Bible similar to Tory policy if you skip stuff on helping the poor and sick, says Cameron


7:57 pm - December 17th 2011

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contribution by Spacey

Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed that he is committed to Christianity apart from all the bits about helping the poor and sick, and definitely excluding the part where Jesus throws the money-lenders out of the temple.

With Christians everywhere suffering a crisis of faith following Mr Cameron’s insistence that he is one them, members of the clergy face a difficult run up to Christmas trying to explain to their congregations how the last 18 months of a Tory led government is in any reflected in the teachings of the Bible.

In a speech in Oxford on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Mr Cameron insisted that government policy was regularly guided by the words of the Bible.

“The Bible focuses quite heavily on forgiveness,” he said. “Surely no-one can deny how quick we’ve been to forgive the bankers,”

“There’s also some great stuff in there about over-the-top vengeance which is reflected in our response to the summer riots.”

“That’s something the Archbishop of Canterbury would do well to remember next time he’s mouthing off.”

Describing himself as a “committed” but only “vaguely practising” Christian, the PM admitted he can have the best of both worlds.

“I’m entirely committed to the parts of the Bible that I can interpret to suit my agenda, but describing myself as ‘vaguely practising’ allows me to ignore all the lefty hippy shit.”

“One of the great advantages of this is that if you ignore all the stuff about helping the poor and sick, you can read the whole thing cover to cover in about half an hour,” he enthused.

The Church have reacted with indifference to the prime ministers claims of Christian commitment, describing them as “nothing new”.

“We’ve grown accustomed to people using the Bible to try and further their own ambitions,” revealed a Church of England Spokesperson.

“David Shayler, David Koresh, David Icke, David Cameron.

“We’re starting to think it’s a ‘David’ thing.”


This is a satirical article. Spacey writes more regularly for the spoof news site Newsthump.

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Reader comments


Cameron Calls For Return To Christian Values Of Hypocrisy, Intolerance & Killing Muslims:

http://tompride.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/cameron-calls-for-return-to-christian-values-of-hypocrisy-intolerance-killing-muslims/

No surprise. The Christian right have long abandoned all the helping the poor bits. What is now preached is a form of Randism. ‘God loves the rich, and hates the poor. If you are poor or sick it is because you have pissed off God.”

This is what is preached in the bible belt of the US, and the tories are increasingly a subsidiary of the Republican party.

Let’s crucify Dave and see if he rises after three days

A quote from the New Testament for Sally:

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. Matthew 25:29
http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-25-29/

The Primrose League, created in 1883 to promote Disraeli’s vision of One Nation Conservatism, was finally disbanded in 2004.

Being funny is hard.

Just try to be the joker in the pack.

“Being funny is difficult.”

That’s very true in these times.

Mervyn King said he sympathised with the people he met on his visits around the UK who were suffering as they tried to keep their businesses going and to stay afloat despite the squeeze on incomes.

“These people were not responsible for the crisis and they are suffering enormously as a result of it,” he said. “I have enormous sympathy.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/16/bank-england-uk-economic-growth-forecast

the irony is, their über-crischun puritan ideology will make 99% of the 1% the new poor…

the rest of us will be ground down into destitution & slavery, corporations will drop like flies, civilisation will crumble – and without us, that electronic ghost they call their wealth will switch off, permanently!

unless we stop them, 100% of us will lose…

Jesus didn’t throw the money-lenders out of the temple. He threw the money-changers out of the temple. The distinction is important.

http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2011/10/27/occupylsx-needs-to-read-the-bible/

9. So Much For Subtlety

2. Sally

The Christian right have long abandoned all the helping the poor bits.

I am not sure about Britain but in America the Born Again, Evangelical Christians give a lot more money to charity than the secular Left does. It is not the Christian Right that has given up helping the poor. They read Matthew 26:11 as an individual obligation. The Secular Left on the other hand has passed the buck to the State and so feels no personal obligation. As a general rule.

What is now preached is a form of Randism. ‘God loves the rich, and hates the poor. If you are poor or sick it is because you have pissed off God.”

It is no dumber than the Christian Left asserting that to be rich is to be sinful.

The Bible is not, of course, strong on helping the poor. As with Matthew 26:11 Judas wished to sell the oil being poured all over Jesus’ feet in order to help the poor. Jesus rebukes him and the other disciples.

Besides the issue is moot. Christians are, presumably, obliged to help the poor. But not when they make the poor worse off. The welfare state does more harm than good. Any sensible person, even Christians, ought to have as little to do with it as possible.

SMFS: “It is no dumber than the Christian Left asserting that to be rich is to be sinful.”

Compare: “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

“The coalition of millionaires: 23 of the 29 member of the new cabinet are worth more than £1m… and the Lib Dems are just as wealthy as the Tories”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1280554/The-coalition-millionaires-23-29-member-new-cabinet-worth-1m–Lib-Dems-just-wealthy-Tories.html

11. Bring on the Revolution

The Bible is not, of course, strong on helping the poor. As with Matthew 26:11 Judas wished to sell the oil being poured all over Jesus’ feet in order to help the poor. Jesus rebukes him and the other disciples.

So stand up, stand up for Judas,
And the cause that Judas served,
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word.

12. John Hargrave

So, David Cameron is not a ‘Good Samaritan’ after all. He seems very quick to deny disabled people benefits but if you are a tax dodger, if you are a failed banker and massive bonus taker or just refusing to pay any tax at all, then you are an ‘OK’ person. Goodness knows what he will do if his cabinet should ever become disabled, probably get them a job at the Bank of England. He doesn’t give ATOS.

I am really sick and tired of infantile and shoddy attempts to interpret the bible. From the simplistic idiocy of Dawkins to articles such as this. The bible is, of course, very clear about helping the poor, the sick and the vulnerable. But throughout the New Testament this is seen as a response from the believer to those who were created in God’s image – all of humanity. It was also seen as a choice – as all aspects of faith are.

This is entirely distinct from using the mechanisms of state to make people give part of their income to help the poor.

Both may have merit, but caring for the poor and a welfare state are not absolutely synonymous. Indeed some have argued (such as GK Chesterton and Hilaire Bellos) that a welfare state enslaves the recipients and takes away the choice of acting on their faith from those in a position to sacrifice their money. Indeed, many thinkers (including these two) placed the care of those most at need at the centre of their political and religious philosophy without assuming a large state machinery is the best answer.

It is unfair and disingenuous to assume that supporting a large welfare system is the only way that the priorities of the poor, as expressed in the bible, can be fulfilled.

There is a world of difference between an individual VOLUNTARILY giving to others, and the state taking money of him and giving it to others whether he wills it or not. And, of course, in order to give money away, you have to amass it first. Amassing money is bad, though, in the eyes of those here, because it makes people rich, and we all know that rich people are bad people. Besides, if you not only have no money in the bank, but, on the contrary, are deeply in the red, do you have a moral right to give people money you don’t have?

@9

I am not sure about Britain but in America the Born Again, Evangelical Christians give a lot more money to charity than the secular Left does. It is not the Christian Right that has given up helping the poor. They read Matthew 26:11 as an individual obligation. The Secular Left on the other hand has passed the buck to the State and so feels no personal obligation. As a general rule.

I often hear this but would love to see some breakdown of what ‘charities’ the US Christian right gives its money – do you have any info on that? You make it sound like they’re solely giving to humanitarian charities which help the poor, but for all I know they’re giving to their own churches, or local arts bodies, or conservative think thanks, all of which can count as charities, but aren’t the same thing as helping the poor at all.

@ Ian, Trofim

“The bible is, of course, very clear about helping the poor, the sick and the vulnerable. But throughout the New Testament this is… seen as a choice…
This is entirely distinct from using the mechanisms of state to make people give part of their income to help the poor”

“There is a world of difference between an individual VOLUNTARILY giving to others, and the state taking money of him and giving it to others whether he wills it or not.”

Two points:

1 – a collective choice is still a choice. And our collective choice, as a democratic society, is to give part of our income to help the poor.

2 – Didn’t Jesus suggest that we’re obliged to allow the state to take money off us whether we will it or not?

Matthew 22:21 “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” Romans 13:1 “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God.”

In the US and Canada the state requires that Charitable Foundations expend at least 5% of the value of their endowment annually http://www.abagrantmakers.org/resource/resmgr/ABAG_Publications/The_Five_Percent_Minimum_Pay.pdf

Just reading the usual claptrap from the usual brownshirt trolls rather proves my point about the Christian right and the preaching of the God of Rand.

As for the idea that they give to the poor Ha Ha Ha. What they invest in is political dogma in the third world. Pushing anti gay legislation or Aids denial. Or helping to prop up corrupt regimes who give mineral rights to diamond mines and the like.

But it is good to see the Cameron greenwash has well and truly been shed, and the revolting reptilian revealed. A millionaire prime minister, with well over a million unemplyed lecturing about christian values. Pass the sick bowl.

David Cameron is Jesus. Probably.
He’s managed to feed record numbers of the unemployed using less and less money.
And he’s cured thousands of sick and disabled people who used to be so sick they couldn’t go out to look for work, and now they can.
Halleluyah!
http://tompride.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/david-cameron-is-jesus-probably/

He is not the Messiah. He is a very naughty boy

21. Anon E Mouse

Clearly the author of this article either didn’t listen to the speech or just likes misquoting things in order to make a point.

Perhaps he should consider offering his services to the hopeless Ed Milliband because it’s clear he needs more than the hand of god considering how Labour are tanking in the polls….

22. Just Visiting

This thread started with humour – but so many of the posters have been serious in their responses.

And sadly, the bulk of the posters have demonstrated the seriousness of their blind hatred if christianity.

Instead of debating in more detail what Cameron said and it’s implications, ths thread has been hijacked as an anti-Christian bash.

From Sally, repeating for the umpteenth time her view that Christians are all right wing, and going off topic to bring in her favourite object of hatred -the USA.

With Bob, breaking again the basic sixth-former level rule that you do not cherry pick a verse from some ones else’s Holy Book, in order to criticise them. As you have been told mnay times on LC – instead you need to see what that religion _does_, and how _they_ quote from their holy Books, how _they_ interpret their own Holy Books.

I’m 100% with Ian on this:
> I am really sick and tired of infantile and shoddy attempts to interpret the bible.

Bob please look around and recognise that Christians are very active in helping the poor, from big charities like Cafod, Christian Aid, Tear Fund – through to equally large but probably more visible on the streets of your own town – the Salvation Army.

