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Haiti was "cursed' after "pact with devil" says TV evangelist

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William Crawley | 20:35 UK time, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

TV evangelist Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Show, has offered a theological explanation for the Haitian earthquake which is estimated to have taken more than 100,000 lives so far.

He announced today on television:

'They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. And so the devil said, 'Ok it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.'

Pat Robertson is no stranger to controversy. He was widely criticized for claiming that Hurricane Katrina was the result of God's wrath, and for calling for the assassination of President Hugo Chavez.

Meanwhile, actual reports from Haiti describe the devastation in the most heart-wrenching terms. According to The Times, 'Joseph Delva, a reporter in the affluent suburb of Petionville, described the scene as one of total chaos, and said he had seen dozens of casualties. "I saw people under the rubble, and people killed. People were screaming 'Jesus, Jesus' and running in all directions.'

Tonight, the Disasters Emergency Committee announced that its special appeal for Haiti is now live.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It is 2010... the world knows about plate tectonics! How on Earth is this bigot permitted to show his ignorance and delusions on the air? Why does he still get any air time? Why do I have to write about this? He should be ashamed, ask for forgiveness, and pray really hard so his “devil” does not come after him for his hurtful and idiotic comments. It is a humiliation, embarrassment, degradation and disgrace that the media allows his face on t.v. Please gag him!

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm not sure what purpose is served in giving further publicity to these sort of comments. Robertson is a diminished figure in the US and as far as I'm aware has absolutely no sympathetic constituency in the UK.
    I don't think this post is helpful. With thousands of people dead sensitivity should be the order of the day. I'm not against highlighting and exposing the false teachings of Pat Robertson but not at a time when a country is grieving.

  • Comment number 3.

    The comments about hurricane Katrina or assassinating Chavez weren't his only outrageous statements. Here is some more from the good christian leader:

    http://unfairlybalanced.com/archive/slides/Pat%20Robertson%20prophet.htm

    It makes you wonder doesn't it, when someone says something like

    "The feminist agenda encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

    The rest of his quotes on there aren't much better. Perhaps one of our regular staunch christian posters would now like to repeat the tired old canard about god (the christian one of course, how could you think that another would do?!) providing the basis of morality?

  • Comment number 4.

    What would one give to hear him as a guest presenter on Sunday Sequence commenting on Kirkgate!

  • Comment number 5.

    Mr. Crawley:

    Not surprised with the troubling and non-sensetical remarks of Pat Robertson...

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 6.

    Ian, I take your point entirely about the issue of sensitivity here. Pat Robertson's comments have now been broadcast around the world and are the subject of significant debate on religion news sites. In reflecting that live debate here, I completely agree with you that the focus of our attention should be on the victims of this disaster and the aid efforts to come to rescue those now fighting for their lives.

  • Comment number 7.

    #3 - PK -

    "Perhaps one of our regular staunch christian posters would now like to repeat the tired old canard about god (the christian one of course, how could you think that another would do?!) providing the basis of morality?"

    OK, I've risen to the bait.

    So, in your thinking anyone who claims to be a Christian should be regarded as a legitimate representative of the Christian faith? Does that work for other worldviews as well? Perhaps I'll go around claiming to be an atheist and start making all sorts of nonsense comments, and then other people are required to believe that this legitimately represents atheism.

    I know it's getting late in the day, but I think your logic is better than this.

  • Comment number 8.

    It seems rather curious that God would deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt but only the devil would deliver the Hatians from bondage under the cruel French Imperial empire. What do you say to that Pastorphilip? Should the Hatians have waited for God to deliver them instead? Did the Israelites turn down a deal with the devil before God made his offer? Is the difference because the Israelites were god's chosen people and the Hatians weren't? What does bible prophesy have to say about all of this? Is this the beginning of the tribulation? Show us the light Pastorphillip, show us the light.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Pat Robertson is crazy...I am from Louisiana in the United States Gulf South. After Hurricane Katrina he and some other evangelical ministers said that the storm was our fault, and we were being punished because of some Americans' views on homosexuality and because of the behavior of people along the Gulf Coast (ie. our region is known for drinking,partying, and gambling in our many casinos along the Coast). After his past comments I am not at all surprised about his statement concerning the earthquake in Haiti; however, I am surprised that this man is not embarrassed to make such foolish statements in public.

    Luz: The reason that he can say these things is because we have freedom of speech in the US. As for his message being covered by the news media, he owns his own television channel so he has a venue where he can state his opinions to the public. In fact I believe that his comments were on his own channel and/or television show.

  • Comment number 11.

    Pat Robertson is a zit on the face of Christianity. Part of it, sure, but not one of the more attractive bits. He needs to learn the value of silence and the virtue of scandalous love.

  • Comment number 12.

    I was really upset when I learned about what Pat Robertson said. The only peace I get from his remark is that he will have to stand before God and be judged. Since he has such a big following of what he calls christians,being a man of God, he should encourage donations to help. I am sure his building fund could wait for a little while.

  • Comment number 13.

    Helo LSV,

    "So, in your thinking anyone who claims to be a Christian should be regarded as a legitimate representative of the Christian faith? Does that work for other worldviews as well? Perhaps I'll go around claiming to be an atheist and start making all sorts of nonsense comments, and then other people are required to believe that this legitimately represents atheism."

    While you portray the scenario of making up a fake atheist ID to make rubbish claims (to discredit atheists) as a 'How outrageous would that be', that is exactly what one of your fellow christians has stooped to.

    A pastor was caught posting as an atheist, spewing the same ridiculous straw men (yes, that term applies to you in spades, despite your protests on the other thread) nonsense you do about a naturalistic world view not leaving any room for morality etc. That is of course the same pretty lame misrepresentation of the position most atheists hold that you prefer to take (oh the irony, some christians on this bog here sometimes criticize atheists for dismissing what they they don't understand). Yup, straw man is ever there is one. But the pastor took it rather further than just knocking down a straw man in a blog. He pretended to be an atheist and under his fake ID said

    "What’s wrong with killing babies? I see no problem with it. I have enough mouths to feed. I don’t get the argument and I am an atheist. Since I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in anything characterized as good, bad / right, wrong. So, what’s the big deal?"

    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/03/20/pastor-gets-caught-lying-for-jesus/

    That is such a ridiculous thing, I can't think of many atheists who would sign up to that. So no surprise that the pastor was caught out, it's just too damn ridiculous. But for some christians is the best they can manage. The hypothetical scenario that you hold up to show how ridiculous it would be, is actually 100% true in case of the pastor.

  • Comment number 14.

    PK

    I dunno. I mean he's proposed a scientific hypothesis linking gay pride flags and meteors.
    You think Templeton would fund a study?

    GV

  • Comment number 15.

    There's a difference between arguments that Theism provides the best theoretical explanation for objective morality, and arguments that suggest that Religion is the only/best source of moral motivation.

    Large sections of the Psalms, Prophets and Gospels argue that theological orthodoxy is not sufficient for morality. The Parable of the Good Samaritan and Romans 2 argue that theological orthodoxy is not necessary for morality. Jesus and Paul both argued that the moral behaviour of pagans could put orthodox Jews to shame (at a time when there was no clear boundary between Judaism and the Church).

    GV

  • Comment number 16.

    As Pat Robertson spouts his ignorant bilge on tv, witness the blank lobotomised gaze of the presenter as she nods and interjects with little noises of evangelical assent. The lovely christian message is reinforced through the closed broadcasting system of this megalomaniac bible basher and out over the bleating sheep who follow him. What a horrible way hate manifests itself here - with a faux world-weary shrug he fashions himself after the very creator that he has invented, looking down on his poor benighted flock who have brought all this down on themselves. Pat Robertson is a barbarian.

  • Comment number 17.

