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NO CROSSES PLEASE!

By ATWadmin On April 6th, 2007

You have to laugh at the sheer stupidity of it all.

Lancashire town council has refused to fund the traditional Easter Cross because "it might offend people of other faiths".The town of St Anne’s erects an Easter Cross each year at this time. Until now. But when the council were criticised for refusing to pay for it – and blocking anyone else from erecting a Cross, citing EU health and safety legislation – they came up with a new excuse. Apparently, county councils are "not allowed to spend taxpayers’ money on any religion. Many taxpayers are non-religious and may find it an offensive use of their money". So it was ironic that on the same day Lancashire town council refused to use taxpayers’ money to fund a Cross, which would have cost £700, it has emerged that there are plans for a new all-Muslim school in Bradford. Paid for, of course, by the taxpayers.  Allahu Akhbar!

From the Irish Independent.

84 Responses to “NO CROSSES PLEASE!”

  1. I can understand an objection to a state-funded Cross, which could be done privately, but the all-Muslim school sponsored by the State? Why not just give them airplanes and call it a day.

  2. Reading stories like this for several years now makes me think that unless people who declare this to be a Christian country start to use and support our Churches, we will lose the Churches and all religious symbols of festivals.

    Church congregations continue to fall….it’s no good crying when we have a country full of mosques….our Churches need to be supported in order to continue.

  3. Connie,

    Too many turn their back on God, and he accepts their call.

    Mahons,

    In full agreement – a few 747’s care of the UK taxpayer should do the trick,

  4. Mahons,
    I always suspected a Federal hand behind 9/11 but you don’t mean it was all engineered just to save the taxpayer a couple of bucks?

    Connie, I appreciate your concern for the Churches. However, if people looked at the matter from that angle, the Churches might end up as bastions of European culture rather than of worship in spirit and in truth.

  5. Adrian: No.

  6. IMO, there is a difference between a school and a cross. the school will help the children, whereas the cross doesnt do much for anyone. Again religion causes more problems in the world. I also think people are starting to wake up, and see religion as being false now.

  7. MAD1: Once again allow me to point out that the greatest mass murders of the 20th Century where in fact nonbelievers Mao, Hilter, Stalin. A concept that the anti-religious movement tries to bypass. Man’s inhumanity to man has not limited itself to those who claimed to be inspired by some religious teaching.

  8. >>Once again allow me to point out that the greatest mass murders of the 20th Century where in fact nonbelievers Mao, Hilter, Stalin.<<

    They probably also liked Pizza… wheres the connection ?

  9. Mahins,

    Richard Dawkins covers your point re hitler, excellently in his latest book

  10. Kliit: The connection is that horrible things have also eminated from the nonreligious. As for Dawkins, I don’t buy into him, you are welcome to.

  11. As far as I am aware Hitler was a religious man. Either way, I’m not about to denounce religion as the be all and end of all of evil. It isn’t. But can be hijacked certainly by people with an agenda.

  12. >>Kliit: <<

    Is that me new knick name 🙂 just messing.

    I found that some of his arguments were compelling. I understand the point you were making though.

    Are you looking forward to getting a couple of drinks in after easter ? You gave up the bad stuff for lent did you not 🙂

  13. Mahons – I don’t know about Mao – but Both Stalin and Hitler had a lot of religion in their backgrounds. Stalin actually attended a Seminary!

  14. Kloot – Mao hated Pizza – said it seemed to fill you up but 10 minutes later you were hungry again!

    Hmmmm – Ma(h)o(ns)

  15. (R) Dawkins points out quite a lot of pro religious speeches mad by Hitler, but then counters with some anti ones as well.

  16. Stalin was a confirmed member of the IRA. Honest.

  17. Kloot: look above: you changed my "o" to an "i" in my name so I thought maybe it was a trend. Of course you then get stuck with a name not suitable for family fare. I gave up drinking for March only so I have been restoring much needed alcohol to the Mahons system for about a week.

    I’ll agree with Fatmammycat (there must be a story behind that name) in terms of religions at times being hijacked by fanatics. No argument there.

  18. Mad – Stalin must have gone to the seminary Adrian attends. In any event, whatever religious background those boys used, their political philospohies were driven by a lack of religious belief.

