House of Lords 2
Civil Liberties

Welby defends the right to offend – kind of

 

During a House of Lords debate on the question of ‘Islam: Extremism‘, the Archbishop of Canterbury interjected in defence of the right to offend. He said:

My Lords, it is widely agreed that all statements that tend towards causing hatred, contempt and violence towards other faiths should not be permitted, but does the Minister nevertheless agree that it is not extremist in any way, and should in fact be encouraged, for there to be statements that are frank and categorical assertions of faith or no faith, and that there is no right not to be offended or hurt by such statements?

This is a laudable prima facie assertion of religious freedom and a sterling defence of the right to offend – except, that is, for two words. We can all agree on the Millite principle of limiting personal freedom at the threshold of causing physical harm to others or damage to property. But statements that tend towards causing hatred? Statements that tend towards causing contempt? What is the non-violent apprehension of hatred in the mind of the martyr? Even more nebulous is the subjective assessment of non-violent contempt. Does the right to offend really cease at the feeling of a religious belief that is derided or despised?

It is telling that Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Lord Ahmad embraced (and extended) the Archbishop’s understanding of the limits on religious liberty:

I agree on the whole issue of interpretations and the right not to be offended, because after all that is what we are protecting here in our country. I think that there is a distinct line to be drawn when it comes to any conservative practice of a particular religion. Indeed, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister is on record, when referring to Islam in particular, as saying that anyone who is devout of faith can be anything but an extremist. The right to offend someone and not to be offended remains a value that we wish to protect, but we need to stand up to those who seek to divide us and to create division between society and faiths. That is certainly what our counterextremism strategy is all about.

So, the right to offend remains a value worthy of protection, but (and it’s an alarming conjunction) that historic right, for Lord Ahmad, ceases at the point of causing division. Didn’t Jesus say that he came to cause division?

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Mt 10:34f).

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Lk 12:51ff).

Didn’t he show a certain contempt for hypocritical, faithless or false manifestations of religion?

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness (Mt 23:27).

Might not the words of St Paul be interpreted as hatred by those who are feeling convicted of their sin and condemned?

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor 6:9f).

If we may not express contempt for what we believe to be false religion, we are obliged to respect it, if merely by the choice of self-censorship. Is it contempt to state that Mohammed was a false prophet? Is it divisive to repudiate the revelation claimed by Islam? Is it an expression of hate to point out that the Qur’an is replete with hateful and divisive surahs which are contemptuous of other faiths and grievously offensive to non-Muslims?

Is not the preaching of the gospel an offence to unbelievers? ‘And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased‘ (Gal 5:11). The cross is offensive when salvation is preached, and that salvation is divisive, for there are sheep and there are goats: some are chosen, and others are not. ‘..And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed..‘ (1Pt 2:8).

What should be the irenic Christian response to the quranic assertion that Jesus was not crucified and did not die; that it was a clever conjuring trick with a look-alike (sūrat l-nisāa 4:157)? If, as the Archbishop of Canterbury enjoins, we may respond with “frank and categorical assertions of faith” (ie, that this surah is deception, fabrication, false prophecy and a lie), and to do so “is not extremist in any way” (“and should in fact be encouraged”), what of the possible reaction of Lord Ahmad and some of his co-religionists who might find such “frank and categorical assertions of faith” more than a little hateful, contemptuous or divisive?

It was the judgment of Lord Justice Sedley in 1999 that people should be free to express what Justin Welby refers to as “frank and categorical assertions of faith”, and in defending the right to offend he quoted Socrates and two famous Quakers, declaring: “Free speech includes not only the offensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not tend to provoke violence.”

That must include non-violent expressions of ‘hate’ and statements of ‘contempt’. It must certainly include the expression of religious beliefs which may cause division. If it does not, the secular state simply defines religious ‘extremism’ as that which conflicts with culturally orthodox utterances; and so to proclaim the counter-cultural gospel of Christ and the divisive offence of the Cross becomes a crime. Robust Muslims will remain free to preach the perfection of Mohammed and deride the filthy kuffar, and wishy-washy Christians, bludgeoned by ‘Islamophobia’, will go Trappist. There is, as the Archbishop reminds us, no right not to be offended, but, by God, the Church urgently needs prophets who are prepared to go to the stake for really doing so, rather than merely intoning the intellectual right to do so which is no offence to anyone.

  • sarky

    So Welby wants the right to offend, as long as it doesn’t offend anyone????

    • Phil R

      Nail on the head

    • Uncle Brian

      Lord Ahmad makes the same claim even more explictly:

      The right to offend someone and not to be offended remains a value that we wish to protect,

      There are two values that we wish to protect, according to Ahmad:
      1. The right to offend someone
      2. The right not to be offended.

      Therefore, if A and B are talking together and A says something that offends B, Lord Ahmad wishes to protect A’s right to offend B and, at the same time, he wishes to protect B’s right not to be offended by A. Geddit?

      • sarky

        Does anyone?

        • Anton

          Do it, Sarky! But in answer to your question, Yes. Groups like the Christian Institute and the Maranatha Community routinely mobilise people for such things.

      • Anton

        Write to him and ask him to explain. I’m serious. The aim is not to get him to grovel but to get him to think – and hopefully rethink. The effect of several such letters is stronger than most people understand.

        • Martin

          Anton

          I think expecting thought is a bit too much to ask.

      • jsampson45

        Political power is the right not to make sense.

  • Don Benson

    Yes, by including ‘hatred’ and ‘contempt’ the Archbishop of Canterbury is throwing in his lot with the imperialist intentions of the politically correct elite. They intend to seize for themselves a sizeable chunk of what has previously been the uncontested area of free speech. It is they who will decide what is hatred, they who will tell us when we are voicing contempt, and only the truly naïve among us can rest easy with that subtle but increasing march to tyranny.

  • Anton

    The right not to be offended? This drivel is what the nonsensical notion of human rights has led to. It is held that we have them for no other reason than that we are human, so that they are as much a part of us as our arms, legs and inner organs. But the ‘rights’ of people in a crowd often contradict each other, thereby demonstrating that they do not exist. You cannot get out of this reasoning by talking about “absolute” and (by implication) “non-absolute” human rights: that is sheer incoherence, for all human rights attach to all humans at all times by definition.

    Under the notion of “civil rights” a State grants people certain rights, but can remove those rights if people violate its laws. In particular, it removes the civil right to freedom and puts people convicted of serious crimes in prison. But if you call freedom a human right then, because convicted criminals are still human, and therefore still have human rights, it is a violation of their human rights to imprison them – or indeed to punish them in any other way. This constitutes a reductio ad absurdum argument against the notion of human rights.

    These arguments make no reference to God, but the Bible makes no mention of God endowing everybody with human rights. The Law of Moses is phrased as “I am God who created you and you must not do this. Anybody who disobeys me will face a specified punishment.” Moreover Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth and oversees the violation of millions of human rights every day – which because he is omnipotent He could prevent if He chose. Is it not therefore tantamount to calling him immoral if you accept the notion of human rights?

    Archbishop Justin’s words doth offend me…

    • cacheton

      Re putting people who have committed serious crimes in prison; crimes are by definition breaches of the freedoms of other people, therefore criminals have their rights violated to protect the rights of others. Criminals violated first, kind of thing.

      • Anton

        That is coherent if (like me) you accept the notion of civil rights, but not if you accept human rights.

        • cacheton

          I am not a specialist in ‘rights’, but I would have thought that in an ideal world there would not be any difference between the two.

          • Anton

            I’ve tried to explain the problem in my 2nd para above. You are suggesting that it is right for the State to violate the human right to freedom of someone convicted of a serious crime, ie the State is in some circumstances a human rights violator, ie it’s OK for the State sometimes to violate human rights but not OK for an individual ever to. That concerns me.

          • cacheton

            Reasoned debate is the only answer. The State imprisons criminals with good reason, reason agreed by the majority. Individuals often do not have coherent reasons for wanting to violate others’ rights, such as in a case where they feel ‘offended’.

          • Anton

            I’m all in favour of punishing criminals. I am saying that, if human rights exist, then doing so is a human rights violation. I regard that as one step in the argument that human rights don’t exist.

        • carl jacobs

          If I understand you correctly, I would interpret this to mean:

          1. Civil Rights are conferred by the state and therefore can be revoked by the state.

          2. Human rights bind the actions of the state by virtue of God’s creation and therefore cannot be revoked.

          You are saying the second assertion is false?

          • Anton

            The second assertion is predicated on the existence of human rights, and I claim to be able to show that they don’t exist.

          • carl jacobs

            So .. A state is free to kill by the simple expedient of stripping a man of his civil rights? Why then should we complain about abortion since it is killing done in full accordance with the law?

          • Anton

            You are assuming that human rights are the ultimate earthly reason (ie, without resorting to “God said so”) why people should treat each other well. I too believe that people should treat each other well (including not murdering them in the womb); I just think that human rights aren’t the reason why, even in earthly terms. Above, I’ve given reasons why the very notion of human rights is incoherent; please engage with those.

          • carl jacobs

            You didn’t explain why a state is bound in its behavior toward those under its authority. I generally react negatively to the phrase “human rights” because it has become a quasi-secular religion. Men rejected God, and therefore the concept of moral universals. The “Human Rights” community is trying to bootstrap universals from the epistemological wreckage.

            Even so. The state is not free to do as it wills. That lack of freedom is rooted in God’s creation. So how would you describe that limit on state power?

          • dannybhoy

            Human rights is rooted in the idea that man is his own master, and answerable to no-one.
            Just as is Communism and any other atheistic political system which essentially endorses the belief that the ends justifies the means..

          • Anton

            But even then it can be shown (without mentioning God) to be an incoherent concept.

          • dannybhoy

            Go on then!
            Show..

          • Anton

            Please read up the thread.

          • dannybhoy

            Too terse.
            Please simplify and expand.

          • Anton

            See my original post that started this subthread, which sets out my argument in several paragraphs.

          • dannybhoy

            I’ll check it out and get back to you if necessary..

          • Anton

            I couldn’t agree more that “Men rejected God, and… The “Human Rights” community is trying to bootstrap universals from the epistemological wreckage.” The history of the notion of human rights in the Enlightenment and French Revolution strongly suggests that it is the secular analogue of the image of God; a phrase that shows up the contradiction.

            Without God, there is no moral limit whatsoever on State power. Only practical limits.

          • carl jacobs

            secular analogue of the image of God

            That is a good description of the secular notion of human rights. It would seem that you are rejecting the notion of rights severed from divine authority. Fair enough. What would you call it when higher authority restricts the actions of lower authority over its subjects?

          • Anton

            If I were an ancient Israelite under Mosaic Law then I’d do my best to obey it. But I suspect you think this is ducking your question. I’m not trying to be obstructive; do ask another.

          • carl jacobs

            God (the higher authority) imposes a limit on how the King (the lower authority) may treat his subjects. Call it what you will, but in the ordinary uage of the English language, we would normally say that the higher authority has thereby created a right for the subject.

          • Anton

            A State enacts civil rights. Who enacts human rights?

          • carl jacobs

            The higher authority between God and king.

          • Anton

            Well, I can’t find human rights in the Bible, and there is a powerful Christian argument against the idea. Bad things happen to people even though God is all-powerful and good because God gives people choices between good and evil, and they habitually choose evil. God is not the one responsible for the hurt caused to people; other people (or Satan) are. But if God has given us human rights then, because he is all-seeing and all-powerful, he is able to safeguard those rights moment-by-moment, unlike the State which can only punish violators retrospectively. Since God evidently does not safeguard them, he shares responsibility for their violation; the Bible roundly condemns those who do nothing in the face of injustices they could prevent. Any Christian who believes in human rights should therefore condemn God as a gross human rights violator. This blasphemy follows unavoidably from Christian belief in human rights. It is not by coincidence that the Bible does not phrase Mosaic Law in the language of human rights.

          • You can’t find human rights in the bible?

            God is the measure of human rights. Human rights are based upon an objective moral order. They are built upon human dignity, which comes from the fact that man is made in the image and likeness of God and is called to communion with God.

            Catholic social doctrine lists the following:

            (1) “the right to life, an integral part of which is the right of the child to develop in the mother’s womb from the moment of conception;”

            (2) “the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child’s personality;”

            (3) “the right to develop one’s intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth;”

            (4) “the right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth’s material resources, and to derive from that work the means to support oneself and one’s dependents;”

            (5) “the right freely to establish a family, to have and to rear children through the responsible exercise of one’s sexuality;” and

            (5) the right of religious freedom, “understood as the right to live in the truth of one’s faith and in conformity with one’s transcendent dignity as a person.”

            http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

          • Anton

            Those would be civil rights that the Vatican believes a Head of State should grant its citizens. Please address the Christian contradictions in the notion of human rights exposed in my post to which you replied, and the secular contradictions in my original post which began this subthread.

          • They are most certainly not civil rights – they come before the State and are based on man being created in the image of God.

            That man is given free will and violates God’s intentions, cannot be laid at God’s door. He is not the author of sin. We live in a sin filled world.

            Jack was shocked to read you could find no human rights in scripture. It’s full of them. In general, these are situations that God has designed for our benefit.

            – Marriage (Genesis 2:24)
            – Family (Psalm 127:5)
            – Opportunity to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
            – To be part of a group for safety and identity (Numbers 33:54)

            That man is given free will and violates God’s intentions, cannot be laid at God’s door. He is not the author of sin. We live in a sin filled world.

