UKC

/ Tim Fallon...

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Rob Exile Ward on 10 Jan 2018
...now thinks that he was wrong to NOT say gay sex was a sin. Yes, you read that correctly.

In what weird universe he thinks an all powerful, all loving God gives a flying f*ck what two consenting adults do with each other in private is totally baffling.

Even more baffling - and offensive - is that he thought he could lie about his bonkers beliefs enough to con people to voting for his party, the last possible bastion against brexit. Unfortunately for us, on this occasion the public weren't as stupid as is sometimes thought.
Kevin Woods - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yeah I had to read that more than twice to make sure what I was reading was true.
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think you mean Tim Farron.
Crewey-Rob on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yep, I like lying, unprincipled bastards even less than people whose principles I disagree with.
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Maybe because homosexuality is not made up shite.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Because they're two completely different things which aren't even comparable?
DenzelLN - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Because christianity is fair game for mockery and homosexuality is widely approved :D
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I mean that's a really stupid question.
Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

If there wasn't anything in Christianity saying homosexuality is a sin, I wouldn't be critical of that aspect of Christianity. I'm glad Tim Farron isn't in a position of influence now it's said he actually thinks it's a sin. In November he said that he felt Christians were seen as a danger, now that he's said he thinks homosexuality is a sin, I can't help wanting to ask him if he's surprised at that. Nobody ever actually says 'why' it's a sin, it's a scary lack of logic.

Homosexuality is increasingly looking like it is predetermined in the womb, and Christianity is a set of beliefs, making me unsure whether it is hypocritical, by the way.
Post edited at 19:09
john arran - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Do you really see 'believing in a particular brand of make-believe simply because your parents/community taught you to' and 'having a natural and unavoidable preference for intimacy with people of the same sex' as equivalent?
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Like I think we may struggle to get a stupider question on here this year and it's only January the 10th.
abr1966 - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think you're being harsh Rob.....he was in a difficult position, I heard the extract on radio 4 earlier from his interview on some religious radio show and had some sympathy for him. I think this whole issue reflects more on the pathetic state of British politics than anything else...
Crewey-Rob on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to the thread:

All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!
stevieb - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

I’m not a fan of the lazy ridiculing of Christianity, but I think the obvious difference here is that gay people generally don’t try to impose their values and beliefs on others, but religion frequently has and still does.
Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!

I get what you mean.

Edit: I realised I had to take that approach to my Dad's conservative partner, I can't be a liberal and not be chilled about her being a Tory.
Post edited at 19:20
john arran - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Does 'being liberal' mean we have to respect nonsense conspiracy theories too? Does it me we have to accept that much of what Trump says might make sense? Or is the exhortation to 'be liberal' just a way to prevent justified flak for irrational behaviour?
captain paranoia - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I'm not sure you understand what 'hypocrisy' means...
Crewey-Rob on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

I made what I thought was a simple point and it’s gone off like a firework in my face. I’m off for a beer...
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

It was definitely simple
Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> I made what I thought was a simple point and it’s gone off like a firework in my face. I’m off for a beer...

People's ability to see what others mean and their willingness to acknowledge it, can be two very different things I sometimes think. I'm often surprised by UKC. ;-)
Post edited at 19:31
john arran - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> I made what I thought was a simple point and it’s gone off like a firework in my face. I’m off for a beer...

That's what often happens when presumptions are subject to rational scrutiny. Enjoy your beer anyway!
flaneur - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

After dishing out vicious persecution for 2000 years, to now catch a little gentle mockery, it seems to me Christians are getting off pretty lightly
Luke90 on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!

Wasn't that Tim Farron's mistake?
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think being Tim Farron is a sin.
Nevis-the-cat - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Because the chances of getting your head kicked in at closing time for being a Christian are pretty slim.
deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
In matters of sexual morality, I think it's about time the Christians acknowledged that having the consent of one's partner is more important than having the consent of their invisible overlord.

And honestly, as long as it's reasonably safe sane and consensual, I think any god who gets that upset about what people chose to do together in private is a tad too small-minded to be going around claiming to be a supreme being.
ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Because one lot tells the other lot they are evil, disgusting sinners, which primes the scene a bit for hatred, persecution, violence, prejudice, etc down through the generations....and the other lot don't.

I think that makes one of the groups fair game for mockery.
Post edited at 20:53
ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> ... it’s gone off like a firework in my face.

"giggidy"

Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Nevis-the-cat:

> Because the chances of getting your head kicked in at closing time for being a Christian are pretty slim.

Indeed. All Tim Farron has done (potentially), is make anybody who is gay and struggling with it feel worse, and make anybody homophobic more sure their hatred is justified.
Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Timmd:
> If there wasn't anything in Christianity saying homosexuality is a sin, I wouldn't be critical of that aspect of Christianity. I'm glad Tim Farron isn't in a position of influence now it's said he actually thinks it's a sin. In November he said that he felt Christians were seen as a danger, now that he's said he thinks homosexuality is a sin, I can't help wanting to ask him if he's surprised at that. Nobody ever actually says 'why' it's a sin, it's a scary lack of logic.

I don't think Christians are a danger by the way, the above is open to misinterpretation.
Post edited at 21:01
summo on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Timmd:

> I don't think Christians are a danger by the way, the above is open to misinterpretation.

No doubt many kids who grew up in Christian run orphanage type homes would argue differently.
Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:
> No doubt many kids who grew up in Christian run orphanage type homes would argue differently.

I think there is some doubt, some might be able to step back and see that their experiences don't mean that all Christians are a danger as such. Not everybody of any creed or what have you is going to be the same.
Post edited at 21:28
Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Tim Farron is rather a conflicted fellow I feel.
alx on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Like I think we may struggle to get a stupider question on here this year and it's only January the 10th.

Have you filled in a recent climbing risk survey?
Jon Stewart - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I don't find it as annoying or offensive as many here. This may be because I have the choice of him or a Tory as my MP, and I'd much rather see the notorious queer basher Tim Farron (his full title since the election) have the seat.

I see it more like someone who's outed as enjoying smoking crack while taking it up the arse from a rent boy dressed as Hitler. It's embarrassing, and it's not what we want from our representatives, and we can expect them to deny it when the press get wind of what they get up to in private. But Tim Farron has never tried to enforce his bonkers beliefs on others - I still believe in him as a liberal. Indeed, if you listen to him, there isn't actually a conflict between what he believes and liberal policies giving homosexuals equal rights:

Part of the difficulty he said he found himself wrestling with was the different understanding of what sin constitutes for Christians and non-Christians.

"In the end, if you are a Christian you have a very clear idea of what sin is. It is us falling short of the glory of God, and that is something all of us equally share.

"So to be asked that question is essentially to persecute one group of human beings because sin is something, Jesus excepted, we are all guilty of. But if you are not a Christian, what does sin mean? It is to be accused of something, to be condemnatory, and so we are talking different languages.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/42638420
Ridge - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Don't go bringing Keith Vaz into this...
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:
Possibly not conflicted enough.
Captain Solo on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> Tim Farron is rather a conflicted fellow I feel.

I don't think he would be too happy about you feeling him
Rog Wilko on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Tim Farron is also my MP. Lots of MPs have weird beliefs, especially religious ones. I don't respect Tim for these quirks, and I don't consider his views on gays sit well with someone who calls himself a liberal but it won't stop me voting for him as I approve of just about everything else he does and says. His greatest strength in my view is that he speaks (outside religion, anyway) as he believes and doesn't say things he doesn't believe just to curry favour or to advance his personal standing, something rare enough amongst MPs. However, it wouldn't surprise me if his religious heart searchings don't eventually lead him to giving up his role as MP which I think would be a great loss. And heaven forbid that we should get a Tory next time - if for nothing else we should thank Tim for ridding us of the previous Tim (Collins), the epitome of the Nasty Party, whom he beat a decade or so ago.
CasWebb - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Absolutely. It is perfectly possible for somebody to have a belief and be able to separate it from decisions they make in their jobs.  

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to CasWebb:

> Absolutely. It is perfectly possible for somebody to have a belief and be able to separate it from decisions they make in their jobs.  

I think believing in any religion in the manner he does, shows a complete lack of judgement and common sense. I wouldn't want that person influencing society. I am a lib dem voter, apart from this issue, his leadership skills and general ability to get out there and engage the public he is a dead loss. His time as leader cost the party another 5 years in the background.

The New NickB - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

What you are saying is that if you are tolerant, you cannot criticise anything. This is self evident twaddle.

The New NickB - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> I think being Tim Farron is a sin.

I’m sure Tim would agree!

Rob Exile Ward on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to CasWebb:

That's not true is it? If someone believed the Earth was flat then you wouldn't trust them to legislate on, say, navigational issues.

If someone believed that consensual sex is evil how could they sensibly legislate around that?

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> I am a lib dem voter,

You mean the only overtly pro European party ? really ?

Mike Highbury - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Timmd:

> If there wasn't anything in Christianity saying homosexuality is a sin, I wouldn't be critical of that aspect of Christianity. I'm glad Tim Farron isn't in a position of influence now it's said he actually thinks it's a sin.

Yes, right at the start of the Bible and the (G)enesis of the sin of homosexuality and the justification of black slavery, BTW. The second point is clearer if you can read Hebrew but both in the following, Genesis (9), 'Ham saw his father's nakedness ... When Noah woke up and ... learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said, 'Cursed be Canaan the lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers'.

 

 

plyometrics - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

He’s our local MP and it’s time he stood down. 

john arran - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

If you haven't seen it before, this wonderfully highlights the hypocrisy of quoting biblical justifications for modern actions or opinions:

https://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/01/03/dear-dr-laura-why-cant-i-own-canadians-slaves

Flinticus - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Oddly, I was wondering why eating chips from a small wire basket is OK but I can't grope the receptionist at work.

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> > I am a lib dem voter,
> You mean the only overtly pro European party ? really ?

Yeah..!! Can't win them all. But at least they acknowledge that to improve things you must pay more. At least even the eu is in the real living factual world, unlike religion. 

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

>At least even the eu is in the real living factual world, unlike religion. 

Religion, arguably, is in the real living factual world.  Its the faith it exploits which isn't.

Chris the Tall - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Please tell me where in the Bible Jesus Christ is quoted expressing an opinion on homosexuality 

 

The problem does not lie with Christianity, but with those bigots who claim to be "Christians" but do not follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. If you believe the book of Leviticus or the letters of Paul are more important than the message of love and tolerance in the 4 gospels, then call yourself a Levitican or Paulist.

 

 

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD: 
> Religion, arguably, is in the real living factual world.  Its the faith it exploits which isn't.

You getting all philosophical? 

All of mans religions are fictional to the absolute best of our knowledge. They should have zero influence on politics, policy or education. 

Mike Highbury - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> If you believe the book of Leviticus or the letters of Paul are more important than the message of love and tolerance in the 4 gospels, then call yourself a Levitican or Paulist.

Or a Samaritan, I suppose. 

 

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

Maybe, but religions have to be very real, otherwise they could never have any influence on politics, policy etc - which they clearly do.  As a means to control and exploit people, religions are very successful.

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Yeah. And a good start in moving the world away from fiction would be not electing politicians as our representatives when their beliefs belong in the middle ages. 

john arran - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> Yeah. And a good start in moving the world away from fiction would be not electing politicians as our representatives when their beliefs belong in the middle ages. 

Would you please stop doing that - I find myself agreeing with your posts and it's feeling very strange.

Hat Dude on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> to the absolute best of our knowledge

Isn't that contradictory?

stubbed on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

But wasn't he trying to be more tolerant? Despite what he had been brought up to believe?

For me debate like this is to the only way to work on these kind of intolerant-liberal-tolerant types of people.

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Hat Dude:

> > to the absolute best of our knowledge
> Isn't that contradictory?

Kind of, but then religion is odd. When it's whole foundation is belief despite zero evidence and of course the absence of evidence is not necessarily proof of absence, like the alien life thread. 

Lusk - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> summo > I am a lib dem voter,
> You mean the only overtly pro European party ? really ?


Now, that is funny!

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> Yeah. And a good start in moving the world away from fiction would be not electing politicians as our representatives when their beliefs belong in the middle ages. 

Except, of course, that many of the people doing the electing want those beliefs represented.  The difficulty surely starts with the electorate rather than the politicians ?

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD: 
> Except, of course, that many of the people doing the electing want those beliefs represented.  The difficulty surely starts with the electorate rather than the politicians ?

The government has a chief scientific advisor, perhaps we need more advisors of that ilk to educate the public to a greater degree. At the same time remove the bishops from the lords.

The public can worship who they like in their free time, but there should be no expectations that work life, education, or laws should be structured to reflect those religious views. 

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Lusk:

> > summo > I am a lib dem voter,
> Now, that is funny!

Well, life is never simple. I'm sure there are other anti eu lib dem supporters. Just like not ever Corbyn fan is a red flag singing terrorist supporting communist.

Tom V - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

I doubt you'd have said that in 1950, let alone 1350.

A Longleat Boulderer - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I've not read the whole thread... but just my 2p...

Why is this surprising? The guy is a Christian. He clearly thinks gay sex is a sin. My ex gf's best mate was also a Christian. She thought we were both going to hell for having sex out of wedlock. She would genuinely cry for us. But despite the fact we were 'sinners' she was still a very good friend.

Just because Farron thinks that gay sex is sinful doesn't mean he hates gays. All it means is he has not got the critical thinking capability that I personally believe is required for a leader of this country.

Post edited at 13:41
Jon Stewart - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> If someone believed that consensual sex is evil how could they sensibly legislate around that?

As far as I can see, he doesn't believe that the sin in question is one which should be legislated against. If he also holds the belief that the state should treat everyone equally regardless of sex, sexual orientation or race, then what is the conflict? 

Personally, I think the issue is a broader one : you have to be a bit of an idiot to hold these kinds of religious convictions, and you don't want idiots in positions of great responsibility. 

Jon Stewart - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> The public can worship who they like in their free time, but there should be no expectations that work life, education, or laws should be structured to reflect those religious views. 

Amen!

 

Tom V - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

The man on the Clapham omnibus might also think you have to be a bit of an idiot setting off to climb a 100 foot high piece of rock unroped, since one mistake would lead to death or at least paraplegia. Yet I am sure there are surgeons, airline pilots, military commanders and even powerful politicians who have done this sort of thing, and not always climbing three grades below their maximum on a familiar route. Idiots are two a penny and come in all shapes and sizes.

Jimbocz - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Personally, I am furious that we had two politicians that were supposed to save us from the  disaster of Brexit, and both couldn't even get the most basic positions correct in their heads.  During the referendum, Jeremy Corbyn couldn't be arsed to campaign at all against this clusterfk and since decided he's actually for it!  The most important issue in years that is just crying out for leadership in opposition and all we get are these two useless idiots.  

 

nufkin - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> As far as I can see, he doesn't believe that the sin in question is one which should be legislated against. If he also holds the belief that the state should treat everyone equally regardless of sex, sexual orientation or race, then what is the conflict?

 

Being charitable, presumably he was intending more to make the point that he regretted making a statement that was contrary to what he actually thinks, rather than belatedly declaring a crusade against all the rampaging gays

krikoman - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!

I'm afraid that isn't all you're saying, your saying something very different, you're equating to very different things and two very different reasons for those things.

In one you have a choice in the other you don't.

