2067: the end of British Christianity

Projections aren't predictions. But there's no denying that churches are in deep trouble

13 June 2015

9:00 AM

13 June 2015

9:00 AM

It’s often said that Britain’s church congregations are shrinking, but that doesn’t come close to expressing the scale of the disaster now facing Christianity in this country. Every ten years the census spells out the situation in detail: between 2001 and 2011 the number of Christians born in Britain fell by 5.3 million — about 10,000 a week. If that rate of decline continues, the mission of St Augustine to the English, together with that of the Irish saints to the Scots, will come to an end in 2067.

That is the year in which the Christians who have inherited the faith of their British ancestors will become statistically invisible. Parish churches everywhere will have been adapted for secular use, demolished or abandoned.

Our cathedral buildings will survive, but they won’t be true cathedrals because they will have no bishops. The Church of England is declining faster than other denominations; if it carries on shrinking at the rate suggested by the latest British Social Attitudes survey, Anglicanism will disappear from Britain in 2033. One day the last native-born Christian will die and that will be that.

These projections are based on the best available statistics: the censuses, the British Social Attitudes surveys and the British Election Study. But because these surveys are constructed differently, it’s not easy to crunch them into a single timeline. Crucially, a projection is not the same thing as a prediction. So feel free to take any apocalyptic vision of religion in Britain in 2067 with a pinch of salt.

But the point stands: Christianity is dying out among the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain. The Gospel that Augustine and his 30 monks brought to England when they landed at Ebbsfleet in ad 597 is now being decisively rejected.

Saint Paul tells us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek; the Almighty is not interested in ‘heritage’, the new name for ethnicity. But since Britons with Anglo–Saxon and Celtic ancestors make up 90 per cent of British Christians, that rejection represents a devastating loss of faith.

It has all happened so quickly. Anglicans in particular are abandoning their faith at a rate that (in more ways that one) defies belief. According to the British Social Attitudes surveys, their numbers fell from 40 per cent of the population in 1983 to 29 per cent in 2004 and 17 per cent last year.

This is a horrifying prospect for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby. As a former treasurer of an oil company, he is the first successor to St Augustine to master statistics. Yet, understandably, he is not keen to draw attention to the crisis.

His predecessor but one, however, is happy to do so. Lord Carey of Clifton, a more formidable figure in retirement than he was in office, last month warned the C of E that it was ‘one generation away from extinction’. The new Social Attitudes figures support his conclusions.

Between 2012 and 2014 the proportion of Britons describing themselves as Church of England or Anglican fell from 21 to 17 per cent: a loss of 1.7 million people in two years. That’s what you might expect if the established church had been engulfed in a gigantic paedophile scandal. But it hasn’t been.

Self-identifying British Catholics fell from 10 per cent to 8 per cent between 1983 and 2014. But that decline would have been far more dramatic without the arrival of Catholics from the Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Philippines. No wonder Cardinal Vincent Nichols stresses the ‘Gospel imperative’ to welcome migrants.

But he’s deluding himself if he thinks foreign Catholics will continue to fill his pews. Young Poles in England and Wales are noticeably less devout than they were ten years ago: I’d be amazed if more than a fifth of them were Mass-goers.

This applies to Scotland, too. The Poles propping up Catholic parishes won’t do so for much longer. Meanwhile, self-identification with the Church of Scotland has fallen off a cliff: from 36 per cent of Scots in 2001 to 18 per cent in 2013.

Why is British Christianity facing such a catastrophe? There is a one-word answer, but it requires a lot of unpacking: secularisation.

We often hear complaints about ‘militant secularism’ and religion’s ‘exclusion from the public sphere’. Many Christians seem to believe that the only thing stopping people of faith sharing the ‘richness’ of their traditions is a conspiracy organised by Polly Toynbee, Richard Dawkins and the BBC.

The truth is that Toynbee and Dawkins make such fools of themselves when they talk about religion that they arouse sympathy for believers. Yes, the BBC is biased against — and ignorant of — Christianity. But, significantly, the most skewed coverage of religion anywhere in the Beeb’s output is Radio 4’s Sunday programme, which looks at the news from a supposedly faith-friendly perspective.

Sunday makes for an interesting case study. It’s presented by Edward Stourton, a practising Catholic. He’s not your average Mass-goer, however. He comes from a well-connected family and is close to two of the supreme networkers in the English church, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, former Archbishop of Westminster, and Lord Patten of Barnes, former chairman of the BBC Trust and chancellor of Oxford University.

Conservative Catholics regard Stourton, Murphy-O’Connor and Patten as an elderly trio of bon vivant liberals intent on watering down the Magisterium. They are equally hostile to the parade of Catholics who appear on Sunday to demand new teachings on birth control, homosexuality and the environment. ‘Liberal’ is a fair description of these people, but a more useful term might be ‘secular Catholics’. It can’t be stressed too often that the secularisation that happens inside churches is as important as the sort that happens outside them.

The American sociologist James Davison Hunter has explored this phenomenon in two books, Culture Wars (1991) and To Change the World (2010). Hunter is rude about left-wing Christians who think campaigns against carbon emissions or campus sexism are ‘Gospel causes’. On the contrary, he says, they are thoroughly secular and even if they succeed the churches won’t benefit.

However, he’s equally unimpressed by conservative Christians who persist in the delusion that their ‘witness’ can overturn laws on gay marriage and abortion. They are wasting their time, he says. I agree. Last time I looked, gay marriage was sweeping the United States and grotesquely late-term abortions were still permitted.

Ah, say critics, but you can’t ‘read across’ from polarised America to easygoing Britain. Those critics are wrong. Increasingly, you can read across in both directions.

The failure of American Christians to secure the repeal of Roe v. Wade is mirrored by British Catholics’ fruitless campaign against the 1967 Abortion Act. These failures can’t simply be ascribed to popular support for abortion. They are signs of the waning of religion in Britain and the United States, where Christianity is being attacked by, and accommodating to, European-style secularisation.

It’s time we abandoned the notion that America is religiously special — living proof that popular Christianity can thrive in an advanced industrial democracy. Last month, Pew Research published a big study about America’s changing religious landscape. Its subtitle was ‘Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow’. All of which applies to Britain, too.

Only 57 per cent of Americans born between 1981 and 1996 identify as Christians; 36 per cent of ‘young Millennials’ between the ages of 18 and 24 are the so-called ‘nones’ — they have no religious affiliation at all.

In the UK, the last census found that the proportion of respondents who say they have no religion rose from 15 per cent in 2001 to 25 per cent in 2011. Confusingly, the British Election Survey says 45 per cent of Britons are nones. I’m not sure why the gap between the two findings is so large, but bear in mind that a small change in the wording of a question can produce a dramatic change in responses. People recoil from being asked if they’re atheists, for example, even if they are.

I’ve compared Britain with America because our countries are supposed to have radically different attitudes towards Christianity. Yet the direction of travel is now the same. And this is true despite the fact that the United States doesn’t have a fast-growing Muslim population.

Let’s not get sidetracked into another argument about Islam. Although it will probably become Britain’s largest religion some time this century, it isn’t emptying our village churches. The deadliest enemy of western Christianity is not Islam or atheism but the infinitely complex process of secularisation.

Or, to put it another way, choice. Long before digital technology, social mobility was undermining what the American scholar of religion Peter Berger calls ‘plausibility structures’ — the networks of people, traditionally your family, friends and neighbours, who believe the same thing as you do.

I’m not saying that my Catholic grandparents accepted the doctrine of transubstantiation only because the people closest to them shared that conviction: faith can’t be reduced to social processes. But supernatural belief is hard to sustain once plausibility structures collapse.

You go away to university and suddenly almost nobody believes what you do, or did. Your siblings move to different towns, so you won’t see them in church any more. Your laptop plugs you into any social network that takes your fancy. Even if you’re born again as an evangelical Christian, life pushes you from one congregation to another. Many Evangelicals get bored and turn into nones.

The mainstream churches can’t cope with this explosion of choice. Also, as you may have noticed, they’re led by middle–managers who are frightened of their own shadows. They run up the white flag long before the enemy comes down from the hills. I sometimes wonder why Polly Toynbee bothers to fulminate against religious education. A quick tour of ‘Catholic’ state schools, where doctrine has been supplanted by multi-faith jargon and the cult of Nelson Mandela, would reassure her that she has nothing to worry about.

James Davison Hunter, an orthodox Christian, believes he has found a way out of this maze: follow the instructions of Jesus and ‘faithful presence’ will change hearts, if not society. This seems to me to ignore the reality that religions invariably die, at least on a local level, when no one can be bothered to attend their services. As a Catholic, I believe that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church founded by Peter. There will always be someone to take the place of ‘the last Christian’. But not necessarily in Britain, where the death rattle has begun.


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Show comments
  • JDale

    Awww diddums Damian. It was all so much better when people had no choice wasn’t it.

    • blandings

      I am a no-faither, but even so I find your response unbelievable crass.
      I think I would prefer Damian Thompson’s company to yours.

    • KingEric

      What’s wrong? Couldn’t sleep and woke up grumpy and decided to take out on someone?

      • camjan2

        I am a dyslexic and have insomnia. Often I lie awake at night wondering if there is a Dog.

        • Fred Uttlescay

          God has no nose. He stinks.

  • Faulkner Orkney

    As a nation we seemed to cope OK as followers of Zeus and Odin and the Green man slipped from being in power to being remembered as chapters in history…ditto with Jesus I suspect. What will be interesting is if ‘science’ is enough to replace ‘god’ in our rather needy hearts. I hope so.

    • Precambrian

      The British never were “followers of Zeus and Odin and the Green Man”. The Romans brought Jupiter and Mars, whilst the Anglo-Saxons were worshippers of Tyr and Woden. And the Green Man is more of a personification of nature, that even appears in older churches, rather than a deity subject to worship.

      I get your point, but your history needs a bit of work.

      What we are seeing is a stripping of personhood from the world. The old religions saw numerous persons, spirits, who had to be appeased. The newer religions (like Christianity) saw a single personal power in all things. The modern view though just sees things to be used….and what a mess we are making of that. Not that the old ways were perfect, they certainly were not, but the new ones are no arising golden age…

      • GordonHide

        Perhaps you should study Scandinavia where almost no-one believes in gods.

        • freddiethegreat

          Actually, the old paganism is making a huge comeback in Scandinavia. Expect human sacrifice again soon

          • Expect human sacrifice again soon

            Do you mean sacrificing the unborn and the elderly to cults of modern paganism ?

            Already happening …

        • Stephen Milroy

          Yeah instead they imported a load of Mohammedian’s who are more base than any Christian ever could be…

    • if atheism takes over the world, the crimes of communism in the last century over 100 million will be a walk in the park. Religion I suspect will be on the rise around the world it would however be new age stuff, mixed with Islam and some cult worship. Christians would be around both before and after the rapture. Though the Jews will play a more prominent roles in leading the way.

      All this ofcourse will happen and is already happening just as scriptures say they would.

      • Fred Uttlescay

        Smiling while reading this nonsense. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. If everyone became atheists we would be living in a much more peaceful world.

        • Atheism is BELIEF in the lack of a supernatural causation to the physical universe. The science will tell you that atheism is a logically untenable postion to hold as we know that the physical or the natural (i.e time, space, matter) all began at some point in the past.

          If the natural began to exist, then logically the cause of the natural must be by definition super-natural. If the natural is finite (time and space wise) the cause of the natural must be logically infinite. If the universe holds an awesome amount of energy, the first causer must hold an even greater power. I’ve just described to an extent the God of the bible.
          That’s just one of the logical conclusion based on the science.

          The greek and roman gods had their existence within the universe…they are by definiton not super-natural and cannot explain what we know today on the nature of the universe.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            What a hoot. Well done.

          • Zalacain

            Atheism is not a belief. It is a logical position were belief is withheld until evidence to the contrary is produced.
            As to the origins of the natural, your argument is an old one, it is called “Argument from Ignorance”. You are basically stating that as we don’t know the origins of the universe it is logical to put “God” there. The illogicality of this position is obvious when you think that you could use any invented deity as an answer to the origins of the universe.

          • I have given you logic…see above.

            Please present your own logical case that breaks this.

            Hint: it is not logical to say “Atheism is not a beleif. It is logical position were beleif is witheld until evidence to the contrary is produced”.

            Present your logic of how “time, matter and space” is created (i.e began to exist) without the need for causation that is beyond time, matter and space.

            I know there isn’t any…but I will patiently wait for your refutation. If you don’t have any refutation, keep quiet and admit to yourelf you don’t have any – you don’t need to tell me, we’ll both know you don’t have any.

            My arguement is an arguement that postulates that the causer of the finite universe must be greater than the finite (a.k.a infinite in nature) and beyond the natural (a.k.a super-natural). If you cannot logically argue against this posptulation, then you admit ignorance has nothing to do with my arguement.

            I’m waiting for you refutation.

          • Zalacain

            I don’t know the answer to “how “time, matter and space” is created”. That fact doesn’t mean that you can invent a cause call it “God or Allah” and think that you have won the argument. Anybody could invent a cause for the universe. Science works by somebody proposing an idea and other people checking it and providing proof either in support or against that idea. You provide no proof for your theory, you just state it.

          • sir science work using logic presupositions. If there is no coherent logic in your arguement or theory you have no science.

            I did not postulate that I deduce the God of the bible exist because I don’t know what created the universe.

            Rather I am saying an entity like the type described i the bible is the ONLY logical conclusion one has to come to.

            Only an intellectually dishonest person would refuse to accept that. That’s your problem.

            Time, space and matter is finite (that is it began to exist)…logically the only thing that could be an ultimate causes must be eternal (i.e is self-existing by nature), existed before nature was created (i.e super-natural), has phenomenal or infinte amount of power and is extremely intelligence.

            The hundreds and hundreds of conditions for our universe to exist the way it does today were established in the first pico-second of the expansion.

            A pico-second is the time it takes for light to travel across the breath of a hair.

            You want me to beleive this universe perfectly established and well designed was made from “nothing” and was designed very well by chance? Are you crazy. Have you ever come across a car engine designed by chance? Yet you would beleive that a universe born out of “nothing” was made by chance?

            This is why I say atheist are superstitious…what you beleive is beyond reason and logic. A universe well designed born out of nothing…poof like magic. No wonder why the bible says “the fool says in his heart there is no God”

          • you can’t invent logic…seriously guys. Logic exist regardless of if you think about it or not…

            You have not refuted my logic…shall I take it that you therefore agree with my logic but don’t want to admit it so you look tough for your atheist buddies?

            The universe if finite…what ever made it must be infinite (time and space wise)
            The universe is natural…therefore what ever preceded it must be (super-natural)
            The universe is finely tuned and intricately designed…it is more likely a car engine was formed by a collision that the universe forming by chance. Meaning the universe’s design had a super intelligent input.

            Again please refute.

            I did not invent anything, just merely stating what we know in the science which is the universe is finite, it is time bound, it is space bound and it most certainly began.

          • Zalacain

            Your argument is know as “the argument from ignorance” it is well trod as is it’s refutation. Basically you are saying that because we lack knowledge about something, such as the beginning of the universe, your hypothesis, ie God or the super-natural, is true. You say you don’t invent anything, but you did, “God”.
            Imagine that you are a Viking child and you hear thunder and are scared, and your father tells you, don’t worry that is Thor the God of Thunder. For want of a better alternative that would be considered the truth. This is how you think about the universe, instead of Thor, you have God, but your logic is the same.
            You keep asking people to disprove what you say, but nobody has to disprove what you most certainly haven’t proven.

          • I have laid out logic and your reply is that I am arguing from ignorance.

            We know these scientific facts to hold true. That is
            1) The universe is finite (space and time wise)
            2) The universe began at some point in the past.

            We know this truths…you cannot deny them. If the universe began to exist, something most have created or caused it to exist. Since we know that matter, time and space itself all began to exist and are the ‘stuff’ the universe is made off. Therefore what ever created matter, time and space most be superior or beyond matter, time and space.

            The logic is so simple, that the fact you are bringing up vikings makes me question that you motives is not because you an’t see the logic but rather because you don’t want to accept it. Your motives are not genuine.

            If there is a book, then there ought to be a writer…no because I saw one but because there is no cause without a causer…the very basis of maing sense starts from those premise. If you deny that then you are the one arguing from ignorance and illogicality.

            Atheism is an arguement from ignorance because atheists are ignorant of any examples or thoughts of logic whereby a thing requires no move, causer or creator. Atheism IS the ultimate argument from ignorance.

          • Zalacain

            Your is the classic argument from ignorance. As far as I know, nobody, but nobody, knows what happened before the Big Bang. We don’t even know if there was such a thing as time, therefore to put Allah (or the Christian god), as an answer is silly.
            You state that the universe is complicated therefore it needed a creator, but the human brain is complicated and evolution gives us a mechanism for its development.
            Put it this way, if you know and can prove that God created the universe, write to the New Scientist with your findings, enjoy your well deserved acclaim and collect the Nobel prize for physics.

          • “We don’t even know if there was such a thing as time” Yes we do. Time, Space and Matter all began according YOUR atheistic scientists.

            There was no “time” before the universe existed…even the atheistic scientist grudgindgly admit this.

            This is exactly my point. since we know tiem began…whatever caused it must be beyond time and beyond nature.

            The logical infrence from what we know tells us there MUST have been something which is super-natural. The logic speaks for itse;f, I don’t need to make aything up. Just like I don’t need to make up an author in order to beleive that Harry Potter was written by something or someone greater than the book itself. The Harry Potter series did not create itself.

            I have answered the question, you seem to enjoy your postion of ignorance and even derive some twisted sense of moral superiorty by claiming “we are ignorant”…sure I wasn’t there when the Harry Potter books were written but I can INFER that someone wrote it…that’s called logic.

            I don’t need a nobel prize to be able to deduce that someone wrote Harry Porter…a imbecile understands that much. The knowledge of God is common sense…when you lie on your bed, you do all you can to supress his knowledge but that’s your burden to carry till the day you actually stand before his blazing glory.

            Remember those who have passed on to the other side don’t make smart comments…the same way a man stand 1 feet from the sun doesn’t make smart comments.

          • Zalacain

            You don’t understand, or want to understand, my central tenet. Any further argument would just go round in circles. Let’s agree to disagree.

          • Atheism is not a belief

            That is just a dogma of militant atheism.

          • Zalacain

            Why dogma and why militant?
            There are and have been hundreds if not thousands of religions in the world. I imagine that you don’t believe in them, excepting one. I happen not to believe in any, but I’m open to evidence that a particular religion is true. Can you provide any?

          • Dogma because so many evangelical atheists simply repeat it parrot-like as a central tenet of their religious(*) beliefs

            Militant, because it’s never something that I’ve come across from the more casual atheists who do not seek to spread their beliefs in an actively aggressive manner, online or elsewhere

            (*) 2. Of, concerned with, or teaching religion

            I imagine that you don’t believe in them

            Oh dear not this old chestnut of false atheist logic AKA sophistry again ?

            The Vatican II document Nostra Aetate is flawed in several disturbing ways, particularly in its highly inaccurate portrayals of Islam — nevertheless, the fundamental principle that several false religions may contain some elements of truth in their teachings is a good one, and it has been a part of the Catholicity of the Christian Faith for Millennia (albeit an unpopular one during certain more prideful periods of Church history). The conversion of many popular local cults in Ancient Europe, or more recently in Africa, to become Christian ones is evidence of that.

            You cannot therefore expect a clean yes/no, black/white answer to a complex notion — particularly as not any Christian can honestly pretend to possess any fullness of the truth.

            As for evidence, well if you claim, as doubtless you do, that personal testimony, written or oral, is not to be counted as “evidence” on this question (though you’d just as doubtless accept such evidence regarding most other questions), then it would be pointless for me or anyone else to write up or show you any of it, wouldn’t it.

            This would be the result of an a priori decision that the evidence from Christians is not evidence — so that unless and until you can witness a divine intervention with your own eyes, you will therefore continue to cut yourself off from the only sources of evidence that exist.

            This is not a good manner of investigation.

          • Zalacain

            Pot and kettle springs to mind in relation to dogma and militant.
            Dogma: I have and use my own arguments and don’t depend on one flawed book
            Militant: Really? How many atheists knock on your door or stop you in the street trying to sell you their lack of religion? And over the course of your life, how many people of different people have tried to sell you their particular religion?
            Of course personal testimony is not counted as evidence. In the same way that I don’t consider that people who claim to have been taken by UFO’s as credible, although I’m sure that many of them are honest in their mistaken belief.
            For example, if somebody claimed to have invented a perpetual motion machine, I, and I suspect, most other people would want evidence, and would withhold belief until this is provided. The testimony of his friends and family wouldn’t be enough.
            All ideas, theories and claims should be subject to the same level of proof or evidence. You can’t make a special plea for your particular ideas.
            As to your attempt to the relativeness of religions, do you believe in reincarnation, yes or no?

          • And over the course of your life, how many people of different people have tried to sell you their particular religion?

            Their numbers pale before the armies of atheist zealots who have tried to convince me of the truth of theirs.

            Of course personal testimony is not counted as evidence

            No doubt you point this out to every bakery girl who tells you the price of a loaf of bread.

            No doubt you ignore the contents of every single radio programme.

            No doubt you refuse to believe your friends when they tell you what they watched on telly last night.

            Or can it be that you are simply mistaken about the very meaning of the word “evidence” ?

            You can’t make a special plea for your particular ideas.

            If that were true, and of course it’s not (it’s totally absurd), then you would need to totally ignore a priori everything that anyone said to you if they couldn’t back it up with material evidence.

            There’s a word to describe such a mental attitude : “autism”.

            As to your attempt to the relativeness of religions, do you believe in reincarnation, yes or no?

            Did you fail to read my explanation for my refusal to respond to this flawed line of “interrogation” ?

          • Zalacain

            Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I would think it pretty self-evident that if a friend tells you what they watched last night, it is not only likely to be true, but also not very important either way.
            Christians make some very strange claims, and have often in the past killed or imprisoned those who disagreed with them, these claims require very good evidence. Evidence which needles to say you cannot provide, otherwise, I imagine you would have.

          • I would think it pretty self-evident that if a friend tells you what they watched last night, it is not only likely to be true, but also not very important either way.

            Special reasoning.

          • Zalacain

            You are avoiding the point. What extraordinary evidence do you have for your extraordinary claim?
            You provide it, I will believe, you don’t I won’t.

          • You are avoiding the point

            Rubbish — you have overtly declared that you have already decided to completely reject every source of evidence except for a divine intervention.

            Not myself being God, it is difficult for me to arrange one for your own personal convenience.

            Ad impossibile, nemo tenetur, as they say …

          • Zalacain

            “you have overtly declared that you have already decided to completely
            reject every source of evidence except for a divine intervention”
            You are putting words in my mouth. I require evidence, this is normal. You haven’t provided any evidence of any type. Good or bad.

            You yourself can believe any old rubbish, you are just going to have a hard time persuading me, that’s all.

          • The Catholic Church provides ample evidence — you have already stated that you will reject all of it, and you have explicitly denied that it even constitutes evidence in the first place.

            You are therefore expecting the impossible, and then utterly absurdly claiming that it’s somehow my fault for being unable to provide it.

            Your methodology is as circular as it is blinkered, in-grown, and illogical.

            The only thing that could possibly be counted as “evidence” on the basis of your irrational a priori would be for you personally to experience a divine intervention – as I am not God, I cannot however provide you with one, for only He can do so.

            You cannot reasonably ask men for evidence whilst denying that they can provide you with any.

            Your request is therefore demonstrated as being unreasonable, and so I will not even attempt to satisfy it.

          • Bluesman1950

            No, it’s just a fact.

          • Bluesman1950

            Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not a belief in the lack of gods.

            The distinction between the two really shouldn’t be a massively difficult concept to grasp.

          • Kara Connor

            I’m borrowing that! Succinct and accurate.

          • Man In Black

            No, totally inaccurate.

            An agnostic has a lack of belief in gods, but an agnostic is NOT an atheist.

            The precise distinguishing feature between agnosticism and atheism is that the latter declares that there are no gods, whilst the former does not.

          • Kara Connor

            Merriam Webster:
            “a disbelief in the existence of deity”

          • Man In Black

            Disbelief is not the same thing as lack of belief.

          • Kara Connor

            That definition from Merriam Webster can in no way be construed a definitive statement that there is no god. Just admit you were wrong.

          • vorpal

            When you live in the black and white world of a Christianist, you either actively believe in a god or actively disbelieve in gods. There is no room for anything else.

          • Bluesman1950

            Your misunderstanding of what an atheist believes is obviously at the basis of your confusion.

            An atheist does not ” declare that there are no gods. ” An atheist does not believe that there are no gods. A atheist does not believe that there are gods. There is a difference which many theists are obviously unable to understand.

          • Bluesman1950

            Atheists do not, necessarily, declare that ” There are no gods.” Some may, but most simply say that there is no evidence that there are gods. Can you not see the difference?

          • Man In Black

            The essential difference is between some atheists who prefer honesty, and others who prefer sophistry instead.

          • Bluesman1950

            Unfortunately the unsophisticated often mistake subtlety for sophistry. That is your problem, not mine.

          • atheism implies meaningless. That is, the one who spouts atheist’s claptrap is meaningless as much as the words he/she is spouting. Which leads one to wonder what is the point of atheists arguing their position, when it is meaningless in the end?

            Atheism, the ultimate crouch for people who do not want to take responsibilities for their actions in life.

          • Bluesman1950

            Personally, I can manage without a crouch. Also without a crutch too! Is English your first language?

            Funnily, being an atheist, I have to take responsibility for everything I do. No satan tempting me, no demonic possession to blame. No saviour to wipe my sins out. All down to me and not a crouch in sight!

          • Thanks for the correction…crutch I mean to say.

            Nope, I’m a Yoruba…my brain messes up translation when I’m tired.

            All in all, atheism is a pointless worldview that when one considers it, he must realise that it has no ultimate beneficial goal or aim. As the great atheistic thinkers and philosophers have concluded, the natural response to atheism is to end it now. After all, it would all be ended and no one this would ever be noticed.

            Ofcourse I am not saying you should end it, I am saying the most logical response to atheism is that. That’s why I say most atheists are not really atheist, they just use it for a “crutch” to get away with what they like.

          • Ken Campbell

            Atheism does not hold a ‘position’ on the beginning of the universe. Not all atheists are scientists. an atheist is simply a non-theist. It is not capitalized and does not have dogma. Think of it as equivalent to your position on the existence of gnomes.

          • atheism begins in darkness and ends in darkness…the ultimate comfort of atheism is that there will be no judge, no heaven, hell or repercussions. It is the ultimate crutch for those who do not want to take responsibility for the life actions.

            Ofcourse atheism has a dogma…it’s: “There is no God and I hate him”. Very logical dogma as you can see. Atheists hate God as much as grown men hate Santa Claus.

          • Ken Campbell

            Actually, not having a ‘supreme leader’ is taking complete responsibility. You will never hear an atheist attribute a problem to god

            Grown men hate Santa Clause? I have never heard any rational adult say they ‘hate Santa Clause’. So I guess this means that it is impossible for a rational atheist to hate god.

            You seem confused

          • you’ve never had a grown man hate Santa Claus?..Exactly mon ami Grown men don’t say they hate Santa because they don’t believe in it…

            Atheist on the other hand spend their time hating a God who they are convinced doesn’t exist. Funny lot you atheists are. I don’t hate the Hindu gods or spend my days disproving them partly because I know they don’t exists.

            No responsibility, good, bad, right, wrong or ultimate accountability. Liars, cheats, crooks, murderers, mass killers all got off scot-free. Honestly I can see the appeal atheism. Imagine a world where you can do anything absolutely anything and you won’t answer to anyone about it. Sweet deal huh?

          • Ken Campbell

            If an atheist states that he/she hates god then he/she is an anti-theist and not an atheist. these are often theists who feel betrayed by their god. there is no reason to hate something that is not there

            mind you, you may be misinterpreting hatred for the fan club. Having a reaction to a theist is perfectly normal if the theist believes that he or she has special rights

            One of the most interesting aspects of the theist view of atheism is that atheists do not have any boundaries. they will say that : “Imagine a world where you can do anything absolutely anything and you won’t answer to anyone about it.”. This implies that the theist only behaves because he or she believes someone is watching. This is a very immature level of social or moral development

          • an immature level of scoial development? hypocrite much?

            So are you telling me the last time you saw a speed camerca you stepped on the pedla despite realising the implications of being caught? Are you telling me when you were driving through a urban area, you where doing a 70mph despite the implication you might hurt or worse kill someone.

            Checks and balance, law and order is what differetiates between the civilised man and the babarian.

            The difference between the heart changed by Christ and the unbeleiver is that the unbelivers lives according to his animalistic urges and his selfiish passions. The heart changed by Christ, is motivated by love for Christ, and is disciplined to please God, not out of fear but out of knwoeldge of God’s incredible mercy through Christ.

            The mind of a Christian is like the mind of a grown man who is doesn’t want to offend his parents not because he is afriad of the cane from them but because he loves his parents and waht to make them happy. The mind of an unbeliever is like a child, who will only do what is right out of fear that mum and dad is watching him.

            Christians are not driven by fear of hell but love for God. BIIIIIIIG Difference.

          • Ken Campbell

            There are many times that all of us use the most immature part of our moral development. This is not intended as an insult but rather a statement of the various stages of moral development. ANY decision made because of the fear of consequence is a lower stage.

            When we are very young, we don’t have a moral compass. Rules are just rules and are to be obeyed. Later, when we recognize that rules can be tested, we obey rules because of a promise of reward or a threat of punishment. Later still, as we grow more mature and see the inherent value of rules, we obey the rules and adhere to the moral code because we are invested in the maintenance of a society. The final stage of moral development is the adherence to moral codes because it is the right thing to do.

            So to determine if your decisions are based on a lower stage of moral development, you need to remove the watcher. If you remove your god from the equation, how would your life change. If you think you would become a person who no longer has self control, then your moral stage is quite immature

          • Bluesman1950

            Do you believe in Santa Claus?

          • Malibu Bob

            The logical position toward an extraordinary, supernatural
            claim is skepticism until proof is offered, and so far none of the thousands of
            gods that have been claimed to exist throughout history have lifted a finger to
            prove themselves. In fact, most believers grasp this for themselves; they
            automatically disbelieve all religious claims except their own, barring actual
            proof that never produces itself. Atheists just do religious people one better,
            and make no exceptions for a religion because it happens to be the one we were
            raised in or convinced by friends to convert to.

          • what is the point of atheism? Of what practical use is your life or convincing me that I am wrong in my beliefs. According to your world view, your life and mine are meaningless, our conversation is meaningless. The logic conclusion is do whatever now in this, cheat if you want, steal if you want, heck kill if it will help you get to goal. In the end no one is going to arrest you or judge you. Isn’t that what you really want?

          • Bluesman1950

            When I was a Catholic, I could have comitted the most horrendous crimes, safe in the knowledge that, provided I repented before death I would go to heaven. As an atheist I am now responsible for my actions, no get-outs available.

          • as an atheist…you can now commit murder without ultimate judgement…Stalin, Mao, Pul Pot, Hitler all aquired wealth, power, women at the expense of millions of human lives.

            You know what, according to atheism they hit jackpot and they got of scot free. That is a twisted world view to adhere to.

            As a Christian we are all responsible for our actions, the Catholic church sadly is one built on the false hood of works based righteousness…one is saved by faith through grace not by your “good deeds”. I’m sorry to tell you, you never understood what the faith is really about in the first place.

          • Bluesman1950

            So I wonder why I don’t murder, rob, rape or steal if I think I can get away with it? And why do I volunteer in a search and rescue team and as a Community First Responder? Is it because I think that the former group are wrong and the latter are the right thing to do?

            Is it only the threat of eternal damnation that keeps your evil side in check?

            Is it perhaps that we are both able to make moral decisions based on what is best for a peaceful and harmonious society and follow the Golden Rule, which predates and is unconnected with christianity, even though christians may quote it?

          • I agree that atheist and people of faith have done wrong. We are one and the same on that point. My problem with atheist’s such as yourself live lives that indeed do noble things is that you are not living life according to the necessary dictate of your paradigm.

            Now I am not saying I do not agree with you doing good things but I am saying that there is no reason for doing what you are doing if atheism is right.
            It is like me discussing with a foreman on demolishing a building in 4 hours time and then rush over to the building trying to maximize the next 4 hours by painting and decorating the building when I know too well that it would be destroyed very shortly. It doesn’t make sense No one spends time trying to decorate a building that is soon to be demolished. The correct response to atheism as the great atheistic thinkers and philosophers have concluded, is to end it all….everything else (including your noble efforts) are meaningless in the light of atheism.

            This being said, I would very much like you to be around and to know your creator. Your life work and effort would have eternal value and significance if done in his name

          • Bluesman1950

            It is only theists that believe the lives of atheists are meaningless. That there is no ultimate point, any more than that of any creature, does not render my life meaningless.

            Atheists live, love, create, enjoy and appreciate without the need for gods. We do right or wrong on our own responsibility, not looking for the approval or condemnation of some god. We have one life and I am happy to make the most of it. I certainly have no god telling me to behead or burn unbelievers.

            Whether there is anything after death or not (and I see no reason to believe that there is) I still could not walk past an injured person, or hear of a missing child or person with dementia and not help.

            If I do any good it is because it is the right thing to do, not in order to glorify some imaginary being.

          • Meepestos

            It disheartens me when I see people walk past injured or passed out people. They must be supressing their empathy for some reason. I always check to see if they are alive and need help. My grandfather used to this this even though his fellow church goers would try to discourage him to do so by saying, “oh he is just passed out”, he’s drunk”, “don’t get involved”, “don’t disturb him, he’s having a nap on the grass”, etc.

        • BlingBlingsCollar

          “If everyone became atheists we would be living in a much more peaceful world.”

          Yes, the Soviet Union was such a peaceful society.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It was?

          • yeah, just like North Korea

          • Bluesman1950

            You think North Korea isn’t religious?

            Total obedience required to a supreme ruler, who cannot be doubted and disobedience to whom leads to torture and death. An eternal ruler, even after his death. I wonder where the Kim dynasty got those ideas?

          • Man In Black

            Have you thrown away those straws that you clutched, or do you still imagine they might be of some use later ?

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            No, you idiot, it killed millions. That’s the point.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            What killed millions?

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            The atheist Soviet Union, it’s atheist leaders, its atheist commissars and its atheist gulag guards. So peaceful. So brave. So euphoric.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            The Christian Nazis were just as bad. Did they murder millions because they were Christian, or because they were Nazis?

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            The Nazis were an explicitly Christian organisation were they? I guess that explains all the neopaganism.
            Doesn’t matter anyway since its a disgusting false equivocation. The Soviet Union specifically targeted Christians in three campaigns between 1917 and 1941. Deaths counts are estimated at anything from 12 million to as high as 20 million, no doubt applauded by despicable apologists like you.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            You are a silly sausage. Gott mit uns.

            Atheism wasn’t equivalent to Communism in the USSR any more than Christianity was equivalent to Nazism in WW2 Germany.

            Get it now?

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            So, you’re historically illiterate as well as an idiot.

            ‘Gott mit uns’ has nothing to do with the Nazis. It was the battle cry of the Teutonic Order and later adopted by Frederick I of Brandenberg and the Prussian Army. When Germany was formed in the 1800s, it became the motto of the German Army and they wore it on their belt buckles in both the first and second world wars. They only stopped using it in the 60s.

            Atheism was the state policy of the Soviet Union, which sought to stamp out what Karl Marx had called ‘the opium of the people’. In doing so they killed at least 12 million innocent people. At least.

            Do you get it now, you waste of skin?

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It’s you that doesn’t get it. You incorrectly equated atheism with communism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

            Germany was almost entirely Christian at the time of WW2. Without Christian support there could have been no Nazi party.

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            Not incorrect at all. Your sole evidence for the Nazis being Christian is the German Army’s motto and the fact that there were Christian in Germany. Start with the facts and then form an opinion, not the other way round – it’ll make you look like less of a wingnut.

            The Soviet Union specifically targeted Christians because they didn’t fit in to their atheist worldview. Disgraceful that you would dismiss the deaths of millions, and yet, not surprising either.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Of course the Nazis were mostly Christian. Don’t be ridiculous. With an almost 90% Christian population in Germany they could hardly be anything else. The majority of the three million Nazi Party members continued to pay their church taxes and register as either Roman Catholic or Evangelical Protestant Christians. According to the BBC, the Salvation Army, Christian Saints and Seventh Day Adventist Church all disappeared from Germany during the Nazi era.

            Atheism is the default for all humans unless religious faith is taught. We aren’t born Soviet Communists.

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            So your proof that the Nazis were Christian is that several churches disappeared? Are you retarded?

            You’re so desperate to dance on the graves of Soviet massacre victims that you’re prepared to cite any old drivel as evidence to support your false equivocation. For shame.

            The Soviet Union deliberately killed millions of people in a attempt to enforce a policy of atheism. That’s a fact.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            They weren’t true atheists.

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            No True Scotman fallacy. You lose.

          • Fred Uttlescay


          • Jurgen Schwarzgruber

            on the belt buckle of every wehrmacht soldier was the phrase ‘Gott mit uns’ encrusted on it. Go read a history book and maybe you might learn a thing or two about Christianity and its relationship with the Nazis

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            I have adequately covered the history of the ‘Gott Mit Uns’ motto and its relation to the German Army (not the Nazi party) already. The fact that you have even posted this shows a profound lack of reading comprehension.

          • Zalacain

            Hitler and Stalin both had moustaches, I feel we should ban people with hair under the nose!

          • Bluesman1950

            And what was the overwhelmingly dominant religion in Nazi Germany? Did Hitler carry out the Holocaust himself, or did he get some nice christians to help him?

            The crimes of all genocidal dictators have been about authoritarian dictatorship, not religion.

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            Right, so because there were Christians in Germany that means the Nazis were a religious organisation, does it? Lay off the crackpipe, idiot.

          • Bluesman1950

            The Nazi party was not necessarily a christian organisation, but it was the overwhelmingly christian people of Germany who filled the armies of conquest and domination and ran the death camps. The ten commandments didn’t seem to stop them engaging in slaughter and genocide.

            If you want to link Stalin’s crimes with atheism, then the christians have got to accept the Holocaust too.

            On the either hand, it might be the case that neither atheism nor christianity had anything to do with either regime!

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            Your history is a little off there, champ. The overwhelmingly Christian people of Germany overwhelmingly had no idea that the death camps even existed. The final solution was known only to the SS and senior members of the Party.

          • Bluesman1950

            If you believe them then that’s fine! I have my doubts!

            In a speech given on January 30, 1939, commemorating the sixth anniversary of his rule in Germany, Hitler added a stark new warning: “If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevizing of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!”

            Obviously they were unaware of Hitler’s speeches, Kristallnacht, the yellow stars, the book burning, the fact that all the Jews had disappeared from their towns and cities etc. etc. Damned unobservant those Germans!

            Do you think that they noticed that there was a war going on too?

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            Thanks but I’ll take the opinions of historians over yours.

          • Bluesman1950

            David Irving isn’t always right!

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            Classy, but the only one denying holocausts here is you.

          • Bluesman1950

            Which holocaust do you believe I am denying? The biblical global flood perhaps, but not the Holocaust carried out by Germany in the 20th century by the Christian Germans.

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            12 to 20 million dead is not enough for you, I suppose. Crawl back under your rock.

          • Bluesman1950

            According to the bible it wasn’t enough for your god, who killed the entire human and animal population of the world by flooding. Except for the fish of course!

            So, which holocaust am I denying?

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            The well documented murder of millions of Russian Christians. Go ahead, deny it a third time.

          • Bluesman1950

            I don’t deny that millions died in the Soviet Union or in Germany. What we are arguing about is the motivation.

            What was god’s motivation in allegedly drowning almost the entire population of the planet

          • Meepestos

            “Except for the fish of course!” … and the aquatic mammals. : )

          • Bluesman1950

            Of course, never forget the dolphins etc. Maybe god spared them on porpoise! (Sorry).

          • Bluesman1950

            My previous reply seems to have been deleted so I will repeat it.

            Who was worst, Stalin, Hitler, or your god, whom you believe killed everyone on Earth except Noah’s and his family?

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            It wasn’t deleted, you tool, it’s still there.

          • Bluesman1950

            Amazing that. Your full original post, in addition to what you have put here also said “And I will ask you the same question: who do you think is worse, Stalin, Hitler, or the God you think doesn’t exist?” Somehow that got deleted after the full quote arrived via my email notification. Mysterious ways eh? Must be using some unusual tools!

            Anyway, since you ask, I will answer. If God exists, then he is definitely worse than either Hitler or Stalin. He murdered almost the entire population of the Earth except Noah and his family and their floating menagerie and killed all animals, except the aquatic ones, which obviously must not have been as evil!

            If, as I suspect, god does not exist, then it’s pretty much even between Hitler and Stalin. I’m not sure exactly how many deaths each is responsible for, but after the first few millions you start to look pretty immoral either way! There is competition from others, e.g. Ghengis Khan etc., but let’s keep it simple.

            So, are you prepared to answer the question? Which is worse, murdering a substantial number, but a small percentage of the planet, or almost every living thing (except the fish etc.)?

            Over to you

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            I removed the second part as not only was your comment still there, but also the chain of comments that followed it. It seemed pointless digging up old arguments with a holocaust denier like you, and it still is.

          • Bluesman1950

            Who’s denying the Holocaust? I fully agree that Hitler and Stalin slaughtered millions, as have others.

            The real holocaust denier is you who refuses to admit that, if his god is real and the bible is true, god is a far worse killer than all the other tyrants in history put together!

          • Bluesman1950

            No. Try reading slowly and lay off whatever you may be taking, it may help your comprehension.

            The Soviet Union was an atheist state which did terrible things.

            Nazi Germany was a christian state which did terrible things.

            The atrocities committed by those states and by others, are not the result of the religious complexion of those states. They were the result of absolute despotic power driving towards a political end, coupled with a complete disregard for human rights and life in both states.

            Religion had nothing to do with it. It certainly did not prevent the rise of German nationalism, Nazism, World War 2 and the Holocaust.

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            Why don’t you address the fact that the Soviet Union deliberately targeted religious groups in order to implement a policy of enforced atheism?

          • Bluesman1950

            They targeted any group which might pose a challenge to the rigid authoritarianism of the state, as did the Nazis.

          • BlingBlingsCollar

            That’s 12 to 20 million dead that you’re apologising for.

            Why not admit that the Soviets targeted Christians in the same way that the Nazis targeted Jews?

          • Man In Black

            Nazi Germany was a christian state

            No, it wasn’t.

          • I’ve found some quotes that you seem to be parroting, Fred :

            “There is something very unhealthy about Christianity.”

            “Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.”

            “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”

            “So it’s not opportune to hurl ourselves now into a struggle with the Churches. The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic.”

            “When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.”

            “It is to these private customs that peoples owe their present characters. Christianity, of course, has reached the peak of absurdity in this respect. And that’s why one day its structure will collapse. Science has already impregnated humanity. Consequently, the more Christianity clings to its dogmas, the quicker it will decline.”