            Look at human rights as God-defined justice – of ways in which people should not be treated. Here are some examples from the bible:

            – To not be murdered (Exodus 20:13)
            – To not be robbed (Exodus 20:15)
            – To not be insulted (Matthew 5:22)
            – To not be kidnapped/enslaved (Exodus 21:16)
            – To not be cheated on in one’s marriage (Exodus 20:14)
            – To not be lied about (Exodus 20:16)
            – To not be disrespected by children (Exodus 20:12)
            – To not be cheated in business (Proverbs 16:11)
            – To not be victimized by society (Deuteronomy 14:29; 24:17)
            – To not be raped (Deuteronomy 22:25-27)
            – To not be denied access to a place to worship God (John 2:11-12)
            – To not be defenceless (Exodus 22:2-3)
            – To not be denied reconciliation after apologizing for an offense (Matthew 18:22)
            – To not to be barred from entering a land that is safe (Leviticus 19:34)
            – To learn about God (Deuteronomy 6:7)

            It is sin to murder, steal, insult someone, kidnap, commit adultery, lie, disrespect one’s parents, cheat, ignore the needy, rape, use worship space for business, attack someone, hold a grudge, and mistreat foreigners. Justice is an absolute, and God intends that everyone receives it (Isaiah 30:18).

            We can look at human rights as God-ordained mercy. God rarely mentions what rights we should demand from one another. Instead, He tells us what we are responsible for. This is seen in most of the laws on justice, but He also tells us to go beyond justice and into mercy. As an absolute, justice would require we all go to hell. In response to Jesus’ sacrifice, we are to emulate Him and extend mercy.

            – Return another’s possessions (Exodus 23:4)
            – Help another’s need (Exodus 23:5)
            – Feed the needy (Deuteronomy 24:19)
            – Sacrifice your investment for another’s safety (Deuteronomy 24:17)

            In the Bible, there are very few rights we are given by nature of our status as humans, and any of these can be taken away by impersonal circumstances. Instead, God focuses on human responsibilities. We are responsible to enforce justice and extend mercy (Micah 6:8). If everyone concentrated on what they are supposed to do, rights wouldn’t be an issue. We would receive what we need.

            http://www.compellingtruth.org/human-rights.html

          • Anton

            I’m sorry but I believe this is eisegesis and that you are looking at the Law of Moses through “human rights” spectacles. The question to which we might give different answers is “WHY, in terms of the individuals involved, does God put these laws in place?” I’d say for their own good; you’d presumably say because they have human rights. But can you prove THAT from scripture, and if so, how? I reckon I can disprove it from scripture – to repeat, bad things happen to people even though God is all-powerful and good because God gives people choices between good and evil, and they habitually choose evil. God is not the one responsible for the hurt caused to people; other people (or Satan) are. But if God has given us human rights then, because he is all-seeing and all-powerful, he is able to safeguard those rights moment-by-moment, unlike the State which can only punish violators retrospectively. Since God evidently does not safeguard them, he shares responsibility for their violation; the Bible roundly condemns those who do nothing in the face of injustices they could prevent. Any Christian who believes in human rights should therefore condemn God as a gross human rights violator. This blasphemy follows unavoidably from Christian belief in human rights; ergo they don’t exist. What’s wrong with this argument?

          • There’s some odd logic in there. God lays out our responsibilities to and for one another and our particular rights to marriage, family life, work and solidarity. His commandments on His justice spell these out. If we didn’t have a right to security, life, property, etc. then God wouldn’t have ordained this.

            To not meet these responsibilities or to deny these rights, is man’s sin – not God’s negligence. He has informed us of how we should live but leaves the choice with us.

          • Anton

            Then I suggest you say to God, “Hey God, we have these rights and we want them now!” How can sinners possibly have ANY rights before God?

          • Who said we had rights in relation to God? We can anticipate His love, justice and mercy as we know something of His nature and His attributes. And God does not act against His nature.
            However, as created beings, we do have rights in relation to one another. Why? Because we have inherent value, having been made in God’s image, and also because Christ died for us.

          • Anton

            This is incoherent. Human rights, if they exist, go with being human, in which case we HAVE them whether we stand before our peers, our cat, our king, our God.

          • Don’t be daft. They are rights and responsibilities in relation to one another.

          • Anton

            Responsibilities are certainly to one another. But look at the phrase “human rights”. It implies that we have them simply by being human, nothing more. In that case we have them standing before God, king, society, cat.

          • Jack doesn’t accept your spin on this. No creature has *rights* before his Creator. Human rights govern the relationships between people and God has made it clear what He expects..

          • Anton

            Assertion is not demonstration. Please state where in the creation of man narrative God endows humans with human rights.

          • Jack has all ready done so in his previous posts which give scriptural references.

          • Anton

            You quote the verse “Do not commit murder.” Please exhibit the logic by which you derive from that the existence of a human right not to be murdered.

            Hell is the second death, by the way, and it is God who dispatches many people there. Human rights violation?

          • No one has a right to murder another – therefore we have a Divine right not be murdered. Why? Because we are made in God’s image and likeness and He said so. Our lives our His and He is the only One who can end innocent life.
            How is it a human rights violation to go to Hell? It’s a free choice we make ourselves in rejecting God’s grace and faith. The choice to believe or not is the right and should not be imposed or withheld by another.

          • Anton

            “No one has a right to murder another – therefore we have a Divine right not be murdered. Why? Because we are made in God’s image and likeness and He said so.”

            He did not say that we have a right not to be murdered. He said that nobody may murder another man. Your “therefore” is a non sequitur. You clearly think it is so self-evident that it does not need explaining, or even that there is nothing to explain; but how would you explain to to somebody who had never heard of Western culture – or indeed the Bible, since the originators of the idea were the secularists of the Enlightenment?

          • Sorry … but if God forbids us to murder another then we do have a right, granted by God, not to be murdered. How is that a non sequitur? And human rights cannot be stated outside of the objective truth of natural law and scripture. The role of the State is to promote the common good, uphold man’s dignity, as made in the image of God, and guarantee his rights to life and thrive in a family and a community.

          • Anton

            So you would say to a secularist that the notion of human rights is incoherent without God. That’s halfway; now to show it is incoherent even with God. Bad things happen to people even though God is all-powerful and good because God gives people choices between good and evil, and they habitually choose evil. God is not the one responsible for the hurt caused to people; other people (or Satan) are. But if God has given us human rights then, because he is all-seeing and all-powerful, he is able to safeguard those rights moment-by-moment, unlike the State which can only punish violators retrospectively. Since God evidently does not safeguard them, he shares responsibility for their violation; the Bible roundly condemns those who do nothing in the face of injustices they could prevent. Any Christian who believes in human rights should therefore condemn God as a gross human rights violator. This blasphemy follows unavoidably from Christian belief in human rights. Ergo, no human rights.

          • Let’s just agree to differ on this one too.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I note you give no Bible references. The document itself seems to give no reference to, for example, the scriptural basis for a right to life. Indeed, it could be said that none of us have a right to life because we are all condemned sinners.

            Equally Christ might be said to have abolished the right to a united family when He said:

            Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
            (Luke 12:51-53 [ESV])

            The whole document is a mass of unscriptural nonsense.

    • cacheton

      Re your first paragraph: I think the problem stems from our understanding of the word ‘human’. It appears that we are protected against being physically violated for whatever reason, but as it is the psychological violation (offense) which leads to the physical violation, then surely a coherent and integrated understanding of the psychological has to be included in the definition of ‘human’.

      This then becomes impossible as it is people’s perceptions, complexes and identities which are supposedly violated (offended) and those are different for everyone. Until people realise that feeling personally offended is their personal problem, and stop projecting it out onto other people who have supposedly ‘offended’ them, this will be an issue. Unfortunately religious dogma tends to justify the feeling of being offended rather than providing the tools to deconstruct it.

  • Stig

    On the subject of the crucifixion, and who Jesus was, according to Mohammed He was a prophet, but not the Son of God. But Jesus said He WAS the son of God. So by saying that, they have established the principle that a prophet can lie. So how do they know Mohammed wasn’t lying when he wrote that hateful stuff? Just a thought.

    • Anton

      Muslims believe that the Jews have distorted the Old Testament from what actually happened, and Christians the New (although their best scholars have never given any who, where or when). Probably they reject the verses of the injil (gospel) in which Jesus makes such claims.

    • Findaráto

      We don’t know what Jesus, if he actually existed, said. All we know is what other people say he said.

      They may be telling the truth. They may be lying. They may be telling a story they believe, but have heard second or third hand and has therefore been distorted, altered, embellished and embroidered. We just don’t know.

      If you claim you do, don’t be surprised when you’re not believed.

      • The Explorer

        We don’t know what Nelson, if he actually existed, said at the Battle of Trafalgar. All we know is what other people say he said.

        They may be telling the truth. They may be lying. They may be telling a story they believe, but have heard second or third hand and has therefore been distorted, altered, embellished and embroidered. We just don’t know.

        If you claim you do, don’t be surprised when you’re not believed.

        It’s why modern schoolkids can tell you about Nelson Mandela, but not about Horatio Nelson. There are still people around who knew Mandela. But two hundred years from now, belief that Mandela existed will be a matter of faith. Photos and film? They can be forged. Orwell’s WInston Smith puts in a fake photo of Comrade Ogilvy, and Comrade Ogilvy – although completely fictitious – becomes an actual historical figure with an existence as real (or false) as that of Napoleon.

        • Findaráto

          We have contemporary eyewitness accounts of Nelson. We have letters written by him. We have accounts of him in government documents. We have his portrait, painted from life. We have so many contemporary accounts of him, all corroborated by multiple independent witnesses, that we cannot doubt his existence.

          Where are the contemporary accounts of Christ? Where’s a single letter he wrote? A single word, come to that? Where is he mentioned in any contemporary Roman history or annal? Where are the multiple, independent witnesses who can attest to his existence?

          The historical evidence for Nelson is incontrovertible. The historical evidence for Christ is non-existent. All we have a few different versions of the same myth, not even written during his purported lifetime, and then collected, compiled and heavily edited over a period of several centuries. Massaged into shape by an organisation with a vested interest in making sure there was a relatively consistent holy book it could use to justify its own existence.

          There is no physical evidence and no independent corroboration of Christ made during his lifetime or shortly thereafter. We have to wait several generations even for the myth to be mentioned in passing by an independent source.

          Christ does not stand up to historical scrutiny. Nelson does. Mandela too. If you can’t see that, you’re willfully deluding yourself, and that’s your problem, it’s certainly not mine.

          • Martin

            Fin

            Paul was writing about Christ within a generation, the first gospels were written within a generation, and the fourth before the end of the century. Those of following generations who knew these writers testify to what they wrote. There was no organisation with the means to massage into shape those books, just the persecuted people who passed on what they knew. Perhaps you should check up on the history of the first and second centuries AD. Curiously we have more evidence of the text of the New Testament books than we do of any other equivalent ancient document.

          • The Explorer

            I’ve been over all this with Fin on a previous thread. It makes absolutely no difference.

          • Martin

            TE

            No it wouldn’t, you can’t shift the ignorant with arguments.

          • The Explorer

            I do believe you took me seriously about the non-existence of Nelson. Apart from anything else, something naval must have stopped them Frogs from overrunning Britain.

            As I said, the existence of Mandela is not an issue now. Two hundred years in the future is another matter.

      • The Explorer

        Linus-style logic. Walter Lord’s ‘Day of Infamy’ came out in 1957. He was not at Pearl Harbor when the attack happened. He was not an eye witness. He interviewed eye witnesses, but that is not the same thing. Because he himself was not an eye witness there is no eye- witness testimony. The work is therefore unreliable, and the testimony of those who were eye witnesses counts for nothing.

        • Findaráto

          A proper historian documents his work and provides references that can be checked. Where are the footnotes in the Bible?

          Your holy book reads like an historical romance. Perhaps loosely based on popular versions of historical events, but full of invented and/or highly romanticised and exaggerated characters and deeds whose existence cannot be identified.

          • The Explorer

            And why didn’t Luke use a computer?

          • Findaráto

            And why don’t you use your brain?

          • The Explorer

            I’ve often wondered why Shakespeare doesn’t mention aeroplanes or the Internet.

          • Findaráto

            Your musings do not surprise me. As you make up reality as you go along and conjure up gods and demons out of thin air, why not give Shakespeare a plane or the Internet? Just because he didn’t write about them doesn’t prove he wasn’t familiar with planes and the Internet, after all.

            I know, you could make believe he had a temporally enabled smartphone and then pretend to have text message conversations with him. In order to be scrupulously honest with yourself (lol!) while pursuing your delusion, you’d have to take the next stray text that arrives on your phone due to a wrong number and then BELIEVE it’s Shakespeare talking to you across time. And who could possibly argue with you? After all, science can’t prove that transtemporal communication is impossible, just as it can’t prove that Shakespeare didn’t have a smartphone and that your imaginary god doesn’t exist.

            If you’re going to indulge in flights of fancy, why not opt for something a little more original than belief in an invisible sky fairy? It’s such a demotic delusion and tars you with the same brush as suicide bombers and the poor old happy clappy god botherer who stands on a corner near my home most afternoons distributing Christian tracts and dancing about like a mad thing. Crazed are they who believe in the Lord? Sure looks that way to me.

          • The Explorer

            You’re right. Although science can prove a lot of things, it can’t prove that Shakespeare didn’t have a smartphone. That’s why other criteria have to be brought into play in evaluating the past.

          • Findaráto

            The generally accepted criteria for determining historicity are two or more independent eyewitnesses telling stories that corroborate each other and are backed up by physical evidence.