Lastly, as someone on Radio 4’s Question Time said – to describe the UK as a Christian country is such an obviously true statement – in the same way that Spain or Poland is a Catholic one, or Saudi or Egypt is a Muslim one.

Please LC, can’t we go beyond this blind hatred of all things Christian?

@ 16 G.O.

“1 – a collective choice is still a choice. And our collective choice, as a democratic society, is to give part of our income to help the poor.”

By this logic, we made a collective choice to put the tories into power and must live with the consequences. Personally, not being given over to collectivist group-think, I have a mind of my own and can choose for myself.

“2 – Didn’t Jesus suggest that we’re obliged to allow the state to take money off us whether we will it or not?”

No. You miss the subtlety of the response Jesus gave.

The reason why 19th century Parliaments legislated a succession of factory acts to protect women and children from exploitation was precisely because voluntary self-regulation of markets led to unacceptable social consequences.

The Education Act of 1870 created the administrative structures to provide for universal primary education up to the age 12 – an act of 1880 made primary education compulsory. This was needed because charities and the churches couldn’t be depended on to provide for universal primary education so schooling in Britain was lagging behind other west European countries when education standards increasingly mattered for working with industrial technologies.

“We have noted a substantial body of original research . . . which found that stagnant or declining literacy underlay the ‘revolution’ of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. . . Britain in 1850 was the wealthiest country in the world but only in the second rank as regards literacy levels. [Nick] Crafts has shown that in 1870 when Britain was world economic leader, its school enrolment ratio was only 0.168 compared with the European norm of 0.514 and ‘Britain persistently had a relatively low rate of accumulation of human capital’.”
Sanderson: Education, economic change and society in 1780-1870 (Cambridge UP, 1995) p.61

Credit for creating the foundations of the modern welfare state in Europe goes not to Lloyd George but to Bismarck, first chancellor of the German empire, who created a state pension scheme and a social insurance scheme to cover personal healthcare costs. He was neither secular nor leftist.

“With Bob, breaking again the basic sixth-former level rule that you do not cherry pick a verse from some ones else’s Holy Book, in order to criticise them.”

My selection of quotes shows that I’m pretty familiar with finding my way around the Bible. The many glaring contradictions therein and the behaviour of the churches and practasing Christians is what put me off religion.

The Crusades in the Holy Land were characterised by extensive brutality, not compassion. There were Protestant then Catholic martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish Inquisition, the 30 Years war in Europe 1618-48 – not much tolerance shown in any of that; the flight of James II in 1688 and the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, the outcome of which is still celebrated by those Orange Order annual sectarian marches in Glasgow; the Gordon Riots in London in 1780, right down to the abuse of the young by Catholic clergy during recent decades and the current rift in the Anglican church over gay clergy and women bishops. The Catholic church only exonerated Galileo in 1992 for publicising his heretical theory that the earth moves round the sun.

What are we supposed to deduce about Christian values from all that?

The Christian ethic of reciprocity: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, is much older than Christianty: George Bernard Shaw remarked on its fundamental flaw: Don’t do unto others as you would have others do unto you – their tastes may not be the same. The Confucian ethic of reciprocity is transparently superior:

Tzu Kung asked: “Is there a single principle that can serve as a guide for all our actions?” Confucius said: “What you don’t want done to yourself, don’t do to others.” [Analects: 15.23]
86. Tzu Kung [following Confucius] said: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” [Analects: 5.11]
http://www.bergen.edu/phr/121/ConfuciusGC.pdf

I seldom cease to be amazed as to how ignorant most avowed Christians are, not least about other faiths and philosophy. We really don’t need religion as an authoritarian source for morality.

25. gastro george

@24 Bob B – bravo.

SMFS: “It is no dumber than the Christian Left asserting that to be rich is to be sinful.”

No, I just want them to pay their fair share of tax.

@ Trooper Thompson

“By this logic, we made a collective choice to put the tories into power and must live with the consequences.”

Erm… yes… that’s right, isn’t it? If I have the option of not living with the consequences of (say) having had my tax credits cuts, please let me know how this works exactly.

“Personally, not being given over to collectivist group-think, I have a mind of my own and can choose for myself.”

You can have your own preferences (as can I), and you’re free to believe that we made the wrong collective choice in putting the Tories into power (as do I), but that is not the same as being able to ‘choose for yourself’ how much tax you pay, what the speed limit is, how much public money gets spent on education or defence, etc. etc.

“No. You miss the subtlety of the response Jesus gave.”

Feel free to enlighten me. I was simply offering one, perfectly mainstream interpretation of that response.

Bob B @ 24:

“The Catholic church only exonerated Galileo in 1992 for publicising his heretical theory that the earth moves round the sun.”

Oh, FFS. Look, the Church may only have officially exonerated Galileo in 1992, but it had ceased to actually oppose his teachings centuries before that. Technically you’re still allowed to kill a Scotsman who comes within the city walls of York after nightfall, but that doesn’t mean that England or Yorkshire are institutionally anti-Scottish.

“What are we supposed to deduce about Christian values from all that?”

That some people who espouse Christian values aren’t very good at upholding them. Really, though, you could say the same about any mainstream system of morality. This doesn’t prove that these moral systems are flawed (unless they’re somehow impossible to put into practice; although “don’t oppress other people” clearly isn’t impossible to carry out), just that people don’t always act morally.

“The Christian ethic of reciprocity: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, is much older than Christianty: George Bernard Shaw remarked on its fundamental flaw: Don’t do unto others as you would have others do unto you – their tastes may not be the same.”

You can twist the ethic round into imposing your preferences on everybody else, but that’s not the only, or even the most obvious, interpretation of it. Since you would want other people to accomodate your tastes rather than imposing their own preferences on you, you ought to do the same to other people.

“The Confucian ethic of reciprocity is transparently superior:”

Not really, since you can equally well follow the letter of the rule whilst disregarding the spirit (e.g., not doing anything whatsoever to help other people, provided you don’t actively harm them).

You’re either a committed practising christian or you’re not, there no vague about it. Cameron is the spawn of the devil in my book… he can quote the bible just like Lucifer can, but he doesn’t practice it.

Just visiting @ 22

And sadly, the bulk of the posters have demonstrated the seriousness of their blind hatred if christianity.

Where is the anti christianity on this thread? No-one is anti christian here. not one single comment.

It is not ‘the Left’ that has attempted to invoke the Christian faith, that has been done by Cameron.

All we have done is asked a serious of simple questions.

What side of the debate would Jesus be on?

Would he be standing with the disabled or the bankers?
The poor or the rich?
The common person or the Tory elite?

This is the guy that washed the feet of the diseased, cured the lame, stood in front of the capital punishment squad, fed the starving, threw the money changers out of the temple and expicitly said that the rich would find it harder to get into heaven than a camel would pass through an needle.

As far as I am aware he didn’t condemn the poor for being feckless or judge the disabled as scroungers.

Jesus would hate the Tories as much I do.

Jim @ 29:

“As far as I am aware he didn’t condemn the poor for being feckless or judge the disabled as scroungers.”

Nor did He say that we ought to ensure equality of outcome, or go to the poor and say “Oh, don’t worry, I know it’s not your fault you’re sinning, you poor people can’t help yourselves.”

“Jesus would hate the Tories as much I do.”

Frankly, Jim, I doubt anybody hates the Tories as much as you do. And even assuming for argument’s sake that Jesus would dislike the Tories (which is pretty hard to prove, given that He tended to confine his pronouncements to matters of individual morality rather than politics), He’d have called on them to repent rather than hurled abuse like you do.

@27: “Oh, FFS. Look, the Church may only have officially exonerated Galileo in 1992, but it had ceased to actually oppose his teachings centuries before that. ”

I’ve heard that excuse before. Why did it take the Catholic church so long to exonerate Galileo if the church actually but secretly endorsed his helioentric theory of the solar system? I suppose the kindly explanation is that the Catholic church got confused. The other and more credible explanation is that the church was duplicitous and didn’t want to admit that the notion of a heliocentric system wasn’t really heretical as the Catholic church had claimed it was.

With the latest report about the Catholic chuch from the Netherlands, we now know that the clergy of the Catholic church have been abusing children on an industrial scale in many countries – we’ve already had reports from Ireland and Belgium and in America, the church has been paying out hundreds of millions to compensate victims:

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of children have been victims of sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands since 1945, an independent commission said on Friday, criticising what it called the church’s cover-up and culture of silence.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/12/16/uk-netherlands-catholic-idUKTRE7BF1HZ20111216

Does anyone suppose that the Opium wars in the 19th century were intended to introduce the Chinese to Christianity? How much did the Anglican church at the time protest about those wars?

By their history, the Christian churches haven’t a vestige of remaining credibility – and we don’t need a religion to provide an authoritarian source of morality. Choosing a religious faith doesn’t absolve an individual from personal moral responsibility for making that selection so Cameron’s claim that we need the Christian church to tell what is right and wrong is just plain bunk. The clear implication of Cameron’s claim is that those subscribing to other faiths aren’t getting the correct guidance. How arrogant.

Experiments by psychologists at the Yale centre for infant cognition show that babies are capable of making moral judgements. Most 4 year-old children can speak grammatically without knowing the rules of grammar. Most of us have moral values and a sense of human empathy by instinct as a product of evolution by natural selection in social environments. The Catholic clergy appear to be an exception. We don’t need religion.

@22

It’s not a hatred of all things Christian.. although it IS certainly a hatred of SOME things Christian. Even the most devout person of faith would have to agree that there is much to hate surely? The fact that many Christians do sterling work for the poor and disadvantaged doesn’t give the belief system as a whole some “get out of jail free” card to be above criticism, or to further the all too common insistence from many believers that we should take their special pleading at face value.

The fact is that most people in the UK are religious in only the most tenuous sense. More people go fishing on a Sunday than go to church…. but I don’t see the fishing lobby getting the kind of special treatment faith groups get (although if they did it would probably have a better impact than most of the fairly whacky made up faiths out there).

Religious faith in this country is in decline because it is seen by most people, most of the time, as irrelevant. What is worse, the organised faith groups all too often fail to set the kind of example that people would find laudable…. they have huge wealth, and test tolerate such poverty. They see suffering, and all too often tolerate or even perpetrate intolerance.

Most of us don’t hate your faith..we consider it at best quaint, and at worst a baleful influence on society as a whole.

I’m willing to accept there probably was a historical Jesus, but I’d lay odds that all of the current churches which claim to represent him and his teachings would make him sick to his stomach.