    IF Pat Robertson is a "Christian," I hereby RENOUNCE and DENY my label/ID as a "Christian"! I join with Martin Luther - "Here I stand! I can do no other! God help me!" My "We the People" community blog articulates my disagreement with Pat Robertson - the URL is: http://gazettextra.com/weblogs/we-people/2010/jan/14/haiti-gods-retribution-no-no-no/. You can register FREE for ID purposes ONLY and COMMENT! DEAR WORLD, PLEASE, PLEASE do NOT assume that WE THE PEOPLE - Americans in general - agree with Pat Robertson!!!!! Later... John

  • Comment number 18.

    Robertson’s God is repugnant to those who believe in a Jesus who championed the perspective of the poor and marginalised people of his day, and who reserved his condemnation for the religious leaders who claimed that they knew the mind of God. In the gospels, Jesus never really explains ‘why bad things happen to good people,’ but he is pretty clear that it is not for us to judge that bad things happen because his Father is punishing people for specific and identifiable sins.

    I think it's important that when people like Robertson claim to be speaking for Christians, alternative Christian perspectives are offered in the debate. This should also keep with Ian and Will's focus on the victims. I've blogged more about this on www.gladysganiel.com

  • Comment number 19.

    That's an interestin blog, Gladys. Hopefully you can hang around W&T for a while.

    GV

  • Comment number 20.

    Gladys,

    "In the gospels, Jesus never really explains ‘why bad things happen to good people,’ but he is pretty clear that it is not for us to judge that bad things happen because his Father is punishing people for specific and identifiable sins."

    Since the number of people killed may pass 100000, there's bound to have been a few pregnant women among the dead who were about to give birth. Or had just give birth. What sins exactly did a baby who was born only half an hour prior to the quake commit to deserve to die? Is it original sin again? I've never found the idea of people dying (or suffering some other terrible plight) because some people supposedly ate some forbidden fruit along time ago a very good justification. Or if it is not original sin, then perhaps you'd care to elaborate what it is then, that new born babies do to deserve to die.

  • Comment number 21.

    Goodness me! I couldn't help signing in for this one.I am more than appalled . . . but then again this is Pat Robertson we are talking about, right? How can anyone talk like this at such a time? I believe it is very, very possible to be a good person WITHOUT religion. It doesn't take mythical stories to know the good and the bad. This right here is bad. It is bad for 'religious' leaders to get smart-mouthed the moment tragedy strikes—and maybe I am being smart-mouthed to state this but for crying out loud—what is this about a "pact"? I bet it could be followed by "God's works in mysterious ways" and "God is mad with his people" . . .
    Can Pat Robertson tell me why innocent children/people are dying in Africa each day? War,election violence,disease,hunger . . . can he tell me why it took having a Prime Minister and a President at the same time to help stop innocent people from dying in my beautiful Kenya? Was God punishing us? Was it a pact with the devil? Or is it plain old corruption? And why did 'September 11' happen again? A pact? We live on planet earth where the bad and the good happens each day. No pacts involved . . . just the world and its contents acting up, or so to speak. By the way, I am VERY Christian (born and bred) and I do not agree with smart-mouth preaching. Is anyone else wondering why 'prophets' emerge only AFTER bad things happen? Someone needs to tell him it is always okay to shut up when there is nothing juicy to paint on TV,or elsewhere for that matter. On that note . . . let me shut up too.

  • Comment number 22.

    #13 - PK -

    My answer is simply the question: Do you believe that a person's worldview affects their behaviour? Or do beliefs about the nature of reality not matter at all?

    I agree that someone can hold a philosophical belief and not live consistently with its implications. In fact, it is not possible to live consistently with a philosophy which is actually false, and does not provide a proper explanation for human experiences. I do not believe that the concept of natural selection provides a satisfactory explanation for the general concern most people have for moral issues. The only morality I can detect in natural selection is the urge to survive (if one person's fight for survival is to the detriment of someone else's - so what?)

    Now, if our underlying beliefs about life have absolutely no relevance at all to how we live, then why are we bothering to even discuss these things? And why do atheists get so hung up about what so-called "religious" people believe? Why bother with the concept of "truth", for goodness sake (one of the concepts that atheists claim to champion above all else)?! Let's just agree that all these views, such as atheism and "religion" are just private hobbies on a par with flower arranging (apologies to flower arrangers), and live and let live.

    William, please close down the site - it's clearly no longer needed, as all our views are now known to be completely irrelevant...

  • Comment number 23.



    I support Pat 100%

  • Comment number 24.

    PK

    Obviously the babies cannot *do* anything to deserve death. Outside Pat Robertson, I'm not sure that anyone is arguing that they do. Gladys seemed to be referring to the Haitian people in general.
    There are Theistic responses to suffering and Christian responses to suffering.
    Personally I think that the Cross is the best answer available, but this only gives us reason to trust God. It does not explain *why* he allows 'gratuitous' evils. (Evils that do not seem to bring about any greater good).
    Theoretically God is under no obligation to create a world in which horrendous evils cannot occur, as some goods like free-will or redemption etc, may not be possible in worlds that cannot contain horrendous suffering. This means that there may be suffering that does not serve a greater good. Some suffering may be gratuitous.
    But people are rarely interested in theoretical defences. Suffering is an emotional and existential problem - not primarily a theoretical probllem. If God suffers with us, and then shows that he can overcome suffering, we can have reason to trust God.
    This hardly provides all the answers. But I'm suspicious of any theology or philosophy that can neatly explain absolutely everything about the world.

    GV

  • Comment number 25.

    Popping back for one of my fleeting visits...

    Re the criticism of Robertson - he is only being honest. After all, his bloodthirsty Sinaitic moon pixie Yahweh has form in this area. Who could forget the righteous justice dispensed on Sodom and Gomorrah, or the entirely justified killing of nearly everybody in the biblical flood? OK, so those are primitive myths, but you're getting my drift.

    What about the lovely treatment of the Amalekite children in 1 Samuel 15? Imagine you're an Israelite warrior, and you're faced with a crying three year-old Amalekite girl, weeping over the slaughtered body of her mother - you would be SINNING if you didn't lop her head off there and then!

    I was cycling in the "Holy Land" a few weeks back, and some of the kids threw pebbles at us as we cycled through the villages. Did any she-bears come out of the woods and rip them to shreds? Did they heck. Maybe it's because the bears are all gone now.

    The problem is not Robertson - he's just a symptom of a deeper intellectual malaise that permeates Judeochristianity - the treatment of primitive myths as if they had any actual basis in fact.

    By all means criticise and lambast Robertson, but you'll need to lambast similar insane bloodthirsty slavering demagogues such as the prophets Elijah, Elisha and Samuel.

    But in the midst of all this, please please please give money to the DEC appeal: http://www.dec.org.uk/ or the constituent charities (including some Christian ones) in order to get aid to the people in Haiti.

    -H

  • Comment number 26.

    That's it H! Plant a couple of nukes and run (-;

  • Comment number 27.


    What do you mean nukes, Graham. All it takes is a couple of pixies!

    But he is right about the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) folks.



  • Comment number 28.

    why is comment 23 1.36 pm not on the web?

  • Comment number 29.


    Gladys, that was a good blog entry, liked it, I'll be back reading there again, thanks.

  • Comment number 30.

    Do you know that there is a University in the US founded/funded by Pat Robertson 'training the future leaders of the world." It is called Regent University and is attended by thousands of students with special emphasis on getting into politics or influential positions careers. Some of these graduates are already involved in the US politics and I believe there is a nice group of the Republican wing who have gotten some of their education from this institution.

  • Comment number 31.

    Yeah sure . . . Pat Robertson forgot to tell us that before the earthquake God made a path through the sea so the *evangelicals could flee to Miami – the land flowing with milk and honey.

    _______________________

    *According to Wikipedia 10-15% of the Haitian population are evangelicals.

  • Comment number 32.