Tolerance is fine and it should be advocated for all, but when you're not only a hypocrite, but a liar, who we all knew was lying at the time then it's a little different.

Ade in Sheffield - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Conflation ?

Crewey-Rob on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

It wasn't my intention to defend Farron. I just had my nose put out a bit by the anti christian rhetoric coming from the OP. As for your point about that religious people have a choice I bet you that they'd argue to the contrary. And another thing about the anti religious trend that flourishes today, you can bet your arse that when the chips are down you won't be so nihilistic. I had a near death experience a couple of years ago and made my peace with the universe, not in any traditional religious way but I did pray. Why can't people be free to have a spiritual side?

Crewey-Rob on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

...And here endeth the lesson ;-)

Rob Exile Ward on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I'm totally evangelical about being agnostic - sorry. And I've had one or two near death experiences, and have used them to test my agnosticism. Beyond here lies nothing.

Crewey-Rob on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Beyond here lies nothing.

I bet you're really fun at parties.

> I'm totally evangelical about being agnostic

Me too; it's the atheists that show a total dearth of imagination.

krikoman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> Why can't people be free to have a spiritual side?

People are free to have a religious side, but when it judges others for their life styles, especially when so much evil is perpetrated in the name of religion or hidden under a cloak for secrecy then, as the choirboy said to the bishop, "it's a bit had to swallow."

 

Stichtplate on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> Me too; it's the atheists that show a total dearth of imagination.

 

And there lies the problem with religion. Magical beings are a figment of the imagination.

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to stevieb:

>  gay people generally don’t try to impose their values and beliefs on others, but religion frequently has and still does.

 

Erm, pretty sure they do. I guess it depends on how you define impose, but I'm pretty sure aggressive political campaigning and the smearing of anyone who disagrees with their agenda would count... 

 

Rog Wilko on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:


> Please tell me where in the Bible Jesus Christ is quoted expressing an opinion on homosexuality 
>  

I don't set myself up as any kind of religious expert but I was told, at school I imagine, that only the New Testament is Christian and the Old Testament, where all the death to Sodomites stuff is found, is a Jewish book and all happened before JC came along being a lot more gentle and forgiving. I think Farron should throw his O T in the bin and ask himself what JC would say.

Andy Hardy on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Splitter!

GrahamD - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:


> Me too; it's the atheists that show a total dearth of imagination.

Sod off.  I'm an atheist ant I enjoy reading Sci Fi as much as anyone

Pete Pozman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

It would be be better to look at what Jesus said about sin rather than what he said about homosexuality. The parable concerning the woman taken in adultery... Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone... (perhaps the most moving passage in the Bible) says more about what Tim Farron believes than the comments of people who do not acknowledge the concept of sin itself.

Tim is an honest man. There are plenty of right wing raving narcissists in parliament and elsewhere who would delight in his demise. The Left should be uniting in these grave times of peril not tearing at each other over  tenets of theology. 

 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Erm, pretty sure they do. I guess it depends on how you define impose, but I'm pretty sure aggressive political campaigning and the smearing of anyone who disagrees with their agenda would count... 

See, the mistake you've made there is thinking that being gay is an "agenda" and not simply being attracted to those of the same sex. Silly sausage.

 

krikoman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Pete Pozman:

> Tim is an honest man.

How do you get to this? It was pretty obvious during the election, he was saying things he didn't believe in the slightest. I don't think he's suddenly had a revaluation about homosexuality, but rather about his denial of his true feelings.

I believe he's espousing his guilt at not being true to his real feelings that homosexuality is wrong.

 

Chris the Tall - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I had the great misfortune to go to a Catholic primary school. For the record I don't regret being raised a Catholic, and although I am now very much an atheist I still think there is a lot of values in the teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly if you focus on the message and ignore the mythology and the miracles.

So I was taught there is a clear hierarchy to the bible.

At the top is the 4 Gospels - the accounts of Christ's teachings

Next up comes the rest of the NT - Acts, Letters etc

And finally the OT - 10 commandments, Adam and Eve and all that stuff

Now JC does explicitly repudiate some of the OT - eg turn the other cheek vs an eye for an eye - whilst clearly endorses other bits - not killing etc. But the notion that the OT stuff is fundamental to Christianity and overrides the teaching of JC is clearly rubbish.

The difficulty comes with the letters of St Paul - one of the founders of the church - and he does condemn homosexuality. But there is an argument that he himself is not a Christian. Although often banded with St Peter, he wasn't one of the apostles, he never met or heard JC. His Damoscene conversion came with a vision of God, not JC. The myth is that instead of persecuting the Christians he joined them. The probable reality is that it was more of a takeover - an educated Roman outwitting the rural fishermen - and he quickly shaped the religion for his own agenda.

So opposition to homosexuality is deeply ingrained in the religion, but doesn't come from Christ. And this is where I think bigots like Farron should be challenged, rather than be allowed to get away with saying "As a Christian, you should believe this"

 

 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> See, the mistake you've made there is thinking that being gay is an "agenda" and not simply being attracted to those of the same sex. Silly sausage.  

Scheiss, sorry, I didn't realise that simply being attracted to those of the same sex meant that you had to take out bill board posters or stick up adverts on the back of a bus. 

I should have been more precise; there are people who push an aggressive agenda in both sets of communities. Both are wrong to do so. To suggest that there is not a very vocal group intent on imposing their views on everyone is simply ridiculous (again that includes both groups).

 

Post edited at 12:28
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I would have to disagree with your analysis of what Jesus said about the OT. He says in Matthew that he did not come to get rid of the law but to fulfill it. He wholeheartly endorses the law ( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A17-20&version=ESV ) and says that if you were to relax any of the commandments you will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven. This would suggest that all of the laws that are in the old testament are still applicable. 

The bit about turning the other cheek is far more subtle than you suggest. He doesn't scrap the position of an eye for an eye but says it is better to turn the other cheek. Again this fits with what he says about not getting rid of the law.

I have to say I've never heard any suggestion that Paul is not a Christian, it is certainly an interesting idea but I am not sure why he would put himself into the position he ended up in if it was simply a way to usurp the early church...

 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Being gay is not a set of values and off-the-peg prejudices designed to dictate how one lives one's own life and how one should treat others. Christianity is. What "gay agenda" items concern you so much?

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I am not saying that it is. Nor would I describe religion as being (particularly Christianity). 

Nor have I said I have any concerns about "gay agenda" items.

What I have said is that there is a vocal group of activists who have an agenda which they push in an aggressive way. My point was that to say that there is not an attempt to impose a set of views and beliefs is incorrect. As I have already said I should have been more precise and said that there is a vocal lobby who are trying to push their views onto others.

If I have concerns about anything it is the attempts to shut down any sort of discourse by yelling "Bigot" at anyone who disagrees with what is being said rather than having a rational discussion.

Taking Farron as an example, his position is incredibly nuanced, but rather than listening to what he has to say and then deciding whether he holds a valid position, there is a knee jerk reaction and he is labelled a bigot and a homophobe and there is no possibility of a sensible, rational discussion.   

 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Sorry, again, what beliefs are gays trying to impose?

cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Was about to post exactly this.

CB

MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:


> Taking Farron as an example, his position is incredibly nuanced,

Really?  I don't see any nuance.  He thinks homosexuality is a sin.

That said, he is also a true liberal in that he voted for say gay marriage, recognizing that, whatever his thoughts on the matter, it wouldn't harm others, for which he deserves some respect.

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

> Really?  I don't see any nuance.  He thinks homosexuality is a sin.

 

No he doesn't, he thinks that gay sex is a sin (which is what it says in the Bible). There is a difference, albeit one that is often lost in the world of 20 second sound bites.  I know that to most people it doesn't seem that significant but it is quite important, particularly when talking about how a Christian (for the purposes of this I mean one who considers gay sex to be a sin) relates to the outside world. 

He also does not seek to push his views on others, as you say in your second paragraph. He may have personal beliefs about what is right and wrong but he believes that those who are in the minority should have their rights protected.

 

 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to cb294:

Which one?

MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

The distinction between homosexuality and gay sex is sophistry, not nuance.

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Sorry, again, what beliefs are gays trying to impose?

As I have already said, I was imprecise in my first message, this is not reflective of the entire community, but there is a vocal group who are trying to impose their views which include, but are not limited to;

The view that it is immoral to consider gay sex as being sinful. 

That people who hold religious views on sexuality should not be allowed to express them.

That if a member of the clergy who disagrees with gay marriage refuses to perform one that they should be compelled to or have to leave their jobs.

 

 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

No it isn't. There is a difference between hatred of a person and hatred of their actions. Wasn't it Gandhi who said hate the sin not the sinner?

 

 

cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

This:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 

MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to cb294:

Wot??

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

It was a reply to my post, DW!

Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Erm, pretty sure they do. I guess it depends on how you define impose, but I'm pretty sure aggressive political campaigning and the smearing of anyone who disagrees with their agenda would count...   

I understand what you're saying - that you're not talking about gay people in general but about activists who get their underwear twisted about baking cakes for gay weddings and stuff - but I think it's important to recognise the fundamental asymmetry between the opposing views that gays should be treated equally (held by Farron, as it happens) and those who think that being gay is wrong (and so it's OK to treat them worse than you would straight people).

The reasons to think that gays should be treated equally are part of a consistent philosophy that says that the world is composed only of things we know about through looking at it and investigating objectively (meaning a consensus of third person accounts, basically) and things we know nothing about. As human beings in that world, there is no value structure that puts one type or category above the other, because there's nothing in the world that indicates any reasons for such a value structure. Instead, we judge people on their actions, and the value of people's actions is judged by the effects they have on others. People who improve the world for others are "good" and people who make the world worse are "bad". This is a sensible way to judge people's value because we all value our own experience and we have no other way to create a value system looking only at things that exist.

If follows directly from this simple philosophy of what the world is that it simply doesn't matter what consenting adults choose to do, so long as they don't make the world worse for others. If you believe in rational thought, then you believe in equality.

On the other hand, you can choose not to believe in rational thought, and believe instead that the world not only includes the things we know about objectively, but also a load of other stuff that ancient people believed in, but about which there is no consensus of third person accounts, only subjective accounts of faith. Once you throw that into the mix, you've given yourself a licence to create whatever value structure you like, one in which it's fine to denigrate people who aren't like you, one where your in-group can take the resources, a basis for making up a moral code to serve your own selfish ends. You could, if you want, from your wobbly nonsensical philosophy which has no grounding in reality make up exactly the same moral code as you get from using reason - but there's no reason to do that.

Theological debate about what this or that holy book says is right or wrong is worthless. The holy books don't say anything we have any reason to be interested in, other than for historical purposes. There is no underlying truth to be found in them, because their philosophical underpinning is based in ancient human thought preceding our understanding of reality. What makes them even more useless is the vagueness and contradiction, upon which is loaded a totally unjustified culture of morality and meaning.

You have to be a bit of an idiot to eschew the modern, rational understanding of reality as a basis for your moral code and instead choose a word salad dating from hundreds or thousands of years ago written by people with no understanding of the world, nor any consistency about what they thought about anything.

It's OK for people to believe whatever rubbish they want in their private lives; but should they attempt to force those beliefs on others it must be judged whether or not they are causing harm. In attempting to undermine equality for gay people they are causing harm and should be told to stop or prevented. In contrast, people who attempt to "force" on others the belief that people should be treated equally are acting in a way that will improve the world for others, and as such they should be encouraged.

All opinions are not equal. Some cause harm, while others reduce harm, and they should be judged accordingly.

 

Post edited at 15:57
MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> As I have already said, I was imprecise in my first message, this is not reflective of the entire community, but there is a vocal group who are trying to impose their views which include, but are not limited to;
> The view that it is immoral to consider gay sex as being sinful.

They're intolerant of people's intolerance? The bastards.


> That people who hold religious views on sexuality should not be allowed to express them.

Is this a law they're trying to bring in? Any specifics?


> That if a member of the clergy who disagrees with gay marriage refuses to perform one that they should be compelled to or have to leave their jobs.

Isn't that down to the position of the church itself? Churches are in the legally privileged position that it's allowed to discriminate on the grounds grounds of sexuality. I can see why people would want to change that.
 

 

 

 

 

cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

Sorry, replied to the wrong person! 

I tried to support Whitter's claim that Chris the Tall's idea about NT theology superseding the old Jewish law was contradicted already in the Bible. 

Hence, considering homosexuality a sin might be bigoted,but is at least consistent for Christians, even if there are no direct comments on this in the alleged words of JC himself.

Please note that this is not my conviction, for me homosexuality is a natural variant of sexual orientation that can be found in essentially all species where it has been studied. Bronze age belief systems simply are not relevant.

CB

Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> The view that it is immoral to consider gay sex as being sinful. 

There's a problem with this view. If you teach it to your kids, and they turn out to be gay, you've harmed them. Or if they're not gay but they then go on to believe that gays are inferior, you've caused harm. As such, it's not a good view, and while it's not immoral to hold it, it is immoral to teach it to children.

> That people who hold religious views on sexuality should not be allowed to express them.

It's harmful to go around telling groups in society that they are "against gods will" or "an obination" etc. These views should not be expressed publicly, just as racist views should not. Very difficult to get the balance with freedom of speech right here: you have balance the right of free expression with the rights of the people being abused publicly.

> That if a member of the clergy who disagrees with gay marriage refuses to perform one that they should be compelled to or have to leave their jobs.  

It's a choice to get married in a church, and if you want to get married in a church that hates gays, you need your head checked. While churches should not be allowed to teach children that being gay is wrong, because that harms them, when it comes to religious marriage, I see no reason to force churches to conduct gay marriages if they don't want to. It doesn't stop gays getting married somewhere that's not retarded.

 

Post edited at 16:14
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:


> I understand what you're saying - that you're not talking about gay people in general but about activists who get their underwear twisted about baking cakes for gay weddings and stuff - but I think it's important to recognise the fundamental asymmetry between the opposing views that gays should be treated equally (held by Farron, as it happens) and those who think that being gay is wrong (and so it's OK to treat them worse than you would straight people).

 

Entirely agree. TBF I think you would be hard pushed to find many people in UK churches that would say that it is OK to treat gay people worse than straight people. That is why the distinction between being gay and doing gay (for want of a better way of putting it) is so important, particularly for those in religious circles. One leads to treating people as sub humans and the other leads to people viewing everyone as fallen sinners of equal standing. 


> The reasons to think that gays should be treated equally are part of a consistent philosophy that says that the world is composed only of things we know about through looking at it and investigating objectively (meaning a consensus of third person accounts, basically) and things we know nothing about. As human beings in that world, there is no value structure that puts one type or category above the other, because there's nothing in the world that indicates and reasons for such a value structure. Instead, we judge people on their actions, and the value of people's actions is judged by the effects they have on others. People who improve the world for others are "good" and people who make the world worse are "bad". This is a sensible way to judge people's value because we all value our own experience and we have no other way to create a value system looking only at things that exist.

