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Open Thread

William Crawley | 14:18 UK time, Friday, 8 June 2012

talktalk.jpgI don't often post an open thread, but some of you tell me it's a good idea because it lets you get stuff off your chest without throwing the direction of other threads. It also permits you to make suggestions about subjects we might give some more substantial space to on Will & Testament. Let's see. Expatiate at will (sorry about the pun). Keep it legal. The house rules still apply.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Nice to see we're back in business!

    I was beginning to get worried...

  • Comment number 2.

    Ken Ham's coming here in August.

    Any chance of another interview ?

    Your last one was pretty good Will.

  • Comment number 3.

    An Indian skeptic is in trouble over exposing a crying statue to be a fake. Sanal Edamaruku incurred the wrath of Catholics in India for explaining that a leaking pipe was behind the supposed miracle. Since that bit of explaining didn't suit them very well, they went after him. It doesn't quite make him the next Galileo yet, but the idea that Catholic sensitivities would make things difficult for someone in the 21st century, if their explanation of a particular bit of reality doesn't fit in with their fairy tale explanation, that seems so incredibly wrong.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    Besides his involvement in this latest thing, Edamaruku is an excellent chap with a long history of exposing con artists. A fantastic example of that was when some guru said on live tv he could kill him with his magic powers. Edamaruku said 'Go ahead, kill me'. In the minutes that followed the guru made enough of an idiot out of himself to end the charlatans career.

    http://newhumanist.org.uk/1773/death-on-air-by-sanal-edamaruku-mayjune-2008

    He is really one of the good guys in the battle between healthy rational skepticism and superstitions. Please sign the petition supporting him against the Indian Catholics making life difficult for him.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not until I find out more. As a Catholic, it is necessary for me to be thoughtful and methodical about joining causes - being fashionable is not enough.

  • Comment number 5.

    Anyone else following "Honest Doubt" by Richard Holloway on Radio 4?

  • Comment number 6.

    Peter Klaver

    It is over 300 years ago since the last person was hanged for blasphemy in Britain: a Scottish student. This latest legal action by the Catholic Church in India shows the extent to which it will go to spread its damaging superstition. I remember reading something not so long ago about a case of blasphemy in Pakistan where the utterance made was deemed so blasphemous that it could not be repeated in court!

    Paul James

    I am following this series and it is very good. The problem of religion seems grounded in the "Why" question. Obsessives become in the words of William James "Sick Souls".

    Don't forget William's fine programme broadcast last night on Radio 4: Father of the Big Bang.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jmtxt

  • Comment number 7.

    Is Richard Holloway on radio only because to prove that there is no official censorship in the UK ?

    So different from radio in my region (Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia), these countries’ radio services are very commercial-minded, they engaged speakers to attract audience.
    Any one of Richard Holloway’s ilk has little commercial value and/or else attract audiences’ ire.

    The basic reasoning is like this : such speakers have really nothing to “sell”.
    Just imagine, if I, a spiritual ignoramus listened to Richard Holloway.
    What conclusion/lessons can I draw from that experience? Only three, I think.
    One, I am not alone in the world.
    Two, Holloway can only disdain his past experience not what is available elsewhere, what about Islam, Taoism, etc.
    Thirdly, I have to learn about each religion to argue with their dedicated followers.

    The third one is most disconcerting; I have to learn something to stand by my NOTHING?
    Hey, I already made up my mind to enjoy my blissful ignorance so why this extra aggravation of further education.
    Take the 7 June broadcast. Holloway was talking about the church’s extraneous censorship of the past : excommunication, torture of heretics, fatwas, etc. And so many names who were ‘censored’, but conveniently left out the name of Jesus Christ. The source of the very religion, he departed from.

    Why the deferential no mention ?

  • Comment number 8.

    As a priest, Georges Lemaitre surely ought to have noticed how his theory contradicted what God Himself said about how the universe came into being.

    Even today some have failed to see that evolutionary assumptions and the teaching of the Bible simply don't mix. You have to make a choice. (And of course, the BBC and others contiue to refuse air time to scientists who can present the evidence which supports the Creationist view. - We wait and hope!)

    By the way, if indeed there was a 'big bang', what exactly was it that went BANG! ?

  • Comment number 9.

    pastorphilip (@ 8) -

    By the way, if indeed there was a 'big bang', what exactly was it that went BANG! ?


    Oh but Phil, haven't you heard? That problem's been solved!

    Wait for it... two parallel universes banging heads in the 11th dimension and this caused our universe to explode into being. (Hans Christian Andersen eat your heart out!) You can "learn" all about it here. Apparently some "boffins" sussed the whole thing out on a train journey to London from Cambridge.

    Of course, there is zilch direct evidence for this (i.e. proper scientific evidence); only inference based on a circular argument, but, hey, what's a lack of evidence if we can cook up a theory that excludes the only sane explanation?! If "parallel universes of the gaps" will do, then so be it.

    (And never mind the fact that it can be logically proven that parallel universes cannot possibly exist. It's to do with the fact that the same person cannot possibly exist in different universes at the same time, as these "scientists" claim must be the case. How do I know this? Because I know that I only exist in one universe! And I am sure you do as well. These "scientists" need to chill out from their desperate speculations for a while and start thinking clearly).

    And, of course, they fail to explain what caused all the universes to come into being. But let's not worry about that, because we can just say that many of these other universes work according to different laws and logic (how very convenient!).

  • Comment number 10.

    Sizzlestick

    "What conclusion/lessons can I draw from that experience?"

    Don't forgot Emily Dickinson: "This world is not conclusion." It answers the "how" not the "why".

    On the question of censored books it is interesting that the Pauline Index (Index of Forbidden Books and Authors) which was only abolished in 1960 did not include Hitler's Mein Kampf. Eight hundred authors including James Joyce and Graham Green, but not Adolph Hitler.

  • Comment number 11.

    The series Honest Doubt is very good. I think Richard Holloway is successful in that, although perhaps he, in his own words, “committed to something when young…,” here he doesn’t appear to be wasting his later years angrily regretting, or being a mere antithesis of, that early commitment or his profession of 40+ years. It’s something unfortunate that I’ve seen in others, close-up and personal, and I expected it of him. Glad I was wrong. I think he is offering a lot, and I’m just discovering him.

    He said “Although I can’t alter my past, by understanding how it formed me, I’m able to influence the future. The paradox is by admitting how lacking in freedom I am, I can increase my freedom. That ability to transcend ourselves is our uniqueness.” Interestingly, that is a foundation of self-knowledge as outlined in current non-religious/non-denominational 12-step-style self-help practices. I say “non-religious,” because there exists Christian-style 12-step groups in which strict adherence to a specific higher power or faith nullifies the attempt at self-awareness and therefore healing.

    Holloway said he is an admitted “afflicted soul,” but I would say to him that he’s freer than those who have “excessive belief.” I think the “sick souls,” waffling and forever touching their doubt, are really the healthy, and I can’t help but believe Holloway truly considers himself the” lucky” one, even in his agony.

    Emily Dickinson: “(This world) is not able to say why it is…” reminds me of a line from a poem by artist and child prodigy Akiane Kramarik. Hand of Destiny, written at age 12: “Unanswered whys scare us the most.” Her prose accompanying her painting is good. If interested, check it out, located on the right of this page:

    http://www.artnsoulwrks.com/The-Hand-of-Destiny_7a45f870f2c3.html

  • Comment number 12.

    Tim Keller addresses a much overused charge;

    http://redeemer.com/news_and_events/newsletter/?aid=363

  • Comment number 13.

    Some might be interested in Monday night's edition of Night Waves which featured Richard Holloway, Ian Rankin and Louise Welsh in passionate and informed discussion on The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. Spark was born to Presbyterian/Jewish parents and she later converted to Catholicism.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jg908

    Interview with Spark:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/johntusainterview/spark_transcript.shtml

  • Comment number 14.