    Albert Mohler (President Southern Theological Seminary) blogged at http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/01/14/does-god-hate-haiti/ :
    "A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening."

    Seemingly in response to Robertson he said:
    "Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?"

  • Comment number 33.

    Theodicy does have one very simple and straightforward solution though.

  • Comment number 34.


    You're right H, it does.

  • Comment number 35.

    "Why do so many murderous missionaries live to old age while many dictators die young?"

    Peas porrigde hot, peas porrigde cold, peas porrige in the pot nine days old. In those old movies, I always rooted for the cannibals.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ Dushenko, good on him! In that case, he needs to swim in POLITICS (and say whatever he wants), not religion. He is not speaking for Christians–he is speaking for Pat Robertson. Period. What was once said about opinions being like . . . and everyone has one? Yeah. That one.

  • Comment number 37.

    I was disappointed that Pastorphillip didn't respond to my posting until I realized that at this very minute he just might be ministering to Mrs. Robinson who seems to need divinely inspired counseling so badly. This thought made me happy, Pastorphillip easing the pain and anguish of the suffering even if she is of a different religion. How ecumenical of him.

    "And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
    Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)
    God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
    Heaven holds a place for those who pray
    (Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)"

    Too bad they wouldn't allow the link to the original recording, it was the best performance of the song I think.

  • Comment number 38.

    Hello LSV,

    "I do not believe that the concept of natural selection provides a satisfactory explanation for the general concern most people have for moral issues. The only morality I can detect in natural selection is the urge to survive (if one person's fight for survival is to the detriment of someone else's - so what?)"

    Let me shock you by mostly agreeing with what you said. Other than a few areas like caring for next of kin etc, I don't think natural selection provides answers in many areas as far as morality is concerned. It does indeed not care much about the detriment of others. But then you are looking for the source of morality in the wrong place if you think that non-believers get that (more than a small part of it) from natural selection. Just as natural selection isn't much interested in morality, it wouldn't have much of a problem with someone adopting a morality on other grounds. For instance, Helio mentioned donating to the Haiti quake relief effort. Does selflessly helping out people he doesn't know half a world away influence his decision on whether he want to have more kids or not? Not in the slightest.

    So rather than saying 'Haha, natural selection doesn't provide any morality' you should try to understand why that statement, while technically mostly correct, is not very relevant.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hello Graham, post 24,

    "Obviously the babies cannot *do* anything to deserve death. Outside Pat Robertson, I'm not sure that anyone is arguing that they do. Gladys seemed to be referring to the Haitian people in general."

    But the people caught up in the disaster over there do include new born babies. So to some extent what I asked does apply.

    Regarding suffering you said of your own explanation

    "This hardly provides all the answers."

    Indeed. The suffering by the innocent allowed by a supposedly loving god doesn't add up. Saying 'trust jesus' doesn't answer anything. It sounds to me more like an attempt to make holding a contradictory, flawed position sound more acceptable.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes, but "trust" Jesus wasn't my argument. It broke the problem of evil into a logical and an existential part. It used the cross to respond to the latter and a logical point to respond to the contradiction (the logical part).

    As for the children, I don't hold that all suffering has a punitive purpose, and this does not follow from Theism or Christian Theism. (It does appear in popular sermons, I'll grant you that.

    GV

  • Comment number 41.

    PK & LSV

    To grossly simplify the matter, I would say that the "concept" of natural selection is no use at all when talking about morality, but that is not to say that is morality cannot be analysed with reference to it.

    For instance, LSV's

    (if one person's fight for survival is to the detriment of someone else's - so what?)"

    ignores that human beings are social animals and that in complex societies such simple zero sum calculations are by no means the only way in which selection occurs. Reciprocal altruism within groups helps everyone.

    Other than a few areas like caring for next of kin etc

    Again, simplifying greatly, we can look at morality as a progressive extending out into the social group of the principles involved in caring for kin.

    Not that it matters at the level in which we actually function, since selection of course occurs at the level of genes, and the complexity involved when our genes actually get expressed into a functioning human fitting into a society of other humans, renders the discussion as it applies to individuals almost as meaningless as pretending it all comes from the magic man.

  • Comment number 42.

    #38 - PeterKlaver -

    Thank you for your response.

    Let me say that I have no problem understanding why atheists, non-believers, sceptics (whatever word you want to use) have a strong sense of morality. Morality is a part of being human. In fact, I have no qualms about saying that many atheists are probably far more moral in many ways than a great many people who adhere to my own world-view.

    My issue is that, so often in the discussions on W&T, we are not talking about whether we should be helping the victims of an earthquake in Haiti (for example), but whether certain explanations of reality are true or false. LucyQ on the "Churches pray and give to DEC..." thread made the statement "there is a scientific rational explanation for everything", by which she (I assume "she"!) means a naturalistic explanation, judging from her other comments. That kind of comment makes very little sense to me from an intellectual point of view.

    As a non-believer in naturalism, I have argued that science and naturalistic rationalism does not explain everything in life. I have a lot of time for the honest agnostic, but I can't quite understand those who seem determined to deride others, who are not prepared to reduce everything in life to atoms and molecules.

  • Comment number 43.

    As a non-believer in naturalism, I have argued that science and naturalistic rationalism does not explain everything in life.

    Yes you have. Endlessly.

    You also have an example(highly simplified, but hey ho this is blog not an academic paper)in #41 of a hypothesis that may explain one of the things you are convinced can't be explained by naturalistic means. Come on mate, what are you waiting for? Rip it to shreds. I'm sure you can.

  • Comment number 44.

    Robertson's done it before of course, to the good citizens of Dover just after the trial:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/12/usa.julianborger2

    "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city,"

    Residents ousted conservative Christian members of the local Dover board who had ordered teachers to tell their classes evolution was a questionable theory


  • Comment number 45.

    Pat is right...but maybe for the wrong reason, We might not like to admit that God is all powerful and controls everything that happens but we cannot say God is the creator of all things and Controls everything and then when something bad happens say....oh that wasnt God that was a natural disaster, Either God is in control or he isn't and i have to say as a Calvinist i believe that God is all powerful and His will is always done...we may not understand it sometimes but it is all for his glory

  • Comment number 46.

    CC, that is certainly logical in a trivial way, but it removes any justification for the fantasy that this god (or whatever you want to call it) is "good" or "moral" or "just" - what you are saying is that it acts on its own whim for its own self-gratification, and that (in its omnipotent amoral omniscient view) this end justifies whatever means it chooses to accomplish that.

    But that being the case, it cannot be "wrong" to reject such a spiteful, selfish and conceited space pixie - even if it DID exist in the parameters you describe. The Calvinist delusion would be that this is all part of The Plan, and even such rejection would be to enhance whatever warm fuzzy feeling the pixie retires with when it winds up the universe, and warms its tootsies on the eternal pyre of all those nasty non-Calvinists it created specifically to burn for the purpose.

    Calvinism is a pile of cabbage, as LSV will readily attest.

  • Comment number 47.

    LSV says so too???? OMG thanks for letting us know...we'll shut down all the calvinist churches immediately, i mean how silly are we to never have noticed that some would see a contradiction....why oh why didnt we come up with any form of reply!!! well anyways you have just destroyed calvinism....after 400 odd years you successfully destroyed the whole theological system in just one post------- WOW!!!

  • Comment number 48.

    CC

    If your comments on the other thread is representative of Calvinism, I'd say Helio is being disrespectful to cabbage.

  • Comment number 49.

    #43 - grokesx -

    "You also have an example(highly simplified, but hey ho this is blog not an academic paper)in #41 of a hypothesis that may explain one of the things you are convinced can't be explained by naturalistic means."

    From #41 -

    "For instance, LSV's

    (if one person's fight for survival is to the detriment of someone else's - so what?)"

    ignores that human beings are social animals and that in complex societies such simple zero sum calculations are by no means the only way in which selection occurs. Reciprocal altruism within groups helps everyone."