    Mad: Change my handle to Mao and I’ll point out the IRA in Madradin Raud you deep cover Fenian.

  19. I’d tell you Mahons, but then I’d have to stuff you with pizza after.

  20. David: Did they ever withdraw his membership?

  21. >>look above: you changed my "o" to an "i" in my name <<

    🙂 hadnt spotted that…sorry mate.

    Todays a dry day in the ROI. Only place you can get alcohol is in a hotel bar or in the bar in the train station or airport. To get into the train station bar you need a valid ticket though!

    And in all my rush to get out for a pint last night, I forgot to get a few cans in or a bottle of wine. Imagine, tis only twice a year that the place is dry, and we still complain! 🙂

  22. >>Did they ever withdraw his membership?<<

    I thought David was joking ?

  23. <Q>Stalin was a confirmed member of the IRA. Honest.</Q>

    I’ll bet it was a Redemptionist seminary David – he might even have met a young Alec Reid!

  24. Mahons,

    No one ever leaves the IRA. Just ask nice Mr Adams!

  25. mahons,

    "their political philospohies were driven by a lack of religious belief."

    Offensive and unreasoning bullshit. What possible connection is there between not believing in the supernatural and requiring that millions should be killed?

    "Man’s inhumanity to man has not limited itself to those who claimed to be inspired by some religious teaching."

    LOL. And so the religious only "claim" to be inspired while you declare that atheists really are "driven". So Salem had nothing to do with a belief in witchcraft underpinned by the Bible, the Inquisition was a "hijack" – meanwhile you say the reign of Hitler resulted from atheism even though he claimed to do "the work of the Lord", and 1930s Germany was full of believers who not only supported him but happily went along.

    Besides, if religion is not much better than no religion it can hardly claim to make people behave better. Yet it does make that claim, and the "anti-religious movement" doesn’t.

  26. Madradin Ruad: "Hmmmm – Ma(h)o(ns)"

    Mahons: "Mad: Change my handle to Mao and I’ll point out the IRA in Madradin Raud"

    Absolutely superb! Well spotted, both.

  27. Frank: Read it and weep. Nothing gets you going like someone disagreeing with your view of religion.

  28. If the excuse for not funding is because it might offend others faiths ( mussies obviously) then that is indefensible.

    Blocking those who would pay for it citing health and safety similarly so. How long has the tradition been going on and how many people have been injured in the past?

    The new excuse appears OK.

    Taxpayers money for an exclusively Muslim school is indefensible.

  29. >>1930s Germany was full of believers who not only supported him but happily went along.<<

    Actually, Frank, the records show the opposite. Those involved in the church were on average much less likely to vote for the Nazis than non-church goers. In central and northern Germany, the Nazi’s had little support in large cities (which had a strong socialist tradition) and the strongly Catholic areas, i.e. the Rhineland, Muenster etcm, which loyal to the clerical Zentrum party. Hitler himself acknowledged this and despised these regions for their clericalism.

  30. = etc, which remained loyal to the clerical Zentrum party

  31. It has to be said that in general the Christian tradition – both Catholic and Protestant – was ultimately the most formidable domestic opponent Hitler faced. It once almost succeeded in killing him and at all times restrained him to at least some extent.

  32. Woah, dissension in the ranks there! Steady boys.

  33. Cunningham: And I thought I pissed him off.

  34. Mein Kampf : "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."

    Speech in Munich 1922 : "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross."

    http://nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

  35. mahons,

    "Nothing gets you going like someone disagreeing with your view of religion."

    Well I guess I understand why you prefer to change the subject and make more stuff up. I wouldn’t much care to defend your nonsensical position of "lack of religion results in mass murder" and "give Muslims airplanes and call it a day" either.

    But you certainly have a brass neck to criticise when we look at your own silly religion, which is merely steeped in blood of innocents, has made slaves of women, brought misery to millions, and is notorious for protecting child molestors. And in each case I am talking about the organisation there, and not just some bad people who happened to be Catholics. But at least it managed to do some good things too, huh?

  36. Cunnigham,

    "It has to be said that in general the Christian tradition – both Catholic and Protestant – was ultimately the most formidable domestic opponent Hitler faced. It once almost succeeded in killing him and at all times restrained him to at least some extent."

