Saturday, November 16, 2013

Guardian: Middle East Christians are being persecuted because of Israel


It has been widely reported that former US President George W Bush has given a speech at a fundraiser for a 'Jews for Jesus' event in Texas. The Messianic Jewish Bible Institute was established “to bring Jewish people into a personal relationship of faith with Yeshua the Messiah, knowing their acceptance will eventually mean life from the dead (Romans 11:15)'. According to Andrew Brown at The Guardian, this amounts to a 'crusade', in which no former president should play no part, unless, of course, he is a 'Zionist double agent'.

But it is not only the anti-Christian pages of the Guardian which are offended, but quite a few prominent Jews. Apparently, Christians have no business trying to convert them to the cause of the Messiah: these born-again bigots should respect other faiths and accept that no one has a monopoly on salvation. Instead of raising dollars for anti-Semitic rallies they should get on with feeding the poor and housing the homeless – like Jesus did.

And so George W Bush is severally accused of theological blindness, historical naivety, religious insensitivity and political ignorance.

The thing is..

Christianity is a mission faith, and that mission is to preach the gospel in Jerusalem, Judæa, Samaria and all the world. By preaching Christ crucified for the redemption of sinners, the objective is to win souls for Christ. It is not the healthy who need a doctor: it is the sick – those who have not encountered and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, and that includes Jews, along with "Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, deists, atheists, and others who reject the idea that Jesus was the son of god and died to save humans from sin".

Unlike Andrew Brown, His Grace has no insights into George W Bush's spiritual motives. Such things ought to be left between a man and his god. But Mr Brown likes cutting windows into men's souls, and so we learn not only that President Bush desires to save Jews from damnation, but that by participating in the mission of Christ he is purposely hastening Armageddon. It is of the same theological stable as those who equate Evangelicalism with Zionism: 
Jews are a means to an apocalyptic end wherein Jesus returns and those who have accepted him are raptured into heaven, while the Christ-rejecters will be left behind to suffer their fate. This unpleasant eschatology is the driving force behind the rabidly pro-Israel stance..
Unpleasant eschatology? Well, the entire Bible is full of it, and Jesus preached an awful lot of it. If you want to divide humanity into sheep and goats, that's pretty 'unpleasant'. In fact, the whole concept of eschatology is itself 'unpleasant', for why should humanity have a pre-ordained end? Why should the world draw inexorably toward the 'end times' and experience an apocalypse from which none may escape? Why should there be unbearable human suffering and appalling natural catastrophe before the Kingdom may come? Why should anyone be judged, found wanting, and damned?

Unsurprisingly, Andrew Brown uses his anti-Bush rant to take a pot shot at Israel:
..if there is one group that has suffered as a result of the establishment of the state of Israel and its support by Western Christian countries, it is the historic Christians of the Middle East – who are now the victims of persecution throughout the region and scapegoats of an angry nationalism.
Get that? The persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East is not the fault of the Wahhabi-Salafist strain of Islam which is infecting the region's Muslims and spreading like a plague through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Egypt. No, Christians throughout the region are being harassed, defamed, raped, tortured, burned and beheaded because of Israel.

How stupid of us not to see this.

How clever of these Zionist Jews to conspire to cleanse the entire Middle East of Christians while giving the impression that Israel is the only country in the region where followers of the Messiah may live and worship freely.

368 Comments:

Blogger john in cheshire said...

YG, is it ever possible to have a sane discussion/argument with people who have such warped minds? The guardian seems to attract them; it's a good job it has such a low circulation and loses lots of money in the process - maybe one day it will run out of other people's money and cease its activities. Until that day, please keep on drawing their deviant nature to the attention of the greater audience.

16 November 2013 10:10  
Blogger graham wood said...

Good comment John, and also from YG to expose the sheer silliness of a twisted eschatology.
The biblical truth remains that the return of Christ in glory is not related to, much less dependent upon, Israel, Zionist programmes, or the cult of the American Christian "right", Neither will it include multiple "raptures", or any "left behind".
Fortunately the clarity of Scripture is not lacking here, as any reading of 1 Thess. 4:13-18 makes so very clear.

16 November 2013 10:32  
Blogger David B said...

"Unpleasant eschatology? Well, the entire Bible is full of it, and Jesus preached an awful lot of it. If you want to divide humanity into sheep and goats, that's pretty 'unpleasant'. In fact, the whole concept of eschatology is itself 'unpleasant', for why should humanity have a pre-ordained end? Why should the world draw inexorably toward the 'end times' and experience an apocalypse from which none may escape? Why should there be unbearable human suffering and appalling natural catastrophe before the Kingdom may come? Why should anyone be judged, found wanting, and damned?"

Why should such a view, taken from an early creation myth invented when many events were viewed originating in supernatural beings, and when much less than now was known about the origins of the universe, of the solar system, of life, of the human condition....be taken seriously?

David

16 November 2013 10:52  
Blogger bluedog said...

Given the strength of support for the BDS movement within today's CofE, one wonders how many Bishops and Clergy would have nodded in agreement as they read Andrew Brown's article over their macro-biotic muesli.

Two things are a matter of enduring surprise to your communicant, Your Grace. The first is the rank cowardice of those fearless titans of the Left whose undimmed spirit of enquiry and courage in speaking truth to power is somehow neutralised by the mention of a single word; Islam. Not frit, are they? Of course neither we Christians nor the Jews will declare a fatwa forcing the bravest of the brave to emulate Salman Rushdie in hiding. So the Left can continue their fearless campaign against the Israeli democracy without living in fear of their lives. But an expose of Islam? Not on your life.

The second mystery in the context of Leftist antipathy to Jews is the propensity of reformed and liberal Jewish congregations to adopt social positions that are to the left of the spectrum. On contentious matters like SSM you would expect the Guardianistas to reach out with joy to liberal Jews, who typically appear accepting of the idea. But no, the anti-Semitism of the Western Left trumps such alliances.

Which brings us to the Baroness Warsi, Minister for Faith, who has finally noticed that her co-religionists are exterminating Middle-Eastern Christians with quasi-Teutonic efficiency. It seems that for Christians in the ME, every night is Krystallnacht. But it took a particular outrage in her ancestral Pakistan to jolt the minister into a reaction. And what a reaction; Warsi claims that to be Muslim you must first be a Christian. Seriously?

16 November 2013 10:58  
Blogger David Hussell said...

The Your Grace, Thank you for an interesting post.

People are often unaware that they have a world view, assume that it is "the truth", without searching its assumptions, and in order not to have to alter it, even one tiny bit, will create the most incredible intellectual and moral somersaults to protect it. Their world view is the fortress within which they reside. Occasionally one meets such a person, who refreshingly will examine parts of their "world view" and test it for its continuing applicability and truthfulness. But generally intellectual laziness prevails, which is why for example, voters continue being loyal to the parties that continue knifing them in the back, with a smile on their murderous faces of course. Other examples abound.

Your average Guardian reader is no exception to this guideline. In the ME Christians are being slaughtered selectively, and Israel, the only free country in the region, is hated by a lot of other regional players. This unsettles them. So they seek solace, and an explanation to shore up their world view, their dislike of religions generally, especially Christianity (UK traditional = bad) and Judaism (associated with money, success through hard work and talent = bad) and then throw in their confusion regarding the other offerings from the world's religious pantheon, and The Guardian kindly supplies an explanation ! A simplistic, silly, if wasn't so desperately serious, narrative that runs thus,(nursery music in background) Israel naughty = Christian killed, Israel's fault. Simples ! Vote leftwards ! Most people are totally ignorant of the actual teachings of the world religion, especially that of their ancestors, and really can't be "arsed" to think deeply, about anything nowadays (sound bites only please) but these superficial media offerings are comforting, keeping them cocooned in their delusions. We're British, we don't do thinking ! We do Twitter !

16 November 2013 11:19  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Bluedog,

I agree with much of that.

Most senior Anglican clergy are experts in dissonance. They fail to see how their Guardian shaped attitudes are undermining what they support, presumably freedom and Christianity. The Anglican Church is "in" to cultural suicide, big time, in my opinion. But then I rate the surviving Hitchens and Melanie Phillips, as very useful journalists and authors, especially Phillips as she is more incisive and cheerful.
I despair sometimes of the Church through which I came to faith. Fortunately there is a small but robust minority like me in that Church.

16 November 2013 11:27  
Blogger Martin said...

David B

Why should such a view, ....be taken seriously?

Why? Because you know it is true, because you know that God exists & has judged the World once & will judge the World again at the end of time. Yet you choose to, metaphorically, stick your fingers in your ears and continue blindly in your wickedness.

16 November 2013 12:01  
Blogger Nick said...

YG, if the issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East wasn't such a serious and disturbing problem, then I would find the Grauniad's distorted interpretation of the situation laughable.

As you say, the likes of Mr Brown seem oblivious to the plague of death and murder that is being spread around the region by the Guardians Muslim friends.

Frankly, to believe the kind of cr@p Mr Brown writes, one would have to be either completely ignorant of what is really going on in the region i.e. a Guardian reader, or somewhat intellectually challenged i.e. also Guardian reader.

16 November 2013 12:54  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David

"If you want to divide humanity into sheep and goats, that's pretty 'unpleasant'"

What basis do you have to say it is unpleasant? What basis can you say that anything is unpleasant?

Phil

16 November 2013 13:56  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Good afternoon everybody.

Happy Jack has read these articles and says this is all very complicated. As Jack says: "We are where we are." God wanted the world to hear about Jesus and used the Romans who were not all good and the way his message was spread was not all good. God wanted the Jews to go home to Jerusalem and some very bad things led to this too, like Hitler. Who can understand all this? From what Jack knows of the world, God's plans are bound to be resisted. And if God wants the Jewish people to accept his son before Jesus comes back, than this is surely what will happen one way or another. But who, when or how? Nobody knows. Another thing Jack sometimes says is: "We can only do what we can do and what we believe what we should do."

16 November 2013 14:56  
Blogger David B said...

@Phil Rogers who said -

"What basis do you have to say it is unpleasant? What basis can you say that anything is unpleasant?"

Well, for a start with, Phil, I was quoting Cranmer when "If you want to divide humanity into sheep and goats, that's pretty 'unpleasant'" came up with in my post.

But to answer more generally, during my early childhood I learnt how to speak English, in the course of which I learnt that things that are pleasurable are generally described as pleasant or some sort of synonym for pleasant, and painful things are generally described as something nasty or unpleasant.

I later came to understand that these concepts - pleasant and unpleasant- can be extended to include thoughts and ideas, and to understand that making value judgements is a part of the human condition.

So I'm in much the same position as everyone else, I suppose, though it seems that some people think that they need to compare their judgements against a collection of myths from thousands of years ago to validate them.

Which strikes me as rather silly, since sane and sensible people do not include within the concept 'pleasant' the unpleasant parts of the quote from His Grace above -

"Unpleasant eschatology? Well, the entire Bible is full of it, and Jesus preached an awful lot of it. If you want to divide humanity into sheep and goats, that's pretty 'unpleasant'. In fact, the whole concept of eschatology is itself 'unpleasant', for why should humanity have a pre-ordained end? Why should the world draw inexorably toward the 'end times' and experience an apocalypse from which none may escape? Why should there be unbearable human suffering and appalling natural catastrophe before the Kingdom may come? Why should anyone be judged, found wanting, and damned?"

David

16 November 2013 16:22  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

And it's also Israel's fault that peaceful Muslims have had to defend themselves against aggressive Buddhists thoughout the Middle and Far East for the last 1400 years.

16 November 2013 16:43  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Ultimately mankind either worships God or themselves. There is no third option.

Many atheists, deep in their faith, claim that they worship nothing, but they are deluded, as they draw their values and ways of living from somewhere, something, someone. It's like those silly people who say that parents shouln't pass on their values to their children. This is impossible as a child must be given a model for right and wrong, so inevitably they incalculate their children. The myth that secularism is neutral is a delusion.

Choose wisely between worshipping yourself, or your species, or a god. And if the latter choose the right god, as only God is truly loving and forgiving , but first we must accept our shortcomings.

16 November 2013 16:43  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David

"Why should anyone be judged, found wanting, and damned?"

Hitler, Mao, Stalin etc

Damned?

I think that these decisions would be fair, presumably you would too.

Phil

16 November 2013 17:16  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David

I also think that everyone's worldview accepts to a greater or lesser extent that not just that judgment needed and it is fair to punish evil (however you define it) but that it is also good for society.

Where we draw the lines may be different, but I think that both our worldviews accept that punishment is necessary.

Phil

16 November 2013 17:21  
Blogger Anglican said...

bluedog 10.58
"Which brings us to the Baroness Warsi, Minister for Faith, who has finally noticed that her co-religionists are exterminating Middle-Eastern Christians with quasi-Teutonic efficiency."

True. I heard her speak about this on BBC radio. But very curiously she did not once mention the word 'Islam'.

16 November 2013 17:32  
Blogger Ian G said...

I am assuming that the following quote was originally in the Guardian article. Has it been excised or is it from somewhere else?

Jews are a means to an apocalyptic end wherein Jesus returns and those who have accepted him are raptured into heaven, while the Christ-rejecters will be left behind to suffer their fate. This unpleasant eschatology is the driving force behind the rabidly pro-Israel stance..

16 November 2013 17:35  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Is it not amazing how someone who professes not to believe, can tell believers what they should or should not believe?

16 November 2013 18:07  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 November 2013 18:07  
Blogger David B said...

Mr Integrity, is it not amazing how people who believe in Christianity/Islam/Scientology/Mormonism...delete as appropriate can tell other people that they are right and everyone else is wrong?

David

16 November 2013 18:29  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 November 2013 18:32  
Blogger David B said...

@Phil Roberts, who said -

"David

I also think that everyone's worldview accepts to a greater or lesser extent that not just that judgment needed and it is fair to punish evil (however you define it) but that it is also good for society.

