Comments for en-gb 30 Wed 02 Sep 2015 22:30:56 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at botroshiba This post has been Removed Thu 23 Dec 2010 20:18:14 GMT+1 Bogomill60 I just listened to this, and will have another listen, my first thoughts were, I would have liked them to explore Calvin's doctrine of predestination in much more detail. I am disappointed that none of the guest made any mention of present day findings from neuroscience that seems to validate Calvin, in respect to the question of Freewill they cannot find the homunculus, the little i making the decisions in the brain. The fact two are professors of History and the other of Divinity maybe had something to do with it.Bogomill60 Tue 21 Sep 2010 02:43:34 GMT+1 Philip Bancroft I was interested to read below that there are people whose exposure to Calvinism at a young age has affected them later in life. I would love to correspond with such people. Wed 14 Jul 2010 20:06:13 GMT+1 ejj A great fan of ‘IOT,’ I was disappointed by the imbalance of perspectives in this programme. There are a goodly number of well-respected scholars in the UK who would give a strong defence of Calvin, not to mention millions of church-folk world-wide who continue to revere him, yet this considerable global Voice was not represented. I had anticipated learning from challenging exchange, to hear why some people think this man is worth adulating, and yet all I heard was stale reiterations of why we generally damn Calvin. I had hoped for more from Bragg. An earlier comment expresses well-warranted surprise that the “impact on Scotland and the Scots” is not discussed. Perhaps when this considerable topic is undertaken, we might actually hear a programme that will not just give information, but also present us with challenging discussion – comme normale? J’espere. Sat 06 Mar 2010 16:56:31 GMT+1 icthus123 I enjoyed the programme. However, I did find it somewhat frustrating that objections such as the antinomian "why shouldn't I sin if I'm elect" were raised and not fully answered. As another commenter has said the answer is the in Bible, (Romans 6:1-4) "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."This is the answer Calvin would have given.However, I was pleased that it was stressed that to Calvinists the doctrine is a doctrine of comfort and encouragement and not, as is so often portrayed, merely a means of mental torment. Fri 05 Mar 2010 15:18:26 GMT+1 Andrew Dunn A very interesting IOT - but so far (I'm 11 mins from the end of the podcast) it hasn't explained to me *why* Calvin believed in predestination. It seems like a huge flaw in the doctrine, and although I'm no expert on the bible, I can't imagine where the idea came from. Can a more knowledgable reader enlighten me? Thu 04 Mar 2010 16:48:38 GMT+1 John Courtneidge Did you have any comments on my offered comment yesterday?It doesn't seem to have appeared.ThanksJohn Courtneidge Wed 03 Mar 2010 21:38:02 GMT+1 Herakles Thanks to everyone for pointing out the problems relating to some of the archived streams. We have completed an audit of the site and fixed all the broken audio links. The vast majority of the problems related to technical issues beyond our control and it has taken time to find fixes for these problems but the audio links are now working. We are also investigating reports about some problems with the international streams and will report back as soon as our investigations are complete. Thank you again for your patience.Radio 4 Interactive Wed 03 Mar 2010 08:40:40 GMT+1 John Courtneidge I agree with John Thompson that a discussion of Calvin's views on usury and that impact on the growth of capitalism would be timely.It seems that all three Abrahamic traditions (Jewry, Christianity and Islam) have prohibitions on charging any interest on lent money (ie on any level of usury) and, given capitalism's present turmoils, an IOT programme on the history of usury and of capitalism seem appropriate and, again, timely. Tue 02 Mar 2010 15:05:29 GMT+1 Rik68 With great anticipation I looked forward to the program on, The Charge of the Light Brigade, sadly my disappointment was greater than my anticipation, compared to “Hell Riders” by Terry Brighton and “Louis Edward Nolan and his influence on the British cavalry” by Hubert Moyse-Bartlett it was simplistic, ill informed or both, very disappointing. Mon 01 Mar 2010 18:40:04 GMT+1 ERIC COLLINO Yet another thought-provoking episode of IOT. Thankyou.Apropos "The Elect" there is a fascinating book "The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner" by Scotsman James Hogg AKA "The Ettrick Shepherd" published in 1824. See Wikipedia for more information.I believe it's considered a Scottish classic and, if memory serves me well, was in the curriculum for "Scottish Highers" around the 1950s?I've read it 3 times, lent it