            The author of these statements ? Adolf Hitler.

            So nice to see you agreeing with so many of his lovely ideas !!! Does that make you a “christian” too, Fred ?

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Not at all. I’m no Christian.

        • Zimbalist

          Scientists don’t even know what’s on the other side of a black hole. Big call saying God doesn’t exist. Guess the universe 13 billion light years across just cooked itself up out of nothing one Saturday afternoon.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            God of the gaps fallacy.

          • Hey, you’re the one that keeps dragging that fallacy out into the interwebs …

          • Bluesman1950

            No, that’s the theists.

          • Jurgen Schwarzgruber

            Still a better explanation than the crap I hear from Christians about how it was created in six days and the first man was created from mud/clay and the first woman from the man’s ribs…………..There isn’t enough drugs in the world one could take to come up with daft nonsense like this but it just so happens to be one of the tenets of your faith!

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          So monotheists are atheists? (Well, admittedly that’s what the ancient Romans thought.)

      • Zalacain

        Communism was a religion, just not a supra-natural one. Stalin was educated in a seminary and he copied Christianity in many of his ideas.

      • trekker2002

        Soviet Communism and Nazism were effectively religions themselves. They were as hostile to competing faiths as Christianity has been in the past and parts of Islam are today. Every believer is an atheist towards the other believers god.

      • Ken Campbell

        Atheism is not a political system. There is no slippery slope associated with atheism as it does not imply any ‘beliefs’. In fact, it only implies a lack of one particular belief.

        • yes there is a slippery slope with atheism…it’s slippery with the bloods of those who stand in its way. Don’t believe me, ask Mao, Pol Put, Hitler, Stalin…atheism is a murderously slippery slope. Usually at the bottom of the slop is a pile of human skulls.

          Atheism is not apolitical system but it is truly insidious when it seeps into the political system because atheism by definition is amoral. Hence the bloody slippery slope.

          • Ken Campbell

            Just because a person is an atheist does not mean that they act ‘in the name of atheism’. However, if you want to play that game, have at it. I’ll bet there are many more atrocities done by political leaders who are Christian than by political leaders who are atheist. So be wary of the slippy slope as it will bite you back

    • David Stern

      Even science cannot fill the needs of men and women to know, to seek and more importantly, to feel. So the answer here is a slow, resentful and yielding, no.

    • Stephen Milroy

      I fear science is too busy figuring out what new fun thing is bad for us to give us any moral guidance…

  • Precambrian

    Christianity is dying because it is pointless in a world that it constantly submits to.

    And it has no home, as a congregational religion, in a society that is increasingly atomised and electronically mediated.

    But then the non-world-surrendering form of Christianity has an unpopular message in an age devoted to the Self – calls to repent of sin are of no interest to people brought up on “no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free”.

    None of which is helped by a liberal media that attack Christianity at every turn (although they defend Islam….have they never seen how Islamic countries treat their victims of choice, the homosexuals?).

  • sfin

    I posted this elsewhere but it bears repetition…

    There is only one reason for the decline in “Christian Britain” and that is the established church’s abandonment of leadership in Christian, moral authority and its embrace of “change” as a “progressive” force in national life.

    All the weight and moral force (not to mention, the poetry) of the ancient liturgy was jettisoned in little more than a decade. The result? The CoE is viewed as little more than a rather eccentric arm of our social services.

    God doesn’t swing to the whims of man. He is conservative

    • ohforheavensake

      So the whole ‘there isn’t actually a god’ thing has no effect?

      • blandings

        Has no effect on my muslim relatives.

        • Jesus Actionfigure

          Sure it does. Plenty of people are quietly doubting, and often leaving the cult of islam where living in free countries makes that possible. The more that fact is talked about, the more quickly I expect the trend to accelerate.


        • trekker2002

          It will, and already is, happening. There are now ex-Muslims who prepared to state openly that they are ex-Muslims and there are probably thousands more who are merely observing the rituals and keeping silent merely to avoid the social and family problems that would result from open ‘apostasy’.

        • GordonHide

          Yes, it appears that the best defence to encroaching modernity is to threaten ostracism or even death to would be apostates.

          • blandings

            It works – don’t knock it
            Actually, it may seem odd to us but those muslims I know don’t require threats to keep them in line

          • GordonHide

            Yes, there are no statistics of Muslim apostates in Britain or anywhere else which is itself worrying. Falling back on anecdotal examples just doesn’t cut it.

          • blandings

            Yes, there are no statistics of Muslim apostates

            They’re dead

      • GordonHide

        Well, the whole ‘there isn’t actually a god’ thing has very little effect. If you really want to know the most important reason for the decline of religion in the West turn to the academics who have brought rationality to the process of finding an answer. Read the work of Gregory Paul & Phil Zuckerman or at least read this Canadian article:

    • Alistair Kerr

      Sfin, you have hit the nail on the head. God is a conservative; He incarnates the eternal verities. There is one church that recognises this. It is still expanding and making converts, even in modern secular Britain. This is the Orthodox Church; the church that is closest to the primitive Church; that has compromised least; and which does not go in for “progressive” or liberal concern about climate change etc. It does not suggest that we can ever hope to create an earthly paradise by legislation, which is the premise of Leftists and trendy Anglican Bishops. (Historically, human attempts to do so have usually resulted in oppressive one-party States and extensive human rights abuses.) Orthodox mystical theology is consistent with that of the early Church and with the (very reasonable) view that God is basically unknowable; that there is much that we cannot and never will understand about life and the universe; only in the glorious courts of heaven will all become clear. Meanwhile the old beliefs and time-honoured rituals help us through our earthly pilgrimage.

      • GordonHide

        Isn’t it rather inconsistent to say on the one hand: God is a conservative, and on the other: God in unknowable?

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          You except consistency & coherence from a theist?

          • GordonHide

            Clever example of dyslexia that!

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            I wish I could honestly say it was deliberate!

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          No, it isn’t. Note how Alistair defines “conservative.” You may have some other definition in mind. (I disagree with Alistair that Orthodoxy, institutionally, is the answer, though I agree that an apophatic but richly orthodox approach to faith is the answer and that the Orthodox are good models in this regard–if the Orthodox in Orthodox countries would just follow this model instead of embracing nationalism and xenophobia.)

          • GordonHide

            I would have thought that if God was unknowable you can’t know he is conservative however you define it.

      • Rowland Nelken

        St. Augustine of Hippo, desperate to explain, in ‘The City of God’, the absence of the Kingdom as preached by Jesus and Paul as just around the corner, declared that the Roman based earthly church was in fact, Christ’s Kingdom. It prefigured the eternal kingdom, due, according to Augustine’s Biblical sums, at the end of the world, in 1658. If nothing else, the history of Christendom has left us with a record number of duff prophecies.

        • Man In Black

          Then you’ve not read that work with much care — if indeed you’ve even read it at all !!!

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Oh please, *please* let the Church turn to “muscular”, aggressive conservative leadership! It would make the battle so much more fun that the current fight against moderate and liberal milksops. After all, it’s better to burn out than to fade away. And by “better” I mean shrink faster and in an more entertainingly spectacular fashion.

      • Damian Hurts

        I just want the Church to use their land assets more effectively. Perhaps that’s why the appointed English ‘mini-pope’ is now a money man.

        • AugustineThomas

          And will British secularists realize that they’re committing population suicide because they’re so immoral and that they must return to orthodox Christianity before they’re taken over by Muslims?

      • will91

        Exactly, it’s so tedious. The Church has essentially decided to become a Greenpeace/Fair trade advocacy group.

        • Fried Ch’i

          Why is it that you guys are always, consistently, 30 to 70 years behind the times?

          • By “you guys”, do you mean ACTA or the Tablet or both ?

          • Jen The Blue

            ACTA and the Tablet……uuugggghhhhh.

            I cannot believe the Tablet is still sold in Catholic Churches.

          • Fried Ch’i

            I don’t use tablets, ever. My fingers are too fat.
            Netbooks rock.

        • Rowland Nelken

          Should it have stuck to promoting the divine rights of kings; pioneering the spread of the British Empire, or warning of an imminent rapture and apocalypse? Plenty of great old time religion variants to choose from.

          • will91

            Ooo ooo pick the Empire one! At least that’s compelling!

      • Jen The Blue

        The parts of the Anglican Church that are still thriving are the evangelicals who stick to biblical truth.

        The parts of the Catholic Church that are growing in the west are the Tradionalist Movements…..who stick to Catholic Truth.

        • Rowland Nelken

          That is just two utterly incompatible ‘truths’ in Christendom.

        • Bluesman1950

          This sounds like some socialists who, after every Labour defeat, complain that they lost because their policies hadn’t been socialist enough!

          • AugustineThomas

            You can’t deny that the Church took over Europe when it was full of people who were so serious about EVERY biblical truth that they were willing to die for their faith and it is now losing Europe as it is full of secularist, leftist cowards.

          • Bluesman1950

            You can’t deny that the church took over Europe when it was full of people who were so superstitious about biblical ‘truths’ that they were willing to burn other people for any variation of their faith and is now losing Europe as it is full of people thinking rationally.

          • AugustineThomas

            You can’t deny that Christianity is the reason that modernity was built in Europe.
            Christians developed humanism, secularism, egalitarianism, modern democracy, the modern educational system, etc., etc., etc.
            Christianity is the reason Europe became so prosperous. Secularist beliefs are the reason it’s murdering all of its children and being taken over by Muslims who regularly show you how brutal false religions can be. (The most brutal, evil false religions in history are those of secularists. Secularists are the worst murderers in history.)

          • Bluesman1950

            You do know that secularism and atheism are different don’t you?

            You can be secularist and religious too.

          • AugustineThomas

            You can obviously be a religious Christian and believe in secularism; religious Christians developed proper secularism. However a secularist makes an idol of his perverted notion of secularism. True Christians can’t have idols. They can only worship God.

          • Bluesman1950

            Sorry, but you can’t arbitrarily redefine words to make them into what you want them to mean. Secularism has nothing to do with worshipping anything.

          • pshr

            “and being taken over by Muslims who regularly show you how brutal false religions can be”

            So, a religion whose fundamental pillar is Oneness of God, an idea which the Christians also claim to be true (never mind the mind-numbing “trinity” concept), is a false religion?

            Let’s see now. Muslims also believe in Christ (pbuh), as a Prophet of God, born of the Virgin. So, I believe both groups are referring to the same person here. Christ prayed to God, the One and Only. Muslims also fervently pray to the same God of Christ (but strictly without the intermediaries). So, if Christianity is true, how can Islam be false? You think a Just God will condemn a people, who happen to worship Him directly? Do you even understand the concept of, The Almighty God?

            As for the brutal part, even as I am horrified by the actions of Muslims, are you so blind that you cannot see the “thousands-for-one” murders done by your co-religionists (heard of “God told me to invade Iraq” Bush?). Is the wanton mowing down (literally) of innocents, from atop gunships and drones, more humane than ISIS’s brutal beheadings?

            History has shown that the most brutal of races has been the White one. The admittedly great achievements you point to above has been done at a very high price. You and your ancestors will find out later.

          • AugustineThomas

            Muslims specifically deny the virgin birth. They included Christ and the Blessed Mother precisely as a counter to Christianity. Islam is a perversion of Judaism and Christianity. Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism and Jews are the builders who refused the head cornerstone.
            I’m not defending whites, I’m defending Christians. Christians built modernity and added thirty years to the lives of all human beings through the technology they developed. Christians have also done more charity than any other group in history.
            Secularists, the majority of whom happened to be white, are the worst murderers in history.
            I don’t understand how you guys can be so naive that you blame Christians for the mass murders of secularists like the Soviets, Communists and Nazis. It’s quite clear that atheistic and agnostic secularist beliefs animated those movements. There have been bad Christians, but there have been far more good ones who have done good as a result of Christ’s wisdom.

      • Yes after all, muscular, aggressive conservatism has led to the collapse of Islam, hasn’t it

        • franklinb23

          Which makes Islam true?

      • Hash Kama

        Been reading a certain “Times” commentator have you?

    • Bonkim

      Christianity re-written by man is no Christianity.

      • Fred Uttlescay

        Exactly. Man invented all of it.

        • Only half right, as Jesus is God and Man,

          • Fred Uttlescay

            No he isn’t. He’s a dead human (if he ever lived). Someone moved the body in the mythology.

          • Catrina Bennett

            That’s how much you know.
            Christ Is Risen from the dead. Trampling down death by Death…
            That’s my experience. Real experience.

            I’ve only got this writing to read here in this forum to”prove” that you exist…. unless I meet you…
            think about it!

          • Catrina Bennett

            And why are you, an atheist, posting here?
            Jesus is documented in antiquity.
            The fact that the people choose to him kept his words and life and death and resurrection and passed it on its for those who choose to be part of that.
            I too was like you until He began to ask me questions. If I’m deluded, as you’re thinking reading this, I’d rather be this way, and have hope, than as I was before.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            You must be desperate to have that nonsense as your only source of hope.

          • Jen The Blue

            Whereas you have certainty? Well you think that death is certainly the end. But you may be wrong.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            All human experience is mediated by the brain. When you die your brain dies. QED.

          • Jen The Blue

            IS all human experience mediated by the brain? .

          • Bluesman1950


          • Man In Black

            No, not all. Much is mediated by other parts of the nervous system ; some is mediated by the human soul.

          • Bluesman1950

            I’ve been to a few post mortems. Never seen a soul removed!

          • Man In Black

            Can you please explain how a non-material essence of pure spirit could be surgically “removed” from the pure matter of an inanimate corpse ?

          • Bluesman1950

            It couldn’t, because there is no evidence that such a thing exists.

          • Man In Black

            You yourself are such evidence.

          • Bluesman1950

            I think my parents had more to do with my existence!

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Yes, the colon isn’t very good at it.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It’s obviously not the end for everyone else but only for me.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            More documentary evidence for Jesus’s existence than any other figure at that time.

            Who moved the body – the women who claimed the tomb was empty?

    • Fred Uttlescay

      The decline is entirely due to the complete lack of God. The emperor has no clothes and sensible folk know it.

      • You beat me to it.

      • Amgine

        Yup. Information is so easy to find and misinformation pretty easy to dispel now we have the internet. It’s not secularism that’s killing religion it’s understanding it that is killing it.

        • The Great Cornholio

          Precisely, I love hearing the Christians desperately struggling to find the answer as to why their religion is in terminal decline. People have just stopped believing their supernatural claims. That’s it.

          It has little to do with the churches being too modern, or not modern enough, or secularism, or scandals. People are just too educated to believe the nonsense. But I guess this simple fact cannot be understood by those that still believe in the nonsense.

          • Jen The Blue

            Are you sure? Because that isn’t what I find. When I was at University 20 odd years ago, there was a vibrant Catholic Society and most of us were scientists. Many who studied maths and physics, as I did, found a deep purpose in the way the world is. Not all. But a lot. Not to say we are right, I cannot prove it, but to suggest that education is responsible for the decline in theism? I see no evidence.

            Of course, I can prove nothing, but I don’t think “education” is the difference at all. Most people are less educated than they were in 50s and 60s……unless you thing a degree in photography or media studies or sports journalism gives you a huge insight into the theological?

          • The Great Cornholio

            I use education in the broadest sense not merely formal qualifications. People now have access to all the arguments against religious/supernatural claims by going online and can see through the apologists’ counter arguments.

            I base my opinion largely on personal experience. I have followed the new atheist movement for sometime and have been involved, in a small capacity, and so have heard many de-conversion stories. What causes people to leave their faith is invariably that they have had questions about the extraordinary supernatural claims that cannot be answered and find these beliefs untenable.

            I come from a family of ultra-liberal Catholics who oppose their church’s position on homosexuality, contraception, abortion, woman priests etc. But they haven’t seen through the nonsense theological claims so the remain affiliated with the church and are happy living with their hypocrisy.

            Even in the Middle-East, ex-Muslims state that the reason they stop believing in Islam is that they find it’s tenets unbelievable not because of the terrible actions of Islamic fundamentalists.

          • Jen The Blue

            People? How many of Joe Public bother to think about religion all at ? Education? Well that ended for the masses when the grammar schools were destroyed.

            “”I come from a family of ultra-liberal Catholics who oppose their
            church’s position on homosexuality, contraception, abortion, woman
            priests etc.””

            You surprise me! [Heavy sarcasm]. They are not Catholics…..whatever they think…..they are not.

          • Tellytubby

            If you insist on putting labels on them then of course strictly they can’t be – the Church itself has a monopoly on its beliefs and what is termed doctrinally acceptable and what is not – you cannot pick and choose your beliefs, whatever you feel about them as a Catholic and still be called a true Catholic. You are instead a heretic. This of course is the reason why the reformation happened – and also why Catholocism retains so many believers (because the Church and its monopoly on thought says you will go to hell if you don’t believe what they tell you! That’s quite scary to people).

            Its the Catholic church’s great strength compared to other demoniations that bend as a piece of corn in the wind – this way or that depending on what is fashionable belief.

          • Jen The Blue

            i voted you up……I cannot see anything wrong with what you wrote!

            However, the Catholic Church is on the verge of apostasy…..

          • The Great Cornholio

            “People? How many of Joe Public bother to think about religion all at?”

            You’re correct about religion being irrelevant to most people. But those who care about it are now exposed to all the arguments against it in a way that no generation had been previously.

            “They are not Catholics…..whatever they think…..they are not.”

            Not according to the Catholic Church. In their view if you receive the sacraments of initiation you are a Catholic unless you are excommunicated. Which means that I am too, much to my annoyance.

            However, this is beside the point that I am trying to make. The reason they associate with the church and I don’t is that they believe in the divinity of Jesus, and all the other superstitious nonsense that goes with, and I don’t. That’s it.

            You can analyse all the changes to society and to the churches all you like, the reason that Christianity is in decline is merely that people do not believe the unbelievable.

          • Jen The Blue

            Your “knowledge” of Catholic theology and canon law is ……wrong!

            Anyone who ceases to practice the Faith is excommunicate. As are people who express certain opinions contrary to the Faith.

            It is all there in Canon law if you care to read it.

          • The Great Cornholio

            If you cared to read canon law you would find that my family members do not qualify for automatic excommunication as disagreeing with Church teaching is not grounds for this. I might have on the grounds of apostasy, but this is rarely used by the church, and they ended formal defection in 2009 due to fears of losing membership and thus its influence.

            You’re arguing with the wrong person. If you want to get every Catholic who doesn’t agree with the church’s teaching excommunicated you should take it up with them. Given that 78% of Catholics support contraception and 65% support abortion (closer to 90% in most Western countries) there won’t be many left.


            Anyway, I feel we are digressing from the topic of the article about the decline of Christianity.

          • Jen The Blue

            That depends…..if they publicly support abortion then they are excommunicate. I don’t disagree that out apostate Bishops may ignore this fact…..that is another issue.

            The Church is not a democracy…..that is the whole point of this debate……

            “Oh, I want to be a Catholic and but I don’t want to believe in the awkward bits”……..”Why should I bother with what the Catholic Church teaches as moral?………I will do what I like, claim I am part of the Church then the idiots who think the Church is democracy will have to take notice of what I think”

          • The Great Cornholio

            “if they publicly support abortion then they are excommunicate”

            No, they are only excommunicate if they complete an abortion. It says so in canon law.

            “The Church is not a democracy” Of which it used to proudly boast.

            As I said you’re taking up your argument with the wrong person. We’re singing from the same hymn sheet on this one and on what you said thereafter (if I am reading you correctly). I don’t understand why so many would continue to be members of a church with which they have such deep and profound moral disagreements. The sort of disagreements that would force them to leave any social club or political party.

            If you can have better luck than me persuading some of the vast numbers of Catholics who are at odds with the church into leaving go right ahead. You’d be doing me great favour in accelerating the church’s eventual demise.

          • Jen The Blue

            You are wrong.

          • The Great Cornholio

            “You are wrong.” About what? Care to elaborate?

            Look, I really don’t care much for canon law. I am an out and proud apostate of the catholic church but if you can show me the evidence of where it says that those who publicly support abortion are automatically excommunicated I would be pleased to see it, as it would be a string in my bow in my arguments against Catholicism.

            If you are referring to my comment about the demise of your church I am just following current trends and acknowledging the crisis that your church is facing between the schism between what it teaches and what its congregation believes. I crisis that you seam happy to pretend does not exist. And people like you wonder why Christianity is decline….

            This on top of all the supernatural nonsense, that you are unwilling to address, means that the future is bleak for your archaic institution.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Please take the time to see the link above on the results of a poll conducted under supervision of the Catholic church in which 65% of Catholics believed that abortion should be allowed in some circumstances.

          • Jen The Blue

            The Church’s teaching on contraception is not as definitive as that on abortion. You may be right that 78% of Catholics support contraception…..but I can categorically say that 0% of Catholics support abortion.

            Because you CANNOT be a Catholic if you support abortion. That is Canon Law.

            Whatever you think, and however you abuse the Church.

          • If you cared to read canon law you would find that my family members do not qualify for automatic excommunication as disagreeing with Church teaching is not grounds for this

            It’s clear from your descriptions that they’ve done more than just that — they’ve clearly also instructed their child(ren) to believe in various Errors against the Faith.

            And to simply “disagree” with something is NOT at all the same as opposing it, or supporting its opposite.

            And there are also huge differences depending on what exactly it is you disagree with — one can oppose the inability of priests to be married all one likes ; Catholics who merely say or think women could be ordained suffer no penalty, but to actively engage in the promotion of that Error does carry penalties ; but to participate in the willful destruction of an unborn child is straightforward mortal sin that instantly and automatically deprives one of the ability to partake of Holy Communion.

          • Jen The Blue

            Yes, you have put it far better than the hash I was making last night after two bottles of chardonnay!

          • Bluesman1950

            No True Scotsmen?

          • I come from a family of ultra-liberal Catholics who oppose their church’s position on homosexuality, contraception, abortion, woman priests etc.

            … and then we’re meant to be surprised you became an atheist ?

            You’ve simply demonstrated in your own words that notions that liberal/”progressive” café-“christianity” is destroying the Christian Faith in the UK is at the very least a viable theory, given that you are a living example thereof.

          • The Great Cornholio

            “and then we’re meant to be surprised you became an atheist ?”

            Not surprised, but you are simply missing the point about why I became an atheist and others who oppose the church’s teaching on several crucial issues, including the majority of the catholic laity, do not.

            I simply have learnt enough to see through the bullshit supernatural claims. That’s it. This might well have been facilitated by a liberal catholic upbringing, but many who have had a much harsher fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity preached to them have made the same move for the same reason.

            This is the point that I have been trying to make in my original post, before I got sidetracked into a tedious discussion about canon law and who is and who isn’t a Catholic.

            The reason that some many are leaving your church has little to do with cafeteria Christianity, or church teaching being too draconian, or the rise of a more pluralistic society, or societal moral decay, or whatever other reason you might ascribe it to.

            We simply can no longer believe the unbelievable. But since you still believe it, this is no a concept that I would expect you to grasp.

          • you are simply missing the point about why I became an atheist

            So many people on the internet do like to keep on claiming that those who disagree with their positions have somehow “missed the point”.

            It’s quite tiresome.

            Overtly disagreeing with your points does NOT constitute “missing” them.

          • Bluesman1950

            It doesn’t say much for the strength of that faith if it’s so easily destroyed.

          • Jen The Blue

            I come from a family of ultra-liberal Catholics who oppose their
            church’s position on homosexuality, contraception, abortion, woman
            priests etc.

            It does make one wonder what parts of the Catholic Faith The Great Cornholio’s family DO accept?

            More importantly while they feel the need to cling to an organisation that they fundamentally disagree with.

            A bit like a Tory becoming a communist but refusing to leave the Conservative Party.

          • Zalacain

            Look at the countries in the world and you can do a pretty good correlation between education and lack of religious belief. It won’t be exact of course, but it’s quite clear.

            The Nordic countries and Japan for example are some of the most educated and least religious countries in the world.

            How religious do you think Guatemalans or Ethiopians are?

          • If Universities teach strict materialist/atheist values, are you surprised when students become indoctrinated into a belief in them ?

          • Zalacain

            One thing has nothing to do with the other. Go to Eastern Europe, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine Russia, etc, most of the population of these countries was educated under a communist/atheist system, yet are now the most religious countries in Europe.

          • I don’t agree with your position — but I’d certainly grant that this particular topic is NOT a simple one, and in my view it requires a certain degree of education in some specialist areas before having any chance of being able to separate the wheat from the chaff here, which cannot be expected of anyone in this sort of forum. Which is not to put you down nor insult your intelligence nor education — just pointing out that it is extremely unlikely that you will have specialised in that particular combination of areas of investigation.

            More broadly, the claims you refer to are based on a combination of a statistical bias that is skewed by certain high-level political decisions in the attribution of educational budgets, to whom and in what fields ; by the methodological requirements of the currently most valued fields of higher education, and the influence of such methodology and requirements on the thought processes of students in those fields (the recent SF film Ex Machina is in part a somewhat shallow & flawed exploration of this question) ; by an increasingly aggressive tendency in higher education to make anything from any organised religion completely taboo except in the private sphere ; by the massive peer pressure to reject all religion outright ; by atheistic propaganda that is propagated via the educational system, disguised as “knowledge”.

            As you can see, this is NOT a simple superficial objection ; and as you can surely see, it would need far more space than is available in here to discuss it completely, pro et contra.

            So I’ll just propose we agree to disagree on this one.

          • Scott Moore

            You are cherry picking – Estonia (also formerly communist) is the least religious country in Europe, while the Czech Republic is the 6th least religious.

          • Zalacain

            Anybody who has a professional future picking cherries is you. Estonia and the Czech republic (possibly a couple more including Slovakia and Lithuania), great, as opposed to the populations of:
            Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, and all of the ex-Yugoslavia (who fought a civil war partly based on religion).
            China has a great fear of different religions inside it’s own borders and Cuba is seeing a great religious revival.

          • Scott Moore

            “If Universities teach strict materialist/atheist values” They don’t.

          • Man In Black

            OK that / is an “and/or”.

          • Scott Moore

            Many, if not most, universities (it depends on which countries you are referring to) have departments of theology and/or religious studies which clearly do not teach strict materialist and/or atheist values. Yes, I know that some departments – Economics comes to mind – in many universities may teach based on materialism. But I can’t think of any examples of a university “teaching atheist values”. Indeed, despite being an atheist myself, I can’t identify a single “atheist value” – atheists are such a diverse group that they have no common values. Besides, the original statement was such a gross generalisation that it is meaningless.

          • Man In Black

            despite being an atheist myself, I can’t identify a single “atheist value”

            This statement claiming ignorance of atheist values is logically incompatible with your claim that there are no universities teaching those values — I’ve chosen to ignore the sophistry of your phrasing BTW, to look instead at the meanings that your words seek to impart, so please don’t bore me with your “I can’t think of examples” weaselry.

            I made a point to someone else about an atheist belief system (or systems, if I were to be more precise, as there is more than one form, or sect, of atheism).

            Regardless of which sort of atheist any individual might be — the conscious awareness of the nature of the belief system(s) that one is personally involved in is not given to all of us — this comes from certain particular, sometimes specialist, studies in such fields as comparative philosophy, linguistics, semiotics, literature, psychology, and a few others. Bearing in mind that not all students in the fields in question will “get it”.

            In most cases, someone who is involved in any belief system will NOT have any conscious awareness of its nature and structures and its particular contents — but will, instead, simply consider the dogmata and the creeds of that belief system to be self-evident truths ; failing to realise that these “truths” are actually just components of that belief system, but instead falsely imagining them to be universals.

            Counter-examples are rare — but one of the things I rather LIKE about the Catholic belief system is that it’s written down in plain words for everyone to see, in the Catechism.

            But just because the atheists have no central authority organisation that has engaged in such a written description of the creeds of atheism, does not mean that those creeds and its associated values are non-existent ; nor does it mean that there is no atheist belief system.

          • Bluesman1950

            Atheists do not believe in gods. According to you that is a ‘creed’ and atheism is a ‘sect’.

            A few, (just a very few) of the things in which I do not believe are:
            Aura Therapy
            Father Christmas
            Psychic Surgery
            Alien abduction
            Fairies, elves, pixies, etc. etc.
            The Tooth Fairy
            Crystal healing
            Ouija boards
            etc. etc. etc. …………………..

            The list is virtually infinite. You may find that you do not believe in some of these things either. Does that mean that we are both members of many of the same cults or sects, following the same creeds of e.g. ‘non-kinergetics’ or ‘atoothfairyism’?

            I’ll help you out. The answer is “No”. Just because one group of people believes something, the remainder of the world who do not believe it, or may not care, or may not even have heard of it, do not automatically become a sect or cult with a creed. Nor do they all share e.g. an ‘aSantaist’ value or values.

          • Man In Black

            Atheists do not believe in gods. According to you that is a ‘creed’ and atheism is a ‘sect’.

            You are an incompetent reader.

            Yes I most certainly described that as a creed of atheism — and a creed that BTW you have just repeated as a statement of your belief — but I said that atheism has multiple sects, rather than saying anything like atheism being A sect.

          • Bluesman1950

            And you are an incompetent thinker if you believe that not believing in something is a creed.

            Hint, creed is from the Latin ‘credo’ “I believe”.

          • Man In Black

            Oh grow up and read some semiotics — why not start with Umberto Eco’s very entertaining Lector in Fabula ?

          • Bluesman1950

            Ooh ooh! ‘Semiotics’, that’s a very big word isn’t it boys and girls!

            Now let’s hear the clever man explain how semiotics proves that not believing in something is a belief.

            I used to be a semiologist but now I’m not Saussure.

          • Man In Black


            +1 because that actually IS funny, though think you cribbed it.

            (think in 15 minutes my Muslim next door will smash the wall/my door because the night prayers will have ended and he thinks I’ll be obliged to sleep)

            My point stands.

          • Bluesman1950

            Nope, I made it up myself whilst I was studying philosophy. Others may have said it before me, but I hadn’t heard it before. Thanks for appreciating it though.

            Your assertion may stand as asserted, but your point is not proven.

          • Man In Black

            proof is unnecessary to the “standing” of a point, as I’m sure you’re aware.

            Then my +1 is amply deserved, well done with that very clever joke !!! ;o)

          • Bluesman1950

            Thanks. Feel free to repeat it, with or without attribution. I’m not precious about it.

          • Scott Moore

            “This statement claiming ignorance of atheist values is logically incompatible with your claim that there are no universities teaching those values”. I did not claim ignorance, nor intend any sophistry. So let me be clearer: no atheist values exist, in the sense of a set of values held by the majority of atheists. There is a single atheist belief – that no gods exist. You could split hairs and state there there are two or more different atheist beliefs: strong atheism (disbelief in gods) and weak atheism (lack of belief in gods). But to call this belief a system – perhaps arguing that it is set of beliefs in the non-existence of a whole range of deities – would indeed be sophistry. Given that such a belief system does not exist, universities cannot teach it.

            “…nor does it mean that there is no atheist belief system” So what? No one here was proposing such a hypothesis, so why are you bothering to refute it?

          • Man In Black

            Your circularity is well-rounded.

            And sorry, but you’ve still not understood what the words “belief system” actually mean.

            Perhaps one day you could consider avoiding knee-jerk rejections of ideas that are new to your experience ?

          • Scott Moore

            No, I don’t know what you mean by “belief system” because you haven’t explained what it means to you. I have no doubt that it differs from the usual understanding of the term, because “atheist belief system” is a nonsense. But, there again, your understanding of the word “atheist” is clearly an eccentric one.

          • Man In Black

            No, I don’t know what you mean by “belief system” because you haven’t explained what it means to you

            In reality, I have posted a lengthy and detailed description.

            I am not responsible for your laziness.

          • Scott Moore

            “Most people are less educated than they were in 50s and 60s” If you can believe that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, then I suggest that evidence means nothing to you.

          • steveherts

            Christianity may be in decline in the West, it is not in decline globally. The rising economic super power China is witnessing conversions to Christianity on a massive scale and will become the worlds largest Christian nation. This is not the cultural Christianity of the liberal Bishops but scripturally based and Christ centred and thus has power and authority.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Do you happen to have statistics about the rise of Christianity in China?
            What do you believe the consequences of this will be?

          • Tellytubby

            Surely the same thing will happen there though when they reach our stage of development. It will require a freeing up of the internet and censorship/free thought – but it will happen in time. Then once again, with the information available, faith with wither.

          • COTK

            Absolutely right. There are now more Christians in China than
            there are Communists.

          • COTK

            It is written that the road to heaven is narrow and there will be
            few that find it. While hell will have standing room only, there
            will be plenty of room in heaven for those that chose Jesus.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Lots of things have been written, mate.

            Read the Koran. It reiterates ad nauseam what punishments await nonbelievers in that text.

            Thankfully we have no good reason to believe in any of this crap.

          • Jen The Blue

            Except in the Koran (which I have read) the punishments are also to meted out by the faithful in this life.

          • People are just too educated

            The rise of atheism since the late 1950s onwards has been matched year-in year-out with the greatest overall decline in education standards that the West has ever seen.

            How’s that for a simple fact that you personally fail to understand ?

          • The Great Cornholio

            “The rise of atheism since the late 1950s onwards has been matched year-in year-out with the greatest overall decline in education standards”

            Where is your evidence for this?

            Again you fail to understand what I mean by evidence. I use it in the sense of mass dissemination of information.

          • Where is your evidence for this?

            Am I to understand that you are unaware of the paltry state of modern Western “education” ?

            That you don’t read the papers ?

            Or that you become only transiently aware of it when someone makes a fuss about it ?

            Or do you simply forget, conveniently, about the ongoing collapse in educational quality whenever it should conflict with your atheistic desire to engage in some Christianity-bashing ?

            Rather ironic too, in your praise for the “mass dissemination of information”, that you are so unaware of the masses of information on this topic sitting right under your fingertips, and instead you expect me personally to provide it for you.

            If you are indeed “too educated”, don’t you think you should reconsider that this excess of education may have constituted an indoctrination ?

          • The Great Cornholio

            You said, “The rise of atheism since the late 1950s onwards has been matched year-in year-out with the greatest overall decline in education standards”

            This is quite a specific claim you should be able to pull a study to back this up. Yes, there always be concern about the standard of education, but really, you can’t just make up any old bullshit.

            “If you are indeed “too educated”, don’t you think you should reconsider that this excess of education may have constituted an indoctrination ?”

            No, it’s a conclusion I came to completely on my own. I didn’t have it drummed into me on mother’s knee. There was no peer pressure. It wasn’t part of anyone’s agenda. No-one has been after the contents of my wallet. I wasn’t threatened with eternal damnation or bribed with promises of celestial rewards to believe what I do now.

            It is rather cheap of you to suggest that those of us who have emancipated ourselves from Iron-age superstition have been indoctrinated. It suggests an insecurity in your own believes and their lack of validity.

          • Oh deary me take your pick (I’m not your research assistant) : https://www.google.fr/search?q=decline+education+standards

            It is rather cheap of you to suggest that those of us who have emancipated ourselves from Iron-age superstition have been indoctrinated.

            No it’s not, as such vocabulary as “iron-age”, “superstition”, “supernatural nonsense”, and &c. is evocatively suggestive of an indoctrination into the creeds and tenets of some sect of atheism or other, given that it is of public notoriety that such words figure strongly in the propaganda of such men and women that promote these beliefs.

            It suggests an insecurity in your own believes and their lack of validity

            A statement as devoid of logic as it is divorced from reality. Very.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Again, I am not saying that the standard education has not declined but you said that it is matched year on year since the late 1950s since with the rise of atheism. If you want to be believed you have a burden of proof to provide evidence to support this claim.

            There are no creeds or sects of atheism. Atheism is not a religion. It is to religion what not collecting stamps is to stamp collecting.

            I just don’t believe in the supernatural nonsense of Christianity for essentially the same reason that you don’t believe in the supernatural nonsense of Hinduism or Nordic mythology.

          • There are no creeds or sects of atheism

            False : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SectA sect is a subgroup of a religious, political or philosophical belief system

            A creed is simply any particular tenet of belief that is conditio sine qua non of membership of any such sect.

            All atheists believe there is no God (which is a religious belief, i.e. a belief concerning or related to religion), therefore it is a creed of atheism — though I naturally restricted my analysis of your positions to the particular sect of atheistic belief that you have adopted, regardless of whether this sect is organised in any formal manner or otherwise.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Atheism is not a subgroup religious, political or philosophical belief it is simply not believing in any god claims. Most atheists don’t believe there is no god we simply don’t believe in any god(s). Do you believe that not believing in astrology is a form of astrology?

            You lot are really scraping the bottom of the barrel when resort to one of these atheism is just another religion arguments. Its from the “I know you are but what am I” brand of comebacks.

            “Oh, you atheists don’t like religion. Well atheism is a religion. You have been indoctrinated into the creed of atheism. Richard Dawkins is the pope of atheism.”

            Cheap, childish, cringe-inducing and, above all a very, desperate way of arguing from members of belief system that has lost intellectual argument. But funny. You gave me a giggle.


          • Atheism is not a subgroup religious, political or philosophical belief

            No — it is however a philosophical belief system.

            It is subgroups within atheism that constitute its sects.

            You lot are really scraping the bottom of the barrel when resort to one of these atheism is just another religion arguments

            I’m far more simply informing you of the actual dictionary meanings of these words, in the face of your ill-conceived claim that atheism should have some kind of magical immunity from that terminology.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Google define: atheism you get the definition:

            “Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods”

            This no more constitutes a philosophical belief system than not believing in astrology.

            It has no subgroups or sects. It is not a religion. Deal with it.

            Look, I haven’t come on here to discuss the definition of atheism or canon law or the decline of educational standards. I came here discuss the decline of Christianity.

            You said early that it was tedious when someone argues that you are missing the point when you are refuting it, well, you have scarcely addressed my main point.

            I will therefore have one more attempt to articulate it. By all means disagree, but please lets not get sidetracked again otherwise I’m out.

            Again the reason people are leaving is that they don’t believe in the religious claims. That’s it.

            In his article Damian Thompson seams to argue, although I feel not terribly well, that secularisation within the Church is cause of its decline. You seem to think something similar with your views on cafeteria Catholics.

            If I was having this discussion with a liberal Christians, they would be telling me that it is the draconian nature of the churches that is driving us away and that the Church needs to modernise.

            While both of these factors may have some effect but when you ask atheists why they stop affiliating with Christianity, or for that matter Islam, it is invariable that they simply could not believe the supernatural claims which to us sound ridiculous.

            This is due to exposure to the arguments against religion due to increased access to information often via the internet.

            I base this entirely on anecdotal evidence but to my knowledge that is all we have as I am unaware of any study into this subject. If you know of any please enlighten me.

            Again rebuke, deconstruct or simply ignore my argument. But can we please avoid some tedious digression.

            It seams there are a lot of Christians on here trying to analyse the reasons for the decline of their church, but when we, who are essentially the cause of that decline, explain our position we are not listened to.

          • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belief

            http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/cognitive-belief-system.html — Cognitive belief system : “Mental system consisting of interrelated items of assumptions, beliefs, ideas, and knowledge that an individual holds about anything concrete (person, group, object, etc.) or abstract (thoughts, theory, information, etc.). It comprises an individual’s world view and determines how he or she abstracts, filters, and structures information received from the world around. Also called cognitive system.”

            Suggesting that the atheism that you clearly use both as a method of self-identification, and as containing tools that you use to understand the world around us is somehow magically “not” a belief system is preposterous, sorry.

            well, you have scarcely addressed my main point

            Why should I ? You have already explained your position rather clearly, and I have stated my disagreement.

            erm, that’s it, and should be end of story, except you seem to be getting unreasonably agitated by my unwillingness to go on about that in particular, and instead deciding to make some points of my own.

            Is there any Law forbidding me from doing this ?

            In his article Damian Thompson seams to argue, although I feel not terribly well, that secularisation within the Church is cause of its decline.

            erm, not quite — he suggested that secularisation in general, *including* within the Church and the “church” of England, has caused it — but you seem to think that your description of your own secular views is somehow evidence of the opposite, despite claiming these views as being why you left the Church, and despite many of these views having clearly been taught to you in the home by your clearly very secularised “in the Church” café catholic family.

            You can therefore understand that your own story could be viewed as being contrary to what you are claiming ; and I pointed out, not unreasonably in my view, that this story could easily serve as an exemplum of the very claims that Damian has made, as, I remind you, “at the very least a viable theory”.

            I can’t help it if you get all hot and bothered just because I have not demonstrated much inclination in having some “debate” with you regarding some atheist creeds that I find to be blinkered and foolish and indoctrinated, even as I did when I was an agnostic BTW, and also disagree with your views, and also point out that the anecdotal details of your personal history as provided do not necessarily contradict Damian’s position, no matter how much you seem to believe so yourself.

            (and it would be VERY silly to think you can’t get indoctrinated by the internet, BTW)

          • The Great Cornholio

            “Cognitive belief system : “Mental system consisting of interrelated items of assumptions, beliefs, ideas, and knowledge that an individual holds about anything concrete (person, group, object, etc.) or abstract (thoughts, theory, information, etc.). It comprises an individual’s world view and determines how he or she abstracts, filters, and structures information received from the world around. Also called cognitive system.”

            Yes, quite right, and atheism addresses one issue, the lack of belief in god. It would be like calling your position on fox hunting a philosophical belief system.

            “erm, not quite — he suggested that secularisation in general, *including* within the Church and the “church” of England, has caused it — but you seem to think that your description of your own secular views is somehow evidence of the opposite, despite claiming these views as being why you left the Church, and despite many of these views having clearly been taught to you in the home by your clearly very secularised “in the Church” café catholic family.

            You can therefore understand that your own story could be viewed as being contrary to what you are claiming ; and I pointed out, not unreasonably in my view, that this story could easily serve as an exemplum of the very claims that Damian has made, as, I remind you, “at the very least a viable theory”.”

            Yeah, I actually agree with you on this point. Sorry if I wasn’t clear earlier. I am not saying their is no validity to his argument. And yes, my story may exemplify his argument.

            However it doesn’t explain why those who leave the more conservative religions or versions thereof do so. Often with a great deal more sacrifice than I had to make. Including in the ex-Muslims who risk their lives in doing so.

            What is universal among us is that we find the supernatural beliefs untenable.

            “and it would be VERY silly to think you can’t get indoctrinated by the internet”

            No doubt, but on the internet you will inevitably encounter contradictory arguments to any position (unless you make an effort not to) making indoctrination harder.

          • Man In Black

            Fair enough,though I continue to affirm my strict disagreement

          • Man In Black

            Yes, quite right, and atheism addresses one issue, the lack of belief in god. It would be like calling your position on fox hunting a philosophical belief system.

            Don’t be silly with this though — you don’t self-identify as a foxhunterist or an afoxhunterist ; you do OTOH claim that your philosophical views are atheist, and that they are derived from being “too educated”, including from internet research — you cannot honestly expect anyone not to conclude from your writings that your atheism is a very pervasive component of your thinking self.

