Faith School Menace? Richard Dawkins denounces religious education as ‘wicked practice’

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, the UK’s most prominent atheist, will today call on Ofsted to force faith schools to bring religious education into the national curriculum. Professor Dawkins said that the move would be the first step in ending what he calls the “wicked” practice of inculcating children with religious belief, as he steps up his campaign against religious education with a film that calls for the abolition of faith schools.

But in an interview with The Times, he made a striking admission — far from condemning parents who fake belief in order to get their children into a good school, he even could imagine doing so himself.

In Faith School Menace?, the evolutionary biologist argues that faith schools are socially divisive and educationally damaging. Citing the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where almost all schools are sectarian, he says: “If it wasn’t for religion, and especially religious education going on down the generations, you wouldn’t have a label by which to know who to oppress.”

He told The Times that his visit to Madani High School, an Islamic school in Leicester, revealed the educational dangers of faith schooling. “When I talked to a handful of girls and to their science teacher I was really shocked to discover that every single one of them rejected evolution because when in doubt they would always put the Koran ahead of science.”

Professor Dawkins said that the end of faith-based education would mean “religion would be taught in a comparative way according to a national curriculum, not indoctrination”.

The solution, he said, was straightforward: “Faith schools should not be allowed to opt to out of religious education. Yet they are given this free pass to do religious education in their own way, which is not inspected by Ofsted.” He added: “Many people want to send their children to faith schools because they get good exam results but they’re not foolish enough to believe that it’s because of faith that they get good exam results.” Anecdotes of parents suddenly discovering God shortly before school admissions season are certainly common, and Professor Dawkins is sympathetic.

“I don’t want to cast any blame on them. It’s hypocrisy that is imposed on them by a ridiculous and unjust system. It’s something that taxpayers shouldn’t be tolerating.” In fact, if he were in the same situation, he might be tempted to do the same thing.

“Since I have absolutely no belief at all, I wouldn’t be betraying anything,” he said.

Faith School Menace? will be broadcast as part of Richard Dawkins’s Age of Reason season tonight on More4 at 9pm

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266 Responses to “Faith School Menace? Richard Dawkins denounces religious education as ‘wicked practice’”

  1. denis Says:

    richard strutts around like a catholic priest of old. he is not anti-religeous he is pro his religeon. children should be only thought liberalism. what a joke.

  2. polite Says:

    Denis,

    He recommends children are given the tools to think critically and independently. So that when the reach an age at which they can understand the theological teachings (that they are otherwise being indoctrinated into), they can then make their own mind up thoughtfully and thoroughly.

  3. jason cook Says:

    As Dawkins has said much more stridently elsewhere, it is a form of child abuse this religious inculcation of children. Children will be the last to be emancipated from the dogmatic beliefs of their parents and I hope programs like this go a long way to help.

  4. Sophie Says:

    I’ve just watched this. I’ve always perceived faith schools as generally benign. But Dawkins makes his case very well. I’m convinced.

    We wouldn’t accept schools teaching racism as fact. Neither should we permit – let alone pay for – schools promoting what is essentially faith tribalism.

    The girls in the Islamic school were being taught things as science that simply weren’t true. This is wholly unacceptable. And it’s not just an Islamic issue. The report on Northern Ireland’s education system made my blood run cold. If you allow one faith school you have to allow them all – which is why I agree with Richard Dawkins that they must all go.

  5. Phoebs Says:

    I do wonder what are the implications for our own CofE and RCC schools. Whom generally are the best schools for producing educationally sound and societally well rounded individuals.

    I think that these are also regarded as ‘faith’ schools.

  6. Sophie Says:

    @ Phoebs: That’s the trouble. As the report made clear, if the state supports CofE schools it must also support minority faith schools. To do otherwise would be discriminatory.

    He also demonstrated that in some parts of the country atheist parents have no choice: all the local schools are faith schools. That’s not fair either.

    It was his argument that if we fund any type of faith school we’re obliged to have all faith schools that convinced me.

  7. David Booth Says:

    Schools which maintain our Christian heritage and culture are important if we want to have a society which is well founded spiritually in the Christian faith.
    Withdrawing ‘faith schools’ will result in great damage to the (Christian) spiritual wellfare of our nation into the coming generation. It will not affect for instance the continuing Islamic education of muslims, because that will just continue in the home and the mosque. The loser in withdrawing ‘faith schools’ will only be the Christian community.

    Dawkins assertion that Christian upbringing and education is ‘divisive’ is misleading in the extreme. He cites extreme examples of Northern Ireland sectarianism, to try to support his pre-conceived and prejudiced views, and then offers them as ‘proof’ that ‘closes his case’! He offered no evidence at all that for instance, CoE schools were in some way ‘divisive’ in society…and its not hard to see why! They aren’t! He ‘conveniently’ neglected to say that a large proportion of CoE schools have admissions policies that admit non Christian pupils, but instead found a reported case of a child who was not admitted to a ‘faith school’ on the basis of not being Christian.
    The answer to any problems about children not being admitted to a ‘faith school’ is to ensure that they have an alternative that suits their particular ethos or persuasion, not attacking faith schools as a ‘menace’ – somewhat hypocritical for Dawkins who by his own admission benefitted from a school that endorsed the Christian faith and teaching.
    The man interviewed about faith schools performance was not at all impressive in his supposed “explanations”. He even admitted that part of their success was due to the ethos and principles of the parents encouragement etc… but this merely proves the point that faith does help! As for Dawkins claim that ‘God didn’t help children pass exams’, this is a statement of his own personal belief and not a factual statement. Although it would of course be hard to prove that God helps children in education, he offers no evidence to support his claim that God doesn’t.
    Like all films of this type, those who are already predisposed to wanting the end of faith and faith schools, will jump to the new ‘evidence’ that Dawkin’s claims, with little care about whether he is correct or not.

  8. Sophie Says:

    @ David Booth: You write “Withdrawing ‘faith schools’ will result in great damage to the (Christian) spiritual wellfare of our nation into the coming generation. It will not affect for instance the continuing Islamic education of muslims, because that will just continue in the home and the mosque. ”

    I’m puzzled. Why would this particularly affect children from Christian families? Why wouldn’t their faith education “just continue” in the home and the church? Surely this is the same for Christians as for Muslims? My children learn their values more from home than anywhere else.

    I think you miss the point that if the state is to fund faith schools it must be even-handed. It is this argument that convinces me.

  9. Phoebs Says:

    I think you miss the point that if the state is to fund faith schools it must be even-handed. It is this argument that convinces me.

    This is the problem, the ethos and education of CofE and RCC schools are very good, but the extreme faith schools are not. It is too late to discrimate, so perhaps Dawkins is right.

    Although one possible solution is for the government to ensure that funding is only given to those faith schools where the national cirriculum is taught. This is not a stipulation of any faith school, as they can teach what they like.

  10. Phoebs Says:

    Just to add, the cirriculum is taught in CofE schools.

  11. BartiDdu Says:

    @ David Booth wrote: “The man interviewed about faith schools performance was not at all impressive in his supposed “explanations”. He even admitted that part of their success was due to the ethos and principles of the parents encouragement etc… but this merely proves the point that faith does help!”

    How does this prove that faith helps? The same thing happens with Welsh language schools in Wales. Parents who care little for their children’s education (whose children are less likely to do well) will send them wherever is most convenient whereas those who do care, if they don’t send their kids to a church school are likely to send them to a Welsh Language school. Even though many come from non-Welsh-speaking homes they’re likely to do better than average. Some might argue the fact of learning another language makes the difference but I just think it’s the self-perpetuating bringing together of kids whose parents care. Same goes for Church schools. Take away the Church status and we have an even playing ground.

    If anything, by my understanding of the research David Booth refers to, it indicates this phenomenon is less of a factor than I had previously thought. But far from supporting David Booth’s point, I think it weakens it.

    BDd

  12. Sophie Says:

    @ BartiDdu: As you say, it’s the parents’ motivation and everything that goes with it that makes the difference. I thought the strong link between parental interest and educational achievement was well known. Statistically speaking, though, of course it’s not true for every child.

    It’s for this reason that kids at faith schools or, as you say, Welsh language schools, tend to do better.

    The issue appears to be that if schools of all faiths must be allowed on the basis of equality, then some of these schools will teach pseudoscience. Indeed the teaching of pseudoscience is one of their main functions. It’s because some parents want their children taught things that diverge very radically from the NC that these schools exist.

  13. David Booth Says:

    The reason such propositions would almost entirely affect Christian faith and no other, relates to the nature of the Christian communities as opposed to other faith communities. At this point in our history, there is in some parts of established church and loosely, Christian associated backgrounds, a meltdown, both of passing on Christian teaching and traditions and of church attendance. Traditionally, it was correct to say that Christian education and nurturing took place first and foremost at home ‘officially’ at least! However, this began declining since the 1950′s and has continued to the present where church attendance is now only a minority of those whose heritage is traditionally, Christian.
    However, for other faiths, there is still a stronger cultural tradition associated with the faith, that transmits the faith teachings in the mosque, the synagogue, or the temple. There has been a shift away of the uk culture, from its Christian traditions and practice. This has not been the case in other faith communities to the same degree, at all.
    Therefore, Dawkins propositions would only target the Christian faith and communities and those communities whose heritage has naturally fed the church with members.

    Therefore, in essence, although you may claim that Dawkins propositions were ‘even handed’, the effect of them would not be at all ‘even’, but would have the effect of depriving the UK community of its religious heritage.

  14. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Sophie says: “It’s because some parents want their children taught things that diverge very radically from the NC that these schools exist.”

    I don’t think it is. The Christian schools exist because of the interwoven history of church and education in the UK from the 5th Century (see St Illtyd’s monastery). It’s Labour’s multiculturalist ideal (and fear of offending anybody) that created these new hotbeds of indoctrination. Dawkins has said plenty of times he considers CoE to be the ‘most benign’ but I don’t think he helped his case in the long run by ignoring the fact that huge numbers go through these schools largely unscathed – and that many CoE schools embrace opening their doors to other faiths as pointed out by Rev’d Janina Ainsworth (http://churchmousepublishing.blogspot.com/2010/08/exclusive-faith-school-menace-by-revd.html).

    This however doesn’t take away from his valid points about the limited choice for irreligious parents.

    And the N. Ireland sectarianism combined with the shocking, but hardly unsurprising revelations from the Muslim school bring the problem and the issues to the fore so it then becomes a matter of principles.

    My position is thus: If we agree children should have free education then it is the state’s responsibility to protect them in their vulnerability. I agree with Dawkins that means teaching about religions but not teaching religion. So schools need, in order to continue to receive public funding, to drop their faith aspect.

    I don’t believe we (Government) have a right to intervene with children being indoctrinated at home (it’s not in the same league as physical or mental child abuse – against which they need protection) and if the parents want to continue this in their education I don’t think the state should prohibit them from paying for it. BUT they shouldn’t get it at the taxpayer’s expense.

    BDd

  15. David Booth Says:

    BartiDdu
    in answer to your question, it suggests that faith helps! It is the faith of the parents that has contributed to their children’s success! Parents who are active in their Christian faith, are highly motivated to ensure their children’s success in both education and spirituality. What you should recognise, is that faith and spiritual wholeness contribute vastly to a child’s estimation of their personal value, responsibility and accountability. It is the absence of these, that contribute so much to the unruly behaviour of children on our streets displaying disrespect for adults, scant regard for people’s property and little care or consideration for anyone except themselves. Small wonder, that such children, end up engaging in crime and populating our prisons as adults. Even from amongst non religious middle classes, children lacking Christian education can be observed having little consideration for others. There are of course children from any background that are caring and considerate, but it is worth noting that Christian culture and traditions when adopted in the past, have contributed to children’s good social behaviour, which is now generally lacking in society.
    Regarding parents who encourage their children with Welsh language, I believe you will find that they also have a Christian tradition and faith which they adhere to more firmly than their English counterparts. Therefore, both of these factors may well be working together, there. Those who value their cultural traditions, may well value their Christian faith traditions at the same time.
    There is no ‘need’ to take away Church schools and it would be inconsistent with the rights of parents to educate children in the way they see fit and this includes in the school community. Schools are there to serve the parents not teach an alternative ethos to their children. If some re-organisation is needed for practical access, then that’s acceptable, but provide Church schools for parents who wish their children to have this education. Those who don’t, should have the type of school of their choice.

  16. BartiDdu Says:

    @ David Booth, I disagree with most of what you write yet you write in a way that I feel inclined to respond. I hope you and the others don’t mind me making this a long one!

    First is your point that I think most vividly illustrates how different your outlook is to mine – and I don’t think it’s essence is Christianity values versus secularism.

    You write: “Schools are there to serve the parents.”
    I couldn’t disagree more. Neither are they there to fill the pews – as you all but admit you believe. They are there to serve the children. They are there to assist in their transition to adulthood. They are there to teach fundamental skills and more importantly, an inquisitive reason-based outlook on life.

    You imply schools also need to teach values, specifically Christian values in order that children grow into responsible, considerate adults. I understand that is derived from the Christian’s faith that morality depends on God – your God. It doesn’t consider that morality may be part of our nature – that it may not even need to be ‘taught’ in terms of being told what’s good and what’s evil. Plenty of research indicates the essentials of right and wrong are easily worked out by youngsters being given an opportunity to consider them. It’s not a big deal. They don’t need inculcation of carefully filtered ancient texts. Far from it. They need a critical mind – and I don’t see faith as being helpful in that respect.

    Yes there are problems with unsocial behaviour and many have the impression it is worse than it used to be. If it has got worse then, yes, it has correlated with the weakening of the churches in the UK as you describe but is this necessarily causal? And even if it is, I can see no reason to take the big leap and to assume that more Christian education would reverse this.

    You said: ” it is worth noting that Christian culture and traditions when adopted in the past, have contributed to children’s good social behaviour”. It is also worth taking a quick peak at the unjustifiable suffering in the centuries of Christian societies before those so-called morals were tempered by enlightenment values.

    You also said: “Dawkins propositions would only target the Christian faith and communities and those communities whose heritage has naturally fed the church with members.”
    I’m afraid you err in your logic here. It may well be that the Christian churches would suffer most from the ending of faith school privileges but to go from that to asserting that these propositions ‘target the Christian faith and communities’ is a non-sequitur.

    As for your suggestion that those of faith care more for their children’s education than those without I’d challenge you to come up with one iota of evidence. I think it is presumptuous nonsense!

    BDd

  17. Sophie Says:

    @ David Booth: I don’t agree with you argument generally, in that Christian faith is not, unfortunately, necessarily linked to good behaviour in children or anyone else. If you can point us in the direction of any research that contradicts me I’d be pleased.

    I think you’re mistaking parents who send their children to CofE or RCC church primaries for believers when many are not. All over the country determined and motivated parents attend “feeder” churches to ensure their children meet the entry requirements for the best primaries. These churches are packed with young families. Once the children are older, and the school places obtained, the family’s church attendance drops off or ceases entirely, only to be replaced in the pew by the next ambitious young family.

    The world has changed since I was a kid. Then large numbers of middle class people sent their children to private schools. These days private school fees have soared well past the rate of inflation and many people who attended private, prep and public schools themselves can’t afford a similar education for their own children.

    Parents like these, eager to get the best schools, will move house to get into the right catchment area. As one pointed out to me, their new house was much smaller and cost £30,000 more. However, as it ensured places in the best local school it was “a hell of a lot cheaper than school fees.” Attendance, even quite intense involvement, with their local feeder church is no problem for people this well-motivated.

    Which comes back to the point that it’s the kids with parents who care about their education who tend to do best. It’s not about faith. It’s more about love.

  18. Sophie Says:

    @ : You write: Schools “are there to serve the children. They are there to assist in their transition to adulthood. They are there to teach fundamental skills and more importantly, an inquisitive reason-based outlook on life.”

    I nearly stood up and cheered.

    The issue with faith schools lies in the areas in which they are not promoting “an inquisitive reason-based outlook on life.”
    I was appalled by the poor girls in that Islamic school explaining that salt and fresh water don’t mix. Just nonsense.

    This is not something that’s an issue only in Islamic schools. I can think of several issues we’ve discussed here recently where Christian opinion is so divided that I’d be wary of what a faith school might teach.

  19. David Booth Says:

    BartiDu
    I don’t think I even mentioned ‘secularism’
    Schools are there to serve parents, because it is the parents primary moral responsibility to ensure that their children are educated. The purpose of schools is to assist parents to this end. This is why it is perfectly permissible and sometimes preferable in some cases, for parents to educate their children at home, given the necessary skills.
    The school is tasked with the responsibility to educate children which parents have placed in its care. Therefore the function of a school is to serve the parent in this aim. Prior to school education being in existence, it was always the parent’s responsibility to provide education to their children, in the home or outside of it. It is a parent’s moral right to have their child educated within the religious ethos of the parent’s background, which ever faith this is. Achieving this can be difficult, but should be allowed where possible.
    You can of course argue that the school is there to serve the children, and indeed they do. However, in effect, they are really serving the parent by assisting in the parent’s moral responsibility to provide for their child’s education.

  20. David Booth Says:

    “You imply schools also need to teach values, specifically Christian values in order that children grow into responsible, considerate adults. I understand that is derived from the Christian’s faith that morality depends on God – your God.” -
    Yes, that is right. However, God belongs to no man and it is vain statement to suggest that God belongs to someone. God neither belongs to me, nor to you. What we can be sure of is that we will all one day kneel in front of him and account for what we have done with Christ and his Word.

    “It doesn’t consider that morality may be part of our nature – that it may not even need to be ‘taught’ in terms of being told what’s good and what’s evil. Plenty of research indicates the essentials of right and wrong are easily worked out by youngsters being given an opportunity to consider them. They need a critical mind – and I don’t see faith as being helpful in that respect.” – That is your view. I respect that, but it isn’t my view. You mention ‘nature’ but a person’s nature is made in the ‘image of God’ and it is this nature that allows moral discernment to a degree. This you agree to as being somehow inate, but as I’ve already explained it is innate because we are made in God’s image.
    ‘”They need a critical mind – and I don’t see faith as being helpful in that respect.” ‘- Again, you are entitled to your view on this, but it clearly wasn’t the case with Richard Dawkins, who received a Christian education. He chose to be critical, however, his pre-occupation with being critical towards the Christian faith which nurtured him and encourged his critical mind, shows him to be unbalanced in his views. There is an abundant supply of critical minds, who having received the benefits of a Christian education, then continue to make great contributions, as they always have in the UK, to technology and science. It really is a myth to make assumptions like Dawkins, about Christian education not encouraging critical minds – where is the evidence for this? It isn’t enough for you to prove your case by saying ‘I don’t see faith as being helpful in that respect’, as this really the result of your own prejudice against the Christian faith, rather than a fact.

    “Yes there are problems with unsocial behaviour I can see no reason to take the big leap and to assume that more Christian education would reverse this. “- thank you for admitting that we do have some very bad social problems with young people today. Of course, your perspective on the problem will depend to some extent where you live. There is no ‘big leap’ here. You admit that these problems have “co-incided” with these social problems, but then you prefer to ignore the benefit of the Christian faith in averting anti-social behaviour. Perhaps in recent times, we have preferred ASBOS, to Sunday School.

    “It is also worth taking a quick peak at the unjustifiable suffering in the centuries of Christian societies before those so-called morals were tempered by enlightenment values.” – this is a common argument put forth by those already prejudiced against the Christian faith, but which has in reality, little to do with practical Christian faith and living. I should remind you that the ‘unjustifiable suffering’ of which you speak, concerns the misuse and abuse of religion, not the practice of the gospel which Jesus taught and which is practiced by Church schools up and down the country. Smearing real Christian faith and practice with religious abuse, isn’t going to work, except for the gullible.

    You also said: “Dawkins propositions would only target the Christian faith and communities and those communities whose heritage has naturally fed the church with members.”
    I’m afraid you err in your logic here. It may well be that the Christian churches would suffer most from the ending of faith school privileges but to go from that to asserting that these propositions ‘target the Christian faith and communities’ is a non-sequitur. – I’m not referring to ‘faith school privileges’. They aren’t ‘privileges’ at all in my view. The privilege is for a child to receive faith education. To deny children this on purpose is to make society the poorer and spiritually impoverished. It isn’t the churches that are suffering, it is the children themselves.

    As for your suggestion that those of faith care more for their children’s education than those without I’d challenge you to come up with one iota of evidence. I think it is presumptuous nonsense! – I don’t think I said that and certainly don’t think it. What I did say is that such parents are passionate about their children’s education. Non Christian parents must take their own responsibility and be accountable for it. Blaming church schools for poor performance of their non Christian counterparts is an invalid argument.

  21. BartiDdu Says:

    Thanks David for taking the time to write such a detailed response. I can see this argument going on indefinitely with our paradigms being so far apart. I think what we all have written here though will suffice for any who have the patience to read through them to see different sides of the related argument and come to their own conclusions.

    Best all, and thanks – especially Sophie for your enthusiastic response to my comment about schools being about the children :)

    BDd

  22. Bill Boswell Says:

    He says he has no beliefs at all?????

    He believes we came from a big bang and we are just a piece of highly evolved piece of slim!!!

    It takes more faith to believe that rubbish than to believe in God.
    This man is in great peril and doesnt even know it.I am praying for him.

    Remamber there is no athiests in the after life

  23. Bill Boswell Says:

    Teach our children that we are animals,guess what they will act like.

    Teach our children that we are made in the image of God, and you will get a different result.

    As for me and my house we will serve THE LORD

  24. BartiDdu Says:

    @Bill Boswell One of the interesting pieces of research I learned about through this documentary is (if I remember correctly) that the vast majority of four year-olds, regardless of their upbringing or school status (faith or secular) when asked whether they think natural features like mountains came into being as a consequence of specific natural processes or whether they were designed/created for a purpose respond with the latter. The reason suggested was because it is at a time in their lives when they discover a that huge number of the objects they come across in their lives are man-made with the purpose of serving our needs and they therefore assume everything around them, including natural phenomena are likewise designed to serve our/the animal’s needs.

    I suspect many here will recognise this as ‘the watchmaker fallacy’. Basically this research suggests most of us in our childhood go through a period of being a Creationist. The difference for most adults (well, those who have access to the kind of technology that enable communication such as this blog) have had the opportunity to learn about scientific and reasoning processes and will have a better understanding of the world around us.

    Needless to say though, a frightening number just don’t bother and despite all the access to all the information and resources to learn at their fingertips, prefer to remain ignorant.

    And I think one of Dawkins’s main problems with faith schools is, as the Muslim school example illustrates, that teaching through the lens of religion increases the likelihood of pupils getting stuck in the four-year-old’s paradigm into adulthood. Doesn’t the tragedy of endemic scientific ignorance in the US’s deep south teach us anything?

    BDd

  25. Bill Boswell Says:

    I believe in what the Bible says.

    “train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”

  26. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Bill Boswell. And I believe you have here put your finger on what is likely to be the key reason religion still survives in this post-enlightenment era. As far back as when the religious texts were being written and compiled and the young Church was being designed as one of the most powerful political forces ever, they realised the power of brainwashing young minds.

    And this is why the public needs to know and to understand exactly what the state, in supporting faith schools, is endorsing.

    BDd

  27. Bill Boswell Says:

    Lol

    How is teaching my children about the ways of God brainwashing them?

    I was brought up to lie,thief and use deciet but Jesus saved me on 15th May 2005 and now my children need not go down the route i did.Instead they have the perfect guidance that only God can give.

    So its up to you how you want to go on but sadly it only leads to one place.
    “there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end leads to death”Proverbs

    I am not a well intelligent person nor do i use lofty words or have the ability to cast opinion on everything but i do have love,joy,peace and contentment.And it only comes from Jesus.
    And after all isnt that what all mankind really wants? Peace.

    Well if so only real peace comes from God

    God bless and remember for all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.

  28. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Bill Boswell: I am pleased for you (and for the potential victims of your crimes) that your life is now better than it was but if this is at the expense of your inculcation of your children’s minds with fear such as ‘eternal damnation in the fires of hell’, it may be a high psychological price for them to pay for your own release from your life of petty crime.

    Of course I acknowledge, seeing as you believe hell exists, that teaching them about it, in your eyes, is better for them than their ‘ending up in hell’! But consider that there is real evidence of real suffering of children having been taught of the ‘wrath of God’ whereas there is no evidence of suffering (or anything else for that matter) after death.

    You make your choices according to your beliefs but I just want to make sure you and other parents who choose likewise know that any suffering as a consequence of your unsubstantiated teachings are directly your responsibility.

    BDd

  29. Bill Boswell Says:

    Remember my friend there are no atheists in the after life.
    Dont be caught dead without Jesus.
    The Bible says come taste and see that the Lord is good.I dont have a blind faith but a personal relationship with God.
    You may like to think that 10000000000000000000000yrs ago NOTHING went bang and lo and behold here we are.
    But thats more rediculous than teaching our children the truth and how to live right in the eyes of God.
    Its very sad that people have to keep casting opinions on things that they know nothing about.

    Any way i am praying for you.If God can get through to me than He can get through to you

  30. BartiDdu Says:

    OK, Bill Boswell I will indulge by responding to the individual God and Bible points you make but I think you’ll agree even more so than in the case of my exchange with David Booth that there is very little point in us continuing this discussion further because I can see neither of us ever being persuaded by the other to change his position. Again I see the primary value of such an exchange as this being that someone who is unsure may see both points of view which may help them in coming to their own conclusions.

    “Remember my friend there are no atheists in the after life.” Neither can there be theists whether Christian, Muslim, Jew or Hindu if there is no afterlife!

    “Dont be caught dead without Jesus.” When I’m dead I’m dead. When I quit Christianity part of my anger was due to the amount of life I’d wasted WITH the whole Jesus/God delusion! The rest of my life is a-theism :)

    “The Bible says come taste and see that the Lord is good.” The Bible also gives you plenty of stories illustrating by the standards of today’s secular morality ‘the Lord’ is anything but good!

    “I dont have a blind faith …” Faith IS blind faith. If there were something to see, if there was a jot of evidence there would be no need for faith.

    “…but a personal relationship with God.” Many sane and intelligent people have one of those. It is neither evidence nor proof or God’s existence (except in your head) but that’s not a problem as long as it’s not inflicted upon others.

    “You may like to think that 10000000000000000000000yrs ago NOTHING went bang and lo and behold here we are.” Just remember that you said this. Keep it in mind as often as you can. Maybe one day you’ll decide to utilise the technology that’s sitting in front of you to educate yourself about it. It’s ironic that those who shout loudest about the big bang, biogenesis and evolution are those that have the least idea of what they’re about.

    “Its very sad that people have to keep casting opinions on things that they know nothing about.” Hear hear! Oh, but maybe you’re not referring to you and your ignorance on how we came to be here? If you’re talking about me are you saying I don’t know what it is to be a Christian and therefore should not be commenting? Or could it be that common presumption that if I ceased to be a Christian then I couldn’t have been a ‘real’ one in the first place? Face it Bill Boswell, there are very many who believed as you do and wrote as you do who at some point snapped out of it and let their religion go. It happens. It could happen to you. It is nothing to fear.

