Rob Slane: A godless society is a cruel and intolerant one

In the second half of the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul gives a grim picture of what happens when a society that once had some knowledge of God rejects him. One of his major themes is that their view of sex and sexuality becomes horrendously skewed (sound familiar?), but he also gives a list of the sorts of attitudes and behaviours society will experience in their wilful rejection of God. Among other things, he describes a people who are implacable and unmerciful.

I was reminded of this earlier this week during the furore over the comments of the Tory MP, Anne Marie Morris. As you are no doubt aware, she used a certain expression of 19th Century US origin, which contains a derogatory word to describe people with dark skin. It’s evidently a hideous expression, and one that ought to have disappeared in the mists of time. But is it really a sackable offence?

Many seem to think so. Owen Jones, for example, who appears to be daily morphing into the leftist version of “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”, spent much of the day on Twitter venting his spleen, calling not only for the sacking of Mrs Morris, but also a couple of her colleagues who had apparently failed to condemn her. Oh and anyone who was not prepared to call for her sacking was apparently a racist too. No doubt those who fail to condemn those who fail to condemn make it into the Jonesian definition of what a racist is.

I decided to test things on Twitter, posting a link to this excellent piece from Spiked Online’s Brendan O’Neill, accompanied by the words: “Fantastic response to self-righteous intoleristas such as Owen Jones.”

Now my point had nothing whatsoever to do with defending Mrs Morris, her comment or even her “right” to make such comments. I have no desire nor intention to do so. In my view, she used a stupid phrase, almost certainly not through any malice towards black people (though she might have that for all I know), but rather probably just a thoughtless use of an expression that people used to use and which she hasn’t really given much thought to. But she apologised and a normal society would have moved on.

The point I was getting at, however, was this: are the “tolerant” among us really so intolerant that they cannot accept that people sometimes say and do stupid things which they then regret and apologise for? From the reaction I received from many (though not all) on Twitter, the answer would appear to be yes. My favourite response was the guy who responded, “Let me guess: You’re a white male over the age of 40?” Yes indeed I am, but I am at a total loss as to why anyone should think the colour of my skin or age to be important. Personally, I believe that all humans are made in the Imago Dei, so the meaning of such comments is rather lost on me.

But you know, sometimes we do things which are thoughtless. Bet you’ve done some. Sometimes we say things thoughtlessly. Bet you’ve said some. Sometimes we say things that we shouldn’t really say, or which we don’t really mean. Bet you’ve done those too. What do we do in such cases? We apologise. And what should be the response of others? They should, with good grace, accept our apology.

But here’s the thing. Many in our society today are completely unable or even incapable of doing this. They are unwilling to accept that people sometimes say stupid or unsavoury things, and that an apology will suffice in dealing with it. No, they desire sacrifice, and they will have it at all costs. It’s the new national blood sport, where instead of hunting foxes, we now hunt people and seek their downfall, rather than accepting their admission and apology and moving on.

So here we are, in the middle of the self-proclaimed most tolerant society in history, and yet daily we see more and more examples of how those who hoist their tolerance credentials upon the flagpoles of their own egos actually turn out to be the least tolerant of all. They cannot accept that someone said something stupid and now regrets it. They cannot accept an apology. They’re much too “tolerant” for all that.

This is no accident. Back to the Apostle Paul. He says that this kind of implacableness and unmercifulness is what you should expect increasing amounts of when a culture thumbs its nose at the God it used to give glory to. Why? Because the essence of that God is that he is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6). He is forgiving, and prepared to pardon each and every one of us our each and every sin should we acknowledge it to him and put our trust in the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ at Calvary.

A society that turns its back on Him, having once known his grace and his mercy, will become increasingly unable to show mercy and forgiveness. And it will increasingly demand the sacrifice. It may like to kid itself that it is now the very embodiment of tolerance and mercy. Yet as we are in the midst of discovering, the truth is very different.

(Image: Quinn Dombrowski)

Rob Slane

  • The_Mocking_Turtle

    Japan is officially Godless, in the sense that it is not dominated by a particular monotheistic belief system , and is far more peaceful and law-abiding and tolerant than the United Kingdom or America. Many predominately Buddhist countries are Godless and peopled by kind, considerate and tolerant populations. On the other hand several theocratic Muslim countries, e.g., Saudi Arabia and Iran, are very devout as far as the monotheistic deity is concerned and are not such pleasant places to live in, particularly if you happen to be a lady or stray from the theocratic desideratum.

    There are supposedly Christian people on this very site that cry “Murder!” in respect to abortion whenever it is mentioned, even though the procedure is legal within the bounds set by parliament, and cheerfully give the thumb’s up to bloody tyrannical thugs, like Vladimir Putin, because under his leadership imagined threats against Christianity are supposedly being challenged despite disproportionate carnage and collateral damage. (Similar things used to be said about Adolph Hitler restraining dangers posed by the USSR.) And a huge number of dreadful comments concerning Islam in general and Muslims in particular, whipped up by bizarre incendiary articles bordering on hate speech, shock because of their vitriol, vehemence and ignorance, all of which seem the very antithesis of Christianity to me.

    I’m not sure that belief in God has much to do with the way any society behaves, or much to do with anything whatsoever in the modern world to be honest. Good people do good things and bad people do bad things. With or without individual or collective belief in the Almighty.

    • Mel

      Buddhism doesn’t exclude a belief in God, it just doesn’t include it, but many Buddhists do believe (Indian history includes loads of Gods).

      • The_Mocking_Turtle

        I don’t quite get your point but you are correct about India having religions which were polytheistic in nature. (Hinduism is still going.) It’s just none of them were Buddhist. Buddhism doesn’t deny that God exists because God isn’t important to the Buddhist way; basically Buddhism states that the idea of a personal God is irrelevant and isn’t worth wasting time debating or considering.

        And I can see why.

        • James Chilton

          “……the idea of a personal God is irrelevant and isn’t worth wasting time debating or considering.

          And I can see why.”

          Then why do you waste so much of your time here?

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            But I am NOT a Buddhist.

            As to why I participate in religious disposed threads on this site it’s because I am genuinely interested in the hows and whys as per people becoming self-convinced of the truth of patent nonsense, without a shred of objective evidence to warrant it, and the way in which they seek to explain or excuse its failings and/or excesses when challenged to give such beliefs consideration.

          • James Chilton

            I don’t have any reason to believe what you say about being “genuinely interested” etc., when every comment you post is saturated with the vanity of someone who thinks he can demonstrate his “intellectual superiority” to the mere groundlings who frequent this site.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            I most certainly am not superior to anybody and never have considered myself so. However as living proof that my style of comment is effective as far as its purpose is concerned, I take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts in response to it. A litany of sterling work on your part which I have greatly appreciated and am grateful for. As also for your adamant refusal to edit your comments! You are an example to us all.

            Saint Paul would have complimented you on your self-discipline.

            Cheers!

          • James Chilton

            Thank you: irony appreciated.

            May I recommend your “style” as having the honesty of Iago and being indefatigably banal in every syllable you write.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            One tries, one tries. And how hard I have tried to be trying on this very site. Bless you for damning me with faint praise. It made me feel kind of humble and kind of proud to boot. Gratitude.

          • James Chilton

            You complain about a lack of Christian charity when you come here on purpose to ridicule Christianity. What do you expect – a collection of doormats that you can wipe your boots on?

            To coin a phrase: Those who live by mockery must suffer for it.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            As you judge me in your terms I judge you by yours. I would have total respect for people showing charity, compassion and love to others, no matter what their motivation, if genuine. Trouble is most Christians are hypocrites and fakes who only adhere to their tenets when it doesn’t cost them too much personally, which I do find disappointing as I find dishonesty and ignorance disappointing, although entirely predictable.

