Thinking Anglicans

other opinions

Don Cupitt writes Face to Faith in the Guardian: In the post-Derrida world, church leaders are now recognising that they are in a fix.

In The Times Jonathan Romain writes that Clergy need help to love their congregants as themselves.

Christopher Howse writes about RH Benson in the Telegraph.

The Church Times has a column by Giles Fraser that talks about blogs and those who comment on blogs: Poisoning the wells of open debate. He doesn’t mention this blog.

Giles also wrote this book review article for the New Statesman Blind Faith. The book is American Fascists: the Christian right and the war on America and the strap line is Christian fundamentalism offers America’s underclass hope and security – at the price of total obedience. Now it is threatening the Church of England. The article ends this way:

The challenge for the mainstream churches in this country is to recognise that fundamentalism is now beginning to get a grip over here, even within the traditionally liberal and inclusive cloisters of the Church of England. The gay debate is just the beginning of a takeover bid for the soul of the church. And given the way this country’s church and state are joined at the hip, it is no surprise that some are predicting a constitutional car crash. The leadership of the C of E, caught in the oncoming headlights, does little to resist. The quotation from Karl Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies with which Hedges opens his book, ought to be written in letters of fire on the bedhead of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend the tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

And on the same theme, Simon Barrow wrote this splendid paper for a consultation convened by the Church of England, Facing up to fundamentalism: A description, analysis and response for the perplexed. It’s worth reading in full.

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Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Giles Fraser mentions ‘a revolting-sounding’ video called The Silent Scream. The video had to be realeased some time back, in the interests of openness and freedom of information, because it is difficult to have any opinion at all on abortion without knowing what is involved. It would be bad enough if one person supported the killing of one pre-term baby *with* first-hand knowledge. But in three separate ways the situation was and is worse. Namely: *Many* people ‘claim’ to support the killing of *many* such babies *without* first-hand knowledge. The question was: if abortion is so ok that 180000 people… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
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mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Surprisingly, perhaps, I agree (a bit) with Christopher — informed decision making requires knowledge of the darker bits as well as the brighter ones – but my memory of the video in question is that it too is a partisan production which effortlessly skirts round major ethical issues. When we recall how Christian pressure groups have helped block the implementation of sex education policies which in the rest of Europe have successfully delayed the date of first sexual encounters, reduced the demand for abortions and all the rest, I think we need to put our house in order rather than… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I agree with Giles Fraser about how blogging and discussion boards lead to easy personal attacks, and through anonymity. I use “Pluralist” because it carries a personal history, plus if you click the link, so to speak, you can find out about me more than you can about most. I think we can be clear and try to keep to good manners at the same time. The problem comes when you criticise someone’s performance and strategy, or lack of it. One wonders who would choose to be Archbishop of Canterbury these days. More definition and decision in the role, more… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I think Ratzinger is very interesting, and Don Cupitt picks up a point that he undermines his own position. Ratzinger produced a book stating he wasn’t giving out the papal position, and so split his personality into academic and Pope. The lecture, notorious for his crack at Islam, was far more interesting for his reliance on Greek culture as the means of revelation, connecting with a self-limiting God and not of pure transcendence. This is undermining. This is the justification for the mistranslations of the Septuagint, and the whole post-New Testament doctrinal framework. He arged against liberal Harnack or Ritschl… Read more »

Raspberry Rabbit
Guest

Is the following strictly true: “Yet, despite the social unacceptability of sending hate mail, those who post comments on websites — also known as bloggers — are able to get away with the most disgusting bile, wrapped in the clothing of anonymity” That’s just inaccurate innit? And him a journalist! Bloggers are them what have blogs and they’re the ones that the anonymous wackos send their comments to. They might give ourselves fancy names like, well, Raspberry Rabbit or Captain of Adventure but that’s just because They’re really called Carl or Rodney and spend their free time sitting around with… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Rasberry You would not fit into Giles’ category. You have a hyperlink so we can find you. 😉 Christopher I agree with your sentiments about late-term abortion. I consider that to be murder (sorry to those who are offended). However, I do not consider the morning-after pill or an induced early period to be murder. Deplorable as these things are (they should not be the automatic form of contraception); they are a necessary evil. Women do get raped (even by their husbands) and no woman should be forced to carry a baby to term because some male fantasized about distorting… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Giles Fraser wrote: “The gay debate is just the beginning of a takeover bid for the soul of the church.” ..and.. “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend the tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” I think that the piece is very telling. Firstly it explains why liberal people like Giles started, and continue to push, the “Gay Debate”. Secondly it suggests an assumption that liberals think that only they should be in charge. Thirdly, the ridiculously… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Cheryl Clough wrote: “I agree with your sentiments about late-term abortion. I consider that to be murder (sorry to those who are offended). However, I do not consider the morning-after pill or an induced early period to be murder. Deplorable as these things are (they should not be the automatic form of contraception); they are a necessary evil. Women do get raped (even by their husbands) and no woman should be forced to carry a baby to term because some male fantasized about distorting her body and life.” Dear Cheryl, I agree with you on the morning after pill. It… Read more »