Where we draw the lines may be different, but I think that both our worldviews accept that punishment is necessary.

Phil"

Insofar as punishment reflect the prevention of continuing to offend, and a deterrent to both repeat offending by the offender and a deterrent to others following the example, then yes, of course.

I suspect that most Christians will share my misgivings about punishment if and insofar as it reflects vindictiveness or revenge, though it seems to me to be human nature that if someone mugged someone's aged mother and left her crippled then some element of this would creep in.

But isn't it Christian teaching to forgive and forgive and forgive? Whence punishment in that context?

David

16 November 2013 18:37  
Blogger David B said...

And, yes, Phil, when seeing some things on the news I have occasionally regretted that I see no significant possibility for reward or punishment beyond the grave.

David

16 November 2013 18:39  
Blogger Denis Vulinovich said...

The reason that Christians should support Israel and the Jews is not because of a certain interpretation of prophecy (of which there are many), but because they believe that God is faithful to his promises.

The apostle Paul said that one reason Christ came was to 'confirm the promises made to the patriarchs' (Romans 15:8). And what were those promises? (1) The 'everlasting possession' of the land of Canaan, and (2) the 'everlasting covenant' that he would be their God (Genesis 17:7-8). And according to Paul, 'God's gifts and his call are irrevocable' (Romans 11:29).

So the basic reason Christians should support the Jews and Israel is because we believe that God will keep these promises he has made to them in the past - and not because of our view of what will happen in the future.

16 November 2013 18:39  
Blogger Andrew Brown said...

All but the last of the quotes you attribute to me were in fact made up. Either you were too idle or too malicious to check.

16 November 2013 19:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Come on Brown. Expand...

16 November 2013 20:01  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

No, Andrew Brown, they are now linked and sourced. Apologies for any confusion.

The real maliciousness is the accuracy of the final quotation, which is warped, if not evil.

16 November 2013 20:05  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

When George W. Bush speaks in public on the subject of religion, or Israel, or the Middle East, you could hardly expect the Grauniad to remain silent. The dogs bark at the wheelbarrow. But the wheelbarrow will still be there tomorrow.

16 November 2013 20:24  
Blogger David B said...

@ Martin, who said, referring to me

"Why? Because you know it is true, because you know that God exists & has judged the World once & will judge the World again at the end of time."

Martin, it is both presumptuous and arrogant of you to suppose that you know what I know is true better than I know myself what I believe to be true.

You are not only presumptuous and arrogant, though, you are also wrong.

David

16 November 2013 20:25  
Blogger Martin said...

David B

Since I am writing on the authority of God it is hardly presumptuous of me to remind that you know God exists. Indeed it would be presumptuous of me not to tell you.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown [it] to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible [attributes] are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify [Him] as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:18-21 NKJV)

So there you are described, your wickedness exposed, in that you know God exists for He has shown you, yet you lie to yourself and the whole World. You dare to call God a liar and for your wickedness are given over to a blindness of heart. Added to that are all the other sins that enslave you.

God describes you as a fool, and thus you are for you even reject God's offer of mercy. For that alone you deserve an eternity of torment.

Yet, while you live, God still offers you mercy. Now is the time to grasp it with both hands.

16 November 2013 21:02  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David

"But isn't it Christian teaching to forgive and forgive and forgive?"

Yes of course. But that does not mean that we should remove punishment, quite the reverse. Evil deeds have a cost and they must be paid for. We would not be loving our neighbour by letting evil go unpunished.

There are lots of sins in the Bible but two stand way above all others in the number of times that they are mentioned, idolatry and injustice. There are others of course, but these are the big ones. If we were indifferent to injustice we would be indifferent to God.


Phil

16 November 2013 21:14  
Blogger Frater minor said...

David:
But isn't it Christian teaching to forgive and forgive and forgive? Whence punishment in that context?

True, Christians are commanded to forgive over and over again.
But God is the judge of all the earth, and he is righteous in his judgements


Frater minor

16 November 2013 21:16  
Blogger Martin said...

Perhaps Andrew Brown should consider that the Christian is called upon to preach the gospel to the whole World and especially to that ancient people chosen by God that they might at last recognise their Messiah.

If such ministry is "regarded with great suspicion by mainstream Christian denominations" could it be because those 'mainstream Christian denominations' have long since left Christ's Church to stumble around in the dark on their own as a sort of left wing bells & smells group.

16 November 2013 21:18  
Blogger Frater minor said...

David:
But isn't it Christian teaching to forgive and forgive and forgive? Whence punishment in that context?

True, Christians are commanded to forgive over and over again.
But God is the judge of all the earth, and he is righteous in his judgements


Frater minor

16 November 2013 21:18  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B said...

"And, yes, Phil, when seeing some things on the news I have occasionally regretted that I see no significant possibility for reward or punishment beyond the grave."

We are not God so by definition we are not in possession of the full facts. Many people have suggested that people will choose hell over heaven as they do not love God and so will find his presence hard to bear. Don't forget in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, the Rich man does not ask to go to heaven, but for Lazarus to cross over and bring him water (as a servant?) in hell.

Phil

16 November 2013 21:24  
Blogger David B said...

@ Phil who said -

"We are not God so by definition we are not in possession of the full facts."

We have yet to establish a God, leave alone one in possession of the full facts.Biblical God doesn't seem to be - look at Gen 2.8, and consider whether a good God in possession of the facts would not have done things differently to avoid killing all the poor puppies, kittens and human babies in the putative flood.

" Many people have suggested that people will choose hell over heaven as they do not love God and so will find his presence hard to bear."

Many people have suggested all sorts of things. Argumentum ad populum is a fallacious argument.

"Don't forget in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, the Rich man does not ask to go to heaven, but for Lazarus to cross over and bring him water (as a servant?) in hell."

It's a story. We have yet to establish the existence of a heaven or a hell, let alone the nature of either or both.

David

16 November 2013 21:39  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello David B. Happy Jack chuckled when he read this: "We have yet to establish a God .." As if man has the initiative in this! This is a silly comment as there is no 'Godometer' that will measure Gods existence.

16 November 2013 22:05  
Blogger Martin said...

David B

Still pretending you don't know God exists?

Indeed, those animals that died dies as the result of Man's sin, for Man is the federal head of Creation and therefore responsible for the sickness and death in this World.

Do not imagine that a baby is without sin. I recall someone saying that the baby who is unable to take that glittering watch from your wrist would, if endowed with the strength, rip your arm off and beat you with the bloody end in order to gain its desire.

16 November 2013 22:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

You are a desperately sad blighter Martin...

16 November 2013 22:31  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Andrew Brown's declarations of his non religious beliefs/stance;

"But still, I remain a thoroughly Protestant atheist. The tradition within which I would rather argue is that of Thomas Cranmer. This isn't entirely a matter of intellectual preference. The bleak iron language of the prayer book's funeral service seems to me more true, plainer and more frightening than all of the painted devils in baroque basilicas around the world."

Then " Andrew Brown said...

All but the last of the quotes you attribute to me were in fact made up. Either you were too idle or too malicious to check.
"
Andrew Brown uses religious language ut fails to comprehend the terns he refers to..Sloppy journalism lacking topic insight. Know your subject fella!

Perhaps the 'bleak iron language' of Cranmer's Blog was, in this instance, too hard to hear?

What on earth is a thoroughly Protestant atheist?

Who are these people?

Blofeld

ps

"Some people think George W Bush did as much as he could to bring about Armageddon with his earlier interventions in the Middle East."

So the 'messianic' islamic drivel of Ahmadinejad and Iran's desire for nuclear weapons to obliterate a certain nation has added nothing to the tensions in it's 'own' region?

"He (George W Bush) has signed up for a fundraising event for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, an organisation which aims to promote the second coming by converting Jews to Christianity, and will speak today at their fundraiser in Irving, Texas."

There is absolutely nothing on their website stating this aim or belief..(Ernst searched extensively) So where did you get that lie from? Ernst knows that messianic Jews believe as Ernst does, that Israel will sign a peace accord with Antichrist and in the midst of 7 year agreement, Satan's man breaks the accord and declares himself the only god. They believe their role will e to lead the Jews into believing that they must turn to Christ or be annihilated unless Christ returns to save them. (Ernst disagrees here, as ALL believers whether of Jewish descent or Gentile will be caught up prior to Satan's mans revealing..The evangelical 144,000 are something completely different in calling and the special protection awarded them at that time..They were non believing Jews, converted by God himself and sealed for their task after the two witnesses of Moses and Elijah are killed by Antichrist publicly but resurrected for all the world to see) In no way is this promoting a drive to bring Armageddon in the statement that you declare!
Armageddon is not the 'Apocalypse' but the return of Christ Himself so that all eyes shall see it is the apocalypse (The revealing of who He is and NONE shall doubt it).

On the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute wesite,

"Q: How can I bless the Jewish people?

A: Seven ways to bless the Jewish people:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Pray for Jewish believers living in Israel and around the world.
Pray for God to bring Jewish people into your pathway.
Learn about Jewish holidays.
Tell your family and friends why they should stand with Israel.
Stand against all forms of anti-Semitism in the church and outside.
Give to Jewish poor and support Jewish ministries who believe that Jesus is the Messiah around the world." Hardly inflammatory and demanding that all men, on behalf of Israel, rush to their doom, is it?

There is a special hatred bred towards Israel and all things Jewish from the ideologies of the atheist and Islamist that defy logic ecept it be inspired by Satan himself!

Does Israel exist because of or in spite of the British? It appears to gnaw at the very soul of Andrew Brown (he probably denies he has one) that we (From Richard the Lion Hearted to Winston Churchill and evangelical Britain-from shaking off Roman Catholicism-took up the cause for Israel) played any part in God's plan and he shows it in his writing!

16 November 2013 22:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

It's hard to grasp the central theme of this article. Something like 'Anti-Semitic pro-Israeli Christians conspire with turncoat Jews to betray Israel for the sake of retrograde theology and get Christians killed in the process. Just think, if it wasn't for upper class Evangelicals there never would have been an Israel in the first place.' The article is such a witch's brew, it's hard to make sense of it.

Well, at least we know that there are still good Christians out there. You know, the 'mainstream' ones. You can identify them because they don't believe Jesus is the Messiah. In fact, they don't believe much of anything. That's why they are called 'mainstream' in this day and age.

carl

16 November 2013 22:51  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Martin, Happy Jack agrees with the Inspector and thinks that is a shocking thing to say about children. Jack knows the young throw terrible temper tantrums and can be selfish. They can also be very gentle and kind. Didn't Jesus himself say: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

16 November 2013 22:51  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

If YG really must read the Grauniad, he must expect to find these dim-witted accusations and mindless burblings.
The persecution of dhimmis and kaffirs in the former Turkish empire did not suddenly begin in 1948. It has been going on for as long as there have been been Islamists in the region. They took over the empire of Byzantium populated by christians and some Jews and have gradually expelled or exterminated them. In Bulgaria and Romania they imposed what was known as the "boy-harvest" - a form of taxation of children. Male children were taken from Christian families for centuries and forced into the Turkish army, often as eunuchs. The appalling holocaust of the Armenian Christians during WW1 was only a small episode in this thousand-year story. History is not the strong point of the sort of noisy animals who write the Grauniad.
Well said seanrobsville ...
"And it's also Israel's fault that peaceful Muslims have had to defend themselves against aggressive Buddhists thoughout the Middle and Far East for the last 1400 years."

16 November 2013 22:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Happy Jack is confusing lack of guile and helplessness for innocence. All you have to do is imagine an adult with the untrained character of an infant. Why do you think God in His wisdom made children helpless?

carl

16 November 2013 23:03  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" carl jacobs said...

Well, at least we know that there are still good Christians out there. You know, the 'mainstream' ones. You can identify them because they don't believe Jesus is the Messiah. In fact, they don't believe much of anything. That's why they are called 'mainstream' in this day and age. "

Think the term 'mainstream' or ruminate in question translates from the latin 'Capra aegagrus hircus'!

Bezoares, found to have a mass of undigested biblical matter in the gastrointestinal area unlike the true Ovis aries;

Matthew 25:31-46.

16 November 2013 23:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

You are a desperately sad blighter Carl...

16 November 2013 23:12  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack has friends with Down's Syndrome who are like adults with childlike qualities. He agrees they can at times be get angry when they are confused. Most times they are caring and loving. Jack agrees God made children helpless so they could grow in love and learn from their parents about him and develop values. He didn't make them completely evil though ready to tare off someone's arm! You're a dad, so you'll have seen a baby look loving into his mother's eyes and giggle and laugh when played with and cuddled.

16 November 2013 23:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Happy Jack

You do not grasp the problem. You have to imagine a child isolated from the training and upbringing of parents.

carl

16 November 2013 23:42  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, yes, but God never intended that when he cast Adam and Eve out of Eden, did he? He intended family life. Why? Happy Jack says every child has good and evil within them. We are social creatures made in the image of God to live and love together. Just as God is a trinity of love. Children with parents who abuse them and who do not love them, or those who over indulge them, also grow up spiritually and socially damaged.

17 November 2013 00:03  
Blogger Len said...

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offence to many because it throws light onto the fallen condition of man and fallen man hates the light of God`s Word exposing the darkness within his soul.
The forces of evil did all they could to stamp out the Gospel at the very beginning and have tried to do this throughout the Centuries.'Political Correctness'is the latest attempt to silence the Gospel (that won`t work either the Word of God cannot be chained)
Jews and Christians seem fair game to be attacked by the media and I suppose we shouldn`t be too surprised by the media.

And Muslims?.Well we all know they of the' religion of peace'are just amicable fellows trying to get along with everbody.Nothing to report about there.

