agree with you).

            However we’re talking about same sex marriage as a means to correct an injustice. If introducing it inherently brings in some other injustice then where is that?

            The point here is that if you want to actually achieve something you need a better argument than ‘the Bible says no’, especially when you’re talking to people who believe in the same Bible and don’t believe that it does.

            At the risk of sounding like a politician, I’d like to build a better society, for everyone regardless of what they believe. I think most people actually want that too. I think that opening up marriage to people of the same sex is an important step towards that. I don’t have a problem if you, or anyone else, doesn’t believe that same sex marriage is the same thing as a heterosexual marriage – that’s your right to believe that and to say so. But I don’t believe it should be your right to somehow veto it regardless of what the rest of us think based on what you believe, and why would you deny it to people who *do* believe in it and have chosen the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with?

          • Richard Watson

            Consensus matters precisely because consensus is what eventually defines our law, (at least if we have good political representation, but that is another matter) for better or worse. Changing the consensus can happen, but it doesn’t tend to occur because someone waves a holy book, at least not in the short term.

            In order to be able to use arguments from the holy book, people have to first believe in what it stands for. The church is very much at a disadvantage here because it is generally seen as being reactionary and only bringing out the holy book when it’s time to try to stop something happening that it doesn’t like. Look back in time at what is perceived as the church’s main campaigns – Sunday Trading, nudity on TV, divorce legislation, abortion. In each case the predominant opinion put forth has seemed to be “Don’t do this because our book says it’s wrong”. In other words you’ve just given lots of people a bunch of reasons not to ever look in the book. If by contrast more people had looked into the book for other reasons than being told the prohibitions, you’re starting the argument from a different position entirely.

            Your extension of the phone analogy is particularly pertinent. When you ram the phone down someone’s throat it stops being about the phone and starts being about hurting someone. The phone is then purely incidental.

            So we should shape our laws around deliberately allowing people the freedom to choose the wrong thing, at least as we might define it, unless that wrong thing is directly harmful to someone else. Anything else is an attempt social engineering and bound to fail.

          • The Explorer

            This consensus issue. It’s the basis of postmodernism: truth is what the community agrees is truth. I have a problem with it.
            In one of the Flashman books a wagon train guide gets cholera. Before passing out, he warns the pioneers not to take a particular short cut. THey take a vote on it, and there is a majority to take the short cut. Those who voted in favour head off. There a sandstorm or something, they get lost, run out of water, and all die. Despite consensus.

          • Richard Watson

            I don’t think anyone believes that consensus always achieves the right result.

            But if we don’t agree that laws should be created by consensus then what mechanism do you propose for deciding what laws should be?

            Again we end up with the holy book problem. Whose holy book do you go with, and why? It’s easy for Christians to say ‘well obviously we go with our holy book, because it’s the one that’s right and actually written by God’, but then you find out that pretty much everyone believes something similar about their own scripture.

            The only alternative is where we have a monarch with a divine right who just ‘knew’ what the law should be. But that way didn’t really work out well did it?

          • The Explorer

            It’s a good point: one of many you’ve made.. I suppose a king with enough sense to rely on advisers worked well enough. WIth the Hobbes model of an absolute monarch, it didn’t really matter what the king believed as long as he was brutal enough to enforce his opinions. At least that way one avoided anarchy.
            I suppose consensus is the best solution we’ve got (If we disallow the possibility of a genuine holy book.) I have to say that watching the voting patterns on television programmes has given me a dread of democracy when that same audience gets into the voting booth. Bigotry, ignorance, and what soap a particular star has been in seeims to trump actual performance every time.
            I find it scary also that Aristotle’s view of democracy was majority opinion gone wrong.
            Basically, we’re buggered: that about sums it up. Low political expectations are a good safeguard against disappointment.

          • Richard Watson

            I can also feel like you from time to time, but really getting a good system involves people having faith in the system to improve, so I try to tell myself it will get better. The main issue for me at the moment is how easy it is to fiddle the voting system to do what you want, especially when it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as it seems to have lately.

            So given that we have no better system, I think all we can do is:

            a) Make sure everyone gets good information, not just political spin

            b) Try to get people engaged and believing in politics again – a tall order

            c) Insist that everyone’s voice is equal, and some are not more important because of their religion, or PC standpoint or whatever.

            If we can manage this we might well have a secular society that actually works well for religious groups too.

          • Paul Robertson

            God teaches us in the Bible what is right and what is best. Sadly in the UK the majority have rejected God’s rule over us and are now doing what they think is right in their own eyes (imposing same sex marriage on society). As Christians we know that this is not best for society, and is certainly not best for families. Every child should have a mother and father as much as possible, that is what is best for them. Everyone has the freedom to believe what they want, but we all have a right to fight for what we believe is best for society. To say this is imposing our beliefs on others is the wrong way of looking at it.

            Getting back to the issue at hand, I think the problem with Tim is clear. He calls himself a Christian, but his actual beliefs (supporting same sex marriage) go against what the Bible teaches us is right. Of course the media are going to pick up on that and hammer him for it. Do the media treat Christians unfairly at times? Yes, but people like Tim don’t help when they claim to be Christians but reject the Bible. If someone calls themselves a Christian, they should believe what the Bible says.