> If follows directly from this simple philosophy of what the world is that it simply doesn't matter what consenting adults choose to do, so long as they don't make the world worse for others. If you believe in rational thought, then you believe in equality.
> On the other hand, you can choose not to believe in rational thought, and believe instead that the world not only includes the things we know about objectively, but also a load of other stuff that ancient people believed in, but about which there is no consensus of third person accounts, only subjective accounts of faith. Once you throw that into the mix, you've given yourself a licence to create whatever value structure you like, one in which it's fine to denigrate people who aren't like you, one where your in-group can take the resources, a basis for making up a moral code to serve your own selfish ends. You could, if you want, from your wobbly nonsensical philosophy which has no grounding in reality make up exactly the same moral code as you get from using reason - but there's no reason to do that.
> Theological debate about what this or that holy book says is right or wrong is worthless. The holy books don't say anything we have any reason to be interested in, other than for historical purposes. There is no underlying truth to be found in them, because their philosophical underpinning is based in ancient human thought preceding our understanding of reality. What makes them even more useless is the vagueness and contradiction, upon which is loaded a totally unjustified culture of morality and meaning.
> You have to be a bit of an idiot to eschew the modern, rational understanding of reality as a basis for your moral code and instead choose a word salad dating from hundreds or thousands of years ago written by people with no understanding of the world, nor any consistency about what they thought about anything.

> It's OK for people to believe whatever rubbish they want, in their private lives, and should they attempt to force those beliefs on others it must be judged whether or not they are causing harm. In attempting to undermine equality for gay people they are causing harm and should be told to stop or prevented. In contrast, people who attempt to "force" on others the belief that people should be treated equally are acting in a way that will improve the world for others, and as such they should be encouraged.
> All opinions are not equal. Some cause harm, while others reduce harm, and they should be judged accordingly.

That is a perfectly understandable defence of equal treatment from a non-religious position, but it is only one reason to believe in equal treatment. Where I think it falls down is in the contention that you have to take a "Rationalist" starting point or you are doomed to promote inequality. I know of many Christians who would say that they believe that every human being is of equal worth and that everyone is a sinner and therefore everyone should be treated equally. Given that Christians purportedly believe that all humans are created in the image of God (well some of them do anyway) it seems illogical and irrational for them to be treated differently.

I don't fully agree that rational thought = equality. Depends on your definition of rational thought I suppose, but there are plenty of examples throughout history of people using "Science" to justify inequality (just as there are plenty of examples of religion being used as a justification for it).  

I also find the characterisation of people as "Good" and "Bad" problematic, particularly when you try to judge people's value by it. Humans are incredibly complex creatures and even the best examples have done things which make the world a worse place. My view is that all humans, good and bad, are of the same value and that once we start trying to attribute value to people we create conditions for inequality.

I'm not going to get into a debate about the worth of religious texts but I can't help but feel that your dismissal of them is somewhat unfair and not entirely grounded in fact.

 

 

 

 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Come on now, you know full well that any form of dissenting voice is shut down. For example, there was a bunch of adverts due to be run by a Christian group back in 2014 that got pulled following "Outrage among gay campaigners". Now, whilst you might not agree with the content of the adverts, it is an example of a lobbying group imposing their views and stifling free speech.

Now, people can disagree on whether that is a good or a bad thing but you have to accept that it is happening.

Chris the Tall - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to cb294:

> I tried to support Whitter's claim that Chris the Tall's idea about NT theology superseding the old Jewish law was contradicted already in the Bible. 
> Hence, considering homosexuality a sin might be bigoted,but is at least consistent for Christians, even if there are no direct comments on this in the alleged words of JC himself.

 

But if JC didn't have a different message from the OT then why build a religion around him ?  A JC that doesn't offer anything different to the OT is merely a minor prophet at best, or just another rabbi/teacher.

Surely the whole point of Christianity is that JC did have a new message - one of love, tolerance, compassion, sharing, peace etc. One that is quite different to fire, brimestone, war and general smiteing of thine enemies that goes on in OT. 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

What was the content of the adverts and who pulled them?

Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Entirely agree. TBF I think you would be hard pushed to find many people in UK churches that would say that it is OK to treat gay people worse than straight people. That is why the distinction between being gay and doing gay (for want of a better way of putting it) is so important, particularly for those in religious circles. One leads to treating people as sub humans and the other leads to people viewing everyone as fallen sinners of equal standing. 

Yes, and this is why I don't have a problem with the fact that Tim Farron has weird personal beliefs - they don't lead to a view that gays should be discriminated against, and that's reflected in his politics.

> Where I think it falls down is in the contention that you have to take a "Rationalist" starting point or you are doomed to promote inequality.

That's not what I said. I said that if you open the door to things outside the world of reason, then you have licence to invent whatever moral system you fancy. That moral system will of course reflect evolved human nature: the desire to keep resources under the control of those who help you pass on your genes. This is why religions have historically promoted in-group supremacy rather than equality.

I said that you can take a religious world view and still hold the same moral values as if you followed reason: but the role of religion is to give licence to whatever moral code you fancy.

> I know of many Christians who would say that they believe that every human being is of equal worth and that everyone is a sinner and therefore everyone should be treated equally. Given that Christians purportedly believe that all humans are created in the image of God (well some of them do anyway) it seems illogical and irrational for them to be treated differently.

Depends on what you choose to pick'n'mix from the Bible. Some Christians think that god hates fags and blacks should be slaves. Look in the Bible and you'll find whatever you need to justify your preconceived moral values.

> I don't fully agree that rational thought = equality. Depends on your definition of rational thought I suppose, but there are plenty of examples throughout history of people using "Science" to justify inequality (just as there are plenty of examples of religion being used as a justification for it).  

Have any of those views that promoted a scientific excuse for inequality stood up to scrutiny? Under the philosophy that I outlined, actions should be judged according to causing harm. I can't think of any examples of inequality - causing harm to people because of some characteristic they can't control and doesn't harm others - that can be justified using science or rational thought. Although yes, people have tried.

> I also find the characterisation of people as "Good" and "Bad" problematic, particularly when you try to judge people's value by it. Humans are incredibly complex creatures and even the best examples have done things which make the world a worse place. My view is that all humans, good and bad, are of the same value and that once we start trying to attribute value to people we create conditions for inequality.

At a slightly deeper level than in my previous post, I agree with you really about "good" and "bad" being daft words to use (hence the "s). There are reasons that people do everything which are beyond their control (the murderer or rapist didn't choose the genes they were born with nor the environment they grew up in) but you can influence their future behaviour. As such, we can usefully label behaviours that cause harm as "bad" (such as teaching children that gay sex is sinful, which is likely to lead to their psychological implosion should they discover that they are gay) and behaviours that reduce harm (such as teaching children that everyone is free to do as they like so long as they don't harm others) as "good". People (rather than actions) are only meaningfully "good" or "bad" if the sum total of their actions falls heavily on one side of the balance...and then you have to consider their intentions too, as they might have done a load of "good" or "bad" stuff by accident!   

 

Post edited at 16:57
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Like I said before I do not want to get into a theological discussion, I was simply pointing out that these are things that are being imposed. The moral good or otherwise of doing so is debatable.

I have a massive problem with the notion that controversial views should not be allowed to be aired publicly and that they cannot be debated properly and rationally for two reasons. Firstly, who gets to say what is and isn't acceptable? It is either the minority or the majority and a tyranny of either is bad. As far as I am concerned as long as no one advocates violence towards anyone else there shouldn't be a limit on what can be discussed publicly. 

Secondly, by preventing the discussion of these types of things you drive the debate underground. This has two effects, one, the group who hold the repugnant views are able to claim victimhood and able to recruit more adherents. Two, those who get involved in these views never get challenged and their views continue to fester out of sight.

I'd much rather all views could be challenged in public and irrational and illogical arguments exposed as such.

 

   

MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Come on now, you know full well that any form of dissenting voice is shut down. For example, there was a bunch of adverts due to be run by a Christian group back in 2014 that got pulled following "Outrage among gay campaigners". 

What are you referring to. Google doesn’t come up with anything immediate.

 

Post edited at 16:57
MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

You need to show your claim that controversial views can’t be discussed is true. There are limits on incitement, libel and few other things but that’s about all. 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

In a nutshell Christian belief is that the OT set out a series of prophecies and foreshadows of the coming messiah who would save the world.

Jesus arrived, fulfilled the prophecies, died on the cross and then rose, thus saving the world. He offers forgiveness in a way that was foretold by the OT regime of sacrifice.

The NT has plenty of brimstone etc. He's just saving it for the end of the world. 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Wait, found it. It was the "Ex-gay and proud" bus adverts which were not run because they were likely to cause widespread and serious offence. That decision was upheld by two appeals.

captain paranoia - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> No he doesn't, he thinks that gay sex is a sin (which is what it says in the Bible)

You do know that it's all made up, don't you...?

By different people, at different times. And then edited and revised a number of times over the course of a few centuries.

So it's hardly surprising that it's inconsistent, and self-contradictory.

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/apr/12/anti-gay-adverts-boris-johnson

It was 2012, my bad.

 

In terms of your other post, I was commenting on the idea set out by Jon Stewart that he thought that bigoted views should not be allowed in public.  

 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

What it's made up that the Bible says that it is sinful for a man to lie with another man as he would a woman? 

Please, tell me what the inconsistencies and contradictions are. No genuinely, I have looked for years so that I can point them out to Christian friends and family...

Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Like I said before I do not want to get into a theological discussion, I was simply pointing out that these are things that are being imposed. The moral good or otherwise of doing so is debatable.

You say things are being imposed, I'm saying that society has changed to make equality the norm and religiously motivated discrimination taboo. Gays used to live in a world in which they were simply not allowed to express their existence, now it is mainstream to promote their rights as equals. This may feel like someone is "imposing" a view, but it seems to me merely that a once mainstream view has become a minority view looked down upon as harmful and not in step with social norms. That's a good thing, and that those with harmful views have the experience of feeling marginalised is simply not a meaningful problem.

As I said, not all views are equal. If your view harms others, then be prepared to feel looked down on and marginalised now that we operate in a world in which equality trumps religion.

> I have a massive problem with the notion that controversial views should not be allowed to be aired publicly and that they cannot be debated properly and rationally for two reasons. Firstly, who gets to say what is and isn't acceptable? It is either the minority or the majority and a tyranny of either is bad. As far as I am concerned as long as no one advocates violence towards anyone else there shouldn't be a limit on what can be discussed publicly. 

It's a difficult question. On the one hand, I totally agree that ideas should be openly debated, reagrdless of whether they conform to social norms. On the other, I think it's absolutely wrong that anyone should use any public institution to promote racism, or to teach children that being gay is wrong, or promote any other harmful ideology. Finding the correct balance of freedom of expression and protecting people from harm is extremely difficult. I'm not convinced we have a problem with too much censorship at the moment.

Do you have examples of where freedom of expression has been wrongly curtailed, or as I suspect, do you just feel that religious views are now marginalised when once they were mainstream?

> I'd much rather all views could be challenged in public and irrational and illogical arguments exposed as such.

I agree. But while I'm seeing harmful views marginalised, I'm not seeing problematic censorship, although there may well be examples I'm not aware of.

 

Post edited at 17:16
Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

It's an interesting question.

This uses public advertising to promote a message that gays can be cured of homosexuality, which is false. Underneath the words lie an objectively incorrect and harmful message, attacking the very right to exist of a minority group in society. I would treat it very much like a racist slogan, such as "blacks are thick, so don't give them schooling or jobs".

Would you be happy for that slogan to appear on the side of a bus? If not, what is the difference?

There is an interesting question about *how* we should avoid incorrect harmful messages appearing on the sides of buses while retaining freedom of expression. I just don't think that there is a problem with the balance at the moment.


> In terms of your other post, I was commenting on the idea set out by Jon Stewart that he thought that bigoted views should not be allowed in public.  

Please don't misrepresent. Here is my comment:

It's harmful to go around telling groups in society that they are "against gods will" or "an obination" etc. These views should not be expressed publicly, just as racist views should not. Very difficult to get the balance with freedom of speech right here: you have balance the right of free expression with the rights of the people being abused publicly.

 

cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

That is precisely how Jews and Muslims would describe JC. However, that is not my point.  I cannot be arsed to list all the contradictions I was meant to accept when growing up in a protestant environment, the double think required to take all that stuff as read is simply staggering.

Instead, I have heard the passage I quoted being used by conservative Christians to rationalize their hatred of gays and to justify oppressing women. 

Given all the contradictions, it must feel great to be offered some consistency by the head guru! Follow the letter, not the spirit....

CB 

Chris the Tall - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> In a nutshell Christian belief is that the OT set out a series of prophecies and foreshadows of the coming messiah who would save the world.  

Do you base that on the teachings of the Church, or from the quoted teachings of JC in the 4 gospels ?

Because the fire and brimstone view of God has been very useful for the Church over the years, and of course they were never very keen on people actually reading the gospels

If however you believe is a loving, rational God, who sent his son down to guide people on how to live a harmonious, peaceful life, then you focus more on the message of the gospels and less on the mythology and the miracles.

The problem (for me at least) was that once you started bringing rationality into your theology, you start to realise that God is a man-made creation.....

<Edited for smelling pistakes>

 

Post edited at 18:04
TobyA on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I approve of your sentiments but actually think you make a number of logical jumps in your arguments that aren't really justified. I think also your view of people choosing to believe in something dismisses people's experience of belief in a way that ultimately means your position will always run the risk of becoming illiberal in the cause of liberalism.

> In contrast, people who attempt to "force" on others the belief that people should be treated equally are acting in a way that will improve the world for others, and as such they should be encouraged.

North Vietnamese re-education camps?

Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> I approve of your sentiments but actually think you make a number of logical jumps in your arguments that aren't really justified.

Good. Go on then!

> I think also your view of people choosing to believe in something dismisses people's experience of belief in a way that ultimately means your position will always run the risk of becoming illiberal in the cause of liberalism.

What do you mean by illiberal? I'm promoting the idea that everyone can do whatever they like, so long as it doesn't harm others. You can hold whatever vile, toxic views you like, so long as you don't act on them in a way which harms others. Promoting racism or gay cures is acting on those beliefs in a way which harms others, and should be prevented (not necesarily by law).

What part of this is illiberal?


> North Vietnamese re-education camps?

I used inverted commas around "force" as I was referring to gay rights campaigning, which is not actually "forcing". I don't see any relevance of re-education camps, and I suspect, nor do you.

deepsoup - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> What it's made up that the Bible says that it is sinful for a man to lie with another man as he would a woman? 

> Please, tell me what the inconsistencies and contradictions are. No genuinely, I have looked for years so that I can point them out to Christian friends and family...


John Arran posted a link further up that deals with Leviticus very nicely.  Not so much inconsistencies in the book itself so much as the way certain people seem to think the one verse is really important and all the others can just quietly be forgotten. 

So here's a bit of context for the bit in the OT about a man lying with another man being an 'abomination':
https://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/01/03/dear-dr-laura-why-cant-i-own-canadians-slaves

captain paranoia - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> What it's made up that the Bible says that it is sinful for a man to lie with another man as he would a woman?

The Bible. All of it. All made up. It's not the divine word of God. It's the work of many men. Just like all other religious tracts. And god; also made up, by man.

Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

I get the point of that link but know that there are “creative” ways to get around it. TBH the pick and choose nature of many Christians and the inconsistent application of the Bible is what ultimately resulted in me losing my faith. 

Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

Erm, think you misunderstood the emphasis of my post.

But to play devil’s advocate, prove it...

Pete Pozman - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> I get the point of that link but know that there are “creative” ways to get around it. TBH the pick and choose nature of many Christians and the inconsistent application of the Bible is what ultimately resulted in me losing my faith. 