    You can listen again to my Radio 4 documentary about the Catholic priest who initiated big Bang Theory:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01jmtxt

  • Comment number 15.

    Re discussion on prostitution

    As prostitution is currently a lawful activity I think the route to take is one of better regulation. I remember that prostitute who was interviewed on Sunday Sequence. She entered the trade with her eyes wide open and made a fair bit of cash out of it.

    People paying for sex seems like a reasonable way of redistributing money in the economy to me. If the conditions of the sex workers were improved and there was greater regulation, then there would be less exploitation of sex workers and considerable gains to the exchequer. Testing prostitutes regularly for disease would help control their spread. Of course, there will always be those who will seek to operate outside the rules (for example,drug addicts and those offering beatings) but these individuals when identified could be imprisoned.

  • Comment number 16.

     
    #12

    Andrew,

    "Of course, Jews disagree but that's life."

    ;o)

  • Comment number 17.

    Dot Gale

    On the Dinosaurs...thread you quote me when I stated, "I said nothing about invoking the presence of God."

    To which you said, "Yes you did: To Andrew #166 Canyon Thread, "Now, if you are saying that the words anyone quotes from the Bible reveals Gods presence then I would disagree with you there. That would allow an enemy of God to invoke His presence and that just cannot be." and in # 147 "I do not think that the sort of people whom Andrew thinks can invoke the Spirit of God when reading from the scriptures."

    My response to Andrew at 166 and 147 on the Canyon thread came about because Andrew was saying, implying or agreeing with another that if a person delivers words from the Bible to a congregation that God would be present. I was arguing against that idea and, therefore, it was necessary to mention it. How else does one address an issue without mentioning it. I did not say that God can be invoked as the pagans do but I felt that Andrew and Trueman were saying this. Not only that, Trueman said that you could be having an adulterous affair and still speak words from the Bible and God would be present. My premise is that this seems ridiculous because such a person would be wilfully disobeying God and would be a hypocrite. What if they were reading about how abominable adultery was? Would God be present to give credence to that persons words, whether from the Bible or not?

    I did say that the influence of God can be felt through the power of the Holy Ghost. To elaborate and not be accused of 'christianspeak' I will cite Galatians 5:22,23. The power of the Holy Ghost can be felt by an increase of love, joy, peace, meekness, kindness, etc; over and above what we are capable of feeling naturally. I am convinced that, for most of us, we can only experience God in this way and not through some wilfully disobedient person, or a charlatan or any Tom, Dick or Harry taking authority upon themselves and reading English words from the Bible.

    When I asked you about the authority you talk about you responded by saying, "If we assume God then any authority relating to him..." Can you give me examples of what you mean?

    Thanks for your regards about my new job.

  • Comment number 18.

    PTS (Looks like this has to be a 2 parter)

    "Andrew was saying, implying or agreeing with another that if a person delivers words from the Bible to a congregation that God would be present."

    Yes, that's right.

    "I was arguing against that idea and, therefore, it was necessary to mention it."

    Yes, you did argue against it, and initiated the use of the word 'invoke'; the use of the word was yours. As you now note this word has a specific meaning, but Andrew didn't use it, you did. If you had thought Andrew or Trueman meant 'invoke', you should have said that, it would have saved a lot of time. As I suggested at the time, if Andrew had meant that, I'd have eaten my hat (if I had one).

    "Not only that, Trueman said that you could be having an adulterous affair and still speak words from the Bible and God would be present."

    He did. I agree. Andrew agrees. It has to do with the authority of the words, not the morality of the preacher. We then got sidetracked by 'invoke' and by 'Christian speak'. BTW I have no intention of accusing you of Christianspeak, again, this was a term raised by you.

    "My premise is that this seems ridiculous because such a person would be wilfully disobeying God and would be a hypocrite."

    He would be a hypocrite, I agree with that too; as does Andrew (I can predict that with confidence); but as we said many times already, a person's hypocrisy does not diminish the authority of God's words - any more than a person's breaking of a nation's law diminishes the authority of the law.

    "What if they were reading about how abominable adultery was? "

    They would probably feel guilty about it, that, and their hypocrisy (or that's a distinct possibility); again this does not diminish the authority of God's words.

    "Would God be present to give credence to that persons words, whether from the Bible or not?"

    The point is that God isn't giving credence to their words, he is giving credence to his words. That's been the whole point of this debate.

  • Comment number 19.

    PTS (part 2)

    "Can you give me examples of what you mean?"

    I can; but first of all what I said was specifically related to your concern about a preacher's morality, or lack of it, I said, "If we assume God (and it seems we do) then any authority relating to him, is his, it isn't dependent on me or anyone else - but as Andrew said, we've been over this already, already."

    Beyond that, an example would be that God's authority relates to his word (the bible) in that whether I like them or not, obey them or not, agree with them or not, I am held accountable to them and will be judged by them - it's like the example of civil law I gave earlier - if someone breaks the law, the authority of the law holds them to account, their breaking it doesn't diminish it - even if their job is to up hold it.

    So, specifically, in the context of this conversation, if I as a preacher (I'm not one), but if I were to preach a sermon against adultery, while having an affair, the words of my sermon would not be diminished, rather, they might stop someone else from cheating on their partner, and *at the same time*, judge me for doing precisely that. In other words the words have authority.

    Regarding Galatians

    First of all you said "felt", the verses you refer to say, "fruit" or result. I have no problem with the words you quote - they refer to the result of the Holy Spirit's activity in the life of a believer - as I said before you are conflating different ideas, again.

    About the job, you're welcome.

  • Comment number 20.

    LSV@9/PP@8
    Have a listen to Wills broadcast and you'll find you are in the same company as Einstein and Fred Hoyle who coined the phrase "Big Bang" and struggled with the fact that it contradicted a Steady State Universe. Then again maybe you could convince a pope that "Fiat Lux" in 4004 BCE fits the available facts better.

  • Comment number 21.

    Scotch Git

    Of course, Jews disagree but that's life.

    I would have more to say, of course, but eating pork would feature heavily in my Christian apologetic ;)

    PTS/Dot Gale

    A few thoughts and then i'll end with an 80's number.

    It seems important to you, PTS, that one 'feel' God's presence; some other words that might be appropriate (to create a sentence I can't think of now) are existential, mystical, encounter, unmediated. I'm cutting this rather crudely but I want to maintain what Reformed theologians have typically called the 'ordinary means of grace'. Means that we have been given by God, to which promise is attached, and through which we can meet Him. The word, and the preaching of it, is one such means.

    One consequence of this is a rather vanilla, 'steady as she goes', unexciting kind of piety or, careful now, religious experience. There are few, if any, bells or whistles. There are a few signs and lots of words. Some music but not too much and not too loud. But, to borrow a phrase, it is slow but sure. Sure because God said it and slow because we're all a real piece of work. It's good news, too.

    Of course, different Christian traditions might frame the issue somewhat differently but most, I hope, come to the same general point; God is working, with us, without us, in spite of us, noticed and unnoticed. That reminds of a carpenter from Nazareth.

    Now then;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpGdLsG87qo

  • Comment number 22.

    13. newlach,

    Great discussion on Night Waves. I cannot wait to read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie!
    I will this week. Thanks in advance. I hadn’t heard of Muriel Spark until now.

    Oh, and then I read about her…So sad about her strained relationship with her son. Religion divides another family. Oh Jesus, about your sword...it maketh me sad :(

  • Comment number 23.

    Dot Gale

    Thanks for that. The point with words is that they can mean different things to different people. In trying to understand each other we tend to relate others words to our own experience and then use other words to restate what we think those words/statements mean.

