Christian Values 147


Nadira has been refused the hire of our local church hall in Ramsgate for rehearsal because Medea is “Greek” and “Pagan”. I had thought that the Church of England had come fully to terms with the classical world since before Gibbon. And we are talking the church hall, not the church.

It is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion. Promoting intolerance is not what the Church of England is for. It is still an established church – do we really want a state church that bans Euripides? I fear for some reason the CofE feels a need to compete with the lunatic evangelist establishments which attract large congregations and promote miracles, speaking in tongues and other arrant rubbish. Oh dear.


147 thoughts on “Christian Values

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  • Canspeccy

    How funny to hear liberals discussing whether it is OK to use the word “niggardly.” What about “niggle?” And they laugh at people who debated how many angels could dance on the head of pin.
    *
    So what if “niggardly,” reminds some people of the word “nigger?”
    *
    Why don’t we hear liberals discuss why it is not OK to use the word “nigger,” — a firing offense in Britain I believe.
    *
    After all, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
    *
    Well that’s not quite true, but why are particular words deemed intolerably hurtful, when Angrysoba is entire free to call me, falsely as it happens, a probable liar, or a delver into “grubby” revisionist web sites (not that I see why it would be contemptible to delve in such places if one were of a mind to do so. In fact Angry seems to know more about them than I do, suggesting he’s considerably grubbier from such delving than I)?
    *
    Nigger refers merely to skin color. So what’s wrong with the word? I know, obviously, that it has been used contemptuously of American blacks. But it is also used as a term of affection among blacks.
    *
    By criminalizing the use of the term, which refers merely to pigmentation, a completely innocent personal trait, liberals confine its meaning to one of racial abuse. Yet it is perfectly possible to use the term in other ways, or to achieve the same insulting effect by the use of other permitted terms.
    *
    But the criminalization of certain forms of speech is a key aspect of liberal authoritarianism.
    *
    As Suhayl points out with seeming approval, you can say “fuck” to your hearts content — in public, in the presence of young children, in church, probably — and that is fine because it contributes to the general destruction of conservative values.
    *
    But any linguistic restriction that undermines the dominant white groups in Western society seems to be mandatory.
    *
    Liberalism, it appears, is the political embodiment of a movement for the genocide of western nations. Restrictions on free speech are designed to undermine the self-confidence of those who are to be destroyed.

  • anno

    Suhayl

    Going back to your comment that many pagan ideas, Mithraism etc are part of the DNA of Christianity. Yes. And the reason for this is that the Jews of 0 A.D. were economically, culturally, and religiously so far mixed with their neighbours to East and West, that in spite of being ‘the chosen people ‘ they were, as you often point out about today’s Muslims, very diverse in belief.

    That’s why they needed a prophet, i.e. Jesus pbuh and they refused to be brought back to their clear traditional beliefs. One of the churches I have always hated is St Pauls Cathedral. It is absolutely infested with graves, memorials, masonic emblems, war trophies, military memorabilia, and there is very little sign of Christianity itself. There is a tradition in the UK of returning to the simplicity of the Gospel, and the presence of Islam has re-activated this inner searching.

    It is not at all accidental that Nadirah has met resistance about Medea, because Christians have a day to day battle to retain their practise of basic chastity/marriage, without classical paganism adding to the pressure of disbelief. I despair that so many of my children’s generation have drifted from weak Christianity, not to Islam, but to Hinduism. How have we allowed a generation to drift from being people of the book to being outright polytheists. Is it a generational wind-up? Indeed is Nadirah trying to wind up the church? and are you trying to wind-up your own discarded faith?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    How about a action performamce of The Song of Solomon, or, say, the poetry of St Teresa of Avila? Hot stuff, both, and beautifully written as well. The writings of St John of the Cross are some of the best religiously-inspired poetry of all time, in my view. I got hold of their translated works during the 1990s (i.e. before web-stores existed) via the Carmelites in the USA. Now, it is entirely conceivable that the church authorities in Ramsgate would not allow any of this material to be performed! On the other hand, if they are Evangelical… I once knew a beautiful Charismatic Christian who claimed she spoke in tongues (though I never had the honour of witnessing this auspicious spectacle). She was very pro-Israel, as it happens. Ah well.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Anno, well, if one’s inner faith is strong, all the trappings in the world cannot displace or dilute it (one might argue). there is beauty abnd power in simplicity, though, you are right and as you say, peridocially there have been reformist movements in most religions (eg. the Almoravids and then the Almohads in Morocco/Spain; Protestantism in Europe, Salafism in Arabia, Deobandism in South Asia, etc.) and then those have developed other streams, tributaries, oxbows. I find this process facsinating, not to much soemthing to be feared or attacked as studied and drawn-upon: Ebb and flow, an electicity of sorts. The Upanishads are fascinating works; there is much in common b/w them, some of the aspects of Islam which might be described as Sufi, Gnostic Christianity and Jewish mysticism – this idea of a direct connection and of a kind of pantheism. The Hindu Bhakti devotional movement influenced the practice of Islam in South Asia. Unfortunately, in Sindh for example, it has become tied-up with feudalism. That’s the huamn way, it’s a messy conundrum. Perhaps the whole thing is a delusion, as Dawkins et al would argue and yet…