            We have no independent witnesses for Christ. The Gospel accounts all spring from the same source, i.e. a group of followers of Judaean prophet (or prophets). They push the same agenda. Together they form one single and interdependent source, especially when you consider how long it took the Church to edit and compile them. They cannot be considered as standing independently apart from each other given the partisan nature of organisation that produced them.

            If we had a second independent source, such as an account left by Pilate or some other Roman official, or Temple records, or even a document from a visiting foreigner who went back home and described the strange events he had witnessed in Judaea, then we’d have stronger grounds for accepting the Gospels as historically valid. And if there were some physical evidence to back up the claims, they would be generally accepted by all. Coins or medals struck during Christ’s lifetime and bearing his name, or architectural inscriptions, or letters written by him, or indeed any physical object that could be dated to his time and had a credible provenance would be sufficient. But there are none.

            Historically speaking, your God doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Which doesn’t prove he didn’t exist, of course. But which also supplies us with no compelling reason to think that he did.

            If you can find me a Greek or Egyptian manuscript dating from Christ’s lifetime with a convincing provenance back to an eye-witness of Christ’s supposed ministry that broadly supports the Gospel accounts, even in the ansence of physical evidence of the truth of such claims, I’ll grant you that an historical figure called Jesus of Nazareth probably did exist. But if you want me to believe in the Resurrection rather than some kind of mass hallucination or clever conjuring trick, I’ll need some proof that necrotic cells can be reanimated before I believe that a dead man can be brought back to life.

            Christianity and history are not the same thing, or at least there is no reason to think they are. Christianity resembles myth and legend more than a factual account of real events. This is why so many of us discount it as a fairy story.

          • The Explorer

            I thought we were talking about Shakespeare?

          • The Explorer

            Our source for Boudicca is Tacitus. Cassius Dio copied Tacitus, and Gildas wrote in the Sixth Century.

            So either Boudicca did not exist, or your criteria, however desirable, do not always apply.

          • Findaráto

            I’m not familiar with the evidence for Boudica, but if what you say is true then it seems clear enough to me that she is not an historically substantiated figure.

            In the absence of multiple independent eyewitness accounts supported by physical evidence, she has to be regarded as more of a myth than a real person.

            There is physical evidence of Roman London being sacked around 61CE, but as Tacitus was only a child then, and there is no indication he spent his childhood in Britain, it’s very unlikely he witnessed the events himself. So he can’t have had first hand knowledge of who led the rebellion. His account is second hand at best, and as we have no information about his sources, we can’t say whether the tale he tells is true, or partially true, or completely fabricated.

            As Cassius Dio’s account was written even longer after the event, it too cannot be deemed to be historically reliable.

            So was there a real Boudica? We just don’t know. It’s a great story, but failing properly corroborated eyewitness accounts that fit with the physical evidence we have of the rebellion, it remains firmly in mythical territory.

            Maybe there was a Boudica. More probably she’s a symbol or a composite of real individuals and legendary stereotypes. We just don’t know.

            When I don’t know, rather than spinning a fanciful yarn to fill in the gaps in my knowledge, or swallowing someone else’s fanciful yarn complete with hook and sinker attached, I merely say “I don’t know”. That seems to me to be the most intellectually honest position. Claiming that unsubstantiated legends are true “because I believe them” seems like quite the reverse.

          • The Explorer

            Good post, making valid points. Tacitus, by the way, got the details of Boudicaa from his father-in-law, who was serving in Britain at the time of the revolt. But all the sources for her are Roman.

  • Anton

    There is, as the Archbishop reminds us, no right not to be offended, but, by God, the Church urgently needs prophets who are prepared to go to the stake for really doing so, rather than merely intoning the intellectual right to do so which is no offence to anyone.

    In Britain specifically, it needs bishops who publicly repeat the words of any Christian facing trial for so-called hate speech that is consistent with the Bible, and who demand to be included in the trial. If there is any point to an Established church today it is this.

    • cacheton

      Maybe those bishops are more concerned with trying to find ways to eradicate hate speech from their ‘bible’, as they recognise it is not consistent with their message of a loving god.

      • Anton

        Psalms 5:4-6 and 11:5-6 make it perfectly clear that God hates sinners (not just sin). If you understand how to reconcile that fact with the statement in the New Testament that God is love then you will have a deeper grasp of theology than most bishops.

        • sarky

          What hope then the man on the street.

          • Anton

            Only in Jesus Christ.

          • sarky

            Thats a non answer. Makes less sense than loving/hating the sinner.

          • Anton

            Belief in Christ gets you off the just consequences of your sin on the day of judgement. If you disagree with THAT, it’s down to Christian apologetics and this isn’t the place.

          • cacheton

            ‘Belief in Christ gets you off the just consequences of your sin on the day of judgement.’
            That has to be the clearest example of the emotional manipulation exercised by religion I have yet seen on this site. Truly honest and truly shocking at the same time.

          • Anton

            You think it’s fine to get away with bad things?

          • cacheton

            That’s not the point is it. You are digging yourself in even deeper by pointing out that christianity was invented to let people believe that they will ‘get off’ the consequences of something bad about themselves which they are told they have no control over. All you have to do is believe in Christ, only in the way that christianity tells you to of course, which amounts to surrendering your freedom of thought. This apparently you have no problem doing, you are so afraid of these ‘just consequences’.

            What I think is fine or what I define as a ‘bad’ thing is irrelevant to this point.

            I really am mystified Anton. You seem articulate and intelligent about rights and I’m sure a whole load of other things, but when it comes to emotional manipulation and belief there seems to be a complete blind spot. I feel like I’m talking to two different people.

          • Anton

            You say that “pointing out that christianity was invented to let people believe that they will ‘get off’ the consequences of something bad about themselves which they are told they have no control over”.

            But that is not why Christianity was invented. Believers such as me understand Christianity to be about truth. My faith brings me to believe I shall not go to hell but that is not the reason why I converted.

            Christians may “market” their faith in such terms – Christ himself did – but it only works where people perceive the dark truth (again the key word) about their selves.

          • cacheton

            Thank you for this clarification.
            But are we not back to the same old point again, as I am presuming your ‘truth’ is what you interpret the bible as saying?

          • Anton

            There is no such thing as “my truth” or “your truth”. At least one of us is wrong and not more than one of us is right. The aim is (courteously) to convince the other.

          • cacheton

            Well this really is the hot topic of the week! You are the third person on this site with whom I have discussed ‘truth’.

            Do you believe that truth is inherently objective? I’m guessing yes.
            Why? How do you show that it is?
            Anything apparently ‘objective’ is perceived by us, and is therefore ultimately subjective. It would be comforting to some if objectivity really existed, but that is neither a reason to believe it really does, nor a reason to invent it.

            If the aim is to convince the other, then surely the first thing you have to do is convince this other that the truth you live by really is the truth! How would you do that?

          • Anton

            Well, do you believe that a statement like “Napoleon was born in 1769” can’t be both true and false, and must be one or the other (even if you don’t know which without checking up)?

            Say Yes and (like me) you believe in objective truth. Say No and it is impossible to have any reasoned discussion with anybody about anything.

          • cacheton

            That statement is only relevant in our earthly physical dimension, where time is a standard by which many things are measured. It (your statement) is irrelevant to other dimensions, and probably even to most people currently incarnated in this dimension. None of that renders it inherently objective.

            And yes it is possible to have reasoned discussions without objective truth. People can (and do) have the same subjective truths!

          • Anton

            “yes it is possible to have reasoned discussions without objective truth.”

            Not with me it isn’t; sorry.

          • cacheton

            Undefined? You think God is physical? Show me. These truths you would so like to be objective and on which you base your faith are not physical are they. Therefore they are by definition subjective.

          • Anton

            I never said that God is physical. I *think* you are using the phrase “other dimensions” to mean the spiritual realms, but you never defined what you meant by it so i’m not sure; please clarify.

            Objective truth applies (or not) to the spiritual realms as much as the physical. We just know a lot less about what goes on there.

          • cacheton

            ‘Objective truth applies (or not) to the spiritual realms as much as the physical.’

            How do you know that? Even if you did know that, it would be you doing the knowing, and therefore subjective anyway. It’s subjectivity every way you turn.

          • Anton

            No point discussing it then.

        • cacheton

          First you could examine your belief that the bible is the word of god. Why would one live by what it says in a psalm anyway??
          You could also recognise that the world in which those people were writing is polarised, hot/cold, up/down, love/hate etc, whereas this dimension is not where god is highest or absolute; that would be unconditional love. Seen from this higher dimension, the word ‘hate’ is not going to look the same as it does to us here below.
          But we’ve been through this before haven’t we Anton.

          • Anton

            I’m not trying to prove the Bible to you here; I’m pointing out what it says.

          • cacheton

            And how is what the bible says relevant?

          • Anton

            It’s relevant to this discussion because I mentioned what bishops might do to uphold freedom of speech.

          • cacheton

            It is perfectly possible to uphold freedom of speech without referring to the bible!

          • Anton

            I agree (and never disagreed).

          • carl jacobs

            The Scripture is a binding authority and therefore relevant by definition. The fact that you reject this does not change either the nature or the authority of Scripture.

          • cacheton

            Most people would not agree that what you call scripture is a binding authority, nor would they agree that it is scripture at all, and they have very good reasons for not agreeing with you, whereas you have no valid reasons to back up your position.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t need your permission to use it or cite it. Ignore it as you see fit. If you have some other standard of good and evil, then cite it. But understand this. You are not a standard.

          • cacheton

            Of course you don’t need anybody’s permission, but if you want it to be taken seriously in a debate, you would have to explain why.

            I am not a standard, but I am perfectly capable of recognising unhelpful and limiting standards.

          • carl jacobs

            I told you why. It’s the Word of the Living God. The fact that you don’t accept what I said is neither here nor there to me. You are like the man who sits on his mountain in Montana and says “I am my own Lord. Where is this gov’t that has dominion over me?” When it comes to exercise the prerogatives of that dominion, you will know.

            You say I won’t be taken seriously. Certainly not by some. I can live with that. You want to debate right and wrong. You want to debate good and evil. You want to debate truth and falsehood. But when I establish the transcendent objective standard that makes all of those things possible, you tell me I won’t be taken seriously. Well then. Tell me what objective transcendent to put in its place if I want to be taken seriously.

            I asked you for a standard in the previous post, and I notice you didn’t answer. You say you can recognize unhelpful and limiting standards. I am not asking you to critique a standard. I am asking you to identify a standard. What is the standard that binds the conscience of men?

          • cacheton

            ‘the transcendent objective standard’

            I have just been through all this with Albert on another thread, the question of objectivity.
            Objectivity only exists through the eyes of subjectivity. Therefore there is no such thing as a transcendent objective standard. It would all be very comforting to many if there were, those who want to measure themselves against something seemingly exterior to themselves to have an idea how ‘well’ they are doing, but all is ultimately subjective.

            Which is why I personally do not particularly want to debate right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood. I want to observe what most promotes wellbeing. I want to live from a dimension ‘higher’ (for want of a better word) than polarisation, because who am I to judge anyone else anyway?

  • Dreadnaught

    “…providing it does not tend to provoke violence.”
    How shall we quantify the word ‘tend’ in a court of law? These are the most stupid pieces of legislation since the laws of Blasphemy.
    If I was to say that Jesus was a composite figment of the imaginings of some dozen or so disaffected Jews thousands of years ago, was not the son of God but rather a political insurgent against Roman rule in Palestine; the chances are that my words would be ignored and would not cause Christians today to riot, do murder and cause mayhem.
    If I said that Mohammad the prophet of Islam was a total fraud, war criminal, thief, liar and child abuser, I would in all likelihood be killed by a minority on the street but regarded by the majority as complicit in my own death.
    The law as it stands, would condemn me for provoking my killers in the same way that the women of Cologne provoked Muslim men to sexually abuse them because they were not wrapped up in black sheets and therefore deserving what they ‘got’.
    This aspect of UK Law has abandoned freedom of speech by bending its knee to the excesses of adherents of a superstitious belief, imbued with an enduring perception of victim-hood and dependent on what degree of ‘hurt’ can be whipped up in response.

  • [the right to offend] must include non-violent expressions of ‘hate’ and statements of ‘contempt’

    The World Zionist Organization begs to differ. Its ingenious software for the suppression of free speech ‘will scan the net using a new algorithm, looking for anti-Jewish content.’ Manifestations of anti-Semitism, such as ‘pictures of burning Israeli flags’ (I kid you not), will be reported to the ‘authorities in the offending party’s country.’

    • Anton

      Where, if it is not illegal (as it should not be), nothing will happen.

      • Hi Anton

        The full sentence from JR’s link:

        “The Sniper will create deterrence,” say the entrepreneurs behind it, “it won’t be so easy to publish a status calling for the murder of Jews, or pictures of burning Israeli flags.”

        That puts a different understanding , rather than JR ‘s spin on the matter to my mind.

      • @ Anton—nothing will happen

        I take it you haven’t heard of Joshua Bonehill.

        • Anton

          That would have been a fair comment if he had been beaten up by an organised Jewish gang rather than by the courts. The law should, as I said, permit obnoxious free speech provided that it does not directly incite violence. Where the law is not like that, you should weigh up the consequences before you do as he did.

          • @ Anton—Where the law is not like that, you should weigh up the consequences before you do as he did

            As His Grace predicted, the wishy-washy Christians turn Trappist. If the Jews have their way, non-violent free speech will be banned throughout Europe.

          • Anton

            The British laws restricting free speech under the doctrine of political correctness were mainly put in place under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, Good Jewish boys all?

