Is The Bible More Violent Than The Koran?

As a result of textual analysis it has been asserted that the Old and New Testaments are both more violent than the Koran. The latest video looks at this assertion. Can it really be true that Islam actually is the religion of peace?

Whenever there is a Muslim atrocity committed the automatic first response from Western politicians and media is to assure us that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’. No matter how horrendous, no matter how vehemently the perpetrators proclaim that they are doing this in the name of Islam, no matter how often we hear the cries of ‘Allah Akhbar’ as AK 47s rattle and bombs explode, we are sure to hear proclaimed the same message ‘This has nothing to do with Islam, Islam is a religion of peace’. To which most of us respond with our own version of the Scots ‘Aye – right’ one of the few instance in any language where two positives actually do make a negative. Continue reading “Is The Bible More Violent Than The Koran?”

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With Whom Do We Unite?

Probably the most interesting thing which has happened during my break is the decision of the Scottish Gay Police Association to demand that Scottish police forces refuse to accept Bibles donated by the Gideons. The grounds for this is that the Bible “condemns homosexuality.” It is interesting that a tiny group of anti-Christian bigots should have a clearer idea of what is in the Bible than much of the progressive Church.

That the GPA is opposed to the free distribution of Bibles is no surprise. This is a group with’ form’ as they say in police circles. In 2006 the GPA were reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for an advert which was described as untrue, indecent and unsubstantiated. The advert featured a pool of blood and the words “In the name of the father.” It blamed attacks on homosexuals on religion, focusing particularly on Christianity.

That a group of sworn police officers should not only hold such prejudiced views and are not charged with stirring up religious hatred but are actually encouraged by police authorities throughout the country is disturbing. Not as disturbing as the support they receive from the trade union movement.

Unison is Britain’s biggest trade union with a claimed membership of roughly 1.5 million. Through its Labour Link it actively funds the Labour Party and directly supports more than 70 Labour MP’s. It also supports the Gay Police Association in its opposition to the distribution of free Bibles to police officers by the Gideons.

Of Unison’s 1.5 million members how many are Christians? Amongst those who are Christians how many will speak out in support of the Gideons distribution of free Bibles? Amongst Unison’s many branches is one for “Faith Workers,” a little bit like the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union branch for “Sex Workers.” How do Unison’s Christian ‘faith workers’ feel about their trade union taking a stand against the free distribution of Bibles.

How Muslims or Sikhs or any of the multifarious religious organisations in Britain relate to union membership for their clergy, employees or volunteers is a matter for conjecture. A minister or a priest is not an employee of the Church and does not receive a wage from the Church. A minster receives a stipend, or living allowance, which allows him to pursue his calling from God. At least that is how it should be.

In Britain the trades union movement owes much to the influence of Christianity, especially in its origins. For a Christian however, no matter how much trade unions can be valued for the work they have done and are doing, there is something disturbing about ministers being members of a trade union.

However, it is hardly surprising that some ministers do join a trade union. Over the last few decades as the membership of the organic Church has shrunk we have seen the corresponding growth of the institutional Church with more and more office staff being employed in all denominations. This has gone hand in hand with the spreading culture of business management within the institutional Church.

When the institution increasingly sees itself as a corporation to be run according to the latest teaching from business schools we can hardly be surprised when those lower down the corporate structure see the need to defend themselves and their living conditions against the management.

It would be more palatable if the Christian union members or the members of the Faith Workers Branch of Unison took a more active part in standing up for the Bible than they do in standing up for their wages.

God Is The Issue

In Britain we are assured that there is no such thing as a culture war, that is something which only occurs in the USA where rabid right wingers try to cling to the past, or as Obama would have it where they hold on to “Their religion and their guns.”

Obama's Idea Of Elementary School In The Ozarks

To some extent this is true, in Britain there is no culture war, at most there are a few guerrilla skirmishes, but the war is over and we have lost. Progressive ideology holds the high ground in politics, academia, media and the church. The success of progressive ideology is complete, they have captured the cultural high ground and therefore control what the disparaged and distrusted hoi poloi see, read, hear and think. The question is why, what has brought this about?

