I wouldn't want to be a girl in the age of Tinder

Smartphone romance is all swipes, clicks and sexts. And real life is going the same way

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

My foray into the world of online dating was short-lived. Within a few hours of my profile going live, a deluge of young men in their early twenties began to bombard me with messages.

I was shocked and somewhat delighted. At my age, I had expected mostly sad widowers and maybe the odd divorced equine veterinarian, encouraged by the pictures of me on my horses. To attract a clamour of Ashton Kutchers was beyond my wildest dreams because, although I was now undoubtedly in the cougar age group, I really hadn’t seen myself as a Demi Moore.

When I opened the messages, however, any notion that these handsome young men were about to whisk me on a romantic dinner date, then marry me on a windswept beach, evaporated.

I can’t quote the messages exactly, because I deleted them, but the gist of them was this: ‘Hey there, you hot 40-something Milf! I bet you could teach a college student like me a thing or two! What are you doing tonight? How about we get together at your place? (We can’t meet at mine because my parents are home tonight). What’s your address?’

In other words, these eager young bucks were cutting straight to the chase. Actually, to be more accurate, they weren’t bothering with the chase. They were cutting straight to the kill. I had to inform them that, despite my advanced years, I knew nothing interesting whatsoever to do in bed, unless you counted eating club sandwiches while watching old box sets of Columbo.

But they weren’t all asking for sex that very night. Some of them demanded I send them a sample picture of the goods before they decided whether to come round. ‘How very dare you!’ I replied, before shutting down my profile.

I quickly realised that, no matter how it started, online dating — and possibly all dating, because most dating is online now— had become pornographic in its pared-down urgency. No dinner, no dancing. Just sexting — followed by actual sex if you were lucky.

Welcome to love in the age of instant gratification. Since the dawn of the digital era, dating has become so focused on the immediate and the mechanical that the possibility for romance has been extinguished.

And now there’s Tinder, the smartphone app offering you thousands of possible dates in your area, where you click on the photos of the ones you fancy. This is speed dating taken to the extreme, based on looks alone. It is choosing a person as you would choose an apple or a potato — ooh, this one’s a bit lumpy, throw it back.

I don’t worry too much on my account. At least I’ve had romance. Back in the Eighties, it was quite the thing. But for young people trying to find a mate now, there is only the brutal marketplace of Tinder and Snapchat. iLove is all they know.

Last week, a 14-year-old boy became the youngest person in Britain to be prosecuted under so-called revenge porn laws. His 15-year-old girlfriend had sent him naked pictures of herself and when they broke up he sold the pictures on Facebook for a tenner. So she sued him. A real 2.0 love story.

The boy’s actions are shocking, of course. But perhaps the real scandal is that kids are growing up in an environment where it is normal to send each other naked pictures. Whereas once a girl felt confident to slap a man’s face when he went too far, now women increasingly feel pressured to comply with demands to cheapen themselves.

Consequently, what young people know about romance you could write on a Tinder profile. The ancient art of courtship is dying. They don’t understand the need for a narrative, that something else must be going on apart from the sex — like rescuing, if you want to be traditional.

Do today’s teenagers even know about Richard Gere in his white navy uniform sweeping Debra Winger off her feet? Or Deborah Kerr asking Yul Brynner to dance? Or Julie Andrews falling for Christopher Plummer as he sings Edelweiss?

I doubt it. If Maria were on Tinder now, she’d swipe away von Trapp’s image with one flick of her index finger. ‘Ooh, no. Too intense-looking.’

As for Romeo, he would stand beneath Juliet’s balcony and exclaim: ‘But soft! what light from yonder window breaks?

‘It is the iPhone 6, and Juliet is reading my sext!

‘Get your kit off, fair lady, and send me a picture of your tits!’

Of course, modern life being hurried, we need to arrange dates quickly and move on if they don’t work. Your average career girl doesn’t have time to amble along with a guy who isn’t going to offer baby-making services after six months of dating, a year tops. Fine, I get that.

But even fixing people up in an artificial way used to be more romantic. When I was a student, I worked for a dating agency during the summer. It was the old-fashioned kind, with an office full of ring binders featuring women in their thirties and forties and men who just wanted to ‘have fun and explore the world with that special lady’.

We put these hopefuls together with lots of tactical thought about how they might mix, personality-wise. Remember personality? It was big in the Nineties. It used to be what counted before online porn made men want their sexual partners to look like Paris Hilton.

People picked each other at this dating agency by flicking through photos. But we often persuaded clients to meet those they weren’t immediately attracted to. Often, these were the happiest pairings. The marriage rate was impressive.

Perhaps that’s the point. People don’t want long-lasting relationships any more. They want quick and disposable flings. They want virtual not real.

Which brings me back to sexting. Like most women, I’ve been on the receiving end of this. Some years ago, a male friend started pestering me to send him naked pictures. But whenever I put it to him that I was single, and he was single, and that we could always meet up and go on a date, he always backed off. He didn’t want sex, you see. He wanted sext.

Sext is not sex. It is its own particular creature. Like a digital photo that never gets printed out, a sext session pleases a certain kind of man precisely because it doesn’t exist in reality. It is the lowest maintenance human contact possible. And, above all, it is fast.

The same goes for Tinder, which boasts: ‘It’s like real life, but better.’ A more honest slogan would be: ‘It’s like real life, but less bother.’ You would think, wouldn’t you, that the site was confined to young people? You would hope it didn’t impinge upon the middle-aged or the elderly.

I’m afraid to tell you that a friend of mine, aged 50, has put himself on Tinder. Stung by a bad divorce, he decided to get himself out there. Flick, flick, flick, he goes, his finger pushing at his iPhone screen as he trawls through the endless photos of hopeful-looking women attempting seductive pouts.

‘No, no, no,’ he says, as he flicks them away, dismissing one smiley face after another as they fly past his view in the most fleeting of split seconds.

‘But how do you know? Hang on, that one looks OK,’ I say.

‘No good. Mad eyes.’ Flick, flick, flick.

Occasionally, he meets one he likes the look of and they go on a date. If he has to spend too much on dinner in return for too little action, he doesn’t see her again.

The best result, the ultimate Tinder hit, he assures me, is a woman who puts out after a meal costing less than £15 a head. Nando’s and a handos, you might call it.

Like most people on Tinder, he often insists that he is looking for love, but I’m not convinced. The women might be looking for love, but not the men. Every now and then, he tells me I ought to get myself on it. I tell him I’d rather put myself inside the main auction pen at Hailsham cattle market.

The worse thing is that the Tinder contagion is spreading. The flick, flick, flick attitude has taken hold in clubs and bars. No one chats you up any more unless you are exactly what they are looking for, physically speaking.

A friend tells me that she recently saw a young guy in a bar making a leftwards swiping gesture with his hand to his male friend every time they saw a girl they didn’t fancy. ‘He was swiping them away like they were faces on his phone screen,’ she said.

Don’t judge the guy too harshly. The Tinder generation doesn’t know how to get to know you. They have been encouraged to shop online for their ideal mate, guaranteed next-day delivery. They have been led to believe that if they google enough they will find just what they want.

As I say, I don’t worry for myself. My dating days are over bar the shouting, thank goodness. But for today’s young people, it’s a tragedy. For them, the endless choice on the screen is an illusion.

Locked in their virtual dating world, the faces on their iPhones flick past ever faster. There are thousands to get excited about. It’s just The One who isn’t there.

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Show comments
  • Billy Bambrough

    TL;DR – Back in my day people dated properly. Society’s changing and I don’t like it

    Thanks, dead insightful

    • Cooper1992

      If an article is too long then why bother commenting on it?

      Perhaps you should think about leaving the Spectator and moving over to Twitter if a 500 word article is too much for you to dedicate any attention to.

      With an attitude like yours you would think that you are around 20 years old, but judging by your photo you look over 60.

      Still you should be at home on the 180 character Twitter ————> http://www.twitter.com

      • Damaris Tighe

        When the Spectator occasionally republishes pieces from 30 years ago or older, you can see that even this venerable organ has shortened its articles. The paragraphs are much shorter too, reflecting our atrophied attention span.

        I recently saw the original version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on DVD having seen it first time round on the BBC. I was struck by the – by today’s standards – very long monologues & scenes although I took them for granted in the late 70s. We all did as the series was very popular. Compare & contrast with, for example, Downton Abbey.

        • frank marker

          Very true. I guess that’s why old school series like Wolf Hall have seen a drop in viewing figures. No quick moving flashy camera angles, no bodice ripping and not much violence.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Really? That’s very sad. I noticed they put it on BBC2, not BBC1. The lighting is beautiful: the dinner table scene (I think it was episode 2) with Thomas More at the head was like a Rembrandt painting.

          • Nicholas_Keen

            The Sopranos had a lot of painterly composition, sometimes with a biblical feel.

          • Nicholas_Keen

            The wide screen format of modern television has encouraged a different approach to framing, composition and movement, much as cinemascope did with film. I am watching a replay of Jewel in the Crown at the moment, which shows that the narrow format can be a rich format (look at Black Narcissus on film).

          • post_x_it

            You should go and see Inherent Vice then. It uses a narrow screen format and it’s lovely. 90% of the time you can barely tell what’s going on.

          • Nicholas_Keen

            It’s 1.85:1, similar to the 16:9 TV wide screen format. I am reading either 1.37 or 1.33:1 for Black Narcissus, similar to the old TV screen dimensions.

      • Mark Leone

        TL;DR given as a prefix to a comment is not meant to assert that the commenter didn’t read the article, but to offer a summary for someone who might find it too long and not want to read it. In my work as a software engineer, we often follow our own technical posts to team members with a TL;DR clause, so someone who doesn’t want to read all the details can at least get the gist of what we did.

        I don’t agree with Billy Bambrough’s reduction of the article; but I don’t think he’s saying that he didn’t read it.

  • Builder boyfriend

    On line dating? How sad,try being a real man guys. Get off the date a rich mans ex wife sites and go meet a woman in a bar or pub even the park?. I have never had to use a dating site because I love women and act like a man, most women just want a real man to look after them and take them out to nice places!. Not ask them for 50 shades of gray via a dating site. My point is the old ways work everytime, or just pay a nice working Girl some cash and get a happy ending ha ha. Ps Melissa kite on a dating site? What you need is some loving baby,err and maybe 50 shades of gray after dinner.

    • Solage 1386

      When I worked as a Soho prostitute, I would have disagreed with your highly subtle analysis. Now, at 94, I am forced to agree! We live and learn. There is hope for me yet!

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        On your own, dearie?

        • Solage 1386

          Well, not quite…….A life-long gerontophiliac, I have so arranged my life that I……..but no, I cannot continue! Modesty forbids it! (Well, okay, since you insist…….I am visited twice a week by a gang of octogenarians who use me as a slave! There’s life in the old boys yet! A Grizzly Granny Tranny, Solage triumphs! There, I’ve said it!)

