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Faith in Britain today - Comments

aleprechaunist's Avatar Comment 1 by aleprechaunist

I got as far as 'the clarity of its theology', then noticed that this is rather a long article...

Thu, 08 May 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #167932

stephenray's Avatar Comment 2 by stephenray

Interesting that the best illustration he can find is of what a baby learns by looking at his mother.
Some babies, of course, grow up and find out that their mother is far from being perfect love.
Some babies never even get that look from their mother right from day 1.
And of course all babies grow up to understand that life is considerably more complex than they could possibly have imagined when they were three years old, never mind three minutes.
If believers (of all ages) would grow up to understand that life is considerably more complex than their silly books tell them, maybe humankind would become rather more mature than the believers would like us to be.

Thu, 08 May 2008 11:32:00 UTC | #167934

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 4 by Quetzalcoatl

This pompous blowhard. This was the guy talking about Frankenstein half-human half-animal embryos regarding stem cell research. Well, let's see what he has to say.

Thu, 08 May 2008 11:34:00 UTC | #167938

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 3 by Rawhard Dickins


Thu, 08 May 2008 11:34:00 UTC | #167937

Noodly's Avatar Comment 5 by Noodly

The BBC cuts through the waffle to neatly summarize this as "'Respect atheists', says Cardinal":

Thu, 08 May 2008 11:43:00 UTC | #167942

michabo's Avatar Comment 6 by michabo

'Pope Benedict knows,' he said, 'that religion is about truth and not social cohesion.' A very accurate remark I think.

Pretty much sums up the article. A lot of self-congratulatory twaddle which boils down to two points:

- it's sure hard believing in God when the evidence is against you

- it would sure be nice if God really did exist, so let's just just say God exists. There, doesn't that feel better?

Time for a bit less of this faith BS and a little more rational thought.

Thu, 08 May 2008 11:43:00 UTC | #167943

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 7 by Apathy personified

As a favour, i'm translated the middle part of this lecture for everyone.

'Athiests, it's not you, it's us, please come home, we've been complacent, we know, but honestly, we can change, and this time we really mean it.'

Sounds like me trying to stop ex-girlfriends ending relationships, no it never works.

For those of you wondering, the lecture is the same BS, with the attempt at a cheap cologne to disguise the rank smell.

Thu, 08 May 2008 11:54:00 UTC | #167946

jiujitstheist's Avatar Comment 8 by jiujitstheist

A veritable cornucopia of self-indulgent blather.
No pudding for him.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:05:00 UTC | #167952

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 9 by Mr Blue Sky

Why post this drivel from this lunatic?

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:07:00 UTC | #167955

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 10 by Don_Quix

Blah Blah Blabbity Blah Our Father Blah Blabbity Blah Who Art In Heaven Blabbity Blah Blah Blah ahhhhh STUFF IT!

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:11:00 UTC | #167959

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 11 by Cartomancer

The Wisdom writings of the Old Testament are permeated by Greek philosophical ideas. And why not?
Tsk tsk Cormac, would those be the very same wisdom writings your own church confirmed as apocryphal at the council of Trent in 1545?

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:12:00 UTC | #167961

Demotruk's Avatar Comment 12 by Demotruk


At least maybe Catholics will look on atheists as less evil in times to come?

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:13:00 UTC | #167962

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 13 by Quetzalcoatl

In this lecture I want to give a personal perspective on Faith in Britain today. And I do so with humility

Anyone who SAYS they're talking with humility is unlikely to be very humble.

No one generates their own faith: it always comes to us through the goodness, example and insight of others: that is the meaning of tradition and the roots of this tradition lie in the goodness, example and insight of our Lord Jesus, God's Word made flesh, the Jewish tradition on which he draws and the Christian tradition which he creates by his risen presence.

I can name some other religions that might disagree with this.

Christ is the Lord of human time, active in all of human history.

Er, no he isn't. Ask the Sumerians.

One of the aims of the Christian religion is to create and foster a culture and society in which human beings flourish and God is glorified by his presence in a holy people. Because the Word becomes flesh and makes his home among us, the human community is to become a dwelling place for God: that's the Christian vision of society and it is why the Gospel must find a dwelling place in the social and cultural order.

And by "dwelling place" he means shape and dominate it.

and we must not allow Britain to become a world devoid of religious faith and its powerful contribution to the common good

What contribution is this?

