philosoraptor42: (Default)
I previously posted an article about Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, entitled "The Slow Whiny Death of British Christianity". I also included a video about how a Christian bigot's appeal that his discriminatory practices ought to be somehow defended by law were answered with the following claim by the judge:
"Religion is entirely subjective, not objective. It's beliefs and practices are therefore completely irrational and have no basis whatever in fact... The protection of religious beliefs and practices are divisive, capricious and arbitrary."
(The guy who made the video noted that these words will now act as a precedent in future civil suits.)

Anyway, the bigot himself appeared on Radio Four recently and I was quite shocked to see him being sought out for an opinion, especially considering that there were no other interviewees to counter some of his ludicrous assertions (though admittedly the interviewer made a special effort to very diplomatically make up for this lack of balance).

Interviewer: The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, publishes a leaflet today, it’s called “Not Ashamed”, encouraging Christians to defend their faith which, he says, is under attack in an increasingly secular society. Among those who support Lord Carey’s alarm, Gary McFarlane is a man who’s often used as an example of some contemporary attitudes. He was a counsellor working for Relate. You may remember the story. He objected to giving therapy to gay couples because it was in conflict with his own personal beliefs. He lost his job as a result and he failed to get the high court to back him. And he’s with us now. Good morning.

Gary McFarlane: Good morning.

Read more... )

…but essentially what we’re dealing with is my ability to live out my faith in the way that I would seek to do as other faiths are actually entitled, indeed encouraged, to do.

I: Do you think that’s changed in the last few years?

Significantly so, in the sense that other faiths are given rights, are championed, if there is, for example, a festive occasion arising, then the systems, the NHS, will actually give those individuals rights. I have to look behind me, almost metaphorically speaking, to check “Where am I?” in case I’m going to have a conversation about the things of the Bible, Jesus Christ, in case it might offend somebody. I have to be cautious.

Read more... )

Asides from the introductory bit at the beginning, the section I have left visible (the rest is under the cut) shows McFarlane trying to claim that he is somehow disallowed from expressing his faith in the ways that others do. This is a rather sensible way of phrasing it disguises the fact that the principles of secularism (which he claims to be opposing) are actually intended to ensure that all people can express their beliefs equally regardless of religious affiliation (presuming that expression of those beliefs do not undermine important individual rights).

The thing is that he gives no examples of how he has less rights than any other religion. Do other religions have to avoid offending people? Heck, hate-preaching Imams and Fred Phelps are both similarly barred from entering the country. Not Pope Benedict though, so I guess that gives Christianity the upper hand, wouldn't you say?

As for special effort to celebrate religious festivals, this isn't America! Christmas lights are all over the town. There is Christmas stuff everywhere. We're not celebrating Hannukah right now (BTW Happy Hanukah!!!! all those who are celebrating that right now! :)) and I've long expressed my wish to include Diwali amongst our national festivals. (Experienced Diwali night in India and loved it, y'see.) Public celebration of Christian festivals is not an issue in the UK. This is just another example of an irrational believer in the bizarre "war on Christmas" myth. Give it a rest!

(To those people who are actually Christian on my f-list, please note that I do realise that this moron is expressing a minority position amongst Christians, in the UK at least, however that's precisely why it annoyed me to see this bigot being given time to express his views on a popular national radio station.)

X-Posted to [ profile] atheism 
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Well, Mr. Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, wishes to let us know that he thinks the Church is on its last legs. And yet we've still got Bishops with guaranteed seats in the House of Lords. This is no good!

Anyway, the big issue is this stupid Covenant thing he wants to introduce. The issue is that it will force all the Churches to agree before they can accept any new stuff. Basically it means that the ultra-conservative and bigoted elements within African Churches will guarantee that there is no progression in the Church again. So yeah, nothankyouverymuch. (Yet strangely, opponents of the covenant have been compared to the BNP. Oh dear me.)

Mr. Williams has this to say:
"There is no Plan B. If this falls, the communion is in ruins."

Well, as much as I hate to say it, that probably means this is the end. All your nice Church buildings will simply be tourist attractions from now on... (Well, I say "I hate to say it", but presumably this means the end of those guaranteed House of Lords seats, doesn't it?)

