Friday, February 24, 2012

Exeter College Oxford bans the Pope


Oxford University takes its Christian foundations very seriously. Or it used to. Despite all-pervasive political-correctness and multi-faith multiculturalism, its higher degrees are still bestowed upon graduands Ad honorem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et ad profectum Sarosanctae Matris Ecclesiae. As they kneel before the Vice-Chancellor, he touches each one upon the head with a Testament, admitting them in nomine Domini, Patris, Filii et Spirutus Sancti. No one has (yet) sought to rid the University of this appalling bigotry; not even the emeritus rabid atheist agnostic who struts around New College perpetually proclaiming the advent of Anno Dawkinsi.

Oxford has produced around 12 saints of the Church and some 20 Archbishops of Canterbury. Amongst its stellar theological alumni rank the names of John Wycliffe, John Locke, William Tyndale, John Colet and John and Charles Wesley. The University was inspired by and founded upon the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith: eradicate Christianity, and you cease to understand the academic culture and spiritual values which spawned one of the greatest seats of learning in the world. At various points throughout history, when that faith has been imperiled, men arose to establish theological halls and houses to address disbelief. When the college chapels were faced with closure, these became a bulwark of orthodoxy and sound doctrine.

But gradually the Fabians, atheists and secular-humanists have taken over. Chaplains have been downgraded, and Christians no longer dare to defend their faith for fear of being accused of bigotry, racism, or (worse) anti-intellectualism. St Catherine's College was the first Oxford college to be built without a chapel: it is a ghastly ‘Barbican’ structure without architectural merit. St Antony’s converted its 19th-century chapel into a library; Sommerville’s is multi-faith (with space for anti-faith); and many of the others are poorly attended shrines to the divines of yesteryear. Oxford University, like most British institutions, is rotting from within.

And now Exeter College, founded in 1314 as a school to educate clergy, is being harangued by a homosexual student for having the audacity to rent out its premises during the Easter recess to a Christian group. Why? Because some of its staff believe – shock horror – homosexuality to be (shhh...) a sin, from which one may be delivered. You’re free to believe it, of course: they're not opposed (yet) to freedom of conscience. But God forbid that you would ever seek to give voice to that belief in this Oxford college.

And so the complaint of that solitary student has now spread to hordes of other students, lecturers and gay rights campaigners (ie Stonewall). And lo, verily, are they come unto the Rector Frances Cairncross to demand, yea, demand that their college be purged of this defilement, for gayness is to be lauded and celebrated (and college buildings given over gratis for the celebration of such). But these vile Christians, yea, these vermin who believe homosexuals are 'sinners' who may be 'cured', are never again to set foot within its hallowed quadrangles.

The group concerned is Christian Concern, which has hired the college to host a five-day event known as the 'Wilberforce Academy'. The group’s chief executive Andrea Minichiello Williams has, apparently, previously said that homosexuality is a 'sin' and is a supporter of 'corrective therapy' treatment for gay couples.

This is, of course, deeply offensive and now constitutes ‘gay hate’ and ‘homophobia’. And so Exeter College is coming under pressure to cancel the event. The Rector is aghast, and said: “Given Exeter College’s strong record in protecting the rights and dignity of its gay and lesbian members, I am especially dismayed that we should come under attack. The college and its governing body have always worked hard to ensure that its members of all sexual orientations felt safe here and secure from any hostility. Given our contractual situation the governing body believes that cancelling the conference booking is not a viable option. However, we are reviewing the basis on which we take bookings for conferences in future.”

So cancellation is ‘not viable' (ie, a contract is a contract, and to cancel at this stage would be met with litigation and costs), and the College is ‘reviewing the basis on which (they) take bookings for conferences in future’ (ie they will henceforth ensure that no person associated with any discussion or debate about anything which may be deemed ‘homophobic’ will ever again be able to hire its facilities).

Let us consider for a moment that Andrea Minichiello Williams sincerely believes that homosexuality may be cured, and that this is her vocation, her mission, her whole raison d’ être. And let us agree that she is barking. And let us consider that Christian Concern simply wishes to hold a five-day conference for the exclusive, if not obsessive, discussion of such. And let us agree that this is theologically myopic, spiritually ignorant, manifestly unloving and utterly irrelevant to the Gospel of Christ.

What does any of this have to do with the student body during recess? Is it not simply a commercial matter? Does the College (and its student body) now have to agree with the moral worldview and meta-ethical beliefs of every organisation which seeks to hire its premises? Are they about to ban Christian unions and Catholic societies from operating under their aegis for fear of ‘homophobic’ expression? Or does this censorship apply only to external bodies? Will Oxford colleges hire out their halls to those who seek to limit or ban abortion and contraception? To those who preach sexual abstinence? To those who believe the mere orientation toward homosexuality to be an ‘objective disorder’? To those who believe marriage to be a union of one man and one woman? Would Exeter College rent out its buildings to a conference organised by the Holy See or attended by Pope Benedict XVI?

77 Comments:

Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Would Exeter College rent out its buildings to a conference organised by the Holy See or attended by Pope Benedict XVI?

I'm sure the Holy See would be most welcome provided it avoided all references to God and Christian morality.

And still the anti-theists maintain all they want is a level playing. In truth, they want to level society to the ground!

What's the world coming to - an end!

24 February 2012 at 10:34  
Blogger David B said...

Perhaps it is time those degree ceremonies got changed,

However I suppose His Grace is right that this is a commercial venture, and nothing to do with anything else really.

Consistency would I think demand that if a group that pretty much everybody posting at this blog disapproves of, then they should also not be turned away as a commercial venture. Scientology, or some militant Islamic group, shall we say.

I am concerned at the college statement 'However, we are reviewing the basis on which we take bookings for conferences in future.'

It sort of reminds me of the B&B case.