            I feel now that the religious impulse and love of God is a misdirection of innate human traits which evolved to allow human beings to bond with others and combine socially towards a collective purpose. Humans form bonds and relationships with other, from warmly disposed and friendly to to the familial to platonic and passionate love. Pet owners love their animals. Some car owners love their cars. People feel such emotions for all sorts of reason and for all sorts of things. This spilling of affection is a natural behaviour, it seems to me, which exists for sound evolutionary reasons.

            In humans such affection and devotion can also be directed and focused on more abstract things e.g., an ideal of some kind or an imagined deity. Who knows why? Perhaps the person was lonely? Had a bad experience? Suffers a loveless life? Is incomplete and unfinished as a man or woman? Is troubled by something? Has been traumatised by some event? Has been influenced or educated by others into adopting a mythology? Feels empty and bereft of purpose? Has no influence, respect or power and seeks to derive those things by becoming a self-styled servant of the Almighty? Is lonely or feels isolated and driven to accept some dogma in order to be subsumed into a religion, sect or cult? Feels comforted by the notion that a better life awaits them in the life beyond life if they adhere to a set of rules and live their lives according to them?

            Blah, blah, blah.

            An infinite number of permutations and combinations of experiences can encourage a person to take religion to their hearts, grasping it like a drowning sailor grabbing at straws.

            The net effect is that the kind of emotion and devotion that I might feel for truth and science, or for a lady in whose eyes, for me, temporarily, the sun sets and the moon rises, gets subverted and redirected towards a mythological construct imagined or acquired from others. In a religious sense such a construct is often termed “God”. Even though believers struggle to explain what they mean by “God” and the “love of God” the emotion is very real and genuinely felt even though all it really boils down to is an error in, say, the human bonding mechanism which developed in our species to enable individuals to quickly form relationships and loyalties and thence to work communally for the betterment of all.

            It is interesting even though the emotion gets wasted on a non-reality, although it does go some way to explain why the religious preach more about the glories and often act in a quite contrary manner in the mundane world.

          • JabbaPapa

            Who knows why? Perhaps the person was lonely? Had a bad experience? Suffers a loveless life? Is incomplete and unfinished as a man or woman? Is troubled by something? Has been traumatised by some event? Has been influenced or educated by others into adopting a mythology? Feels empty and bereft of purpose? Has no influence, respect or power and seeks to derive those things by becoming a self-styled servant of the Almighty? Is lonely or feels isolated and driven to accept some dogma in order to be subsumed into a religion, sect or cult? Feels comforted by the notion that a better life awaits them in the life beyond life if they adhere to a set of rules and live their lives according to them?

            Blah, blah, blah.

            You request charity, compassion and love to others, whilst insisting on providing the exact opposite.

          • James Chilton

            You appear to be a slippery “turtle” who slides from one position to another while believing that his carapace of effrontery will see him through. Give me reason to, and I’ll change my opinion.

            In the meanwhile, I’m bored by your special pleading and self pity: pousser au large.

          • JabbaPapa

            Considering that English is not my first language

            Top tip : refrain from complaining about any writing that one understands, unless it is genuinely atrocious

            We all make mistakes, as your own self-editing ways should inform you

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            (Can somebody fluent in half-baked nonsense translate that one for me please?)

          • JabbaPapa

            My sarcasm-detector is tingling !!

    • Rob Slane

      Hi there. Thanks for your comment.

      On your first point, I was careful to point out that the Apostle Paul is very much addressing his comments at those nations that once covenanted themselves to the triune God, but have apostatised. What happens when they do? They don’t become more merciful and forgiving, they do the opposite. As for Japan it is, as you rightly point out, currently a relatively peaceful and orderly society. However, as I’m sure you’re equally aware, it has in relatively recent memory been guilty of some of the most shockingly cruel and barbarous crimes known to man.

      On your second point, you mention theocratic Muslim countries, but I am not speaking of them or their God. I am talking about the Triune God of Scripture, and the point about this God, is that his mercy and forgiveness were demonstrated in the flesh, when he the Son of God was put to death, in order to pay the penalty for the sins of his people.

      Not sure what the procedure of abortion being made legal in Parliament has to do with the ethics of it. If Parliament decided to treat people up to the age of 1 as non-persons, and to allow the killing of them, as certain “moral philosophers” have advocated, would it make it an ethical practice? Parliament is not the arbiter of what is and what isn’t moral.

      I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you speak of Mr Putin and disproportionate carnage and collateral damage. It wasn’t he or his government that fuelled the carnage in Syria. It was the governments of the Gulf States, arming, training and funding jihadist proxies to topple the legitimate leader of that country. And the governments of the US and UK have been highly complicit in it. What Mr Putin and his government did, was intervene to stop the government falling, and to prevent Syria becoming a failed state like Libya. Had they not intervened, Damascus would by now be in the hands of the bloody and tyrannical Islamist thugs of ISIS or al Nusra, and the consequent slaughter, refugee crisis and wave of terrorism that followed would have dwarfed what we’ve seen so far. As it is, despite the fact that the Western media has now forgotten the existence of a place called Aleppo, it is, from the accounts of people who’ve actually been there, now a fully functioning city.

      Best wishes,

      Rob

      • James Chilton

        Your riposte is well judged and comprehensive.

      • AJ

        If we take the historical record of christian countries I think it is very hard to argue that they have not frequently been brutal, despotic and intolerant. It is the reintroduction of classical pre-christian philisophical ideas that led to the current liberal tolerant west. In this sense I think the evidence is that movement away from christianity is associated with tolerance.

        The are many many examples of brutal christian as well as brutal non-christian regimes.

        • James Chilton

          It is true that countless examples of brutality exist in the history of so-called Christian societies. However, their wickedness is not condoned by the gospels. In other words, they were acting in defiance of Christian principles.

          • AJ

            “No true scotsman”

          • James Chilton

            Please explain why that fallacy applies to my comment.

          • AJ

            All of those christian regimes which act brutally are acting in defiiance of gospel or in other words are not true christians.
            The same could be said of various christian churches themselves of course but I imagine you would say they are also not real christians.

          • James Chilton

            You do not understand the true scotsman fallacy.

            If you can give examples of savagery that are explicitly demanded in the teachings of Jesus Christ, then I should be happy to concede the matter.

            No man or woman who acts contrary to the moral precepts of Christianity is entitled to describe themselves as Christians – except perhaps as acknowledged sinners.

          • Harley Quin

            What I find interesting is the apparent belief among many that people would be less inclined to savagery in a world where there was no religious injunctions against such behaviour.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            Because in a purely material word, selfishness is an entirely rational way to behave. Honest atheists – from Nietzsche to Dawkins – have all made the same point, that without God anything is permissible.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Where did Nietzsche or Dawkins say that without God anything is permissible? Please reference the book and chapter where you read that.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            That Nietzsche’s philosophy declared God is dead and anything is now possible is accepted by any student of his writings. How about this: “When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… By breaking one main concept out of Christianity, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. (Twilight of the Idols, section 10, ‘skirmishes of an untimely man’)

            Dawkins wrote this in River out of Eden: “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference. . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            I did reply but my comment went to moderation. I have no idea why.

        • Busy Mum

          The tolerance you link with moving away from Christianity is descending into licentiousness, which in turn will become anarchy, which in turn will herald in a new form of intolerant despotism. The pace of change seems to be accelerating exponentially.

        • Harley Quin

          Classical pre Christian ideas included slave states and centuries of torturing people in the amphitheatres.

          It was Christianity which abolished both slavery and the Tortures.

          Before Christianity, there was no idea of Equality. In Imperial Rome, society was Nietzschean in that the most powerful individual was worshipped, literally. Slaves had no status as human beings.

          Christianity taught that all have equal value as equally loved Children of God. From this there has flowed innumerable social and political advances, often now taken for granted,

      • The_Mocking_Turtle

        You’re wrong but go in peace anyway.

        • JabbaPapa

          Las time Assad was accused of using chemical weapons, it was clear from actual reports on the ground that in fact a conventional attack targeting an Islamic State position hit a stockpile of chemical weapons that they had hidden there.