XXX @ 30

given that He tended to confine his pronouncements to matters of individual morality

Which would surely mean he would find the amoral and imoral Tories a pretty despicable bunch, no?

you poor people can’t help yourselves.”

How did Jesus deal with the prostitute who faced being stoned to death before a baying mob of Tories*? He stood in front of her, saved her from the mob, faced the bastards down, condemned them for judging her and called them on their hypocrisy and finally told her to go and sin no more. He made no judgement on her previous behaviour.

*Oh, stop it, look at the bible, screaming hypocrites intent on vengeance. Modern day Tories.

The notion of an omnipotent, benign, intelligent creator at work is just not credible with current news such as this, which really can’t be attributed to sinful humans exercising their free will:

“Philippines floods death toll rises to 652, with hundreds more missing

“The death toll from the flash floods caused by a tropical cyclone in the southern Philippines has climbed to 652, but officials fear it will rise further.
http://www.metro.co.uk/news/885223-philippines-floods-death-toll-rises-to-652-with-hundreds-more-missing

If only some of you leftwingers (such as 31 Bob B) applied the same measure to the state that you apply to the Church! No matter how many crooked politicians are exposed, no matter how many billions of pounds are frittered away, no matter how many wars they start and millions of people they kill, not in the Middle Ages but in the 21st century, you still think the state is the answer to all our problems, when in fact it is the cause of most of them.

@ 33 Jim,

“How did Jesus deal with the prostitute who faced being stoned to death before a baying mob of Tories*? He stood in front of her, saved her from the mob, faced the bastards down, condemned them for judging her and called them on their hypocrisy and finally told her to go and sin no more. He made no judgement on her previous behaviour.”

Err, what translation are you working from?

@ 26 G.O.

You’re asking me to explain the flaw in your own logic. As for the ‘render unto Caesar’ remark, you have to look at the circumstances, who was asking him and why they were asking him. His answer masterfully avoids the snare they have laid him.

Bob @ 31:

“I’ve heard that excuse before. Why did it take the Catholic church so long to exonerate Galileo if the church actually but secretly endorsed his helioentric theory of the solar system? I suppose the kindly explanation is that the Catholic church got confused. The other and more credible explanation is that the church was duplicitous and didn’t want to admit that the notion of a heliocentric system wasn’t really heretical as the Catholic church had claimed it was.”

The even more credible explanation is that the Galileo thing persisted for the same reason lots of out-of-date rules persist, namely that it was no longer relevant, most people had forgotten about it and those who still remembered it had better things to do with their time than trying to get it repealed.

“With the latest report about the Catholic chuch from the Netherlands, we now know that the clergy of the Catholic church have been abusing children on an industrial scale in many countries – we’ve already had reports from Ireland and Belgium and in America, the church has been paying out hundreds of millions to compensate victims:”

I’m not sure what an “industrial scale” of child abuse would be, and TBH your statistics are pretty meaningless without more information (such as “How many comparable cases of child abuse were committed by secular agencies during the same time period?”). Also, you are I hope aware that “the Catholic Church” =/= “Religion in general”, so criticising the Catholic Church for child abuse doesn’t prove that religion in general is bad.

“Does anyone suppose that the Opium wars in the 19th century were intended to introduce the Chinese to Christianity?”

I was under the impression that they were fought to keep China open to the opium trade, hence the name.

“By their history, the Christian churches haven’t a vestige of remaining credibility”

If you applied that reasoning consistently, there would hardly be a country in the world which had a credible government.

“and we don’t need a religion to provide an authoritarian source of morality.”

So what’s the source of your morality then, Bob?

“Choosing a religious faith doesn’t absolve an individual from personal moral responsibility for making that selection so Cameron’s claim that we need the Christian church to tell what is right and wrong is just plain bunk.”

He didn’t say that, he said that our society’s morality comes largely from Christianity. Which is true.

@35: “If only some of you leftwingers (such as 31 Bob B) ”

C’mon. I’ve repeatedly said that the labels “leftwing” and “rightwing” are silly because the connotations of either label are opaque. Besides, remember that on the 28 September 1939, the Soviet Union, supposedly archetypical of extreme “left-wing”, signed a Friendship Treaty with Nazi Germany, archetypical of extreme “right-wing”. What could be more indicative of convergence than that.

I come from the tradition of speak truth unto power so any political flavour, as well as any of the churches, are up for analysis so far as I’m concerned. What matters is the quality of the analysis and the ensuing debate.

I’d appreciate anyone unravelling my complaints about churches @31.

Jim @ 33:

“Which would surely mean he would find the amoral and imoral Tories a pretty despicable bunch, no?”

I doubt he’d have shared your delusions about right-wingers, TBH.

“the prostitute”

I think she was being stoned for adultery, actually. I don’t think it every says she was a prostitute.

“a baying mob of Tories”

*headdesk*

“He made no judgement on her previous behaviour.”

His command to “sin no more” carries an implicit judgement, namely, that it was wrong and ought to stop. He might have forgiven her for it, but that’s not the same as saying it was OK. Also, note how he treater her as a moral agent with free will, rather than a helpless victim of society, as some sections of the Left do.

@XXX: “So what’s the source of your morality then, Bob?”

I’m responsible for my moral code just as you are responsible for yours. None of us are absolved from personal responsibility for electing to choose this faith or that creed. I’ve already indicated @24 that I prefer the Confucian ethic of reciprocity to the corresponding Christian ethic.

My rationale is akin to that of David Hume in his essay written in the mid 18th century:

“All moral duties may be divided into two kinds. The first are those to which men are impelled by a natural instinct … which operates on them, independent of all ideas of obligation, and of all views either to public or private utility. Of this nature are love of children, gratitude to benefactors, pity to the unfortunate. … The second kind of moral duties are such as are not supported by any original instinct of man but are performed entirely from a sense of obligation, when we consider the necessities of human society, and the impossibility of supporting it, if these duties were neglected. …. We shall only observe, before we conclude, that though an appeal to general opinion may justly, in the speculative sciences of metaphysics, natural philosophy, or astronomy, be deemed unfair and inconclusive, yet in all questions with regard to morals, as well as criticism, there is really no other standard, by which any controversy can ever be decided.”
http://www.constitution.org/dh/origcont.htm

As mentioned @31, research at the Yale centre for infant cognition shows that babies can make moral judgements. Hume was about right, most of us have natural instincts about the distinction between “right” and “wrong”, which is most likely the product of evolution by natural selection in social environments.

Bob @ 39:

“I’m responsible for my moral code just as you are responsible for yours. None of us are absolved from personal responsibility for electing to choose this faith or that creed. I’ve already indicated @24 that I prefer the Confucian ethic of reciprocity to the corresponding Christian ethic.”

But what exactly is it that makes one moral system superior to another? Or is it all just personal preference?

@ 37 Bob B,

I agree with you (?) that leftwing and rightwing are absurdly reductionistic.

“Most of us have moral values and a sense of human empathy by instinct as a product of evolution by natural selection in social environments… We don’t need religion.”

How do you know religion is not a product of evolution by natural selection?

XXX @ 38

I doubt he’d have shared your delusions about right-wingers, TBH.

Well, we will never know for sure, will we? But we can see from the New Testement that there was not a great deal of Right Wing attidudes for Jesus. Feeding starving people and washing the feet of lepers doesn’t fit with modern the Tory Party, who would condemn the starving for lack of provision and kick the leper in the balls as feckless scroungers.

Although, no doubt Jesus would be amazed the way ATOS can ‘cure’ people with a mere wave of a hand.

Interesting how many modern right wing politicians talk to God. Bush told us that he spoke regularly with God,and that God told him to run for president. I think I’m right in saying nearly all the republican candidates have publicly sqid that God told them to run for president.

Seeing as what is preached in many wingnut mega churches is overtly political ,the church3s should lose their tax exempt status. Tax the Churches. Tax the Mosques, tax the synagogues. It would do more good than their political adgendas.

This is hilarious, but sadly close to the truth.

In other news, I keep being accused by friends of having turned Christianity into “socialism with Jesus”. I tell them that socialism is basically Christianity without Jesus.

Neither of us wants David Cameron, he’ll have to stay with the Tories for now.

@41: “How do you know religion is not a product of evolution by natural selection?”

Religions, lots of them, some monotheistic, some polytheistic and some pantheisitic, have certainly been popular throughout history and have been a continuing cause for social division, wars and civil strife.

OTOH thousands responded with “Jedi” to the question about religion on the population census in 2001. By many reports, regular attendance at religious places of worship is in decline. That, too, is part of evolution. Those who claim to believe in an omnipotent, benign, intelligent creator are obliged to account for the thousands killed in tsunamis, pandemics, floods, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes which can hardly be attributed to sinful humans acting according to their free will.

@ 44,

“I tell them that socialism is basically Christianity without Jesus”

Marxian socialism is, I suppose, a godless version of the crazy post-millennarian sects that pop up from time to time, but I don’t recall Jesus ever talking about unionising the carpenters.

@ 45,

“Those who claim to believe in an omnipotent, benign, intelligent creator are obliged to account for the thousands killed in tsunamis etc.”

Obliged to whom? If you want an answer, you’ll have to ask Him yourself 🙂

“Religions, lots of them, some monotheistic, some polytheistic and some pantheisitic, have certainly been popular throughout history and have been a continuing cause for social division, wars and civil strife.”

This doesn’t really say anything, other than religion has been around throughout recorded history, and that social division, wars and civil strife have been around throughout recorded history. Causal links are more difficult to establish. I don’t deny the role religion has played in such things, but it is usually exaggerated by atheists.

@ 39. Bob B

” Here am I who have written on all sorts of subjects calculated to excite hostility, moral, political, and religious, and yet I have no enemies — except, indeed, all the Whigs, all the Tories, and all the Christians. ” David Hume

If all the Whigs, all the Tories, and all the Christians are not being outraged one is just not saying anything interesting. We welcome their hate as someone once said.

Marx had this absolutely amazing insight that the interests of buyers and sellers conflict – buyers want to buy at the lowest possible prices while sellers want to sell at the highest price they can get. He believed this conflict could be resolved if everyone worked as they wanted and took what they needed.

This shouldn’t be too difficult to arrange as a trial – the government needs to apply a 100 pc tax on all incomes and distbute the proceeds, net of administration costs, according to assessments of family need. Mind you, I’m not convinced that would work. Capitalist market economies, rather like Churchill’s democracies, are the worst possible system apart from all the others.

Hm, several things to reply to.

