Douglas Alexander Labour Election
Christian Persecution

Without Douglas Alexander, who in Labour will stand up for the persecuted church?

 

With yesterday’s release of the Labour Party’s Manifesto, the run-up to the General Election is truly underway. Finally the parties are laying out their stalls in the light of day and we all know where everyone stands – well, sort of. Having listened to Ed Balls discussing his party’s economic policies on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday morning, I’m more confused about what they are planning to do than I was before. As James Naughtie found once again, getting a straight answer out of a politician is like drawing blood from a stone, even on the day they publish an 86-page document spelling out their plans in black, white and red. Still, it does contain lots of well-taken pictures of happy people who obviously think that Labour would do a better job of managing the nation’s finances than they did last time round, so everything’s bound to be fine.

Now, for those who have the time and patience to read beyond the Manifesto’s headline-seeking statements, a welcome addition has been tucked away on page 76 which refers to the appointment a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and the establishment of a multifaith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is pleasing to see that Labour has followed through on this promise which the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, made back in December. At the time he wrote:

Just like anti-Semitism or Islamaphobia, anti-Christian persecution must be named for the evil that it is, and challenged systematically by people of faith and of no faith.

Government should be doing much more to try and harness the concern, expertise and understanding of faith leaders from across the UK and beyond.

So an incoming Labour government will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, reporting directly to the Foreign Secretary. This is an issue beyond party politics, so if the Government takes this step sooner, as the Opposition, we will support them. There is no time to waste.

To reinforce his position and simultaneously conduct an unapologetic piece of electioneering, he has penned an article which was published at Christian Today, entitled ‘Tackling religious persecution is a moral necessity‘. He points out that 76 per cent of the world’s population live in countries with high restrictions on religious freedom, of which the vast majority of those facing persecution are Christians, and that, according to Open Doors, 1,062 churches have been attacked in the past 12 months.

Douglas Alexander is a rare breed of politician. He is not ashamed to talk about his faith and the way it impacts his politics. Since becoming Shadow Foreign Secretary in 2011, he has criticised his own party for allowing “a misplaced sense of political correctness, or some sense of embarrassment at ‘doing God'” to hinder them in discussing any matters related to faith.

His article for Christian Today is a rare example of politicians making an effort to engage directly with a Christian audience. His passion for the Government to address the matter of religious persecution has led him to speak out repeatedly through the national press. He has also worked tirelessly in conjunction with Christians on the Left to raise the profile of the suffering church within his party, which has displayed a distinct lack of interest over recent months.

Labour’s Manifesto pledge to establish a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom is the crowning glory of Douglas Alexander’s political achievements. And yet it could all come to nothing.

Ever since the Scottish independence referendum, the SNP have been riding high in the opinion polls. If this support continues through to election day, Labour in Scotland is facing one of the most humiliating electoral defeats in history. The predicted swing against them is huge. Back in 2010, Douglas Alexander won the seat of Paisley and Renfrewshire South with a majority of 16,614 and 59.6 per cent of the vote. This gave him the 56th safest seat in the whole of the UK. But now he finds himself embroiled in a political life-or-death struggle against a 20-year-old  SNP candidate. According to an Ashcroft poll carried out in the constituency, Mhairi Black is predicted to win the seat by 8 per cent of the vote. There is a very real possibility that Labour will have a different (Shadow) Foreign Secretary in a few weeks time.

For those who would rather not see Labour in government for the next five years, such a turnaround in their (mis)fortunes will stir few feelings of regret. But without Douglas Alexander at the helm, there are few (if any) who would be offered his position and want to continue to fight the cause of religious freedom. If Labour do win the election but lose Alexander, it is not unreasonable to expect that his dream of a Global Envoy and the desire for action will be quietly dropped. For all those campaigning for the protection of religious freedom, it would be a great and significant loss of a prominent and eloquent ally.

Partisan politicking is intrinsic to the proper and healthy functioning of liberal democracy, but, on some issues, the just and moral vision is best realised when politicians manage to elevate themselves above that which divides them, devoting themselves instead to those crucial missions which transcend any single party. By calling for a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, Douglas Alexander put himself in such a position, prophetically speaking out on behalf of millions of Christians who are paying a devastating price for their faith in Christ – in ways which most of us can scarcely begin to comprehend.

It won’t be only the Labour Party which will suffer the loss of a dedicated and principled MP if Paisley and Renfrewshire South is turned over to the Nationalists on May 7th. The persecuted church will have lost a prophetic voice and a warrior for peace, justice and freedom.