17 November 2013 00:56  
Blogger non mouse said...

My guess, Your Grace? It's all about "incitement to hatred"!!! That's the only language the manipulators understand, after all; and that'e their MO as far as their enemy is concerned: so what they want is Jews hating Christians, and all the Christian sects hating each other ... and that'll keep us nice and busy and destabilized.

With any luck, from their pov, we'll be in total civil disorder and crisis just in time for them to roll out the EU Militia. Then they can punish us: vengeance being an attribute of the State, an' all.

Though why such unspiritual beings should trust so much to "luck" is a puzzle. Perhaps they don't know they're doing it.

17 November 2013 07:23  
Blogger Andrew Brown said...

Adrian HIlton, will you please remove the first paragraph. You write:

According to Andrew Brown at The Guardian, this amounts to a 'crusade', in which no former president should play no part, unless, of course, he is a 'Zionist double agent'.

This is not true. The phrase "Zionist double agent" is nowhere in my piece, yet you have put it in quotes as if it were mine. I did use the word "crusade" but I was quoting Bush in another context. Lawyers might question whether the drivellings of your commenters could be held to harm anyone's reputation but their own. But you have quotes all down the side of your blog suggesting that people should take you seriously. So I would ask you to apologise for what you have done and make it clear that you did not check what I actually published before enjoying your little outrage wank.

17 November 2013 07:41  
Blogger IanCad said...

OIG,

From your last two posts I gather that you do not accept the - primarily Augustinian - doctrine of Original Sin.
Neither do I.

17 November 2013 08:06  
Blogger Martin said...

OoIG

Perhaps you should read the Bible once in a while.

17 November 2013 08:10  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

Perhaps you need to apply the observation that children die. Now by applying the following:

“"The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:20 NKJV)

we know that the reason anyone dies is because they are sinful, because they have sinned. Therefore because children die they are sinners. It takes a great deal of effort to get small siblings to play together without violence, especially when you aren't watching.

17 November 2013 08:21  
Blogger David B said...

Martin, you still persist in insisting that I believe in God, and hence I persist in pointing out that this is presumptuous, arrogant, wrong, and, indeed, very stupid.

I don't remember reading about man being a federal head of Creation in the Bible. Is it there? Did you just make it up, of find some way of interpreting the Bible in that way? What is it supposed to mean?

Happy Jack, do you believe that the Adam and Eve myth is literal history? Because such a belief is out of touch with reality as shown by many consilient branches of modern science.

David

17 November 2013 08:39  
Blogger David B said...

Len, who said -

"The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offence to many because it throws light onto the fallen condition of man and fallen man hates the light of God`s Word exposing the darkness within his soul."

The excellent cartoon series 'Jesus and Mo' looks at this point in its carton of Sept 4th 2013.

I won't post a link, but it should be easy to find.

The author of the piece seems to me to agree with you insofar as the Christian view of man is not good.

However, as I point out to Jack, above, the Fall as presented in Genesis never happened, with a degree of certainty similar to the degree of certainty that God did not create the world last Thursday.

Do you think the Fall myth literally true, or see it as some sort of analogy or allegory or something?

David

17 November 2013 08:52  
Blogger Martin said...

David B

Of course you know God exists. You have no excuse for your pretended Atheism, it is merely your defiant rebellion against your maker.

I doubt you have read much of the Bible, most Atheists rely on websites written by those with equally little knowledge. If you had bothered to read Genesis you would have seen that Man had dominion over the whole of nature, that animals were named by him and that all nature suffered when he fell.

Of course, in order to prevent such from disturbing your sleep of death you pretend that the pseudo-science of Evolution gives you the explanation of how life came into existence yet, as Ray Comfort demonstrated, you are incapable of demonstrating such change.

You have a choice. Either go away and moulder in your self-deception until the time comes to stand before your maker or seek the mercy God offers to all. I suggest the latter is the most beneficial.

17 November 2013 09:09  
Blogger David B said...

Back at the OP, His Grace said -

"Get that? The persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East is not the fault of the Wahhabi-Salafist strain of Islam which is infecting the region's Muslims and spreading like a plague through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Egypt. No, Christians throughout the region are being harassed, defamed, raped, tortured, burned and beheaded because of Israel."

If one uses a narrow brush then the many causes of the persecution of Christians by Muslims, Muslims by other Muslims.... seem complicated and indeed sometimes controversial.

If one uses a broader brush, though, it seems to me hard to deny that the persecution of religious groups by other religious groups is caused by religion, caused by faith.

So it is not surprising that some people do not view religion or faiths as net goods.

Further, with many different, competing, and mutually incompatable, religions and sects all relying on faith to get, keep and indoctrinate followers, it should be clear to anyone with any sense that faith and/or indoctrination is not a good measure of whether a set of beliefs is beneficial and/or good.

David

17 November 2013 09:18  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B

I give up. You wanted me to describe why things would happen if a God exists and why are certain actions by God "fair" or "not fair" etc.

Then you argue back saying effectively that I have to prove that God exists first.

Argumentum ad populum? No, I was merely explaining how selection for heaven could conceivably happen, without "unfairness"


Phil

17 November 2013 09:29  
Blogger Martin said...

Phil

Remember, David already knows God exists, His judgements are fair and he hates God for it.

17 November 2013 09:41  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Andrew Brown,

It appears you are being obtuse, and your latent threat against those who have commented in this thread is just childish.

Both of the terms to which you object are clearly hyper-linked to their sources. Whether you approve or not, your sub-editor made 'crusade' rather prominent in your article. Incidentally, quotation marks are not only used to attribute quotation, you know.

The quotations down the side of this blog are also from detractors who, like you, clearly believe it should not be taken seriously.

You have received an apology (two, in fact) because the second quotation on eschatology was not originally linked (which was an oversight), though it was certainly not directly attributed to you, and is manifestly the theology to which you allude by referencing the Balfour Declaration.

If the mention of lawyers is a threat, please, feel free. Your final word is, however, about the puerile level of reasoned discourse one might expect from you. It might even make the blog quotes column.

Funny, isn't it, that you spout off about anything but the responses to your central allegation - the warped, if not evil proposition that Israel is responsible for the mass persecution in the Middle East.

17 November 2013 09:42  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B

It just occurred to me from your comments that perhaps you don't realise that the Rich man and Lazarus is a parable and was not intended to be taken as history/literally but was a teaching point.

Although it is interesting that Rich man and Lazarus is the only parable with a character who has a name.

Also you said...

"So it is not surprising that some people do not view religion or faiths as net goods"

Atheistic societies have had their fair share of problems (e.g. Responsible for most of the genocide in the last 250 years) and it is also true that all major religions are growing with Christianity being the fastest growing faith on the planet. (Growing at roughly three times the rate of the second fastest Islam)

Phil



17 November 2013 09:59  
Blogger Len said...

'The Christian view of man is not good'.

The Christian view of man is that man has tremendous potential but that potential has been largely lost when man was deceived into thinking that he could negotiate his way through this World(material and spiritual) using his own 'wisdom' and resources.
Man pride was/is his downfall and his pride keeps him a prisoner in this self inflicted' prison'.
Satan didn`t overpower man by sheer force but by deception and appealing to the ability of man to steer his own course by using his 'logic'and the power of his will to be independant of any outside assistance.
It is only through the 'foolishness' of the Cross that man can be saved from himself.
But pride stands between man and salvation we see it here on an almost daily basis whenever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is mentioned.
Those who boast of their own 'independence,'' their total denial of God have succumbed to 'the lie' which has entrapped them.

Man still clings to the deception that he can save himself and remain independant of God , such is the pride which caused the 'fall' in the first instance!.

17 November 2013 09:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Martin. Happy Jack asks if you are saying that little babies who do not know right from wrong are sinners? The quote you gave from Ezekiel is strange as Jack thought the reason people die was because of a sin committed a very long time ago by Adam even though we were not there. Jesus could have been murdered as a child by Herod's men if the angel had not warned Joseph and Mary and Joseph had not run away. Are you saying Jesus could not have died as a baby even if one of soldiers had cut off his head? That's just a silly thing to say. Also, Jack understands our souls do not die because they are immortal but it is our bodies that die.

17 November 2013 10:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Andrew Brown: "This is not true. The phrase "Zionist double agent" is nowhere in my piece, yet you have put it in quotes as if it were mine."

Single quotes, not double quotes. I took that to refer to a concept or notion.

17 November 2013 10:19  
Blogger IanCad said...

Happy Jack,

"---our souls do not die because they are immortal---"

You might want to check that out.
It is not a Biblical but a Greek teaching.

Yet another error that Augustine picked up and ran with.

17 November 2013 10:58  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B

" do you believe that the Adam and Eve myth is literal history? Because such a belief is out of touch with reality as shown by many consilient branches of modern science"

Do you believe in the Evolution Myth? The chances of it happening are similar to the chances of we sit down to play poker and you get dealt 30 Royal flush without a break.

You would say what is the problem?

It is just chance that I got these cards.

I would shoot you for cheating anyway!

Your "faith" in Evolution is not as logical as it seems. You put your faith in a tiny tiny tiny possibility that random chance is responsible for everything in existence.

Phil




17 November 2013 11:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Good morning David B. Yes, Happy Jack believes Adam and Eve were real, though this may not have been their names, and the first parents of all humans and that they did a very bad thing. Jack doesn't think they just ate an apple. He doesn't know. The story may or may not be real, Jack just does not know. Even if people evolved, again Jack does not know, at some point God gave two people a soul and reason and the ability to know him and what he wanted for them to be happy. They decided to ignore him after Satan tempted Eve. The story in the bible tells us about the very start of our history as people and how it has been influenced by some bad act of Adam and Eve and then passed onto us like a virus.

17 November 2013 11:11  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace

Well said in your stand on your excellent post and your response to the thoroughly Protestant atheist from his retaliation on it and our commenting (which Ernst thinks has been most reasonable by all here).

These atheists truly believe *Guffaws* that only they are entitled to express an opinion that must stand unchallenged.

As Ernst said on a previous thread;

What do atheist mean when they say Equality for all?

"We don't necessarily discriminate against anyone. We simply exclude certain types of people." This includes US!!

We then get threats from Mr Brown regarding commenting on his malicious drivel when declaring its myopic view and pointing out it's obvious and odious bias.

The 'brave new world' the christian faces?

Keep standing firm, Your Grace!

Blofeld

17 November 2013 11:13  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Good morning IanCad. Happy Jack is not a student of Greek or of Augustine and tries not to delve too deeply into all these things. He just believes we have a body and a soul and that sometime after we die our bodies will be raised again and we will be judged and then go to heaven or to hell for ever. Happy Jack believes this is what Jesus told us.

17 November 2013 11:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Blowers, you are up and about earlier than usual. Happy Jack thinks that Brown man was terribly rude using a bad word and on a Sunday too. It was like a child in a playground.

Besides, Happy Jack believes he insulted every Christian when he wrote this: "If Jesus really was the promised Messiah this would restore much of the traditional basis for Christian anti-Semitism which most Christians have struggled against for the last 50 years." Being a Christian does not mean we hate Jews!

Do you think this Mr Brown is a member of the Sillys*ite tribe rather than the Erudite tribe?

17 November 2013 11:29  
Blogger David B said...

Phil, who said -

"Do you believe in the Evolution Myth? The chances of it happening are similar to the chances of we sit down to play poker and you get dealt 30 Royal flush without a break."

Evolution is as absolutely established as it is possible to be.

Given creatures that replicate, but replicate inperfectly - and can you deny that there are creatures that replicate imperfectly?

And given that when these creatures replicate at a rate which would, without some surviving and breeding more effectively than others mathematics dictates that in not too many generations a species would occupy the whole mass of the earth - and can you deny that? - then the characteristics of those that survive and breed will tend to be preserved - and can you deny that?

Evolution is rock solid!

As well established that if you hit a golf ball, it will fly through the air in the direction in which it was hit.

Where it will end up is more chancy, though, depending on many variables, like changes in direction and strength of the wind, the exact nature of the ground from which it first bounces - or doesn't bounce.

So it is with evolution.

You may be confusing the origin of self replicating beings with evolution, which takes replicating beings as given - and why not? We see them all around us.

Such origins are also interesting, and deep in the past, so it is hard to figure out what happened exactly.

But if there are any plausible suggestions - and there are several - regarding how replication with variation can start without supernatural intervention, then to invoke the supernatural becomes unnecessary.

Of course understanding the origins of putative supernatural beings is not without problems of its own.

David


17 November 2013 11:29  
Blogger IanCad said...

Good Morning to you also Jack.

My concern is that if the notion of an immortal soul is strongly held it can lead to the embrace of Spiritualism, or to the adoption of Voodoo or Animist beliefs.

17 November 2013 11:34  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

Oh dear, Andrew Brown is upset. And like any good Grauniad journalist, he cannot express himself without being abusive and throwing in a touch of the obscene.
Only the Grauniad has a licence to print slanders and lies - never forget that!

17 November 2013 11:46  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Andrew Brown said

"...... your little outrage wank"

The Guardian circulation

204,222 copies December 2012 — a drop of 11.25% on January 2012 — as compared to sales of 547,465 for The Daily Telegraph, 396,041 for The Times.

In March 2013, its average daily circulation had fallen to 193,586, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations

With such eloquent writers as Brown displaying the highest of journalistic skills, such as the comment above. One wonders why the drop in circulation!

Could it mean Brown that nobody wants to read your offensive drivel and final comment?

Surely not!

I would say that it is it like reading the petulant rant of a teenager rather than a journalist who wants to be taken seriously. EXCEPT that would be an insult to 99% of teenagers.

Grow up Brown or people will stop reading your rag.

Oops it seems they are doing that already.

Phil

17 November 2013 11:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Your "faith" in Evolution is not as logical as it seems. You put your faith in a tiny tiny tiny possibility that random chance is responsible for everything in existence."