          • Damaris Tighe

            Dear Solage, what would we do without your, ahem, unique posts! I imagine you as a bit like Quentin Crisp.

          • Solage 1386

            “A man can only be considered attractive if his neck is thicker than his head”. Mr Crisp’s wise words will–I am certain–offer much hope to the male readership of The Spectator, many of whom can be assumed to be rather thick-necked!
            A bit like Quentin Crisp? You flatter me……Arthur Mullard or Bernard Manning would be nearer the mark, though I was when younger often mistaken for Mrs Shufflewick, Hilda Brackett, and Dr Evadne Hinge! Tricky for me, as I worked as a hod-carrier on a building site!

        • On your own in Japan since the year 2004, “Andrew Milner”, “Jackthesmilingblack”, et cetera, et cetera…

      • I don’t somehow believe you entirely, but then what do I know?!

        Back in your time, were “tart cards” around?!

        • Solage 1386

          Yes, indeed they were. Mine, written in Welsh and Arabic (the Madam was half Welsh/half Arab) are now collector’s items……Understanding neither language, I never knew exactly what “erotic delights” I was promising to my prospective clients……..This led to many a tricky and rather indelicate situation. Common decency forbids me from revealing more……I am sure you will understand my reticence.

          • The Sport is still in print, and they must still have plenty of stories if I wanted more of this particular genre.

            I don’t know. Supposing yours were the real article, I am still an old-fashioned sort of a chap, who would rather prefer ladies (especially over a certain age) who are not so brazen about it all.

          • Solage 1386

            Great age liberates the mind, you fuddy-duddy you!

          • Steady on, dear girl!

      • Who pays for your alcohol budget? It must be prodigious. As for your ‘intimates’, I think you must have meant ‘inmates’. Still, if you are 94 (or 97, as you say elsewhere), it won’t be long yet.

        • Solage 1386

          One grows confused with age…….the meths doesn’t help either, though it is surprisingly cheap! Its colour appeals to me. Incidentally, I have been intimate with inmates, having once spent time in the nick. Ah, memories……..

      • Builder boyfriend

        Boy meets Girl is all we all Dream of at the end of the day or even boy meets boy or Girl meets Girl. life is to fast now,no one even says hi to Anyone on the street anymore in London!.Never mind the Art of chatting someone up face to face. Why not try it tomorrow you my meet the love of your life?.God bless and good night from The Builder boyfriend.

        • Solage 1386

          Boy meets boy will do for this Welsh Trollope, Builder. Nos Dda!

    • Guest

      So that were I was going wrong. Next time I will swing upside down from some scaffolding and beat my chest like a good macho man. Way to go fella!

      • Builder boyfriend

        sorry to say it but lots of women like Builder Types!,Dirty cows ha ha,point in case! just split up with the last one and got my phone ringing of the wall! so yer best hang off some scaffolding mate,sorry am only pulling you off mate err bet your use to that by now hahahaha .like I say find a nice Girl and tell her she looks fantastic and you would love to buy her dinner one night! it only takes one to say yes,there are so many great Girls out there, looking for mr Right,sorry got to go phones ringing again its some lady called your mum!.best of luck from The Builder boyfriend.

  • JSC

    “Remember personality? It was big in the Nineties.” […] ‘No good. Mad eyes.’

    Personality goes a long way, but if there’s madness in their eyes I suggest you turn around and run like a 150 MB broadband connection.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    The current young generation scare the living bejeezus out of me. When they have their hands on the levers of power we’ll all be screwed but not in the Tinder sense of the word. I don’t want to generalize, but many of them are simply not human, just animals that look like humans. Evolution has slammed the family car into reverse gear and we’re heading for the nearest ditch.

    When we all come to, it’ll be a brave new world, that is if they don’t ‘assist’ us all to die first.

    • justejudexultionis

      It is their atheism that is most appalling, and complete naivety of what awaits this country due to the exponential growth of the Islamic population.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        Yes they think that by chasing Christianity away that it will be replaced by the peaceful and logical morality of Hitch and Dawkins. In reality they’re merely creating a vacuum and something more sinister will fill it.

        • Hear hear.

        • RD Watimes

          Convenient ignorance of history (and everything else) by these bigots blinds them to the inconvenient truth that this “enlightened” “new morality” fabricated by Darwin & Dawkins et al (ably long refuted at http://www.creation.com, for the few with brains enough to comprehend the refutation) is rather merely the same old recycled old pagan deviltry with satan laughing at his fools as he screws is useful idiot slaves, enjoying their screams of endless agony on their way to burn forever in an eternal Christless hell. May merciful God awaken and free them from their stupor unto the living Christ and joyous eternity in heaven with Him. See http://www.desiringGod.org for a true, rich presentation of the true faith of Christ too often lacking today. Also http://www.hopeinGod.org & http://www.thevillagechurch.net/resources/sermons

          • Donald

            Is “Creation.com” done by the same people who write for “theonion.com”? I honestly can’t tell if your post is a parody of the hyper-fundamentalist crazy people or not.

        • BetrayedRosse

          When I went to school in the 1970s, a regular English comprehensive, we would have a full school assembly once a week. We might have still been bleary from being up watching a late BBC2 re-run of ‘Double Indemnity’ but we were awake and alert enough to listen to the headmaster’s message. Occasionally, it was a general tale, sometimes, a direct tale from the Bible, such as the Parable of the Talents or the Good Samaritan. For those who didn’t get the message, we’d get a Columbo style sum up and relation to modern times. It gave regular everyday people not a blind insistence to follow God, it just gave us a sense of decency. Then the Liberal left got hold of positions of power. Religion was passe. “We don’t ‘do’ God” Blair famously said, whilst importing millions from the third world who very much DID do God.
          So, we developed generations of children, already devoid of basic moral guidance in the broken homes they came from, being denied having that basic seed of good character planted in their minds. The only religious teachings they’re now given is Jews wear funny hats and Islam is a glorious religion of peace. That and the insistent strict diets of other religions means they can forget sausage and chips in the canteen at lunchtime. All the while, big houses, old run down schools, working mens clubs, even church halls, were being turned into places of specific religious schooling, churches were being knocked down or turned into ‘cool’ living spaces, new spires emerged in our cities, huge great towers visible for miles and topped with a dark green iced gem. The We Don’t Do God generation, now squeezed through the bottleneck of University indoctrocation marvel at them. Its OK to believe in a mythical omnipotent as long as its not the one they were supposed to relate to. Its completely phobic to oppose such things… because religions just shit, right? Unless its defending terrorist attacks then not only isit acceptable, whole swathes of people come out to distance the actions of gunmen as extremists and ‘nothing to do with the religion of peace’. Well the idiots better wise up, because these kids aren’t sitting round yawning along to the parable of the talents in the mosques and madrassas, they’re being filled with hate for the very people who come to their defence. Still religions just a load of shit, right? So there’s nothing to worry about.

      • Solage 1386

        Christianity, like Judaism and Islam, is a false doctrine. If you are a believer, then you have truly wasted your life. There can be no remedy for this. It is too late.

        • Mark Leone

          Your assertion is false. There. See how easy it is to refute someone without an argument.

          • Solage 1386

            I refute your refutation! You may refute mine in return. I refute, you refute, we refute…….This can go on for ever more……If a God does exist, does it matter? Does He matter? Does anything matter? How can we prove that it does or does not matter? What’s the matter? I don’t know. What criteria do we use to answer such questions? Is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Eternal Mind possible? Mmmm…..that’s a tricky one. Five pink gins from now and all will be clear. Cheers!

          • Mark Leone

            I wouldn’t try to prove to you that God exists. I was just trying to say that you can’t prove that he doesn’t. I believe that the question of how one comes to believe in God is very different from the question of how one who believes defends his/her belief. I’m confident in my faith, which I experience as something substantive, not a wish or dream—but I don’t claim to know how to bring someone else to the same convictions. I don’t think gin will do it; but maybe scotch. Cheers to you also!

          • Solage 1386

            Could a God create a rock which He Himself could not lift? Could a God make 2+2=5? Could a God be capable of committing evil? All Powerful? Bah!

          • Mark Leone

            God cannot do any of those things. Omnipotence as described in the Bible is the property of being able to do all things consistent with his nature, which is both Holy (moral, in human terms) and rational. He can’t make a square circle, and he can’t lie. He is neither capricious and above law, nor subject to a higher law. He is a law unto himself, and he is perfectly faithful to that law. Omnipotence for him is the power to do all that he chooses to do; but he always chooses in a manner consistent with his nature.

          • Nicholas_Keen

            But as the song goes, “what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game”.

          • Mark Leone

            I’m puzzled by a lot of things, but I haven’t mentioned any of them here.

          • Nicholas_Keen

            What is God’s essential nature?

          • Guest

            Lack of foreknowledge.

          • gerontius redux

            I almost read that as lack of foreskin

          • Solage 1386

            Whoo, whoo…..!

          • Solage 1386

            But how can we be sure that His Nature is good? The Universe is imperfect. Does this mean that its Creator is imperfect too? Also, surely an Omnipotent Being should be able to do whatever It pleases to do, since It created the Universe and every possibility inherent within it? It could abolish every law if It so desired, and make the impossible possible……By saying that God cannot lie, you have set limits to His omnipotence. Is He the slave of His own Nature?
            ………and so infinitely on………..a maze of abstractions…..

            A wise God would annihilate both Himself and all of His Creation. I would, though I am not wise. The Infinite Mind is infinitely wrong! Time for another pink gin and further mindless cogitation! The Truth is out there somewhere.

          • RD Watimes

            As C.S. Lewis in his “The Problem of Pain” (and countless other great Christian apologists) has wisely remarked re such self-deceived/deceiving, mentally incompetent asininity, merely prefacing nonsense with “Can God” doesn’t turn it into sense; nonsense remains nonsense even when you talk it about the omnipotent God. When you stand before Him in His Judgment your present leninist useful idiot cockiness will fail you and you will be terrified out of your gourd in horror as you await his sentencing to burn in agony forever in a Christless eternal hell for your evil life you yourself will knowingly confess is true, unless, please God, we pray more He grants you the eternal life in heaven found only in Jesus His Son, Soli Deo gloria! See http://www.desiringGod.org and http://www.thevillagechurch.net

          • Solage 1386

            I’m looking forward to it, mate! I want to be mounted by Lucifer, to feel his cloven hooves on my shoulders! You see, I was born evil, I’m afraid…….In the meanwhile, d’you fancy a pink gin? It’ll do you the world of good. Cheers!