Everybody picks and chooses. American "Christians" pick right to life in application to abortion but not where it relates to being shot in the street; love thy neighbour when it applies to their next door neighbour until a non white person moves in.

If you'd like not to lose your faith pick and choose the bits you believe in and dump the bits you can't believe in. Just like voting for a political party you have to make pragmatic choices which approximate to what you want to achieve. 

Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

In terms of the mainstream/minority view point. I can’t think of many examples off the top of my head, mainly because it’s not something that is really on my radar. I know of the odd anecdote, more the LGBT movement more generally. I do, however, know a large number of people who are concerned about it. I think it goes beyond simple marginalisation though, marginalising would involve some dialogue rather than simply trying to silence.

I do find the labelling of beliefs that do not advocate violence as “harmful” concerning. Ultimately who can decide what is harmful? What harm is required in order for a view to be deemed harmful? It becomes incredibly subjective and, in my view, dangerous to start labelling things we disagree with as harmful.

in terms of the advert the comparison with the racialist slogan you suggest is completely ridiculous. The advert offered a service, which you might disagree with but which some people think works. Now, I don’t know what is involved or whether what they do has any effect on a person’s sexuality (I am unaware of any scientific research into it that would support your view that it doesn’t work, if there is please post it), I’m not commenting on the rights and wrongs of such a service, but some people think that it works and should be offered. It should also be noted that the ads were in response to the “Some people are gay, get over it”. The advert was simply for a service, it did not say that gay people *should* be “cured” or that they should be subject to bullying, harassment or anything else harmful. That is entirely Different to one advocating not giving jobs to ethnic minorities. 

It does raise the question as to why an advert that would be considered offensive to some, and potentially cause harm to them, is allowed but the one advocating the counter point which is also deemed to cause offence and harm is not...

In terms of misrepresenting what you said, you said that you thought that racist views and “harmful” views on homosexuality should not be expressed in public. Not sure how what I said misrepresented that but it wasn’t my intention to do so.

 

 

 

Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Pete Pozman:

The problem with that is that if you’re talking about the infallible word of God, you can’t really pick and choose can you?

 

Added after posting:

 

Also there is a complete difference between someone being shot in the street when they are posing s threat to someone else and a baby in the womb... Though not a discussion for this thread eh? ????

Post edited at 08:29
Jim C - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to stevieb:

> I’m not a fan of the lazy ridiculing of Christianity, but I think the obvious difference here is that gay people generally don’t try to impose their values and beliefs on others, but religion frequently has and still does.

I wondered why two very pretty ( turned out to be Mormon )girls smiled nicely at me and  said hello every time they passed me.  ( For the record I have not had any same sex approaches )

Pete Pozman - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> The problem with that is that if you’re talking about the infallible word of God, you can’t really pick and choose can you?

Why not? I do.

> Also there is a complete difference between someone being shot in the street when they are posing s threat to someone else and a baby in the womb... Though not a discussion for this thread eh? ????

You'll be aware of the daily savagery in America and the righteous passion for arms bearing amongst the christian Right, cf that gun toting asshole Moore spurring his pony to the polls in a cowboy hat.  I pick this bit of the Gospel: "Blessed are the Peacemakers". I suppose there's something in there which goes with shooting people dead when you are not being threatened, but I haven't come across it yet. If I do I'll treat it as a piece of Iron Age mythology like the Iliad or some other contemporaneous text.

No conflict just choose. The good bits are the word of God the rest is Beowulf/Gilgamesh etc

wercat on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Let's just squish the squishable like Tim Farron and Christians in general then see what we are left with, because the unsquishable are so much better to govern us.  Particularly those nice Islamic fundamentalists, fascists and hard-line communists.   Squish the turn the other cheek brigade, YAY!

Post edited at 12:40
Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Pete Pozman:

So what you are saying is live as you want to live and if there happens to be a bit in a religious text that backs your way of life then roll with it...

The exact thing that Westborough Baptist types do...

 

elsewhere on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> So what you are saying is live as you want to live and if there happens to be a bit in a religious text that backs your way of life then roll with it...

> The exact thing that Westborough Baptist types do...

Their religion, their faith, their choice.

Same for Pete.

 

Post edited at 13:40
Jon Stewart - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> I think it goes beyond simple marginalisation though, marginalising would involve some dialogue rather than simply trying to silence.

The only example we have is that of the bus advert, which there are very good reasons for getting rid of. I don't see any reason to believe that there is any problem, except that people who hold toxic views are now criticised, marginalised and called bigots, whereas they used to be respected. Society has changed. If your attitudes haven't caught up, you're going to feel like you're being silenced. That's what it feels like to be marginalised. I see no reason why we should protect people from that feeling, and I see no evidence of peoples freedom of expression being curtailed. 

> I do find the labelling of beliefs that do not advocate violence as “harmful” concerning. Ultimately who can decide what is harmful? What hoarm is required in order for a view to be deemed harmful? It becomes incredibly subjective and, in my view, dangerous to start labelling things we disagree with as harmful.

I agree it's difficult and not clear cut. That's why it takes a bit of discussion and working out, and usually there is some trade off to be made. In the changes to a society of equal rights, there are some losers: people who don't agree with equal rights get marginalised and called bigots, which is a harm to them. The question is what we want society to look like: which values do we promote and which do we discourage? I'm completely clear that telling kids that being gay is wrong is a serious harm to them, putting them at risk of depression and suicide. That's a harm worth avoiding, whereas the adult who gets called a bigot can change their attitudes so they're no longer marginalised, or they can put up with it. It's not worth others suffering just so they can feel like they have the moral high ground while promoting attitudes that lead to childhood suicides. 

> in terms of the advert the comparison with the racialist slogan you suggest is completely ridiculous.

One's racist, one's homophobic. I can't see the difference. 

The advert offered a service, which you might disagree with but which some people think works. Now, I don’t know what is involved or whether what they do has any effect on a person’s sexuality (I am unaware of any scientific research into it that would support your view that it doesn’t work, if there is please post it), I’m not commenting on the rights and wrongs of such a service, but some people think that it works and should be offered.

No it shouldn't be offered. It has been shown not to work, and promoting the idea that it does is both dishonest and morally repugnant. If you promote the idea that homosexuality can be cured, you're telling gay people that their sexuality is a disease. It would be a moral conundrum if it worked, but since it doesn't, there is no moral question : promoting gay cures is immoral. 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www1.bps.org.uk/system/files/Public%2520files/conversion_therapy_final_version.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwj7lPaQ_NTYAhXJAMAKHSFcCs8QFjADegQIDRAB&usg=AOvVaw0Wr7pX5Ot9LUoK5wUsDVPg

> It should also be noted that the ads were in response to the “Some people are gay, get over it”. The advert was simply for a service, it did not say that gay people *should* be “cured” or that they should be subject to bullying, harassment or anything else harmful. That is entirely Different to one advocating not giving jobs to ethnic minorities. 

The advert carries the message that homosexuality is a disease that can be cured. Do you honestly think that the mayor of London is going to be fine with that? Londoners are going to be baffled and appalled, since the message conflicts so starkly with the liberal social values that we as a democracy endorse and encode into law. And tourists will think that backwards religious beliefs about homosexuality are promoted by TfL! It was never going to fly! 

The message of the stonewall ad was "gay people are normal, don't be homophobic". This is a message that we as a democracy are deliberately promoting because we think doing so improves society (e.g. Through fewer teenage suicides, gay people living more successful lives, less family breakdown etc). One message is appropriate for the side of a bus, because it promotes the liberal social attitudes that we as a democracy endorse, while the other is eye-wateringly vile and makes London look like a bastion of religious conservatism - that's not the image the mayor wants to portray! 

> In terms of misrepresenting what you said... 

No worries, my fault really. I just qualified my remark with the point about the balance of freedom of speech and it comes across quite differently without that qualification. To clarify what I meant, there are appropriate ways to air controversial views which are regarded by the mainstream of society as offensive, and plastering them to the side of a bus ain't one of 'em. 

Pete Pozman - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Where do I find these Westborough Baptists, and do they accept Catholics? 

marsbar - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

As far as I can understand, adverts have to be truthful.  

It isn’t true that people can be cured of gay.  That is bad science and utter nonsense.  

The adverts that were pulled were suggesting that gay is something that can and should be cured. 

They were pulled by a straight white man, who isn’t afraid of controversy or speaking his mind.  

cumbria mammoth - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Have any of those views that promoted a scientific excuse for inequality stood up to scrutiny? Under the philosophy that I outlined, actions should be judged according to causing harm. I can't think of any examples of inequality - causing harm to people because of some characteristic they can't control and doesn't harm others - that can be justified using science or rational thought. Although yes, people have tried.

That doesn’t elevate your philosophy over a Christian philosophy though. Under the philosophy that Jesus outlined, actions should also be judged according to causing harm. "A tree is known by its fruit for a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit – a  good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heartbrings forth evil".

Christians and unbelievers are equally as capable of using, misusing, or ignoring, rational thought. The only difference is the foundation belief that everything else follows from. It is an act of faith to say God exists and it is an act of faith to say there is no God. There is no intellectual or moral superiority in unbelief in God.

On the issue of sin, I don’t think it is a case of this action is alright but that action is a sin. It is not the case that some people are living better lives than other people. The human condition is to be rebellious against God throughout our existence. Jesus came for the salvation of all and that ought to lead to equal treatment of all.

On the issue of picking and choosing, this is always the case with the law, be it biblical or governmental. The written word is interpreted differently by different people depending on conscience and/or what suits or even just a different understanding of what is meant. The law of the OT only serves to show that it is impossible to be saved by keeping the law and that our salvation depends on accepting the freely given grace of God.

kmhphoto - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

"depends on accepting the freely given grace of God."

Which one?

 

deepsoup - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

There may be no intellectual or moral superiority in unbelief, but it does remove a certain temptation to present one's own view as um.. 'gospel' eh? 

There certainly is a degree of intellectual and/or moral inferiority in presenting one's own prejudices as the will of God.  Something we see all the time from those who claim to speak for him, Christians and otherwise.

 

Post edited at 11:16
cumbria mammoth - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

I agree with that. It is dishonest to claim to know the will of God at all, let alone for the purpose of backing up prejudices. Unbelievers also use dishonest means to back up their prejudices.

I’m not trying to defend prejudiced people, I just want to make the point that not all Christians have the same view of the world and that a well founded and thought through Christian philosophy is not inferior to a well founded atheist philosophy. As said above, you can decide for yourself which of the competing doctrines is likely to be closest to the will of God by the fruit that it bears.

timjones - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> ...now thinks that he was wrong to NOT say gay sex was a sin. Yes, you read that correctly.

> In what weird universe he thinks an all powerful, all loving God gives a flying f*ck what two consenting adults do with each other in private is totally baffling.

> Even more baffling - and offensive - is that he thought he could lie about his bonkers beliefs enough to con people to voting for his party, the last possible bastion against brexit. Unfortunately for us, on this occasion the public weren't as stupid as is sometimes thought.

Have you ever changed your mind on anything and does that mean that your earlier opinions were lies?

Rob Exile Ward on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to timjones:

Yes of course, and no. But the point about this story is the exact opposite;  Farron hasn't changed his mind at all, he has admitted that has always believed that gay sex was a 'sin', but denied holding that opinion, in public, for the sake of the election. Not that it did him much good.

Lusk - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>  Not that it did him much good.

Banging on about having a second referendum is what did him/them no good.

Jon Stewart - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Really interesting reply, many thanks.

> That doesn’t elevate your philosophy over a Christian philosophy though.

I would argue that the rationalist philosophy I outline is much better defined than a Christian philosophy. Although it's perfectly possible for a specific, carefully constructed Christian philosophy to be a more effective way of generating good behaviours than my rationalist approach. There just isn't any real underpinning to such a philosophy, it would be constructed as basically a rule-book for being good and any material gleaned from the Bible could just have easily come from any other suitably vague and varied source.

> Christians and unbelievers are equally as capable of using, misusing, or ignoring, rational thought. The only difference is the foundation belief that everything else follows from.

I agree. Although if you are religious, you reject the value of rational thought at the most basic level of your world view; so you stand a better chance of being rigorous with your application of reason if you're an unbeliever.

> It is an act of faith to say God exists and it is an act of faith to say there is no God. There is no intellectual or moral superiority in unbelief in God.

The symmetry is false. A believer in God cannot and will not accept that if you posit the existence of a new thing for which there is no evidence, then with that proposal comes the burden of providing the evidence. I can list 10 million things that don't exist but which can't be proven not to exist. Positing the existence of one of this infinite set of imaginary things does not make it equally likely and unlikely to be true. I'm not sure if it's morally superior not to believe in God, but I am absolutely 100% certain that the existence of the Christian God is precisely as likely as the existence of every other imaginary entity: the probability is zero and no faith is needed. This is the intellectually superior position.

This discussion can't really go any further because those who believe in God won't accept the rules of the game: that when you posit the existence of something, the burden of providing evidence of your claim falls on you, and not on the unbeliever to prove a negative. 

> On the issue of sin, I don’t think it is a case of this action is alright but that action is a sin. It is not the case that some people are living better lives than other people. The human condition is to be rebellious against God throughout our existence. Jesus came for the salvation of all and that ought to lead to equal treatment of all.

That's a really interesting view, and I can't get to grips with it to be honest. Some people are awful, and they demonstrably cause almost nothing but misery by their actions. Others are delightful and contribute a steady flow of positive outcomes, enriching our lives with generosity, knowledge, creativity and kindness. I think it's perfectly reasonable to judge people's actions according to their consequences and if something has no negative consequences (like two blokes shagging - although of course that *can* have bad consequences!) I don't see any rational basis for labeling it a 'sin'.

> On the issue of picking and choosing, this is always the case with the law, be it biblical or governmental. The written word is interpreted differently by different people depending on conscience and/or what suits or even just a different understanding of what is meant.

There is no parallel here. There is a system in place in law to ensure that you can't pick and choose. There are appointed arbiters whose decisions must be defended using reason are then followed by everyone living under that jurisdiction (or until another appointed arbiter overturns it on the basis of a superior argument or new information, etc). The law is systematic. Religious pick'n'mix has no basis deeper than preference. You can choose your favourite arbiter, or just do it yourself. This is completely unlike the law.

> The law of the OT only serves to show that it is impossible to be saved by keeping the law and that our salvation depends on accepting the freely given grace of God.

I'm afraid I just don't know what this means! Sorry!

Post edited at 22:39
cumbria mammoth - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> when you posit the existence of something, the burden of providing evidence of your claim falls on you, and not on the unbeliever to prove a negative. 

 

My own school of thought does not deny anything that scientific investigation has shown is very likely to be true (note that nothing is ever proven 100% true, it is always one theory is found to be more accurate than the theory that preceded it, so even the most rigourous follower of your method will at some point be confronted by a situation where an element of picking and choosing is necessary), it is just that God is behind it all. A believer can follow essentially the same philosophy as yours with the same checks against causing harm to ensure that any decisions bring “good fruit”.

Your claim of the superiority of unbelief though rests on believers having invented something unprovable. It is not believers who have made something up though.

1) Evidence for the existence of God is all around in the glory of his creation. God’s existence has been held as self-evident by most people throughout recorded history and throughout many thousands of years of prehistory. Of course some of these believers will have been stupid and irrational people, but also some of the finest minds in history.