  • Anton

    Well said, Gillan!

  • SeekTruthFromFacts

    Stephen Timms is Labour’s Faith Envoy and would be the obvious person to push this through if Mr Alexander is lost to the tide of nationalism. No other British politician knows so personally the danger posed by those who try to enforce their religious (or anti-religious) views on others by violence.

  • Pubcrawler

    If he does lose his seat, he could of course be ennobled so that he could perform such a role. But that would require whoever is prime minister giving a [tinker’s cuss] about the matter.

    • CliveM

      It would be interesting decision for him to accept. It would effectively end his ambitions for high office. He might feel still to young to give up on his career.

  • Merchantman

    I would very much regret Labour losing a Christian voice in Douglas Alexander. However surely relatively recent Labour and left leaning politicking in general has a heavy responsibility for all their own and broader Christian woes in Scotland?
    Perhaps its time for Christians to abandon the current parties of the left and realign in a wider Unionist pact. Scotland was once a Christian country in or out of the Union. I don’t hold much hope for the future to be blunt about it.

  • Athanasius

    Labour have been talking out of both sides of their mouths for thirty years, all Nye Bevan for the plebs, but privately whispering sweet nothings into the ear of the City. There’s no reason to think Wee Dougie is any more committed to fighting against the persecution of Christians than any of the rest of his “jam tomorrow” colleagues. The party has repeatedly shown there is no principle they won’t ditch, no line they won’t sink below, no morality they will not abandon if the whiff of office is in their nostrils. They are not the party of Keir Hardie or Clement Attlee.

  • David

    The article makes some very good points.
    Douglas Alexander is clearly a man of vision and conscience, and there far too few of those in politics. I gain the impression that he is a thoroughly worthwhile MP.
    However it is likely that he will lose his seat, which is ironical, as it is a direct outworking of Blair’s devolutionary “vision”.
    So I hope that the idea of an Envoy is taken up as a cross party issue, as it should indeed be above party politics.
    On the wider perspective, you would need to be firmly asleep not to have the feeling in your guts that the “tectonic plates” of UK politics are about to shift, markedly. Constitutional change is in the air !

  • alternative_perspective

    Once, there may have been a reasonable argument for Christians aligning with specific parties but today those parties seem to coalesce around a middle ground which is decidedly unChristian in so many aspects.

    Jesus commanded his followers to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, to God. Uncritically aligning oneself with any one party would seem to be an alignment with Caesar rather than God.
    And in my opinion too many Christians generally, as well as in power; have abandoned orthodoxy far to readily at the altar of empathy and inclusion rather than remaining voices crying out in the wilderness: make straight paths for the Lord.

    I recount that Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery; showed her compassion and told her to sin no more: without abrogating or re-writing strict Mosaic law on the topic.

  • sarky

    The problem with this election is that it is down to which parties lies you believe the most. Like all parties they try to pick up votes from all segments of society. I’m pretty sure that even if labour get in the ‘global envoy’ idea will quietly disappear (lost under diversity and political correctness)

  • Inspector General

    Take note fellows. There are so few devout Christians at the fore of the Labour party that to lose one is almost to lose them all. Speaks volumes about your party, eh Scott?

    Meanwhile, an Inspector rubs his hands with glee at the imminent demise of Scottish Labour . As if there ever was a Scottish Labour party. They took their orders from London, not Edinburgh, so let’s call them “(English) Labour (in) Scotland”. That’s why they are finished there, and not just for now, but for all time.

    It was inevitable. Although only 45% went for outright independence, the paradox is that well over 50% consider the SNP the best representation for Scotland in the union. Hence the move from socialism to national socialism and their interesting one party state of the future. What will this group grab for themselves and dear Scotland in the future, as the price of co-operaton? Why, anything and everything going, of course. Every concession Westminster has expected they’ll demand, and no doubt a few they hadn’t considered…

    And Scottish Lib Dem seats will eventually also be lost, soon if not this time. What a bonus!

    • CliveM

      Sadly politics in Scotland has been a one party state for as long as I can remember. The one party has changed, that’s all. Pretty much the same policies.

      Lemmings!

      • Inspector General

        Aye, son. Labour no more. London no more, English no more.

        Until the money runs out, and then…

        “Spend your poonds in bonnie Scotland. All foregiven ye nae. Come and visit Glasgow too, knife crime capital of Western Europe…”

        • Athanasius

          Come off it, Inspector. The Jocks and their oil have been propping up the UK for decades.