There are numerous reason why the UK should differ from the USA. Whilst the bastions of cultural formation have fallen in the USA they still have outlets where the ordinary people can express their views. The main two of these are a widespread free broadcast media, and a cantankerous church which insists on sticking with the Bible. In the UK Christianity has at best retreated, has generally capitulated and at worst collaborated. Christianity has been quite deliberately replaced by the dogmas of multicultural relativism and silenced by the absolutisation of minority rights.

In the UK morality has become privatised and at the same time individual conscience has been universalised. Everyone it is proclaimed has the right to their own truth, but that truth must coincide with received standards. We are left with the illusion of individual freedom in the midst of stifling conformity. Moral legitimacy lies only within a vision of universal progressivism expressed through the dictats of an intellectual elite, the vanguard of a new society. And they are winning.

The success of this deliberate attempt at the destruction of a culture is exemplified by the alliance of militant fundamentalist Islam which denies female equality and preaches death to homosexuals with self-styled progressives who have replaced Christianity with the godless religion of totalitarian amoralism where anything goes. The virulent opposition of both to traditional Christianity harms not just Christians but society in general, including the majority of mainstream Muslims who just wish to get on with their own lives.

Completely opposed in their eschatology and values their differences have been put aside in pursuit of the shared aim of destroying what they see as the main obstacle to their differing ideas of success, the Christian foundations of Western society. Christianity, with its emphasis on personal responsibility before God engenders what our modern totalitarians see as a dangerous spirit of individual liberty.

Totalitarians Make Common Cause

This is perhaps best exemplified by the alliance of such as the Socialist Unity Network and Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist) along with individuals such as film maker Ken Loach and ex-MP George Galloway, with the more extreme elements of British Muslim society to form the Respect Party.

Whilst Galloway and his rabid chums are easily dismissed as being on the extreme fringes of British political and cultural life it has to be recognised that they are the easily identified examples of more widespread and deeply entrenched attitudes.

Last month the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation issued a report on ‘honour-based’ violence in the UK with incidents running at at least 2,832 last year. In all of its reports the BBC News referred to these incidents as occurring within the ‘ethnic communities.’ There was no acknowledgement that ‘honour-based’ killings and assaults are practically always confined to Muslim families.

In the struggle of worldviews it should be recognised that the greatest contemporary difference between the USA and the UK in their attitudes to cultural conflict is that in the USA the church has not been overwhelmed.

Mainstream neo-Protestant denominations such as the Episcopal Church USA are pretty much collaborationist with progressives having captured the levers of power and influence. However, the result is that such denominations are fading fast with members vanishing like snow off a dyke.

BBC Idea Of A Typical American Evangelical

Despite the propaganda of the mainstream media in the UK not all American evangelicals are rural fundamentalist retards stuck in the 1920’s and not all their leaders spend their time appearing on TV piously requesting donations for their “prayer ministry” whilst driving Cadillacs and screwing anything with a pulse. Within American evangelicalism there is a strongly intellectual element which is much more influential within the church than occurs in the UK.

This leads to greater confidence in both pulpit and pew with the consequence that American evangelicals are much more likely to speak out, to reject being spoon fed progressive platitudes either from the TV screen or the pulpit.

In the UK we must recover that confidence in the Bible and its message. Our nation was shaped by Christianity, our laws, attitudes and culture have grown out of Biblical Christianity. At root the issue is not a matter of scaremongering newspaper headlines or muttering about political correctness over a pint. At root God is the issue. How we understand and respond to His revelation of Himself.

Abraham Kuyper famously said “There is not one thumb’s breadth of all creation of which God does not say “Mine.”‘  As the tide begins to turn we must be prepared to speak out for truth, for it is the truth which shall make us free.

By The Light of The Silvery Moon

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version the Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth of St Peter ad Vincula Church, Pennal, burnt some pages of the Bible which he didn’t like and also cut up pages from the Bible to create an artwork. According to Mr ap Iorwerth he did this because it revealed “a cruel and vile God”.

He said he also planned to create a “wall of shame” at the church naming all of God’s “cruel actions”.