    Hitler didn’t personally invade Poland and didn’t personally kill 6,000,000. The idea that all of this was done by non-believers is just laughable. Trying to raise an army of atheists would be like herding cats. Also, you know as well as I do that were it convenient then 1930s Germany would have been claimed as a "Christian country" and based on "Judeo-Christian values", just as is done today.

    I do not actually agree with the likes of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins who say that religion is overall a bad influence, some religious people do good things because of religion and some do bad things because of religion. Until proven otherwise I’ll assume it is neutral. The point is not that bad things happened because of it, but that it (belief in the supernatural) is essentially irrelevant. It is particularly ridiculous to assert (as Mahons does) that people do X,Y or Z because they DON’T believe in the supernatural. Or that somehow if people are too reasonable and look for some evidence before believing things it will result in mass murder.

  37. Frank: You seem more agitated than usual. You can’t have reached menopause already?

    I fully accept that my Church’s organization as you call it has made grave errors over the course of time. Many times this has resulted in horrible shameful events and tragedies. I do believe that those errors are inconsistent with the faith itself.

  38. <Q>Frank: You seem more agitated than usual.</Q>

    Easter is a difficult time for people like Frank 😉
    Because of his views nobody gives him any Easter eggs!

  39. Mahons,

    "Frank: You seem more agitated than usual."

    You seem to be making it up again. Is it the drink or the religion that has rotted your brain this time?

    "I do believe that those errors are inconsistent with the faith itself."

    But then you also believe that if only Stalin had believed in Zeus, or Mao had the religious conviction of Osama bin Laden, then they would have lacked the drive to become mass murders.

    As for the faith, it is obviously compatible with just about anything. Killed 6,000,000 jews? Just go to confession. Remorseful about the gulags? Jesus died for your sins.

  40. >>Hitler didn’t personally invade Poland and didn’t personally kill 6,000,000. The idea that all of this was done by non-believers is just laughable.<<

    Of course it is, which is probably why nobody ever makes that claim.
    Look, soldiers will do what soldiers do. They march where they’re told. Your point would be irrelevant even if it were a voluntary army, and it’s even more irrelevant in the case of a conscripted one. Yes, there were Christians in the Wehrmacht, but there were also Communists, Socialists of all hues, feverently anti-Nazi Catholics (almost all the protagonists in the White Rose and Stauffenberg conspiracies had been in the army). Being in Hitler’s army said as little about political affiliation as being in Saddam’s.

    It’s hard to assess how much good/evil the Church did in, say, the 20th C. It did put enormous psychological pressure on millions; on the other hand it gave some kind of nebulous hope to countless other millions, who may not otherwise have been able to face life without it. On a practical level, I’d say on balance it was good (3rd world development etc. Hands-on volunteers infinitely better than programmes of states or NGOs)

    >>It is particularly ridiculous to assert (as Mahons does) that people do X,Y or Z because they DON’T believe in the supernatural.<<

    I’m sure he didn’t mean it that directly. What he might have meant – which is IMO true – was that the disintegration of an ethical and social framework – of which the church was a part – created a vacuum that was then filled by monsters. Popular religion collapsed for many people after WWI, as did identity with one’s native country, social class, even family, etc. All of these may in themselves have been negative social influences, but people were not ready for life without them. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and probably many other tyrants, were all thrown up by this void; all suffered from a lack of identity and despised the countries, the families, the churches, in fact the whole burgeoise world, from which they came.

  41. MR.

    "Because of his views nobody gives him any Easter eggs!"

    It is only the supernatural I don’t believe in, I do believe in chocolate. And actually I did get a nice Lindt bunny 😛

    (Of course I wanted that chocolate Jesus that the Christians kicked out of the art gallery, but somebody had already eaten the bunny ears.)

  42. LOL Frank !

  43. Frank: It is one thing to attack my religion. But to blame poor old alcohol, now that is low. Given your over the top ramblings, maybe you should have a drink yourself to lighten up.

    You are jumping to your own conclusions regarding Stalin or Mao. I never said that had they been believers that they would have not done what they did. My point was that not all the bad in the world can be laid at the feet of organized religion, and that the death toll from the last century was greatest from movements that weren’t religious in nature.