          • carl jacobs

            Anton Anton Anton.

            Don’t you know who pulls the strings? You have to wake up to the nature of the conspiracy. It’s monolithic.

          • @ Anton—You don’t have to be Jewish to be a good Jewish boy. Blair is mentioned with Brown at 29 on the 2008 JC Power 100 list, and Cameron is at 15 on the 2014 list.

          • Anton

            Er, the list states it is of those who wield the greatest influence on British Jewry, not vice-versa.

          • @ Anton—Er, ‘the power players in anglo-Jewry.’

          • Anton

            08/05/2008 Today we reveal the top spots in our second annual list of those who wield the greatest influence on British Jewry, as chosen by JC readers and an expert independent panel representing all strands of community life.
            29 (New) [Gordon Brown] The Prime Minister may not have Tony Blair’s natural affinity with the Jewish community, but he has built on the good relations established by his predecessor. The government has extended its financial backing of sixth-formers’ visits to Auschwitz and Mr Brown has accepted an invitation to become a JNF patron. To rapturous applause, he told a Board of Deputies dinner last year: “Israel will always have our support. We will be a friend in good times and bad and we will never compromise our friendship for political expediency.” He is an admirer of the Chief Rabbi, whom he says he consults regularly.

            How terribly sinister!

            September 10, 2014
            Part two of our guide to the power players in anglo-Jewry. Our panel pick their list from 50 to 11. Here, we explain the reasoning behind their decisions
            15: David Cameron
            British Jewry has few better friends than the Prime Minister. He has repeatedly expressed his support for Israel and shown his determination to protect Jewish practices in this country. His Holocaust Commission has been tasked with planning for the future of Shoah education in this country. He made a successful visit to Israel in March during which he spoke at the Knesset and announced tens of millions of pounds of technology deals. During the Gaza conflict this summer Mr Cameron resolutely stood by Israel, refusing to bow to pressure from his coalition partners and opposition leaders to criticise the military action taken against Hamas. His praise for Anglo-Jewry’s contribution to British life was pressed home at a last year’s Chanucah reception in Downing Street which was described by some attendees as a love-in between the community and the Prime Minister.

            To what do you object, please?

    • Hi Johnny

      Don’t worry. You’ll be safe in Iran as the state does a flag burning and “death to the Jews” parade every day…

      • dannybhoy

        Can we raise enough money for a one way ticket for darling Johnny?

        • Hi

          Could they accommodate Linus as well?

          • dannybhoy

            Yes but whose name would be on the ticket?
            Besides I have a soft spot for Linus mark I..

          • Sadly after my encounter on the previous thread I feel no such spot and if I did it is not soft.

          • dannybhoy

            Are you referring to when a Linus avatar attacked you? I can’t remember the details (old + short term memory loss).

            You’re intelligent, gentle and sensitive.
            Just like me!
            People who want to hurt will always look for the chinks in your armour.
            It is better to accept the hurt and process it, than harden one’s self and become unkind and unpleasant like the one who tried to hurt.

          • Hi

            Not just that. The thread before this one, about the EU. Read it for yourself.

          • dannybhoy

            I skipped that one. You mean the exchange between yourself and the Explorer?
            I couldn’t make head nor tail of it.

          • Hi

            I’ve just posted an example of how I felt in the conversation.

          • The Explorer

            Nearly every comment by Findarato has an up vote. In each case it’s been made be Lienus. Lienus is drawing himself to the attention of Linus; but I’m not sure that Linus will welcome the association. He might even feel he is being made fun of; and Linus is touchy about that sort of thing.

            Hannah’s comment that the up votes are down votes is an illustration of Linus’ insistence that you’ve said down when you said up, and of denouncing you for saying things that you never said at all.

          • dannybhoy

            Life’s too short. We have better things to concern ourselves with!

          • Hi Danny

            Also the conversation was like this :

            Me : I like trees
            Linus: you say trees are evil! Mon bigot!
            Me: no , I like trees
            Linus : however much you dress this up, you claim trees are evil. Me : I didn’t say that .
            Linus :You want to chop down trees.
            Me: no
            Linus : anti French bigotry!
            Me: I like trees
            Linus: you are xenophobic Jew! You are preventing other trees from coming here. Bigoted bigot!
            Me: but…(spends too much of her life going into detail as to why I like trees).
            Linus : You are throwing up the drawbridge for trees. Disgusting , especially as you are a Jew. Jews like trees and here you are hating them.
            Me: but I never said this.
            Linus : tree bigot
            Me: big-time goes into further detail and hopefully explains he’s presenting a straw man argument.
            Linus: however much you say you hate trees. And from a,Jew!
            Me : (finally in disgust and frustration) : stop misrepresenting me, lying about my view and preventing straw men.
            Linus: radio silence.

          • dannybhoy

            He’s just winding you up and seeing how you respond..
            I wouldn’t have responded.
            Have a good weekend Hannah.

          • Samuel

            Dude

            You’re correct, but Hannah’s still young and frankly too nice for some pissours . Delicate touch needed here. The upset for Hannah was the “sky is blue, no you say it is red” meme. For an intellectual that’s brick and wall territory.

            But Shabbat Shalom as it is time for candles, food , song and wine.

          • IanCad

            Sweet Sabbath to you Sam, and Hannah, and all.

          • dannybhoy

            and shtreimels Sam. I haven’t forgotten the shtreimels….
            Have a good Shabbat and weekend..

          • Name Could be U.N. Owen….

    • Ivan M

      They are out for their own interests. Once we know that, there is no return to the plantation for all their universalistic protestations. The Muslims are novices in this art, but they are learning.

      • @ Ivan M—They are out for their own interests

        But the way they go about it always ends badly for them. Gilad Atzmon, the ex-Jew, writes: ‘I guess that within the Jewish political universe, the indigenous population is always an enemy, whether it is in Britain, Palestine or anywhere else. Maybe this helps explain why Jewish history is a chain of countless holocausts and pogroms.’

        Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

        • Ivan M

          It is there in the Bible. Turn every adversary into Amalek. Atzmon left the plantation when he figured out the shtick. Same with me.

  • Stig

    Human rights legislation has the boot on the wrong foot anyway. Surely in a democracy, it is up to the people to tell the government what rights and powers they have, not the other way round!

    • Anton

      Excellent

    • dannybhoy

      Ummm, yeah!
      Sure!
      Why not?!

      • IanCad

        I’ve said it before – it was a black day when the ladies got to vote.
        That was until Yellow Togs popped up.
        Democracy don’t work no more.

        • dannybhoy

          It’s a difficult one Ian.
          I believe that men and women are equal, because what would either be without the other?
          But in practical terms the woman is the new life bearer and the nest builder. She needs the man to love and provide and protect.
          There are plenty of men who are as dim as plenty of women and plenty of women who are as intelligent as men.
          I thank God every day for my wife for many reasons and would hurt anyone who tried to hurt her.
          But I also can’t get away from the feeling that most women want their man to lead and make decisions, as long as they consult and acknowledge their opinion and advice..
          So I think women are as deserving of the right to vote as men are.

          • IanCad

            When the franchise was only open to the male head of household (USA) or confined to the Forty Shilling Freeholder in this country there was at least some form of voter qualification.
            In all forms of representative electoral government the politicians reflect the character of the electorate. In those more discriminatory days there was no doubt that only the better part of the people were granted the voting privilege and it is scarcely arguable that the whole benefited from such a system.

          • dannybhoy

            I think the problem is ‘dumbing down.’
            Consider that in recent history women wanted to be recognised as women -not necessarily bimbos or drudges.
            Men put down women who lack beauty and are often threatened by women with brains.
            As men we accept the notion that a man makes the most of his looks and physical attributes.
            But don’t necessarily extend the same expectation to women.
            I think women are physically weaker than men, more nurturing than men and pliable than men.
            As Christians we should recognise the differences and cherish our women.

          • Anton

            There is a case for restricting voting to those who make a net contribution to the Exchequer (regardless of gender).

  • dannybhoy

    “Indeed, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister is on record, when referring to Islam in particular, as saying that anyone who is devout of faith can be anything but an extremist.”
    This is nonsense. If your faith teaches that your faith is so right that it justifies the killing and subjugation of those who deny its truth, then in Western eyes that is extremism.
    My Christian faith teaches that there is only one way to God and that is through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But nowhere does Christianity give me the right or permission to slaughter, decapitate, rape or sell into slavery those who disagree with me.
    Rather, Christianity teaches that I must in the final analysis, be prepared to die for my faith.
    Islam does not teach this. Islam categeorically teaches that the unbeliever must bow the knee or suffer the consequences. Those Muslims who don’t go along with this are in the opinion of “the devout”, not true Muslims.
    During their interfaith dialogues, the leaders of the CofE should surely have learnt that by now.

    • Anton

      Unlikely, because (1) they don’t want to believe it; (2) the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya – tactical lying.

      • dannybhoy

        Which would have been my next sentence. We are doing the same thing as the Jews of Germany who did not want to believe that anyone would wish to exterminate fellow human beings…

    • IanCad

      You’re right Danny. It is an absolute nonsense.
      As is Anton below (above?)

  • carl jacobs

    Islam is a special case because:

    1. It is being used to affect the displacement of Christianity from its position of preeminence in Western culture.

    2. People are scared sh*tless of Islam because an offended Muslim might slap a clip in an AK47 and spray a room with bullets.

    • IanCad

      True; people are scared, but that can only be through complete ignorance of the facts.
      Islam is weak, it is loud, it is backward, primitive and just begging for the thrashing that will soon come its way.
      A few more outrages, perhaps a small nuke, some nasty chemicals – maybe a cruise ship – and the fearful West will become the angry West. It would be over in a hurry.

  • Martin

    I wonder how Welby regards:

    Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. (Philippians 3:2 [ESV])

    But really his theology is in error because the Bible doesn’t tell us we have huan rights but duties. And very simple they are too.

    And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
    (Matthew 22:37-40 [ESV])

    How did Welby get his position, seeing how ignorant of theology he is?

    • dannybhoy

      “But really his theology is in error because the Bible doesn’t tell us we have human rights but duties. And very simple they are too.”
      Agreed Martin. We have privileges and responsibilities.

    • Stig

      That scripture is clearly about circumcision. Nothing else.

      • dannybhoy

        It’s a condemnation of those who would take the early believers back into legalism under the Law..

      • Martin

        Stig

        It has application to every heresy that has arisen.

  • “Free speech includes not only the offensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not tend to provoke violence.”

    Of course the problem is that some groups and individuals are all too easily provoked to violence when their beliefs are questioned or challenged.

  • David

    Free speech is a non-negotiable right within a democracy. Protecting it ensures that we do not selectively reintroduce the Blasphemy Laws, for just one very intolerant faith.
    Free speech must be protected and guaranteed, for ever. If people get upset, then tough ! Anyone who is so intolerant that they cannot cope with their faith being insulted must move overseas.
    Welby took a long time to get around to saying this, and not before many good Christians have been hung out to dry. He is weak.
    I was delighted that the doughty “Belfast Preacher” man was acquitted – a prayer answered ! The Christian Concern team, led by the redoubtable Andrea, are excellent – doing God’s work. I saw her in action two weeks ago, and I’ve been a keen supporter for some years now. Thank God for Andrea and her team.

    • dannybhoy

      Exactly, We must accept criticism and debate. But to be civilised we can’t allow differences to become an excuse for violence.
      My question is why would Muslim people leave their home country, come to the post Christian West and then try to recreate the same kind of society that failed them here?
      If that was their aim all along then they are fifth columnists, invading by deception and deceit.

      • Pubcrawler

        You might be onto something there…

      • David

        Indeed. A very good and valid question. But you are a rational, tolerant person. Many of them are not. They have also, crucially, failed to identify at least one of the major reasons for their original country’s backwardness, from which they fled, which is usually its Islamic culture. So they import their own burden with then, here. as part of the cultural baggage in their heads. Unfortunately if we are not very careful, they will degrade our country with this curse as well.

        • Pubcrawler

          Yes. What they’re fleeing (if anything) is poverty; they seek liberation from that alone. And that could impoverish us all, whatever the culinary contribution.

          • Anton

            They’re certainly not currying favour.

          • Pubcrawler

            Let’s hope they’re not currying Rover…

        • dannybhoy

          “Many of them are not.”
          That’s the worrying part. They are actually trapped by Islamic thinking so there can be no Reformation. In the case of Christianity it was the interpretation of our Scriptures that was faulty. For Islam it is more than that.
          Listen to this Saudi Cleric..

          • Anton

            You’re kidding! The Islamic Reformation is taking place in this very era (and pretty much on schedule if you believe in a universal timetable for religions). Christianity went back to its scriptures in the 16th century. Islam is doing it today; read them and look at what is going on in the world today and you’ll see that.

          • Pubcrawler

            Yup, bang on. What Islam needs is an Enlightenment. And for pretty obvious reasons, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

          • dannybhoy

            It’s a Revival, not a Reformation..

      • Anton

        I think it changed. The first generation of immigrants came here for the freedom under the rule of law, and consequent better life, that this country offered. However, they arrived just in time to witness the 1960s sociosexual revolution and (rightly) thought “Not in our community!” and they pulled up the spiritual drawbridge. The next generation was therefore less integrated, not more. At the same time the Welfare State started giving money away to anybody who came here and many more relatives came. Then the radical ones realised the West’s spiritual weakness, and even the non-radical ones recognise that there is booty in a revolution down the line…

        • Pubcrawler

          Yes, that. Plus any of the younger generation who might want to escape are very strongly discouraged/prevented from doing so — on pain of death if they happen to be women. The traditional ‘authority figures’ have an interest in maintaining their status, and in the closed society which they have brought with them, they are perfectly able to do it. So long as theirs remains a shame culture rather than a guilt culture, they will always be incompatible with Western society.