            I simply suspect you of having yet another knee-jerk reaction against some terminology that you believe to be taboo concerning the nature of your belief system.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Agreed. My example was a rather facetious. Clearly belief in the existence of god(s) has a great effect on a person’s philosophical outlook. But consider another hypothetical example. Image a fundamentalist astrologer who sees the universe through the prism of astrology and bases every decision in their life based on how he believes events will unfurl owing to the position of stars and planets. You could justifiably call this person’s worldview astrology but by contrast you wouldn’t call all those who don’t believe in astrology non-astrologists and describe their philosophical belief system non-astrology.

            The reason we have the word atheism is that it identifies the historically small minority who did not believe in god. I would quite happily not self identify as an atheist although you are correct that my non-belief in god is an important component of my thinking self.

            I have obviously ruffled a few feathers with my “too educated” to believe in god. I want to make it clear that I am not trying to elevate my intelligence above anyone else’s. The point that I have been trying to make is that the reason so many identify as atheists, agnostics and non-religious is that they don’t believe in the supernatural religious claims.

            That is the elephant in the room that is often left out of these discussions when Christians ask each other why their religion is in decline. Whether it is, as I would argue, that my generation has had more exposure to the arguments against religion and greater access to information, or, that we have been indoctrinated by all the crap that is on the web, this is the key to the rise in atheism and the decline of Christianity. All other factors, in the changes of society and religious institutions, are contributory.

          • Bluesman1950

            So do you believe in fairies, or are you a member of the sect of ‘afairyists’?
            Do you believe in Santa Claus, or are you a member of the sect of ‘asantaists’?

            Of how many of these sects are you a member?

          • Man In Black

            Carry on with the atheist clichés LOL

          • Bluesman1950

            Atheist cliché, that not believing in something makes you a member of a sect? I think you’ve forgotten that is what you alleged.

          • Man In Black

            Then re-read the definition provided, then come back when you’ve done your homework.

          • Bluesman1950

            Atheist do not necessarily, as you assert, believe that there is no god. It is sufficient simply not to believe that there is one. There is a difference.

          • Man In Black

            I am unmoved by your sophistry.

          • Bluesman1950

            Sophistry is not the same as pointing out the difference between two different things.

          • Man In Black

            No, it usually involves claiming that two opposite things are the same.

          • Bluesman1950

            So you accept that they are not the same?

          • Man In Black


          • Bluesman1950

            I am equally unmoved by your lack of sophistication.

          • Scott Moore

            “Am I to understand that you are unaware of the paltry state of modern Western “education”?” Your subjective statements are not evidence. It was you who made the hypothesis that educational standards are declining, so the onus is one you to provide the evidence to support such a hypothesis.

          • Man In Black
          • Scott Moore

            If this hypothesis is a “fact” then why do so many experts on the issue disagree with it? The people usually citing this “fact” tend to know little about educational standards and how they can be validly measured.

          • Man In Black

            Do you really confuse the notions of theory, hypothesis, fact, and claim that badly ??? LOL

        • Louise

          They give up on it b/c they want to throw off Christian morality and live grossly immoral lives while believing themselves to be Nice People.

      • sfin

        You’re missing the point.

        Very few (even church goers) believe in the old man, with a white beard, in the sky who will “cast thee down” if you don’t do what he says.

        All of the monotheist religions provide a guide to life and happiness, within their respective cultures, for a species that is both social and inherently violent.

        I fully embrace the secular enlightenment, but, at the same time, I recognise that our civilisation – including concepts like consideration for others (manners, if you like), respect for elders, not taking what isn’t yours – which run completely counter to “nature”, have sprung from religious moral authority.

        I don’t think its, self imposed, decline in power has done our society much good. Furthermore, it has created a vacuum for a far less benign (read violent) religion to take its place.

        • Dave Ellis

          Manners, respect for elders, not engaging in theft and things of that nature far predate the modern monotheist religions, and therefore can not be said to be a product of them.

          In fact, the contrary position is true. A great deal of bigotry, intolerance and hatred is the direct result of religion. For example, can you imagine any other reason other than religion why gay people continue to face oppression even in some modern first world countries? Take religion out of the mix and there’s no argument why they shouldn’t be treated as everyone else.

          As for violence, the lack of violence has directly correlated with the decline of religious influence over society. The years when Christianity had serious power were not peaceful, benign years in Europe. I’m not talking the medieval period either, even within my own lifetime I can remember the troubles in Northern Ireland, which were largely drawn upon Protestant Unionist and Catholic Nationalist lines. Take religion out of the mix there and a lot of the conflict between Ireland and the UK (and the partition of Ireland itself) would largely have been avoided.

          Does religion do some good? Absolutely. However I defer to the Hitchens challenge when he asked what good religion does that can’t also be provided through secular means. He never received a response in his lifetime, which shows how redundant the church has become.

          • Jen The Blue

            I am a libertarian. I have no wish to stop gay people doing whatever they want, so long as it is consenting.

            However, I think homosexuality and homosexual acts are immoral, and a bad thing for society in general. I think the acceptance of the equivalence of homosexual and heterosexual relationships is harming society. You may disagree.

            I could argue many reasons this is so…….I don’t think it is “good” that a child should have two male parents………or female ones.

            But you talk about bigotry and intolerance…. look at your own views. Mine are tolerant of people who take a different view. Yours, you call me bigoted for disagreeing with your idea of morality.

            I would march with homosexuals to assert their rights to live their lives as they wish………I doubt many of them would march with me to assert MY rights to disagree.


          • Grumpy Sceptic

            I’d point out that Peter Tatchell defended the right of a homophobic Christian to disagree – http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/free-speech-for-queers%E2%80%93and-homophobes.htm

          • Jen The Blue

            Yes….He did. And all credit to him for that too.

            But you tell me how many others think like him? Actually, Tatchelll has a good reputation as a libertarian, rather than just a homosexual rights campaigner.

          • Grumpy Sceptic
          • Dave Ellis

            It’s good that you believe that homosexuals should be free to do as they wish as long as it’s with consenting adults.

            However, the rest of your post is exactly what I am referring to in my original post. Why is homosexuality or homosexual acts immoral? If you are engaging in a consensual act with another adult, and you are harming nobody, when what basis do you have to judge their act as immoral? Or how does the simple fact you find your own gender attractive constitute immorality?

            There is no secular basis for why either of those situations is immoral. My belief is that you find it immoral because it’s against your supposed god’s law.

            Parenting is a side issue. Many people who are homosexual or are in homosexual relationships do not have adopted children, nor do they want them. That being said, the studies show that kids raised by same sex couples turn out just as well in regards to social development, grades, etc as kids raised by opposite sex couples, and they have no problems developing relationships with people.

            So, why you don’t think it’s good, I can’t say why per se. I would think if a child has the opportunity to leave foster care or an orphanage and join a household composed of people who will raise them well and look after their well-being, that automatically improves that child’s chance at a successful life.

            However I find it rather curious that you consider yourself tolerant of homosexuals while you label them as immoral, bad for society and unfit to raise children. You are not tolerant of homosexuals, even if you would march with them, you are still bigoted against them. Your words make it very clear on what your position against them is.

            Tolerance only works both ways. It is not moral to tolerate intolerance, and that’s why I am calling you out on it.

          • Jen The Blue

            That is a long and reasoned post. Which I am happy to reply to.

            But, forgive me if I do it tomorrow rather than now.

          • Dave Ellis

            Not a problem 🙂

          • Jen The Blue

            Sorry for the delay Dave Ellis, you understand life gets in the way sometimes.

            As a Christian, I believe sex has purposes. It is for the bonding for life of two people who are of opposite sexes and the bringing up of children. So I believe in a society designed by God.

            It seems to me that the gay lobby forget that real Christians think all sexual relations outside marriage are immoral. Maybe Christians have brought this on themselves, by NOT condemning immoral heterosexual sex?

            But, I accept, I have no right to impose my views others.

            “”That being said, the studies show that kids raised by same sex couples
            turn out just as well in regards to social development, grades, etc as
            kids raised by opposite sex couples, and they have no problems
            developing relationships with people.””

            Is that so? There are so many questions involved in that!!!

            The fact that homosexuals who are deemed suitable for adoption are those that are show they are more committed. The evidence is short because of the time scale.

            The sample size is small.

            “”However I find it rather curious that you consider yourself tolerant of
            homosexuals while you label them as immoral, bad for society and unfit to raise children. You are not tolerant of homosexuals, even if you
            would march with them, you are still bigoted against them. Your words
            make it very clear on what your position against them is.””

            Why? Isn’t that the definition of tolerance? That you disagree but allow and wish no harm to?

            I believe homosexual acts are immoral. Not homosexuality itself.

            But I do not wish to IMPOSE my views on anyone……further I accept their right to do what they will.

            When I was at University, I shared a house with a homosexual man, He was a great friend…….we got p*ssed a lot together. We argued about it…….but we mostly just enjoyed getting pi**ed as students do.

            He swung the incense at my wedding. I disagreed with everything he believed about homosexuality. So? I didn’t hate HIM because of his beliefs.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            You don’t know what attitudes to homosexuality would be in a non religious society and have no evidence gay bashing is religiously driven. The ex Warsaw bloc (with a historical of state atheism) seems much less liberal on this matter.

            Ireland is and was about nationality not religion, which explains why Sinn Fein is not a Catholic party.

            Hitchens’ challenge was answered by himself http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2010/11/rather-interesting-but-they-all-missed-it.html. The challenge is flawed in any case as it does not address the more profound question as to why an atheist should do any good without god – all you have is the pitiless indifference of Darwinism to assist with moral decision making.

          • Man In Black

            You don’t know what attitudes to homosexuality would be in a non religious society


            “official government propaganda views homosexuality as product of foreign decadence and moral degeneracy”

            There you go …

          • Dave Ellis

            I can just look at societies which are not particularly religious, the Scandinavian countries for example. They’re quite tolerant of gays.

            Likewise, a lot of the intolerance towards gays, and a great deal of financing towards anti-gay marriage legislation among other ways of oppressing gays comes directly from the churches or other faith based organizations.

            If you think that the Catholic/Protestant split had nothing to do with the partition of Ireland and the troubles, I suggest you read a history book.

            As for the Hitchens Challenge, I suggest you listen to Christopher Hitchens words, not Peter Hitchens words when he said Christopher solved his own riddle.

            Peter accurately relayed that Christopher said: ”
            Here is my attempt to win my own prize. When Lech Walesa was starting his work in the Polish shipyards and the Polish militia, the outer ring of the Polish army were closing in on Gdansk, he was interviewed with his then-fairly small group, and he was asked, aren’t you frightened, aren’t you afraid? You’ve taken on a whole all-powerful state and army — aren’t you scared? And he said, I’m not frightened of anything but God or anyone but God.

            This came back to me, I thought, well, this meets my two criteria. It’s certainly a noble thing to have said, a distinguished thing to have said, and I certainly couldn’t have said it. So it does meet both my criteria.”

            However, as always when dealing with religious people, you must be wary for quote mining. So, I looked up what Hitchens actually said, and found this was the case. For some reason Peter felt it was appropriate to cut the following off the end of what Christopher had to say:

            “But it was also the slogan of Gen. Edwin Walker of the John Birch Society in a different situation — the man whom Lee Harvey Oswald took target practice on, right-wing, paranoid Crusade for Christ nutbag in the ’50s. Doesn’t sound so good when it’s said by him and it’s a summons to think of nuclear war as not too bad, for example.

            It’s not quite the same.

            So there, I’ve partly answered the question. I hope I partly asked one.”

            So, no… Hitchens did not solve his own riddle, he was quote mined by his own brother while taking a backhanded swipe at the faithful.

            As for atheists, if you can’t understand why an atheist (or anyone for that matter) should do good without a divine overlord watching over them, I question whether you are a moral person or not.

            If it was revealed conclusively to you tomorrow that there actually was no god, would you start raping, murdering and killing people?

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            Someone else has pointed out North Korea’s attitude to homosexuality; there’s nothing inherently more pro gay about atheism.
            Your assertions on Ireland are just assertions, no matter how strongly you proclaim them.
            If there is no God, there is no reason to be good. You may choose to be but it has no virtue. We’re just animals assuring our own and our genes survival. If rape and murder further the propagation of our genes, why not?

          • Dave Ellis

            I’ll have to defer again to a Hitchens line on North Korea, when he stated that North Korea is the most religious nation imaginable. Not Christian by any stretch, however religious nonetheless. For his explanation why, here is a clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF4uXxZaKl4

            As for my assertions, I noticed you haven’t raised a defense against them, and dismissed them without addressing them. As such, my points stand.

            For the third point, you also have not answered my question to you. So, I will ask it again: If it was revealed conclusively to you tomorrow that there actually was no god, would you start raping, murdering and killing people?

            Lastly, I find your claims that there is no reason to be good without god, and the one about rape, etc, absurd. To be frank, I find it a very naïve argument.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            North Korea is avowedly atheistic; you and Hitchens can try to pretend that zealotry makes them ‘religious’ but you’re playing with words. The state does not permit religious observance, so they’re atheist.
            I don’t need to rebut your assertions, you need to provide some evidence to support them first.
            If it was revealed conclusively there was no god, I may not rape and murder but – given the opportunity – I would have no good reason not to.
            You may find my claim that without god there is no reason to be moral absurd but you’ve not addressed my argument other than calling it naïve. What reason do you have? All you have is science and in particular the evolutionary imperative to survive and transmit one’s gene. What morality does that give you?

          • Dave Ellis

            Yes, but you see what you’re missing is that atheism does not lead to what you see in North Korea. Totalitarianism does. Totalitarianism can exist in both religious, and non-religious societies. If Atheism was responsible for what we see in North Korea, then we should also expect Norway and Sweden to look like North Korea. We don’t, so I’m curious to see how you draw that link?

            As for Ireland, I’ll ask you a question then: It seems a rather huge coincidence that the Irish Republican side was almost completely Catholic, whereas the Irish Unionist side was overwhelmingly Protestant. If religion, and their religious views played absolutely no part in that conflict, how did this completely unbelievable sectarian split happen?

            How about this article? This was only last year… Protestant paramilitary groups? That’s rather strange that protestants would have paramilitary groups and the Catholics oppose unionist marches, etc. I can pull up more articles if you wish. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/07/11/northern-ireland-catholics-protestants-parade/12496615/

            To say that Catholicism and Protestantism has no role in the Irish conflicts is utterly absurd. The religious divide is the primary division between the North and South.

            So, if it were conclusively demonstrated that there is no god, you admit you would not rape and murder? Why is that? Just an arbitrary decision on your part? Did you toss a coin and decide which way to go based on which way the coin landed? Or could you actually see reasons why you wouldn’t do that independent of your god, and you don’t want to admit that fact?

            As for your last point, I’m tying my previous paragraph in with my eventual answer. Since you have admitted you would not rape or kill even without a god, you must have some reason behind that. Both you and I are fully aware it’s not an arbitrary decision on your part. When you can admit that fact (which I think you have to, to remain honest in this discussion), then you also admit that I also have those same reasons not to rape, murder or act otherwise immorally towards other people without a god.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            Sweden and Norway do not officially subscribe to atheism so they’re not in the same league as North Korea.

            The Irish problems go back to Engish invasion at a time when both countries were catholic. England became protestant, Ireland did not but the problem pre-dated the reformation. Now the religious division has echoed the nationality division but you’re still making an unproveable assertion as to what it would look like without religion. Your linked article is not about a religious dispute but a territorial one.
            My current reluctance to engage in acts that may harm other is driven by religious conviction, to which that humans possess divine properties that make them worthy of respect in themselves. If I had no reason to believe this, my actions might be different, but you appreciate the difficulty of imagining how one might behave if one’s basic building blocks of morality were removed. You have still provided no non-religious (ie scientific) reason for not exploiting others. If it furthered your genes or community, why not?

          • Rowland Nelken

            As the Bible God was OK with slavery, it is an irrelevance in any wish not to exploit others. Our own, 21st century man made morality, for all its limitations, is better than the man made morality to be found in the Bible and attributed to a non existent god.

          • Man In Black

            As the Bible God was OK with slavery

            Nice to see you’re incapable of reading comments prior to contributing !!

          • Dave Ellis

            The fact the government officially sanctions a position on religion is irrelevant to this discussion. The national populations in Sweden and Norway are mostly atheist, or at least non-religious. You don’t see any movement in those countries to impose a North Korean style dictatorship, and those countries have some of the very best human rights records.

            Again, you evaded my question. How can you link Atheism to what you see in North Korea? Especially when other largely atheistic societies have not gone that way.

            As for Ireland, the modern divide was created when Ireland was subdued. A lot of Protestant Scots and English migrated to the North-Eastern section of the island. After the Irish War of Independence and during the creation of the Irish Free State, the protestant north-eastern counties openly expressed their fears about living in a catholic majority country. So, they were given the right to secede from the Irish Free State and re-join the UK, which they did the day the Irish Free State was established.

            Your religious/territorial dispute distinction is a false dichotomy. It does not have to be one or the other, in fact the only reason there is a territorial dispute is the religious divide.

            In regards to the second point, the scenario was if it was conclusively shown that there was no god, so your religious convictions at that point become irrelevant.

            So, correct me if I’m wrong. Are you saying without a divine overlord watching what you do, you’d go out and rape, murder, steal, or otherwise act like a hooligan?

            Yes, or no? If your answer is no, then you already understand at least some of the reasons why we wouldn’t act that way without a god. Or is your answer yes, you would do those things without a god?

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            According to Wikipaedia, Lutheran Christianity is the largest religion in Sweden with 66% of the population being members of said church. According to Wikipaedia, Norway is 76% Lutheran. Some atheists! It suits you to define an atheist country as one which you like (and ignore those that you don’t) – cherry picking for your
            argument. A country that prevents the practice of organised religion is not atheist? You’re getting desperate.

            Ireland’s problems go back many centuries. There were protestant in many parts of the Irish Republic but they suffered no persecution from the catholic state. The northern states were given the option to stay in the UK because it was politically impossible to refuse that after so many men had fought and died in the First World War.

            I answered your question on action without God but you don’t like the answer: if rape and murder advance my kith and kin why should I not do it if I get away with it and there is no God? It’s not even that God is watching me, it’s that other people are ends in themselves to be respected and that supposes they and I are more than just animals seeking to pass on our genes – and they deserve that respect because they have someone that is not definable by science; call it a soul if you like. Something divine.

            And you didn’t attempt to answer my question.

          • Dave Ellis

            There is a difference between membership in a church, and being an adherent of a religion. The 2010 Eurobarometer Poll revealed that only 18% of Swedes, and 22% of Norwegians believe there is a god.

            However, for example in Sweden, the State church up until 2000 was the Church of Sweden. Anyone born in Sweden before that date was officially considered a member of the church, even if they don’t share any of it’s beliefs.

            Another example is when I was born, I was baptized into the Presbyterian Church. As far as my church is concerned, I am still a member there because I have never bothered to write and have my name struck from the membership list. That’s despite the fact I haven’t set foot in the building since the late 90s, and had severe doubts about what it preached then.

            So, I am example of this situation. I am still technically a member of the Presbyterian church, even though I’ve been an atheist for well over a decade.

            The point is, the fact that 66% of Swedes and 76% of Norwegians are “members” of the church doesn’t matter. Only a small minority of them are actually believing adherents of their respective religions. A great deal of those people may never have even set foot in a church outside of a wedding or funeral.

            As for Ireland, I challenge you to back your claims now, because they’re simply wrong.

            Lastly, I have explained my position here. And I suspect you know where I’m going with it, which is why you are evading.

            You said you would not kill or rape even if a god did not exist, when I asked you why, you fell back on “religious convictions”, which is a nonsense answer given that within the scenario you would be accepting of the fact that there is no god. So, the reasoning you gave is not valid.

            So, I’m clarifying, would you actually murder and rape in the absence of a god (and the resulting religious convictions that come from belief in that god), or would you remain a peaceful, civil person?

            I promise you that if you give an answer (a simple “yes, I would murder/rape if the absence of god”, or “no, I would not murder/rape in the absence of a god” is sufficient) I will give a detailed explanation why it makes sense to act morally towards other people, and not murder, rape, despite the lack of god in my very next post in this thread.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            Using the Eurobarometer poll, the Czech Republic and Estonia are at least as non religious as Sweden and Norway but that doesn’t fit your argument so you ignored them.

            Asserting I’m wrong about Ireland is not an argument – you back up your assertion.

            I’ve answered your question but you refuse to accept it. You know I’ve answered your question as your third from last paragraph (inaccurately) describes my answer. I’m not bound to answer your question with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if I consider that to be misleading. You don’t need to wait on an answer from me to set out your case for morality without god – just make it.

          • Dave Ellis

            I pulled Sweden and Norway off the top of my head as the Scandinavian countries are widely considered some of the most non-religious countries in the world. I wasn’t looking at the poll when I started this conversation, I went to look up what the rates of religiosity were when you challenged my claim.

            I don’t see why the Czech Republic or Estonia are relevant to the conversation though, can you explain?

            As for Ireland, I asked you to back your assertions.

            And no, you have not answered my question. You said you would not murder or rape based on your religious convictions.

            The scenario was would you murder or rape after having being presented with conclusive evidence that there is no god.

            Therefore your religious convictions become irrelevant within the scenario. If you believe that god doesn’t exist, your religious convictions would also fall by the wayside. You can’t use them as a justification for your answer.

            Also, I should clarify that I’m not demanding a yes or no answer from you, I simply said a yes or no answer is sufficient should you choose to give one. I did that to show in good faith that I would not back down from answering your question, once you address mine.

            Some people use the tactic to keep critiquing someone else’s answer so as to avoid addressing the situation themselves. I am aware that our drawn out exchange here may make it appear I am employing that tactic. Pointing out a short, concise answer is a way to demonstrate that I am not trying to do that, I just want an answer out of you.

            My reason is because I think you’re already fully aware that there are plenty of good reasons absent of a god to continue acting morally. Otherwise you wouldn’t be so hesitant to give a clear answer without any “religious conviction” caveats attached to it.

            If you really believed what you say, you wouldn’t hesitate to claim that you’d go around murdering and raping if you knew for sure there isn’t a god. But you can’t bring yourself to say it, because you know you wouldn’t do it. Therefore, I believe you don’t even accept your own argument as valid.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            As you’re making a claim about the behaviour of states which are largely atheistic, it’s reasonable for me to question that by pointing out other states which are largely atheistic (those two mentioned plus North Korea) that don’t fit the pattern. You say you pulled them off the top of your head, I say you’re cherry picking.
            Which ‘assertion’ about Ireland did I make that you think I need to back up?
            I did answer your question. I did not answer with a simple yes or no because I thought that to be misleading; it is not your prerogative to dictate to others how they may answer your questions. You are confusing moral practice with intellectual justification for moral practice. You could frame your question as: ‘is there a good reason not to rape or murder without God’ but instead of adopting this intellectual approach you make it personal – that’s just a bad way of debating.
            Your question is a hypothetical one about how I would behave in certain circumstances, and hypothetical questions get bad answers because it’s not very difficult to describe all the circumstances that may affect the answer. So even if I stopped believing in God tomorrow, I would still retain many of the habits of my religious belief because certain habits would be ingrained in me, so I would not rape or murder. But despite this I would know I have no good reason not to rape and murder if it was advantageous to me.
            You say if I gave you an ‘yes’ to your question that would show me to be a ‘despicable’ human being. Well that’s a moral judgment on your part; on what basis do you make that? If rape and murder allows me to advance my gene line, why is that immoral? It’s not immoral if any other animal do it, so what makes such behaviour by humans ‘despicable’ and how you could justify describing me as such?
            I can choose to answer your questions how I wish and I have. If you have naturalistic reasons for your moral values you can set them out irrespective of how I answer your question. Go on, make an intellectual argument not a personal one.

          • Dave Ellis

            1) You’re missing the point. The point was that states which are largely atheistic lead to situations like what we see in North Korea. If that statement were true, then that would be true for all states which have a largely atheist population.

            All I have to show are some states which have a large atheist population to demonstrate the original claim was in error.

            In short, you’re committing the correlation = causation fallacy. Just because some totalitarian states happen to be atheistic, does not mean that atheism caused the totalitarian state to become what it is.

            2) Here is the naturalistic reasoning behind morality:

            Anything that could be defined as moral behaviour or a moral act usually comes down to positive or negative impacts on other people.

            For example, if you help a little old lady across the road, you have positively affected her, and that is said to be moral. Likewise, if you punch the old lady in the back of the head and steal her purse, you have negatively affected her, and that is immoral.

            Now obviously, this is a clear cut example. Many moral questions aren’t as clear cut, but this gives you a general idea of what I’m talking about. Most acts are easily identifiable as moral or not moral. For those that are not, those are what we call moral dilemmas.

            As for the objective basis of morality (which is usually what the religious are interested to hear about), it comes down to that positive or negative impact on others. If you punch an old lady in the back of the head, it’s not your subjective opinion that she has been harmed, it’s an objective fact that she was harmed. Likewise, it’s an objective fact she would benefit from you helping her across the street. Those are facts that are true independent of your personal opinion on the matter.

            That is the basis by which we judge morality. It is immoral to rape because you are harming another person. It is immoral to murder someone, because you are harming another person, etc.

            As for why we should act morally? There are a few reasons. Mirror Neurons in my brain allow me to understand the joy or pain that others feel as a result of my actions. That’s why you feel good when you help someone, or feel guilt when you wrong someone. It’s also why you flinch when someone else whacks themselves in the thumb with a hammer. We are empathic people, it makes us feel good to do right. If you don’t have those reactions, you’re likely sociopathic to some degree.

            Also, I wish to live in a society where murder and rape don’t happen. If I want to achieve that goal, then logically I should not be out there murdering and raping people. It’s a nicer place for myself, and everyone else to live without murder and rape.

            So, for both public interest, and self interest, it’s best to act morally. These facts are true whether a god exists, or whether it does not.

            Now that’s out of the way, I’d argue that it’s impossible that a god can create morality. Morality is not just a series of commands from upon high. If your god wants to give commands, he must have some reason behind his commands (unless you believe morality is completely arbitrary based on what your god randomly felt like saying that day).

            If god required reason and logic to make moral pronouncements, then if we follow reason and logic as well, then we should come to the same conclusions. Therefore even in a world where a god actually does exist, he is still irrelevant to determining what is moral.

            That is unless you subscribe to divine command theory, which states that whatever god says then becomes moral. However, you then open the door to questions like “what if god ordered the total destruction of a group of people, would that then become moral?”, etc.

            However, divine command theory isn’t a moral system at all, it’s simply obedience. A moral person must be able to judge whether the commands are moral or not, and act accordingly based off of their moral sense.

          • Man In Black

            If that statement were true, then that would be true for all states which have a largely atheist population.

            Quite apart from your category error, the demographics of Norway and Sweden show that their atheists are minority groups.

            In short, you’re committing the correlation = causation fallacy.

            No he isn’t — the truth is, you’ve constructed a strawman argument.

          • Dave Ellis

            I addressed the error in your first part in my last post.

            Secondly, what is my strawman fallacy. You can’t just throw out fallacy names and assume your work is done. Demonstrate where the strawman is, or my point still stands.

          • Man In Black

            The strawman is that you’re falsely presenting Norway and Sweden as being governed by “majority” atheism, except that atheism is a minority belief in both of them.

            Hence your category error — the particulars of a country that is governed by principles ABC are only applicable to other countries governed by the same ones.

            North Korea has institutionalised atheism ; in Norway and Sweden, to the contrary, the majority of the population is officially Lutheran.

          • Dave Ellis

            Again “officially” doesn’t matter, according to the Presbyterian church, I am “officially” Presbyterian. It’s a common thing for churches to keep as many names on the membership rolls as possible, unless you write and request they remove your name, you are still a member of that church whether you believe anything they say or not.

            And I didn’t say governed by majority atheism, I said the population is majority atheist. 18% and 22% believe in the existence of a god, what more do you need to know?

          • Man In Black

            It’s a common thing for churches to keep as many names on the membership rolls as possible

            An ironic thing for you to say, given your deliberate skewing of statistics to try and present these countries as having massive numbers of atheists.

            Whereas in fact, atheists constitute 14% and 13% of those countries’ populations according to the very information you provided.

          • Dave Ellis


            Those who checked the box “atheist” on the census may come to 13-14%, however there are numerous other atheistic belief systems one may identify as on a census.

            For example, many if not most Buddhists, Humanists, Agnostics, Non-Religious, Scientologists, “new wave groups” etc, are also atheist. They would check their specific group on the census, and show up under that group. So, you’re not using a very reliable metric to base your stats. There are more atheists than just the people who check the atheist box.

            If you do not believe in a god, you are an atheist. That’s the best question to go by. That includes all atheists among the various groups.

            Actually, come to think of it last time the Canadian Census went around I listed myself as Secular Humanist. So even I am not listed as an atheist on the Canadian Census. That’s pretty well a slam dunk example of what I’m talking about.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            1) You’re confusing two categories of state: those who have a large number of atheistic and those where the state officially adopts atheism. Clearly, the former does not necessarily lead to the latter. I think this point started with your argument that states with lots of atheists are nicer to gays and the responses from me (and Man in Black) has been that that depends on which states one chooses to look at.

            2) So your moral argument is a form of utilitarianism: morality is what has a “positive or negative impacts on other people”. That does not get you very far in deciding what is moral as you acknowledge that there are many moral questions that aren’t clear cut so that begs the question what are the principles upon which you base morality. I’m no nearer understanding them having read your explanation. Arguing that acting morally makes one feel good is opinion (some people may feel good doing things you might consider immoral) and to do something
            moral of out self interest is not to do anything moral at all – self interest, however enlightened, is still self interest.

            But it’s ultimately question begging: why should I put the
            concerns of other people ahead of myself and my kin? You would reply that it is because of the positive impacts. Well so what? What if I didn’t help the old lady across the road and spent the time doing something that had a positive impact for me? Why is the positive impact on someone else more impact than positive impacts for me? Your moral principle presumes other people have some
            sort of intrinsic value – where did that come from? Why do I have duties to them? If one answers that humans have a God given soul and free will that gives them intrinsic value, one has a moral system. If one does not accept this starting premise, then your principle is arbitrary and others may invent their own and decide to salute it.

          • Dave Ellis

            1) I don’t see how the distinction you are creating is valid to the conversation. Secondly, you still have not shown how or why atheism would lead to a country like North Korea. What is the causation?

            2) I already told you the basis for morality, good or harm done to other people. The good done to people, or the harm done to other people is an objective truth. What has been done has been done independently of your opinion on it.

            That actually not only gets you far, but conclusively solves the vast majority of moral questions someone would face in their everyday lives. You are constantly making moral judgements without having to think of them all day long. Do you cut into line at the store or wait your turn? Do you pay for your gas, or skip out without paying? etc. You make dozens, if not hundreds of moral decisions every day.

            The moral dilemmas stand out because they are the oddities.

            For example, two moral principles might clash with each other…. Is it more moral to stay home and look after an ailing relative, or to go fight for your country in a time of war?

            Or you could have a “lesser of two evils” scenario. You are standing at a switch in a train track. On the left track, and the track where the train is currently heading, there are five people standing who will get hit by the train. You could let it play out that way, or you could throw the switch to the right track where there is only one person standing around that will be hit.

            I know how I’d answer both of those questions, however someone else might answer differently and have a good moral justification for doing so.

            It doesn’t change the fact that the basis for all of those scenarios and anything we can use to make a moral judgment are the objective facts. Those do not change, they are what they are.

            Also, you’re making the mistake that acting out of self interest is somehow inherently immoral. It’s not. If it makes you feel good to help someone, there’s nothing immoral about that, nor your act of helping that person. The simple fact is that if donating to or working for a charity made people feel miserable, almost nobody would do it. The fact it feels good to help is one of the strongest motivators for charity. How many charity workers have you heard say things like “the smile on the children’s faces is reward enough for me”. That’s exactly what I’m referring to. That person has a sense of accomplishment and pride in that they helped others. We don’t label them as immoral, in fact we call those acts very moral.

            And as I previously explained, if you lack empathy for others, that’s what we refer to as sociopathic behaviour. Raising an objection based off the fact that sociopaths don’t feel good for helping others is hardly a valid criticism of the overall moral framework. All it does is explain why sociopaths have a higher tendency to act immorally towards others.

            As for your last paragraph, I have already answered that as well. I assume you want to live in the best society possible, we are clearly stronger working together than trying to make it all by ourselves. If everybody disregarded other people, then civilization would collapse. Furthermore, while you might see some temporary short term gain, you might find yourself dead within the week in a world like that, when someone bigger than you wants something you have. You’d be in a state of a constant struggle to survive, and even the strongest would not live as long in that world as they do in this one. So again, it goes against self interest and the societal interest to behave that way. It’s not rocket science.

            Put more bluntly, to quote my previous post, if you want to live in a world without rape, murder and theft, you shouldn’t go around committing rape, murder and theft.

            As for your last bit, even if your god exists and you have a soul and whatnot, you still have no basis for a moral system, nor any reason to treat your fellow humans morally that I do not also possess.

            Hence, your god is irrelevant to morality.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            I didn’t claim atheism leads to North Korea. You made a claim that the atheism is certain countries was leading to them being nicer to gays. My point was that it ain’t necessarily so.
            I don’t think you’ve addressed why by doing good or harm to others is a matter of morality in a world of containing nothing but matter and energy.
            On the last point, I would think it fairly clear that if one believes that other people are God created and have been imbued with certain worth as a result then then one would regard those creatures with a respect as a result of that and treat them accordingly. One does not believe in God to see the logical consequences of believing in a divine creator.

          • Dave Ellis

            No, actually that’s not the claim that I made. I claimed that religion is one of the major sources of anti-gay bigotry.

            For your second point, you haven’t addressed why we wouldn’t want to act morally towards others in a world of matter and energy. I find it strange that among the religious especially, you find the normal order of the world is that we should be killing and raping everything we see, and we need something to restrain us from doing so otherwise we’d fall into chaos. Why do you view this to be the default scenario that I somehow have to address? You haven’t demonstrated there’s any reason think we’d act that way with or without a god.

            As for your last point, I fail to see how the existence of a god makes someone more valuable. Are you saying that the only reason that your life has value, or the lives of your family, friends and loved ones have any value is because you think a god exists? If that god didn’t exist, you wouldn’t value your own life, or the life of any other person?

            Personally to be honest I’d find the existence of a god to be degrading to the value of human life. Created to be no more than slaves to his master plan, we’d just be play things to him, pawns to an eternal overlord. Being free of that worldview can allow you to truly value human life and appreciate the great things we can and will accomplish.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            On gays, in your posts with Jen the Blue you wrote “can you imagine any other reason other than religion why
            gay people continue to face oppression even in some modern first world countries? Take religion out of the mix and there’s no argument why they shouldn’t be treated as everyone else.” and my first contribution to this
            discussion was You don’t know what attitudes to homosexuality would be in a non religious society and have no evidence gay bashing is religiously driven. The
            ex Warsaw bloc (with a historical of state atheism) seems much less liberal on this matter.” Claiming ‘religion is nasty to gays’ does not imply that ‘more atheism leads to being nicer to gays’ is semantics – the corollary is obvious.

            It’s very easy to show why “we wouldn’t want to act morally towards others in a world of matter and energy” –
            because there would be no reason to. Morality would not exist; we’d just be a highly intelligent animal in the struggle for survival. Atheists since Nietzsche have acknowledged this. Richard Dawkins has stated that nature is indifferent
            to suffering, blind pitiless indifference is I believe the phrase he’s used to describe the natural world. ‘Morality’ might have practical uses but there would be no objective reason why one should behave morally.

            As you say, your view that the existence of God to be degrading to the value of human life is a personal one.

          • Dave Ellis

            On the first paragraph, answer my initial question then. Can you imagine any other reason other than religion why
            gay people continue to face oppression even in some modern first world countries?

            As for the second paragraph, you have evaded the question that I have previously asked you. Why do you consider it the default position that we would be raping and murdering each other if not for some cosmic overlord?

            The simple fact is that we would also have no reason to act immorally towards each other. In fact, it can be shown that it would be detrimental to us over the long term to behave that way (as I’ve explained previously). You haven’t addressed why we would start acting that way.

            As for the last point, I haven’t heard a better explanation of the point than Christopher Hitchens. He had a great way of putting such ideas into words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV95JQ2SLuQ

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            On your first point, one could make a good Darwinian argument why homosexuality should be disapproved of (failure to pass on the gene line). Godless totalitarians states (North Korea as mentioned) have also tended to regarded homosexuality as ‘degenerate’.

            On your second point, I don’t consider it the default position that we would be raping and murdering each other without belief in a divine creator. My argument is that without God there is no basis for morality so no objective reasons to condemn such actions. Your argument assumes a worth to human being which has no basis in biology – scientifically, we’re just a smart animal, and one does not hold animals morally accountable for their actions.

            Hitchens’ argument is just a fear of being held accountable, but if you believe in objective morality that’s what you do believe – there is an objective order which you must follow and against which you can be judged. You are compelled to obey it, you are its slave even though you locate the source of that objective moral code somewhere other than God. Hitchens just comes across as a petulant teenager who hates his mother constantly telling him to tidy up his room.

          • Dave Ellis

            1) Actually, no. That argument betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of both Darwinism and the science behind homosexuality.

            2) You have again evaded my point. First off, my question was “Can you imagine any other reason other than religion why gay people continue to face oppression even in some modern first world countries?” Do you consider North Korea to be a modern first world country? If not, stop referring back to it. Tell me about the United States, take religion out of the picture, and tell me why gays shouldn’t have full equal rights?

            3) Just so I’m not accused of dodging North Korea, you still haven’t addressed why atheism plays any part in this. Show me the causal link between atheism and anti-gay bigotry.

            I can show you the causal link between Christianity and anti-gay bigotry, there’s a number of passages in the bible which call homosexuals abominations and call them worthy of death. You can not link atheism and anti-gay bigotry the same way. Once again, you are making the correlation vs causation fallacy.

            4) And I have shown why god can’t serve as a basis for morality, even if he does actually exist. You never addressed my arguments on that matter either. Simply parroting the same weak arguments over and over again doesn’t make them true.

            I’ll restate my argument for clarification:

            If God used logic and reason to proclaim what is moral and immoral, then he did not create morality, nor is he the basis of it. He used rational thought to figure out what is the best way to act, and passed that info on to us.

            However, if you take god completely out of the picture, if we use the same rational thought and logic, we would reach the same conclusions. That makes god irrelevant to morality.

            Or, if you believe in divine command theory (meaning whatever god commands is moral, and whatever god command you not to do is immoral), then you don’t have an objective basis, and you don’t even have a moral system. You simply have a system of unquestioning obedience. The need for humans to have a sense of morality would then become irrelevant.

            The best illustration of this point is the Euthyphro Dilemma. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Socrates asks whether the gods love the pious because it is the pious, or whether the pious is pious only because it is loved by the gods

            Here’s a good explanation of the problem with his question: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma#Explanation_of_the_dilemma

            5) Your last assertion in the second paragraph is simple nonsense. We do hold animals morally accountable for their actions (human or other). We have jails for humans, and we will punish dogs for stealing food, etc. Many species of animal hold the members of their pack or group accountable for moral transgressions as well.

            6) As for Hitchens, oh please, not that silly “fear of being held accountable” nonsense. Hitchens didn’t believe in the existence of a god, therefore he does not fear it. Likewise, I also do not believe any gods exist, and I fear no retribution from one. I honestly believe I have the same risk of going to hell as I do of being force choked by Darth Vader. To help you understand the position better, I fear your god about the same as you would fear the retribution of the Hindu gods. Hitchens was much the same way. I think it’s safe to say through his works, debates and public lectures, he had no fear of the empty threats of your religion.

            In fact, it’s a very arrogant argument you are putting forward. The idea that we’d take your theistic claims seriously enough that we’d fear them, just because you happen to believe them is an extraordinarily self-important display, and disregards what others actually believe. The reality is, your god is worthy of no more credit than the gods of any other faith. Both Hitchens and myself would not fear your god for the same reason you don’t fear the god of any other religion. You regard them as mythical.

            Lastly, if you find an objective basis for morality other than god (which I have shown is the case in previous posts) that doesn’t make you a “slave” to that moral code. You can’t be a “slave” to an idea or concept, at least not in the same way you can be a slave to a conscious being like a god or other human. To consider those equal usages of the word slave is an equivocation fallacy.

            Choosing to abide by a moral code is a sign of self-responsibility, not slavery.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            If you think I’ve misunderstood atheism and Darwinism’s implications for a possible view on homosexuality you should say why, but you don’t, you merely make an assertion. You then evade explaining why societies which have consciously persecuted religious observations have also persecuted homosexuals. You then introduce the US argument
            about same sex marriage – now you’re just engaging in ‘bait and switch’ and I’m not playing that game.

            You have not shown why God cannot be the basis for morality, you’ve just made assertions.

            And now you throw in the Euthyphro Dilemma, with which I’m very familiar. Your link doesn’t work, try this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma, which also includes the rebuttal that it is a false dilemma as God is the definition of all surpassing good and thus both the grounds and object of moral standards. Greater minds than yours and mine have considered this question and not seen it as a credible objection to the existence of God. And you’re playing bait and switch again by introducing a new argument.

            “We do hold animals morally accountable for their actions (human or other).” No we do not. We do not consider it evil when a chimpanzee kills a monkey or deem it rape when a male dolphin forcibly impregnates a female dolphin. When we want animals to do certain things we train them to behave in a certain way but we don’t consider they’ve done anything immoral if they behave differently, though it may suit humans as part of their training regime to call the behaviour ‘naughty’.

            Point 6 is you being emotional. Religious people have chosen to think there is a God and follow the tenets of their religion, a choice slaves don’t get so yours and Hitchens’ metaphor does not work.

            If you choose to follow a moral code then that is a subjective decision – it’s just your choice, nothing more. If you argue that morals are objective then that puts an obligation on you (and everyone else) to follow it whether you like that moral code or not – you are in that sense a ‘slave’
            to this code, it is your master. If your moral code is subjective, then there’s no reason for anyone else to follow it. If it’s objective then you need to set out some credible reason why it should be considered so and you’ve not provided any reason why one should believe this; you’ve stated that people have a worth but not explained the basis of that worth according to any scientific theory.

          • Man In Black
          • Dave Ellis

            I fail to see how linking articles about Sweden and Norway in the 1940s addresses the issue. Back then, both countries were still overwhelmingly Christian.

          • Man In Black

            Yes well there’s not much I can post to rid you of your willful mauvaise volonté.

          • Dave Ellis

            It’s not my fault there’s no evidence to back your position, so don’t get mad that I don’t accept your assertions.

          • Man In Black

            Right, so my evidence is, magically, “not-evidence”, simply because you dislike being disagreed with on the basis of evidence.


          • Dave Ellis

            When I can show why your evidence is not valid, then I am justified in claiming you have no evidence.

            I was talking about modern day Sweden and Norway which are largely atheistic societies, to contrast them to North Korea.

            Your “evidence” was to link articles about how Sweden and Norway was 70 years ago, when both countries were still largely Christian.

            It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why your “evidence” is absurd and can be dismissed out of hand.

          • Man In Black

            But it does, apparently, take a rocket scientist to understand that he’s been the target of deliberate sarcasm.