    If you understand where I am coming from regarding the words of God/Bible then you may comprehend my view. I believe the Bible to be a collection of writings that contain the records of divine revelation given to prophets and inspired writers acting under the influence of the Holy Ghost. I also believe that many important parts concerning salvation have been taken from the Bible or lost before it was compiled. When the original writers wrote the words they would have been considered the words of God but through the various translation processes, the changing of the meaning of words over time, ignorant translators, careless transcribers and corrupt and designing priests much of the Bible has lost validity as the words of God. I admit that it is better to have the Bible in it's current state than have none at all but to understand it the Holy Ghost needs to be present - see John 5:32, 15:26, 1 Cor. 2:11,13, 1John 2:27. I believe the Holy Ghost will only be present when we are striving to do right. God has said that where two or three are gathered in His name that He will also be there and, right from the start, He said that His Spirit will not always strive with man. Therefore, I do not accept that if the words of the Bible are recited then God will automatically be present because His words may have been changed or those who are delivering those words may be in a rebellious state. However, I accept that humble repentant followers seeking understanding and truth from the Bible can be enlightened by the power of the Holy Ghost and in that way the Holy Ghost influence can be present.

    You said, "First of all you said "felt", the verses you refer to say, "fruit" or result. I have no problem with the words you quote - they refer to the result of the Holy Spirit's activity in the life of a believer - as I said before you are conflating different ideas, again."

    I accept the verse says 'fruit' and not 'felt'. But how do we experience things like love, joy and peace unless we feel them? As we cannot be in a constant state of love, joy, peace, etc. then when we feel an increase of these feelings is this not the Holy Ghost touching/communicating/influencing us?

  • Comment number 24.

    22. “Religion divides another family.”

    That’s bothered me since I wrote it. Although Jesus’ prophecy was kinda true, religion is an excuse. The divider existed in human behavior before religion or Jesus existed. Religion is just used as an excuse of tormentors. E.g., ‘heresy! now I really get to kill him, or at least freeze him/her out of my life,’ etc. And that’s how it happened in Spark’s life with(out) her son, too.

  • Comment number 25.

    Andrew @ 21

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Comment number 26.

    Anyone see the Nolan Show last night?......Is it now the policy of the 'Gay Lobby' to shout down those opposed to 'Gay Marriage'?

    Seems 'freedom of expression' and 'tolerance' depends on which side you're on!

  • Comment number 27.

    pastorphilip

    Considering this issue, why don't we go further and introduce 'equal marriage' for those in polygamous and incest relationships? In fact, why don't we go the whole hog and introduce marriage for those involved in bestiality. Who are we to judge? There are more people than we think who are involved in these arrangements and many claim that they were born that way, do no harm, are committed and in loving relationships, spoilt only by those who discriminate against them. Maybe when gay people are able to get married they will not forget to champion the rights of others who can claim similar circumstances to themselves.

  • Comment number 28.

    PTS #23

    "But how do we experience things like love, joy and peace unless we feel them?"

    For Christ, love is not what love feels. Love is what love does.

  • Comment number 29.

    BTW

    I see we're bashing the gay community again.

    Here are some words; put them in a sentence: love, enemies, pray, persecute, Father, heaven.

  • Comment number 30.

    Dot Gale

    Off course, love is what love does but it is also something that is felt, surely. The love of God is felt - I have felt it. I have felt peace. Joy is not what joy does but is what is felt?

    I am sure that when Paul wrote to the Galatians he was instructing them on the difference between the manifestations of 'the works of the 'flesh' and those of the Holy Ghost and how a person can identify the presence of the Spirit.

    I admit that Galatians, like the rest of the Bible, isn't perfectly clear but I have no problem with that.

  • Comment number 31.

    PTS

    Your question was, "But how do we experience things like love, joy and peace unless we feel them?"

  • Comment number 32.

    @Peter M 29

    Indeed. PTS's 27 is a classy piece of work, likening homosexuality to bestiality. Puts the religious deepities into some sort of perspective. Feeling God's love, PTS? Excuse me while I barf.

  • Comment number 33.

    Dot Gale @ 31

    Do you want to answer the question then?

  • Comment number 34.

    grokesx @ 32

    When you addressed me you referred to Dot Gales post @ 29. I don't think he was responding to me. You have also misread me. It is my belief that 'equal marriage' is a foregone conclusion. I also believe that society is becoming more disobedient, unfair and cruel. In fact, I believe that society will never improve but will increasingly become worse. I have no problems with gay people but I feel that gay campaigning groups will continue to exert pressure until they secure more rights for homosexuals than heterosexuals have. If others can show that they should be allowed to live according to their 'conscience' then why can't they be offered the same rights?

    Would you have anything against people in polygamous, incestuous or bestial relationships. I have nothing against these people and the God I know loves them - however, he is not always happy with what they do.

  • Comment number 35.

    A woman can no more be 'ordained' than a man can be 'impregnated'. This ought also to help people labouring under the misapprehension that two people of the same sex can be 'married'. On the other hand though, politicians who presume to interfere with these realities, in a democracy, can be 'punished'.

  • Comment number 36.

    In 1967, no one had the faintest idea that liberalisation of the abortion law would lead to slaughter of innocent children on the industrial scale we see today. Similarly, no one can say what the medium or long-term effects of 'homosexual marriage' might be. The only thing that should be clear to all people who dare to call themselves Christian, is that this legislation is satanic.

  • Comment number 37.

    PTS

    I did answer your question; the reason for repeating it was to draw attention to your use of the word 'unless'.

    If you think, as you write in #30, that "Off course, love is what love does but it is also something that is felt, surely.", why use the word 'unless'?

    My answer is clear: we can also experience by doing. You will note too, that I did not say that love doesn't or can't feel or be felt, I said that, for Christ, the emphasis was on the doing.

  • Comment number 38.

    I didn't see the Nolan programme when broadcast but managed to watch the debate - if it can be called that - today; it was poor at best. A good recent debate can be found on the Unbelievable radio programme between Peter Tatchell and Peter D. Williams;

    http://media.premier.org.uk/unbelievable/968e636f-7ee4-4d92-9c95-c58ab91b031c.mp3

    The head rush to use beastiality in the same sentence as homosexuality is counter-productive. It's the slippery slope argument. But very few people are going to see the slope. There are too many unshared premises. They're just going to hear what is, in fact, tactless petulance. And an emotional assertion is met with an emotional response. But what's the use in that?

    As I understand it there are two seperate issues here; (1) homosexual acts/relationships as equivalent to ab&c and (2) the grounds for defining marriage so that it is inclusive of homosexuals are insufficient to logically prevent the inclusion of ab&c. It is possible for (2) to obtain and not (1). I disagree with (1) but I think there might be something to the second . That said (2) is a strong claim such that it applies to all possible grounds; that's a high burden of proof. But the claim could be weakened. It's also important to note that if (2), or a weakened version of it, is true that in itself is not an argument against redefining marriage.

  • Comment number 39.

    re:-26. At 09:03 14th Jun 2012, pastorphilip wrote:
    Anyone see the Nolan Show last night?......Is it now the policy of the 'Gay Lobby' to shout down those opposed to 'Gay Marriage'?

    Seems 'freedom of expression' and 'tolerance' depends on which side you're on!

    Pasterphillip,

    Any gay people I speak with say they dont want 'gay marriage', they dont want gay marriage, the want marriage equality. This term 'gay marriage' is a divisive term seemingly introduced by the Christian Lifestyle lobby.

    In relation your your mention of tolerance. If the Christian Lifestyle had any of it, we would not be having the debate.

    Its been law in Canada for 7 years now, can you point me to how it has denigrated Canadian society, or devalued heterosexual marriages in Canada. Evidence please.