          • So you’re saying that Tim isn’t really a Christian?

          • Paul Robertson

            Only God knows whether Tim is a Christian or not. What I am saying is that he is being very inconsistent by saying he’s a Christian but then disagreeing with the Bible, and in that sense, I think he’s doing more harm than good.

          • I see. Well whether or not he’s disagreeing with the bible in this case is up for discussion because it depends on what you mean when you say “marriage”.

          • Paul Robertson

            Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman, the Bible is clear on that, let’s not waste time discussing something that we already know.

          • You’re not getting my point. Is it the bit of paper or is it the union of man and woman before God? Jesus told the woman caught in adultery that she had multiple husbands… The State have not required heterosexuals to make a covenant before God in a VERY long time… so is the government simply talking about a legal contract and confusing it with this word “marriage”, or are you buying into the government’s definition of marriage because that bit of paper you sign is the most important thing to you? If you believe the former – that marriage as far as the government is concerned is a legal contract, then if 2 people of the same gender want to enter into it then why should it bother you? The issue is that what we mean by marriage when dialoguing between Church and State is that the whole thing is confused. Marriage as far as the State goes is cheap… you can get “married” on a whim, you can get “divorced” on a whim.

          • Paul Robertson

            Sorry but I don’t think this is really all that relevant to the bigger picture that we’re discussing here.

          • It is because you’re saying that Tim Farron is going against the Bible… well if you’re talking about the Biblical definition of marriage then it’s crucial that we’re talking about the same thing and that we’re viewing the State version of “marriage” in context.

          • Richard Watson

            It’s possible to say that the Bible promotes the ‘ideal’ of 1 man and 1 woman, but it’s far from the only kind of ‘marriage’ approved by God in the Bible.

          • Paul Robertson

            Richard that’s just nonsense.

          • Richard Watson

            Weren’t all of Jacob’s 4 simultaneous marriages blessed?

            Edited: as I always get my patriarchs mixed up 🙂

          • Paul Robertson

            Jacob’s 4 wives and the problems that caused are an excellent example of why polygamy is wrong. The Bible does not hide the faults of the men and women it tells us about. It tells us about their times when their faith in God saw them do great things for God, and when their failure to obey God led to all sorts of problems. There is only one man without sin in the Bible and that is Jesus. A true Christian is someone who has been born again by repenting of their sin and believing that Jesus died for their sin, which Jesus could do as He was without sin. That does not make that person perfect, but they have a responsibility to believe and agree with what God teaches us in the Bible. Tim’s failure to do this is what, in my opinion, is causing him all sorts of problems.

          • Richard Watson

            Jacob being good or bad is not the point. The point, as I said, is that Jacob was blessed through all of his children who each went on to form the basis of God’s chosen people. It would have been fairly straightforward for God to limit that to children born of the first wife on the grounds of legitimacy (as with Abraham), but no, these are all legitimate full heirs of the covenant.

            There is no sense in which Jacob was not ‘one flesh’ with Rachel or that this marriage was not valid. Therefore 1 man 1 woman is not the only approved form of marriage in the Bible.

          • Paul Robertson

            God in His grace can use our mistakes and our sin for good or for His purposes. That does not mean that what we did was right or that God approves of it. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and God used that for good. It does not mean God thought what the brothers did was ok. Marriage should be between one man and one woman, that’s what the Bible teaches.

          • Richard Watson

            So was Jacob married to 4 women or not?

          • Paul Robertson

            We know he was, but God never approved of it.

          • Richard Watson

            So how is that different to him having a form of marriage which wasn’t the ideal? According to a literalistic reading of Matthew 19 he was an adulterer.

          • Paul Robertson

            What he did was wrong. The Bible tells us of people who committed
            murder or lied or stole, it doesn’t mean those things are ok. What they did was wrong as well. The Bible
            teaches us that these things are wrong and that marriage should only be
            between one man and one woman.

          • Richard Watson

            But my point is that their ‘wrong’ marriages are still marriages, whereas the standard argument is that marriage is between a man and a woman, therefore a same sex marriage can’t exist.

            In other words, if Jacob can have his 4 marriages and they are called marriages, then why can’t a same sex marriage be called a marriage, even though some people think that it’s ‘wrong’?

          • KZNDiver

            God knew that no man could follow the law, which is exactly why Jesus came. A perfect God cannot look on sin and accept it. Jesus, the only sinless man who was the only one who kept the law perfectly, died a substitutionary death for us so that we can enter God’s presence without the blemish of our inevitable sin. Jesus came, not only from the line of Abraham and Jacob, but from the line of David – Solomon was the son born from the marriage of Bathsheba and David – which started as an affair and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. Yet David was a man after God’s own heart and was the original king from whose line the King was born. God uses sinners, but does not love or condone the sin.

          • Richard Watson

            The point is that these arguments are being used to say that we shouldn’t allow two people to marry who are of the same sex. What people say is that the only kind of marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman and that anything else just isn’t a marriage regardless of what anyone might call it. However if we look at the bible this isn’t the case, there are people there who, for whatever reason, have married two or more people at the same time, and those marriages are regarded as valid. They may be regarded as less than ideal, but they are still valid.