Firstly, Cameron talking about religion shouldn’t be taken even remotely seriously. A month or so ago, he was asked to name his favourite Bible verse, and his spokesman explained it by saying, essentially, that the central message of the Bible was be nice to each other when it’s actually about God, rather than about us.

Secondly, for those advocating a religious-right “giving isn’t moral if the government compels it”, how do you reconcile that with the Old Testament law – which was supposed to be enforced by the government of Israel – which included things like compelling farmers to leave some of their crops so that the poor could pick the, or forcing lenders to cancel debts every 7 years?

Thirdly, for those doubting the charity of Evangelical Christians, when I last saw figures for charitable giving, ISTR the religious gave more to secular charities than the average. And even if you exclude explicitly religious activities (which are defined as charitable here in the UK), churches do do a large amount of genuine charitable work. Pretty much any charitable work you can think of (with the possible exceptions of animal charities and medical research) has religious organisations doing the exact same things as secular ones. Many of them are run directly by the Evangelical that you are criticising.

@47: “This doesn’t really say anything, other than religion has been around throughout recorded history, and that social division, wars and civil strife have been around throughout recorded history. Causal links are more difficult to establish. I don’t deny the role religion has played in such things, but it is usually exaggerated by atheists.”

C’mon. Some wars, such as the Crusades in medieval times, the 30 years war in Europe 1618-48 or the seige of Vienna in 1683 were specifically about advancing the cause of specific religions.

In the 30 years war, one sovereign state would invade another to install a different Christian religion and so save the souls of the residents of the invaded state from eternal damnation. The wars ended with the Peace of Westphalia which established the principle that the internal affairs of a state were the responsibility of that country’s sovereign and no business of any other state. Blair’s doctrine of Liberal Intervention challenged that doctrine. But then Nazi Germany supposedly invaded Danzig in Poland in September 1939 to protect the German-speaking population there from abuse.

The burning at the stake of some 280 protestant heretics during the mercifully short reign of Mary Tudor (1553-58) is documented in many heavyweight histories of Tudor England. The intention was to restore Catholicism to her realm and she was popularly known as Bloody Mary during her lifetime as a result. Just how many thousands of protestant Huguenot were slaughted in France during St Bartholomew Day’s massacre in 1572 is uncertain but it was more than a few. The religious civil wars in France continued into the next century – thousands of Huguenot refugees sought refuge in England.

It happens that the respective armies of James II and William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 were divided by religious avocations. Those Orange Order marches in Glasgow are still celebrating the outcome of that battle.

Buddhism was the established religion in western China until the invading Uighurs installed Islam.

@49

“Marx had this absolutely amazing insight that the interests of buyers and sellers conflict ”

That’s insight, is it? I’d say that’s a stinking fallacy. Buyers want to buy. Sellers want to sell. They both want to exchange. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t. Both benefit, as they have different scales of value.

@51

“C’mon. Some wars, such as the Crusades in medieval times, the 30 years war in Europe 1618-48 or the seige of Vienna in 1683 were specifically about advancing the cause of specific religions.”

I was going to mention the Thirty Years War to you! If you get past the superficial layer, it becomes more complicated. It is certainly true that religion played a part, but so did the usual collection of motives. It was partly a struggle between the Bourbon and the Hapsburg dynasties, which were both Catholic, and Frederick, ‘the Winter King’, made a massive blunder by assuming his co-religionists would rally to his support, when they did not.

Different tribes and nations fight each other. Sometimes they have the same religion, sometimes different religions. As before, I don’t deny that religion has played a part, but to say it causes the wars is not so easy to establish.

@ Trooper Thompson

“You’re asking me to explain the flaw in your own logic.”

I am indeed asking you to explain what flaw you perceive in the logic behind my view that we have to live with the consequences of the collective choices we make at the ballot box. I’m afraid I must be being a bit dim, because it continues to look screamingly obvious to me that we do indeed have to live with the consequences of (e.g.) a certain party winning a general election, which looks to me like a matter of collective choice. Indeed, it looks screamingly obvious to me that you are either confusing or deliberately conflating the individual ability to have a preference (e.g. I would prefer my local library to remain open) and the individual ability to decide what happens (e.g. I can decide to keep my local library open) – both of these being matters of ‘choice’.

I do hope you’ll take the time to explain the flaw in my reasoning. While you’re at it, perhaps you could explain why it strikes you as odd that someone should, when it’s suggested to them that their reasoning is flawed, ask the person making that suggestion to spell out just what the flaw is.

54. Man on Clapham Omnibus

I think the bible is a wonderful thing. Several of the lager King James’ versions are well known to be good firelighters.

The former General Secretary of the Labour Party has a very apposite piece on precisely this subject.

http://www.iaindale.com/posts/cameron-does-god

He rather puts his finger on the quality that characterises this site in general, and some of its commenters in particular.

It comes down to the fact that many people on the left seem to think that they are intrinsically moral; in fact more moral than most other people. It means that they see their motives as better than everyone else’s. You see, no one except those on the left actually really want to help anyone else or do good. In fact Tories in particular actively want to do harm.

You can see this moral flatulence in the reaction to David Cameron’s speech on Twitter. Tweet after tweet condemning him for the moral hypocrisy of on the one hand claiming to be a Christian, even if only vaguely so.

Rem acu tetigisti.

56. Trooper Thompson

@ G.O.

pardon me, I didn’t mean to vex you.

“I am indeed asking you to explain what flaw you perceive in the logic behind my view that we have to live with the consequences of the collective choices we make at the ballot box”

I didn’t think this was the point you were making, rather that, by virtue of our electoral system and its democratic credentials, the choices a government makes are tantamount to choices we ourselves make. What you said @16 was that we collectively choose to give to the poor via the political system, and this was in contrast to an earlier point stating that charity was an individual matter.

I would say this is not the case, that there is a fundamental difference between an individual choice and a collective choice, which you may or may not agree with, even if you accept it has some power over you. As Jesus said; ‘render unto Caesar etc’. The distinction is made between Caesar and God.

Tim J @ 55

The point is though that Cameron is attempting to commandeer ‘Christianity’ for his political cause, albeit in a roundabout way. To be brutally honest modern politics in Britain (I would say wider British culture as well) and Christianity are pretty much incompatible. Most of the Christian groups that I know of are often at direct loggerheads against the Government of the day on a wide range of issues.

I would say that about Milliband too, if he was to attempt this type of thing. There is much in the Labour Party manifesto that I find completely unacceptable in terms of Christianity.

Bob @ 51:

As I said in my post above (which you have mysteriously failed to reply to…), the fact that some self-proclaimed Christians fail to live up to Christian moral principles doesn’t mean Christianity’s at fault, it means they’re at fault. Also, can you name me one ethical system whose followers have never acted contrary to their moral system?

Plus, of course, a few of your examples need a bit of work. The Thirty Years’ War did have a religious component, but it was also a political conflict about how much power the Holy Roman Emperor should have in Germany. (Protestant Saxony started off on the Emperor’s side, switched to opposing him, and then reverted to her original alliegance, whereas Catholic France entered the war against the “Catholics” in order to stop them winning too decisively.) The Great Turkish War (of which the Siege of Vienna was a part) likewise had both religious and political dimensions, as the countries of Eastern Europe wanted to stop the Ottoman Sultan becoming too powerful. The Glorious Revolution and subsequent Irish campaigns probably wouldn’t have happened if James hadn’t been a Catholic, but William of Orange was motivated by a desire to recruit England to his anti-French alliance. Many of his allies on the continent were in fact Catholic.

Also, if religion were the major cause of conflict which Bob B seems to think, we’d have expected the last three hundred years or so to be very peaceful, which transparently hasn’t been the case.

The Israel of the Judges began with equal distribution of land, and every fifty years all land reverted to the heirs of those who had been allotted it, regardless of purchase transactions etc. in the meantime; at the same time, all debts were forgiven. This was enshrined in Mosaic law, and was enforced – nothing voluntary about it.

The early Christian Church held *everything* in common. When Ananias and Sapphira tried to keep back part of their pre-Church-joining property, they dropped dead (Acts makes this sound like God’s doing, but there has for many centuries been speculation that they were actually executed). This *was* voluntary insofar as nobody forced them to become Christians, but once they’d joined the Church, that was it, no more private property. (Which incidentally puts St Paul’s quote that rightwingers love so much, “If any will not work, let him not eat”, in context. He was absolutely NOT saying “Everyone must support themselves and expect nothing from the community”: he was saying “Everyone must support the community if they expect anything from it”.)

Neither the Judges nor St Peter were elected. Redistribution by an elected government gives you more choice in where your money goes and how much you give up than you’d have got in ancient Israel or the early Church, so there’s not a lot of Biblical basis for this cry of “charity has to be individual to count!” It’s also the cry of the narcissist. What it really means is “The point of charity is to make the giver feel/look good, and the benefit to the receiver is incidental”. If you believe that actually helping people was the important bit, you’d want to do that the most efficient way possible – and it’s been shown time and again that government action is more efficient than private charity, as charities themselves readily acknowledge. If you pay willingly and with a generous heart, then an omniscient God will surely know that; and if you pay grudgingly, then the people who needed help will still have got it, and you presumably wouldn’t have given otherwise – so either way, they’re materially better off and you are no worse off spiritually than if you’d given privately. The distinction can only matter in the eyes of those who CAN’T see into your soul, i.e. other people. There’s that narcissism again – “I have to give in a non-compulsive context so that everybody will SEE how generous I am!”

Oh, and bringing up the Christian charities that do good work is irrelevant to the point, which was that SMFS’ claim that the *American Christian RIGHT* are the biggest givers was fallacious. Nobody said that Christians in general only give to pseudo-charities – nobody would make so silly a claim. The point was that if pseudo-charities are eliminated from consideration, *that particular set of Christians* will probably not look so generous.

There is indeed a difference between money-changers and money-lenders: money-*lenders* were forbidden from charging fellow Jews interest. Money-changing for a commission was often a form of covert money-lending, getting round the usury laws – it’s hardly surprising that Jesus didn’t think well of that. He also told the rich young man to sell all he had and give to the poor, *or else he couldn’t follow him*. And the “eye of the needle” thing, contrary to popular excuse-making, has nothing to do with narrow gates or mistranslations of rope – it was a proverbial way of saying something was impossible. The rich don’t get in, full stop. Call the Christian Left silly if you like, but acknowledge that you’re calling Jesus silly too.