    Gerry

  • Comment number 40.

    Dot Gale

    I used the word 'unless' not only with the word 'love' alone but with joy and peace as well in a group. Can the love of God be felt or not? How do we feel it if not through the Spirit? Joy can be felt and so can peace. When we are in the presence of the Holy Ghost we feel love, joy and peace. If you have never had this experience, I can understand that you may want to interpret Galatians 5:22,23 in a different way than I. The 'fruit' or result of the Spirit communicating with us produces those feelings I mention. I know.

  • Comment number 41.

    re:-36. At 20:34 15th Jun 2012, Theophane wrote:
    ..... Similarly, no one can say what the medium or long-term effects of 'homosexual marriage' might be. The only thing that should be clear to all people who dare to call themselves Christian, is that this legislation is satanic.

    Actually Theophane that is not correct. we can examine the short term effects of equality in marriage. HM Queen Elizabeth 2 has already given the royal assent to same sex marriage in 2005.

    Court decisions, starting in 2003, each already legalized same-sex marriage in eight out of ten provinces and one of three territories, whose residents comprised about 90% of Canada's population. Before passage of the Act, more than 3,000 same-sex couples had already married in those areas

    can you point to any aspect of Canadian society where we see a growth of Satanism or devaluation of pre-existing heterosexual marriages and heterosexual marriages since the law came in state-wide in 2005 ? can you?

    eagerly waiting to learn from you..


    gerry

  • Comment number 42.

    gerry, 39;

    "...gay people I speak with say they dont want 'gay marriage', they want marriage equality."

    Why is it suddenly so important to consider what this or that group of people "wants", when it come to the structure of the family? Some people probably "want" multiple wives - who cares? The family exists as a place in which to love and nurture *children*. The interests of *children* are all that should concern anyone with a sincere interest in this question - yet, bewilderingly, there is scarcely any mention of them in this legislation. As a society, we should seek *only* the best possible environment in which children can flourish, and never be prepared to compromise this legitimate desire, by making accommodations with ideologies that peddle a variety of pseudo egalitarian opinions, ineptly dressed up as 'human rights'.

  • Comment number 43.

    gerry, #41;

    Hope you don't mind eagerly waiting a while longer, as i'm off to Bedfordshire.

  • Comment number 44.

    Theopane,

    Once you get back from Bedfordshire and you get around to addressing gerry's point, could you also tell me how heterosexual marriage has been adversely affected in the Netherlands since 2001, the year when gay marriage was introduce there?

  • Comment number 45.

    I have little doubt that Lord Ken Maginnis could have chosen his words with greater care, but he was pointing out something which is obvious to common sense - that homosexuality is unnatural sexual behaviour. The traditional Christian view, based on Scripture, is that it is also immoral. Who says so?.....the God Who invented both attraction between the sexes, and marriage, which is the natural expression
    of this God-given desire.

    It is therefore futile for any 'christian' church to presume to pronounce a 'blessing' on something God says is sinful. Seems to me that the words used would not only be meaningless, they would also be blasphemous.

    And since marriage is the bedrock of a stable and well-ordered society, any deviation from that is bound to be harmful to society....whether in Canada or the UK. God wants nothing but good for individuals, families and society in general.

    When will we ever learn? (see Proverbs 14v34)

  • Comment number 46.

    PTS

    As ever, we speak at cross purposes.

    "I used the word 'unless' not only with the word 'love' alone but with joy and peace as well in a group."

    That's correct, but this context does not change the meaning of the word 'unless'. At the very least, you very strongly imply that *unless* love and joy and peace are 'felt', they cannot be known. In response to this I said that the *focus* of love was what it did, rather that what it felt. Likewise with joy or peace, it is quite clear that one's joy or peace can be focused on what is done, as well as what they might feel.

    "Can the love of God be felt or not?"

    Yes, at no point have I denied this, but we aren't discussing this question. At the clear risk of repeating myself I was responding to your use of the word *unless*

    "How do we feel it if not through the Spirit?"

    Again, we are, or were not discussing this. This is different to saying "unless we feel them".

    "Joy can be felt and so can peace."

    I have never disagreed with this.

    "If you have never had this experience, I can understand that you may want to interpret Galatians 5:22,23..."

    It may help if you stopped projecting your assumptions about me and my experience into this conversation. As for Galatians, I wasn't interpreting the verses, I was pointing out that the word you attached to the text and the word in the text was different.

    "The 'fruit' or result of the Spirit communicating with us produces those feelings I mention."

    Again, you are limiting love, joy, peace (and the rest of the list?) to a feeling. It may well be this, but it is more.

  • Comment number 47.

    pastorphillip@45

    ......the God Who invented ..... attraction between the sexes....

    A god so twisted that he invents desires then declares such desires an abomination? Nice.

  • Comment number 48.

    Re:- Theophane @ 43 and 42

    Escaping to Bedfordshire is no excuse for not answering the question, producing the proof of your argument, assertion. Have news for you, they have the Internet and all modern 'unnatural' communication devices in Bedfordshire. Seek and ye shall find them.

    You wrote *The family exists as a place in which to love and nurture *children*.* So is a childless couple not a proper family?
    In what way does a man man marriage or woman woman marriage differ from a man woman marriage where either the man or woman is clinically infertile.

  • Comment number 49.

    Andrew @ 38

    At times you appear ridiculous and pretentious when you try to be precise. From my reading of the Bible there is no dispute what God expects from us regarding sexual practices. In summary, He joined Adam and Eve together as husband and wife and said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen.2:24) I think this set out clearly the pattern for society. A man leaves his FATHER and MOTHER (not his father and, err, father or mother and mother) and cleaves unto his WIFE (not his 'partner'). If this is the only pattern acceptable to God then all the other commandments about sexuality make sense. If a person commits adultery they have went outside that pattern and are disobedient to God and His advice for their happiness. If someone commits fornication they have strayed from that pattern also, being disobedient to God and affecting their own happiness. Fornication includes all sexual activity outside the marriage arrangement. Sex, therefore, between unmarried individuals is disobedience and includes artificial stimulation (porn for example), masturbation, bestiality, straight sex, gay sex, etc, etc. I do not include polygamy or incest here because when it has been required God has permitted polygamous and incestuous marriage arrangements (how else could we all descend from 2 people unless brother married sister at one time). I think that is straight forward and simple.

    The result of ignoring God commandments for our benefit brings unhappiness to His children. We have sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, teen pregnancy, single parenthood, child sexual abuse, bestiality, rape, swinging, prostitution, homosexuality, break-up of families due to adultery, etc. Forgetting about the cost to the individual for a moment, there is a significant cost to society regarding child poverty, pressure on the State to provide services to handle the results of such things and the lowering of standards all round.

    My view, for a host of reasons, is that any sexual practice outside marriage is wrong and I feel it is my right to be able to say so. I feel we are already on a slippery slope and we will not stop the slide because the majority of people do not accept God's instruction for their happiness. There are those who don't believe in God and they will never, through their own reasoning, come to God's wisdom on this thing. There are others who sort of believe in God but are not willing to fall in behind His standard. The result will be a decline in standards and a worsening of conditions in society. Unfortunately, voices like mine and some others are too easy to discount and ignore as we can be branded as narrow-minded, persecuting, discriminating and backward thinking by those whose interests are at stake and by religious people who want to appear modern, intelligent, tolerant and accommodating.

    It's only a matter of time before campaigning gay organisations will have changed the institution of marriage. Other specific sexual interest groups will follow suit at a later date. I accept all this but I still believe it to be wrong and will lead to further unhappiness.

    I know there will be some people who will read this and think I am 'gay bashing'. This is not my intention. I have nothing against individuals who are disobedient to God. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness but sometimes I can't escape the fact that I am 'my brothers keeper'.