            Therefore the objection that marriage is always between one man and one woman can’t stand.

            Now if someone wants to step up and say that marriage is between a man and any number of women, then lets hear that.

            So at the very least we have the situation where if two people want to marry, it’s not ideal but it’s valid if they do that. So why not let them do that?

          • trekker2002

            Then those who believe the Bible and follow one of its derived faiths should abide by its diktat. The rest of us will live our lives in freedom to do as we see fit within the law of the land, which thank goodness is derived from rational debate not centuries old writings from the Middle East.

          • fatblokeonabike

            So, Paul do you wear clothing of mixed fibres? Eat shellfish? Eat pork (or even touch anything made of pig)? Have any contact with any women during their menstrual cycle? Cut the hair on the side of your head? Believe that insects have more than 4 feet? If so, then you also disagree with the Bible.

          • Paul Robertson

            I think it is important to understand the difference between the civil and ceremonial laws and the moral laws contained in the Old Testament. “The coming of Christ changed how we worship, but not how we live” is a good way of summing this up. To understand this further, please see the article here: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/making-sense-of-scriptures-inconsistency

            This argument is often used (misused?) so I’d highly recommend reading that link.

          • Dunstan

            Fine. I believe St. Paul when he says “….who has made us to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the spirit. For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life”

            Got that? The written word is dead according to St Paul. So what does that make you? ( I mean apart from a purveyor of the most pernicious, simplistic balls)

          • trekker2002

            How exactly is permitting same sex marriage ‘imposing … on society’? Those who wish to marry their same sexual partner are now free to do so, you are free not to. You are just no longer free to stop them.

          • DanJ0

            Well, it imposes some trivial obligations on others. The infamous B&B case would be an example if it happened today, in the same way that it happened with a civil partnership. It also comes with a small financial cost to others in terms of tax etc just like other marriages do. Finally, there are probably a handful of registrars who object to performing civil marriages for couples of the same sex so they’d have to seek alternative employment now if it bothered them that much. Much the same thing could be said about mixed race marriages, of course. Perhaps there are still people around who object to miscegenation because if their god bothered to create separate races then who are we to undermine that?

          • Paul Robertson

            The Bible teaches we are all of ‘one blood’ and come from common ancestors. Also, to compare same sex marriage to the civil rights movement is an insult to those who fought to end racial segregation and discrimination.

          • DanJ0

            Presumably those Christians who campaigned against miscegenation were not aware of that. My comparison between the objections to mixed-race marriage and the objections to same-sex marriage looks fine and dandy to me. What’s the nature of your complaint beyond your hyperbole?

          • Paul Robertson

            Any Christians who campaigned against that were wrong, plain and simple. God made us all to be of one race. Perhaps you should look up the historical abuses of different people groups (e.g. the aborigines) carried out because of the theory of evolution.
            Those who are gay were not being denied any rights. What they wanted was to take something (marriage) that means one thing, and change it to make it mean another. Marriage is between one man and one woman – all adults of legal age already had that right. There are restrictions on that – e.g. you can’t marry your sister, you can’t marry someone who’s already married, and you can’t marry someone who’s not old enough. You must however marry someone of the opposite sex. Everyone already had that right. The gay rights movement fought to change the meaning of marriage, but please don’t compare them to the suffering of those who fought to change things in the civil rights movement.

          • DanJ0

            “Perhaps you should look up the historical abuses of different people groups (e.g. the aborigines) carried out because of the theory of evolution.”

            Of what relevance is that to me?

            “Marriage is between one man and one woman – all adults of legal age already had that right.”

            Not any more, it isn’t. 🙂

            “The gay rights movement fought to change the meaning of marriage, but please don’t compare them to the suffering of those who fought to change things in the civil rights movement.”

            I note that you haven’t actually given the nature of your objection.

          • Paul Robertson

            Of what relevance to me is “Christians who campaigned against miscegenation”?
            Marriage is still 1man 1woman in most countries throughout the world.
            I did. See the second half of my previous post.

          • DanJ0

            “Of what relevance to me is “Christians who campaigned against miscegenation”?”

            The relevance to my point (I don’t care about the relevance to you personally) is that no doubt those people had sincerely held beliefs but those beliefs clashed with the drive for social change at the time and after the change they would have had to adapt or accept the consequences.

            “Marriage is still 1man 1woman in most countries throughout the world.”

            So? Many countries don’t enjoy the benefits of a democratic political system but that doesn’t convince me that we shouldn’t have one ourselves.

            “I did. See the second half of my previous post.”

            That was it? You know, I expect people of any race had the right to marry in the places where anti-miscegenation laws existed but marriage was restricted to people of the same race. If people wanted to marry someone of a different race then they didn’t have the right at the time even though they had the right to marry someone of the same race. But marriage laws were eventually changed to take account of the reality that people fall in love and the objections to mixed race marriages were not strong enough to carry the day.

          • Paul Robertson

            You know what this really comes down to? Men and women are different. People with different skin colours are not. People being discriminated against because of their skin colour is wrong. Trying to change the meaning of marriage cannot be compared to that.