XXX
As I said in my post above (which you have mysteriously failed to reply to…), the fact that some self-proclaimed Christians fail to live up to Christian moral principles doesn’t mean Christianity’s at fault, it means they’re at fault. Also, can you name me one ethical system whose followers have never acted contrary to their moral system?

If XXX, paul N,Ian, SMFS, and the british press are examples of judeo -christian humanitarians . Then Bob has point.

The point is though that Cameron is attempting to commandeer ‘Christianity’ for his political cause, albeit in a roundabout way.

He just isn’t. He was asked to give a speech to mark the 400th anniversary of the KJV (which is why most of the speech is a literary analysis of the cultural impact of the language of the KJV). He deliberately downplays his own faith:

In making this speech I claim no religious authority whatsoever. I am a committed – but I have to say vaguely practising – Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith, but who is full of doubts and, like many, constantly grappling with the difficult questions when it comes to some of the big theological issues.

He disavows party politics:

People often say that politicians shouldn’t “do God.” If by that they mean we shouldn’t try to claim a direct line to God for one particular political party, they could not be more right.

And the only explicitly political message in his speech is something that, actually, you’d expect to hear more often from left-of-centre politicians than right-of-centre ones:

A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them.

I get the feeling, not exactly for the first time, that people have seen the fact that Cameron gave speech about the Bible, and have leapt to condemn him for it, without having read the speech, and without having understood why he was making it.

It is in fact rather remarkable that after Blair, who made great play of reading the Koran, and was never shy about acknowledging the role that faith played in his life, and Brown who banged on about being a son of the Manse, and how he’d inherited his great moral compass from his clergyman father we now have a PM who acknowledges how difficult he finds faith – “it comes and goes like the signal for Magic FM in the Cotswolds”, and he’s the one who gets accused of hypocrisy.

Tim @ 62:

“It is in fact rather remarkable that after Blair, who made great play of reading the Koran, and was never shy about acknowledging the role that faith played in his life, and Brown who banged on about being a son of the Manse, and how he’d inherited his great moral compass from his clergyman father we now have a PM who acknowledges how difficult he finds faith – “it comes and goes like the signal for Magic FM in the Cotswolds”, and he’s the one who gets accused of hypocrisy.”

Having consciously disavowed religious morality, a large part of the British left nevertheless follows a sort of pseudo-Calvinist worldview, featuring themselves as the elect and the Tories as the non-elect. How good you are is based upon whether or not you are one of the elect; trifling things like how you actually behave are secondary, if not downright irrelevant.

Having consciously disavowed religious morality, a large part of the British left nevertheless follows a sort of pseudo-Calvinist worldview, featuring themselves as the elect and the Tories as the non-elect.
And you and your sort don’t’.
HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

That would certainly imply that he feels that the KJB and Christianity are still shaping our Country today. Clearly there is little evidence that Christianity has anything other than a minor role in shaping our Country. The sole determinate of policy in this Country is ‘can big business get a stonking big profit from it’, now before we go off on one; that was the same under Labour. Whether we like it or not, we are now driven by a small elite of amoral people in an increasingly amoral culture. Trust me, I am not blaming Cameron for this, rather I am blaming the political shift in a moral code that occurred about thirty years ago*.

I said on another thread that I wonder how many ‘One Nation’ Tories would find their natural home in today’s Conservative Party. I wonder how many Harold Macmillans would instinctively join today’ Tory Party? People with a strong moral compass and a genuine (if misplaced, in my opinion) sense of compassion. That Tory Party are gone and replaced by a ideology more akin to the American Republican Party than the Party who built quarter of a million council houses a year, or indeed the Prime Minister and ex President of the Board of Trade who introduced ‘Work Councils’ and the first stab at the minimum wage for some professions.

You may argue that the type of policies advocated by the ‘wets’ have failed, but you cannot argue what replaced it was based on anything like ‘Christian values’.

Cameron, like every other political leader in mainstream politics should steer of religion, because they are some pretty ugly conclusions.

*Sadly and inevitably, I am blaming Thatcherism. Sorry about that.

Clearly there is little evidence that Christianity has anything other than a minor role in shaping our Country.

Rule one of legal drafting: ‘clearly’ nearly always means ‘I have nothing to support this claim’.

As for the rest of your post, Jim: you are almost uniquely unqualified to analyse the Tory Party. Bigotry prevents clear-headed analysis, and in respect of the Tory Party, you’re a bigot.

If you weren’t you might have noticed, for instance, that the Tory leader whom David Cameron most resembles (in a suprisingly large number of ways) is in fact Harold Macmillan.

If you weren’t you might have noticed, for instance, that the Tory leader whom David Cameron most resembles (in a suprisingly large number of ways) is in fact Harold Macmillan.

Rhetoric of McMillan.
Actions of Thatcher.
Tories have learnt from past PR mistakes.

Sorry
MacMillan

Tim J @ 66

To be fair to myself. I had taken a quote from what Cameron said, but it got lost during transfer from word. The lack of an ability to edit meant that it is missing.

Cameron said:

”But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today.“

That clearly implies that the KJB has influence today in our Country.

Bigotry prevents clear-headed analysis, and in respect of the Tory Party, you’re a bigot

Well, I hope you are wrong, but I do admit that my views on the Tory Party are coloured by dislike of what they have become. I genuinely think I examine them objectively, but I will accept that to the outsider it looks difficult.

The problem I have is that increasingly the Right appear to have become infatuated with the cranks that have moved you from the traditional stances. I see more of the bigoted Right than the ‘compassionate Conservatism’ that I am told exists.

The final straw for me is the increasingly hostile reception that the scientific consensus on AGW receives in the modern Tory Party. Here is a non partisan, scientific discovery with massive implications for the future of our island and yet among the Tory circles, it is dismissed as nonsense. How could a ‘decent’ political Party be swayed into an anti science cull de sac? What has happened to the natural Party of Government? Suddenly science appears at odds with an ideology and the science is rejected?

Whatever that is, it is not the stance of rational or decent people, that is the stance of morons. And if you are wrong here; on a subject based on the immutable laws of physics, then what possible hope is there for anything with legitimate controversy?

As I have said before, I really WANT to give your Party the benefit of the doubt, I really do, but I see so much of what your Party supporters say is at odds with what I have seen outside my front door to what I have seen from recent history that it is difficult to give your party the benefit of the doubt.

”But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today.“</blockquote

Jim, are you seriously saying that Christianity, and specifically Protestant Anglicanism, hasn't influenced British history? That seems to me to be a proposition so obvious as barely to need defending.

As I have said before, I really WANT to give your Party the benefit of the doubt, I really do.

I’m not sure I find this terribly plausible.

Jim, are you seriously saying that Christianity, and specifically Protestant Anglicanism, hasn’t influenced British history? That seems to me to be a proposition so obvious as barely to need defending.

Your right, but doesn’t mean that influence is force for good.
Jesus, it has helped form the character of views of people like yourself, XXX, paul Newman, the inquisition, most of the Nazis, paedo priests,Thatcher and Pinochet.

Angry Dad @ 71:

“Your right, but doesn’t mean that influence is force for good.
Jesus, it has helped form the character of views of people like yourself, XXX, paul Newman, the inquisition, most of the Nazis, paedo priests,Thatcher and Pinochet.”

Leaving aside your tedious little ad homs, are you aware that modern science and liberalism have their roots in Christian thought?

71 – my right what?

Modern science
Are you really saying we would not have invented and discovered the foundations of modern science without a poor carpenter been crucified 2000 year ago.
The foundations of modern science surely comes from ancient greece. Democritis and all that.
Idiot

One of the accusations hurled at the Left is we tend to give second, third and fourth chances to people, even when they have done nothing to justify it. Fair enough in some cases, I would really like to believe that most Tories are decent people and the attacks on disabled people (for example) are little more than cranks at the edge of the spectrum. However, I find it increasingly difficult to urn a Nelson’s eye to the merciless attacks I see, read or hear. I see an increasingly cynical, uncaring side to the Tories.

I think back to the riots of 1981. The Tories sent out their tame wet, Hesilitine to trawl round looking for answers. Now we could talk about what he found and why he found it and how effective his answers were, but fast forward to 2011. No such attempt to gather data (however ineffective) or opinion was taken. Instead magistrates were instructed to ruin the lives of youngsters caught up in moments of madness. We have further insured that daft wee boys, albeit with potential futures were turned into long term criminals.

Why Tim? Why would a Party of decent people become vengeful idiots within a generation?

I am an optimist a heart, Tim. I believe that if we all pull together and see past the things that makes us different, we can improve our society. There are people here who I profoundly disagree with, George Potter for example, but I would accept that he has the Nation’s interest at heart. I bet if we had to, if were locked in a room until we came up with a decent policy for anything, we could between us. We could overcome our difference and agree on something.

I do not get that sense with the likes of Paul Newman, XXX, SMFS and even with yourself, if I was honest. I do not think you are as nasty as those people, Tim, but you are closer to them than you are to me. The fact that you cannot condemn even SMFS, tells me more about your character than anything you write on a blog. I cannot see common ground with those people. They come to the table with little more than hate for millions of our fellow citizens and for that I have nothing but contempt for them and the Party that represents them.

@72 Especially Intelligent design theory!

The fact that you cannot condemn even SMFS

What is SMFS to me or I to him? Why on earth do you feel I should be condemning him? Am I expected to condemn everyone of whom you disapprove?

Instead magistrates were instructed to ruin the lives of youngsters caught up in moments of madness.

That wasn’t true at the time, and hasn’t become true by the passing of time.

Tim @ 77

Would you find time to condemn someone using the term ‘filthy yid’? I think you would and I think you would condemn someone calling British soldiers ‘murdering scum’ etc. You have openly said that as a party you never condemn your own side and the best you get is a ‘not helpful’, ‘not policy’ etc.

Would you say that locking a young guy up a year for stealing a bottle of water and depriving him of his apprentice place is intended to ‘help’ him or appease the baying Tories? Is that part of the traditional Christian values that Cameron was expousing?

The guy fucked up, Tim, fair enough and is required to pay the price, but surely to Christ not for the rest of his life, not for something he did in a moment of madness when he was a teenager?

If he passes his apprenticeship and goes onto become a functioning member of society, he will pay back far, far more than he would ever payback as an unemployable youth and will serve as a far, far better role model for the next generation, to boot.

You know what I believe? I believe you would actually accept that and I bet lots of other Tories would too, but committing that to a blog or newspaper column? That would make you look ‘weak’ in the eyes of the idiot wing of your Party. Instead of the decent people taking control of the Party, they have vacated responsibility to the dregs. That is pretty sad in my book.