  44. Cunningham

    ">>Hitler didn’t personally invade Poland and didn’t personally kill 6,000,000. The idea that all of this was done by non-believers is just laughable.<<

    Of course it is, which is probably why nobody ever makes that claim."

    No?

    Here is the claim they were nonbelievers:
    >>Once again allow me to point out that the greatest mass murders of the 20th Century where in fact nonbelievers<<

    Here is the claim that it was because of their nonbelief:
    >>their political philospohies were driven by a lack of religious belief.<<

    And those claims are nonsense. It is equally nonsense to say that atheists somehow took over the joint and forced the poor innocent believers to do all those eeeevil atheistic things that one is inclined to do when does not believe in Zeus.

  45. I’m an atheist and have no objection whatever to a council funding religious ceremonies or emblems, especially those at Eastertide. They are important to the believers, who still make up the majority, and I respect their right to them–if they don’t break the bank, and the cross of course does not.

    But … state funding for a Muslim-only school? Definitely not. That’s dhimmitude. Baaaaaad move.

  46. It’s one thing to say nobody believes in God any more….time and money can be better spent on other things….but Christianity is being replaced by Islam and that money is instead promoting Islam.

    The country might be happy to see sharia law kick in due to the strength of the mosques….so be it.

  47. Mahons,

    "You are jumping to your own conclusions regarding Stalin or Mao. I never said that had they been believers that they would have not done what they did."

    It is implied by what you did say:
    >>>>their political philospohies were driven by a lack of religious belief.<<

    "My point was that not all the bad in the world can be laid at the feet of organized religion"

    Not even Richard Dawkins makes that claim, just that a certain type of religion is bad. And I don’t even agree with that, as I have repeatedly said I think religion is neutral with respect to whether people behave well or not. Of course that also means it is not much of a success.

    But you don’t apply the same standard. When an atheist is evil, you say they are "driven" by their lack of belief. When a religious person is evil, well you say they just "hijacked" the faith or they weren’t true believers. I don’t think that simply believing in the supernatural is evil but the opposite claim that you make is just ridiculous.

    "the death toll from the last century was greatest from movements that weren’t religious in nature. "

    The personality cults of Hitler, Mao and Stalin were certainly "religious in nature", they just didn’t involve the usual supernatural claims. They did have the attributes of blind allegiance to authority, irrationality, unquestioning belief, immunity to evidence, and even terror that have also been associated with religion. The point is not whether people are religious or not, but whether they are sceptical, rational, autonomous, compassionate. If they are then they are very unlikely to be Nazis or mass murderers of any kind, but then they’re not likely to be religious in the usual sense either.

  48. "Many taxpayers are non-religious and may find it an offensive use of their money."

    I find all government spending an offensive use of my money. Can I stop paying my taxes now?

  49. CL,

    "I find all government spending an offensive use of my money."

    So you want no police, no courts, no enforcement of contracts, no property rights, and no money system.

    You’re not very bright, but then you’re a libertarian.

    "Can I stop paying my taxes now?"

    Yes. Go to Somalia. Send us a postcard.

  50. Mad, no matter what Hitler may have said in the 1920s and possibly even in the 1930s, he should not be classified as religious because he was too inconsistent to have actually "believed" in anything (other than political power) in the normal understanding of the word "believe". If we are to find any consistent explanation for Hitler’s actions, we will be forced to conclude that he had no definite belief in any God knowable through the New Testament, though he probably believed in Destiny.

    Stalin studied in a Georgian Orthodox seminary which doesn’t necessarily mean he was a believer either. Circumstances forced him into the seminary (as they did Casanova, for example) but he broke free later.

    Frank,
    I don’t think you’re justified in saying that rational, autonomous and compassionate people aren’t likely to be religious in the normal sense. Of course they can.

    Among the ones you mentioned, it’s only the sceptics who can’t, and then you can’t be totally sceptical and totally rational at the same time.

    It’s ridiculous to say that religion is immune to evidence. When the bones of Joan of Arc have been shown to be a mummified cat, do you think the Church that houses the relics will continue to expose them for veneration???

  51. Adrian,

    "I don’t think you’re justified in saying that rational, autonomous and compassionate people aren’t likely to be religious in the normal sense. Of course they can."