    “But thats more rediculous than teaching our children the truth and how to live right in the eyes of God.” I would say your interpretation of a naturalistic world-view IS as ridiculous as teaching your children about God.

    “Any way i am praying for you.” Carry on. Waste your life in whatever way you please but don’t expect me either to be grateful or annoyed. If it wasn’t for the issue of your children I’d find it all quite amusing.

    “If God can get through to me than He can get through to you” Of course, if ‘He’ is all powerful then just a teeny weeny bit of evidence – just for me (that does not include hallucinatory-type ‘revelations’) would suffice – but then I wouldn’t need faith would I! I won’t hold my breath.

    BDd

  31. Bill Boswell Says:

    Creation itself proves there is a God.

    please give me scientific evidence that NOTHING WENT BANG

    And yes faith is believing but once you do.God will and does reveal Himself.
    Sadly it seems you havnt/didnt really commit to God.

    But i will pray for you and all people who dont know God.
    Because there is a God and one day you will meet Him.Either as your Savour or your Judge.The choice is yours

  32. David Booth Says:

    @ Bill Boswell:
    Many thanks for your comments, brother. Your testimony of how the Lord has changed your life is great! It demonstrates by your testimony, just how important, God is and how important the Word of God is when mixed with faith. It is ONLY the changed life, that pleases God, irrespective of how a person was before they gave their life to the Lord. Some of us may have ‘lied’, ‘cheated’, ‘stolen’, etc, others may have been the servant of lust or committed adultery or had sex outside of marriage, yet others may have been hard in their heart towards God and His Word. Most of us, before coming to confess our sin at the cross of Christ, have had no recognition of the life of sin which we have lived or recognition that many things which we do habitually, may be sins.

    Some of us in society are exposed for what we are and everyone can see the bad things we have done and some people judge us as sinners for that. Others, are just as sinful, but no one sees the sins we commit, and we may be clever enough to cover up what we are and give the impression to others that we are a ‘good person’.

    However, the Bible says that ‘there is way which seems right to man, but the end of that way is death’. It also says this in Psalm 10:1 “The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

    Wesley knew what the ‘unregenerate’ man was. He like the great preachers throughout the last 2000 years, new that as John chapter 3 says, “Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” – the non Christian has no insight to this or what this verse actually means. For those who are critical about being ‘born again’, or ‘born of the Spirit’, they reveal themselves to be by their own admission, in the unregenerate state, since they have no knowledge of this.

    Thank you again, for your comments – they brought a breath of fresh air!
    God bless, David

  33. Phoebs Says:

    Wesley also preached holiness, I don’t see an awful lot of that coming from the ‘born again’ fundies.

  34. Bill Boswell Says:

    lol Phoebs.

    You have no right to judge people who you dont even know.I live my life to serve God and i believe in living a Holy and Godly life.

    However it seems you have a king size chip on your shoulder.

    You say “born again fundies”
    You must mean Bible believing/practicing Christian.

    What do you claim to be Phoebs?

    I have been more than open with you and i am willing to answer questions but you seem to be only interested in mocking and tareing down.

    Very sad and i am praying for you

  35. David Booth Says:

    Phoebe,
    The Lord knows who are his and who walks in holiness. The passage John 3:3 again applies here:
    “In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
    and
    John 3:10 -12
    “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

    Your comment reflects the words of people 2000 years ago, including those of Nicodemus in this passage. Nicodemus couldn’t as you mentioned “see” the Kingdom of God, without being ‘born again of the Holy Spirit’. It is no different today and never will be, because according to Jesus himself, this was a deep spiritual truth, that even Nicodemus, who was a highly intelligent man, a master of pharisaic learning and knowledge, had absolutely no knowledge of.

    Being ‘born again’ is an essential requirement of being a follower of Christ. It is the entrance into spiritual life, whether you are a Roman Catholic, an Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, House Church or Brethren. If it was not important Jesus would never have emphasised its importance so emphatically to Nicodemus.
    Whatever you mean by ‘fundies’, you must seek to become one if what you mean by it is those who are born of the Spirit.

    take care
    David

  36. Phoebs Says:

    Hi David and Bill, thank you for your prayers Bill, prayer is always appreciated.

    I think that our understanding of Scripture and the Lord Christ Jesus, vary somewhat.

    I would say it is by our fruits that we are known. The fruit of the Spirit, are the 9 threads of which we weave together to make our beautiful wedding clothes, so that we are may be ready for the return of our Lord, whether this is today or in a million years time. Our life is short, and every day counts, every day is an opportunity to show the love of Christ.

    In my Faith, the theological virtues is Faith, Hope, and charitable Love. Of these three things, Love is the greatest. As it is by the love amongst us we are recognised.

    I would say that no one has ever been argued into the Kingdom. Nor have then entered because they were preached through the promotion of anti science, and/ or anti Church. This is not the Gospel of Christ.

    I do not have a problem with the teaching of being ‘born again’ but this is not accomplished by praying a set ‘altar’ prayer after the preacher. Once Saved Always Saved it just not biblical, and it is cheap grace which is the enemy of the Church.

    The wonderous Grace of our Lord is costly, it cost Him everything. He laid aside His majesty, His glory, His ominpotence, and became a weak helpless human, he suffered, as we suffer, and so much more, He willing gave His very life.

    The cost to us is also dear, and to be a Christian is costly, we have to lay aside ourselves, our wants and our desires, and put others before ourselves, this it costly, and totally against our nature desires. It is not just all about believing or just having faith (another term for believing in a lot of people thinking).

    Even the Adversary (satan) believes, and I have faith in the chair that I am sitting, I know that it will not break on me.
    Faith is about faithfulness, our faithfulness to our Lord.

    The Gospel is about us following Christ in word, thought and deed. It is all about being doers of His commandments not hearers. Doing as our Lord did. Being ‘born again’, is when we take part in the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:4) through Baptism, that is where our regeneration begins, it is the begins of our justification and sanctification, at which we were saved (the past dimension). But like all neonates, we needs to grow and learnt. We are being saved (in the present dimension) when we learn to walk in orthopraxis, bearing our Cross, and dying to self, loving the Lord our God, with our heart, strength, soul and mind and loving neighbour, who is everyone, showing them mercy, and compassion, love and peace.

    We do this with the peace and love that Christ grants us, with purity of heart, by this we see God, and know that the Kingdom is within. And we will be saved (an eschatological and future dimension) at the consummation of our faith, when the dead and quick will be resurrected to be judged by their deeds in the Great Resurrection.

    AS our Lord says those that Love me, will obey my commandments, and I and my Father will come and may a home in him. (John 14) The Spirit dwells within those that are obedience, those than do not grieve or quench the gentle bond of love, the Holy Spirit. Christ within the Hope of Glory.

    At times we may be faithless, but His faithfulness never fails us. But we continue to run the good race, through prayer, meditation and good works, through the love of God, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This poured our abundantly and freely to us in the vehicles of Grace (the sacraments) that our Lord has instituted, His Eucharistic supper being the most precious.

    May God grant us forgiveness, love and peace, and as we approach today to feast on His body and blood, and feed on Him in our hearts and souls with thanksgiving.

    May all be richly blessed today on this Sunday, we are one body because we all share in one bread.

    Phoebs

  37. David Booth Says:

    Phoebe
    There was no ‘argument’ between Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus was humble enough to ask deep searching spiritual questions of Jesus. He was humble enough to recognise where the limits of his own understanding was and that he had to learn from someone else whose understanding of these issues was greater than his own. There is no doubt that in the end, he had moved from the position of not having knowledge about being spiritually born, to the position of being himself spiritually born. What I have stated is for your benefit, not mine. Your comment that said you ‘don’t SEE holiness from what you called “born again fundies”, indicated to me that your eyes are not opened to the things of the Spirit. Jesus tells us specifically in John 3:3, that until a person is ‘born again of the Spirit’, he is spiritually blind and does not have the spiritual discernment to SEE the Kingdom of God, where and how God is working.

    You said that you have a problem with Jesus teaching of being born again, but all I can advise you to do about this, is to humble yourself at the feet of Christ and implore Him to reveal WHY he said it and what it REALLY means, rather than accepting what you have been taught by men! For instance if I asked you what the New Testament means when it says that you ‘don’t have a need for any man to teach you because the Spirit will teach you Himself’, what does this mean, other than that

    I like your words in your last comment and most of it atunes to my own beliefs, however, being born again is not about:

    “when we take part in the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:4) through Baptism, that is where our regeneration begins, ” There is no scriptural evidence for this assertion and I’m afraid it is wrong.

    God bless,
    David

  38. Bill Boswell Says:

    I am not arguing or debating with anyone.

    All i have done is defended a brother ( Mr Hovind) and told B dD that God made the heavens and the earth.We have to stand up for the truth and as stupid and ill educated as i am thats what i am doing

  39. BartiDdu Says:

    @Bill Boswell: I won’t presume to be talking on Phoebs or David Booth’s part but I think you’ll find outside of pockets of like-minded Bible Literalist communities there are very many people, with, let’s say a fundamental understanding of the world around them, Christian and atheist alike, who find blatant, and sometimes almost proud, displays of ignorance about the origins of the universe, life and man quite painful to deal with.

    This is especially true if it’s coming from those in the biggest hotbed of this kind of thinking, the American Bible Belt where the irony of loud-mouthed proclamations of blind faith shouting about creationism and their rights is lost on them, driving around in their pickup trucks with their guns and their Nascar. Little do they realise they wouldn’t have their privileged and protected lifestyle if the reasoning scientific minds and the reasoning political minds of their forebearers had been deliberately self-stunted to prevent intellectual growth and learning – the hallmark of the fundie!

    BDd

  40. Bill Boswell Says:

    Im sorry BDd but you are now rambling on about a load of rubbish.

    I am not into lofty talking or going round in circles so lets not beat about tha bush

    I have a little challenge for you if you choose to accept it.

    Give me SCIENTIFIC PROOF that we came from nothing WITHOUT USING TERMS SUCH AS IF BUT MATBE PERHAPS COULD SHOULD ETC ETC

    It should be quite simple beings you believe this.I look forward to your reply

    Also a side note.

    If we were not created and there is no God or afterlife and therefore no judgement then why bother to live a law abing life?
    After all acording to you we are all only highly evolved pieces of slime?
    We dont see the animal kingdom being law abiding do we?
    Where does a conscience come from?
    How do we determ what is right or wrong good or bad?

  41. David Booth Says:

    It is truly fascinating to see on this site, the inventiveness of words like ‘fundie’ or ‘fundies’ to try to label a phenomena that the person struggles to understand. It’s ‘the other’, or the unknown, that people often fear!

    Interestingly, the Bible itself, labels Christians as ‘a Peculiar people’! Christians are not understood and often misunderstood. As most of us probably know, even the word ‘Christian’ was not known until used as a derogatory term about those who followed Christ and his teaching. Small wonder that Christians today are called by their non Christian counterparts, “fundies” or “fundie”.

    However, the Bible is very clear that the things of God, that is including the Word (and words) of God, are “foolishness” to the unbeliever. When words in the New Testament and gospels are contested by people, as to their veracity, not least, words spoken by Christ, then it indicates that the reader’s lack of grasp is due to one or more of the following:
    a) Has not received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
    b) Has an immature grasp of the scriptures
    c) Is hardened by ‘religion’ or ‘religious teaching’ that contradicts the scriptures
    d) Refuses to read, meditate and ask the Father to reveal the meaning of the words or passages.
    e) Is too proud to let go of religious traditions, because that might seem an admission of error for them or for their religious tradition.
    f) Is too proud to humble themselves to reading the teachings of Jesus in the gospels
    g) Is too proud to consider that their own intelligence and ‘self’ may be so limited that they need to humble themselves to a ‘God’ that they don’t want to believe in. Such a person may investigate this and reflect on this to see whether this is true about them or not, by praying in humility to God and asking him to reveal Christ to them. Lack of readiness to do this, indicates that the person is afraid that it ‘might just be true’…there is that nagging doubt in the back of their minds that…supposing I did this and something happened….!

    This last point, g is commonly supposed, to be a contemporary phenomena in Western society, however, it clearly isn’t..its as old as the scriptures themselves! As Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun”!

  42. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Bill Boswell It appears you had great fun in thinking up that challenge so feel free to whoop with victory and draw whichever conclusions you please from the fact that I am declining to take you up on it.

    Let’s put it this way. Would you be prepared to explain the principles and workings of the internal combustion engine to a three-year-old who had just learned to respond ‘but why?’ to everything without yet realising that listening to the response is also a good idea?

    I will comment on one of your ‘side notes’ though. Incidentally, which fundie website, book or pastor did you pick them up from? Surely you didn’t think them up all by yourself?!

    “If we were not created and there is no God or afterlife and therefore no judgement then why bother to live a law abing life?”
    Maybe first I should note there is a difference between a virtuous life and a law-abiding life. The answer to your question as written is quite simple to understand. In fact it’s quite similar to the Christian way of seeing things: If you don’t comply with the law there are consequences as administered by the judicial system. It’s a bit like if you don’t comply with what you believe are God’s laws then you go to hell.

    But I think maybe you were intending to ask another question i.e. why would one want to live a moral life if there is no threat of eternal damnation for being immoral?
    You know what I like most about this question (whoever asks it – and it’s not as if it comes up once in a blue moon!) is it really exposes the questioner’s trivial and childish concept of morals. It’s like the only reason to be good is to get a sweety and the only reason not to be naughty is so you don’t get put on the naughty step! Take away the link to reward and punishment and the poor child would be truly confused – or would he/she? Because even quite young children can often grasp that life is so much more enjoyable when acting in ways that are considerate of others’ needs. (Part of the answer is hidden in that last sentence by the way Bill Boswell – can you spot it?)

    The simple answer is that some people believe it to be quite normal and within our innate abilities to be able to work out for ourselves what’s right and wrong and that the quality of life for us and for those around us is much higher if we simply respect others. Some believe it is possible to work out through philosophical questioning and reasoning what is right, what is wrong, why or why not one should do what’s right and what role the law should have in enforcement. Of course neither of these options, nor a combination of both, which I guess is what most irreligious folk do, is fool proof. As many Christians like to point out, taking the philosophical route in its purest form without acknowledging there may be flaws in the logic and creating societies on those bases can result in tragic loss of life, violence and injustices on a phenomenal scale. So maybe that route should only be taken with extreme caution.

    However, what is the alternative you’re proposing? The morals of the Bible? What, all of them – even the conflicting ones? What about the morals of the Koran? What if your Muslim neighbour breaks a Christian rule? Should you follow the instructions as written in the Bible to punish them? What about if you break Muslim laws? Should they have the right to punish you according to their book?
    Please be careful should you choose to reply to any of these points not to be reading your Bible with rose-tinted spectacles. There’s a lot of really nasty stuff in that book you esteem so highly.

    BDd

  43. BartiDdu Says:

    @ David Booth: Could it also be that ‘the things of God, that is including the Word (and words) of God, are “foolishness” to the unbeliever’ because. . . those words ARE foolish?!

    Maybe that’s unfair because to be fair on many of the authors, they didn’t have access to the understanding of the world we have today and considering the context and purpose of writing what they wrote on the whole I don’t think they did too badly at all. Maybe if there is ‘foolishness’ it comes to the fore when in deciding how to live our lives today, of all the options available, people choose to follow the words of these primitive folk?

  44. Bill Boswell Says:

    BDd actually i didnt get those questions from anyone else.They are jujst common sence.

    And why wont/cant you answer me as to my main question?

    Why cant you give me scientific proof?

    Why cant you give a straight answer to this question without using if but or maybe?

    Why cant you give evidence to back uo your beliefs?

    I will now just take it as you CANT answer because your beliefs are WRONG?

    In the beginning GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just to be fair i will ask my question again

    Please give me scientific proof that we came from nothing without using terms such as if but maybe pehaps should could etcetc

    I look forward to your reply or excuse for not replying lol

  45. Phoebs Says:

    Hi Bill,

    You are asking for scientific proof that we came from nothing.

    Christians believe that God created ex nihilio (God created from nothing). From the science of physics and the current paradigm of BB theory (The Big Bang) lends to support our theological view.

    The study of abiogenesis/biopoesis looks at how life could have arisen from inanimate matter, and the origins of life. The fact and theory of evolution is not related to abiogenesis.

    We use theology to study the Word of God, and science to study the Works of God. There aren’t any incompatibilites within them, if there are discrepancies , then we are missing something, normally it is a misinterpretation of the Sacred Scriptures. For example we do not have a flat earth, yet for many years we believed we did, based upon a particular interpretation from the Scriptures.

    Just one more point, Bill. If someone makes a claim, the burden of proof lays with the person making the claim. For example if you claim God exists, then it is your responsibility to prove it. Of course with inequitable proof, we wouldn’t need faith, would we?

    However for me, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach proves beyond all reasonable doubt that there is a God. :-)

  46. Phoebs Says:

    Hi David

    I think you misread my post. I said I did not have a problem with Christ’s teaching, I have a problem with the fundamentalist teaching of ‘born again’.

    I am interested to know why think you Romans 6:4 is wrong?

  47. BartiDdu Says:

    @Bill Boswell

    Apologies for the accusation that you got those questions from somewhere else – and for my other gratuitous remarks. They contributed nothing to the discussion.

    I have suggested (even if in an unnecessarily insulting way) why I am not interested in pursuing this issue with you and, that you and the other readers are welcome to draw from this whichever conclusions you may.

    I notice you are already celebrating your victory. Let’s hope with time you realise how hollow a victory it was. More to the original point, let’s hope your children’s education will give them a fair opportunity to appreciate the world around them for what it is and that they will not be lumbered with a life-long medieval world-view as a consequence of your naivety.

    BDd

  48. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Phoebs I hadn’t seen your latest posts when I sent mine.

    Whilst needless to say agreeing with your scripture/science links I think coming from you there’s a much better chance Bill Boswell listen and may learn something.

    But to end on a high note (so to speak) what you wrote about the music of J S Bach made me smile. To me it fills my being with knowledge of how alive I am and how awesome it is to be human. :)

    Best all,

    BDd

  49. BartiDdu Says:

    Correction – I meant ‘not agreeing’! :D

  50. Jim Says:

    Bill,
    With respect, I don’t think you’re understanding what BDb has written.

    Another way of putting it is that the proof is not explainable
    within the confines of a blog to someone without a high level scientific education. I think I know the answer, but I know I would not be able to encapsulate the proof from start to finish in a short blog post.

    To take an analogy, consider Einstein’s famous theory of Relativity: many people can tell you what the variables are, but not many can explain exactly why the equation is what it is. And fewer still can then go on to explain the most recent developments in quantum physics that take us to the next level of understanding of our Universe.

    Consider also this. The problem of “something from nothing” is the same whether or not there is a God of creation. If you answer that God is eternal, then why should the Universe itself not be eternal instead of God – in which case there would be no need for God. The “Big Bang” singularity does not preclude something before that moment, but that something is beyond our physical powers to “see”.

    As humans bounded by very short finite lives it is incredibly difficult for us to really conceptualise anything that does not have a beginning or and end, and there will be things that we will never understand before the Sun eventually runs out of fuel and the Earth ceases to exist; but the fact that we do not understand something does not mean we have to deduce that something is supernatural.

    All that does not mean that you or millions of other people are wrong to believe in God. But there are materialist counter arguments to this belief that are at least as plausible from a logical perspective as a belief in a supernatural being.

    I myself am an atheist, having been brought up as a Christian. But I retain my respect for those who believe in God. We just differ in our beliefs, either of which could be valid There is no way to ‘prove’ either side of belief empirically. How can I disprove something which cannot be known? We just have to accept that we hold radically different views.

  51. Caral Says:

    Hi Jim,

    Great post. Science itself works from a pragmatic naturalism methodology, it assumes that all within the nature world is all that exists, whether this is true or not, but this the methology that science lends itself too.

    I also have some problems with BB. Most people can envision the universe going on for eternity, yet they cannot imagine the universe as having always being eternal. I think the new ILC will help us unlock some of the unanswered questions ta have arisen from the HLC. Personally M-theory may also help us to stretch our minds in reaching out to the mysteries. If we can unravel M theory. :-)

  52. Jim Says:

    Yes. Very exciting times Caral, but also I think rather awe inspiring and not a little frightening.

    At the moment it’s as if we can see a tantalising chink of light through the keyhole of a locked door, which we are desperately trying to open.

    But if we do manage to open it I wonder if we will like what we see on the other side. That’s not to say I think we should stop the research; but we should be prepared to have our notions of reality significantly challenged!

  53. David Booth Says:

    Hi Phoeb
    You’ve really diverted here to the subject of Baptism, which is man’s response to the work of salavation which only God can do before baptism is even contemplated. Baptism is according to the Apostle Peter: “1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”
    ….” the answer of a good conscience toward God”

    There is nothing at all ‘wrong’ with Romans 6:4. If your intended use of it is to refer to what you call ‘neonates’ or babies however, this would be taking the scriptural meaning out of context, to mean something it was never intended to mean. To grasp this verse, it is necessary to study the full context of the passage, starting with verse 1 and not stopping until at least the end of the chapter at verse 23. For instance, verse 11 says: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” – here the scripture is instructing the believer who has been baptised ‘into the death of Christ’, to intentionally consider their old life (which a baby doesn’t have), to be ‘dead to sin’ and to intentionally declare that they are now ‘alive unto God’. Such an intentional and carefully considered declaration and act is impossible for a baby to make. The essential quality of Baptism according to Peter is a demonstration of 1) personal reflection 2) personal and public response towards God. It also assumes at least the most basic grasp of the meaning of death of self life and raising to new life. None of these essential qualities are possible for a baby, which renders the action to a benign act, unless at some later date, these qualities are sincerely engaged and demonstrated publicly, preferably in Baptism.

    Now back to the start of the discussion about being ‘born of the Spirit’. You said: “through Baptism, that is where our regeneration begins,” but I have to say that this is not scriptural at all. If it were, then this would exclude all who do not access or have access to a church environment where Baptism takes place. God is very much wiser and cleverer than that. This is why it is possible to be ‘saved’ or born again on someone’s death bed (though this is the most precarious time for a person to rely upon!). Consider a devout muslim in Saudi Arabia, who unexpectedly has a vision of Christ, then falls to their knees and is glouriously filled with the beauty and love of the Holy Spirit….baptism is nowhere in sight and may not even be possible for some time, but their faith and love of the Lord is discovered and they are soon murdered by their family. (this is happens, unfortunately). Regeneration did not begin with Baptism, but it was God’s personal act of love to that person that immediately transformed them from unbelief and a state of sin, to a state of belief and washed in the Blood of Christ.

    Now examine Christ’s instruction in John 3:3 and look at it again in the context of the passage. What does it mean? What is Christ teaching you here that was,
    a) so important that it has been recorded for 2000 yrs,
    b) that was so important that he emphasised its importance to Niocodemus, as essential
    c) that the reference to born again is used by Peter and the apostles throughout the NT, as a profound life changing experience

    Remember that Nicodemus had no understanding of what ‘born again’ meant. Forgive me for saying so, but he was equally confused by the term as you are. Jesus explained to him that Nicodemus was unable to see the things of God, without being born again, but Nicodemus who was a very intelligent man, was almost irritated and frustrated with Jesus explanation and said can a person ‘go back into the womb and be born again?’. He of course knew that that was not what Jesus meant, but in his frustration with Jesus teaching here, that was all he could come up with!
    The truth is that the event and it is an ‘event’, not a process, is a supernatural one, done by God, and is initiated by God himself, not man (or woman). It cannot really be described, because there is nothing like it to liken it to. Therefore when someone tells you, they’ve been born of the Spirit, I’m afraid that you will have to humbly accept that they’ve had an encounter with God that is precious and that if they follow through with it, God has called them to a close walk with Him.

    As I said before Phoeb, I know you may not want my advice on this, but if you were able to receive it, it would be this: spend time with God in prayer, earnestly. Ask Him to explain to you directly, without asking anyone else, what John chapter 3 means. Put aside your religious teachings on this while you do this and confess to the Lord that He was the One who said it and taught it and He alone is the final authority on what it means. If you believe you have a personal relation with God, then you will be confident that you can ask Him this directly, and that He will answer you directly as to the meaning of this passage and what he meant by ‘born again’.
    God bless,
    David

  54. Bill Boswell Says:

    Lads

    In the beggining God created the heavens and the earth

    Now please prove it wrong

    Give me proof that we just came into being

    I believe and now know that God made us out of nothing because He is God and is able.

    Now you show me how we got here.

    Give me proof or if not fall to your knees and embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savour .
    Accept what He did on the cross of Calvary for you and how He rose again and be saved

    God bless

    “IT IS PERMITTED ONCE FOR A MAN TO DIE AND AFTER FACE THE JUDGMENT”

  55. BartiDdu Says:

    Was there someone here arguing that there is no correlation between teaching religion and the crippling of our reasoning capacity (or at least preparedness to engage with it)?

    Well I present to you Exhibit ‘A’: Bill Boswell!

    A man who claims “[Dawkins] believes we came from a big bang and we are just a piece of highly evolved piece of slim [sic]!!!”;

    A man who considers the convicted felon, Creationist/’Young-Earther’ and proprietor of the Creationist ‘museum’ Kent Hovind a ‘brother’ whom he believed he was ‘protecting’ by attacking the crazy hodgepodge collection of ideas he believed was ‘evolution’;

    A man who despite having eloquent and undeservedly considerate explanations presented to him by both Phoebs and Jim (the former even in a Biblical context that really could have been an excuse for him to consider it) has proven to have a mind as closed as a lump of wood and whose posts have become like a stuck record.

    So David Booth, considering your professed belief that schools are there to serve the parents, do you honestly believe Bill Boswell and his ilk should have the choice to send their kids to a school funded by the taxpayer which teaches what he believes?

    And don’t kid yourself that this kind of lunacy is limited to the deep south in the US. There’s now a Creationist museum in Portsmouth and the likes of Hovind are making inroads into the UK with their lies and their pseudoscience. One way of making sure we don’t end up with bundles of ‘Bill Boswells’ here in the UK having an influence on society and public life is to take the ‘faith’ element out of publicly funded schools now. We don’t have the robust constitution that the US has to stop the situation from getting out of hand.

  56. David Booth Says:

    BartiDdu
    You might be right, if you were correct in your assumption that Bill is relating his learning from a Christian CoE faith school or similar, but unfortunately for your theory, he isn’t.
    He may have been to such a school, I have no idea. Did you ask him if he is relating what he has learned from a CoE school?
    If you didn’t, why do you jump to make this assertion? Could it be some element of prejudice on your part that wants to make this connection to ‘prove’ some point that bothers you?
    CoE schools cover the whole national syllabus, including the teaching of evolution and science. Why would you jump to presume that they don’t? Isn’t that a little naive on your part or worse still, misleading others about Church schools?
    They have served and continue to serve this nation very well and among the most able people in professions, many have received the benefits of church school education.

  57. Bill Boswell Says:

    I went to a C of E school and it had affect on me spiritually as i went through my teens as a thief and a con man!!!!!!