          • kevinlynch1005

            i may be wrong here, but you appear to have a profoundly depressing idea of what “God” might be ie. capricious and vengeful. You sound like the sort of person who “does good” only because you think some higher power is watching you. Your motives aren’t pure. And finally, I presume your “church” is the sort of entity that advertises on TV and solicits foolish (or desperate) people’s credit card details!

          • RD Watimes

            C.s. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain is a good apologetic for the “can an omnipotent God make a rock so heavy he can’t lift it” nonsense, where he simply explodes the asininity with the astute observation that nonsense doesn’t suddenly become sense merely by prefacing it with “Can God,” nonsense still being nonsense, even when talked about God. Soli Deo gloria! Today’s practically total ignorance of history and practically everything else is about the only thing that keeps such asninity going, for if they had even the slightest grasp of the utterly annihilating, overwhelming superiority of Christian or even theist philosophy and argument vs atheism they wouldn’t even try their opposition that is only sustained by lust for $ sex & power and controlling the microphone. Lenin’s “useful idiot” evolutionists lost the rational argument to us creationists decades ago and only hypocritically dishonestly corruptly continue their illusory “superiority” by controlling the microphone, shutting off debate, the old, invalid argumentum ad baculum (argument of the stick or club, typical bullying tactic laughably hypocritically screamed against when others do it), which ironically so doesn’t work such that a majority still don’t buy their bs so long ago refuted at such as http://www.creation.com and http://www.trueorigin.org, though sadly some of the most gullible “useful idiots” in that regard are professing “christians” manifestly incapable of critical or even rational thinking regarding the proven evolution fraud, the proven incompetence of radioactive dating, sadly even my seminary profs, ironically proving Romans 1 they themselves cluelessly preach even about themselves without getting it, proving God’s all we have to rely on, certainly not our own senses and (lack of) reason. Soli Deo gloria!

          • Solage 1386

            Beware the deceptive pleasures of monomania.

          • Perhaps the really important question is not whether or not a ‘divine’ being exists, but whether we can know anything about it. In particular, is it a rewarding and punishing god? The onus is on the religious to show that god has such a character.

          • Mark Leone

            I don’t know, both are quite fundamental and critical questions. Is there a God? If so, can that God be known?

            I would suggest that if a personal, omnipotent God exists, then whether or not that God is knowable is entirely at such a God’s pleasure. So I say again that I do not presume to prove such a God’s existence, and all I can argue about God’s knowability is that it is certainly neither impossible nor illogical that if the God of the Bible exists, he can make his nature known to his creatures. And while it wouldn’t make sense to say that we can know an infinite God fully, I see no contradiction in in saying that he can be known truly, so far as he is willing to be known.

            Now I cannot prove as well that the rewarding/punishing God revealed in the Bible exists. But I will observe first in passing that such a formulation is reductionistic, because it doesn’t comprehend the Biblical revelation of a God who also takes the punishment on himself. Nevertheless I cannot prove his existence or that he has such a character, any more than the non=theist can prove that he does not exist, or any other theist can prove that he has any other character.

            This does not have to be the end of the matter, because I believe we can speak of signposts, even though absolute proof eludes us. The non-theist has large problems that cannot be overcome except by borrowing assertions from the theist or Christian worldview. That we exist at all, that we are conscious, that we perceive deep meaning in our existence and the existence of others, that we live with a sense of righteousness and guilt, that we assign more value to human life than can be explained by matter animated by a principal inherent in it, the non-theist has great problems in explaining these things.

            I know that there are answers give, but they are prima facie unsatisfying and contrived. On the other hand, Christianity answers these questions naturally and in a way that satisfies one who for whatever reason accepts the premise of the existence of the God of the Bible,

            I think that’s the best I can do wrt the onus you assigned, though I don’t accept that such a proof is uniquely required of the theist.

          • doesn’t comprehend the Biblical revelation of a God who also takes the punishment on himself

            Please see my comment above. Since he foresaw or could/should have foreseen the outcome, how are we obliged to him? He didn’t merely take the punishment; he created it — and one could say that if he were human this would be rightly perceived as the highest form of manipulation and bullying!

          • Mark Leone

            Sorry for the log reply to your other post. I’ll keep this one brief. The reason it is not bullying is that the Son and the father agreed to it. The Son was not manipulated into it, and neither was the father coerced into forgiving people he was still mad at.

            The persons of the Trinity operate in perfect harmony and love, though there is along with the distinction of their persons a mutually voluntary subordination of function.

            This is a very dense summary of something that has been dealt with coherently through the ages. A perspicuous consensus arose during the first centuries of the church, and the Biblical faithfulness of that consensus has been affirmed and strengthened by a diverse set of commentators though the centuries that followed.

          • Thanks, Mark.

          • Mark Leone

            Sorry, one more thought, on your question about why we are obliged to Jesus, since as God he both appointed and took the punishment. My answer is that the obligation we have to Christ is just the obligation that we have to a cup of water when we are thirsty, which is to drink it. What I mean is that it’s not an obligation like Jesus saying “Ok you did what I asked of you, so you get to be saved”. It’s rather that all who are united to Christ have his righteousness imputed to them, and faith is the instrument by which we take hold of him.

          • Ed_Burroughs

            Russel’s teapot; I cant prove that unicorns don’t exist.

          • Mark Leone

            You seem to be assuming that my reasons for believing in God are only the lack of a negative proof. I wrote earlier about signposts and a comparison of worldviews, how the Christian worldview explains why we find meaning, love, beauty, etc in life, while the non-theistic view has only unsatisfying and contrived explanations for these things.

            A good test of a worldview is

            1) where it takes you by a logical extension of its precepts
            2) whether it gives you an adequate basis for your highest aspirations

            When atheism and theism, esp. Christianity, are compared on this basis, there is much more to recommend the Christian worldview than a failure to prove the non-existence of God, the similar failure in the case if unicorns notwithstanding.

          • Tom

            How can worshipping Yaweh, a bronze age warlord, give you meaning to life? What absurd nonsense. Your indoctrinational bias is too prominent.

          • Mark Leone

            I don’t accept your hugely reductionistic characterization, so your conclusion based on such a faulty premise has nothing to recommend itself.

            “Indoctrinational” is a pejorative term, implying that I’m just repeating what I was taught without conducting my own rational thought process. It’s also a cheap way of discrediting someone without actually engaging in his arguments, an indirect of ad-hominem.

            What evidence do you have to make such a charge? If you think that the mere fact of holding settled convictions on Christian theology means I’ve been indoctrinated, then perhaps you’re exhibiting a little indoctrination on your end.

          • Tom

            “I’m confident in my faith” is a contradiction in terms. Faith is inherently wish thinking and therefore your confidence is part of the same self delusion. Smug would be more befitting.

          • Mark Leone

            There’s a difference between asserting a position and arguing it. You’ve done the former, while I’ve presented lots of arguments for my position in this thread, to which you have not responded. Asserting without arguing theism as wish-fulfillment levies the same possibility on atheism. It could just as well be asserted that atheism is wish-fulfillment for people who want to do what they want and not be accountable to a higher authority. But arguing a position instead of asserting it is a better way to proceed.

            As it is, I think you have a non-Christian concept of faith—which of course is understandable if you’re not a Christian. But if you’re going to critique my arguments, you should critique the position I hold, and not a concept foreign to my belief system.

            The Bible defines faith as based on something concrete. Though used in popular discourse by non-Christians as if it is something in itself, the Bible everywhere discusses faith as having an object. The Greek preposition used with it is translated literally as “into”, connoting the believer putting their faith inside the thing they are believing in. A rational process of apprehending, analyzing, assessing, and understanding the thing believed in is a antecedent to Christian faith, without which such faith cannot exist.

            You seem to have a strange definition of “smug”. Can you tell me what makes someone smug? I can’t help thinking that for you that means “believing in something with full conviction, even if you’re willing to give reasons for it, listen to reasons against it, and explain why you still believe what you do after debating with others.”

          • RD Watimes

            Two of us refute your asininity, as you haven’t given and likely can’t give a genuine, rational refutation, merely being an ignorant, arrogant bigot, Lenin’s useful idiot and satan’s fool, C.S. Lewis’s Fairy Hardcastle in That Hideous Strength. God forbid that your end be as hideous as hers, writhing in agony, too stupid to come in out of the rain. Your laughably bigoted, arrogant, drug-dream delusion of mental incompetence even you yourself obviously don’t hold is self-refuting and you know it’s a lie. May God open your eyes to your delusion. Soli Deo gloria!

          • Solage 1386

            I’m not intellectually superior! I stopped going to skool at 12, and work as a part-time Bog Cleaner………..As I brandish my toilet brush and bottle of detergent, I caterwaul at the top of my voice organa and conductii from the Magnus Liber Organi (12th-13th Centuries). I also adore browsing through Eusebius, Augustine, and the works of the 14th Century English mystics as I munch a bap on my lunch break. I am a Satanist.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            That’s what I say when those Midwest missionaries ask me what church I attend. “We got some great rituals.”
            Oh, and Augustine was a dickhead that put back scientific discovery by a good 1,200 years by insisting the Earth was flat. Eratosthenes had proved the Earth was a sphere in around 240BC.

        • Johan Strand

          Stupid people need guidance.

          In the absence of religion, patriarchy or strong government – who will provide this?

          • Gwangi

            Read some philosophy from the past 4000 years. Most things Christianity claimed as its own (‘do unto others’ etc) predate Christianity and come from earlier ‘pagan’ cultures.
            It is Enlightenment (AKA Western) values that we need to defend fearlessly, not the church or ANY irrational religion which just wants power over people like in the gold old days (when they burnt witches and tortured and killed millions).

          • Mark Leone

            Christianity doesn’t claim to have invented anything except the revelation of Jesus Christ as God incarnate dying for the sins of his people and offering forgiveness of sin on that basis. “Do unto others” may be presented as a significant doctrine of Christianity in a bad Sunday School class.

            The uniqueness that Christianity claims for itself is not a moral code that no one ever thought of, but that God himself would take the punishment for his people failing to live up to the moral code endemic to his nature. You don’t have to believe that doctrine, of course, but the assertion that this constitutes the uniqueness of Christianity is an empirical fact readily ascertained by at least a semi-serious reading of the Bible.

          • Jesus Christ as God incarnate dying for the sins of his people and offering forgiveness of sin on that basis.
            But: since God doesn’t really die — he’s God after all — and since he presumably foresaw the whole thing and in that sense set it up — what you’re saying is that Christianity is a plea for our compassion on false grounds, and anyway just how much belief does compassion compel? My relative dies saving me from the sea: am I obliged therefore to believe everything he believed or talked about? THAT is the irrational nub of Christianity, in my view. In short: Jesus died. So what? [Incidentally: there is no reason to believe that ‘Jesus’ was a historical figure, and there is no historical evidence, I do mean none, for his existence.]