        • HedgehogFive

          You have hit the nail on the head there.

          A young Huguenot Hedgehog, having always regarded Catholicism as THE ENEMY, would naturally find some aspects of Islam attractive. Combine that with the coercive ethos of the Swinging Sixties (let it all hang out, and if you don’t there’s something wrong with you) might naturally look upon Islam as a possible haven.

          Said Hedgehog would also be attracted by the freedom of expression, whereby Muslims could easily say “Inshallah” (if God wills, and things like that.

          Even today, one could caricature those on television who, quite unnecessarily, keep slipping in things like “I don’t believe that” or whatever. It is as if they belong to a Brotherhood of Non-Believers, who have recited a formula (not in Arabic, of course) to the effect that there is no God.

          There also appears to be a school who believe that there is no god but Sex, and for whom Kinsey is the prophet.

      • sarky

        Why do British people go to Spain and recreate little britain there???

        • The Explorer

          Because they consider Britain superior in everything except weather. If the UK had Spain’s sunshine, there would be no need to emigrate. As it is, they have a civilising duty.

          • sarky

            With regards to the social situation – they may have a point, but not the answer.

          • The Explorer

            Well put.

        • dannybhoy

          Wouldn’t that be because…
          a) Spain is a part of Christian or post Christian Western Europe, so we have quite a lot of shared history in common.
          b) Brits have been going on holiday to Spain in large numbers ever since cheap package holidays were invented
          c) The cost of living is lower
          c) Brits like sunshine as much as the next man
          d) The Spanish play good/better football
          e) The Brits are notoriously poor at learning another language, and because their money helps the local economy and older Brits tend to be law abiding and good natured, presumably the Spanish are happy for them to form their own communities.

          What else do you wanna know?

          • sarky

            I’ll go with the explorers answer.

    • DanJ0

      Perhaps those 63000 or so people who complained to the BBC about its broadcasting of Jerry Springer: The Opera rather than change channel or turn the TV off ought to have packed their bags and taken their feelings of offence with them.

      • Martin

        DanJ0

        Isn’t a complaint as much free speech as anything else, or do you exclude Christians from that right? The BBC has a reputation for deliberately offending Christians and mocking them when it can, even when they are taking part in its ‘impartial’ programmes.

        • DanJ0

          Being able to complain is to be able to exercise one’s right to free speech. However, most of the complaints were made before the programme was broadcast with the intent to stop it being broadcast. Many of the complaints were related to the alleged blasphemous content of the programme regarding Christianity.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t pretend to understand how British TV works, so there’s a risk that this comment won’t be 100% transferrable, but …

            There is a huge difference between using the power of the market to silence an economic concern, and using the power of the Gov’t to silence an individual. The economic concern wants my money. It has to satisfy my requirements to get my money. If it refuses to satisfy my requirements, then I am perfectly justified in spending my money elsewhere. I am also perfectly justified in using my leverage to coerce them into satisfying my requirements. No rights have been violated in this exchange. And it really doesn’t matter if there is a demand for prior restraint. What matters is that the concern wants my money.

          • DanJ0

            The BBC is publicly funded through a licence fee, which is mandatory for operating a TV.

          • carl jacobs

            So it doesn’t sell advertisements? It is 100% publicly funded?

            In any case, (and again in a general sense) a public agency may also be subject to legitimate coercion through the political process. If it spends public money, it is subject to political control. And a citizen always has standing to object to its behavior. This simply changes the nexus of the conflict from money to political influence. In both cases, management will ask “Do I care if I earn the wrath of that group?” and act accordingly.

          • DanJ0

            No, the BBC does not sell adverts. Really, it’s quite easy to google. It also has a charter.

            I’d like to just remind other readers that this is what I was replying to:

            “Free speech must be protected and guaranteed, for ever. If people get upset, then tough ! Anyone who is so intolerant that they cannot cope with their faith being insulted must move overseas.”

            Perhaps that was only meant to apply to our Muslim citizens and not our Christian ones.

          • carl jacobs

            And this is what I was responding to:

            Perhaps those 63000 or so people who complained to the BBC about its broadcasting of Jerry Springer: The Opera rather than change channel or turn the TV off ought to have packed their bags and taken their feelings of offence with them.

            Those 63,000 people didn’t have to change the channel or turn off the TV. They were perfectly within their rights to coerce the BBC to drop the show. Whether from economic pressure or threats to abolish the license fee makes no difference. What they did was not a threat to free speech. So how then does it respond to the point made?

            And, yes, I could have Googled it. Point taken.

          • DanJ0

            The BBC has a complaints procedure and some of them invoked it to censor the broadcast. Others took part in protests outside the BBC. Yet others tried to bring a private prosecution under our then existing common law offence of blasphemy. Many of these people wanted to prevent others from seeing the programme. That is, they tried to invoke censorship for their own ends. I’m pleased to say that the blasphemy law is no more in the UK; we got rid of it because it was discriminatory and an imposition on free speech.

          • carl jacobs

            Every action you listed – the complaints, the protests, the lawsuit – represents a legitimate attempt at exerting public control. There is no censorship here. The gov’t has the power to censor. These were the actions of citizens exercising their legitimate political rights. They were perfectly free to say “I don’t want the BBC to spend public money like that.” They were perfectly free to taken action to achieve that outcome.

            Public agencies are subject to public control. They aren’t given public money and told “Go do what you like.” They are always subject to the will of their political masters. And those political masters are subject to the exercise of the political franchise. So the public agency will self-censor to protect its funding. The actions you described were simply attempts by citizens to force the BBC to draw different boundaries of propriety. It doesn’t matter if they succeeded or not. The attempt itself was politically legitimate and in no way a threat to free speech.

            This isn’t so different from the Cinema chain refusing the “Lord’s Prayer” advertisement. That was self-censorship by the cinema. And why did they do it? Because they feared a market backlash. The market exerted control over the boundaries placed upon the actions of the business by itself. If the cinema had shown the ad, and experienced the backlash, then the analogy would be exact. The only difference would be public versus private. And that is not a significant difference.

          • DanJ0

            I really don’t mind you trying to run your own alternative argument on the back of mine but I refuse to be carried along with it such that my original point about someone’s comment is lost. So:

            “Free speech must be protected and guaranteed, for ever. If people get upset, then tough ! Anyone who is so intolerant that they cannot cope with their faith being insulted must move overseas.”
            Perhaps those people who complained about the BBC broadcasting Jerry Springer: The Opera, at least those complaining on the grounds of religious offence, ought to move overseas if they can’t cope with it?
            My sub-text there, of course, was that it’s probably not our Christian citizens who were being invited to take their offence overseas but our Muslim ones. The people who complained to the BBC on those grounds and who tried to prosecute don’t seem to be that interested in free speech or expression.
            For sure, they have the right to use the BBC’s complaints procedure, and the right to protest outside the BBC, and the right to try to bring a private prosecution using an existing law. There’s no argument there. However, their intent was to censor the programme for their own ends by the look of it.
            The private prosecution attempt looked very much like an attempt to re-assert an old and almost dead limitation on freedom of speech regarding Christianity. That’s probably the most damning as it was co-opting the power of the State to suppress blasphemy against Christianity.
            The prior complaints were a demonstration of some people’s disregard for the right to freedom of speech of others when they disagree with the content. They wanted to stop the public from seeing or hearing the programme simply because it was an offence to them, and they used whatever legitimate means available do so.

          • carl jacobs

            They wanted to stop the public from seeing or hearing the programme simply because it was an offence to them

            Absolutely correct. But that does not establish a prima facia case for threat to free speech. They had in effect purchased the right to be offended and to act on that offense by virtue of the public money spent. If a movie patron had seen the “Lord’s Prayer” advertisement and told management “Why did you show me that religious sh*t? I didn’t pay to see that!” he would be expressing offense legitimated by the purchase of his ticket. He wouldn’t be thinking about what other people want. He simply wants it gone.

            So also with the Jerry Springer Show. If I pay in any way, I have the right to attempt to exert control. The right exists whether other people agree or not. That isn’t censorship and it is no threat to free speech. Your point (and its attendant accusation of hypocrisy) was irrelevant.

          • DanJ0

            “If a movie patron had seen the “Lord’s Prayer” advertisement and told management “Why did you show me that religious sh*t? I didn’t pay to see that!” he would be expressing offense legitimated by the purchase of his ticket. He wouldn’t be thinking about what other people want. He simply wants it gone.”

            Stepping into your own argument for a moment. The ‘patron’ of the BBC is not paying to see a show. He’s paying for a licence to use a TV. It doesn’t matter whether he even watches the BBC channels. It’s effectively a tax whose revenue is directed towards the provision of public service broadcasting according to the BBC’s charter.

            The BBC is also a shareholder in DTV Services Ltd which operates a service called Freeview in the UK. Freeview is free-to-air digital TV offered through a set of multiplexed channels. The set of channels include a small number of religious ones. I don’t bother watching those of course but I’m not interested in trying to stop others doing so.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Hello friendly Orang (meaning “human being” in Bahasa).

            Alleged? I think the type of content had been pretty much leaked beforehand. I watched the first half, and found it really good, but avoided the second half.

            The BBC though, for half a century, has been a purveyor of puerile humour. My father would say that those fellows write “poo” on the wall, and expect you to think it’s funny because *they* said it.

            The recent “Sky at Night” concerning the Star of Bethlehem was very good. But at one point, where the matter of expecting a Messiah was relevant, they interviewed an academic (female) who is a besotted fan of the “Life of Brian”. Including a puerile clip or two from that film only detracted from the programme.

            And they really don’t think. Blasting Enoch in 1968, but broadcasting a “gorilla” joke about Nkrumah in 1965.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            There was no valid reason to broadcast except to offend, and why shouldn’t Christians complain at blasphemy. The cowardly, hypocritical nature of the BBC, that wouldn’t dare offend the follower of Islam is clear for all to see.

          • DanJ0

            The BBC published their response to the complaints and it is available online. People aren’t legally bound to pay the licence fee. The licence fee is payable for operating a TV capable of receiving live TV. I pay the licence fee and some of my money goes towards funding religious programmes despite my being an a-theist. Luckily, I’m a liberal by nature and I’m community-minded so I just shrug my shoulders at that. I’m not minded to try and censor religion on TV. If something offends me on TV then I simply change the channel or find something else to do. Afterall, there are plenty of channels to choose from. Jerry Springer: The Opera was well flagged for potential offence and it was broadcast on BBC2 so anyone watching it would know in advance that the content might cause offence. No-one was a captive audience, nor did they buy something unexpected. No, the people who complained in advance simply wanted to stop other people from being able to watch it in the privacy of their own homes. This is not a philosophical statement about the nature of negative rights, it’s simply a pointy finger at religious people who aren’t willing to live and let live and who demand that others take account of their offence.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            The BBC sneered at those who objected, just like it always does. The luvvies at the BBC think themselves above morality, indeed they think themselves the epitome of such. They always have a valid, to themselves, reason for doing as they do.

            The license is payable if live off air or cabled television signals are received, so that even if you watch only Christian broadcasters you are still required to fund the BBC. That gives them the right to complain about how the BBC uses their money.

            Actually you aren’t a liberal, more of a fascist who would object strongly to the broadcasting by the BBC of the scientific evidence supporting Creation or the very strong evidence against Evolution.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, they complained about the alleged blasphemy, not about how the BBC spends their funding. Many of them appeared to be part of a concerted campaign too.

            I’ll just go back to your previous comment:

            “There was no valid reason to broadcast except to offend, […]”

            Here’s part of the Wikipedia entry of the musical:

            The musical ran for 609 performances in London from April 2003 to February 2005 before touring the UK in 2006. The production won four Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. The first North American performance was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to benefit Golden Rainbow, featuring performers for the then-current versions of The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, and other Las Vegas Strip theatrical shows. The musical has been performed by a number of American regional theatre companies and made its New York City debut on 29–30 January 2008 at Carnegie Hall. Harvey Keitel starred as Jerry Springer.

            That looks like a good reason for the BBC to broadcast it to me, and that ties very well with the BBC’s published response to the complaints. In short, you’re clearly wrong. Again.

            “Actually you aren’t a liberal, more of a fascist who would object strongly to the broadcasting by the BBC of the scientific evidence supporting Creation or the very strong evidence against Evolution.”

            You have no evidence of that at all, of course. Mind you, that’s hardly a surprise given your beliefs and your gullibility. I invite the reader to compare my already stated position of being comfortable about the religious channels on Freeview and my contribution to the funding of them, creepy and ridiculous though I find the content, with the apparently concerted attempts by many people to censor the programme on TV for their own religious reasons rather than, well, simply not watching it. Yet Martin here thinks I’m the fascist. Curious, huh?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And was the blasphemy not how the BBC spent their ‘funding’?

            That you think the BBC had good reason to broadcast an offensive programme is something we are aware of. I see little relevance in the fact that the luvvies liked it too.

            Of your far from liberal attitude I merely have to refer you to your posts here. Of course you’re comfortable with the religious channels, they don’t challenge your life, but I’d suggest that you’d find Christian, or even that which is sympathetic toward the Christian, programming on the BBC quite a different matter.

          • DanJ0

            “Of your far from liberal attitude I merely have to refer you to your posts here.”