    It was at the age of 21 when i was told the Gospel of Jesus Christ that i got saved.

    And in regards to my question which you havnt and couldnt answer

    WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IN SOMETHING THATG CANT BE PROVEN???????

    MY BELIEFS HOWEVER CAN BE PROVEN.

    I ONCE A LYING THEIVING DECIETFUL PERSON WHO COULDNT CHANGE HIS WAYS NO MATTER HOW HARD HE TRIED BUT ON THE 15 MAY 20005 JESUS SAVED ME AND MY LIFE CHANGED INSTANTLY AND NOW I WALK WITH JESUS DAILY AND RIGHT NOW I CONFESS JESUS AS MY LORD AND SAVOUR AND MY BEST FRIEND AND I LIVE TO SERVE HIM AND BRING GLORY TO HIS NAME

    Now how about you stop beating about the bush and typing lofty pieces of junk and answer me

  58. Phoebs Says:

    Bless you, David you are so misinformed about Baptism, that I just don’t know where to begin.

    This is the problem with the funny teaching that comes out of the fundamentalist evangelical churches, that they make it up as they go along, and are blown about by all sorts of strange doctrines and teachings (mostly what they has filched off the internet). They have moved so far from the teaching of the Apostles and 2000 years of christianity, with no theological substance, that their teaching it does not even resemble any christian thought.

    David, your arrogance in advising me about my own spirituality and theological thinking is only outweighed by your ignorance.

    No wonder we follow different faiths.

  59. David Booth Says:

    Bill
    I’m impressed by your testimony and thank you for your honesty and humility in telling us about that. Christ does change lives today, just as he did 2000 years ago. I thank the Lord that he is keeping me and my heart to love Him.
    I was 24 years old when I was saved from myself and my own worldly foolishness.
    It is truly great to see young men and older men in prison, giving their lives to the Lord and then having a changed life. I have witnessed this myself in prison chapels, when young men have come with full conviction for prayer, to receive Christ and His forgiveness. It is one of the most moving experiences to witness.
    I hope that whatever your circumstances are or have been, that you have got a really solid church with really good loving fellowship behind you. All of us need this.
    On this site Bill, there are a mixture of people, some professed atheists, others from Christian traditions and religious doctrines that are somewhat orthodox. You’ll have to go easy on us, because we haven’t all had your experience of Christ changing the life.
    Science and theories are important for many reasons, most of them are only scratching at the surface of God’s creation, in fact it is our limitations that force us to make theories about the world, its creation and its changing nature and history. I’d also say that the Bible is not a science book, it is a spiritual book of God’s word to man, full of wisdom for all to benefit from – except it takes humility to receive these words and the wisdom in it. Humility is is the beginning of wisdom!
    I’d also like to say Bill, that its important to be gentle with people and patient (its in the Bible). Some people here have absorbed themselves with very different outlooks on life and even if some of these are a diversion from spiritual truths, you need to set the example of walking like Christ, showing love and care.
    God bless,
    David

  60. BartiDdu Says:

    @David Booth
    I made no such assumption regarding Bill and his education.
    The connection I was making was between his religious belief and the blatant absence of a preparedness to engage his reasoning faculty.

    You will find in one of my earliest posts on this thread that I linked to an article which makes, to me, a credible claim that Dawkins’s programme was not fair on CoE Church schools. I am with Dawkins in believing they are the most benign.

    My question to you was hypothetical. If Bill Boswell was British and there were enough of fellow Young-Earthers in his district to claim public funding to open a school reflecting their world-view, do you think they should have the right to open one and send their kids there? I’m just testing your claim that “Schools are there to serve the parents” and the “rights of parents to educate children in the way they see fit and this includes in the school community.”

    Muslim literalists are Young-Earther/anti-evolutionists too and the Dawkins’s programme illustrated the consequences on the poor children of having that education inflicted upon them. All I’m asking you to consider is if Christian literalist fundamentalism (written long-hand seeing as you’ve expressed a dislike to the short-hand ‘fundie’) got a proper foothold here would you be happy for the sake of the ‘rights’ of the parents, to see all those children missing out on an education that could give them something resembling a realistic world-view?

  61. David Booth Says:

    Phoeb,

    Where the church has ‘moved 2000 years’ is in departing from the original teaching of the scriptures and instead replacing them with the teachings of institutions. I don’t follow such teachings. The Bible is my source of teaching. I don’t need fundamentalists or liberals or orthodox or any other institutional teachings, many of which have added their own interpretations of the scriptures instead of studying the pure Word of God.

    Take up my challenge and ask Him to show you personally, instead of listening to the ‘doctrines of men’.
    God bless you and your family, as you seek Him and ask for Him to teach you and show you the meaning of John’s gospel chapter 3.
    David

  62. Jim Says:

    Bill,
    Could you please read my first post above again. It appears from your subsequent posts that you have not.
    I have tried to make it clear that there are some things that cannot be proved, including the existence of God.
    That does not in itself mean you are wrong to believe in Him, but it is an act of faith, rather than an act of absolute knowledge. I may be wrong, or you may be wrong, but trying to prove one side or the other does not really help us. We simply interpret what we expereince in different ways.

  63. Bill Boswell Says:

    Jim

    Creation itself proves there is a God.

    My beliefs can be backed up by my change of life.And even tho i am not a religous nut or a lunatic,i can still say that i would die defending my Lord Jesus Christ.

    Can you sayh the same about your beliefs?

  64. David Booth Says:

    Bartidu
    I’m in favour of faith schools, but they do need to maintain an acceptable standard. They should all teach contemporary science, together with the usual selection of subjects. This is what CoE schools do. Roman Catholic schools also do this.
    My own children have attended a Roman Catholic school and have benefited greatly from its Christian ethos, the kindness of its staff, the extra care out of hours that the staff generously offer, the commitment of its teachers in taking the children on holidays and the excellent pastoral care which the school provides. Some of its pupils go on to Oxford and Cambridge universities. There is simply no evidence that schools like these, do anything other than encourage children’s mental, physical and social development. In addition, they prepare children spiritually, which is often lacking in other schools, where children are often left in confusion, insecure about the meaning to their lives.

    Schools are there to serve the parents by providing education to their children, thus assisting the parents to fulfill their moral responsibility to ensure their children’s education. However, schools have a duty to provide a balanced education, that explores world views and scientific advances and theories. They should also provide for the spiritual and pastoral needs of the parent’s children, to the best of their ability and this is where many state schools are falling short.

    So there is a need for government inspection of schools and a minimum level of monitoring of schools of all types, including faith schools, academies and all state schools, to ensure an acceptable level of education. Children should not be discouraged for instance from exploring their beliefs, in state schools or faith schools. Schools should not be forcing children to adopt atheism for instance, but should allow children to explore and learn of the religious traditions of their parents.

  65. Bill Boswell Says:

    Also a major point that we are overlooking.

    Mr Dawkins’ problem isnt with faith schools!
    Mr Dawkins’ problem is with God Almighty and everything the He stands for.

    So therefore Mr Dawkins has a major problem indeed!!!!!!!!!!

    BDd answer my questions lol

    I am not going to waste my time listening to you wriggling anymore.

    I want you to answer me.

    I want you to prove to me that God didnt make us.Come on mate it cant be that hard for someone who believes what you believe so strongly !!!!

  66. Jim Says:

    Bill

    There are a number of problems with your statement that: “Creation itself proves there is a God.”

    First it assumes there was a creation. That in itself is not proven. “Eternal” implies no beginning and no end.

    Second, if there was a creation, that does not in itself prove the existence of God. God as creator is a possible answer but it is not necessary.

    Third, as I mentioned earlier, you cannot prove the existence of something which it is impossible to know, such as the existence of God. For the same reason it is impossible to disprove the existence of God. If it was possible, then religion would surely disappear.

    I honestly think it is fantastic that you have found faith and that this has turned around your life. I admit to a certain envy of your faith, but just as you are committed to your path, so I am committed to mine. I do not regard either path as wrong; just different.

    I am a disturbed by your declaring that you would die defending your Lord Jesus Christ. You say you are not a religious nut, but if you are really serious about your claim then it is surely hard to argue that you are not. Isn’t this is the kind of claim that Islamist extremist suicide bombers make?

    And no, I would not die to defend Humanism. You will not find any Humanist suicide bombers, or Humanist crusaders in history. And I am thankful for that.

    I hope that answers your question, and that it is helpful.

  67. Jim Says:

    Bill
    I’ve just seen your post made before mine above. It’s clear that you either have not read my and BDb’s earlier posts properly or simply have not understood what I or BDb have written. Do you see how difficult it is then to address your request for proof that God did not create the Universe? You appear not to want to understand. So I don’t think it is fruitful to continue.
    I do wish you all the best
    Jim

  68. Bill Boswell Says:

    Jim yes i am prpared to die for Christ.1000 of Christians down the ages have lost their lives for being Christians,thats what i mean when i say i woukd die for my Lord.
    The islamic lunatics want to murder people at the same time but my God says”Thou shall NOT kill”
    “love your enemys”

    Thats the difference mate.

    Another side note

    If your beliefs are true then when we die we have lost nothing.But if i am right then you will have eternity to ourn over the fact that you rejected God.

    Also Jim once you put your faith in Christ He then reveals Himself to you and thats when you no longer have a blind faith.

    Psalms says ” come taste and see that the Lord is GOOD”

    Its a promise

    Once again BDd i am not going to respond to any more of your diversery garbage until you answer me

    God bless

  69. Sophie Says:

    @ Bill Boswell: The history of Earth can be read in the rocks. From geology we discover that the land is formed of loose plates that float (very slowly) on the rocks beneath. If you look at a map of the world, for example, you can see from the shape of the coastlines that Africa was, at one point, joined to South America but that the land split apart and, over millions of years, drifted apart so that the Atlantic now lies between the two continents. Examination of the rock layers from the East coast of South American and the West coast of Africa shows the geological match you would expect. There’s an animation of it here.

    We can work out, to a surprisingly high level of accuracy, how old a rock layer is. The fossils found in a rock layer are the same age, obviously, so we know how long ago a particular creature lived. So accurate is this that if scientist know the age of a rock layer they can predict – before putting a spade in the ground – exactly what type of fossils to expect. It’s the consistency that proves the science is working. All it would take to prove the whole theory false would be a fossil human being alongside a Tyrannosaurus Rex. However this hasn’t happened yet, and we can map the past of life on Earth using a whole range of scientific disciplines. It is very important to appreciate how different sciences – biology and geology, for example – confirm the discoveries each specialist has made.

    Evolution is the source of the biodiversity we see around us. This doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist. All it means is that the Creation story is a myth rather than a factual description of what actually happened. Many Christians have no problem reconciling their faith with science. As soon as Galileo proved that the Earth revolved round the Sun, the faithful started to realise the Bible could not be literally true in scientific terms. Almost every important discovery in terms of biology, geology, astronomy, etc. has made this more obvious.

    The idea that the Bible can or should be used like a science textbook was abandoned by the mainstream churches hundreds of years ago. People like Kent Hovind are promoting an essentially fraudulent anti-science movement made popular in the US in the early 1900s. They make lots of claims that are completely untrue and use what I can only call trickery to confuse people. Those tricked by such fraudsters can often be recognised by the points they make. A common one, for example, is that “there are no intermediate fossils”. Google “intermediate fossils” and you’ll see there are hundreds.

    Consider this: in a world where scientists and nations both compete with each other and work together, anyone who could prove evolution was false would win the Nobel prize and global fame. Many governments would be only too thrilled to prove Western science a fraud. How much would be at stake if anyone could prove the existence (or non-existence) of God?

    Evolution is hard to explain but it’s well worth making the effort to learn the principles because once you understand it it makes sense of so much. As a Christian, it increases my awe of God’s creation. Here’s my attempt (helped by this site). If you sincerely wish to understand evolution, http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_toc_01 seems quite a helpful site. This one – is too.

    Natural selection is one of the basic mechanisms of evolution. It’s relatively simple but often misunderstood. To find out how it works, imagine a population of beetles:

    1. There is variation in traits. For example, some beetles are green and some are brown.

    2. There is differential reproduction. Since the environment can’t support an unlimited number of beetles, not all individuals get to reproduce to their full potential. In this example, green beetles tend to get eaten by birds and survive to reproduce less often than brown beetles do.

    3. There is heredity. The surviving brown beetles have brown baby beetles because this trait has a genetic basis.

    4. End result: The more advantageous trait, brown colouration, which allows the beetle to have more offspring, becomes more common in the population. If this process continues, eventually, all individuals in the population will be brown.

    If you have variation, differential reproduction, and heredity, you will have evolution by natural selection as an outcome. It is as simple as that.

    In large animals like us, with long life cycles, evolution is very slow, and cannot be witnessed in one lifetime or even a thousand. However in tiny short-lived organisms, bacteria for example, evolution occurs so rapidly we can observe it. Those bacteria that survive a course of antibiotic are the ones that get to reproduce. Because of this, very soon all the bacteria become antibiotic-resistant. This is evolution in action

    Scientists can – and have done – over many years worked out how different species stem from previously, less well-adapted ancestors. For example, the bones of birds are very different to those of mammals. Bird bones, as you would expect, are far lighter – for the purpose of flight. Ostriches are birds but cannot fly. However they have bird bones. Bats are mammals, but they fly. If they had been designed they would surely have birdlike bones or special light bones. But no, they have normal mammal bones. This tells scientists that somewhere in the past birds share a common ancestor, while mammals share another. Bats are related to non-flying mammals, and evolved from non-flying ancestors.

    This is just one tiny example of how we trace species and their connections to each other. Similarly, we know we are a sort of ape and linked by a common ancestor to other apes. Examination of our genetic structure shows us exactly how. Our understanding of evolution has moved on and enlarged since Darwin’s day. He knew nothing of DNA. Yet DNA entirely supports everything we know about evolution. Evolution is the most elegant, simple concept once you understand it.

    I would repeat that knowing this, appreciating this, in no way removes the glory of God or stops me believing in God. To be honest, the truth about geology, about evolution – about all science – is far more amazing and impressive than the story in Genesis.

    You keep asking people to prove that God doesn’t exist. It can’t be done. Just as you cannot prove that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster didn’t create the universe. Try. You won’t be able to. Personal belief isn’t scientific proof. I’m not saying personal belief isn’t important, but it isn’t evidence.

    No test has ever been found that can tell the difference between a universe created by God, and one that appeared without Him. However the literal truth of Genesis can be shown to be untrue. Many Christians are perfectly content understanding Genesis as a beautiful description of why the Earth and all that’s in it came into existence. However they are also confident that it is not a scientific factual description of how it happened.

    Many Bible stories are factually untrue. For example there was never a global flood. That’s easy to prove. The story of Adam and Eve is clearly a poetic, mythical story. Even quite young children soon ask “Well then, who did Abel marry?” But the Bible is far more than a textbook, and reading it as if it were a history book or science fact is actually a bad thing.

    I do hope you find this helpful. I have to say that my experience in this regard has been bad, in that the literal Creationists I’ve encountered online (I’ve never met one in RL) in the past always ask for scientific explanations but then refuse to either read what I or others have taken pains to write or follow any of the links I’ve carefully gathered.

  70. Bill Boswell Says:

    Go to http://www.answersingenesis.org

    and all your theories and thoughts will be proven wrong both Biblicaly and scientificaly

  71. BartiDdu Says:

    Please Bill bookmark this page.

    Whether in a month, in a year or in ten, if there is something or someone that happens in your life that causes you to doubt, not necessarily your faith, but the crazy belief that the whole of scientific progress and the accumulation of human knowledge since the Bible was written is worthless, then come back and start reading this discussion slowly from the top. I think you’ll find there’s a wealth of things to consider here. Be warned though you might find yourself blushing with embarrassment at the arrogance with which you came across way back in August 2010!

    But I’ll be honest, I write this more with concern for your children’s future than your own. You’ve thoroughly earned my disrespect. Your kids deserve better.

    BDd

  72. David Booth Says:

    I think that the Bible needs to be respected for what it is – a treasure trove of wisdom, spiritual instruction and God’s message to mankind. It is not a science book, but is the source of spiritual truth.

    Science needs to be respected, in its efforts to understand the universe in which we live and on which we depend physically. There is no competition between science and the the Bible. It is true to say that there is a difference of conceptual understanding between them. Science is itself evolving and will continue to do so, because God has ordered it to evolve, until such time as God decides otherwise. To understand this concept, look no further than Genesis 2 and the garden of Eden! In other words, science is only scratching at the surface of God’s wisdom. The Bible as written is static, God’s words do not change and changing their originally intended meaning to fit today’s contemporary social values, leads people astray.

    Ultimately, man must and will submit to his own mortality and limitations and recognise that God is supreme and all things are within his hands. God forecast long ago that men would be ‘wise in their own eyes’, and in their pride, reject God and see themselves as the replacement of God. This is happening as we speak and will continue to do so until God says ‘enough is enough’.

  73. Bill Boswell Says:

    BDd i will not take notice of someone who cant even proof to back up his beliefs (YOU)
    so i couldnt care a less whever you respect me or not.

    I am interested in serving God and not pleasing you.

    As for my children i thank Jesus for His Love Grace and Mercy.Because He saved me.

    My children now have a father who wont be going to prison or watch over his shoulder.My wife now has a husband who will layh down his life for her.And i have the Lord God Almighty in my life and i pity anyone wh chooses to reject what He has to offer.

    AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.

    If you wish to continue in this conversation then i suggest you try to give proof to back up your beliefs otherwise your arguements just seem and are silly

  74. Sophie Says:

    @ Bill Boswell: I wrote: “…my experience in this regard has been bad, in that the literal Creationists I’ve encountered online (I’ve never met one in RL) in the past always ask for scientific explanations but then refuse to either read what I or others have taken pains to write or follow any of the links I’ve carefully gathered.”

    And what do I get? The same old, same old blinkered response. Why did I bother? Believe in the rubbishy pseudoscience of Answers in Genesis if you must. But, as BartiDdu says, when or if you learn the glorious and amazing truth you aren’t half going to feel silly. If your kids are interested in the sciences at school they may enlighten you. I hope they won’t mock your ignorance, as the freshly educated young are so apt to do.

  75. Bill Boswell Says:

    lol when you mean literal creationist you must mean Bible believing Christian because thats what i am.

    And sadly you are unable to give me proof of this “glorious and amazing truth” arent you? Lol

    You have something so amazing that it can only be called a theory lol

    And im supposed to be the ignorant one! I know that isnt so

    You call Answers in Genesis rubbish! If thats the case then why cant your super intelligent,well imformed mollecules to man scientist friends prove them wrong.

    You have scientists,computers and all the knowledge to go with it and you cant prove Gods Word wrong can you?
    Why is this?

    And i still want you to give me scientific proof please.Otherwise its pointless continuing because you are stuck up a certain creek without a paddle!

    God bless

  76. Sophie Says:

    @ Bill Boswell: I’ve just checked out Answers in Genesis and they say Cain married his sister. Or possibly his niece. According to them the whole human race stems from generation after generation of incest by Adam and Eve’s children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren, which was OK because…

    Actually, they don’t provide a credible explanation as to why it was OK, as none of what they claim about Cain’s marriage being to his sister or the incest actually appears in the Bible at all. None of it. It seems strange that people who insist that the Bible must be taken literally are quite happy to invent things – really important events – out of thin air when it suits them.

    The site’s authors then explain that all this incest didn’t result in inherited defects because Adam and Eve and their descendants for generations were perfect (despite the Fall) and not subject to the genetic laws which govern the rest of us. :-D

    They make it up as they go along, don’t they? It’s impossible to take any of this seriously. If you’re prepared to believe this pile of old toot I’ve got a villa in Spain you might like to buy…

  77. Bill Boswell Says:

    How much.Il awap it for a white elephant lol because you have bought one haha

    Yes the story you have read is the story of Genesis God made 1 man and 1 woman.

    So now answer my question P……L…….E…….A……..S……..E….:..:…………………………:……………………..

  78. Sophie Says:

    As I said, Bill, you keep asking people to prove that God doesn’t exist. It can’t be done. Just as you cannot prove that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster didn’t create the universe. Try. You won’t be able to. Personal belief isn’t scientific proof. I’m not saying personal belief isn’t important, but it isn’t evidence.

    Do try to keep up.

  79. Lee Clark Says:

    @Bill Boswell

    In the beginning I had a huge invisible porcupine on my shoulders.

    Now please prove it wrong

    (Think about it..)

    Hello everyone :) Long time no speak :)

  80. Bill Boswell Says:

    lol well in that case sadly you will have to wait till you stand before Him.

    “it is permitted once for a man to die and after face the judgement”

    Do try to keep up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh yeah sorry its hard to move without a paddle isnt it lololololololol

  81. Bill Boswell Says:

    ANSWERS ON A POSTCARD PLEASE

  82. Bill Boswell Says:

    Where had BDd gone?

    I hope he is still typing his proof!

  83. Phoebs Says:

    “lol well in that case sadly you will have to wait till you stand before Him. “it is permitted once for a man to die and after face the judgement”

    Bill, are you ‘trolling’ for Jesus?

  84. Bill Boswell Says:

    What do you mean “trolling for Jesus”???????

    I am just quoting what Gods Word says!

    Do you not believe this?

  85. BartiDdu Says:

    @Phoebs
    I have also wondered whether BB is a troll – and to be fair, if he is he can truly claim ‘victory’ in having ‘baited’ a fair few of us over a large number of postings to spend time in responding to him as if he were genuine.

    In principle I err on the side caution by preferring 9 times out of 10 to find I have been trolled in order that the 1 time out of 10 I am not treating someone who is actually genuine as if he were making it up.

    The ironic thing about people trolling as fundies is that the ease with which it can be done says so much about fundies and trolls! Fundies are almost caricatures of themselves. If you made it up how much of a closed book their minds are people wouldn’t believe it. As a consequence, fundies are just about as easy to impersonate as it gets. As such ‘baiting’ in this kind of forum is really for the kindergarten troll. He might claim victory but it’s a bit of a shallow one really.

    I suppose it would be like going out into the street pretending to be looking for directions to somewhere they already know how to get to. After someone has stopped and gone to the trouble of explaining the route, he then goes to meet up with his clique of fellow pseudo-direction-seekers where they all have a great laugh about how much of people’s time they wasted. Such is the level of maturity of the troll and such is the skill level of the ‘fundie troll’.

    Of course if Bill Boswell isn’t a troll then I guess this post may as well have been written in Japanese as far as he’s concerned!

    BDd

  86. BartiDdu Says:

    PS If there’s anyone who’s not quite sure what this ‘trolling’ thing is about, here’s a good and amusing video about it:

    http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1926079

  87. Sophie Says:

    @ BartiDdu: The thing that concerns me is this bizarre pride in ignorance. There’s a huge information gap in terms of science. If Bill Boswell is sincere, he is frighteningly badly educated.

    On the original topic, kids in any type of schools need to be taught how science works, how scientists examine different types of evidence, how they draw conclusions, what the underlying rules are for the various disciplines. Without this education, they too are vulnerable to Govind and his ilk.

  88. Gordon Says:

    I think some people have a faith that is based on a total denial of reason so any idea of education or logical enquiry is treated as sinful.

    As for religious schools, the first great hurt in my life was as a five year old having my best friend taken to a Catholic primary school without me. It still seems odd, hurtful and unnecessary. Especially as his father was a communist so the axe being ground was one of “better education and more discipline” rather than Catholic indoctrination. Although some people have suggested that the structure of the Communist party did mirror the structure of the Catholic church.

  89. Gordon Says:

    When I was studying Divinity at university we used scientific methods to examine the bible. If the bible is true it can stand up to that sort of reasonable enquiry, so evangelicals who will not countenance such questioning of the bible really do have very little faith in it as the innerant word of God. Its a faith stoked up by feelings of persecution and even asking a question like “is the emperor wearing no clothes?” is enough to set off a spiritual orgasm of self righteous indignation.

  90. David Booth Says:

    I respect Bill for his testimony. I probably don’t agree with all of his comments, but one thing is for sure – he has changed from being a non believer, to being a believer in Christ and this is something that some on this site cannot make a claim to.

    He probably has much to learn, as we all do, but what comes through very clearly is his earnest belief in the Bible. Bill may not be academic, but I believe he is sincere in his beliefs. We don’t know much about him, or his background, but he has changed from death to life in Christ. I hope that he learns to listen to the views of others and consider them, even if he decides he doesn’t agree with those views. I also hope that we can be humble enough to listen and consider his views, instead of rejecting them out of hand, because you believe something else (some of which is evidence based and others based on assumptions and what you have been taught).

    I think we would benefit most from Bill, by learning about why he changed, what happened and how this has changed his life. Many of us, have not been changed by Christ and some of us refuse to believe in God. There is much that we could learn from Bill in this way, I believe.

  91. Gordon Says:

    But where this goes wrong is when the converted person then goes around telling the unconverted that the only way to God is by denying reason. This is incredibly common these days. Take Edinburgh City Mission as an example. Their main work with students now revolves around the promotion of creationism because they genuinely believe that this will persuade people that the bible is true.

    http://www.ecalpemos.org/2009/11/edinburgh-city-mission-another-example.html

    This way of promoting Christianity was unknown when I was at university.

  92. Sophie Says:

    @ David Booth: Are you kidding? Bill Boswell claims his faith has changed his life but it doesn’t seem to have done much for his personality from where I’m sitting. He’s rude, he’s disingenuous, he’s ignorant and he takes great pride in that ignorance. His posts are crammed full of antagonism. Barrack room lawyer is the phrase that springs to mind. I can’t see him as an example to follow.

    More generally, religious extremism of any stamp presents one of the major risks to peace on Earth atm. Those who reject science for a belief in literal Creationism deserve as much opposition as we can throw at them. They are not just harmless cranks. This sort of thinking could be lethal to the planet and leads Christianity into disrepute. It’s hugely exclusionary. Do you want a world in which only cranks and the ignorant can follow Christ?

    I noticed previously, though did not comment how willing you seem to ascribe bad faith to other posters here. You write: “Many of us, have not been changed by Christ and some of us refuse to believe in God.”

    Apart from Jim, who has always made no bones about his humanism, most posters here are Christian. Your assumptions about the rest of us are discourteous and unwarranted. You may not intend this, but you should know that your posts can seem very patronising. Your comments to Phoebs were really objectionable. Please don’t assume what may strike a chord with you must therefore be true for others.

  93. David Booth Says:

    Sophie,
    I agree that he has come across unpolitely, though to be honest so have some of yours.

    He may not be informed about science, but he at least has a testimony of having his life changed by God and that is worth noting.