            I mean cripes — you engage in some ludicrous cherry-picking, then when the exact same is presented to you as in a mirror, can’t take a hint ?

          • Dave Ellis

            I got that you were trying to be sarcastic, however I just cut back to the fact that your claims are nonsense and backed by nothing.

            Seemed like the reasonable thing to do, rather than let you distract me from that point.

          • Man In Black

            Sorry mate, this does not magic away my attack on the basics of your position, which was that your reasoning is intrinsically flawed, seeking to present a particular as if it were a general.

            I provide you with some exactly similar bad reasoning, deliberately, which you then instantly attack.

            Can’t you see the sheer dishonesty of trying to defend your bad examples by attacking some other examples that are flawed in the exact same way ?

          • Dave Ellis

            Except I have backed why my points were valid, and shown why yours were flawed.

            I’ll recap again… please read slowly so you get it this time.

            The argument was made that atheism directly leads to societies like North Korea.

            I defended that by making the point that atheism does not lead to societies like North Korea. My justification was that modern countries like Sweden and Norway are largely atheistic and consistently have among the highest standards of life in the world, and there are no signs of devolving into a North Korean like state. If Atheism was the root cause of the problems in North Korea, then all societies with an atheist majority (or even significant atheist populations) should exhibit the same behaviour.

            Since they do not, then we can not call atheism the root cause. It must be something else, which I would argue is totalitarianism.

            My point as such still stands. It has not been rebutted.

            Your only attempted counterpoint was to bring up that Sweden helped the Nazi’s back in the 1940s, when it was still a Christian majority country. In short, all you have demonstrated is that Christians worked to carry out the holocaust.

            I don’t need magic to deflect your attacks on my position. Basic literacy and an IQ above 75 should do fine.

          • Man In Black

            Except I have backed why my points were valid

            No you jolly well have not — you engaged in some hand-waving and approximations, thinking that nobody would notice you trying to prove a general by referring to some individual particulars, even though it is trivially easy to discover some other individual particulars that show the diametric opposite of what you sought to claim.

            Norway and Sweden are not “atheistic countries” — they are liberal Western democracies that happen to have a significant atheist population.

            And BTW, sorry to burst your bubble, again, but both of these countries have a majority Christian population.

            Whereas historically, countries that *have* instituted atheism as the basis of their political systems have been far more like North Korea than Norway. Nazi Germany, the Stalinist Soviet Republics, and Maoist China all spring to mind.

            If Atheism was the root cause of the problems in North Korea, then all societies with an atheist majority (or even significant atheist populations) should exhibit the same behaviour.

            The logic of this proposition is obviously flawed. Again, you seek to imagine a general law on the basis of a particular.

            Your only attempted counterpoint was to bring up that Sweden helped the Nazis round up Jews back in the 1940s

            How many times, exactly, must I point out to you that, far from being a “counterpoint”, that was sarcasm to illustrate the ridiculous nature of your argument ?

          • Dave Ellis

            While you are entitled to your own beliefs, you are not entitled to your own facts.

            I have shown using the 2010 Eurobarometer that both countries belief in god was in the high teens to low 20% range. That is a majority atheist country, and certainly not a majority Christian one.

            I also take issue with your claim about Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany did not institute state atheism… In fact, freethought groups were shut down by the Nazis and many atheists were rounded up and sent off to the camps with the Jews. Hitler was a self described Roman Catholic who worked cooperatively with the Vatican, he was a creationist, admired the writings of Martin Luther, etc. Also, even if you want to dispute the facts about Hitler, you can’t argue that the overwhelming majority of the German population (including the actual soldiers who pushed people into the ovens) were Christians. So no, you can’t blame that one on the Atheists. In Nazi Germany, the Atheists were among the people in the camps, they were not the people running them.

            However, all of the nations you listed do share one ideology. Totalitarianism. That’s the problem, not the religiosity or irreligiosity of the society, or government.

            As for the other points raised, then show where my point is flawed. All you’re doing is dismissing it whilst not giving a proper explanation.

          • Man In Black

            Hitler was a self described Roman Catholic who worked cooperatively with the Vatican

            What a load of unhistorical cobblers.

            You can believe as much atheist and/or anti-Catholic propaganda as you like, but you really can’t expect anyone who has researched the question on the basis of the actual historical information to do the same.

          • Dave Ellis

            “The anti-Semitism of the new movement was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge.”

            – Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf, Chapter 3)

            “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty
            Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

            – Adolf Hitler (Speech to the Reichstag, 1936)

            “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”

            – Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

            “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”

            – Adolf Hitler (Letter to General Gerhart Engel, 1941)

            “The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, are creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life”

            – Adolf Hitler (Speech to the Reichstag, 1933)


            Berlin Churches Establish Bureau to Win Back Worshippers

            Wireless to the New York Times.

            BERLIN, May 13. – In Freethinkers Hall, which before the Nazi resurgence was the national headquarters of the German Freethinkers League, the Berlin Protestant church authorities have opened a bureau for advice to the public in church matters. Its chief object is to win back former churchgoers and assist those who have not previously belonged to any religious congregation in obtaining church membership.

            The German Freethinkers League, which was swept away by the national revolution, was the largest of such organizations in Germany. It had about 500,000 members …”

            (New York Times, May 14, 1933, page 2, on Hitler’s outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933, after the Enabling Act authorizing Hitler to rule by decree)

            I can keep going if you wish?

          • Man In Black

            Can’t believe I’m having to do this one twice in the same month ….


            Hitler’s Table Talk is a compilation of sayings by Hitler in private conversations that were recorded by other Nazis. It is a good source for what Hitler really thought.

            “…the only way of getting rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

            “It’s Christianity that’s the liar. It’s in perpetual conflict with itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

            “In the long run, National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 6

            “Kerrl, with the noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don’t believe the thing’s possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

            “As far as we are concerned, we’ve succeeded in chasing the Jews from our midst and excluding Christianity from our political life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 394

            “There is something very unhealthy about Christianity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 418

            “When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

            “But Christianity is an invention of sick brains : one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery. A negro with his tabus is crushingly superior to the human being who seriously believes in Transubstantiation.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 144

            “We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. We shall continue to preach the doctrine of National Socialism, and the young will no longer be taught anything but the truth.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 62

            “With what clairvoyance the authors of the eighteenth, and especially those of the past, century criticised Christianity and passed judgment on the evolution of the Churches!” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 88

            “When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

          • Dave Ellis

            The distinction that you’re missing is that Hitler was undoubtedly anti-clerical, especially later in life. He originally had hoped to unite all Christian churches together under the Nazi banner, however that failed to materialize, and from roughly 1941 on he grew more hostile towards the organized churches.

            However, throughout his entire life, he still considered himself a believer in Christ, and certainly believed in a god.

            Richard Steigmann-Gall (an associate professor of history at Kent State University) argues that several passages in the Table Talk reveal Hitler to have a direct attachment to Christianity, to be a great admirer of Jesus, and “gave no indication that he was now agnostic or atheistic”, a worldview Hitler continued to denigrate the Soviet Union for promoting.

            While Steigmann-Gall agrees there was a split from his religious views he held prior to 1941, he attributes this to “Hitler’s anger at his failure to exert control over the German churches, and not anger at Christianity itself.”

            Regardless, and what is most obvious, is that we’re talking about Hitler during the table talk years… 1941-1944. By that time Nazi Ideology was already firmly established, the death camps were already in full swing, and Europe was embroiled in war. Everything leading up to that time happened when Hitler was undoubtedly a Christian. If he started to get hostile towards the churches in the last couple years of his life, that means little to the time period in the 1930s and up to 1941. The whole Nazi Empire and many of their crimes against humanity were set up and carried out during his clearly Christian years.

            Lastly, he outlawed atheism, and sent atheists to the death camps. Even if I grant you the fact he abandoned Christianity (which I don’t), he certainly was no atheist, even in his later years.

          • Man In Black

            The distinction that you’re missing

            Oh, keep on clutching at your straws.

            Completely ignore Hitler’s and the Nazi’s extreme hostility towards Christianity then, if that’s what suits your prejudice.


            What I find absolutely chilling, personally, is how much of the Nazi ideology is resurfacing in the doctrines of the NuAtheism.

          • Dave Ellis

            Like the anti-Semitism that Hitler got from Martin Luther and the Christian culture he grew up in? Or the fact that freethought and atheist groups were banned by the Nazis… stuff like that?

            The thing you seem to be missing is if I happened to be living in Nazi Germany with my beliefs, I would likely be shipped off to the concentration camps if I were discovered.

            As for your article, next time link something new. Everything I wrote in my previous post addresses everything in that article. However, I’ll repeat my closing section just to help it sink in a little more…

            “Lastly, he outlawed atheism, and sent atheists to the death camps. Even if I grant you the fact he abandoned Christianity (which I don’t), he certainly was no atheist, even in his later years.”

            You seem to not be able to process the idea that hostility to organized Christianity does not equal atheism. Even if I grant you every point you have made in this entire thread, Hitler still was no atheist, he simply renounced his former Christian faith. That is the furthest your arguments can possibly take you.

            However, your original claim was that Hitler was an atheist. He was not, and very clearly so.

          • Man In Black

            As to whether Hitler’s propaganda can honestly be believed by anyone with intellect, consider this, from a speech in the Reichstag on 30 Jan. 1939: “Amongst the accusations which are directed against Germany in the so called democracies is the charge that the National Socialist State is hostile to religion. In answer to that charge I should like to make before the German people the following solemn declaration: 1. No one in Germany has in the past been persecuted because of his religious views, nor will anyone in the future be so persecuted…

            Good old Hitler !!!

          • Man In Black


            According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll of 2010,

            22% of Norwegian citizens responded that “they believe there is a God”.
            44% answered that “they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force”.
            29% answered that “they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force”.
            5% answered that they “do not know”.

            66% of people believing in God or “some sort of spirit or life force” is NOT “low 20% range”

            Meanwhile, 76.1% of the population officially belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, with a total 82% declared Christians.

            Similarly Sweden https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Sweden

            … which has 13% atheists

          • Dave Ellis

            A spirit or life force is not a god, you’re being dishonest in trying to claim them for the theistic side of the debate.

            I’ve already been over the church membership point with you. As I mentioned earlier, I am still a member of the Presbyterian church despite having been an atheist for well over a decade. Church membership does not mean anything in regards to your personal beliefs. It means you were registered into that church as a baby when your parents had you baptized.

            All that matters to the atheism/theism numbers is if you believe in the existence of a god or not. If you believe in the existence of a god, you are a theist. If you are not a theist, you are an atheist by definition.

            That is the literal definition of the word the prefix “a” denotes without or lacking, so atheism quite simply is someone without a theistic belief. I don’t know how I can make this any more simple.

          • Man In Black

            The state does not permit religious observance, so they’re atheist.

            erm no — the state overtly denies the existence of God. That’s why

          • Man In Black

            I’ll have to defer again to a Hitchens line on North Korea, when he stated that North Korea is the most religious nation imaginable.

            Hitchens was perhaps the least annoying in his generation of evangelical atheists.

            He was using the word “religion/religious” in its proper sense anyway, which is unusual among atheists.

            I can only suggest to you that you make an effort to properly understand that statement — which is about atheist religiosity, and atheism as a religion.

            If it was revealed conclusively to you tomorrow that there actually was no god

            The opposite has been conclusively demonstrated to me, sorry.

          • Dave Ellis

            Two points:

            1) Atheism is not a religion, Atheism is a single position on a single issue.

            2) How has it been conclusively demonstrated to you that there is a god? Can you present your evidence?

          • Man In Black

            2) No — divine interventions as I have experienced them are incommunicable

            1) Thank you for confirming your failure to understand Hitchen’s use of the word “religion/religious” in relation to the North Korean State Atheism

          • Dave Ellis

            1) Thank you for confirming your failure to understand what atheism is.

            2) If you can’t show it, you don’t know it. It’s dishonest to claim you know something when you can’t prove it.

          • Man In Black

            Thank you for confirming your failure to understand what atheism is

            I have no patience for this manner of supercilious idiocy.

            If you can’t show it, you don’t know it. It’s dishonest to claim you know something when you can’t prove it.

            The objective falsity of these statements is self evident.

            You know what colour socks you decided to put on this morning — yet you would be completely unable to demonstrate this knowledge beyond all doubt to anyone.

            What’s dishonest is your special reasoning.

          • Dave Ellis

            I care very little about your patience, and the fact you want to label my statement as idiocy doesn’t make it so.

            I repeat, atheism is a single position on a single subject. That’s it.

            An atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of a god.

            That’s all there is to it.

            As for the colour of socks I am wearing, that is something I can show. I can take a photo and send it to you, I can invite you to meet me and observe the socks I am wearing. There are certainly ways I can demonstrate the colour of my socks to you. If you do not believe that to be the case, then you are holding an unreasonable position.

            There is no way you can demonstrate your god to me, and you have openly admitted that fact. As such, I would clearly be unjustified in accepting your beliefs, and I would argue you are also unjustified in accepting your own beliefs as well.

          • Man In Black

            As for the colour of socks I am wearing, that is something I can show. I can take a photo and send it to you

            Which would prove nothing except the sort of socks you’re wearing in that photo.

            I’d have no means to deduce from that photo what socks you put on this morning.

            You decide to disbelieve all I say ? OK, then snap.

            An atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of a god.

            This definition is perfectly inaccurate, given that agnostics, who are NOT atheists, also do not believe in the existence of a god.

            Used to be one myself, but never been an atheist.

          • Dave Ellis

            You’re arguing apples and oranges however.

            You’re arguing for the existence of something in regards to god. That is something that you claim currently exists, and belief in this thing is justified.

            In regards to my socks however, that’s a historical claim. Not something that exists currently.

            That being said, I went out this morning and would have been filmed not only on my apartment building’s security camera, but the security cameras of every store that I visited. I can demonstrate the colour of my socks this morning based off of that video footage. The multiple video sources would serve as good confirmatory evidence as well.

            So, ironically, I can demonstrate the colour of my socks this morning far better than you can demonstrate your god to me.

            Your last section betrays your complete lack of understanding of what atheism and agnosticism is. Atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive, they don’t even address the same question. Agnosticism is not a “middle ground” between theism and atheism, which is a common misunderstanding among the faithful.

            Theism or Atheism are positions regarding belief. Gnosticism, or Agnosticism are positions regarding knowledge claims (From the root word Gnosis, which is Greek for knowledge). Belief claims, and knowledge claims are two very different things.

            You for example would be a Gnostic Theist (not to be confused with Gnostic Christians, which were a collection of ancient sects of Christianity). You believe there is a god, and you claim to know this for a fact.

            An Agnostic Theist would be someone who says “I can’t really know for sure if a god exists, but I really believe he does”. There are a lot of people like this around.

            Agnostic Atheists are those who say “I can’t really know for sure if a god exists, and I have no reason to believe that one does”. The vast majority of atheists, and virtually all of the famous ones fall into this category.

            Gnostic Atheists are those who say “I know for a fact that there is no god of any kind”. There are some out there like that I’m sure, however I’ve never met or interacted with one. As far as I’m concerned, it’s as much, if not more of a scientifically untenable a position as Gnostic Theism.

            That being said, certain gods can be disproven, but not every possible idea of god that someone has come up with. For example, a purely deistic god can’t be disproven, however we also have no reason to believe it exists.

          • Man In Black

            That being said, I went out this morning and would have been filmed not only on my apartment building’s security camera, but the security cameras of every store that I visited

            I did not dispute that evidence of what socks you were wearing at various times does not exist — none of this evidence is anything but circumstancial as to which ones you put on yesterday morning ; for this, I have only your claims to rely on.

            If you deny that personal testimony is evidence, then at least be consistent.

            “gnostic theist” “agnostic atheist” bla-bla

            Sorry mate, this classification invented by some atheists is claptrap. As is the word “theist” BTW.

            It fails to account for all of those who are neither atheists nor “theists” for starters.

            Meanwhile the statement “we also have no reason to believe a deity exists” is semantically identical to a claim that one doesn’t. It’s just more verbose, and more weaselly.

            You cannot honestly deny the existence of God whilst denying that you do so.

          • Dave Ellis

            As for the socks bit, if I can get multiple video sources of me wearing a certain colour of socks from yesterday morning, then I have met a reasonable burden of proof. If you choose not to accept that, then you are being unreasonable. That’s not my problem.

            I’m not relying on personal testimony, in fact I’ve specifically avoided giving you any. I’ve brought up ways that it can be empirically verified. Personal testimony is not evidence.

            As for my explanation of what things mean, it doesn’t matter who made up the words, the words mean what they mean. The fact you don’t want to accept the common definitions of words is again, not my problem. That being said, I have no idea where you came up with the idea that the term theist was invented by an atheist.

            According to dictionary.com and Merriam Webster, the first recorded usage of theism (and theist) dates to 1678. Can you tell me which atheist in 1678 came up with the term?

            Lastly, if you can not see the distinction between “I have no reason to believe X” and “I assert that X is not true” I don’t know what to say to you. Just because you have not been convinced of a claim does not mean you assert that claim is false. You simply remain unconvinced.

            For example, if you claimed you made over $300,000 a year, I would meet your claim with skepticism. Given the fact very few people make that kind of money, I’m not willing to believe that claim at face value.

            However, it’s not an impossible claim, you could actually make over $300,000 a year. So, I am unjustified in making the positive assertion that you don’t earn that much given the fact that I have no access to your financial records.

            So, I am in the position where I will not accept your claim until I see evidence, however I am not justified in claiming that the opposite (in that you’re lying) is definitively true. If you can show the evidence, I’ll accept the claim.

            A lack of belief is not the same as the assertion that a belief is false.

            In regards to god, I suppose that theoretically possible a god could exist. I can’t demonstrate that it’s impossible that any type of god could exist. So, for me to make the positive assertion that “no god of any kind ever existed, or currently exists” is unjustified. I can’t back that claim with evidence.

            However, given the lack of evidence for the existence of god, I also have no reason to accept that a god really does exist. Therefore, I can not rationally accept that claim until the evidence for it has been presented.

          • Man In Black

            Lastly, if you can not see the distinction between “I have no reason to believe X” and “I assert that X is not true” I don’t know what to say to you.

            There is no functional nor semantic difference between the two — they both indicate that the speaker does not consider that X is true.

            All atheists have it in common that they do not consider God to exist — Agnostics on their part make no such claims, but instead they say “I do not know if God exists or not”.

            The word “theist” as you are using it is of atheist origin, and it meant something entirely different (it used to have the current meaning of the word “deist”) in the 17th century.

            Its use by atheists to designate non-atheists is, quite apart from being greatly flawed, contrary to the dictionary & original definitions of the word ( http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=theist ), and is of late 20th or early 21st century origin.

            In particular, the artificial division of people into two or four categories depending on whether they are either atheists or “theists”, “gnostic” or “agnostic”, is preposterous from multiple points of view including those of an agnostic, an ex-agnostic, a devotee of shamanism, a Raelian, an ancestor-worshipper, a scientologist, and etc etc etc

            However, it is clearly predicated on a certain type of atheism, and it is a vehicle to propagate atheist doctrines and an atheistic world-view.

            My point about the socks, that you seem not to be getting, is that it is just as ridiculous for anyone to dismiss your personal testimony regarding your socks a priori as it is to declare that all testimony as to the existence of God must a priori be rejected as “not-evidence”.

          • Dave Ellis

            “There is no functional nor semantic difference between the two — they both indicate that the speaker does not consider that X is true.”

            I’m sorry, but you’re just simply wrong. One is a position where you are expressing the fact you are unconvinced, but being open to a claim should evidence be presented. The other is a positive assertion that the claim is false. There is a significant functional difference between the two positions.

            “All atheists have it in common that they do not consider God to exist — Agnostics on their part make no such claims, but instead they say “I do not know if God exists or not”.”

            Correct, however if you do not know god exists, then the only rational position you can have is to also not believe he exists until the evidence can be shown that he does.

            Again, knowledge is not the same as belief.

            “The word “theist” as you are using it is of atheist origin, and it meant something entirely different (it used to have the current meaning of the word “deist”) in the 17th century.

            Its use by atheists to designate non-atheists is, quite apart from being greatly flawed, contrary to the dictionary & original definitions of the word ( http://www.etymonline.com/inde… ), and is of late 20th or early 21st century origin.

            In particular, the artificial division of people into two or four categories depending on whether they are either atheists or “theists”, “gnostic” or “agnostic”, is preposterous from multiple points of view including those of an agnostic, an ex-agnostic, a devotee of shamanism, a Raelian, an ancestor-worshipper, a scientologist, and etc etc etc

            However, it is clearly predicated on a certain type of atheism, and it is a vehicle to propagate atheist doctrines and an atheistic world-view.”


            All of the various faith types you listed above fit into the categories I listed before, also, many churches use those same distinctions. It’s not an “atheist invention”. Theism is the root word for theology. Are you saying that atheists invented the word that would describe a theological seminary? I’m sure the Catholic Church (among many other churches) would disagree with you.

            You’re just being ridiculous.

            Also, what exactly is an atheistic doctrine? Can you give me an example? Who enforces these doctrines?


            “My point about the socks, that you seem not to be getting, is that it is just as ridiculous for anyone to dismiss your personal testimony regarding your socks a priori as it is to declare that all testimony as to the existence of God must a priori be rejected as “not-evidence”.”

            And the point which you’re got getting, and I’m rather dumbfounded about is that I’m not supplying personal testimony about my socks. I have shown where you can get multiple sources of confirmatory empirical evidence.

            The fact I may tell you my socks are white is not evidence at all in and of itself. Video showing my white socks would be.

            The reason why your personal testimony is not evidence is because personal testimony is notoriously unreliable, even in mundane everyday cases. Sometimes people see things that they didn’t see, or don’t remember the details well, or were hallucinating or under some kind of delusion, or they could be lying.

            You say you have had a personal experience with god, and I would like something to back your words with. The fact you simply claim it means nothing to me.

            Many people that belong to other faith groups (for example Islam) claim personal experiences with their god too. Many of these claims are mutually exclusive with your religion. So how can an outsider justifiably believe based on words alone?

            You can’t, at least not believe and be rationally justified. We need evidence, and so far I haven’t seen it.

          • Man In Black

            I’m sorry, but you’re just simply wrong. One is a position where you are expressing the fact you are unconvinced, but being open to a claim should evidence be presented. The other is a positive assertion that the claim is false. There is a significant functional difference between the two positions.

            This statement is incorrect — I think you’re confusing grammar with logic.

            Correct, however if you do not know god exists, then the only rational position you can have is to also not believe he exists until the evidence can be shown that he does.

            Well no, because a decision to accept reports of His existence as being true is not, by very definition, irrational, given that it is clearly a product of the ordinary human ratio.

            The default intellectual position, all else being equal, is agnosticism — agnosticism however does not screech for “evidence”, whilst simultaneously claiming that the various opposite claims of the atheists and the religious might be no such thing.

          • Dave Ellis

            I am still flabbergasted that you can’t see the distinction between the two points.

            So, I have a thought experiment for you that should show exactly what the distinction is… Here goes:

            On my computer desk, I currently have $402.68 in Canadian Currency along with $314.70 in US Currency. Do you believe my claim?

            (Note: I’m not asking if you know, I’m asking if you believe.)

          • Man In Black

            I am still flabbergasted that you can’t see the distinction between the two points.

            I used to be an agnostic — I’m therefore unsurprised by your confusion.

            I do not know how much money you have on your desk.

            This does not mean that I will take any position whatsoever regarding your report.

            I can assume neither that it is true, nor that it is false.

            My answer is : I don’t know.

          • Dave Ellis

            You’re not answering my question.

            I asked what you believe, not what you know. Knowledge and belief are two different things.

            So please answer my question.

          • Man In Black

            I exactly answered your question — it’s hardly my fault that you dislike the answer.

            I believe and disbelieve exactly nothing concerning the state of your desktop finances.

          • Dave Ellis

            So what you’re saying is you lack a belief based on the absence of evidence for my claim?

          • Man In Black


            I simultaneously believe and disbelieve you.

            This is what the sentence “I don’t know” means.

          • Dave Ellis

            It’s impossible to simultaneously believe and disbelieve a claim. That violates the law of non-contradiction, you can’t be in a state of belief and non-belief at the exact same time.

            If you are answering you don’t know, then odds are very high that you currently lack a belief on the topic.

          • Man In Black

            It’s impossible to simultaneously believe and disbelieve a claim

            No it isn’t.

            If you are answering you don’t know, then odds are very high that you currently lack a belief on the topic.

            Nope, I honestly believe both positions have an intrinsic validity.

          • Man In Black

            OK I will add that I’m pleased to see you’ve understood my “socks” query.

          • Dave Ellis

            I don’t think you understand your socks query….

          • Man In Black


          • Dave Ellis

            “The law of contradiction means that two antithetical propositions cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. X cannot be non-X. A thing cannot be and not be simultaneously.”

            Saying you believe “X” and disbelieve “Not X” at the same time is a clear violation of the law of non-contradiction. Your argument is not logically valid. Simply saying it is, doesn’t make it so.


            Believing that both positions have intrinsic validity though is not what I’m asking. I’m not asking if both propositions have intrinsic validity, you’re attempting to answer a different question.

            I’m asking if you believe my claim. Do I have those sums of money on my desk?

          • Man In Black

            Your law of non-contradiction (FTFY) does not dictate anything concerning my beliefs or lack thereof or doubts or agnosticism.

            I am forced to believe nothing, nor disbelieve anything, concerning any amounts of money that may be present on your desktop.

            I both believe and disbelieve your claim — your rejection of this claim is, rather ironically, an illustration of your own answer to the question : you don’t believe me.

            Here you can see exactly why agnosticism differs from atheism.

          • Dave Ellis

            “My” law of non-contradiction?
            I’m sorry boss, I didn’t invent it. It’s one of the established logical absolutes. It’s one of the foundational principles behind logical thought. It goes back to the days of Socrates.

            If you want to reject logical thought, that’s your prerogative. But again, that’s not my problem.

          • Man In Black

            Atheistic philosophy is not the prerequisite of logic.

            I continue meanwhile not to be subjected to the vagaries of your intellectual prejudice. Nor is the truth.

          • Dave Ellis

            You see, that’s the thing though… it’s not atheistic philosophy. It’s the basic laws of logic, they are true independent of whatever your religious persuasion might be.

            Check it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_thought

            Again, if you don’t care to abide by the fundamental principles of logical thought, that’s your prerogative. However, if your argument depends on the fundamental laws of logic to be incorrect, I’m sorry, but odds are very high that you are in error.

          • Man In Black

            Logic does not force me into any conclusions regarding certain amounts of money on your desktop — you are falsely assuming that a particular can be knowable from a general rule, and that the individual can be strictly predicated by the species.

            Logic does not justify a category error.

            Furthermore, logic is a tool of thought only, not its basis.

          • Dave Ellis

            I never made any statement saying logic forcing you into any conclusion regarding the money on my desktop, or that anything is knowable from a general rule. You are strawmanning me.

            The point I was making is that given the complete lack of evidence I gave you for the money on my desk scenario, you are unjustified in holding any belief. The only rational position you can take is to withhold belief until more evidence can be presented.

          • Man In Black

            The only rational position you can take is to withhold belief until more evidence can be presented.

            This is a false statement.

            (and strawmanning ? get real — there is no requirement whatsoever that I must only answer your questions in accordance with your a priori expectations)

            Your belief that rationality requires strict obedience to logic is a false one — logic, instead, is a product of rationality.

            I’m not sure how far I want to bore you (or myself) with the underlying theory of language and cognition, but the simple fact that sound logic can (and often does) lead to false conclusions demonstrates in itself that rationality, which is thinking that is properly aligned with reality, is not strictly dependent on the processes of whichever system of logic.

            I’ll add that your position is a metaphysical one, based on a medieval theory of truth, and it would be erroneous to expect that it should be viewed as a universal.

            Whether you like my answer or not is irrelevant to the actual truth of the matter — which is, truthfully, that I simultaneously believe and disbelieve your statement. This has no negative effect on my rationality.

          • Dave Ellis

            Ok then, what rational belief position can you take regarding my “cash on my desk” question, given the fact I have provided you with no evidence to base a belief on?

            Ironically, you are strawmanning my accusation of you strawmanning me before. Read what I am typing to you, and respond to that.

            Let me make this clear: I am not demanding you answer in accordance with my a priori expectations. In fact, I don’t have an a priori expectation, there were at least three answers I could foresee you giving, and perhaps you would have come up with something unexpected. That being said, your eventual response was how I expected you to go… evade the question because you know you can’t honestly answer it and stand by your argument.

          • Man In Black

            Oh deary me I am NOT evading the question !!!

            I have answered it, truthfully and honestly.

            This is getting ridiculous — you’re trying (and failing) to manipulate me into agreeing with an intellectual position that I have explicitly rejected.

            AND you are now expressing disbelief in my answer — can’t you see the irony in that ?

          • Dave Ellis

            You have evaded by answering “you don’t know” when I clearly stated I am not asking whether you know, I’m asking whether you believe. I put that line into my original question, because like every other theist I debate with, that’s the standard evasion.

            Even though I pointed out that is not my question prior to your answer, you still answered the question I did not ask.

            After I pressed you on it, you responded with some silly ass “I believe and don’t believe at the same time” answer, which is impossible. Yet another evasion.

            Since then you’ve been trying to get away from the topic. You still have not answered though.

            What is your state of belief regarding the amount of money on my computer desk? Was I being truthful, or untruthful?

          • Man In Black

            This is not an honest discussion on your part.

            There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
            Than are dreamt of in your philosophy

            I can’t help it that you seem to be so incapable of accepting even the possibility of someone thinking differently than you imagine is possible.

            There is more than one system of logic — and in more practical terms, when I was a computer programmer, some problems could only be resolved by treating some information as simultaneously true and false ; it’s called fuzzy logic.

            Had it, out of here — your obduracy is a waste of my time.

          • Dave Ellis

            I’ll refer to one of my favourite quotes on the chore of debating theists: “When things start to go against them, they turn to trying to prove that reality is not real”.

            There is not more than one system of logic. What you want to describe as logic is no more than your own illogical reasoning dressed up in language as to make it appear logically valid.

            (Note: We are not referring to computer programming, we’re talking about the rules and basis of logical thought. Don’t attempt to conflate computer programming into this, it’s not the same)

            I can accept that people think differently than I do, in fact it’s quite clear that you think differently than I do. However, I call it what it is, logically invalid and wrong. That’s not to say that everyone that thinks differently than I do on all topics is wrong, but in this case, you are.

            If it upsets you that you don’t get to invent your own logical rules to defend your points, that’s too bad. You don’t get to use poor logic and claim it deserves equal standing with good logic, then stomp off when I don’t agree.

            If you’re going to refrain from responding again, have a good day. As a piece of friendly advice, I suggest you start reading some of the works of Plato and Socrates, then work your way up through some of the more modern works. It might help develop your critical thinking skills further.

          • Man In Black

            There is not more than one system of logic


            That’s a priori writ large.

            If it upsets you that you don’t get to invent your own logical rules to defend your points

            Your mauvaise foi is quite entertainingly ludicrous.

            I’m still out of here, but wanted to make one final point, to at least satisfy myself that I’ve done everything materially possible to try and penetrate your blinkered, deterministic, tunnel-vision obduracy.

            I consider Dave’s Desktop to be similar to Schrödinger’s Cat — I would view its financial contents as being in a similar state of quantum indeterminacy as that cat prior to any peeking inside the box.

            Just as in the quantum theory, the cat is to be considered as simultaneously dead and alive ; so my position of simultaneous belief and disbelief in your financial claims.

            Just as opening Schrödinger’s box is the singular act that definitively determines the status of the cat, so peeking at your desktop in its state at the time of your writing (assuming that were possible) would determine the status of its finances.

            Until then, I can but accept the validity of all possible resolutions to the problem of your desktop ; including various alternative resolutions not strictly limited to your binary true/false bias.

            To act otherwise, so as to consider one possibility as having superior a priori value than any other, as you suggest (rather unhelpfully) that I should do, would be grossly irrational.

            Instead, I simultaneously believe and disbelieve your claim.

          • Dave Ellis

            I’m sorry that you’re upset you don’t get to invent your own logical rules, but that’s simply how the world works. Using illogical thought processes and labelling them as logical, doesn’t make them actually logical.

            As for your attempted answer for the “money on my desk” scenario, I’ll admit, it’s creative, but still ludicrous. It also shows you don’t understand the concept behind Schrödinger’s cat.

            Quantum Theory does not apply to the money on my computer desk. It’s fairly obvious that coinage and whatnot are far larger than the quantum realm, and are therefore governed by classical physics.

            And besides, even if my cash were still in some weird quantum flux, your brain still can not be in a state of belief and disbelief at the exact same moment in time.

            The fact is you have no evidence either way for my claim, and therefore you have nothing to base a belief upon. Any belief you then claim is therefore unjustified. Your only rational position is to withhold belief until more evidence is presented.

          • Man In Black

            your brain still can not be in a state of belief and disbelief at the exact same moment in time

            Ironically, this comment demonstrates your complete failure to understand not just quantum theory, but the entirety of my position.

            Not to mention linguistics, psycholinguistics, semiotics, literary theory, philosophical debate in its very nature, grammar, grammar theory, philosophy of language, cybernetics, the nature of honest simple doubt, agnosticism, any non-atheistic worldview, and, briefly, the fundamental nature of intellectuality insofar as it separates us from the brute beasts of the field.

            Not to mention the simple requirement of thought to conform to one’s perception of reality, including when that perception is not singular.

            Your nombrilistic atheist fanaticism is extremely tiresome.

            Good bye.

          • Dave Ellis

            No, actually your rebuttal completely betrays the fact you have zero understanding of quantum theory.

            Your brain operates in the macroscopic world. If you knew the first thing about quantum theory, you would then know it has nothing to do with how your brain generates thoughts and beliefs (unless you’re willing to argue that your brain is the size of a subatomic particle).

            You’ve reached the point where you’re just throwing out deepities to make your position sound substantiative. You’re starting to pull a Deepak Chopra on us.

            The point stands that if your argument does not conform to the rules of logic, then your argument is not logical. Trying to create your own logic does not then somehow make your argument logical. That’s all there is to it.

            See you later.

        • Rowland Nelken

          Violence has declined alongside the decline of religion. That is not to say. of course, that religion promotes violence, merely that relgious belief does not cure us of violent behaviour.

      • Stephen Milroy

        No clothes? As in no ideas? no concept? Only the meat machines can be so vacuous as to de Christianise the UK and hope their ‘void’ will take it its place (well it won’t, ISLAM will take its place!)

        • Fred Uttlescay

          Like Islam, Christianity is ridiculous moonshine that is superfluous to requirements. Neither will leave a void in anything. Religious faith is foolish nonsense that humans should have discarded long ago.

          • Man In Black

            Fred Uttlescay is foolish nonsense that Disqus should have discarded long ago.

      • Whereas those who have actually studied the history of Christianity tend to be Christians.

    • GordonHide

      What a comfort it must be to know the nature of God.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Just read the Bible mate, it’ll tell you all you need to know about God’s nature, that’s why He gave it to us.

        • GordonHide

          Yes well, the Harry Potter series would tell me all I need to know about Harry Potter but it’s not much help otherwise.

        • Rowland Nelken

          The Bible God was a glorifier of genocide, and an issuer of decrees demanding barbaric punishment. His Son (aka himself) preached a certain amount of love and peace stuff, but still threatened eternal hellfire to any who would not accept his extraordinary and unevidenced claims.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Oh dear. Try and understand this, it is logical – if as Christians say, God is creator, then He has every right to tell us what is right and wrong, as well as how to behave. Still eternal punishment won’t hurt you anyway will it, because you don’t think it will happen.

            “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'”
            Psalm 14:1

          • Rowland Nelken

            God’s message is such an internally contradictory mess, that it is a relief to have discovered that the Bible God(s) is (are), like all other Gods thus far proposed, but figment(s) of the human imagination.

          • Jen The Blue

            The Bible is not the dictated word of God. It is a collection of works of man, inspired by God. The Koran claims to be the dictated word of Allah……”strike at the necks of the unbelievers wherever you find them”., said Allah.

          • GordonHide

            The Gospels are just myth anyway. We cannot know what Jesus was actually like if he existed at all.

            Which is more likely:

            Jesus lived a life which fulfilled many of the Jewish old testament prophesies.

            The Gospel authors used the Jewish old testament as their main source to construct the events of Jesus life.

          • Jen The Blue

            That is a circular argument. If the prophesy of the OT is actually correct, then Jesus would fulfill them all. So your argument of likelihood pre-supposes the OT is wrong.

          • GordonHide

            Not necessarily. It just presupposes that the Gospel authors used the old testament to construct various events in Jesus’ life. This is much more likely than Jesus real life, assuming he had one, contained the events predicted in the OT.

          • Jen The Blue

            Well, not necessarily – I suppose the Jews could be correct and the Saviour is yet to come. That is a fair point.

            But ignoring the above….the options are:

            1 .The OT prophesy is correct – Jesus Christ fulfils it.

            2. The OT prophesy is bunkum – The life of Jesus as we Christians believe it was written to fit the false prophesy.

            Which is more likely? Well it depends entirely on whether the OT prophesy is correct….which itself depends itself on whether God exists. Circular argument.

            My initial sentence, leads me to add :-

            3. The OT prophesy is correct – but the life of Jesus as we Christians believe it was written to fit the true prophesy, but is fabricated and the real Saviour is yet to come.

          • GordonHide

            No, it doesn’t mean that the real saviour was not Jesus. It only means that we know nothing about the real Jesus. Neither does it mean that God doesn’t exist. It only means that the bible is the work of men or the Messiah has not yet arrived or possibly that Jesus did fulfil the prophesies but not as recorded in the Gospels.

          • Man In Black

            Technically speaking, it’s actually the first that’s more likely — the second would require such a full flourishing of modernist post-structuralist and/or deconstructionist and/or futurist or &c. literature in 1st Century Palestine that these authors would have been able to fool the whole of society at large into believing in the real existence of a fictional person.

            By “ignorant” and “superstitious” “bronze-age” “sky-fairy-ist” “goatherds”, no less … (did they attend the Sorbonne in the 1970s ? LOL)

            Your second requires a belief in sheer, utter paradox : your first requires, ultimately, nothing more complex than either simple coincidence, or more probable even than that, reductio ab absurdum, deliberate enacting of those prophecies.

          • GordonHide

            What probably happened was not that the Gospel authors were trying to fool anyone. The audience for which they were writing was well used to the idea of allegory. The problem came when the gospels began circulating in non-Jewish populations and Jesus had to compete for business with other saviour gods.
            please note 2 Peter 1:16:
            “For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you
            the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were
            eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
            Now 2 Peter is a forgery probably written after the Gospels. Nevertheless the fact that it contains the above verse shows that at the time of writing there were those who believed the Gospels to be myth and those who believed in their historicity.

    • bosco49

      You say, Damian, that:

      “However, he’s equally unimpressed by conservative Christians who persist in the delusion that their ‘witness’ can overturn laws on gay marriage and abortion. They are wasting their time, he says. I agree. Last time I looked, gay marriage was sweeping the United States and grotesquely late-term abortions were still permitted.”

      I respectfully suggest that this view misses the point and is defeatist. The Gospel must be preached without ambiguity and the Truth witnessed in all Its fullness both in season and out. The apostles went out into a savage world and were martyred but the Seed was planted. The Word has power of its own, perhaps not to change legislative agendas, but to save souls. That is what it’s all about on either side of eternity.

      • Jen The Blue

        Never mind gay marriage, there are plenty of atheists who think the fact that an unborn child has no rights, whereas 10 minutes later (after it slides down the vagina) it is protected by the full majesty of the law and mandatory life imprisonment for its murder.

        If the pro-abortion lobby were not largely a bunch of rampant feminists, this obvious truth would be recognised.

        I am vehemently apposed to abortion in every form, including the tiny embroyo, but even if my religious views are wrong, the current law is obscene. The way viable babies are ripped to pieces in the womb with the consent of the state…..is disgusting.

        • bosco49

          I fully agree with your religious views Jen, and they are in perfect accord with both the bible and 2000 years of Catholic doctrine.

          “Before I formed thee in the womb I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

          “…for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven…” Matthew 18:10

          • Jen The Blue

            Thanks. We do need to support each other, and I thank you far that.

          • MildredCLewis



        • Scott Moore

          “there are plenty of atheists who think…” No, there are not. If you think you can get away with such a crude straw man, then you really are more stupid than your statement suggests.

          • Jen The Blue

            Straw man? I don’t think you understand what a “straw man” is.

            So, show me the evidence that there are not plenty of atheists who object to late abortion.

            Then I will concede I am wrong.

            Is your tiny mind so closed that it thinks only religious people disagree with killing babies? Wherever you draw that line.

          • Man In Black

            Straw man? I don’t think you understand what a “straw man” is.

            I don’t think you understand what sarcasm is.

          • Jen The Blue

            If you say so.

          • Bluesman1950

            And neither, apparently do you. It’s not the same as simple crude insult.

          • Man In Black

            I am chuffed to discover that you prefer knee-jerk unreasoned reaction to the use of a brain.

          • Bluesman1950

            Was that your idea of sarcasm again?

          • Man In Black

            No, that was not-very-subtly implied personal insult.

            Do keep up, old chap !!

          • Bluesman1950

            It’s like trying to ‘keep up’ with a ‘Sopwith Camel’ when you’re flying a Typhoon.

          • Man In Black

            That’s funny enough to *almost* +1 LOL

          • Grace Ironwood

            Atheist here.
            Has changed her mind about both abortion (mid-late late term especially,mainly) and the value of the Sexual Revolution.

            I note that Pew Research has found a gradual, steady upswing of public opinion against abortion.

            It strikes me that Official Feminism is in a decadent phase witness the endless, Stalinist campaigns whilst ignoring the plight of Muslim women.

          • Scott Moore

            “Then I will concede I am wrong.” Ah, so you present a hypothesis without giving any supporting evidence, but expect me to provide evidence to dismiss your hypothesis? There’s no need for me to provide evidence to counter a hypothesis that lacks evidence.

            “it thinks only religious people disagree with killing babies.” No, I think almost everyone disagrees with killing babies. It is you who seems to think that there are significant numbers of people who agree with killing babies.

          • Jen The Blue

            Just re-frame it in the negative.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Religious folk are very keen on abortion. http://www.lisashea.com/lisabase/aboutme/abortion.html

          • Grace Ironwood

            Scott, you gotta get out more.

            I’m an atheist and a materialist and I agree with these religious types here – late-term abortions are indeed a outrage of human rights It is slaughter. I’d ask you to face up to what is actually done here before glibly supporting my choice to do Whatever
            I Want.Men can be good friends to women by telling them the truth.
            I can’t help feeling that as we lose ou religion, we are losing the moral capacity to revere life. Perhaps the law against killing a person is just an irrational taboo?

            As we become more remote from Christianity it looks like we are heading into the pitiless utilitarianism of Peter Singer.

          • Scott Moore

            “Scott, you gotta get out more.” That would be very difficult given how much I do go out. Besides, going out even more is unlikely to change my views significantly.