          The first time he was accused of doing so has been widely debunked by the independent observers in the years since it happened, and is known to have been an attack perpetrated by ISIS.

          Regardless of Putin’s involvement, prior to the terrorist destabilisation of Syria caused by US-funded and -supported terrorist groups (instigated by Obama and Hillary’s desire to control the region, and cold warfare ambitions from such states as Saudi, Qatar, and Iran) and by the emergence of ISIS (as a direct creation of Saddam’s ex-security service officers), leading to this ghastly civil war, Assad’s Syria was a model of religious tolerance and peaceful cohabitation in the Middle East, as well as being one of the few actually democratic “Arabic” States. Was the condition of its democratic institutions improvable, probably — but to accuse Assad of being a “brutal dictator” or whatnot is to anachronistically confuse him for his father, as well as to just switch your brain off and thoughtlessly gobble up US political propaganda.

          Assad is hated by many because he not only tolerates the Millennia-old Christian community in Syria, he overtly supports them.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Where do you get your news from, Jabba.

            Freeview channel 135?

            Where did I say I supported military action against Assad? I am not. But I am against the Assad regime being propped up by Russia, when it might well have fallen under the might of Syrian rebels themselves, and the civil war raging made to end much more quickly with tens of thousands of lives preserved in the process. If Russia had cooperated with western forces to act against ISIS, rather than bombing anti-Assad civilians, many now dead would still be alive.

            Ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin is a very, very bad guy.

          • JabbaPapa

            the might of Syrian rebels themselves

            AKA Al Qaeda splinter groups propped up by the CIA

            OK, not all of them true, but one man’s “rebel” is the next man’s “terrorist”.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Christians for Putin seems all kinds of wrong on every level to me. But then Christians do believe that the founder of their movement was born of a virgin (before the invention of in vitro fertilization) and could turn water into wine, feed multitudes with seven loaves and seven fishes, heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water, and calm storms etc., so perhaps admiring Putin’s actions in Syria is not such a big ask from Christians at all, considering how ready they seem to be to “believe” all sorts of unbelievable things which others would find hard if not impossible to swallow.

            And the dead were almost exclusively Muslim after all.

            Like Saul on the road to Damascus I think I have seen the light! .

          • JabbaPapa

            And the dead were almost exclusively Muslim after all

            Oh good grief this is obscene — the libtard denial of the ongoing acts of genocide against Christians throughout the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia is mindbogglingly stupid.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            You are bonkers, Jabba. I was talking about the Russian air campaign in Syria, not making a general comment about warfare in the Middle East. You really must read what I have written more closely because to other who have done so your own comments will appear inaccurate or even dishonest.

          • JabbaPapa

            Once again, you have no prerogative to impose on me against making a point of my own about your statements.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            I don’t feel you are worth wasting more of my time on and am going to ignore you from this point on until I decide differently. You silliness is manifest. My four year old niece is more mature.

          • JabbaPapa

            oh good grief …

            /roll-eyes/

    • Bik Byro

      Good people do good things. Evil people do evil things.
      Religion can make good people do evil things.

      • Busy Mum

        …whilst Christianity makes evil people do good things

        • Harley Quin

          Christianity defines evil and good.

          • CRSM

            Hmm. Not awfully well it doesn’t. At least it’s far better that the Pentateuch, which is full of the glorification of evil, provided the evil is done by Jews.

          • Harley Quin

            By what standard do you make those remarks?

          • CRSM

            I’m not sure what you are asking!

          • Harley Quin

            Who is to say what is good and what is evil?

          • CRSM

            That of course is the question at the heart of all things.

            One the one hand you have the Islamic (and to a lesser extent Jewish) belief that absolute right and wrong is written in stone and is immutable, whether it makes sense or not, and even if it contradicts what an individual might consider to be right by natural law.
            On the other hand you have the libertine ‘Different times, different morals’.

            Neither I nor anyone else knows the answer, even the not awfully bright Mr Slane, though I am sure that in his hubris he will dispute this.

            Now I do believe in a universal transcendent God, who created Jesus to live and die as a human on Earth. It still doesn’t mean that the ravings of the early desert monks, nor the unlettered writings of a few of the disciples of Jesus tell us anything much of use. Unless you are a Moslem who does his headbanging on the hard ground five times a day, then right and wrong is something that comes from you alone. It’s just that some of us are better at it than others.

          • Harley Quin

            Islam does not say that right and wrong are carved in stone, Allah cannot be bound by his own decrees. Right is right and wrong is wrong according to his whim. And it is at his whim who goes to paradise and who does not, because he can deliberately lead a truly submissive believer to perdition. Nice.

            This contrasts with Christianity, because the Christian understanding of God is that he is steadfast, faithful, loving and just.

          • CRSM

            Good point!

          • Busy Mum

            I should have said ‘bad’, rather than ‘evil’.

            Christianity says that all have sinned.

        • CRSM

          No, though it might well assist them in doing good things.

          • Busy Mum

            Agree my wording could have been better but it was a like-for-like riposte!

        • The_Mocking_Turtle

          Like the Inquisition, say? Which killed about 150,000 innocent people in hideous and brutal ways.

          • JabbaPapa

            What a load of absolute nonsense

            The vast majority of those condemned to death after a trial by the Inquisition were condemned by a civil because they were guilty of such crimes as murder, rape, brigandry, and so on — criminals, not “innocent people”, but those found guilty by a Court of having committed serious crimes.

            The Inquisitions led to around 5,000 or so death sentences over its 500-year history, or in other words about the same number that the Islamic State was executing every single month at the height of its barbarity, bearing in mind that the commutation of those death sentences after acts of sorrow and repentance, or executions in effigy only, were very frequent

            http://strangenotions.com/spanish-inquisition/

          • James Chilton

            As an aside to your comment: the arguments by atheists at the
            Strange Notions site are much more formidable than any I’ve read here. Doug Shaver is particularly impressive.

          • JabbaPapa

            There are a couple of minor errors in the article I linked to, but it’s still a good general presentation of the actual History as it contradicts the typical anti-Catholic propaganda.

          • James Chilton

            I haven’t read the article you linked to. A more recent article on the question of whether conscience points to the existence of God, is well argued – in my opinion.

            The level of commentary is higher there – with fewer juvenile taunts aimed at Christianity by an ignorant minority.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            If I am able I will invite Doug to join us here ASAP. Company is always welcome, especially from the formidable. Thank you. But to be honest I am not trying to win any arguments but to see how the religious respond to comments I have made to deliberately irritate and provoke them.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Yes. For once you are correct, Jabba, and I am wrong. My memory confused the number of trials with the number of executions late last night, or earlier this morning I suppose, for which I apologise. (I had just returned home from a revel, alone for once, not very sleepy and not very sober.) That said to me the deaths of a mere 5,000 innocent people in horrible ways sanctioned by religion is still horrible and abominable to me.

            It is odd that Christians when forced to admit by the historical record that Christian societies have put vast numbers of harmless people to death, try to mitigate this awfulness by claiming or pointing out that others, usually “Atheists” and “Islamicists”, have killed more people over time and therefore, number-wise, that Christians as bad as others.

            I find this a very odd, quantitative, way to view at such horrors.

          • JabbaPapa

            a mere 5,000 innocent people

            Which part of “criminals, not “innocent people”, but those found guilty by a Court of having committed serious crimes” did you fail to comprehend ?

            I am certainly no supporter of the death penalty, but to claim that rapists and murderers and violent highway gang members were “innocent people” is completely grotesque.

            harmless people

            What a load of cod’s wallop.

          • Busy Mum

            That is an example of religion making people do evil things.
            Many of the (RCC) Inquisition’s victims were Protestant Christians….

          • JabbaPapa

            Many of the (RCC) Inquisition’s victims were Protestant Christians

            What a load of bollox

            Let’s compare with the hundreds of thousands killed by the Protestant Cromwell and his fanatical death squads in the British Isles alone …

          • Busy Mum

            Evidence that Cromwell killed RC’s just because they were RC?