          • Mark Leone

            What you’re describing is similar to what has been called the “moral example” theory of the cross. It is very much a defective view of the meaning of Jesus’s death, for the reasons you stated, and others as well. The Scripture makes plain what is the meaning of the cross, but it is rejected or obfuscated by many because it is offensive to us in our desire to be in some measure the author or maintainer of our own righteousness.

            The meaning is simply that Jesus dies in our place. Because God is just, he must punish sin, which is in its essence a repudiation of his nature. The argument given by the apostle Paul is that God could not call himself the judge of the world if he left sin unpunished. And yet he is merciful as well, and so he takes upon himself a body, and in that body he dies the death that was pronounced as our judgment. The Bible teaches that this is an actual substitution, so that God would be unjust if he were to punish any of his people for their sin, since Jesus already took the punishment.

            Thus it is not merely an example or a statement of God’s love or his fortitude, etc. It is an accomplishment in history of something that is necessary for your salvation. If it did not happen, then no one is saved from their sins. This is stated explicitly in the Scripture more than once. In the cross the wisdom of God is seen in that he finds a way to be just and the justifier of his people. But the cross is offensive to anyone who is not willing to rely 100% on God for their righteousness. This is an offense that committed Christians also wrestle with, as we constantly find ourselves wanting to contribute something to our salvation; and preaching (if it is done properly) will constantly remind us that we bring nothing to the exchange but the sin to be forgiven of.

            As I type this, I’m aware that it raises even more questions, more than would be appropriate for me to answer in a forum such as this. Doctrines such as the Trinity and the dual nature of Christ are not easy to explain in a few paragraphs. Though Christianity has been caricatured as simplistic, mindless, irrational, etc the fact is that it is a complex (not complicated) system. And just as any other system of thought would appear contradictory and confusing if we perused it and raised questions about the things that struck us as problematic, so does Christianity require a full and patient reading in order to see its coherence and beauty.

            I don’t mean that as a cop-out. I’ll be happy to explain more fully if you’re interested; but I don’t want to take advantage of your kindness in listening patiently to the defense of a system you find problematic.

            As for the historicity of Jesus, I think the historical record is exactly as you would expect it to be given what the New testament says happened. Why would the historians of the day have taken notice in any way except what they did? And here I must disagree with your statement that the evidence is “none”. Ignoring some sources that are sometimes adduced but likely forgeries, there are a couple credible records in Roman history of the execution of Jesus. And the Jewish Talmud certainly attests to his having lived, describing him as someone executed for sorcery, which is exactly what you would expect the Jewish leaders of his day to say.

            So we have one dead would-be messiah, from a worldly standpoint. I can give you the sources if you like, but even contemporary enemies of Jesus in the apostolic days attest to that. The important question then is what happened to the body? Certainly if those who were doing all they could to silence the new faith could have found the body they would have produced it; but they did not. So then maybe the disciples hid the body, as the Jewish tradition claims. But I submit that this is an irrational assumption, which is only made to avoid contemplating the possibility of the resurrection. In every way, the people who claimed to be witnesses of the resurrected Jesus acted in a way consistent with having seen what they claimed they saw.

            None of them got rich or gained any worldly benefit from their story. All except the apostle John were martyred for their story. They were persecuted, run from town to town, and given no end of trouble. Yet not a single one of them recanted and admitted that they made the story up. And their witness was so credible that the number of believers grew and grew.

            We should not dismiss the ancients as stupid because they didn’t have the scientific understanding that we have. So they couldn’t explain the law of gravity, but they knew quite well that no one is supposed to walk on water. And more to the point, they knew how to discern credible witnesses. The claims being made in the actual days following Jesus’s resurrection would not have been made successfully if they were not true. If I tell you that I saw a UFO in my front yard and 500 people saw it with me, it’s going to be quite evident very soon whether I made that up or not. And just that sort of claim was made by people in the immediate aftermath of the resurrection, and the story was more and more popularly received until less than three centuries later it becomes the official religion of the Roman empire.

            None of this proves anything. But I think it argues compellingly that the most rational conclusion from the historical evidence is that Jesus rose from the dead. If one does not assert a priori that it is not possible for someone to rise from the dead, that’s where the preponderance of the evidence leads. The claim that all the disciples made the story up does not fit the historical evidence. It is a gross violation of the scientific method to assume something and then adduce the assumption as proof of what was assumed. But that is just what is being done when the historical evidence for X is interpreted in light of an a priori assumption that the historical evidence cannot lead to X.

          • because it is offensive to us in our desire to be in some measure the author or maintainer of our own righteousness. What a very interesting and astute observation!

          • On the subject of historicity: to establish the historical existence of something, there has to be what might be called positive identification, to wit, something more than the same name mentioned here and mentioned over there. In short, if the Talmud mentions a sorcerer called Jesus, how do you know it’s the same person as is named in the bible? Where is the evidence that it is? It is especially important that the witness to existence also include someone or something that doesn’t have a stake in the game, if you see my point.

            And given that Jesus was such a comparative non-entity from the point of view of the powers of the time, don’t you find it odd that he doesn’t appear on the documentary radar (that is, in scripture as I don’t believe he appears anywhere else) for a full 70 years after he is said to have lived? Why would that be? Occam’s razor: He wasn’t useful as an idea until well past the time that anyone who knew the truth about him could have spoken the truth about him: in short, all memory of him was safely dead (most people were fairly short-lived in that era by our standards). If you are going to create, as it were, a hero — a composite of previous rabbis, a single man to embody the teaching of several priests and thinkers — make him plausible but make him something completely in your power (no one could dig up skeletons in Jesus’s closet, since no one can dig up anything about him). Make him your total man by making him your invention!

          • Mark Leone

            You raise interesting and important historiographic questions. I’ll address the two main thrusts of your post.

            I do agree that establishing identity is a critical part of the analysis, and that attestations from non-interested parties are far more convincing in a scientific sense than the writings of Scripture or non-inspired Christians. It’s been a while since I looked in detail at the early mentions of Jesus, so I did a quick web survey. The references that I had in mind are well known, but I’ll rehearse them here so we’re on the same page.

            The three earliest Roman sources are Pliny the Younger’s letter to the emperor Trajan, and the writings of Tacitus and Seutonius, written (according to Wikipedia) from 111 to 122. Now this is, as you alluded, about 70 years or so after the life of Jesus, but these are Romans writing about the event. They each mention the crucifixion under Pilate, and they don’t bring it up in terms of “the Christians believe that we crucified Jesus”, but rather state the crucifixion as part of the background.

            Pliny’s letter in particular is important, because he’s writing to the emperor and he just states flatly that Jesus was crucified, and he gives the province and the official under whom the execution was done. He doesn’t talk like he’s relating the content of their mythology, but matter-of-factly stating the background of the Christian issue from a Roman perspective. I can’t imagine a Roman magistrate writing to the emperor, and stating as fact the content of Jewish myth about something the Romans are imagined to have done. Likewise the two historians state the crucifixion as fact, while in respect to what Christians believe about Jesus they use words such as “they suppose” or “they believe”.

            My understanding is that the majority of scholars accept these writings as authentic and as referring to the Jesus of the New testament. There are some issues raised by one scholar in particular on the spelling of the name, but all the sources I’ve seen except this one say that both names were used by the Romans, and that the writings are reliable references to Jesus of the New Testament. I don’t know the details of the Talmudic reference (I’ll look into it), but my recollection is that it also refers to him being crucified by the Romans, in which case the correlation is not so problematic as if it only depended on the name.

            Now you also raise the issue of the 70 years or so before these writings appear.

            And given that Jesus was such a comparative non-entity from the point of view of the powers of the time, don’t you find it odd that he doesn’t appear on the documentary radar…

            But isn’t this actually the explanation for the absence of documentary evidence, rather than an indication of a problem? He was not written about by other than Christian sources during the time that he was a non-entity, for that very reason.

            An argument from silence can be compelling, but sometimes the silence can be compellingly explained. But let’s look at a complementary silence as well, which I think supports the argument for Jesus’s historicity. We have clear and independent evidence from at least the early 2nd century of a vigorous apologetic conflict between the Christians and their opponents, and each side is quite resourceful wrt the arguments they bring to bear. But as far as I know, none of the opponents in these early days attack the Christians by denying the existence of Jesus, or the fact of his death.

            In fact, the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles quotes Paul as testifying before Felix, the Roman governor, and telling him that these things happened and are a matter of official Roman record, and he urges him to look them up. So while the New testament itself is not an uninterested witness, the fact that no one raised any objection about the quotation of Paul is significant. It would be obvious to Christianity’s enemies if there was actually no such Roman record, and they would have made much of this in their ongoing rhetorical battle with the Christians.

            And while it’s true that people in general didn’t live as long as we do today, there were of course exceptions. One of these is Polycarp, who was said to know the Apostle John personally in his youth. Polycarp’s conduct, and especially his martyrdom, are part of what I was referring to earlier when I said the most reasonable conclusion from their behavior is that they were not lying. I think it’s credible that Polycarp knew the apostle John, and that he found it more than credible that Jesus lived, and rose from the dead.

            You say that Occum’s Razor bids us postulate that Jesus was invented by a later generation to accomplish a specific purpose. While that explanation is plausible in the abstract, I think it is not plausible at all in the specific historical context. In short, the Gospels live and breathe the atmosphere of 1st century Palestine. I don’t remember enough details to give a credible account here, so let me just assert that a scholarly study of the internal evidence of the Gospels, wrt the authenticity of the accounts in their supposed time and place, is a fruitful avenue to explore. One example I remember is the parable of the workers in the vineyard, where the vineyard tenants beat and expel two successive messengers from the absent landlord. Then the landlord sends his son to collect the vineyard’s proceeds, and the tenants see him coming and say “Let’s kill him and the vineyard will be ours.”

            Why would the vineyard be theirs if they kill him? Because in Palestine, during the time Jesus was supposed to live, and not during the second century, there was a law which stated that if a landowner dies without heirs, the land then passes to the tenants. The workers thought the landowner had died, and his son was coming to claim his property; so if they killed him, the land would be theirs.

            This is not stated in Jesus’s parable, but is part of the underlying context. He knew that people would understand this connection because the issue of absentee landlords was a big deal in his day, and everyone of course would understand what was going on when the owner’s son appears. A second century writer would be unlikely to create the story this way.

            This is one of many marks of authenticity that Occum’s Razor, I believe, would suggest is better explained by the Gospels giving a contemporary account of actual events than by someone later making up a story or creating a composite character/synthesized story. When we examine the Gospels closely, they show themselves authentic in many such details.