          • DanJ0

            Discriminating against people because of their sexual orientation is wrong too. Denying same-sex couples legal rights is social injustice. Civil partnerships covered that but there were religionists who oppose that too. In fact, contrary to the intention of the law they discriminated against couples on the basis that they weren’t married. So now same-sex marriage is legal which means that couples are simply either married or not.

          • William Lewis

            Giving same sex relationships the same rights as married couples (a la civil partnerships) is a moot point but forcing society to call those relationships marriages redefines one of the most important institutions for the advancement of a healthy society – the committed, monogamous, procreative, traditional marriage.

          • trekker2002

            Okay. Let’s examine that a little closer.
            Committed. So a marriage that ends in divorce was never a marriage at all because one or both partners proved not to be committed to it?
            Monogamous. Many cultures permit polygamy and it was in fact common in the Bible, nowhere specifically prohibited except in the New Testament by Paul but only for leaders.
            Procreative. Hmm. Doubt it will play well with all those childless couples that they are not really married. Presumably you will let the ones who are infertile off that hook although what about those who know they are infertile before they marry or who are past childbearing age?
            Traditional. They change you know, albeit slowly and religions do tend to drag their feet a bit. You do realise that calling something traditional has been used to justify just about every sort of injustice that has plagued humanity. We do it this way because…well because we’ve always done it this way.
            I don’t agree that Churches should be obliged to conduct same sex weddings unless they choose to, but they are not permitted to dictate to the state whether they can recognise and conduct legal marriages between consenting adults. The Church doesn’t own marriage and it never did, cultures and societies were regulating sexual unions hundreds of years before the Church existed and will probably be doing so after the Church has become a subject for historians.

          • William Lewis

            I have made no reference to the Church’s view on marriage. That was not my argument. My point pertained to the vital role of committed, monogamous, procreative heterosexual relationships, as enshrined in traditional marriage, for the health of society. These attributes have been effectively removed from marriage which has become nothing more than a public declaration by two (soon to be more) people expressing their desire to shack up for a while. This merger of these unequivalent relationships in the institution is to the detriment of all. By the way, the only people who really own the definition of marriage are those who have actually signed up for it, but we weren’t asked.

          • trekker2002

            I haven’t read of any intention to legalise polygamous marriages, care to cite your evidence of that happening. Muslim Niqah marriages are already common but have no legal status. Extension of legal protection to cohabitation is so fraught with difficulties that I doubt it will ever become law. Not sure how you work out that extending a legal status to others somehow damages the preexisting ones. I’ve been married for 35 years and don’t feel remotely threatened by others being allowed to join the club.

          • William Lewis

            “I haven’t read of any intention to legalise polygamous marriages, care to cite your evidence of that happening.”

            I have no evidence that this is legally happening but there is certainly pressure from those in, so called, polyamorous or polysexual relationships, for instance, to be able to publicly formalise these relationships and there is now no reason why these couldn’t be formalised as marriages. Who are you to say that a person cannot love two people equally at the same time? And if marriage is just about love then why not? Are you going to deny them marriage equality?

            “Not sure how you work out that extending a legal status to others somehow damages the preexisting ones.”

            I didn’t.

            “I’ve been married for 35 years and don’t feel remotely threatened by others being allowed to join the club.”

            Personally, neither do I.

          • Hilasmos

            The state has decreed that society should accept homosexuality; it has made homosexuality, homosexual marriages’ legal and equal to heterosexual one; the asher bakers in Northern Irelans refused to promote homosexual marriages on their cake, and were taken to court. People are being forced and coerced into accepting homosexuality as correct. If you feel this is justified, then would you support the idea of a bakers being forced to place a picture of the Prophet Mohammed on a cake in this democratic system? Should the Baker agree or refuse?
            Or is it only Christians, who receive your wrath and rebukes?

          • trekker2002

            So how has the state recognising homosexual marriage imposed on you? It is not obliging you to enter one, nor forbidding you from entering a heterosexual one, it is merely stopping you from dictating that someone else may not do so.

            The Bakers job is to bake cakes and decorate them to their customers requirements. They are not permitted to discriminate against any group by refusing their custom. They weren’t accepting homosexuality as correct they were icing a cake in return for money which is after all what they do. I doubt any Muslim would ask for a cake picturing Mohammed, so it’s unlikely such a request would be made. I don’t do wrath and rebukes just try logical rational argument which is I find generally more effective at least with those prepared to engage in it.

          • The Explorer

            They are not permitted to discriminate against ANY group?Surely you ought to add ‘that does not break the law with its slogan’? A racist, homophobic, sexist or Islamophobic slogan would presumbly have to be refused?

          • grazr

            Yes, because that would be hate speech. Committing hate speech or approving of it makes you a sociopath. Unless you can explain to me how and why two homosexuals getting married and ordering a wedding cake is hateful then you don’t get to compare the two.

          • The Explorer

            I wasn’t comparing the two. I was simply saying the statement as it stood was incomplete. The actual issue I was thinking of was the baker in the States forced to produce a cake for a Ku Kux Klan anniversary.

          • Hilasmos

            If you were a baker, would you accept if I walked into your shop and asked you to put some icing on my cake with the works ‘Paedophilia ia great’?
            Or ”a good wife is a well abused wife’?

            Yes or no?