    Yes they can. It is just unlikely (you left out the sceptical – all four are important). It is also unlikely that they would stay that way, by this I mean actually believing in the claims. Of course it depends on the religion – I have heard that Buddishm is not so bad.

    "It’s ridiculous to say that religion is immune to evidence."

    I didn’t say that it was. I said that this is one of the traits that has been associated with religion (I also noted that it had been associated with non-religion).

    Of course some religious claims are literally immune to evidence in that they are not falsifiable even though they purport to be claims about reality.

    "It’s ridiculous to say that religion is immune to evidence. When the bones of Joan of Arc have been shown to be a mummified cat, do you think the Church that houses the relics will continue to expose them for veneration???"

    Why not? That’s how they have behaved and continue to behave when the topic has been evolution or astronomy or a host of other topics. Even now they accumulate ‘evidence’ of ‘miracles’ which they claim involve suspension of the laws of physics. So why not venerate a cat. It would be no less absurd.

    And what evidence will suffice to say that she isn’t a saint, or that there is no such thing as her soul that now exists somewhere else?

  52. "What possible connection is there between not believing in the supernatural and requiring that millions should be killed?"

    Just compare the inquisition with Stalin , Mao , Hitler and Pol Pot 🙂

  53. AMDG,

    ""What possible connection is there between not believing in the supernatural and requiring that millions should be killed?"

    Just compare the inquisition with Stalin , Mao , Hitler and Pol Pot :)"

    We did that already and discovered that nobody was able to provide the connection I requested.

    I see that you cannot do so either.

  54. It’s so good to see you again Adrian!

    Here’s a question – what did these people all have in common in their background ?

    Salazar
    Franco
    Mussolini
    Hitler
    Galtieri
    Pearse, Connolly and all the Irish Proto-fascists 1916

  55. "We did that already and discovered that nobody was able to provide the connection I requested."

    The connection is here – you simply don’t want to see it 🙂

    Or , better said , if God does not exist , everything is permitted .

  56. AMDG,

    " if God does not exist , everything is permitted ."

    As a race we seem to have done just about everything, permitted or not. I didn’t notice any gods jumping in to stop us. Or do you mean something else?

  57. AMDG,

    "Or , better said , if God does not exist , everything is permitted ."

    Doesn’t follow.

    But you give a lovely insight into the mind of the theist. The only thing stopping you from raping and murdering is that you think there is a sky-policeman somewhere. You cannot find any reasons of your own not to do so. How special.

  58. >>their political philospohies were driven by a lack of religious belief.<<

    their political philosophies either mimicked or co-opted religion. 20th century totalitarianism was directly influenced by deeds of organised religion.

    a superb book on this subject very is

    Sacred Causes by Michael Burleigh. its hot off the press and right up to date.

  59. Adrian: A love it when you use your powers for good.

    Madradin: They all shook your hand?

  60. Madradin: They all shook your hand?

    Thankfully not – all were raised Roman Catholic – seems to have been a link between being raised in authoritarian religions and authoritarian attitudes in politics.

  61. Mad: Doesn’t explain the liberals, socialist etc raised in the same traditions.

  62. So what Mahons ? These things are never absolute – I mean,Count Duckula is a Vegetarian Vampire 😉

    Clerical fascism ?

    South America? Peronism etc, etc
    Dollfuss in Austria?
    The Utashe?

    Hard Left as well – Castro and Allende.

    Suggests that Democracy is more protestant that Roman catholic, which makes sense as after all protestants have more feeling of individuality than RCs who are conditioned to accept rather than question.
    The Protestant concept of the individual and freedom of conscience.

  63. Josip Broz Tito is another example 🙂

  64. doesnt stand up mad’

    the Protestant vote for the nazis was greater than the RC vote.

    you cant really factor in religion for countries where catholicism is almost ubiquitous. also you can equally argue that catholics reject new personality cults, due to their loyalty to pops. it was certainly the case in nazi germany, and the regime was very aware that catholic loyalty would never be absolute. no such problems with german protestants.