Can they, in law, discriminate against lawful organisations seeking to make a booking?

Much as I would dislike to see, for instance, a Scientology conference gaining some sort of quasi respectability by holding a conference at Oxford, I rather hope that anti-discrimination law would be consistent.

David B

24 February 2012 at 10:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Commercial operations need to consider the effect decisions have on their brand, I suppose. *shrug*

24 February 2012 at 11:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only Christian who does not give a toss about people's sexuality? I really can't remember Christ giving it any emphasis at all, I've always thought that his message was about loving one another. I think a lot of evangelicals have a very un-Christian attitude to homosexuality and I would not enjoy hearing them rant sorry preach about it. I am sorry to see them giving the atheists and agnostics an opportunity in this way to abuse Christianity.

24 February 2012 at 12:10  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Oxford University takes its Christian foundations very seriously...but gradually the Fabians, atheists and secular-humanists have taken over...

Hardly fair simply to point the finger of 'blame' at the usual suspects for an attack on the sanctity of Oxon without looking first from within.

Obviously, to fill the vaccuum created by exposing the iniquities of belief without proof when no longer backed up by Law is natural progression.
John Wycliff declared a heretic - body dug up and burned by Christians
William Tyndale likewise - garrotted at the stake and body burned by Christians.
John Locke - 'Locke advocated the use reason to search after truth rather than simply accept the opinion of authorities or be subject to superstition'.
'I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill other men upon pretence of religion'.

The fact that one complaint can result in such a furore (if that is the case) points more to a failure in administration and governance than anything to do with the presence of secular Humanists.

24 February 2012 at 12:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Anonymous @ 24 February 2012 12:10

Am I the only Christian who does not give a toss about people's sexuality? I really can't remember Christ giving it any emphasis at all, I've always thought that his message was about loving one another.

For one who self-identifies as a Christian, you sure don't seem to know much about what the Lord Jesus said.

carl

24 February 2012 at 13:06  
Blogger Jon said...

Carl - when did Jesus mention homosexuality in the gospels?

And I think it's about time we added a reference to homosexuality in the blog's masthead, Your Grace. Aside from the awful tale of Pastor Nadarkhani and a video of Nigel Farage, the last four articles have been written on the same subject....

24 February 2012 at 13:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

That Telegraph link about Dawkins ... it's hardly news as he's been open and clear about that for years. The news-worthiness is that it's taken this long for it to be recognised by the Telegraph and lots of its readers.

24 February 2012 at 13:30  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Jon

He affirmed the morality of the OT, affirmed marriage as between one man and one woman and affirmed that sex outside of marriage is a sin. Ergo, Christ logically implied that homosexual activity is a sin.

Frankly any deliberately artificially sterile form of sex is a sin. It reduces it to the basest of biological urges, akin to an opiate addiction (the biological mechanism is scarily similar). Sex purely and solely for pleasure is the moral equivalent of a heroin addiction, gambling addiction or alcohol addiction.

24 February 2012 at 13:37  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

In fact, to expand on the opiate analogy, one may think that, 'surely all sex must be like taking opiates recreationally then'. However, just like those in hospital in pain will be given heroin and not develop addiction, those who have sex for the right reasons will not develop an addiction.

24 February 2012 at 13:43  
Blogger Justin Brett said...

Declaration of interest - I was an undergraduate at Exeter College between 1989 and 1993.

So there are some right-on students left in Oxford? Excellent. Right-on students are traditional, and I'm sure Your Grace is not really too surprised to find them. Actually, I think the College comes out of this quite well. Will it break a contractual obligation? No, and rightly so. Does it anywhere say that it will proscribe the egregious Mrs. Williams and her lunatic fringe? No. Does it suggest in future that it will pay more attention to what its members think about the use to which the College is put? Yes.

That last position is a reasonable one. An Oxford College is not just a student dormitory during term time, it functions as a centre for students and researchers throughout the year, and the conference business it takes on is designed to support this study. If the people for whom the College is both a home and a place of work do not wish to host an organisation which they believe contradicts principles that they regard as important, then that view needs at least to be addressed, and that is what the College authorities have agreed to do.

Would you not want some input into who uses your kitchen and sitting room while you are out?

24 February 2012 at 13:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester, lots of gay people have sex because they love the people with whom they doing it and are physically expressing that love. Just to be clear, you understand.

24 February 2012 at 13:54  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Justin Brett,

There is little from which His Grace demurs. However, you avoid the central proposition - which His Grace attempted (and manifestly failed) to make explicit in his title - that (presumably) the College authorities and student body repudiate discrimination on the grounds of religious belief. Is it that Ms Andrea Minichiello Williams appears to be an Evangelical Protestant ('egregious Mrs. Williams and her lunatic fringe') which makes the likelihood of her ever again being able to use College buildings somewhat remote (if not nigh on impossible)?

Would Exeter College ban a Roman Catholic group or the Pope himself from its precincts, in case students and researchers should find that he 'contradicts principles that they regard as important'? For it would appear, from all the available writings and pronouncements, that Pope Benedict XVI has gone rather further than Ms Andrea Minichiello Williams has ever gone on the subject of homosexuality.

24 February 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

May I suggest that we Christians look around, try to find somebody we can be offended by and then sue them? There surely must be plenty of 'hate laws' on the books by now that we can use. Granted, these laws were passed so liberals could convince themselves that they're 'good people', and as such it was never envisaged that they should protect Christians, but I'm a big fan of irony and I really think this kind of farce could show such legislation up for the joke it is.

24 February 2012 at 14:10  
Blogger DP111 said...

Corrigan1

What a good idea. All one has to do is develop a thin skin, and make a great deal of noise.

24 February 2012 at 14:31  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jon

When did Jesus mention homosexuality in the gospels?