          • The Explorer

            Let that read ‘Until the oil runs out, and then…’

          • CliveM

            So you admit the UK has been propped up by the oil?

            Thing is my whole adult life I have been hearing that the oil is about to run out. But with improved technology, enabling smaller fields to be viable and keeping the bigger field going for longer, the oil continues to be pumped.

          • Pubcrawler

            But, but, but isn’t the world meant to have abandoned fossil fuels by 2030 or something?

            Whatever, with oil prices looking set to remain low for as long as the Saudis want them to, the returns aren’t going to fund the SNP’s socialist paradise stream any time soon. Venezuela is hardly a model to want to emulate.

          • CliveM

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not supporting the SNP.

            Their accountancy standards would make Tesco’s blush!

          • Uncle Brian

            Venezuela is hardly a model to want to emulate.
            Not for you or me, Pubcrawler, but I wouldn’t put it past the Salmon-Sturgeon gang.

          • The Explorer

            Of course. And by the gas, while it lasted. That, and the City of London. My only question is whose money paid for the oil exploration, oil rig construction etc in the first place? (Genuine question: I don’t know.) My understanding is only about half the oil has been pumped so far. So a wee while to go before the fulfilment of our good Inspector’s prophecy.

          • Uncle Brian

            My only question is whose money paid for the oil exploration, oil rig construction etc in the first place? The usual source of funding would surely be the companies that have successfully bid for the drilling rights.

          • The Explorer

            So Scotland couldn’t have accessed its offshore oil on its own? How much English money made it possible?
            It’s the sort of thing that always makes my head swim. You know, is there any difference between Ford or Toyota making cars in Britain, and British Leyland making cars in Britain? What does it matter who owns Jaguar? Allende seems to have had the right idea in Chile: let the Americans go to the expense of developing the mines, and then nationalise them.

          • Uncle Brian

            Norway has managed all right on its own, with a population no bigger than Scotland’s. It’s just a question of drawing up the contracts to get the best deal for your country.

          • CliveM

            You know I think one of the saddest things about this whole argument is how it seems simply to be about the ‘pennies’. It should be about more then that and for me it is. It’s also about a shared history.

          • Inspector General

            Scottish oil? British oil, old man. We need to get these things right, you know…

          • Shadrach Fire

            And England’s industry has propped up Scotland since the Union.

          • CliveM

            No it hasn’t, Glasgow was known as the second city of the Empire. Scottish ships, coal and ports all contributed.

          • Inspector General

            Dublin was known as the second city of the Empire…

          • CliveM

            Tried to add a link, google Glasgow and the British Empire!

          • Inspector General

            No. Dublin it is. Truly…

          • CliveM

            Promise you, it’s Glasgow!!

            Wish I could paste damn link!!

            You don’t suppose there was two 2nd cities of the Empire??

          • Uncle Brian

            Why limit the number to just two? There’s Sydney, Montreal, Toronto, Hong Kong, Bombay …
            It’s like “Second Unit Director” in the film credits. There may be two or three of them, but they’re all “Second Unit Directors”, never “Third” or “Fourth” ..

          • CliveM

            I suppose Manchester and Cardiff also. Just so each if the Home Nations can have one!

          • Pubcrawler

            (Ahem) Birmingham.

          • CliveM

            I’ll let the English decide for themselves!

          • Athanasius

            Scotland’s industry collapsed at the Union and stayed in recession for most of the 18th century. That’s because the bustling east coast trade with Europe was cut off. Keep up, will you.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector is frankly annoyed that people under 30 are allowed to stand for parliamentary election. 20 is infantile.

    • sarky

      You don’t have to vote for them!!

      • Inspector General

        Not the point…

    • CliveM

      Can’t help but agree with you there Inspector. What the hell will a 20 year old know about anything.

      • Inspector General

        The wisdom picked up at the student bar, dear chap…

        • CliveM

          Min age 30, with at least 10 years real work experience ie not with a ‘think tank’.

          • Inspector General

            That would have stuffed Cameron. Pity it wasn’t in place years back…

          • CliveM

            And millipede and Clegg!

          • sarky

            Then there would be no parliament. Since when has living in the real world been a requirement.

          • CliveM

            Hmmm the benefits of my suggestion just keep getting stronger.

      • Shadrach Fire

        William Pitt was PM at 21.