    Regarding his personality – ok, he may be ‘rough and ready’ in the way he comes across, but it may be that he is in the early stages of change in his life and this should be encouraged. I would not like to think that someone whose life has turned around so dramatically would be discouraged by people on this forum. We have more than enough people in our prisons. As a member of the prison fellowship, I encourage anyone whose life has changed from crime, to believing in God.
    If he continues to follow Christ, and really dedicate his life to Him, he will change from being the somewhat brash person he is now, to being someone with priceless wisdom that will benefit others. Such a person should not be written off and talked down to, but gently encouraged to develop his character in Christ.
    If you think I have been discourteous to you, then I do apologise. This is not meant. Neither do I mean to be patronising as you put it. Regarding my comments to Phoeb, they are offered in love to her, nothing else and I know they are right (even if that is interpreted as ‘patronising’ or ‘arrogant’). If I didn’t care about Phoeb, I wouldn’t even have offered her the comments. They are for her benefit if she will humbly receive them. There is much that I can learn from others, if I am humble enough to learn, but it does take me to humble myself to consider and explore whether the person is right, instead of reacting with ‘its arrogant’ or ‘its patronising’, which if I was the person who could benefit, would really be excusing myself from something because I felt it hard in some way.
    Again, I do apologise if I have said anything to you, that has offended.

  94. Bill Boswell Says:

    I ask for proof to back up your stupid beliefs and all you do is jabber on about a load of rubbish.

    No wonder you believe you are highly evolved pieces of slime because thats about the intelligence you have lol

    Now for the 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 time stop talking nonsence and be a man and answer me

  95. Bill Boswell Says:

    Also Sophie the reason you find me insulting is because you cant answer my question.

    You say my life hasnt changed? All i can say is lolololololololol

    Dont follow my example luv……follow Jesus

  96. Gordon Says:

    Bill, if you met someone who was a Christian but did believe in evolution would you accept that they were truly born again?

    I am genuinely interested in your answer.

  97. Bill Boswell Says:

    If someon claimed to be a Christian and not believe in the Bible then no they are not “truly born again”

    How can you claim to be one thing and believe another.

    Gods Word teaches that He made the heavens and the earth.

    So you cant have both.

    But sadly the world today is full of compromise and thats not what the Word of God teaches.

    Jesus said “if you love me then you would obey my coomands” and one of those commands is “man doesnt live by bread alone but by EVERT word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

    Hope that clears things up for you now please answer my question

  98. Gordon Says:

    I was not aware that you had asked me a question Bill. I think you were addressing it to David or Sophie.

  99. Sophie Says:

    @ Gordon: Bill can’t be addressing me – I’ve already answered his question and am still waiting for his answer to mine. Not that I’m expecting one.

  100. Bill Boswell Says:

    lo you havnt answered Sophie because you cant.

    Here it is again

    give me SCIENTIFIC proof to back up your beliefs

  101. BartiDdu Says:

    Unfortunately Gordon I think you’ll find Bill Boswell is addressing his ‘big’ question to anybody and everybody other than his fellow literalists. He does not even seem to acknowledge David Booth’s admiration (which I frankly find quite disturbing). This is what makes this kind of believer – whether Christian or Muslim dangerous in the world and to all of us on it and is deserving, as Sophie says, of “as much opposition as we can throw at them.”

    Running throughout David Booth’s posts you’ll find evidence of his belief, often by inference, that non-believers are inferior (or even that people who have always been Christian are not as virtuous as converts). But whereas David at least reads others’ posts and even if he misses the point, does not deliberately respond rudely, Bill seems to believe everybody outside of his little ‘saved’ posse is evil and he seems to be looking forward gleefully to the ‘Lord’s return’ when we’ll all be smitten’!

    Even that (putting aside the fact he is fathering children) is harmless in and of itself. One of the main problems as I see it is there’s only a very very small step from believing non-believers deserve to be smitten to deciding not to wait and to start doing some smiting yourself!!

    As annoying as it is to have to keep skimming past Bill Boswell’s rantings to find the stuff of substance here I am still glad he’s here because he serves as a warning to us all of the direction this country’ll be heading in if literalists (whether Christian or Muslim) get a proper foothold here. But there is one place where we can and ought to fight back without infringing on anybody’s rights – and that is to make sure that if they want to inculcate their kids in this kind of nonsense, that they either have to do it at their own expense or at home, NOT in publicly funded educational establishments.

    BDd

  102. Sophie Says:

    @ BartiDdu: Well thought out post, as I am starting to expect from you. It’s comforting that others see the danger in this extremism

    I’m not a fan of Ann Rice‘s books (she’s an American best-seller) but I think she raised a real and concerning point when she recently publicly rejected the label of Christian, deciding instead to call herself a follower of Jesus. She quotes Gandhi’s comment “”I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    Ann Rice announced “In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

    Gordon has written an excellent article on his blog, “Should the church challenge Christian fundamentalism?” in which he writes:

    “In many ways interaction with fundamentalist Christians is like interfaith dialogue because what they believe is very far from the historical beliefs of the Christian church.”

    He also writes “the trend is towards a distrust of education and towards injustice,” both of which we see here.

  103. Bill Boswell Says:

    Lol David Booth is my brother in the Lord and i thank God that God has put us together on this post

    BDd stop going round in circles because you will soon fall over.Be a man and answer me

    If any athiest,evolutionist or jedi knight cares to help out then be my guest

    ANSWERS ON A POST CARD PLEASE…….OK NO POSTCARD JUST ANSWER ME

  104. Bill Boswell Says:

    Sophie you can quote whoever you like but you cant have Jesus without His Word.

    In ragard to being a “follower of Jesus” Jesus said “who ever would come after me let him deny himself,take up his cross and FOLLOW ME DAILY”

    Now once again give me an answer to my question and not post another article about someone compromising Gods Holy Word.

  105. David Booth Says:

    BartiDdu
    Re: your comment: “Running throughout David Booth’s posts you’ll find evidence of his belief, often by inference, that non-believers are inferior (or even that people who have always been Christian are not as virtuous as converts).” – is not my belief at all. Non believers are not inferior in any way – this is an idea that originated from your own mind, not mine.

  106. Bill Boswell Says:

    BDd

    Now David has responded to lies you have said about him please stop being like a little child and do something sensible like answering a question

    Just in case you have forgot here it is again

    please give me scientific PROOF to prove your beliefs WITHOUT using terms such as if, but, maybe, perhaps, could, might etc etc

    God bless and i await your answer

  107. Sophie Says:

    @ David Booth: Actually, your post today at 12:34 pm very much suggests that you’re more impressed by converts than by us cradle Christians. Your praise of the boorish Mr Boswell is based on what you see as his sincerity, as though sincerity could be measured by his dismal lack of education and his somewhat “rough and ready” approach to debate.

    Previously, too, you have made remarks that suggest you believe that non-believers are inferior. “…faith and spiritual wholeness contribute vastly to a child’s estimation of their personal value, responsibility and accountability. It is the absence of these, that contribute so much to the unruly behaviour of children on our streets displaying disrespect for adults, scant regard for people’s property and little care or consideration for anyone except themselves. Small wonder, that such children, end up engaging in crime and populating our prisons as adults. Even from amongst non religious middle classes, children lacking Christian education can be observed having little consideration for others. There are of course children from any background that are caring and considerate, but it is worth noting that Christian culture and traditions when adopted in the past, have contributed to children’s good social behaviour, which is now generally lacking in society.”

    From non-belief straight to the prison gate…

    BartiDdu’s points are not without foundation, David.

  108. Bill Boswell Says:

    Sophie i may have a lack of education but Gods Wor says “for God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise”

    Now will you bdare to give me answer beings you are the educated one?

  109. Sophie Says:

    Get lost Bill. I’ve already answered you at great length, which was clearly a waste of my time. Now answer me. Or did you not notice you’d been asked a question?

    Seriously though, what would Jesus think of your incessant rudeness to other Christians? You are a lousy advert for the faith you claim.

  110. BartiDdu Says:

    @ David Booth First I do believe that you believe that you don’t consider non-believers as inferior. But I would like, if not to convince you otherwise, to illustrate why this is not “an idea that originated from [my] mind”.

    First maybe I should clarify that by ‘inferior’ I mean, less principled, less virtuous, less moral. Of course this is part and parcel of believing that following Christian values is more moral than not following them. However, where it becomes problematic for me is when ‘faith based assumptions’ such as these are considered as valid as ‘evidence based assumptions’ in debating public policy such as faith schools.

    Maybe as a first example I’ll quote part of the bit you wrote that drew me into this discussion in the first place:
    “…part of [children educated in faith schools] success was due to the ethos and principles of the parents encouragement etc… but this merely proves the point that faith does help!”

    The underlying assumption of yours here that I challenged was that parents with faith are more likely to have ‘ethos and principles’ and are more likely to give their children ‘encouragement’ than those who don’t.

    You made this even more clear in your response to me:
    “It is the faith of the parents that has contributed to their children’s success! Parents who are active in their Christian faith, are highly motivated to ensure their children’s success in both education and spirituality.”

    But when I pulled you up on it with:

    “As for your suggestion that those of faith care more for their children’s education than those without I’d challenge you to come up with one iota of evidence. I think it is presumptuous nonsense!”

    You defended yourself thus:
    “I don’t think I said that and certainly don’t think it. What I did say is that such parents are passionate about their children’s education.”

    But sire, you can’t have your cake and eat it! You’re writing all these positive things about parents of faith and how you believe it makes such a positive impact on their children’s education little realising in so doing that you are by implication saying that children of parents without faith are disadvantaged. In other words faithless parents are less enthusiastic and less virtuous.

    But there’s no point you and me arguing back and forth about this. Would anyone else care to come in here? Was I putting 2 and 2 together to make 5 or were my deductions reasonable?

    I could take all day sifting through your posts David for more but maybe for everyone’s sake if I just find one more example that will at least have given you the opportunity of seeing it’s not something I’ve plucked out of thin air.

    OK, even without moving on from your first response to me here’s another:

    “It is the absence of [faith and spiritual wholeness] that contribute so much to the unruly behaviour of children on our streets…”
    Again this is indirect but by my assessment the ‘less virtuous’ inference is certainly present. It looks to me like the ‘faith-based assumption’ that children’s unruly behaviour on the streets is at least partially caused by lack of faith. You make no attempt to justify this assumption from research or any evidence, rather, I presume, assume because Christianity teaches ‘morals’ that children taught Christian values are more likely to be moral than children who are not. Can you not see that in doing so you are implying people with secular values are inferior to those with your own? What else could that statement of yours mean?

    OK so maybe I haven’t chosen the best two examples here. If you’d like me to I’ll find better examples (I acknowledge having made the allegation I have a responsibility to back it up) but it could take some time as this discussion is mighty long by now!

    BDd

  111. David Booth Says:

    Sophie,
    Well again, you can read this as inferring that I am suggesting some inferiority of such people, if you are already predisposed to think negatively towards my comments. In fact, not only is there no mention of anyone being ‘inferior’ in the quotation you make, but it isn’t even suggested. What I have tried to put across, is that in the absence of solid moral and cultural foundations gained from both the home and the school, children can lack a deep sense of personal esteem and purpose. We’re living in a society that is bombarding our children with everything and anything, that can be pushed through the media. If you want to complain about ‘inculcation’ and ‘indoctrination’, your first port of call should be to address the lack of constraint by the media, whose primary concern, is not the children but monetary profit.
    The sexualisation of children and girls in particular, is in part, the result of an unrestrained media that is indoctrinating children day after day, straight through the television screen and through girls magazines. It is some surprise to me, to see people here, more concerned about the transmission of good moral values through schools, than about the de-valuing of girls to be sexual objects for boys. Girls and boys need a real foundation for life and the school is excellently placed to provide strong direction here, instead of ‘morning after pills’.

  112. BartiDdu Says:

    PS I hadn’t seen your post there Sophie using the same example of David’s. I’m glad it’s not just me!

    As for BB, you may have noticed it has been a long time since I addressed him. Yes I talk ABOUT him because I think he’s a fantastic example of what we’re talking about but I wouldn’t waste another keystroke trying to communicate WITH him. You haven’t got a chance in… (hold on, remember whom I’m addressing)… a chance-less place of getting through to him!

  113. Gordon Says:

    Jesus found all people valuable regardless of their spiritual state, illnesses, education or social standing. I think what lay behind this was his view that faith was a journey rather than a destination. That’s what come out of statements like “my yoke is easy”, the parable of the sower, and going the second mile. On the other hand fundamentalists see faith more as a destination.

    You have to remember that a lot of what claims to be Christian and coming out of the USA is right wing libertarianism – something which is actually based on darwinism (survival of only those able to look after themelves).

    Oh and where have my local Christians been in their response to the Pakistan floods. Nowhere, because its muslims innit. Very Christ like.

  114. BartiDdu Says:

    David, David, David!
    “Well again, you can read this as inferring that I am suggesting some inferiority of such people, if you are already predisposed to think negatively towards my comments.”
    No, no, no! I’m afraid once again the point is eluding you.

    “What I have tried to put across, is that in the absence of solid moral and cultural foundations gained from both the home and the school, children can lack a deep sense of personal esteem and purpose.”
    That may well be what you tried to put across but if it was what you’d put across I suspect you’d have got applauses and support to your points all round! But it isn’t – or only is if, as you do, equate ‘solid moral foundations’ as Christian moral foundations. That is exactly where you’re making the inferences you simply are failing to see. A failure illustrated by your comment:

    “In fact, not only is there no mention of anyone being ‘inferior’ in the quotation you make, but it isn’t even suggested. ”

    May I suggest instead of going totally off on a tangent about the media and social values and the ‘sexualisation of girls’ etc. etc. that you have a good think about what Sophie (and I) are trying to get across to you here. What if a third person agrees? Would you again try to put it down to the critic’s ‘predisposition’? Jeepers, how could I have a predisposition? I know nothing about you other than what you’ve written in this particular discussion. I have written only according to my interpretation of what you’ve written.

    BDd

  115. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Gordon

    OK, you’ve got my attention!

    “a lot of what claims to be Christian and coming out of the USA is right wing libertarianism – something which is actually based on darwinism (survival of only those able to look after themelves)”.

    (I guess you mean ‘Social Darwinsim”)

    So your suggesting there’s a connection between libertarianism and Christian fundamentalism?! Go on, bring it on. Le’s be ‘avin’ it. Would you care to elaborate good sire? :)

    (WAAAAY off topic I know but heck, look at most of this thread!)

    BDd

  116. Sophie Says:

    @ David Booth: I think you have to accept that, although you may not have meant to come over in that way, you have given several people – BartiDdu, Phoebs and me – a very definite impression.

  117. Bill Boswell Says:

    Sophie you havnt answered me at any length.
    If you have please repost your SCIENTIFIC PROOF TO BACK UP YOUR STUPID CLAIMS

    BDd lol i cant believe a grown man can be so childish or silly.I and my church do a work with the homeless(including muslims!!!!!)
    and drug addicts and they can even answer a question!

    BDd the fact that you wont answer me is because you cant.If it were so you would answer me.

    But if i was in your position i would want to avoid questions that i cant answer.lol

    Call me rude,ignorant or any other name you wish. I am only telling you the truth and asking you questions.If you dont like them or cant answer them dont take it out on me.

    Even my Jesus called the libral compromisers of His day a “brood of vipers”
    Even tho He came to do Gods will and reveal His love He still told the truth nomatter who He offended.

    Im a God pleaser not a people pleaser.And sadly when you are living to please God then you will upset/offend man.

    What would you say if i told you thatg if you die in your sins you will go to hell?

    No doubt you will be offended but the Bible tells it like it is and its better you accept what Christ did to save you from sin and hell than get offended!

    Now back to my question people.I have have lots of replys that contain paragraph after paragraph of junk and skitty remarks but NOT ON ANSWER GIVING SCIENTIFIC PROOF TO PROVE YOUR BELIEFS

    GOD BLESS

  118. Gordon Says:

    If you mean evidence of evolution I can recommend “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins.

    One of the great messages of evolution is that we are all from a long line of survivors. I think that itself is quite a hopeful message for people in difficult situations and a testament to the tenacity of human beings and teh forces of nature.

  119. BartiDdu Says:

    Hey Bill Boswell, don’t you get it? I’m talkin’ ABOUT ya’ not TO ya’!

    You obviously can’t hear me so let’s try a language you seem to understand:

    I AM NOT INTERESTED IN ANSWERING YOUR STUPID BLOODY QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YOU CAN ASK ME 100 TIMES, WELL SEEING AS YOU’RE ABOUT HALF WAY THERE ALREADY LET’S SAY 1000 TIMES OR UNTIL YOU’RE BLUE IN THE FACE AND I STILL WON’T ANSWER.

    If you really want to know why, the answers to that have been patiently explained to you by others above. Or if you prefer to believe because it’s I’m not man enough or whatever then…. whatever!

    You’re a total nut job and all you are doing by carrying on like this is confirming it. Do yourself a favour and drop it – or keep going if it makes you happy. It seems not everybody here yet understands what a fundie is all about. You keep this up and eventually the penny should drop for everybody.

    BDd

  120. Gordon Says:

    I know what a fundamentalist is. I used to be one!

  121. BartiDdu Says:

    @Gordon

    “I know what a fundamentalist is. I used to be one!”

    Ouch!! Well congratulations for finding your way out.

    Do you mind me asking were there chinks in the armour? Is that how something got through to you? I understand the way I’ve been dealing with BB is unlikely to have a positive impact on him but really right now that matters much less to me, as I have said, than to use his refusal to engage with his reasoning faculty as an example of the danger. Mind you, nobody else seems to have managed to break through to him either. I think my belief is nobody really can (and I’m talking in the abstract now, not specifically about BB); that if it’s going to happen at all, that something has to come from the inside; that there needs to be some realisation at some level, some awareness of some internal inconsistency that’s quietly burning away that suddenly eventually bursts the fantasy bubble. How does that compare with your experience?

    BDd

    right wing libertarianism

  122. BartiDdu Says:

    LOL I just spotted the words ‘right wing libertarianism’ under my name!!!

    That was not the intention. I had been planning – before I went off on one about finding one’s way out of fundamentalism – to ask what was meant by right-wing libertarianism. Then when I decided to leave that I forgot the words were still there!

  123. Bill Boswell Says:

    No i Gordon i want scientific PROOF OF HOW WE CAME INTO BEING AS YOU BELIEVE

    BDd your last statement has just confirmed all along ……your an idiot!!!!

    You have a belief that isnt true.The fact that you wont answer me proves it.Its funny how you had a lot to say until i questioned your beliefs and views isnt it?

    And you call me a wackjob lol

    Well if thats whatg you want to call me then im a wackjob for Jesus.
    You however are a wackjob and a coward for nothing!!!!!!! And all i can do is lol

    It proved that people with big views have such tiny minds.

    God bless and if i know anyone who has ap paddle to get you out of that creek you are in i will let you know lolololol

  124. BartiDdu Says:

    They’re coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa :D

  125. Bill Boswell Says:

    I can believe it

    I cant believe how you can laugh beings you are in a corner and arent prepared to give a striaght answer to a simple question.

    Perhaps if i talked rubbish you might contribute MUCH lol

    If you are not prepared to give an answer then i suggest you go back to your padded cell and like the windows!

  126. Bill Boswell Says:

    I can believe it

    I cant believe how you can laugh beings you are in a corner and arent prepared to give a striaght answer to a simple question.

    Perhaps if i talked rubbish you might contribute MUCH lol

    If you are not prepared to give an answer then i suggest you go back to your padded cell and lick the windows!

  127. David Booth Says:

    BartiDdu
    No inferiority is implied or suggested in my comments. To suggest that anyone is ‘inferior’ to someone else is not part of m beliefs nor opinions.

    For instance you said: “Christianity teaches ‘morals’ that children taught Christian values are more likely to be moral than children who are not. Can you not see that in doing so you are implying people with secular values are inferior to those with your own? What else could that statement of yours mean?”

    You said, ‘what else could my statement mean?’ -
    The values of ‘secular’ morals, do not equal the morals and values Christ taught. To argue that they do, is to underestimate the values that Christ taught and practiced. This however, does not mean a person is inferior, but that his morals and behaviour are not of the standard that Christ taught and practiced. Christ’s morals and teaching were revolutionary in his day and still today in this age, they are revolutionary. Not least of Christ’s morals which he taught and practiced was ‘forgiveness’. For instance, if someone has something against someone on this site, but refuses to forgive them, even after a sincere apology, then this would not be the morality of Christ which was revolutionary.

  128. Jim Says:

    Bill.

    Please read this carefully…

    Continuing to ask the same question over and over again just makes it look as if you don’t have ability to understand the many answers which we have provided. Our assumption was that you were a rational, intelligent and sane person, even if we did not agree with you.

    Most of us have great patience, or we would not have persevered. But we all have limits to our patience, as you are now seeing.

    The saddest thing is that while you may think that you are serving your God by behaving in this way, in reality you are doing Him great harm.

    If after this you continue in the same way, then our conclusion must be that you are not sincere in your devotion.

    I realise that I may be wasting my time asking you to think again, but it saddens me that you may be sincere but unaware of the damage that you do to your cause.

    Please read this post again, and consider it carefully. It is seriously and sincerely meant to be helpful. This is not some big joke. The underlying topic is of the most profound importance.

  129. BartiDdu Says:

    @David Booth

    “The values of ‘secular’ morals, do not equal the morals and values Christ taught. To argue that they do, is to underestimate the values that Christ taught and practiced..”
    I believe secular morals, not only being something inherent to our nature but also having the advantage of an additional 2000 years’ philosophical progress are in principle far superior than Christian morals. But that’s not to say I believe any individual nor any cross section of atheists or secularists necessarily have ‘better’ morals or behaviours than Christians. And even if I did, if I were proposing a public policy on the basis of that belief I would expect to have to support it with evidence.

    And this is where I had the problem with your assertions in the first place. Your premise is the superiority of Christian ethics. That is a ‘faith based assertion’ from which you derived spurious claims about parents with Christian values with regards to their passion for their children’s education and about the lesser likelihood of children taught Christian values in antisocial behaviour and ending up in jail. You are very quick to point out that you don’t specifically mention non-Christian parents or non-Christian children (in fact I have never come across anybody more careful to avoid saying it) but without the assumption the parents don’t care as much or that the children don’t behave as well your argument is vacuous. Think about it. What would research or evidence to support your argument look like? It would need a control group for the sake of comparison otherwise it would be as worthless as your argument.

    But you bring no research or evidence to back up your claims yet believe this opinion should be taken seriously when considering the value or dis-value of faith schools.

    Does this help explain?

    BDd

  130. Bill Boswell Says:

    Jim please show me the answers that yhouj said i have benn given!

    I have asked for scientific proof so please show me it!

    The reason i keep asking tthe same question is because i have yet to i piece of scientific proof to back up the claims of ahuests,evolutionists.

    I want you/s to show me how this world came into being

    Once you show me then i am more than happy to move on

    I am prepared to answer any question that is put to me but i am not going to answer anymore until i get an answer from you/s

    Also a side note even tho i didnt become a Christian until i was 21 i went to a C of E secondary scho.ol, and to be honest i learned and was taught absolutly nothing about God or any faith.I can say that my school had no bearing on my life in terms of faith.Also i have stayed in contact with many friends from school and to my knowlegde i am the only one who is a Christian.

    I think that says quite a lot!!!

    Now to my question if you please people

  131. Gordon Says:

    What I am hearing from Bill is that his belief in God is dependent on creationism being true. That’s not faith. That’s just going along with something because other people you hang out with believe it.

    The existence or non existence of God cannot be proved by whether evolution is true or false. The two subjects are totally unrelated. In fact Bill is shooting down his own argument because if evolution is true then by his measure God does not exist. I think there is quite a lot of evidence for evolution so if Bill insists on using that as the basis of his faith he is destroying its foundations.

    I wrote an article recently “The God I don’t believe in”.
    http://www.ecalpemos.org/2010/07/god-i-dont-believe-in.html

    In this I said:

    “He is a God who requires us to deny reason and accept things as fact which contradict our knowledge of the physical world and our experience of real life. The biggest example of this is the creationist doctrine, barely mentioned in Britain before 1990, but now a touchstone of evangelical orthodoxy. Yet, if God is our creator then he created reason too. It would be illogical for him to ask us to believe things which contradicted what we can clearly observe in his creation.”

    If Bill is seriously looking for evidence of evolution then he will find it in Dawkins book “The Greatest Show on Earth”. Of course Dawkins believes that by proving evolution he disproves God. he is falling for the same false connection as Bill, or rather he is turning the creationsists argument against themselves. As I have said, the two are not really connected at all.

  132. Bill Boswell Says:

    Gordon i dont mean to be rude but i dont think you understand my question.

    My question is not about evolution (even tho i dont believe in it) evolution is a subject much much later.

    My question is for you to give me scientific proof of how the universe,earth and everything in it came into being.

    Thats my question.

    We will move onto evolution once you show me proof of how the universe and earth came into being

    I cant make my question any clearer now so i await the answers that you all claim is readily available

    God bless

    Genesis 1v1 In the beggining God created the heavens and the earth”

    I can take that to the bank!!! Now for your proof please

  133. Gordon Says:

    I don’t know how the earth and the universe came into being and neither do you. You “believe” that God did it, but you don’t “know” that he did. Faith and knowledge are not the same thing.

    The bible just says “god created”. It does not say how he did it. What we can “know” is that the universe is expanding which suggests that it started as a single point. The bible does not say how God created it just says that he did it. That is a “belief”, but its not incompatible with “knowing” that the universe is expanding and probably started as a single point.

    As I said before, if God exists, he would not expect us to believe things which were contrary to what we could observe in the physical world. God set up logical systems like the laws of physics so he is not going to expect us to be illogical.

  134. David Booth Says:

    BartiDdu
    I stand by my assertion about the values that Christ taught, being above those that were present in his lifetime on earth and also above those in our own lifetime. Secular values are not equal to Christ’s values, because they do not derive from the miracle of the changed heart, that is the product of Grace.

    If you make any claim to the Christian faith and you don’t believe that God’s Grace will produce in you the fruits of God’s Spirit of Love, then you may as well resign yourself to the ‘secular life’. The point here is that the demonstration of Christ’s moral values by those who follow him, is by God’s grace which not only motivates those values, but empowers the believer to enact them.

    In the absence of God’s Grace, you will not be able to have the values or morals in your life that you would if you embraced him and allowed his grace in your life. Secular values do not have this empowerment, either in design or nature.

  135. Bill Boswell Says:

    The fact is that NOTHING CANT GO BANG

    Something had to be there in the first place.

    Heres a simple illustration

    If you go to a gallery the fact that theres a painting proves that theres a PAINTER

    If you walk down a road the fact that theres a building proves that theres a BUILDER

    And if you take a look at creation you will see there is a CREATOR and His name is Elohym.

  136. BartiDdu Says:

    @David Booth Excellent! Now I know most of that post is on the detail of why you assert Christian morals are superior to secular morals but to me what’s key is you’ve unequivocally stated it is ” because they do not derive from [...] miracle…” so I hope you would agree that the premise of your argument about parents and unruly children is a ‘faith-derived assertion’.
    Now I have no problem with your choice to believe that – I guess for many Christians it’s quite central to their faith.

    Where you cross the line to insulting people who believe different to you is when you make assertions about real-life situations which, because you’re not offering any real-life evidence to support, it has to be assumed your basis for the claims of moral superiority is your faith-based assumption. That can rightfully be taken as insulting. I’d be the last to say you shouldn’t be allowed to insult people in an internet forum but if you are, then expect to be pulled up on it – and when you are, instead of denying it and jumping through hoops to try and illustrate you didn’t mean it, why not look into what you said and try and work out why others would find it unacceptable?