Homosexuality is not mentioned specifically in any of the four Gospels. But then neither is burning children in the fires of Molech mentioned in the Gospels. Or having sex with animals for that matter. Are we to cast doubt on the immorality of a man having sex with a goat simply because there is no recorded exposition on the matter in the Gospels? The mere lack of any specific mention in the Gospels is in fact not dispositive of anything. The Scripture is not composed of simply the Gospels. The four Gospels are not more authoritative than the other books. To suggest as much is to assert an incompetent view of Scripture.

But in fact Jesus did uphold the whole of the moral law in the Gospels. He is the second person of the Trinity who gave that Law at Sinai. He is in the Unity of the Godhead with the Holy Spirit who breathed out the Scripture through Paul. There is no confusion in this. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all present the same Word to man. It is incontrovertible that the Scripture condemns homosexuality. If all of Scripture finds its source in God, then the condemnation of homosexuality in Scripture finds its source in Christ who was God made flesh - who perfectly revealed God and his will to man.

Understand however that I was making a broader point. It wasn't just a reference to homosexuality. The statement by anon was not so restricted. He said:

I've always thought that his message was about loving one another.

Which is quite frankly a ludicrously simplistic summation of the message of Christ as presented in the Gospels let alone the rest of Scripture. That message was about sin and redemption. It wasn't a dressed-up version of "Can't we all just get along and be nice to each other?"

carl

24 February 2012 at 14:48  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0

Many people start taking heroin recreationally because their partners take it, they arguably take it for love.

The kind of love that is necessary for sex is the kind that is fully prepared to create a child as a result. Gay people can love each other, but not in the same way married couples can. The sex is still sterile; the reason still pleasure.

24 February 2012 at 14:54  
Blogger Gerv said...

"Let us consider for a moment that Andrea Minichiello Williams sincerely believes that homosexuality may be cured, and that this is her vocation, her mission, her whole raison d’ être. And let us agree that she is barking. And let us consider that Christian Concern simply wishes to hold a five-day conference for the exclusive, if not obsessive, discussion of such."

I am hoping your Grace here is hyperbolizing for the sake of argument, to conclude "even if all this were true, it wouldn't matter". However, as it's not quite clear, I want to point out that these statements are false. Andrea Williams is the leader of Christian Concern, an organization which campaigns on a wide variety of topics - it is certainly not her "raison d'etre" to "cure homosexuality". Having heard her speak on a couple of occasions, she is definitely not "barking", and the Wilberforce Academy is, similarly, about a wide variety of issues - the idea (as I understand it) is to prepare those who might later enter public life with the intellectual tools to think about the world from a Christian worldview. Surely an idea of which Your Grace would approve, even if you disagreed at points about the implementation?

24 February 2012 at 15:10  
Blogger Justin Brett said...

Your Grace,

(presumably) the College authorities and student body repudiate discrimination on the grounds of religious belief

Actually, I don't know if they do or not. If they do, I agree that banning Andrea Williams and her crew from the College simply because they are evangelical Christians is inconsistent. However, I really don't think that it's the Christianity that's the issue here. Nobody is complaining about these people because they are Christians. As you so clearly sum up:

Let us consider for a moment that Andrea Minichiello Williams sincerely believes that homosexuality may be cured, and that this is her vocation, her mission, her whole raison d’ être. And let us agree that she is barking. And let us consider that Christian Concern simply wishes to hold a five-day conference for the exclusive, if not obsessive, discussion of such. And let us agree that this is theologically myopic, spiritually ignorant, manifestly unloving and utterly irrelevant to the Gospel of Christ.

Religious faith has nothing to do with it. As I said before - wouldn't you want some some say in who used your house while you were out? Personally, I don't think I would want this lot - drool is so difficult to get off the Axminster.

24 February 2012 at 15:15  
Blogger Justin Brett said...

@Gerv Having heard her speak on a couple of occasions, she is definitely not "barking"

Interesting how subjective such judgements are. I have heard her speak on more than a couple of occasions. I would agree that 'barking' is a limited description, but on this occasion I have to compliment the Archbishop on his restraint in using it when so many others might have been more appropriate (if less polite).

24 February 2012 at 15:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester, you're idealising the act for religious reasons by the look of it.

24 February 2012 at 15:31  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Justin Brett

Personally I'd be more concerned about drool from other groups spoiling the Axminster.

The central point is that the University is:

"being harangued by a homosexual student for having the audacity to rent out its premises during the Easter recess to a Christian group. Why? Because some of its staff believe – shock horror – homosexuality to be (shhh...) a sin, from which one may be delivered. You’re free to believe it, of course: they're not opposed (yet) to freedom of conscience. But God forbid that you would ever seek to give voice to that belief in this Oxford college."

And of course the logic is that once this is accepted that such censorship will apply:

"to those who seek to limit or ban abortion and contraception? To those who preach sexual abstinence? To those who believe the mere orientation toward homosexuality to be an ‘objective disorder’? To those who believe marriage to be a union of one man and one woman?"

When will Christian students be excluded from admission to the college on the grounds that their
moral worldview and meta-ethical beliefs are:

"deeply offensive and constitute(s) ‘gay hate’ and ‘homophobia’."?

Mr Cranmer is quite correct. The Pope would be forbidden from crossing the secular, anti-theist threshhold to the godless place that Exeter College is in danger of becoming.

24 February 2012 at 15:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Ps

And "barking" is hardly a politically correct term. You'll have the 'new-speak police' on your case if you continue using it.

24 February 2012 at 15:42  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

DanJ0

Of course I am. You're denigrating it for homosexual reasons.

24 February 2012 at 15:51  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Lakester

The clue is in the description that's been offered:

DanJ0 said...
"Lakester, lots of gay people have sex because they love the people with whom they doing it."

"Lots" of homosexuals "have sex" and are "doing it". All sounds very hedonistic and animalistic.