  65. <Q>the Protestant vote for the nazis was greater than the RC vote.</Q>

    Even if that were true, how does it disprove the point that most if not all of the European and South American totalitarian regimes were headed by people of RC background? Of course some of the regimes had Vatican support – Salazar, Franco,The Ustahe – and others were in competition with the Church. That’s an important factor. Look at de Valera’s repressive authoritarian state – great chums with the church. Far harder on the IRA than The Unionists – there wasn’t an auto-execution for republicans carrying guns.

    Protestant North America and Protestant Europe fought both fascism and communism.

    of course, as I pointed out to Mahons, these things are not absolute. but certainly there is a clear trend.

  66. Mad,
    Despite the title’s "No Crosses" plea I’m going to cross swords with you on this one!

    Well may be the Catholic system of education conditions you to obey rather than rebel. That has no connection with what happened in Germany since we know that Hitler is the spiritual descendant of Frederick the Great and Frederick Barbarossa neither of whom had a great affection towards the Catholic Church.

    Similarly, the presence of fascism in Catholic countries is to be related to the conservative reaction to the rise of communism. I haven’t really gone into the subject but I think that since several of these countries experienced greater poverty than the northern Protestant nations, they had a greater tendency to turn towards political extremes and personality cults. The Church was obviously a factor, both in its opposition to the left and in its desire to maintain its privileged position.

    Now coming to the Protestant countries, I don’t find that freedom of conscience was valued very much more in Reformation era England than say in the contemporary Muslim world. European Calvinism in particular (sorry to say this) was for some time a closed system which hardly tolerated dissent, not that Luther was ever very happy with it. America was different because it was a complete break with the previous economic and political system.

    When you speak of Protestant England and America fighting communism, it just happens that England and America escaped the worst of Hitler’s war because of natural barriers which Catholic France was unlucky not to be provided with. The Catholic French didn’t particularly like the Catholic Hitler any more than the Protestant British did.

  67. "You cannot find any reasons of your own"

    Look at Mao or pol Pot – people were simply expendable for them , because non-theists have no need for morals per se , as long as they can manipulate the system to fit their own needs .

    In other words , smart theists can have their pie and eat it – there is no moral brake to ban any behaviour , no matter how repulsive .

  68. <Q>The Catholic French didn’t particularly like the Catholic Hitler any more than the Protestant British did.</Q>

    Petain and Vichy France vs Churchill and the UK ? No contest Adrian. Whereas Catholic Free State ( what is now The RiI ) had an affinity for Salazar, Franco and Mussolini 🙂

    I know it is losing it’s grip Adrian, but there’s no denying that 19th and 20th Century the Roman Catholic Church was authoritarian, instilling a communal mindset, compared to the more individualistic protestant approach to life. After all it was only in the late 1920s that the Vatican finally acknowledged it had not the right to temporal power – The Prisoner in the Vatican etc..

  69. Petain and his bunch of collaborators aren’t any more typical of France than Quisling is of Lutheran Norway. There’s no evidence that the French were more strongly supportive of Nazi occupation than the British would have been in similar circumstances, and even if there were, it can quite easily be attributed to reasons other than religious ones – eg. the more broadminded outlook of the English intelligentsia dating back to well before the Reformation.

    Well the Prophet Moses had an authoritarian mindset. The mindset is not the problem – it’s when people misuse it to attain their own ends. Take Henry VIII for instance. Did he make use of an existing Catholic balance of power to attain his ends? But I don’t know if I’ll make any headway along these lines, because you’re sure to reply that England was Protestant right from the time of Merlin the Magician!

    Protestantism has also had a communal or provincial mindset in much of the world for much of the past five centuries. People like the Amish for instance. What about the Prussian Junkers who supported Hitler? I guess there aren’t too many examples in England because England has traditionally been a broadminded country but you just have to step into Swiss and German history to know that there’s not a pin to choose between Protestants and Catholics in the areas under consideration.

  70. Adrian – I have said all along that we are not dealing with absolutes and we are dealing with mindsets of the 20th century.

    However there is a fundamental difference – by and large Protestant churches regard their pastors as having an advisory or explanatory role – whereas the RC church takes a more authoritarian view with it being upto the clergy to tell tha laity. That, after all, was why it was protestants who put the scriptures into the vernacular and into the hands of the common man, Indeed some protestant sects do not even have clergy.