Rev Geraint ap Irowerth

In response his superior Andy John the Bishop of Bangor said: “Destroying
parts of the Bible we don’t like is disrespectful and will offend many people.” No public mention from the bishop of any offence it might cause God. The whole situation presented as a problem because some will be offended.

The bishop did, however, say that he would not let the matter rest. He said: “I have therefore written to the Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth and will be investigating the matter further.

“There are parts of the Bible that we struggle to understand today because culturally our life is so far removed from that period in which the Bible was written.

“However, it is not given to us to pick and choose – sometimes the most challenging parts are those which we need to wrestle with most of all.”

This is something which his subordinate has not been taught in seminary or has failed to realise on his own throughout his life in the church. A priest since 1975 ap Iorwerth has been incumbent of Pennal for thirty years.

ap Iorwerth is clearly a highly confused man with little acquaintance with theology or of rational thought processes. The Reformation and the Enlightenment both seem to have slipped him by unnoticed. However, he clearly didn’t come to his views overnight. His parish has long been a centre for what might be charitably described as eccentric religiosity.

In 1997 he celebrated Yuletide with his parishoners with a circle dance around the church to acknowledge the coming of the midwinter full moon. Stepping out with the best of them, ap Iorwerth was pleased to celebrate the splendour of the moon, the cycle of the seasons and the power of nature in a series of dances which drew on pre-Christian, Hindu and Jewish traditions.

The real problem is not that one man has taken an action which after all is in
accordance with his beliefs but that he is only taking to its logical conclusion what has become commonplace in progressive neo-Protestant thought, God must be made acceptable to man.

His views are the inevitable consequence of what happens when we shift from a God-centred view of faith to a man-centred view of faith. ap Iorwerth is merely one very public step ahead of many who share his basic premise, that God should be forced to accommodate to man.

Centring his objection to Scripture on his own emotions ap Iorwerth said: “I find it highly offensive that people would think I have given my life to serving that type of God and that I would regard the words of the King James Bible as sacred truth.

“I cut out all the nasty bits of that Bible, the language of which is being celebrated all over the place this year, because I don’t think you can separate that language from the God it is representing. I was gobsmacked no programmes or articles are representing the cruelty, revenge and hatred of this version of God.”

The rector of Pennel is of the opinion that, “The King James Bible should be
praised for its language but not for the God it represents – the two need to be seperated.”

ap Iowerth has made very visible what the church has known throughout it’s existence, when we try to seperate God from His revelation of Himself we create our own god. The name of “Christian” and the outward trappings are there, the reality has vanished.

What will the Church in Wales do? What would any other mainstream church do?

Birth of Science

“As everybody knows.” When we hear this phrase our first inclination should be to immediately question what everybody knows.

One thing that “everybody knows” is that science and Christianity are mutually opposed. Whether it is the schoolboy studying chemistry certain that science disproves the Bible or Richard Dawkins fulminating against the supposedly pernicious influence of faith we given with the impression that Christianity and modern science are irreconcilable. One professor of chemistry recently said “It is deplorable that in modern-day Oxford the study of theology is taken so seriously that there is a professorship. You might as well have a chair in fantasy.” Serious thinkers, it seems, have replaced the fanciful myths of Christianity with the hard facts of science.

However, when we look at the history of science we find that it was a distinctly Christian worldview which provided the foundation and impetus for modern scientific investigation. During the middle ages it was the rediscovery of the biblical concept of creation which motivated scientific enquiry and saw the birth of today’s scientific method.

How we think shapes how we look at the world. Today we see the world around us as worth study and think we can draw from it principles to help us understand ourselves and our environment. It was not always like this.

Before the Reformation in medieval Europe the way of thinking was essentially that of ancient Greece, just adapted for Christian use. The Greeks were more concerned with idealised forms and essences than ordinary material things. We still speak of ‘platonic’ love. This ideal love was considered much more important than the way in which we messy human beings usually fumble along in our relationships. In a world where ideals were more important than material reality what actually exists was less important that what ideally should be. This way of thinking did not encourage people to try to observe, investigate and experiment in nature, what actually existed. They concentrated on theory.