  • anno

    As usual, you bring up art, balderdash and trash to camouflage the fact that you disagree with the clear tenets of Islam. Sufism and mysticism are not even the remotest part of Islam. The only monasticism in Islam is sitting in the mosque, waiting for salaat. Idries Shah, your fellow countryman, apparently used to say that ‘ If I am telling you something right, all well and good, and if I am telling you something wrong, it will provoke you to think and good will come of that as well. ‘

    That is the kind of fudge you also believe passes for Islam. Islam is absolutely clear and specific about everything. No need to diversify, conflagrate, assimilate, decorate or anything. Dawkins is at the same level as Medea, devoid of the concept of God, rules, Creation, afterlife, reward in heaven. He does not, and Medea does not, belong in the same sentence as religion.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “art, balderdash and trash…” Indeed. This conflation is the paradigm of humanity. I celebrate these wondrous things. In the interstices of these thematic shanty-towns are glimmers of possible truth. It is the hard way, the only way. Perfect, easily-conceived truths are too tempting. Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan and religion absolutely do belong in the same sentence. Complexity and paradox, the paradigm. Medea was much-maligned. She is Lilith, Judith, Salome. She is our mother’s mother. Love her, anno, be in love with her. Be her, anno, become her. Leap into the pot and transigure yourself, man!

  • Canspeccy

    Re: Dawkins,
    *
    He is supposed to be some kind of biologist, but he treats religion only in terms of its internal logic, or if he considers its social consequences, he considers only those consequences that clash with his liberal ideology.
    *
    But the significance of religion is in its impact on social welfare and survival. Any evolutionary biologist incapable of recognizing (a) that man has an innate propensity for religion, which is manifest even in atheistic societies, and that (b) the nature of religious belief prevalent in a society impacts that society’s prospects of survival, is completely incompetent or thoroughly dishonest.
    *
    Dawkins, I suspect, is so puffed up with pride in his atheistic liberalism that his ignorance of the obvious biological significance of religion is due solely to blindness not dishonesty. Professionally, however, it is inexcusably incompetent.

    • evgueni

      “”
      .
      It is not obvious (to evolutionary biologists/psychologists). Alternative hypotheses exist, e.g. one put forward by Dawkins himself of ideas, including religious ideas, being the self-replicating entities (“memes”) – in effect ‘replicators’ that exist and compete with each other in the environment that is the human mind. A sort of disturbing side-effect of having a mind that evolved for other purposes. One can see how this hypothesis can offend people with religious convictions.
      .
      You appear to be proposing that religion acts in a group selection context, helping whole societies prevail on evolutionary time scale. Group selection theorists have had a difficult time in making their hypotheses stick, although there has been some renewed interest in these in recent years. Dawkins and other evolutionary biologists remain unconvinced, but perhaps as you say they are ideologically driven to ignore the obvious and it is in fact you who is at the cutting edge of evolutionary science. Perhaps not being overly familiar with Dawkins’s work has helped you in this regard?
      .
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_selection
      .
      PS> Jon, Clark – thumbs up!

  • anno

    Suhayl

    Islam forbids interest and if you disregard that ruling, you end up with the mess we are in. If I be Medea, what will happen?
    The twits of the aristocracy in the 18th century built copies of the pagan world, to differentiate themselves from Christian moral teaching. Be Medea, be an encloser of common land.

    The Thatcher era did the same, grinding down moral values in order to enclose the common wealth of Britain. Greece is still being asked to privatise its assets , in spite of all the evidence that it will cost more to pay for privatised services in the long run. So it’s pretty clear who’s calling the shots and who’s got the money to buy the national assets, the bastards who stole it from our banks a couple of years ago and who have been ratcheting up the commodity markets with our money since then.

    People who don’t like sexual morality fail to understand that the opponents of financial morality use the sweetener of non-Judaeo-Christian-Islamic to deceive us into turning a blind eye to their inordinate public stealing. There you have the definition of liberal, one who is easily persuaded to turn a blind eye to major wrongdoing, in exchange for personal freedom, and who cries foul about the wrongdoing as if they hadn’t realised what the consequences would be of their previous condoning.
    Pfffhh! Complexity, paradox, paradigm. Self-deceit more likely. Like the strange instinct of cats and dogs to flick earth over their own excretions.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    You are Medea in more ways than you realise, anno. Indeed, I feel that Medea would be proud of you and would enfold you in her bosom. Set your prow for Colchis, man! But avoid Saakasvili, for he is the offspring of Medusa. Conflating all world-views with which you disagree with Thatcherism is an elision worthy of the goddess, Hera. Or possibly, of the Sirens.