Says it all really!

24 February 2012 at 16:14  
Blogger Justin Brett said...

@Dodo

And "barking" is hardly a politically correct term. You'll have the 'new-speak police' on your case if you continue using it

But the Archbishop started it. Would "mad as a box of frogs" be more acceptable?

24 February 2012 at 16:15  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Justin
Ummmm ... not at Oxford, old chap. I believe "mental health issues" is the correct terminology these days.

And do remember Cranmer comes from less enlightened times and doesn't get out of urn that often!

24 February 2012 at 16:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester: "Of course I am. You're denigrating it for homosexual reasons."

Blimey, fighting talk. Look, Lakester, you've never even had sex. What on earth do you know about it other than what you've read in a book?

24 February 2012 at 16:42  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

"There will come a time when they who kill you think they do God's Will"

24 February 2012 at 17:08  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

... you've never even had sex. What on earth do you know about it other than what you've read in a book?"

This from a man averse to the only sexual union of an athentic kind - with a woman.

One doesn't "have" sex, or "do" sex, one participates in a unitive , loving act with a person of the opposite gender.

24 February 2012 at 17:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. You bring the wretched dog in from the cold (1967). You treat it with respect, you care for it, make it feel welcome, part of the family. Then, years later, the bastard bites you because you won’t let it urinate in the corner of the lounge, instead of going out of sight to do it’s business that nobody wants to see…

Yes homosexuals. You damn ingrates are trying to rub our noses in what you do. And NO, this is not a homophobic rant. The Inspector, an educated and intelligent man doesn’t do homophobia. But remember this – If you lose his good will through your selfish indulgent actions, what about the 95% of society who also doesn’t queer and who may not be so understanding of your condition. What !! {INSPECTOR SNORTS LOUDLY}

24 February 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "One doesn't "have" sex, or "do" sex, one participates in a unitive , loving act with a person of the opposite gender."

Dodo, Lakester will think that means holding hands. It's sex and between people of whatever gender who love each deeply it's also an expression of that love. Didn't you get proper sex education in your Catholic sc^h^h ah, forget that last bit.

24 February 2012 at 17:44  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

How can two men or two women have sexual intercourse i.e the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina?

24 February 2012 at 18:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspector using the 3rd person to talk about yourself makes you sound incredibly pretentious.

24 February 2012 at 19:46  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

I find it deeply worrying that an institution which is supposed to be dedicated to the accumulation and dissipation of knowledge should have within its numbers those who seek to ban open civilized discussion of any subject, or for any reason whatsoever.

Oxford University could of course follow the establishments lead on these kind of security problems more fully; like for example, when to instigate world wars, economic recessions or 3rd world genocides, without anyone smelling any rotten fish. This by holding meetings in private under armed guards, using strictly enforced Chatham House rules.

Then none of the uninitiated ordinary members of the public would have the slightest idea what was on the agenda, who was present, what was said, and of course most importantly what was decided.

When discussion cannot take place in open for whatever reason, it takes place in private.

Therefore if, say for hypothetical example, the establishment decided that they really did want to effectively wipe homo-sexuality off of the face of the earth, instead of what they currently do, which is spending/investing many billions promoting same all over the entire western world; they would do so by first having highly secretive meetings in places like Oxford University, or exclusively expensive 5 star hotels in fairly remote locations, and then enact the decisions thereby reached, using purely covert means, HIV for example, ( exceedingly 'good' try, but as yet no cigar.)

What is more, they would do what they wilt, while appearing/claiming to be doing the exact opposite, so that the people would not have a slightest clue as to what in the hell was really going on, therefore simply wast their ever more desperate efforts barking up completely the wrong trees, while painfully dropping like laboratory flies?

In conclusion it would seem to me that our biggest and most long standing problems are not set when our owners meet openly in public, but when they do so strictly in private.

24 February 2012 at 19:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Anonymous said...
Inspector using the 3rd person to talk about yourself makes you sound incredibly pretentious.

Yes, it rather does, and being anomymous means ducking personal repsonsibility for your opinions...

24 February 2012 at 20:07  
Blogger len said...

The 'new Liberalism' is merely an attempt to redefine the nature of man.And one of the means to 'gag'those who would speak against this 'new liberalism ,this re appraisal of the nature of Man ,is their ultimate weapon ....Political Correctness. Controlling thoughts by controlling speech seems to be the ultimate purpose of PC.

Eventually (taken to its logical conclusion) IF the nature and instincts of fallen man can be re defined as' natural' then who would need a Saviour?.

Man instead of aspiring to the 'highest' will re define and his nature will align with the lowest in man.With all absolutes gone everyone will do what is 'right in their own eyes', this is in fact is already happening and it will not bring greater 'liberty' but greater bondage to the Law of Sin and Death.

Man will eventually shut the door (from the inside) to salvation and loose all reality to his true fallen condition.

24 February 2012 at 20:24  
Blogger bluedog said...

'Yes, it rather does, and being anomymous means ducking personal repsonsibility for your opinions...'

And using the name Office of the Inspector General is not anonymity?

24 February 2012 at 20:33  
Blogger Roy said...

Would Chris Huhne, the former cabinet minister, be considered a suitable person to invite to speak in the college? After all, he seems to have discovered a cure for lesbianism.

24 February 2012 at 20:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bluedog. Would that the Inspector could use his real name. Alas, he would be torn to pieces in his multicultural town, assuming the militant gays didn't get him first. And then, his boss would visit the mortuary to inform the corpse that he’s sacked anyway.

If ‘anonymous’ could have used, for example, ‘annoyed from London’ it would have been something to distinguish him or her from the rest of them...