            Additional marks of authenticity are the unfavorable light that the apostles and other disciples are often presented in, remarks form authors placing themselves in the story, often with subtle clues, and various types of disagreement between Gospel accounts, which can often but not always be resolved, and therefore support the Christian understanding that these are contemporaneous accounts handed down, and not a body of stories made up when there were no longer any living memories of the time period.

            In sum, I thin that both internal and external evidence supports the existence and death of Jesus as a legitimate historical event, and subsequent history makes an assertion of the truth of the resurrection a rational response to the historiographical data.

          • Dear Mark, I thank you for all your very thoughtful and generously comprehensive replies. To say nothing of your unfailing courtesy. Nice to meet you!

            I’m somewhat hard to convince, as others like me might also be: the apostles seem very weak on Jesus’s life (contradictory, and when not contradictory, leaning on one another), as if they were not, in fact, really there. Certainly if I were going to present my eye-witness account of Jesus, in their place, I would come up with a narrative vastly more compelling than any of that. I don’t know the context or reason for Pliny the Younger’s letter, or what precisely was said (wording matters). In any case, he was not an eye-witness or a material fact (such as we could say of Shakespeare: here is his last will; here is his grave and church monument; here are his bones; here are his plays).

            Have you read this, and if so, what did you think of it? http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Jesus-Five-Views/dp/0830838686/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424225945&sr=8-1&keywords=history+jesus+five

          • Mark Leone

            I haven’t read that particular book on the quest for the historical Jesus; but I am somewhat familiar with the writings of the 19th/20th century Germans involved in that quest, especially Albert Schweitzer and William Wrede. Both were Brilliant men, and I found their writings very interesting. I read some of their writings on the historical Jesus as background research for a Master’s dissertation some years ago. I was particularly focused on their influence on a 20th century school of thought in theology known as the Redemptive-Historical approach. While I appreciate many of their insights, I find their methodology problematic, and therefore their conclusions as well. As someone (I don’t remember who) put it, they went looking for a picture of the real Jesus, and it turns out he was a 19th century liberal German.

            What I disagree with is what is broadly known as “higher criticism”, which must be distinguished from “textual criticism”. The problem with the former is a dependence on presuppositions (generally naturalistic, and sometimes just arbitrary) which are asserted with little or no justification, and then made to radically condition their results. In extreme cases this is as blatant as saying that since we know miracles cannot occur, all the accounts of Jesus that involve miracles cannot be authentic. It’s fine if someone wants to argue that miracles have never occurred; but to throw out New Testament material on that assumption and then report that miracles did not occur because there is no mention of them in the New Testament is not an honest method of inquiry.

            Again this is a more blatant example, but in general the methodology is biased against what non-liberal Christians consider to be the essence of Christian faith. I was much more conversant with the details of this some years ago, and today all I can remember are the general conclusions I drew. So I’m afraid I can’t comment too usefully on the book or the general quest to find the historical Jesus.

          • Mark Leone

            It’s nice to meet you as well. I’m enjoying the dialog, and appreciate very much your part in it. I think it’s pretty funny how this sub-thread grew so much, in comments to an article that has nothing to do with the existence of God. H/T and much appreciation to Solage 1386 for getting us going on this.

            I can see where you might be left cold by the New Testament writer’s approach to telling us about Jesus, but I think if you make your way through the writings with an eye to bridging the temporal and cultural distance, you might find the writings much more compelling. Consider this, which is the opening paragraph of the first Epistle of John.

            “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

            That sounds to me like he was with him!

            John in particular gives very personal observations in his Gospel, often with a vibrant sense of what it was like to be there. He uses often a grammatical construction in Koine Greek known as the historical present, in which the tense of the verb is made present for a past action, to in effect transport you there while it happens. We have a similar thing in English, though it is usually associated with informal or even uneducated speech, like when we say “so he says to me…”. In addition to transporting us back to the events with the verb tense, John gives details that bring out the eye-witness character of his writing. For example, when the sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet, the dramatic focus of the story is the radical nature of her act, Jesus’s willingness to let her do it, Judas’s claim that the money should have been spent on the poor, and the Pharisee’s objection to Jesus associating so intimately with a sinful woman. And in the midst of all that, John reports “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

            In general, there is structure and purpose in each Gospel that is not necessarily evident to the modern reader. John, for example, has a prologue in which he lays out the major themes of his Gospel in one paragraph—densely stated—and then expounds and amplifies these themes throughout the Gospel in material that is organized around the five major feasts of Judaism. The themes are developed progressively, each of them running in parallel throughout the narrative, even interacting with one another. For example, there is a replacement motif, wherein John presents Jesus as the “true shepherd”, the “true vine”, the “true temple”, the “true Israel”. (Not true as opposed to false, but fulfillment of things which in the Old Testament were mere adumbrations.) There is also a theme of faith running throughout the narrative. The miracles (which John calls signs, whereas the synoptic Gospel writers refer to them as works), are presented as having their primary purpose in proving to the people who Jesus is, so that they will place their faith in him. Faithful and unfaithful responses are contrasted, and at one point, there is a play on words “The people were believing in Jesus, but Jesus was not believing in them.” This faith theme comes to a climax as Peter and John run to the tomb and find it empty, and John says of himself “He saw and he believed”. Then he goes on to say that the whole reason he wrote the Gospel is so that others will believe also, and in believing, have eternal life.

            And let’s not forget that John refers to himself throughout the Gospel as “The disciple whom Jesus loved”, in various places showing the special relationship he had with Jesus, as part of the inner circle of three (with Andrew and James) and a sort of inner circle of one, whom Peter relies on at one point to lean on Jesus’ breast and ask him a question that no one else is willing to. All this makes me feel like he was there.

            Mark takes the approach of presenting Jesus as someone who amazed everyone who saw him, such that a question builds through the narrative “Who is this guy?”. He presents him in quick, abrupt images, changing rapidly from scene to scene, almost like an ancient anticipation of MTV or the postmodern video device of rapidly changing scenes. The story climaxes in chapter 8 when Jesus finally asks his disciples who they think he is, and Peter gives the correct answer. From then on, Jesus focuses more and more on the fact that he has come to die, showing that this is central meaning of what it means for him to be the Messiah, and that his disciples must be willing to die with him—some physically, all spiritually.

            Matthew focuses on Jesus’ identity as the Jewish Messiah predicted in the Old Testament, and Luke focuses on Jesus’ teachings, particularly his use of parables to give a coded message that he explains to his disciples in private. The core of the parables, known as the Kingdom Parables, are teaching that the future age, the end of the world, has intruded into the present age. The King has brought the Kingdom into history, but it is so far only seen by those who faith in Jesus. Over the years, it will grow as an organic process, seed being sown that takes a while to grow up and encounters many obstacles on the way, a mustard seed now small and insignificant but one day destined to be a tree that gives shade to all the birds. The coming of the Kingdom into history in advance of its apocalyptic fulfillment is thus the “mystery of the Kingdom” that Jesus is revealing.

            The point of all this is to give you a sense of the depth of meaning and intricate structure that you will miss if you’re not taught what to look for, to overcome the temporal and cultural distance. Too many people, even Christians, think that he Gospels are just disconnected stories about Jesus and how we’re all supposed to be good. Nothing could be further from the truth.

            Let me also point out that the epistolatory literature is also significant in discerning the reliability of the New Testament. There is much more independent verification of the existence of these guys, including corroborating archeological evidence and authenticating historical details in the writings. Don’t forget that Paul presents himself as an eye-witness of the resurrected Jesus, and also is personally acquainted with James, Peter, and other of the 12 Apostles. Luke writes of Paul’s missionary journeys in the Acts of the Apostles, and gives many personal details. Secular scholars have found Luke again and again to be a reliable historian, as more details emerge about ancient locations, practices, etc—including intricate details of sailing technique in the midst of a Noreaster that results in a shipwreck.

            One final point is that the language of the New Testament itself has something to say about its provenance. It is written in an idiomatic form of Greek known as Koine Greek. For years it was thought that this was an idiom created by the New Testament, and not used in any other context. Eventually it was discovered that Koine Greek is actually just the common Greek used in non-literary contexts. Personal letters, ancient equivalent of shopping lists, personal diaries, etc. are written in Koine Greek. Just what this means I’m not sure. But it raises some possibilities, the New Testament as a unique book presented to the common people in the common idiom, not as a literary work, and the Gospels as the codification of oral traditions dating back to the time of the events they proclaim.

            There are disagreements and inconsistencies between the New Testament documents, which I think serve to validate and not invalidate their authenticity. This to me has the mark of real life, including many unflattering portraits of Christian disciples, and many hard sayings of Jesus that are not what you would think of putting into your made up story. We all know the feeling of stories that make us suspicious because they hang together too well. Real life is usually not as clean and tidy as we imagine it to be; and the New Testament exemplifies this IMO.

          • Hi Mark: I’m having trouble entering with Disqus and I don’t have other accounts (e..g. Facebook) so this might be a problem. I’ll try to read your comment in full and respond but if I don’t, please know that I was prevented by technical walls!

          • Mark, this is a very dense (in the sense of rich!) post. I’ve read a good deal of it but will have to give my attention to it when I have more time. Thanks for writing.

          • Mark Leone

            No worries. And no expectations here. I know it’s a lot to digest.

          • Mark Leone

            It is worth noting, however, that science as we know it today grew in no small part out of Christianity. This is not to claim it as the exclusive property of Christianity, but to say that it seems irrational in itself to argue that an essentially irrational belief system played such an important role in the development and advance of the rational society which you admire.

            On the other hand, maybe Christians and Christian belief are not after all as portrayed on TV. My love for Christ is not any more irrational than my love for my wife (meaning, that love is at some level irrational, but not in the way I believe you mean when you accuse Christianity of being irrational). My belief in the existence of God is just as irrational as my belief in the external world, the validity of memory, the law of cause and effect (i.e. that it is more than mere correlation), the consciousness of other people, and many other things that we assert and believe because it is impossible to live our meaningfully without them, even though philosophers agree that they can’t be proven.

          • Solage 1386

            I have deliberately stripped my life of all meaning. What remains? Bliss! Joy unbounded! God isn’t necessary.

          • Mark Leone

            If you have bliss and joy unbounded, then it sounds like you haven’t stripped your life of meaning. It sounds like you have stripped it rather of specific packets of meaning. I wonder if you can articulate a principal by which you selected those meaning packets that were sent way. Or was the choice arbitrary or perhaps driven by some a priori philosophical commitments?