    Where you take it a stage too far in my book is to use these assertions to try and make a case for public policy i.e. for faith schools. You have made a principled case for faith schools by talking about the rights of parents to have their children educated in their own faith. It’s not one I accept as we’ve discussed but at least it’s discussable because you’re not trying to assert parents have the right because of something in the Bible or because of some miracle. Can you see the difference?

    BDd

  137. David Booth Says:

    BartiDdu
    I don’t know if you are Christian or not, but by the things you express, I can only assume that you are a secularist. In this case, you will not agree with me, nor I with you, perhaps.

    As far as insulting people – I’m sorry if you interpret it like that, but you can choose as anyone can to take offence at something that was never intended to be any offence in the first place.

    - I could just as easily take your comments and claim to be ‘offended’ by them, if I had a mind to. I can assure you that no ‘offence’ is intended and hope that you and others will forgive me if you feel offended.

  138. Sophie Says:

    @ Bill Boswell: “If you go to a gallery the fact that theres a painting proves that theres a PAINTER”

    And similar. This analogy is sometimes called the argument from design.

    It’s a well-known misunderstanding of the physical world. Children make it all the time. When kids see something – a table or their breakfast, for example – they learn it was made for their use. They soon extend this to natural phenomena. Trees, for example. Or weather. Because a sandwich was made by Mum, clouds must have been made by some giant person.

    This error occurs across all times and most cultures. It accounts for people believing that thunder is being hurled by a god or that a volcano demands human sacrifice.

    It’s a very well-known and childlike error, but experience has taught me not to waste my time explaining to you exactly why it’s an error. You may, eventually, do a bit of background reading on the subject, though I wouldn’t hold my breath. I imagine you think your current childlike perception is “common sense”, that it “stands to reason”.

    As BartiDdu said: “Bill bookmark this page. Whether in a month, in a year or in ten, if there is something or someone that happens in your life that causes you to doubt, not necessarily your faith, but the crazy belief that the whole of scientific progress and the accumulation of human knowledge since the Bible was written is worthless, then come back and start reading this discussion slowly from the top.”

  139. Gordon Says:

    Bill is arguing against something I didn’t say.

    I actually said “I don’t know”; which is at least an honest answer. I did not say that the universe expanded out of nothing. However, if I had I would have been in agreement with one of the central Christian doctrines about creation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo#Theological_usage

    Its not just scientific knowledge that fundamentalists are against.
    One of the defining aspects of fundamentalism is a complete removal from, and denial of, historical theology. Its as if the wheel has to be reinvented by each new generation, when previous generations have grappled with the same issues and found answers that don’t risk contradiction by ongoing events. Creation out of nothing being a very good example.

  140. Sophie Says:

    @ Gordon: Absolutely. It’s as if they want to go back to before Galileo – and start again on a basis of a flat earth with a Hell we can reach physically if we dig deep enough. The next thing will be ensuring that no one outside the clergy can understand the Bible by only allowing the faithful to access it in a language they can’t read.

    It’s all Greek to me… ;-)

    Just as long as they don’t re-ignite witch-burning or the Inquisition.

  141. Bill Boswell Says:

    lol well i will leave it as you have a belief that is based on ifs buts and maybes summed uo with the word THEORY.

    As for me i know my redemer lives.On 15th May 2005 i called on the name of the Lord and in an instant i was changed and now i live for the one who died for me.

    The Bible says come taste and see that the Lord is good.And that is a promise.Once you put your faith in Jesus then you go from believing in God to knowing Him personaly.

    Now you can stick to your crazy theory that isnt true.But as for me i will serve the Lord and the fact that He has saved me and turned my life around and gave me a peace that no money or lifesyle can buy.
    And that is proof to me.

    “There is a way that semmes right to a man but in the end leads to death”

    God bless and i hope that you take notice that there is a God and nomatter what theory arises next will just fizzle out like all the others that have come before and you have a choice.
    God bless

  142. Sophie Says:

    @ Bill Boswell: Re-reading what I wrote, I must apologise for too many uses of the word “childlike”. Other words I might have used were “obvious” or “understandable”.

    As I type this I feel as if I am sitting quite still, and yet I know that I – and all of us – are actually flying through space at great speed on a ball of molten rock. I know this, but I can’t see it. The obvious – what we perceive with our immediate senses – is often not the truth.

    This is where the argument from design – the “You can’t have a painting without an painter” fits in. As you look at the world around you, the idea of design and a designer seems obvious. But, just as with truth that we live on ball of rock in orbit round a star, the underlying truth is actually quite different.

  143. BartiDdu Says:

    So there we have Bill Boswell in a nutshell, clearly demonstrating in his own words his naivete, his willful ignorance, his total lack of appreciation for the efforts many of you have made to communicate with him at a level he could engage with should he have chosen and last but not least, his blatant rudeness:

    “Now you can stick to your crazy theory that isnt true.”

    Such is fundamentalist, creationist, young-earth Christianity. It still astounds me how often they turn out to be a caricature of themselves.

    Very sad indeed.

    BDd

  144. BartiDdu Says:

    Sorry Bill. Scrubb that last post. I spotted just after sending it that I had misread you. I thought you’d said “Now you can stick your crazy theory…”. I went one insult too far. I’ll step out of this one!

    BDd

  145. Sophie Says:

    @ BartiDdu: If those who deny scientific knowledge were in their turn denied its benefits, we’d soon see how many Young Earth Creationists there were…

    People like Bill sit there, typing on the Internet.. relying on a technological society that transports them, vaccinates them, allows them to communicate by phone, by email… They reject science, yet if their kids are seriously ill they want modern medicine to help…

    Back to the Stone Age with ‘em, these BBCs!

  146. Bill Boswell Says:

    I dont reject science at all.

    Infact i have been asking you for scientific proof for days now.

    Proof that you cannot provide

  147. Bill Boswell Says:

    Also BDd there is no need no apolagise to me.

    Its with God whom you must seek forgivness.

  148. Bill Boswell Says:

    Also there is no such thing as fundemental,young earth or any other Christianity.

    If you are a Christian (which means Christ like)(Jesus makes us Christ like)then you must believe in Gods Word and everything that it teaches.

    The problem with todays so called Christianity is that people wqnt to fit “god” into todays understanding………..It dont work

    Hebrews 13v8 says “Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever”

    He doesnt change to suit peoples ideals!

    We are called to follow Him not the other way round.

  149. Gordon Says:

  150. BartiDdu Says:

    Bill Boswell said: “The problem with todays so called Christianity is that people wqnt to fit “god” into todays understanding………..It dont work”.

    Well at least he and Richard Dawkins are in agreement on that one ;)

  151. Bill Boswell Says:

    You are either one or the other.

    Its heaven or hell

  152. Bill Boswell Says:

    Who are we that God should comform to our way of thinking

    He came to our level for the first and last time when He lived as a man and went to the cross.

    He did it so you could be saved.Not to mock Him

    BDd you know your argement is without even the slightest foundation and you have proved that by admitting that you unable to answer.So i suggest you get real

    Regarding Mr Dawkins

    I have a video of an interview between him and a Christian reporter and Mr Dawkins admits that we may have been put here by a higher power.

    I will try to post the link,if not google it.

    I think i will take Gods Word over yours or Mr I Once Was A Monkey Dawkins lol

  153. Sophie Says:

    @ Bill Boswell: Here’s a story about someone just like you:

    “A man’s stranded on a roof during flood. He cries “Lord, save me!” Along comes a boat, and the people offer him a place. But he refuses, saying “No, Jesus will save me!” so the boat paddles away.

    Along comes a chopper, people yell to him “Hop on board or surely you’ll perish”. Again, he replies “God will save me!” A coastguard boat floats past, the coastguards jump off, try to pry him off the roof, but the man screams “Leave me be, my Saviour will come for me!” They give up and leave him on his roof…

    Sure enough, the rain keeps falling, the flood increases and the man drowns. He arrives at Heaven’s gate, looks at the Lord and asks “Why didn’t you save me?”.

    God replies “I sent you a boat, helicopter and the Coastguard. Did you not see them?”

    We’ve done our bit. If you drown in your ignorance, so be it.

  154. Sophie Says:

    @ Gordon: I like this one – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V_2r2n4b5c

  155. Gordon Says:

    Dawkins says that creation by a higher being is very unlikely because that higher being would itself have had to come from somewhere. Its a logical point and one to which there must be an answer. So what would your answer be to that Bill?

    “Just believe” is not sufficient. If God exists he must have provided an answer to the question of where he came from.

    I don’t think that saying that God is “eternal” really helps because there still has to be a cause and incidentally the bible doesn’t clearly say that he is. Ancient yes, eternal possibly.

    I am a past master at recognising fobbing off answers like “just believe”. I was trained to fob off partitioners difficult questions by saying “its to do with the tense of the greek verb”.

  156. Gordon Says:

    Mind you there is someone over on uk.religion.christian advocating public stoning for adultery so it could be worse:

    http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk.religion.christian/browse_thread/thread/170c0fa711bfcb6f/39579884f78ed396#39579884f78ed396

    Apparently when Jesus returns the law will be reintroduced for those not raptured.

  157. Peter Millist Says:

    Gordon

    you are not following any kind of logical arguement. If someone created God, then that person is God. The whole point of God in the Bible is that He exists, has always existed and is eternal. A concept that is beyond our feeble minds, and therefore written off. What you are satying in effect is, that, as you cannot accept something as HUMANLY rational – it is not acceptable or admissable.

  158. Gordon Says:

    Sorry this link is better:

    http://bit.ly/9xCaZi

  159. Gordon Says:

    Peter, where does it actually say that in the bible? What prompts this is the belief by some Jewish rabbis of old that God was creating himself (somehow) in Genesis 1:1. I don’t accept that the bible teaches the prexistence of God explicitly. Not as clearly as some hymns do.

    Anyway the issue here is whether we are to believe against logic and against human understanding. I don’t think so because that would mean God expecting us to believe a lie.

  160. Sophie Says:

    @ Gordon: My current fave is Atheists offer to care for Christians’ pets after the Rapture in return for a small fee.

    I might try that myself. I like cats. And long odds! :-)

    Seriously, though, there are people on uk.religion.christian who make Bill look like Richard Dawkins.

    One of them writes: “I just admire the way God in His infinite wisdom called for the stoning of people who refused to accept his commandments of marriage fidelity. He used it for hundreds of years to control and properly guide the sexual urges of His people.”

  161. Gordon Says:

    At least he is being honest. A lot of fundamentalists would hold to things like this if the gloves were off and they were running the country. Just look at how they celebrate Jewish festivals, abstain from pork and write “g-d”. At that edge of Christianity it really is like the Taliban.

    Talking of which I was named and shamed on a Christian TV channel last week for apparently sending in nasty emails (which I hadn’t). They made it appear that these emails were coming in live on air, when in fact they were refering to things I had NOT written in an article about them. Its another example of lying to increase other people’s faith not being considered sinful. Thats another story though.

  162. Bill Boswell Says:

    God is God and no body created God.You are just being stupid Gordon!!!!

    And Sophie until you come uo with an answer i suggest get real and stop talking rubbish.
    Also Sophie you claim to be helping me lol.For me to turn to your stupid senseless beliefs i would first need to have my brain removed and have whatever you have for a brain inserted!!!!!!

    Lol

    Once again people you are making claims that you cant back up so who is the stipid one?
    Or should i say stupid ones lolol

    Once again in the beggining God created the heavens and the earth.

    Please prove me wrong people

    You claim to have answered me then you claim you cant.I sence a split personality here with Sophe and BDd and Gordon.Perhaps you havnt evolved much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on please just give me an inch of scientific proof to back up the beliefs that you hold.Surley you friend Mr Dawkins has the scientific proof that you claim is widely available.Come on stop being boring and give me a simple answer.

    Perhaps if i want to talk about rubbish you will all pipe up lol

    Come on Sophie stop typing junk and talk sence haha

  163. Bill Boswell Says:

    Gordon read Revelation 1v8
    “I am the Alpha and the Omega the beggining and the end”

    Also Sophie i can believe you would look after a pet after the rapture because an idiot like you wont believe it even after it happens!

  164. Bill Boswell Says:

    Gordon read Revelation 1v8
    “I am the Alpha and the Omega the beggining and the end”

    Also Sophie i can believe you would look after a pet after the rapture because an idiot like you wont believe it even after it happens!

    Also Sophie the people who stone people are obviously not Christians as Jesus taght against killing people.

    You seem to confused when people claim to Christians.

    Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit.

    You claim to be clever but its not true is it?

    In the same way not everyone who says “Lord Lord” will enter the kingdom of God

  165. iam terry-fc Says:

    @ Bill Boswell

    Your question relates to the origins of the universe or big bang theory, Science does not have the answer to this question yet only theories. Professor Hawkins describes it as a search for a complete unified theory. The experiments with the hedron collider in Switzerland may give us the answer to these difficult questions but biological evolution is a proven fact. To deny evolution and to deny the education of our children in these sciences on the grounds of superstitious mumbo jumbo would be an educational disgrace.

  166. Jim Says:

    Bill,
    Even if we wished to do so you would not understand the proof so we’d be wasting our time trying to explain.

  167. Joseph W Says:

    Richard Dawkins really is jousting at windmills.

  168. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Joseph W wrote: “Richard Dawkins really is jousting at windmills.”

    That’s no small claim and the ‘gust’ of your making it has got my mind whirling again, thanks!

    If you’re referring to Dawkins’s general claim that the best way to address the real dangers to our future posed by groups with a problematic mindset in which religion is central – is to do a broadside on faith, then you may be right. I am more prepared these days than I have been in a very long time to accept religion may be benign in and of itself – especially if there are sufficient numbers of active secularists working towards ensuring religion stays within the private domain.

    On the issue of maximising the odds of our species surviving beyond the lethal combination of religious fanaticism in an age where the knowledge and materials to create WMDs are easily obtainable, I am prepared to accept maybe our attention is better given to addressing other aspects of the problematic mindset or of the culture in which it arises.

    Even if this is the case though, I don’t think the ’tilting at windmills’ metaphor is useful because I don’t know if it’s possible to know for sure whether what he and his angriest followers are fighting are windmills or giants except in retrospect – and even then maybe not for certain. But if you’re right, there is no harm in ’tilting or jousting at windmills’. The worst Dawkins and his angry posse can do is to wind some people up and waste their time. Pretty harmless overall and maybe even worthy of being laughed at, as your metaphor implies.

    However, if that to which you were referring was more specifically the topic in hand, i.e. the protection of the minds of our young by facing head-on what Dawkins is calling ‘the faith school menace’ then I think it’s you who might be failing to see the elephant in the room!

    BDd

    PS, I don’t know what it is with me and long sentences this morning. Sorry to make you work so hard to understand what I’m saying!

  169. Joseph W Says:

    Thanks BartiDdu, I just can’t keep up with what he is opposing today, and why, and what religious people are guilty of this time.

    Some people like to imagine Dawkins as a modern-day Inquisitor, I prefer to think of him as Don Quijote.

  170. Bill Boswell Says:

    jim and terry fc

    what a cop out for not answering me.One animal CANNOT change into an other there are changes lets say to beed of dogs for example but they dont become another animal do they?????
    They still are dogs

    Dogs dont turn in cats.Horses dont turn into Lions.Fish dont turn into elephants.And monkeys didnt turn into people.
    However the fact that you lot are so ignorant is proof th
    at we are turning into animals!!!!!

    So please show me this ” PROOF that i am unable to understand” if its SCIENTIFIC PROOF then i want you to show me

    I await your reply showing me this “PROOF”

    God bless

  171. BartiDdu Says:

    @Joseph W

    I can see where you’re coming from but I’d tend to think if there is a bunch of people getting shrill about a threat that isn’t there I’d say it’s those making comparisons of the ‘new atheism’ (as it’s laughably referred to) to the Inquisition, Nazism, Stalinism etc. Ratzinger with his anti-secularism is pretty funny if we put to one side the scale of his influence!

    Atheism and secularist activism poses zero threat to those who want to practice their religion and to raise their kids in their religion. If anything it protects such people – as the US Founding Fathers worked out a few centuries back. The only people who need have any concern are those who realise religion only retains its power if it has an influence over law-making and public policy – hence the Pope’s scaremongering.

    BDd

  172. Gordon Says:

    We need to remember that the debate about faith schools is not CofE schools. The people interested in setting up new faith schools are mainly fundamentalists of various religions and this means that their educational agendas will be subservient to their religious one.

    I have personal experience of a close family member sending her children to such a school. Three of the four children have been unable to function outside “full time Christian work” and the other one had a serious mental breakdown caused in part by the problem of adjusting to life in the outside world.

  173. BartiDdu Says:

    Gordon, I’m sorry for your family’s suffering at the hands of such a school, thank you for telling it and wish your comment was the very first in this discussion.

    But although it is these schools that are bringing the issue to the fore the CoE and Catholic school tradition need to be questioned too.

    If :
    i) there’s a serious problem with the new fundamentalist schools;
    ii) there’s a principle in not having the state pay for schools which are free to follow their own religious agenda;
    iii) the way the system is discriminates according to religion or lack thereof and leaves parents with little option but to practice hypocrisy;
    iv) the arguments for keeping them (average better academic accomplishment etc.) don’t hold up to scrutiny;
    then in my book it’s a clear case to end the practice – regardless of how deeply steeped in British educational history it is. Tradition is fine – until there’s a darn good reason to change it. And I think we have one.

    BDd

  174. Gordon Says:

    I agree. I also don’t think religious purposes should in themselves be considered charitable in law. In Scotland the charity regulator is asking all fee paying schools to prove their public benefit to retain charitable status. Churches and religious organisations are not being tested. I think its just too much of a hot potato.

    If the state is paying for a school it should be open to all with no religious agenda.

  175. iam terry-fc Says:

    @Bill. The difference between science and religion, science relies upon proof and evidence whereas religion relies upon faith. That is to say, a belief without evidence. You ask for proof of evolution, I will give you one example. Nylonase is a bacteria which feeds on nylon, a man made fabric developed in 1935. In 1975 in a Japanese nylon factory a new strain of bacteria was discovered which feeds solely on nylon. The question is where did this bacteria come from? Did god create this bacteria or did it evolve through spontaneous random mutation? If this is not proof enough for you I can give you more examples.
    I have a question for you, what evidence do you have that anyone by the name of Jesus Christ ever walked this earth? Outside of the Bible of course. Whenever I pose this question I get the same answer that the bible is true because the bible says so. Try not to give me the same excuse.

  176. Caral Says:

    what evidence do you have that anyone by the name of Jesus Christ ever walked this earth? Outside of the Bible of course.

    @iam terry-fc,

    I know your question was for Bill, but I thought I would help him out a little.

    Would you like the Greco-roman sources?

    or the Jewish record?

    Or Thallus, Lucian, Celsus or the Acts of Pilate, that is without even mentioning the gnostic apocryphal writings.

    Or the writings of the early Christians within the first 100 years or so. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch and Eusebius.

    The ‘Christ myth’ theory is dead in the water, and was thoroughly debunked .in 1944.

    Do keep up! ;)

  177. Bill Boswell Says:

    I wil answer it myself.

    Today is 30 August 2005 what would the date be if went back 2006 years???????

    End of story

    God bless

  178. Bill Boswell Says:

    Also terry fc you are way off regarding your “answer that i wont understand”

    My question is show me scientific proof of how it all started(the universe and all that is in it coming into being)

    Show me how we came from nothing.

    The subject of evolution is much much later.

    Show me scientific proof of how it all started then we will move on down the ages

  179. Bill Boswell Says:

    Sorry i posted a really old link regarding proof of Jesus.

    We are in 2010 go back 2011 years

  180. iam terry-fc Says:

    The Jesus tale is a fictional drama in which a stereotypical hero has been introduced into a more or less realistic historical landscape.
    and you would expect of a fictional creation there exists not a single reference to such a character nor a single genuine artifact to
    substantiate that he ever walked the earth. The fact is we have absolutely no trace or mention of Jesus anywhere, until the gospels were written, decades after the proposed events. The truth is that Christianity grew from neither God nor a man, but out of what had gone before. A human Jesus is no more real than a human, Horus, Dionysos or Mithras.

    Whatever else, the Bible is not eye witness testimony. a book written at an uncertain date by an anonymous author’s? I’ve heard many times that the Bible is true because the bible says so, I cannot accept this. If you have any other corroborating evidence outside of the Bible please let me know.

  181. iam terry-fc Says:

    The following list is taken from the hero of tradition, myths and legends.

    1. The hero’s mother is a royal virgin
    2. He is also reputed to be the son of a god
    3. The circumstances of his conception are unusual
    4. At birth an attempt is made on the hero’s life
    5. He is spirited away to a far of country
    6. We are told nothing of his childhood
    7. On reaching early manhood he returns or goes to his future
    kingdom
    8. We are told nothing until manhood when the hero is baptized
    9. He makes triumphant return to his kingdom
    10. He has 12 followers, companions or disciples
    11. He becomes king.prescribes laws and performs miracles
    12. He goes alone to face the forces of darkness or evil
    13. Upon which the hero almost always triumphs
    14. Later loses favor with the gods and or his people-followers
    15. Betrayed by one of his companions
    16. Hosts final meal with followers
    17. After trial is killed often at the top of a hill
    18. He is not succeeded by his children
    19. His body is not buried
    20. After 3 days the hero is resurrected and is raised upon his
    fathers kingdom in heaven
    21. He has one or more holy sepulcher

    The earliest hero figure which fits this pattern is Horus, the Egyptian Sun God 3000BC,
    he scores 21. Others hero figures all of which are BC are:
    Mithra scores 21
    Oedipus scores 21
    Theseus scores 20
    Dionysus scores 19
    Romulus scores 18
    Perseus scores 18
    Hercules scores 17
    Llew Llaw Gyffes scores 17
    Bellerophon scores 16
    Gilgamesh scores 15
    Jason scores 15
    Mwindo scores 14
    Pelops scores 13
    Jesus of Nazareth also scores 21

    They all score full marks with virgin birth and 3 day death and resurrection.

    Justin Marta (St Justin) wrote: when we talk about our teacher Jesus, we propose nothing different to whom you esteem the sons of Jupiter.
    St Justin realized these hero figures were an embarrassment to the early christian church,
    his excuse is the same that is offered today and that is ‘the devil counterfeited these earlier stories in advance
    because the devil knew of the coming of Jesus’ and this is the same excuse used today if you ask a christian apologist.
    Like all knew religions the rituals and traditions are adopted from the previous religion, it just makes the transition more palatable.

  182. iam terry-fc Says:

    @bill
    Proof of how it all started (the universe and all that is in it coming into being)
    Science does not have the answer to this question YET, only theories. You are playing the God of the gap’s game. Science can’t answer your question then god did it.
    I have already told you this in an earlier posting.

  183. iam terry-fc Says:

    @caral

    Leopold schmidt, a leading folklorist would begin his lectures with the following “if someone asks me what he should read as an introduction to folklore i say to him read Homer and the old testament!” jesus is a solar messiah from a long line of solar messiah’s. The symbol of Christianity the crucifix is simply a short hand version of the cross of the zodiac. The zodiac is one of the oldest conceptual images in human history it reflects the sun as it figuratively passes through the 12 constellations in the cores of a year,the four seasons, the solstice and equinox’s,The early civilizations not only followed the sun and the stars,they personified them,with myths involving their movements and relationships,the sun with its life saving qualities was personified as the representation as the unseen creator or god,gods son the light of the world the savior of human kind.The twelve constellations represents places of travel for gods son and were identified by names usually representing elements of nature during that period in time,The earliest solar Messiah was Horus he is the sun god of ancient Egypt from the Egyptian hieroglyphic we know much of this solar Messiah. particularly from the temple of Luxor,for example Horus was born on December the 25th to the virgin Isis,his birth was accompanied by a star in the east which three kings followed too ad awn the new born savior,at the age of twelve he became a prodigal child teacher,at the age of thirty was baptized by Anup and began his ministry ,Horus had twelve disciplines that he traveled about with, healing the sick and preforming miracles there were numerous gestural names for Horus ,the Lamb of god,the good Shepard,the truth and the light,Horus was betrayed by Tyfon,and was crucified, was dead for three days and was resurrected. Coming back to the cross of the zodiac this represents the figurative life of the sun,this is not just an artistic expression or tool to mark the sun’s movements,this was also a pagan spiritual symbol,the crucifix is a christian adaption of the cross of the zodiac.Jesus is the sun god,the twelve constellations represent the twelve apostles,The next question is why there are so many solar Messiah with the same characteristics,why December 25th?,why twelve constellations when there are eighty eight constellations ?,The sun is on what is known as the ecliptic plane,along with the moon and the planets,so from the earth it looks like the sun travels around the twelve constellations, Why December 25th?,the Egyptians tracked the movements of the sun,they noticed that the sum moved three hundred and sixty times from summer solstice to winter solstice and back to summer solstice this is why a full circle has three hundred and sixty degrees,but as we know it takes three hundred and sixty five and a quarter days to complete a full year,he Egyptians realized this to, but would have had know explanation to why the sun would appear to stop moving, from there point of view the sun would rise on the 23rd of December in the same place as it did on the 22nd of December then on the 24th the sun would rise yet again in the same place but on the morning of the 25th Christmas day when the sun rises it rises 1 degree north ,this signified the birth of the new sun god ,The beginning of longer warmer days,the bright star in the east is the star Sirius aka the dog star,the brightest star in the sky the three kings are the three stars of the belt of the constellation Orion ,on the evening of the 24th Sirius and the three stars in Orion’s belt would line up and point to where the sun will rise on the 25th,that’s why the three kings follow the star in the east. The Egyptian religion is the primary foundational basis of the judao-christian religion the bible is nothing more than an astrotheological hybrid
    baptism.
    afterlife.
    final judgment.
    virgin birth.
    death and resurrection.
    crucifixion.
    ark of the covenant.
    circumcision.
    saviors.
    holy communion.
    great flood.
    Easter.
    Christmas.
    passover and many many more are attributes of Egyptian Ideas loge predating Christianity and Judaism.

    any question’s

  184. Jim Says:

    Terry – I would suggest that asking for proof that there was such a person as Jesus Christ is perhaps the wrong question. There may well have been a person who thought himself to be what he proclaimed himself to be, who gained notoriety as a result, and is featured in various accounts, as pointed out by Caral – Shouldn’t the question be what proof is there that he was the “Son of God”, rather than just a human who may have thought he was?

  185. Bill Boswell Says:

    terry fc i will comment further and give you answers ragarding your posts ONCEyou give me scientific proof to answer my LONGTANDING question

    I eagerly await your reply

  186. Bill Boswell Says:

    terry fc you told me that you have answers that i wouldnt be able to understand so please post those answers if you please.
    The fact that you cant answer is because your belief is only a THOERY and nothing more.