    "Again, simplifying greatly, we can look at morality as a progressive extending out into the social group of the principles involved in caring for kin."

    You talk about morality as a "progressive", but that is based on an assumption of "progress" which is entirely arbitrary. Who is to say that it is wrong for certain thinkers to appeal to the idea of "social Darwinism" to advocate culling the human population for the sake of the "common good" or experimenting in eugenics? Some people may regard that as just as valid an idea of progress as the teleology you are advocating.

    You seem to think that society naturally progresses in the direction of "reciprocal altruism" and that that makes perfect sense within a naturalistic understanding of reality. But the concept of "reciprocal altruism" only has validity within a naturalistic world view on the basis of a pragmatic epistemology - "the truth of a concept is validated by whether it works or not". But what happens in situations where, for some people, such a concept does not seem to work? You may make the subjective decision to judge that those who do not advocate an ethic of "reciprocal altruism" are "wrong", but you cannot do that with reference to your overarching philosophy of life. There is nothing within nature that tells us that we should engage in reciprocal altruism. In fact, the reverse is often the case.

    What is the aim of society in adopting the method of "reciprocal altruism"? Who decides that "aim"? What happens to those who disagree with such an aim? What philosophy is appealed to prove that such objectors are wrong? What if some people decided that certain individuals do not deserve to live - for the "good" of society as a whole - what is there in the idea of "natural selection" to decree that such views are wrong?

    What we see in nature is competition for scarce resources, and "reciprocal altruism" only works when everyone understands that sacrifices have to be made for the common good and that political or economic power should be used with humility and compassion. This utopian vision does not square with the competitive notion of natural selection. I know you'll disagree with me, but I like to think that I am living in the real world, and not some fantasy world in which we are deluded into thinking people are overflowing with natural "goodness", and that nature itself - left to its own devices - tends towards some kind of world of global compassion.

    And finally... a simple matter of logic: just because a naturalist can come up with an "explanation" of some phenomenon (such as morality) does not, of course, prove that that explanation is correct. And, yes, the same is true of a supernaturalist explanation. There seems to be an assumption that "if only we could find some kind of natural explanation for something, then logic dictates that that explanation must be true". This is not a logical argument, but a case of "begging the question" (petitio principii - assuming your conclusion in your premise). It is an assumption based on an uncompromising and dogmatic commitment to the propagation of a particular philosophy. In other words, it's a kind of "religious" proselytising.

  • Comment number 50.

    #47 - ChristianCalvinist -

    "LSV says so too???? OMG thanks for letting us know...we'll shut down all the calvinist churches immediately..."

    Helio can say what he likes, but I am not aware that I have been advocating that any Calvinist church should be shut down.

    All I have done is give my reasons why I don't accept the doctrine of double predestination, which is normally associated with Calvinism. Are you suggesting that anyone who disagrees with your doctrine is condemning you or your churches? There is a clear semantic difference between the ideas of "to criticise" and "to condemn".

    It worries me that some people cannot make this distinction, and so when I put forward my honest concerns about a certain interpretation of the Bible, I was described as a "modern day Servetus" - and we know what happened to him! In other words, the implication is: because of my particular interpretation of the biblical text - held honestly, in good faith and (in my mind) for good reasons - I deserve to be burnt at the stake (and on slow burning green wood as well)!

    Why can't you accept that different people interpret the Bible in different ways? Why always talk about "condemning" people simply because of differences of viewpoint?

    As a matter of fact I do believe in the sovereignty of God. But the difference between us is this: I believe that God, in His sovereignty, has created beings with the capacity to make responsible, free-will decisions. He has not created, or allowed people to become, automatons.

    Concerning Calvinists: I actually have friends who are Calvinists, and I even work with some of them in Christian work. I can hardly be called someone who is calling for the closure of Calvinist churches!

  • Comment number 51.

    Being in the Media and being a born again christian i wqork for a Christan radio station in kenya, I felt by the will of God to write this after reading most of the commments and not getting any that even dealt with this man from the Christian perspective ans a born again christian for that matter.The earthquke in Hait is a very sad issue especially to me because i knew about it beforehand. By prophecy that is. To see it happening i cried to the Lord and Said Not again. The God i Serve warns about Judgement and he HATES sin. it is because of people like Pat Robertson that Haiti is suffering so much now. He Knew about the state of the Haiti Spiritually and he had all this years to get on a plane and warn them of the Wrath of God, and ask them to REPENT and turn away from sin but Guess what he doesn't do that either. He had the money the influence and a Machine to do all that but he didn't. Dr Owuor who told me and many others on 18th July 2009 about the prophecy about the earthquake coming to hit the island of hispaniola and he went to warn them. Pat robertson Did not even say how many Pastors and Church leaders he had tried to reach in Haiti before he made that comment. Dr owour made contact with the church in The Island of Hispaniola and even called one radio station and they put him on air to warn the people of hispaniola, emcomprising of the Dominican republic and Haiti. He even went there himself. If Pat robertson did'nt do that then he failed God as a servant. It is the duty of a servant of God to warn people of sin and judgement coming because of sin. if they fail to do that then their blood is in his hands. Then if Pat Robertson failed to do that the the people of Haiti are not to blame. Pat robertson is and he should repent about it.

  • Comment number 52.

    @LSV

    Just a quick reply cos I'm a bit strapped for time at present.

    Firstly, at least you are sort of engaging with an actual argument, which is all to the good, although you can't help spinning it out in your own inimitable fashion. I did mention that I was simplifying, so I'll address your points in a little more depth later.

    As for your little lecture on logic, I don't recall saying that anything is "proved" by the naturalistic explanation. If you were acquainted with even the absolute basics of science, you would know that it is not a concept scientists use. I mentioned in the creationist thread a while back that you don't seem to grasp the idea of methodological naturalism, and there have a been mentions of it on other threads. It's something you need to get to grips with before you cut and paste in your pompous rants about scientific "proselytising".

    Also, I do rather like the juxtaposition in this thread of:

    but I like to think that I am living in the real world, and not some fantasy world in which we are deluded into thinking people are overflowing with natural "goodness"..."

    and

    I believe that God, in His sovereignty, has created beings with the capacity to make responsible, free-will decisions. He has not created, or allowed people to become, automatons.

    I know it's only because I'm a godless heathen and all that, but that is just too funny.

  • Comment number 53.

    @Eunice are you serious about that prophecy part? Who called a radio station? You know people get tired of these "I knew this-I knew that" stuff AFTER tragedy strikes...I know I do...

  • Comment number 54.

    Hello LSV,

    I'm catching up here from a few days back.....

    "Let me say that I have no problem understanding why atheists, non-believers, sceptics (whatever word you want to use) have a strong sense of morality. Morality is a part of being human. In fact, I have no qualms about saying that many atheists are probably far more moral in many ways than a great many people who adhere to my own world-view."

    Well thanks for that. Although what you say seems to stand somewhat in contrast to what believers here on the bog often state about non-believers. Here is a piece of what you wrote on the '36 arguments for the existence of god' thread, where you write that we can't even tell what is evil or not (my emphasis added in bold):

    "I will say it again - for about the third time: if Dawkins is making a moral judgment - which he is doing - then on what basis does he do so? To say that he derives his moral basis from the very book he condemns as immoral is simply absurd. He rejects the God of the OT for being evil, but what is evil? How is it defined? How can he define it according to his naturalistic world-view? I have asked these questions time and time again on this blog, and not once have I received a satisfactory response. And therefore the conclusion I draw from the evidence of this silence is that you and your co-ideologues cannot answer these questions."



    As for LucyQ's statement

    "there is a scientific rational explanation for everything"

    I'll agree that that is too optimistic to state as if it were a hard fact right now. Though there is good hope that we'll learn that to be true in the future.