          • trekker2002

            Both paedophilia and physical abuse of a spouse are illegal. Marriage between a same sex couple is now legal and Homosexual acts between consenting adults have been legal for decades. So there is no equivalence between your examples and the Ashers case.

          • Hilasmos

            I note you are unwilling to answer my question. Point proven.

          • trekker2002

            I did answer you question. A baker would be entitled to refuse to comply with such a request since being a paedophile is not a protected characteristic under discrimination law nor is being a domestic abuser.

          • Hilasmos

            But Christian issues and a moral conscience aren’t worthy of refusal?

            It’s a case of Lex Rex…the Law is King?

          • trekker2002

            If you believe that it is ‘Christian’ to discriminate against some of your customers on grounds of their sexual orientation then no doubt you will continue to do so. If there are complaints then you would continue to be fined for it. In a democracy the law is to be obeyed and you are free to campaign for it to be changed. You will however probably find that in the process your religion earns a degree of opprobrium from those not not sharing it. I think Evangelicals in the USA are finding that their attempts to legally protect religiously motivated discrimination are backfiring on them. The law is a limit on behaviour but also a protection and you are protected from discrimination on grounds of your religion just as others are protected from discrimination by you.

            Christian morality has changed over the centuries despite your unwillingness to acknowledge that fact. Many Christians in the past argued, with support from biblical texts, that slavery was justified and so was slave owning. I doubt you would find any who would do so now.

          • Robbo21

            Ashers didn’t discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. They refused to create something with a message that went against their beliefs (and a message that supported something that is illegal).

            God’s morality has not changed, and that’s what matters. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian, that doesn’t mean that they are. Even if they truly are a Christian, that doesn’t mean they do everything right. Tim Farron is a classic example. He calls himself a Christian but openly rejects what the Bible says. Is he truly a Christian? Only God knows, but anyone who is a Christian should follow and believe what the Bible teaches us is right and wrong.

            Finally, if you’re going to bring up slavery, you should acknowledge the role played by Christians in fighting against slavery and in ending the slave trade. Also if you properly want to understand the Bible on this issue, and how God cares about all people, I refer you to the following article:
            https://answersingenesis.org/bible-questions/doesnt-the-bible-support-slavery/
            At least take a moment to read the conclusion on that page if not the full article.

          • trekker2002

            I don’t fail to acknowledge the role played by Christians, however Christians often now decline to acknowledge that there were as many Christians for slavery as against it. With limited time at my disposal I rarely visit garbage sites such as AIG but if I have the time I will read it. You might research the ‘no True Scotsman’ fallacy since if you are going to make use of it then it’s as well to be aware of it.

            As for ‘God’s morality’ it appears a little changeable within the Bible itself, Thou shalt not kill having been disapplied to the Amelekites to name but one group.

          • Robbo21

            Your reply reveals your inbuilt bias (you call a website like AIG garbage even though it is full of articles written by highly qualified people and scientists) and how you take bits and pieces of the Bible to suit your arguments.

            You fail to understand my argument if you think I am using the ‘no True Scotsman’ fallacy. Christians do not claim to be perfect, only God is perfect. Christians make mistakes. God doesn’t. The Bible teaches us what is right and wrong, what we should believe. Christians ‘should’ follow the Bible. Some people are Christians but don’t follow God’s teachings in the Bible as closely as they should. Some people claim to be Christians but really they aren’t and they don’t understand what a true Christian is. A true Christian is someone who has been ‘born again’ as Jesus put it. Someone who has repented of their sin and placed their faith in Jesus to save them. They do not however suddenly become perfect people. If a Christian was to tell a lie, does that mean Christians think lying is ok? No, it means they told a lie, even though it goes against what the Bible says.

            Since we’re taking about fallacies, I suggest you look up the straw man fallacy, as you seem to take this approach when arguing against Christianity.

          • trekker2002

            I am quite aware of the Straw man fallacy and did not employ it. You however have just used NTS again but merely expanded it a little. That is not all that surprising since it is very common amongst religions. The Cathilic Church denied for centuries that anyone but they were the ‘true’ Church and Protestants immediately did the same in return once their denominations were established. The process continued through just about every schism since based on finer and finer doctrinal disputes. At one time many Pentecostals doubted that anyone who had not experienced ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ including speaking in tongues was actually a Christian at all. Other faiths have parallel arguments with Sunni denting that Shia are Muslims and vice versa and both denying that Ahmaddis are ‘true’ Muslims.

            I have read parts of the AIG website in the past and whilst it may have many articles aspiring to scholarship they generally fail. Genesis or at least the opening chapter is a Creation Myth and the evidence against a literal 6 day creation is massive and the vast majority of Christians don’t, very sensibly, believe it. So sites like AIG earn the rightful scorn of most even averagely thoughtful and educated people.

          • Robbo21

            You’re actually not reading what I’m writing if you think I’m employing the NTS fallacy, so I will not try to explain it again. You make it clear you’ll believe what you want to and take Bible passages out of context to support your arguments.

            There is no massive body of evidence against 6 day creation, that’s just nonsense. The actual evidence of our history is interpreted differently depending on the bias of those examining it. Did human life arise by chance? Of course not. To suggest it did shows great faith in the unknown!