          • JabbaPapa

            Evidence that Cromwell killed RC’s just because they were RC?

            /face-palm/

            The extent to which CoE types deny the History of the British Isles and the reality of Protestant religious violence always astounds me.

            The evidence is everywhere and it is massive — you should not require assistance to avail yourself of it.

          • Busy Mum

            I could say exactly the same to RC types who deny the reality of RC religious violence. The evidence is everywhere and it is massive.

            The struggles which our Protestant forebears faced with the Papacy are in many ways identical to those we face with Islam today. Both are political systems posing as religions and their adherents are the real victims.

          • JabbaPapa

            The propaganda is everywhere and it is massive

            Who’s “denying” anything ? Except for some statements that have been made about the Catholic Church which are quite simply false ?

            Oh yes, that’s right, you are, you’re denying the outrageously genocidal violence of British Protestantism.

            The struggles which our Protestant forebears faced with the Papacy are in many ways identical to those we face with Islam today

            Indeed, Cromwell and his Puritan nutjobs were very similar in their iconoclastic destructive mass murdering ways as any Jihadi extremist group is today …

          • Busy Mum

            I’m afraid that I disagree. I have read Cromwell and the Puritans in their own words. (Cromwell was more of an Independent than a Puritan, anyway). It was Protestantism, not Roman Catholicism, that put the Great into Britain – and the Vatican has been planning revenge ever since.

            Only one of us can be right on this – much as we are in tune about morals etc.
            Either the RCC is the true church, or it is not. As Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, the RCC, epitomised by the Vatican, clearly does not match this criteria.

          • JabbaPapa

            http://www.historyireland.com/cromwell/how-many-died-during-cromwells-campaign/

            Deaths from the anti-Catholic warfare waged by Cromwell and from the diseases that ensued from it :

            England : 183,830, 3.7% of population
            Scotland : 87,875, 6% of population
            Ireland : 618,000, 41% of population (!!)

            A 41 per cent loss of population must surely represent one of the greatest tragedies of any people for any period of European history, not excluding the worst excesses of the twentieth century. We can take as an example the death rate from enemy action and war-related disease for Britain during the Second World War, which represents 0.6 per cent of the population.

            So, why were the casualties in Ireland so high? Cromwell and his supporters considered Irish Roman Catholics as little better than savages, barbarian in their lifestyle and habits and capable of appalling atrocities against Protestant settlers. They were sub-human and dangerous, and were to be treated accordingly. Whilst acknowledging Cromwell’s excesses in Ireland, Micheál Ó Siochrú seems to imply that ‘local folklore’ might be wrong to accuse him of war crimes, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing. A loss of more than 40 per cent of the population might, however, suggest a conscious plan of elimination based on racial and religious hatred, which in other circumstances and times would rightly be called genocide. Cromwell’s murderous campaign in Ireland was fuelled by a pathological hatred of Irish Catholics, which he himself clearly expressed.

      • Harley Quin

        Religion tells people what is good and what is bad. Without religion, how would one know?

        One may have feelings of sympathy or empathy for others, but then again one may not. A lot depends on the individual personality and the circumstances.

        • CRSM

          Morality (where possible) should be based on natural law.

          • Harley Quin

            Agreed.

          • James Chilton

            Religion supplies a foundation for morality which many intellectually sophisticated people find reasonable. It appeals to, or threatens, on another level, people who are not well educated. That’s what Voltaire reasoned, I think, when he said he preferred his servants to believe in (and fear) God.

            I don’t wish to imply that moral rules cannot be arrived at through reason alone or that their existence cannot be explained by arguments from evolutionary psychology. But the question of their philosophical justification is not settled. That question does not arise in the act of faith which, ultimately, the religious person must make.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            I think Voltaire, who was as much a joker as he was an atheist, was implying he was cleverer than his servants (and so beyond religion) but as an employer was happy to allow his servants to believe in whatever nonsense they liked if it made the serve him better.

            Voltaire praising religion is oxymoronic.

          • James Chilton

            There is no reason to believe that your opinion about Voltaire’s intention is any better informed than mine.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Of course not which is why my comment began “I think…” indicating that the following words were a personal opinion. I begin to wonder how many people on this site have English as their first language and/or have achieved GCE/GCSE A – C grades in English Language. Or whether they are wilfully misinterpreting what I have written. Neither option reflects well on anybody.

          • James Chilton

            “Neither option reflects well on anybody.”

            Particularly on you.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            In your opinion, obviously.

          • James Chilton

            Quite.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            🙂

          • JabbaPapa

            You claim that he failed to understand the words “I think”, though you’ve obviously failed to spot his use of “your opinion”.

            Your unsupported claim that he failed to understand your words is just another pointless act of mere, irrelevant typing.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Well, I have to own that. I admit not bothering to read comments made by the religious probably as thoroughly as I should. Perhaps we should all try to do better.

          • JabbaPapa

            I admit not bothering to read comments made by the religious probably as thoroughly as I should

            So you’re basically accusing others of your own failings ?

            Pot, meet kettle.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Actually I was making the observation that everybody on this thread is fallible. Well. I am anyway but cannot speak for others. Certainly you have read my comments and completely misinterpreted them and so my guess would be that you, probably, are not a perfected being.

          • JabbaPapa

            Actually I was making the observation that everybody on this thread is fallible … fallibility is part of the human condition

            AKA Original Sin.

        • Bik Byro

          Exactly. A certain religion for example, tells its followers that to kill people of different religion is “good”

        • CRSM

          Your view shows exactly why Muslims go out and kill people, after their Imam tells them that their religion demand it.

          • JabbaPapa

            Good job justifying terrorism, I guess ?

      • CRSM

        True, but vice-versa sometimes applies as well.

      • The_Mocking_Turtle

        Steven Weinberg the Nobel laureate in Physics said much the same thing and it’s difficult not to agree with him.

        • James Chilton

          argumentum ad verecundiam.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Coming from a person who appears to base his beliefs in large part on the authority of a book and/or religious institution, without evidence, the above seems, to me, to be staggeringly inappropriate.

          • James Chilton

            “..the above seems, to me, to be staggeringly inappropriate.”

            You evidently don’t understand why citing the “authority” of Weinberg on questions of religion and moral philosophy is “staggeringly inappropriate”.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Why? For a start I was not quoting Weinberg to back up anything I have written in the way that people, on this very site, quote chapter and verse from the Bible. (Which I am ashamed to say even I have stooped to on occasion.) I was quoting the opinion of a brilliant (and, actually, in real life a very nice man) whose work has been judged to be of such a high standard to have won him a Nobel prize. Are only people with degrees in divinity or doctorates in philosophy, neither of which I rate highly, gifted with the right to comment on religion and moral philosophy? Are the priesthood and hierarchy the only men, predominately men anyway, who can offer a valid opinions in respect to religion? In my opinion a Nobel prize winner in physics probably has a much better insight into reality than anybody that spends their time pouring over, interpreting, rehashing and arguing over a mixed collection of folklore thousands of years old.

          • JabbaPapa

            Those competent to make public statements to a wide audience on any topic of philosophy are those who are competent in philosophy, whomsoever they may be, not Physics, or mechanical engineering, or French bourgeois cuisine, nor any other subjects providing no degree of competence in that field.

            Which you yourself have BTW admitted as not possessing, even though you try and rant on about topics of metaphyics in here for some reason.

          • James Chilton

            Wriggling again. Weinberg has no expertise in the matters on which you cite his authority.

            No reflection on Weinberg. I have read a couple of his books on the first three minutes etc. I wouldn’t dream of challenging his authority as a mathematician and physicist.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            Are you actually claiming that only academics and church hierarchy have a right to opine about religion? Really? Just out of interest in your ordered world who, in your view, actually has a right to comment on religion? I see a huge number of lay people on this very site slating other religions, e.g., Islam, even selectively quoting from English translations of the Koran and such like. Should they be silent and only Mullahs. Clerics and experts in Sharia law speak in public about Islamic matters? What you suggest would be an authoritarian nightmare. No one should be prevented from expressing their views and opinions in a free society, provided others are not directly affected by them.