        • CliveM

          Yes true. But a different, less complicated era. But good point.

          I stand by my comment though.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The exception that proves the rule.

          • Shadrach Fire

            I agree with you. Voting should be 30 let alone stand for Parliament.

        • Inspector General

          Rather hoping you wouldn’t mention him. Anyway, he was a gifted man. Makes all the difference…

    • DTNorth

      Pot. Kettle, comes to mind,

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gillan, Why are you supporting Douglass Alexander. He voted for Same Sex Marriage? Any MP who supported SSM should not be helped or voted for by Christians.

    • This is the one flaw in Douglas Alexander’s record. Much as that is a great disappointment, we shouldn’t allow it to negate everything he has done of value. The Labour party is not exactly awash with Christians willing to declare their faith. It could do with a lot more, and the ones it has could do with a lot of encouragement even if we don’t entirely agree with everything they stand for.

      • Inspector General

        Has it occurred to you that you are putting all your trust in the wrong basket? Genuine Christians in the Labour party? You say yourself they are unwilling to be themselves in it, and Alexander is no exception. They want to continue to be in the fore of the organisation without upsetting the queers, feminists, abortionists and anyone else who can bring them down…

        Give the damn Labour party up as a lost cause. It has been since it stopped putting forward genuine working types as potential MPs.

        • Shadrach Fire

          Give them up, yes Inspector, but which party can you go with. You will say UKIP but did they not have a porn actor part of their team?

          • Inspector General

            Apparently they did. But we are talking here about an idea that UKIP is, not the stained people who wave its flag…

          • Shadrach Fire

            Yes, the idea is good, but who is to control the policies of the party in the future?

          • Inspector General

            Let’s just concentrate on the present for now…

          • bmudmai

            Problem is Inspector, that’s all that people do. “Free immigration is fine”, except that our population in the UK is expected to rise by over 4million within 10years and that’s without any increase in the rate of the rise. Our country can’t sustain that long term.

            We need to be spending on welfare etc. now because we have people who need it in our midst now…However, keep the deficit rising we will be broke in 10 years time and everyone will be suffering instead.

            Let’s bring in euthanasia as there are people who are suffering. Yet in 10 years time the laws would be liberalised further and massively abused, as with abortion.

            Just a few examples of how people only think of the present. It’s a sad, sad world we live in. Still, I’d prefer UKIP just to spite the lefties.

          • Linus

            If you throw your vote away on Ukip then you won’t be spiting the “lefties” so much as actively helping them regain power.

            The only even vaguely right-wing party that can win an election in the UK is the Conservative Party. Votes for Ukip simply make the Conservatives’ chances of forming a government less likely.

            But that won’t stop you cutting off your nose to spite your face, will it? Cameron must be punished for equal marriage and if that means a Labour victory then so be it!

            The Left salutes you. It needs more rabid right-wingers like you to undermine all possibility of a Conservative victory. Your sparse numbers mean that your power is limited to deciding the fate of one party – and it’s not the one you want to win.

            Difficult for you. I’m told that impotence is very frustrating for most people, but especially for the personality types that support the far right. Perhaps you just need a scalp – any scalp – to feel better about yourselves. As Cameron’s is the only one on offer, I suppose it makes sense to target him. But once your blood lust is satisfied and you wake up the next day with 5 years of a Labour government staring you in the face, don’t complain when the next raft of “Loony Lefty” policies comes floating up the Thames from Westminster to pollute your nice comfortable shire.

            Let’s see … how about quotas for women bishops? And gay bishops? And gay women bishops? And trans bishops? Compulsory sex changes for all boys who even look at a doll, and all girls who like football. State-funded veil support for polygamous families (all those metres of cloth must cost a fortune to buy and launder) and paid holidays for all Muslims at Ramadan. The abolition of the Christmas and Easter bank holidays to be replaced by environmentally correct Winter Solstice celebrations (no tree, no turkey, no gifts, but all the organic vegan chick pea and seaweed hummus you can eat) and a politically correct Spring Equinox fair (all mention of Christianity deleted and one small Fair Trade carob and quinoa slab – not an egg for fear of offending same-sex and/or infertile couples – per family or extended polyamorous kin group). The monarchy finally abolished and replaced with an elected People’s Champion who, in order to qualify, must display impeccable socialist credentials and speak with one of several pre-approved demotic accents such as Liverpudlian, or Geordie, but not Cockney (too London-centric).