2) We all trust our senses that the things we see, hear, touch, etc, exist outside of our own mind, without having to investigate these things scientifically. There is an idea that all people are also born with a sense of divinity and there are scientific studies that could be seen to give some credibility to this, concluding that the human mind is predisposed to religion.  A lot of people today will say that they don’t believe in God but they do believe in some sort of higher power.

3) People are today reporting spiritual experiences, even on this thread.  I am always surprised to read the level of vitriol on this forum as it is when I am in the mountains that I feel the presence of God the strongest.

It is the non existence of God that is the newer concept (in society at large) and I might just as well say that the burden of proof lies with those positing a universe sprung into creation by itself.

If your eyes are not open to it you will dismiss peoples accounts and see alternative explanations so you are right to say this discussion is unlikely to usefully go any further. Thanks for your measured and considered thoughts though.

 

cumbria mammoth - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> That's a really interesting view, and I can't get to grips with it to be honest. Some people are awful, and they demonstrably cause almost nothing but misery by their actions. Others are delightful and contribute a steady flow of positive outcomes, enriching our lives with generosity, knowledge, creativity and kindness. I think it's perfectly reasonable to judge people's actions according to their consequences and if something has no negative consequences (like two blokes shagging - although of course that *can* have bad consequences!) I don't see any rational basis for labeling it a 'sin'.

As I see it there is a crucial difference between sin and bad deeds.

Bad deeds are actions that people do that cause harm in the world and are related to sin which is the state of rebellion against God. Sin is related to our motives rather than our deeds. We are all drowning in an ocean of sin because none of us are giving glory to God in everything we do and think. It certainly seems to be true that some people commit more bad deeds than others and it may also be the case that these people are more sinful than others but if you are drowning 100 miles from the shore you are no better off than the person who is drowning 101, 150, or 200 miles from the shore. God will freely wipe the slate clean if only we acknowledge that we are sinners in need of his salvation.

It is not a good idea for us to label anything as a sin because judging peoples motives is a matter between God and each individual and Jesus explicitly warned us not to go there.

We do legislate in our society against bad deeds because we need to do so in order that our society doesn’t descend into chaos.

There are appointed arbiters in place to judge the intent of the secular law where there are issues of interpretation and there are self appointed arbiters to judge the intent of the biblical law where there are issues of interpretation.

In Jesus’ day the arbiters were the Pharisees who had developed a system of laws full self righteousness, and it was a key message of Jesus to point out their hypocrisy. They had invented loopholes to avoid the good deeds that were part of the law using clever word play which impressed men but would not impress God who judges motives. The Pharisees made a big show of following rituals and the things that made them look good but they neglected the more important matters of the law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

The Pharisees placed heavy burdens peoples shoulders, just as some versions of the established church may be trying to do today, but the message of Jesus was that he would relieve those burdens by offering the free gift of salvation to all who admit that they are in need of it.

 

Jon Stewart - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> My own school of thought does not deny anything that scientific investigation has shown is very likely to be true (note that nothing is ever proven 100% true, it is always one theory is found to be more accurate than the theory that preceded it, so even the most rigourous follower of your method will at some point be confronted by a situation where an element of picking and choosing is necessary), it is just that God is behind it all.

I have no doubts about the sincerity and the consistency of this position. Loads of brilliant and intelligent people hold precisely this view, and it's very close to my own view in many ways. If we rename 'god' 'nature' and the remove all the anthropomorphic nonsense about judging people, or caring about people's moral choices, or having any link to any religious scripture, then we end up in the same place. Nature is 'behind it all'. Nature is all-powerful and glorious and incomprehensible, beyond the imagination of the mere human mind.

I completely appreciate that outside the abstract worlds of mathematics and logic, in the real world of things we know about through our senses, knowledge is never absolute - it is probabilistic. It is almost certain but not completely certain that the sun will rise tomorrow, because while we know exactly why the sun appears to "rise" and there is no reason to think that the earth will stop turning on its axis, nor that the sun will cease to shine by the time we're facing it again, we could have missed something. But without going to millions of decimal places, the likelihood that the sun will rise tomorrow is 100%.

The absence of absolute, deductive knowledge is not however a gap in human knowledge that allows the  supernatural to be prised in. It's just the character of knowledge about the world.

> A believer can follow essentially the same philosophy as yours with the same checks against causing harm to ensure that any decisions bring “good fruit”.

I agree that that can, and that they should. The point here is that religion is unnecessary in guiding moral choices, a more elegant, consistent and reliable way would be to follow reason.

> Your claim of the superiority of unbelief though rests on believers having invented something unprovable. It is not believers who have made something up though.

> 1) Evidence for the existence of God is all around in the glory of his creation. God’s existence has been held as self-evident by most people throughout recorded history and throughout many thousands of years of prehistory.

No it hasn't. Not in a consistent enough fashion to provide any reason to believe in the God of the abrahamic faiths. If you want to use the spread of belief amongst humans as evidence for God, you need to explain why belief in God is spread only through the physical world, i.e. through books, through traditions, stories, music, the internet - physical media through which information is transmitted from person to person. I would accept as evidence for the God of the Abrahamic religions a consistent belief in amongst all or many people who had no contact through physical means of transmitting information. If when first contact with tribes in New Guinea was made, their religions looked like Christianity, this would be evidence. People throughout history show no consistency whatsoever in a belief in God (although they do tend to believe in things non-physical, and incredibly varied forms), so this area of evidence is empty. The belief in God has been transmitted between people in precisely the same way as the belief in Father Christmas.

> 2) We all trust our senses that the things we see, hear, touch, etc, exist outside of our own mind, without having to investigate these things scientifically. There is an idea that all people are also born with a sense of divinity and there are scientific studies that could be seen to give some credibility to this, concluding that the human mind is predisposed to religion.  A lot of people today will say that they don’t believe in God but they do believe in some sort of higher power.

I agree that there is something fundamental about the human brain that predisposes the human mind to "spiritual" feelings and beliefs. Hence why we see religions, myths, stories about things non-physical in all cultures. But also why they're so incredibly diverse. This provides great evidence for certain characteristics of the human brain and mind, but provides no evidence at all of anything supernatural. 

If we're going to be sincere about committing to reason as a way to uncover what is true in the world and what is false, we have to look for information that we can agree on. The scientific method is a way of forcing people to witness and agree upon the same information, so that an understanding of real things in the objective physical world can be developed. Religion (and to be rational we have to include every mythology of every group of humans) serves to create competing, multiple accounts of the same ideas with no anchoring in the physical world that can be used to generate consensus. As such, it has no value whatsoever in revealing what is true in the world and what is fiction. That doesn't mean that a religious idea can't resonate emotionally and *feel* true - religious stories were written by people to have precisely this impact, so of course they have this character! 

> 3) People are today reporting spiritual experiences, even on this thread.  I am always surprised to read the level of vitriol on this forum as it is when I am in the mountains that I feel the presence of God the strongest.

I'm a big fan of the "spiritual experience". I've moved to be close the mountains, I've learnt to listen to the music of Bach, I've soloed certain routes so many times that I can climb them in a state of meditative contemplation, feeling the crystals of grit against my palms and delighting in the sensations of my weight transferring effortlessly from foot to hand to foot taking me up the cliff face without consciously make a single decision. These are what I call "spiritual" experiences, which nourish my "soul". Such spiritual experiences are created by my brain. They provide great evidence for the capacity of humans to have religious or spiritual experiences, generated by physical stimuli. In the same way that a horror movie elicits from the brain the activation of amygdala, the rush of hormones into the blood, the sympathetic nervous system response, a church with a very high ceiling, candles, incense and chanting will elicit in many people the activation of brain regions that generate the "spirtual experience".

 

Post edited at 23:50
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It is the non existence of God that is the newer concept (in society at large) and I might just as well say that the burden of proof lies with those positing a universe sprung into creation by itself.

No. You cannot lump every tribe's version of a spirit underworld world inhabited by ancestors, every polytheistic system, every shamanic and meditative tradition together and call them "belief in God". Belief in the God of the Abrahamic religions is just a story told between some tribes, for a short period of history, into which you happened to be born. The burden is on you to show why this particular God is real while all the other gods from the birth of history, from every continent on this earth are made up. Until you show why this God is different, it just a story, like all the others, and it is as made up as Father Christmas.

> If your eyes are not open to it you will dismiss peoples accounts and see alternative explanations so you are right to say this discussion is unlikely to usefully go any further. Thanks for your measured and considered thoughts though.

It's genuinely a pleasure. But if we're going to play by the rules of reason, we need to seek alternative explanations, and then we need to compare our explanations to find the best one. Inference to the best explanation or abductive reasoning is how we uncover what things exist, what is true, and what is a story made up by people. If you're happy to throw away abductive reasoning here, what makes you believe in the rest of science?

cumbria mammoth - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You cannot lump every tribe's version of a spirit underworld world inhabited by ancestors, every polytheistic system, every shamanic and meditative tradition together and call them "belief in God". Belief in the God of the Abrahamic religions is just a story told between some tribes, for a short period of history, into which you happened to be born. 

I would lump all conceptions of God throughout history together even if not all are equal. It cannot be the case that only those who have been lucky enough to live in a time and culture where Gods will has been revealed are capable of being saved. There must always have been a way everywhere. I don't know enough about many other religions but I see it as a battle against the ego and those who have been wiling to submit to a higher authority and acknowledge their failings must always have been the ones who were closest to God. "To those whom much has been given much will be required" i.e. followers of the Abrahamic religions have much less excuse for their failings than those who went before.

> But if we're going to play by the rules of reason, we need to seek alternative explanations, and then we need to compare our explanations to find the best one. 

I can see your point but I suspect that most committed unbelievers are automatically going to find the existence of God as the worst of all possible explanations. There are not many fields of scientific research where you need to go to the level of whether God exists or not anyway. 

 

summo on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It is the non existence of God that is the newer concept (in society at large) and I might just as well say that the burden of proof lies with those positing a universe sprung into creation by itself.

I'd say the opposite. The earth is 5billion ish years old, the universe much more. Man has been believing in things he has no evidence for less than 10,000 years(that we have evidence of) and now as science is explaining what we previously misunderstood belief is declining. It is a little like the phases of learning conscious incompetence, competence etc. 

 

Post edited at 05:58
john arran - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I would lump all conceptions of God throughout history together even if not all are equal. It cannot be the case that only those who have been lucky enough to live in a time and culture where Gods will has been revealed are capable of being saved. There must always have been a way everywhere. I don't know enough about many other religions but I see it as a battle against the ego and those who have been wiling to submit to a higher authority and acknowledge their failings must always have been the ones who were closest to God. "To those whom much has been given much will be required" i.e. followers of the Abrahamic religions have much less excuse for their failings than those who went before.

Interesting discussion, and thank you for explaining your thought processes. My difficulty with the above is that it seems like you're able to reason the existence of God, and even qualities associated with God, only by having started with God as an axiom. For example, if you conceive of God as a supreme being then it follows logically that human ego will sooner or later stray into the realm of what you will be calling sinfulness. But unchecked ego seems to me to be vilified in pretty much all religions and indeed among those with no religion, I would say because it leads to disharmony within a society, so it's hard to see how any individual concept of God can be responsible for society's dislike of unchecked ego. People's behavioural failings within society do not lend any credence to the nature or existence of God unless you've already defined God to make that so.

Also, what is it that feeds your conviction that the God you feel you know now is any more capable of delivering human salvation than a God at any other time in history? And given that various differing creeds have evolved across the world and across history, what is it that's uniquely convincing about yours? It seems to me to be either myopic or arrogant to think that human society, in the age and the part of the world in which we happen to have been born, is uniquely privileged to be able to know the 'real' God. Given the lessons from history in other spheres of knowledge, is it not overwhelmingly more likely that your current understanding of God will eventually morph into, or be replaced by, a significantly different understanding, and that people of that age will then look back upon our current times as being further dark ages?

> I can see your point but I suspect that most committed unbelievers are automatically going to find the existence of God as the worst of all possible explanations.

The existence of God is certainly not the worst of all possible explanations, but given the complete lack of demonstrable evidence for it, it has little or nothing to commend it over other explanations such as one that has the world existing only within my consciousness. I see it as a fault in all religions (and indeed of human psychology in general) that the unknown and the unknowable cannot be accepted as such and that any explanation, no matter how poorly supported by evidence, must surely be better than the ego-less (see what I did there!) acknowledgement of man's ignorance. 

krikoman - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> On the issue of picking and choosing, this is always the case with the law, be it biblical or governmental. The written word is interpreted differently by different people depending on conscience and/or what suits or even just a different understanding of what is meant. The law of the OT only serves to show that it is impossible to be saved by keeping the law and that our salvation depends on accepting the freely given grace of God.

Except his grace isn't given freely is it? It has to be earned by praying and believing.

What grace has god given the children of Gaza, or Syria, or the Rohingya, the people of Yemen, the people who died in the plague, the people that go blind suffering from Loa loa filariasis. If god is the creator of all things, then why the f*ck would they create a worm that lives in the eyes of children. Tell me where the grace is there.

 

Post edited at 10:33
Jon Stewart - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I would lump all conceptions of God throughout history together even if not all are equal. It cannot be the case that only those who have been lucky enough to live in a time and culture where Gods will has been revealed are capable of being saved. There must always have been a way everywhere. I don't know enough about many other religions but I see it as a battle against the ego and those who have been wiling to submit to a higher authority and acknowledge their failings must always have been the ones who were closest to God. "To those whom much has been given much will be required" i.e. followers of the Abrahamic religions have much less excuse for their failings than those who went before.

Thanks again for the interesting discussion (and apologies for not proof reading my posts which can make some of the non-sentences hard to read!). I'm not too keen on carrying on down this road of God's existence or not, because I don't see attempting to dislodge your faith as something worthwhile. You seem to have a really similar moral outlook to me and I'm sure your faith is a purely positive thing in your life.

I do think though that intellectually, you're trying to have your cake and eat it. I firmly believe that if you truly commit to reason, then this is incongruous with faith in the God of the Abrahamic religions. The ways of justifying belief in both appear to me to be unnecessary mental contortions - and such contortions are inconsistent with reason.

This said, there are large groups of people whose religous faith I would take enormous delight in destroying if I could: the Vatican, Hamas, Isreali religious zionists, House of Saud, the US religious right, the genocidal Bhuddists of Myanmar, the list goes on and on and on. Thinking globally, the case for attempting to replace religion with rationalism is strong.

 

Jon Stewart - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> As I see it there is a crucial difference between sin and bad deeds.

> Bad deeds are actions that people do that cause harm in the world and are related to sin which is the state of rebellion against God. Sin is related to our motives rather than our deeds...

I am really interested in this strand though! I've got some things to do, but these ideas about moral philosophy are fascinating and I've never heard a Christian perspective on it, so I'll try to read your post a few times and cook up some sort of response when I have time.

Cheers,

Jon

Ridge - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

>  It certainly seems to be true that some people commit more bad deeds than others and it may also be the case that these people are more sinful than others but if you are drowning 100 miles from the shore you are no better off than the person who is drowning 101, 150, or 200 miles from the shore. God will freely wipe the slate clean if only we acknowledge that we are sinners in need of his salvation.

I have a real problem with this. Is stealing a biro from work the same in the eyes of god as rape or murder?