            I don’t believe that you are an “atheist and a materialist”. It is inconsistent with apparent your view that religion is necessary for reverence of life. In particular, I wonder why you mention “reverence” rather than “respect” for life?

            “I’d ask you to face up to what is actually done here before glibly supporting my choice to do Whatever I Want”
            I’d ask you to read what I actually wrote rather than making it up. I certainly don’t support you, or indeed anyone’s, choice to do whatever you want!

          • Grace Ironwood

            Scott, my main point was to rebut your assertion that there are no atheists that think abortion is wrong. Your frenetic existence as a social butterfly doesn’t seem to have afforded you the opportunity to meet people with a very wide range of views if you really don’t believe that there aren’t ANY atheists who think that abortion is wrong.

            I am certainly one of them and I gradually changed my views from being very pro an untrammeled choice to kill one’s baby.

            I used the word “reverence” for life rather than “respect” for life quite deliberately to express that respect for human life is a primary moral imperative – above all the many other things we can have “respect” for .

            The value of human life is not merely one among many things one can “respect”(“respect the planet”, “respect” a persons choices, “respect” the human right to life ) How do you rank all the things one may”respect” so that one value prevails as a foundational value above the others ? So, even as an atheist I’m happy to borrow the religious term “reverence” to spell this out.

            Enlightenment Humanism comes from our judeo-christian heritage. Specifically through the doctrines of Natural Law and Natural Rights – ‘we hold these rights as “self-evident” said the framers of the US Bill of Rights.

            To believe that in the 18thC there was some kind of secular Year Zero where everything was thought anew from Pure Reason suggests ignorance of the history and the origin of secular human rights.

            I’m an atheist because I find it impossible to believe in the supernatural, there is no evidence for its existence and much that suggests (but doesn’t prove) that there IS no supernatural.

            I hope the organised atheist movement grows out of the angry rebellion of its adolescence and recognises the great value of this tradition – and no other- that humanism and rights comes from. So I’m an Atheist that respects our Christian heritage.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Scott, my main point was to rebut your assertion that there are no atheists that think abortion is wrong. Your frenetic existence as a social butterfly doesn’t seem to have afforded you the opportunity to meet people with a very wide range of views if you really believe that there aren’t ANY atheists who think that abortion is wrong.

            Sadly, I agree with you that meeting people who believe different things is unlikely to change your views.

            I am certainly an atheist and I gradually changed my views from being very pro a woman’s untrammeled choice to kill the baby whilesoever it is in her body.

            I used the word “reverence” for life rather than “respect” for life quite deliberately to express that respect for human life is a primary moral imperative – above all the many other things we can have “respect” for .

            The value of human life is not merely one among many things one can “respect”(“respect the planet”, “respect” a persons choices, “respect” the human right to life ) How do you rank all the things one may”respect” so that one value prevails as a foundational value above the others ? So, even as an atheist I’m happy to borrow the religious term “reverence” to spell this out.

            Enlightenment Humanism comes from our judeo-christian heritage. Specifically through the doctrines of Natural Law and Natural Rights – ‘we hold these rights as “self-evident” said the framers of the US Bill of Rights.

            To believe that in the 18thC there was some kind of secular Year Zero where everything was thought anew from Pure Reason suggests ignorance of the history and the origin of secular human rights.

            I’m an atheist because I find it impossible to believe in the supernatural, there is no evidence for its existence and much that suggests (but doesn’t prove) that there IS no supernatural.

            I hope the organised atheist movement grows out of the angry rebellion of its adolescence and recognises the great value of this tradition – and no other- that humanism and rights comes from.

            So there it is – I’m an Atheist that respects – even “reveres” our Christian heritage.

          • Scott Moore

            Hi Grace, you either misread what I wrote or failed to understand a simple statement. I did not write that there are no atheists who thing abortion is wrong. I wrote “no, there are not” in response to the statement that “there are plenty of atheists who think that abortion is wrong”. In other words I believe there are less than “plenty” of atheists who believe abortion is wrong. I do not believe there are are no atheists who hold such a view.

            I see that you continue to make incorrect assumptions about me so, frankly, any discussion with you is pointless.

          • Grace Ironwood

            See Pew research on increasing numbers of people of all beliefs who are no longer prro abortion, especially (like me) late term.
            Over and out.

        • Scott Moore

          “viable babies” There is a difference between a baby, a foetus and an embryo (of course, the boundaries are not as sharply defined as the use of such terms implies) – if you don’t recognise this difference then your opinion is not based on reality.

          • Altesegel

            Life begins at the point of conception – there are no gradations. Who is man to judge what is and isn’t a child?
            Abortion is a tragedy. Rachel weeps still for her children…

          • Grace Ironwood

            That’s a religious principle, religion often expresses it’s principles in poetic language of the gospels (“one flesh”)and these often express the truth.

            But you are arguing with atheists so you need to convince through empiricism and reason, not religion

          • Scott Moore

            “Life begins at the point of conception” No, it does not. It begins before conception – sperm and eggs are living. Of course, I realise you probably meant that an individual’s soul is created at the point of conception – I wouldn’t argue with this, as I don’t believe in souls, so I regard it as irrelevant.

            “Who is man to judge what is and isn’t a child?” This question is also irrelevant. A more pertinent question is: “who should judge?” Clearly it must be human beings who do the judging, because there is nothing else capable of doing so. As for which human beings and using what process, that is an important question.

          • Jen The Blue

            While I said I believe all abortion is wrong, (It is), I was accepting boundaries, in that many atheists detest late abortion of viable children who have no protection in law because they are unborn……whereas, were they to be born suddenly and unexpectedly for example, to destroy them would be murder.

            It is illogical, it is indefensible, and rather than the Likes of Scott Moore talking utter bullshit to obscure what I actually wrote, I notice he was unable to offer a defence.

          • Zalacain

            I’m an atheist, and I generally agree with you. The whole abortion issues is terribly complicated. To be corny it is a moral minefield. But if we start from the point that human life is sacred, I don’t see that religion has much to add to the debate.

          • Scott Moore

            “I notice he was unable to offer a defence.” Defence of what? Why should I defend something I don’t agree with?!?

          • Jen The Blue

            Did someone ask you to?

        • TravisJSays

          “I am vehemently apposed to abortion in every form, including the tiny embroyo, but even if my religious views are wrong, the current law is obscene. The way viable babies are ripped to pieces in the womb with the consent of the state…..is disgusting.”

          This point is correct. killing pre-born humans is very inhumane. We can change the culture of abortion *not* by insisting its demanded via christian morality, culture fights are lost if it becomes ‘religious faith vs Party of Reason’, but by showing through reason that human lfe is destroyed, and human rights are violated. abortion can be limited by making it clear that it is a barbaric practice that even secularized civilized society would abhor.

          However, the implicit corollary is that no culture or politcal battle can be one using religious faith as a weapon. the days of “god said it, that settles it” are over. When it comes to public policy, God is dead.

          • Jen The Blue

            In a secular society you may well be correct.
            But I guess you have summed what I was saying about late abortion……it is wrong and it is inconsistent with the usual murder laws.
            I still pray for the day when society reflects God’s laws.

          • TravisJSays

            In a democratic society, laws will reflect the popular culture. Society will only reflect ‘God’s laws’ if the people and the elites will it, by following God. For a generation, our elites have hounded God out of the public square, and it’s not prevalent in popular culture since the 1960s. it’s become a pleasant antique to some, and horrible old rubbish to a few (militant types). Only the rise of some new modern evangelization of Christianity would turn the tide.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Do we have

        • Fred Uttlescay

          There is no pro abortion lobby. What are you on about? In any case, it’s Catholics that are more keen on having abortions than anyone else, presumably because of the absurd and ridiculous stance of the RCC on contraception.

          “Many studies demonstrate that the vast majority of women having abortions are religious women”


          • Man In Black

            There is no pro abortion lobby

            There are no fish and chips

            (see ? I can do it too)

            “Many studies demonstrate that the vast majority of women having abortions are religious women”

            This is because only a small minority of women are atheists.

            It’s meaningless — it’s like pointing out that the vast majority of mothers have breasts.

            These sorts of empty statistics can seem impressive only to the weak of mind.

      • Catrina Bennett

        Yes, someone once said to me… preach The Gospel, use words if you are forced. It’s what is not spoken that speaks volumes.
        And which Gospel is portrayed? My own, or what is conveyed through The Fathers, The Tradition, prayer and reading the NT?
        Choose this day whom you shall serve!
        That is the challenge for me in this generation.

      • Rowland Nelken

        Big challenge that; to preach an intrinsically ambiguous gospel in an unambiguous way!

        • bosco49

          While I cannot agree to your premise please feel free to take a pass on the challenge, Rowland.

      • Rowland Nelken

        How can an intrinsically ambiguous set of writings like the gospel be preached unambiguously?

    • HottyToddy1

      “God is conservative.” Really? Well, then his son was quite the rebellious child. Jesus was anything but conservative.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Jesus said that he came not to replace, but to fulfil the Law and the Prophets – which is the Old Testament – which is rather on the conservative side, don’t you think?

        • Rowland Nelken

          Fortunately most Christians ignore the Law of the Bible God. At least I know of none who are advocating the execution of adulterers, gays, non virgin brides and Sabbath breakers.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You clearly know nothing of what Christianity really means, or teaches.

          • Rowland Nelken

            It can mean almost anything that its followers want it to mean. The Bible is such an internally contradictory set of writings. How else could it have spawned such a range of incompatible, and often mutually hostile sects?

          • Tony

            Catholics are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament. This is official Church teaching. E.g. dietary (we eat oysters and swine)

          • Jen The Blue


            Jesus Himself got into a bit of bother by healing on the Sabbath. He refused to stone the prostitute to death.

            As the classic Catholic joke goes…..”Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. As a rock flies in from behind Jesus looks round and says “Oh, I forgot about you Mum”.

    • Ironically, I doubt the answer is found in ‘British’ Christianity any more. As someone who would have seriously considered giving my right arm to make the passage to an alternate world where Enoch Powell became PM in the 70s, I suspect that if there is a future for the Church, it lies with the likes of Michael Nazir-Ali and John Sentamu, than with Rowan Williams hand wringing supine appeasement

      • sfin

        Good points, well put.

        I would, though, argue that the likes of Michael Nazir-Ali and John Sentamu (and millions like them) came to this country to be British – not to be Arabic or African within Britain. As such they would have been well schooled in British history and, in their case, the history of the Anglican church.

        Their utterances, to me, demonstrate all too clearly that they are uncomfortable with the fact that, the ideal that they aspired to, has been eroded (given away – I would call it) by “homegrown” progressives within the Church of England.

        All of this, of course, parallels the enormous social change, in Britain which has happened within a remarkably short space of time, when set against our history.

        We can be proud of Magna Carta, the first parliament, the abolition of slavery, the Victorian era, the saving of Europe (at least three times) from tyranny, all carried out under a relatively benign, British Christian culture.

        I don’t think our grandchildren will be quite so proud of this generation.

        • Rowland Nelken

          Abolishing slavery was a great idea. The Bible God, however, and his self appointed earthly rep., St. Paul, approved of it.

          • RuariJM

            No, he didn’t.

            But if you reckon he did, you will be able to identify direct quotes from Paul’s significant output praising or endorsing slavery itself, identifying races or groups that are suitable for slavery because they are somehow “lesser”. Should be a piece of cake.

            FYI, as you are obviously unaware, the Catholic Church was at the forefront of efforts to abolish slavery.

          • Jen The Blue

            St Paul certainly didn’t approve of slavery. He pointed out that slaves, (who after all, had no choice in their society) had to look at the bigger picture of the salvation of their own souls.

            He NEVER said slavery was right.

          • Zalacain

            There are several tracts in the Bible on the subject of slavery, mostly giving instructions on how to keep them. Nowhere does the Bible say that slavery is wrong.

          • Exodus : {21:16} Whoever will have stolen a man and sold him, having been convicted of the crime, shall be put to death.

            Isaiah : {58:6} Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

            3 Corinthians : {7:23} You have been bought with a price. Do not be willing to become the servants of men.

            Galatians : {5:1} Stand firm, and do not be willing to be again held by the yoke of servitude.

            1 Timothy : {1:9} Knowing this, that the law was not set in place for the just, but for the unjust and the insubordinate, for the impious and sinners, for the wicked and the defiled, for those who commit patricide, matricide, or homicide,{1:10} for fornicators, for males who sleep with males, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.

            Deuteronomy : {23:15} You shall not deliver a servant who has fled to you to his master.{23:16} He shall live with you in a place that pleases him, and he shall rest in one of your cities. You shall not grieve him.

          • Zalacain

            The following passage shows that slaves are clearly
            property to be bought and sold like livestock.

            However, you may purchase male or female slaves from
            among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You
            may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

            The following passage describes how the Hebrew slaves
            are to be treated.

            If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only
            six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married
            before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still
            belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door
            and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

            When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will
            not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.
            If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.
            (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

            When a man strikes his male or female slave with a
            rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

            Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect
            and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

            Christians who are slaves should give their masters
            full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your
            efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

            In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of
            beating slaves even if they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.

            The servant will be severely punished, for though he
            knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

            Great morality!

          • None of this changes the falsity of your claim that the Bible “nowhere” says that slavery is wrong, as demonstrated by my quotes.

            And that’s even without considering the fact that the ancient vocabulary in question is very broad in meaning, and would include all of our more precise modern notions of slave, serf, work prisoner (criminal or POW), bond servant, servant, and employee.

          • Zalacain

            The bible, your moral compass, gives you instructions on how to treat slaves, if has no problem with the owner beating them and buying and selling them. You can also use slaves for sexual purposes. Does more need to be said?

          • Sorry mate, I’m not a radically mindless Evangelical extremist-fundamentalist Bible-thumping literalist sola scriptura caricature of atheist hallucination.

            My moral compass is Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Living Person of the Holy Trinity of God, His Saints, His Angels, and the guidance of the Holy Catholic Church.

            Oh, and your ludicrous misreadings and false interpretations do not tell me anything of what I can or can’t do.

            And I take note of your failure to recognise that your earlier statement was incorrect.

          • Bluesman1950

            “…Jesus Christ, a living person…”! Really? Perhaps you could get him to debate with Richard Dawkins on live television!

          • Man In Black

            Ask Him, maybe he will.

          • Bluesman1950

            I’m not sure I could, when many millions of christians have failed to get him to come back over two millenia.

          • Man In Black

            Proof of this claim ?

            Or aren’t you just assuming that your indoctrination were the truth ???

          • Bluesman1950

            Proof? The fact the there’s no evidence of him coming back.

          • Man In Black

            As pointed out infra, the a priori rejection of all available evidence is irrational among those who claim that they seek it.

          • Bluesman1950

            Evidence, not fairy stories.

          • Bluesman1950

            I don’t seek it,. I’m waiting for you to say you have it to produce it.

          • Man In Black

            I don’t seek it

            Then you’ve simply been engaged in a dishonest complete waste of everyone’s time.

            Why should anyone bother providing you with what you do not seek ?

          • Rowland Nelken

            I sought the true Christ. To that end I studied the Bible. That study converted me to atheism.

          • Bluesman1950

            Why should I bother searching for something which is clearly made up? Would you go in search of Hogwarts? I have provided you with the distinction between what you believe all atheists think and what most atheists actually think, even though you did not seek that enlightenment and still are, apparently, unable to understand it.

            If you have real evidence of the existence of god/s or the supernatural, produce it. Mystical wibble about “non-material essence of pure spirit ” and similar assertions is just unsupportable fantasy.

            The Archbishops of Canterbury and York recently admitted that the Church of England is in serious decline. Unfortunately we still have CoE bishops in Parliament as of right, and an hereditary head of state who is also automatically the head of this failing ‘established church’.

            Trying to point out the increasing irrelevance of the church and the anomaly of its disproportionate influence in British life is neither dishonest, nor a waste of time.

          • Man In Black

            If you have real evidence of the existence of god/s or the supernatural, produce it.

            Do you seek it, or not ?

            Do make up your mind !!!

            You pure and simple cannot have it both ways, mate.

            You want le beurre et l’argent du beurre.

            Anyway, amusing to see you felt the need to bring in whomsoever reinforcement or 3 from the ranks of your little like-minded clique …

          • Bluesman1950

            I do not seek the imaginary. If you have evidence that it is real, produce it and I might be converted!

            I have not ‘brought in reinforcements’. There are contributors here on both sides, uninvited, at least by me. Who they choose to upvote or agree with is up to them.

          • Verisimilitude

            Curious you’d engage with “Man in Black”…he seems to want to argue, without providing any evidence for the non-existent…

            …evidenceless, he merely prattles…like Edden, but without the charm…

          • Bluesman1950

            To be fair, he appreciated my semiotics joke! Can you imagine Edden doing that?

          • Verisimilitude

            Nope, but I’m thinkin’ Ed*en is pretty charmless, too!

          • Man In Black

            You hardly represent my notion of a charmer either.

          • Verisimilitude

            Thank you, Man in Black…I feel appreciated.

          • Verisimilitude

            The only appreciation Ed*en has is for his own views, and for the speculative Yeshua/god/spirit he has been sold by his ‘church’

          • SPW

            Evidence for the non-existent? And yet you will NOT never engage with the non-existent matter and energy (95%) that are required to make your wobbly non-observed bigbangery even begin to balance the scales. Show me that and I just might be converted. You bigbangers are nuts, duplicitous and hypocritical.

          • SPW

            Let alone the staggering complexity of DNA! Where did that come from?? Lost on earth, you bigbangers are now suggesting it came from outer space! Couldn’t make it up! As someone rightly said, if the DNA code were coming through telescopes instead of microscopes there would be total consensus that it was being written by intelligent life! And yet you ignore it. You are those who are spoken of who are wilfully ignorant, scoffers and blasphemers who seeking to become wise swap the truth of God for a lie and descend into moral corruption.

          • Verisimilitude
          • SPW

            Hahahaha! Yes and how has it stayed in that shape for billions of years with 95% of its mass missing? Did the stars make you now? You’re nothing more than an astrologist! In the mass-energy-time equations of the OBSERVABLE universe, when the time element is set to billions of years, the mass and energy just aren’t there. So, instead of adjusting the time element, you bigbangers say that woooow 95% is completely and utterly undetectable and you invent a whole new un-observable physics (quantum) to seek the missing bits and still they don’t turn up (btw Einstein refused to condone quantum physics and he was a clever chap). What a laugh. The outworking of your godlessness in the moral sphere is also predictable. Bigbangers are those who worship creation saying, “You made us!”; and God’s summary of such wisdom?

            “They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.”

          • Verisimilitude

            Yes, and the consequence of your Christianity is the contempt you display towards those who dissent from your certainties.

          • SPW

            Contempt towards lies. Exasperation too. I have no issue with dissent and I hope I have only the best intention for others. There are times for gentleness and bending with the argument and there are times for calling a spade a spade. Apologies if in doing so I have hurt your feelings.

          • Verisimilitude

            Then you should turn your contempt on the Christians responsible for fabricating the view of Yeshua extant today…

            …and the quite literally absurd notion of the Christian ‘god’ bruited by early ‘Christians’

          • Man In Black

            At what point, exactly, will you realise you’ve lost this one ?

            It is grossly dishonest to ask for “evidence of the imaginary” whilst simultaneously claiming that evidence is not what you seek.

            Try and come up with something not dishonest and incoherent next time.

          • Bluesman1950

            I am not asking for evidence of the imaginary, as there will, obviously, be none.

            I am asking for you to produce evidence of the thing you believe to be real, which would thus prove that it is not imaginary after all. If you have it, let’s see it.

          • Man In Black

            Sorry, I’m confused — aren’t you the same person who described himself as “not seeking” evidence ?

          • Bluesman1950

            Try again. I am not going about looking for evidence of what I believe does notexist

          • Man In Black

            I am not going about looking for evidence of what I do not believe exists.

            I do hope you realise that this intellectual attitude will directly prevent you learning anything new ?

          • Bluesman1950

            Of course it won’t and doesn’t. I hope you realise that the time wasted seeking fairies, yetis, the philosopher’s stone would be better spent researching things that might possibly exist.

            If, however, evidence was found by another that indicated that further research might be worthwhile, I would reconsider.

            So, do you actually have anything at all that would indicate that I wouldn’t be wasting my time? Anything?

            I note that you have tried to protect any evidence you might claim from criticism, by alleging that I have already decided to reject it! A bit like the bible assertion “..The fool hath said in his heart, there is no god.”! If your evidence is convincing I will be convinced, if not, I will not.

            So, one last try, have you got any real evidence of god’s?

          • Man In Black

            Given that you have already indicated your a priori decision to reject anything disagreeing with your atheism, no.

            Otherwise, I’d suggest opening your mind and your soul to God.

          • Bluesman1950

            Thought not!

          • David Cromie

            You sound like a Jesuit, and a dedicated follower of Scholasticism.

          • Man In Black

            Carry on spewing your bigoted atheist nonsense.

          • David Cromie

            If asking theists to provide proof for the existence of their ‘gods’, then I am an unashamed bigot. Now, what is your excuse for being a deluded, superstitious, idiot?

          • rationalobservations?

            I have searched for evidence for many years – and have found nothing but confused and internally contradictory fables and legends written long after the time in which they are set.
            No text.
            No artifact.
            No archaeological evidence.
            No historical corroboration of the legends of Jesus that appear in prototype form in the 4th century and have been edited, amended, modified, added to, deleted from and exaggerated during many centuries after.

          • Verisimilitude

            Man in Black: “…reinforcement or 3 from the ranks of your little like-minded clique…”

            Yes, it is a small ‘clique’, although I rather prefer ‘cabal’.

            Take comfort…there are billions of you, and mere millions of us…

            …you’ve already won…you have nothing to worry about…

            ..,save for the paucity of your spiritual perspective.

          • Bluesman1950

            Words, words, words and not a shred of evidence!

          • Verisimilitude

            …that’s the Christian ‘tradition’, Bluesman!

            They’ve fallen hook, line and resurrection…

            …for the contortions Irenaeus and countless others perpetrated on them a couple of millennia ago.

            A compelling alternate view of their ‘beliefs’ is available in the so-called ‘gospels’ Irenaeus and friends left out of this ‘bible’…

            …right now, I’m reading “The Gnostic Gospels’ by Elaine Pagels.

            My, my…are the ‘Christians’ barking up the wrong tree…Yeshua himself would be most disappointed at how they’ve gerrymandered his teachings…

            …no matter whether one does or does not ‘buy’ into the actual teachings of Yeshua.

          • Bluesman1950

            I love the last-ditch theist position ‘I have plenty of evidence, but you wouldn’t understand it / believe it / be worthy of it, so you just have to try believing anyway.’

          • Verisimilitude

            Yes indeedy, Bluesman!

            When there’s no support, faith is a useful position for those who have given leave of their senses.

            How else to support the ludicrousness of their belief in this primitive ‘god’ of theirs?!!!

          • Verisimilitude

            Why would ‘they’ need evidence, when they have ‘faith’ as a substitute for evidence!

          • Man In Black

            You literally have no idea — and I’m not the one rejecting evidence.

          • Verisimilitude

            I find myself agreeing with you…I have no idea.

          • Bluesman1950

            So you accept all the scientific evidence which clearly contradicts the origins of the Earth and mankind described in the bible?

          • Man In Black

            To repeat myself :

            Sorry mate, I’m not a radically mindless Evangelical extremist-fundamentalist Bible-thumping literalist sola scriptura caricature of atheist hallucination.

          • Bluesman1950

            Good to hear that you reject silly notions like Adam and Eve in favour of Evolution. There may be hope for you yet.

          • Man In Black

            There’s very little so tiresome as the mindless pretentiousness of militant dogmatic atheism.

          • Bluesman1950

            Not even creationists?

          • Man In Black

            If you mean radical biblical creationists, then no — they’re just mistaken about the proper relationship between Faith, Science, Revelation, God, and Reason.

            Militant dogmatic atheism rejects three of these five.

          • Bluesman1950

            As does any atheism, however you want to describe it.

            Science and reason will suit me fine.

          • Man In Black

            Matthew : {4:4} And in response he said, “It has been written: ‘Not by bread alone shall man live, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

          • Bluesman1950

            Really? How interesting!

          • SPW

            Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:3-7)

          • Bluesman1950

            Really?! That is evidence? If it’s written in a book it must be true?

            Personally I think that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pesto be upon him) is just as likely a candidate. It says so in his book.

          • Jams O’Donnell

            He’s been very quiet about it if he has come back – why would that be, given his high-profile “first” appearance? But as he’s a mythical figure anyway, I suppose you could claim anything.

          • alfredo

            I hope you could supply him with a rather better informed interlocutor than Dawkins.

          • Bluesman1950

            I have more confidence in Dawkins’ ability to turn up, the first requirement for a debate!

          • tatoo

            Jesus died over 2000 years ago. Are you saying he is a zombie?

          • Cale B.T.

            No, that he has a glorious resurrected body.

          • Rowland Nelken

            A ragbag of writings like the Bible is bound to be open to zillions of incompatible, and often mutually hostile interpretations. High time it was universally considered to be of purely literary and historical interest.

          • Rowland Nelken

            That’s all you can do with a mixed up and thoroughly dodgy set of writings like the Bible. Declare you are not a fundie and believe whatever bits take your fancy and witter on about allegory, context, hermeneutics and the rest to try, in vain, to convince yourself that your Bible God is the true take and that God is also a good guy.

          • Man In Black

            Can you please re-write that post in English ?

          • David Cromie

            This argument about slavery, in the context of the bible, more than adequately illustrates the contradictory nature of the bible, and the ease with which any biblical quotation can be used (or misused) by either side in an attempt to validate any particular viewpoint, no matter how ridiculous it is.

            For example, Julian Lord, above, does not seem to realise that ‘slavery/bondage, etc.’ is being used in different senses in the quotes he proffers, but does not realise this.

          • Man In Black

            What on EARTH are you ranting on about ???

            *I* point out these differences, then you seek to accuse me of “not realising” that they’re present ??

            That’s just straightforward hypocritical ill-willed double standards.

          • David Cromie

            Sorry, I had no idea you were Julian Lord.

          • Man In Black

            OK fair enough, and thank you 🙂

          • James M

            Talk of contradictions in the Bible is easy, but what do people mean ? WW2 began on September 1 1939. It also began two days later. And two years later. What contradictions these are – until one realises that from the Polish, British and US standpoints, each of them is correct for the country in question. The verbal contradiction is not a contradiction in objective reality – that the US entered the war later than the UK, does not negate or lessen the reality of the war for the UK.

            That is a fairly straightforward instance of a contradiction that is contradiction in words, not in objective reality. Some Biblical contradictions are of this kind, some are not.

            Why is the issue of contradictions of any significance ? In all that is said on the matter, I do not remember any noticer of contradictions explaining why it matters that there or may be contradictions in the Bible. How is the Bible or anything about it harmed if there are contradictions ? If the Bible is thought of as being like a witness in court, then one can see that contradictions could matter – but is that a good analogy for how the Bible and its contents function ?

            The Fundamentalist notion of the Bible as a repository of totally infallibly accurate and inerrant info is a novelty in Christianity. It has deep roots in the past, but that idea of the Bible is modern. The theological message of the Bible is more important than the ages and reigns of patriarchs and kings and whether this or that animal chews the cud, and the witness of the New Testament to Jesus Christ is most important of all. Compared to Him, the eloquence of a donkey or a snake is of slight importance. The contents of the Bible are of very unequal importance and value – the Jews give highest importance to the Torah, a lower place to the Prophets, and an even lower place to the Writings. Why should Christians be expected to hold the Fundamentalist position that tries to avoid any such gradation ? The New Testament contradicts the idea that all Scripture is on a single level.

          • David Cromie

            Your tortuous, and strained, WWII sortie has nothing to do with contradictions.

            No wonder you believe that biblical contradictions are of no significance, or import because, as is the case with all christers, you pick only those portions of the bible which suit, and seem to confirm, your particular world view.

            The overarching question still remains, where is the proof that any version of a sky fairy really exists? Provide that, and you really will have said something important.

          • Man In Black

            you pick only those portions of the bible which suit, and seem to confirm, your particular world view

            You falsely assume your own biased attitude towards the Scriptures to be universal.

          • SPW

            Sky fairy!? What about dark matter and dark energy? Prove that exists and we’ll have found 96% of YOUR universe that was missing. Go on, prove it exists and then you will have uttered something important. Until then avoid your too easily appropriated smugness.

          • David Cromie

            You obviously have a poor opinion of cosmology, and probably of science in general, neither of which have anything to do with supernatural entities, of any description.
            Now, back to the real problem for all christers; where is your proof for the existence of any sky fairy? Having provided your incontrovertible evidence, you may then be in a position to discuss the science of both dark matter and dark energy, if you are capable of doing so.

          • SPW

            You’ve dodged the question! Give me your take on Dark energy and Dark matter…

            from NASA:

            “More is unknown than is known. We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the Universe’s expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery. But it is an important mystery. It turns out that roughly 68% of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest – everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter – adds up to less than 5% of the Universe. Come to think of it, maybe it shouldn’t be called “normal” matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the Universe.”


            Everything that can proven only adds up to 5% of the evolutionists universe! You ask ME for proof!!??

          • David Cromie

            Did you really expect me to acknowledge a pointless red herring question with an answer? Even though you have provided an answer to it yourself, with some trite observations, you have not in any way invalidated the theory of evolution.

            Back to my important question to you (vide supra), where is your answer, without any more sidestepping, or diversions?

          • SPW

            A red herring? You’d better tell them over at CERN and at NASA etc.

            Again I will answer your question…

            I agree that God is ‘un-provable’ (at the mo!). I will even quote evidence to back this up from Christianity:

            “faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.” (Hebrews 11:1)

            My only contention with you is that Big Bang Evolution is also a faith; in that it relies on the unseen. You hope that Big Bang Evolution is correct. I hope that Christianity is correct. You base your hope on observation and reading and conjecture, as do I. My contention however is that Theistic Christian theory is a closer fit for the observable world than Atheistic Big Bang Evolutionary theory.

            Nothing more nothing less.

            I really do think you need to contact CERN about that red-herring though!

          • David Cromie

            If you rely on a book of fables for truths about the universe, then you have my pity. Where is your proof of the existence of any ‘god/s’?
            Faith does not have anything to do with science, as it is the preserve of deluded christers in matters cosmological, nor do I even entertain a hope that Big Bang Theory is correct in every detail, only hard scientific work over time will tell.

          • SPW

            Tiring of this endless circle my good man. You won’t concede the very rational point. I’m not going to budge on my worldview and I doubt you’ll budge on yours. I’ve said all I need say: shared the good news and attempted to show contradictions. Cheerio the noo.

          • Verisimilitude

            Everything that can proven only adds up to 0% of the Christians universe!

          • SPW

            Oh you got me! Wow how envious I am of your 5%. No doubt the other 95% will turn up soon with such clever chaps looking for it. Now, where did I put my specs? Oh! They don’t exist for I am inhabiting a 0%! Sorry, old habits (disappears in a puff of logic)…

          • Verisimilitude

            Yes, your post gets it 100% correct…

            …well, almost!

            All you have to do for complete compliance is to change the phrase: “(disappears in a puff of logic)”…

            …to “(disappears in a puff of illogic)”

            See? Just two letters make your post letter-perfect.

            Good work!

          • spiritof78

            A very Eurocentric version of history. Clearly WWII can be predated to the invasion of Abyssinia by Italy. Or to that of MANCHURIA by Japan.

          • SPW

            “And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ.” 1 Cor 7:22. These are but shadows, the substance is Christ.

          • The over-riding rule above every other rules as per Jesus, are two complementary rules…. Love God and Love one’s fellowman as oneself….and if this to be followed as Jesus envisaged for everyone … then as far as human inter-relationships are concerned …who is a friend and who is a slave and who is an enemy and who is a master ????……there is only one relationship ….fellowman …..and all contradiction becomes blurred……

          • froxfields


          • Colin Robinson

            This jesus christ who promised to torture billions of innocents for eternity is your moral compass?
            The sooner christianity dies the better.

          • Man In Black

            This jesus christ who promised to torture billions of innocents for eternity

            I can remember reading no such “promise” of the eternal torture of billions of innocents in the primary sources.

            I think it’s something you’ve invented from your own fantasy.

          • Colin Robinson

            Assuming Luke’s story of the beggar and the rich man is what you consider a ‘primary source’ you really need to re-evaluate what you call ‘fantasy’.

            Or maybe you consider the rich man was not innocent. In which case I direct you to Acts 17 where the supposed spokesperson of this almighty god, creator and ruler of a billion trillion stars, declared that anyone who didn’t know of this god would be condemned.

            Of course, for many centuries following this the overwhelming majority of mankind never heard of this almighty god who promised to ensure that everyone knew of him.

            And they have all, billions of them, been condemned according to the ‘primary source’, (if you believe he was inspired by this god), of Acts 17.

          • Tim Morrison

            I think you are one of those extremists. You protest far too much.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Are you a mentalist? Jesus died 2,000 years ago.

          • rationalobservations?

            Why is there no historical trace of any “messiah” named “Jesus” from within the 1st century?

            Why does the very first codex bible not appear until the 4th century and why is there no trace of any complete texts that appear within that first 4th century bible from prior to it’s production by 4 anonymous Greek scribes employed by Rome?

            Why are the stories so confused and contradictory that are within any of the diverse and different bibles that have appeared since that first 4th century book of confused, historically inaccurate and scientifically absurd bunkum?

            There are many other questions that no religionist ever has answers to – but those are enough for you to start with.

            I look forward to answers based upon authentic and authenticated non-biblical (i.e., non apparently fictional) evidence.

            Please note: Mere denial is not rebuttal or refutation….

          • Man In Black

            Because the life expectancy of a good quality written manuscript is approximately 1200 years, but printing was not invented until the late 15th century.

          • Bluesman1950

            A pity that God couldn’t have helped out with the invention of a more durable means of recording his adventures. It would have saved a lot of arguments.

          • rationalobservations?

            That’s not even a reasonable or sensible excuse, my friend.

            We have many papyri and ancient texts that originate from over 2000 years ago.

            The very first/oldest hand written bible originates in the 4th century and is some 1600 years old.

            The absolute and total absence of any single reference to a “god-man”, “messiah” or radical preacher who was hailed by thousands – is conclusive when compared with the historical “messiahs” that are recorded between circa 4 BCE and Circa 140 CE.

            The foundation Roman Church agrees, saying:

            “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”

            (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

            The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

            “The most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

            (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

            This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus Christ.

            In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

            “The earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

            (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

            That is some 350 years after the time the Church claims that a Jesus Christ walked the sands of Palestine, and here the true story of Christian origins slips into one of the biggest black holes in history.

            I have searched far and wide and researched within many of the world’s greatest libraries and museums. I have found no genuine, authentic and authenticated 1st century originated evidence that corroborates the much, much later human hand written legends of a “god-man” named “Jesus” – or Joshua/Yeshua/Y-Shua.

            If you know of such evidence – reveal it. Otherwise quit bothering me with recycled propaganda and debunked bunkum.

          • Verisimilitude

            Yeshua [his name is Yeshua, not Jesus] is dead. There are no ‘angels’, the saints are an artifact of the Church of Rome, man-made.

            The Church of Rome is not ‘holy’, it’s another man-made artifact…and on…

            …and on.

          • Mark Verma

            Does the Bible condone slavery? Fascinating question. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy, Ephesians, et al) but apparently: “What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the
            Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors,
            lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters…[In contrast, t]he slavery of the past few centuries was often based exclusively on skin color…both the Old [Exodus21:16]
            and New Testaments [1 Tim. 1:8-10] condemn the practice of “man-stealing,” which is what happened in Africa in the 19th century.” From an apologetics site [http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html]…

          • Scott Moore

            Most people did not choose slavery at any time in history. Most slaves were captured as a result of war or other conflict, rather than being forced into slavery through poverty or debt.

          • Mark Verma

            Apparently in the Ancient world slaves were a mix of debtor slaves, captives from war and those who became slaves as a punishment for crime [http://www.ditext.com/moral/slavery.html]…

          • Scott Moore

            Well, that depends where in the world you are referring to. Obviously, we are both making huge generalisations, because it is a complex topic that cannot be adequately addressed in a few sentences.

          • Bonkim

            Plenty of slaves accepting lifetime bondage because of debt and continuing through generations. It is all a question of how far you accept the social norms in which you live and whether you are able to escape.

          • Zalacain

            Let’s start with saying that slavery is a bad thing. It amazes me that this has to be underlined, but there are people who in their desire to defend the bible try to minimise it.
            The bible also differentiates between Jewish slaves and non Jewish slaves, so to say that it’s not based on race is clearly false.
            Most people did not choose to be slaves. Can you imagine a girl, born to slaves in ancient Palestine? She could be the sexual slave to her master, until he lost interest in her, then she would be worked until she died. The bible condones her “master” beating her. Don’t try to make this sound like a cosy arrangement.
            No excuses. The morality of the bible is terrible.

          • Mark Verma

            Slavery is a terrible thing. And it’s great the self-identified Christian William Wilberforce, partnering with people of faith and non-faith, led ultimately successful efforts against it (when the political class of the day was in the pocket of the slave traders).

            I’m not so much interested in people’s ideas about slavery in threads such as this but what the (secular) scholarship says about it. Hence, for someone to say the Bible says A or B about C (in this instance the topic of slavery) – i.e. making some generalised statement one way or the other – they are largely missing the ‘truth’ of the truth by not examining the nuances of the historical and cultural context. The secular scholars who’ve spent their lives studying the topic have shed much light on the subject.

            “Most people did not choose to be slaves.” Maybe. I wasn’t there so can only rely on the scholarship that has examined the historical records and tells us there were different kinds of slaves. I can only rely on the secular biblical scholarship concerning the original Chaldean and Greek that tells us ‘man-stealing’ was condemned as against what to do in a system with debtor slaves and slaves deriving from punishment.

            A related example of lost nuance might be ‘an eye for an eye’ which is frequently asserted as a terrible thing in our time, ignoring the context: in ancient times, someone from one pagan tribe would take offence at some slight from a member of another tribe…the offended party would then stir his fellow clanspeople up and they’d go and slaughter members of the other tribe to exact punishment for the slight…Hence, ‘an eye for an eye’ was actually intended to modify this disproportionate response for wrongs…

            ‘The morality of the Bible is terrible’ – which part exactly? The Sermon on the Mount? I don’t think you’re dismissing this paean to peace and humility. So, again, simply making a grand, all-encompassing statement (even if in ‘retaliation’ at others making such statements the other way) is not terribly helpful in the grand scheme of things. Anyway, just my 2c worth…I realise this is probably not the forum (space-wise if nothing else) for delving into scholarship and history but there you go…

          • Zalacain

            I like your measured response, but you are still wrong.
            Wilberforce. He did a good thing, he also was a Christian, but so was everybody else in Europe. All the people for and against slavery (including the slavers) in Europe and the Americas were Christian. If both sides of the debate were Christian you cannot say give credit to one side for being Christian.

            Most people do not choose to be slaves. No maybes, otherwise they wouldn’t be slaves, they’d be servants. See how many people you find now who’d want to be slaves?
            As to your comment about nuance and understanding the historical and cultural context, I disagree, Christianity tells us that the truths in the bible are given to us by god and that they are unchanging. Either God is perfect or he (and his followers) change his/their mind.
            The morality of the bible is terrible. It states some obvious truths, such as “though shall not kill”, interspersed with, advice on how to treat slaves, stoning adulterous people, killing unbelievers, and so on. Stupid rules such as not eating seafood. But what is worse are the biblical actions of this god of yours, floods, killing of innocents, genocide, etc.
            All religions do this, state some obvious good rules, and then mix them up with idiotic ones. Europe’s rise has come about from it’s throwing of the shackles or religion. This is something that most Islamic countries are yet to do.

          • Mark Verma

            Many, many points raised…

            I suppose it comes down to the definition of a Christian. If one takes the Bible as the sacred book, Christians live by the New Covenant established by Christ. They understand the OT Law was to establish in the hearts of people that there was an objective right and wrong. They understand the Law showed human beings were incapable of holy living. And they understand Christ’s way is radically different from the religious traditions of Christendom (i.e. largely what you condemn, the amalgam of the ‘outward form of Christianity’ with Romanised pagan tradition). It’s certainly true that most Europeans and Americans in the 18th/19th century were cultural Christians (i.e. citizens of Christendom) but not all held to the fidelity of what the NT actually says about Christ and Christ-centred living. Wilberforce’s book(s) – and actions to back the words up – indicate he did and so, arguably, one could define him as Christian and not a cultural Christian (the latter could easily be a slave trader, for instance, happy to attend a religious ceremony on Sunday but not allow Christ to stand in the way of his life and business the other 166 hours of the week). Consequently, if Wilberforce was a Christian according to the NT/biblical definition (and it seems reasonable to use this definition – I would only consider someone a true Communist if they followed Marx for instance not if they said they were but the inconsistencies between their lifestyles and Marxist principles demonstrated their lack of fidelity to Dad Kapital, et al), so if Wilberforce were a NT Christian then it is not unreasonable to conclude his genuine Christian convictions were a great boon to the abolitionist cause. Or, in your parlance, that one can give ‘credit’ to his side for ‘being Christian’ as opposed to the pro-slavery camp.

            Slaves – well the historical record reveals people becoming slaves for different reasons. Debtor slaves and people consigned to slavery as a form of punishment, even if comprising a minority of the slave population of the ancient world, still illustrate the point that not everyone was a slave because of ‘man-stealing’. Some debts were so large that they carried over generations, families and descendants remaining in slavery. It’s still horrible, I grant you, but that was the wider socio-economic system of ancient times. If I was alive at the time, I’d certainly want a morality that enabled me to negotiate it. In my heart, I’d want the system overthrown, but being only an individual, I’d seek to do the best I can with what the system had delivered if and until there was a critical mass of opposition to it (meaning a realistic chance it could be destroyed/overturned). Again, I’m only trying to imagine the reality of being alive at such a time and not fantasise about being a proto-Che Guevara or Spartacus character who could overthrow the evil system and usher in a utopia (and even Spartacus failed in the end so perhaps that’s not a good example)…

            ‘Obvious truths’ – well that opens up a whole can of worms. Obvious to whom? Pagan Pre-Christian Europe was riddled with horrifying rituals and practices such as infanticide and child exposure…it was the Judeo-Christian influence that saw such things outlawed (though they continued to be practised by many cultural Christians into the Middle Ages because they were merely cultural Christians…genuine believers – of the NT variety like Wilberforce – held to the sanctity of human life and so did not engage in such practices – again, I’m going by what the historical record tells us). Similarly, things like child sacrifice. Again, only stopped because of the Judeo-Christian influence.

            Absent the religion, wherefrom derive modern secular values and human rights? A good essay describing how Judeo-Christian convictions morphed over time to our secular ideas of human rights is James Kurth’s “The Protestant Deformation” [http://www.the-american-interest.com/2005/12/01/the-protestant-deformation]. But the point is that without the religious foundations, we wouldn’t have the framework of human rights today. I don’t know that utterly dismissing the foundations out of hand makes sense. But then maybe that’s just me.