            Lol. Was there ever such a miserable, brain-dead, and gullible pseudo-religious weirdo as you on here? Ah Martin, what to do with you?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And I suppose you consider that your self-worship excludes you from being a “pseudo religious weirdo”?

            That you do not understand what Christianity is about may have given you some excuse in the beginning to describe it in such terms but attempts have been made to educate you and you persistently refuse to be taught. Thus you have no excuse, you are an ignorant fool who relishes his own ignorance, as the Bible puts it:

            Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
            (Romans 1:22-23 [ESV])

            So continue your idolatry, continue to worship your blockhead god.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, you’re clearly no Christian. You’re merely religious without the core stuff; pseudo-religious in other words. Your malevolence leaks out of you. Even most of the Christians here treat you like a pariah.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            I doubt I fit what you think of as a Christian, but then you don’t know what a Christian is.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, I don’t know why you even bother claiming you’re a Christian when speaking to me. You’re manifesting nothing of the sort based on your output. Your ‘soul’ appears to be black and withered so it’s no wonder your transactions are almost always malevolent.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Trouble is, you don’t know what a Christian is, as I’ve already pointed out. Seems to me that all you want is to be approved and told you are a good guy. Sorry, when no one is good I can’t do that. I can only tell you the truth, that you are a soul in peril of judgement.

            Indeed that is probably the kindest thing anyone can tell you, but it’s the one thing you don’t want to be told. After death you will rise again, either to glory or judgement. As the hymnwriter puts it:

            The dead in Christ shall first arise
            At the last trumpet’s sounding.
            Caught up to meet Him in the skies,
            With joy their Lord surrounding.
            No gloomy fears their souls dismay,
            His presence sheds eternal day
            On those prepared to meet Him.

            But sinners, filled with guilty fears,
            Behold His wrath prevailing.
            In woe they rise, but all their tears
            And sighs are unavailing.
            The day of grace is past and gone;
            Trembling they stand before His throne,
            All unprepared to meet Him.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, you merely use Christianity as a weapon. There’s no evidence in your personality over time that the Holy Spirit has improved you, and you blatantly don’t even attempt to include kindness in your daily life online. It’s just a religion to you by the look of it. Something to allow you to feel self-righteousness and to beat other people up over. In the very unlikely event that there is a Christian god then on the evidence I see on this blog you’re working against it and for the opposite side. You’ve a black ‘soul’ and a vile personality. Away with you, you disgust me.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And I just replied that it is you who just asserts what they want to be true, to be true.

            Have I never pointed out to you that God offers mercy? But then, maybe you don’t think you need mercy and so that is again not kindness. So then I must press home to you your sin, the wickedness in your heart. The fact that you know God exists but pretend He doesn’t. Oh dear, am I being unkind again? Is the surgeon being unkind when he cuts into the body of the patient to remove what is causing harm?

            If I were to say that you have reasonable arguments that your dislike of censorship and love of potty language were fine, then would I be being kind? Such would be really unkind, confirming you in your sin and wickedness when you have urgent need of a Saviour.

          • DanJ0

            We both know why you do what you do. It’s nothing to do with the Holy Spirit, goodness, or being cruel to be kind. No, you’re like the members of the Westboro Baptist Church: a vile, hate-filled, socially inadequate human being with a demonstrably low IQ.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Oh look, you’re ducking and diving has no caused you to bring up WBC. You really need some new ideas.

          • DanJ0

            Ducking and diving? Lol I’m shoving your crap back down your throat at every opportunity, with example after example of the truth. You revel in your sins while trying to assert a religion. You’re ridiculous.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Some liberal you are, you can’t even cope with a Christian telling you the facts of life.

          • DanJ0

            I cope very well with your nonsense. I even encourage you by arguing back. I like to think that while you’re trying to attack me, you perhaps won’t be hurting animals or being vile to vulnerable people. You should really be thanking me for whatever you get out of your endlessly repetitive exchanges.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Seems you’re addicted to nonsense, preferring it to the truth. You also seem to think my kindnesses to you are ‘being vile’.

          • DanJ0

            There’s no kindness in you, full stop. You’re wedded to a cold, bleak, dead version of religion and, like your brethren in the Westboro Baptist Church, you revel in your own sins. Shame on you.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Keep hiding, one day you won’t be able to.

          • DanJ0

            If that’s the case then I expect you’ll be beside me in the same boat.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            I deserve to be, but I’m saved. The offer is open to you.

          • DanJ0

            No Martin, you merely self-identify as a Christian but don’t behave anything like one. In the very unlikely event that Christianity is true, I’d fully expect Jesus to say: “I never knew you”. Here, let me turn the tables and remind you of this: Matthew 7:21-23.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            So isn’t it good that I don’t have to rely on your opinion as to who is a Christian.

            Remember, God has offered you mercy, will you continue to reject it?

          • DanJ0

            Matthew 7:21-23. That’s in the Bible you claim to hold dear. Yet you behave that way.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            None of those gods offer you mercy, they all require you do do something, with the exception of the God you know exists, from whom you are hiding. And again, why do think you know what normal is?

          • DanJ0

            I see you’re pretending away my holding you to account with the biblical reference again. You clearly behave that way. No doubt it’s another inconvenient truth for you. If Christianity turns out to be true then what will you do when Jesus says “I never knew you”, Martin?

          • DanJ0

            “Of course you’re comfortable with the religious channels, they don’t challenge your life, but I’d suggest that you’d find Christian, or even that which is sympathetic toward the Christian, programming on the BBC quite a different matter.”

            I don’t actually watch them, you moron, so of course they’re no challenge. I watched TBN a couple of times to see what it was all about and that was quite enough for me. I’m just comfortable that they exist as a choice for religious people because I’m community-minded and a liberal. It wouldn’t even occur to me complain to DTV or the BBC and try to censor the contents.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Why do you think I said they didn’t challenge you? It’s no good calling me names if you can’t follow what I’m saying. And frankly I wouldn’t watch what I’ve seen of them either.

            Somehow I doubt your claim that you wouldn’t complain, seeing how much you complain on this Christian blog.

          • DanJ0

            “Somehow I doubt your claim that you wouldn’t complain, seeing how much you complain on this Christian blog.”

            You have no evidence of that at all and there’s been plenty of evidence of my support for religious freedom here. You want it to be the case and so, lo and behold, you imagine that’s enough to make it so. What a freak.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And the evidence is that as soon as your own or public space is encroached you will object to religious freedom, as you do in this thread.

          • DanJ0

            Erm, I haven’t objected to religious freedom. I’ve pointed a finger at illiberal religious people trying to censor a TV programme so that other people who pay their licence fee can’t watch it. Moreover, I’ve recognised their right to do all the things they did. I also pointed out a similarity with Muslims objecting to people causing offence to them, and an apparent difference between responses between the two cases. Finally, I’ve explicitly supported the provision of Christian programmes on DTV and the BBC so that religious people have something supportive of their special interests. That is, what I have done and pointed out is pretty much the opposite of what you’re claiming. It’s no wonder I call you a moron. Jeez.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            So what is illiberal about trying to prevent a programme that is offensive to many from being broadcast? Would you seek to prevent a programme extolling the financial benefits of enslaving a population and forcing them to work to your benefit?

            I’ve seen nothing of you supporting the provisioning of Christian programming. Perhaps you’d like to support the airing the fallacies surrounding Evolution and how Creation is a more feasible explanation. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

          • DanJ0

            “So what is illiberal about trying to prevent a programme that is offensive to many from being broadcast?”

            Lol. You’re like a child struggling in a man’s world.

            “I’ve seen nothing of you supporting the provisioning of Christian programming.”

            I’m a liberal so of course I do. You can even see it on this feckin’ thread, you moron! Have you seen me complaining about the existence of Songs of Praise? Or about the existence of Thought for the Day? How about services at Easter and Christmas? Documentaries about people trying to find Noah’s Ark? The recent documentary called Treasures of Heaven about relics and reliquaries? In fact, any TV programmes with a religious theme? Where’s you evidence? Oh wait! You don’t seem to need evidence, you just assert whatever you wish to be truth.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            So you’re world of thinly disguised potty language and blasphemy is a “man’s world”?

            Frankly I think “Songs of Praise” is a sop, lacking almost anything that is Christian and used by the BBC to claim they are fulfilling their obligations. The same can be said for all the BBC’s religious programming. TftD is mostly sloppy sentimental pap, with the one notable exception of Anne Atkins. The BBC presents a sort of Christian Unity religion where all religions are equal and there is nothing to offend ‘right minded people’.

            Christianity has nothing to do with relics or reliquaries and much of the fine art and music presented as ‘religious’ has little to do with Christianity.

            When Christians do appear on the BBC they are usually mocked by presenters and producers make every effort to make them look foolish. A recent interview with Libby Powell by Iain Lee was exceptional only in the outrageous behaviour by Lee on air. Even presenters such as Aled Jones have been seen to be less than sympathetic.

            And it is, of course, you that just asserts what you want to be truth.

          • DanJ0

            None of which actually addresses my point which you no doubt find very inconvenient. You’re a pathetic shell of a man trying to use religion as a weapon to make yourself feel better.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Actually I addressed your point in that those things you put up as Christian programming are far from that, and that which no understanding Atheist would complain of. They’re just a sop. If there were real Christian programming you’d soon complain.

          • DanJ0

            You have no evidence that I’d complain. I have never complained to any broadcaster about a programme on TV. I don’t complain here about the existence of religious-themed broadcasting of any sort. I have a track record here of supporting religious freedom. I periodically write long lists of things I explicitly support as an example so that there’s no doubt of that. I even support the right of Muslim women to wear full-face veils in public spaces. I defend the right of Muslims to manifest their religious beliefs in public, despite my being an a-theist and a homosexual and no fan of Islam. You’re simply making stuff because the truth is inconvenient to you.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And how do you react to me, here, when I tell you of your need of repentance?

          • DanJ0

            How do I react? I ridicule you and express my contempt of course. Would I stop you? Hell no! I’d put you on national TV if I could and encourage you to do all the things you try to do here. You’re fantastic marketing! Whenever a homophobic and bigotted Christian behaves malevolently, as you do, normal people react in disgust and their sympathy for gay people increases. It’s hard to put a price on your contribution but I assure you that people like me are very grateful. I’m happy that religious people have the space to manifest their religion in our society but it’s crucial that religion remains a private interest and never gets back its hegemony. As I’ve told you already, your behaviour is bound to put people off Christianity so, in the unlikely event that Christianity is actually true, you’d surely be working for Satan. Thank goodness you display no evidence of improvement that could be attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit. If most Christians were nice people then one might be tempted to think the ideology is true.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Had you forgotten that I’ve already dealt with TV ‘religion’? The Big Questions programme is about entertainment, not in any way about Christianity. And I see you’ve started using your magic word, ‘homophobic’ again. Funny how that is used against people who just teach God’s morality, I’m in good company there!

            So it’s OK for “religious people have the space to manifest their religion in our society but it’s crucial that religion remains a private interest and never gets back its hegemony” while your religion is stomping all over people demanding they bow the knee to perversion and political correctness.

            Guess what, there never was a Christian hegemony in England, not even during the commonwealth. If you don’t believe me, ask people such as John Bunyan, John Wycliffe or Charles Spurgeon. The rulers in those times were mostly much as you are, sure of their own right to call the shots with very little attention to the Bible.

            Trouble is, for Christians, their religion is not a private thing. It must be declared and broadcast, even if it means telling the wicked of their sin. Christians aren’t made such by being persuaded or enticed, they are made Christians by God and the first part of that is to realise they are wicked sinners. That is what you hate, that is why you attack me, that is why you pretend God does not exist.

          • DanJ0

            “Had you forgotten that I’ve already dealt with TV ‘religion’?”

            Martin, if you had an IQ more than about 70 then you’d realise these programmes are, for me, religious and therefore if I were the sort of person who’d complain about religious programmes for illiberal reasons then I’d be complaining about these. Your imagining hypothetical programmes that you’d consider religious according to your weird sect doesn’t really address the point. Honestly, how do you manage to even tie your shoelaces in the morning? Or perhaps you don’t?

            “Trouble is, for Christians, their religion is not a private thing. It must be declared and broadcast, even if it means telling the wicked of their sin.”

            Telling the same people over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over […] and over again? People who aren’t members of your church, and who aren’t even Christian to boot? No Martin, that’s not biblical. You’re using religion as a weapon to indulge your personal malice. You’re no Christian as you revel in your sins. You’re merely religious, and you’re piss poor at that too. You need to sort out your own life before getting self-righteous about the lives of non-Christians. Heck, even an a-theist like me knows there’s more than enough in the bible about that.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            So it’s start off with ad hom is it? Which is a bit odd since I’ve already told my feelings about these programmes so your own remarks apply to you.

            These are sanitized programmes, with all religious content removed so they don’t offend your sensitivities.

            On the other hand, most programmes are imbued with your religious viewpoint. We have the nonsense of Evolution pushed down our throats whenever biology or nature is the subject, and quite often when it isn’t. Programmes have to have the obligatory sexual pervert since we cannot upset the LGBTXYZ contingent. Seems to me that you have it all your way, why would you complain. Strangely enough, despite your utter reasonableness you go off the deep end when I insert a little piece of Christian doctrine. So yes, I have evidence that you’d complain.

            Why do I repeat the same things again and again?

            BECAUSE YOU AREN’T LISTENING.

            You are happily on the road to destruction, a lemming heading for the 1000ft drop off the cliff. You are happily partying while outside the gates an army is gathering to destroy you. You are swimming while a shark is heading towards you.