          • James Chilton

            It’s not a question of having a “right” to comment on religion. It’s a question of citing an authority where none exists.

            Weinberg has every right to express his views on morality, God and the hereafter, but they are no more persuasive or “authoritative” than yours.

    • Harley Quin

      According to Rodney Stark’s ‘Triumph of Faith’ which relies on the Gallup World Poll and other surveys, only 11% of Japanese claim to be atheist.

      It is a mistake to imagine that because a population is ‘unchurched’ that it cannot be religious.

      • The_Mocking_Turtle

        Where did I say Japan was atheist? I said “Godless” with a capital letter to indicate that Japan was not dominated by a “monotheistic belief system” in other words the “God” at the centre of the three ghastly Abrahamic religions.

        Shinto is the official national religion of Japan, and is polytheistic, with gods and goddesses. Surveys carried out in 2006 and 2008 showed that less than 40% of the population of Japan identifies with an organised religion: around 34% are Buddhists, 3% to 3.9% are members of Shinto sects and derived religions, and 1% to 2.3% are Christians with Muslims and Jews hardly registering at all.

        I really wish people would read and digest what I write on this site before having a go at me. Maybe it’s time to make an effort and start using words with fewer letters in them.

        • James Chilton

          “I really wish people would read and digest what I write on this site……”

          What you write is always subject to revision as you rejoiced in telling us on another thread. For all I know, your comments in this thread have been edited to take account of any criticism of them.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            You do realise that the you base your life around probably the most revised book ever put into print, i.e., the Bible. If the word of God can be translated, edited, revised, recast, chopped and changed by man why shouldn’t off-the-cuff words of one mere mortal airing an individual opinion have to be inviolate? I really wish people like you had more self-awareness. Many of the things you say and write are staggeringly daft.

          • James Chilton

            “Many of the things you say and write are staggeringly daft.”

            For example, and the reasons for your conclusion?

            Your wriggling on the point about revision your comments after “publication” has been noted, again.

          • The_Mocking_Turtle

            This is so silly. Most blogs on the web allow people to revise and edit comments. Your obsession with not doing so is as self-styled and made-up as your belief in religion, both of which you seem insistent on trying to foist on others whether they welcome it or not. Very childish and very indicative.

          • James Chilton

            You constantly shift your position to make it appear that any criticism of it has been anticipated and refuted. It’s a familiar dodge by the intellectually dishonest who are consumed by vanity.

          • JabbaPapa

            You constantly shift your position

            Certainly true, but this is not from his editing, it’s from the polymorphous nature of his cultural Marxism itself.

          • James Chilton

            From both, in my view.

          • JabbaPapa

            oh deary me, IT-assisted textual analysis from the 1990s onwards has in fact demonstrated quite strikingly that this hoary old 19th Century revisionist theory from anti-clerical critics is flat out wrong, and that the text that was prepared for printing in the 15th and 16th Centuries and transmitted onwards from there was in fact based on manuscript transmissions that were religiously faithful to the texts of the Septuagint and the texts of the New Testament as they were written in the 1st Century.

            Variants are rare, and typically they are basically typos, or in some manuscript branches the mistaking of some marginalia comment as belonging to the core text.

            I really wish people like you had more self-awareness

            oh, the irony …

            Taking note of the “people like you” fallacy

    • JabbaPapa

      Japan is officially Godless, in the sense that it is not dominated by a particular monotheistic belief system , and is far more peaceful and law-abiding and tolerant than the United Kingdom or America. Many predominately Buddhist countries

      1) Japan is predominately Shinto, which means literally “the way of the gods”

      2) The Kami of Shinto are defined in English as “spirits”, “essences” or “gods”, referring to the energy generating the phenomena. Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, trees, rivers, animals, places, and even people can be said to possess the nature of kami. (adapted from wikipedia)

      3) Your notion that Japan is “officially Godless” is perfectly absurd, particularly given that neither Christianity nor Buddhism (the two other major religions in Japan) are “Godless” either

      4) Yet again, in other words, you’re basing your personal opinions on direct falsehoods

      • The_Mocking_Turtle

        You obviously haven’t understood my comment again.

        I hate to repeat things but here’s a section from the first sentence: “Japan is officially Godless, in the sense that it is not dominated by a particular monotheistic belief system…” How can you possibly have missed the capitalisation of the word “Godless” and the word “monotheistic”? I was taking about the Abrahamic religions which promote belief in the “One God” not polytheistic religions which have pantheons of goods and goddesses. Didn’t you quite recently state that the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, might be angels or some other kind of non-corporeal entities, powerful but not equal to the God you keep banging on about? Or have you promoted Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to the same rank as the Christian God, Jehovah and Allah?

        Please read what I write and try to understand it before criticising it.

        I am minded to give up on you, Jabba.

        • JabbaPapa

          You have no prerogative to impose on me against making a point of my own about your statements — Shinto conceives of a single divine nature, immanent, infusing all particular things.

          Your mistake, a very common one, is to imagine that the idea of a single God is incompatible with polytheism, whereas it belongs to Shinto and Hinduism, even Buddhism to a degree in the idea of Brahma, and it did in the Graeco-Roman paganism too.

          I was taking about the Abrahamic religions

          This modern concept of “Abrahamic religions” is deeply flawed, just as an aside, but if you fail to make this absolutely clear, then your comments will make no sense.

          And anyway, what on EARTH does this mean in that case, “Japan is officially free of the 3 major monotheistic religions” ??? It’s complete balderdash, point me to the Japanese laws abolishing them, or whatever other evidence to back up this claim ?

          Or what, is God Himself somehow absent from Japan for whatever bizarre reasons you’ve invented out of thin air ?

          I will not address your failures to understand my comments in a completely different thread, not unless you answer the questions I asked you there. Which I’ve 100% confidence that you won’t.

  • Colkitto03

    The Anne Marie Morris incident made think of :’Let he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her’.
    It seem that on the left or progressive wing of British politics that are all paragons of virtue who have never made a mistake.

    • Bik Byro

      Walk around in public with a placard of Theresa May’s head on a spike, no problem at all as long as you don’t use the expression “n igger in the woodpile”

  • I wonder if any coloured people, other than politicians, were offended. When working, I had a colleague from Barbados who was always complaining about people, usually white, who took offence on his behalf when in fact he wasn’t the slightest bit offended. What, in fact, he found far more offensive was the frequent and unnecessary use of swear words in daily life by people of all classes.

    In this case, if Owen Jones hadn’t publicised the matter, I doubt if anyone who might have had a genuine reason to be offended would have known about it. So, in fact, he is the one who amplified any offence by his actions, but in fact this wouldn’t matter the slightest to him as long as he could make a political point. And like my friend, I doubt if many ordinary coloured people were the slightest bit offended.

  • Bik Byro

    A terrible headline and article which does dis-service to the many excellent decent humanists in the world.

    • Tethys

      Well said.

    • Phil R

      True though. As I have said before. To an Atheist, killing a man is no different to buring a lump of coal. After all it is just a matter of rearranging some atoms……..

      • AJ

        To a christian killing a man is less important than burning a lump of coal after all if he is worthy he will go to heaven and if unworthy to hell where he belongs.

        In my experience those who talk most about morality whether religously inspired or otherwise are the least trustworthy and most dangerous.

        The most dangerous people are those who have an ideology that justifies the most appaling crimes as morally right or in the greater good. that applies to religon as it does to political philosphies. Watch Blair justify his actions over the Iraq war simply because he prayed before making them and was therefore a ‘good’ person.

        The ‘left’ or that vocal part of it which consists of fashionable social justice concerns of little impact on most real lives is very intolerant. I suspect it has always been the case but has become more obvious through the internet. Many if not most are broadly christian.

        • James Chilton

          In my experience those who talk most about morality whether religously inspired or otherwise are the least trustworthy and most dangerous.