          • Gwangi

            Well, people engaged in science and they came from many cultures and religions. Just look at mathematics. Massive developments in non-Christian Greece, and Rome, then India created ‘Arabic’ numerals, then, finally, a Welshman Richard Recorde came up with the = sign.
            It is HUMAN BEINGS who create things – and of course these people abide by the religions and cultures they come from, They did NOT create ‘because’ they were Christian or Muslim etc; they created and discovered stuff because they were human. And all civilisations contributed – so how can you claim Christianity is superior to the Pagan god worship of Egypt and Greece, especially as the latter provided the bedrock of Western civilisation.
            Faith is not rational. That is the whole point. There is no evidence for the existence of God and there very much IS evidence for the existence of the external world, memory brain processes, consciousness and cause and effect. Your claims seem to have come from Evangelical TV really – and they are, by any measure, absurd. The analogy and argument you use are utterly false.

          • Mark Leone

            I think you’re reading into my comments attitudes you attribute to Christians toward science but which I didn’t even come close to saying in my post. I didn’t say, or even, imply, that Christianity is superior in a scientific sense to other religions. I’m simply pointing out that Christian thinkers played a significant role in developing the modern scientific understanding that you appreciate. SO you have to ask yourself if Christianity really is anti-science and irrational, given this organic connection.

            Pointing out the conflict that Galileo had with the church doesn’t get at the core of Christian belief on science. The church also persecuted those who taught Aristotle in the first millennium, and then in the 11th century they did an about face and Aristotle was the man. If you want to reduce Christianity to the political operations of the so-called Holy Roman Empire, we’re going to keep missing each other. Because Christianity is far bigger than that.

            I’m thinking of men like Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, and many others, who were pioneers in developing and advancing the scientific method. These men held Christian faith, not in some nominal, cultural, everyone-says-they’re-a-Christian sense, but in a vibrant way that affected their most fundamental outlook on life. Some of them wrote extensively on specific aspects of their faith, showing a depth of theological commitment to the tenets of Christianity.

            Now sure, it’s possible that these men were just ridiculously contradictory in the very depths of their thinking. But an honest inquiry should make you re-think your premise that Christianity is at its heart an irrational system. You think these men couldn’t see that because they weren’t born in the same century as you? Doesn’t the scientific method teach you that you ought not to be ignoring such important data points? And these are just the famous examples. Look around with an honest intent to discover, and you’ll see that the world is full of intelligent, rational people who hold to a Christian faith which they hold to because of and not in spite of, their rational investigation of the world and their own experience.

            But it’s a lot easier to just assume that I’m getting my ideas from Evangelical TV, I guess. I don’t watch much too much TV to begin with, but I’ve never been even remotely interested in Christian programming on TV. I’m sorry you’re not familiar with the truth of what I posted about what Hume referred to as “basic beliefs”. This is not evangelical nonsense, but settled philosophical consensus.

            You think you can prove the existence of the external world? No, you can only prove the sensations of that world on your consciousness. How do you know that the universe is not a comprehensive set of pointer values that operate on your consciousness? You reach out and touch your keyboard, and you feel the physical properties of it. You assume there is a substrate there that has the properties you sense, but you cannot prove that the substrate exists. Any number of explanations are possible for why the properties you attribute to the keyboard impinge on your consciousness whenever you put your finger in that position. In fact, though I’m no expert on it, I understand that some findings of quantum physics actually point in the direction of the universe being composed of a complex set of pointer values.

            And how about the validity of memory? Can you prove that you weren’t created 5 minutes ago with implanted memories that simulate what you take to be the life you’ve lived so far? How about consciousness of others? You know you are conscious, but can you prove that others you meet are also truly conscious, and not a really elaborate automaton? And the law of cause and effect, the very foundation of the scientific method, requires a certain amount of faith, sop to speak, to rely on it. All we can really demonstrate is perfect correlation of certain events. No one has some up with a way to actually prove that the “cause” causes the “effect”.

            Philosophers agree that these, and many other basic beliefs cannot be proven. Yet we all have to assume them to be true in order to have a meaningful existence. The point of all this is just that proponents of naturalism are guilty of special pleading when they insist that theists must prove the existence of God in order for it to be considered a rational belief.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Atheism was punishable by death helps account for the number of scientists who were assumed to be Christians. And I don’t mean Christian Scientists.
            Quite right that theists should be called on to prove the existence of God. They are the ones peddling that after life insurance.

          • Mark Leone

            I don’t know ho prevalent that was, but it absolutely does not account for the depth of theological insight and personal piety expressed by the likes of Bacon and Paschal. As a Christian, I’m pretty sure I can tell when is embracing Christianity just to avoid being executed.

          • You have a point but as always you reach too far. Not everything he says is ‘utterly’ false. Spirit of the law, not just the letter, G.

          • Solage 1386


        • Mo86

          “Christianity, like Judaism and Islam, is a false doctrine. If you are a believer, then you have truly wasted your life. There can be no remedy for this. It is too late.”

          Care to post your evidence for this statement? Of course not. You have none.


          • Solage 1386

            Hello there!

          • Mo86

            Where’s your evidence? Or your apology for your false accusation?

            Provide your evidence.

      • Gwangi

        Utter tripe. Atheism is the only rational choice! And atheists are the ones talking of the Muslims – other faith leaders hug them so they can all attack atheists together.
        Freedom of speech comes from Enlightenment values, NOT the church which for centuries tried to crush it.

        • Mark Leone

          Modern America has done far more damage to the Enlightenment value of freedom than the Church ever did (even though I acknowledge that some worldly leaders who styled themselves Christians and were accepted as Christian leaders did much violence to the concept of freedom.

          If the subject is the so-called Holy Roman Empire, which was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire, then I’m probably in agreement with you. But if the subject is Christianity as taught by Christ ad his Apostles, and as perceived by a plain reading of Scripture, then the damage to freedom you have in mind is nowhere to be found.

          The concept of freedom in America today is, however, almost unrecognizable as the Enlightenment ideal, and I’m not sure which version you’re advocating. Freedom was for the Enlightenment thinkers the ability to think and articulate without interference one’s own conception of the common good. Freedom today is mostly seen as the right to actualize whatever the individual will chooses.

          It’s actually an irrational doctrine, because it’s not possible for everyone to actualize their own desires without in some form considering and agreeing on certain conclusions about the common good—because our individual ideals and desires will necessary conflict. But today, the one who tries to articulate an ideal of the common good is shouted down and accused of doing violence to the cause of freedom. And the Christians are the irrational ones?

          • Gwangi

            Faith is irrational. That is the whole point. If you try to argue its ‘truth’ via evidence, you’ll tie yourself in knots – which is why the church these days doesn’t bother (after centuries of trying to prove the sun went round the earth, which was only a few thousand years old according to Genesis).

          • Mark Leone

            I have plenty of evidence that I could argue, and I do that in certain discussion contexts. But you’ll notice that I haven’t done that at all in this discussion. That is, I’m not presenting evidence to lead you to a conviction that there’s a God. Rather I’m pointing out that your worldview and my worldview are both based on certain presuppositions. But my world view does a better job of satisfying the data of our existence; and in fact, you have to borrow important things from my worldview in order to make yours livable.

            If you want to read someone who can articulate this way of thinking far better than I can, have a look at some of the writings of Alvin Plantinga, a world-renowned philosopher who is highly respected by most of the atheist philosophers he interacts with. He has many brief articles on the Internet, but a really important book wrt our discussion is “Where the Conflict Really Lies”. In it, he argues with clarity and rigor that there is far more in common between Christianity and Science than between Naturalism and Science. And you should also have a look at this analysis from an atheist philosopher, who, while not willing to accept Plantinga’s view, argues that Plantinga has put the focus on the critical question and no one has yet been able to answer him.

            And BTW you won’t find anyone one evangelical TV talking about this.


      • Ed_Burroughs

        So the answer to theocratic rule is theocratic rule? What rubbish!

  • Vinnie

    Thing is though, if the method of these men didn’t work they wouldn’t try it. Believe it or not there are MANY stupid young naive women out there and they lap this stuff up. Nice guys are considered boring, dickhewds are interesting to women. And for that very reason is why I truly believe men are a little bit more intelligent. Sexist yes but true I believe.

    • John

      More dumb than sexist.

    • ‘Nice guys are considered boring’
      Not by nice girls, they’re not.

    • Solage 1386

      Intellectual men are tedious, especially the middle-class variety……..Women demand something more. And who, in truth, can blame them?

    • Irena

      Dear Vinnie,
      I too truly believe men are a little bit more intelligent. But in a very positive way, wouldn’t use your sample. A lady can do many things as good as a gentleman however not able to reach “a genius” level. I’d say a man has his brain and a woman has her heart. So, gentlemen are clever but ladies are wise.
      I’m not clever but loving, careing, devouted( or clinging), forgiving and all my life looked for a gentleman who’d agree “to wear the trousers”( even if he’d be a Scotishman ), would lead me not into temptation but to a better world.Faild. I;ve been taken as a heavy burden, that;s all.
      Keep hoping and your lady definitly will understand you and treasure you as her best boy.

  • Melissa, I’m with you honey. All the way. Except for the bit about the lumpy potato or apple (what would that look like?). I’ve never put a potato back for being too lumpy.

  • Fed up

    I don’t meet many people, let alone eligible ones through my current position and hobbies, so online is a good way of meeting people in theory. However, even on the paid sites, I’ve found men not to be particularly serious or are keen to hedge their bets ‘just in case’ someone better comes along. Friends (of both sexes) can’t understand why I’m still single. Perhaps, unlike the men that I have met (those deemed educated and professional), it is because I cannot stand the idea of multiple dating, being used as a trophy and the subsequent comparing of notes like a game of Top Trumps.

    Online dating has become an excuse for treating people as though they’re merely items in a shopping basket. I’m fed up of being asked if I want ‘big c***k’ or ‘show us your boobs’ or being told repeatedly that I am ‘undateable’ as I am writing up a PhD thesis. Apparently having a brain, looking vaguely attractive and not sleeping around isn’t the accepted/wanted thing anymore. Think I’ll get a dog instead.

    • Alex

      Believe me there are good guys out there (I am one of them!).
      “having a brain, looking vaguely attractive and not sleeping around” are (obviously) great qualities, and there are lots of great guys looking for a girl like you. So don’t be disheartened, it’s just that the good ones are a little harder to find……

      • Fed up

        Sadly my experiences have left me cynical of even the good ones. There are most definitely some lovely all round good egg type girls around too.

        • Solage 1386

          Cynicism=insight. The “good ones” are a figment of your fevered imagination. Do not believe otherwise, no matter what anybody tells you!

    • Solage 1386

      Forget the educated and professional. Find a working-class bloke for some no-strings-attached Fun! I have done so, and have no regrets!

      • That may possibly be true, but it probably isn’t. No one can trust a word you say, Madam/Mister Pink Gin.