  • Comment number 50.

    Dot Gale

    Ok we are at cross purposes but when you say, "... the words (I) attached to the text and the word in the text was different...", that is true. If we were to try to understand the Bible with only the words that appear in the text then we would not be able to get very far. The world is full of books and commentaries on the Bible that would not exist if we were to stick to the words in the text only. Given the state of the Bible it is necessary to interpret it and my interpretation is as valid as your or anybody else's for that matter.

    You introduced the 'focus' of love and joy. I was talking about love, joy and peace and how it could be felt through the Spirit. As far as I am concerned I can only talk about the joy I have felt not about how, "...one's joy or peace can be focused on what is done". Maybe I am a simple man who is more concerned about simple things and less about concepts like experiencing joy as a focus of what is done. To me having joy may come about by doing something but it is never experienced unless I feel it. Maybe there are others who can intellectualise it and experience the 'focus' of it. I can't, and I can only talk and make my points on this blog through my personal experience and not that of others.

  • Comment number 51.

    pauljames

    God did not invent such desire any more that He invented fetish sex, child abuse, bestiality, rape and so on. All these desires are a counterfeit to the real thing. God gave us free will to make choices. We cannot blame God on the choice we make.

    Can a thief say, "God made this way".

  • Comment number 52.

    gerry

    You say, "In what way does a man man marriage or woman woman marriage differ from a man woman marriage where either the man or woman is clinically infertile." The infertility of a man or woman is a different issue. The real issue is that God instituted marriage with Adam and Eve as the pattern for sexual relationships for them and their descendants. An infertile husband and wife meet that pattern. Anything else doesn't. This is a Christian view. However, I don't expect others who are not Christian to accept that view or live their lives by it but they can't call themselves Christian and wilfully disobey God on this issue. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

  • Comment number 53.

    PTS

    At times you appear ridiculous and pretentious when you try to be precise.

    If I were you I wouldn't be worrying how someone else appears.

    On the rest of your comment I admit to only glancing over it. Once again you've misread. Now if this were an isolated incident then perhaps it was poor writing on my part or, if not an isolated incident, at least isolated to me. But no, you've not only misread me numerous times but PeterM numerous (getting numerouser) and now PeterK also. Both of whom express their thoughts very well. That doesn't speak well of your comprehension. Too much time spent feeling warm glows I suspect - you don't eat Ready Brek by any chance?

    On my #38, nothing I said implies a rejection of biblical sexual ethics.

  • Comment number 54.

    Andrew

    I admit I have a different Christian view from you and Dot Gale. For different reasons PeterKlaver and I do not see eye to eye. Obviously, my ability and willingness to put into words my experience will be tempered by my use of English. Nevertheless, my experience is as valid as the next man's and if I fail to make myself understood or I am unable to comprehend what other's write it doesn't detract or invalidate my experience and knowledge.

    I am not worrying how you appear or I would have said before now with your childish Benny Hill music. I am, however, passing a comment in the same way you often make comments about me.

    I haven't misread anything. The start of my post was directed to you but thereafter it became general so as anyone could respond back.

    What does 'numerouser' mean? There's you criticising my comprehension, yet you can make up words and expect me to understand you. Beam in your own eye it seems.

    Ready Brek? Now you have discovered my secret.

    I accept you didn't reject biblical ethics.

  • Comment number 55.

    Re Pastorphilip @ 45

    Oh brother you have opened up a can of worms here and you have contradicted yourself also.

    Let me deal with the contradiction first; you state * marriage is the bedrock of a stable and well-ordered society, any deviation from that is bound to be harmful to society * And then you turn around and end your contribution by quoting Proverbs 14:34. The chosen scripture clearly shows that God-Devotion is the bedrock of a strong stable and well ordered society, God-Avoidance leaves the people weak.

    *homosexuality is unnatural sexual behaviour* When viewed from the perspective of an intellectually challenged heterosexual it might be unnatural. When viewed from the perspective of the homosexual it is the most natural thing in the world.

    Facial shaving is unnatural. If God intended for us to shave one of our fingers would be sharp enough to do so. Not only is face shaving unnatural it is sinful from 2 viewpoints. The first being from scripture and the second being that it is a rejection of what is a gift from God. And many many adult males involved in the Christian Lifestyle do so sin in this regard. And when they do so are they of God or of the devil? Lets see what scripture says : 1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.

    So from a non-christian perspective reading the scriptures and seeing clean shaven adult males living the christian lifestyle these men are of the devil. But from the Christian lifestyle perspective its nothing, its allowed, all things are lawful for them, they can do what to other who are not in that Christian lifestyle would be sin but to them there is no condemnation . All those involved in the Christian lifestyle have licence to do what ever they wish. Christ told them not to judge others, but they disobey all the time, The scriptures tell everyone, politicians and all, thou shall not commit adultery, the scriptures tell everyone dentists and sunday school teachers and all, thou shall not murder. All except those in the Christain lifestyle for in that lifestyle 1 John 3:9 (KJV) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. might be against the laws of the country or breach of contract but these are not sins.

    As to unnatural, I am waiting for invasive surgery, am I wrong to allow it for it is unnatural. Should a baby be left to die because the mother cannot deliver it in the 'natural' way or can it be saved by caesarian section which will give the baby an unnatural birth. Would you have a problem if a doctor told you that the only way for 'your' child to be born was by the unnatural procedure. I presume that if you were ill, that you would prefer death than allow a liver transplant. Aphids reproduce without any contact with the opposite sex, is that unnatural and off the devil or where they created by God? Would a doctor be wrong in trying to separate Siamese twins, for they we joined that way by God, two being one flesh, and God makes no mistakes, does He?

    Pastorphilip let me share with you one irrefutable fact from scripture that those in the Christian-lifestyle have a problem with, and its not the only scripture they have a problem with but I mention this one as I am referring it to homosexuals,

    where a homosexual man/woman involved in a committed relationship with another homosexual man/woman they are keeping all of God's law and broken none. that is 'all' and not 'some' or 'most', all of God's law. No matter what he/she is doing in bed, If he/she loves his/her neighbour as himself/herself. that is irrefutable you cannot argue or disagree with it, scripture says so

    Galatians 5:14 (KJV) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    Romans 13:9-10 (KJV) ....Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    I know about these things, I am a disciple of Christ, the Son of the living God. I am not a Christian.

    Gerry

  • Comment number 56.

    PTS

    We are, I fear, approaching the concept of 'impossible' with regard to our communication.

    "If we were to try to understand the Bible with only the words that appear in the text then we would not be able to get very far."

    Quite. But it would be best to start with the words which appear in the text - the very point I was making. Interpretation follows, of course, but you substituted a different word first, and then interpreted the substitution - it doesn't work that way, no communication works that way.

    "The world is full of books and commentaries on the Bible that would not exist if we were to stick to the words in the text only."

    And the relevance of this to my point is?

    "Given the state of the Bible"

    Yes; I have noted your view on this a number of times; it's no wonder we have problems. You think the bible diluted (or worse, perhaps) in some way - sometimes I wonder why you bother with it at all - why not just cut out the 'middle man' completely?

    "my interpretation is as valid as your or anybody else's for that matter."

    Interestingly I don't happen to think that *my* interpretation is 'as valid as anyone else's', which is why I value the checks and balances of something called 'historic Christianity'.

    "You introduced the 'focus' of love and joy."

    I did. It was an answer to your question - the one with the word 'unless'. If you can explain to me how I might answer a question relating to another point of view without introducing a new concept...

    "I was talking about love, joy and peace and how it could be felt through the Spirit."

    You were, yes; and in doing so, asked a question...

    "As far as I am concerned I can only talk about the joy I have felt not about how, "...one's joy or peace can be focused on what is done"."