Angry Dad @ 74:

“Modern science
Are you really saying we would not have invented and discovered the foundations of modern science without a poor carpenter been crucified 2000 year ago.
The foundations of modern science surely comes from ancient greece. Democritis and all that.
Idiot”

The Christian belief that the universe had been created by a rational designer led to the idea that the universe must itself be rational, so, for example, it would be governed by laws that made logical sense; that, as rational creatures made in the image of God, mankind could discover at least some of these laws; and that, by discovering these laws, we could gain insight into the nature of God. Many early scientists were motivated by their Christian belief: Copernicus, for example, was a lay cannon of the Catholic Church, Newton spent much of him time looking for hidden codes in the Bible, and Bacon was also a religious man (“A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; thought in depth bringeth him back to God”, and all that).

Would you say that locking a young guy up a year for stealing a bottle of water and depriving him of his apprentice place is intended to ‘help’ him or appease the baying Tories?

Neither. It’s a sentence for theft aggravated by involvement in serious civil disorder and the law is fairly clear on that. If it had been only stealing a bottle of water, then he would never have received a custodial sentence. I think I linked to the judgement when this was last on Lib Con.

Tim J @ 80

It’s a sentence for theft aggravated by involvement in serious civil disorder and the law is fairly clear on that.

What serious civil disorder? According to the police, this wasn’t a ‘riot’, as the police never actually used the term. All that happened was a lot of isolated incidents. This guy took no part in burning down the carpet showroom or anything like that, all he did was nick three quids worth of water.

There were lots of serious crimes by hardened criminals on those nights, and yes, I agree wholeheartedly that these people need punished, but some of these guys were not of that ilk. This guy is going to be paying the price of a breakdown of society that he had no real part in, (not really), for the rest of his life. On the other hand, what he pays will be a little percentage of what we will pay to show how tough we are. I read somewhere it will cost a little under a hundred fifty grand to deal with him, more if we cannot get him into work and he becomes a long term criminal.

The Christian belief that the universe had been created by a rational designer led to the idea that the universe must itself be rational, so, for example, it would be governed by laws that made logical sense; that, as rational creatures made in the image of God, mankind could discover at least some of these laws; and that, by discovering these laws, we could gain insight into the nature of God.
Poo
You can apply the same argument to ancient greeks and their belief in winged horses.
Socratic questioning and rationality pre dated christianity.
Human evolution stalled under the years that the christain church was it’s zenith.
From 500 AD to the enlightment.
Many early scientists were motivated by their Christian belief: Copernicus, for example, was a lay cannon of the Catholic Church, Newton spent much of him time looking for hidden codes in the Bible, and Bacon was also a religious man (“A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; thought in depth bringeth him back to God”, and all that).
Many early greeks believed in monsters that doesn’t mean that helped them come up with the idea of democracy.
Humans have inate ability to question, experiment and discover. That would have occured with or without the church.

@81

On the other hand, what he pays will be a little percentage of what we will pay to show how tough we are. I read somewhere it will cost a little under a hundred fifty grand to deal with him, more if we cannot get him into work and he becomes a long term criminal.

Not to mention what happened to those whose parents dutifully convinced their little darlings to hand themselves in, or frog-marched them to the authorities, holding faith that the Justice system would reward honesty and a desire to make up for bad behaviour with lighter sentences or community service, only to witness the full force of retributive justice smash down.
The lesson sent out by that is, sort things out in-house and do not, under any circumstances, involve the police. Which should help out immeasurably I’m sure…

@79

Many early scientists were motivated by their Christian belief: Copernicus, for example, was a lay cannon of the Catholic Church, Newton spent much of him time looking for hidden codes in the Bible

I don’t suppose pointing out that pretty much EVERY fucker at that period in time was religious would make much headway here will it?

As for social mobility, recall that old, favourite hymn often sung in Sunday schools, and forget it:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

Refrain:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/l/allthing.htm

Angry Dad @ 82:

“Poo”

Well, I can tell just from reading the opening word that your post is going to be devestatingly well-argued and intellectually rigorous.

“You can apply the same argument to ancient greeks and their belief in winged horses.”

How, exactly?

“Human evolution stalled under the years that the christain church was it’s zenith.
From 500 AD to the enlightment.”

A statement which completely destroys any credibility you might have had left over. Europe in AD 500 had just seen the Western Roman Empire fall, populations decline, trade and travel being disrupted, education decline and warfare and violence increase considerably. The fact that any Classical civilisation survived at all was largely due to the Catholic Church, whose monks copied many ancient works of literature and passed them on.

Despite this inauspicious beginning, the mediaeval period saw population growth (in some areas, the pre-Black Death population wasn’t reached again until the eighteenth century), great works of literature (Chaucer, Dante, Petrarch) and philosophy (Aquinas, Duns Scotus), and magnificent architecture (the cathedrals). Your view of the Middle Ages as a cultural backwater has long since been discredited.

“Many early greeks believed in monsters that doesn’t mean that helped them come up with the idea of democracy.”

There’s no logical connexion between belief in monsters and belief in democracy. There is, however, a logical connexion between believing that enquiry about the natural world will give you an insight into the nature of God, and coming up with a system of enquiring about the natural world (e.g., science).

“Humans have inate ability to question, experiment and discover. That would have occured with or without the church.”

The scientific method, so far as we know, was only developed in Christian Europe. Its development is by no means inevitable.

Cylux @ 83:

“Not to mention what happened to those whose parents dutifully convinced their little darlings to hand themselves in, or frog-marched them to the authorities, holding faith that the Justice system would reward honesty and a desire to make up for bad behaviour with lighter sentences or community service, only to witness the full force of retributive justice smash down.”

Since those sentences were set by judges and magistrates, rather than by Tory politicians, I’m not sure what your point is.

Cylux @ 84:

“I don’t suppose pointing out that pretty much EVERY fucker at that period in time was religious would make much headway here will it?”

Not “EVERY fucker” was a lay canon of the Church, nor did they all spend time looking for hidden meanings in the Bible.

XXX @ 88

Since those sentences were set by judges and magistrates, rather than by Tory politicians, I’m not sure what your point is.

The Tory politicians told the magistrates and judges to ignore the guidelines and hand out the toughest possible sentences possible.

The scientific method, so far as we know, was only developed in Christian Europe. Its development is by no means inevitable.
Are you real , it was based on socratic questioning and arab mathematics. Also why should it have not occured without christianity in that area of europe. It certainly accelerated western europe after the power of the church declined. So the idea that without christianity we would be still racing chariots and putting on woad is laughable.
Human experience and ideas stalled in the middle ages, sorry Terry Jones, but it was not until the enlightment when man discarded religion that we began to think for ourselves.
You mentioned Chaucer but he was just the nut’s magazine of his day.
There were very few discoveries and inventions (most were adapted from Roman or greek ideas) in the 1000 years of the Church’s zenith. In the next 500 yearsman began to think for himself without the interferance of the church and then we began to develop.

Not “EVERY fucker” was a lay canon of the Church, nor did they all spend time looking for hidden meanings in the Bible.
Perhaps but if spent most of his time on that useless task, surely he could have achieved more in the area of science if he wasn’t sidetracked by superstition.

Pythagoras’s theorem – the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides – is fundamental to much maths and to engineering design. But I think we can agree that Newton would have had a hard time of it if England had been a Catholic country at the time. Galileo was sentenced to permanent house arrest for publicising his heretical theory that the solar system was heliocentric and not geocentric.

Angry Dad @ 90:

“Are you real , it was based on socratic questioning and arab mathematics. Also why should it have not occured without christianity in that area of europe.”

Why should it have occured? The scientific method wasn’t developed anywhere else, even in the Arab world, which was also influenced by Classical science and mathematics. (Indeed, for a long period these things were more widely-known in the Middle East than they were in Europe.) Its development in the early seventeenth century was by no means as inevitable as you seem to think.

“Human experience and ideas stalled in the middle ages, sorry Terry Jones, but it was not until the enlightment when man discarded religion that we began to think for ourselves.
You mentioned Chaucer but he was just the nut’s magazine of his day.”

It’s no wonder your statements are so inaccurate, if you believe in rubbish like this.

“There were very few discoveries and inventions (most were adapted from Roman or greek ideas) in the 1000 years of the Church’s zenith.”

Go and read up on mediaeval history, you’re embarrassing yourself.

“Perhaps but if spent most of his time on that useless task, surely he could have achieved more in the area of science if he wasn’t sidetracked by superstition.”

Or maybe without his “superstition” he wouldn’t have pursued science at all. Who knows. What we do know, however, is that he at least didn’t feel religion and scientific enquiry to be in conflict.

The Tory politicians told the magistrates and judges to ignore the guidelines and hand out the toughest possible sentences possible.

Facepalm. No they didn’t. Is it really too much to ask that you read the judgements in question before opining on them?

“Why should it have occured? The scientific method wasn’t developed anywhere else, even in the Arab world, which was also influenced by Classical science and mathematics. (Indeed, for a long period these things were more widely-known in the Middle East than they were in Europe.) Its development in the early seventeenth century was by no means as inevitable as you seem to think.”
But why should that be due to christianity, It could have been to the genetic pool, climate or any other factor. It is a fact that human development in that area has developed faster when Christianity declined.

“Human experience and ideas stalled in the middle ages, sorry Terry Jones, but it was not until the enlightment when man discarded religion that we began to think for ourselves.
You mentioned Chaucer but he was just the nut’s magazine of his day.”

It’s no wonder your statements are so inaccurate, if you believe in rubbish like this.
Why you can only mention 3 writers and yet there was the potential for 1000’s.
As for Aquinas philosophy it was just a religious rehash of socrates.
“There were very few discoveries and inventions (most were adapted from Roman or greek ideas) in the 1000 years of the Church’s zenith.”

Go and read up on mediaeval history, you’re embarrassing yourself.
Name them ?
And for every discovery made in that 1000 years, 1000’s have been made since the decline of the church.

“Perhaps but if spent most of his time on that useless task, surely he could have achieved more in the area of science if he wasn’t sidetracked by superstition.”

Or maybe without his “superstition” he wouldn’t have pursued science at all. Who knows. What we do know, however, is that he at least didn’t feel religion and scientific enquiry to be in conflict.
Poor guy had to tow the church’s line or he would not been able to pursue his ideas. in a secular world he would have been given more freedom to think.