        • Solage 1386

          I lied about having no regrets………

    • Solage 1386

      The eligible are negligible.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      You need to widen the search, luv.
      Assume that British women are the worst option for British men. And British men are the worst option for British women.
      Jack, Japan Alps

  • Alex

    I’m a single mid thirties guy looking for an actual long term relationship, and I’ve been dabbling with the online dating scene for a while now. It’s important to separate “hook-up” apps like Tinder and Happn, from actual proper dating sites like match or mysinglefriend. Tinder was developed as an app for single straight people to meet other single straight people for casual fun – it was never meant to be a dating app. It just got hijacked by singles who didn’t get it’s real purpose.

    That said – it didn’t stop me or several of my friends using it as way to meet potential new girlfriends (2 of them now have long term relationships with girls they met on Tinder!)
    However I actually gave up on Tinder after a while for a number of reasons, the main one being that it makes you feel like these girls are just commodities to be rated, and it totally cheapens their worth. The other being the frustrating thing where someone likes you too and then when you message them to say hi they just ignore you.

    Every generation frets about something the younger generation is doing that wasn’t like it was in their day. And almost always it’s blown way out of proportion as everyone always picks on the extremes. Yes there are weird sleazy blokes that send girls pictires of their c*cks univited online, but they are the exact same guys who would be leering and sleazing over girls in a bar or pub. Same behaviour, different medium. Also these guys couldn’t contact you unless you had mutually liked each others profiles so you must have been on tinder liking a lot of early 20 year old’s profiles – which begs the question why? I doubt you’d go to a bar that was known for being full of chavvy 20 year olds in real life, so why would you seek them out online? Just set your search settings to the age range you want and you’ll avoid the thrill seeking kids looking for a MILF.

    • Fed up

      Alex, my worst experiences, both messages and dating wise have come from the paid sites like Match or mysinglefriend, not from Plenty of Fish, a site well known for the hook up mentality. I have never tried Tinder.

      Whatever the website, whatever parameters you set, both men and women are being treated as commodities. Online dating allows for that and the chance to get some, whilst continually looking for someone better. It’s also not just stereotypical sleazy men doing it as hiding behind a screen means anyone can without repercussion. My ‘fancy some big c**k’ message came from a commissioned military pilot for example.

      • Alex

        Wow. That shocks and saddens me. I guess the trouble is that once a twat always a twat, whether online or in the flesh. I’m sorry that you’ve had such rubbish experiences, I know myself how bloody hard trying to meet decent people online is at the best of times!

        • erikbloodaxe

          Get a room you two.

          • They’ve got one: it’s this comment section. What more do you want?

          • little islander

            Not licensed to. Too many…….. spectators.

        • Fed up

          Nothing shocks and saddens me these days. Was moaned at via message only yesterday because I turned down seriously unwanted advances.

      • CheshireRed

        You need to toughen up, sweetie. This is the real world and bleating about how men only want one thing is a bit naïve. (They always only want one thing)
        To get one on your own terms – which you’re entitled to, you just put it how you want straight in your profile, easy as that.
        PS Dogs are lovely but they will forget your birthday and a sexy Christmas present is right out.

        • Fed up

          One, don’t call me sweetie. Two, I like sex as much as anyone else, but I also like being seen and treated as an actual person, not just something to pick up, shag and put down again. I’m not an inanimate object. What’s wrong with wanting honest dating and godforbid a monogamous relationship? Is that too traditional and respectful for today’s throw away, cattle market, social media driven society?

      • Solage 1386

        You should have gone for it! But then again, he’d probably have turned out to be a dustman with delusions of grandeur……..like me!

    • Perhaps she was interested in men younger than she as well as her age. Men don’t want women older than themselves, in general; why assume that women do? In fact, the older I get, the less interested I am — or tolerant of — the prospect of a man much older than me, even as (because I’m no longer in my 20s and 30s) that becomes more likely. But (hang with me, here!) because everyone’s age is going up, that would mean for me as a 40-something a man that is getting a bit long in the tooth. It was OK fancying a man of 55 when I was 30, but when he’s in his 70s, that’s way too old!

      So this is why a middle-aged woman will hope for the youngest person she can find: not only because the pool of available and desirable men is minuscule, so why further limit it?, but also because the men that are left in her own age group — or older — tend to be duds. They’re never-marrieds or deserved-divorce blokes and they should be avoided like the plague. Unfortunately, nature makes it so that it is precisely those older duds (fuddy-duds?) that are most likely to consider women of my age as ‘fair game’. Meanwhile we keep our eyes trained on those our age or promisingly a bit younger (a man that is not a dud even if he has some life experience by now). Incidentally, I’m married to someone a mere 2 months my senior, and I like the fact that he is my exact contemporary.

      • CheshireRed

        What makes you think a younger guy will view you any differently from the way you judge older fellas? You’re right there’s loads of 40-something women who profiles search ‘for men 41-25’ (!) or some such. Great for a sheksy blast but he’s thinking exactly the same about you – too old in the long term. He will however temporarily content himself that there’s many a fine tune played on an old fiddle.

        • Well if it’s a young man seeking a family, fine. But some of us look much younger than our age (check) and can certainly interest men a few years behind ourselves (check).

        • Solage 1386

          Not if the strings have snapped!

      • Solage 1386

        You’ll end up as a cougar!

        • It’s panther where I live, S. : ) Anyway, I’m loyally married so no such (?)luck.

          • Solage 1386

            It’s a sheep where I come from (Wales).

          • That figures. You’re baaa-king mad.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            I hear you have some mighty pretty sheep.

          • Solage 1386

            I’d prefer goats!

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Where are Plod when you really ned them?

  • MenAreSociopaths

    God, something seriously needs to be done about men. Harassment, revenge porn, voyeurism, assault, misogynistic mobbing, photo hacking, phone hacking, hidden cameras, women who eat on trains, tabloids, paparazzi, gamer gate. Not to mention domestic violence, grooming, trafficking, porn, jihadis, riots, dangerous driving, general crime. They’re a god-damn menace. They’re not properly socialised. Biggest fear for women on blind dates: that their date will kill them. Biggest fear for men on blind dates: that the girl will be fat.

    • I’m afraid we’re stuck with them, warts and all. And with the burden of civilizing them, even though they tend to come from the factory with the belief that they created the world and everything in it! ;^)

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Men: Women, can’t live with um, can’t continue the human race without um.
        Women: Men, can’t live with um, can continue the human race without um.

    • Solage 1386

      Mother Nature produces men. Mother Nature is evil.

    • Alex

      If I’d made a lazy, sexist, offensive comment like that that was generalising women’s faults I’d be called everything under the sun.
      I fully appreciate that there are a lot of arseholes out there, and I don’t dispute that women can have it pretty tough sometimes, but to generalise all men with that sort of chip on the shoulder attitude is just wrong. I can tell you now – any half decent guy would run a mile from that sort of bitter attitude – I certainly would – and probably explains why you keep meeting bad eggs.

    • Fed up

      Actually two of my biggest fears are whether I’m going to get jump cuddled from behind or see a stuffed squirrel produced from a bag, both of which have happened to me on the first date… Apparently the squirrel enjoyed meeting me in the text that was sent afterwards.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      You didn’t mention snuff movies. Thought I was paranoid …

  • MenAreSociopaths

    Melissa your friend sounds like a total cock. Why are you friends with him?

    • Solage 1386

      A total cock is what many of us aspire to!

  • MenAreSociopaths

    “Whereas once a girl felt confident to slap a man’s face when he went too far, now women increasingly feel pressured to comply with demands to cheapen themselves.”

    I think this is a media driven impression. I’ve heard some stories from my mother’s and grandmother’s generation and there was a lot of coercion, assault and misogyny going on and more victim blaming than face slapping. There was no golden age of men respecting women, just a long history of lack of male accountability and violence towards women. The only place you find chivalry to any great degree is in the fairy tales men tell of themselves.

    • Solage 1386

      Women are more aggressive than men, though less violent. Fact.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      You mean, if she doesn’t put out after three dates, it’s “What part of get lost don’t you understand?”

  • Samara

    Up to 58% off luxe handbags and more!

    SHOP NOW ==>>Men’s & Women’s(L V) Handbags Outlet

  • It is a useless medium any ways. Full of fake profiles

    • Irena

      This is a happy medium for people who share one of the oldest demand of human-race: ” If you please, do not disturb my privacy and do not leave me alone”

  • little islander

    Told once, with much indignation (why else would I be told the story?) by an ex-stewardess (the great-_-_-_ airline) after she ran into her ex-colleague 30 years later and found out she lived happily ever after : her colleague was a known (what I learned from these pages) slag. Once when confronted by others about her wanton(ness), she offered this advice from her mother, ‘My mum told me a woman is born for others to………….love(?).’

  • Damaris Tighe

    When I tuned in to see the remake of The Sweeney recently, I was looking forward to seeing old friends Regan & Carter with new faces but the traditionally gritty story line.Within a few minutes we were treated to Regan sh*gging a female colleague against the wall in the male toilets. At this point I turned off.

    Now, being a member of the s*x, drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll generation, like most of my peers I believed we invented s*x. But not this. Is this what the women’s movement has come to? Is it seriously being suggested that a woman would enjoy a few seconds of sh*gging near the urinals? As Hattie Jacques once said in her role as Matron, ‘I want to be wooed!’.

    Either women have substantially changed or their ‘liberation’ has in fact been a step backwards, in which they now feel pressurised to pleasure men at the drop of a hat, with hardly an introduction, & in ways that are nasty, brutish & short. I can see the benefit for the male of the species, testosterone fuelled & usually (we are told) a few seconds away from their next daydream about s*x. I can’t see the benefit for women who, traditionally at least, were looking for ‘romance’ & relationships – or a long term mate even.

  • Tremulous

    You wouldn’t want to be a girl? My experience of dating sites is that it’s worse to be a man. There are so many men compared to women on these sites it’s almost impossible to get noticed and when you do the standard you have to meet is very high indeed. After all, she’s got 1,000 other guys to choose from.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      All about supply and demand. Get into character as an English gentleman and ship yourself somewhere east of Suez. Then you too will be saying, “Brit chicks, who need um?” Give Islamic countries a miss, obviously. Dating sites? Gimme a break. Those are for creepy losers.
      Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

  • Nicholas_Keen

    Symptomatic is the replacement of the term “making love” with “having sex”, language that 30 years ago was reserved for a sexual transaction with no emotional dimension, for instance with a prostitute.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Well spotted.

  • gerontius redux

    If you need to talk a little before getting down to business, a bit of Austen or Trollope works well for me.

    • Damaris Tighe

      I’m anybody’s if they chat to me about British tribes c 500 BC.

      • gerontius redux

        I can handle that – I’m versatile.
        Have you read Vanished Kingdoms by Norman Davies? Well he doesn’t cover that far back, but he’s in the right sort of ballpark.