    "As a non-believer in naturalism, I have argued that science and naturalistic rationalism does not explain everything in life."

    Not yet, no. But science is learning more and more. And we can expect it to continue to progress for at least a good while. And nothing has been shown sofar that must always remain beyond the grasp of science.

    "I have a lot of time for the honest agnostic, but I can't quite understand those who seem determined to deride others, who are not prepared to reduce everything in life to atoms and molecules."

    The reason fore derision probably lies not primarily in the unwillingness to reduce things to atoms and molecules, but the alternative explanations that these people adhere to instead, for which still no credible basis has been shown sofar, despite millennia to do so.

  • Comment number 55.

    And to add a little to what grokesx wrote in post 52 in response to the end of post 49, where you wrote

    "And finally... a simple matter of logic: just because a naturalist can come up with an "explanation" of some phenomenon (such as morality) does not, of course, prove that that explanation is correct. And, yes, the same is true of a supernaturalist explanation. There seems to be an assumption that "if only we could find some kind of natural explanation for something, then logic dictates that that explanation must be true""

    Like grokesx said, science doesn't work by proving things, but by giving explanations that are always tentative. If observations (including those that were made to verify predictions made by a particular theory) closely match the theory, then that adds credibility to the explanation that that theory gives. But it's not proof, new observations might still overturn it.

    But despite the careful approach in science, we can explain a lot through it. All backed up by reproducible observation. That certainly puts it far ahead of supernatural explanations, that can only claim after the fact 'Oh yes, this agrees so well with our [insert pet religion] thinking', while not actually explaining anything, let alone ever understand things that are yet to happen. They're just completely useless as far as understanding the world is concerned.

  • Comment number 56.


    Gladys - your comment # 18.

    I would like to go further than you do when you advocate offering an alternative view of Christianity to that of Robertson.

    I would deny Robertson the name of Christian. I would pronounce anathema on him; I would characterise his ministry as itself Satanic. That is my response.

    I do not believe in a creator God nor in a God who is in any sense active in the world. Anyone though who seeks to confront real evil will find it, not in Haiti, but in the financial centres of the great western cities like London and New York.

  • Comment number 57.

    CC, why on earth would I have to close down calvinist churches? Of course calvinism is a load of cabbage (qv), but be honest - how many of the punters who warm the pews of nominally calvinist churches - or even the ministers who waft air out of the pulpits - actually *believe* the doctrines of calvinism? Ask Will - he saw through it pretty clearly, as did I. Indeed, if you go to a nominally calvinist church and privately ask the people what they really believe, I guestimate that you will find in and around 15% of them don't even believe in the gods.

    In such a context, why close them down?

    The bottom line is that some people are really nasty hypocrites. Robertson is one of them. The fact that he uses the label "Christian" is neither here nor there. Trust me - most Christians have more in common with good atheists like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers than they have with that person. And a good thing too.

    -H

  • Comment number 58.

    Your right the influence of the Roman Catholic church had effected the calvinist churchs teaching...they have watered down and compromised and now the churches are getting smaller, Richard Dawkins is one of these men who hides behind his books...let him go into Iran and complain about muslims or go into the ardoyne and complain about Roman Catholics...its all right being an armchair soldier ranting at the typewriter but when you get to be face to face with people its another matter.... if we all have so much in common with atheists then why aren't we all atheist? Look at the blasphemy law blog on here...it hardly got any comments and yet your your trying to tell us that everyone cares about the atheists and we all secretly support them??? lol your having a laugh

  • Comment number 59.

    Can calvinists not spell? Is that something they drum out of them? You're right in that I'm having a laugh, btw. Your quaint little superstitions are fodder for plenty of gags on this blog. Hint - they're not *true*, and that should cause you some concern. This blissful abandon with which some folks let their sacred cows graze on everyone else's lawn is pretty tedious.

  • Comment number 60.




    I have to say I am sceptical about Pat Robertson's assertion that he is speaking the will of God about Haiti.

    But I am also concerned that many people are using the situation to promote what could amount to an idolatrous view of God through this type of situation, which means that the actual voice of God in relation to disasters and God’s purpose for mankind could be blanked out for many people.

    I dont pretend to like or fully understand what I am about to write, but I feel it has to be said.

    Personally I came to faith in Christ through an experience of his love in my life. In John 3 Christ said his mission was not to condemn the world but to save it!

    I shrink in admiration for the aid workers of all faiths and none who are helping the people of haiti today.

    The bible is most certainly biased strongly towards the poor and oppressed - but it is not a socialist script - it aims at the actual cause of poverty, not just the symptoms, ie the fall of man and our sin.

    But there appears to be concerted efforts by the media and others at times like this to put out an emergency blanket message that God never pours out judgement and those that suggest he does are mindless fanatics.
    I wish that this were the case. IF someone considers the bible to be the word of God, this does not stand up to scrutiny.

    Examples are the great flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the judgement of God on the Canaanites, his judgements on Israel throughout its history. Christ justly carried out these actions.

    Christ actually said that earthquakes would be a sign that his return was near, telling his followers to look up for their redemption.
    The gospel as preached throughout the book of Acts repeatedly says that people are required to repent of their sin and believe in Christ's sacrifice ie there is no need for Good News if there is no bad news.

    But perhaps most tellingly, a quick skim of the book of revelation makes it very clear that God will pour out many judgements on mankind as time closes to try and cause us to wake from our stupor of sin. He also has pretty stiff messages for the seven churches too at the start of the book!

    None of this is new or fanatical.

    CS Lewis said that "pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world"

    He also said that Aslan (Christ) is a good lion, but not a tame one.

    As for Haiti's pact with the devil, I dont have any personal knowledge.

    Tony Campolo told William today that it is hard to get to sleep in Haiti because of all the voodoo drums beating at night.

    The well respected Operation World, produced by WEC and long endorsed by George Verwer of OM, makes it clear that the leaders of these organisations believe a “Satanic” deal in Haiti is an historical fact and that its curse was real, though now being wound down through Haitian Christians.

    Cursory readings suggest it is not just Christians who understand that the revolution of Haiti against the French (however just) centred on voodoo empowerment.

    Note, I am NOT implying that God caused the earthquake on Haiti. It is not my place to speak on behalf of Almighty God.

    But is God now judging Haiti?

    Perhaps Christ's answer would be - never mind about Haiti - I have died to save YOU so please lets get down to business asap;

    Luke 13

    1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.

    2 Jesus answered, Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

    3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

    4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

    5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.


    To me so much of the message we hear in our media tries to blank out this reality – that Christ is always calling us to come back to him in love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and compassion just like in the prodigal son story.

    But to suggest that righteous judgement awaits challenges our pride and independence, so this message and those that bring it must be attacked and isolated, it would appear.

    Does God pour out judgements on those engaged in worshiping devils?

    Rev 9:20
    But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood--idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk!

    As CS Lewis said, pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world!

    Incidentally, the Red Cross was founded by a Christian man of faith using Christ’s symbol in order to address terrible human suffering; God is not aloof or careless about suffering but suffered the greatest death of any man in order to reconcile us to himself as friends, brothers and sisters.

    And as for science, our modern science was inspired by Christian faith during the scientific revolution and is still generously populated by people of faith who commend it is a fine God-given tool but a poor idol.


    As Don Francisco sang "Won't you come in from the darkness now before it's time to finally close the door?”

    I'm standing listening along with everyone else. God have mercy on me a sinner!

    Apologies for my limited skill in communicating such deep matters.

    OT

  • Comment number 61.

    @LSV

    Going back to this bit first:

    I know you'll disagree with me, but I like to think that I am living in the real world, and not some fantasy world in which we are deluded into thinking people are overflowing with natural "goodness", and that nature itself - left to its own devices - tends towards some kind of world of global compassion.