            I could go on. At some length. But I’m sure you get my drift. And all this because YOU voted for Ukip. I might even move to the UK myself. I always wanted to live in a socialist wonderland…

          • Pubcrawler

            “I could go on. At some length.”

            You don’t say…

          • bmudmai

            Linus, you talk the talk, but what you talk is actually nonsense so I’m not even going to bother addressing the majority of your post.

            Anyway, my ‘to spite the lefties’ isn’t so much to get them out and the right in, but just because they are so adament you have to be a bigot etc. to vote UKIP. It’s an undemocratic opposition and so to express my freedom I will vote UKIP (Who I’d probably look at voting for anyway) and their opposition firms me in that decision. The fact is, many people will vote the same way, just because they are being told they can’t possibly vote for such a party, they will vote for them.

            Personally, if I was able I would actually vote DUP but they’re not available in England.

            The left vote will also be as split, labour have lost Scotland pretty much. So, it’ll be a rather interesting government for the next 5 years. May find an early election called.

        • Phil R

          Absolutely. The labour party has lost its roots and with it its conscience

      • Shadrach Fire

        When Douglas voted for SSM, was he a Shadow Cabinet Minister?

        I know no one in Government who did not take Cameron’s whip and I guess it was the same in the Shadows.
        Nicky Morgan who professes to be a Christian and voted against SSM, as soon as she was offered a Ministerial position she recanted and said that now, she would have voted for it.

        • Anton

          Owen Paterson was a Conservative Cabinet Minister who voted against it.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Stephen Timms would speak out, given half a chance. And he has a history of voting in a Christian manner (as he did when opposing same-sex marriage).

  • Inspector General

    On the subject of Cameron’s devotion to homosexuality, Pink News reports that he is going to give 49000 convicts a free pardon on re-election, or conviction quashed, or whatever. There’s no holding the man back. One wonder’s where all this unhealthy back passage enthusiasm emanates from. Surely NOT Eton…

    • The Explorer

      Why is that of interest to the Dick’s Hatband Brigade to be an item on their blog? Are these mixed criminals, or all guilty of the same sort of crime?

      • Inspector General

        Lord knows, Explorer. Surely there were many serious and nasty types who were convicted. Like Turing, who preyed on underage men, it seems…

        • The Explorer

          Hang on, these must be the 49 000 posthumous pardons for what was a sexual offence at the time of conviction, but isn’t now.

        • DTNorth

          Why are you typing on this sinners invention then,

  • len

    An uncompromising Bible believing Christian would not last a month in politics.
    Politics seems to be a matter of compromise , half truths , deliberate deceptions and downright barefaced lying.
    A Christian politician might start of with the best of intentions but soon find that their belief system is at total variance with their political life.
    The persecuted church can only be ‘protected’ by becoming one with the political system and we can all see what happened to the church when it became institutionalized and paganized under the Roman Emperor Constantine….

    The true Church is and always has been persecuted Jesus warned us as such because Christian beliefs are a threat and a constant reminder to the secular world that what the secular world considers as’ normal’ and ‘ human nature’ God considers as perverse and sinful.

  • David

    As I have just learnt that Douglas Alexander, according to “Shadrach Fire”, voted for the redefinition of marriage, the enthusiasm I expressed for him, as a Christian and an MP, some nine hours ago, has rather diminished. Hhmm… we live and we learn….

    • Shadrach Fire

      I downloaded all the vote results from a BBC web site. You would be surprised how many ‘nominal’ Christians voted for SSM, particularly anyone on or near the cabinet. Very disappointing that the youth pastor MP for Luton also voted for it.

      • Uncle Brian

        You would be surprised…
        Would I?

      • David

        It is disappointing I agree, yes, but perhaps we should not be surprised. The fact is if, as nominal Christians do, you live unquestionably in the world, you become of the world. If you absorb the world’s culture, and take little effort to grow in the knowledge of Christianity, and the love of God, through the different ways different Christians do this, then your Christianity becomes little more than a badge. You will have little understanding in your mind or your heart of what God is saying to us, over the millennia and in every age. You are adrift, vulnerable and easily moulded into the ways of the world.

        • Linus

          So let me get this right. You rail against what you call “the world” saying how evil and wicked it is, and then demand that its politicians (pretty much the most worldly occupation there is given that it’s all about the exercise of worldly power) vote as if they were not of the world, but rather as if they were as pure as the driven snow. Which they cannot be if they are of the world.