          Proposition: People who talk about morality, whether religously inspired or otherwise, are the least trustworthy and most dangerous.

          Does your “experience” make that proposition true?

          • AJ

            It is true that that is my experience.
            I do not claim it is universall.

          • James Chilton

            Is the “truth” about any matter whatever, as far as you’re concerned, only warranted by your experience?

        • Phil R

          All fine except the Christian basis for morality forbids murder.

          Atheists do not seem to have the same problem with it.

          • Harley Quin

            Quite right. In the absence of religious belief, a human being has no more intrinsic worth than a beetle and so may be disposed of at will.

            We can see this attitude surfacing in the philosophy of Peter Singer, for example and in the decline in respect for human life lurking behind the abortion and euthanasia lobbies, but it was bloodily evident in the policies of the n*zism the Soviets etc. etc.

          • CRSM

            Silly boy.

          • CRSM

            Surely not to take human life (or indeed any other sentient life) unnecessarily is a basic part of natural law. Also when killing animals for food the slaughter should cause minimum suffering, which is why I so detest Halal and Kosher slaughter rules.
            Your view might differ.

          • JabbaPapa

            I doubt it’s the case with Halal butchery, but Kosher specifically requires that the slaughter should cause minimum suffering ; or rather, contemporary rabbis providing the certification require it.

          • Bik Byro

            Even the word “humanism” itself derives from considering others as worthwhile humans and not dehumanising them.
            So yes, they absolutely have the same problem with it.

            Number 34 in a series of 99 Phil R uninformed prejudices out of his backside which he likes to think are “fact”

          • Phil R

            Bik
            In your book, always attack the person not the argument.

          • James Chilton

            He has difficulty in dreaming up new “insults”. He used the very same words in a reply to me in this thread (see above).

          • Bik Byro

            Here’s a genuine challenge for you Phil to take you out of your comfort zone. Go and talk to your atheist, agnostic or humanist friends (if you have any) and ask them how they feel about the statement “To an Atheist, killing a man is no different to buring (sic) a lump of coal”.

            Then post back on here letting us know what they say.

            Are you prepared to accept the challenge? Nobody should be afraid that research might affect their preconceived ideas.

          • Phil R

            “ask them how they feel about”

            It is logic we are talking about not “feelings”

            I have used the statement a number of times. I have never asked how they “feel”. The other interesting fact is that when questioned and challenged by questions like this. Most people who declare themselves Athiests are actually, when challenged, turn out to be Agnostic.

          • Bik Byro

            I’m actually agnostic and happy to say so. After all, you can’t *dis*prove God. I will admit if he exists I was very disappointed in him when I visited a childrens cancer ward. Very disappointed.
            But seriously though, please talk to some humanists, they might surprise you with their attitudes and beliefs towards human life.

          • JabbaPapa

            Most people who declare themselves Athiests are actually, when challenged, turn out to be Agnostic

            Not really no, genuine agnostics are a rare breed.

            There are just some atheists who think that not believing in God but having some vague doubts about this position constitutes “agnosticism”. Nope.

            Agnosticism requires positive acceptance of all possibilities, not just “I don’t believe in God, but … etc”.

      • Dodgy Geezer

        To an religious person, killing a man is no different to burning a lump of coal. After all it is just a matter of sending them to a floating la-la land in the sky a bit early…

        • Phil R

          Atheists have sent lots of Christians to an early death.

          So many millions, it seems to be policy.

          • Dodgy Geezer

            Really? Do tell!

            The only instance I can think of of Christians being specifically killed is by other Christians – who have a slightly different idea about when Easter is…

          • JabbaPapa

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Militant_Atheists

            The problems that Yaroslavsky outlined in his response were addressed in 1929 at the second congress. The CPSU Central Committee delegated to the LMG full powers to launch a great antireligious attack with the objective of completely eliminating religion from the country, granting them the right to mobilize all public organizations.

            In 1929, the Second Congress changed the society’s name to The Union of Belligerent (or Militant) Atheists. At this Second Congress of Atheists, Nikolai Bukharin, the editor of Pravda, called for the extermination of religion “at the tip of the bayonet.” There, Yaroslavsky also made the following declaration:

            It is our duty to destroy every religious world-concept… If the destruction of ten million human beings, as happened in the last war, should be necessary for the triumph of one definite class, then that must be done and it will be done.

            The only instance I can think of of Christians being specifically killed is by other Christians

            Well, nobody else but yourself is to blame for such deliberately willful ignorance.

    • James Chilton

      Humanism is a bloodless social philosophy that appeals to the intellect but not to the emotions: Christian religion does both. This appeal to the emotions is an important element in the control of human behaviour.

      Voltaire, who an enlightened atheist, is supposed to have said, “I want my servants and my dependants to believe in God. I think if they do, I shall be robbed and cheated less”. He did not say he believed they would be more honest if they were humanists.

      • Bik Byro

        You managed to be wrong in your first sentence. Humanism does indeed appeal to the emotions. As you could have found out by asking a humanist rather than just lazily typing out the prejudice that was already in your head.

        • James Chilton

          I expressed my opinion, and you, equally lazily, expressed yours.

          • Bik Byro

            You expressed your opinion. To which I corrected you with a fact. Fixed it for you.

          • James Chilton

            What “fact”? You mean your trite opinions have the same status as objective facts? Is this another of your delusions?

          • Bik Byro

            The fact that humanism appeals to the emotions. That fact. The one I pointed out to you.

          • James Chilton

            Facts, as you ought to know from your alleged scientific understanding, are things which can be verified with evidence. Although your egomania prevents you from admitting it, your say-so on questions about the content of humanism, is not evidence of a fact: it’s an opinion. There, fixed it for you.

          • Bik Byro

            Even the word “humanism” itself derives from considering others as worthwhile humans and not dehumanising them.

            You can verify it easily with evidence by talking to many humanists.

            Number 34 in a series of 99 James Chilton uninformed prejudices out of his backside which he likes to think are “fact”

          • James Chilton

            When you express an opinion, do you first make careful inquiries about the imaginary “prejudices”, if any, of the person you’re talking to? Or do you prefer simply to pontificate about “laziness” when someone fails to do what you wouldn’t dream of doing yourself?

            Or, being an incredible narcissist, do you invariably assume that the person you’re talking to values your opinion enough to be guided by it?

            Are you now demanding assent to the claim that you speak for all humanists, or indeed for anyone else, on this planet? Megalomania must be added to the other strange humours that afflict you.

          • Bik Byro

            When you state “facts” about humanists, have you bothered to talk to them or ask them first.

            Or, being an incredible narcissist, do you invariably assume that James Chilton’s “facts out of his backside” have invariably got to be right?

            Megalomania must be added to the other strange humours that afflict you.

          • James Chilton

            I have merely expressed an opinion and claimed no “fact” about any aspect of humanism.

          • Bik Byro

            You have a terrible memory too. Here. let me give you a link and you can read your first sentence. http://disq.us/p/1ki00c9

          • James Chilton

            You know very well that the sentence you refer to was an opinion. Your claim to the contrary doesn’t make it so.

            However, as anyone who replies to your childish drivel will be aware, the mere truth in any matter never gives you pause for thought.

          • Bik Byro

            You are highly entertaining. You pull “facts” out of your backside and when somebody challenges them, you start behaving like a triggered snowflake. You don’t have any mere truth, you only have “James Chilton’s book of of ex-colonic prejudices”. Extremely amusing.

          • James Chilton

            It must be time now, Bikio, to sit in the corner and put on your dunce’s cap – that’s if you have found one big enough to fit your gigantic head.

          • Bik Byro

            Keep going, watching you continue your triggered snowflake behaviour is highly entertaining. In the meantime, here is something which may help https://www.8shit.net/assets/2017/01/butthurtcream.jpg

          • James Chilton

            How much a dunce that has been sent to roam, excels a dunce that has been kept at home. Time for your afternoon nap, Prik.