Everything living on this planet, that is. There may be life of varying sorts all over the universe for all we know. The conditions may have failed to coincide in any number of places before it happened here. Dole out the cards often enough and apparently unlikely coincidences will happen. Of course, people who accept subsequent evolution by natural selection as being the best explanation for species we have so far based on observable evidence are almost always willing to revisit the theory as new evidence arises. That's not religious faith, that's an open enquiring mind. I suspect you want to equivocate between the two because you know you've taken an ungrounded, unnecessarily detailed, and massively overegged explanation on board simply because of where you were brought up.

17 November 2013 11:53  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Andrew Brown will be interested to see that Vatican Insider has a further report on the violence being committed against Copts by, of course – who else? – George W. Bush, at the head of a rampaging mob of Messianic Jewish Zionists

The region that has been hit by Islamist violence the hardest is Minya in Upper Egypt, home to a large Coptic Christian minority. According to local sources, at least twenty churches, schools and other Christian institutions have been attacked and set alight. Even orphanages have been attacked, looted and burnt by radical Islamists in an attempt to wipe out the Christian presence in the area. The Tadros e-Shabti Church is a case in point. Morsi’s supporters have targeted two homes for disabled children located near the parish church. After stealing the offerings and the children’s clothes and toys, they set fire to the buildings, creating a blaze that lasted over five hours. (more)

http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/world-news/detail/articolo/egitto-egipto-egypt-copti-copts-coptos-29735/

17 November 2013 11:55  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B

Well done for trying to attempt to prove Evolution conclusively in 4 or 5 sentences.

I will not try to disprove it in 4 or 5 sentences. However, you do outline one problem that is how "regarding how replication with variation can start" (Dawkins favours little green men from another planet I seem to recall)

One other is changing in the genome to a different species. Scientists have been trying to do this for many years and it does not happen. Even when e.g. large numbers of fruit flies are irradiated (as they have been) for thousands of generations.

No PROOF of evolution yet, not even close. The main problem being repeatability. Esp the first cell and natural selection resulting in different species.

Phil





17 November 2013 12:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

David B, Happy Jack is not a "creationist" as he does not think science and the bible are opposed to one another.

As Jack sees it, the problem atheist evolutionists have is that they cannot explain how the material of the universe came into being in the first place. The other problem is that science cannot explain how life first started. Then there's the bigger issues of rational, creative thought, humans knowing right from wrong and our sense of responsibility for other people.

Happy Jack says you have a faith just like Christians except its based on ... Jack actually doesn't know what its based on!

17 November 2013 12:06  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

"...outrage wank...'
what a pathetic thing to say...

17 November 2013 12:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "As Jack sees it, the problem atheist evolutionists have is that they cannot explain how the material of the universe came into being in the first place. The other problem is that science cannot explain how life first started. Then there's the bigger issues of rational, creative thought, humans knowing right from wrong and our sense of responsibility for other people."

Therefore, the Christian god exists? I'm thinking there's a logical flaw somewhere in an argument like that.

17 November 2013 12:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Andrew Brown: "Lawyers might question whether the drivellings of your commenters could be held to harm anyone's reputation but their own."

I quite like the Guardian as a newspaper but I can't be doing with what appears to me to be a veiled threat like that when all that's really needed is a thicker skin.

17 November 2013 12:22  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Danjo

"Dole out the cards often enough and apparently unlikely coincidences will happen"

If we say that evolution is equivalent to the Royal flush argument above


The probability is around 8.7 times 10 to the power of 200 or 9 and 200 zeros.

Or this number

87000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

to one

For comparison the number of atoms in the entire universe is estimated as 1 and 80 zeros

Random choice, such a marvelous thing!

Phil

17 November 2013 12:27  
Blogger IanCad said...

Phil,

Didn't Fred Hoyle state that even the random formation of a cell would be less likely that of a Boeing 747?

17 November 2013 12:38  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Danjo. Happy Jack did not say the Christian God existed in that bit, did he? He does believe this but what he wrote was against atheist evolution.

Happy Jack remembers you saying earlier you are more comfortable with the idea of God as a "creating thing", as a "placeholder". Jack didn't understand this then and hopes you might explain it a bit more.

17 November 2013 12:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Andrew Brown. Your inference that you have been libelled is so much outrageous rot. An article you wrote is published, picked up by Cranmer, who adds his own interpretation and then thrown to the mob for dissection. Now, the important thing is the link provided to your actual comment. Any commentator worth his salt would have viewed that link. Yes there are weak commentators on this site, but Cranmer can hardly be held responsible for that.

You don’t have a legal leg to stand on, for if you were to sue and win, it would mean that any worthless hack can publish in the knowledge that whatever he or she wrote would be unassailable. It would be the truth before our very eyes. And we can’t be having that now, can we !!

17 November 2013 12:49  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Mrs Proudie

Arten't you being a little bit unfair, Mrs Proudie? You can't expect Jupiter standards from just any old rag, can you?

17 November 2013 12:49  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack believes poor, sensitive Mrs Proudie must have coughed on her oats this morning on reading such a rude word. One wonders what the good Bishop must have thought. No lady should be exposed to such profanities and most especially on the Lord's Day.

17 November 2013 13:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

IanCad. One mounted an exercise last year to dispense with original sin. It did not work. It’s definitely part of the equation and one is so convinced he will never attempt it again.

The utterings of the protestant extreme here are generally repugnant, and the concept of evil babies should have come as no surprise, but it did. And yet, most necessary to support and perpetuate the myth of pre-destination.

There are those among us who follow the words of long dead bitter men, and not the spirit which Christ has shown us. And they have the audacity to damn the rest of us...


17 November 2013 13:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Happy Jack remembers you saying earlier you are more comfortable with the idea of God as a "creating thing", as a "placeholder". Jack didn't understand this then and hopes you might explain it a bit more."

It's in the realms of cosmology. We don't know all the answers, and we may never know. Entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics gives some hints though. If some people prefer to hold onto the idea of an unimaginably powerful being causing the universe rather than simply accept it's an unknown or allow that it (say) might be the unintended product of a process in another reality then so be it. However, I don't see that we can reasonably go from that to a god who instantiated itself into 1st century Palestine to be sacrificed and who cares deeply about how and why we perform sexual acts or which gender performs sacramental acts in a church hierarchy.

17 November 2013 13:22  
Blogger David B said...

IanCad, Hoyle was a very distinguished astronomer and cosmologist, not a biologist, and his views on that issue have been demolished many times.

Incidentally, for all his great contributions to astronomy, particularly, IIRC, in showing how carbon could be created in supernovas without any supernatural interference, he was badly wrong on a number of issues, and the steady state view of the universe is no a dead duck.

He had a few bees in his bonnet, one being panspermia - the idea that life permeates through the universe by some sort of cosmic seeding. His remarks on the odds of a cell starting on earth are to be seen in that context.

BTW nobody thinks that life started with a load of chemicals joining together to form a cell, the odds against that happening would certainly be huge.

Something much smaller and less complicated than a cell, but something chemical capable of replication with modification, is another matter entirely.

You might look at Stuart Kauffman's work on this question, though he is not alone. He wrote a book I read some years ago called 'At Home in the Universe' for the layman, which I can recommend.

David

17 November 2013 13:27  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Julia Gasper,

"the boy harvest"

Yes indeed, and when I was traveling through Bulgaria we also learnt about the girl harvest, a practice of forcibly stealing very attractive post-pubescent girls and adding them to the local rulers harem. The Christian population was simply exploited through taxes of all sorts, some much more repugnant than others.
Fortunately one brave young man took a stand, which sparked off a full rebellion against the hated Turkish overlords, which would probably been crushed by the superior occupying forces. But fortunately the Russians rode to the rescue, pouring over the hills forming part of the border between the two countries, in strong support of their fellow Orthodox Christians. I saw the incredibly beautiful church built near the initial location of the Russian incursion, as a symbol of gratitude to their neighbours and in praise of God for their delivery, finally after such a long oppression by the Turks.

17 November 2013 13:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Hello Danjo. Happy Jack did not say the Christian God existed in that bit, did he? He does believe this but what he wrote was against atheist evolution"

But you've defined all the associated problems away for yourself by allocating their solution to something intangible and unknowable that, by your definition, solves them for you.

17 November 2013 13:36  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear dear Uncle Brian and dearest Happy Jack, imagine...there I was having my porridge when my eye caught Mr. Brown's expletive. It's the sort of language one imagines Mr. Slope would use when demon gin takes hold - come to think of it, it's the sort of activity he might indulge in whilst on his seaman's mission. One shudders... and you are quite right, dear Uncle B, the Jupiter would never employ anyone who drags images up from the gutter. Now, forgive me, I am going to retire to the Palace drawing room and practice the Quadrille: It's Strictly Night on the Magic Lantern and one likes to get into the spirit...which neatly brings us back to Mr. Slope I think...

17 November 2013 13:37  
Blogger IanCad said...

OIG,

"--- the myth of pre-destination---"

We've been over that a few times on this blog!

17 November 2013 13:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Aye, no more !

17 November 2013 13:45  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack is sorry but he has no idea what this means: "Entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics gives some hints though", or that the universe might be "the unintended product of a process in another reality".
That's not a "creating thing", or a "placeholder".

And when you say that it is in the "realms of cosmology" Jack thinks the basic choice is between an intelligent being who intended to create intelligent people and simple materialism.

The rest of your answer opens up a whole other discussion about why this "unimaginably powerful being" created us and whether he communicates this to us, and if he wants us to live a certain way for our own good and that of others and what happens if we ignore him. Also if he wants us to worship him and how.

17 November 2013 13:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "And when you say that it is in the "realms of cosmology" Jack thinks the basic choice is between an intelligent being who intended to create intelligent people and simple materialism."

Yes, that's the problem with your thinking.

17 November 2013 13:57  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, well that maybe so from where you're sitting. Happy Jack can only answer that you speculating about the beginning of the universe and the existence of intelligent life within it being the chance by product of some "other reality" is the problem with your thinking. There is no evidence for this and there can never be. It is a faith system just like belief in a God.

17 November 2013 14:21  
Blogger OldJim said...

Danjo,

So, Happy Jack said

"As Jack sees it, the problem atheist evolutionists have is that they cannot explain how the material of the universe came into being in the first place. The other problem is that science cannot explain how life first started. Then there's the bigger issues of rational, creative thought, humans knowing right from wrong and our sense of responsibility for other people."

Now, we'll leave the question of how life started to one side, because I'm not convinced myself that that is pertinent. But the other three certainly are, and I think that morality and rationality in particular are pressing. David B said very early on in this thread that he derived morality from the concepts "pleasant" and "unpleasant", but I don't see that that'll do the work. In philosophical naturalism, you simply cannot get an "ought" out of an "is".

So the question becomes "Do I need a rational basis for morality, or am I happy with moral judgments being merely emotional ones?" - many atheists today will, in trying to give these judgments substance, start speaking in a pseudo-metaphysical language. Well, either this language is or isn't making metaphysical claims. If it isn't, then it won't really get you anywhere further. If it is, then philosophical naturalism has been to some extent abandoned.

That doesn't make Christianity true of course, but it radically alters the playing field. A Deist position becomes as likely if not more likely than an atheist one, and when once from this set of admitted metaphysical propositions you have derived certain characteristics that a God-figure must possess, determination of Christianity's truth becomes merely a judgment on its consonance with these claims and an evaluation of its historical verisimilitude.

So the question of whether morality has a rational basis doesn't get you to Christianity, to be sure. But Happy Jack never said that it did. It is sufficient to demonstrate that there is an aspect of human life which evades explanation by philosophical naturalism, not because of the absence of empirical data, which is contingent, but because of the necessary poverty of its truth claims, which is essential. You either deny that aspect of human life, change its definition out of all recognition, or you recognise that additional philosophical axioms will be required to render it an intelligible phenomenon.

That is a cogent critique of atheism as it is most commonly presented in the 21st Century, and its acceptance is sufficient to drastically foreshorten the odds of Christianity's being true.

17 November 2013 14:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

OldJim. A superb post, Sir !

Full of charm and beauty and direction. One reads your work in awe...

17 November 2013 14:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "There is no evidence for this and there can never be. It is a faith system just like belief in a God."

It's not like your religious faith at all. In particular, I'm saying "It might be like this, or that, or the other" whereas you're saying "It is like this, and only this". You're carrying in life on according to the writings in a book which you think this god thing has somehow inspired. These are two very different approaches.

17 November 2013 14:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Old Jim, you appear to want to argue with David B and what he said but are replying to me and shifting the discussion I was having to move me to the same place. Curious.

17 November 2013 14:41  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Inspector,
I respect your devout fait and sacramental practices but I regret I can't subscribe to your beliefs that your salvation can be worked out through confession, the sacraments and Purgatory.
If it was not for our being born in sin, it would be possible for man to live a perfect life and have no need of Christ's salvation work on the cross.
However, Jesus loves little children and said 'suffer the little children to come unto me'.
Therefore, God is not a monster but a loving God and would not condemn a little child who has not known the Gospel. He will also judge all men who have rejected the innate knowledge of God that is in all men, whether they recognise it or not. (David B.)
He does however require his followers to spread the Gospel to all men that they may be saved.

17 November 2013 14:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack says set aside views on the Christian God and the bible for a moment and ask: "God might be like this, or that, or the other". Have you ruled this question out? If so, why? Or are you saying that in your question there is still room for the possibility of a creator God?

17 November 2013 14:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's probably worth pointing out that I have said many times that I doubt the widespread and usually unstated assumption that there is a single, consistent, coherent moral code to be found.

17 November 2013 14:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Have you ruled this question out? If so, why? Or are you saying that in your question there is still room for the possibility of a creator God?"

Of course not. That would put me in a position of faith. To my mind, there may possibly be a creator god, a creating thing, a process, or something else entirely. I know as much about it as you do, only I accept that I know pretty much nothing.