            Also many Christians do believe in the literal creation account of Genesis. The Bible itself verifies elsewhere that Genesis is a literal account of creation, and you have to be inconsistent in how you interpret the Bible to say that creation is a myth/parable.

          • trekker2002

            i don’t think you should try to explain something which is clearly beyond your comprehension. So we will set the NTS fallacy aside as clearly beyond you. I haven’t actually quoted any Bible passages referring only to one of the genicides recorded in the Old Testament. Not an unusual occurrence at that period of history of course in fact only remarkable as being clearly recorded as ordered by the deity of the group concerned.

            As for your attempts at creationism I won’t even dignify them with a response. The volume of evidence from very disparate scientific disciplines is fairly clear but if you can really dismiss it all so casually then I will leave you to it. The Bible is a collection of human authored books from a period covering over 1000 years and to attempt to interpret all parts of it as literal historical ‘truth’ is simply ridiculous. Those who insist on doing it can hardly be surprised when it earns ridicule.

            I shall leave you to your musings and get on with the ironing. I actually feel quite sorry for Tim Farron when many of his own co religionists seem more intent on condemning him for his supposed failure to support their particular interpretation of their scripture rather than supporting him in his work.

          • Robbo21

            Same sex marriage is illegal in N.Ireland. They were being asked to support something that is illegal. How they were found guilty I don’t know.

          • Amanda Ward

            The Greatest Commandment from the lips of Jesus was to love your neighbour as yourself. If you are a Christian then you are letting your faith in Christ down by hating people who can’t change their sexual preference. They don’t choose to be gay. If God creates everyone then surely He has created them as gay and all through the years people have been questioning God’s creation that’s where we are going wrong.

          • The Explorer

            The greatest commandment is to love the lord your God with all your heart etc. The second is to love your neighbour as yourself.
            If God creates everyone, has He created rapists, murderers and paedophiles?

          • Roberto Abril

            Very good point you just made here. People do not distinguish between creation and liberty, even if this is tainted. There is no complete depravation of human nature and if there is something like that, the will is highly involved in it. Otherwise, god is to be blamed and the poser of sin is released of its true nature. Thank for the clarity of your thoughts. It is easy to exonerate people of their responsibility for their choices. Evolutionism and other sciences love to play a game against morality in order to justify a neutral position and being “non judgmental”, thus, intellectually superior and illuminated.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you for your kind words.

          • Paul Robertson

            “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Source: Rick Warren.

            Christians are called to love everyone. Christ is the greatest example of that. And Christ loved us so much He died as punishment for our sins so we could be forgiven of them. He never said our sins were ok, He said He would take the punishment for them because He loved us, so that if we believe in Him and ask His forgiveness, He would save us and take us to heaven to be with Him one day.

          • carl jacobs

            “Choice” cannot be a basis for law when the purpose of law is to constrain choice. The question is “How do you decide how to constrain choice?” This post-modern world is answering that question according to the logic of “How do I protect myself from you?” The question it explicitly rejects is “How do I protect you from my selfish decisions?” It is a relentlessly self-centered logic intended to enshrine autonomous choice as the greatest good.

            It is consuming the West. Our civilization will not last much longer if this logic is not put away.

          • Roberto Abril

            Thank for your post. It encapsulate the issue at hand.

          • Roberto Abril

            I believe that the civil law is right in giving to homosexual right that they need to function in a society. Civil unions, I feel is more appropriate than to use the term marriage, that is reserve for the relationship of a man and a woman.

          • trekker2002

            So why are we are to regulate society by what you feel to be appropriate?

          • Roberto Abril

            The term marriage should be reserve for a wife and husband (male and female). Civil union will grant the protection of the law to a new type of relationship.

          • trekker2002

            Which would be inherently discriminatory, forcing someone to declare their sexual orientation every time they filled in a form of any type. I suppose the law could have been changed to rename all legally registered partnerships ‘civil unions’ and in common parlance everyone would have referred to themselves as married so the outcome would have been the same. The whole scenario might have been better resolved by Government removing from religious organisations entirely the right to register legal marriages. Then the situation would have become what it is in many other European countries, with the legal marriage registered by the state registrar and any religious or non religious ceremonial reduced to to an optional add on for those wishing it. That would have been a logical next step in the process that has been underway for centuries of the progressive separation of Church functions (and rules) from those of the state. I would guess that with the growth of other faiths in the UK, the massive decline in numbers of people marrying in Church and the cases of Ministers of Religion facilitating bogus marriages for migration purposes that eventual reservation of state functions to state officials will eventually happen. After all no one now demands that all babies are ‘christened’ so that they have been officially named, the registration of a babies birth is solely a matter for the state with any religious naming ceremony just an optional extra.

        • KZNDiver

          Jesus said “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. He did not free the Jews from Roman rule as they believed the Messaiah would do, which is partly why they rejected him. Jesus came to redeem us from sin, but we are to live under the law of the rulers in power at the time. Jesus was here to establish his kingdom which will continue into eternity. Not a single human (except for Jesus) was able to live sin free under the law as given to Moses, which is why Jesus had to come and redeem us from sin. Christianity is about eternal life with God, not about the laws in this world.