          What you want is a logical impossibility according to the tenets of the Christian faith. A worldly man cannot be pure and as politics are THE worldly pastime par excellence, asking politicians to be unworldly is like asking a lion to be vegetarian. Or a Christian to use the brain that evolution gave him to figure out the implications of the faith he claims to believe in but clearly doesn’t understand.

          So what really drives all this pious wishing for politicians to be something that your own bible tells you they cannot be given what they do? Could it be the desire to stand up in front of an audience of your fellow believers and shout your own holiness from the rooftops? “Look at me!” you cry. “I’m so holy that if I were a politician, I would vote in an unworldly manner, thereby rendering God’s word false. I’m so holy that no world can corrupt me! Hey, I guess that means I must be God himself. Or at least the Second Coming. Fall down and worship me now!”

          And there you have Christianity revealed. Self-worship masquerading as conventional piety. To be met with on many if not most of the comments posted on this blog.

          • The Explorer

            It sounds like all this was yelled through a megaphone. (You aren’t a politician are you Linus, old lefty chelloveck?) There are individual words amidst the noise, but it’s hard to link them up with one another.

            I get the feeling there are some valid points for discussion in here, obscured by rant. Care to reduce it all by about two thirds, and try again?

          • Linus

            I’m not surprised you find my points difficult to understand. Your brain has to absorb them through the distorting filter of Christianity, so it’s rather like trying to look at a view through the end of a beer bottle.

            Squint away and see what you can make out. Should be quite amusing…

          • The Explorer

            “Difficult to understand” does not quite express the sense of what I said. “Incoherently expressed in this instance” (for sometimes you are very lucid) would be nearer to the bull’s eye. (Given that David is practising his archery.)

            Let me see if I can turn it into an acceptable syllogism.

            Christianity says the world (ie fallen humanity and the way it structures things) is wicked.
            Politicians are, by definition, concerned with the world.
            Therefore, an ethical politician is an impossibility. So stop asking for one.

            There’s a lot in that. It would be like asking a British baker to produce a perfect croissant. Obviously, an impossibility. However, some efforts are very much worse than others. The best of a bad lot is all one can ask for.

          • Linus

            But the best of a bad lot is still bad and as nothing short of perfection (as defined by you, of course) will satisfy you, why bother bleating about how imperfect your politicians are?

            I can see one reason only. To highlihght your own pious perfection by comparing your righteousness to their worldly depravity.

            In other words, your whole participation on this blog is just an exercize in blowing your own trumpet, isn’t it? You’ve got it all right, everyone else is wrong and they absolutely need to acknowledge this fact and worship YOU as God’s latest prophet.

            So much for Christian humility. And so much for your claim to reject the world. What is this blog if not a part of the world? What are political opinions if not an expression of worldly interest? You show us exactly why Christian politicians are a contradiction in terms. Your very involvement in politics is an open rejection of the faith you claim to be championing.

            You should all be living in monastic perfection (married or not) while withstanding the slings and arrows of an imperfect world with beatific looks on your faces as you turn the other cheek while loving your neighbours, especially the horrible ones.

            By their fruits shall ye know them. And the stinky fermented brew that sloshes around on this blog clearly didn’t drop from any kind of Christian tree. Keep on crying “Lord! Lord!” and prophesying in his name, for all the good it will do you. For he doesn’t know you any more than he knows me.

          • The Explorer

            Who needs a hand dryer? Just annoy Linus, and you can have all the hot air you want.

          • Linus

            When the Christian runs out of cogent arguments, he resorts to ad hominem abuse. After criticizing the Atheist for doing the same thing. And all without a trace of shame or even any kind of comprehension of his own utter hypocrisy.

            The more I interact with Christians, the more apparent their moral bankruptcy becomes. Who can take them and their flexible, self-serving philosophy seriously?

          • The Explorer

            Time to change your name, Linus: I hereby dub you Simoom

          • Linus

            It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

            You could of course take my entirely reasonable arguments as an opportunity for personal growth. But no, you prefer to dig yourself in deeper and mark yourself out as a hypocrite’s hypocrite. He who attacks others when their arguments contain even a hint of ad hominem, but who reserves the right to slather it on with a trowel when it suits him.

            So how would you characterise the taste of that particular fruit? All that Christian fervour doesn’t seem to be helping the fructose level, does it? Could it be because it’s all a façade and behind the brittle layer of Christian wax paintwork lurks a rotten and worm-infested gourd just waiting to be cast aside when plucked from the tree? I’d rather be me than you in that case. I mean, he won’t even attempt to bite into me. But you may fool him for long enough that he sinks his teeth into you and gets a mouthful of rotten flesh. Uh, oh … !!!