24 February 2012 at 21:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But gradually the Fabians, atheists and secular-humanists have taken over. Chaplains have been downgraded, and Christians no longer dare to defend their faith for fear of being accused of bigotry, racism, or (worse) anti-intellectualism"

Or is because there are simply hardly any left? To equate the shrinking of Christianity and the upsurge of secular humanism with "rotting" IS bigotry, in my view, and no doubt you'd say the same if things were the other way around.

24 February 2012 at 21:39  
Blogger Alison Judith Bailey said...

You still think Oxford is spiritual? I thought they burnt you...

24 February 2012 at 22:43  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Well said Len, as usual. It is good to see that someone is getting the point of all this nonsense.

This sort of thing has many names, here is a list of some of them.

Please feel free to select either one or more of the following.

Collective insanity, collectivism, authoritarian socialism, Fabianism, Fascism, Communism, the end times, the establishment on maneuvers, not at all subtle mind control, Liberalism, Corporatism.

IMMHO it is all of these, plus worse. Whichever label one sticks on the bottle it is still an extremely nasty slow acting poison, all the same.

25 February 2012 at 03:19  
Blogger Manfarang said...

"Which is quite frankly a ludicrously simplistic summation of the message of Christ as presented in the Gospels let alone the rest of Scripture. That message was about sin and redemption. It wasn't a dressed-up version of "Can't we all just get along and be nice to each other?"

carl

A message very much directed to the Jews.

25 February 2012 at 08:58  
Blogger Benjamin Wenham said...

lakestar91

[i]It reduces it to the basest of biological urges, akin to an opiate addiction (the biological mechanism is scarily similar).[/i]
I take it your either talking about the 'Behavior maintenance System', reward dependence, or reward feedback loops.

I don't really want to get to into the mechanics of it, but these systems and structures are responsible for just about everything that makes use feel good. Form the company of others, to orgasm, these structures and systems are what makes us fall in love.

Such a statement, if it where true, effectively saying 'pleasure is sin', that the biological reward mechanism that makes us feel pleasure in the company of our friends makes friendship sinful. The same mechanisms that make non-procreative sexual acts pleasurable, makes procreative sexual acts pleasurable. Parallel systems, developed in evolutionary history to shape our behaviour so we search our foods rich in fats and sugars, are the reason chocolate tastes good. Is chocolate, or for that matter the enjoyment of chocolate now to be considered sinful?

Please forgive my spelling and grammar, but a gross biological function, impedes my written communication somewhat.

25 February 2012 at 12:44  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Benjamin
The biological reward systems are also open to conditioning and what makes one set of people feel "good" isn't necessarily the same as another group.

Besides, isn't the point of the human journey to rise above biological and environmental determinants and lead lives based on morality and ethics?

We're not prisoners of nature.

25 February 2012 at 16:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm still a bit miffed that the love of my life, and subsequent expression of that love, has been likened to a heroin addiction. :O

25 February 2012 at 19:16  
Blogger Roy said...

The phoney "equality" minister, Ms. Featherstone accuses the churches of "polarising" the debate about marriage. What debate? It is not Christians who have been trying to change the definition so "marriage" does not mean what people have understood by that concept since probably long before the dawn of civilisation.

Furthermore the phoney equality minister knows perfectly well that the beliefs of Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists etc. are also in conflict with her views and that she probably won't get all that much enthusiastic support from agnostics and atheists either.

Of course the Church does not claim to "own" marriage even though it teaches that the institution is ordained by God. (Ms. Feartherstone obviously thinks she knows better than God). But it is the height of arrogance for a here today, gone tomorrow minister to think that she can change the definition of an institution that is far older than any state, that exists in all cultures and has existed at all times.

The sheer phoniness of much of what is done in present-day Britain is shown by the fact that our "equality" minister has not got the slightest interest in what people from ethnic minorities think on this subject and is not interested in what adherents of any of the different religions in this country think.

Of course the Equalities Commission (or whatever it calls itself nowadays) will back the proposals, but those members of it who are from ethnic minorities are there under false pretences because they know that their opinions are not at all representative of ethnic minorities in Britain. In fact they probably know that their opinions are totally contrary to the values of the people that they claim to represent, but that won't stop them any more than it will stop our useless MPs.

25 February 2012 at 19:32  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0 said...
"I'm still a bit miffed that the love of my life, and subsequent expression of that love, has been likened to a heroin addiction. :O"

Never mind, put it back in its packaging and return it to the shop. You may get a refund - minus the cost of the batteries.

25 February 2012 at 22:22  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

The biological reward systems are also open to conditioning and what makes one set of people feel "good" isn't necessarily the same as another group.

No, the systems are not 'open to conditioning', it is the systems that allow stimuli to condition behaviour.



Besides, isn't the point of the human journey to rise above biological and environmental determinants and lead lives based on morality and ethics?

Nope, the point of 'the human journey' so far as such a thing exists, is to promote the survival of our genes. Just like all other life.

Oh, and by the way, the evidence very strongly supports that very morality being an emitting behaviour, generated by our genes, through consequence reinforcement feedback, as a result of a hijacking of kin selection.

The best bit is, such biological morality is actually generally superior to much of the genocidal, homophobic and gender biased nonsense that large sections of the bible tries to paint as moral.


We're not prisoners of nature.

Do you have evidence for the existence of a non-biological mechanism that governs human behaviour, or for a non-deterministic biological mechanism? Until you can provide such evidence, I'll stick the most likely explanation given the available data, that behaviour is the result of biological processes and likely the result of deterministic factors, and that I simply have the illusion of free will. I would no more do otherwise than believe in Russell's Teapot.

26 February 2012 at 01:54  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

DanJ0: take comfort in this...They have their biology wrong. Opiates hijack the systems, and block up the receptors, while the reward feedback loops which generate said experience of love, plus the other mechanisms, such as sexual arousal do not result from an external chemical activating and then gumming up receptors.