            I don’t need to tell people who are Christians, they’re safe. And you aren’t an ‘a-theist’, an ‘atheist’ or anything else, that’s just your pseudo intellectualism, you are a sinner heading for judgement.

          • DanJ0

            And you still have no evidence at all that I’d complain to the broadcaster about them even if they existed.

            “Why do I repeat the same things again and again?”

            Because you’re full of malice and spite, and because religion is a weapon as far as you’re concerned. Naught else. What you’re doing is clearly unbiblical.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You’ve just provided the evidence.

          • DanJ0

            Martin, you throw your religious craziness at me personally here over and over again and I simply and happily shove it back down your throat. As I’ve already said, you’re a master at inadvertently persuading people that religion should exist as a private and specialist interest. How is that in any way evidence that I’d complain to a broadcaster about a TV programme I would be unlikely even to watch let alone try to stop being broadcast? I couldn’t give a hoot about religious programmes on TV, whether they’re bland services from a CofE church, or some religious propaganda advocating Calvinist TULIP bollocks. It’s naught to me.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            The evidence is clear, when presented with the gospel you get upset.

          • DanJ0

            There’s nothing in the Bible, or the Qur’an, that upsets me at all when quoted to me. I’m an a-theist as you know therefore I consider them to be works of fiction. When I give a reference to you which holds you, a self-identifying Christian, to account you pretend it away. No doubt it’s yet another inconvenient truth to you. Here it is again: Matthew 7:21-23. You don’t get upset because, like me, you’re no Christian in reality. I know that. You know that. We both know that. You’re a ridiculous fraud and you’re using religion as a weapon for your own base purposes.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You’re definitely getting upset, why else would you speak of me using a weapon when I’m telling you that God offers you mercy? And no, you’re not an a-theist, since you know God exists.

          • DanJ0

            I see you’re pretending away my holding you to account with that biblical reference again. You seem very keen to cast me as being upset by your deliberate and repetitive actions. One wouldn’t expect a Christian to be deliberating trying to upset people by their words and behaviour. Hence, I think it’s fair to infer from your behaviour that you’re not actually a Christian, and it just so happens that the Bible seems to cover that point too. If Christianity turns out to be true then what will you do when Jesus says “I never knew you”, Martin?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            The gospel, by its nature, always upsets people. It destroys the sinners worldview and demands something they are not willing to give. It condemns you before it offers mercy, else why would you need mercy?

          • DanJ0

            I see you’re pretending away my holding you to account using your own Bible yet again. It must be very difficult going through life as you seem to do, pretending away any and all truths which are inconvenient to you. I see you’ve also twisted my point about your behaviour into one about the Bible itself. Well, that doesn’t cut it. It’s you personally who is deliberately trying to upset someone repeatedly with your words and behaviour. That you aren’t succeeding but are very keen to cast it as a success anyway doesn’t get you off the hook there. You’re a complete disgrace to Christianity. You’re the epitome of the sort of person to whom Jesus will say “I never knew you” in the very unlikely event that Christianity turns out to be true.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Trouble is, you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

            On the other hand, you do know God exists and that you are a sinner under the condemnation of God.

          • DanJ0

            I’m using your Bible to hold you to account and you don’t seem to be able to refute it. It’s curious that you were all for using Bible verse to condemn people not long ago. Lol. What will you do when Jesus says “I never knew you”, Martin?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Please don’t kid yourself, you haven’t a clue of what that passages means.

          • DanJ0

            There’s plenty of sites which provide Bible commentary, both for your favourite verse and that one, if you’re unfamiliar with normal Christian exegesis. That verse I’ve provided describes you down to a T. So what will you do when Jesus says “I never knew you”, Martin?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            And the internet is a great source of ignorance.

  • Albert

    I’m afraid this article, though spot on, will go over the heads of the secular liberal fundamentalists that seem to desire to control free-speech.

  • len

    There is’ division’ going on at the moment worldwide, Light is being separated from darkness…gross darkness.We are either for the Light or remain in the darkness either by design or by default.
    The Cross of Jesus Christ is an offence to many , to false Christianity, to secularists and to Islam who all deny that Christ is the Way, the Only Way, the Truth, and the Life.
    All who profess to be true followers of Christ must stand up and proclaim the Truth about Christ and the Gospel without fear or reservation..

  • Lienus

    WE hAve GOT thE iNspEctor GENeraL
    STOp pOsTing aBOut fRee sPeEch aND noOnE wiLL gEt hUrt

    • Jack always knew you were a bandit.

    • The Explorer

      Wondered why he’d gone quiet.

    • carl jacobs

      So .. If we don’t quit posting about free speech, you will keep the Inspector?

      Hrmmmmm…

      ….

      Don’t rush me. I have to think.

      • Pubcrawler

        Keep thinking while I raid the Inspector’s drinks cabinet. No rush.

      • It’s the Masonic-Catholic-Jewish-Islamic cabal that’s behind all this. They cannot be trusted.

        • carl jacobs

          You mean … They’d give him back anyways?

        • Anton

          The Inspector himself has told us who is attacking his computer.

  • Ivan M

    The Koran is explicit in denying the Divinity of Jesus Christ. It denies the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Free speech for Christians, is offensive, amounting to blasphemy for Muslims, and vice-versa. There is no half-way house in between. Therefore everyone should have the right to offend. But the space in which Christians can exercise that right if they so choose, is a function of the relative national strength of the Christians and not that of law.

    • The Explorer

      Liberal Chrsitianity denies the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation and the Resurrection. It admits the Crucifixion with reluctance because it doesn’t like the thought of people being nasty to one another (since it also denies the Fall and believes in the innate goodness of everybody). The great message of Christianity, after all, is “Love your neighbour as yourself.” That is the first and only commandment. Liberal Christianity is iffy about “Love the Lord your God” because it’s not at all sure what God is, if God even exists.

      Confronted with such a blancmange-like faith, Islam can simply push it over. Hence no conflict. Real Christianity alarms everybody – media, legal system, Muslims – and is considered a threat to the peace and dangerously subversive.

      • Ivan M

        The other day JR posted a quote from Lawrence Auster that would help in such a situation. We are to love our neighbours as ourselves but love God with all our soul. Most people do not not love themselves inordinately thus there is a clear limit to how much we need to tolerate nonsense from the Muslims. But the Christian God is the Truth, therefore loving Him with all might is the best thing we can do.

        Plato is friend
        But truth is a greater friend
        — Aristotle (I hope)

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Relating to a comment below about Muslim immigrants who arrive in the 1960s, here is a bit from a recent article in The Federalist:

    Why Mass Muslim Migration Eviscerates Western Liberalism
    http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/04/why-mass-muslim-migration-eviscerates-western-liberalism/

    Peter Skerry at The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com/clash-of-generations/article/2000284) offers insightful information about the nature of Muslim immigration and assimilation that suggest otherwise. He explains that, generally, immigrant parents reconcile with what’s known as “the brutal bargain.” They reluctantly come to terms with what they lost in leaving their homeland by comparing their past circumstances to their newer, better prospects in America.

    Moreover, while Muslims are remarkably assimilated in some respects—most speak English, earn a decent living, and attend American schools—a notable shift occurs as the second generation comes of age. This generation likely grows up seeing their parents deal with the realities of the bargain. For example, first-generation parents might acquiesce to American social norms in the public sphere, grateful to be making a decent living in a safe environment, but at home they’ll express intense disapproval of American culture—especially youth culture—even if they aren’t particularly observant Muslims.

    Skerry explains that their children, whose only real home has been the United States, may inherit their parents’ cultural disapproval but lack the same sense of obligatory appreciation that led their parents to assimilate. Thus, when it comes to assimilation, they may “[try] self-consciously to apply the brakes, even to reverse the process in order to regain what many feel has been lost.”

     

    • dannybhoy

      It’s all about identity, and Muslims have as strong a sense of religious and cultural identity as any, and certainly more than we processed Westerners have..

      • sarky

        Their cultural and religious identity are one and the same, ours seperated years ago, which is why it is nonsense to call us a christian country.

        • Anton

          I entirely agree.

    • David

      Exactly. I once worked for about one year on contract in Luton. The highly skilled, very senior professional working alongside me was a second generation Muslim. His father had settled in Yorkshire. The son wore western clothing, accompanied us to the pub, where he drank coffee, and seemed outwardly to most of us, to be westernising. His wife stayed at home and he had three children, who were teenagers. So one could conclude that the family were, fairly rapidly, assimilating.
      But he was shocked because two of his three children had become very religious, anti-western and started scolding their own parents for becoming westernised. They insisted on wearing ME clothes and were actively working against the west. He was, underneath it all, a worried man.
      Any western country with an Islamic population is always at risk of social tensions and extremism, was my conclusion.

      • Dreadnaught

        No doubt the kids would never contemplate leaving the UK and emigrating to the Middle East – they never do.

        • David

          Unfortunately no, exempt those joining IS.

  • http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/04/we-welcome-president-obamas-words-mosque-visit-need-actions

    Quite an interesting article – perfectly displays the Muslim sense of victimhood. Here is a Palestinian American Muslim woman whose family came to the US to escape the situation in the West Bank. Despite the fact that they were able to build a new life in America, Sarsour has no gratitude for the people who had been there for generations, and whose ancestors had worked hard to create a free and prosperous society. There is no acknowledgement of the kindness of Americans who were happy to share these benefits with the strangers and newcomers in their midst. Indeed, you would think that America owed her a debt of gratitude – simply for being born there.

    The final sentence is particularly ominous:
    “Our goal is not to prepare our children for this world, our goal is to prepare this world for our children”

    • dannybhoy

      Where does this lie come from about Islam having always been involved in America? Have they never heard of the Barbary Wars fought because Muslim pirates were attacking shipping and taking Americans as slaves?
      https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/barbary-wars

      And this quote from Thomas Jefferson relating to those wars..
      In a letter to John Jay, Jefferson wrote the following:

      “The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”[1]

      Abdrahaman was paraphrasing the Koran’s “rules of engagement” found in the 47 Surah:
      Article here>
      http://eaglerising.com/29719/obama-is-wrong-islam-is-not-woven-into-americas-fabric/

      • The problem is Islam itself – it is a fertile ground for the worst forms of oppression to take root and flourish. It is a dangerous ideology like Nazism, but most people are either unaware or unwilling to admit this. Unlike Nazism, it is supposedly the word of Allah, never to be questioned.

        If a Muslim takes his or her faith seriously, then he or she has no choice but to undertake violent Jihad or promote Islam by other means. Even peaceful Muslims believe that Islam is vastly superior to other religions, and that all societies – especially the ‘decadent’ West – would be better off if they embraced it. Some of their children will, inevitably, take this commitment to the next level.

      • The Explorer

        Because of the three Abrahamic faiths: which all have equal validity. Thus, if you speak of America’s debt to Christianity you mean its debt to Abrahamic faith, and hence its debt to Islam. Don’t forget that the American ships that fought the Barbary pirates (the reason those ships were constructed) also fought the Royal Navy: two arms of the same faith.

        Don’t forget that Islam was the original religion before Judaism corrupted it, and Christianity corrupted it even further. That’s why Allah had to send Muhammad to correct the errors of the two faiths that had gone astray and reiterate the original message. (The fact that there is no documentary evidence for this simply proves that the evidence has been destroyed. (Just as the victim of Bishop Bell wrote to Rowan Williams, who replied to her. WIlliams has no recollection of the correspondence, and the victim is unfortunately unable to produce the reply he wrote. She thinks, in fact, that the reply might have been by e-mail – although she communicated by letter – and the e-mail was somehow deleted.)

        • David

          “if you speak of America’s debt to Christianity you mean its debt to Abrahamic faith, and hence its debt to Islam”

          How do you reason that ?

          This phrase “Abrahamic Faiths” is a misleading one, as it can be taken to imply a far greater convergence or sharing of beliefs between the three faiths than is the case.
          Islam was created with the specific aim of “correcting” the “errors” of Judaism and Christianity. It is therefore, by design, antithetical to both Judaism and Christianity. It’s purpose is to eradicate them.

          Islam has contributed nothing to Christianity except the persecution of its followers. The roots of Christianity are principally Judaism. Christianity owes an enormous debt to Judaism, but less than zero to any other faith including Islam.

          Or perhaps you are being either, ironic, or deliberately reflecting Islamic claims ?

          • The Explorer

            I don’t reason that. Those who claim the equality of the Abrahamic faiths reason that. It’s CAIR’s argument for the Islamic founding of America,

            As soon as you start to look at the derivative nature of the third of the three faiths, their equality starts to unravel. It’s why Muhammad was so infuriated by accusations that he was “an ear” as he puts it. I would argue that he listened to the wrong people in some instances, and Gnostic versions of things created awful distortions.

          • dannybhoy

            But Mohammed declares his was a divine revealtion which supersedes all others.

          • The Explorer

            And Bishop Bell’s alleged victim says he molested her. Just saying something doesn’t make it true. (Although killing those who doubt you is one way of getting people, if not to believe you at least to agree with you.)

          • CliveM

            More precedes I would say.

          • David

            Ah good – we are agreed !

          • Ivan M

            It is said that when Mohamed had his visions he was initially terrified by it. It took all of Khadija’s mothering to soothe him. This is contrary to the prophetic visions in the Bible where for example Job just stood his ground when God blasted him accepting that he was dust, or Samuel listening for the still small voice or even Jonah who not terrified by God, but got wobbly at the task God set before him. The Angel spoke to the Virgin Mary as a friendly herald, warned St Joseph as a friend would of the designs of Herod. This is contrary to the alledged experience of Mohamed and accounts for the schizophrenia of the religion he founded.