17 November 2013 14:54  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

Since they die then the babies must be sinners in their own right. Certainly my experience with my own and my childrens' children convinces me that they are sinners from as early as can be. If you want a sin that a unborn child can commit, how about failing to love God as they should?

As to the slaughter by Herod, Jesus was well away so who knows what would have happened.

Spiritually the sinner appears dead because the things of God are meaningless to him. Death for the soul appears to be separation from God. Indeed it appear that all are resurrected with bodies at the end of time for Revelation speaks of the first resurrection which is clearly the New Birth.

17 November 2013 14:58  
Blogger OldJim said...

Inspector,

Thank you. That is kind of you to say. Keep doing what you're doing.

Danjo,

You quoted the same post by Happy Jack that I did, and replied to it as follows:

"Therefore, the Christian god exists? I'm thinking there's a logical flaw somewhere in an argument like that."

I wanted to clarify what was and was not being said. Happy Jack never said that his observations led to that conclusion. By replying as you did, you left open the rhetorical possibility that because Happy Jack's observations weren't sufficient for that conclusion (which it seems to me that you had rather arbitrarily chosen), they weren't sufficient for any conclusion. It was a false reading not only of what the post does but of what in the first place Happy Jack intended it to do, as was clear both in that post and in his later replies. In that context, I provided a more detailed commentary to clarify the matter, for the avoidance of doubt. It was supremely pertinent to the conversation between the two of you. David B's relevant comment early in the thread was merely and simply fortuitous, because it gave an example that was at immediate hand for all of us from which I could hammer out the bones of what we were trying to say. It is with you and Happy Jack that the post is most immediately concerned, and not with David B; though of course the use of David B's contentions necessarily invites him into the discussion and makes his thoughts relevant to it. It suffices to say that that was incidental to my purpose.

17 November 2013 15:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Old Jim, Happy Jack thanks you for clearing all that up and he followed your reasoning too.

Danjo, so you accept God might exist? If so, Happy Jack then asks why you don't seek him, her or it? It is quite an adventure!

17 November 2013 15:12  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Happy Jack said...

"Hello Blowers, you are up and about earlier than usual (Ernst suffers insomnia but still up after a few hours kip. Ernsty reads all just rarely comments early in the day. He likes to see a plethora of comments first). Happy Jack thinks that Brown man was terribly rude using a bad word and on a Sunday too. It was like a child in a playground.(Deserving of a good spanking but presume his mother just rubbed his head and said the little darling was a budding genius when doing spiteful mischief. Poor parenting!)"

Besides, Happy Jack believes he insulted every Christian when he wrote this: "If Jesus really was the promised Messiah this would restore much of the traditional basis for Christian anti-Semitism which most Christians have struggled against for the last 50 years." Being a Christian does not mean we hate Jews!(Indeed but as his blog links to Guardian CIF {Comment Is Free}, it seems it is only free so long as your view is as jaundiced as theirs!!)

Do you think this Mr Brown is a member of the Sillys*ite tribe rather than the Erudite tribe (Ernst think he is the High Priest of the Sillys*ites, roaming the blog looking for Erudites or especially Israelites to sacrifice on their altar)

Blowers

17 November 2013 15:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

OldJim: "I wanted to clarify what was and was not being said. Happy Jack never said that his observations led to that conclusion."

You'll perhaps note the question mark I put in there.

"By replying as you did, you left open the rhetorical possibility that because Happy Jack's observations weren't sufficient for that conclusion (which it seems to me that you had rather arbitrarily chosen), they weren't sufficient for any conclusion."

Also, it's worth noting that the discussion has flowed from another thread and brought some of its context with it.

"In that context, I provided a more detailed commentary to clarify the matter, for the avoidance of doubt. It was supremely pertinent to the conversation between the two of you."

Well I guess I should thank you for your help, and the shift to the issue of morality.

17 November 2013 15:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Danjo, so you accept God might exist? If so, Happy Jack then asks why you don't seek him, her or it? It is quite an adventure!"

I note you've capitalised the word god. That and the subsequent sentence implies you've defined god to be more than just a creating thing. Based on what?

17 November 2013 15:24  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Martin, Happy Jack thinks your views on babies is ghastly. Baby Jesus was fully human as well as truly God. This means his brain and his body had to develop and he had to learn about things as he grew up. Or is Jack wrong? He would have suckled at his mothers breast and had his nappies changed like all babies and felt hunger and pain and maybe even human separation when his earthly mummy and daddy were not around. Jack doubts he would have wanted to tear Mary's arm off her as he was developing. He also doubts Jesus would have survived if he had not been looked after properly and fed and kept warm and safe.

The bible tells us that John the Baptist leapt in his mother's womb when the pregnant Mary visited her. Something in his soul recognised Jesus as the son of God. This can only mean God's grace touched him even as a baby. As John was a normal boy that God's grace is somehow there for all little infants. Or has Jack got this wrong too?

17 November 2013 15:35  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack thinks you're being a little bit silly now.

If there is a God powerful enough to create the universe from nothing and then from all the chaos after the Big Bang human beings with intelligence emerged, then Jack thinks he is most deserving of respect and is certainly a God with a capital letter.

Jack then asks why God would want to do such a thing in the first place? These are the questions man has been asking since he could think and begin to develop the tools to explore this world.

17 November 2013 15:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack may be wrong but he thinks you introduced morality into the discussion before Old Jim. This is where at
13:22 when you said:

"I don't see that we can reasonably go from that to a god who instantiated itself into 1st century Palestine to be sacrificed and who cares deeply about how and why we perform sexual acts or which gender performs sacramental acts in a church hierarchy."

Jack thinks you wanted an argument about Christian sexual ethics and morality. No?

17 November 2013 15:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Jack thinks you wanted an argument about Christian sexual ethics and morality. No?"

No, I was drawing attention to the great leap I previously mentioned from almost unknowable cosmological stuff to incredibly detailed and human-centric stuff, relatively speaking. I've done stuff about morality, human nature, and so on before a number of times so I'm focusing on this stuff for now.

It's interesting that you say you followed Old Jim's reasoning back there, with its talk of metaphysical naturalism, the is-ought issue, the talk of things being contingent and necessary, etc, which is all technical philosophy stuff, but the notion of a "creating thing" rather than your God seems to bewilder you.

17 November 2013 16:29  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack was joking about Old Jim's posts. He finds it very difficult to understand his posts and has to read them several times and then ask Jeeves a lot of questions! Jack can find nothing written anywhere about a "creating thing".

Thank you for the discussion. Happy Jack has enjoyed it and hopes you did too. Jack's off out now. Speak again soon.

17 November 2013 16:36  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B

The probability of creating life as we know it is (you seem to accept) infinity small but

"Something much smaller and less complicated than a cell, but something chemical capable of replication with modification, is another matter entirely"

Really? Get your book out then and tell us what these things are. I cannot wait to hear!

Or are they imaginary "substances" that are useful to make the Theory work, but do not exist (and never have)

Phil

17 November 2013 16:38  
Blogger OldJim said...

Danjo,

You're right that my treatment did rather push the debate in the direction of morality, and I can see that that was somewhat of a hijacking and I apologise.

I felt that to get to grips with the meat of Happy Jack's post I had to pick one of his examples and run with it. You can't demonstrate a general problem raised by all of them and argue from that abstraction without begging several questions. So I had the options "why is there something rather than nothing?", "how did life begin?", "What makes reason accurate?", and "What is this thing called 'morality'?"

I couldn't talk about the first without rendering it into the language of ontology, which is highly contentious. It's not a branch of metaphysics that I find it helpful to start with. I find it best to start somewhere else and when you have a firm footing, you argue to it, not from it. So I couldn't really use that.

I don't myself think "How did life start?" a properly philosophical question. I am quite happy with that being a scientific question.

I could equally have treated of rationality or of morality, and outlined broadly equivalent substantive flaws in philosophical naturalism in explaining and defending them as they are usually understood. My choice of morality was more a matter of whim than anything else.

In any case, what I am saying is that that is why I intended to write as I did. I didn't intend to hijack the argument in the direction of a moral argument, and I can see that that might very well have been the result. Since I can see that you did not wish to discuss that topic, I regret that my intervention might have had that effect, and I apologise, because it was presumptuous and ill-mannered of me.

17 November 2013 16:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Old Jim: "I could equally have treated of rationality or of morality, and outlined broadly equivalent substantive flaws in philosophical naturalism in explaining and defending them as they are usually understood."

One could simply replay the standard arguments here I suppose but I'm not sure this is the place for such things. It might be better to just post a set of links to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy site and have done with it.

However, there might be some worth in dealing with some more pragmatic stuff, such as why an atheist like me has a strong personal sense of right and wrong, even if we might disagree on the content, and what it means when I say I have values?

Asserting that the Christian god deliberately constructed me like that, as some people here do, rather begs the question I think. I think I have those things because I am a member of a self-aware, empathic, and gregarious species, and that a sense of morality follows from those things.

As I said earlier, I have said many times here that I don't think there exists a single, consistent, coherent moral code for us to find and I don't think morality exists independently. Given those two things, how do your questions relate to me?

17 November 2013 18:02  
Blogger John Thomas said...

" maybe one day it [ the Guardian]will run out of other people's money and cease its activities ..." - no John, the Guardian writers will then just migrate to the BBC (many have already, apparently) where they know that the taxpayer is forced to support their lying.

17 November 2013 18:30  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

DanJ0 said...

"However, there might be some worth in dealing with some more pragmatic stuff, such as why an atheist like me has a strong personal sense of right and wrong, even if we might disagree on the content, and what it means when I say I have values?

Asserting that the Christian god deliberately constructed me like that, as some people here do, rather begs the question I think. I think I have those things because I am a member of a self-aware, empathic, and gregarious species, and that a sense of morality follows from those things.

As I said earlier, I have said many times here that I don't think there exists a single, consistent, coherent moral code for us to find and I don't think morality exists independently. Given those two things, how do your questions relate to me?"

This should be interesting...Atheist (with agnostic tendencies when suits on blog) with homosexual preferences and values and Roman Catholic with a penchant for philosophy and Thomas Aquinas..This should cure Ernst's insomnia once and for all!

*Gets me Roses box down early bought for Christmas and puts a large pot of percolated coffee on and rolls me tabs early*

17 November 2013 18:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Blofeld: "This should be interesting...Atheist (with agnostic tendencies when suits on blog) with homosexual preferences and values and Roman Catholic with a penchant for philosophy and Thomas Aquinas..This should cure Ernst's insomnia once and for all!"

It won't be the first time I've been through this sort of stuff here with a Roman Catholic with a penchant for Aquinas. That said, I have almost no tolerance these days for long-winded discussions so I'd stick with some whisky to get to sleep if I were you.

If I wanted a long-winded discussion then I'd have shot this down right at the start:

"In philosophical naturalism, you simply cannot get an "ought" out of an "is"."

and settled in for the night with my David Hume to hand.

17 November 2013 18:59  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...


I can not quite decide who is worse in this godawful situation... those who commit the murder of Coptic, and other Christians, in the ME, or Andrew Brown who wrongly blames an innocent third party thereby effectively annulling the guilty of any blame. Andrew only deepens his calumny by dismissing anyone who dares question his point of view; he is a lost soul.

The desire to avoid facing up to the real problem just leaves room for the conspiratorial-minded to fill in the blanks with their own theories, Andrew Brown's pet theory being one of them.

The truth is pretty banal and easily accessed for those who really care about Christians struggling to exercise their Faith in Islamic and Muslim States. In 2012, a letter inciting violence against Christians was published after the Muslim Brotherhood gained power in Egypt. The letter refers to Christians as enemies of Allah's religion and slaves of the cross. It calls for Allah to curse them and for all Muslims to physically attack or kill Christians throughout Egypt until they either convert to Islam or submit to their status as dhimmi in accordance with verse 9:29 of the Koran: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

This is an old old story and has absolutely nothing to do with Dispensationalism, Zionist Christians, or the Israeli secret service. Not to believe the truth doesn't just prolong the suffering of Christians, it condemns us as party to the guilty.

17 November 2013 19:42  
Blogger Frater minor said...

DanJo:
As I said earlier, I have said many times here that I don't think there exists a single, consistent, coherent moral code for us to find and I don't think morality exists independently. Given those two things, how do your questions relate to me?

I think it is reasonable to challenge those assumptions
What is your reason for thinking that morality does not exist independently?
If morality is not independent, then that seems to imply that morality is dependent, or subjective. If that is the case, then what basis do we have for saying that female genital mutilation is wrong (rather than simply that we dislike it)?
What basis do we have for saying that it is wrong to oppress gay people (other than saying that we dislike oppression)?

Frater minor

17 November 2013 19:56  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

Can you provide a better view on babies based on what the Bible says? Take away the sloppy sentimental man centered stuff and what have you got?

As for Jesus, yes, as a human He had to develop but it is clear He knew who He was and why He had been born from His youth. Jesus was not a sinner, He did not inherit Adam's sinful nature, He was without sin.

I think it is clear that John the Baptist was very unusual, someone called from the womb, born again before he was born. Those whom God has elected receive God's grace from before they were born, kept through their lives, beloved of God. Not all babies are such for not all are elect.

17 November 2013 20:55  
Blogger IanCad said...

Martin,

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Hebrews 4:15

Christ came to earth as wholly man.
He had nothing that through faith is not also available to us.
If He could overcome sin because He is also God then His sacrifice is devalued.

17 November 2013 21:25  
Blogger Martin said...

Ian

Since Jesus was without sin He did not inherit the sinful nature from the first Adam. He is God so clearly He had a lot available to Him that we do not. He was not our pattern, as the children's hymn claims and we cannot do as He did because we are sinners.

His sacrifice has nothing to do with overcoming sin but in bearing our sin as the sacrifice.