Is an unrepentant paperclip thief worse than a 'saved' mass torturer?

I just can't get my head around this line of thinking.

cb294 - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> 1) Evidence for the existence of God is all around in the glory of his creation. God’s existence has been held as self-evident by most people throughout recorded history and throughout many thousands of years of prehistory. Of course some of these believers will have been stupid and irrational people, but also some of the finest minds in history.

Whether fine minds in recent times had religious experiences is irrelevant, the emergence of religions is a byproduct of evolution that far precedes our recorded history, attributing agency is adaptive: It is much safer to assume that a branch in the forest rustles because of a bear in the bushes than to think that the branch cracks "just so". 

Similarly, if there is thunder, something or someone must make it thunder, if there is a creation there must be a creator.

CB

 

 

krikoman - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to Recent posts:

Can I ask a question, In a galaxy of one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe, and orbiting a star of 250 billion (± 150 billion) stars our galaxy, on a sinlge planet of the 8 of our solar system.

God takes an interest in whether I'm a sinner or not (providing I've picked the correct team)? If I haven't I'm already written off.

Or takes the time to create AIDS to punish gay people?

Or care whether I put my winky up someone else's bumhole, providing it's another man's bumhole of course, I'm presuming it's not gay to do it with my girlfriend.

And God called on the people in LA to have 13 children and keep them locked up?

I fail to see how anyone can answer yes to any of the above questions, without being slightly self centred.

Post edited at 17:55
cumbria mammoth - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to Recent posts:

Lots of interesting points well put above. Spent all my free time tonight trying to give my take on these issues but, because there is quite a bit, apologies if I have not given my response the same depth as was made in the original point.

 

> Trying to prove God using reason. Religion is inconsistent with reason.

I am definitely not trying to do this. All I would like to do is show that there can be rational reasons that can allow for the existence of God because further up the thread there were a lot of conceited posts of the type that claims mental deficiencies in believers which makes believers unfit for office.

There will never be absolute proof of God as you have to come to him by faith. There can be proof of God enough to satisfy an enquiring mind that is open to there being a spiritual aspect to life. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

> Religion is unnecessary and inconsistent with reason. No Evidence. Other explanations.

It is certainly unnecessary to get by in this life. I disagree that it is inconsistent with reason. At the fundamental levels scientific enquiry has not revealed the truth either and followers of your rational philosophy excluding God also have to make choices or be honest and say they don’t know. How can matter be a wave at the same time as it is a particle? What is dark energy? What is consciousness? If these things matter to you, you need to take a best guess or admit you don’t know. You have then picked a fundamental that all else follows from. My set of fundamental beliefs includes the existence of God.

> God = Nature. Anthropomorphic.

Indeed. God is not a man waving at us from the sky, he is not the most powerful being in the universe. God is infinite in time, space, power, and knowledge. Perfect beyond comprehension and the use of anthropomorphic language is only an aid to understanding.

The other day when I had a similar discussion with a mate who has abandoned his Christian belief I was amazed to discover how similar his views of how things are to mine. I think this modern idea of a higher power/nature is the same thing as my idea of God. He won’t have it though.

Punishment, well who knows but what if in some way the talk in the bible of heaven and hell is a warning of something we do to ourselves? If you allow yourself to imagine that your consciousness survives death what would you imagine being confronted with the perfection of the almighty would do to your ego if you had not come to terms with your failings and were still clinging hard to your self centred life?

> Age/size of the universe, why is God bothered.

God is infinite in time, space, power, and knowledge. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Not only is he bothered, he is the father who is concerned for our fate and wishes for us to return from our rebelliousness so that he can show us his grace.

> Grace has to be earned by praying and believing.

This is hardly a cost though is it. Praying is just talking to God (the father to anthropomorphise the relationship), a little internal monologue in your head every now and then. Believing has no cost. Say I had scratched your car by mistake without realising it and you were prepared to let it go. How could I experience your forgiveness if I did not first believe in your existence and that I had done it and then talk to you?

> Other religions/cultures sharing similar moralities. Picking the wrong team.

Yes, this is a key point that I made yesterday. I see this as potentially pointing to us all having all been born with a sense of God which allowed early people to be saved even though the full revelation had not been made to them.

> Existence of suffering.

This is probably the hardest. Whatever the purpose of creation it does not seem to have been to give us a playground to just enjoy our lives in without any worries. The examples you have given are all caused by men, either directly or by the way as a whole we have chosen to structure our society. Even this worm because, without looking into it, I bet in the countries where this happens it is not the children of the wealthy who suffer from it. Natural disasters - why have we ended up in such an overcrowded world where we cram into slums on the sides of volcanoes, etc. Human kind has made bad choices throughout history, a world where suffering is the exception rather than the rule was and is possible but we won’t get there by continuing to live apart from God.

Undeniably there is suffering that occurs without any causation from the choices made by man. All I can offer is that suffering in this life is but a speck compared to the joy promised in the next life for those who have suffered.

> People who cause suffering because of their religious beliefs.

Unfortunately, servants of evil come disguised as servants of righteousness offering false doctrines that are appealing to men and can delude people with a persuasive argument. Many people would rather believe an authoritative sounding preacher, than form their beliefs by personal study and conviction. Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing and gave us the parable of judging a good tree by its fruit.

This is just as big an issue in the secular world by the way.

> Sins not of equal magnitude.

I agree but consider it unwise to judge, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye”.

Remember that sin is not just an occasional bad deed here and there. It is something we are wading into all the time by ignorance and inaction and by our stubborn self-concern.

Nobody is reconciled to God by their own good deeds, it can only come by acknowledgement of our sinful nature.

> God as the cause of suffering in order to punish.

No. We will face God in the next life not in this one.

Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

'No. We will face God in the next life not in this one'

FWIW there's nothing I am more certain of than no, we won't.

 

 
 
krikoman - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Punishment, well who knows but what if in some way the talk in the bible of heaven and hell is a warning of something we do to ourselves? If you allow yourself to imagine that your consciousness survives death what would you imagine being confronted with the perfection of the almighty would do to your ego if you had not come to terms with your failings and were still clinging hard to your self centred life?

But by the time you get there it's already too late unless you've repented. Which is another issue, it seems you can do prety much anthing you like nd repent on you death bed to be forgiven.

> > Age/size of the universe, why is God bothered.

> God is infinite in time, space, power, and knowledge. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Not only is he bothered, he is the father who is concerned for our fate and wishes for us to return from our rebelliousness so that he can show us his grace.

If he waqs so concerned about anyones fate then why all the suffering?

Am I worth more than many sparrows? If a whole species was to go extinct because of your actions is that OK. I'm I worth more than the last female Rhino, or last blue whale, in the world?

> > Grace has to be earned by praying and believing.

> This is hardly a cost though is it. Praying is just talking to God (the father to anthropomorphise the relationship), a little internal monologue in your head every now and then. Believing has no cost. Say I had scratched your car by mistake without realising it and you were prepared to let it go. How could I experience your forgiveness if I did not first believe in your existence and that I had done it and then talk to you?

But it is a massive cost, because it excuses the actions of otherwise right minded people, "it's the will of God". For instance instead of going to church or mosque, you could be helping with the environment, community projects, or studying more to make you a better person. If I didn't exist I wouldn't have a car would I?

> > Other religions/cultures sharing similar moralities. Picking the wrong team.

> Yes, this is a key point that I made yesterday. I see this as potentially pointing to us all having all been born with a sense of God which allowed early people to be saved even though the full revelation had not been made to them.

I don't understand your reply, are you suggesting that heaven has plenty of Muslims, Jews and Buddhists?

> > Existence of suffering.

> This is probably the hardest.

I'm not surprised!!

>Whatever the purpose of creation it does not seem to have been to give us a playground to just enjoy our lives in without any worries. The examples you have given are all caused by men, either directly or by the way as a whole we have chosen to structure our society. Even this worm because, without looking into it, I bet in the countries where this happens it is not the children of the wealthy who suffer from it. Natural disasters - why have we ended up in such an overcrowded world where we cram into slums on the sides of volcanoes, etc. Human kind has made bad choices throughout history, a world where suffering is the exception rather than the rule was and is possible but we won’t get there by continuing to live apart from God.

The Plague wasn't created by man, flu isn't, the eye worm isn't created by man, (if your a creationist it was created by God). There's a similar worm that affects Greenland sharks, this is neither created by man of as a result of man's influence, yet still the shark goes blind. For you statement, it appears God doesn't care if you're poor, and yet he can make sure the rich don't suffer. If he's so powerful to have created the universe and all that's in it, he a bit lazy / spiteful / uncaring to not get rid of this worm. better still to have never created it in the first place! What's you answer to diseases that affect everyone, rich or poor, are those man made?

No one is saying we have to live in a world without hardships, but do we really have to suffer so much pain on so many innocent people, for the "glory" of God. He seem very vindictive if you ask me. What would you think of a person who given the opportunity to help, sat on his hands. The person knocked of his bike and you just stand and watch, because they are going to a better place? You wouldn't and you'd condemn anyone that did, and yet it's OK for God!

 

> Undeniably there is suffering that occurs without any causation from the choices made by man. All I can offer is that suffering in this life is but a speck compared to the joy promised in the next life for those who have suffered.

Jam tomorrow then? What such a lazy God, he can create the whole universe but can't be arsed to fix a few little things.

> Nobody is reconciled to God by their own good deeds, it can only come by acknowledgement of our sinful nature.

No you have to say you sorry, and if you do you can be forgiven anything, including the rape of little boys.

> > God as the cause of suffering in order to punish.

God is that cause of suffering because he can't be bothered.

summo on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Strange how believers want to live a long time in this world, despite the next life being so much better?

Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

All these arguments, criticisms and refutation are put so elegantly and lucidly in the God Delusion I don't know why any of us bother any more. 

john arran - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Most of the people who might benefit the most from reading it, won't have read it.

summo on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

> Most of the people who might benefit the most from reading it, won't have read it.

Because that would be blasphemy, go straight to hell without a get out of hell card.

krikoman - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Another question, sorry!

Why did god wait 14 billion years before creating us, when I suppose he could have easily done it all at once?

Or do you dispute the whole of evolution / big bang / solar system thing?

Lusk - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Another question, sorry!

> Why did god wait 14 billion years before creating us, when I suppose he could have easily done it all at once?

He didn't, Earth is only 4,000 years old (or somesuch number)!

 

 

captain paranoia - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Except his grace isn't given freely is it? It has to be earned by praying and believing.

And if you're a stillborn child, or a child that dies before being baptised, grace is never given. Not even after Vatican II. At least that's the case in Catholic doctrine.

So much for 'suffer the little children to come unto me'...

What a foul doctrine that add only adds to the suffering of grieving, Catholic parents who lose a child in such circumstances; knowing they will never be reunited with their entirely innocent child.

That doctrine is one of the many enforcing functions used to bind believers to the faith, and ensure that they are baptised into the faith as soon as possible.

Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Lusk:

I think this is veering dangerously into bullying territory, but I think it does illustrate how some people (like myself) are totally baffled by any sort of belief in afterlife, or a god having any agency over human affairs etc.  I also suspect that some Christians - the Pope, and Rowan Williams to name just 2 - would be pretty circumspect if you had a sit down discussion and really tested their genuine, heartfelt belief in, say, a meaningful afterlife. After all - why didn't Williams strangle his kids at birth? It wouldn't be their fault, so they could then go straight to paradise and skip this vale of tears.

krikoman - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I think this is veering dangerously into bullying territory, but I think it does illustrate how some people (like myself) are totally baffled by any sort of belief in afterlife, or a god having any agency over human affairs etc. 

If you mean me, I'm not trying to be bullying ( and I think most people have been polite, if passionate - it's always difficult to judge from text). I'm genuinely interested in what other people think. I don't expect to change anyone's mind, I can't imagine that happening.

I find it hard to understand how people can reconcile the obvious suffering in the world, with a kind and fatherly God.

 

Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

No I didn't particularly mean you, I was including myself as well! I too find it hard to understand. As Dawkins said, 'the amount of suffering in the world did beyond decent contemplation.' God has a lot to answer for.

Andy Hardy on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

[...]

> > Religion is unnecessary and inconsistent with reason. No Evidence. Other explanations.

> It is certainly unnecessary to get by in this life. I disagree that it is inconsistent with reason. At the fundamental levels scientific enquiry has not revealed the truth either and followers of your rational philosophy excluding God also have to make choices or be honest and say they don’t know. How can matter be a wave at the same time as it is a particle? What is dark energy? What is consciousness? If these things matter to you, you need to take a best guess or admit you don’t know. You have then picked a fundamental that all else follows from. My set of fundamental beliefs includes the existence of God.

[...]

 

I am not a scientist, however I have no problem with admitting I don't know what consciousness is (as an example) I will also accept that science doesn't come up with absolute proof of anything, however unless you can bring me a unicorn, I will continue in my belief that unicorns do not exist.

One more question: At what point in our evolution did we become worthy of salvation? Are there Neanderthals and Australopithecines in heaven?

wercat on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

I don't profess to understand anything, considering that the Universe is made of Nothing and Something is Nothing with Something leftover, still made of Nothing!

But then Nothing does not exist it seems.

 

Believing that seems to need faith to me!

cumbria mammoth - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> I think most people have been polite, if passionate - it's always difficult to judge from text). I'm genuinely interested in what other people think. I don't expect to change anyone's mind, I can't imagine that happening.

I agree. The reason I have continued posting is that the people who are engaging do seem to be genuinely interested to hear a Christian viewpoint (my viewpoint alone, I don’t claim to speak for anyone else but some Christians will share many of my views and some will share virtually none).

I did wonder there though whether you were deliberately misrepresenting my meaning as there are at least two occasions above where I thought I had said the exact opposite of how you have interpreted it. More likely I have just failed to make my point so apologies for that.

The sparrows quote was in answer to a question about why God is bothered about our affairs when the Universe is so vast. The context of the sparrows quote is that it was given as encouragement for people who were about to face danger for the sake of God - God cares about whether a sparrow falls to the ground so do not be afraid because he certainly cares about you. It is telling them not to be afraid because God cares about things in minute detail even down to the detail of the numbers of hairs on our head.

What the quote says about sparrows and the natural world is that even though human society has placed so little value on it God cares for every detail of creation so the fact that we are making such a mess of it is going to count poorly on us and is another reason why we are all complicit in sin.

A lesson to learn from this misunderstanding which is very relevant to this topic is not to take quotes from the bible out of context. It also shows a way that false prophets can take advantage of any believers who do not critically think and so false doctrines take hold.

The other misrepresentation is where you seem to think I have meant that God doesn't care if you're poor, and yet he can make sure the rich don't suffer. What I was trying to get across about suffering there is that most of it is man made. I am assuming this worm thrives in places with poor sanitation? Why do people have to live in places with poor sanitation? It’s because of choices made by the wealthy to value riches ahead of God and to deny a fair share of resources to everyone else. Jesus has a lot to say on this issue, he spent most of his time on this earth with the poor and the outcasts of society. When he did come face to face with the rich and powerful he would often rebuke them for their misplaced priorities and lack of concern for the poor. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”, I think is hyperbole but I definitely think the wealthy need to consider carefully how they are using the resources they have been allowed to look after.