Think of a scientific world now controlled by religious fundamentalists, even worst in poor old Copernicus’s day

The Tory politicians told the magistrates and judges to ignore the guidelines and hand out the toughest possible sentences possible.

We’ve been through all this, do we really need to go through it again?

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/08/14/six-months-for-stealing-water-its-not-remotely-a-fair-punishment/

Jim,

Even your own side have admitted it:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8703370/UK-riots-magistrates-told-ignore-the-rule-book-and-lock-up-looters.html

A link posted at comment no.100 here:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/08/14/six-months-for-stealing-water-its-not-remotely-a-fair-punishment/

Do we need to rehash the very same arguments? How about reading the 75 additional comments to see if there is anything new to add?

Regardless, your link doesn’t claim “The Tory politicians told the magistrates and judges to ignore the guidelines and hand out the toughest possible sentences possible”.

Incidentally, there is some irony in you praying in aid the Torygraph!

AD @ 94:

“But why should that be due to christianity, It could have been to the genetic pool, climate or any other factor.”

I’ve already explained the like between Christianity and scientific enquiry, and I think I’ll stick with it until you come up with something more definite than your claim here.

You seem to have an unrealistic view of the Catholic Church’s power. It wasn’t some totalitarian dictatorship ruthlessly suppressing all dissent. The Pope had little direct control outside of central Italy, and secular rulers could and did ignore or even directly go against his commands.

Here is an article which you might find helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_in_the_Middle_Ages

“As for Aquinas philosophy it was just a religious rehash of socrates.”

He really, really wasn’t. (For a start, I think you actually mean “just a religious rehash of Aristotle”. He wasn’t that, either.)

“Poor guy had to tow the church’s line or he would not been able to pursue his ideas. in a secular world he would have been given more freedom to think.”

Do you have any evidence that he was limited by Church authorities? Any examples of him having to break off lines of enquiry due to ecclesiastical pressure?

“Think of a scientific world now controlled by religious fundamentalists, even worst in poor old Copernicus’s day”

The mediaeval and sixteenth-century Catholic Church had very little in common with the modern fundamentalist movement when it came to scientific matters.

99. Just Visiting

Bob 92

Bob your anti-Catholic bigotry here goes on and on.

You’ve done Galileo on here before – and you still want to raise it again – and still want to ignore the reality of history.

Galileo was put under house arrest for among other things pissing off the Pope (his former friend) by mocking him in public.

And this is rich, after your habit of cherry picking bible verses out of context

> I seldom cease to be amazed as to how ignorant most avowed Christians are…

@ 97

“You seem to have an unrealistic view of the Catholic Church’s power. It wasn’t some totalitarian dictatorship ruthlessly suppressing all dissent. The Pope had little direct control outside of central Italy, and secular rulers could and did ignore or even directly go against his commands.”

Ignore, or even wage war against him! I recommend Francesco Guicciardini’s ‘History of Italy’ written during the Rennaissance.

@ 98

“Galileo was put under house arrest for among other things pissing off the Pope (his former friend) by mocking him in public.”

Indeed so. Besides, back then excommunication wasn’t such a big deal. The city of Florence got excommunicated once but they all kissed and made up.

@98 Just visiting: “Bob your anti-Catholic bigotry here goes on and on.”

That’s predictable personal abuse – if criticism of the Catholic church is “bigotry”, try this recent news report from the Netherlands:

Up to 20,000 children were sexually abused by 800 Roman Catholic priests or lay workers in the Netherlands since 1945, an independent inquiry has estimated.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/8961076/Dutch-Catholic-sex-abuse-scandal-exposed-as-inquiry-says-up-to-20000-were-victims.html

Child pornography is rightly and sensibly banned because it promotes the sexual abuse of children. On exactly those same moral and pragmatic principles, the Catholic church should be banned.

Note too that I’m also critical of the sectarian sentiments espoused by those annual Orange Order marches in Glasgow to celebrate the outcome of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Btw Cameron was speaking in celebration of the King James version of the Bible, which is widely regarded as an exemplary work of literature that has influenced and enriched the English language since its publication in 1611. But the King James version of the Bible was explicitly intended as a Protestant version of the scriptures.

@88 Yes, but the claim “well Newton was quite keen on religion” becomes somewhat less impressive when it’s pointed out that everyone was at the time. As for him seeking codes in the Bible and practicing alchemy, well, he thought they were legitimate avenues of scientific pursuit. Course the body of knowledge these days confirms both as complete wastes on time. Furthermore, once upon a time to even do such things as study and learn, rather than toil in the fields, one had to join the church in some capacity. (Monks/scribes etc, though the foundation of universities and other centres of learning pried that out of the churches hands)
This will of course result in early development being associated with the church.

What is clear however, is that modern scientific development does have some major conflict with religion where it seeks to understand how life and the universe came to be. Hence evolutionary biologists having to continually put up with creationists constantly asking the same fucking questions over and over again, having to correct each and every cretin one by one.

“’ve already explained the like between Christianity and scientific enquiry, and I think I’ll stick with it until you come up with something more definite than your claim here.”
The idea that questioning reality was a Christian invention is a little rich. I think you find most races question reality. If there wasn’t a god man would have invented him.

“ou seem to have an unrealistic view of the Catholic Church’s power. It wasn’t some totalitarian dictatorship ruthlessly suppressing all dissent. The Pope had little direct control outside of central Italy, and secular rulers could and did ignore or even directly go against his commands.”
We are talking about all types of Christian thought. If it was so powerless why was excommunication feared. Ask the Cathars if the Catholic church had no influence outside Europe. Many of the great thinkers and scientists have been Jewish. I note they started to have an influence when the church stopped persecuting them with the papal inquisition. I doubt Einstein would have be allowed to publish his ideas if he was alive in days of the zenith of the church.

“ere is an article which you might find helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_in_the_Middle_Ages
Read the article and most of the discoveries were rehash of Greek and roman ideas. The real development of man was after the enlightment when man started to reject the church.

” He really, really wasn’t. (For a start, I think you actually mean “just a religious rehash of Aristotle”. He wasn’t that, either.)”
True but he was an adherent to Socratic method of questioning. But to compare a religious fanatic to the later greats is staggering.

” Do you have any evidence that he was limited by Church authorities? Any examples of him having to break off lines of enquiry due to ecclesiastical pressure?”
That wasn’t the point. He could have concentrated on science instead of attending mass .

“The mediaeval and sixteenth-century Catholic Church had very little in common with the modern fundamentalist movement when it came to scientific matters”
Creationism, hate for sodomists, hate for Muslims, a belief in the apocalypse.

Off to work now.
You can have the last words, part of your need to dominate. Hence the love for Mummy maggie and a need for a stern priest
Seems right wingers (SMFS, XXX, SSHQ, Flowerpower, cjcjc, Tim J etc) make a lot of posts. No jobs lads, skiving or are you teachers employed by the state. Have you lives ?.

105. So Much For Subtlety

101. Bob B

That’s predictable personal abuse – if criticism of the Catholic church is “bigotry”, try this recent news report from the Netherlands:

Up to 20,000 children were sexually abused by 800 Roman Catholic priests or lay workers in the Netherlands since 1945, an independent inquiry has estimated.

The bigotry is not reporting this alleged abuse. The bigotry is ignoring the vastly larger problem in secular schools. As has been pointed out to you before, over 12,500 people report sexual abuse in British schools every year. Yet you do not care. That 20,000 children have been allegedly abused in Dutch schools over 66 years is too many. But it is only 300 per year. So you’re about forty times more likely to be abused in a secular British school. Well not as bad- I can’t be arsed adjusting for population. But worse.

Child pornography is rightly and sensibly banned because it promotes the sexual abuse of children. On exactly those same moral and pragmatic principles, the Catholic church should be banned.

Then so should secular schools. As has been pointed out to you before Bob, you’re safer in a Catholic school than in a British secular school.

But you don’t give a sh!t about actual abuse as long as it gives you an excuse to vent your bigotry do you?

TT @ 100:

“Ignore, or even wage war against him!”

Indeed; I recall one occasion when a group of Italian condottieri besieged His Holiness, and only let him go once he agreed to pay them a rather large sum of money!

Angry Dad @ 103:

“The idea that questioning reality was a Christian invention is a little rich.”

I never said that questioning was a Christian invention. Go back and read my posts again.

“We are talking about all types of Christian thought. If it was so powerless why was excommunication feared.”

Lots of people didn’t fear it, actually. The Holy Roman Emperors, in particular, seem not to have let the threat of excommunication stop them from trying to take control of Italy.

“Ask the Cathars if the Catholic church had no influence outside Europe.”

The Cathar Crusade is actually one of the clearer-cut cases of religious reasons being used to give a virtuous facade to worldly ambition. In this case, it was the French King’s ambition to impose his control over Languedoc.

“Many of the great thinkers and scientists have been Jewish. I note they started to have an influence when the church stopped persecuting them with the papal inquisition. I doubt Einstein would have be allowed to publish his ideas if he was alive in days of the zenith of the church.”

It’s interesting you should mention the Jews, given that they suffered their biggest persecution in the 1940s, long after the heyday of the Catholic Church’s temporal power. Clearly anti-Semitism isn’t an exclusively Catholic phenomenon.

“Read the article and most of the discoveries were rehash of Greek and roman ideas. The real development of man was after the enlightment when man started to reject the church.”

Western Europe had taken a rather large cultural setback with the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Even if all their discoveries *were* just rehashes of Greek and Roman ideas (which they weren’t, but never mind), that would still represent a considerable advance from the world in the Dark Ages. Europe couldn’t “really develop”, as you put it, until it had caught up with the ancient world. That it did was largely due to the Catholic Church.

“True but he was an adherent to Socratic method of questioning.”

And? That doesn’t make him “just a rehash of Socrates”. You might as well say that every scientific paper for the last four hundred years is just a rehash of Sir Francis Bacon.

“But to compare a religious fanatic to the later greats is staggering.”

Who’s the religious fanatic and who are the later greats?

“That wasn’t the point. He could have concentrated on science instead of attending mass .”

Do you have any evidence that attending Mass significantly cut into his science time?

“Creationism”

A literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis was rejected at least as long ago as St. Augustine.

@ 104:

“You can have the last words, part of your need to dominate. Hence the love for Mummy maggie and a need for a stern priest
Seems right wingers (SMFS, XXX, SSHQ, Flowerpower, cjcjc, Tim J etc) make a lot of posts. No jobs lads, skiving or are you teachers employed by the state. Have you lives ?.”