          • Bik Byro

            Ah, William Cowper. He actually believed that god was commanding him to take his own life. Seems nearly as brainwashed by it all as you.

          • James Chilton

            You’ve learned how to google. Well done.

            As you threatened to do a while ago, I suggest you contact the moderators and get them
            to remove my comments on the grounds that hurt your giant head. That would be the final “proof” of your lack of guts.

            Farewell, Prykio, you’ve had your ration of “entertainment” for now.

          • Bik Byro

            No, frankly they don’t bother me a jot. I don’t remember ever threatening to contact the moderators, so maybe that was somebody else.
            We did William Cowper at school when I was about 13, so yet again you’re posting a “fact” which has come out of your nether end, you really must stop doing that .
            Anyway, have a lovely evening.

          • James Chilton

            I remember your “threat ” to contact the moderators when the heat you pretend to enjoy became too much for your thin skin.

            As for “facts”, Ulrich, you make them up as you go along.

          • Bik Byro

            I’m rather sure I didn’t but never mind, life is too short. I wouldn’t report you now or in the future, at the end of the day it’s only a bit of rough-and-tumble with words. Your pun “Prykio” was actually quite creative and put a smile on my face.

          • JabbaPapa

            an incredible narcissist

            Well-spotted

          • Bik Byro

            It’s JIBBER JABBER! How’s the jibbering and jabbering going today, old fellow?

    • Busy Mum

      The headline itself uses ‘godless’ – lower case – and could therefore be referring to any god you care to name..

      • CRSM

        There are an awful lot of (lower case) gods out there. I hold the view that CS Lewis held for a long time, in that I believe this planet is under the control of an amoral, capricious tribal god, going by the name of YHWH/Allah.

        • Busy Mum

          The planet is the scene of the Holy War (Bunyan) between Christ and Satan.

          • CRSM

            This planet? Yes, it may well be, but I put it to you that the transcendent God who sent Jesus down to us is on the opposite side of the battle from YHWH/Allah.

          • Busy Mum

            I do not disagree; those who only acknowledge God as either YHWH or Allah refuse to acknowledge Christ, in the person of Jesus.

        • JabbaPapa

          the name of YHWH/Allah

          Your ignorance of Christianity carries on apace, I see.

      • Bik Byro

        How many are there ?

        • Busy Mum

          I have no idea, but they are all the gods referred to in the first commandment.

    • Rob Slane

      Hi Bik,

      I can’t claim responsibility for the terrible headline, as I didn’t write it (my suggested title was “Our implacable and unmerciful commitment to tolerance”). But I suppose I must take responsibility for the article, since I did write that.

      There are two responses to what you have said. Firstly, Christians do *not* claim a monopoly on doing good deeds, and I am not doing so here. It would be absurd to do so, since of course non-Christians do good things every day. What Christians say, is that even our good deeds – those done by both Christians and non-Christians – do not reach the standard of God’s holiness. I sin every day. Don’t you? I do things from wrong motives every day. Don’t you? I gratify myself when I should be looking out for others. Don’t you?

      The big divide between Christians and humanists is not this thing over “doing good”. It is this: humanists (and really all people by nature) think of good deeds and bad deeds as a balance. Over here on my left are my good deeds. And over here on my right are my bad ones. And I think on balance that there are more in the good bucket than the bad one. Therefore, I am a good person. But the Christian does not think like this. The Christian sees that God created man in perfect holiness and righteousness, and so if we had continued in this, there would be no bad deeds. All our deeds would be good.

      So in the Christian worldview, all this talk about doing good deeds actually proves that far from being good by nature, we are actually sinful. Would a person that is perfectly righteous all day every day ever mention his or her good deeds? They wouldn’t even know what a bad deed was, and so the idea of talking about their ability to “do good” would be unfathomable. In other words, when you talk about people doing good deeds, it only goes to serve the point that we are sinners who — because the image of God hasn’t been erased from us — are capable of doing good. It does not, however, prove that we “are good”. Quite the opposite.

      But the other misunderstanding that I believe you have with my piece, is that you think that the Apostle Paul (or me, or both perhaps) is talking about individuals. But he isn’t. He is not saying that in the midst of cultural collapse, there will be no examples of people being kind or doing good. Rather, what he is saying is that when a society that once knew God abandons that belief, they will — as a society, but not necessarily every individual — fall into increasing depravity, often of a sexual nature, but certainly not limited to that. How can we know whether he’s authentic or not? Simple, just take a look at a society that was once Christian, but has now abandoned it’s faith. Like our own and the rest of the West in general. And then take a look at whether what is going on is close to what is on Paul’s list. If you do that, you’ll see a remarkably close correlation. It’s almost as if he knew what was going to happen.

      Best wishes,

      Rob

      • CRSM

        I don’t sin everyday. I may occasionally sin of course. My most common sin is in not telling those people who give far too much credence to their version of a religion to stop being so bl00dy stupid and learn how to think straight for once.

        • Rob Slane

          Well the news is you do buddy. It’s just that the moral standard you’re judging yourself against isn’t as high as the one I’m talking about. Then again, when we make up our own moral standard, I suppose that would be the case, wouldn’t it?

          • CRSM

            I consider you being so vulgar as to call me ‘buddy’ is a sin against the English language. Are you a heathen American by any chance?

          • Rob Slane

            “Heathen” American? I should have thought it obvious from my piece that I am not a heathen. And no, very English thank you. But you can rest assured that using the word buddy is no sin. Nor, so I’m told, is using the word “bl00dy”.

          • CRSM

            I wasn’t sure if the almighty DISQUS would let it through!

      • Bik Byro

        Hi Rob, first of all, many thanks for taking the time to reply.

        Regarding your second paragraph : yup, me too. Can’t deny it.

        Third paragraph : really got to totally disagree. I’m more agnostic than humanist but I’ve never ever looked at it in terms of “a balance”, I’ve always tried to do the maximum good that I can and as little bad as I can. I’m meeting some guys in the pub tonight who are humanists for a pint: I’ll pose them the same question and see what they say.

        Final paragraph : A society is made up of its individuals and if each individual can follow a good path, then the society will be good. Some will be motivated by their own good hearts, some, frankly, motivated by not wanting to go to prison, but then these people are unlikely to be simultaneously motivated by religion.

        I’d like to believe that we can find good within ourselves rather than having to constantly benchmark against an “ideal” for which, at the end of the day, everything that was written about him was written by humans.

        • Rob Slane

          Thanks, and you’re welcome.

          Just one other thing to pose to the folks in the pub over the pint. It’s not so much that we consciously think of things in the balance, but more subconsciously. And one of the ways we do this is not just by taking ourselves as the measure, but others too. So over here we have Adolf Hitler, and of course I’m not like him. Maybe I shouted at my children today, or was nasty to my wife, or held a grudge against that bloke at work, or whatever, but at least I didn’t murder 6 million people.

          Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but suffice to say the point I am making is that we don’t just subconsciously have a balance of our own good and bad deeds, but we also have a subconscious balance between ourselves and others. Might be interesting to pose that one as well.

          • Jolly Roger

            Sin is a general condition. If sin came into being when I commit a bad act it would disappear when I ceased that act, repented and made restitution. The general condition of sin need not manifest itself on the surface of a person’s life at all. Usually it doesn’t.

            According to those who knew him in Acts, and not just according to his own account, Paul lived a morally unimpeachable life. Yet he was the chief of sinners.

          • JabbaPapa

            The general condition of sin need not manifest itself on the surface of a person’s life at all. Usually it doesn’t.

            The consequences in life of our Original Sin do not vanish away even when we have been forgiven for that Sin in Baptism, nor do the consequences of our particular sins vanish away in Reconciliation and Penitence, even though the sin is forgiven.

            Pope John Paul II wrote, in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis : “36. It is important to note therefore that a world which is divided into blocs, sustained by rigid ideologies, and in which instead of interdependence and solidarity different forms of imperialism hold sway, can only be a world subject to structures of sin. The sum total of the negative factors working against a true awareness of the universal common good, and the need to further it, gives the impression of creating, in persons and institutions, an obstacle which is difficult to overcome.