I could easily imagine a world where suffering was rare, where man didn’t prey on man, where people cooperated and shared with each other, where everyone thinks things through and makes rational moral choices, where proper care is freely given to ease the suffering that comes from natural causes. Such a world could exist but doesn’t because of choices that have been made through the ages and that are still made now. This is another reason why we are all sinners.

A lot of the things being said about suffering come across as if you are angry with God rather than that you don’t believe in him. That’s your choice but if you are so certain that God doesn’t exist who are you raging at? It is good to be angry about suffering but direct it at the people and systems that have caused it.

I don’t know the reason that the suffering that doesn’t originate from man takes place, this is an issue I have grappled with and not come up with an answer. This will be unsatisfactory to you but all I can offer is that I have faith that at the end of it all the role of suffering in Gods perfect plan will be revealed. Death itself though, the role of death seems fairly obvious, it is the means by which we access the spiritual realm.

A couple of quick ones, I believe the universe is 14bn years old but God exists outside time so what is 14bn years to God? I’m not a catholic and if that is their doctrine then it is a false one, I don’t go to church. Yes, Jesus came for the salvation of all so I believe true repentance on a deathbed will result in salvation, there will be no cheating God though.

 

And, yes I do believe in evolution (I think most Christians do, certainly most British Christians, and it is a lazy characterisation made by the ignorant to make out that Christians deny the findings of scientific enquiry) and the logic of this to me (this next bit is not mainstream) means that there will be animals in heaven (perhaps all animals because how can an animal sin without the knowledge to make rational moral choices?) where I hope to be reunited with Snowy.

summo on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

So if you believe in evolution, that means you believe some parts of the various Christian books are wrong. Yet you are willing to believe the other elements. How do you know the whole lot isn't made up bo11ocks?

How do you know Jesus wasn't an old school version of those USA tv evangelists? Luring people in, gathering their wealth, living off their efforts, then he was rumbled by the Romans? 

krikoman - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> I don't profess to understand anything, considering that the Universe is made of Nothing and Something is Nothing with Something leftover, still made of Nothing!

It's not made of nothing, is it there's plenty to see, and more importantly test, that is physical and tangible.

krikoman - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> What the quote says about sparrows and the natural world is that even though human society has placed so little value on it God cares for every detail of creation so the fact that we are making such a mess of it is going to count poorly on us and is another reason why we are all complicit in sin.

Which was my point (sorry it wasn't clear), if he knows about every detail, then he is complicit in every suffering, whether man made or not. Therefore he chooses not to intervene.

> The other misrepresentation is where you seem to think I have meant that God doesn't care if you're poor, and yet he can make sure the rich don't suffer. What I was trying to get across about suffering there is that most of it is man made. I am assuming this worm thrives in places with poor sanitation?

But this worm ( and this is only one example) has been around since before the massive differences between rich and poor, it wasn't a creation of the people, it might, today, be an indicator of being poor (I'm sure in most places) but it was always there the "creator" made it. One could say that it's only with man made wealth and engineering, it's become less of a problem due to cleaner water etc.

As for the Greenland Whale, what have they every done to suffer the same fate, I don't think there's rich and poor in the whale community.

> I could easily imagine a world where suffering was rare, where man didn’t prey on man, where people cooperated and shared with each other, where everyone thinks things through and makes rational moral choices, where proper care is freely given to ease the suffering that comes from natural causes. Such a world could exist but doesn’t because of choices that have been made through the ages and that are still made now. This is another reason why we are all sinners.

Again why does God allow us to be sinners? If he can do all the things he's, supposedly, capable of, why?

> A lot of the things being said about suffering come across as if you are angry with God rather than that you don’t believe in him. That’s your choice but if you are so certain that God doesn’t exist who are you raging at? It is good to be angry about suffering but direct it at the people and systems that have caused it.

How can I be angry with something that doesn't exist? Pointing out the holes in the reasoning, of why suffering exists, only goes to prove a kind and loving father figure can't exist.

> I don’t know the reason that the suffering that doesn’t originate from man takes place, this is an issue I have grappled with and not come up with an answer.

But you said above God knows and is responsible for the lack of hair on my baldy pate. So it fair that you don't know, but as I said it's hardly someone whose got you best interests at heart.

>  Yes, Jesus came for the salvation of all so I believe true repentance on a deathbed will result in salvation, there will be no cheating God though.

However vile you've been throughout you live, you'll be OK. Where as good and great people who don't believe, or even unborn children for that matter, don't get in?

> .....and the logic of this to me (this next bit is not mainstream) means that there will be animals in heaven (perhaps all animals because how can an animal sin without the knowledge to make rational moral choices?) where I hope to be reunited with Snowy.

And the Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, occultisms, etc. will they be there, or is it a case of backing the wrong horse.

Thanks for the replies.

wercat on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

yes but the stuff we tange and measure is made of "nothing"  as is our measuring apparatus and the bodies we inhabit!  "Nothing" behaving as "something" is our reality.

wercat on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

btw after coming to this conclusion  I asked the Swiss physicist they had to give talks and answer questions at the enormous and fascinating 2005-6 Einstein exhibition/demonstrations in Berne if this was indeed true and he said "in essence, yes" and went on to recommend some further reading.

krikoman - on 11:08 Thu
In reply to wercat:

> yes but the stuff we tange and measure is made of "nothing"  as is our measuring apparatus and the bodies we inhabit!  "Nothing" behaving as "something" is our reality.

Surely there are at least 1 proton and 1 electron, in most of the stuff around us.

Unless of course it's all in our imagination.

Post edited at 11:11
Lusk - on 11:15 Thu
In reply to wercat:

> btw after coming to this conclusion  I asked the Swiss physicist they had to give talks and answer questions at the enormous and fascinating 2005-6 Einstein exhibition/demonstrations in Berne if this was indeed true and he said "in essence, yes" and went on to recommend some further reading.

Have you got any suggestions?

summo on 11:49 Thu
In reply to wercat:

> yes but the stuff we tange and measure is made of "nothing"  as is our measuring apparatus and the bodies we inhabit!  "Nothing" behaving as "something" is our reality.

Try running into a wall, something is definitely there. 

krikoman - on 12:17 Thu
In reply to wercat:

"In essence" not the best phrase to use. If you mean atoms are mostly made up of nothing, then that's fine, but there's still something there.

Post edited at 12:18
Crewey-Rob on 13:17 Thu
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I see Tim continues to campaign to reduce travelling times for patients going to radiotherapy... <sarcasm mode> What an utter bastard! </sarcasm mode>.

http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/15799025.Tim_Farron_MP_introduces_bill_to_reduce_travel_times_to_radiotherapy_centres/

Rob Exile Ward on 13:32 Thu
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Because of the  untruthfulness which he has now admitted ( but to be fair, he wasn't very successful at) the LibDems were even less successful or impactful about countering brexit than they would otherwise have been. Who knows how much that has cost us all.

This is not offset so very much by him continuing to perform the normal activities of a constituency MP.

wercat on 13:34 Thu
In reply to Lusk:

He recommended Penrose and agreed that Hawking  leaves out too much to be understandable without extensive filling in of the gaps.   What I found was the need to begin with books written in the late 20s and progress through the decades as many books misdescribe or give a gappy account of previous knowledge/theory.

I went back as far as "The Mysterious Universe", Jeans, which is a distillation of a series of lectures given in 1930 summarising the state of knowledge then.

wercat on 13:36 Thu
In reply to krikoman:

as particles can spontaneously arise from "the vacuum" which in common parle is the closest to "nothing" of which we prehend I hold to my argument

wercat on 13:39 Thu
In reply to summo:

Oh something appears to be there, amazing how something so full of empty space can, apparently, hurt ...

 

Doesn't mean that is the absolute and compleat truth though, given the entire universe is thought to have arisen from a quantum fluctuation smaller than any particle

Crewey-Rob on 13:45 Thu
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

It's the fact that he felt like he needed to lie that is the revealing point. People aren't allowed a religion these days, they get scoffed at by every man and his dog.

Weird times.

MarkJH - on 14:26 Thu
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> It's the fact that he felt like he needed to lie that is the revealing point. People aren't allowed a religion these days, they get scoffed at by every man and his dog.

There is almost no restriction on people's permission to have any religion they choose (in this country at least).  The fact that people are not required to admire them for it is irrelevant. 

Should he not be happy if people mock him for his beliefs?  I seem to recall reading somewhere that this would be in his interests (in the long run).

 

Post edited at 14:27
MG - on 14:31 Thu
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> It's the fact that he felt like he needed to lie that is the revealing point.

 

What does it reveal?  Beyond people not wanting homophobic leaders?

Crewey-Rob on 14:38 Thu
In reply to MarkJH:

> Should he not be happy if people mock him for his beliefs? 

As some kind of penance? The plot thickens..

>I seem to recall reading somewhere that this would be in his interests (in the long run).

I don't see how being ridiculed can help anyone's political career, still, if you have a link I'd be interested to read about it.

summo on 14:43 Thu
In reply to wercat:

> Oh something appears to be there, amazing how something so full of empty space can, apparently, hurt ...

Not mysterious  just Electromagnetic forces.

> Doesn't mean that is the absolute and compleat truth though, given the entire universe is thought to have arisen from a quantum fluctuation smaller than any particle

But that does not mean that matter doesn't exist here and now, there could just be other matter(so to speak) else where in the universe that if they meet would cancel out. You can still have a pound; while someone else has less because they lent you it. 

 

Crewey-Rob on 14:45 Thu
In reply to MG:

It reveals an overtly liberal society where the moral pendulum has swung so far away from oppressive times that if you don't subscribe to the LGBT free for all you're portrayed as a homophobe.

MarkJH - on 14:48 Thu
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

 

> I don't see how being ridiculed can help anyone's political career, still, if you have a link I'd be interested to read about it.

 

I was thinking of the beatitudes... Surely more important than a political career.

 

MG - on 14:55 Thu
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I don't think regarding gay sex as a sin is just portrayed as homophobia, it is just that.  To be fair to Faron, he did vote for gay marriage etc. and in that sense is liberal.  However, I think it's quite reasonable not to want a leader who regards 10%(?) of the population's natural, unharmful sexual behaviour as sinful.

Crewey-Rob on 15:00 Thu
In reply to MG:

I think I'm going to change my mind and agree with you (if that sort of thing is allowed). If I continue to argue my case I will look increasingly deranged.

MG - on 15:02 Thu
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> I think I'm going to change my mind and agree with you

DO WHAT!!!.  This is UKC you know.  Are you mad!?

Post edited at 15:04
cumbria mammoth - on 21:37 Thu
In reply to summo:

> So if you believe in evolution, that means you believe some parts of the various Christian books are wrong. Yet you are willing to believe the other elements. How do you know the whole lot isn't made up bo11ocks?

> How do you know Jesus wasn't an old school version of those USA tv evangelists? Luring people in, gathering their wealth, living off their efforts, then he was rumbled by the Romans?


I believe in the scientific method and I believe in God, there is no conflict as far as I am concerned.

I think that the bible was written by men doing their best to put their divinely inspired thoughts into words. I don't think that any of the messages in the bible are wrong, you do have to use some critical thought in places to understand the message though. The message of those first few words in the bible is simply that God created the universe and everything in it. Whether there is a message in the 6 days then a day of rest I am not sure but it certainly isn't literal.

The purpose of the bible isn't to give us hints to solve scientific mysteries, it's a message of how we can be saved. If God had revealed the literal truth to a prehistoric Israeli 3000 years ago I doubt the poor fella would have had the building blocks of knowledge to make any sense of it anyway.

I've said this before but the way to distinguish between the message of God and the message of false prophets such as those TV evangelists is to "judge a good tree by its fruit".

Rob Exile Ward on 22:31 Thu
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

There is no god. Get over it. It doesn't matter how elegantly you express your 'thoughts' - they are all based on an empty premise. Sorry about that.

GrahamD - on 22:47 Thu
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Saved from what exactly?

cumbria mammoth - on 23:27 Thu
In reply to krikoman:

> How can I be angry with something that doesn't exist? Pointing out the holes in the reasoning, of why suffering exists, only goes to prove a kind and loving father figure can't exist.

 

 

Not liking something is not proof that it doesn't exist. So you are saying then that God is not kind and loving because he allows suffering in this world.

Whatever the reason for suffering in this world God is not the cause and suffering in this life is not a punishment from God. The fate of our immortal soul vastly outweighs any (in comparisson) momentary pain in this world. I'm sorry, I just don't know the purpose as the purpose of creation has not been revealed. Our free will must be part of the purpose of creation. The choices we make using our free will and the need for death so that we can go to God are two reasons for suffering but easy to say these things when I'm not really suffering, I know.

God is very concerned for us to avoid suffering in the next realm. He demonstrated his kindness and love when he came in flesh to suffer and die, rejected, tortured, nailed to a cross, and ridiculed. By that suffering and death he paid the price that we should pay for our sin so that we may avoid it.

> However vile you've been throughout you live, you'll be OK. Where as good and great people who don't believe, or even unborn children for that matter, don't get in?

No one is good, the message of Jesus is a message that men do not wish to hear or to accept. People need to get over their ego's and accept that they cause harm in the world in their daily lives.

Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. Why else do you think many Christians are so concerned about abortion?

 

"To those whom much has been given much will be required" must logically be true in reverse as well.

> Muslims, Jews, Buddhists

Maybe, they will have less excuse than a prehistoric person as the truth has been revealed now but they must be disadvantaged compared to those that grew up in a Christian culture so logically less will be required.

> occultisms

 

If you mean devil worshippers then I can't see it.

captain paranoia - on 23:40 Thu
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. 

Not according to Catholic doctrine, absolutely not, if they are not baptised. Never, ever, ever. Not even after the end of days. There is never a place in heaven for them. They cannot be buried in consecrated ground. They are 'lost' forever.

The drivel in Vatican II trying to justify this position is sickening.

It is a vile doctrine.

Gordon Stainforth - on 23:53 Thu
In reply to captain paranoia:

I thought this vile doctrine (which was never remotely Christian in spirit) had been completely overturned by the Pope about a decade ago. 

Post edited at 23:55
captain paranoia - on 23:55 Thu
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Nope.

[edit] I don't think so.

But, if it has, how did that doctrine survive for so long?

How did the primary stream of Christianity hold such a vile opinion?

Why should we take any notice of such religion, which holds vile opinions, and changes them on a whim?

Why not dispense with the entire nonsense, and rely on empathy to decide how to behave?

Post edited at 00:02
Gordon Stainforth - on 00:06 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

Tell me how this empathy thing works, without any moral guidelines whatever. I'm not seeing much now of our old empathy (that I remember so strongly when I was young in the 1950s) for refugees and foreigners of all kinds, for example.

captain paranoia - on 00:17 Fri
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Oh, FFS.

I can only be responsible for my own actions, not those of a nation.

What moral guidelines are you referring to? Stoning people to death as per Leviticus? Keeping foreigners as slaves? Selling your daughters? Or Matt 22 36:40? Specifically 39?

I really need to stop posting on this thread. We've been over this so many times before, and there's no way we are going to persuade someone who holds a faith to see it for the nonsense we see it to be. And vice versa.

Post edited at 00:28
Gordon Stainforth - on 00:25 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

Oh, things like religious creeds and commandments, the Beatitudes, the words of Confucius, Lao Tzu, Socrates, the Nicomachean Ethics, etc. etc. 

captain paranoia - on 00:30 Fri
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

The Mosaic ten commandments?