I don't know if the pathway is identical to the hetrosexual pathway, but if it is, all that means is that the pathway is different. it is no more 'defective' or wrong than say the fact that some people have ginger hair, or blue eyes.

26 February 2012 at 02:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It was the following bits of the argument that raised my eyebrows. If I read it correctly then it says one must knowingly gamble on the possibility of a child resulting from a sex act within the loving, long-term relationship for it to be 'sinless' and a full and proper expression of love.

"Frankly any deliberately artificially sterile form of sex is a sin. It reduces it to the basest of biological urges, akin to an opiate addiction (the biological mechanism is scarily similar). Sex purely and solely for pleasure is the moral equivalent of a heroin addiction, gambling addiction or alcohol addiction."

with

"Gay people can love each other, but not in the same way married couples can."

I find that quite bizarre and distorted even when I try to see it through some sort of religious glasses. It's as though artificial barriers have been constructed and put in the way to suit an organised religion.

For me, it's the giving of such extreme pleasure and the intimacy and trust involved within the loving relationship than is most pleasurable to me. I'd have been content to simply give that pleasure on every occasion except that the pleasure of giving is reversed.

26 February 2012 at 07:50  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

The phoney "equality" minister, Ms. Featherstone accuses the churches of "polarising" the debate about marriage. What debate? It is not Christians who have been trying to change the definition so "marriage" does not mean what people have understood by that concept since probably long before the dawn of civilisation.

Yes the concept of marriage has existed in human behaviour for a long time, but across the population it can hardly be considered to conform exactly with the European Christian Heterodoxy. There are current and historical polygamous systems of marriage, as well as same gender marriage traditions, such as those of the Nuer and Ibo, who's marriage traditions are identical for female/male matches, and for female/female matches. it is very difficult to actually say that this is a novel concept in marriage, though it would be a change to the british tradition of marriage. But really not a very big one, atleast when compared to the changes that have already taken place with the nature of marriage in the last roughly two hundred years.

Over that time period the fundamental nature of the marriage tradition in most of the westernised world been largely re-written, not by external decree but changing social realities.

Marriage has changed from a largely parentally arranged, contract of business and/or politics, and as a way of insuring the future fincial well being of female off spring, between people who may not even like one another, to a ritual for the celebration of love matches. Even the practical nitty gritty bits from Next of Kin status, divorce and legal rights of wives, have all changed in this time.

Compared to this same sex partnerships are a minor change.

26 February 2012 at 08:32  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

Furthermore the phoney equality minister knows perfectly well that the beliefs of Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists etc. are also in conflict with her views and that she probably won't get all that much enthusiastic support from agnostics and atheists either.

While Buddhism has proscriptions against a range of sexual activities, the Dalai Lama the most important and visible representative of Buddhist teaching, is on record as early as 1997 making clear that while homosexuality was considered sexual misconduct(a view that goes alongside many other very silly sexual taboos), but that is a matter for buddhists.He goes on to say it was wrong for gay people to be discriminated against or be the subject of violence. He stopped short of directly endorsing civil marriages for homosexuals, but he did say that every one should have human rights, explicitely mentioning the LGBT community.

In short, the dalai lama doesn't think homosexuality is 'right' but doesn't think Buddhism has a monopoly on marriage. In short he his keeping his religion in his pants, the world would so often be a better place if more people could do that.

As for the other faith groups, they are less vocal in their opposition, Christianity gets explicitly mentioned because it is unfortunately (possibly luckily, though that is a discussion for another time) the state religion. If your going to get a whole range of benifits, from institutional tax breaks, to the rights to control over large numbers of school corriculiums, please take the rough of being the 'face of religion in the UK'.

As for agnostics, we are all agnostics here I would hope, I mean you don't claim to 'know' there is a god do you? If you do, the men form the local NHS trust will be along for you shortly, and I have yet to so much as hear of a Gnostic Atheist.

Moving onto Atheists, anecdotally at least, I have never met or spoken to an Atheist who is opposed to Homosexual marriage rights. It would be a very strange view for them to hold, since almost all the arguments against such unions are a product of theistic religion. I suppose it is possible that there might be some very old atheist psychologists, who clinges to a homosexuality is a mental health issue paradigm, but I have never seen the slightest evidence for such.

In fact even lower grade homophobia seems to be less common in my experience amongst atheists, than among general population.

26 February 2012 at 08:33  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

Of course the Church does not claim to "own" marriage even though it teaches that the institution is ordained by God. (Ms. Feartherstone obviously thinks she knows better than God). But it is the height of arrogance for a here today, gone tomorrow minister to think that she can change the definition of an institution that is far older than any state, that exists in all cultures and has existed at all times.

hey, I think I know better than god. I mean, if I was god and writing the ten commandments, I would totally put a nice big prohibition against forced marriage, rape, and peodophilia. I'd also be strongly considering a No slavery clause, and a though shall not commit acts of genocide clause.

Since 'god' is most likely a bronze age construct used to explain the world around a population of nomadic desert tribes it is hardly surprising that even "Ms. Feartherstone", as you refer to Lynne Featherstone MP, thinks she knows better than him.

Oh and by the way, many Christians and Christian churches make exactly that claim of ownership of marriage that your so keen to distance your self from, even as you make it yourself, using your version of god as a proxy.

But again, the nature of the institution is itself fluid, such changes are pretty much the norm, and the changing social realities of the world in which we live, means that it is likely all I have to do to see my friends Beth and Emma get the right to marry if they so desire, is wait, and keep vocal. I mean, the chances are your older than me, as are most of the people who do not see prohibitions against two people in love being allowed to use the same word in law to describe their marriage as another group, based on something as simple as gender mix of the party. If we just wait, you'll die out and well get what we want.

That said, I don't think we have any desire to wait, and we'd rather you lot changed your stupid and bigoted attitudes.