Have you ever met anyone who believes what Richard Dawkins doesn't believe in? I usually find that the God that is being rejected by such people is a God I don't believe in either. I simply don't recognise my faith in what is presented by these critics as Christian faith.

No true Scotsman.

God is why the world is at all, the goodness, truth and love that flows into an astonishingly complex and beautiful cosmos, and we are the part of that cosmos, consciously and freely open to goodness, truth and love; and we are frustrated when this openness is blocked. We are designed for ultimate meaning and purpose, unrestricted truth and love: that is why Julian Barnes, atheist though he may declare himself, 'misses' God. God is at the heart of every person. And until that is acknowledged, we will always feel his absence.

What rubbish.

The challenge confronting the Church today is, as always, how best to communicate the richness and newness of the Gospel message to the people of our country

Newness? It's 2000 years old!

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:14:00 UTC | #167963

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 14 by Cartomancer

I took a break from translating patristic literature to read that. To be honest I found it hard to mark the changeover.

And at the end of it all I find myself chuckling merrily away. He starts off by saying that the catholic church embraces reason completely, but finishes by saying that reason alone will only take you away from believing in god and you simply have to take that bit on faith, concentrating instead on things that everybody thinks are important and pretending they are therefore especially relevant to your religion. His deployment of Aquinas (Summa contra Gentiles I believe) is especially telling:

'The divine substance,' Aquinas says, 'surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is.
How anyone with a basic grasp of epistemology and the knowledge of modern science at his disposal could take this as recommending belief in the imponderable I am at a loss to fathom. Even Aquinas eventually realised that god's existence was ultimately a matter which rested on faith alone, gave up and refused to write any further. I like to think he died more than a few steps down the road to atheism.

To reconcile faith and reason, you need to have a good reason why faith is a valid approach to the truth. No sect has ever produced one - the catholic church most certainly hasn't - so in the end they just retreat to the warm, emotive fuzziness of their unreasoned prior convictions.

If this is the best they have to offer I can see christianity in Britain dead and buried before I am. Now there is a thought to give one hope...

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:21:00 UTC | #167965

Dinah's Avatar Comment 15 by Dinah

A God who can be spoken of comfortably and clearly by human beings cannot be the true God. Si comprehendis, non est Deus, said St Augustine: 'if you understand, it is not God'. I wonder if we Christians have led people to think that it is easy to talk about God and to think that we know clearly what we are talking about.

Er, no you haven't.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:28:00 UTC | #167970

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 16 by Richard Dawkins

I was sent this speech by the BBC, and asked to go on the radio tomorrow morning (Today Programme) to talk about it. I can't decide whether it is worth doing. I find it astonighing that anybody could spend 5000 words saying absolutely nothing of substance.

Do people think it is worth bothering to go on the radio to talk about it?


Thu, 08 May 2008 12:29:00 UTC | #167971

AllanW's Avatar Comment 17 by AllanW

Richard, in my opinion you should do the programme. But use this non-speech as just a hanger for the points you might like to make. How radical this mans pronouncements have been lately and how disturbing it is that he has tried to use his religious organisation to coerce politicians into anti-scientific votes in the House of Commons may be just a few things to mention but I'm sure you have many more apposite ones yourself. After all, this is what the politicians who go on the programme do all the time :)

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:33:00 UTC | #167972

the way's Avatar Comment 18 by the way

I smell the whiff of desperation. Mullahs, imams (and those nice atheists) are right on your tail. Who are you going to appease/plead to hoping to be eaten last?
If all else fails, just turn nasty and fight back.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:33:00 UTC | #167973

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 20 by Cartomancer

Do people think it is worth bothering to go on the radio to talk about it?
That someone who carries the respect of a significant portion of the public can stand up and say absolutely nothing of substance for that long, then receive the warm appreciation of said public for the apparent reasonableness of his words, is a travesty that deserves speaking out against in my opinion.

A lot of people, I suspect, will go away from this thinking that it is profound rather than facile. It might also be a good opportunity to call out the catholics on their hypocrisy regarding homosexuality, stem cell research, abortion, AIDS in Africa and the rest. In fact Cormac himself has been instrumental in opposing progress on all these things in the House of Lords in recent years. This man speaks for an organisation that has done untold harm to human society through its misguided pontifications, yet speaks as if it is unquestionably benign and helpful - and benign and helpful precisely because it offers a substitute for reason in social and community matters.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:40:00 UTC | #167978

Geodesic17's Avatar Comment 19 by Geodesic17

This article looks like a maze of theological rambling that I do not have the patience to navigate through.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:40:00 UTC | #167977

BNCbright's Avatar Comment 21 by BNCbright

I understand the words... just.