    Anyway please post “ununderstandable proof” please

    God bless

  187. David Booth Says:

    @iam terry-fc

    Yes. I have a question. What is motivating you to join the contemporary crowd that is pre-occupied with trying to claim that the gospel accounts are a sort of ‘re-enactment’ of egyptian mythology?

    Isn’t it the case that your eagerness to dismiss the New Testament accounts, arises from a self pride and reluctance to bow your knees to the Lord? If you are so sure that you are correct and that you can dismiss the NT and Christ in this way, then I challenge you to read all of the gospels from start to finish without anything else, since this should not be frightening to you and also to pray to God and ask him if he’s not just ‘pretend’, to show you some answer to prayer?

    After all, if you don’t believe and you can just dismiss the NT and Christ as a ‘myth’, then doing this shouldn’t be a problem to you…should it? The point is, if it is a problem to you, then you will find yourself shrinking from this challenge out of fear! So you’d better prove to yourself that its ‘all just a myth’, hadn’t you?

    I don’t need you to come back and tell me you’ve done this, because that isn’t the point – the point is purely to prove to yourself that its ‘just a myth’, not to ‘prove’ to anyone else! Go on, what have you got to lose?

  188. iam terry-fc Says:

    @David Booth
    This blog is about faith school’s teaching our children about myth’s. I was educated in a faith school so I have read the bible
    I was forced to as a child I had no choice’ I liked some of stores in the bible but I recognize that that’s what they are gust stores.
    I challenge you to read Leviticus no sane person could read that ridiculous book and believe it was authored by the creator of the universe. No sane person could read that book and remain Christean. No sane person could read that book and believe that’s how god wont’s us to behave.

    your question. “What is motivating you to join the contemporary crowd that is pre-occupied with trying to claim that the gospel accounts are a sort of ‘re-enactment’ of egyptian mythology”? trying to claim? I am not trying to claim. Just read egyptian hieroglyphic text is all there I am not making it up.

  189. Gordon Says:

    Not all Christians believe that the whole of the bible is literally true.

  190. Bill Boswell Says:

    Gordon people who claim to be Christians and do not believe the whole Bible are NOT real Christians.

    Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit

  191. Gordon Says:

    Thats not what I said.

    I said “Not all Christians believe that the whole of the bible is LITERALLY true.”

    Presumably you do believe it is literally true so you believe that the Good Samaritan was an actual person who actually existed.

  192. David Booth Says:

    iam terry-fc
    No, the discussion topic is about Faith schools, not about myths and still less about Egyptian myths.

    My challenge to you still remains for you to take up the challenge, not to prove to me or anyone else, anything, but entirely for you to prove to yourself that what you claim is correct. If you believe that what you claim is correct, then you will have no trouble in taking up my challenge. Neither do I or anyone else, need to know the outcome of you taking up this challenge.

    Being ‘forced’ to read Bible stories is NOT the same as you as an adult making a serious enquiry of the New Testament and gospel accounts and investigating the contents thoroughly to prove to yourself that they are ‘myths’. As a matter of fact, although I don’t need to know the results of your investigation, if you refuse to do this, then I personally will know, that you you refuse to do it because you think that the New Testament claims may be true! So choose, either your confidence that in reading the New Testament and praying in response, will prove to you that it is all false and a ‘myth’, OR, choose your Fear that it may be true! The choice is yours, but know that if you shrink from this challenge, you must confess to your own fears.

  193. Bill Boswell Says:

    Jesus spoke to people in parables to make things simpler for people to understand and the story of the good Samaritan may be a parable.But all the events that the Bible tells of were real events

  194. Gordon Says:

    What about the eucharist. Jesus said “this is my body”. If he said it was his body then it must be.

  195. David Booth Says:

    Brother Bill,
    About the Word – any properly trained minister will tell you that the Bible consists of different types of writings, which are meant to be understood in different types of ways. For instance when you read the book of Revelation, and indeed many of the books of the ‘Prophets’ (eg Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc), the prophetic words are given and then God explains the actual meaning. This often means that the Word of God has what are called ‘metaphors’, ‘symbolism’, ‘analogies’, ‘types’ and ‘shadows’. One example you probably already know is in Revelation when the Spirit talks about the ‘seven golden candlesticks’ and then explains that the candlesticks are in fact the seven churches. The Bible is full of such types of language use and I’m sure you will understand that to really get the message that was originally intended, then you have to ‘think like the writer’ intended it to mean.

    To add to this, when the scriptures are translated, there is the additional problem of being careful not to give the wrong meaning by giving ‘too literal’ a translation, either in words or context. 2000 yrs ago, the cultural context of some of the situations described in the NT, were expected to imply certain things that they don’t imply 2000 yrs later in the UK. This means that often some of the meaning gets lost by too literal an interpretation, in some cases even to the point of taking the heart out of the messages. Therefore, you have to be careful in reading the Bible, just how you understand or interpret what you are reading.

    I hope this may help in some ways, but the more study you do on bible reading, the greater will your understanding of the real message be.
    take care,
    David

  196. Jim Says:

    David,
    I’m sure Terry can answer for himself but I read your recent posts and found myself asking how reading the New Testament would, in itself, persuade me of the truth or falsity of the book?
    I don’t see how I can deduce if it is “truth or myth” just by reading it.
    That is not to deny that there are truisms, that are common to all humanity, stated in the context of the times; and which are not as revolutionary as some would have us think.

    I was obliged to study the Bible for many years, so became quite familiar with much of it. I agree that one’s understanding as a youth is not the same as that as a mature adult, so I have re-read large parts of the New Testament over the past few months, and I have to tell you that I am even less impressed than I had expected.

    As a child, with fewer other reference points, I was willing to accept it as a kind of truth. Now, I see it more as an interesting work of psychology and anthropology, which tells us more about the writers than about the events they recount.
    So I’m struggling to see how your challenge would work?

  197. iam terry-fc Says:

    @bill
    For the third time I do not have the answer to the origins of the universe Science does not have the answer to this question yet only theories. Ask for more proof of evolution, I will give you more. But origins of the universe sorry not yet. By the way facts and theories are the same thing they are all so different facts are two a penny but theories are the exciting parts of science.

  198. iam terry-fc Says:

    Yes thank you jim reading the New Testament is not going to persuade me of the truth or falsity of the book? I have all ready
    read it and Iam not persuaded the bible is folklore it clearly manifests the basic distinctive criteria of folklore; namely multiple existence and variation.

  199. EllBee Says:

    What a peculiar thread – the lack of education and blind ignorance is quite frightening, especially amongst what I presume to be grown adults. If anyone need further proof, this forum certainly shows why faith schools should be immediately banned! I thank you Terry for posting exactly what I was thinking as I read down the page – all religious texts should be studied alongside folklore and myth, as all religious texts are indeed a re-writing of existing stories. The bible, and with it I imagine the qur’an, the bhagavad gita, the tanakh etc, are simply collections of exisiting stories and legends put into writing. Tolkein did the same sort of thing with Lord of the Rings – are we also to believe in orcs and hobbits? Now if people feel the need to outsource their responsibilities and behaviours to a higher being, that is entirely up to them – but if you choose to procreate you must learn to take that responsibility back and think about what is best for your children. Educating them to believe these myths are fact is wrong, just as teaching them to be racists or thieves is wrong; though the parent may believe it, they have no right to insist their offspring believes likewise. If your religion is as potent as you claim, surely no amount of factual evidence or conflicting theories they pick up at school will block out god himself?

    Finally, I’m curious about David Booth’s challenge to Terry that he read all the gospels and ask god if he’s real. You then state that if he doesn’t do it, it means he must be a believer and be frightened that he’ll discover it’s all true… slightly odd logic, but fair enough! My question is, have you therefore read the qur’an, the bhagavad gita, the tanakh etc and prayed to those gods? Or are you afraid that those religions might be true? If you haven’t, how can you be sure your god is the right one? Have you also studied myths, legends and ancient religions to ensure that they’re not true? As well of course as science, to ensure that’s not true. I only ask because I am interested in how you can possibly believe so wholeheartedly in something without exploring other options, unless it is, as you accuse Terry, because you are afraid you may be wrong… ?

  200. Sophie Says:

    @ Bill: Found a very short film (just over 1 minute) which entirely proves you right. Please view!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z-OLG0KyR4

    ;-)

  201. David Booth Says:

    @Jim
    You are welcome to take up the challenge also. It must be admitted though, and you need to admit this to yourself, before you take up the challenge of reading through and praying to the Lord about the New Testament, that IF you are determined already NOT to believe, then of course, you will fight it until the last of your resources, before accepting the thing that you don’t want to accept. However, I must warn you, that that is not a foregone conclusion on your part, because there have been many atheistic people, like myself, who took up the challenge and realised the truth of Jesus Christ and the gospel.
    The bottom line is, if you are determined not to accept the truth of the NT and not to believe, then of course you will be spending like Richard Dawkins, more of your energy in contesting it’s truth than in considering its virtue!
    Best wishes as you take up the challenge, but do it with an open mind, not a predetermined conclusion! all the best, David

  202. David Booth Says:

    @EllBee
    Thank you for your questions: “”My question is, have you therefore read the qur’an, the bhagavad gita, the tanakh etc and prayed to those gods? Or are you afraid that those religions might be true? If you haven’t, how can you be sure your god is the right one? Have you also studied myths, legends and ancient religions to ensure that they’re not true? As well of course as science, to ensure that’s not true. ” – In answer to this, yes, I have read some of the Bhagavad Gita and some of the Quran, and the Tanakh is of course the Jewish scriptures which we share alongside the same God. I have in fact invested quite a lot of time in thinking through these religions and yes, I realise that they do not have the authenticity of the Bible. Of that, I am completely satisfied. So, no, I wasn’t afraid to investigate these religions, because I was sincerely seeking real answers, genuine spirituality and the real God. As for science, it something I have a deep respect and admiration for, which meets my intellectual needs but not my spiritual needs.
    So yes, I have explored many options, thank you and found the Bible and God to be absolutely true.
    As for your last question: “I only ask because I am interested in how you can possibly believe so wholeheartedly in something” – You cannot believe so ”wholeheartedly” in God, unless you meet His Presence. Once you have met His Presence, there is no mistaking it and you will like the biblical characters, never be able to deny to yourself, that you have come into the transforming Presence of God himself. So no, thank you, I have no doubts about it. Best wishes to you and to your spiritual search for your own life. Take care, David

  203. iam terry-fc Says:

    @EllBee
    If one were asked to prescribe the fundamental condition for a good world, it would be: peace and freedom for all, I really do not care what david Caral or bill believe they are adults, like you my motivation for posting on this blog!
    Faith School’s. what sort of person would accept money to lie to children what sort of person would tell a child that unless you believe what I believe you are going to burn in hell for ever. so @david caral bill and all you xian out there
    We Secularists say to the apologists of the religions: your beliefs are your choice,they are your rite we also say: you’ve had it your own way for a very long time – and committed a lot of crimes in the process – and you still fancy yourself entitled, but you aren’t. You don’t smell too good at times, so don’t try to tell our children what they can read, do in there private time, think or say. In fact, keep your sticky fingers out off our children’s lives Believe what you like but don’t expect me to admire or excuse you because of it: rather the contrary, given the fairy-stories in question. And when you are a danger to the lives and liberties of others, which alas is too frequently from the wont of your ilk, we will speak out against you as loudly, persistently, and uncompromisingly as we can.

  204. David Booth Says:

    iam terry-fc
    I note the following, from your response:

    first that you avoid taking up the challenge, with no valid reason,(since you supposedly have nothing to fear from taking up the challenge), but obviously you do fear it!

    second you’ve made avoidance diversions by misrepresenting what has been said to you (talking about “burning in hell”, etc)…but these notions reveal that you are thinking of God and Christianity in relation to personal fears that you do have, about being punished.

    third, you make some assumptions about Christians which are more to do with the established traditions of Britain, (for instance the fact that it is a country with a Christian tradition that has been the foundations for many of the benefits of our society today), than with the active faith of individuals who have found the love of Christ, as opposed to religiosity.

    then you also say we are to ‘keep away from your children’ – but give no explanation as to why we would have any contact with your children? Presumably as someone who is on the run from God and Christian faith, you wouldn’t be sending your children to a faith school, so why on earth would you make such a comment? There are plenty of schools, there is no need to send your children to a faith school, so therefore there is no need to ask Christians to ‘keep away from your children – this just amounts to nonsense on your part. The point is here, there should be choice for parents to send their children to schools with the ethos of their choice. No Christian parent for instance, should have to send their child to a secular school where they would be indoctrinated with atheism.

    I return your last comment to you: “when you (as a secularist) are a danger to the lives and liberties of others, which alas is too frequently from the wont of your ilk, we will speak out against you (a secularist) as loudly, persistently, and uncompromisingly as we can.” – speak as loudly as you like, it wont’ make the slightest difference. Leave faith schools to those who practice faith and who benefit greatly from them both spiritually and academically. Choose your secular schools instead, which statistically have a poorer academic performance.

  205. EllBee Says:

    David,

    I was in the middle of writing an apology for my previous post as I felt I had been unnecessarily rude, due to the fact I had read the entire forum in one sitting and my frustration got the better of me. However, after just seeing your last post, I am back to frustration and cannot apologise for the phrase “blind ignorance”.

    I appreciate that at some point in your life you were, for whatever reason, seeking comfort in spirituality, and did look around for the religion that would offer the best fit – although it does seem peculiar that if you have indeed extensively studied ancient mythologies and religions you did not feel some sense of deja vu when subsequently reading the bible! However, I do know that some people need the security and comfort of faith in a god when things aren’t going well for them, and that is entirely their perogative. I have no problem whatsoever with you believing in gods, or fairies, or alien creatures zapping you up into their spaceship to experiment on you. Are these things possible? Yes. Probable? No, but you have the right to believe in them. The problems arise however when you enforce your personal beliefs onto others, especially onto naive and vulnerable children.

    If a teacher was teaching that magic existed, or that black people were evil, or that (as on the programme we are supposedly discussing) salt water doesn’t mix with fresh water, would that be ok? If the parents vehemently believe in these things, does that mean they have the right to impose them on their children? Because that essentially is what you are advocating – if you believe in something, you have the right to educate your children to believe the same. The Taliban believe all Westerners should die – should they teach that to their children and breed terrorists? You cannot say schools should teach exactly what you want them to teach, but not what other parents want – it is all or nothing. As we can see from your earlier arguments, even amongst christians of the same sect you have major disagreements about interpretations of the bible, so realistically the only person who can teach your poor child exactly what you want it to learn is you.

    But surely as a parent, you should want to teach your children as much as you possibly can in order that they can make up their own minds and develop skills such as logic, rationality, independent thought and debate. By teaching them one thing and one thing only, you are severely stunting their intellectual growth, which to me is paramount to child abuse. If they ever do venture into the real world, they’ll be at a huge disadvantage and may well come to deeply resent you. Now us secularists (or at least this one) do not belive in having children “indoctrinated with atheism”, in fact we are completely anti-indoctrination of any kind. The idea is to teach children about science, about legends and myths, and about religions as well as their historical and political importance. If a child wants to explore any of these topics further – as many children will as they are naturally curious – then they are free to do so and they may then make up their own minds. As I asked previously, if your god is so potent, how could he be blocked out by knowledge? Surely he can get through to people without their parents forcing him on them?

    PS I do not believe in religion, yet I was extremely sucessful academically. Interestingly, I also do not have an ASBO, am not a criminal and have never engaged in hooliganism of any kind. Seems that even us poor lost souls can turn out ok! As for the higher academic performance of faith schools, there has been criticism they often take the wealthiest children – and un-pc as this is, children from wealthy backgrounds generally do better academically. This and the very fact that a large proportion of pupils’ parents happily fake a religion to get them into the best of schools, means that these pupils are likely to have parents who are invested and engaged in their child’s education, and are likely therefore be better brought up and achive better results. Sorry to say, god isn’t busy fixing your child’s exam results. Of course, if there was a god, he presumably wouldn’t be happy with people faking their belief in him, and would give them bad results – but he doesn’t seem to care.

  206. iam terry-fc Says:

    @ david
    you said”you also say we are to keep away from your children” NO david I did not say my children I say keep out of OUR children’s lives! read my post again with a Little more care please.

    As for your challenge I have told you I have all ready read the bible if I want a good laugh ill read Leviticus again its hilarious.
    could you comment on my hero of tradition post I should like to know if you agree with St Justin or you have another explanation !

  207. David Booth Says:

    iam terry-fc
    Your comment : “keep out of OUR children’s lives”, is invalid, since it isn’t applicable to faith schools. Read my comment with a little more care. You do not need to send your children to a faith school – send them to one of your secular schools. No one is interested in your children in respect of directing their ethos for life – that is rightly your responsibility to send your children to the school whose ethos matches your own.

    I note your excuse of diversion again: “if I want a good laugh ill read Leviticus again its hilarious.” – it doesn’t ring true and neither does it wash! I invited you to take up the challenge if you have the guts. If you don’t then I will leave you with your own fears and excuses. Again, neither I nor anyone else needs to know about the result of your challenge, so you don’t need to ‘lose face’ about it. I’m not interested in ‘arguing’ about it, that isn’t the point at all of the challenge I have challenged you with. You have to responsible and accountable for your own decisions in life, including your mockery of Christ. You are not my responsibility, though out of concern for you, I have set you the challenge. Take care and God bless, David

  208. David Booth Says:

    EllBee
    Where your argument falls down, is in the number of assumptions that you are making about Christians and faith schools. If you make invalid assumptions, you will inevitably come to invalid conclusions.

    When I have more time to address your points I will do so, if you are genuinely interested and have made the assumptions in error rather than maliciously. I am in the middle of moving house!

    for now, take care and God bless,
    David

  209. EllBee Says:

    David,

    I am so sorry but I fail to understand your last post, as I’m not sure what assumptions I made, valid or otherwise?

    I am not trying to be malicious, I am trying to understand what drives a person to have such faith that he will adhere to it despite much evidence that he is wrong, and even desire to withold knowledge from his children so that they may agree with his beliefs rather than have the option of making their minds up for themselves. It is a fascinating aspect of human psychology, and (in my experience) most attempts to have a logical conversation with someone of strong faith invariably ends with them dodging questions, getting angry and / or becoming offensive. To find someone like yourself who professes willingness to discuss his faith obviously sparks my interest.

    I appreciate you’re busy and maybe have decided to not continue the debate, but I am keen to learn your response to the points made if you can find the time.

  210. David Booth Says:

    EllBee,
    Briefly, even in your last post you have made assumptions:
    (lst assumption) -”will adhere to it despite much evidence that he is wrong, ” [ there is no evidence that I am wrong]; (2nd assumption) “and even desire to withold knowledge from his children” [I don't desire to withold any knowledge from my children, on the contrary, I insist that they learn all accessible and available knowledge]; (3rd assumption) “so that they may agree with his beliefs rather than have the option of making their minds up for themselves. “[ everyone makes up their own minds for themselves. For you to hold this view, you underestimate the abilities of children to consider and form their own views!]

    Regarding your last comment: “It is a fascinating aspect of human psychology, and (in my experience) most attempts to have a logical conversation with someone of strong faith (in atheism or secularism) invariably ends with them dodging questions, getting angry and / or becoming offensive.” – this has frequently been my experience of talking to people who claim to be atheists or secularists – hence, I include the term in brackets in your own statement, to reflect my experience of such people. I don’t become angry in these discussions, as I have nothing to be ‘angry’ about, but I do note that many who claim to be secularists or atheists seem to burst with anger and uncontrolled emotions at the suggestion that God may in fact be real or that the message of Christ will be of benefit to them. Little do such people know, that if they read the Bible with humility and respect and followed Christ’s instructions to pray, that they would find that it meets their deepest needs (the ones they usually prefer to ignore – hence the anger and indignation that errupts spontaneously when confronted with the gospel message). Remember that the NT tells us that the Cross is an Offence to the unbeliever, who may errupt in anger at the thought that it may be true and his own misdemeanors, an offense to a righteous God.

  211. EllBee Says:

    David,

    1. There is endless evidence that the bible is incorrect and misleading. We cannot say there is no god, because unless he decides to pop down and see us, we cannot ever prove one way or the other. However, we can question the bible. I am obviously not going to launch into an overlong dissection of each and every statement in the book, but there is a mass of information to peruse at your leisure which can answer your questions. The fact that most all stories within the bible were previously recorded as myth or legend (please see Terry’s excellent post of August 30th for specifics, a post I notice you have completely ignored!) should be enough to remove all doubt! There is plenty more evidence out there, and the fact that you choose not to acknowledge it does not mean it does not exist… I admit that I did make an assumption that you had explored this evidence before dismissing it, so I will change my statement to “…what drives a person to have such faith that he will adhere to it and ignore any evidence that he is wrong”.

    2. The assumption that you wish to withold knowledge from your children came directly from your insistance that your children be brought up to believe in your faith and none other; if I have misunderstood you and you are happy for your children to learn about all religions and myths, where is the argument? You presumably are therefore in agreement with my earlier statement that we should “teach children about science, about legends and myths, and about religions as well as their historical and political importance”. As you did not respond, I did assume you disagreed with me and for this I apologise.

    3. Children are more than capable of making up their own minds, providing they have the information with which to do so; a child who has been brought up to believe god created humans 8000 years ago could not be expected to decide that actually we evolved from teeny organisms over many millenia – unless said child has unimaginable genius! Of course, once they get older and start looking for their own answers they may discover all this other information, which is when it can be possible they resent their parents for lying to them (I am not trying to say this is what will happen with your children, I’m sure they know about evolution and the like – I am simply using this as a point to illustrate the dangers of misinforming the young). This is why it is so important that children get as much information as possible in order that they can make up their own minds, rather than be disadvantaged when they are older and realise they lack basic knowledge.

    Finally, I am suprised that you have experienced hostility when questioning a secularist or atheist about their beliefs. Everyone I know is more than happy to discuss and debate issues, and even when they are proved wrong they generally are more than happy to concede defeat. I do not pretend to know everything about science, or anything else for that matter, but I am more than willing to discuss, debate and if need be find more information that supports (or opposes) my view. You are welcome to ask me anything at all, and I will happily answer to the best of my ability. I feel no anger whatsoever when you profess a belief in god, only an interest as to why. If he comes to me to say hi, I will be very happy to alter my own beliefs and admit that he exists – the idea strikes me as improbable, but does not fill me with fear or indignation and I’m not sure why it would? The anger I have experienced comes from questions that the believer cannot answer, and obviously does not want to think about as they would shake his faith – similar to putting fingers in ears and shouting “la-la-la-la”! If a scientist cannot answer a question, it does not affect his beliefs, as the essence of science is that it is pure theory and made up of unanswered questions – therefore I find it peculiar that any scientist – or indeed anyone with intelligence and education – would respond angrily to a sensible question.

  212. David Booth Says:

    EllBee
    Your statement: “The fact that most all stories within the bible were previously recorded as myth or legend ” – is actually a contemporary myth in the making. I’m surprised that you have jumped onto the bandwagon of this. It does rather suggest that your readiness to believe this modern day myth, is because you are already predisposed to want to disbelieve or contest the Bible.
    Regarding your assertion that I have ‘questions’ – no I don’t have such ‘questions’. I can believe that you do, however and I hope and trust that you will find through diligent search that the Bible has questions that will answer your deepest needs.
    Regarding your assertion: “There is endless evidence that the bible is incorrect and misleading” – this results from reading Biblical criticism and presumably at least a small amount of a naive approach to Bible reading, rather than appreciating the purpose and vision of the complete text.

  213. David Booth Says:

    EllBee:
    Your statement: “The assumption that you wish to withold knowledge from your children came directly from your insistance that your children be brought up to believe in your faith and none other; if I have misunderstood you and you are happy for your children to learn about all religions and myths, where is the argument? ” – yes, you obviously have misunderstood. I am not only happy, but I expect my children to learn about other religions. As far as myths are concerned, they have their proper place in the areas of and subjects concerning ancient history, the ‘Greek myths’ etc, or in the study of poetry etc and yes, I would expect my children to learn about these.
    As for ‘where is the “argument”‘, I’m afraid that that is something you constructed yourself. There isn’t an ‘argument’ as far as I am concerned, except that non Christian parents should not be trying to interfere with the business of Christian families and their education – that is where I draw the line! You are entitled to direct your own children’s education according to your ethos, but not my children.

  214. David Booth Says:

    EllBee
    On your point (3): “Children are more than capable of making up their own minds, providing they have the information with which to do so;” [ there is no disagreement here and that is something I fully encourage] “a child who has been brought up to believe god created humans 8000 years ago could not be expected to decide that actually we evolved from teeny organisms over many millenia – unless said child has unimaginable genius!” – Here I totally disagree with your assumption and think it is rather insulting to the intelligence of children. Furthermore, neither I, nor the Bible asserts that humans were made 8,000 years ago. Having studied Paleantology with great interest, this idea is naive in the extreme.

    Re: “dangers of misinforming the young” – I am not doing any such thing. This is another false assumption you are making.

    Re: “rather than be disadvantaged when they are older and realise they lack basic knowledge. ” – far from it! To be honest, with you, my children have a distinct advantage for which I am exceedingly grateful. Neither will they lack knowledge, within their limitations of understanding.

    Re: “Finally, I am suprised that you have experienced hostility when questioning a secularist or atheist about their beliefs. Everyone I know is more than happy to discuss and debate issues, and even when they are proved wrong they generally are more than happy to concede defeat.” – I’m afraid this couldn’t be further from my experience of discussions with secularists, atheists and non believers. I have come to expect them to lose their temper so often and to expect their abject rudeness, that I am now much better prepared for ignorant responses from them, without reacting to their defensiveness.

    Re: “If he comes to me to say hi, I will be very happy to alter my own beliefs and admit that he exists ” – Yes he has, but not in the flippant manner which you infer. He made His Presence known to me directly and this changed my entire unbelieving atheistic life.

    Re: “he idea strikes me as improbable,” – what you fail to realise is that this feeling of it being improbable is not the hallmark of 21 Century Europeans, but was common experience during the writing of the scriptures as is testified many times within those scriptures. There is a certain self pride prevalent today among your contemporaries, which is convinced that they are the first people to be ‘skeptics’ or ‘unbelievers’ of the scriptures, God, or Christ. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but at the same time, just as unbelievers became believers by meeting the Presence of God in Bible times, so they also become believers today. There isn’t really much difference.

    Re: “questions that the believer cannot answer, and obviously does not want to think about as they would shake his faith” – this isn’t an issue for me. Faith that is shaken, is not faith.

    However as I said in answer to your question, anger is often the reaction of unbelievers towards being challenged with the truth of the gospel, the Cross and Blood of Christ, when compared with their own sin and self centredness.

    I have already in fact experienced such reactions on this site, so I am fully expecting more of them.