  • Jon

    CanSpeccy:
    .
    > How funny to hear liberals discussing whether it is OK to use the word “niggardly.”
    .
    You brought it up, so it is strange to see that you think it is odd that I might be discussing it. I think this is what Angrysoba meant when he described you “twisting and turning like a twisty turny thing”. On the one hand you want to blame liberalism for making it impossible to use the word “niggardly”, but when you find that some liberals actually disapprove of such a ban, you move on to the next thing liberals are at fault for.

  • anno

    Thatcher reintroduced the poll tax and started the process of strangling legislation by government which means that nine-tenths of the cost of everything goes on meeting legislation. She dug out the poll tax to remind us that progress is reversible, paving the way for the removal of rights from prisoners whose religion differs from your own. She re-instituted nepotism to historical proportions of royalty, which made it respectable in governments across the Arab world.
    When the time comes, I hope they dump her body from a long-distance space craft, like Usamah, to stop people venerating her grave. By the way, you can worship cat-gods in the pyramids if you know who to pay.

  • Canspeccy

    Re: “How funny to hear liberals discussing whether it is OK to use the word “niggardly.”

    What’s funny is that you actually feel the need to discuss the issue.
    *
    It’s completely nuts.
    *
    But the case I referred to provides an excellent example of the arbitrary and insane way political correctness is used to bludgeon people into a state of anxiety and outright fear about expressing themselves publicly.
    *
    And endorsing Angrysoba’s insults only confirms your total unfitness to be a moderator, except possibly on Craig Murray’s site, which is clearly intended to serve a propaganda objective not to provide an objective discussion of reality.

  • CheebaCow

    Suhayl;
    I’m glad you raised the Upanishads. Despite being raised in a benignly Christian household, I was a militant atheist (now maybe Spinoza*ish*) until I first encountered the mystic philosophy found in the Upanishads and other Indian texts. The idea that each person could personally experience, know and even be ‘God’ was a revolutionary idea for me. These mystic texts contain so many concepts about the universe and the divine that simply don’t exist in the West, that I would recommend them to anyone who has an interest in ideas, whether the person is religious or not.
    .
    The Bible makes much more sense when read symbolically rather than literally, and the Upanishads provided me with many new concepts which allowed for new interpretations. Reading traditional Christian texts with a more mystic interpretation made them much more comprehensible to me. However like you said, the world is complex and full of paradoxes. The gnostic Christian texts also include stories of a 5 year old Jesus walking around murdering other children. The pinnacle of Buddhist mysticism, Tibet, could be a very brutal place to live. The Dalai Lama isn’t really cool with gay people. These facts clash somewhat with the modern mystic hippy commonly found in California.
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    Never understood the all the hate that Sufism gets from parts of the Muslim world.
    .
    Not a fan on Dawkins at all. His theory doesn’t offend me in the slightest, but his style certainly does. An arsehole is an arsehole regardless of what they believe. I’ve seen him engage in intellectual dishonesty equal to that displayed by some he criticises. Also his understanding of religion is so narrow that his theory fails to address much of reality.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Cheeba Cow. I agree. As I said, Sufism in Sindh, Pakistan, has become tied-up with feudal stagnation and oppression, so ‘mysticism’ is not necessarily the liberating/liberal force it’s recently (and actually since C19th in Western Romantic thought) been portrayed as. Wrt California, think also of Charles Manson. Irrationality, if allowed to lead, can become extremely dangerous. Symbolism (religious texts should all be read in this way – and indeed some other texts as well) is symbolism and must not be confused with the physical world as we know it; to do so is merely another form of literalism. I do not think, for example, that plugging mysticism will solve the problems of, say, Pakistan. And those who seem to suggest otherwise are usually trying to avoid the obvious wrt wealth and land, literacy, health, etc. Sufism gets hate (as opposed the above-type of measured critique) only from those postmodern idealogues who might be termed, ‘Islamist’, not really from anyone else in the Muslim world. The Islamists have very loud and angry voices, millions of Kalashnikovs and trillions of petrodollars at their disposal, and so, sadly, this is what those in Muslim countries/communities and those in the rest of the world tend to hear. But maybe now the tables are beginning to turn towards the rational but in a new paradigm, perhaps; in the end, real liberation will come only through this.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Anno, wrt Thatcher, I agree 100%. Cat Gods in the pyramids – yes, I can just see it! If one wants to have (even more) nightmares about Margaret Thatcher, if one can bear it, I would recommend the film, ‘The Marriage of Maria Braun’; the facial affectations of the protagonist bear an uncanny resemblance to the (post-Saatchi-and-Saatchi) Thatcher. I am convinced that Saatchi-and-Saatchi based their construction of the Thatcher cyborg on this 1979 film. I hear that Merryl Streep (a talented actress whose often ‘precious’ style I find a little irritating at times) is starring in a movie about Thatcher; my first thought on hearing the news about this was that I wanted to smash a brick. I fear I know (I hope I’m wrong) just what a mainnstream American take on Thatcher is likely to be like. Now, for added nightmares, anno, and anyone else with an iron constitution, check this out; usual prefixes (I apologise in advance for any detrimental effect on the psyche which may accrue from gazing at this image):
    guardian.co.uk/film/2011/feb/08/meryl-streep-margaret-thatcher-iron-lady