Thu, 08 May 2008 12:42:00 UTC | #167979

SRWB's Avatar Comment 22 by SRWB


Such theistic drivel needs to be countered with logic and reality, and you're the man to do it.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:43:00 UTC | #167981

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 23 by Peacebeuponme

Richard Dawkins

Do people think it is worth bothering to go on the radio to talk about it?
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor once said (of The Da Vinci Code):

"There is a real danger that people will believe this fairy story."

Enough said for me. He's really not worth talking about seriously.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:44:00 UTC | #167983

stevencarrwork's Avatar Comment 24 by stevencarrwork

What pompous waffle the man talks!

'God is said by Christian theology to be ineffable, beyond our categories and thought capacity. '

Beyond our categories?

Just to show how incapable of holding a thought in his mind he is, he also writes ' believe in the God revealed to us by Jesus, who is the father who forgives us, accepts us, and loves us.'

So God is beyond our categories and can be categories as a father who forgives us...

It is a waste of time expecting leading Christian intellectuals to produce a logical train of thought.

' For Paul these are positive glimpses of truth of a God who surpasses human categories, both in his transcendent otherness and in the radical closeness to humanity he establishes'

Radical closeness? Transcendent otherness.

This is just gibberish. Simply spouting meaningless syllables.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:46:00 UTC | #167985

Ciraric's Avatar Comment 25 by Ciraric

I agree with Richard. Nothing is said here.

Mainly because he says at the beginning that Christianity is about truth and not social cohesion but then (on the very next line!) says that Christianity is a "social" thing.

I am astounded! Honestly, I was told that he was an intelligent thinker but now I see his logical fallacies and mistakes for what they are - bad logic.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:47:00 UTC | #167987

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 26 by Gregg Townsend

That was a difficult read.

As always, the interesting question about atheism is 'what is the theism that is being denied?' Have you ever met anyone who believes what Richard Dawkins doesn't believe in? I usually find that the God that is being rejected by such people is a God I don't believe in either. I simply don't recognise my faith in what is presented by these critics as Christian faith.
It might be nice if someone pointed out that it's not necessary to believe in not-belief.


Thu, 08 May 2008 12:48:00 UTC | #167988

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 27 by Sargeist

It's not just me, thank goodness: This is just pages and pages of meaninglessness.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:48:00 UTC | #167989

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 29 by Frankus1122

Richard, I would do the show, but unlike AllanW's suggestion, I would answer specific points made by the Archbisop. I am aware that politicians take a question asked and manipulate it to make whatever point they wish. This infuriates me.

Address the points made by the Archbisop directly.

You cannot use reason and logic to say that faith is beyond reason and logic and that therefore it is something in which we should put our trust.
There is a great deal of fuzzy thinking that needs to be brought into the light.
If there is no good reason to believe something then the obvious answer is not to believe it.
Morality, good works, social cohesion can all be seen as pluses for religion in some circumstances (if you ignore a lot of bad stuff). However, it does not make God any more believable. This is a point that needs to be made.

I say take every opportunity to get the truth out there.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:50:00 UTC | #167991

Dinah's Avatar Comment 28 by Dinah

I find it astonishing that anybody could spend 5000 words saying absolutely nothing of substance.

Well, he's had plenty of practice I suppose. And he assures us with characteristic puffery that he does it 'with great humility'.

Yes, please go on the programme, if you can bear to. I just long for these pompous clerical windbags to be deflated just a little.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:50:00 UTC | #167990

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 30 by Apathy personified

Richard, I think you are absolutely right, there is nothing in this lecture that hasn't been said before, obvious by the fact that the only people who have been alive for the last 500 years who he mentions are you, some British Rabbi, Ratzinger and John Paul II.
Almost as if his organisation lives in the past.....

I always think it's worth putting your viewpoint accross, especially after such a thinly vieled attempt to appear like the friendly neighbourhood church trying to love it's evil athiest opponents.

Thu, 08 May 2008 12:51:00 UTC | #167992