Meanwhile, the Queen has a speech:
Read more... )
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I saw this awesome video a fair old while ago (before I saw Arj Barker in the awesome "Flight Of The Conchords"), but it was taken down pretty much everywhere all at once. Anywhere it seems to have appeared again. It's a spoof on Buddhism and it is absolutely f***ing GENIUS! (It seems that it's more fun the more familiar you are with Buddhism. Apparently during the video you can see him turning the Dharma wheel the wrong way. I've put the lyrics below under the cut.

Read more... )

Of course, as I've mentioned in the past, Buddhist rapping is not such a big break with tradition anymore.

Another rather insightful piece of religious satire I've seen recently is a BBC tv series called Rev. There's a clip here where a charismatic preacher visits. (It's not like "Vicar of Dibley". It's more like "The Thick Of It" only with clergy rather than politicians.) You may recognise Tom Hollander from the movie "In The Loop" and Olivia Colman from the early series' of "That Mitchell and Webb Look".
philosoraptor42: (Default)
John Milbank of the Radical Orthodoxy movement has written a new public article. After publishing an anti-feminist tirade (requesting that we set up a new feminism biased in favour of men) on The Guardian's "comment is free", John now writes in response to an extract from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book on

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's extract on that website is no longer available, but I was able to find a cached copy of it, which is copied under the cut. John Milbank quotes a chunk of it, so instead of posting that same chunk twice you will find it bolded in my copy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book extract below.Read more... )

So, I was surprised to find that, after an introduction which I found deeply dodgy, there are some parts where John Milbank talks a bit of sense. I guess he's less likely to have an article brim-full of fail when he's discussing religion rather than feminism. Below I have bolded parts which I find particularly dodgy and, in places, I have included links which I believe aid refutation of those statements (and I shall explain those links below). Those parts I find myself agreeing with or approving of are underlined as well as bolded, because I don't feel it is fair to only point out the bad points while ignoring the better parts.

Christianity, the Enlightenment and Islam
By John Milbank
ABC Religion and Ethics | 24 Aug 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali doubtless shocked many of her admirers and detractors alike when she concluded her recent article on the ABC's Religion and Ethics website, "Seeking God, but finding Allah," by praising Pope Benedict XVI's stance on Islam and calling for an alliance between atheists and what she calls "enlightened Christians" in their struggle against a common foe.
Read more... )

My Response

Read more... )
Another writer has also noticed the issues with John's article, decrying his article as "a throwback towards the more obscene forms of Orientalism and colonial arrogance".

Also there's another criticism of John Milbank here (on a different issue).

And he's found on a list of University Professors who have supported 9/11 conspiracy theories.

And if this didn't amuse you enough, here's a link to an old post of mine where I typed out a definition given by one of his Radical Orthdoxy contemporaries, Catherine Pickstock, of the concept of "transcendence".

philosoraptor42: (Default)

The slow, whiny death of British Christianity

Posted by Johann Hari 

And now congregation, put your hands together and give thanks, for I come bearing Good News. Britain is now the most irreligious country on earth. This island has shed superstition faster and more completely than anywhere else. Some 63 percent of us are non-believers, according to an ICM study, while 82 percent say religion is a cause of harmful division. Now, let us stand and sing our new national hymn: Jerusalem was dismantled here/ in England's green and pleasant land.

How did it happen? For centuries, religion was insulated from criticism in Britain. First its opponents were burned, then jailed, then shunned. But once there was a free marketplace of ideas, once people could finally hear both the religious arguments and the rationalist criticisms of them, the religious lost the British people. Their case was too weak, their opposition to divorce and abortion and gay people too cruel, their evidence for their claims non-existent. Once they had to rely on persuasion rather than intimidation, the story of British Christianity came to an end.

Read more... )

The article doesn't appear to get anything wrong, though it may contain a few sins of omission. Overall I think this article makes some extremely good points and their criticism of the activities of the former Archbishop of Canterbury since his retirement helps to explain why Rowan Williams is considered a liberal.