  215. iam terry-fc Says:

    well said EllBee. david once again I did not say my children
    I said keep your sticky fingers out off OUR children’s lives!
    our meaning all children. children of the world.I don’t believe in the concept of sin but if I did number one on my list would be the physical and mental abuse of a child if you tell a child that unless you believe what I believe you are going to burn in hell for ever. that’s abuse. my motivation is to protect children from ignorance and fear.to put it in Voltaire’s terms) between those who seek the truth and those who claim to have it.On one side are those who inquire, examine, experiment, research, propose ideas and subject them to scrutiny, change their minds when shown to be wrong and live with uncertainty while placing reliance on the collective, self-critical, responsible and rigorous use of reason and observation to further the quest for knowledge.On the other side are those who espouse a belief system or ideology which pre-packages all the answers, who have faith in it, who trust the authorities, priests and prophets, and who either think that the hows and whys of the universe are explained to satisfaction by their faith, or smugly embrace ignorance.they claim ownerships of the Great Truth to which everyone must sign up on pain of punishment, and on whose behalf their zealots are prepared to kill and die.
    The difference between myself ellbee and you. We look at the evidence and say what conclusions can be drawn from the evidence. You have the bible and say this is the conclusion now what evidence can I find to support the conclusion.
    ellbee is quite right the bible is incorrect and full of contradictions it is truly folklore and it is time that it is recognized as such.

  216. EllBee Says:

    I really want to put an end to this ridiculous debate now, your responses are getting more and more ignorant – I assumed I was talking with a mature, educated and rational man as you claim to have read so widely, but as is always the case (or so I’ve found) when speaking with anyone of great faith, no matter what their religion, you are dodging questions and ignoring facts when they don’t fit into your ideals. As I said before, this is the equivilent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing loudly, and just as I would not entertain a child who behaved like that, I certainly will not bother with a grown up who can find no better response.

    The facts are very evident that huge numbers of biblical stories were circling long before anyone even thought of a bible – everything from noah to sodom to jesus has been done and done again, and it’s embarrassing how little originality was used in the retelling. You may ignore these facts as a “modern day myth”, but they have been around for many many many many years – as in well before christianity. You are far better off believing in greek, nordic or egyptian religions as at least they told the stories first. It is pure ignorance to ignore evidence thrusted in your face, and in the next breath claim there is no evidence! As I have said time and time again, it is your right to believe whatever you like and far be it from me to judge. For whatever reason, you need to have the security of faith, and that is fine – just admit that you’d rather ignore fact in order to keep your beliefs intact. If you don’t agree, then try and find a better excuse to disregard scientifically proven evidence that the bible is full of mythology, as “you all made it up cos you’re scared of god” is pathetic. You say you don’t have questions, which I imagine is the problem – blindly following an old book of folklore and ignoring anything that might disrupt the myths within is silly to say the least. If you are not asking questions then this is no doubt the reason you are unable to answer any. I admit I do have questions as I am a normal, curious and intelligent human being. I have read, and do still read, the bible – it is a hugely important historical tome that has influenced our history and most certainly our literature. And yet, I did not find god – in fact, I found Lord of the Rings more believable! And no, I am not “predisposed to want to disbelieve or contest the Bible”; I think everyone would be happy to find answers to our creation and existence, but it is most certainly not in there.

  217. EllBee Says:

    Moving on to the “argument” – it is precisely that there should be a standard for everybody’s children to ensure they are treated equally, else misinformation can and will be inflicted upon them. I notice one of the questions you have not responded to is that of my earlier post: “if you believe in something, you have the right to educate your children to believe the same”. Is it ok to teach them to be racist? Or theives? Should people only teach children christianity, or judaism, islam etc? Is it ok to teach children to kill westerners? Or protestants / catholics? If you get the choice to teach your children what you want, how is it wrong for those parents to do likewise? Or is it simply “my way’s right, theirs is wrong”? People are indeed teaching children that dinosaurs didn’t exist and god created the world 8000 years ago – it is not my naivety, it is that of fundamentalist christians that are fast gaining a foothold not only in America but also here in the UK. Of course it’s ridiculous, but in allowing parents the choice of how the teach their children, this is exactly the sort of thing that you are advocating. And as for informing me that these children, who will never get to hear about evolution, will figure out what took Wallace and Darwin many years and intensive travel and research to figure out is expecting rather a lot from the little darlings, don’t you think.

    What I’m gathering is that you don’t seem to understand that this debate is not entirely centred around you and your family – I’m sure your children have received a decent education and are well aware of the existence of science. This debate is not centred around the vast majority of faith schools in the UK but rather the growing minority that are misinforming children. The fact is, whilst the good faith schools exist (of which there most certainly are many), the bad are allowed to grow and grow, and therein lies the danger. Stubbornly insisting that your school is alright so they should be allowed to stay is very ignorant – as a christian surely you are taught to think of others? Try thinking of the extremely disadvantaged children that are not so lucky as yours.

  218. EllBee Says:

    As for your experiences of rudeness (which I suppose you can now accuse me of) it is no doubt down to your refusal to listen, debate and answer questions put to you. For any rational person, this kind of behaviour is extremely frustrating; all you need do in order to avoid it happening is answer questions in a sensible and honest manner, which doesn’t include annoucing “you made it up” if it’s something you can’t answer. There is nothing at all wrong in saying “I honestly do not know”. I did not say that I thnk I am the first person ever to doubt the existence of god, that is obviously ridiculous. People have always been skeptical, though of course throughout much of history those that admitted it would be attacked or even killed. Thankfully, we do not live in such times any more, largely due to education; with the rise in education you see the fall in religion, which no doubt is the reason religious fanatics hate education so very much. Again, for the third time, why so scared of knowledge? If god is real he’ll get through whatever boundries we put in his way, and failing that come on back to earth and tell us to believe in him again. This of course is the sort of question people cannot answer, which is I imagine why you have dodged it so much. Others include – why did he create humans? are we some sort of pawns in some sick little game, so he can just watch us flounder about and have a good old giggle? If he loves humans, surely he loves all of us, and for all our faults as he created them? Therefore he loves Hitler as much as Mother Teresa, and we need not worry about being good. If he wants us to be so good, why give us ‘bad’ instincts? Why give us greed and lust and hatred if he just wants us to repress them? What sort of sick god would create humans with flaws and then provide temptations so they give in to those flaws? Is this small amount of time on earth therefore meant to be some kind of test to see if we fail, and if we do we burn in hell for all eternity?! If you say “oh, god”, or have sex before marriage, or steal a sweet as a child, you spend all eternity in hell? That seems slightly excessive doesn’t it…? And if you think that’s ridiculous and of course you won’t go to hell for such trivial things, where exactly is the line? Murder? What about an abused wife finally snapping – is that bad enough? Or an abused child who has severe psychological issues and attacks someone – is that bad enough? Why give him those parents then? Terrorist suicide bombers, dying because they believe in god – they believe they are doing the right thing and serving god, so is it their fault if they’re wrong? Etc etc etc… There are many many many questions that I have never managed to have answered, if you can and will I will be astonished, but grateful.

    And finally – as I think this rant really has gone on far too long – are you trying to say that every non-christian is a selfish sinner? Isn’t that rather judgemental? I do not lie, steal, cheat, intentionally hurt other people; I try to understand people without judgement (as I originally attempted with you, but am now struggling!), I try to help others whenever I am able, I give to charity, I do my best to consider other people and my own actions, I support my friends and family as much as I can and I try to improve myself to the best of my ability. How therefore have I sinned, and how therefore am I self-centred? Purely because I don’t believe in the bible? As has been said many times before, if god turns good people away from heaven simply because they don’t believe in a book written by humans about dubious events happening hundreds of years earlier, then a) I don’t really want to be in that heaven and b) he should probably come back down to earth and set the record straight!

  219. David Booth Says:

    iam terry-fc
    same to you – keep your hands off our children!

  220. David Booth Says:

    EllBee
    Re: “I really want to put an end to this ridiculous debate now, your responses are getting more and more ignorant – I assumed I was talking with a mature, educated and rational man as you claim to have read so widely, but as is always the case (or so I’ve found) when speaking with anyone of great faith, no matter what their religion, you are dodging questions and ignoring facts when they don’t fit into your ideals. As I said before, this is the equivilent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing loudly, and just as I would not entertain a child who behaved like that, I certainly will not bother with a grown up who can find no better response. ” – Just as I was predicting, your angry response reveals your insecurity and affects your judgement to the point that you invent things like iam terry-fc, which I have never said! In fact because I don’t fit into your pre-conceived ideas about what a Christian is, you’re annoyed that you haven’t got a proper handle on your supposed arguments against me. It is you I’m afraid that is revealing a childish response, in your last comment – because your arguments have proved nothing…which really begs the question why you started your argument with me in the first place!

  221. David Booth Says:

    EllBee
    I’m sorry to say, that the more I read through your last comment, the more childish and naive your ideas about philosophy, religion, God and Christianity seem to be.
    You clearly have a very poor grasp of this subject, and this explains your aggressive attacking of Christians and their right to faith schools. Your comments are unbalanced exagerated. You cannot expect to learn and appreciate the Christian faith, by ranting on about your negative ideas about it! It really makes you sound like a baby who is throwing all its toys out of the pram in anger!

  222. David Booth Says:

    EllBee – you were saying that you and people with similar views to yourself aren’t ‘hostile’, yet you clearly have lost it, haven’t you!

  223. BartiDdu Says:

    David, Have you noticed how many people attempting to engage in discussion with you here who after several tries from several angles have given up in despair? Have you also spotted that in every case you’re accusing the other of refusing to engage because of some version of the Christian message of the ‘fear’, ‘stubbornness’ or ‘foolishness’ of unbelievers?

    Some of us early on tried to point out your implication of inferiority of those of us who ‘haven’t seen the light’, how as much as you believe your words may reflect the fluffy virtuousness of the saved and your proclamations of not intending to offend, that what you write is actually quite insulting. Yet, as many we may be in number pointing this out to you (and I suspect you may have come across this phenomenon a good number of times elsewhere) you persist in your belief that it is others who getting angry – because of their insecurities etcetera.

    Unfortunately the conclusion I am forced to make about you is your faith is blinding you to what is obvious to everyone else. And I’m afraid it’s not atypical either of those who believe as you do. In fact you are another reminder of why whilst the state should never have the power to interfere with the passing on of such ignorance to children, it should not endorse it and should NEVER support it by subsidising or worse, paying outright for religious indoctrination.

    The end of faith schools is nigh!! Well it needs to be anyway.

    BDd

  224. David Booth Says:

    BartiDdu
    The only reason for that my friend that your ideas are different from mine, yet you insist on a presumed ‘right’, to interfere with Christian parents who wish their children to have a good and well rounded education in a Church of England school or a faith school. You are entitled to send your children to a secular school, or whatever ethos you prefer. I will never argue with your right to do that, because that is your right and you are perfectly entitled to indoctrinate your children with your atheistic views if you wish. However, you should not have the right to dictate the educational ethos of schools for Christian families. For many years now, the philosophy of government has been to offer ‘choice’ and to widen the educational opportunities and varying kinds of establishments available to send their children to. This also includes setting up Academy schools, which has recently been given fresh impetus, by the current government.
    As for government money for schools, you will find that money that has been invested in Church of England and Roman Catholic schools has been very well invested, with better than average results returned from such schools, when compared with the so called ‘secular’ schools. Therefore, the economic return for the country in terms of educational advantage is well invested, contrary to the claims of some on this site whose real aversion to faith schools is their own prejudice, not the benefits. If anything, some of the secular schools should be giving account of why they are failing to produce better results for their children.

    The end of faith schools is not nigh, in fact it is blooming!

  225. EllBee Says:

    Seriously David, this is the best response you have? You are still resolutely refusing to answer any questions whatsoever or to account for your opinions, which can only prove that you are unable. You would rather dodge every simple point expressed to you and resort to insults. If you are incapable of engaging in sensible debates on a topic (which means questions posed and then – importantly – answered) then I fail to see what you are doing on a forum?

    Of course, I am not in the least bit surprised you cannot answer even the most simple of these questions as they would be impossible to answer whilst you cling on to your saftey blanket of faith. I can only assume that you are scared of facing reality; it can be a very scary world out there, but no parent has the right to inflict their fears and insecurities on their children. I pity you and whatever has driven you to this ‘head in the sand’ approach to life, but honestly I pity your children more as they are the ones who are being disadvantaged because of it. I can only suggest that you perhaps seek some counselling to better equip you to deal with life.

    I am officially giving up as I came here hoping for a sensible debate about the pros and cons of faith schools, and ended up in some moronic name-calling competition, where my opponent can’t even think up their own insults but shout mine back at me! The only people speaking sense are those that seem to agree with me, which makes a debate fairly pointless. If the rest of you want to continue the attempt to get a sensible answer out of this man, I wish you the very best of luck – but I feel it is more likely that god does pop round to say hello than this ever happening!

    David, I do sincerely wish you the best and hope that at some point you manage to find happiness.

  226. BartiDdu Says:

    @ EllBee: “no parent has the right to inflict their fears and insecurities on their children”. I’m afraid they do EllBee. In law they do here in the UK and in the US – and as much as it pains me I believe it ought to and has to stay that way. There is a point at which the state needs to step in to protect children if parents are physically or mentally abusing them but to prohibit them from telling their kids they’ll burn in hell for eternity if they do or don’t this that or the other , as gross, irresponsible, inconsiderate, naive, downright ignorant etc. etc. as it is, is their prerogative. It might not be easy to define exactly where the line between abuse and the freedom of parents to raise their kids to their own values should be drawn but that kind of stuff is nowhere near it. Where would you draw it? Would you be happy with parents prohibited from telling their kids if they’re not good Santa won’t come?

    I hate the consequence for kids of this situation it but state interference in parents’ rights is a more frightening and abhorrent concept to me. What David and the pro-faith school posse are trying to sneak in there though is that that right extends to having the rest of us subsidise their abuse of parental privileges. You can’t really blame them for that because, as David pointed out, that kind of ‘rights of parents to choose’ that has been banded about by politicians and by the media largely unopposed for far too long – but this is an issue in which attention needs to be drawn that no such a right ought to exist. This practice needs to be stopped.

    It is why I got involved in a few discussions about this topic. It was to see if there was anything in opposing opinions to mine from which I could learn and maybe change my mind or, if that wasn’t happening, to ensure that anyone who was supporting faith schools wouldn’t get away with nice-sounding but empty arguments.

    Persuading the likes of David or Bill was always going to be a non-starter for obvious reasons (lack of reasoning being the most obvious!) but I am content there is plenty here for anyone who comes across this discussion with a genuinely open interest to see which side of the debate has substance.

    BDd

  227. David Booth Says:

    EllBee
    “no parent has the right to inflict their fears and insecurities on their children.” – then please don’t. I’m not asking you to. If you have fears about the Christian faith or about the gospel of Christ, then that is your business and you should not inflict these fears upon your chilldren, I agree. They should be free to choose the Christian faith, without your own prejudice interfering.
    Re: “I pity you and whatever has driven you to this ‘head in the sand’ approach to life, but honestly I pity your children more as they are the ones who are being disadvantaged because of it.” – please don’t “pity” me, rather do so for yourself. I would not like to be in your shoes, believe me! Neither do my children need “pity”, they are all following their chosen pathways. None of my family are “disadvantaged” because of the Christian faith – quite the opposite! It is a great advantage in life and personal happiness, perhaps something you miss in your own life?

    Actually, I haven’t “dodged” any of your questions, though you have on purpose asked more than I can reasonably answer when I am packing all of my boxes for the removal men to remove in the morning at 9am! (even after I explained this to you)

    I haven’t resorted to ‘insults’ either – your false accusations belie your claim to maturity. In fact, I am going to great care to avoid insults, as I take no pleasure in such things. However, if you read over your own comments, in an honest and critical fashoin, you will find that you have yourself made some very insulting comments about the Christian faith and towards me, instead of considering the many answers to your questions that I have given you.

    …and here you give your game away: “my opponent can’t even think up their own insults but shout mine back at me! ” – by your own admission, you have been insulting me, but when the target of your insult was returned to yourself, you take offence! …somewhat hypocritical isn’t it? The reason I don’t make up insults towards you, is because I have no wish to, not because I have no imagination to – it is not part of my character to do that. However I have reflected back to you, your language for you to think about your attitude.

    thank you for your last sentence, although I do not think it a sincere wish – in fact, I am very happy indeed and have a deep personal inner peace, which is only found in Christ. You too can have this, if you turn your life to him and offer the inner emptiness you have inside, to receive the deep joy and peace which Christ gives. God bless and take care, sincerely, David

  228. EllBee Says:

    You are of course right BDd, the government already has far too much input and control over our day to day lives, and I cannot advocate adding more! What I was trying to say (as is probably evident, I’ve been getting more and more frustrated!) was that the parent has no rights as far as educating a child at school itself – of course they have every control over their lives at home, but I think school needs to be a separate and controlled environment where, no matter what their home life, the child receives a good education. Unfortunately, there will forever be incidents of parents imparting incorrect, and possibly dangerous, information and examples – the very best that we can hope for is a strong enough society and school system to help these children get past this.

  229. David Booth Says:

    This statement is of course complete nonsense: “the parent has no rights as far as educating a child at school itself – of course they have every control over their lives at home, but I think school needs to be a separate and controlled environment where, no matter what their home life, the child receives a good education. Unfortunately, there will forever be incidents of parents imparting incorrect, and possibly dangerous, information and examples – the very best that we can hope for is a strong enough society and school system to help these children get past this.” – by this we could take it that a school system free from parental control such as that experienced by Nazi youth in the late 30′s and early 40′s, was a suitable ‘controlled environment’! I’m afraid you really have lost the plot here – although this is an extreme example of a ‘controlled environment’ enforced by the state, it does not take much observation to realise that a state free of an established moral code as directed by the Christian faith, can easily depart into grossly evil and wrong education, with the result that the society itself departs into its mold of decline.

    Your notion of a ‘strong society’ is just the kind of dangerous notion that can bring a nation down to the depths of depravity.

  230. Sophie Says:

    @ BartiDdu: I think you are right to be reject the idea that the State should intervene in parenting unless there’s demonstrable neglect or abuse. Yes, it’s cause for concern if people are teaching religious fanaticism to their children but if you start prohibiting beliefs where do you draw the line?

    However, as you say, a key point in Richard Dawkins’ programme was that we all pay for faith schools through our taxes. In some of these schools, as he demonstrated, children are being gravely misinformed for religious reasons. Despite my own beliefs, I was convinced by his arguments.

    We, as a nation, cannot afford and should not be asked to pay for this sort of education through our taxes. And, for reasons of justice, this has to mean all faith schools. If parents insist on faith education, they should pay for it privately. Personally, I would want to keep the C of E primary schools (I don’t approve of RC ones) but must sadly agree that if the Creationist and Islamist schools must go so must they all.

  231. BartiDdu Says:

    @ ElleBee. Pleased you didn’t mean what I’d read into that statement. Hope you didn’t mind me pulling you up on it. I think with your clarification and Sophie’s comment that point now seems clear (well, except to David of course).

    David on the other hand is insisting on this ridiculous notion that there is something superior about Christian morals over morals derived by other means – and this to such an extent that he fears taking Christianity out of education is likely to lead to Nazi-like brainwashing! I had always thought of ‘blind faith’ simply as believing something with no evidence. This encounter however is leading me to think of faith also as something that blinds the credulous to things that are blatantly obvious to everyone else.

  232. Jim Says:

    @ BartiDdu, EllBee and terry-fc

    This is an ostensibly Christian blog (the clue’s in the title), but one which welcomes those of faith, and no faith, for debate and comment.

    With that in mind,what did you expect from David. He gave you reasonable responses, even if not the ones you sought. Do you seriously think that someone who is a committed Christian would read your comments (which I’m sure he has seen before from others) and say “Gosh, I was wrong all along. Thank you for showing me the way. I had never thought of it the way you put it!”

    There’s a fine line between robust debate and gratuitous insult. This thread is at risk of degenerating into the latter, if not already there.
    As an atheist myself I can identify with your ideas, but not with the way you feel bound to attack the moderate Christianity found in much of Europe. I for one would regret the demise of the mainstream Churches in the UK. They serve a purpose which it is hard to envisage being replicated in another way.

    Regarding Faith Schools: My children all went to one, and I have to say that their education was very liberal; and when one of my daughters declared herself a conscientious atheist no-one tried to “convert” her or disadvantage her as a result. And yes, it was one of the best performing schools in the area.

    If you feel strongly about the falsehoods being inflicted on children in more extreme faith schools then by all means attack them – It riles me too that my taxes should be used to subsidise these schools. Maybe there is another way to separate out the extreme religious schools which misinform their pupils.

  233. Sophie Says:

    @ Jim: You write “maybe there is another way to separate out the extreme religious schools which misinform their pupils.”

    This would be good. Perhaps all schools should have to follow certain guidelines? I’m thinking particularly of science. I don’t think we can prevent people teaching Creationism to their own children at home any more than we can prevent them poisoning their kids with racism, but I think it should be illegal for any school to teach creationism in a science class.

    The Americans have had a number of court cases over this subject. Schools are not permitted to teach YEC or ID as science in the US. However proponents of these ideas are lavishly funded and highly politicised, so the battle is still on-going. I think it’s important not to let this idiocy take any sort of root here.

  234. Goy Says:

    The poisoning of young minds in UK schools is more along the lines of how to self-loath and hate the white man.

  235. Goy Says:

    Population: Pakistan, 174,578,558 (2009 est.)
    Population: Scotland, 5,194,000 (2009 est.)

    In the insanity of the multicultural Global Village which group is the ethnic minority.

  236. Goy Says:

    This debate is middle class tosh a majority of kids come out of UK schools illiterate, some parents would be happy if their kids could even read a bible.

  237. Jim Says:

    @ Sophie
    Yes. That seems to me a compromise that might work. By all means have faith schools but outlaw wilfully misleading teaching of the “salt water does not mix with fresh water” kind, and by all means allow them to cover creationism but strictly in religious studies, and not in science classes. Provided they are not brainwashed, children are capable of making up their own minds.

  238. iam terry-fc Says:

    All religious organisations should be relegated to the status of private self-selected and self-constituted organisations like trade unions and other lobby groups, should survive on what money they can raise from their adherents, should have the same and no more than the same rights and entitlements as any other such organisation and should stop getting privileges,
    What would we think if the Labour party or Conservative party received taxpayers’ money to run Labour party or Conservative party schools to teach 3- and 4-year-olds their party principles?
    they should stop getting privileges, money and an amplification for their views (views, never forget, derived from the beliefs of illiterate goat-herds in ancient times) from government.

  239. Sophie Says:

    @ iam terry-fc: I don’t think the taxpayer should subsidise faith schools either, but I challenge your analogy between faith and political parties. It’s a very poor analogy. Politics and faith have more differences than similarities in both sociological or psychological terms. For example, people do not automatically vote as their parents did, nor stick to the same party throughout life. If they did politics would be a lot more predictable.

    Mainstream C of E belief has no quarrel with science, discards literal readings of Genesis and supports universal human rights. This is why so few people find C of E primaries offensive. However if extreme faith schools are going to teach creationism, as we saw with the Muslim school in this programme, action needs to be taken, and quickly. Teaching false information about the physical world handicaps children in adulthood, may even disbar them from certain career paths. We can’t prevent it in the home, but we can prevent it in schools.

  240. Sam Says:

    Could it be that the Muslim school science teacher was refering to the thermo-haline circulation when saying that salt and fresh water “don’t mix”?

    I also don’t beleive that faith schools should be subsidised by the tax payer. I also don’t think we should allow religious iconography or dress in schools as this divides people based on religion.

  241. Sophie Says:

    @ Sam: I doubt it. I suppose a general description of thermohaline circulation could form part of the national curriculum in the context of climate change. However the girls appeared to be pointing out that the principle that salt and fresh water don’t mix comes from the Qu’ran, which wouldn’t. It’s also incorrect.

    “He is the one who has set free the two kinds of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter. And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding wall.” (25:53)

  242. Sam Says:

    @Sophie

    Yes, I don’t believe the authors of the Koran knew about the thermo-haline circulation I’m just saying that religious science teachers may bend it that way as evidence that the author(s) did. It just seems a little far fetched that secondary school children would believe that salt and fresh water don’t mix.

  243. Sophie Says:

    @ Sam: Intrigued by your comment, I did some searching. As any filmed documentary is only a tiny part of what is filmed, editing too often leaves room for ambiguity. Richard Dawkins himself is quite clear that the girls had been taught religion as science, using the incident as the key illustration of the evils of faith schools in a letter to the British Humanist Association.

    He writes: “..at a school that is little short of a flagship for state-funded Muslim education, I found the pupils regurgitating the Koranic claim that salt and fresh water do not mix. Once again, with the blessing of the teachers, a Holy Book takes unquestioned precedence over scientific evidence – as the pupils could have discovered for themselves in a trivially easy experiment.”

    As for what secondary school children will believe, far too many urban kids know little of the natural world. Some of them don’t even realise meat comes from animals. For example, a survey foundteenage schoolchildren think oats grow on trees and bacon comes from sheep…

  244. DavidFox Says:

    If I understood the average faith school to be limiting scientific knowledge and prevented children from thinking critically and independently I would be fully behind Richard Dawkin. In reality, this is not the case in the CofE and RC schools I have experienced either first hand or by report.
    The religious element while apparent in assemblies is irrelevant to most of the education. Of course the religion would also extend to the pastoral care and ethics, but with an effect that would differ little in a secular school that was being ran by morally sound humanists who gave a damn about the kids.
    I can agree how the division of faith schools has been a problem that is part of the wider sectarian nature of Northern Ireland, but in England and Wales (I cannot speak for Scotland) there is no particular worry of an Anglican or Atheist attending an RC school however bizarre some may perceive such a choice
    If parents feel strongly against a faith option, there is every reason to make sure they have a valid alternative.
    I suspect the real problem though is that the performance of many faith schools is resented. I think the answer to this is improving all schools not knocking the faith ones. There are many non-faith state schools that benefit from a higher intake of more able or socially privileged children through accident or design of catchment areas
    As for selection on faith being targeted as immoral, can it honestly be said to be a greater immorality than selection for a superior education based on wealth which is the net result of independent schools?

  245. Sophie Says:

    @ David Fox: Your praise of moderate faith schools echoes what many posters have already said.

    However some faith schools are a potent source of division and misinformation, either by reinforcing sectarianism in N.Ireland or by teaching myth as science. Defining a policy which would pick out which faith schools the state should support and which it should close would be almost impossible. If the law permits state subsidies of faith schools this must be seen to be fair and even-handed towards all faiths. It would be a lot simpler if we had a Constitution like the Americans.

    As it is, any attempt to shut a particular school would lead to cries of injustice and increase extremism. The only equitable and practical path out of this would appear to be an end to the practice of state support for any faith school.