    Is it not a fact that in your church it is the role of the Clergy to tell the laity what to believe? I don’t think any protestant would accept the notion – as expressed in the Baltimore Catechism – that the Pope is God On Earth – or that the Clergy have power over God – as with the Idea that the priest can order or Summon God.

  71. MR,
    I simply can’t find your quote from the Baltimore catechism saying that the Pope is God on earth. This is the closest I can get:

    Q. 496. Who is the visible Head of the Church?
    A. Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible Head of the Church.

    On the other hand, if your reference exists, I would like to point out that (1) it is possible to call a human being "god" without breaking the first commandment (Jn 10:33-34 and Ps 82:6)
    (2) The Baltimore Catechism is a fallible statement of infallible Church teaching and as such there may be misrepresentations in it. I haven’t read it so I don’t know to what extent it contains errors.

    Regarding vernacular editions of the Bible, I think the Catholics had them before the Protestants did. The Protestant promotion of the vernacular Bible was not entirely disinterested – for instance Luther promoted a version of Romans that had "By faith ALONE a man is justified" in place of "By faith a man is justified" in Rom 3:28

    Regarding the teaching authority of the Church, it is obvious that the Protestant Churches give greater teaching authority to the Bible than to the Church as such. This is quite a healthy practice. However, while not commenting on the actual working of the system (I think it works a bit better than the Catholic system at the moment), I think that several Protestant Churches would do well to take a more guarded approach because wholesale liberty in this area has certain drawbacks:
    1. It leads to private interpretations which goes against II Pet 1:20-21
    2. It leads to the fragmentation of truth since each person can perceive only a limited amount of scriptural truth and may actually leave the Church and start his own Church on the basis of this fragmentary truth.
    3. It leads to actual misinterpretation of scripture and twisting of the meaning of scripture as for instance when Benny Hinn says that Jesus was rich and so anyone who follows him will be blessed with loads of money (Prosperity Gospel).
    4. It is simply not possible to interpret the Bible without some tradition or the other since none of us reads the Bible without growing up in some tradition even if it isn’t a specifically Christian tradition.
    5. It could lead to fundamentalism.

  72. I owe you an apology Adrian – I mixed up the Baltimore catechism and the New York Catechism! Sorry.

    Protestant churches teach that The Bible – the protestant Bible, is the word of God, sufficient in itself – However the Roman Catholic Church teaches that both the Bible and the traditions of the Church
    were equally worthy.

    The 2nd Vatican Council stated that "both Scripture and tradition should be accepted with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence. Sacred tradition and Holy Scripture form a single sacred deposit of the Word of God entrusted to the Church".

    Interestingly enough – I had always assumed that the Priest in Confessional was acting as agent for God – but according to TrueCatholic it is the Priest himself who forgives sins?

    <Q>Of the awe-inspiring powers vested in the priesthood three are conferred by a special ceremonial act, i.e.: the power to offer up the Holy Sacrifice, the power to forgive sins, and the power to bless. </Q>

    Here in the Ordination service the Bishop clearly states that the priest’s role is to govern, not guide:

    <Q>The office of the priest is to offer sacrifice, to bless, to govern, to preach, and to baptize.</Q>

    And the priest is referred to as <Q>the "other Christ"</Q>

    http://www.truecatholic.org/ordpriest.htm

    Re the Laity and the Bible :

    Canon 14 of the Council of Valencia 1229 states, "We forbid the laity to have in their possession any copy of the books of the Old and New Testament, except the Psalter, and such portions of them as are contained in the Breviary; and we most strictly forbid even these works in the vernacular."

  73. Madradin,
    you are citing lunatics again – Truecatholics.org.

    These are the same people who claim that all of the Popes and much of the Catholic hierarchy are Masons.

    Or even better that the Pope in 1998 was Pope Pius XIII.

    Try cite a source that is actually representative of the Roman Catholic Church rather than madmen.

  74. Garfie – I hadn’t realised TrueCatholic were LeFebre’s Lot – mea Culpa. However neither the quote from the second Vatican council nor the Council of Valencia are from TrueCatholics 🙂

  75. MR,
    When you say "Protestant Bible" you’re in fact following a tradition. The Bible can never be self-sufficient and isn’t meant to be because it nowhere defines itself, nor does it tell us how to distinguish genuine books from apocryphal ones, and genuine verses from interpolations. Let’s face it, the Bible doesn’t even MENTION itself except if you equate scripture with the Bible which is itself a TRADITIONAL interpretation!