H. E. Baber
Guest

Here in the US fundamentalism is on the rise because there’s little else to satisfy people’s desires for (1) order and purpose in their lives and (2) transcendence. (1) For lower-class people, and others, whose lives are insecure and chaotic, who operate on impulse, aren’t in the habit of considering consequences, can’t seem to see more than a week ahead, have no reasonable goals and can’t seem to organize their lives there are two ways to get it together: get born-again or join the military. People like this need structure and discipline. Neither mainline churches nor secular organizations, e.g. schools,… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

What made “The Silent Scream” TRULY revolting, was its *bogus* fetalogy. It assigned a level of *sentience* (“screaming”) to fetuses which could not remotely have achieved that state of development.

Rather easy to tip the scale (of argument), when you don’t have to stick to the facts?

Lord have mercy!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dave I agree with your vision. It is a beautiful vision. But unfulfillable for this generation. In the current reality, there are many males who think that parenthood is leaving a deposit of semon and that somehow the children grow up “okay”. There are some men who would never be parents if they were not able to rape women. What we need is a society that reveres and loves children and does not see “paternalism” (or “maternalism” for that matter also) as an unaffordable cost. Until we respect and value children and the ability to provide for them into the… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

” … the ABC method that has shown good results against AIDs in some African countries. If everyone abstained before marriage, and was faithful within marriage, AIDs and all other STDs would be gone within a generation …” You forgot C: condoms which are particularly important in curbing the spread of AIDS and STDS. When the C part was de-emphasized in Uganda, I believe that the rate of infection shot right back up. The best way to prevent abortions is to make widely known a variety of means of birth control. Abstinance is an ideal, but not all sex is… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Cheryl and Cynthia, I wasn’t ignoring Condoms (or I’d have written “AB”). But commitment to A and B are the only real solution to STDs (especially AIDs), abortion, and a lot of relationship troubles. And condoms are not much use unless you have the cash and discipline to use them EVERY time.. In real life 1987-2007 in UK US nearly everyone who got AIDs wasn’t infected due to the lack of free condoms and “safe sex” warnings, but because they or someone close to them was *promiscuous*. Cheryl Clough wrote:”And before the puritans gloat, remember AIDS, war and famine… Read more »

bls
Guest

Everybody go read H.E. Baber’s post again, please!

(It would be really good to stop talking about homosexuality, pro and con, for at least 10 minutes, anyway, so what’s anybody got to lose?)

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Actually Dave. Puritans are often more at risk. Their children are more likely to rebel and “act out” against their parents. The people who do go off the rails often do so dramatically. Predatory sociopaths find it easy to camoflauge where the approved emotions are scripted, and concerns and dissent are frowned upon (especially from their unobedient victims who are often women, children, GLBTs). How does a gay youth speak out that a youth leader is molesting them, without declaring their sexuality? These are the unspoken tragic stories that have been played out in many parishes over centuries. Similarly, what… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Cheryl, I doubt that most of the 5 million people that were infected with an STD in the US or UK last year were puritans, or their offspring! People who actually Abstain before marriage, and Be Faithful in it, are at very low risk of contracting AIDs. It is the people who are promiscuous who put themselves and their partners at risk. I agree with you that there is all sorts of other “stuff” that can mess people about, but we mustn’t let that distract us from the basic facts! People are being made ill, infertile and dying in… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

In defense of Continental philosophers: the likes of Jean-Luc Marion are equally worth reading for church leaders everywhere. Now there’s one who believes in God. Don’t forget Paul Ricoeur, the French Lutheran. I might as well argue that this is where the Radical Orthodox movement of John Millbank and others might have played a role. They are trying to reconcile differing philosophical traditions in an attempt to re-express Christianity. However, rather than introducing themselves into public theology, their density has written them out of the current discourse. Which is what I find disturbing. Their protests ought to be heard in… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dave I found myself thinking a lot about what you suggested today. I think the other thing that is forgotten in the puritan model is the reality for most women. For example, in my own life, the worst violations have come at the times that I have been most “pure”. There is actually a lot less abuse when a woman does not fit the model of “pure” and is therefore not desirable by the conventions. There is more freedom to move around as men no longer look at you as a possible conquest to brag about to their mates. There… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dave You made a posting between my last two postings. So I will deal with your posting as though the last one had not occurred (which in reality it hadn’t until TA was updated). My second posting partially addresses some of your isues. My other reply to your last posting is that assumes that being in a relationship presumes control and accountability over the other partner. Unfortunately, the school of hard knocks tells me that even if you choose to be “moral” that does not guarantee that your partner will also be moral. Further, vows before God do not preclude… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Christian website boast of abstinence pledges as reducing teen pregnancy:

http://www.abpnews.com/820.article
http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=18088
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Abstinence/BG1533.cfm