    Yes, there are wishy washy tree huggers who think like this and there are people who, like you, think that to discuss these matters means that we are committing the naturalistic fallacy. Interestingly, religious people often readily make this assumption and I can only speculate it is because their own world view makes it difficult not to think in those terms.

    You talk about morality as a "progressive", but that is based on an assumption of "progress" which is entirely arbitrary. Who is to say that it is wrong for certain thinkers to appeal to the idea of "social Darwinism" to advocate culling the human population for the sake of the "common good" or experimenting in eugenics? Some people may regard that as just as valid an idea of progress as the teleology you are advocating.

    Well, we can ignore most of this because I use the word “progressive” in the sense of proceeding incrementally, widening in scope, rather than as specifically related to progress defined as an improvement.

    Anyway, natural selection is amoral. A cursory look at the natural world confirms it. Take the ichneumon wasps, which inject their eggs into prey, leaving their offspring to munch happily through the unfortunate living victim. Anyone who thinks a process that results in the Ichneumonidae works in terms of goodness, right and wrong is barking (and anyone who demands of others to consider it in these terms is equally barking or willfully ignorant). But that is a wholly different thing from saying that natural selection cannot account for moral traits in organisms, such as reciprocal altruism, nor yet that such traits cannot exist side by side in the same species – indeed in the same individuals – with other, often more aggressive traits, especially in a complex social species such as ours.

    It helps to remember that natural selection (as understood in the light of current knowledge, evidence etc) works at the level of genes and manifests itself as distributions of traits across populations. So we are essentially looking at averages in populations and probabilities in individuals. Also, behavioural traits, under the aegis of whch our morality and lack of it falls, are affected by our culture, our upbringing (surprisingly little, it turns out, which is bad news for those of us adhere to the Philip Larkin view –“ they eff you up, your mum and dad”) and our unique life experiences. With this heady cocktail of complexity, your attempts at reducing the argument to a “logical contradiction” within natural selection is banal, and is one reason why I recommended you to have a look at the literature, especially ultimate and proximate causes.

    To illustrate these, I’ll move away from morality and look at what my family had for dinner last night. Bear with me. We treated ourselves to an Indian takeaway - I had chicken tikka karai, my wife chicken bhuna (actually we shared the two dishes between us) and my daughter paneer balti. Now, looking at the ultimate cause of us having this meal, we could say that as living organisms we require energy to be taken in the form of food and that as a species we have evolved a complex digestive system to take care of this process. We could look at natural selection’s role in this as well as in our sense of taste and we could look at some of the genetic factors that influence our preferences.

    The proximate cause of us having this meal, however, was that we were hungry and fancied a curry. The proximate cause of my daughter having paneer balti was that she is vegetarian and her choices are thus limited. The proximate cause of her vegetarianism is her revulsion at the killing and mistreatment of farm animals (there may also be a genetic component, as I was a vegetarian for ten years before the lure of fillet steak got the better of me). The proximate cause of my and my wife’s choices were partly taste and partly because we like to share. The proximate causes of cuisine from a different country being available to us a phone call away involve culture, politics, history, the personal and life choices of the people in the restaurant, science, technology…

    And on and on and on. We can see that the proximate causes are related to the ultimate, genetic causes, but in many cases the complexities make the connections difficult to trace and there are trade offs, cost-benefits, cultural and environmental factors etc in the mix.

    The ultimate cause of all our experiences of being human, the good, (defined, as it were, by the average proclivities within our culture), the bad, (defined in part as traits and behaviour which the average individual in a given culture would deprecate, even, may be especially, when they are present in that individual – there’s no hatred like self hatred after all) are down to evolution and natural selection, but the proximate causes are where the action really is.

    I know you think all this is so much crap - magic man done it is so much more appealing - but I'm not really trying to convince you of anything, except maybe to stop repeating the same ill informed load of old cabbage over and over.

  • Comment number 62.

    sorry heliopolitan i didnt realise this was a spelling competition...but then the pompous know it all arrogance that pervades atheists has to make comments on everyone else's views and religion and now even our writing!

  • Comment number 63.

    but then the pompous know it all arrogance that pervades atheists has to make comments on everyone else's views and religion

    People make posts on blogs and other people comment on them. Would you credit it?

  • Comment number 64.

    I just wish atheists would get it into their heads that they are in the minority...and that it is goodwill that allows them to rant and rave at everyone else, we as Christians extend to them a kindness that they rarely extend to us...if they truly want to give digs and be rude about God then that's ok i condemn it but hey i give you your right to freedom of speech...but why don't you go somewhere and say it to people's faces, from what i see the atheists are all armchair bandits sitting behind a computer screen or schoolchildren going through a phase, Dawkins might be a big man when sitting in front of a group of students or a bunch of arminian americans but why doesn't he go to Iran or Dubai in his epic quest to be rude... maybe it's because we as Christians are far too nice to these people who do nothing but insult God and deride our faith.

  • Comment number 65.

    @CC

    As an atheist, let me say right now how much I appreciate the fact that Christians refrain from beating the living daylights out of people exercising free speech. It must be a struggle.

  • Comment number 66.

    Christain Calvinist is absolutely right of course. Bring back the Inquisition!! Burn those blasphemous infidels with their horribly insulting remarks about god!


    Gee, I wonder if I should make a remark here for the moderator (the only person who is possibly more logically challenged than some of the regular christian posters here) that my post is not a serious call on people to commit deadly violence.

  • Comment number 67.

    No it's not just the insults against God, it's also the sheer arrogance and contempt with which atheists hold everyone else, they then wonder why people make blasphemy laws and the such lol, i didnt say bring back the inquisition...but at least in them days the world didnt have to listen to atheists whinging on and on, In this day and age and with the advances in scientific reearch you would think that atheists would have found out this great fact that has been shown to be truth numerous times down through the ages...namely...that no one actually cares what they (atheists)say.... i mean look at me, if this had of been a Christian saying the things that you guys say i would have gone off on a doctrinal crusade against them and rebuked them and even in one case called one of them a blasphemer but with you atheists....i just simply can't be bothered

  • Comment number 68.

    Grokes

    You're very welcome!

    (-;

  • Comment number 69.

    "i didnt say bring back the inquisition...but at least in them days the world didnt have to listen to atheists whinging on and on"

    Ah, not calling for a return of the inquisition, just reminiscing about how good those days were. Ok, point taken.

    "but with you atheists....i just simply can't be bothered"

    Thanks for that clarification, I initially got a rather different impression from post 64.

  • Comment number 70.

    @CC
    but with you atheists....i just simply can't be bothered

    So what's with the Dawkins fantasies in the Ardoyne and Iran, then?

  • Comment number 71.

    "Thanks for that clarification, I initially got a rather different impression from post 64."

    You would though wouldn't you...it's that "everyone is against us, we are the oppressed atheists" that annoys everyone else, we are sick of hearing atheists arguing with everyone they come into contact with or insulting everyone in a room with a condescending and egotistical attitude, for example this blog is about whether or not Haiti was cursed after a pact with the devil but yet as ususal the atheists come on and make the whole conversation about them...

  • Comment number 72.

    " So what's with the Dawkins fantasies in the Ardoyne and Iran, then? "

    --- i was just pointing out that he is " a mouth ", big man in the USA and UK but why doesn't go to a country where saying something about God might not get you a bestselling book...more likely a public execution...but thats enough about the Ardoyne lol

  • Comment number 73.

    "Child abuse: the story no one wants to think about…" is a thread worth checking out on Slugger O'Toole.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php


    And it's worth asking why the mainstream media isn't asking questions.

    GV

  • Comment number 74.

    for example this blog is about whether or not Haiti was cursed after a pact with the devil but yet as ususal the atheists come on and make the whole conversation about them...

    Poe

  • Comment number 75.