    In fact the Bible does not claim to be the foundation of the Truth at all. The Bible declares that the Church is the foundation and bulwark of the truth (I Tim 3:15)

    I don’t know if you’re aware but there’s a difference between Sacred Tradition and traditions of the Church. Once you sort that out you’ll see that there’s a flaw in the point you made above. The Catholic Church accepts Sacred Tradition with the same veneration as Scripture, but as for traditions of the Church, they include (in addition to Sacred Tradition) many cultural symbols as well as traditions created by human beings such as for instance wearing vestments at Mass etc.

    Interesting questions about the powers of the priesthood. In my understanding it is a sharing in the power of Christ i.e. the priest has a real power to teach, govern and sanctify, just as any baptized Christian has the same power but with a different responsibility. Since the priest says "I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" it is clear that it is HE who does the absolving, but in the name and with the power of Christ. "Whatever YOU BIND on earth will be bound in heaven" (and not merely whatever you declare bound on earth).

  76. Here’s something I read on the site http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num4.htm

    The Bible was never "forbidden" to laymen. Boettner has the same date and adds "forbidden to laymen, placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Valencia….1229." I have two editions of Boettner’s anti-Catholic book and the later edition corrects this to the Council of Toulouse. There was no Council of Valencia in 1229. And as Karl Keating points out, there never was a Council in Valencia, Spain and the Index of Forbidden Books wasn’t established until 1543! What was "forbidden" were the erroneous versions of the Bible propogated by the Albigenses to support their heresy of Manicheanism. It was a local, temporary matter restricted to southern France. That is all.

  77. From Wikipedia:
    Valencia was apparently under Moorish rule until 1238 when James the Conqueror "liberated" it.

  78. AMDG,

    "Look at Mao or pol Pot – people were simply expendable for them ,"

    Or look at Torquemada or the Crusades. Look at 1930-1940s Germany. For some theists entire races have been expendable.

    Oh I know you’ll reply that they killed less people but that doesn’t mean they were more moral, it just means they were less efficient.

    " because non-theists have no need for morals per se ,"

    Given that appalling lie, you could use some morals.

    "In other words , smart theists can have their pie and eat it"

    I assume you meant ‘smart atheists’ there (particularly since if you are representative there is no such thing as smart theists).

    " – there is no moral brake to ban any behaviour , no matter how repulsive ."

    A contradiction. And of course there is, or people like you would be kept as pets.

  79. Now I know why there’s a movement among atheists to drop the term "atheists" (a theist invention) and adopt the term "brights" :0)

  80. Dawkins – isn’t The Damned good enough? (I kid).

  81. Madradin,
    "Garfie – I hadn’t realised TrueCatholic were LeFebre’s Lot – mea Culpa. However neither the quote from the second Vatican council nor the Council of Valencia are from TrueCatholics :)"

    Just thought I’d let you know. It’s LeFevre by the way. You are going to have to brush up on your Tridentine traditionalists.

  82. Hi Garfield
    I may be mistaken but I thought the Schism with Lefebvre’s group was over?
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFLEFEB.HTM
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2CAMPO.HTM

    I think it’s spelt Lefebvre by the way so both you and Mad are partially correct.

    Anyway why should we be at loggerheads when there are fellas like Frank to burn at the stake?

    Frank, what in your opinion makes atheism superior to theism? Does it come closer to the truth by denying its existence? Does it help to build a better society by relativising our morals?

    Or does it merely serve to make things more convenient for us here on earth by blinkering our vision and burying our heads in the sand? Atheism is in fact an excellent opiate for the 21st century masses.

  83. >>>Does it help to build a better society by relativising our morals?<<<

    actually, from experience i find so called christians have a greater tendancy to relativise their morals much quicker than anyone else.

    how else do they cope with accepting (or positively supporting) the torture and incarceration of camp delta and abu ghraib. or the devastation and slaughter that is happening in iraq.

  84. Garfield,

    Are those the chaps who want Britain to retain her nuclear deterrent?