  • anno

    Suhayl, Maggie was already made-over by the comparison with war-criminal Blair before being made-over by Streep, and Blair is currently being made-over by comparison with Cameron.

    A statue of my M.P, Liam Byrne has been placed in the mosque being built behind my house. At least, asking him to speak at the opening of the mosque is as much about patronage as the triumphal statues in St. Pauls Cathedral. There is room for many glorious displays of British heroism in Iraq and Afghanistan around the rows for prayer, and St Pauls is full.

    I wonder if Nadirah thought the play’s name was Media, or did she just think paganism was the British way of doing things?

  • anno

    Sufism, far from being plugged, has been reinvented as Islamism. Instead of having a pir /saint, you now have to dedicate yourself to a neo-Moghal like Usama bin Laden. Same as I had to learn to love the taste of beer and believe in the Eucharist, when I came into Islam I had to learn to believe in deriving benefit from saints and convert my mind to the benefits of terrorism.
    I know that the only reason my God gave me the gift of Islam is because of my nasty habit of telling the truth. I find very little evidence of truth-telling amongst Muslims. Rationality depends on telling the truth, garbage in, garbage out. Can’t see it breaking out soon in the Muslim world myself.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, I know what you mean, anno. I hate to see the bullet-holed military flags of imperium hanging in churches, I think it’s repulsive. Patronage, indeed, good point. I find those tedious events; august, platitudinous speeches about this and that, community halls replete with aspirational people all clad in the same, grey suits and with identical hair-styles, the shiny black shoes, the fizzy drinks in two-litre plastic bottles, the transparent plastic cups, the womens’ court shoes, the irascible janitors, the pompous patriarchy, the pebble-dashing, the profound mediocrity of the civic dance; also make me want to break a brick. Medea, or Media? Good one. Cauldrons… Yet I’d prefer a genuine witch to a cash ‘n carry councillor, any day.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Odd, I posted a comment, which didn’t seem to go thru’, then when I tried to post it again, it came up as ‘duplicate comment’. Maybe it’ll appear after a delay… wait for it…

    • Jon

      Fixed – just got stuck in the moderation queue. This thing has a mind of its own!

  • Jon

    Anno wrote:
    .
    > I despair that so many of my children’s generation have drifted from weak
    > Christianity, not to Islam, but to Hinduism. How have we allowed a generation
    > to drift from being people of the book to being outright polytheists?
    .
    So, just out of interest, Islam is better than Hinduism, then?

  • Canspeccy

    “So, CanSpeccy, you were caught telling untruths about Katyn”

    Not so. Which is why Angrysoba provides no support for his claim.

    But what we see here is Liberal democracy at work in all its glory, i.e., soft totalitarianism. A state where speech is free as long as it not only politically correct but also sounds politically correct (no niggling or niggardlyness here, please, we’re liberals).

  • anno

    Jon, which is better, worshipping the Creator directly, or worshipping Him through a created being which has no power to hear, no power to pass on a message and no power to change any thing?

  • Canspeccy

    Evgeni: has a good put-down
    *
    “but perhaps as you say they are ideologically driven to ignore the obvious and it is in fact you who is at the cutting edge of evolutionary science.”
    *
    Yes, very good, except I didn’t know Dawkins was exactly at the cutting edge of anything.
    *
    He’s a professor of the communication of science or something. As for his idea about memes, it seems pretty daft to me — like, nobody has a brain, they just absorb ideas through contact without any reflection whatever. Some truth no doubt. See a billboard that says “drinka, pinta, milka day” a few times and soon you’re drinking almost a gallon a week. But when it comes to issues of life and death, some of us think some of the time.
    *
    As for my lowly competence to judge anything so challenging as the liberal view on religion as it relates to evolutionary biology, all I will say is that I graduated in biology with the faculty prize — first in a class of more than 100 — I worked as a scientist for three governments, and I held academic appointments at three universities. In fact, for a while, I held three faculty positions at the same time, one paid, two honorary.
    *
    True that was long ago. Before I saw the futility of academia and became a productive self-employed person.

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