Translation: “I’m losing the argument, so I’m going to leave in a huff, scatter a few ad homs, poison the well a bit and hope nobody notices.”

Cylux @ 102:

“Yes, but the claim “well Newton was quite keen on religion” becomes somewhat less impressive when it’s pointed out that everyone was at the time.”

If Newton was keener on religion than most other people, though (which he was), that would suggest that he was actually religious, rather than just going on about it because that’s what society expected, and therefore that he was able to reconcile religion and science.

“Furthermore, once upon a time to even do such things as study and learn, rather than toil in the fields, one had to join the church in some capacity. (Monks/scribes etc, though the foundation of universities and other centres of learning pried that out of the churches hands)
This will of course result in early development being associated with the church.”

Once upon a time… long before Newton et al., since there were plenty of secular foundations then as well.

(Also, far from being set up to “pry learning out of the Church’s hands”, as you seem to think, plenty of universities were founded and supported by ecclesiastics.)

“What is clear however, is that modern scientific development does have some major conflict with religion where it seeks to understand how life and the universe came to be. Hence evolutionary biologists having to continually put up with creationists constantly asking the same fucking questions over and over again, having to correct each and every cretin one by one.”

You seem to be conflating religion and creationism here.

Bob @ 101:

“That’s predictable personal abuse – if criticism of the Catholic church is “bigotry”,”

Criticism of the Church isn’t bigotry; what is bigotry is incessantly criticising it, even in threads where it’s not relevant, refusing to engage with or even acknowledge counter-arguments, and applying different standards to the Catholic Church and other institutions.

@108 Yes I imagine they originally were set up by ecclesiatics, given that said group fully expected the results from the institutions to confirm how God made the world etc. Once unwelcome answers that deviated from offical dogma started arriving however…

The documented history of serial atrocities, cruelty and abuse inflicted by the Catholic church and its clergy, as well as the concerted endeavours of the church to block scientific discovery, are solid, convincing reasons for proscribing the church. The time is long overdue.

On the wall of Balliol College Oxford, there is a plaque commemorating the deaths by public burning of Archbishop Cranmer – author of the Anglican book of Common Prayer – and the Bishops Latimer and Ridley, during the reign of Mary Tudor (1553-58) to restore Catholicism to her realm.

Thousands of Huguenot protestants were slaughtered in France in 1572 in the St Bartholomew Day’s massacre. The Spanish Armada in 1588, with a Papal commission, was yet another initiative to restore Catholicism to England. Daniel Defoe observed in his satyrical poem The True-Born Englishman (1701):

From our eighth Henry’s time, the strolling bands
Of banished fugitives from neighboring lands
Have here a certain sanctuary found:
The eternal refuge of the vagabond,
Where, in but half a common age of time,
Borrowing new blood and manners from the clime,
Proudly they learn all mankind to contemn,
And all their race are true-born Englishmen.
Dutch, Walloons, Flemings, Irishmen, and Scots,
Vaudois and Valtelins, and Hugonots,
In good Queen Bess’s charitable reign,
Supplied us with three hundred thousand men.
http://www.luminarium.org/editions/trueborn.htm

At the time of Elizabeth’s reign, the population of England was c. 5 million so 300,000 refugees was quite a number to take in.

Guy Fawkes and his fellow Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up the English Parliament and all therein at the state opening in November 1605. Next came the 30 years war in Europe 1618-48.

Enough is enough.

Cylux @ 110:

“Yes I imagine they originally were set up by ecclesiatics, given that said group fully expected the results from the institutions to confirm how God made the world etc. Once unwelcome answers that deviated from offical dogma started arriving however…”

You seem to have a slightly inaccurate view of the matter. Mainstream Christianity has often been very accepting of scientific evidence. The Church of England, for example, abandoned Biblical literalism by the mid-nineteenth century due to geological evidence, and proved not at all hostile to the theory of evolution, even allowing Charles Darwin to be buried in Westminster Abbey. The Catholic Church has also never been opposed to evolution. And the heliocentrism dispute which Bob B keeps bringing up was more personal than theological. The Pope had been a supporter of Galileo, but became alienated when Galileo wrote a pamphlet calling him a simpleton, and thought that a charge of heresy would be a good way of getting his own back.

Bob @ 111:

“The documented history of serial atrocities, cruelty and abuse inflicted by the Catholic church and its clergy, as well as the concerted endeavours of the church to block scientific discovery, are solid, convincing reasons for proscribing the church. The time is long overdue.”

The documented history of serial atrocities, cruely and abuse infliced by various world governments and their employees, as well as the concerted endeavours of various governments to block scientific and societal advances, are solid, convincing reasons for abolishing all governments and becoming anarchists. The time is long overdue.

Seriously, though, it shows a worrying lack of self-awareness for you to claim that the Church is a big driver of atrocities, and then call for it to be proscribed. Do you even know what that word means?

Also, I’m still waiting for you to point to one moral system whose followers have never acted contrary to what their morality tells them to do.

@111 Bob,

“solid, convincing reasons for proscribing the church. The time is long overdue.”

Well, that’s one way to trigger a religious revival.

@113 XXX: “The documented history of serial atrocities, cruely and abuse infliced by various world governments and their employees, as well as the concerted endeavours of various governments to block scientific and societal advances, are solid, convincing reasons for abolishing all governments and becoming anarchists. The time is long overdue.”

That’s an argument for abolishing or transforming those specific governments which engage in repression – as well as the religions which do so.

Remember the intent of that favourite old hymn posted @85 to discourage the young attendees at Sunday schools from contemplating the possibility of social mobility. That’s one good reason why we shouldn’t depend on the churches and charities to provide schooling.

Bob @ 115:

“That’s an argument for abolishing or transforming those specific governments which engage in repression – as well as the religions which do so.”

Funnily enough I don’t remember the Pope calling too many crusades recently. Presumably that transformation to a more peaceful form of Catholicism renders most of your examples irrelevant.

@ 115 Bob,

“That’s an argument for abolishing or transforming those specific governments which engage in repression – as well as the religions which do so.”

Surely any government which repressed the church in the way you advocate would immediately qualify for its own abolition?

“When people impute special vices to the Christian Church, they seem entirely to forget that the world (which is the only other thing there is) has these vices much more. The Church has been cruel; but the world has been much more cruel. The Church has plotted; but the world has plotted much more. The Church has been superstitious; but it has never been so superstitious as the world is when left to itself.” — G. K. Chesterton.

119. So Much For Subtlety

101. Bob B

Up to 20,000 children were sexually abused by 800 Roman Catholic priests or lay workers in the Netherlands since 1945, an independent inquiry has estimated.

Just a quick update. I checked the article. Fewer than 2,000 people have actually complained and asked for compensation. The 20,000 figure is a guess. Or bigotry by the looks of it.

Which means that instead of being 40 times less likely to be abused in a Catholic Dutch school than a secular British one, you’re 400 times less likely. If you adjust that for population – there are about 4 times as many British people, that is still 100 times less likely. Which is even better than Ireland where you were merely 50 times less likely to be sexually abused in a Catholic School than in a secular British school.

In other words, if Bob wasn’t such a hate-filled bigot, he would be calling for children to be handed over to the Catholic Church for their own protection.

SMFS @ 119:

Not all of the schools in the Netherlands or Ireland would be run by the Church, though, so you’d have to find out what proportion of pupils are educated in specifically Catholic schools before making the comparison. Even if it turns out that you are more likely to be abused in Catholic school, though, there would be ways of dealing with this (like making complaints about abuse handled by the same authorities which handle similar complaints in secular schools, rather than deal with them internally) without going in for the kind of draconian collective punishment advocated by Bob.

@120: “without going in for the kind of draconian collective punishment advocated by Bob.”

I had hoped and expected that the historical record of the Catholic church in its instigation of atrocities, wars, torture to extort confessions of heresy, repression and block on scientific discovery was sufficiently impressive to justify early proscription. By accounts on the web, the Spanish Inquisition was the origin for many of the most exquisite methods of torture.

Bob @ 121:

Those atrocities were less about religion, more about the sort of warped mindset which thinks that punishing people for something which happened four hundred years before they were born is acceptable. Of all the people in this thread, you are perhaps the least equipped to claim moral superiority.

Also:

“By accounts on the web, the Spanish Inquisition was the origin for many of the most exquisite methods of torture.”

A lot of the horrors of the Inquisition were invented by Protestant propagandists. In some ways you were actually more likely to get a fair trial with the Inquisition than with the secular authorities.

But anyway, what does it matter? It’s not like the Church is sending people out nowadays to torture non-believers. What relevance does this all have to the situation today?

The Catholic church needs to review its PR programme and make a radical change to improve its international image. Time for another woman Pope?

Countries in east and south east Asia, where the Christian churches have had little historic influence, have made substantial progress in economic development since WW2 compared with South America and Sub-Sahara Africa where the Christian churches have had substantial influence.

The documented historic facts are more impressive than heaping more personal abuse on my head.

Try this news item from last year: Chief exorcist says Devil is in Vatican

The Devil is lurking in the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican’s chief exorcist claimed on Wednesday.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7416458/Chief-exorcist-says-Devil-is-in-Vatican.html

The Vatican’s chief exorcist wouldn’t lie, would he?

125. So Much For Subtlety

120. XXX

Not all of the schools in the Netherlands or Ireland would be run by the Church, though, so you’d have to find out what proportion of pupils are educated in specifically Catholic schools before making the comparison.

Sure. But the disparity is so enormous it hardly matters. After all, some of the children educated in Britain are also educated by the Church.

Bob @ 124:

“The Catholic church needs to review its PR programme and make a radical change to improve its international image.”

So you’ve changed from your original position of “the Church needs to be proscribed”, then?

“Countries in east and south east Asia, where the Christian churches have had little historic influence, have made substantial progress in economic development since WW2 compared with South America and Sub-Sahara Africa where the Christian churches have had substantial influence.”

There are more differences between Asian and African countries than just religion. You’d need to do a lot more work to show that Christianity was the cause of Sub-Saharan Africa’s relative poverty when compared to Asia, and not other potential factors, such as political instability, ethnic strife, and so on.

“The documented historic facts are more impressive than heaping more personal abuse on my head.”

The “documented historic[al] facts” are all from hundreds of years ago. Seriously, get over it.

XXX

You found it convenient to overlook that revelation by the Vatican’s chief exorcist about the satanic influences operating there. That could account for a great deal.

Bob @ 127:

I have “found it convenient” because it’s a complete red herring.

Also, I note that you haven’t replied to any of my points.


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