            If the present situation can be attributed to difficulties of various kinds, it is not out of place to speak of “structures of sin,” which, as I stated in my Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, are rooted in personal sin, and thus always linked to the concrete acts of individuals who introduce these structures, consolidate them and make them difficult to remove. And thus they grow stronger, spread, and become the source of other sins, and so influence people’s behavior.

            It is incorrect to presuppose that sin is some personal condition only, having no effect on the lives of others.

          • Bik Byro

            Hi Rob, sorry I got to read your post a bit late to ask that one, but I will do next time.

            All my humanist friends agreed that they don’t at least consciously benchmark themselves against anything or anybody : like me they just try to do the most good and the least bad per day.

            A concept which one of them introduced me to was the concept of “evil” which goes beyond “bad”; “evil” requires additional components – it is calculated and it is intended to do harm. Also, something which in some way “dehumanises” the victim; lessens the considerations of their feelings and worth. Hence, I guess, the word “humanism”

    • Belinda Brown

      But an awful lot of us aren’t naturally good and for those of us who aren’t Christianity is particularly important. He came for the sinners rather than the humanists…

      • Bik Byro

        In “those who are not naturally good” do you include sex offenders in the established christian church and christian TV evangelists who extort money from the poor for personal gain?

  • Phil R

    The real issue is that the phrase used by the MP is defined as “some fact of considerable importance that is not disclosed—something suspicious or wrong”

    Stupid to be offended and ridiculous to suspend her.

    The CP needs to be ashamed of themselves for acting like idiots.

    THe left plays a tune and the CP dances.

    Weak.

  • Dodgy Geezer

    Flanders and Swann produced this sketch – but they couldn’t have imagined anything like the sort of idiocy which now pervades British society:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSrXqOI9988

  • John P Hughes

    The lobby correspondents have reported that Anne-Marie Morris MP’s suspension (removing the Tory whip from her) was decided by Damien Green, the ‘Deputy Prime Minister’ and not by Theresa May who was just told he had decided it. Whether it is desirable that he should be the enforcer is questionable.
    If TM can get back control of her party (!), she should return the Whip to Miss Morris within 2-3 weeks without anyone announcing it, so that it is only picked up by the press after they realise that the MP is attending Party meetings again.

  • LoveMeIamALiberal

    With respect to Ms Morris, it is telling how the politically correct classes said nothing about David Lammy’s attack on the Grenfell Tower inquiry chairman for being white, male and upper classes, but then some racism, sexism and snobbery is OK.

    • Andy

      Lammy and the Abbottpotomus use racism all the time.

  • David

    A most insightful article contrasting society’s unmerciful responses with the Christian path, as outlined by the Apostle Paul. Many thanks indeed.

  • Dodgy Geezer

    Since I have been waiting 4 hours for a post to be moderated, and nothing has happened so far, I will repeat it in censored form. That I have to do this is a stark comment on the state we have got ourselves into with public discourse:

    …Grow up! “N gger in the woodpile” was a perfectly normal expression in Anne Marie Morris’s youth, was never ‘racist’ (whatever that means) in any way, and only elicits false panic from mindless morons who have given up thinking and let the media provide their emotions for them.

    I assume that this post will be banned on the grounds that I have spelt out something awful. perhaps the moderator would like to reflect what kind of a world he is creating, when people’s vocabulary is routinely policed……

    • CRSM

      It’s probably automatic, with no human involvement.
      The downside of this silliness is that those of us who feel that the various powers in the world (government, press, broadcast media) treat us with the utmost contempt, have our views reinforced by this totalitarian control on what they allow us to say.

      • JabbaPapa

        It’s actually Disqus, a private California company, imposing most of this automatic censorship.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Reading some of the comments below it is clear that “wanting to do good” can be the wish of both believers and unbelievers. The problem for the unbeliever is “what is good?”. Let’s remember that to many people “good” can mean all kinds of things. some believe removing the right to life (Abortion) is good. Some will think promiscuity and homosexuality are good. If you don’t have a solid benchmark of what is good, you are in danger of just going with the latest twitter trend or what your friends think is good. You may just believe you already know what is good. But being your own judge is risky. To the Christian, God’s benchmark of “good” is immutable. Morality without a rock-solid basis of universal truth is like a wheel with loose bearings; it will wobble and may eventually fall off altogether.

    • James Chilton

      The moral status of “good” is precisely the problem that unbelievers can solve only by consulting their subjective preferences.

  • Jolly Roger

    There’s that other list of characteristics of people that Paul gives in 2 Timothy 3. Especially noteworthy in respect of the society we now live in are those who are ‘lovers of pleasure’. That these people occur in ‘formidable seasons’ suggests that there are a number of such periods.

  • Jolly Roger

    The whole argument about morality tends to get terribly confused, especially between Christians and humanists. Even Christians can present a truncated argument about the source of the intolerance you describe.

    To whom was the Lord’s strongest condemnation directed? He was astonishingly merciful to the Quisling tax collector and the practising harlot who practised one of her techniques on him.

    But He is at the most condemnatory towards groups of people, classes and professions. We make a cardinal error in our estimation of these groups if we think of them as being composed of evil or ignorant people.

    The wise and foolish virgins, the invited wedding guests, the lawyers and the Pharisees were all good people. The foolish virgins intended that their lamps should be lit, but were condemned for just encouraging each other in a belief that all would be well in the end. Among many other good things, the Pharisees were members of the leading council of the nation; all responsible leaders.

    However, the Pharisees were only concerned with the good people; those who could be made to be like themselves. This, it seems, is the defining characteristic of left-liberals as a class. Left-liberals want to convert all others to their persuasion, as did the Pharisees in their mode as
    missionaries.

  • Flaketime

    The expression about the woodpile is unsurprisingly particularly sensitive to those on the left since it is they who invented it in the first place and they don’t like being reminded of it.

    It came about from a Democratic Party election leaflet featuring Abraham Lincoln sitting atop a platform of planks. Lincolns earlier career being in splitting logs for railroad sleepers. The black person in question was inside this platform and the caption was all about the republican support for anti slavery – the left was determinedly opposed to ending slavery and certainly to any form of black rights.

    The whole phrase is about a huge issue which is being deliberately hidden by a political party.

    The fact that spineless leftie May immediately capitulated to the Labour demands she did something is a sign of a greater problem, that May is inherently spineless and left wing anyway, but following Grenfell we now have the Labour tail wagging the Tory dog. It seems that whatever Corbyn demands May will accede to, even coming close to ending so called ‘austerity’

    I expect the polls to continue to show Corbyn in the lead, as May is simply not up to the job of winning against him, and the longer she is allowed to continue the worse the Tory position will get.

  • Dr. Heath

    Alleging that the non-Christian world – most of humanity, in fact – is cruel and intolerant is in no way different from spokesmen from the Muslim world alleging the same against the non-Muslim world.

    Visitors to the many countries in the world where neither the Old nor the New Testaments nor, indeed, the Koran, have any currency will appreciate the absurdity of both camps’ hateful charges.

    • Bik Byro

      Indeed, it is the claim of many muslim hate preachers of why the west must be converted to Islam.

      I find it amusing that no matter where you happen to be born in the world, the local religion is always the “one true religion”

    • JabbaPapa

      Nobody is claiming anything other than that extremist Jihadi totalitarianism and terrorist outrages and grotesque judicial mass-murderation are “cruel and intolerant”, as is the equally totalitarian atheist ideology demanding that women be indoctrinated to actively desire slaughtering their unborn children, to imprison and persecute those denouncing the atheist “ideals”, to spread hate ideology against any and all non-secularism, and to sit about doing nothing at all except treat the ongoing mass murders and attempts at genocides against the Christian populations in Muslim lands as anything more than a form of light entertainment against their boredom.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Broken Britain will never be mended unless we turn to Christ.