            The Golen Rule existed before Christ but Jesus was the first to reverse it. Hitherto, it was a negative – ‘Do not do unto others…’ – though Christ changed it to ‘Do unto others’…a positive…

            Pagan society was all about might being right, the strong prevailing over the weak, and so on. I’m thankful we don’t live in that society anymore and thankful that the Judeo-Christian influence played a central role in banishing that brutal and harsh world. It remains a brutal and harsh world, of course, but Europe today is better, I’m sure you’d agree, than pre-Christian Europe (and was the case in the Late Middle Ages or even era immediately before the Enlightenment as compared with the tribal era).

            I don’t for a minute seek to diminish your charges against Christianity but merely, again, to suggest an engagement with the nuances of history and culture. A reasoned response would surely be to seek out scholarly texts concerning some of the things we’ve gone over rather than statements of the ‘You’re wrong’ variety – the fundamentalists typically do this sort of thing and I wonder how helpful it really is at the end of the day?

          • Zalacain

            When you find a Christian who does or believes in something you don’t agree on, it is not good enough to say he isn’t a Christian or a “real” Christian. That person probably sees themselves as a Christian and could be a lot closer the people who wrote the bible than to you. In other words it’s not up to you to define who is a real Christian and who isn’t.
            You mention about Wilberforce and the sanctity of human life but I don’t see the Bible being that interested in the sanctity of human life, except in paying lip service to it in a couple of different sentences.
            Morality is not something that Christianity has been particularly good at. Mostly because it has allowed its followers to feel that they are right and everybody else is wrong. The idea being that “the end justifies the means” This has allowed Christians to carry out the most frightful acts on other people with the agreement of their church leaders. Weather it was the Pope or the reigning monarch of Great Britain.
            Historically we can look back at when Europe was almost 100% Christian, between 500 AD to 1900 AD and see what it was like. Not very nice for the common people I venture. Not very moral either.
            You keep trying to find nuances and reasoned responses, but ultimately there is a right or wrong and it is this. Does god exist or not? As I’ve said before, provide me with evidence and I’ll believe, no evidence, no belief. All the scholarly study of sacred texts or learned debate does not mean much if God, in fact, does not exist.
            Even if a God were proven , you’d still have a job persuading me that the best way of understanding God was Christianity. To go even further, I am not persuaded that this God described in the bible is actually a good or moral or loving God.

          • Mark Verma

            Well it comes down to how one perceives worldviews. I hold to the historical (pre-postmodern) way that says if someone ascribes to a belief system then they mean that they follow the sacred/ur-text of that belief system. Otherwise, I think we end up in total absurdity – c.f. the share-owning, small businessman who doesn’t want the state to take over his business who claims he is a Communist.

            A ‘Christian’ is surely one whom the founder of the religion would consider a Christian. Christ explicitly states what a Christian is in many scriptures. The departure from a great majority of these teachings by the inhabitants of Christendom tells me that, given Jesus Himself would not define these people as His followers (e.g. ‘If you love me/truly seek to follow me then you will obey my teachings’ – John 1415). Jesus also said that not everyone who claims to follow Him will be ‘saved’ (i.e. be determined to be a true Christian by Himself). Ergo, there are true Christians and Christians in name only (what secular sociologists call ‘cultural Christians’).

            It’s not a matter of someone not agreeing with you or me in the determination of who is or isn’t a Christian. It’s up to Christ Himself, just as Marx wouldn’t define a supposed Communist as in the example above to be a true Communist. A ‘champagne socialist’ maybe but that’s as much a true commie as a cultural Christian.

            As to the sanctity if life, there are more than ‘just a few verses’ and one cannot easily dismiss the fact that this principle alone was the only reason Christendom acted against pagan practices emanating from a lack of interest in the sanctity of human life. In other words, we’d still be doing all those awful things we used to do without Christianity. Atheistic scholars have acknowledged this such as the cultural Christian Richard Dawkins.

            Consequently, neopagan cultural Christians have indeed been allowed by a post-Constantian brand of pseudo-Christianity to get away with things worthy of the ‘pure’ ancient pagans.

            As to the existence of God. I have a question and it’s rhetorical. Are you interested in truly finding out God exists or have you, for whatever reason, already given up on the search and come to a conclusion He doesn’t because of past experiences on said search? If not, i.e. if you remain a true searcher for truth then can I also ask if you are only open to determining God’s existence by one means or are you open to the possibility that God can be found by means other than the way/ways you have hitherto employed?

            If you are open to other ways, than can I invite you to do something you’d likely find irredeemably strange and possibly offensive and pray sincerely for Him to reveal Himself to you in a way that is meaningful and makes sense? Is there anything to lose by such a thing?

          • Zalacain

            The definition of Christian is not actually clear, the scriptures don’t all agree and the bible contradicts itself. This is why there are so many Christian denominations. Isn’t it amazing to you that there is so much room for for doubt? If you were God/Christ wouldn’t you make your wishes/instructions clearer?
            Is it more likely that this book was written under the aegis of a perfect God or by a group of iron age desert dwellers who are trying to benefit their own tribe?
            Back to the sanctity of life. You can’t disagree with the bible describing endless deaths caused either by God directly or his followers. It is a bit like East Germay calling itself the Democratic Republic of Germany, or today’s China calling itself communist, nothing to do with reality. Historically Christians have not had a particular respect for life.
            As to the existence of god, no I’m not looking, frankly I feel that the probability of there being a god is so small as to not be worth bothering about, a bit like unicorns or fairies. I can’t disprove any of them, so I cannot categorically deny their existence but as there is absolutely no evidence for their existence, it is not something I worry too much about.
            You too can look at the reason for your belief in the existence of God. Do you believe because this is your cultural/family background, because you find it comforting, and now look for arguments to defend your position? Or did you start with an open mind and you come to believe in God after looking at the evidence available to you, and find Christianity is the most logical position?

          • Mark Verma

            Fair comments re: cultural background (though people from every culture on the planet are believers so…) but doesn’t a truly open mind mean it is open to the possibilities I’ve alluded to? And without saying the party proposing it is flawed/compromised so that’s grounds not to even try? If not, then how is that mind truly open? Anyway, always good to have a reasoned discussion without the usual ad hominem level aggression on threads. Pleasure chatting with you…

          • Zalacain

            As to cultural background we all tend to be believers of the religion which forms part of our culture, we don’t look for alternatives.
            I was a devout Christian as a child, and to simplify, found it wasn’t for me as a teenager.
            Anyway, I too have enjoyed our discussion and have learnt something by it.

          • David Cromie

            Anyone with a truly open mind would search diligently for the evidence of any entity claimed to be supernatural and acting on the world, either for good or ill, such that any intelligent person would be convinced of the truth of the claim. No such proof for the existence of any supernatural entity has yet been forthcoming. Are you able to supply such evidence?

          • Man In Black

            Anyone with a truly open mind would not assume a priori non-existence of the supernatural on the basis of personal prejudice.

          • Rowland Nelken

            I had assumed the existence of a supernatural being as a given from an early age. I was raised in a time and place when that being, the Bible God, was ubiquitous. Its variety of presented forms, however, was a puzzle. My two principal Bible gods were nothing like each other. The Jehovah’s Witness Jehovah was a murderous monster and the C. of E. Trinitarian God was a tolerant, welcoming inclusive nice guy. Bible study convinced me that both were figments of the human imagination.

          • Man In Black

            I had assumed the existence of a supernatural being as a given from an early age

            Weird, but my natural assumption was agnostic.

          • Rowland Nelken

            If that pic is the real you, you are much younger than me. Maybe God was not such a large part of your school, family and neighbourhood life as it was of mine.

          • Man In Black

            Well, I assume He was (and Is), but I experienced far more atheistic attempts at indoctrination during my school years than Christian or other religious.

            And don’t you recognise Mr. Mark Hamill (not me) ? LOL

          • Rowland Nelken

            There is no atheist doctrine. Now why is the God that you seem to have opted for, out of the zillions available, the one that was current in the time and place of your existence?

          • Man In Black

            There is no atheist doctrine

            Rather ironically, that is precisely a doctrine of atheism.

          • Bonkim

            Jehova = Yahveh = Allah = Elohim – Ishwara = how can Jehova be a murderous monster? Of course the Old Testament God punished his people when they departed from the right-path but that is the story of all religions.

            The God of the New Testament was equally intolerant of non-believers and those from other faiths and history of Christianity is one of blood-letting against non-believers and heretics. The welcoming Cof E is a Victorian invention following the centuries of Wars in Christendom and the final outburst from Cromwell and his fellow believers that rooted out the Papists. The industrial revolution and Empire were convenient periods to put God on hold and the Victorians cleverly turned the C of E into a part of the establishment in charge of managing social and cultural aspirations of a people busy managing Britain’s worldwide Empire and commerce running efficiently.

          • Rowland Nelken

            And now the C. of E. ‘God on hold’ is fading away as an irrelevance. But just as Stonehenge is ocnserved, I hope the same will happen with Anglican music and other art treasures.

          • Man In Black

            Sorry m8, Cromwell and his anti-Catholic zealots already destroyed most of them, plus the genocide of course.

          • Rowland Nelken

            But the fresco free stone skeletons can and do have a range of uses. Much Latin and English sacred music survives as well as the German, French and Spanish which I and many others, believers and atheists, love to sing.

          • Man In Black

            The Christian Faith is not a cultural museum for the atheists.

          • Rowland Nelken

            True. Great music lives in the present, whether composed by Byrd the English Catholic, by Bach the German Protestant, or Vaughan- Williams, the English agnostic.

          • Bonkim

            I suppose that is how history runs unless some mad-groups take over and destroy Britain’s heritage.

          • Bonkim

            neither will someone with an open mind accept the existence of a supernatural creator – open mindedness and faith/belief don’ go together.t

          • Man In Black

            Irrelevant, and has nothing to do with my point.

          • David Cromie

            It is the ‘superstitious believer’ who assumes, a priori, in the existence of supernatural entities, and this has been the case for millennia, ever since prescientific humans looked for reasons to explain the phenomena of their everyday existence. Hence we have had a plethora of ‘gods’ throughout the ages.

          • Man In Black

            That’s complete bollocks, sorry — the natural tendency is the agnostic.

            Atheism in its militant/evangelical/dogmatic forms is, in my experience, deeply superstitious.

          • David Cromie

            You do not seem to understand the meaning of the word ‘superstitious’, and how to use it in context. Look it up!

          • Man In Black

            Yes, well, you should pay more attention to the sorts of things that atheists write whenever one attacks the creeds and dogmas of their religious beliefs.

          • David Cromie

            Again, you display your ignorance; atheists have no truck with either dogmas or creeds. Getting a bit desperate now, are you?

          • SPW

            Quadswhalllupp. You are the superstitious believer in dark matter and dark energy, seeking to find meaning in missing things. Peering ever further into dark and empty spaces in your attempt to prop up an utterly defunct model of genesis that excludes design and authorship. You are blind and laugh at those who see. Do you realise how much of a waste of time it is even typing this for you?

          • David Cromie

            Please don’t waste your time on my behalf, with more, christer, superstitious codswallop, and gobbledygook.

            You would be more profitably engaged if you were to spend your spare time on thinking up an argument for the real existence of your sky fairy, devoid of ‘faith’ or mere ‘belief’ constituents, such that any intelligent reader would have to concede that it does exist somewhere in the cosmos.

          • SPW

            Evidences for me:

            1 Scripture: Genesis – Revelation consistency

            2 Creation: Design and Glory

            3 Human behaviour


            4 Conscience and the work of the Holy Spirit in me

            5 Inexpressible joy

            6 Heavenly peace

            7 Love for One I have never seen but only heard of

            8 The experience of building on the solid foundation of Christian truth… I could go on…

            (I know only 1 – 3 are objective)

            As to cosmology I’m quite interested. I know that Dark Energy and Dark Matter cannot be detected, measured or scientifically observed by any means whatsoever. Instead their presence is INFERRED (sorry no italic) by the behaviour of heavenly bodies. Similarly I can INFER that Scripture is true by the behaviour of earthly bodies – namely mankind. For example, your postings are good evidence of this:

            “I (Jesus) will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

            John 14

          • David Cromie

            Points 1 – 3 are ineluctably subjective! The rest just follow on from this admission of superstitious delusion. The post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy springs to mind here, or is it just an instance of a theological placebo effect operating in the case of a tortured mind?

          • Bonkim

            You are trying to bring logic and evidence into a discussion on faith and belief. Logic and rationality are the opposites of faith and belief. A believer does not need evidence.

          • David Cromie

            ” Logic and rationality are the opposites of faith and belief. A believer does not need evidence”.

            That is obvious, and speaks of a deluded, superstitious, infantile mind, if not something more serious.

          • Bonkim

            Regrettably rational beings never apply the first principles of logic – creating complexity and ignoring simple truths.

          • Man In Black

            creating complexity and ignoring simple truths

            Modernist atheism in a nutshell.

          • David Cromie

            Only the very young and immature are impressed with ‘simple’ truths. That is why they will be quite easily convinced of the ‘truth’ of the existence of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or even a god thingy.

            The more adult among us have at least some capacity for critical thinking.

          • Man In Black

            I engineered a radical attempt to disprove the existence of Father Christmas when I was 6 — when my cunning plan failed, I was quite happy to proclaim his existence on Christmas morning (to the disgust of my miserable brother), even though I was not duped for an instant.

            I cannot remember EVER having believed in the actual existence of Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy, that I understood from the age of 2 or 3 onwards to be simply roleplaying characters for the expression of my parents’ love.

            They have exactly nothing to do with the Creator of Reality, except that they are a participation in His Love.

            PS St Nick’s home, for his relics, in Bari is very beautiful.

          • pshr

            The evidence is your and everybody else’s very existence on this planet. You really think that all the creations, intelligent or otherwise, were created purely by chance, without an actual Creator? You may find religious beliefs ludicrous, but do you see how the faithful find the atheists beliefs (or non-beliefs?), the same.

          • David Cromie

            Where is the proof for your supposed sky fairy?
            The Argument from Design has been trashed many times, so it is rather stupid to trot it out in lieu of a proper, verifiable proof of a ‘designer’.

          • pshr

            “If you are open to other ways, than can I invite you to do something you’d likely find irredeemably strange and possibly offensive and pray sincerely for Him to reveal Himself to you in a way that is meaningful and makes sense? Is there anything to lose by such a thing?”

            I am not Christian. But, I second the thought by this gentlemen, even though he hopes some agnosticsecular reader would actually “find” Christ, in this exercise.
            Only thing is, if and when you do ask of Him, simply address him by “O Lord”, no names. He will reveal Himself to you.

            Surely, there is nothing to lose by such a thing.

          • David Cromie

            Slavery has not been abolished, but is still very much in operation today, in various societies around the world.

          • Man In Black

            there are people who in their desire to defend the bible try to minimise it

            Oh don’t be ridiculous !!!

          • David Cromie

            I am not sure what your point is. Slavery, no matter the race or colour of the slave, nor the century in which it exists, is still slavery. It is always based on economics, with sex on the side, perhaps, as an added ‘benefit’. What, otherwise, would be the point of it?

          • Mark Verma

            I was addressing the generalised points others had made/alluded to…The Bible doesn’t condone ‘man-stealing’ while dealing with a socio-economic system that allows slavery (debtor slaves and slaves by way of punishment) by not advocating its overthrow but providing a way to navigate it…Hence, simply saying “the Bible ‘condones’ slavery” is not correct but neither is it correct to say the Bible advocates the overthrow of a socio-economic system allowing debtor slaves/slaves via punishment…Judeo-Christianity is concerned with the eternal destiny of individual souls…if a critical mass of a society experience genuine conversions then a by-product of this is social change for the better (see other comments re: the Judo-Christian influence in Christendom that saw an end to pagan tribal child sacrifice, Roman-era child exposure and infanticide and so on)…

            As I said elsewhere, I usually try and get to the nuanced accuracy of a statement rather than simply take generalised comments at face value. A grand statement one way or the other about ‘condoning’ is not correct in its simplistic form…

            I was also making a point/raising a question about what the word ‘condone’ means? Simply providing a way to navigate an existing imperfect social system does not necessarily communicate the moral code (especially one primarily concerned with spiritual/eternal states of individuals) in question ‘condones’ the system (that is, agrees that is a morally and upright thing), merely that it is providing a way its adherents might navigate it. Biblically-speaking (and not even that), every single human society is riddled with all manner of problems. Many secular people try and morally navigate the problematic society they inhabit but don’t advocate the overthrow of the system (even if they dream of a utopia where it doesn’t exist). Does this attempt to navigate an imperfect system whilst not advocating its overthrow/doing something actively to overthrow it mean they condone the imperfect system? I think not.

            A good example might be consumer Western nations – most chocolate on retail in our nations comes by way of child labour in West Africa (i.e. operating in cocoa cultivation). Some might even call these children ‘slaves’. Does that stop you (I use ‘you’ rhetorically) buying the chocolate in question? If not, then you are effectively keeping the system that enslaves these kids afloat. However, maybe you say, like many, that, while you can’t overthrow this system (though you’d love it to be overthrown), you can operate by a moral code that says you won’t buy chocolate. Or maybe you buy the chocolate but write to the chocolate companies and ask what they’re doing to help these children involved.

          • Jams O’Donnell

            Any views on wearing two pieces of clothing at the same time, made from different types of cloth?

          • Man In Black


          • Bluesman1950

            Shellfish, abomination or delicious starter?

          • Man In Black

            Why not start by learning how to read ?

          • Bluesman1950

            Why not learn to answer rather than evade.

          • Man In Black

            Answering such extremely silly questions with sarcasm is not “evasion”.

          • Bluesman1950

            Not answering, but trying sarcasm instead is evasion.

          • James M

            Yes. If you really find those OT passages so objectionable, why not ask a rabbi what Jews make of them ? They come from the Jewish Torah, which was acknowledged as Scripture long before the first Christians took it over into Christianity from Judaism. The passages give no instructions to Christians. Don’t confuse Judaism and Christianity, and the Old Testament with the New, the Bible with Christ, Protestant Fundamentalism with Christianity.

            The Christian’s “moral compass” is certainly not the Bible. An ancient body of books makes a very poor “moral compass” for people today. Not only are those books originally addressed to societies not those of today, but the Bible is neither self-interpreting nor systematic. It is not arranged in a way that shows how all the doctrine in it is inter-related. The “moral compass” of the Christian and the Church is not a book, however sacred, but a person, a Divine Person, Jesus Christ. A book can be manipulated, and be made the instrument of human egotism, folly, wickedness and blindness. Jesus Christ, because He is not limited to or by the Bible, and because He is not a human production, cannot be manipulated – He governs His Church, not the other way round. The Bible is good and useful and valuable; nothing in it is worthless, not even the parts that do not have any legal force for Christians (such as the Old Testament passages you quoted). But, the Bible is not, and cannot be, the “moral compass” of the Christian or the Church.

            I hope that clears things up.

          • Zalacain

            I have answered most of your points somewhere else. But I’m happy to confirm that I find all religions irrational and objectionable. Especially monotheistic ones with their supposed monopoly on the truth.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You clearly don’t understand what a ‘bond-servant’ is – the accurate description for what is translated slave throughout 95% of the Bible. It is someone who has chosen to sell themselves into a position of service – contracted themselves in. In many ways no different to contractual arrangements we have today. Except in those days the ’employers’ side of the contract was to provide food, water, housing, and a reasonable standard of care for their bond-servant AND THEIR FAMILY. It was in fact an early form of benefit culture.

            I guess you’d have been happier that they supported them without the poor unfortunates who found themselves in such need having to do any work…

          • The greatest instruction in the BIBLE as Jesus said …Love your fellow-man as yourself …….There is no other instruction GREATER than this in the bible …and if this to be followed as Jesus envisaged for everyone … then who is a brother or friend ? and who is a slave ? and who is an enemy ? and who is a master ?…..There is only one relationship ….fellowman

          • James M

            1. Christians are not bound by the law of Moses. They never have been. So those quotations from it are of no value as argument.

            2. Your quotations are sound as arguments only if the Bible is the supreme authority for Christians. It is not. If all versions of Christianity were Fundamentalist, the argument would be a fairly good though not coercive one. But the vast majority of Christians for the last 1980 years has not believed the Bible is the supreme authority for Christians – that place has been given to Christ, not to the Bible. The notion that the Bible, a book, is supreme, is historically insupportable. Christianity is not a book-centred religion – the centre of it is a person, a Divine Person, Jesus Christ. The idea that a book can be its centre is far better suited to Islam or possibly Judaism than to Christianity.

            The mistake is a very natural one, given the prevalence of various forms of Protestantism in the UK, but it is a mistake even so.

            3. To punish less severely those who are less guilty seems like perfectly sound natural morality. And how is it in any way unfair to require more from those who have been given more, and less from those who have been given less ? Where is the unfairness in punishing those who do not do what they have been commanded to do ? I really cannot see what you find so objectionable.

          • Zalacain

            The problem with your argument is that Christianity is a book based religion. Not just that, but it is based on one book and only one book. Anything we know about Christ is written in the bible, nowhere else. Neither the Romans nor other Jews wrote about him. We have no independent verification of any of it. To such an extent that we are not even completely sure that Christ existed. We have no outside source to check the facts. Given this, blind faith in him or his teachings doesn’t seem to me to be very rational.

          • Man In Black

            Anything we know about Christ is written in the bible, nowhere else. Neither the Romans nor other Jews wrote about him. We have no independent verification of any of it.

            You do seem to have quite the flair for false statements.

            Tacitus (a Roman) : Nero fastened the guilt … on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of … Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome….

            Josephus (a Jew) : About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he … wrought surprising feats…. When Pilate …condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give up their affection for him. …. And the tribe of Christians … has … not disappeared.

            Lucian of Samosata (a Greek) : The Christians … worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…. [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.


            (cribbed from elsewhere)

            Julius Africanus quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).

            Pliny the Younger, inLetters10:96, recorded early Christian worship practices including the fact that Christians worshiped Jesus as God and were very ethical, and he includes a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper.

            The Babylonian Talmud(Sanhedrin 43a) confirms Jesus’ crucifixion on the eve of Passover and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.


            HERE : http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/ — is an analysis of all of the information available in extra-biblical ancient sources :

            “Let’s review what we’ve learned from hostile pagan and Jewish sources describing Jesus. We’ll do our best to discount the anti-Christian bias we see in the sources, just as we discounted the pro-Christian bias we think might exist in some versions of the writing of Josephus. Many elements of the Biblical record are confirmed by these hostile accounts, in spite of the fact they deny the supernatural power of Jesus:

            Jesus was born and lived in Palestine. He was born, supposedly, to a virgin and had an earthly father who was a carpenter. He was a teacher who taught that through repentance and belief, all followers would become brothers and sisters. He led the Jews away from their beliefs. He was a wise man who claimed to be God and the Messiah. He had unusual magical powers and performed miraculous deeds. He healed the lame. He accurately predicted the future. He was persecuted by the Jews for what He said, betrayed by Judah Iskarioto. He was beaten with rods, forced to drink vinegar and wear a crown of thorns. He was crucified on the eve of the Passover and this crucifixion occurred under the direction of Pontius Pilate, during the time of Tiberius. On the day of His crucifixion, the sky grew dark and there was an earthquake. Afterward, He was buried in a tomb and the tomb was later found to be empty. He appeared to His disciples resurrected from the grave and showed them His wounds. These disciples then told others Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Jesus’ disciples and followers upheld a high moral code. One of them was named Matthai. The disciples were also persecuted for their faith but were martyred without changing their claims. They met regularly to worship Jesus, even after His death.

            Not bad, given this information is coming from ancient accounts hostile to the Biblical record. While these non-Christian sources interpret the claims of Christianity differently, they affirm the initial, evidential claims of the Biblical authors (much like those who interpret the evidence related to Kennedy’s assassination and the Twin Tower attacks come to different conclusions but affirm the basic facts of the historical events). Is there any evidence for Jesus outside the Bible? Yes, and the ancient non-Christian interpretations (and critical commentaries) of the Gospel accounts serve to strengthen the core claims of the New Testament.”

          • Zalacain

            Tacitus Pliny the Younger and Josephus were born after Jesus died. Julius Africanus was a Christian writing 200 ad. Lucian of Samosata was writing 100 years AD.
            The Babylonian Talmud has been discredited by modern scholars as a source on Christ.
            So, not exactly first hand accounts, not even of people alive at the same time. If that is the best you can do, I rest my case.
            But even the bible itself is contradictory about Christ. St Paul (writing 50 years after Christ’s death and before the gospels were written) doesn’t even mention him.

          • Man In Black

            Atheists are expert in the art of shifting goalposts.

            Your lack of intellectual honesty is shameful.

          • Zalacain

            I have no idea what you are talking about, but the fact that you are resorting to insults rather than arguments tells me that you have nothing more constructive to say.

          • Man In Black

            It’s hardly my fault if my posting of actual information is instantly dismissed by your atheist prejudice.

          • Bonkim

            Not all that shout Lord Lord will find the Kingdom of Heaven. Not all that call themselves Christians are true Christians, only those that follow his commandments and live by them.

          • pshr

            “The idea that a book can be its centre is far better suited to Islam”

            Nonsense. Our fundamental pillar is God Himself, and His Oneness. Yes, a Muslim is required to read the Quran regularly to understand, and keep in mind, what He expects from us, but bearing witness to His existence and Oneness is at the very centre of our faith.

          • SPW

            It’s a bigger picture – much much bigger and of greater significance. Christ also said that anyone who followed Him must take up their cross, that in this world they would be hated because of Him. In fact following Christ is described as being a slave to Him “And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ.” 1 Cor 7:22
            I am gladly a slave of Christ – He leads me through death to eternal life. GREAT morality indeed.

          • Colin Robinson

            Hmm, you forget that that is referring to the israelites. Keeping gentile slaves was fine, as was emphatically declared many times in the bible.

          • Man In Black

            I forget nothing at all, but you seem to be stubbornly unwilling to abandon your biased opinion in the face of contrary evidence.

            Slavery, not just of the Hebrews, is condemned in several biblical passages.

            Indeed, in Leviticus, enslaving someone is condemned as a crime punishable by death.

            Where you are confused is that despite these condemnations, people did in fact have slaves anyway — instructing people that they should treat any slaves they may own in a decent and respectful manner does NOT amount to any sort of “approval” of slavery as an institution.

          • Colin Robinson

            Hmm, again, you are using as ‘evidence’ a book jammed pack full of contradictions. But if we take the assumption that this god exists in any way similar to the god of the bible and he was as vehemently against slavery as you declare then it is certain that those parts of the bible that condone, and demand, slavery could not possibly have been written.

            Unless this god is powerless to define what is written about him.

            So you can take one of two, and only two, choices:
            1) Your god condones slavery
            2) Your god is so powerless he cannot stop people condoning slavery in his name.

            Technically, there is a third option: your god doesn’t exist. But that comes under option 2 as the christian gods, by definition, are ‘powerful’, (according to the writers of the bible who had a VERY different definition of ‘powerful’ to the modern day), so any god so pathetically weak that he cannot travel further than 200 miles from where he was supposedly born, as the stories of jesus would have us believe, is no god at all.

          • Tim Morrison

            and Paul sent back Onesimus to Philemon

          • Jen The Blue

            Do unto others how you would have them do unto you.

            How does that support slavery?

          • James M

            What the Bible teaches today is determined by the Sacred Tradition of the Church, who herself depends on what she has learned of God through the God-man Jesus Christ. The Law of Moses is not part of that teaching – for Jesus radicalised and simplified and summarised it as the two Great Commmandments of love for God and love for neighbour. The Church teaches, by the authority of Christ, that slavery is wrong.

            A book cannot tell us what authority its contents have, or why, or to what extent – it needs an interpreter. So the Bible, which contains writings of very varied kinds and dates, needs interpretation. Its interpreter is the Church, assisted and protected (as Christians believe) by the Spirit of God. The text of the Bible cannot give the reader the whole of its meaning; the Bible is not presented as a systematic theology, showing how each doctrine relates to every other. It provides the raw matter of systematic theology.

            So what the Israelites – who were pre-Christian & non-Christian – were commanded to do, is beside the point; the ridiculous notion that Christians are in any degree bound by the Law of Moses is a Protestant myth invented by John Calvin (which is partly why Fundamentalism, a largely Calvinist form of US Protestantism, accepts it as true), and is totally alien to the vast majority of Christians, who have historically been either Catholic or members of the other ancient Churches.

            So quoting the Old Testament as if that were some sort of convincing argument against Christian rejection of slavery is an argument against a small minority of Christians, because most of us are well aware that with the Coming of Christ a great deal of the OT is now no longer in force. The Jews and Samaritans do not treat the OT laws as if they were still in force – so why should Christians be bound by it ? The OT laws have the same force for Christians as do the laws of Hammurabi, King of Babylon: none whatever. They are interesting, important, well worth reading – and devoid of all legal force. As the writers of the New Testament knew well.

          • Zalacain

            The book needs an interpreter because it contradicts itself and as a book of instructions on how to live it fails. This is way there are so many Christian denominations, all of them convinced that they are right.
            The Old Testament is part of the Christian faith, therefore quoting it is not wrong. You cannot argue that it isn’t part of the bible as is used by modern Christians as part of the moral compass. Of course they pick and choose the stories that suits them. But, who says that they are choosing the correct ones? Either the whole of the bible is true or it isn’t. If it isn’t you open the window to none of it being God’s word, because there is no god.

          • Man In Black

            Either the whole of the bible is true or it isn’t

            Rubbish, as even a cursory reading of the Book of Job will inform you, given that its an account of the discussion of some men who disagree with each other.

            The truth is that the Scripture includes some words and opinions belonging to men described in the texts as being in error.

            Your expectation that the Bible either is or isn’t 100% truthful is therefore perfectly unreasonable.

          • Zalacain

            Sure, then if some if it is not true, who’s to say that any of it’s teachings, miracles, etc. are true. Why don’t you write a new Bible, take out what is not true, and say, “this is the word of God”?

          • Man In Black

            Because I do not partake of your peculiar brand of self-satisfied arrogance.

          • Zalacain

            You are now waving the white flag, you have nothing left to say other than derogatory comments.

          • Man In Black

            What “white flag” ???!!?

            I can hardly be blamed for your blinkeredness.

          • Rowland Nelken

            He said they must respect their masters. That is one big negative at the heart of christianity. It demands faith in a fantasy ‘Kingdom of God’ as opposed to this real, albeit imperfect world. Paul’s rapture and Parousia never happened. The writings of Paul, the duff prophet, form the bulk of the New Testament.

          • Jams O’Donnell

            All prophets are either “duff” or lucky.

          • Jen The Blue

            St. Paul merely reiterating what Christ had said…

            “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:41) That does not mean Christ condoned slave owning anymore that it condoned people “forcing them to carry their gear for a mile”.

            As to Rapture and Parousia……frankly you’ve lost me. In 30 years of Catholicism I have never heard them mentioned using those words. Obviously there is doctrine on the Second Coming and on End of Times and the coming of the Kingdom. But Just because St Paul misunderstood the time-scale doesn’t cause me any problems.

            I hear a lot about the Rapture from our evangelical American cousins – they predict it every year or so, or seem to. But I tend to ignore them.

          • Man In Black

            yeah, these people think that Catholicism is like radical Evangelical US Protestantism in a bad Hollywood movie …

          • Rowland Nelken

            Humans, by defintion, are liable to make mistakes. Those who style themselves apostles of God are supposed to spout the TRUTH. If you ignore the rapture you are ignoring God’s (duff) prophet.

          • Colin Robinson

            He never condemned it either and made it clear that not being a good slave is an affront to his god, which is the same as saying it is right. At least in the eyes of his god as he thought of him.

          • Man In Black

            He never condemned it

            I have posted those condemnations in this very thread.

            People in here screech for evidence — but when anyone posts any of it, they instantly ignore it.

          • Zalacain

            “as you are obviously unaware, the Catholic Church was at the forefront of efforts to abolish slavery.” When? Because for most of the last 2000 years Christianity had no problem with slavery. In fact several Popes owned slaves themselves.
            It is no good looking at an organisation that supported slavery for most of the past 2000 years, then maybe 150-200 years ago it changes its mind and to then say that this organisation “was at the forefront blah, blah, blah”. Please.

          • HughieMc

            The Irish were great ones for slavery. Until they became Catholics.

          • lavallette

            But then the English and Scottish Protestants turned around stole their lands and enslaved them again.

          • paulvew

            The Bible assumes slavery is a normal part of life. It no doubt served a purpose in the first millenium BC. http://pvewood.blogspot.ro/2015/06/how-well-or-badly-were-slaves-treated.html

          • John Byde

            Let the bickering and infighting begin!

          • Iloveourelderly

            The Bible tells us to treat our slaves like our own family. Think about it, would you keep your family enslaved or let them go? It’s on your conscience.

          • Rowland Nelken

            We do not buy and sell our children. Sure that rambling old collection of writings, the Bible, has lots of contradictory passages. Here is a horrible one on slavery; a rule direct from God! However, you may purchase male or female slaves from
            among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of
            such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You
            may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent
            inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel,
            your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46

          • Iloveourelderly

            Rowland, with respect, your ignorance is abound my friend on matters of the Christian faith. The Bible exhorts us to consider those who have accepted Christ into their lives as our brothers and sisters, In that, regardless of who they are, or what state they find themselves in, then we will endeavour to do what is right by them out of love. (peace)

          • Rowland Nelken

            It is clearly a good thing that a majority of CHristians, if they bother with the Bible at all, tend to choose the odd ‘love and peace’ fragment as some sort of guiding principle, rather than select from the abundant barbarities and threats of eternal hellfire for unbelievers.

          • Rowland Nelken

            Surely we should accept all our fellow humans, regardless of whetehr they are devotees of some ancient Middle Eastern myths.

          • Man In Black

            So you’ll be purchasing a “Welcome ISIS” doormat soon, to prove how trendily open-minded you are to all Middle-Eastern devotees and all fellow humans ?

            You remind me, unfavourably, of Enoch Powell.

          • Rowland Nelken

            Let us straightway distinguish between creeds and humans. I do not dislike even Jehovah’s Witnesses as individual people, for all that the revolting cult that has them in thrall cast a great cloud of misery over my childhood. Re. ISIS, just as the JWs can justify all their horrors with a cocktail of random biblical quotes, ditto ISIS can glorify their every beheading and enslavement with a cascade of Koranic and Hadithic extracts. It is time that the benign People of the Book knocked their books off their divinely inspired (or in the case of the Koran, dictated) exalted shelves, and acknowledged that they are but fallible words of fallible humans. So long as these weird old books are promoted as the ultimate guides to life, fundies, in all their ghastliness, will continue to proliferate. To prattle on about context when a distasteful verse presents itself, is absurd. If a book is deemed divine and eternal, so too is its context. What applies to desert nomads or agriculturalists of the ancient middle east, must, by definition, apply to all us urban 21st century types. Jews seem to be winning the race which demands that an ancient text be ceremonially revered while its content is ignored. At least I know of no fringe Jewish outfit demanding execution for non virgin brides. Christians are a tad behind, especially in the US where nearly 50% of the population are Biblical literalists. Muslims, alas, are way behind. Any Muslim scholar, outside the Sufis, (who are reviled anyway as heretics by many) who goes down the waffly ‘allegory’ ‘context’ ‘cutural relativism’ route gets roundly condemned by the (Koranic fundie) mainstream

          • Man In Black

            I do not dislike even Jehovah’s Witnesses as individual people, for all that the revolting cult that has them in thrall

            Yeah well I once went knocking on the door of the local JW chapter, Jerome’s Vulgate in hand, to ask them if they’d heard of the Bible, and if they’d like to discuss it with me.

            They slammed the door in my face.

            (true story)


            The rest of your post, unfortunately, is just confused ranting.

          • Rowland Nelken

            CLearly you are someone for whom facts are uncomfortable.

          • Man In Black

            ah ! you corrected your post, LOL

            FYI, your personal opinions are not the same thing as facts.

          • Rowland Nelken

            Sure you can get that message from the Bible. You can also get the message that those who do not believe in the wacky unevidenced claims of Jesus deserve eternal hellfire. I will not call you ignorant about Christianity, Iloveourelederly, merely highly selective.

          • Bonkim

            Foreigners were outside the Law so did not count as Jewish citizens that had rights under Abrahamic Laws. Similarly it was O.K for European slave traders to buy heathen slaves from Islamic Arab slavers that brought the cargo to the ports from the hinterland.

            Is it any different today? Citizens have more rights than foreigners.

          • Bonkim

            The Plantation owners allowed their slaves Sundays off to attend Church.

          • gapaul

            I hate to add to this conversation but nobody who studies the bible in a secular institution thinks Paul wrote Ephesians. They attribute the written comments on slavery contained in “deutero-Pauline” letters to a later, more compliant faith community, doing its best not to rock the boat in the Roman world.. On the other hand, one surely Pauline writing, Philemon, is a letter to a master, asking (rather coyly) for him to consider freeing his slave, Onesimus.

            We have seven letters most likely from the historical Paul (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), three others probably not from him (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians) and a final three certainly not from him (1-2 Timothy, Titus). None of the true Pauline writings treat slavery favorably.

            I know, nobody frustrated with religion has the patience for this kind of conversation, but if its more than fundamentalism you want to counter, you have to deal with the scholarship which informs other religious people.

            Briefly put: there is no evidence Paul was keen on slavery. In fact, Philemon, as well as the grand statement in Galations: ” There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” would suggest he thought these distinctions were not meant to be respected –and that’s what made the earliest Christian community rather radical. Then again, he thought Jesus was returning any day, and therefore didn’t spend loads of time attempting to dismantle the institution of slavery.

          • Man In Black

            There is a great deal of evidence that Paul used several writing assistants over the course of his life, so that opinions of whether he wrote this or that on the basis of literary style are pretty meaningless.

            And that’s not even to address the question of whether any of the Epistles aren’t Greek translations of texts written in different languages.

            Also, the modern notion of “the author” is perfectly anachronistic if applied as such to the literature of the Ancient World.

          • gapaul

            Paul’s “writing assistants” are beside the point. In fact, we do trace the development of ideas of those who wrote after Paul –(not assistants — we’re talking decades) and the way they moved the tradition along as much as we care about the relationship between Marx, Engles, and Stalin.
            See, what you have is a grain of a kernel of an idea that is true — but it has led you to the wrong conclusions. It is true, copyright laws were not in effect, so writing “under the name of” someone wasn’t going to get you sued. But this is a discussion about the development of ideas — and that is not “anachronistic.” People pore over the Gospels to find the differences in emphasis, and to imagine the questions which the authors of individual gospels thought to address. They were written at different times, in different places to different communities. The same goes for the Epistles. And people who study them are keen to find the differences. This is scandalous news to fundamentalists who want to believe Paul wrote everything tradition attributes to him and that there are therefore no inconsistencies in thought. But this should draw a yawn from everybody else.

          • Man In Black

            It is true, copyright laws were not in effect, so writing “under the name of” someone wasn’t going to get you sued

            You’ve completely missed my point.

            Paul’s “writing assistants” are beside the point.

            Not simply on your say-so — and it should be clear to you that I do not accept the position that you’re arguing as anything other than just another theory of provenance.

            My point was that you’re presenting one single theory of the genesis of these texts as being some kind of established “fact” — but it’s nothing of the sort.

            (not assistants — we’re talking decades)

            Funnily enough, Paul’s lifespan was measured in decades.

            This is scandalous news to fundamentalists who want to believe Paul wrote everything tradition attributes to him and that there are therefore no inconsistencies in thought.

            bla-bla-bla, thank you for having accused me of being “a fundamentalist”, but meanwhile your theory of provenance is still no more than a theory — not “scandalous news”

            PS you do carry on with your anachronistic views of “authorship” don’t you …

          • gapaul

            I don’t completely follow you. But if you want to take an academic approach to the study of religion, you don’t get to say “blah, blah blah” and “that’s just your theory.” Pick up the phone and call a secular university with a religion department. Ask an academic on the line to tell you who wrote the epistles traditionally attributed to Paul, and why anyone would care about authorship. Ask him/her straight out — what did Paul think of slavery? I can guarantee you he/she will say, “Well, first we have to say that the statements about slavery are found in the contested epistles.”

          • Man In Black

            wow, now he’s trying to teach me the basics of exegesis and literary analysis.

            I have no idea why my statement that I disagree with the contents of your claims isn’t good enough for you, particularly as I have explicitly recognised the existence of that theory of provenance, and I have explained my doubts about the validity of that theory — which is of a 19th century provenance, and formed part of a radically revisionist reading of the Bible seeking to establish dates of composition as late as possible with the clear ideological purpose of discrediting its contents. Most of that theory has been conclusively rubbished BTW, in the more recent and FAR less biased research both on the surviving copies and manuscripts, and on the historical analysis.

            The terminus ante quem for the composition of the Bible (with the exception of one of the Epistles, that has been convincingly shown to be of 2nd century writing) has been steadily pushed back into the heart of the 1st century, and therefore into the lifespans of disciples that Christ knew and taught personally.

            My bla-bla-ing was directed not at academia, of course, but at your posturing accusations against me, that seem founded on little more than a prejudice of your own invention.

          • BigMach

            1 Timothy 1 v. 10. Slave trading was one of the sins mentioned by Paul.

          • David Morecroft

            Wrong!! Please quote where the Bible or St Paul APPROVE of slavery. Saying ‘slaves obey your masters’ does not mean they approved of it plus slavery in that culture was vastly different to the slavery we think of with black Africans.

      • Jen The Blue

        I am not an Anglican, but I like what I have heard about Nazir-Ali…. John Sentamu…….less so. He has encouraged pre-marital sex ……he said so of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

        The church of England is beyond help……I fear the Catholic Church stands at a crossroads.

      • vieuxceps2

        Alternative rather than alternate,I think.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        What the hey is British Christianity? It is of no note that odd medieval superstitions are dieing out in the modern world.

      • 1664averygoodyear

        Interesting hypothetical. To be honest I’d give my life for Enoch to have got in in the 70s.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Not Sentamu – he even tries to get people who hold opposite positions within his won communion to compromise – and always on the side of liberalism.

    • Jurgen Schwarzgruber

      ah and here I was thinking people were leaving the Church because they do not believe in myths involving talking snakes, virgin births and resurrections. Useless.

    • Have you ever considered that the real “one reason” why Christian Britain is in decline is because the central tenets of Christianity are not true?

      • Edwin Woodruff Tait

        No. Even if the tenets of Christianity are not true, that clearly has very little to do with the decline, since ex-Christian British people are aggressively and proudly ignorant of those tenets.

    • Tellytubby

      No doubt. It was a great mistake for the Church to try and “swim the flow” or change with the times. Attendances and figures would have declined anyway – but they could have always provided a counterpoint – a balance against the pace and change of modern life. When people, as they do, get bored with, fed up with or frustrated by this changing world they would inevitably have turned back to those things that were familiar. Now the churches are not. Thus they hold no attraction.

      • sfin

        I see your point.

        Though I would argue that, today, people get bored, fed up with, or frustrated – all too easily – precisely because there is no familiar.