17 November 2013 21:35  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello again, Martin. Happy Jack says the bible is rather short on stories about babies although we do know Jesus loved children.

Adam and Eve were made as fully developed adults with mature bodies and brains as well as having souls. They didn't have to grow up and their bodies, brains and soul wold have all been tuned into God. Jack knows what its like when one of his strings is out of tune with the others too.

As for Jesus, well we know nothing of his infancy or childhood behaviour. The bible says Jesus obeyed his parents and grew in wisdom and in favour with God and man. All we know is that when he visited Jerusalem with Mary and Joseph as a youth he was aware of his mission. So that doesn't help. It's the same with John the Baptist. We don't know about his childhood.

And Jack doesn't understand at all what you mean by God elects some babies before they are born and gives them grace and loves them and looks after them. Are you saying babies who have not been chosen are simply rejected as bad before they are born and not offered any help at all? Are these elected babies better behaved in some way than those not picked by God?

No. Happy Jack doesn't accept this way of thinking at all. He thinks it is silly. Indeed, Jack thinks its a horrible idea.

17 November 2013 21:49  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear dear Happy Jack, from you last post it is clear that you are not s Calvinist. Be thankful. Like Luther, Calvin had a lot of trouble with piles. This surely colours one's thinking. Predestination is a chilling thing. I am struggling to be humorous...just carry on being you

17 November 2013 22:02  
Blogger IanCad said...

Martin,

I have to, respectfully, disagree with almost your entire comment.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

"--To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life--"
Revelation 2:7

So, you claim we are saved in our sins??!!
And, further, that we have no freedom to choose whether to take up our cross? It is all predestined??

Sorry, I don't buy that at all.

17 November 2013 22:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

... and John the Baptist was "born again before he was born". Happy Jack asks what on earth is that supposed to mean?

17 November 2013 22:05  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

mmmm I will try again...

"...it is clear that you are not a Calvinist...Like Luther, Calvin had a lot of trouble with piles..."

17 November 2013 22:07  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

I was extrapolating from what we know and are told of Jesus & John. How do you think Jesus came to know what His mission was? John certainly knew who Jesus was before He was born, was Jesus really unaware?

As to election, it is quite clearly taught by the 39 Articles:

XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity. ...


And in the Bible:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [can be] against us?” (Romans 8:28-31 NKJV)

Just as God chose the nation of Israel so He chooses those He will save, from before the time they were born.

17 November 2013 22:10  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack agrees this isn't a humorous at all. Are people actually going around telling children, Christians and non-Christians all this stuff? Jack agrees, it is chilling.

17 November 2013 22:11  
Blogger IanCad said...

Way past my bedtime and a major discussion on Calvinism is looming.
Original Sin, Predestination; two subjects that have been debated forever.
I'll take it up in the morning if the thread is still going.
Goodnight All.

17 November 2013 22:14  
Blogger Martin said...

Ian

""I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13"


But not of our own abilities but through Him.

""--To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life--"
Revelation 2:7"


And as Paul points out, we overcome through Him, not in our own strength.

"So, you claim we are saved in our sins??!!
And, further, that we have no freedom to choose whether to take up our cross? It is all predestined??"


So do we first leave our sins behind and then follow Jesus or are we born again and enable to leave our sins behind?

17 November 2013 22:16  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

What do you think this means:

“"For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15 NKJV)

Clearly John was born again at a very early point in his life, if he recognised Christ before He was born why not then?

17 November 2013 22:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Shiver me insides, the protestant extreme are STILL at it. Shove off you scourges, and leave this elegant blog in peace...

17 November 2013 22:31  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Martin

Not sure that posting from the 39 Articles will have much influence on Happy Jack. I am pretty sure he is Roman Catholic.

carl

17 November 2013 22:41  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Happy Jack

"are you saying babies who have not been chosen are simply rejected as bad before they are born..."

I wrestled with this for many many years. I began to realise that I came at this with my western values of individual responsibility and our most valued cultural possession at this point in time, free will. I came to understand that Election and free will are not as incompatible as they first seem. Election requires free will and (The more difficult concept) free will requires election.

The link to the point of the article is this. Other cultures have less of a problem with election than we do in the West. For most cultures on this planet, the problem with the Bible is the teaching of forgiveness. The Muslims have a particular problem with forgiveness from our standpoint. However, I do think that to some extent they understand it better than we do in the West. Forgiveness is never cost free. The rest of the world understands this and we for the most part don't.

No Jack, babies are not rejected as bad before they are born, but God knows that many will reject him. To me one of the sorrows of being God (and the mystery for us,) is that he (the creator of the Universe) made this individual child, just so that this, individual child, can live with him for ever.

God also made us human, not "Stepford Wives".

Phil

17 November 2013 22:51  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Martin, Happy Jack doesn't know the bible back to front and finds some of it difficult to understand.

Happy Jack reads that bit as God having an angel tell John's parents of his part in his plan so that they will bring him up properly and prepare him for this. His parents would help John become the man God called him to be. John still had to play his part too. Jack believes God created every one of us to walk in and fulfill his part of his plan. If we listen and become friends with Jesus, we can all be "great in the sight of the Lord." And because there is no time for God and he is in the past, present and future and everywhere all at once, he knows just what's going to happen and gives some people special gifts too or makes a special intervention in their lives if they have a particularly important part to play.

When Happy Jack meets people on the streets in trouble and who just want to give up, he tells them Jesus loves them and if they let him into their lives he will help and can give it meaning and they will be helping God too. This is what Jack was told by a man from the Salvation Army who helped get Jack back on his feet. Are you seriously saying he should have told Jack he may be one of the damned so he had better get ready for hell?

17 November 2013 23:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack has said this before to Danjo and will say it again to you. Jack is not a Roman Catholic and learned most about Jesus in a Methodist church that the man from the Salvation Army recommended.

17 November 2013 23:14  
Blogger David B said...

It is good to see that some of the Christians retain enough human feeling for their fellows to reject the idea that some people are destined for hell and can do nothing about it.

There is a lesson to be had here, though - it is about the dangers of taking very literally verses from an old book of myths, taking them as absolute truth, and drawing conclusions from interpretations of them. Some Christians are so committed to that that their human feeling seems overwhelmed, and they accept all sorts of monstrous ideas.

It is clear that not every verse in the Bible can be literal truth - the two conflicting Genesis accounts for a start.

So don't read too much out of interpretations of individual verses, or leading yourself into mental knots trying to resolve the contradictions between them.

There endeth the lesson.

David

17 November 2013 23:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 November 2013 23:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Re: David B's last comment.

Behold the offense if the Gospel, pressed down and overflowing.

A note in passing to the Arminians, Semi-Pelagians, and Pelagians on this thread. When the atheists start complimenting you on your gospel, you know you are doing something wrong.

carl

17 November 2013 23:41  
Blogger OldJim said...

David B,

I'm afraid that that comment is rather parochial of you in all sorts of ways. Arminians and Catholics don't hold to a doctrine stressing some sort of reality of human choice out of "human feeling for their fellows" any more than Calvinists deny it out of some necessary lack of human feeling; as if Calvinists were of necessity being more scrupulously accurate to the letter of the text, and Arminians and Catholics simply liberalisers trying to dampen the "real" meaning of the text. On the contrary, it is the real meaning of the text that is genuinely in dispute. The differences are theological, and to do with determining the doctrinal position of the scriptural witness taken as a whole.

Further, it's very little at all to do with "bad" literal readings and "good" metaphorical readings of the text. On the contrary, I am sure it will blow your atheist mind to discover that in this instance,

1 Timothy 2:3-4 "This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

It's the "literalist" position that you appear to wish to support.

This is because the real world of faith doesn't consist of tiresome cliches, and is actually considerably more complicated.

17 November 2013 23:52  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack says, maybe just honest followers of Jesus doing their best to be and stay friends with him, through the gift of grace, without having a label imposed by you or anyone else. Yes?

17 November 2013 23:53  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B

" the two conflicting Genesis accounts for a start"

Just because they lived a long time ago does not mean that they were idiots! I am sure that the "editor" of Genesis just slapped Genesis 1 and 2 together without realising the inconsistencies.

The genre of many of the books of the Bible are not clear after all this time. However, Genesis 1 reads like a song praising God and Genesis 2 reads like history.

"old book of myths" that so many were willing to die horrible deaths rather than recant?

Try again, "old book of myths" really does not work. If you want to insult Christians then you will need to put a bit more effort into it.

Not just resort to name calling like the Brown guy.

BTW have you actually tried reading all of the "old book of myths"?

Phil

17 November 2013 23:54  
Blogger OldJim said...

Hah, Carl, I foresaw that comment as soon as I saw DavidB's. Note carefully: I foresaw it. I didn't predestine it!

But of course, I don't think your jibe does much work.

Liberal, atheist bien pensant opinion in this country will equally tell you how good the reformation was. The bible in English, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, enlightenment. The beginnings of capitalism. The irresistible march of progress after freedom from the shackles of ecclesiastical despots. You can probably fill in more of the story that is told yourself.

Nonetheless, I hardly expect you to submit to the Roman Pontiff tomorrow on their account.

I don't know if you've ever read Philip Pullman's atheistic His Dark Materials series, but it is characteristic that the villainous Church that features in it is run by -- get this -- the Pope in Geneva. I think that that says everything anyone needs to know about anglosphere atheist fears of Christianity.

18 November 2013 00:05  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

David B said...

It is good to see that some of the Christians retain enough human feeling for their fellows to reject the idea that some people are destined for hell and can do nothing about it (It appears under Calvin that some are destined for heaven and had no choice about it!..However, YOU are destined for hell and don't want to do anything about it. You have chosen already and can barely contain your joy, why whinge about the choices others make?).

There is a lesson to be had here, though (Dear boy, you seem the person least likely to deliver it) - it is about the dangers of taking very literally verses from an old book of myths (Oh dear, the old chestnut..Like your nonsense regarding Apocalypse and the creation account as one was inspired y the other..Terrible eschatology and poor grasp of the whole bible. SHOCKING), taking them as absolute truth, and drawing conclusions from interpretations of them. Some Christians are so committed to that that their human feeling seems overwhelmed, and they accept all sorts of monstrous ideas (Human feelings ain't nowt to do with it, its where it is in the bible that is crucial).

It is clear that not every verse in the Bible can be literal truth - the two conflicting Genesis accounts for a start (Higher Criticism now, discredited yonks ago due to archaeological findings and dead sea scrolls...The whiff of 'Desperation' about your arguments lad and nearly a century too late.
Go on, astound Ernst with your grasp of why the two accounts are conflicting. I dare you!).

So don't read too much out of interpretations of individual verses, or leading yourself into mental knots trying to resolve the contradictions between them.

There endeth the lesson. (Dear fella, there is only you stood up, believing you have stated some earth shattering truth..I feel not even the faintest tremor and the reference is false!)

A little knowledge can make a person overwhelmingly stupid as well as have deadly consequences.

18 November 2013 01:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Old Jim
Hah, Carl, I foresaw that comment as soon as I saw DavidB's. Note carefully: I foresaw it. I didn't predestine it!

ROFL! Thanks for that, OJ. That was genuinely funny.

Of course there is a difference between the Gospel and the alternatives you listed. The Gospel is inherently offensive to natural man. The Unbeliever is supposed to be offended by it. And the offense is located right where David B pointed. 'What do you mean I am evil? What do you mean I can't do anything about it on my own? What kind of God do you worship?' Ironically enough, it's the same complaint I hear constantly from Arminians against Calvinism.

No, they don't phrase it that way but that is what they mean. It's the foundation of all the criticism that has been leveled at Martin on this thread. It doesn't mean much when it comes from a Therapeutic Moralistic Deist like OIG. I could only smile knowingly when an atheist came along to reinforce the exact same message.

Btw I noticed you quoted one of the three classic Arminians proof text verses. In Calvinist Apologetics 101, one of the first things you learn is how to respond to those three verses. I would of course object to your assertion of 'literal' in regard to that text.

carl

18 November 2013 01:59  
Blogger Ivan said...


The implication that it is Israel that is to blame for the Muslim persecution of Christians is both evil and stupid. Evil as the onus now passes to Israelis, who have nothing to do with the ones killing and raping of the Copts, or the Iraqi and Syrian Christians. Stupid, as it has always been the case with the Islamic supremacists that they'll deal with the Saturday people first, before the Sunday people. The Saturday people have proved too strong; the cowards are now taking it out on the Sunday people. Official Christians in the Mid-East, in years past, peremptorily dhimmified themselves, by toeing the Arab line on Israel to the letter. The Coptic Pope Shenouda, forbade pilgrimages to Jerusalem. All to no avail in the end.

18 November 2013 04:45  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 10:27  
Blogger Hannah said...

Your Grace,

Having thought about this some more and getting back to the article, I cannot really see what the fuss is about.

Bush is a Christian and part of that belief is to see Jesus as a messiah, a saviour and that is why he came to earth to die for people's sins, which is what you guys celebrate at Christmas and Easter... to avoid the punishment for these sins you have to believe in Jesus and therefore Jesus said to Christians to go and spread this message to stop people from going to this hellish place when they die. That's Christianity in its basic form, as far as I understand it or have always been , so how and why does this make Bush an anti-semite as this is what Bush and probably most [non-Liberal Anglican] Christians believe, albeit with various add ons, denominational nuances etc? It isn't the times of the inquisition anymore; the days of expulsion of Jews or convert and therefore the need for an inquistion to make sure converts weren't doing so because of fear of being killed or expelled are over in Christian countries; as far as Arab as Islamic countries are concerned that doesn't happen anymore, because it happened in the 1940's and 1950's, when ancient communities (e.g. Iraq) of Judaism in the middle east were expelled, property seized etc.

As for Bush and his Messianic Christian converts are free to try and convert me and I'm free to disagree with that.