The following reports that abstinence pledges can delay sexual activity by 18 months — a long stretch in a teenager’s life. The downside is that when pledgers do have sex they are unlikely to use condoms: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/05/20/60minutes/main696975.shtml

More about the downside here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7232643/

http://media.www.gsusignal.com/media/storage/paper924/news/2005/03/28/Perspectives/Dear-Bush.Lets.Talk.About.Sex-1761337.shtml

The following finds that 25% in the drop in US rates for teen pregnancy is due to abstinence programmes; the remainder to contraception.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4020025.stm

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi David Rowett- Best thing to do is (a) to compare the teenage conception rate from before sex education started with the conception rate today. Then (b) try and defend the thesis that sex education reduces the conception rate. It doesn’t even leave it the same. It doesn’t even increase it. It increases it stratospherically. Of course, there are questions of causation and correlation here. But the basic point holds. If something presented as a viable option, people will do it considerably more than if it is not presented as a viable option. Because everyone dreads not being normal. This… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“”puritans” are at extremely low risk – which was *exactly* my point” Dave, WRT AIDS, lesbians are also at very low risk. Those who ARE Christians tend to go to churches with better liturgy, IMNSHO, so I know what I’d rather be:-) And, H. E. Baber, I agree with your first point, though I must make allowance for your elitist tone. I fail to see, however, how Evangelicalism provides transcendence. Its legalism, its mistrust of anything mystical even in the Sacraments, its general inability to see the Incarnation as anything other than God coming to be punished on behalf of… Read more »

H. E. Baber
Guest

Sorry to intrude again into your discussion of sex but re Ren Aguila’s remark, my problem with Continental philosophers isn’t that they’re godless but that they’re Continental philosophers.

Their discussions are, as you note “couched in language most of the world does not understand.” And that includes me. Analytic philosophers, including analytic philosophers of religion, write intelligible English prose and those who believe in God are generally pretty orthodox. Here you have what you want: a clear, philosophically sophisticated defense of more or less orthodox Christianity in language people can understand.

So, why aren’t theologians, and parish clergy, reading these guys?

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Hang on, Christopher: so it’s sex education that’s to blame for promiscuity is it? Not (for example) women’s emancipation, the delaying of marriage because of financial factors and a thousand other reasons.

post hoc is not propter hoc…..

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Analytical philosophers tend to project a chilly metaphysical God, a pale parody of scholasticism, and they tend studiously to ignore all non-rationalistic theology (e.g. Luther, Schleiermacher, Barth) as well as all culturally and historically sensitive hermeneutics. Also, they are usually much more difficult to read than the continental philosophers (whom you have to read in the original French or German of course). Also, they frequently develop heretical accounts of God, because of the aforementioned defects; Richard Swinburne’s tritheism is a case in point.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Nonetheless there is much to be learned from analytical philosophers who are well-informed about Christian tradition, such as Eleonore Stump.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell wrote: “Best thing to do is (a) to compare the teenage conception rate from before sex education started with the conception rate today.”

Into “statistics” again, dear Christopher? Not Gagnon this time I hope?

Before honesty there were no reliable figures…

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

hi Goran ‘No reliable figures’? Not at all. The first year of legal abortion in Britain saw (from memory) 50-60 thousand abortions. One can easily access the precise figure, if interested. From this we can safely conclude the following: (1) The figure in pre-legal days could scarcely have been more than that. (2) It is likely to have been appreciably less (we don’t know by how much), since the evidence overwhelmingly shows that legality leads to considerably more abortions. (3) Common sense points the same way. (4) That means that at least four or five times as many pre-term babies… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

I was not going to jump in again, but I found Fr. Joseph’s comments quite interesting. The fact is, there are really interesting theistic philosophers in whatever tradition, whether analytic or otherwise. I think we ought to read, and read widely. My comments about readability apply mainly to the Millbank school, which is in a class of its own. (Just read Catherine Pickstock and you see what I mean.) Paul Ricoeur, who I must concede must have been influenced by his American sojourns, is one of those French thinkers who really makes an effort to be readable, and his translators… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“(3) Common sense points the same way.”