            It’ll be like that awful kiss that Madonna planted on Drake. Poor old thing, there she was thinking how cool and sexy and relevant she still is when the very person she was trying to seduce saw the real her: a repulsive old granny posing as a seductive young siren.

            Wake up Ms Ciccone! If you try to pass rotten meat off as the fresh variety, your customers will fall sick! Same applies to fruit. A modern Christian parable no less…

          • The Explorer

            Pity the era of sailing ships is gone. You could have hired yourself out. The remedy against being becalmed.

          • Linus

            More insults from he who bridles at the merest hint of ad hominem directed towards him. The stench of hypocrisy wafts before you and follows in your wake. A true Christian if ever I saw one. Keep it up, you’re singlehandedly illustrating exactly why Christianity is such a fraud. I couldn’t do better myself.

          • The Explorer

            1. How do you know I bridle at ad hominem, since you are above using such tactics?
            2. Please give examples from my discussions with others.

          • Linus

            Look back over this thread. It’s one long litany of ad hominem attacks from you.

            Surely you’re not going to say you only direct ad hominem at me. If you indulge in it during our exchanges, you certainly do so with others.

            I’ve noticed you tend to resort to it when an opponent makes a point you can’t easily repudiate, but you still feel as though you have to say something. It’s the online equivalent of a stamped foot.

            And whoever said I denied using it as a debating tactic? I quite cheerfully admit to using ad hominem as a means of provoking the sort of anger that always makes Christians lose the plot and exposes their arguments for the blind prejudice and unthinking adherence to superstition they are.

            Go ahead and criticize me for it, but remember, as a Christian you hold yourself to a higher standard than me. My failure to adhere to Christian morals should neither surprise nor disappoint you. Your own most certainly should.

            Funny then that your argument should essentially boil down to “it’s not my fault, you started it!” Of course I did. I cast my fly and you swallowed it hook, line and sinker, just as I knew you would. By all means condemn me for such behaviour. But then take a good hard look at yourself the glass and ask yourself whether, if you practiced what you preach, you’d look quite so foolish as you do now.

            Honestly, if this is the best you can do, no wonder your faith is dying on its feet in every society where people are trained to think critically. It’s odd really, because I can only assume that you too have benefited from a rational education. Just goes to show the damage religion is capable of inflicting on the mind.

          • The Explorer

            My question: the evidence that I bridle at ad hominem attacks against me. The opening sentence of your response: I have used ad hominem constantly against you on this thread. That, if true, would merely mean that I do not object to it as a tactic: it is not evidence that I bridle at it when used against me.

            I think we should tie down which form of ‘ad hominem’ we are talking about. In Aristotle’s sense, it is fallacious argument: attacking the person when you can’t answer his/her ideas. No one should be using that: whether one is a Christian or atheist or whatever lies between is irrelevant.

            But there is also Locke’s sense of ad hominem, where the method has some legitimacy. “To press a man with consequences”. I was using the Lockean sense on this thread, for your personality has got in the way of your arguments. More pique than points. I feel that to stress this has been legitimate.

            You contend that I resort to ad hominem (in Aristotle’s sense) when I cannot respond to a point. That might be true; or it might be your personality speaking. Either way, you are not in a position to say since you are not impartial. You are like a tennis player who also claims the role of umpire. We’d need an independent arbiter if it mattered enough. Which, of course, it doesn’t.

          • Linus

            You claim that anger has driven my remarks on this thread. Of course you do. I’ve set forth arguments that no Christian can address, so your only way out is to divert the conversation into a cul de sac and try to park it there.

            It’s a classic manipulator’s tactic used by Christians down the ages when reason and logic together produce a case they can’t answer. Sweeping it all aside and concentrating on assassinating the character and even mental stability of the attacker is the best diversionary tactic they can think of.

            When that doesn’t work, if you’re true to Christian type, the next move will probably be accusations of demon possession.

            And you wonder why your religion has died a death in any country where critical thinking is encouraged!

          • The Explorer

            ‘Claim’ implies an unjust assertion, given lack of evidence. I’d say there’s a lot of evidence on this thread. I have pointed out examples as the thread has meandered its merry way.