    PTS, of course you can talk about the how's one's joy or love or whatever can be focused on things done - what we feel and what we do are related. We do things and demonstrate and feel joy. We do things and demonstrate and feel peace. We do things and demonstrate and feel love. These things are *connected*, hence my objection to the word *unless*.

    "To me having joy may come about by doing something but it is never experienced unless I feel it...."

    This is not about 'intellectualising', rather, it is about broadening our understanding of what it means to be human, and Christian. Of course feelings are valid, I haven't said other, what I'm pointing out it that to *limit* our understanding of experience to feelings is a mistake - it isn't this *or* that, it isn't 'no experience of *unless*', it's both/and.

  • Comment number 57.

    Imo, there’s a blame problem. If there is, or will be, a problem with traditional marriage and family, then the problem lies somewhere within traditional marriage and family. Not with anything outside of it. I would begin with the so-called head.

    Here’s the real father’s day poem, by D. Lourie. (Sorry about the ad!)

    Happy or better-yet Cathartic Father’s Day to All!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB0RgMcB8zc

  • Comment number 58.

    puretruthseeker @52

    you say "The real issue is that God instituted marriage with Adam and Eve as the pattern for sexual relationships for them and their descendants" I say can you quote the scripture for that please.

    you say "An infertile husband and wife meet that pattern. Anything else doesn't." I say no they don't, they will not have any descendants so they don't fit the pattern."

    what if the infertile male/female couple have sex after they find out that they are infertile. Is that the sin of lust for it is not for procreation?

    You say "This is a Christian view" I say is that the heterosexual Christian view it is not surely the homosexual Christian view?

    What rules for marriage did God institute if any, for the first males and females He created? These rules if any, are not recorded in scripture. Adam and Eve as you know were created after the 1st Sabbath in Genesis 2 but what rules were given to the males and females previously created in Genesis 1? you know after creating the beasts and fishes and all those things one God suggested to the other God's that they 'us' make man. Genesis 1:26 (KJV) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: or is the Christian view that the male and female in Genesis 1:26 Neanderthal man or one of the others?

    Did the ability for male/male reproduction die out when Sodom was destroyed, and was this ability for male/male reproduction that existed in Sodom of God's creation in the first place or is there more than one creator? (scratching yer head !!) The city had to be populated in the first place and apart from LOT their token heterosexual, we know from Genesis 19 that all the men from the youngest to the oldest was gay, dont we? Those in the Christian lifestyle will have you believe they all were gay

    Or will you be the first Christian to admit that the men who surrounded Lot's house were in the main perverted heterosexuals, i presume there may have been a percentage of the population that were gay, as every society has that percentage.

    .

  • Comment number 59.

    gerry, 41;

    I go;

    "...no one can say what the medium or long-term effects of 'homosexual marriage' might be."

    Then you go;

    "Actually Theophane that is not correct. We can examine the short term effects of equality in marriage."

    You got stuck on the difference between 'short', 'medium' and 'long'. Not to worry though. Then you go;

    "Can you point to any aspect of Canadian society where we see a growth of satanism or devaluation of pre-existing heterosexual marriages and heterosexual marriages since the law came in state-wide in 2005 ?

    And PK goes;

    "Could you also tell me how heterosexual marriage has been adversely affected in the Netherlands since 2001, the year when gay marriage was introduce there?"

    -but i'm not talking about the effect on what-for-our-purporses-is-called-heterosexual-marriage-but-is-just-marriage. Though it is already a much exploited and trivialised institution, with fewer and fewer people, year on year, either treating it with the respect it deserves as something given to us by God, or bothering to avail themselves of it at all, in the interests of children - but anyway. I'm talking about the potential of same-sex marriage to damage children (them again!), not least psychologically and morally. Also however, it is also a documented FACT that both Canada and the Netherlands have had to surrender to demands for state recognition for polygamous lifestyles, since they so abjectly capitulated to the homosexual lobby. Subsequently, we don't know exactly what comes next - but we can try to guess! Ask a bookmaker! And the atheist fundies accuse Christians of being, i quote, "irrational and sinister"! YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP!

    Then gerry there's no.48, where you go;

    "So is a childless couple not a proper family?
    In what way does a man man marriage or woman woman marriage differ from a man woman marriage where either the man or woman is clinically infertile?"

    If you insist on using this analogy - in what way does a brother-sister 'marriage' or a man-farm animal 'marriage' differ from this? OF COURSE THEY'RE DIFFERENT! Infertility has so many different contexts, but anyway - adoption is always an option for infertile couples.

  • Comment number 60.

    Today is a feast in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and provides an opportunity to recall a wonderful episode from St Luke's Gospel, since theoretically this year marks the 2000th anniversary:

    "Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing Him to be in the company they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for Him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for Him. After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. And when His parents saw Him, they were astonished. And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?” And they did not understand the words He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

    And Jesus advanced in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man."
    (Luke 2:41-52)

  • Comment number 61.

    Further to Peter Klaver, #3.

    I read about the case of Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association, and donated a few pounds. It's actually worse than you say, because the "leaking pipe" which was depositing what was mistaken for blood or tears unto the blessed statue was leaking raw sewage and rust, and people were drinking it.

    Every little helps, as Tesco knows so well, so you can donate to his defence fund via a link on this page (he needs it), where you will also find more information about his work:

    http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/1045

  • Comment number 62.

    Hello Pure Truth Seeker,

    I recently met a really nice donkey called Daisy. She takes up a lot of room in bed and smells a bit but she's so sweet I've written to the Pope and some smaller churches so we can get hitched. We've agreed it'll be an open relationship but that she comes first, always. If she kicks some fella I bring home he's out! Broken leg or not!

    We've discussed it at length and since neither of us ever really liked "Here Comes The Bride" and she has nobody to give her away, we've decided this will be played when she comes up the aisle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=001JlTfLZPE

    If anyone would like to give Daisey away to me, my boyfriend and I would be much obliged. Boyfriend doesn't want a church wedding, he thinks its craven, but I just dream of lifting Daisy's veil at the altar and seeing those big lashes flutter...

  • Comment number 63.

    Re:-Puretruthseeker @ 49

    I know there will be some people who will read this and think I am 'Puretruthseeker bashing'. This is not my intention.Like him/her I have nothing against individuals who are disobedient to God. For we all are - Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

    But dear puretruthseeker in post 49 you are getting a little carried away and a little in err. you say * Fornication includes all sexual activity outside the marriage arrangement. Sex, therefore, between unmarried individuals is disobedience and includes artificial stimulation (porn for example), masturbation, bestiality, straight sex, gay sex, etc, * I agree with most of where you are coming from except without a marriage covenant available to gay people it can hardly be fornication for them, to have sex outside of such an non-existent marriage covenant. and secondly the gay sin of *going after strange flesh* as referred to in Jude verse 7, referring to Sodom and Gommorha, follows the use of the word Fornication. Now if Fornication included gay sex, and going after strange flesh is gay sex, then you would have me believe that Jude verse 7 reads, Jude (KJV) 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to gay sex, and gay sex, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Now that makes no sense at all. giving themselves over to gay sex, and gay sex remember its Sodom this verse refers to.

    So clearly there is a difference between fornication and going after strange sex.

    And might I just take a moment to clarify, not to you puretruthseeker, for you have not suggested it, but there is a difference between 'Adultery' and 'Fornication' and although 'although Adultery can include Fornication, it is not a pre-requisite' Adultery is not in and of itself a sexual sin. Adultery is the violation of a covenant entered into by the joint spouses, nothing more, nothing less.

    Christ Himself illustrates this for us when He said

    Matthew 5:32
    But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

    Matthew 19:9
    And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

    Mark 10:11
    And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

  • Comment number 64.

  • Comment number 65.