        • Damaris Tighe

          No haven’t read it – will look it up.

          You could always try Feyerabend. I’m quite responsive to undecypherable gnomic philosophy.

          • gerontius redux

            I know the name well enough, but I was the worst student that my college ever enrolled.
            However I can do undecypherable – it’s how I got through seminars. I’ll give Feyerabend a chance.
            Googled him and found this:
            “The book On the Warrior’s Path quotes Feyerabend, highlighting the similarities between his epistemology and Bruce Lee’s worldview”

            Do you remember Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I was fascinated by it as a youth but I wonder if I would now find it to be full of nonsense- Could always try I suppose.

          • Damaris Tighe

            I remember the title but don’t think I ever read it. I became disillusioned with all things new agey in the 90s.

  • Gerschwin

    Since the express purpose, the raison d’etre, of being a teenage boy is to cut to the chase as fast as you can get the condom on then even if you wouldn’t want to be a teenage girl you’d sure as hell want to be a teenage boy!

  • MountainousIpswich

    Can’t read the article, but let’s just say that Tinder has been around for centuries.

    After all, Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves on the basis of flicking right on her Hans Holbein portrait.

  • Catherine HRA

    In hindsight, I didn’t get round to reading this article until today simply because I use social media way more than reading nowadays and whilst sorting out my room, I happened to find this edition of The Spectator. None-the-less, I strongly dislike this article… It brands young people, such as myself, in such a negative way. Romance is not dead. Sure, people use Tinder, but do young people actually go on there to find long lasting lifetime commitments.. I think not. Hence for those who actually do want such things, we stay well away from such places. Human connections are still important to the majority of us!! It says ‘for today’s young people, it’s a tragedy. The endless choice on the screen is an illusion.’ Perhaps the actually illusion is that you think young people going on Tinder and all the other things you mention above, counts for the majority of young people looking for love. No, I think you’re find they’re on the hunt for lust. Sexting I guess has become a thing nowadays but I don’t believe it to be how you say. Most females still have values and only do it to people they trust (still, I would never nudes)… I guess the social norm has just changed. Doesn’t mean we all have too though. Let’s face it, there have always been people that will do stuff that seems ridiculous to previous generations but this article appears to generalise this like it relates to all young people and this is simply not the case. It’s always happened, not through social media but in some sense, it happened – go back to the morals of Victorians. The way they presented themselves is a completely different to what they did, cheating and adultery was common… doesn’t mean everyone did it. I guess the absurdity of this article, for me, is that it generalises things. One has found evidence just to support their limited opinion, like the anecdote about the nightclub, pffff I have no comment on that, how absurd. Modern love isn’t rubbish.. In fact, if you find a genuine connection with someone in REAL LIFE then it just enhances that relationship. Most people still find their other halves from human interaction so…

  • James Chilton

    This instant Tinder stuff is all news to me. What Melissa Kite doesn’t speculate about, is whether this new world of ‘cybercourting’ has anything to do with militant feminist demands for ‘equality’ and the elimination of ‘socially constructed’ differences between the sexes.

    • Lina R

      Militant feminism has deadened the enjoyable differences between men and women. A male friend told me recently his friends are less inclined to compliment a woman now because she may get offended.

      • James Chilton

        I know it’s futile, but I make a deliberate point of holding a door open for a woman as a small act of defiance against the prevailing mindset that seeks to obscure the differences between the sexes.

        • Sue Smith

          And good for you, sir. There are still legions of women who like these little acts of chivalry and it’s brownie points for you!!

        • jeremy Morfey

          Actually, I’d open the door for anyone, because it is courteous. It’s the feminists that take offence though.

          • James Chilton

            As a rule, I wouldn’t go round the car to open the passenger door for an able bodied man, but I do make the effort for a woman.

            You’re right though, courtesy towards everyone should be the norm.

      • rtj1211

        There’s an answer: compliment foreign women! They still enjoy it……

      • Sue Smith

        On the other hand, she could have said, “don’t say you love me; just send money!”

      • Captain Dryland

        My solution to the hazards of complimenting the modern woman is, before complimenting her, to ask one’s intended complimentee this question: “Are you the kind of woman who is offended by a compliment?” If she answers “Yes”, say “In that case, I shall keep the compliment to myself.” If she says “No” then you can safely compliment her. In both cases, one’s object of admiration knows that a compliment was in order, even though she who refuses does not wish to learn the details of it.

        • But you are diminished in either event.

          • Sue Smith

            Aw, come on now; don’t tell us all about you. Talk about somebody else.

      • anonuk

        Why is it that women who hate men have had so much power over the attitudes of women who don’t? You wouldn’t read a dating book written by a gay hermit.

    • Discuscutter

      No because how could it?

      What a truly bizarre take on it.

      • James Chilton

        What a truly bizarre question. If you need to ask it, there’s only a remote possibility that you would understand the answer.

    • Sue Smith


  • polidorisghost

    Put on women’s clothing and hang around in bars.
    It works – after a fashion

    • anonuk

      Oh, Bevis! and I thought you were so rugged!

  • Alibogs

    On the plus side pubic lice are doing very well these days, and STD’s are the in thing among the over sixties.

  • grimm

    The widespread (almost universal) use of smartphones goes hand in hand with the pernicious spread of extraversion in modern society. As people become more shallow and outgoing they develop a taste for short, easily digestible scraps of information and for brief, superficial, disposable relationships.

    I can forsee as dystopic future where extraversion will be forced on children at an early age (just as teachers used to try to force left handed kids into right handedness). Children who show signs of not being chummy, chirpy, outgoing team players will be treated as “special needs”.

    • Sue Smith

      Your, er, ‘grimm’ reality is precisely that.

  • Bonkim

    Pathetic generation.

    • Sue Smith

      Agreed. There are so many young people using the internet to find people that one wonders where our society is heading. Once upon a time you met people through other people. Now it’s a needle in a haystack. The sense of desperation if palpable.

      My advice always was and will be; take an interest in the world around and other people and they’ll soon take an interest in YOU.

      • Bonkim

        ……… and they have lost the art of chatting up and negotiating with each other. Instant gratification is for Dumbos – the journey is always much more than reaching there and this lot will be poorer for that.

        • Sue Smith

          Yes, the journey. It takes a long time to get to know somebody and that’s what people over 60 fail to realize -those in the internet dating game. There’s only 2 things old men want; 1. Nurse 2. Purse. And the same for women – but very much the cash!!

          I’ve been married since 1973 to the same man and he’s very much alive. I cannot imagine anything worse than dating again – especially some old bloke with too many miles under the belt. Good friends, laughs, books, music and family – these are the things which are important.
          I had a fellow following me around last year – he shuffled and ran when I ran to get away from him. Finally I just had to be rude. It’s sad but not my problem. Eeeew.

  • Captain Dryland

    “Now women increasingly feel pressured to comply with demands to cheapen themselves.” How odd that when a woman decides to strip herself naked, pose herself in front of a camera, take an image of herself in the buff, save it in a file, then email the file to a man, it just has to be the man who is regarded as responsible for what appears to be wilful behaviour on the part of the woman, but which is, according to Ms Kite, a helpless succumbing to the intolerable pressure imposed upon her by men. And yet, we are supposed to clamour for these helpless, irresponsible, creatures, shoved this way and that by men’s whims, like so many pretty pink jellyfish carried on a tide, to be populating the boardrooms and government ministries of the land. Come on ladies, grow a spine, stop playing the helpless card, stop moaning and blaming men when you act stupidly.

    • Sue Smith

      There’s a great deal of sense in these comments. But we live in an age where nobody has any personal responsibility and it’s ALWAYS somebody else’s fault; be that dating, relationships, drunkenness, violence, aggression, stealing, car accidents – you name it. There’s a lawyer out there right now for you to demonstrate that, in fact, you have no responsibility; it’s somebody else’s fault and the lawyer wants to know the answer to one question, and one question only:

      ‘Who’s got the money?!’

  • Social Justice Warrior

    an article about online dating when there are starving refugees desperate to reach safety in Europe?

    pathetic, Spectator

    • Desperate stuff. Not a mention anywhere of the need to embrace diversity.

      • Social Justice Warrior

        what’ve you got against diversity, Kipper?

        • Sue Smith

          He probably thinks it’s a ‘con job’ like I and millions of others do.

          • Social Justice Warrior

            most in the UK embrace the diversity that enriches our nation

          • Sue Smith

            You’re trying to be funny!! Make sure that you actually are when this is your intention.

          • anonuk

            …if they know what’s good for them.

    • Sue Smith

      I vote they come to your place.

      • Social Justice Warrior

        I’d be happy to oblige. How many will you house?

        • Sue Smith

          None. Charity begins at home!!

          • Social Justice Warrior

            selfish b*tch – you’d rather see them starve while you put your feet up and gorge on your bush tucker!

          • Sue Smith

            Starve!! Huh!! Those same who’ve all got mobile phones and can afford to pay people smugglers. Stop being a mug!!

          • anonuk

            What she allegedly does in her spare time is her affair.

    • Leonidas

      can’t you lighten up? what a pointless comment

  • Sean Lamb

    If only the young knew how, if only the old still could.
    Actually I expect young people are still interacting pretty much as they always did and is this just one slightly more sophisticated variant of moral panic.

  • outlawState

    “It’s just The One who isn’t there.”

    The one who isn’t there doesn’t even have an iphone. Iphone addicts are as shallow and as phoney as their phones. Apple doesn’t tell you that their phones are all bought by jerks.

    • anonuk

      “The One” is as much a figment of female fantasy as commonly available athletic nubile pornstars is a figment of male fantasy. Blame Darwin, if you will.

  • jeremy Morfey

    I read between the lines and see a pot calling the kettle black.

    I am about to hit my 60th birthday, and therefore no young buck Adonis – the desire of the author. I fall into the sad divorcee wannabe elderly veterinary surgeon category, and have, for at least a decade, been therefore quite undesirable for 40-something ladies, who feel they deserve better.

    Announcing they wish to offer nothing in return, but expect a lot of pampering under the guise of “courtship”. The end result – when these men are worked out, all this investment in time, effort, money and hope is met by a Dear John letter, and she is on to the next victim to be milked.

    It is not just the young who have lost the art and the point of courtship. I was hoping that by 60 I could be enjoying my grandchildren. Little chance of achieving that in the fortnight I have left of middle age.

  • Maureen Fisher

    It’s well known that Tinder is for quick flings. Melissa should find another dating website more suitable for what she wants – which presumably is a long term partner.

  • Gebhard Von Blucher

    Romance is not dead. I am sure that sites like Tinder are fun for a while, but most people move on and form relationships in the old fashioned way.

  • OutsideTheGate

    I wouldn’t want to be a boy in the age of Tinder…