twice and never received it back but it's now available online at Project Gutenberg. Highly recommended. Mon 01 Mar 2010 15:04:07 GMT+1 Lol I do find these discussions on religion fascinating and enjoyable as they virtually all show us just how fragile most doctrines are. Calvin probably was a deeply unpleasant person, as a number of posts here suggest. However, a quick look through the archives on this site would point to the fact that Christianity has been dotted with such characters, pre and post Lutheran. They are merely trying to decipher an existing creed for their own uses. the St Thomas Aquinas programme highlights this in the drawing of Aristotle into Christianity, something that appealed greatly to St Thomas himself but opposed by the church at the time.Buddha was supposed to have discouraged icons or images of himself yet statues representing him are common. I think that illustrates just how far from the wishes of a prophet or god things can go in the fullness of time. I can't remember anywhere in the Bible that says you should build a church or cathedral full of gold and silver in order to worship god but we see them everywhere.In the end most religions appear to be structure required by civilized societies to keep them under control by those in power.Very few people are anti-religion in my experience, just anti-dogmatic. Sun 28 Feb 2010 18:53:40 GMT+1 Themistocles I agree that Calvin’s sanctioning of interest in loans helped to create a laissez-faire culture and promote capitalism. There is however a dimension not analysed so far. Calvinism despite its often progressive influence in historical context, was ultimately hinting towards a theocracy. Why is this problem? If we take a very long view in human history we can distinguish two main strands in civilisation. The first one is flowing from reason and self doubt, leading to democracy, and the second from theocracy. The former implies that power is decided by and sourced to people through reason; the latter implies that power is decided and definitely sourced to God, whose ‘word’ cannot be doubted but only explained. Both civilisation streams are capable of barbarism. The destruction of Melos by the Athenians is an example of the former, the destruction of the Hellenic civilisation by the Christian Eastern Roman Empire an example of the latter (a destruction that set humanity 1000 years backwards). Other than the obvious scale, an essential difference is that while barbarism is a violation in democracy and reason, it is an endogenous result in theocracy. The latter is applied either directly by religious institutions or by monarchs that are elected and inspired by ‘god’. In theocracy, otherwise peaceful and reasonable (in the everyday sense) people can descend eventually into fascism and barbarism or even genocide. The double face of Calvin is testified by the burning of Servetus, whose crime was to make his own mind about religious dogma. Ultimately all these theocrats are pleasant people provided you don’t have independent thought. Other examples include the treatment of Roger Bacon in the hands of the Catholic Church (he was locked in prison for two years and ultimately died for discovering how the rainbow is formed, contradicting the bible), the house arrest of Galileo, the burning of Giordano Bruno, the slaughter of Hypatia in the hands of Christian lunatics (now saints). The list is practically endless. What I find very strange in Calvin is the emphasis on the Old Testament, a text I value highly, but only outside the religious context. Anybody using the aforementioned text for divine inspiration under any historical context is really either ignorant or heavily deluded. The early Christians tended to be both. Under any spiritual interpretation the idea that the one god would dictate income and fiscal policy is laughable, the idea that the one god would instruct genocides, rapes and killing of children of other peoples is at least despicable. So it is no wonder that Calvin felt the need to spin the bible. At least he has to be credited for not going towards the path of rewriting it, which is the usual practice in the many translations to fit our age. The best in this are the Russians, whose bible in their own language has often ‘no’ where there is ‘yes’ and a complete inversion of meaning. I only mention this because the theocrats like the nationalists and the fascists have no respect for historical truth. So at least for his intellectual honesty, Calvin has to be credited, but only in context. Having said this we should not ignore that he revived the unhappy dogma of St Augustine (following St Paul’s letter to the Romans) and ultimately convincing himself that new-born children are limbs of Satan (ref: Russell). In his loving hands, an old scientific truth stated by Aristarchus of Samos and revived by Copernicus was put in its proper place ‘who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?’ I wish people discussing religion making the point that religion is a personal endeavour and not a state or government affair; at least this is my view. I fear that theocracy may still descend upon us. Sat 27 Feb 2010 21:06:18 GMT+1 Tom Dawkes I think another light is thrown on Calvin by C S Lewis in his 'English Literature in the 16th century' (Oxford UP, 1954). In his introductory chapter New Leaning and New Ignorance, he says:"Modern parallels are always to some extent misleading. Yet, for a moment only, and to guard against worse misconceptions, it may be useful to compare the influence of Calvin on that age with the influence of Marx on our own; or even of Marx and Lenin in one, for Calvin had both expounded the new system in theory and set it going in practice. This will at least serve to eliminate the absurd idea that Elizabethan Calvinists were somehwo grotesque, elderly people, standing outside the main forward current of life. In their own day they were, of course, the very latest thing. Unless we can imagine the freshness, the audacity, and (soon) the fashionableness of Calvinism, we shall get our whole picture wrong. It was the creed of progressives, even of revolutionaries .... The fierce young don, the learned lady, the courtier with intellectual leanings, were likely to be Calvinists .... Youth is the taunt commonly brought against the Puritan leaders by their opponents; youth and cocksureness." [pp. 42-43]The IOT programme brought up many interesting points but to my mind failed to make clear just why Calvin's system was so compelling for this contemporaries. We have to realise that we must understand past movements and writings - as far as we can - in the way that contemporaries saw them. Fri 26 Feb 2010 17:44:46 GMT+1 macanucaire I normally enjoy IOT as the discussion is generally quiet intelligent and informative. But today, during the programme on Calvinism, I felt like screaming at the radio. No one addressed the fundamental problem with determinism i.e. if you are destined to be condemned to hell, what does it matter how you live?I cannot see how Calvinism became so influential given this problem and the programme did not explain it. Fri 26 Feb 2010 16:52:54 GMT+1 John Thompson A rough wind rises,dark cliffs stare down.Sour-faced Calvin-art thou whining still?(TEHulme)Your speakers mentioned the practicality of Calvinism with his Institutes of the Christian Religion bringing an intellectual,logical clarity to the words of scripture aided and broadcast by means of the printing press.The creation of vernacular editions of the bible,using a system of marginal notes,where you are told how to think as a reformed Christian and how to read it.Calvin became the intellectual leader of Protestantism,just as Luther had been its emotional instigator.Calvin’s rule was marred by the burning of Servetus(whose ideas were very close to Calvin's)for the heresy of pantheism.However,your speakers mentioned briefly at the end how his ideas helped found Capitalism.This should have been explored rather than other subjects.The social and economic influence was a missed opportunity:the belief that to labour industriously was one of God’s commands.This changed the medieval notions of the blessedness of poverty and the wickedness of usury,proclaimed that men should shun luxury and be thrifty,yet implied that financial success was a mark of God’s favour.Conditions had changed.It was related to the rise of Capitalism as cause or effect(Max Weber thought it was a cause).Marx and Tawney asserted the reverse,that Calvinism was a result of developing Capitalism.Good works are nota way of attaining salvation,but they are proof that salvation has been attained.Calvin dismissed the argument that it is wrong to charge interest for money by reinterpreting scriptures.He liberated the economic energies of the rising bourgeoisie.He did for thebourgeoisie of the 16th century what Marx did for the proletariat of the 19th century.Your speakers did emphasise how discipline was the nerves of Calvinism just as faith had been at the heart of Lutherism.Maybe a later program will explore Capitalism:its causes,development and formation? Fri 26 Feb 2010 16:17:47 GMT+1 annjam I have just been reading Melvyn's Newsletter, which really indulges my "Dawkinsian" enjoyment of anti-religionism. Like other commentators here, I feel I was really harmed by the excessive religiosity of my parents. However I do wish I could get rid of my strong anti-religiosity. I am nearly 80 now, but still can't get rid of this antipathy about religion. I'm wondering whether next Thursday's programme about the infant brain will talk about these strong feelings that develop both ways -- pro- and anti-religion. I can understand perfectly why people