The general theory of creation was that it consisted of a hierarchy of beings. Beginning with the deity at the edge of the universe, they worked down through various grades of angels in ten crystal spheres encircling the earth, finally there was the cosmic centre, our earth itself.  This view of the world was
attractive psychologically, it placed humanity at the centre of the universe,
truly important in a cosmic sense. Also, an authority based picture of the world fitted in well with an authority based hierarchical feudal society. The supposed terrestrial and celestial realms were very different. The terrestrial realm was composed of four elements, fire, earth, air and water, each with a straight-line motion with beginning and end. The heavenly realm, located above the moon, was composed of a perfect fifth essence and had a circular motion.

With the Reformation and the invention of the printing press there began to be a more widespread knowledge of the Bible. Two related beliefs in particular had enormous impact in the development of science. Firstly the realisation that the ordinary, everyday creation was of value to God and humanity had a responsibility in relation to it. Secondly it became apparent that the evidence of our physical senses was valuable and trustworthy. Perhaps the supreme example of observation and experiment is that after His resurrection Jesus showed His hands to Thomas who doubted and invited him to look and touch the wound in His side.

This different way of thinking about creation and the importance of sensory experience opened up new possibilities. Instead of speculating about the way the universe worked early scientists began to emphasise the importance of observation and experiment. They began to study natural events as a means of checking on theories. Theories could no longer stand on their own, no matter how attractive, they had to be backed up by observation and experiment. Science as we know it was born.

Early scientists began to unpick the fabric of the old way of looking at the world. The first bold step was taken by Copernicus who through observing the night sky concluded that the sun was at the centre of our system, making the earth just one of many planets. Kepler would then discover, again through observation, that the orbits of the planets were not circular but elliptical.

In 1572 a new, bright star appeared in the supposedly changeless skies of Europe. The event was a supernova, one of the last stellar explosions to be seen in our galaxy. Visible to the naked eye for about 16 months this event was so spectacular that it convinced Tycho Brae, the Danish scientist who lost his nose in a duel, that he must devote the rest of his life to astronomy only.

Not everyone accepted to the new biblical way of looking at things. According to the old view the heavens were supposedly changeless. Some eminent thinkers were so determined to stick with the old ways they claimed that the star did not exist but was a mere optical illusion. Because the observable facts did not fit with their theory they rejected the facts rather than change the theory.

But the cracks in the old ways were becoming ever more evident. In 1577 a comet appeared. By observing the brightening and dimming around the comet Tycho reconstructed the comet’s path revealing that the comet was situated beyond the moon. This meant that the comet must be crashing through the supposedly crystal spheres.

Impelled by the new way of thinking scientists like Nicolaus Copernicus,
Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brae and Galileo Galilei made huge  advances in our understanding of the world. At the end of the seventeenth century Isaac Newton synthesised the views of previous scientists and demonstrated a unity of the heavens and earth all subject to the same mathematical laws. The old Greek Aristotelian domination of thought was gone and the way was open for our modern scientific exploration of the universe.

Far from Christianity and science being incompatible Christian thought inspired and made possible this new form of investigation. The philosopher C F von Weizsacker rightly concludes that modern science is a “legacy, I might even have said, a child of Christianity.”

It’s Going To Happen

I was wrong, and I’m glad that I was wrong.

The great temptation faced by ministers is cynicism, that corrosive corruption of the soul. Continually we encounter people in need and experience teaches that when people want something they will say anything. As a result we begin to automatically expect the worst.

Yesterday afternoon there was a meeting of orthodox ministers and elders in Glasgow to consider the situation facing the Church of Scotland concerning recent General Assembly decisions rejecting the Bible with regard to the ordination of practicing homosexuals. I went anticipating the worst. I had two expectations: being Scottish we would never agree, being Presbyterians we would appoint a committee. I was wrong on both counts, and I am glad that I was wrong.