            Here you are lumping all Christians together, and assassinating their collective character and even their mental stability. It’s a classic manipulator’s tactic, not confined to any one form of belief.

            You say I wonder why my religion has died a death. How do you know if I wonder that? Where have I said it? You are simply making a sweeping assumption.

          • Linus

            Yes, you’re right for once. I was assuming you would look at reliable statistics gathered over a period of decades that show a catastrophic and consistent decline in adherence to Christianity and draw appropriate conclusions from them.

            But how stupid of me! I should have realised you would prefer to take the fact that 5 more people than usual attended your last Sunday service as proof positive that a Christian revival is underway.

            It just isn’t possible to have a rational discussion with the inhabitants of cloud cuckoo land. Again, something I should have known. Of course I did, but not being a slave to my own imagination, I always forget what a terrible power it exerts over those it controls. You’re beyond the reach of reason. I need to keep reminding myself of that fact.

          • The Explorer

            Are you a postmillennialist atheist by any chance?
            As I said, I’m an amillenialist. I expect a falling away from the faith before the end. That is why I am not surprised by a decline in my religion. I would equally not be surprised if it expanded again, and then declines again. Christ said it would.

          • Linus

            Christ said it would. Until it doesn’t any more. It’s that kind of open-ended condition setting that renders Christian prophecy so ludicrous.

            Repent for the end is nigh! Today at least. Tomorrow if conditions change it might not be quite so nigh after all, but then the day after it will be so nigh that your salvation depends on repenting by no later than 3 pm Central European Time or all will be lost! Only, when that hour rolls around, lo and behold, suddenly we’re back to the same indeterminate nigh that the Church has been stringing us along with for two thousand years. And counting…

            I counsel you not to hold your breath waiting for nigh. Suicide is a mortal sin, or so I’m told.

          • The Explorer

            Your first paragraph is fine. It relates exactly to what I said about not being surprised by a decline in Christianity.
            Your second paragraph makes the valid observation that we don’t know when the end will be and that it is folly (actually forbidden) to try and pinpoint a date. But I said nothing about salvation, or about repenting.
            As to you third paragraph, remember it’s a Protestant you’re talking to. I don’t believe in mortal sins.

          • David

            Sadly, true !

          • Pubcrawler

            “your whole participation on this blog is just an exercize in blowing your own trumpet, isn’t it?”

            Projection, much?

          • Linus

            I can blow my own trumpet as much as I like. I’m not a Christian. I don’t even have to pretend to be humble. So if you want to justify your own behaviour by comparing it to mine, then you’re really saying that being a Christian is exactly the same as being an Atheist. You’re not held to a higher standard. You can do whatever you like.

            More proof that Christians don’t really believe what their holy book tells them to? Looks like it to me. And if you don’t believe it, how do you think you’re going to persuade others to?

          • Pubcrawler

            Point missed. Again.

          • Linus

            I agree. Yet again you entirely miss the point. It’s because your entire frame of reference is based in fantasy and make-believe, so reality just passes right by you without leaving any impression at all. I doubt you even see it, much less ignore it. Anything that doesn’t fit in with your predetermined outcome just doesn’t exist, right?

            Here we are in the 21st century and people are still behaving like cavemen. Ah well, education will change that. Your children will reject superstition, or if you’ve managed to indoctrinate them, their children will. Religion is dying in all parts of the world where access to real education is provided. It’s only a matter of time before reason prevails and superstition is banished to the past.

          • Pubcrawler

            None of that vituperation, with all its sesquipedalian garnish and limp cliche, is in any way related to my point. I’m done with you.

          • CliveM

            By gum, I’m envious of your vocabulary! Sesquipedalian, impressive……….

          • David

            Oh dear, your blood pressure is really soaring, you’d better watch that.
            But your power of reasoning is rather obscured by your belligerence.
            I’m out for a spot of archery and to enjoy God’s sunshine…
            Blessings on you, Linus.

          • Linus

            I see, so you have no response but feel compelled to say something, so “shut up and calm down” will do, will they?

          • David

            Linus, you are a very particular case.
            You are beyond conviction, you are an intolerant zealot, and quite beyond any reasoned debate.

          • Linus

            You keep describing yourself through comments directed at me. Almost as if you were looking in a mirror.

            Sorry you hate yourself so much, but surely self-flagellation or some other form of mortification of the flesh would be a better and more Christian alternative than venting your bile all over the nearest Atheist?

          • David

            Right.
            Take a walk and get some fresh air I suggest.