    • Matt Conant

      Clearly you have a polarised view about what the Bible teaches which may not be correct.

      • Paul Robertson

        Matt, the Bible is very clear, same sex relationships are wrong. People who call themselves Christians should believe what Christ teaches us in the Bible. God created us and God made man to be in relationship with woman. Anything other than that is distorting what God intended for us. People who call themselves Christians should not reject the teachings of Christ in the Bible He gave us.

        • grazr

          “Christians should believe what Christ teaches us in the Bible”. But Christ never said anything about homosexuality in the Bible. So by that logic a Christian need not reject it.

          • Robbo21

            We’ve dealt with this issue already somewhere else on here. Jesus is God – one of the 3 persons in the Godhead (commonly known as the Trinity). He existed long before He took human form on earth as a baby. The Bible is God’s Word, given to us by God. Jesus is called the Word in John 1:1. The teaching of the Bible is therefore the teaching of Jesus, so if the Bible says something is right or wrong, then that comes from God, from Jesus, and we can trust it to be true. What is best for us individually and collectively is to try and follow what Jesus teaches us.

    • andy

      i think you will find he voted against that actually.

      • Paul Robertson

        Source: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/17/tim-farron-regrets-abstention-gay-marriage-vote
        Farron told the Observer that his abstention did not mean he
        opposed equal marriage. “It is important to be very, very clear that I
        voted for the legalisation of equal marriage and support it, and will
        fight very hard against any attempts to water it down – which there
        might be.”
        By calling himself a Christian, but not following the teaching of the Bible, he’s doing more harm than good imho.

        • andy

          by thinking that the things we do make us a christian you are seriously undermining the gospel.

          • Paul Robertson

            I never said that. He may well be a Christian, only God knows, but when someone calls themselves a Christian but rejects the teachings of the Bible, they create obvious problems.

          • Dear Andy, I would very courteously disagree with your proposition about Christian profession having no connection with actions. I cite the following texts.

            John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

            John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

            1John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

          • Because Jesus clearly commanded his followers to stop other people getting married? Nonsense!

            Because Jesus clearly commanded his followers not to marry someone of their own gender? He didn’t even do that.

            Because Jesus illustrated a teaching about divorce in the Torah with the most commonplace example of marriage: that between a man and a woman? He did that, and tradition does the rest. Along with an ongoing determination amongst religious people to prioritise Law over Grace.

          • Paul Robertson

            Jesus is God, and the Bible is God’s Word. This means that if something is taught in the Bible, then it comes from God, from Jesus. So Jesus did deal with the issue of marriage, and clearly taught us in the Bible that it is between one man and one woman.

          • That sounds like Sabellianism, a denial that God is three persons. At Jesus’ baptism it was God the Father who said “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased,” not Jesus talking to himself.

            It is clearly taught in the Old Testament that marriage may be between one man and multiple women, for example Deuteronomy 21:15. So the early Genesis example of a man cleaving to a single woman is only illustrative, rather than exclusive.

          • Robbo21

            I’m not quite sure how you jump to that conclusion. I believe in the Trinity. There is one God, but three Persons in the Godhead. Not only that but Jesus is called the Word. If something is taught in the Bible, it comes from God, and Jesus is God (just as the Father is God and the Spirit is God).
            The passage you refer to in Deuteronomy could also be translated “has had two wives”, i.e. indicating that the first wife has died and he now has a second wife.

          • You wrote, “Because Jesus clearly commanded his followers not to marry someone of their own gender? He didn’t even do that”.

            Courteously, Jesus did not need directly to denounce ssm because the notion would have been unthinkable in 1st century Judaea, just as His silence on idolatry is no indicator that He condoned idolatry.

            Jesus continually upheld every aspect of the OT moral law, which includes the prohibitions on homosexuality. The whole of the OT in any case was inspired by the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11) as was all the NT, where this sin is clearly described as such. What Scripture says is what the Lord Jesus Christ says.

          • Paul Robertson

            Jesus did denounce idolatry in Exodus 20. We need to understand and not make the mistake of thinking that because Jesus in human form is not recorded as having said something, He did not deal with that matter. The Bible is the Word of God. Jesus is the Word, He is God, and the Bible is given to us by Him. Your last paragraph seems to indicate you agree with me on this.

          • I may be misunderstanding you here, but it looks as though you are splitting Torah into rules you like and those you don’t, in direct contradiction of Jesus teaching in the sermon on the mount, and of Paul’s rebuke to those in the Galatian church who wanted to follow just bits of the Law: “cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the book of the Law”. Either you accept Jesus as the fulfilment of the whole Law, or you depend on your own virtues to fulfil it, you can’t have it both ways.

  • Simon Nicholls

    Interestingly, had the newly elected leader of the Lib Dems been a devout practising Muslim or Jew, such lines of questioning would be unthinkable

    • Ian Mason

      They would not dare ask a Muslim the same line of questioning. They could have asked Tim 100 questions but the one they focused on they focused so that they could trap him. Christians are the most maligned, persecuted people in the land today and if you hold to a Biblical worldview then you are seen as bigoted. This is a lie.

      • Robbo21

        But Tim is his own worst enemy because he does not hold a Biblical worldview, but calls himself a Christian!