I don’t find your “sense” at all common.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, your statistics ignore several things. First, I have worked with Obstetricians who remember those times, and who wish never again, regardless of how they think about abortion, to have to deal with a young woman dying of sepsis from a backroom abortion. This a huge cost of prohibiting abortion, and is no less a loss of life. Second, while I too believe life begins at conception, many do not, who are not being medieval. My understanding is that Judaism considers life to begin at birth. Are they medieval? What about arguments about progressive ensoulment or life begins at quickening?… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

The other problem with the ‘human life begins at conception’ is the statistic (sorry) that a considerable number of conceptions end before the mother is aware that she has conceived. God, therefore, is calling into being humans with <28 day lifespan.

This could lead us into difficult territory, no?

bls
Guest

I really can’t speak to analytic vs. non-analytic philosophers – but can’t we pay some attention to the rest of the post? Doesn’t it make sense to acknowledge that “structure and discipline” might really be the reasons that many people look to the church? And does that have to be a bad thing? I don’t, BTW, mean “discipline” in the sense of “punishment” – but faith as a way of life, which includes daily practice – prayer and meditation and daily devotions – and study? We don’t all have Ph.D.s, you know; we’re not all independently wealthy, either, nor do… Read more »

Fr Joseph O&apos;Leary
Guest

Ricoeur was always very lucid — due to his French Huguenot background rather than to American sojourns — and American academic prose, especially when it regurgitates translated French philosophers — is not as lucid as all that.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Christopher – how many women have you personally accompanied through an abortion who were “devoid of love and feeling, and cynical”? I don’t know a single one.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Erika-
Then why did they care nothing for their small but perfectly-formed appendage? And I am not talking about their handbag or lapdog here.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

CS said rather distastefully
Hi Erika-
Then why did they care nothing for their small but perfectly-formed appendage? And I am not talking about their handbag or lapdog here.

I suggest you ask them, Dr. Shell. You might find it enlightening or even humbling. I know of one lady who was compelled to have an abortion by her fine upstanding parents, for example.

The gospel reading at the mass this morning included in the list of things which defile ‘slander, pride and folly’.

laurence
Guest
laurence

‘We don’t all have Ph.D.s, you know; we’re not all independently wealthy, either, nor do we really care if our clergy are intellectuals. We do look to the church for religious practice and structure, though. At least, some of us do; there are lucky people who don’t need this, I suppose, but perhaps they are there for the other part of it – transcendence and authentic religious experience? Christian mysticism would be a good place to start; the practice is at least 2,000 years old, and there’s a lot there’ May I warmly commend the Relgious Society of Friends ?… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Distasteful? What is more important? – being murderous or being distasteful? Priorities….

I was actually trying to highlight the distastefulness of viewing one’s child as a mere appendage of oneself – and a disposable one to boot – but sorry if this backfired.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Christopher: you are not engaging with the point, which is that few women enter into a termination with a ‘so what’ mentality. The black-and-white moral universe on which so much Christian nonsense is predicated does not exist. To call someone ‘murderer’ when they have opted for an abortion as the least bad option is perhaps technically correct — but what then would we call someone whose share portfolio included BaE and Raytheon, or Pfizer or General Motors…. It seems odd to me that, once again, freedom of conscience is allowed for middle class respectables, but denied others, many of whom… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher,
And others are trying to highlight the distastefulness, not to mention uncharitableness, of assuming that everyone who has an abortion is uncaring and just out for a quick fix for the complications of their sexual wantonness. You might try respecting people’s humanity a bit more. Abortion is a tragedy, but to ignore the human suffering undergone by the mother because of your need to judge is one of “those things you ought not to have done”..

laurence
Guest
laurence

This is a difficult subject for males to pontificate upon-or even reflect on, and it is hard to avoid impertincence. Sometimes a kind of new input, lexio divina or amplificatory text, or dream, may transform thinking & feeling, bringing release from circles (possibly vicious)/ circular thinking : – So folks here may wish to know of :– 1. The foetal shrines in Japanese temples, where women who have had abortion leave jizo dolls. I have a photograph of them from an article. They give one pause for thought. 2.The Sacrament of Abortion by Ginette Paris a Canadian Jungian writer. (First… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

‘The human suffering of the mother’?
Then why did the mother choose an option that involved guaranteed suffering for two over one that involved suffering for a maximum of one?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Perhaps because having the child would, as far as they could see, guarantee suffering for two anyway? Honestly, Christopher, is Jesus paying you keep the judgement seat warm till he gets back?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Distasteful? What is more important? – being murderous or being distasteful?”

You’re not an Anglican, are you Christopher?

Gods Witness
Guest

Judge not lest you be judged.
Getting into Heaven isn’t done via good works, but by an adult mind accepting Jesus as their personal saviour & repenting all the bad things they have done (not too another infalable human (confession), but directly 2 God through prayer).