    @grokex i live in a real, very real world, i hear prophecies and see them on News the next day and on TV and i hear people weep live on radio for hours weeping after seeing news and realizing that another prophecy has been fulfilled and what it means.i bet you have never seen that. @ Sumi-Assumpter Akumu this is as real as it gets, it is as real as your existence. That how real it gets. After reading about the comments on what i posted about the discussion i wanted to give more information about the Prophecy given not only to me but to million others over Jesus Is Lord Radio 105.3 when the Prophet of the Lord, Dr David Owuor made a phonecall , on 18th July 2009 Kenya after for which i have recordings of, and made this specific prophecy.Many people millions to be exact,in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania heard this specific prophecy.When it became fulfilled and pictures of the earthquake were all over the networks, hundreds of people called the radio and wept for hours and still are calling and weeping on air.I even heard there even video recordings of the prophecy posted on youtube, after he visited Parts of Dominican Republic. i started following the prophecies to ascertain if they would be fulfilled and it happened that ALL of them have been fulfilled, since then i began to understand the verse that Bible said in Deuteronomy 18:17 that if a prophet makes a prophecy and IT BECOMES TRUE then he has been sent of God. This is true of Dr Owour. He made this prophecy again on 5th October 2009. He also went to visit the island of Hispaniola on 23rd, 24th, and 25th November 2009, mainly to speak and warn them of this prophecy. I record every word he says so that if it becomes true then i know the meaning of why it has come true. Haiti was very special since he took so much effort to reach out and he was very sad when it came to pass. i would like to tell you that we do not enjoy knowing this, it becomes very saddening when it happens every time.It is important that people like pat Robertson start listening to Dr Owour and begin to evaluate the church of christ and it catastrophic failure to stop sinning. Various blogs have commented about how pastors have lied and how controversy has entered the church.How pastors entered politics and all the horrible, horrible things they have done. I would like to tell you that that is True and THAT IS THE TRUTH. Let me tell you hate me or like me the church could only be going to one place - Hell. Unless we as the church repent.It is important for each of us including Pat Robertson to REPENT AND PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwmi7Tj2Z0M

  • Comment number 76.

    rationalwiki????? what was normal wikipedia not good enough...?

  • Comment number 77.

    By the way the rationalwiki on calvism is wrong...as too is it's understanding of fundamentalism and it's idea of Northern Ireland is something out of a Sinn Fein book and outdated by a decade or so....

  • Comment number 78.


    I stumbled into a thought late this afternoon: that there is a difference between a debate and an assertion.

    But it probably wasn't important. :-)



    grokesx

    Would that link you gave have anything to do with being po(e)-faced? :-) (I felt an urge to add a colon, a dash and an end bracket!)

  • Comment number 79.

    CC
    Strictly speaking, you are not an Atheist but you are very much an unbeliever.
    I doubt you believe in Thor, Zeus, the Hindu Deities or a thousand and one other Gods worshipped.
    So CC you and the Atheists are very much in agreement and just one more by you and it would be total.

  • Comment number 80.

    @PeterMorrow

    ;-)

  • Comment number 81.

    #61 - grokesx -

    'Oh no, not a nasty response from LSV coming up,' I hear you say...

    Don't worry, grokesx, chill.

    I actually enjoyed reading your post, and being the fly on the wall observing your family meal. I trust the culinary delights of the sub-Continent was to your liking.

    Strange to say, but I didn't really fundamentally disagree with anything you said, since I failed to see how your explanation was evidence for evolution by natural selection (i.e. macro-evolution that goes beyond adaptation within a species - not something I dispute) or that it, in any way, ruled out what you perhaps imagine is my world-view. Nature has its laws - and more specifically, genetics has its laws - but the origin of such is still a matter of debate.

    Of course, I didn't particularly find your parting "vegetarian" analysis of my views particularly appetising, but we'll overlook that.

    Shall I now leave you to the mercy of Christian Calvinist, I wonder? Perhaps I will - I am sure he will take good care of you!!

    I'm off now to another blog to muse about a thread called "empiricism". Ah, the joys of the self-refuting epistemology of empiricism (or should I just watch the recording of the snooker?) Perhaps I'll do both and try to understand what Mr O'Sullivan is actually perceiving when he sees a red ball (how much do we perceive with our eyes, and how much with the innate ideas in our minds? What can we "see" if we have no idea about shape, space, size, colour, motion etc etc. How did these ideas evolve? I'll think I'll have to brush up on my Kant...)

    Bye for now...

  • Comment number 82.

    LSV... LSV!... oh no i think he's gone...........

  • Comment number 83.

    ...since I failed to see how your explanation was evidence for evolution by natural selection

    Not a surprise, since I didn't offer any. That was not the intention, which was to give you the context in which the discussions of natural selection and morality are framed to demonstrate how the "logical contradiction" you are so fond of is neither here nor there. I didn't really expect you to grasp that, to be honest, but hope springs eternal that one day you'll tackle the theory that is actually put forward rather than the parody one you are so keen on addressing.

    Perhaps I'll do both and try to understand what Mr O'Sullivan is actually perceiving when he sees a red ball (how much do we perceive with our eyes, and how much with the innate ideas in our minds? What can we "see" if we have no idea about shape, space, size, colour, motion etc etc. How did these ideas evolve? I'll think I'll have to brush up on my Kant...)

    Yep, use the insights based on 18th Century knowledge, ignoring stuff we have learned since. That'll do it.

    As for CC, I'm not convinced he's for real.

  • Comment number 84.

    As for CC, I'm not convinced he's for real.

    But he creeps me out all the same.

  • Comment number 85.

    yea your right grokesx im not real im just a figment of your imagination..... why wouldnt i be real? because your rational website with its lies told you so? Poe's law? how about this bit of rational thought....we live in a Protestant country...the majority of protestants belong to calvinist churches...why are you so surprized then that a real life calvinist is on this blog, im far more amazed that there is an atheist on here than a calvinist

  • Comment number 86.



    grokesx - I rather think CC is for real.

    What interests me, if I have understood a couple of his remarks correctly, is that he is somewhere in the 18-20 age bracket and hence undoubtedly one of our younger contributors. I always find the new fresh perspectives of youth bracing and refreshing.

    I must say I rather enjoy CC's posts while disagreeing with just about all of their content - those who know me will, of-course, be aware that I do have somewhat eclectic tastes.

  • Comment number 87.

    Yip i'm 19 at the minute,, coming 20 in February...

  • Comment number 88.

    Eunice, take a deep breath, relax. No one hates you or likes you here.It is a blog. Think of all of us as 'computers' :) The only truth I am sure of at this stage is that an earthquake took place in Haiti and that Pat Robertson said the natives were cursed. Anything else...no one really knows.
    The pastor you are referring to has a bit happening too so all I can say is that religious leaders have a very high potential of being 'interesting':)...Pat Robertson et al. You would be forgiven to think some of them pull these 'interesting' stunts for publicity.

    PS: I'm speaking for Sumi Akumu here, not Christians:) (just thought I'd mention that!)

  • Comment number 89.

    Hi Peter Morrow & Graham Veale -- thanks for your kind comments about my blog.

    Will & Testament is a good place to be, especially if there is more debate than assertion happening. :)

  • Comment number 90.

    Just to re-advertise, it is an excellent, interesting blog, and one I hope to get a closer look at in the near future.

  • Comment number 91.

    There will be an earthquake in San Francisco in the future and another large one in Japan...prophecy? or just the fact that they are where two or more tectonic plates meet? If someone was to say..."slemish moutain will become a volcano and lava shall sprew forth over broughshane" or "Armagh will be decimated by a tsunami" and it happened i would believe in your tales of prophecy but to say that someone is a prophet because they predicted an event that was impossible to avoid is a bit silly, so now to prove to you and all the people of Kenya my great prophecy skills i shall list my predictions for the forthcoming year...prepare to be shocked and afraid...