    • Tis a pity

      I am a lesbian and I am glad my sisters played a part in tearing apart your myths. This is our time. Enjoy what’s left of your old country.

      • sfin


        Personally, I identify myself as a human being.

      • twowolves

        I’m breeding more Christians. What’s your plan honey?

    • Rowland Nelken

      God was a friend of the Jews for the Biblical Jews. Paul, the Jew, found more support for his Jesus sect from amongst the Gentiles; so Paul’s God swung to the whims of his followers, and out went the funny foodie rules and circumcision.

    • Scott Moore

      “There is only one reason for the decline in “Christian Britain”…” You are wrong. There are multiple reasons. You clearly have no understanding of why Christianity fails to appeal to many people.

    • RavenRandom

      First they should carry out their mission, promote Christianity, deepen faith in those who have it, recruit those who have no faith… and those who have other faiths (after all they’re objectively wrong from a Christian believer stand point). Second they should stop worrying about whether god is female or the whether the Conservatives are evil.
      I’m not a Christian myself but I know a moribund organisation that has drifted from its core mission and collapsed into self-doubt and questioning. People want certainty from religion.

    • AverageGuyInTheStreet

      ‘There is only one reason for the decline in “Christian Britain” ‘

      and the reason being that increasing numbers of people don’t believe in the whole god-jesus-bible story. This is a consequence of human enlightenment that parallels scientific, medical and technical advances. Mass third world immigration does give us a fascinating window onto the past though- seeing unenlightened people and their religious beliefs up close is a sobering reminder of the benighted world we have come from, and are in danger of being dragged back to. It is the moral obligation of every true British citizen to reject mumbo jumbo where ever it surfaces. Religion is medieval population control- Christianity works by emasculating the populace, Islam by weaponizing them. The common thread between both is instilling a belief in adherents that their condition is “god’s” will, therefore they will not challenge their rulers – they become controlled. The suspension of critical faculties that allows a Muslim to strap on a suicide vest is the same suspension of faculties that allows people to believe the bible nonsense.

    • mikewaller

      Sorry to break the news to you, but the reason for the collapse in church membership has nothing to do with the above. Indeed, had the dear old C of E stuck rigourously to is conservative principles, the collapse would have been even greater. The four factors I would give the greatest weight to are:

      1. The realisation that Sunday could be another Saturday rather than the highly circumscribed event it was when I was a child.

      2. The realisation that reward in the hereafter is a promise of dubious reliably.
      3. The opportunity afforded to us by the coming of the Muslims to observe another religion of the book at close quarters, has suggested to many that this kind of enterprise can be deeply threatening to the general level of happiness.
      4.The realisation that Richard Dawkins’s immortal words to Paul Johnston “If you want to take your orders from an old Pole in Rome, that’s up to you……” has much wider relevance.

    • Liz Perrott

      As a practicing christian myself I totally disagree with you, it is the conservative attitudes that will kill off interest in the church. I go to both RC and Anglican churches ( with relatives) and I rarely see more than one or two people under retirement age in the pews. The local Baptist church has a Christian Rock Band, the church is full of all ages, and lots of children and teenagers, Why? Not just the music, but all the youth groups and camps for youth.. There is nothing in Anglican or RC churches for young people or children unless they are attached to a church school.

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    • mikewaller

      Three more factors way more important than the above:
      1.That 30+ disgrace to civilisation – the NI “troubles” – being defined in terms of the religious beliefs of the participants.
      2.The treatment of the Palestinians by the third people of the book.
      3. The total lack of evidence that religious convictions result in any greater willingness to follow Christ’s injunction to “Do unto others……”

      • Rowland Nelken

        The Northern Ireland troubles had religion at their heart. Stop pretending.

    • Rowland Nelken

      I certainly prefer the language of the 1662 Prayer Book and the King James Bible to any of the subsequent stuff. There are also, of course, some great musical settings to the Latin mass which are sung in Anglican cathedrals. To imagine, though, that if the Oxford Movement traditions had been universally maintained then the Church would not have declined, is pure fantasy.

      Without the blanket indctrination from early childhood with all those weird middle eastern myths from 2 and 3 millennia ago, there is no way that a majority of Brits would continue to believe in virgin births, angels, the resurrection, the Second Coming, Hellfire, Judgement and all the other absurdities which are at the heart of Christianity.

      Indeed, it is, in part, the incidentals, like the musical tradition, supported in large part by agnostics, and the C. of E schools which generate a pretence of belief amongst aspiring parents, that have allowed the church to continue, even in its present shrinking state, so long beyond the advent of the scientific revolution and the enlightenment.

    • Jams O’Donnell

      “God” is only conservative if you are conservative. Other attitudes have their own brand of “God”. I think someone posting below even said “He/Her” was a Liberal.

    • Rowland Nelken

      He hath put down the mighty from their seat
      And hath exalted the humble and meek.
      He hath filled the hungry with good things
      And the rich He hath sent empty away.

      The God praised in the Magnificat is more of a Commie than a Tory.

    • James M

      Well said. The same is true, even more so, of the ghastly hash caused by the Horror from the Abyss (AKA Vatican II). The material destruction alone is sufficient to condemn it forever. Given the fruits of both destructions, it seems extremely probable that both are of Satanic origin. The euphoria and lack of prudence of the two sets of ecclesiastics is no indication of the work of the Holy Spirit – it is not God Who is is the author of confusion, or of heresy and discouragement, or of despair, or of apostasy.

    • Rowland Nelken

      He hath put down the mighty from their seat
      And hath exalted the humble and meek.
      He hath filled the hungry with good things
      And the rich He hath sent empty away.

      The God of the Magnificat sounds more like a commie than a tory.

    • Daniel 565

      You are wrong. The problem is a culture which hates itself.

    • Colin Robinson

      Which one of the gods are you referring to?

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Christianity is irrelevant. It is a medieval backward credo that offers no hope to modern folk. The decline of religion will take longer than 2067, but it will become marginalised into a small minority by 2045.
      Don’t get me wrong. I love Churches, just cannot abide the ridiculous superstitions and half baked philosophies.

    • Fred Uttlescay

      You forgot the fact that all gods are imaginary.

  • Fenman

    Two inter-related reasons, no leadership from the church and a surrender to moral relativism by Anglican clergy. If you go and read the New Testament you will see it bears little relation to to-days CoE’s fudging and excessive liberalism, nor to t he obscene bureaucratic structures of the Catholic and Anglican churches, something Christ particularly attacked(money changers in the temple& the pharisses). Go to Santiago and see that is just a retail business.Sickening. So people have lost faith in the cynical liberalism of the established churches, exemplified by the brainless CoE feminists wasting time and inviting ridicule by insisting God is a woman. Irrelevant. The way to recovery is for the clergy to get back to their main jobs of preaching the gospel and administering to the poor, and keeping out of trendy issues and , yes silly secularism, such as gay marriage.

    • Edwin Woodruff Tait

      They aren’t insisting God is a woman. They are insisting, with historic, orthodox Christianity, that God is beyond gender.

      • Fenman

        The point is such silly matters just ring the CoE into ridicule and ar ewasting time when their job is to preach the gospel and administer to the poor. The CoE ha discredited itself by moral relativity and political correctness and so alienated traditional members.

      • Bluesman1950

        “…God is beyond gender. “. What, even God the Father?

      • Jen The Blue

        When He walked the earth, He was a man who referred to the Father.

  • ohforheavensake

    Well, this is a little bit of good news on a rather lovely day.

    • blandings

      Shallow and snide, like almost all of your comments

  • Nessa

    I’m Christian and dislike organised religion so don’t attend church but still try to adhere to the basic principles in my life. I dislike the glee with which ‘the decline of Christianity’ is heralded – if it’s on the way out in organised form, so be it but no need to crow about it.

    • Fred Uttlescay

      It’s a joyful thing that it’s in decline. The end of a huge lie.

    • Grant Melville

      I’d be inclined to not be bothered about the decline of organised religion, because I dislike it as well. If men have to organise it, then there’s no divine power in it, and there’s no testimony. People like our friend Mr Uttlescay see Christianity as no more than a man-made organisation, one with many spots and blemishes at that. Who can blame him when the profession is so diluted, and the gospel is no longer preached? The limitless power from the heavenly source has been turned away from in favour of temporal power, which has been lost, but not before corruption set in. This corruption has come in because the Head has not been held fast, and the scriptures discredited and discarded. When I look at Christendom in the West in particular, I’m ashamed of it. When unbelievers attack the crumbling edifice, I almost sympathise with them. The sad thing is that they believe that is what Christianity amounts to, when in fact it’s a poor imitation of the glorious reality.

      However, like you, I find distasteful the glee with which the inevitable decline of empty profession is greeted. It shows the evil that’s in the world and the heart of man. The active, militant evil which focuses its energies on driving out the Name of Christ wherever it’s to be found, even when all that’s left is the Name itself, attached to a profession which is wholly unworthy of it. Really, it’s sad that it’s come to this, even though faithful students of scripture knew very well that Christendom would get into this state: it was prophesied.

      • Rowland Nelken

        The decades of Christianity’s decline have coincided with a marked decline in violence. That is not, of course, to say, that Christinaity causes violence, merely that it is an irrelevance in the efforts to build a peaceful world.

        • Grant Melville

          Of course Christianity is an irrelevance in efforts to build a peaceful world, because that was never its purpose. Christianity is not about improving a world which is passing to destruction. The Church is not of the world.

          • Rowland Nelken

            And who qualifies for salvation in your Armageddon/End TImes/Judgement Day drama? I was raised with that misery making drivel as a Jehovah’s Witness. I have since learned that Christendom’s history, as well as that of Islam, is littered with imminent doomster outfits and individulas, each with its own duff prophecies, and contradictory conditions for being Saved or Damned.

          • Grant Melville

            “And who qualifies for salvation in your Armageddon/End TImes/Judgement Day drama?”
            If you genuinely wanted an answer to that question, Mr Nelkin, I would answer it. However, I doubt that’s you’re motivation in commenting. I’m afraid I’m not willing to facilitate or encourage the putting forward of your beliefs.
            If you really are interested in finding an answer to that important question, I can recommend studying the book of Daniel, the Gospels, and the Revelation.

          • SPW


        • LoveMeIamALiberal

          Crime rates increased post WWII until the early 1990s. Biggest driver of this is probably demographics (the number of males under 30).

      • teigitur

        If someone, or some people, had not organised to write the Bible. How would you have faith?. A certain amount, sometimes a lot, of organization is required.

    • freddiethegreat

      On the other hand, there are no ‘Lone Ranger’ Christians. Best you keep searching for an evangelical church near you.

    • Dominic Stockford

      A Christian who rejects the Bible’s exhortations to join with other Christians on a regular basis? That’s an odd one.

  • silverghost

    2067? That’s ages. Can’t we hurry it up a bit?

    • freddiethegreat

      You can, but you won’t like what replaces it.

      • silverghost

        I’ll take that chance.

        • Fred Uttlescay

          Christians don’t seem to be too good at defending themselves, atheists will probably do much better.

        • Cyril Sneer

          No need to wait… move to Saudi Arabia, find out for yourself today.

  • I have spent a substantial amount of time preaching and teaching the Scriptures throughout the UK over the past 10 years. I see the same failings there as I do here in the States – and it simply stems from the failure to look and act like Jesus rather than a (very inept and ineffective) social program.

    What I have seen there in the UK, as well as in most of the West, has led me to start a new weekly, 30 minute Internet program to seriously study this new reality. It is:

    In Search of Christianity (www.insearchofchristianity.com)

    • Bonkim

      If you have to search for Christianity you are not a Christian.

      • I have traveled and spent time on 5 continents over the last 39 years and what I generally see in the modern ‘church’ rarely resembles Jesus or His teaching. I search for Christianity because I long so much to see the real thing and see so many filling pews on a Sunday who are deceived.

        Jesus said that when the Son of Man comes (perhaps not far off) will He find faith on the earth. {Luke 18″8}

        • Bonkim

          You need not have travelled five continents searchibg for Christianity – God of the Bible is where you want him – in front f you if you believe in him.

          The Bible also says that those who are true Christians will inherit the earth – so if you area a true Christian, God will find many on earth as those that are not true will be eliminated. And Heaven is on earth which true believers will inherit and live for ever on.

          • Hi Bonkim … First, I am not searching for God – He found me many years ago, what I am trying to encourage is for people in the church to follow Jesus, led by the Spirit and walking by faith guided by the light of the Word

          • Bonkim

            I bet God if he exists will find his believers if they want him – conversely what makes you think those in the Church are looking for God or that God will be constrained by worldly Church organization? God does not deal via agents – it is a personal relationship between God and his believer/s.

          • Why in the world do you make such rash assumptions about me to tell me what I think? If you had bothered to check you would find quite the opposite. Check out what I think, or more correctly, what I believe:

          • Bonkim

            Hope you succeed in your search. Wasted time for me.

    • I’ll check it out.

    • Faulkner Orkney

      “I have spent a substantial amount of time preaching and teaching the Scriptures throughout the UK over the past 10 years.”
      …shameful hobby.

  • Robertus Maximus

    I find that people are retaining their belief, it’s just that they are fed up going to a church led by a bunch of self-regarding Marxists who turn to the Communist Manifesto first and the New Testament last..

    • Barakzai

      ‘ . . . self-regarding Marxists who turn to the Communist Manifesto first and the New Testament last..’
      Now why did Giles Fraser’s smug mug and pious claptrap immediately spring to mind when I read this!

      • davidofkent

        I don’t think it’s possible to answer that question.

    • Bonkim

      But Christ was the original communist.

      • commenteer

        Not really. ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the thing that are God’s’.
        Doesn’t sound like a political movement to me.

        • Bonkim

          That is politician-speak.

        • Bonkim

          Render unto Caesar led to Liberation theology to destroy him.

      • LoveMeIamALiberal

        No, Karl Marx was.
        “My kingdom is not of this world”.

        • Bonkim

          Many societies practised communal socialism through history, had equality of the sexes, labour and wealth sharing, etc, all Karl Marx did was set out a formal theory based on these established principles which later on were adopted by revolutionaries that wanted to throw down tyrannies the evolved as societies became more complex and rich.

          • LoveMeIamALiberal

            Marx did not see his ideas as a reinvention of centuries old practices. He saw communist revolution as a product of industrial capitalism. Christ was not political and therefore not a Marxist or socialist; to claim it is a variant of the ‘God is on my side’ argument.

          • Bonkim

            Jesus Christ and his disciples were very political, they were revolutionaries. The very act of opposing the Roman Empire in support of a forbidden cult – any different from say the Revolution against the Czars?

            Jesus also violently opposed the commercialism of his times, and many parts of the Bible calls for equality and wealth re-distribution – main elements of later communism.

            2 Corinthians 8:13-15

            For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

            Ephesians 4:28

            Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

            Much of Liberation Theology and Latin American Christianity is based on revolution against the powerful Spanish Landowners that enslaved the locals – who turned the tables by adopting the religion of the Conquistadores and fighting back using the Bible in one hand and the AK47 in the other.

    • Thomas Collinge

      Rich men, camels, eyes of needles… perhaps pick up a Bible before lashing out at imaginary communists

      • greggf

        I think that’s the point Thomas, the C of E and others RM refers to above like to imagine themselves as communists. They would’nt last 5 minutes in any communist regime anywhere.

        • James

          There’s never been a communist regime anywhere, and very likely won’t be in the future. The ‘communist’ regimes were as communist as the Democratic Republic of North Korea is democratically republican. People use names to mask their opposites, like people who claim to be Christian, only to bloodlust for war and gather wealth at any and all moral cost in the name of a radically pacifist carpenter who told people to give all their wealth away to the poor.

          • greggf

            That’s true James I can’t think of a real communist regime either. Moreover that carpenter got crucified for his teachings about one…..

          • Microaggressive

            “It’s never been done rite”


            Sure bud. Denial isn’t a river in Egypt

      • Raymond of Canada

        There’s a verse favored by many liberal preachers (rich man, etc.). Hear it myself quite often; however, preachers fail to point out that in the next verse when the disciples asked Jesus to explain himself, Jesus says “with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Now you can see why the gospel has become of little effect.

    • John Carins

      You are right. Switching to a political stance is their pathetic attempt to garner relevance and power. It is extremely misguided.

  • Jean de Valette

    Yes Damian, and you should get a high plaque from the anti-Church victors when they honour those who finally destroyed British Chritianity.

    And, no, not because you’re gay. Instead because you have so long supported all who wish to destroy everything that is English – and indeed British – during your headlong advance to destroy British Christianity in an effort to recreate it in your own image.

    The day British Christianity dies is indeed coming.
    Thanks almost entirely to you and your quisling ilk.

    • Have no fear – Christianity will not die in Britain.

      • Jurgen Schwarzgruber

        ooooooo what a dilemma we have here!!! on the one hand christianity is dying among the ‘anglo-saxon’ and ‘celtic’ brits and on the other hand the only way it can survive is if you let in more Africans…….the exact same people you cant stand.

        • UKIP is not a racist party. We believe in rational control of our borders which has been exercised by the vast majority of countries for thousands of years. The principle of limitless immigration is economically and politically unsustainable. That is another issue.

  • Suriani

    There were Christians in Scotland before the mission of the “Irish saints”. St Patrick may have been a Briton from the kingdom of Strathclyde. Likewise there were Christians in England prior to Augustine. Whether there are any left in the future all depends on who is carrying the message.

    • Bonkim

      and if the message is relevant to survival.

  • Gregory Mason

    People from Generation Y such as myself are generally ignorant of what Christianity stands for as they weren’t taught about the Christian faith but were taught every other faith other than our own (by which I mean this country’s official religion). The Church of England’s values generally parrots the relativist claptrap that we hear from the contemptible Establishment.

    I’ve toyed with the idea of moving to Anglicanism (I’m agnostic) but why bother? If I wanted to listen to relativist Left wing nonsense on a Sunday morning I could just turn on the BBC rather than getting out of bed. I actually considered going to my local Anglican church the other day to see what they had to say but then they made the ridiculous announcement that God should be referred to as a ‘she’ which made me realise that the Church of England has nothing of any substance to teach me.

    The Church of England is a lamb being led to slaughter by the decision makers within it and the only way to save it is to return to the values it once had and preach a consistent and timeless message. Not one that changes year on and year out. Stop trying to be “modern”. Christianity shouldn’t and isn’t about that as far as I’m aware. Christ’s message is supposed to be eternal and unalterable not “meh, what do I feel like believing in this weekend”.

    They’ve changed the services to sound “modern” but why would I want that? I want something that speaks to me from ages past, that conveys wisdom, not the latest soundbite from the likes of people like Owen Jones. The Anglican clergy seem to be confusing the welfare state with the Kingdom of Heaven which makes me wonder whether they’ve actually bothered reading Mark 12:17.

    Since the Great War they have constantly been surrendering on a range of issues from divorce, the murder of millions of children in the womb and I suspect in the near future, homosexual “marriage”. They can no more defend my “soul” than I can defend myself from the tyranny of the state.

    • You seem quite knowledgeable about the issue the Church is suffering from. From an agnostic, this is quite impressive. Even referencing Mark 12:17 well.

      Personally I always thoguht the ‘church’ of England is a sham since the days of Henry the VIII but it was somewhat rescued during the reformation. However at the turn of the last Century it conceded on foundational scriptural truths.
      No church can expect to grow when it cuts itself from the vine…it’s decline would be sure and steady.
      I would encourage you to look into churches which are less interested in ceremony or even party singing as such but more into what scripture instructs us on.
      Keep searching man, these are dark times…the world is badly in need of the truth.

      • freddiethegreat


      • BlingBlingsCollar

        To be fair, ‘render unto Caesar’ is one of the Bible’s better known verses.

    • Grant Melville

      Thank you for your comment. I would very much second what @adetoz:disqus has said. Christendom is in a sad state in this country, right enough, and the cause of it is really these institutions turning their backs on the reality and substance of Christianity. Personally, I don’t see any right basis for denominations or sectarianism in scripture, so I don’t attend an established church or an independent. I believe that the rot sets in when man does what the Holy Spirit will never lend His help to: setting up another church or group when the Bible only ever speaks about the one Body. These new organisations are formed, not around the Head and Centre which is Christ, but around a doctrine, a form of government, or even a person. The doctrine might be sound, the government might be good, the person might be very spiritual, but none of these things forms a basis for gathering. We only have one gathering-point given in scripture: the Name of the Lord Jesus.
      I meet with my brethren on that basis. I, and my brethren, feel that unless something is actually sanctioned by scripture, then it doesn’t have a place amongst us when we gather. So, we don’t have musical instruments, or pictures, we don’t use videos or presentations, and nothing which is said is ever pre-scripted. We believe that we should simply come together and make room for the Holy Spirit’s operation, which is immensely powerful. With a view to that, we don’t have clergy or a chairman in our meetings. We know that God has given gifts to men, some teachers, some overseers, some shepherds, some evangelists, etc. We should allow those gifted to exercise their gift, but they and we know that they don’t require an official title or special place from men to do that. I know that some believers talk about the Holy Spirit in connection with all sorts of commotion and speaking in tongues, and so on. This hasn’t been my experience. God is a God of order, not disorder, so the assembly is orderly and calm. I’ve never seen anyone speaking in tongues, and frankly I can’t see the purpose of that gift in this day and age, among believers who shouldn’t need an outward sign to support their faith. However, the Spirit opens up the word of God to us when we read it together and discuss it, and so we would say (humbly, but with confidence in God’s good provision) that we get the mind of God about things. The test – for me at least – is whether we actually act on what we’ve learned.
      I believe that today’s most real and faithful Christians aren’t to be seen on the public stage. They get on with their lives quietly, bearing testimony to their Lord in the time of His absence in whatever sphere they’re in. They keep themselves and their associations pure, and withdraw morally from things which are done in Christendom which are totally antichristian in character.

      • Rowland Nelken

        Thus wrote a latterday non denominational Western Protestant.

    • freddiethegreat

      I sympathise with you. Perhaps read Malcolm Muggeridge – he had a lot to say in this vein.

      • Hironimous Nostril

        Reading perhaps, although I found him rather blinkered and foolish. It was hard to stay awake while he droned on in that affected upper class twit accent of his.

    • Coniston

      I have two ‘young’ relatives – both in their 30s now. They both attended CofE state primary and secondary schools. Their knowledge of and interest in Christianity is zilch. I asked the elder about 10 years ago (after something she said) who she thought God was. She replied, in all seriousness, ‘An old man in the sky’ (I kid you not). So much for ‘RE’ in church schools. Her daughter (who didn’t go to church schools) was taught far more about Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism than about Christianity, about which she is as ignorant as her mother.

    • Larry Norman

      Ever though of checking out Anglicans like Vaughan Roberts or Rico Tice? Both are from growing churches (Oxford, London) and would not be found guilty of dishing up lukewarm cultural rehashes.

  • John Carins

    Is it about secularism? What about relevance, hypocrisy and loss of morality? All churches/religions are run by fallible people who crave power and influence. That truth has been seen through. Christianity will not end in Britain it will just have to accept its lot and adapt. To do so means that it has to first put its house in order.

    • nah real Christians would rather fall on the sword as the bible predicts they would than bow the knee to the newest ‘Ceasar’ about to enter the world scene. Real Christians would be martyred if they are ever forced to choose new social ‘norms’ or their scriptures. The fake ones will bend the scriptures to suit their desires and to avoid persecution.

      • John Carins

        I don’t disagree. Either way it points to stupidity or Machiavellian manipulation.

        • what points to stupidity?

          • John Carins

            Falling on their swords!

          • well if you were offerred dung or a mansion which would you take.

            All men will die, what happens afterwards is what is worth dying for. With the evidence of the ressurection, a new body, a new heaven and earth where perfection exists…the offer of falling on their swords is a small price to pay.

            The Christian lives or die upon the ressurection of Christ. As Paul the Apostle said, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then we of all men are to be most pitied.

            Paul died precisely because he professed Christ. In his earlier life he saught to kill those who followed Christ. Eye witness martyrs make bad liars, as the saying goes.

          • John Carins

            A good explanation of stupidity.

  • This article succintly explains why the establisment church in the West is suffering the way it is.

  • Zalacain

    Monotheism has been humanity’s single worst idea (beating some strong competition). The idea that all truth could spring from one book put science and human development back by about 1000 years.
    Monotheism has defended (and still does in some cases) slavery, dictatorship, fascism and feudalism, amongst other great concepts.
    People from the future will look back and wonder at our putting up with these ideas for so long.

    • zanzamander

      That is precisely the point I have been making for a very long time. Monotheism as an idea is inherently an intolerant one. Christianity “defeated” Judaism but now is up against a much more formidable Monotheist usurper (one with a different message and a “god”)- Islam.

    • Clive Walters

      Surprisingly uninformed! The modern world, including science came on the back of Christianity…not Islam, mind you; progress in all its forms is a Christian idea; that we can progress. No other religion, monotheistic or otherwise (including pagan) has come anywhere close to that. If you want a date for the start of the modern. A good summary comes in Rodney Stark’s “How the West Won”. Thus, if Christianity goes, we may slide back to the dead hand of pre-Christian society: not good.

      • Zalacain

        The Greeks and Romans were very advanced in science, engineering and medicine. When the Roman empire became Christian it repudiated all knowledge that didn’t come from the bible. Europe went into the Dark Ages. The Renaissance, came about when the Muslims brought us long forgotten ancient knowledge, especially in mathematics as well as the numeral system that originated in the Indian sub-continent.

        It really is no coincidence that the period of 500 ad to 1500 ad, when absolutely everybody in Europe was a Christian, Europe was a social and technological disaster compared to India and China.

        • The original Mr. X

          Oh, please. The decline in learning during the so-called Dark Ages was because of the fall of the Roman Empire (oddly enough, when there are roving bands of barbarians going around pillaging everything in their way, speculative questions of natural philosophy tend to take a back seat to basic survival), not because of the rise of Christianity. In fact, what knowledge did survive the fall of Rome survived because of Catholic monks copying out old works.
          Also, the idea that Europe was “a social and technological disaster” for a whole thousand years is just ridiculous. If Europe was lagging behind the rest of the world during the start of this period, that’s because it had just suffered a major catastrophe (viz. the fall of Rome). Even then, the worst of the Dark Ages were over by about 800 or so, and after that the pattern was one of general (though not uniform or uninterrupted) improvement, so that by the end of the Middle Ages Europe was already ahead of the rest of the world in GDP per capita.
          Oh, and the “long forgotten ancient knowledge” preserved by the Muslims had already become widely-known in Europe during the 13th century, hundreds of years before the Renaissance.

          • Zalacain

            Barbarians had been roving ever since Rome was Rome. Rome fell shortly after it became Christian, because it became Christian.

            A huge amount of knowledge was lost because the Catholic Church wasn’t interested in it.

            As to GDP per capita being particularly high in Europe you are wrong, it was far lower than China’s for most of the last 2000 (monotheistic) years.

          • The original Mr. X

            Barbarians had been roving ever since Rome was Rome.

            Yes, and in case you hadn’t noticed, the “barbarian” parts of Europe weren’t exactly centres of learning and innovation.

            Rome fell shortly after it became Christian, because it became Christian.

            There’s no mainstream historian alive nowadays who’d make such a reductionist statement. Among other things, the barbarians themselves were mostly Christians, and the Eastern Empire, which was in most places more deeply Christianised than the West, survived for another thousand years.

            As to GDP per capita being particularly high in Europe you are wrong, it was far lower than China’s for most of the last 2000 (monotheistic) years.
            If you can find an actual economic historian who holds that monotheism has held Europe back, please, give me the references. I’m dying to hear what this argument might be.

          • salt_peter

            Rome fell because the climate cooled and altered the food dynamics. To survive, its neighbours were compelled to storm the empire’s bastions regardless of the cost.

            It had nothing to do with religion.

            Climate warming several hundred years later spawned the end of the dark ages and the Renaissance.

        • When the Roman empire became Christian it repudiated all knowledge that didn’t come from the bible. Europe went into the Dark Ages. The Renaissance, came about when the Muslims brought us long forgotten ancient knowledge

          This is complete rubbish — the West never “repudiated” knowledge (except of course under the guidance of such maniacs as Cromwell or Hitler), a) the Germanic/Frankish invaders physically destroyed many libraries NOT because they hated knowledge, but simply because they enjoyed looting, and needed a get-rich-quick scheme ; b) the complex Imperial infrastructures permitting the distribution and copying of written knowledge throughout the Empire ceased to exist along with the Empire, so that not only did most of the existing knowledge simply disintegrate through erosion and lack of the centralised distribution system, but also there was pure and simple a lack of necessary libraries and copyists to ensure the proper transmission of all that our ancestors had received from Antiquity.

      • scott_east_anglia

        “The modern world, including science came on the back of Christianity””

        Not quite. It happened after the reformation in the Protestant countries. Like Islam, Rome would have put the likes of Newton to the stake.

        Having had quite enough of such as the Spanish Inquisition, people ensured that the new Protestant churches did not have the political power required to stop the pursuit of knowledge, much as they wanted to.

      • trekker2002

        ‘Surprisingly uninformed’ Which was what I thought on finishing reading your post.

        Actually science progressed quite far under Islam but progress was curtailed when the religious authorities realised that it was approaching the point of casting doubt on the truth of the Quran, which was of course unthinkable. The result was the suppression of science and the dropped baton was picked up by Europe in the Renaissance as the neglected knowledge of the East filtered West. The Church lost its battle to keep its authority, aided by the Reformation which removed Church control over much of Europe and allowed the space for the scientific method of establishing truth to depose the religious one. The rest is history with the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment of the 18th Century paving the way for the Industrial Revolution of the 19th. Modernity grew and was then exported around the world unfortunately also in some cases to countries and regions which bought the modern technology without having made the mental and philosophical journey as well. So we now have ISIS and its 7th Century Utopian Jihadist vision being fought for with 20th Century weapons and 21st Century propaganda.

        What we must fear is the return of the dead hand of dogmatic religion which accepts no authority but its own ‘revelation’ no matter how ancient.

        • twowolves

          You give Islam too much credit and neglect the scientific and medical research of European clergy throughout the middle-ages. Typical product of left-wing indoctrination.

          • trekker2002

            Actually I am the product of a fairly bog standard 1960s Primary Primary School followed by a Church of England Secondary. Then attended church for some years before thinking and reading widely enough to leave. Then went on to gain an OU degree including a large element of religious studies. If anything the indoctrination was from the other side of the fence and it was largely free thought and education that freed me.

      • Bluesman1950

        Galileo might have thought differently.

  • Sigfridiii

    The problem for the churches is that they are no longer agents of the state, which previously funded, protected and privileged them throughout every aspect of life from cradle to grave. The modern state has chosen money rather than God as its idol. And society is considerably poorer as a result, having become merely a market place in which the only value is the £, and the ensuing competition ensures that the strong grow rich at the expense of the weak. Far better on balance to have an established Christian faith than a secular free for all.

  • zanzamander

    I can’t help but feel that the fall in Anglican numbers coincides rather nicely with the rise of “New Labour”.

    Look, isn’t it also the case that people have stopped going to the Church because Jesus’s work here is done? We are more prosperous, healthy, tolerant, educated and yes, liberal – all Jesus’s teachings and wishes have come true.

    Having said that, while it prefers to stay silent on Islam’s impact on Christianity and its followers in the Islamic world, it is literally on a war path in largely non-Islamic countries around the world (China, India, Myanmar and other far east Asian countries). They’re spreading their message like wildfire, riding on the back of secularism there, they’re baptising people “with a hose pipe” as it were.

    Eventually though, Christianity will merge with Islam, at least temporarily in the West until it dies out comepletely. There are already Chrislamists here who are beginning to make noises, if you care to listen.

    • yes I think this is a plausible direction the world will head towards…a convoluted merger. It will be darker than Islam in the final outcome.

    • Islam is the enemy of Christianity so that is impossible. A standard Muslim view is that Christ will return, declare himself a Muslim, and then destroy Christianity (that is, physically destroy it). Again, what you say is impossible. Read the Koran and the Hadiths if you want to check the doctrinal basis of that belief.

      • Jams O’Donnell

        But surely “God” and “Allah” are the same “personification”

  • Jesus Actionfigure

    > “Why is British Christianity facing such a catastrophe? ”
    Because you don’t have a credible story. It’s as simple as that. Magic man in the sky impregnates woman with self, therefore stop all that sex, equality, abortion and gay marriage? Come on. It’s too far-fetched to swallow.

    Maybe if religionists could back up their politics with something that wasn’t a relic of pre-civilisation, pre-science thinking, their cults might not be floundering so badly. Blaming the failure of myths on “secularism” is nothing but lamenting the reduced ability of churches in free countries to bully people into submission.

    • freddiethegreat

      “Stop all that sex” – is this a straw man?

  • pointlesswasteoftime

    “Christianity is dying out among the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain.” Good.

    • Cyril Sneer

      Then you have no grasp of history and the absolute positive influence Christianity has had on this country.

      Yes lets keep chipping away at the cornerstones of civilisation because that has done us all so well hasn’t it – see also the family unit (broken homes, single parents), marriage (see divorce rates) and parental responsibility in some cases being replaced by the state.

      • Fred Uttlescay

        You are a troll. I don’t believe you are an atheist and I can’t check because you hide your comments, presumably so you can troll.

        • Damaris Tighe

          He has been a regular & respected commenter on these pages long before you appeared. But I see you subscribe to the ‘I don’t agree with him therefore he is a troll’ theory.

          PS: I also hide my comment history – the reason is to prevent trolls from attaching themselves to me as ‘followers’.

          PPS: Please tell me why some atheists are so intolerant.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Trolls of a feather troll together.

          • Damaris Tighe

            You really are a piece of work, aren’t you? But you’ve made my case beautifully. Thank you.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            You don’t have a case, and I joined before you.

          • Damaris Tighe

            If you joined before me you’ll know that neither I nor Cyril Sneer are trolls.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            How can I check that what you say is true?

          • Damaris Tighe

            Well, if you’ve truly been around the Spectator for a long time then you will have seen both of us commenting on the political blogs on a daily basis. I’ve been a daily poster for over a year. If you’ve been here for so long I can only wonder how you haven’t noticed this.

          • Hironimous Nostril

            Fred used to post on the Torygraph. Presumably he got banned from it.

          • Damaris Tighe

            I can see why! What an unpleasant chap.

  • Bonkim

    Fundamental misconceptions – church going people do not equate to number of Christians unless the Author is speaking about cultural Christianity. Christianity had gone with the age of enlightenment when thinking people in Britain and many other parts of the West weaned themselves from God-dependency and Church Law.

    Religion is losing its influence across the globe except where it is re-constructed as part of national make up, and that is a dangerous path to self-destruction.

    Get real, unless the congregation if there is one thinks it important, churches will close or be converted to other use. Religion is dead except amongst certain bigoted groups which still live in the dark ages.

    • littleted

      “Christianity had gone with the age of enlightenment when thinking people
      in Britain and many other parts of the West weaned themselves from
      God-dependency and Church Law.”

      It had nothing to do with people weaning themselves off anything.

      It is entirely to do with the schools not doing the job they were paid to do, combined with an extraordinarily limp and feeble church hierarchy.

      The root cause is whatever drove that deliberate cleavage of the British people from their history and heritage.

      • trekker2002

        Schools are not provided to indoctrinate into a faith, they are there to educate people and once educated people think for themselves and in most cases have abandoned supernatural beliefs.

      • Bonkim

        People realising they have been conned for two Millennia.

  • Clive Walters

    A big factor may be the lack of any serious intellectual work in the church now. When I was growing up in a non-conformist church the idea of reading a book other than the Bible was unheard of; the fact that there were even people called theologians was unknown! Admittedly, a church in a working class area, but nevertheless, we youngsters were not exposed to the vast intellectual traditions and practices of the church as a whole and so had nothing to say from a Christian perspective to those around us: we didn’t even know that we could have a pleasant intellectual conversation with a non-Christian. Very sad, and spiritually debilitating.

  • black11hawk

    I might attend more often if it weren’t for the left-wing nonsense spewed from the mouth of our local parish priest every week.

  • Cyril Sneer

    This is very sad as Christianity has done a lot for this country, well it wouldn’t be the same country without the influence of Christianity over the ages. But when I look at the likes of the Arch Bishop of Canterbury today and his modern predecessors I am left cold by their continuous appeasement of progressive ideals whilst shifting away from their own Christian values, for example support for gay marriage.

    Message to the Church – grow some balls.

    • Fred Uttlescay

      Gay Christians can now get married in certain churches. Good for them.

      How does that have an adverse effect on you?

      • Cyril Sneer

        It doesn’t for me, I’m atheist. But I don’t think homosexuality, gay marriage is A OK if you are true to Christianity and Christians should be free to say so without all the bollox moralising and undermining of Christianity from the progressive left.

        Unsurprisingly Islam doesn’t seem to incur the same wrath of the progressive stooges yet has ‘far less progressive’ views on homosexuality.

        I had no problems with civil partnerships of gay couples, just don’t call it marriage.

        • Fred Uttlescay

          Christians are free to not have a gay marriage if they want, just as anyone else is. No mosque or church or synagogue is going to be compelled to hold one.

          • Village Idiot

            For now. The ratchet will tighten again on that one.

    • LaurenceBoyce

      They bishops didn’t support gay marriage. See here.

      I’m not quite sure why, because the legislation was for civil marriage and didn’t affect them in any way. But they still opposed it.

  • mrclaypole

    I agree with this article almost entirely. The secularism described is like water erosion – is is a daily small attrition as social attitudes shift. The noisy athiests like Polly and Professor Dawkins actually serve to make the religious look reasonable and are nothing but a side show, albeit one that sometimes stops us talking about the issues described above. Mr Cameron could not get the big society off the ground because there was not sufficient infrastructure left for it to work. For christains there is only the operation of Gods grace to hope for -something Graham Greene and others like Waugh identified in the first half of the 20th century.

  • Fred Uttlescay

    Some people realise there are no gods, unfortunately far too many people don’t realise it yet.

    • there are no gods…only One true God. Yahweh. Manifested in the Father, Son and Spirit. The ame God that tells us sexactly how the world will end. I’d rather follow that than infallible purposeless ‘scientists’

      • Fred Uttlescay

        Nope, that one is a fake too, obviously. The stories about it are silly, primitive and childish.

        • almost as silly as the universe forming out of nothing…*whispers* the Magic of atheism.

          My faith isn’t strong enough to beleive nothing creating something. Though I would place my faith in a being who has an uncanny ability to predict the future.

          Scientist cannot even predict what the weather will do next year but you place your trust in them…laughable if not sad

          • LaurenceBoyce

            You can sneer at science as much as you like but if I came to your home, the benefits of science would be all around us (unless you happen to live in a cave).

          • silly the ancients were not ignorant cavemen as you arrogantly assume. I am an engineer and I do not sneer at science. I sneer at the foolish pride at the heart of the 21st century man that thinks he is the bees knees because he has an ipad.

            For all our technological prowess, we are truly helpless when exposed to the full force of nature. A change in the sun’s activity will fry us up over night…an misguided asteroid will wipe off life on the planet as it would for sure happen in the future…as predicted in scriptures.

            A meteor shower will ruin cities and nations and all the engineering and science cannot stop it.

            An earthquake will simply swallow up countries and what can dawkins, hawkins and engineers like myself do about it…zilch nada, nothing…man is not all powerful even if we think we are…infact the more we know of our world and universe, the more powerless we realise we are.

            Will an ant rail against a mountain, can man quench the fury of the sun? will a man conquer death…will he shake his fist at his maker and not stand in judgement?

            You are insiginifcant if your confidence is in your wisdom. Even the most intelligent and stongest humans die like animals. Then what must happen will happen. You cannot wish it away as much as you can wish away the laws of gravity.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            So you don’t believe in an afterlife. You’re getting there.

          • Mary Ann

            The nearest thing to immortality we have is our children and our children’s children..

          • Fred Uttlescay

            The argument from clueless incredulity. I’ve seen it many times. Gods are just making silly stuff up in the absence of information. Read Genesis, God uses magical incantations to create everything, including the talking snake and the four-legged insects.

          • Mary Ann

            I don’t know where the matter came from to make the universe but I don’t have to invent a god to explain it.

          • so you siomply invent “nothing did it”…isn’t ignorance bliss? Just like the dude from the Matrix…he loved his state of ignorance because he hated the responsiblity that came with knoweldge of the truth.

            You are exactly like that man.

      • The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the only true God.

        • You forgot “bronze age”, “ignorant”, and “goatherd” in your trite posting of idiotic cliché.

  • LaurenceBoyce

    “The BBC is biased against – and ignorant of – Christianity.”

    An absurd statement really when the BBC has so much explicitly Christian output. Only if the BBC were to peddle traditional Catholicism week after week would Damian think that they had ceased to be “biased.”

    • No the BBC wouldn’t dare write the heresy it does against Christianity the same way it writes against Islam. It is therefore biased in that sense.

    • I’ll restate his point – the BBC is totally ignorant of Christianity. What passes for coverage of the religion is simply embarrassing. There are only trivial exceptions.

      • Fred Uttlescay

        Religion is embarrassing. I feel sorry for people that believe in it.

        • Cyril Sneer

          Perhaps you should have more respect for personal beliefs as I’m sure you would want that same level of respect returned..

          I used to be a militant atheist but then I grew up.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Everyone was an atheist at least once.

          • Respect the people who believe you will “burn in hell”, why? They don’t respect you (see the evidence of killings every day in the name of their gods).
            They all belong to the same club, some are a bit more “enthusiastic” and do the killing, but they all want the same thing.

          • Jurgen Schwarzgruber

            into a moron by the looks of things. Just saying.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Religious beliefs deserve to be treated with ridicule and contempt. You’d be sectioned if you were the only one who believed them.

        • Zimbalist

          I feel sorry for you.

  • scampy

    Better adopt the uncivilized muslim faith of killing any head banger who leaves?

    • Fred Uttlescay

      Like Islam, Christianity was uncivilized. Still is in many places. We refined it by ignoring any parts of it we disagreed with, but many take it far too seriously for their own good.

  • davidofkent

    In the advanced societies, religion is being roundly rejected. We have moved well beyond the realm of superstition and have enough scientific knowledge to understand why the sun rises and why the universe looks the way it does. Of course, we don’t know everything, but that is better than believing that everything we know merely springs from the will of some unknown being. If muslims were not forced from birth what to believe, they would probably reject their religion as well; or at least they would not choose to take it up. Secularisation has been the moving force towards treating human beings properly. At the moment, Islam is going through a resurgence of violent suppression of non-centralised thought. Christianity had a lot of that about 600 or 700 years ago. We got over it by rejecting religion. I daresay that muslims will eventually do the same. In the meantime they are busy killing each other and threatening us.

    • scott_east_anglia

      “We have moved well beyond the realm of superstition…”

      Would that were true. Belief in the supernatural is built in to the human psyche. Hence the incessant racket made by those insecure people who pretend they are immune to it.

      Lets hope that as organised religion wanes it is not displaced by something macabre and evil.

      • “Belief in the supernatural is built in to the human psyche. ”
        Not in me.

      • Zimbalist

        If you knew history you would realise that it WILL be replaced by something worse.

      • davidofkent

        Re para 2, I don’t think so.