    A dolphin! The lucky, erm, duck! I realise donkeys are passe but stop tempting me away from my Daisey. This is the girl I plan to wed, you beast!

  • Comment number 66.

    Edwin Poots remains steadfast in his refusal to allow actively homosexual people, or others with a history of "high-risk sexual behaviour" to give blood. Refusing to sacrifice public safety on the altar of Guardian-spawned 'human rights' gibberish.

    More power to your elbow Mr Poots.

  • Comment number 67.

    Theophane,

    I see from your post 60 that Jesus had two dads (Joseph and god) - if it was good enough for him then it should be fine for anyone else. I also note that you (and PTS) seem to suggest that only married folk should be procreating - did your god marry Mary and was she already married to Joseph when he did. I am sure that your god would only set the highest possible example for us to follow.

    As for Mr Poots, the fact that you cheer on his prejudices comes as no surprise to me but what you and he fail to answer is the question of banning people who are gay but are not engaged in what you would describe as high risk sex. What about a monogamous couple in a long term relationship - their sex is just as safe as any heterosexual married couple and yet Mr Poots and you put it in the same category as a man having unprotected sex with a prostitute. This latest manoeuvring from Poots does not get him off the equality hook onto which he has thrust himself.

    As for your comments on ordaining women and equal marriage earlier - even you must know that some women ARE ordained and some men ARE married to each other. Denying that fact simply makes you look like your head is in the sand.

  • Comment number 68.

    Dot Gale @ 56

    "why not just cut out the 'middle man' completely?" Is that wise?

    Does historic Christianity have all the answers?
    Does it confirm all the doctrines of heaven?

    You say, "We do things and demonstrate and feel joy". What if we feel joy which was unexpected or for no apparent reason? In fact, what if we experienced the most exquisite joy after asking a specific question through prayer - how would this be explained?

  • Comment number 69.

    gerry @ 58

    The reference. You are good at quoting scripture so you will find it easily at the start of Genesis.

    The pattern is to encourage fidelity. Anything else outside the arrangement between a husband and wife is problematic with examples I have cited in earlier posts.

    The sexual act between a man and a women who are wed is a gift from God for the procreation of children and the enjoyment and binding effect on the couple.

    Im not sure what you are getting at in the next paragraph but Adam and Eve were married by God and given commandment for a happy life. Adam would have taught these things to his many children. However, each child had the ability to choose if they wanted to follow that counsel.

    I don't know anything about Sodom and Im not prepared to speculate. Maybe if I have time in the future I will give my opinion. Too busy right now.

    Maybe Sodom was a big gay village based on the pink penny.

  • Comment number 70.

    About Farce @ 62

    I'll give Daisy away to you as long as you don't mind me singing the carol 'Little Donkey' and telling you that although God loves you he is not pleased with you. What's all this anyway, is being gay not enough for you?

  • Comment number 71.

    Gerry @ 63

    When I read the Bible it tell me that gay sex is contrary to God's plan for our happiness. It tell me that fornication is disobedience and includes anything sexual outside the marriage arrangement. It tell me that adultery is the most serious form of disobedience that destroys lives. Yes, adultery is more serious than all the rest, including gay sex. The reason is because it severely affects the lives of husbands, wives, children, relatives and friends.

  • Comment number 72.

    In a recorded message to the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin the Pope commented on the paedophile priest scandals.

    '"How are we to explain the fact that people who regulary received the Lord's body and confessed their sins in the sacrement of penance, have offended in this way?

    "It remains a mystery," he said.'

    No mystery about it - the offenders were paedophiles! What has he to say about those in the Church who shielded said paedophiles from the authorities - another "mystery", perhaps?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18476310

  • Comment number 73.

    PTS

    ""why not just cut out the 'middle man' completely?" Is that wise?"

    Is that an answer?

    "Does historic Christianity have all the answers?"

    I didn't say it did.

    "Does it confirm all the doctrines of heaven?"

    Do you mean confirm, or affirm? I suspect it affirms the doctrines it believes to be true. None of this was the point, of course. We rarely seem to stick with the point.


    "What if we feel joy which was unexpected or for no apparent reason? In fact, what if we experienced the most exquisite joy after asking a specific question through prayer - how would this be explained?"

    If this was the case, then I suspect that the joy might be related to the prayer - which wouldn't equate to "no apparent reason".

    Apart from that, we were talking about your use of the word 'unless'.

  • Comment number 74.

    PTS,

    I really wish some religious folk would be consistent in their language -

    When you say

    "When I read the Bible it tell me that gay sex is contrary to God's plan for our happiness. " Why couldn't you just stick with I and me and then MY ?

  • Comment number 75.

    Theophane @ 66


    If Edwin Poots did not have in the past a problem with a gay rugby team,

    had he not voted to ban civil partnerships taking place in Lisburn council premises

    Had he said not during that debate as reported by Mick Fealty in 2005 civil partnerships were not weddings and that the new law was ‘wrong and immoral and sticks in the throat’

    had he not in the past displayed a prejudicial bias against gay people,

    I might believe what he says but I don't.

    But gay people can sit back now on the side line and watch, for the blood ban has now become an African racial issue.

    Why doesn't Mr Poots just come out and say it , He has no faith in Northern Ireland's blood screening service.

    Here is another one, Why can gay men in Northern Ireland not give blood for Gay recipients of that blood?

  • Comment number 76.

    Catholic priest in dock accused of sex crimes.

    "The prosecutor said when the complainant wanted to report the matter to a bishop the defendant is alleged to have gone down on his knees and apologised for the hurt he had put her through."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18494671

  • Comment number 77.

    Dot Gale @ 73

    Interesting.

  • Comment number 78.

    Dave @ 74

    You ask, "Why couldn't you just stick with I and me and then MY ?" The Bible was written for all our benefit.

  • Comment number 79.

    On Pharyngula I came across a link to an article on Science and Religion Today, going over the result of polls about religious adherence. While covering only points in time (10 years apart from each other), it is an extensive survey in that it covers many countries. On the whole, the results show theism losing ground and atheism on the rise.

    http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2012/05/30/is-atheism-increasing-at-the-expense-of-theism/

  • Comment number 80.

    PTS

    I'll take that as an, "I'm all out of conversation."

  • Comment number 81.

    79 Peter Klaver

    It is encouraging to read that more people are ditching belief in supernaturalism. One manifestation of this rise in atheism is a rise in complaints from churchgoers who must now sit in uncomfortable chairs and not pews. Churches are ripping out their pews so that they can rent out their premises for various activities.

    http://www.designweek.co.uk/analysis/church-chair-of-the-future-unveiled/3034749.article

    Children in England will soon be learning about evolution in school from the age of 8-9.

    http://www.cisionwire.com/british-humanist-association-press-room/r/bha-welcomes-plans-to-add-evolution-to-primary-curriculum,c9271324

  • Comment number 82.

    I believe it should not pass without comment that Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, found time recently to speak to a journalist about synchronised swimming (cf. 'The Synchro Girls', broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 11am last Friday). I happen to know that this interview, albeit short, took place in the last few weeks, when the European Union's sovereign debt crisis has reached ever greater levels of intensity. If a bloke in her position had made time to natter to a journalist about his interest in a trivial pastime like golf or hill walking, at a juncture like this, i think he would rightly come under fire for letting his focus drift from the matter at hand. Now, if she or anyone else was talking about something important, like football, which has a potential to build bridges between nations, i think it would be different. But all i can say is that i find it less than reassuring that the head of the IMF sees fit to chat to a journalist about synchronised swimming when all this is going on.

  • Comment number 83.

    Theophane

    But all i can say is that i find it less than reassuring that the head of the IMF sees fit to chat to a journalist about synchronised swimming when all this is going on.