Almost entirely about maintaining a faith, and very little about how to actually behave towards one's fellow man.

captain paranoia - on 00:35 Fri
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

How about just thinking for yourself? Thinking about how you would feel in the other person's shoes?

If you need to refer to someone else's thoughts on what is moral, or simply decent behaviour, there's probably something wrong with you.

Now I really must stop.

Gordon Stainforth - on 00:38 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

Well that's one set, but then, of course, they were hugely modified by the rather shocking extra two commandments that Christ added .. and very few people find those very palatable even to this day. 

But, as someone who is in not in any deep or meaningful sense a religious person, I'd highly recommend Macintyre's Short History of Ethics. 

Gordon Stainforth - on 00:41 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

I must stop too now. It just so happens that I spend all day, every day, thinking about how I would feel in other people's shoes. That's my job.

Post edited at 00:59
summo on 05:49 Fri
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Not liking something is not proof that it doesn't exist. 

And liking something doesn't mean it does exist.

The bible isn't to be taken literally? So basically it's vague fictional stories that religious leaders can use to control and manipulate the population by presenting their meaning in different ways. Nice. God won't love you if despite being poor you don't give your last penny to the rich church, bend over page boy...  oh I'll repent all these sins and that will make it ok. 

 

GrahamD - on 08:43 Fri
In reply to summo:

I'm still waiting to hear precisely what I need saving from.

FactorXXX - on 08:56 Fri
In reply to GrahamD:

> I'm still waiting to hear precisely what I need saving from.

Top Ropers and Ramblers.

Rob Exile Ward on 09:46 Fri
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

'God is very concerned for us to avoid suffering in the next realm. He demonstrated his kindness and love when he came in flesh to suffer and die, rejected, tortured, nailed to a cross, and ridiculed. By that suffering and death he paid the price that we should pay for our sin so that we may avoid it.'

For a long time I thought this was completely meaningless drivel, however often it was repeated or eloquently expressed. One Easter I even asked that OU professor, formerly of this parish (Sonia?) to elucidate; he/she repeated the same pretty much verbatim as though it explained anything.

The first time it made sense was a very elegant paragraph in, I think, Better Angels by Pinker. He describes how the idea that gods were vengeful and revelled in man's pain and suffering would be a logical conclusion to draw in a prehistoric world were all lives was nasty, brutish and short. If such gods enjoyed inflicting pain and suffering, then why not help them out by sacrificing a few (or, as in the case of the Aztecs, a lot) of victims to give their gods their share of pain for the day, on the basis that they might not then come after you? And if you *really* want to give the gods an extra special charge, why not sacrifice someone close to you, like a son or daughter, to *really* give the gods their kick? And that is the meme that finally ends up crystallised at the heart of Christian mythology.

summo on 10:12 Fri
In reply to GrahamD:

> I'm still waiting to hear precisely what I need saving from.

An eternity of angels playing harps as background music, sounds like hell to me. 

cb294 - on 11:47 Fri
toad - on 12:00 Fri
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:wow! A proper, honest to goodness, ukc religion thread. It’s 2005 all over again ????

 

captain paranoia - on 13:56 Fri
In reply to toad:

> It’s 2005 all over again ????

No; Coel's not made an appearance yet...

Anyway, it's a bit of light relief from Brexit...

Post edited at 13:57
GrahamD - on 15:23 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

Brexit is religion.  Its all down to blind faith.

captain paranoia - on 15:31 Fri
In reply to GrahamD:

Brexit matters.

Religion is largely irrelevant these days (well, in this country, at least). Gone are the days when the Church would have me 'tried' and burnt at the stake for the things I've said here (you know, in that good, tolerant, Christian way they had...)

krikoman - on 16:00 Fri
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Tell me how this empathy thing works, without any moral guidelines whatever. I'm not seeing much now of our old empathy (that I remember so strongly when I was young in the 1950s) for refugees and foreigners of all kinds, for example.


I suggest you look at MSF, and the work they do.

captain paranoia - on 16:11 Fri
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I'm not seeing much now of our old empathy (that I remember so strongly when I was young in the 1950s) for refugees and foreigners of all kinds, for example.

Oh yeah, I forgot to say...

The 1950's? "No coloureds or Irish". Yeah, the good old days when there was strong empathy for foreigners.

krikoman - on 16:23 Fri
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Not liking something is not proof that it doesn't exist. So you are saying then that God is not kind and loving because he allows suffering in this world.

Yes I an saying that, because if he has the power, and if he's responsible for everything down to the hairs on my head, then he's either very lazy ( it wouldn't appear so as his created the whole universe and everything that in it - even eye worms for whales), or apathetic ( yet we're told he takes keen interest - especially to out sins, or more to the point our asking for forgiveness).

> Whatever the reason for suffering in this world God is not the cause and suffering in this life is not a punishment from God. The fate of our immortal soul vastly outweighs any (in comparisson) momentary pain in this world.

It doesn't have to be punishment from God thought does it, if someone is kicking bits out of you in the street, and I'm six foot tall and wide and have muscles coming out of my ears, yet I decide to carry on walking..... I'm not causing the suffering, but I have it within my power to stop it. Why can't God be more like the good Samaritan?

> God is very concerned for us to avoid suffering in the next realm.

Well he should get his finger out and be very concerned for us to avoid suffeing now!

I noticed God was instrumental in the recent case of the 13 children locked up and suffering in America.

> No one is good, the message of Jesus is a message that men do not wish to hear or to accept. People need to get over their ego's and accept that they cause harm in the world in their daily lives.

This simply isn't true there are many people who have no ego and do good work without causing harm.

> Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. Why else do you think many Christians are so concerned about abortion?

Not according to the Catholics (or are they the wrong team?) or at least only in the last few years at least. And what about babies born out of wedlock not 20 years ago?

> "To those whom much has been given much will be required" must logically be true in reverse as well.

Logically!, sorry that made me LOL!!

> Maybe, they will have less excuse than a prehistoric person as the truth has been revealed now but they must be disadvantaged compared to those that grew up in a Christian culture so logically less will be required.

Once again, at what age do people become disadvantaged, you seem to be saying that if you're clever enough to understand, you won't get in, but if you're a bit thick or young, then you might stand a chance. Sounds a little bit selective, aren't we all equal under the eyes of God.

You seem to be implying that because I us words or phrases about God that I must believe in him, or how can I not believe and use certain terms. My comments are based on what I've been told God is and what he represents, there no doubt regarding belief for me.

krikoman - on 19:32 Fri
Crewey-Rob on 19:50 Fri
In reply to krikoman:

Keep your hair on mate! I've found him. He was on Twitter all this time!

https://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod

captain paranoia - on 20:38 Fri
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

He's on Facebook, too. I like him... the Facebook version, that is...

https://m.facebook.com/TheGoodLordAbove

Post edited at 20:53
cumbria mammoth - on 21:40 Fri
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> He describes how the idea that gods were vengeful and revelled in man's pain and suffering would be a logical conclusion to draw in a prehistoric world were all lives was nasty, brutish and short.

Yes, I think you could be right about how those ideas came about. I would see it as those people latched on to this "sense of God" that seems to be part of the human condition but they have allowed false teachers to mislead them and the ideas have taken hold.

I'm taking that "elegant" you said before anyway, cheers, never been called that before.

cumbria mammoth - on 21:52 Fri
In reply to GrahamD:

> Saved from what exactly?

Eternal seperation from God which is called hell in our culture. I hope it is just the oblivion that most people on here believe in anyway.

Whatever it is Jesus took it so that we don't have to.

cumbria mammoth - on 22:39 Fri
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. 

> Not according to Catholic doctrine, absolutely not, if they are not baptised. Never, ever, ever. Not even after the end of days. There is never a place in heaven for them. They cannot be buried in consecrated ground. They are 'lost' forever.

> The drivel in Vatican II trying to justify this position is sickening.

> It is a vile doctrine.

I'm not a Catholic and I'd never heard that, yes if that is what they teach it is a vile doctrine. Some of the most severe words of Jesus were when he condemned the Pharisees who were the establishment teachers of religion in his day. They were self righteous quick to condemn peoples sins but unaware of their own. Outwardly they looked holy and pious but they were hypocrites who laid heavy burdens upon the people and would not do anything to make the load lighter. They performed some good deeds but they reveled in the approval of men not of God. They loved the places of honor and the titles that set them apart from and above the rest. I suppose the Catholic church could well be the Pharisees of our day.

> Why should we take any notice of such religion, which holds vile opinions, and changes them on a whim?

You shouldn't, you should listen to Jesus' words and you are responsible for your own interpretation.

> Why not dispense with the entire nonsense, and rely on empathy to decide how to behave?

> How about just thinking for yourself? Thinking about how you would feel in the other person's shoes?

That's exactly what Jesus advised us to do.

This is why I'm posting, it turns out you and me follow exactly the same process when making our moral decisions but you would condemn people like me just because of my Christian identity.

Lusk - on 22:57 Fri
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

My first child was a wonderful little thing until she was smitten with hardcore epilepsy just before her first birthday.

Jesus, God and the Holy f*cking Ghost can go and f*ck themselves up each others arses as far as I'm concerned.

Religion, belief in a higher being (?) you're a lame brained fool.

MonkeyPuzzle - on 23:12 Fri
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

People can say what they like about Christians but they never forget to capitalise the first letters of many words. Kudos.

captain paranoia - on 00:10 Sat
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Google keyboard spell checker...

captain paranoia - on 00:18 Sat
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I'm not a Catholic and I'd never heard that

Then you need to educate yourself properly about the various strands of Christianity, and religion in general, not just what you have chosen to believe.

There are approximately 7000 known gods. Are you sure you've picked the right one? And the right interpretation of whatever 'divine text' you have chosen to follow?

You should not need an atheist to educate you about your belief...

Catholicism was Christianity for about 1500 years. And was as powerful, if not more powerful, than secular law. Hence my comments above about being burnt as a heretic.

cumbria mammoth - on 00:20 Sat
In reply to krikoman:

> It doesn't have to be punishment from God thought does it, if someone is kicking bits out of you in the street, and I'm six foot tall and wide and have muscles coming out of my ears, yet I decide to carry on walking..... I'm not causing the suffering, but I have it within my power to stop it. Why can't God be more like the good Samaritan?

What about if you ran past me because over the road there's a bomb that you need to diffuse before millions are killed? Not a brilliant analogy because he is all powerful so yes he must allow it but the point is there must be a higher purpose for it that hasn't been revealed or we can't comprehend. I don't have the answer, perhaps suffering assists in creating a detachment from this world and prepares us for the next?

However unpaletable it is for me to say this, if you believe in an eternal fate then suffering in the hear and now is not as important as our eternal fate.

> Well he should get his finger out and be very concerned for us to avoid suffeing now!

He is. The above isn't a free ticket for us to ignore the suffering around us, the example of Jesus ws to spend most of his time easing the burdens of those who were suffering, he condemned the Pharisees who held themselves up as righteous because they followed rituals perfectly but would not lift a finger to help the sick.

> This simply isn't true there are many people who have no ego and do good work without causing harm.

Sorry but this is your ego talking. It is the message that no one wants to hear but we are all sinners. There are people who do a lot of good in the world and I admire them. Nobody gets through life without causing harm though and then there is our blindness and lack of action to suffering in others.

>> "To those whom much has been given much will be required"

> Once again, at what age do people become disadvantaged, you seem to be saying that if you're clever enough to understand, you won't get in, but if you're a bit thick or young, then you might stand a chance. Sounds a little bit selective, aren't we all equal under the eyes of God.

Yes but we aren't all born with the same advantages in life and a perfectly just God understands this. Are you demanding he should use black and white lines like we use? He is concerned with the state of a heart and knows our motivations.

> You seem to be implying that because I us words or phrases about God that I must believe in him, or how can I not believe and use certain terms. My comments are based on what I've been told God is and what he represents, there no doubt regarding belief for me.

It was the anger I was detecting. If not God then it's either me or Christians in general. If it's general then I think it's misplaced anger, and Christ would also be angry at the people who cause suffering in his name.

 

captain paranoia - on 00:26 Sat
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> However unpaletable it is for me to say this, if you believe in an eternal fate then suffering in the hear and now is not as important as our eternal fate

And that's just one of the problems associated with the belief in an eternal, perfect afterlife.

This is the only life we have.

Make good use of it, and try to be be decent while you're here.

captain paranoia - on 00:36 Sat
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> but the point is there must be a higher purpose for it that hasn't been revealed or we can't comprehend. I don't have the answer,

Of course you don't have the answer, because it's utter bollocks. It's just the usual, trite, inscrutable copout.

You don't have the answer to why God allows suffering due to natural disasters. Because that's bollocks, too.

Accept that God doesn't exist, that our lives are finite, and everything becomes much simpler to understand. And morals based on empathy are much simpler, and more honest (and what you do anyway, even if you 'believe').

FactorXXX - on 01:58 Sat
In reply to captain paranoia:

captain p, your devoutness to atheism is bordering on being religious in its sincerity and passion for it...

cumbria mammoth - on 09:53 Sat
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Then you need to educate yourself properly about the various strands of Christianity, and religion in general, not just what you have chosen to believe.

You're not being honest in your dealings with me here if this is what you choose to expand on out of that post.

To take it on though, why should I educate myself about false doctrines, I am interested in the teachings of Jesus? Jesus warned against the religious authorities in his day and I am free to take the views of the Catholic leaders with a pinch of salt as are you. The Catholic church has never been the only viewpoint in Christianity, it has just been the strand with the backing of the political authorities which ought to immediately ring alarm bells.

Power corrupts and as soon as a church becomes powerful then it will be infiltrated by those who seek power instead of God. I think most of the stuff that people seem angry about is the corrupt teachings of men rather than the teachings of Christ. Believer or not, I think that anyone interested in ethics can look at the teachings of Christ, which are in the 4 gospels, and see that he was an important philosopher who spoke a lot of truth.

I would have liked to see you expand on this.

>> you should listen to Jesus' words and you are responsible for your own interpretation.

> Why not dispense with the entire nonsense, and rely on empathy to decide how to behave?

> How about just thinking for yourself? Thinking about how you would feel in the other person's shoes?

>>That's exactly what Jesus advised us to do.

>>This is why I'm posting, it turns out you and me follow exactly the same process when making our moral decisions but you would condemn people like me just because of my Christian identity.

 

Post edited at 10:02
captain paranoia - on 10:10 Sat
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> To take it on though, why should I educate myself about false doctrines, I am interested in the teachings of Jesus? 

How do you know that they are false, and the one you have chosen is true?

Believers in other faiths think their faith is true, and yours is false.

If you haven't studied the others, you cannot say they are false.

You just think yours is true because it's the first one you were introduced to.

> That's exactly what Jesus advised us to do.

My point is that I don't need Jesus to tell me to do that. And neither should anyone.

You must have missed my reference to Matt 22 v39, which is the only line necessary. And it's not an original concept, and it comes from the application of empathy.

> but you would condemn people like me just because of my Christian identity.

I have not, and do not condemn anybody. You are free to believe what you like, provided your faith harms no-one else, and you do not try to enforce your faith on others.

I am merely pointing out that religion provides no moral superiority, because it is based on nothing.

And on that note, I really must leave it. Have a good day.

Post edited at 10:27

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