    1. It will rain water from the skies over Northern Ireland.

    2. Thousands of people will put on strange orange pieces of cloth and walk down the roads of this country around the month of July.

    3. There will be no march along the Garvaghy Road.

    ....I know it's amazing

  • Comment number 92.

    Can i just say i have just read up on Mr. Owour.... his predictions are amazing...almost as good as mine...for rxample:

    "there will be a cosmic event in the sky tonight".... there was a lunar eclipse that very evening...wow...i mean if the bbc hadnt told everyone and it hadnt been down in almost all calendars that a lunar eclipse was scheduled to take place that night...it would be astonishing that he knew that.

    "There will be an earthquake"....and there was.... i did he know that there was going to be an earthquake sometime in the future in an earthquake zone? I'm amazed

    "There will be a hurricane off the east coast of America"....there was... I mean imagine a hurricane on america's eats coast!!!! I'm getting scared by his accuracy now.

    There will be floods in India.......what during monsoon season??? He must be a prophet!!


    ..........and people say calvinists are silly

  • Comment number 93.

    CC, you're getting there. It's slow, but you're making progress :-) A bit of critical thinking is very bracing and quite enlightening, yes?

  • Comment number 94.

    Just because my religion is straight out of the 16 century doesn't me I am lol

  • Comment number 95.

    @CC
    im far more amazed that there is an atheist on here than a calvinist...

    Well, I’m here because the blog is about the often controversial political, religious and ethical issues of the day which affect us all, godless and godded alike.

    Personally - and at the risk of making it all about me as we atheists are apparently prone to do - I’ve managed, despite my godlessness, to get caught up religious violence in India, married a recovering Jehovah’s Witness, had a small taste of that complex mix of religion and politics played out in your part of the world some years ago, in the form of a bomb in my home town, had the misfortune to work with nuns who would rather pray than tend to the dying people in their care ( as well as, to be fair, working with some of the most wonderful people I have ever known who also happened to be nuns). More generally, we are militarily involved in two nations – one as a direct result of murderous religious fanatics flying planes into buildings and the other through hanging on the coat tails of an American president who appeared to believe he had God on his side (not to mention our then PM seeking God’s guidance on the war).

    Atheists, Catholics, Muslims, Calvinists, every last man jack of us are caught up in other people’s religious fervour, whether we like it or not, so it’s good to talk.

    And to echo Helio’s sentiment, you have a keen rational mind and a sense of humour, just another step or two and you could be contributing at Rational Wiki :-)

  • Comment number 96.

    #83 - grokesx -

    "That was not the intention, which was to give you the context in which the discussions of natural selection and morality are framed to demonstrate how the "logical contradiction" you are so fond of is neither here nor there."

    All you have offered is an explanation not a proof. In fact, you have failed to show how your philosophy can provide any kind of logically justifiable moral framework. Just because some people (who may happen to share your outlook on life) happen to think it is right to be civil to others does not prove that naturalism provides a firm ethical foundation for moral behaviour.

    But to echo your erudite little put-down: I don't expect you to grasp something as logically straightforward as moral justification, to be honest. Hope also springs eternal... (rather ironic phrase for you, don't you think?)


    "Yep, use the insights based on 18th Century knowledge, ignoring stuff we have learned since. That'll do it."

    Oh, I get it! How silly of me! The more "recently" a theory has been formulated the more it must be true!! Dear, dear. How could I fail to be impressed by that deep line of logic!?!

    I must get hold of a better dictionary. The definition I have of "recent" doesn't include the idea of "more likely to be true" or "more intellectually credible". Perhaps I'll look up the words "new" and "contemporary"... nope, can't see anything there either about truth claims...

    Obviously you are not too conversant with the study of philosophy and the respect that is shown to thinkers down the ages. Perhaps you're one of those "progressive thinkers", who assumes that a more recent theory (especially perhaps "peer reviewed", no less?!) ipso facto trumps any previous competing theory? This is, I suppose, the fashion of contemporary culture in which the phrase "this is after all the 21st century" serves as the ultimate ("put-down") argument to dismiss those supposed "silly primitive superstitions of the past". I suppose such a method of argumentation relieves one of the need for such a burdensome inconvenience as that irritating thing called "logic and evidence".

    To use the favourite words of our resident W&T self-appointed censor: such thinking is a "facile caricature" and a "parody" of the notion of truth.

    (Now let's see if I can gain another "straw man" medal from Mr Evasion to add to my collection...)

  • Comment number 97.


    grokesx - you say the blog is about the often controversial political, religious and ethical issues of the day but the text actually states that William Crawley discusses the often controversial political, religious and ethical issues of the day. There seems to be a difference and, I think, it is perhaps an ethically important difference.

    Whatever about William, the commentators on the blog are, on occasion, being prevented from being controversial - their comments are moderated simply for saying things that someone in the BBC does not like. Debate is therefore occurring in the context of a possibly partisan censorship..

    I have been prepared to tolerate without comment that level of understandable moderation which protects both the blogger and the BBC from being sued for defamation. Posts, however, are being moderated which make points relating to BBC programmes, points which are in the public interest, and where there is no risk of a successful action against the corporation.

    The criterion for posts not to offend is a catch-all which ought to be used with extreme even-handedness if it is not to lay the BBC open to the charge that it lacks impartiality and integrity. I do not see that even-handedness.

    I think it is entirely fair then to put William on the spot and request an answer to the following questions (for starters):

    1. Does he think the BBC moderation policy is equitable?
    2. Does he think that policy, whether equitable or not, is applied with scrupulous fairness?
    3. Is it even possible to have meaningful debate about controversial issues when mere offence is adequate grounds for censorship?

    Maybe we need a thread on censorship and the media...

  • Comment number 98.

    All you have offered is an explanation not a proof.

    Result, since that is all I set out to do. I don't know how many times it needs saying, science does not do proof. It does explanation and evidence. The evidence part is endlessly sought, and the explanation part endlessly debated. It's all out there and available these days as never before for those with genuine interest.

    In fact, you have failed to show how your philosophy can provide any kind of logically justifiable moral framework.

    Well, that's a relief, since I have been trying to show why moral behaviour can be explained without the need for invoking any such formally bestowed framework. If your posts have shown anything, it is that whatever the ultimate cause of our moral impulse, it is up to us as human beings to navigate our way through the maze that it builds for us.

    Just because some people (who may happen to share your outlook on life) happen to think it is right to be civil to others does not prove that naturalism provides a firm ethical foundation for moral behaviour.

    You're using that p word again.

    Obviously you are not too conversant with the study of philosophy and the respect that is shown to thinkers down the ages...

    Respect is due to all the great thinkers of the past. But the thing about knowledge is that it is cumulative. Today's thinkers and scientists are not superior to their counterparts of earlier times, they simply have a deeper well of knowledge to draw on. Or to put it another, familiar way, today's scientists are standing on the shoulders of giants. We know so much more now because of those giants and it would besmirch their efforts to be forever looking backwards. The reason we remember them is precisely because they were, in their time, in the vanguard.

  • Comment number 99.

    Oh, and

    Hope also springs eternal... (rather ironic phrase for you, don't you think?)

    Rather neat, I thought.

  • Comment number 100.

    Hmm, why are two threads (one of the Whitewash threads and one on ris Robinson) now closed for commenting? The one on Iris Robinson isn't all that old or doesn't have too many posts in it. And the posts that are there don't seem like litigation material against the BBC to me?


    LSV, I see you're still in a debate with grokesx about the basis for morality. As I stated in post 54, it seems to me some of your statements about ateheists having or not having a sense of morality are hard to reconcile with each other. If you have a moment to explain the apparent contradictions in your posts, then please do. Can we atheists tell what is evil or not? And since you say we can't, how are we then still supposed to possess morality that you do attribute to us?

 

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