  246. David Booth Says:

    I do believe faith schools should receive the proceeds of money paid by Christian tax payers. Why should Christian tax payers be denied the funding of their tax contributions to Christian schools? This is a peculiar idea that faith schools shouldn’t receive money from the government, when other schools receive money from the government. It rather seems as if some are trying to discriminate against faith schools for some rather bizarre reasons, while continuing to promote the funding of non faith schools.
    In my family, my grandfather was a headmaster, as was my great great grandfather from before the time of the introduction of the National School in the Victorian era. Like so many of the schools of this time, my great great grandfather began his school as a church sunday school, which he then established as a full day school, starting with just 30 pupils and ending with more than 150 pupils, before becoming a school inspector. He was a headmaster for 25 years. He wrote a booklet which influenced government policy of his time, towards education.
    So many of the schools which became the National school system, were built upon the church schools and this formed the backbone and solid foundation for school education well into this century and in many cases to this day. I find it very hypocritical and ungrateful for some people today to be displaying such disregard for faith schools and the role of faith in education of our young, who need more than science to see them through life. It seems that many are being blinded by the wonders of science, to the point that faith, spirituality and morality are no longer supposed to be of any consequence. This is a profound mistake.

  247. Sophie Says:

    @ David Booth: I don’t think you’ve considered how such a tax system would be implemented, and what its consequences would be. If each of us were entitled to pay taxes only for expenditure we – as individuals – personally approved, the result would be chaos.

    Using defence as an example, pacifists might refuse to fund it at all, while others might willingly fund conventional weapons but draw the line at anything nuclear. A third group would want a great deal more spent (and having done so, wouldn’t have enough left to pay for the roads they use), and a fourth might have specific nations it demanded we invade. A fifth group might demand their taxes went to a specific regiment, while a sixth group, on the other hand… A toxic mix of a myriad expectations and demands, plus a wholly unpredictable budget, would make the MoD impossible to run.

    Expand this example to any department you like and you can’t avoid the conclusion that it’s a ludicrous idea.

    Tell you what, why don’t we have elections instead?

  248. Jim Says:

    Hypothecation does not work. Governments may start with the idea of those who pay the tax subsequently benefitting from it, but I can’t recall a case in Central Government where this has lasted.

    Take for instance UK Road Tax: Excise duty on road vehicles was first introduced in the 1888 budget and a new excise duty specifically for motor vehicles was introduced in 1920 which was paid into the road fund and was hypothecated for road construction. But since 1937 the money has gone into central government revenues and since then has not contributed directly to road building or maintenance.

    Surely it is far better to provide Government funding to any necessary school that can demonstrate that it teaches the National Curriculum effectively and does not discriminate on grounds of race, creed or colour etc.?

  249. DavidFox Says:

    @ Sophie: you say “some faith schools are a potent source of division and misinformation, either by reinforcing sectarianism in N.Ireland or by teaching myth as science. Defining a policy which would pick out which faith schools the state should support and which it should close would be almost impossible.”

    Northern Ireland’s schools demonstrated the symptons of a divided society at all levels rather than being the cause although I agree they did not help or even assisted the problems there.
    As for teaching myth as science, just where are these schools?
    In any case, such a problem can be easily overcome via a tighter National Curriculum or rules governing state assisted schools.

    Of course such schools could then be run indepenently and before you think “fair enough” if they use their own money, if you refer to my original post, I beleive that the searate education to benefit the wealthy is far more worthy of being a target for both inequality and dividing society. While it would be far from perfect, the state run system would be improved in leaps and bounds if it suddenly became compulsory for all.

  250. Jim Says:

    DavidFox.
    That’s not the answer either. In the US most children, from all income groups, go to state primary/secondary school equivalents – but the wealthy live in wealthy neighbourhoods so they have what amounts to the same segregation, but in their case the state pays for it, wheras inner city slum areas have corrrspndingly bad schools.
    And it is human nature to want the best for your children isn’t it? Would you put strangers’ children before your own? I don’t know many who would. That’s why there will always be private schools fr those who want them. For the state to impose a regime of state schools for all, now that reallly is a totalitarian society. It has been tried in coutries such as the USSR, leading to all sorts of backdoor ways for government officials to have special treatment for their children.
    My own children have had a mix of state and private education, and I have to say that in my case the state schools were easily as good as the private sector equivalents.
    No, the real divider between children from different backgrounds is down to parental support and involvement.

  251. Sophie Says:

    @ David Fox: You write “As for teaching myth as science, just where are these schools?”

    Did you not read the topic heading? We’re discussing a documentary on faith schools that appeared on Channel 4. If you’d watched the documentary you’d know that one of its key points, illustrated by girls in a Muslim school, is that only faith schools teach creation myth as science. Not that all faith schools do this, of course they don’t, but that it is a real and growing problem.

    Creationism is increasingly popular in this country among religious extremists. This is a development that concerns anyone who values education, and that we should oppose with a passion, as well as through the courts.

  252. David Booth Says:

    Sophie
    Yes I agree, but then have to ask the question, why should I as a Christian, have to pay my taxes towards schools which promote secularism and atheism? Your argument is biased in the favour of secularists and this cannot be fairly implemented either! It seems that most people who have commented on this site in this discussion (who for the most part appear to be secularists or supporters of it), are in favour of a tax system which discriminates against Christians and Christian schools, by proposing to deny government funding, including the taxes paid by Christian families.

    Your proposition that Christian schools should not be funded by government is precisely what you say is impractical:-
    “to pay taxes only for expenditure we – as individuals – personally approved, the result would be chaos.” – in other words, you disapprove apparently of your taxes going towards ensuring that the next generation of children is properly educated in the Christian faith and you think the government should take heed of your ‘disapproval’ and not allow your taxes to contribute to something you don’t approve of. This is simply the same thing as saying that I should not have the right to approve where my taxes are spent and to direct them to Christian education.
    If I disapprove of my taxes paying for schools which promote secularism, then should my taxes not contribute to such schools?
    You see, some of you have jumped onto a bandwagon of popularism, following a growing band of antagonists against Christian faith and traditions and which is fuelled by a number of elements that have been bombarding the liberal government of the last decade.
    However, the fact remains, that faith schools are out performing secular ones and no one on this site has so far demonstrated that faith itself does not contribute to this success that is currently being enjoyed, particularly by Church of England and Roman Catholic Schools.

  253. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Jim

    I want to jump back into this debate but have refrained so far since your implication I was partially responsible for this debate “degenerating into gratuitous insult” and that I was “attack[ing] the moderate Christianity found in much of Europe”. At reading this I felt you were being unfair in your assessment of my contributions and thought I ought to address it before moving on. The plan was to spend a good few hours going through the debate again first to see if I could understand how you could have come to that assessment, if I could at least agree you may partially have had a point and secondly, if I still felt it was unjust to be able to show in every case where I was laying into someone, that it was after a considerable number of considered attempts to engage the other in a reasoned manner . However I haven’t had the few hours required and it’s looking less likely I’ll find them in the near future so I’ll have to go by my memory and by my confidence in the way in which I believe someone has to work pretty hard to earn my disrespect before having no qualms with disparaging comments .

    “This is an ostensibly Christian blog (the clue’s in the title)”
    I found that comment patronising.

    “With that in mind,what did you expect from David [Booth].”
    Only what I expect from anyone who makes spurious claims, to engage with those who pull them up on them – either to defend their position with evidence and reasoning or to accept it reasonable others don’t accept arguments based on such premises. At one point if I remember correctly, both Sophie (a Christian poster who has earned more of my respect with every contribution to the debate) and I were trying very hard to get a fundamental point across to David Booth – who avoided the arguments and kept going off on tangents trying to bring in all kinds of irrelevant stuff and succeeding only in making reasoned progress impossible.

    “[David Booth] gave you reasonable responses”
    I don’t think you and I were reading the same debate! I’d be interested to hear if others agree with this assessment of his contributions.

    “… even if not the ones you sought.”
    I object to the implication that the disrespectful way in which I was talking to or about David Booth were as a consequence of his not saying “Gosh, I was wrong all along. Thank you for showing me the way. I had never thought of it the way you put it!”
    David Booth was failing/refusing to see that he was being dismissive of non-believers. He worked pretty hard to earn my disrespect – and when he had…

    “As an atheist myself I can identify with your ideas, but not with the way you feel bound to attack the moderate Christianity found in much of Europe.”
    I don’t ‘feel bound to’. I decide not to treat the Christian faith and religion in general with kid gloves. If you choose to that’s your choice. I don’t believe it deserves an iota of respect. HOWEVER, that’s not to say I don’t respect individuals of the Christian or any faith. If you’d looked more carefully before making your blanket criticisms I think you’d have found whilst I may be utterly dismissive of an idea or an argument but I am not of a person until (as I’ve already covered at length) they have all but begged for my disrespect.

    “I for one would regret the demise of the mainstream Churches in the UK. They serve a purpose which it is hard to envisage being replicated in another way.”

    OK, so you see value where I don’t but I can’t see why this would be a reason for what I see as these unjust accusations. You say you ‘can identify with [my] ideas”. I suspect you may not as much as you think you have been if you have misread my posts as badly as you seem to have (feel free to quote me to back up your claims if you disagree with me here).

    “Regarding Faith Schools: My children all went to one, and I have to say that their education was very liberal; and when one of my daughters declared herself a conscientious atheist no-one tried to “convert” her or disadvantage her as a result. And yes, it was one of the best performing schools in the area. If you feel strongly about the falsehoods being inflicted on children in more extreme faith schools then by all means attack them…”
    So if I read you right here Jim, you’re suggesting it’s OK to attack ‘extreme faith schools’ because you don’t agree with them, but it’s not OK to attack ‘moderate faith schools’ because your daughter had a good experience and you don’t disagree with them?

    Basically everybody who has contributed to this debate (me included) has acknowledged that the vast majority of CoE schools are at least benign so this is largely a moot point. However, the point has also been made numerous times that the problems with ‘falsehood inflicting’ schools, make it obvious to most ‘something’ needs to change, and for some of us this is a good enough reason to look at all issues, principles and practicalities of faith schools in general and to draw conclusions accordingly.

    You are certainly not alone in proposing measures be put in place to limit or prevent the most damaging practices in fundamentalist faith schools (and I’d certainly see that as a step in the right direction) but others of us (some Christians included) think for various reasons it’s time to call it a day on faith schools. You and I may disagree but surely our disagreement is no reason not to debate it? Otherwise what is this discussion about?

    OK, now I’ve got that out of the way, back to the latest point I wanted to address…

    BDd

  254. Jim Says:

    David Booth
    We seem to be going round in circles. I could just as easily say “Why should I as an Atheist have to pay my taxes towards schools that promote Christianity? After all, although this is notionally a Christian country, only about two million people attend any mainstream Christian Church weekly. That’s less than 4% of the population!!

    And normal state schools do not “promote secularism”. They just don’t dictate that a particular religion should be followed. – Surely it is the responsibility of parents and the Church to promote their religion. As has been said in previous threads, schools tend to make a hash of religious education anyway.

  255. Jim Says:

    BDd
    Yes, On reflection maybe I was a little unfair in making the blanket statement, and for that I apologise. I’m constantly trying to find points of common understanding with conservative Christians, and sometimes maybe I stretch things too far in trying to allow such people a fair hearing, even though I profoundly disagree with them. I really want to understand why DB thinks the way he does, and I felt that the way he was being interrogated was not getting us anywhere. Maybe it was futile anyway…

  256. BartiDdu Says:

    @David Booth:

    OK, so let’s see whether, despite disagreeing with the reasoning behind Jim’s criticism of my postings, I can take some of it on board…

    In fact, there’s a way of framing my first disagreement with you here in the form of a compliment:

    Given your premises, I think you make a good argument that if secularists don’t want, by their taxes, to fund faith schools why should Christians have to fund secular schools with their taxes?

    However I believe your fundamental error is your equivalence with Christianity and ‘secularity’. It is common these days to see secularity as if it were some threat to faith. ‘Even’ Ratzinger preaches the bane of secularity on our society! So you are in highly esteemed company in your error.

    Interestingly a quick glance at the history of the founding of the US will show the primary purpose of having secularity as part of its core values was to protect Christians who were escaping to the US having experienced first hand the problems of having state and Church intermingled. Secularity protects the rights of everyone – not least the religious. The confusion these days seems to be that the very same rights, when put forward to protect the non-religious from the religious – is seen as discriminatory towards religion. This is of course nonsense!

    Please note Jim I am not saying here David is wrong in his Christian beliefs, nor that secular morals are superior to Christian morals (although I can’t see him not reading it that way). I am saying the misconception predominant among many Christians these days that secularism is somehow a threat to the freedoms of Christians is simply wrong. It shows a fundamental failure to understand what secularism is about. And building a case for faith schools on that premise is therefore groundless.

    But David, before you get too carried away with you see as your counter-argument try and figure this one out: How come if secularism is an equivalent or opposite of faith, how come there are people of faith who understand and agree with the principles of a secular society? If your way of seeing this were true this would not be possible.

    “However, the fact remains, that faith schools are out performing secular ones and no one on this site has so far demonstrated that faith itself does not contribute to this success that is currently being enjoyed, particularly by Church of England and Roman Catholic Schools.”

    You’re in danger of getting as repetitive as Bill Boswell here with your demands for proof despite the points you made being addressed numerous times! Let’s try a different approach…

    Imagine a society where let’s say people who believe orange is the best colour send their children to schools which teaches orange is the best colour. Let’s say for historic reasons steeped in the deep history of this culture (possibly related and possibly unrelated to their belief in orange as the best colour) ‘orange schools’ get better results than non-orange schools.

    Ah, we may have a problem here because there’s one premise I need to use here made many times by others in this discussion that I don’t think you’ve agreed i.e. that children of parents who care for their children’s education (regardless of faith) are likely to do better than children of parents who don’t care. I’m not going to argue this. If it’s not self evident to you I’d suggest you look up some research (I think it was Sophie who said numerous studies have proved this).

    OK, so if orange-schools have better results, then children of parents who, whilst not giving a hoot about favourite colours, want the best education for their children will most likely send them to an orange school. As a consequence orange schools will always have a higher proportion of children with parents who care than non-orange schools.

    Can you see how anyone making a claim that it’s having orange as your favourite colour that makes the school successful is the person who needs evidence to back their claim?

    BDd

  257. BartiDdu Says:

    @ Jim

    Apology accepted and appreciated Jim.

    BDd

  258. Lee Clark Says:

    Hi guys

    Only pop in every now and again these days as I’m a little busy :)

    Has anyone discussed or mentioned that the LSE (London School of Economics) found no evidence to show that faith school [good] results are any better than their neighbours’?

    They analysed and sourced all the available data (that’s what they do!) and found that it was actually the children in the same postcodes as the faith school kids, with similar parental educational motivation (whatever school they went to) who achieved the same level of results.

    There you have it.

  259. BartiDdu Says:

    Thanks Lee that’s interesting to know – and that’s despite the lengths to which some non-believing parents go – mass for years etc. to get their kids into these ‘better’ faith schools. Of course that’s not to say in many areas some faith schools will perform significantly better (I point this out for the benefit of those who may not understand such complex mathematical concepts as ‘average’).

    In Dawkins’s documentary there’s a reference to a study showing something along those lines but from my recollection it was a study by or for the Secular Society or some-such so I wouldn’t quote its findings in support of my position simply because the anti-secularists would dismiss it out-of-hand! However I think the LSE is more likely to carry weight even amongst those whose arguments are made irrelevant by its conclusions.

    @David Booth. Here are a couple of quotes from the aforementioned paper ( http://cee.lse.ac.uk/cee%20dps/ceedp72.pdf ):

    “Moving a ‘typical’ secular school pupil into the faith sector would push him
    or her up the test-based pupil rankings by less than one percentile (in English and Maths).”

    “Any benefit of attending a faith primary school is linked to the more autonomous governance arrangements that characterise ‘voluntary aided’ schools (such as control over admissions procedures).”

    “All of the apparent advantage of faith school education can be explained by unobserved differences between pupils who apply and are admitted to faith schools and those who do not.”

    “On the basis of this evidence, it seems clear that whether or not a primary school is religiously affiliated has little bearing on its effectiveness in educating children in core curriculum subjects.”

    Of course, just like the conspiracy theorists, if you twist your brain hard enough you’ll be able to arrive at alternative ways of ‘explaining’ the data to support your entrenched position but if you understand Occam’s Razor you’ll also recognise if you want to be convincing to anyone other than the gullible you’ll need a mighty strong argument if you plan to arrive at the opposite conclusion to that of the study’s authors.

    BDd

  260. Lee Clark Says:

    Anytime BDd ;)

  261. Mr Anonymous Says:

    Dr Dawkins, like his pals Hitchens and Harris, is an antireligious bigot. If he is so “sure” of evolution, why does he have to get so upset with some people who doesn’t want to believe it? I can tolerate a religious skeptic, but NOT a militant one who wants to create unnecesary conflicts with decent and honest believers.

  262. Lee Clark Says:

    Mr Anonymous

    ‘Anti-religious bigot’ is such an ironic contradiction, but I’m guessing you can’t see the irony?!

    If someone (insert any intelligent person) was so sure of gravity, would you think they might perhaps get upset at someone who didn’t believe in that?

    So, Dawkins (or anyone who thinks in the same manner) is a militant skeptic?

    I have to laugh otherwise I really might cry.

  263. BartiDdu Says:

    ‘Bigot’ is a great word to use on someone we don’t like but I have found it needs to be used with caution because it can easily backfire if it’s not justified. I’d be interested in seeing quoted any bigoted remarks by Dawkins. I don’t mean stuff that, as a consequence of one’s beliefs, may seem offensive, but evidence of actual bigotry.

    Though Dawkins and I have many fundamental beliefs in common I’m finding myself, especially having participated here, wincing more than smiling at some of his more abrasive comments where I understand how such comments would be hurtful to the faithful. However, if he is a bigot I would rather know because I’d be inclined to think twice before endorsing him by the purchase of another of his books.

    Incidentally, Mr A, I don’t think he has a problem with anyone who doesn’t want to ‘believe in evolution’ any more than he would care that someone wants to believe the earth is a disc supported by four giant elephants which are standing on an immense turtle! The problem comes when it comes to teaching children, which is the topic here. How would you feel if the money you pay in taxes was going towards teaching children that the earth is a disc supported by four giant elephants which are standing on an immense turtle?

    BDd

  264. David Booth Says:

    To BartiDdu:

    I’m sorry that I don’t have a lot of time to answer your comments to me, but I can’t let some of your unfair comments pass by without some response.

    “that’s despite the lengths to which some non-believing parents go – mass for years etc. to get their kids into these ‘better’ faith schools.” – well, here I may agree, that it may be more sincere for non believing parents to choose a secular school although as you say, faith schools are often better.

    “Of course that’s not to say in many areas some faith schools will perform significantly better (I point this out for the benefit of those who may not understand such complex mathematical concepts as ‘average’).” – you’re coming across as a bit arrogant and condescending here.

    “Any benefit of attending a faith primary school is linked to the more autonomous governance arrangements that characterise ‘voluntary aided’ schools (such as control over admissions procedures).” – I think you’re deliberately glossing over the benefits of faith and its benefits or potential benefits to not only individuals but to faith communities and its overall benefits to educational provision and performance. Autonomous governance may well be an advantage, but only if the management and governance of the school locally has something better to offer. In the case of faith schools, the ethos often does clearly produce something better , hence the results.

    “All of the apparent advantage of faith school education can be explained by unobserved differences between pupils who apply and are admitted to faith schools and those who do not.” – I think you know, just as well as I do and in fact everyone knows, that if you want to explain away anything, and have the will or motive to do so, then you will find any way you can to do so. It does not mean that you are right. You may find comfort in dismissing those things you aren’t happy about, but you shouldn’t really make the mistake of consoling yourself with conclusions that are the fruit of a prejudiced mind rather than reality.

    “On the basis of this evidence, it seems clear that whether or not a primary school is religiously affiliated has little bearing on its effectiveness in educating children in core curriculum subjects.” – the words ‘it seems clear’ are misleading. The writer is entitled to legitimately claim, “it is my belief” (note that this infers his own personal choice), but the evidence he presents, does not make his conclusion “clear” at all. What is being presented here, is a presumption that religious affiliated and faith schools ethos, has no bearing on its performance, but the reality is that we should respect the work that such schools do, often leading the way in performance. We should encourage secular schools to catch up with them, not attempt to attack faith schools for their success.

    “Of course, just like the conspiracy theorists, if you twist your brain hard enough you’ll be able to arrive at alternative ways of ‘explaining’ the data to support your entrenched position but if you understand..” –
    I would mantain that it is your position that bears the characteristics of being both an ‘entrenched position’ and a ‘conspiracy theory’, with a somewhat unfounded and paranoid fear of faith schools. Your appear to be unwilling to consider that faith schools, despite their success, can attribute their success to the ethos with which they are run ( a bizarre assumption if ever there was one! )

    Faith schools were the first schools in this country and their contribution to education has been and still is at the forefront of the best educational standards.

  265. BartiDdu Says:

    @ David Booth,

    Oh dear, here we go again…

    BDd: ” that’s despite the lengths to which some non-believing parents go – mass for years etc. to get their kids into these ‘better’ faith schools.”
    DB: ” – well, here I may agree, that it may be more sincere for non believing parents to choose a secular school although as you say, faith schools are often better.”
    BDd: I have to say David, the regularity and degree to which you totally miss the point continues to astound me. Excuse the capitals but: I DID NOT SAY FAITH SCHOOLS ARE OFTEN BETTER!! I was expressing my gratitude to Lee for bringing to the table the study that “FOUND NO EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT FAITH SCHOOL [GOOD] RESULTS ARE ANY BETTER THAN THEIR NEIGHBOURS’ “. Until that point, all through this discussion I had been happy to go along with the common belief that on average faith schools perform better (hence my use of quotation marks on ‘better’). My argument had been that I had no reason to believe faith was the reason for this supposed difference. Having looked briefly at the study, not only am I still waiting for evidence that the cause of the supposed difference in performance is faith, I now first need convincing either that the study is flawed or that there is another study which will support your position. I won’t hold my breath!

    BDd: “Of course that’s not to say in many areas some faith schools will perform significantly better (I point this out for the benefit of those who may not understand such complex mathematical concepts as ‘average’).”
    DB: ” – you’re coming across as a bit arrogant and condescending here.”
    I know. And I know it’s not endearing but I wanted to pre-empt people trying to use anecdotal evidence to try and undermine the findings of the study. Although I suspect a significant proportion of the UK population know how to calculate an average I guess there’s a massive majority who don’t have a good grasp of the full implications and what can and can not be deduced from averages. By the way David I was writing to Lee and I named nobody so there’s no need to take it personally.

    Study findings: “Any benefit of attending a faith primary school is linked to the more autonomous governance arrangements that characterise ‘voluntary aided’ schools (such as control over admissions procedures).”
    DB: “– I think you’re deliberately glossing over the benefits of faith and its benefits or potential benefits to not only individuals but to faith communities and its overall benefits to educational provision and performance.”
    I’m not glossing over anything. I was quoting what I considered to be significant and relevant extracts of the study’s findings. I have little doubt you believe more deeply than you believe almost anything that your faith is beneficial to you. But that is an anecdote. Others tell, sometimes when undecided and sometimes having left their faith of how badly it affected their lives. Both categories of stories show people believe both ways. Neither, as anecdotes, tell us anything about the overall benefit or harm of faith.

    As for “…its overall benefits to education provision and performance” I believe the onus is now on you to provide some evidence to back up this assumption.

    Study findings: “On the basis of this evidence, it seems clear that whether or not a primary school is religiously affiliated has little bearing on its effectiveness in educating children in core curriculum subjects.”
    DB: “– the words ‘it seems clear’ are misleading. The writer is entitled to legitimately claim, “it is my belief” (note that this infers his own personal choice), but the evidence he presents, does not make his conclusion “clear” at all.”
    Obviously not ‘clear to all’ – as you are living proof! Surprise surprise, you’re questioning the legitimacy of the findings of the study! Of course the whole context in which such studies are published are with the intent that such findings are questioned. But instead of saying: ‘It is not clear to me how he’d find that conclusion from the results’ or asking ‘how did he deduce those conclusions so confidently that he said it was ‘clear’. Instead you imply the way he chose to present his findings was misleading.

    DB: “In the case of faith schools, the ethos often does clearly produce something better , hence the results.”
    It’s not clear to me. Would you care to provide some evidence? (Note I’m not saying you shouldn’t use the word ‘clearly’)!

    “What is being presented here, is a presumption that religious affiliated and faith schools ethos, has no bearing on its performance…”
    Do you mean that that is what the study is presenting is a presumption? Is that what you are saying? Or are you talking about my presumptions?

    “..but the reality is that we should respect the work that such schools do, often leading the way in performance.”
    Evidence? Anyone? I mean I suppose it is ‘reality’ in the same way that one could say a flipped coin ‘often’ results in heads…

    “We should encourage secular schools to catch up with them, not attempt to attack faith schools for their success.”
    I am truly intrigued how on earth you managed to come to this conclusion from anything you or anyone else have brought to this discussion – or after all this time and all these exchanges are you still holding back on the ‘trump’ data that is going to make sense of your conclusions?

    “…a somewhat unfounded and paranoid fear of faith schools.”
    On the whole my primary objection to faith schools, as I have said more than once already, is one of principle. There is an element of fear but that’s not really from the ‘largely benign’ CoE schools you’re talking about but the potential consequence of the Muslim ones, but again, mainly I object from principle. I will admit to pandering to pragmatism at times in being prepared to put principles to one side if there’s an obvious benefit from so doing but in this instance????

    DB: “I think you know, just as well as I do and in fact everyone knows, that if you want to explain away anything, and have the will or motive to do so, then you will find any way you can to do so. It does not mean that you are right. You may find comfort in dismissing those things you aren’t happy about, but you shouldn’t really make the mistake of consoling yourself with conclusions that are the fruit of a prejudiced mind rather than reality.”
    Beautifully put. My sentiments exactly. Couldn’t have worded it better myself. Back atcha!!

    “Your appear to be unwilling to consider that faith schools, despite their success, can attribute their success to the ethos with which they are run…”
    Not at all unwilling. I have given consideration to everything you have written. Unfortunately none of it has had any substance which could lead me to consider that what appears self-evident to you has any basis in reality.

    “…( a bizarre assumption if ever there was one! )” So it would appear from your perspective. I on the other hand don’t see your belief as ‘bizarre’ in the sense that it is a common presumption, even amongst atheists, that faith on the whole is a positive force in the world, that it is good for individuals, for society and for education. It is also a common belief that there is some supernatural ‘being’ that created the universe and everything in it and that it cares about the minutiae on how humans behave. It don’t make it right! And I don’t subscribe to either.

    BDd

  266. Sophie Says:

    @ David Booth: Lee Clark provided a link to what appears to be an authoritative paper from the London School of Economics on the academic benefits or otherwise of faith schools. Its findings were based on a cohort of over 1 million British children. Given the size and relevance of this study I can’t understand why you haven’t checked it out yourself. The link was posted over a month ago.

    BartiDdu quotes from the research findings but you reply as though he’s making unsubstantiated personal observations. Are you not aware that he’s quoting? I don’t see how you can continue the debate without reference to this study. The abstract is available here.

    On exploring the availability of research, I found other interesting papers on the topic – two women, Professor Anna Vignoles and Dr Rebecca Allen, seem to be doing quite a lot of work on the subject. Their study, (550,000 children, 2009) found that “Faith schools fail to improve standards and create “social sorting” of children along lines of class, ability and religion”, which confirms my own reservations, sadly.

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