stick to a religion they've been brought up in. Why then does it affect my attitude to religious people to the extent that I cannot enjoy, for instance, my lovely brother's (a retired Anglican priest) visits more? Fri 26 Feb 2010 15:24:48 GMT+1 lmh An interesting programme, but a significant aspect was missing. Melvin referred several times to Calvin's influence on New England but missed an example much nearer to home--the equally vital(if that's the word) impact on Scotland and the Scots. Perhaps this could be a programme in its own right. Fri 26 Feb 2010 14:12:59 GMT+1 Colin Dear IOT Team. Thank you for the show. As usual I got a lot out of the discussion. Coincidentally I am currently reading "The Tyranicide Brief" by Geoffrey Robertson and was struck by the overlaps. As one who has been recovering slowly from the dead hand of J. Calvin on my childhood neural networks, the subject matter was forensically interesting (I find myself wondering if complete recovery is even possible). Given that one of the lasting consequences of Calvin's teaching was to incite many of the events referred to as England's "Civil War" and subsequent Interregnum I wonder if, at some time in the future you might do a show on John Cooke, the lawyer who lead the prosecution of Charles Stuart "that man of blood"? Fri 26 Feb 2010 02:04:30 GMT+1 Jane Is 'knock-on America' the biggest part of the Calvinism story? Although I perceived John Calvin's inherent integrity and vision, the programme reminded me of the dry dictates of the catholic high school I attended where even the biology was taught with the wagging finger of morality versus immorality. Also, of my friend's daughter whose epilepsy episodes are preceded by a religious fervour and a sense of God's 'calling'...fascinating stuff for neuroscientists. I'm certainly not dismissing the little understood function of the soul or spirit of man but science does have its role to play in unraveling the greater truth of things. When Melvyn announced next week's programme on the infant brain, I heard myself utter a tuneful "ooh" followed immediately by a downwardly spiraling "oh" as I realized that it might end up adding to the accumulated stress which I already carry about how much damage, either unwittingly or unavoidably, I've inflicted upon my two offspring. On behalf of many of us, can I ask that the IOT team to bear this in mind! Best wishes and thank you as always...Jane Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:25:15 GMT+1 Dominic Still finding it impossible to download the earlier programmes in realplayer format. Can anyone assist? I keep getting the following error message: "Unable to locate server requested server. This server does not have a DNS entry. Please check the server name in the URL and try again." Thu 25 Feb 2010 15:04:24 GMT+1 Michael Unfortunately, the speakers on this edition of IOT, all seemed to be enthusiastically for Calvin and his deeply unpleasant doctrine. At the same time they contradicted their positive views of him by their description of an egregious character who was probably a psychopath. I think that predestination is a deeply flawed and psychologically damaging doctrine which seems to have nothing whatever to do with the teachings of Christ. Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:02:19 GMT+1 Bob Miller An incisive programme with excellent contributors who made it easy to follow for the lay person. Thank you. Thu 25 Feb 2010 11:08:54 GMT+1 eltham-college_spin I don't wish to complain but could you tell me why several archived episodes are actually NOT available? I am referring in this instance to "The Alphabet" which I cannot access. A response would be much appreciated.RegardsMaurice Jamall Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:55:41 GMT+1 rbd re Calvin. Oh dear. I'm a long time fan if IOT but this was teeth-grittingly grim, depressing fundamentalist guff from another of history's deeply unpleasant fanatics. Yuck. Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:33:48 GMT+1 rbd Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:18:09 GMT+1 Allan M Naughty, I know, but as usual I recorded the programme from the radio this morning. Of course, I had to click the 'save' button. I had also to laugh. "Simple things please simple minds," they say. Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:16:21 GMT+1 Charlie Whilst listening to your commentators is very interesting. Please remember that Calvin was shaped by the teaching of the Bible. Hence the answer to the question "If I am elect, why can't I just do what I want" would have been answered by Calvin by quoting you the Romans Chapter 6 which answers that very question. In a nutshell, you don't do what you like because you are saved TO Jesus Christ. Thus you live more and more like him in every way. Thu 25 Feb 2010 09:38:14 GMT+1