Arriving at St George’s Tron I found the novel sight of a queue of people snaking up Buchanan Street as they waited in the rain to file into the church. Among the 600 or so attending there were people I had studied with during my first degree, and those I’d met during my ministry some of whom I hadn’t seen for years. Some were in neighbouring ministries and others I had never met. A few were retired, a significant number were at the beginning of their ministry.

That there was no squabbling was, it has to be admitted, due in part to the effective stage management by the organisers. Wisely there was no open discussion, 600 Scottish Presbyterians discussing church politics, the mind boggles.

After opening worship there was a succession of speakers. Some represented strong congregations already on their way to leaving or effectively rejecting Presbytery oversight with all the consequences that will inevitably bring. Others were genuinely searching for a way in which they could deal with the painful situation. All thought that a line had been crossed at the last General Assembly regarding Scripture and that there was no going back.

In fairness to the organisers it has to be acknowledged that conversations before and after the meeting indicated that the speakers were largely representative of those attending. There were few who said as one friend did, “We have differing understandings of the Church.”

Apart from times of praise the meeting was quiet, the speakers listened to with respectful silence. There were no interjections, no applause. Only once was I aware of a low murmur of agreement. Throughout the meeting there was a sense of dignity mingled with humility in face of what was happening. This was a sober and sobering gathering; no rally of dissent, rather a solemn affirmation of where we are. Although no decisions were made the direction which we shall take when we meet again in the autumn is clear.

I cannot recall being affected emotionally to such an extent by a meeting. Mainly it was the impact of the realisation that what had been a matter of discussion, or even something accepted on an intellectual level, was going to actually happen.

I left the Tron with the strong impression that disruption is now inevitable. Shakespeare was wrong, parting is not “such sweet sorrow.” In this instance it hurts, and hurts deeply. We are rarely so unfortunate as to witness an historic occasion. I fear that I was present at one yesterday.

Soft Bigotry

Recently we were all condemning Terry Jones for burning a Koran. Politicians and religious leaders, especially in the USA, were lining up to agree with General David Petraeus who said the action was, “hateful, intolerant, extremely disrespectful.”

General David Petraeus

We even had the extraordinary spectacle of US Senator Lindsey Graham saying that “Free speech is a great idea,” except of course when you say something your enemy might disagree with.

Despite the First Amendment to the US Constitution concerning the separation of Church and state Barak Obama can say “I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” What’s wrong with the Druids and the Jedi?

Even here across the Atlantic we are aware that Obama and the previous President George W Bush were not best chums. This makes us wonder why the contender Obama did not raise his voice in 2008 when the Bush government ordered the destruction of Bibles sent to US troops in Afghanistan? Perhaps Senator Graham thinks condemnation of burning holy books is a one way street? There seem to have been no voices raised amongst the senior ranks of the US military, the body ordered to burn the Bibles, saying how “extremely disrespectful” this was.

The US government of the day decided that the presence of Bibles in Afghanistan, a “devoutly Muslim country,” might upset the natives who would react in all too predictable ways. Instead of simply returning the Bibles to the USA it was decided that it would be easier, and more pleasing to the natives, to burn them in Afghanistan.  In the military they burn trash.

The US Department of Defence is very specific, however, about how to handle the Koran. In instructions to guards at Guantanamo it says:

  1. Clean gloves will be put on in full view of the detainees prior to handling.
  2. Two hands will be used at all times when handling the Koran in manner signalling respect and reverence. Care should be used so that the right hand is the primary one used to manipulate any part of the Koran due to the cultural association with the left hand. Handle the Koran as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art.

These differing reactions to the Koran and the Bible emanating from the US government equate to:

  1. Don’t burn the Koran otherwise Muslims might go on a killing spree.
  2. Do burn the Bible otherwise Muslims might go on a killing spree.

What we see in the actions of two very different US governments is the entrenched progressive bigotry of soft expectations. By making allowances for predictable Muslim reaction they are saying effectually that Muslims are coffee coloured children with dangerous weapons who will throw a tantrum therefore we will appease them. Christians on the other hand can be expected to behave with restraint.

If members of the BNP came out with this we would rightly condemn it as odious bilge. Why is it not odious when it is the effect of what progressive Islamist apologists decide?