  • The liberal secularist establishment needs courteously reminding that Britiain’s whole parliamentary democracy is based upon the Christian Scriptures, as the still operative 1688 Coronation Oath Act plainly demonstrates.

    Furthermore, the media should remember that it was Bible-believers in Parliament who in the 17th century challenged the autocratic tendencies of a Stuart monarch, thus leading to the longstanding advancement of our parliamentary system.

    75 years ago George VI called two national days of prayer at the time of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. A humbled nation crying out to the Trinitarian God was gloriously rescued.

    All the great social reforms of the 19th century were down to evangelical Christians.

    In short Britain owes everything to the Christian Faith, and it is utterly bizarre the way the politically correct media now treats a vigorous adherence to it with dismay. This also demonstrates that the gay rights movement is not just about a single issue, but is actualy about undermining our nation’s Christian inheritance and identity.

    • DanJ0

      “Furthermore, the media should remember that it was Bible-believers in Parliament who challenged the autocratic tendencies of a Stuart monarch, thus leading to the longstanding advancement of our parliamentary system.”

      Wasn’t that one Charles Stuart, a practising Christian to boot and a believer in the divine right of kings?

    • DanJ0

      “This also demonstrates that the gay rights movement is not just about a single issue, but is actualy about undermining our nation’s Christian inheritance and identity.”

      I expect Roman Catholics during Henry VIII and Elizabeth I’s reign and beyond felt that the Reformation undermined their nation’s Christian inheritance and identity too. That’s what the Pilgrimage of Grace was all about, as far as I know: a northern revolt by Roman Catholics against Thomas Cromwell’s and Archbishop Cranmer’s reforms.

      • Thank you for your reply DanJo. Henry VIII died a Roman Catholic as far as doctrine was concerned. Christianity is the revelation of God in His word – churches can err, and often do when they abandon Scripture.

        My point is that Britain’s parliamentary democracy and beneficial social development owe an enormous debt to Bible-believing Christianity, through the Puritans, and then through the evangelicals of the 18th and 19th centuries.

        It was also Bible-believing Christians who brought about the abolition of slavery, not liberal humanists. Facts such as this make the current media suspicion of practising Christian politicians to be so bizarre.

        • Merchantman

          It makes the judiciary all the more bizarre in some of their recent pronouncements. Judge Eady being a leader in the field of negating the Christian legal inheritance.

        • DanJ0

          I said “during Henry VIII[‘s] reign”. It was Thomas Cromwell in his position as Chief Minister to the king who pushed the reforms through along evangelical lines. The king was variously in loose agreement or actively against depending on whose star was in the ascendency in the privy council etc.

          As for your point, I agree to some extent. However just about everyone considered themselves a Christian, including those who bought and sold slaves. Francis Drake is probably a good example there, being a Protestant from a devout Protestant family.

          • You rightly identify the problem of nominal/cultural Christianity – a real phenomenon and grave impediment throughout church history. This phenomenon, I would courteously suggest and as you correctly acknowledge, does not however undermine the fact that rigorous Bible-based gospel preaching focusing on personal salvation from the 16-19th centuries had a beneficial impact on social development and the advance of parliamentary democracy. A good example of this would be the input of Methodism into the early trade union movement.

    • David

      Indeed !
      Well said.

    • Michael Gerner

      ^^^ Word! ^^^

    • Roberto Abril

      The flesh conspire against the Spirit”” but the sad thing about the “undermining our nation’s Christian noble inheritance and identity” is that is a cultural phenomenon taking place under the auspices of academia, politicians, mass media… all are willing to shoot hate, bigotry and whatever is to discredit the good that is in Christianity as a whole. Taking the issue of homosexuality as a spear is rather bizarre and it eventually will be unproductive. We need to embrace life and show that the real intolerance is not from us but from them, or those with agenda of erasing the Christian legacy from the culture.

    • grazr

      You know what else Britain owes the Christian Faith? The Salem Witch trials, the great crusades, and the slave trade.

      Christians dream of “the good old days”. I wonder how far back those dreams go. Slaughtering Muslims by droves, burning women at the stake and being able to beat people half to death and get away with it because you own them.

      Every human right you have today that protects you from the brutality of your own or other religions are as a result of secular activism. No need to say thank you. I understand how everything beneficial in the end gets attributed to, and projected onto Jesus by default; and anything less than satisfactory is just god being “mysterious”.

      I’d rather not inherit anything if my Christian inheritance consists almost exclusively of coveting land and people and exercising bigotry, xenophobia, sexism and racism; whilst simultaneously preaching moral superiority dictated from an unfalsifiable entity.

  • Harold Porter

    The ‘tolerant’ manifesto is tolerate anything except intolerance: hence they are intolerant of that which goes against their worldview (intolerance in this case)…So the so-called ‘tolerant’ in society turn out to be no more tolerant than the bigot – the only difference is the object of their intolerance. The bigot is not, at least, a hypocrite as well, because the bigot doesn’t claim to be tolerant!

  • johnb
  • Watchman

    How does he sleep at night?

  • Jane H

    Do we have no Muslim politicians… can we get them on and ask them the same questions?

  • Saba_Hilarion

    Would that be John Humphrys of the Today programme since 1987?