  • littleted

    However reluctantly, I now see no long term future for the Church of England. It has been the agent of its own destruction.

    The time for thunder from the pulpit was the 1960s. Instead the church hierarchy joined in the orchestrated liberal license that was deliberately architected to separate the British people from their culture and heritage. Now the hinges of the stable door have rusted through, the stable door is in a bramble patch, and the horse – once bolted – died of old age.

    Children have not been brought up in the Christian faith for generations. Consequently most people simply have no idea what the churches – any churches – are banging on about. The Lord’s prayer has to be printed on orders of service, because people were not taught it as children. Church rituals are laughed at as amusing irrelevances at weddings and funerals.

    Trying to reverse matters now is pointless. That bird has long flown.

    Apart from young parents blackmailed into temporarily attending church so their children can escape state education by attending a church school (an indictment of state education, rather than an acclamation of the church, or church schools) congregations are dying out – literally – and in the next decade or so the the church will essentially vanish.

    The bishops have spotted it far too late. They cannot save themselves without a mass indoctrination of children in the schools, with the pigs fed and ready for flying.

  • lyndsey

    Thankyou for your concern, Damien. I don’t think you need to worry so much. Speaking as a clergy wife, what I think we are seeing in our generation is the death of nominal Christianity. And that’s a relief to most of us. Real saving faith is everywhere and people are regularly coming to faith, just as they have always done, and as they always will do. If there is one major problem in the Church of England, it is the widespread nature of Biblical illiteracy. If we knew what God was saying (and it is not very difficult to find out) then we would not be so swayed by every twist and turn of the culture within which we live.

    • I haven’t seen one of you Christians rise up against the slaughter of your Christian brothers and sisters at the hands of ISIS … why should anyone choose your religion? You won’t defend your own.

      • Cyril Sneer

        That’s quite unfair, the OP doesn’t run the country. No your blame should be directed at the establishment and progressives who seem intent on attacking Christianity whilst giving Islam a free pass.

        • Life isn’t fair. When was the last time Christians actually came together to deal with a problem? I think it was the crusades.
          Christianity can only survive in a Western style civilisation, no one else will protect them. But they need to make their case now, whilst we still “respect” them for interfering with our laws, otherwise the cultural connection will be lost too.

      • Jen The Blue

        The Catholic Church’s response has been nothing short of criminally negligent. I agree 100%. This Pope makes me ashamed to be a Catholic.

        Far too frightened to upset “interfaith dialogue” than protect fellow Christians. You cannot buy off Muslims……they want the world under Sharia, and the crescent moon is flying from St. Peter’s.

        Maybe because the Pope genuinely believes nobody could believe in what Islam really teaches. Like most people in the west, His Holiness has fallen for the “religion of peace” bull.

      • lyndsey

        Thankyou Hendrik. I wasn’t asking you to take the Lord Jesus seriously. I was merely making a point about church growth/decline in our country.

        But on the other matter- we do most vehemently defend our fellow Christians in the middle east, many of us with significant financial contributions. And we pray to the God who will vindicate his people.

        You may not have seen the real church in action. But it is. I hope you encounter it properly one day.

  • Well, the Kingdom of God is not of this Earth. Nations rise and fall. Whole peoples die out. Saints live forever in glory.

  • Pembroke

    Christianity is waning because it doesn’t have intimidation as a tool to control the masses any longer. We’re able to question without being threatened – that’s why Christianity as an institution is vulnerable.

    Sadly can’t say the same thing for Islam, though. Islam, the largest membership in Britain in a few decades, how creepy is that?

    • Jen The Blue

      Maybe. But there is no point in someone professing Christianity because of intimidation.

      Islamic numbers creepy? No downright terrifying!

  • Chris Moore

    The decline is because in the West people have everything they want and much more besides, and no need of God, hence no belief. In Africa the Catholic Church is expanding rapidly. We should not worry, people walked away from Jesus (John 6.66) and many will leave the Church now and in the future. Faithful Christians must continue to share the faith as best they can and leave the rest up to God.

  • JS

    September 8th,1875 ‘Miracle in York’; three young brothers, crossing from
    St George’s fields to Petergate saw a light beyond trees and above the Foss where ‘the water was all shining underneath’, a figure with arms outstretched ‘ in white and light around her, and a ring round her head with stars and a quarter of the moon below her feet.’ An England of entrepreneurial Catholics and holidaying pilgrims would have responded with so much more generosity to this ‘birthday’ invitation.

    A walk to Walsingham and Houghton St Giles provides a hint of the wealth of a Christian culture, that history has shown we cannot afford to lose.

  • thewookieisdown

    I suppose I am a fairly typical instance of the trend Damian captures. My parents are (non-conformist) church goers. They took me to church as a child in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Even then this seemed rather eccentric to my peers. I should think no more than one in twenty children at my primary school attended church regularly – and indeed, I recall being rather teased about it. Not so much on religious grounds but because it meant that for half of a Sunday I could not do things with my friends.

    I began to drop out from the age of 14, going less and less often. And after going up to university it never occurred to me to think about going to church. I don’t feel particularly hostile to it. I regard Dawkins as a fine popular writer about biology and a crashing bore about religion. He creates absurd straw men (albeit ones which equally absurd fundamentalists are willing to impersonate). It just doesn’t occur to me that religion embodies a set of teachings I might possibly believe in. Not even when I listen to a Bach cantata.

    I know a few people in our Derbyshire village who attend church regularly. We have a female vicar who can’t be older than 30. The small congregation is almost exclusively age sixty or over; some a good deal older. I can’t think of a friend or even contemporary who attends church.

    Larkin wrote “I wonder who will be the last, the very last to use this place”. As for his poetic hero, Hardy, his non-belief was not a defiant gesture but a passive acceptance of what just seems obvious. One can feel at the same time sad that something so old is now palpably fading away without feeling that anything much could be done or indeed could have been done to make things different

  • JSC

    It’s not secularisation alone that is the problem for Christians, it’s the way our ever expanding secular state is ever more encroaching on the lives and opinions of private individuals and groups, forcing them to act as appendages of the government.

    • Mark

      Statism is the idolatry of our time, the slave of Mammon.

  • You say nothing about the growth of Christianity, especially amongst pentecostals – a trend you must have encountered during your PhD research and which has accelerated significantly since 2003.

  • Motaid

    You could see the rot had set in when the Catholic Church had to acknowledge decades of child abuse. Coupled with the Government flirting with a despotic religion of Islam, without understanding its purpose was to subvert Europe to its creed. In the EU socialism has already replaced Christianity. It is basically a Government problem as only they can undo the negative legislation that has been used to promote Islam in favour of Christianity.

    • Mark

      Statism, materialism and utilitarianism, all bound together by the love of money.

      Hence the Wests sticky embrace with Islam, the price of petroleum just increased.

  • commenteer

    Abandon your glorious liturgy, espouse left-wing political causes, ditch traditional hymns, and talk down to your congregations at services called ‘family communion’. Oh, and support divorce and the breakdown of the family, naturally.
    Lacking any actual moral or spiritual dimension, you will soon kill your religion stone dead. I can’t see Islam making any of these mistakes.

    • Zalacain

      It is intellectually dishonest to state or infer that the only alternative to Religion is “left-wing-ism”, I’m and atheist and like traditions and dislike socialism. Religion is not morality, it’s hypocrisy.

      • commenteer

        I think you have misunderstood the point I am making.

      • Mark

        Hypocrisy is not entirely a Christian phenomenon, some atheists also take hypocritical stances about money, politics and other behaviours they disapprove of but secretly practice….it’s a human failing.

        And as for “intellectual dishonesty” how about lumping “love your neighbour as yourself” with “soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” and calling them both “religion” as if all religion is the same.

        • Zalacain

          Of course hypocrisy is not entirely a Christian phenomenon, nobody said otherwise, but religion, not just Christianity promotes hypocrisy.
          There are too many examples of people and countries claiming to follow a set of beliefs and behaving otherwise. Within Christianity, there is lip-service to peace, love thy neighbour etc, yet Christian countries have never hesitated when attacking other countries for benefit, usually with the the support of the church.
          Even recently, the leaders of the countries that decided to invade Iraq, based on deceitful reasons were: George Bush, Born Again Christian, while the leaders of Poland Spain and the UK were all Catholic.

          • Mark

            States that pay lip service to Christianity have gone to war this is true.

            But war making is very far from Christs teaching, though he did not entirely eschew force as He cleansed the Temple, He advised His followers to turn the other cheek.

            But compare and contrast Christs teaching on war and dealing with opponents with Muhammeds, then try again to tell me about “religion”.

            My point is that atheists who put all religions in one pot are practicing intellectual dishonesty.

          • Zalacain

            Read the bible, and see how many people are killed by either God (the flood for example) or his followers. Women and babies, not spared.

    • Jurgen Schwarzgruber

      GOOOOD! can it hurry up and die already

  • Kemlyn Hughes

    Decline of faith is caused by people encountering alternative points of view and finding them less incredible than Christianity. End of story. No need to blame the Church or the “secularists” or anyone else. If you are one of the ever-diminishing number of believers in the UK, say what you have to say – God knows you have enough opportunity with the huge number of Faith Schools, Thought For the Day, seats set aside in the House of Lords for Christian leaders, the Establishment of the C of E etc – and let people make up their own minds. As they are doing. Mostly against believing in the supernatural.

  • Robert Brown

    Superb article, but I think “progressivism” more comprehensively expresses the situation than does “secularism”. The former encourages belittling the existence of natural law, leaving social causes–real or imaginary–as the only possible basis for morality. (Church teaching includes the reality of natural law but is not co-terminous with it.)

    In such circumstances intellectually vacuous “acceptance” usurps the position of Truth as the foundation of human morality.

  • Diribe

    Damian rightly points out that Christianity is rapidly declining among the ‘Anglo-Saxon and Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain’. This is an important point but not much attention has been given to it in the analysis of the decline (or evolution, some would argue) of Christianity in Britain.

    Indeed the Afro-Caribbean community takes Christianity (religion/spirituality
    in general) a lot more seriously. I am Nigerian and I’ll say that most Nigerians (I dare say 99%) in the UK identify with some religious organization no matter how long they’ve lived here. Most parents consider it important to pass on their religious beliefs to their children. Attending church on Sunday is considered a very normal thing with no stigma attached to it. Of course the younger generation is generally not as devout as their parents, but they too are not as dismissive of Christianity as their ‘Anglo-Saxon and Celtic’ counterparts.

    Why is Christianity stronger in the Afro-Carribean community? This is an interesting research question. It’s quite astonishing how the descendants of the missionaries who brought Christianity to Africa have largely rejected it but Africans are still generally very keen about it.

    • GordonHide

      What’s quite astonishing is that the Afro-Caribbeans, descendants of slaves, are sticking with the religion of the slave owners.

      • Mark

        But it was also the religion of the slave freers.

        And whilst the body may be in chains the soul may be freed in the love of Christ.

    • Jurgen Schwarzgruber

      In due time Africans will wake up and realize what a load of rubbish the entire enterprise was/is. Don’t worry.

  • Gilchrist

    I have been following the disaster in UK, and as a student of British ecclesiastical history, see a different word than “secularism” as the cause of destruction. The word I would suggest is “paganism”. The Holy Spirit working in concert with Jesus Christ is what brings divinity to the Church. The COE is loaded with priestesses and druids that do not even believe in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. One just has to look at TEC failure, and then wonder how the ‘too smug to be servants of Jesus Christ’ hierarchy of the COE didn’t see the same rot and decay coming their way. The need of the Church, and the salvation of the British people is still in-play, yet this takes an Orthodox presence, not unlike the poor monks that came from Ireland to ignite the uncreated light of God’s Church. It will take the Church of Acts to restore the true Church to Britain, and no matter how badly the COE continues to fail, it will happen.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “2067: the end of British Christianity”
    But, hey, a good gig while it lasted, right Damian?

  • Glenn Dupuis

    There is a need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.The churches will eventually fail,but not religion.I won’t spend a lot of time talking about a one world government or church,but will say this much.People need to trust in Christ and Christ alone.

  • Mr Grumpy

    O, the joys of reading a man who makes me feel like Pollyanna!

    The churches didn’t lose 5.3 million people in a decade for the simple reason that it never had them.

    At primary school in the Sixties I was one of two children in my class who, to my knowledge, came from churchgoing families. But most of the others doubtless had nominally Christian parents who are now taking their nominal Christianity to their graves. Requiescant in pace.

    In line with the “structures of plausibility” thing, my impression is that a decent proportion of those few of my contemporaries with practising Christian backgrounds have kept the faith. One of my grammar school cronies is a leading light in the LGCM (yes, yes, I know), another who displayed not the slightest religious leanings is a Welbyite bishop.

    And we’re all going to be centenarians, so I’ll see you at Mass in 2067, Damian. Chin up, old boy!

    • Mary Ann

      I remember when I was in the first year at junior school listening to the headmistress talking about Christianity in Assembly, it was that point that I became an atheist.

      • Mr Grumpy

        A very powerful woman, then. It’s permissible to change your mind. I have.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The first paragraph contains a serious theological error, which rather undermines the entire article. No-one, no-one, is ‘born a Christian’ – that is simply contrary to the Bible teaching on salvation, and contrary to all mainstream denominational teaching, even the RC’s.

    • Susannah Lee Myers

      The clause means “Christians who are British-born,” not “British people born Christians.”

      • Dominic Stockford

        It doesn’t say that – you are making an assumption, which if correct would make no sense whatsoever. As it doesn’t matter where Christians in this country are born – if 35,000,000 Christians are in this country and they were all born abroad then Christianity won’t die out in this country, now will it? The author of the article has no idea of how someone becomes a Christian, nor what makes them a Christian, this is the truth.

  • Alex Williamson

    When a church abandons the tenets of its faith in favour of left liberalism it does not deserve to survive.

    • Hironimous Nostril

      Ultimately it can’t survive without an existent deity. It’s doomed therefore.

  • NBeale

    Assuming the decline continues by the same absolute number each year is palpably absurd.

    And under Justin Welby there is evidence that the decline has slowed markedly.

  • Mary Ann

    Christianity will not completely die out, there are always some people who need a religion.

    • trekker2002

      Yes but it needn’t necessarily be Christianity. Hundreds if not thousands of religions have already died out in human history.

  • Jen The Blue

    Christianity teaches what Christ taught. The Church of England hasn’t done that for years…..it teaches ……well believe whatever you want as long as you do in conscience. Which translates as “believe what you like”.

    Despite the damage that this has done to the C of E, the Catholic Church is hell bent, and I mean HELL bent, on catching up with the C of E by shedding “awkward” Truths.

    People can believe what they want without a church, but they need the Church to teach them the Truth.

    But it SO much easier to go with flow and what society deems “OK” this week, and as I say, no need to go to church for that either.

    What do these moronic liberal Bishops, almost every one of them apostate, think they can do to stem the tide?

    Apparently the answer is “more of the same”.

    • LaurenceBoyce

      “Christianity teaches what Christ taught.”

      That’s just nonsense really. Jesus preached a gospel of radical wealth sharing and total non-violence. Christianity throughout the ages has never adhered to this.

      Basically the churches have evolved over time and completely forgotten about the original message (which was quite forgettable, don’t get me wrong).

      They just made it up as they went along, but don’t let that stop you from trotting out, “Christianity teaches what Christ taught.”

      • Jen The Blue

        I am afraid I don’t accept that at all. It depends on your definition of “radical wealth sharing”, but I guess yours is something akin to communism. He taught charity for sure, He taught his Priesthood should set aside all earthly wealth.

        • LaurenceBoyce

          I don’t know what Jesus really meant (assuming he even existed) and I don’t care. I merely note that the churches don’t seem to care too much either.

          • Jen The Blue

            As I say, I disagree most strongly. He did exist of course, he is mentioned in several non-Christian texts of the era, though of course that doesn’t mean he was necessarily who he said he was.

          • trekker2002

            He is mentioned in two texts. One by Joseph us which may actually have been edited later in the Christian era and one by Pliny a letter to the Emperor Trajan. Apart from the New Testament texts which are hardly impartial there is hardly any evidence of him and the Church even failed to date his birth correctly when setting the calendar.

          • Jen The Blue

            Depends who you believe. Though even Wikipedia accepts three and points out that there is almost unanimity among historians about the existence of Jesus.

          • trekker2002

            Oh I don’t doubt that a man called Jesus existed in 1st century Israel but merely conceding that there is good evidence for that, which is what historians do, is not to concede that anything else believed by Christians is factual.

            It always amazes how Christians can extrapolate someone’s beliefs from a debate about historiography. There you go, I am sure they have their reasons. Actually I am an agnostic.

          • Jen The Blue

            There would be many by that name. The point being that one caused enough of a stir to be recorded. Of course you are right, as I said earlier in my replies to Laurence, that doesn’t mean that the things we Christians ascribe to this bloke are true.

            So you see, I didn’t actually do what you claimed I have.

            As I said to Laurence, this is a debate about why Christianity is in decline in the west. And both you and Laurence have given your opinons. Which is fine. I disagree. But I do not wish to get into a discussion about atheism versus theism.

            I do have these arguments occasionally and I am happy to do so. But they take a lot of time – and really cannot be done justice to on a forum such as this.

          • LaurenceBoyce

            The supporting evidence from non-canonical sources can be written on the back of an envelope and doesn’t add up to a row of beans.

          • Jen The Blue

            If you say so. I am not a historian, but clearly most historians disagree with your viewpoint.

            But we will stick to our own opinions I guess.

          • Jen The Blue

            Laurence, the debate is about why Christianity is in serious decline in the west. Now your opinion, that it is because people are enlightened now and less likely to believe in “fairy stories” is a valid opinion. Not one I share. But, there is no point in turning it into a debate about atheism versus theism.

            In any case…….the fact is that many of those who reject Christianity start believing in all kinds of superstition and new age b**lsh*t.

            As Chesterton said “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.”

            I am sure you are an enlightened Liberal who would never fall for that. But in general it is true.

      • GordonHide

        “Jesus preached a gospel of radical wealth sharing and total non-violence”. That’s also just nonsense. The Gospels are only myth. There is no history there. We can’t even know if Christ existed.

        Which do you believe more likely, The Gospels are a record of Jesus fulfilling prophesies in the old testament or the Gospels were crafted from the old testament after the fact?

        • LaurenceBoyce

          I totally agree, it’s all just myth.

          • Jams O’Donnell

            Mostly second or third hand myth, at that.

  • Robert Meyers

    I am a Christian because jesus was a radical liberal. The Churches, as they do in all times and places, are controlled by the reactionary conservatives. So while I am a Christian I attend no Church because they have distorted Jesus word. Love thy neighbor, do well unto others, forgive the sinners. THAT is Jesus word.

    • How can you reject the fellowship of the believers and call yourself a believer. Do you know what happens to the cattle that leaves the heard…the lions circle in and tear it to pieces.

      What happened to the instruction “do not forsake the fellowship of beleivers as some of you are used to doing”? How are you held accountable? how do you serve your brothers and sisters if you really are of the family?

      Christ is coming back soon, he is coming back for those in his body not those who run away from it because they think they are better than the rest.

    • Hironimous Nostril

      Christianity is man made mind control for controlling the peasants. Looks like it works!



    • trekker2002

      No, campaign for a fully secular state as in France and the US, where you can be whatever religion you like and the state remains indifferent to all of them. By the way SHOUTING is really counterproductive, it just turns people completely off.

    • ohforheavensake

      Are you quite all right?

  • prompteetsincere

    In the beginning was soccer on Sunday;
    in the end, or beginning of it on July 17, 2013, was the gay marriage bell,
    for whom all it has tolled.

  • Rowland Nelken

    The Church of England has never had much connection with Jesus, that freelance 1st century rabbi preaching an imminent apocalypse and the establishment of some sort of divine kingdom. Its current cuddly inclusive self, with its patronage of the arts, education and charities retains the Bible as little more than a ceremonial prop. In past centuries it was a club for the English establishment, determined to marginalise Catholics, Jews and Dissenters. I hope its positive aspects continue. I love Anglican music, garden fetes and flower festivals. All this can get along quite fine without any weird old Middle Eastern myths about Hellfire and Judgement getting in the way.

  • Mark

    Christianity began as a spiritual insurgency against the rigidities, inhumanities and hypocrisies of pharasiac Judaism.

    It subsequently became an identity to defend and a dynamic power in the rise of western civilisation.

    It stopped being an insurgency in the west, but remained one in areas subjected to the rigidities, inhumanities and hypocrisies of Islamic sharia, such as conquered Spain and the Byzantine lands of Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia and borderlands like Russia and Nigeria. Resistance to Islam and other totalitarianisms like Soviet Communism and National Socialism was and often remains cross shaped, cross inspired.

    Secularism will fold when the Islamic Jihadists are strong enough to fully assert them selves in the UK, we can already see this effect since the Salman Rushdie case. Sadly Western Christianity has been weakened by secularism and ecumenism but its future is to regain its insurgent power as Secularism wanes and Islam waxes.

    Tertullian warned and predicted that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. The Christian renewal will rise in the East, and in the resistance to come.

  • marxistdeathcamps

    With the establishment pushing Judaism, and chastising Christians, with the churches preaching judeo-christian trash,its hard to pick a church that has not given in to the teaching of something not Christian.

  • Pebble

    I will *never* give up my Christian faith. I don’t care if or when the Muslims come to cut off my head; I will never apostasise. I will not deny my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He has done more good for me than I can even list, and I urge those who don’t know Jesus as Lord to come to Him. You will not regret it. God is very real. Secularism is a dead end, and Islam is an insane death cult, but Christ offers so much that is positive.

    • LaurenceBoyce

      You mean Christ who was offered up as a blood sacrifice to pay for our sins? In other words, another death cult . . .

      • Fred Uttlescay

        It’s a bit like refusing to stop believing in a nasty version of Santa.

  • Rowland Nelken

    Where do these contributors pick up the notion that real Christianity is consistent, and that its wimpish flowing with secular fashion is hastening its decline? Jesus, according to the Bible (and what other sources are there?) thought family loyalty a poor second to following his breakaway Jewish movement. Jesus was a stickler for the Law (no change by one jot or tittle) but Paul binned great chunks of it. Jesus and Paul were imminent apocalypse wallahs. These types are now largely on christendom’s fringes. Ascetism and building up treasures have both been christianity’s aim. Ditto supporting slavery and its abolition. From Charlemagne onwards loads of monarchs claimed, via Christ, a divine right to rule. Methodism was an inspiration behind the largely republican Labour Party and the Hutterites are communists. Please face up to the fact, that Christianity could only survive and thrive when its weird old message was ubiquitous. When I was a kid in the 1950s the Bible God was everywhere, particularly in the vulnerable ears of us children. Every school day began with prayers and songs to this God guy as well as Bible readings. Although my junior school was a local authority job, it seems we had more lessons in scripture than in arithmetic. The most splendid buildings in town were churches, and everybody, it seemed went to them on Sundays. The Sabbath streets were silent save for the Salvation Army band and its street services. Only with that blanket coverage, now largely absent, can anyone be persuaded of the ‘truth’ of all that fantastical and primitive Bible stuff.

    • Dale Matson

      “Where do these contributors pick up the notion that real Christianity is consistent, and that its wimpish flowing with secular fashion is hastening its decline?” It seems to me as I read your statements that you were always on the outside looking in….through a glass…darkly.

  • Diribe

    On one hand you have people saying the Church of England is declining because they deviated from ‘true Christianity’ and became too trendy and wishy-washy. On the other hand you have those saying it’s because they have failed to keep up with change in societal attitudes. So for the church it’s damned if you ‘modernize’, damned if you don’t.

    But like others have pointed out here the main reason people don’t go to church is simply that they don’t believe the spiritual message: stuff like Jesus came to die for our sins, so we have to believe in him to have eternal life etc etc. All other arguments are mere footnotes. People simply don’t believe anymore. People have a generally decent life in economically advanced countries and don’t really feel a need for God. This is the key point.

    • Dominic Stockford

      You are absolutely right – which I find very sad.
      An eternity to repent, but it won’t be enough.

    • Mark

      You are right in your observations to an extent, Faith doesn’t prosper when life is easy and consciences become flabby but have you noticed? when adversity strikes there the Church is, and there the people are, lighting candles, praying for the dead, comforting one another, examining their way of life and asking, why can’t we live differently why can’t we look after each other better?

  • Dale Matson

    “The Gospel that Augustine and his 30 monks brought to England when they landed at Ebbsfleet in ad 597 is now being decisively rejected.” It is being decisively rejected by Justin Welby and the CoE. The nation is not being Christianized, the church is being secularized. Each generation of Christians is the last generation unless the church honors her marching orders to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ, not the “human flourishing” and “good disagreement” gospel of Justin Welby and his predecessor Rowan the obfuscator.

  • woodyjones

    The Church founded by Jesus Christ, upon Peter, the Rock, one presumes you meant to say. Otherwise, I agree totally. When the Lord comes, will he find faith? Presumably, not much. So much for going out to the peripheries, implicitly watering down the message. Better conserve what we’ve got.

    • Rowland Nelken

      When the Lord comes? According to Paul, Jesus was due to return before the end of the first century. Could it be that he’s not coming back, and that it’s all just an old myth?

  • Dogsnob

    Churches are in deep trouble because they are so often being run by people who think it is their job to put up glib posters in the yard which attempt to cram the Gospel onto a 3’x2′ board by means of a Readers’ Digest quip.
    It is their job to offer the Gospel.

  • The Great Cornholio

    The reason for the decline of Christianity is simple. Christians are emancipating themselves from their mass delusions. Hopefully Muslims can do the same.

  • David

    The main body of the C of E, which is liberal theologically, is shrinking rapidly. But the smaller group of conservative Evangelicals is bursting with faith, energy, commitment and loads of young people. Moreover, it is steadily growing. The future C of E will be smaller, more committed, more conservative and deeply Evangelical. The future of the Church belongs to those who really, deeply believe. Liberalism is a death trap. The orthodox protestant C of E will not just continue, but thrive.

    • Jen The Blue

      As a traditionalist Catholic I tend to agree. The sad thing is, I have to define myself as a “traditionalist” Catholic…..because the Catholic Church has lost the plot. It may still, JUST, officially teach the truth……but in reality most of its Bishops are apostate. Including, it appears, the Pope.

      Now I know Evangelicals and Catholics do not see eye to eye on Sacramental Theology, and liturgy, but I suspect we are far closer on the teachings of Christ than either the liberals who claim to be Catholic, or indeed the liberals in the church of England.

      • David

        I agree.
        The Church universal is generally moving through a low period, at least in the west. It reflects the cultural debasement of western society, as sadly that debasement has also infected the Churches.

        Our liturgical differences are not fundamental, and partly a matter of habit and custom. However yes, the Sacramental Theology is a genuine difference of belief, which should be noted and accepted as a genuine difference.
        However I do feel closer to orthodox or conservative Catholics than the liberals in my own denomination. The liberals are dropping away from the Church in droves now, their faith increasingly diluted until it disappears. But nothing warms my heart so much as to see one of our conservative Churches full on a Sunday, and with lots of young families with their children – the future !
        Fear not, Christianity will survive in these islands, whilst in many parts of the world it is burgeoning. We shall stand !

        • Jen The Blue

          Let us pray so! But we do live in disturbing times.

  • Cymrugel

    I suspect you will be pried wrong, but given the time frame we will all be safely tucked up in our graves, so no-one is going to call you out on it

    • Jen The Blue

      Not being funny Cymrugel, but can you edit “pried”. Because I haven’t a clue. I guess it is a typo.

      • Cymrugel


  • Solage 1386

    Christianity is a false doctrine.

    • Jen The Blue

      Oh right! Glad you told me.

  • Louise

    Only the Catholic Faith can save England from becoming an abominable Dystopia. The Church needs to be renewed herself, in order to continue making disciples and to renew society.

    • Jen The Blue

      Yes Louise….but I am on the verge of despair. Worldwide, after the “synod on the family” we know nearly 2/3 of our Biishops and the Pope are apostate.

      Not exactly grounds for optimism!

      • Louise

        I agree, Jen, the situation is DIRE. But all will suffer cruelly if the Faith is not renewed and once more vigorous.

        • Jen The Blue


          I agree, but even as a traditionalist Catholic I am reluctant to condemn anyone. I condemn what they say, I condemn what they do…….but then I also condemn what I do and say……I am by no means perfect.

          I will let God decide………I pray He is kind to me. And I pray He is kind to everyone, even if they don’t uphold the Faith as they should.

          Only Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother are perfect. Certainly not me.

          • Louise

            I am not saying God will punish people cruelly, I mean that the rising totalitarianism of the Secular State will do so unless a miracle happens. Only the Faith can save us.

          • Jen The Blue

            Yes. I agree,

    • Kasperlos

      Father Malachi Martin had it pegged regarding developments in the Church and the ensuing consquences. We are in pagan times, the Church as an institution has essentially ceased to function in its basic purpose, viz. to save souls through salvation afforded by our Lord. Therefore, the abandonment of God by his people will see God abandon his people. It’s for each of us to decide the path. Father Martin was right, the Church went for being ‘cool’, ‘secular’ and ecumenical. It remade itself to attract followers sans the spiritual (aside from Pope John Paul II cavorting in Haiti with VooDoo doctors and shamans. Totally unacceptable. Catholic leaders decided that rather than paradise to be found in the afterlife, man will make his paradise on Earth. Totally in contravention to Christ’s teachings/sayings. The Smoke of Satan entered the Vatican reported Fr. Martin. It must be true.

    • pobjoy

      ‘Only the Catholic Faith can save England’

      There are two reasons for England’s non-Catholicism. One is education, and the Bible; a potent mix, that popes met with fire, until they were barred.

      The other? The ubiquitous scandals of clerics and religious, whose high-handedness, sexual and financial immorality was encouraged by lax legal regulation, that has not fully disappeared.

      ‘The Church needs to be renewed herself’

      Then get Ratzinger in the dock, while you still can.

      • Louise

        England’s non-Catholicism is the result of vicious lies in its official history and the long persecution of Catholics by the crown after the so-called “Reformation.” It took three generations of Cecil’s to turn the English towards the new and false religion. Lies and deceit have kept them anti-Catholic, if not actually CofE. True education is always consistent with the glorious truth of the Catholic Faith and the Bible is based on it.

        • Jams O’Donnell

          That’s the stuff! Have a good go at each other – it’ll help the decline of both your sects.

          • Louise

            Disagreement is not “having a go at one another” and indeed secularists are even more likely to quarrel viciously with each other in personal and frightening ways. If your society declines more into post-Christian morality, you’ll live in a vicious, degenerate atheistic, totalitarian regime so bad you’ll want the good old days back. Have fun with that!

  • Louise

    The Ten Commandments are really inconvenient – especially the ones about sex. This is the main reason people become secular.

    • Louise

      That is true in England, the USA, Australia and probably everywhere in the West.

    • Jen The Blue

      Yes, there is a lot of truth in that!

    • Fred Uttlescay

      For me it was because religious faith is obvious bollocks.

      • Louise

        Except that it isn’t “obvious” at all. I have no problem with intelligent, rational atheists who can make a serious argument for their unbelief, but most atheists in my experience do not fit into this category and in saying “religious faith is obvious bollocks” you are declaring yourself to be an imbecile. While I certainly think a few people have genuine intellectual reasons for not believing, I also think most unbelievers are simply not happy about the restraints which following the commandments would place on their sex lives. I’ll talk more to you when you can find me an atheist who lives a life of sexual responsibility and restraint.

        • Fred Uttlescay

          It’s obvious to me that Mohammed didn’t really have a flying horse, the resurrection is impossible and the gods in the mountain didn’t cause an earthquake. I’m sorry that you can’t see that, it’s your loss. Morals come from us, by the way. An atheist isn’t more likely to be promiscuous than a believer.

          • Louise

            An atheist is *far* less likely to be sexually restrained and responsible than a believer. And the resurrection is not impossible at all and I can’t see why you would think it is. Fair enough if you happen not to believe it. Fair enough if you think it unlikely. But if you think it’s impossible then your type of scepticism is not intelligent, but profoundly stupid. “Morals coming from us” is the same as doing whatever I like while believing myself to be a Good Person. What a lark! No wonder you all like it so much. I can definitely see the appeal.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It’s (you) is very simple. Of course morals come from us. Where else? Altruism is beneficial to the tribe and what and isn’t moral is constantly evolving. We used to treat gay people as second class humans, now they can get wed. We used to hang children for petty theft, send them up chimneys and use them as slaves. Christianity is based on the moral values of the society at the time it was concocted but we’ve moved on. Or should I say, most of us have. Do you agree with stoning disobedient children?

          • Louise

            What rubbish! The Christian moral code does not include stoning children. The atheist moral code says the killing of children in the womb is perfectly fine. Pagans used to expose their unwanted children to the elements. “Changing moral codes” only means doing whatever the hell you like regardless of its consequences to society while still believing yourself to be a Good Person. Very amusing. The people who sent children up chimneys were Protestants, not Catholics – that whole thing and hanging children for petty theft (usually bread, because they were starved) etc were more the result of vicious Calvinist theology and the widespread dire poverty caused by Henry VIII’s disastrous confiscation of the monastic properties etc. None of these things is in any way compatible with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. If you’re going to bring little children into it, take the log out of your own eye and get rid of abortion.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            I am a good, moral person and I certainly don’t want to have an abortion. There are many Catholic women that have no qualms whatsoever about having one however. Perhaps it’s the silly contraception rules that are to blame. It doesn’t appear that Christianity is a good moral guide at all if our history is anything to go by. Quite the reverse, as we become more secular morality improves. We’ve never lived in a better and fairer society.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            You think that a corpse can come back to life not as a man but as a god and you think I’m being stupid by not believing it? Really??
            Morals come from our society, just as God beliefs came from human society. Do you think if you stopped believing in idiotic nonsense like God / magic creation and the resurrection you would somehow turn into a promiscuous whore? Isn’t that akin to being a criminal that only refrains from offending while being watched by CCTV or the police?

    • LaurenceBoyce

      Yes that’s the one thing that marks out Christian leaders – their strict adherence to the nine commandments.

      • Louise

        What wit! Of course, it’s the same cause of Christians (including leaders) becoming luke-warm.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      The Catholic version of the 10 Commandment of the non-Catholic version? The bead mumblers allow graven images. More fudge than a candy store.

  • Marshal Phillips

    Why not blame religion itself for people abandoning it? It’s supernatural gobbledegook, in my view. Science and reason and common sense have replaced Iron Age mythology.

    • The Great Cornholio

      Yeah,completely agree, but this is what those who believe in the goobbledegook cannot understand. This is why they expend so much energy trying to figure out why so many are leaving the pews in droves.

      • Marshal Phillips

        It’s simply called progress.

        • We are not progressing. See my other comments if you want to know why. Scientists and rationalists will the first to be removed from positions of power in the future unless they adhere to the ‘correct’ views and adopt the political stance of science demanded by their paymasters.

          • Marshal Phillips

            We do have past religious examples of people being removed from positions of power for not adhering to religious orthodoxy. I see nothing in science or reason or common sense in liberal progressive societies today that foretell of such gloom and doom. It’s typical of religious extremists to predict persecution, and Armageddon scenarios before The End Times where Hell awaits those who do not have the “correct” views.

          • If a scientist holds the wrong scientific view he will be expelled from his post, or funding will be removed, or he will not be published. The world of rationality in which you have faith is being destroyed in front of you.

          • Marshal Phillips

            This is quite an absurd reason to oppose science and reason and common sense and liberal progressive egalatarian views.
            Religion ALSO expells those who hold unorthodox religious views.
            The legal system can be used to right unfairness or injustice in secular business contracts etc.

          • I suggest you find out what’s been going in universities and academia across Britain and America.

          • Marshal Phillips

            I suggest you find out what’s been going on in religion across Britain and America.
            And it’s NOT the fault of science!

          • You don’t understand the issues. Go to Spiked Online and find out. Your touching faith in science will not protect you against those who are suppressing free speech.

          • Marshal Phillips

            I have no touching faith in science per se; and I certainly have no faith in religion.
            I see no suppressing of free speech in the academy; although, religion has many examples of supressing free speech in religious circles.
            Every group, organization etc of all kinds have their own internal rules and regulations.
            If someone doesn’t publish your academic paper you are free to self publish. Life goes on.

          • Marshal Phillips

            Religions suppress free speech all the time in their churches. duh

          • You’re avoiding the issue of atheists and others deliberately suppressing free speech on a scale unseen in the West for centuries because those who deny free speech are materialists. What you have not understood is they seek to silence scientists as well. If Richard Dawkins were at the beginning of his career now, it would be finished before it even started if he expressed his personal opinions publicly.

          • Marshal Phillips

            Religion has been surpressing knowledge and information since way before the Galileo affair when he was put on trial for his scientific findings/views by a religious inquisition. He was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment and died.
            There is no widespread supressing of free speech by anyone except religious extremists on their followers.
            We have free speech, free press, freedom to self publish on the internet blogs and elsewhere. Publishers and the media are giving people unprecedented outlets today for all kinds of opinions. BUT the issue is this: why is the Church of England in decline? Do you blame Richard Dawkins?

          • You’re living in an alternative reality. Wake up. It’s not Christians who are suppressing free speech but ‘liberal progressives’. If you believe the mainstream media is accurately reporting the news you are mistaken. But you won’t understand what’s going on until it impinges on your own life, your own family, and the members of your own community.

          • Marshal Phillips

            Today the media has never been more expanded and available for everyone to see and to participate in on the net and blogs and self publishing.
            Religion is in decline. Who do you “blame”?
            I, my family, my community are composed of believers and non believers alike and all are quite happy. We all fully participate in the new media.

  • Kasperlos

    There are many reasons that can be attributed to the decline of Western (Europe) Christianity. What the late Father Malachi Martin said about this rings too true: ‘We are in pagan times, the Catholic era is over.’ That said, he also correctly gave account of Roman-Catholicism’s influence on Western civlisation. As this anchor is released from European society, it will be indeed interesting, to say the least, to see what type of construct emerges. With the Saracen entrenched and growing those secularists thinking of a utopia sans religion will possibly have to face another one, one more less forgiving in message an deed. Swords into Steeples into Minarets into…Swords?

  • Ambientereal

    “Freedom”, for me it is the keyword of modern society. Freedom to do everything one wants. And gay marriage may serve as an example. Everyone should have the right to do anything that do not harms anyone else. This is an immense force that destroys everything that could mean order, law, and restrictions of any type. And to belong to the Church one has to give up a lot of freedom. Besides, the science and logic have done a big share of work to destroy the ground concepts of religions. Nowadays in the light of knowledge, it is very difficult to keep the faith in any dogma.

  • jim6661

    This is wonderful! Britain has much to be proud of. They are abandoning the cult that has cause such misery for millennia. Its time to celebrate!

    • Tis a pity

      Now if we can only get rid of the royals.
      If the atheists helped in getting rid of religion.
      Maybe Scotland can help get rid of those foolish loafs who think they are royal.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Are you a parody? Or just aged 12 & three quarters?

  • Stephen Milroy

    The atheists/agnostics we have (in this country at least). Are rancid. And extremely intolerant. But this is Britain! Germany got the pessimists, France got the Communists, we got the logical positivists. We’re stuck with them!

    • Tis a pity

      Like your stuck with your Royalty.
      It is 2015 and you still have a Queen.
      Down with myths and down with dynasts.

    • Fred Uttlescay

      Christians are silly. There is nothing rancid about sensible folk.

  • lavallette

    When and wherever Christian organizations dilute their traditional biblical Christian Principles to accommodate modern secularism they cease to be “the light of the world” drawing humanity to the best that it can be, but they become “of this world” and reduce themselves to become just another of the hundreds of secular pressure groups in society, each with their own version of how life should be lived, for better or worse.

    • Tis a pity

      I am a lesbian and I am glad my fellow sisters and gay brothers played a part in ripping apart English society. This is our time now. Enjoy the ride and if you don’t like it move to the Muslim lands.

      • lavallette

        DUH: You and your one like got your religions mixed up. Not very bright I must say.

        History teaches us that we should be careful what we wish for. Your perceived Utopia is likely to very quickly become a dystopia, .In ripping apart English society and its Christian heritage heritage and culture, you and your lesbian and gay allies have created a cultural vacuum for the majority of the English population.. Nature hates a vacuum. Who do you think is going to fill it?. Dhimmitude is on its way for the English unless of ourse they all submit voluntarily or by force to the Muslims. Neither case augurs well for you and your friends. You will not have to move to a Muslim land, it will be coming to and for you. .

        • Damaris Tighe

          Spot on.

        • Fred Uttlescay

          What a load of old nonsense. All varieties of Abrahamic bollocks are anti gay, the key is in ignoring those aspects of them, and then the rest.

      • Damaris Tighe

        You may live to regret ‘ripping apart English society’.

      • Richard

        I think the Muslim lands removing themselves here. And you probably will regret the passing of the benign CoE. But long-term thinking has never been a British strong-point.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Alternatively, relocate to a nice neutral Buddhist country.
        Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

    • Rowland Nelken

      Which, of the zillions of incompatible, and often mutually hostile variants of ‘traditional biblical Christian principles’ do you subscribe to? OKing of slavery? The return of Jesus in glory before the end of the 1st century? The denigration of family life with the End being imminent?

  • MildredCLewis



  • Tis a pity

    No more Church of England? CHEERS

    Who’d a thunk it was this easy.
    Have a drink on me. Have a double Bloody Mary on me!

    • Fred Uttlescay

      No more religious faith? CHEERS

      • Richard

        You cannot eradicate religion, since it is a physiological impulse, likely stemming from the temporal region of the brain. The best you can hope for is the CoE, which is benign. The worst you can imagine is Islam, or mediaeval Catholicism.

  • Tis a pity

    This made me think of a joke.
    In days past, English homosexuals ended up in Russia.
    Does this mean Russian homosexuals will now end up in England.
    Science rules! Myths die!

    • No, science does not rule – as the global warming scam clearly shows. If a scientist does not hold the ‘right’ view he will not obtain a position and will not obtain funding. He will also have great difficulty in being published. Your view is dangerously naiive. In fact your view of science is based on a myth and I’m sorry to say you will probably live to see it destroyed, unless the multitude of managerial parasites in positions of power across society are removed.

  • David Sims

    Any church “founded” by Peter would surely have died long before now. No church founded by Jesus Christ will.

    • Grant Melville

      A hearty ‘amen’ to that!

  • Hegelman

    I am an optimist. Let us hope your prediction will prove accurate.

  • Hegelman

    Well, I never liked the religion of Christianity as it is practised with its morbid focus on an old barbaric killing and its ugly overtones of anti-Semitism.

    Among the great world religions Christianity is noted for its pettiness.

    So your prediction leaves me unfazed.

  • truthbeatold

    As a populace becomes more educated they tend to become less superstitious and less religious. Secularism arises as many rational political conservatives begin rejecting belief in the supernatural, while many irrational leftists associate religion with the establishment, the old and the conservative and therefor find it repugnant, trading belief in the church for belief in the state. Govt buildings are their cathedrals, leftist politicians their clergy and Marxist dogma their doctrine. Can any society survive in the long term without a shared