The sheer phoniness of much of what is done in present-day Britain is shown by the fact that our "equality" minister has not got the slightest interest in what people from ethnic minorities think on this subject and is not interested in what adherents of any of the different religions in this country think.

Just like the Dalai Lama, Christians are entirely welcome to consider homosexuality a sin, and if an individual whos' grandparents came to this country from Jamaica want to think my friend Mark is a 'batty boy' he is welcome to do so, but the fact is, that Mark, or Beth and Emma being allowed to marry, does not discriminate against those people, even if it does ignore their view, preventing them from doing so does discriminate against them.

26 February 2012 at 08:34  
Blogger len said...

Zombie neighhbours,

'hey, I think I know better than god'.(end of quote)

You have put your finger on the whole problem with 'Gay Weddings' and the whole predicament that Humanity finds itself in today Worldwide.

Well done!.

26 February 2012 at 12:19  
Blogger Benjamin Wenham said...

Yes, the fact that I think I can make better moral decisions than bronze aged myths, and that its a bad thing to stop gay people having the same status of marriage as straight people,is the problem...not many years of systematic cover up of sexual abuse by priests, or the rediculous prohibition on the use of controception that could save and improve lives all over the world... Ofcause, we are the problem...

26 February 2012 at 12:40  
Blogger Benjamin Wenham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 February 2012 at 12:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Don't forget, almost everyone here knows better than Allah too.

26 February 2012 at 13:10  
Blogger Benjamin Wenham said...

And Raven, Coyote, Odin, the hindu pantheon, and zues. Oh and while we are at it Great Cthulhu and the flying spegetti monster too.

26 February 2012 at 13:23  
Blogger Oswin said...

DanJo: ''You cannot know God - but you have to know Him to know that'' Fr. Thomas Hopko.

Which seems to admit, at least in part, to your assertion. A certain amount of confusion is therefore allowed; probably. ;o)

Unless, of course, we refer to the 'Agnostos Theos' - a most interesting concept; but we'd be none the wiser for knowing that. (a little 'Gnostic' joke folks!) :o)

26 February 2012 at 16:00  
Blogger len said...

'Benjamin Wenham said...
Yes, the fact that I think I can make better moral decisions than bronze aged myths'.

Well .....as I said this is the entire problem with Humanity, they have fallen for the first lie(and the biggest )given to Humanity and it still works!.Truly amazing in thousands (not millions)of years the major part of Humanity STILL believes this lie.
In fact if the Holy Spirit does not give one a revelation of this lie and the truth about God then one cannot escape it and remains bound by it! This I find truly staggering man has jumped ahead in leaps and bounds ,Science , medicine has forged ahead with truly amazing discoveries, man has walked on the moon yet they still believe the biggest and the' best' lie ever told!.

Oh and what was that lie?.

'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."(Genesis 3:5)

( The lie was that man could be like God in case you missed it!)

God knows evil as being something outside of Himself something alien to Him.
Man was to know evil by direct experience by evil indwelling him , conditioning him , controlling him.

Well God`s Hand of restraint is coming off and we are about to see/ are seeing/ exactly to what extent evil is controlling man.

Looking back over my relatively short life I see major advances in Science, technology, medicine, but man is spiritually dead and this is his position until revelation given by God through His Son Jesus Chris breaks through into his entombed spirit.
Of course receiving revelation about God requires a certain openness to the truth , a searching for the truth,a discarding of prejudices and preconceptions which can be quite a barrier to the truth.

26 February 2012 at 18:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Dodo
"We're not prisoners of nature."

Zombie
"Do you have evidence for the existence of a non-biological mechanism that governs human behaviour, or for a non-deterministic biological mechanism?"

How can you prove the existance of God who is Spirit?

Zombie
"Until you can provide such evidence, I'll stick the most likely explanation given the available data, that behaviour is the result of biological processes and likely the result of deterministic factors, and that I simply have the illusion of free will. I would no more do otherwise than believe in Russell's Teapot."

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and why is your hypothesis more compelling than belief in God?

26 February 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Zombie

A good choice of the name - the walking dead.

You really don't know terribly much about Christianity or Buddhism do you, despite your pretence.

To say this shows your ignorance:

"Christianity gets explicitly mentioned because it is unfortunately ... the state religion. If your going to get a whole range of benifits, from institutional tax breaks, to the rights to control over large numbers of school corriculiums, please take the rough of being the 'face of religion in the UK'."

Should you care to read the Bible you will see that throughout it presents marriage as one man, one woman, for life, for unitive love and the transmission of life.

And as for this:

" ... if I was god and writing the ten commandments, I would totally put a nice big prohibition against forced marriage, rape, and peodophilia. I'd also be strongly considering a No slavery clause, and a though shall not commit acts of genocide clause."

Once again, if you read the Bible you'll discover God in His wisdom has covered these matters.

26 February 2012 at 22:43  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

"You cannot know God - but you have to know Him to know that" Fr. Thomas Hopko.

Do you have any idea what this means? It would seem not!

26 February 2012 at 22:45  
Blogger Oswin said...

The Way of the Deceitful Duck: read any good fiction recently?

27 February 2012 at 00:33  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

@Dodo
How can you prove the existance of God who is Spirit?

Are you a deist? I suspect not, given what you have said so far. It's pretty likely you believe in the prayer answering, soul saving, thought policing and interested in our activities in the bedroom type.

In short, on who interacts with the world.

To prove the existence of a non-directly observable phenomena, measure its effects. In this case, you would need to look for evidence of intervention, and then demonstrate that 'spirit' is the cause.

27 February 2012 at 08:08  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

You really don't know terribly much about Christianity or Buddhism do you, despite your pretence.
I know my fair share, what with many years of study at a religious school, enforced church attendance, ect, on the christian side and several Buddhist friends and relatives. Unlike most regulars here, I have an open mind and a curiosity of spirit, so I have taken advantage of such to learn a bit about it. I am say not the relative expert on it that someone like Justin up thread would be, but lets put it this way, I know more about both faiths, than you seem to know about logic, as evidenced by

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and why is your hypothesis more compelling than belief in God?