18 November 2013 10:30  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 11:15  
Blogger Hannah said...

Andrew Brown,

Given your responses to people here, I was thinking what happened to the spirit of the Guardian tag line 'comment is free, but facts are sacred' and therefore debating around opinion and fact, in free an open atmosphere, where the veiled threat of suing someone because you don't like their opinion don't happen?

Looking at your issue with Cranmer, it seems to me where he has been in factual error, he has apologised and amended, here and on his twitter feed; the commentators here are no more hurtful than those on the 900 plus comments section where your article was originally posted and in which harsher language has been used.

In respect of the zionist double agent reference , you might notice it has a link attached to it. If you click on this link , you'll find an article by Texe Marrs, who by all accounts is an American Christian, President of 'Power of Prophecy Ministries', whilst also being a writer and is convinced of a Zionist conspiracy to rule the world and in the mould of the 'protocols of the elders of zion' meme. You see that by reading the link proves that, by about the 3rd paragraph down & a further cursory glance at his website, also shows that as well, which such books as 'DNA Science and the Jewish bloodline' and a two part video about 'they myths of the Jews' .

Therefore to me it looks like the blog author is comparing and contrasting your view of Bush as being an imperial minded like the Victorian Evangelical inspired Christianity to support Israel, with someone who takes a radically different view of Bush (you can laugh or cry after finishing the article, I guess).

18 November 2013 11:48  
Blogger Hannah said...

Getting back to the issue of the post,I also cannot see any response to the criticism of the assertion that Christians in the middle east are being persecuted as a result of the state of Israel being created or being in existence.

To me, this is just a convenient sideswipe against Israel without reasoning and with it the implication- perhaps Andrew Brown can clarify - that the only way for peace for the Christians of the middle east is that Israel ceases to exist.

The Guardian article also reference Christians being scapegoated as a result of 'the forces of angry nationalism'. What nationalism is this? The same nationalism that is dividing Syria between the two branches of Islam? It seems to me, to be more of an issue of different denominations and varying degrees of Islamic fundamentalism, rather than a secular nationalism.

In any case the Arab spring has been about replacing secular dictatorships with Islamic governments, which have no intention of creating liberal democracy, which is why liberals in Egypt back the military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood. You will note a correlation between the Islamist movements taking some form of hold in a country and the deteriorating position of the Christian minority in said country. It seems that Christians seem to prefer the secular dictatorship of Assad, when given a choice between that and the rebels in that country.

Or what about the distrust and cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, I suggest a glance at Mark Urban's work on the Saudis wanting to get nukes from Pakistan, if Iran gets the bomb. When you start to put these things together, you'll see that the middle east is a far more complex place than simply blaming everything on Israel or the Christian Evangelicals.

I'd also take issue with the opinion that if it wasn't for Evangelicals, be they the Victorians or Balfour or in the modern day President Bush, that Jews wouldn't have been allowed to go to Palestine. In fact, as I'm sure a glance at the web will show people, there has been for 2,000 years a Jewish community within those lands and that Jews outside of these land bought land in Palestine legitimately from the Ottoman Sultan, well before the Balfour declaration of 1917.

Finally, in 1948, I think that the Arab governments wanted to crush Israel from the start of its existence (despite the adherence to the UN partition plans). The fact that no-one expected a rag tag half army to defeat British trained Arab armies and that the British in effect washed their hands of situation, doesn't really lend credence to the idea of an Imperial Christian Evangelical mindset in respect of the creation of Israel...

18 November 2013 11:50  
Blogger OldJim said...

Carl,

I suppose it will have to suffice for me to point out that if you were stood next to a hyper-calvinist or a member of Westboro, I am sure that an atheist would consider your account of the Gospel more pleasant. That wouldn't suffice to make your rival's more true.

Equally, David B might prefer my gospel to yours, but I don't foresee him becoming a Roman Catholic any more than I foresee him becoming a Calvinist.

So, we're agreed that the gospel is a sign of contradiction, but we're disagreed on the subject of why that is; or at least, we do not fully agree on the subject of why that is.

Because we are both agreed that it is something to do with men being told that they have done wrong, and with men being told that they have no natural capacity to right their wrongs, and men being told that they must submit to forgiveness and to salvation. We are even agreed that men bristle at the idea of some kind of election, and that that is part of the gospel too.

But when men are angered by the idea that the orders in which their wills operate are determined wholly extrinisically to their own choice, and yet they are to be judged on the basis of that selfsame operation of their wills.. I don't think that a sign of contradiction any more than you would consider an unregenerate man's hatred of Westboro a sign of contradiction. For these things to work as demonstrations, one must first establish in what precisely the gospel consists, and that is why, whilst I'm sure that were I a Calvinist, I would be edified by the observation, it's highly unlikely to convince those of us on the other side of the aisle.

18 November 2013 11:56  
Blogger OldJim said...

As to my quotation of 1 Timothy, it was a lot less to do with an attempt to strike up the ever-so-tired debate on whether we are referring to "all men" or "all kinds of men", and a lot more to do with exasperatedly rolling my eyes at David B's gross misunderstanding of the complexities of Christianity.

If you won't accept that our reading is more "literal", would you accept more "plain", or more "obvious"? In any case, you see my point. If atheists live in a world where the Bible is horrid and wicked, and the "kind, liberal" Christians are always those who are doing their utmost to misinterpret its plain meaning through dodgy hermeneutical devices, then the opportunity to present David B with an instance in which it is precisely the "kind, liberal" view which is straightforwardly literal or plain and the "nasty, mean" view which is "hermeneutical" was just too delicious to pass up.

It's nothing to do with my seeking a real argument over the meaning of that verse; rather, I confess that I held a deeply naive hope that the discovery that this controversy should so wholly confound his contrived and stereotyped expectations would lead him to desire to examine Christianity even a little bit more closely.

18 November 2013 12:14  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 12:14  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 12:30  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Martin,

You do seem extremely sure and smug about people loosing children, which has to be one of the most awful events to happen to a person in the life.

But you hold to the view that babies who die before adulthood are automatically destined for hell or is it just those who don't share your religious beliefs ?

(which is of course convenient as you won't ever have to consider that fate happening to your own children?).

I ask for clarification because on one post you wrote :

"since they die then the babies must be sinners in their own right. Certainly my experience with my own and my childrens' children convinces me that they are sinners from as early as can be. If you want a sin that a unborn child can commit, how about failing to love God as they should?"

Then later on you said :

"Those whom God has elected receive God's grace from before they were born, kept through their lives, beloved of God. Not all babies are such for not all are elect."

This seems to be a bit contradictory, but in any event, these comments make we wonder about the criteria for this apparent 'elect' and why you'd need to convert people if those who are going to heaven/hell are already decided before they were born, it seems like a lottery to me.

Secondly, I think you oppose abortion on the grounds it is against Christian morality/law? But by the same flip of the coin, you are OK for a baby to be born, then to die and go to a place of eternal torment?

I just cannot get my head around that contradiction or a deity which would create such a life,tell you not to abort a baby ,but then permit that to happen.

18 November 2013 12:32  
Blogger thestreetman said...

Andrew Borwn

You have failed to respond to the most important pony in HG's rebuttal of your whining threats:

"Funny, isn't it, that you spout off about anything but the responses to your central allegation - the warped, if not evil proposition that Israel is responsible for the mass persecution in the Middle East."

How utterly predictable.

Actually I walked past the Guardian the other day and coughed up a large body of phlegm onto its sign. Childish I know, but by God it felt good. All you and your stinking hypocrite comrades deserve, Andrew Brown.

18 November 2013 12:34  
Blogger OldJim said...

I've just realised that my first post could be wholly adequately condensed in one line: That unconverted people find the gospel hateful does not mean that everything that unconverted people find hateful is the gospel.

And I understand that it's used profitably in internal Calvinist debates as a form of shorthand, but in external debates, can we please stop using "semi-pelagian" as a synonym for "Arminian" or "Catholic"?

Semi-pelagianism has a determinate meaning: if you think that a person can profitably seek God by the light of his own reason or by the power of his own will, and simply needs to be strengthened by Grace when once he has done so, you are a semi-pelagian.

If you insist on the necessity of grace first enlightening the intellect and predisposing the will, but that when once this is done, there is no intrinsic compulsion to believe or to act according to this grace, you are not a Calvinist but equally you are certainly not a semi-pelagian.

This baby discussion seems to me to need clarification too, because of course it hinges on an individual's understanding of original and of actual sin.

I don't see how an orthodox christian could deny a child's bearing original sin from the moment of its conception. To do so, they would have to answer "Whence comes human sin?" in some wholly novel and heretical ways. Is it infused at a later date? By whom? Is it mere imitation? In which case, why do we all of us sin? Nope, if you deny that this illness is hardwired in us somewhere, you open more questions than you close.

Nonetheless, I see no objection to denying that babies can actually sin -- to actually sin requires the operation of an intellect and a will. If a child has not yet attained reason and the ability to will, then there can be no malice or perversity of right order in their acts, and therefore no sin.

So first, I can't really see the truth in the contention that a baby would rip an adult's arm off if it were only strong enough, I've never seen anything that led me to believe anything of the sort, and I do find believing it to be rather perverse; but equally, if that could be demonstrated, I doubt that it would suffice to prove that the baby would be behaving sinfully. That would additionally require the baby to have consciousness of its acts and to meaningfully choose them.

And let's remember that original sin is a predisposition to actually sin in each case in which one is tempted to, and doesn't determine one to sin in any particular instance. I know a number of non-Christians who have lived with their parents long after they attained the age of reason, and even so they managed somehow to avoid ripping any of their limbs off. An impressive achievement, I am sure you'll all agree.

18 November 2013 12:55  
Blogger Len said...

Having read through some of the comments here I wonder why God bothers with any of us at all. Some of the bizarre and outrageous comments about Christianity by secularists and Christians alike show a total lack of understanding of the true nature of God.
God`s message to people given through the gospel of Jesus christ is primarily on of God`s Love for His Creation and His desire to redeem creation from the dreadful bondage of sin.
The main source of the problem od correctly representing God illustrated on the comments section regarding the Gospel is us!.
The' pure water' of the Gospel has been pumped through contaminated filters(us)and has become a travesty
of God`s intention for the redemption of humanity.Each person, each' denomination', puts it own 'spin' on the Gospel to suit their own purposes.
To create a God in 'our image'of our 'own imaginings' is not the True God at all but more a reflection of our own inadequacies.

Who could love a monster who condemned babies to hell?.

Jesus said" suffer the little children to come to me"

The God projected by some of the people on this site is more akin to the heartless' god 'who (unlike the Christian God) sends people out to destroy life and to die for him .

In the person of Jesus Christ the God of Isaac, Jacob and Abraham stood in our place, and suffered our punishment , our death so that we might be set free , such is the Love of the God of Isaac , jacob and Abraham.

18 November 2013 13:09  
Blogger OldJim said...

Again,

'babies must sin because babies die, and people die because they sin'

betrays an elision of Original and Actual Sin.

It is through Adam's sin that death entered the world. What is the consequence of Adam's sin? Original Sin, the state of the predisposition to sin. Original sin and the fall leads to death. We die corporately in Adam, just as we rise corporately in Christ. Our corporate death in Adam may involve us in actually sinful acts, and our corporate rebirth in Christ might involve us in really morally good acts, but the primary element here is our corporate inclusion itself.

A person who carries original sin, as we all do, and who has the use of their reason and their will, will commit actual sins. As we all do.

But Martin has yet to show that babies can meaningfully choose to sin. That is the point. It is not necessary for a person to die that they have actually sinned. All that is necessary is that they are bearers of original sin.

Bearers of original sin will, to a man, go on to actually sin when once they have the capacity. But if they die before they have that capacity, then they die before they have actually sinned.

18 November 2013 13:30  
Blogger Frater minor said...

Len:
Having read through some of the comments here I wonder why God bothers with any of us at all.

I often wonder at it as well.
It seems that the word I am searching for is either 'Mercy' or 'Grace', possibly both.



Frater minor

18 November 2013 14:29  
Blogger IanCad said...

Oh Dear!

Dare I go there?

Original Sin, by necessity, denies the humanity of Christ.
It also begets the fallacy of an Immaculate Conception, thus to unshackle Christ from any taint of inherited sin.

If Christ is not as we are then Hebrews 2:11 must be incorrect:

"For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,"

Original Sin, as with Predestination and the Immaculate Conception was unknown in the apostolic age.

18 November 2013 14:46  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 15:12  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 15:15  
Blogger Hannah said...

As this thread is going on, I was just thinking that if one is to believe in original sin, like because Adam and Eve ate an apple from a tree they were told not to in the Gan Eden, does that not also mean that one needs to believe in the absolute literal [Christian] interpretation of Genesis and 'the fall', because if that didn't really happen or is a metaphor for something else (whatever that something is), then surely the whole of original sin doesn't exist either?

As for babies going to [The Christian version of] hell, further thoughts :

I am surprised that the New Testament doesn't provide more of an explanation for this; afterall infant mortality rates, or mortality rates as a whole, must have been much higher in the time that they were written and therefore I am wondering *how* Christianity could have grown, in those sociological circumstances in Jew and Gentile's sons and daughter's who died in infancy were/are (according to some here) destined already for hell. That isn't exactly a great marketing sell as one of my bros would say.

Also to Old Jim's point about *showing* babies sinning. Is, like, gurguling, crying, getting parents up in the middle of the night, smiling and stuff really sinful? From being an auntie and from seeing my siblings, I can only see that children do bring happiness and joy, if the many sleepless nights.

Also, I think Len has it right when he asks :

'Who could love a monster who condemned babies to hell?'.

Quite.

PS, Old Jim, I agree that the 'religious language' deployed here isn't helpful. I always thought Arminian was a 'mountainous country in the South Caucasus' and that Catholic was my local Irish pub.... (lol!).