          • The Explorer

            Yes. It has much more impact when one presents something by pretending to agree with it.

        • dannybhoy

          “Because of the three Abrahamic faiths: which all have equal validity. ”
          Wait a minute! I can’t quite see the validity bit for Islam, seeing as it acknowledges and refers to both Judaism and Christianity.
          Mohammed put his own interpretation of those two faiths into the Muslim Scriptures which he claims came directly from God via the Angel Gibril..
          Now from what I have read there is an earlier/est version of the Koran which was corrected at various points, but Islam owes its roots to Judaism, as does Christianity.

          Ooops! Just seen David’s response below. Sorry David!

          • The Explorer

            See reply to David below.

        • Uncle Brian

          Speaking from memory, when I first heard the expression “Abrahamic faiths” there were only two of them, Judaism and Christianity. It was only very much later, I think, possibly as recently as the eighties, that some Muslims thought it would be nice for their own religion to be added to the list, and so they applied for club membership, and got it. But of course it’s nonsense: the Christian Church is “Abrahamic” because of its historical origin as an offshoot of Judaism. But Islam never had its beginnings in any synagogue or any church.

          I’ve heard it said that Ishmael, Abraham’s eldest son, is supposed to have had his name dragged into the argument about Islam being one of the “Abrahamic faiths”. I fail to see what possible connection there can be. Mohammed was born, I believe, some time around the year AD 570 and his visions must have taken place, presumably, some time around the year AD 600 or even later. That was when Islam sprang into being. Nobody claims, do they, that Mohammed studied under rabbis or Christian priests before proclaiming his new religion. What can Ishmael possibly have had to do with it? He’d been dead and buried for 2,000 years or more before Mohammed was even born. It is utterly impossible, as far as I can see, that there could be any historical connection at all between Ishmael and the new religion that began, many centuries after his death, with the archangel Gabriel’s revelations to the prophet Mohammed.

          Conclusion. It’s my impression, as I said earlier, that Islam was added to the list of “Abrahamic faiths” simply as a friendly gesture, so that the Muslims wouldn’t feel left out. Even to bunch Judaism and Christianity together under the label “Abrahamic faiths” doesn’t really tell us anything much we didn’t know already about the history of those two religions. Adding Islam to the list simply means that the expression “Abrahamic faiths” has now been emptied of whatever slight trace of meaning it may have had in the first place.

          • The Explorer

            Absolutely I agree with everything you say. However, regardless of fact, in dealing with Islam we need to be aware of two assertions that are increasingly treated as fact.
            1. The three Abrahamic faiths. This is treated with the utmost seriousness in the States, and is in the process of spreading to Europe. Already, you will be castigated for using the term BC. You must say BCE. The Common Era validates the new (or old faith). The old faith leads to point 2.
            2. Islam did not start with Muhammad. Islam was revived by Muhammad, after its corruption by Jews and Christians. When Muslims pray the opening of the Qur’an each day, they are thankful to be those who are saved, “whose portion is not wrath” (like the Jews) and “who go not astray” (like the Christians).
            In one of the Flashman books, Flashman reads Hughes’ description of himself and wants to find Hughes and thrash him for misrepresentation (or too much truth). Without Hughes, of course, Fraser’s Flashman would not exist. Hughes’ version came first; although Fraser’s Flshman will not admit it. I see a parallel in that with Islam’s claims to predate Judaism and Christianity. That Islam is the child not the parent is a point that we will have to make with increasing frequency.

          • Uncle Brian

            “Islam did not start with Muhammad.”—Yes, I’ve heard that before, but as far I can see it’s plain goofy nonsense. What would it mean to say “Judaism did not start with Abraham” or “Christianity did not start with Jesus”? I’m afraid it doesn’t convey any meaning to me at all.

          • The Explorer

            It’s goofy nonsense backed up by a) violence, b) Western ignorance. Biblical knowledge is now so poor, particularly among the young, that the past exists in a vague blur and this sort of stuff becomes plausible.

            I know young people who believe, in all seriousness, that a sizeable West-Indian population existed in Britain during the Middle Ages. They’ve seen films/TV in which Queen Guinevere and Friar Tuck are black, and take that as convincing evidence.

          • Uncle Brian

            As you said earlier, Explorer, it sounds like a time-warp joke along the lines of Flashman picking a quarrel with Hughes, or the gags in the Back to the Future films. But it would be worrying if there were people who failed to realize that they are just that, jokes, and are not meant to be taken as truthful statements about the real world.

          • The Explorer

            Muslims believe it to be true, and many (not all) irreligious Westerners are too ignorant about both religions to know either way.

          • Pubcrawler

            Dianne Abbott MP (History, Newnham College, Cambridge) seems to believe that there were black centurions in the Roman armies in Britain “hundreds of years before Christ” (sic).

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/dabbott_01.shtml

          • Uncle Brian

            In Robert Graves’s I Claudius (or possibly the sequel, Claudius the God) the Roman army brought elephants with them in their invasion of Britain, “the tanks of antiquity,” as somebody called them. So I wouldn’t be surprised if there were black soldiers in Claudius’s army as well. But “hundreds of years before Christ?” Coming from someone with a history degree, that’s a jaw-dropper.

          • Pubcrawler

            If there were any Africans, they would have been North African, not sub-Saharan. Swarthy, but not Black. But most of the legions that were stationed in Britain were recruited from elsewhere, mostly the Balkans and Near East IIRC.

            Graves’ work is a good read, but it’s a novel, not a source. Tolkien described him as ‘mad as a hatter, with a bonnet full of bees’.

          • The Explorer

            Given the extent of the Roman Empire, and the diversity within it, I would have no problem with there having been centurions from, say, North Africa in the Roman armies. in Kubrick’s film,Spartacus fights Drabo, and that seems to me highly plausible. I seem to recall a Moorish knight in Malory. My gripe is specific to West Indians – whether West-Indian centurions or Round-Table knights – because of the anachronism of their non-existence at that time.

          • Pubcrawler

            See my reply below. Abbott (no military historian herself) just made it up. I form my views from primary sources and military historians, not films, novels or mediaeval romances.

          • The Explorer

            Fair enough, although Kubrick was a stickler for authenticity. When filming ‘Barry Lyndon’, he contacted a Cambridge professor about what a five-pound note of the time would have looked like. Some novelists research scrupulously as well: Flaubert did so before writing ‘Salammbo’. Even medieval romances can reflect an element of social reality.

          • Anton

            Kubrick did not have sole oversight of the Spartacus film and said that he did not wish to be judged by it – good though it is.

          • The Explorer

            Kubrick took over when Kirk Douglas fell out with his predecessor. The film was based on the book by Howard Fast, and book and film both made Spartacus more humane than he probably was. Given the constraints under which he was working, Kubrick still tried for authenticity.

          • Anton

            Indeed! A long time ago I seriously intended to write a book about Kubrick, but lost interest after my conversion. He’s still my favourite director though, with the possible exception of the Taviani brothers (who collaborate), and Peter Weir and Powell/Pressburger third equal.

          • dannybhoy

            Kubrick did 2001 and 2010?
            Entertaining, but total nonsense,,

          • Anton

            He did 2001 but not 2010.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, you’re right. It was Peter Hyams. I actually preferred it to 2001.
            Remember we discussed the origins of man some time ago? 2001 was an example of the idea that God ‘did something’ to one of His creatures and made mmmmMan.

          • Anton

            Yes, but WHAT did the final scene mean?

          • dannybhoy

            It meant it always pays to go private, even if the drugs make you hallucinate and the nurse’s face is a blank…

          • Uncle Brian

            Entertaining? My wife and I went to watch 2001 as soon as it was released in 1968. It was then, and remains to this day, the dullest film I ever sat through in a cinema. For a start, it’s a quarter of an hour, give or take, before the first lines of dialogue are even spoken. And when at last we get them, after our long wait, they’re so trite and uninteresting that the effect is almost comic. Something like this:

            Man (to receptionist): Good morning. I have an appointment with Dr. Baker at 10 o’clock.

            Receptionist (picking up phone): Yes, sir, I’ll see if he’s in his office.

            From time to time I whispered to my wife, “Let’s give it another ten minutes. This is Kubrick, he’s a good director. It must start getting better soon.” But it never did.

          • dannybhoy

            To be fair the sequel 2010 fills in some of the data drop out in 2001..
            And I liked Roy Scheider as an actor (Marathon Man), also John Lithgow.
            I mean really, just like the theory of evolution sci fi asks you to suspend your common sense and concentrate on the special effects..
            That a bunch of ‘minkeys’ or hominids or hobbitses stroking an obelisk resulted in modern man, answers nothing.
            (Presumably tapirs were rejected because they couldn’t stroke and couldn’t hold bones??)

          • Uncle Brian

            I never saw 2010, so I’m afraid I have nothing to say about that. But what made 2001 so dull and boring wasn’t just the science fiction silliness. For a start, it’s a quarter of an hour, give or take, before the first lines of dialogue are even spoken. And when at last we get them, after our long wait, they’re so trite and uninteresting that the effect is almost comic. Something like this:

            Man (to receptionist): Good morning. I have an appointment with Dr. Jenks at 10 o’clock.

            Receptionist (picking up phone): Yes, sir, I’ll see if he’s in his office.

          • dannybhoy

            “For a start, it’s a quarter of an hour, give or take, before the first lines of dialogue are even spoken.”
            Well I suppose that’s supposed to set the scene and impress on us the seriousness of the subject matter.

          • Uncle Brian

            My point exactly. And when the audience are nicely primed and eager to start finding out what the seriousness is all about, Kubrick goes and feeds us that superfluous dialogue with the receptionist, the sort of thing that in most films would be simply left out. When Kubrick was at film directing school he must have been away sick the day they had the class on “How to avoid anticlimax.”

            But when 2001 was first released I’d already seen, and enjoyed, at least two of his earlier films, Dr. Strangelove and Paths of Glory. I also like some of his later films, such as Clockwork Orange and, above all, Barry Lyndon. But not 2001. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a washout.

          • dannybhoy

            Keep it simple son.
            Imo the internet is not good at conveying subtlety of meaning.
            I’m not sure whether I agree with you or not…

          • The Explorer

            I have no personal experience of the American situation. But Robert Spencer is reliable on this matter, and my statement about America’s commitment to the three Abrahamic faiths derives from him.

          • dannybhoy

            That I understood,
            This I didn’t..
            “2. Islam did not start with Muhammad. Islam was revived by Muhammad, after its corruption by Jews and Christians. When Muslims pray the opening of the Qur’an each day, they are thankful to be those who are saved, “whose portion is not wrath” (like the Jews) and “who go not astray” (like the Christians).

            In one of the Flashman books, Flashman reads Hughes’ description of himself and wants to find Hughes and thrash him for misrepresentation (or too much truth). Without Hughes, of course, Fraser’s Flashman would not exist. Hughes’ version came first; although Fraser’s Flshman will not admit it. I see a parallel in that with Islam’s claims to predate Judaism and Christianity. That Islam is the child not the parent is a point that we will have to make with increasing frequency.”
            As I understand the early history of Islam it was based on the ancient tribal gods which Mohammed fused with Judaism and to a lesser extent Christianity.

          • The Explorer

            I can’t really get my head round it myself. But Islam claims that Adam was the first Muslim. If true, that would make Islam the oldest religion. If not true…

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, so this is not your own opinions, your quoting from another source,
            Thank Goodness.
            You had me worried.

          • dannybhoy

            As I recall the Koran asserts that it was Ishmael and not Isaac who was the chosen son..
            http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/MusTrad/sacrifice.html

        • len

          There is rather an interesting dilemma that Muslims have to confront regarding the accusation that ‘ the Bible has been corrupted.’
          (Article from’ Light for the Last Days’ )
          ‘Why should I believe that someone who lived 600 years after the event and hundreds
          of miles away from where it happened had the authentic record rather than those who
          were eye witnesses?’ This was a question I posed to a Muslim who claimed that the
          Koran not the New Testament is the accurate account of what happened in the life
          of Jesus. His response was that the Christians (and the Jews) have ‘changed the books’
          of the Bible. So I asked him, ‘Did they change the books before Mohammed or after
          Mohammed?’ He was reluctant to answer this question because either way it raises
          big problems for Muslims.

          http://www.lightforthelastdays.co.uk/page13.html#3

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. Very interesting article.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    So we should be careful to do nothing that could provoke a violent response. Last year a well-known TV presenter was accused of landing a punch on his producer. The reason for the violence? His dinner. He had been provided with a salad instead of a steak. I therefore propose that the procurement of salads should be criminalised as fresh vegetation can be deeply offensive to some people and can lead to violence and social disorder.

    The problem is that offence, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder. what may cause one person to raise an eyebrow may cause another to raise a machete. The only way to avaoid the risk of any provocation is to limit all human interaction to a limited and predictable set of safe words and attitudes. This is the kind of banal existence that political correctness draws us to.

    We simply cannot always be held responsible for the reactions of others to our beliefs and convictions. I still think that what matters more than what we say is our motive for saying it. Harsh things can e said in love and lovely things can be said in hate.

  • David

    News just in, from an individual, of the Pegida Birmingham march being achieved without violence and with the far left largely absent. Hopefully the movement will grow.

  • mmac1968

    But freedom of expression is limited when those who wish to be offended tend towards violence.

  • Manfarang

    So I trust his Grace will be using all those Anglo-Saxon words in his future posts in order to fully offend.