You see, you have your burden of proof on this arse backward.

I do not have to demonstrate the absence of god. You have to demonstrate the existence. You are the one making an extra ordinary claim, that a 'magic sky daddy' exists has nothing better to do than act as the 'thought and bedroom police', but he can not be measured or observed, because he is made of special invisible and intangible magic stuff.


It is not the most extra-ordinary claim ever in fairness, i mean you haven't added in yet that he is 'a capricious trickster that has always existed, but about six thousand years ago got lonely, made everything in seven days out of nothing to look like it was billions of years old, formed by a set of measurable natural forces, and then set up a species incapable of knowing the difference between right and wrong with a choice he already knew the result of that would doom vast numbers of sentient creatures to vast suffering for all eternity...oh and he loves us.'

But regardless, the burden of proof lies squarely with you. If you want me to believe in the existence of said magic man, you must demonstrate his existence, just like if I wanted you to believe in russle's Teapot, I would expect to have to be able to show you it with a telescope.

27 February 2012 at 08:31  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

A good choice of the name - the walking dead.

“You get what anybody gets - you get a lifetime.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

We are all going to die. You, me, everyone posting here. We'll walk our span upon this earth, and they we'll go into it.

I am not worried by that. Death gives life meaning, makes it worth something. There can be no greater torture for a sentient creature than an eternity of life, for boredom, and the meaningless of existence that would come with such a life would surely drain it's worth.

None of that is to say that I would not like to live for a very long time, but death does not scare me.

Oh, and before you threaten me with hell, A, do you really thing your threat is going to work, better men than you have tried that routine and failed, B, if your only way to achieve your aim is to use violence to coerce, your cause has already lost any claim on morality, and C, For the threat to ever stand a chance of working, you would have to demonstrate the existence of a hell in the first place.

Oh and if you go with the hell is oblivian or absence from god route...didn't you pay attention when I said I was totally okay with that?

27 February 2012 at 08:46  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 February 2012 at 08:59  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

Should you care to read the Bible you will see that throughout it presents marriage as one man, one woman, for life, for unitive love and the transmission of life.

ORLY?

Actually very often one husband and multiple wives...

Exodus 21:10,

2 Samuel 5:13(whats that? david had six wives and many concubines?)

1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3,(That pesky King David with his many wives again? )

1 Kings 11:3 King Solomon had 700 wives + concubines wow...I thought marriage was between a man an a woman....

2 Chronicles 11:21 Rehoboam 18 wives and 60 concubines

Even the religious law takes into account multiple wives."If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons...." (Deuteronomy 21:15)


But ofcause, your statement that

To say this shows your ignorance:

because my statement that

"Christianity gets explicitly mentioned because it is unfortunately ... the state religion. If your going to get a whole range of benifits, from institutional tax breaks, to the rights to control over large numbers of school corriculiums, please take the rough of being the 'face of religion in the UK'.".

is not in anyway shown to be fallacious by your statement

Should you care to read the Bible you will see that throughout it presents marriage as one man, one woman, for life, for unitive love and the transmission of life.

That statement is in turn demonstrated to be fallacious by the biblical passages provided above, showing that while my knowledge of the bible is not perfect, I certainly seem to gave a better grasp of book and verse than you, long with the whole logic thing, where the fail-o-meter reads Over 9000 hovinds, when pointed in your direction

27 February 2012 at 09:09  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 February 2012 at 09:13  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 February 2012 at 10:22  
Blogger Zombie Neighbours said...

(not millions)

Since the universe is roughly 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years old, your out by a few years there. Just sayin'.

27 February 2012 at 10:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Zombie,I wont bother responding to all your well rehearsed and rather silly arguments, save one.

Kings David and Solomon are not widely regarded as representing the model of marriage put forward in the Bible.

But then you know that already, don't you?

27 February 2012 at 18:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, I beg to differ. Andrea M W is not 'barking', but is (on this sub-issue, which is not the topic of the Wilberforce Academy course) supported by the science. Would that her opponents were.
Just look at the stats for comparative [male] homosexual rates of: early death, STIs, promiscuity, concurrent and transient relationships, rareness of actual 'monogamy', drug use, pederasty, depression, suicide.

I leave aside the obvious point that 'heterosexual', being normal and being where we all come from, is not comparable to homosexual. In the former case the bodies fit together and bear fruit to attest this. Marriages are able to be consummated. There are so many other reasons why anal intercourse is a no-no (and there is no other contender for a sexual equivalent to normal heterosexual sex): (1) no lubrication, (2) one-cell thickness of rectal lining - dreadfully thin and vulnerable to disease, (3) microfold cells in rectum actively encouraging and enfolding harmful microbes, (4) sphincter signifying exit-not-entrance.

Environment is a key factor in determining self-identification as homosexual. See the progression of Bailey's successive identical twin studies; the fact that homosexuals (like anything else) proliferate in societies where it is an option on the menu and perceived as normal; the fact that incidence rises 7o00-800% (sic) among college-educated women and urban males.

You will notice that the Zeitgeist crowd, who represent today's orthodoxy, never seem to be able to back up their 'position' with chaopter and verse, citation of scientific papers etc.. They ahve already made up their mind before considering the science. But that is illegitimate procedure to any academic. It is pure ideology. It is exactly what Harvard, yale, Oxforrd, Cambridge are most opposed to. Up research and evidence! Down ideology! Best wishes, Dr Christopher Shell.

29 February 2012 at 16:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

typos - 700-800%; Oxford; Yale; chapter; have. CS

29 February 2012 at 16:42  

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