As far as the court ruling by Chief Justice Laws is concerned, there's a rather neat youtube vid about it:
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Last time I wrote about this, Conor Cunningham was just releasing his documentary "Did Darwin Kill God?" I responded to Conor Cunningham's interviews on the subject, having not yet got around to watching the documentary itself. I have since seen the documentary and can say pretty confidently that the book is, in all likelihood, a load of pointless waffle.

Last time I checked out Conor Cunningham's arguments he was claiming that eugenics is the social consequence of Darwinism (because clearly the whole principle of killing off the weaker members of society would never have been considered prior to Darwin's theory of evolution).

The main reasons I didn't comment on the tv documentary were firstly because it was so awful that I didn't think it was worth critiqueing and secondly because comments I found on various blogs were much more apt than I felt I could be. In the end, what would have been the point in adding another commentary about an old documentary that no one was likely to take an interest? However, now that this documentary has won an award and a new book is coming out, I feel it is necessary to express precisely why I think Cunningham's argument is load of old tripe.

Genesis and Early Christianity

Read more... )

Ussher and the KJV

Read more... )

Fossils In The Nineteenth Century

Read more... )

Darwin's Atheism

Read more... )

The Scopes Trial

Read more... )

Modern Creationism

Read more... )


Read more... )

I don't really think there's much point in reading Cunningham's book, but I've got a horrible feeling I'm going to be hearing a lot about it in the future. *groan*

Quick irrelevant side-note:

In my research for this I was interested discover the following note from Mrs. Darwin (annotating Charles Darwin's autobiography):
Nothing can be said too severe upon the doctrine of everlasting punishment for disbelief—but very few now wd. call that 'Christianity,' (tho' the words are there.)

~If there is a problem with the information I've found in wikipedia links please correct me (and them too preferably).~
philosoraptor42: (Default)
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been oddly silent about the recent moves to pass a new law in Uganda which will punish homosexuality with the death penalty . Meanwhile other members of the Anglican Church have been rather more vocal on the matter:
The Catholic Information further reveals that Christian Organizations are alarmed over the Bill. For example, among others, the Executive Council of the Anglican Church in Canada voted unanimously to oppose the Bill, that it is a “fundamental violation of human rights”. That 17th November was dedicated as international day for prayer on the issue. They are challenging their sympathizer, Archbishop (of Canterbury) Rowan to give his comment and stop it.

It is indeed appalling to read of all these and the agitation there in. It is indeed deplorable that humanity has or is nearing extinction just like the time of Noah and the flood in the Book of Genesis chapters 6 and 7. Yes the Lord Jesus prophesied of the last days that people will be lovers of self. Truly, humans have natural evil bent. They are bent to evil by nature. Laws, rules, commandments are in place geared towards saving man from own direction and destruction.
Those are the words of Bishop Joseph Abura of Karamoja Diocese (Province of the Anglican Church of Uganda).

More disgusting quotes from Bishop Joseph Abura under the cut... )
So far this probably sounds a bit mean of me. We all know that Rowan Williams' normal reaction to extreme views in the Anglican Church is to ignore it. His main aim has always been to bend over backwards for the sake of unity, hasn't it?

Well actually there was a recent issue for which he felt it was important to rush out a press release. The election of a new assistant bishop:
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has elected a lesbian as assistant bishop, the second openly gay bishop in the global Anglican fellowship, which is already deeply fractured over the first.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, said Sunday that the choice raised "very serious questions" for the divided church and urged restraint.
Actually, Rowan Williams exact words in his swift press release regarding this assistant bishops' election was as follows:
The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.
So what do we gauge from this? Well it seems that outright bigotry and prejudicial laws in Africa are happily ignored, while the election of an assistant bishop in America might lead to a loss of affection from the Archbishop. I doubt I'm the only person reading this shit who thinks Rowan Williams has a very odd set of priorities.

I felt that this message (left) was probably the best response to both Rowan Williams (right) and Bishop Joseph Abura.

(Via Andrew Brown's Blog)

Side-note on my original source... )

Cross-posted to atheism
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has done a lot that's annoyed me. He expressed support for the 'lower the time limit for abortion' movement which very nearly succeeded, he has always been cryptic on the issue of women bishops rather than giving them his full support and he has spoken out against secularism on a number of occasions.