PPS- I write this with no axe to grind, just trying to understand you guys and that religion of yours [If only you were all middle of the road catholic Anglicans, like my Cousin Lou!* (: ].

* who is actually flirting with the concept of becoming a Roman Catholic...

18 November 2013 15:19  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Ian,

Go there indeed. Or go west as the Pet shop boys once sang. I do enjoy your postings, which is quite different from other Christians here, but I think from memory you are a Mormon or something like that? I did get the book of Mormon free post, but I still cannot understand why Native Americans are a lost Jewish tribe or how they got to be in America, but C'est la vie (:

18 November 2013 15:23  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Hannah

because if that didn't really happen or is a metaphor for something else (whatever that something is), then surely the whole of original sin doesn't exist either?

I don't think that follows, Hannah. Millions of Christians, including myself, regard the Creation narrative as what you call "a metaphor for something else" -- I have no quarrel at all with your terminology here, let me add -- and yet still accept the doctrine of original sin. In other words, original sin isn't something that afflicts us only because Eve ate that fruit, whatever it was. Rather, it's the other way round. Original sin exists, and the Eve story is an attempt to explain why it exists.

Does that make sense to you?

Notice to fundamentalists: Anybody posting a comment claiming that every word of Genesis is literally true will get no reply from me. I'm too old to bother with that sort of trivia.

18 November 2013 15:28  
Blogger Hannah said...

Sorry : "which are quite different"

18 November 2013 15:28  
Blogger IanCad said...

"If only you were all middle of the road catholic Anglicans--"

Therein lies dilemma Hannah

We have our marching orders:

Revelation 3:16

"So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth."

It is a balance between politeness and passion, humility and vanity, certainty and doubt.
The scales are not always accurate.

18 November 2013 15:34  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thanks for the nice words Hannah.

No, I am not a Mormon but a Seventh Day Adventist.
Quite a difference I'm afraid.

18 November 2013 15:53  
Blogger Frater minor said...

Hannah:
As for babies going to [The Christian version of] hell, further thoughts

I am pretty sure that the Bible does NOT teach that unbaptised babies go to Hell.

The theory of Limbo is, if I may say so, analogous to the Rabbinical theory that Joseph's wife (the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On) was really his own niece, the daughter of his sister Dinah. It is an interesting speculation that is consistent with what is made explicit elsewhere, but is by no means the only possible explanation, and is certainly not the clear teaching of scripture.



Frater minor


18 November 2013 15:57  
Blogger OldJim said...

IanCad

Original Sin, by necessity, denies the humanity of Christ.

That doesn't follow at all. Before the fall, and after judgment, human beings will be free of original sin. Original sin is not a necessary part of being human. Therefore, it is perfectly possible both for Christ to be truly man and to be free from original sin. I am really puzzling over what precisely you might have meant here. I presume you do mean something more specific than what you have said, but all that I can say is that what you have said is untrue.

18 November 2013 16:03  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Uncle Brian, Happy Jack says to you, chuckling, every word of Genesis is literally true.

Old Jim, Happy Jack thinks you should be renamed "Gentleman Jim" as you are polite yet also a "wordsmith", as Old Blowers would say. And, in the red corner Carl as John L Sullivan. Jack saw the film years ago, great it was too, and he can foresee the outcome but will not tell.

Happy Jack has decided he needs to find out a whole lot more about things such as grace, original sin, sin, and being friends with Jesus. Jack doesn't know if he has been baptised as his mum never told him and he wasn't brought up by her. He has been thinking about this but isn't sure where he should go as it means choosing a minister and a church and Jack has been avoiding this as he likes to come and go as he wants and make up his own mind.

Oh well, off out for a walk. It's getting darker but Jack had a long lie in as he couldn't sleep last night with all these things on his mind.

18 November 2013 16:08  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 16:14  
Blogger OldJim said...

Hannah,

I think that if you believe in original sin, then you must believe that the genesis account is true in the sense that the fall was really contingent upon man's choice.

If you deny that, then you end up saying that God Himself deliberately created us in this state, and that is something that everyone but full supralapsarian Calvinists (a slim minority) shy away from saying. Because if you say that, then God would have:

a) deliberately created people expressly for the purposes of damning them (if you are a Calvinist)

b) Wholly unnecessarily risked the soul of each of His created children (if you are a Catholic or Arminian)

The way in which man chose to fall though, need not of necessity have been in a literal garden complete with talking snake during the history of this universe. It is quite sufficient from the perspective of the doctrine merely to say that the choice was really free and really happened.

18 November 2013 16:15  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Ian Cad,

Oooh, I do get confused with plethora of Christian denominations! My apologises for thinking you were a Mormon (not that being a Mormon is a problem).

I am sure you have your 'marching orders', providing they don't come with thumbscrews, iron maidens, racks, and Torquemada's....

I also like the literature of the book of Revelation and the personification of the Four brothers of the Apocalypse (death, war, conquest and famine), but I reckon the horses have been replaced by more modern versions of transport and doubtless are four by fours or humvees or have been retired due to the 'heavenly EU' regulations regarding proper treatment of animals (:

18 November 2013 16:20  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Frater Minor,

I was referring to the view put forward by communicant Martin, rather than a catch all suggestion that in the Christian world view that 'babies go to hell'. I can see that others disagree there, such as Mr Inspector.

18 November 2013 16:23  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Uncle Brian,

Yes it does make sense and that is exactly the view of my Anglican-Catholic relatives, although I feel bound to point out that my own faith doesn't agree with the concept of original sin all told, rather Judaism suggests that we have 'free will' & the capacity to be good or not, called 'yetzer hatov' and 'yetzer hara', for in my belief actions and not words or who or what you are and what you then do define yourself and therefore your sin.

As for literal views of texts,I'm an astro- f-hyscist by education & now a humble farmer [the first lesson from my supervisor was,'Astrophysics should really start with an "f", what that "f" means, I'll leave you to think about'], so am at ease with the big bang theory et al.

As for the idea that this suggests 'picking and choosing' (I think it was Ms MQueen who thought that was a bad idea), I'd say everyone who has ever been on this planet picks and chooses; do I have a beef burger, do I have a lamb tagine, do I have a glass of wine or beer with that?

As a totally off topic comment, I am also interested in the ideas of whether or not extra terrestrial life has 'original sin' or not because rationally and mathematically, I cannot discount the idea that in a galaxy of billions of stars, in a universe of trillions of galaxies, that there are no other life forms and neither do I think this idea contradicts Torah teachings.

Anyways, as the fist lines of Torah state :

'Bereisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz'

Anyways, I've got to go now and plan a Hanukkah party for next week...

18 November 2013 16:27  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

I've just finished reading Mr. Kingsley's "Babies go to Hell.' As sequel's go it is rather disturbing. I think the author is in a very dark place...

18 November 2013 16:31  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Hannah and
Old Jim

First, let me say that Old Jim has spelt out with enviable clarity the notion that I was trying to convey to you, Hannah, in response to your query.

As for ETs, I think the only logical approach would be this: In God's creation on earth, just one single species, homo sapiens, is subject to original sin; all the other millions of species are not. So, until we actually meet an ET, we have no way of telling which side of the line he/she/it is on.


Happy Jack

Thank you, Jack, for chuckling. Your chuckles have washed away whatever (very slight) pangs of guilt I may have felt, just for a moment or two, for the brusque, dismissive manner in which I inconsiderately brushed aside the views of our fundamentalist brethren.

18 November 2013 16:36  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 16:36  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Old Jim and Uncle Brian,

I missed that post from Old Jim, I'll review and respond laters!

18 November 2013 16:39  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 November 2013 16:39  
Blogger Hannah said...

HI Happy Jack,

Um, be careful, you don't want to get mugged or beaten up- your happy smiley face is magnet to the great unwashed of society, unless you are going to tell me that you have a black belt in taekwondo or something.

18 November 2013 16:40  
Blogger OldJim said...

Just so everyone is clear on this thing called original sin:

It is a state of being in which actually committing sins is in some way attractive and tempting to us. It is not the state we are meant to be in, and it is the state that we are in.

I shall use the modern medical category of "addiction" to try to make the thing clearer. Being in a state of original sin is like being addicted to something.

Let us say that we can call Jesus, the Christian religion and the Church "rehab". Let us say that we can call hell "jail".

Now, according to Carl and Martin, once you are addicted to something, you are compelled to take the substance and to do anything to get hold of it when you run out. But there is good news! A chap has set up a rehab clinic, and is inviting those people he likes to clear up their act. Once you go to rehab, you're over the addiction. Happy days.

Now, in that description, you can see why there might be a blurring of the concepts of original sin (addiction) and actual sin (possession, theft to feed your habit). If you're compelled to feed your habit, then there's little distinction between the state that makes you do the things and the things it makes you do. They're both very strongly linked, because the state means that you are not free to do anything any differently.

Now, the characteristic questions that this model raises are: If the chap's rehab clinic is irresistibly effective, why doesn't he invite everyone? (Who are you to question the rehab clinic owner? His ways are not your ways.) And: if an addicted person is compelled to do bad things, why do we send him to jail for it? In what sense is he responsible? The Calvinist can only reply that whilst he did not choose to be addicted, he is addicted, and really did do those terrible things to feed his habit. So he can justly be punished for them.

Now we can look at IanCad's model. (apologies if this is a misrepresentation, but it seems to me that if you deny the doctrine of original sin, then you must more or less of necessity be a pelagian, so it is pelagianism I will describe)

18 November 2013 16:55  
Blogger OldJim said...

There's no such thing as "addiction", he avers. Sure, people might like taking the substance, but they can stop whenever they like. They are simply choosing to continue using it, and if they do nasty things to get hold of it, that is their responsibility.

Now, this too invites questions: We can certainly see the point in jail in this scenario. People are wholly responsible for what they do to take the drug. It is only right that they are punished for it. What we might not see is why there would be any rehab clinic at all. What's the point of a rehab clinic, if you can stop using the drug of your own will at any time? The other question is: if there's no such thing as addiction, why is everybody doing such bad things to get hold of the drug? Surely, if it were purely a matter of choice, some people would just stop using it? And yet I've never seen a person who never used it.

Which leads us to the Catholic and Arminian model. Addiction exists, but it doesn't compel you to do bad things. Instead, it strongly impels you to; strongly enough that you will at some point end up doing bad things, but not so strongly that you can't be held responsible for doing them. The good news is that there is a rehab clinic, and the owner has invited everybody to come there and get clean.

Here we can see the point in jail: there is a meaningful sense in which you are responsible for what you do to get the drug, even if you are addicted. Likewise, the rehab clinic makes sense: the addiction is powerful enough that you will do bad things at some point without treatment. You need treatment if you are to stop doing bad things. It also makes sense that the rehab clinic owner would make the clinic available to everybody, and that gives another reason why jail is fair: everybody has a chance to get clean if they want to.

The first lot of people would object to this that it underestimates how strong addiction is, and that it underestimates how important rehab is. The second lot of people would object to this that it overestimates how strong addiction is. Anyone can be clear of it if they just want to bad enough.

Obviously, like any analogy, this irons out several complexities which I would be happy to get into. But broadly, it strikes me that the brush strokes are accurate.

18 November 2013 16:55  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Old Jim,

Alas, Judaism does indeed reject the idea of 'original sin', although we do maintain that there are sinful acts, but as I said to Uncle Brian, it is about the capacity to act sinfully or not. I'd go on, but I don't want to distract the erudite discussion between the various Christian scholars here, for example Ian Cad doesn't agree with original sin, but is still Christian.

18 November 2013 17:04  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Uncle Brian,

My references to 'aliens' was to do with the discussion between Jon and Carl Jacobs. I think Jon suggested that the discovery of ET life would demolish religion and Carl said we think of ET as being like 'star trek' and that wouldn't be the case.

I personally don't see how,say, discovering that in the sub-surface oceans of Enceladus or Europa, there are fish or squid analogues, who may or may not be intelligent as human beings, disproves religion, given that G-d is the creator.

As for more intelligent life, I have a feeling that Mr Spock might be Calvinist, Proddy work ethic etc... or to put it another way almost every culture we know of references a deity and a small % of humans are atheist, so why would Mr Spock be any different?

(in the same sense that most English people say they are 'C of E' on their forms).

Just random musings, rather than anything set in stone, but to have an open mind and keen thirst for knowledge is no sin (as my uncle used to say).

18 November 2013 17:09  
Blogger Len said...

Babies sinning?.

Whatever next!.

One becomes of an age when one knows one is commiting sin.This I believe is called' the age of awareness'.God is Just and does not Judge un justly!.

God views us as being either IN Adam (children of Adam) as Adam is the father of our humanity.
Or God views as IN Christ Jesus (children of God)
This transition from one father to Another is not easily explained or understood.

Imagine Two Trees.

One a' bad Tree.'can only produce rotten fruit.

One a 'good Tree.'produces good fruit.

If you take a 'cutting 'from the bad tree and graft it onto the good tree
the cutting will draw its life from the good tree.The grafted cutting will partake of the history of the Good tree, the cutting will become One with the good tree.

By being united with Christ in His Death we are raised with Him in His Ressurrected Life.

The bad tree may try (by its own efforts) to become' like' the good tree but it cannot change its nature it needs the Gardener to transplant it (some call this being re- born or born again)


18 November 2013 17:21  
Blogger Martin said...

Carl

I thought the 39 Articles appropriate for this blog. Of course a follower of the bishop of Rome wouldn't be influenced by the Bible either.

18 November 2013 17:23  
Blogger Martin said...

HJ

John was born again that he might fulfill his part. That is the only way to be 'great in the eyes of the Lord', indeed the only way to get to Heaven.

The Bible tells us that God saves men, not that they let Him into their hearts. God takes the fortress of our hearts by storm and frees the captives. Can I suggest you read John Bunyan's "The Holy War".

18 November 2013 17:23  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older