    I dunno. I would find it more reassuring if she spent more time talking about swimming. More time talking about swimming means less time spent 'fixing things'. In fact, if the lot of them would spend less time 'fixing things' that would be even better. Not that I am opposed to fixing things of course, just their particular brand of 'fixing things'.

    Newlach

    It is encouraging to read that more people are ditching belief in supernaturalism

    Encouraging how?

  • Comment number 84.

    Good man, newlach; keep sharing the word.

    BTW That church chair looks like... a... emm... I know, a chair.

    By their chairs shall ye know them.

    Oh, and, "Churches are ripping out their pews so that they can rent out their premises for various activities."

    And I'll assume you know the history relating to why they put them in, in the first place.

  • Comment number 85.

    What’s to be encouraged about?

    People are going to be so addicted to their tracking devices I mean cell phones, blogs and staged reality shows, and unable to form an opinion due to the mistaken need to conform to the upcoming non-opinionated society, that it will be necessary that the supernatural make strong appearances either before or soon after we’re all penned, I think. Imo, a smorgasbord of religions, now, is better than none. Ideally, it would keep a secular government in line, and vice versa.

  • Comment number 86.

    Andrew, 83;

    "I would find it more reassuring if she spent more time ... talking about swimming [and] less time spent 'fixing things'."

    I suppose my response is to say that, instinctively one doesn't feel she should be trying to fix things, because after all she's just a politician. But it's her propensity to share precious insights about synchronised swimming to a journalist while the most cataclysmic economic cyclone since the 1930s rages around her that, to me, gives her away as being such - a mere politician, and nothing more. So for this reason perhaps you're right - she may as well carry on chatting to anyone who wants to hear about synchronised swimming. Just for heaven's sake, keep her away from making any decisions that could affect the lives of millions of people.

  • Comment number 87.

    85. me.

    Did I say staged reality news? I meant shows...

    ...Ah no, that’s right.

  • Comment number 88.

    Theo,

    Perhaps it was to make her look like a real person. (Aw, how nice. I like her now. …barf.)

  • Comment number 89.

    PTS,

    "The Bible was written for all our benefit."

    My opinion would be different in that I see it as a man made piece of fiction which has become a weapon in the fight for organised religion to control people in order to make sure they give their money to the churches. Even if it was originally written with a less extortionate reason it was written at a time when our understanding of everything from the planet to us is incomparable to modern knowledge and so is completely inappropriate to rely on it as having anything relevant on many subjects to-day.

    I have certainly not found it to be of benefit, if you do then follow it but please don't feel the need to project it onto folk like me who give it no credibility. You seem quite adamant in your right to follow your own mind in your quest for truth and brook no one telling you what you should believe (due to the revelations you hint at) - it is a pity you cannot respect that in others who disagree with your particular theology/philosophy whether they are of faith or not.

  • Comment number 90.

    Theophane,

    Would that be like a certain church leader talking about other peoples marriage rights when he should have been sorting out his own churches cataclysmic abuse cyclone.

  • Comment number 91.

    Dot Gale @ 80

    It means that I am very busy with my new job which started today after training last week. It wouldn't matter what I say to you anyway as I don't think we will ever see eye to eye as I have had a different experience to you and I understand things in a different way to you. As I said before, this means of communicating can produce it's own difficulties and sometimes I wonder if it is worth the time. Life for me will get increasingly busier over the next few months so I am not sure whether I will have the time to read the thoughts of others, here and elsewhere, and be able to respond the way I did in the past. So, just take it that I am tapering off.

  • Comment number 92.

    marieinaustin, 88;

    "Perhaps it was to make her look like a real person."

    Well, yes, OK - she's a real person. But her job is not about broadcasting the heart-warming down-to-earth human aspects of her great personality (not that being an afficionado of synchronised swimming makes this impression on me but anyway). There's a massive crisis going on, but i suppose now at least we know that she's a real person. We probably couldn't have guessed, otherwise, that she was a real person.

    Dave, 90;

    "Would that be like a certain church leader talking about other peoples marriage rights when he should have been sorting out his own churches cataclysmic abuse cyclone?"

    The Papacy has survived for nearly 2000 years because it has been and continues to be a focus of moral authority. Naturally, when the Church is engulfed in scandal, of its own making (though blown out of realistic proportion by people with an axe to grind), the perception of moral authority is diminished in many people's eyes, thus weakening the Pope's ability to witness to the Salvation which all people would have in Christ. People most in need of moral guidance, of whom i am particularly thinking of the young, are therefore tragically led astray, by all kinds of fashionable nonsense. But you can rest assured that the Pope will not cease to point people in the direction of the truth, and this will include explaining about the true definition of marriage, especially since that's not really a difficult one.

  • Comment number 93.

    Dave @ 89

    If the Bible is a manmade piece of fiction then why are you arguing with me regarding my interpretation of it? If you think I am somewhat crazy believing it then you are even crazier arguing with me over what it says. If it said in 'Jack and the Beanstock' that marriage is between a man and a woman and I pointed that out to you would you answer me back or ignore me. If I was in your shoes, I know what I would do.

  • Comment number 94.

    Theophane

    She's clearly very intelligent, and according to the Daily Telegraph she makes Robert Peston sit up straight. It's the grand scale of conceit I can't stand; save the European economy? It reminds me of Hayek famous quote; 'The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design'. Economics has done a pretty poor job in that regard; Largrade, the others, they imagine they can design quite a bit. To do evil to William Cowpers great poem;

    The bureaucrats move in a mysterious way
    Their wonders to perform;
    They plant their footsteps in the sea
    And ride upon the storm

    Deep in unfathomable mines
    Of never failing skill
    They treasure up their bright designs
    And work their sovereign will.

  • Comment number 95.

    92. Theophane,

    “but i suppose now at least we know that she's a real person”

    I was just suggesting that they thought it made her look like a real person. I didn’t mean to imply she was a real person.

    They underestimated some of us!! ;-)




    “The Government!”

  • Comment number 96.

  • Comment number 97.

    83 Andrew

    "Encouraging how?"

    I take the view that the less religion there is in society the better. It is encouraging that atheists are increasingly more inclined to speak out and tell the truth. In some parts of the world a person saying that there is no god could get executed.

    84 Dot Gale

    Wealthy families wanting some private space?

  • Comment number 98.

    Newlach

    I take the view that the less religion there is in society the better.

    Clearly, but how come?

  • Comment number 99.

    newlach (@ 97) -

    I take the view that the less religion there is in society the better.


    Well obviously the people of North Korea have a wonderful deal, and clearly all the criticism of their country is driven by jealousy of their "atheist paradise". And oh that the glory days of Hoxha's highly successful Albanian experiment could be replicated here (and not to forget Uncle Joe's compassionate and tolerant rule in that vast empire of "truth" where no one was ever even mildly criticised for their beliefs)!!

    It is encouraging that atheists are increasingly more inclined to speak out and tell the truth.


    Is this the same "truth" that decides which unborn babies are going to grow up to become murderers, and therefore are worthy of pre-birth pre-crime execution?

    Or is it the same "truth" which just "knows" that the most complex systems known to man (far more complex than anything man has ever been able to invent) just magically "came together" without any need for intelligent input?

    Or is it the same "truth" which results from a brain which has been formed by entirely deterministic forces, and in which "reason" has to be entirely subjective, instinctual and utilitarian?

    Or is it the same "truth" which has been "discovered" by a method of justification which is entirely self-refuting?

    I think you seriously need to think more about the meaning of the word "truth" before you start bandying it around dogmatically.

    In some parts of the world a person saying that there is no god could get executed.


    I agree that this is terrible. I hope you agree that it is no more terrible than people being executed in atheistic states for believing that there is a God.

    Or doesn't that count in your world of "truth"?

  • Comment number 100.

 

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