All this being said, he has recently warned against giving too much support for faith-based activism:
Faith communities did not begin from a "clear Englightenment doctrine" of universal liberties, Williams said. "They are necessarily exclusive in the sense that they are committed to particular beliefs that not everyone shares. There is always a suspicion that they will favour their own or that they are using aid and development as a vehicle for propaganda on behalf of their own convictions, a cloak for proselytism.

"The development agency may come to see religion as a positive obstacle to liberation. Faced with the rise of aggressive religious conservatism all this longstanding unease becomes more sharply focused."

Read more... )

(Via BHA)

Cross-posted to Atheism
philosoraptor42: (Default)
In my last few posts about Pat Condell, I accused him of being racist, xenophobic and even sexist. However, while what Pat had to say was most certainly racist, xenophobic and sexist in sentiment, his latest video suggests that he's actually suffering from paranoid delusions. How can I hold a man responsible for his words and actions when he is so thoroughly detached from reality?

His latest video claims that priests are part of a totalitarian system whereby they use religion to increase their own power and to control the populace. He claims that priests are making huge amounts of money and demonstrates this by the fact that certain Archbishops, as well as the pope, live in palaces.

The problem is that this simply doesn't ring true to anyone who actually ever listened to a sermon in an actual church. The priests aren't in some special upper class within society. It's also difficult to claim that their modest collections are part of some kind of racket when Church buildings are falling into disrepair and the biggest source of money for the Anglican Church is land ownership, not contributions on Sundays.

Now I'm a big fan of Nietzsche and he has a few passages where he talks about the oppression by "the priest", but this is an ideological oppression which Nietzsche even recognises is somewhat masochistic in nature. I find it funny that even Mitchell and Webb provide a more realistic impression of the clergy than Pat Condell provides (which also puts pay to the idea that Condell's argument only seems ridiculous because he's exaggerating for comic effect):

It's certainly true that, having achieved the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams lives in a palace. However, this is part of a long tradition passed down from a time when the Archbishop of Canterbury was a leading advisor to the King. Far from being a sign of modern corruption, it's a remnant of the medieval hierarchy. Even if it weren't the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace would still be in the same situation as today whereby it has regular guided tours, only it would probably be in posession of the National Trust rather than the Church of England.

Now for a great deal of the video Pat Condell makes some sensible points. The thing is, we've heard all this stuff before and last time it wasn't sandwiched by utter nonsense. So let's go through the true statements in the video that we've heard many time before, followed by summing up the more ridiculous claims of the video.


Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)
They've decided to put forward their first ever radio advert - and it's AWFUL!

Come as you are,

It’s not hard y’know

Just walk… back

'Cause I see the sun rising over you

You might have left for so many reasons

But am I wrong to sense that now’s the season?

Don’t look to make no airs and graces

Faked up smiles and masked up faces

No need to make no innovation

Please accept this as your invitation

Come as you are….

People lose touch with Church for all sorts of reasons. This Sunday you’re a VIP. We’re inviting you back! Back To Church Sunday is this Sunday at your local Christian Church.

The poem actually sounds much MUCH worse in the advert itself.

A week-long radio campaign, running the ad three times a day, is likely to cost anything from £400 to £900, depending on the size of the station, he added.

"The Church of England has never done anything like this. We wanted people to reassess the way they look at the Church, and remind them that it is time to think again," Wilson said.

It might be time to think again, but not about this. This advert is horrendous.

Click here if you are wondering where the money's come from... )x posted to [ profile] atheism


Nov. 1st, 2008 03:19 pm
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, I've just randomly run into this article by Giles Fraser, a vicar who writes for The Guardian and he has just revealed something which I had suspected but hadn't been sure on until now.

Several months ago, I was working in a Register Office. There I discovered that there is a strict ban, not only within civil marriages but the building as a whole, on anything religious. The whole area is strictly secular. I found myself wondering what the point of this was, since surely the British Humanist Association hadn't campaigned for this and why would anyone want to limit the freedom of expression within non-religious marriages?

The actual rule is as follows:
"The law will not permit the use of any wording, readings or music which may have religious connotations at a civil marriage."

Read more... )


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