Thinly disguised church recruitment exercise on Sunday!

This weekend will be a Brockley double-header, with the Hilly Fields Summer Fayre on Saturday followed by the the "Healthy Brockley" event on Sunday.

The leaflet to promote the day features a big picture of a juicy red pepper - no doubt locally sourced. Who could possibly object to any event that encourages people to eat more vegetables?

While the objective of helping people try to live healthier lives is laudable, the event is driven by the Brockley Community Church, which means that dance classes and dietary advice sit alongside "Healing Sessions" as the path to a healthier and happier life.

Brockley Central doesn't want to be a grumpy, atheist party pooper, but it wishes that Church and State (it's taking place at Brockley Primary School and Green Council members will be taking part) and science and faith could be kept a little more separate. It's also possible that the thought of being set-upon by recruiters for the church might put some people off attending.

21 comments:

Sue Luxton said...

Nick
Just to clarify - Brockley Community Church regularly meet at Brockley Primary School, as they don't have a church, and I assume they pay the school rent for the privilege. Councillors from Brockley, Crofton Park and Ladywell (ie not just the Greens!) have again been invited to attend as with the previous Healthy Brockley events(it's a 6-monthly event)and as we do with many other local community events. I found the one last year a useful way to meet and speak with local residents about their interests and concerns.

Yes, it is organised by Brockley Community Church, but I haven't found it to be an event where anyone tries to indoctrinate or force religion on you - just a nice community event with, as advertised, exercise classes, smoothies, arts & craft stalls etc. There is a religious part to it, but is strictly optional, so I wouldn't let that put you off attending.
Best wishes

Sue

Anonymous said...

he who runneth thinly disguiseth press releases from the Council shall not throw stones in the glasshouse

Brockley Nick said...

The chance of actually getting the Council to add me to a press release list would be a fine thing.

Anonymous said...

Ah...an Atheistic Fundementalist! Excellent.

We live in a society that allows people to believe what they want. Please don't be intolerent to those who happen to hold a belief different to yours. There is nothing wrong with a Church wishing to host a community event and explain to local people what they believe.

My criticism of the event is that it is not more overt. Don't bring people in to the Healthy Eating event in order to explain the life of Jersus to them. Be bold and overt and tell people what you are doing up front. If people want to hear about the amazing life of a bloke who lived 2000 years ago, made staggering claims and came back to life three days after he was killed, then they will come...and for the right reasons.

Good on Brockley Baptist Church for engaging with the local community and not retreating into a ghetto. Please let's not hear any more intollerence from the Atheistic Fundementalists amongst us.

Brockley Nick said...

Your definition of "fundamentalism" and "intollerance" are pretty narrow if you lump in people expressing the view that articles of faith such as the healing power of prayer shouldn't be confused with scientific principles, such as the value of good nutrition and simple exercise.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick,

I'm enjoying the discussion. It's always good to thrash a few ideas about.

The reason I called you a fundementalist is because you do not seem willing for viewpoints different to your own atheistic one to be presented to people (forgive me if I am wrong on this). Why not have 'scientifically' proven nutritional advice offered alongside other views?

If you say that people should only be offered views that are based on scientific fact (and I think you are right to want to believe in something that is factualy true) then as an atheist you are under the same obligation as everyone else. You have to scientifically prove that there is no God. Can you do this?

If not, I would urge you to read the Bible. A historically accurate account of the life of a historical man named Jesus who was scientifically proven to have died and been raised from the dead.

Oh...and yes I am on a (not so) thinly disguised recruitment exercise!

Anonymous said...

What a load of rubbish.

Where is the scientific evidence to prove such an outrageous claim - "A historically accurate account of the life of a historical man named Jesus who was scientifically proven to have died and been raised from the dead"???!!!

From a book written centuries after the supposed incident, then translated by numerous people, all believers of the same fairytales?

Why is is the first defence of a theist to claim that there is yet to be proof of God not existing, therefore, he must exist?

I believe in blue space yo-yos, driving taxis on Jupiter. No-one has proved they don't exist, so am I right in my beliefs?

Sounds like 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

There is a mass of evidence to support the claims that Jesus existed, as recorded in the Bible.

The accounts of Jesus' life (the Gospels) were written as early as 70AD - a mere 37 years after Jesus died. This is well within the lifetime of those who would have known Jesus and much closer to the event than documents recording other historical events.

The fact is that the Bible has not been rewritten. Take the New Testament, for example. The disciples of Jesus wrote the New Testament in Greek and though we do not have the original documents, we do have around 6,000 copies of the Greek manuscripts that were made very close to the time of the originals. These various manuscripts, or copies, agree with each other to almost 100 percent accuracy. Statistically, the New Testament is 99.5% textually pure. That means that there is only 1/2 of 1% of of all the copies that do not agree with each other perfectly. But, if you take that 1/2 of 1% and examine it, you find that the majority of the "problems" are nothing more than spelling errors and very minor word alterations.

Yes, the Bible is written by believers. However, that does not mean they were biased. There were also plenty of non-Christian authors around who recorded the life of Jesus e.g. Josephus.

As you can see there is plenty of evidence to support the claims of Jesus. Again, prove that God doesn't exist? If you can't then apply some logic and be open to the possibility that he may. If you look at the evidence you may get a surprise.

Anonymous said...

"There is a mass of evidence to support the claims that Jesus existed, as recorded in the Bible."

There is every possibility that he existed, but what was said was (and I quote), "scientifically proven to have died and been raised from the dead"

Prove this, and I am sure I am not the only person on this planet, who will eat their hat.

Jon said...

It's Anonymous vs. Anonymous in the ring! And the winner is Anonymous! People, leave a name, don't be a nobody!

Anyway, erm, back to things related to Brockley...?

Knit Nurse said...

Blimey Nick you really opened up a can of worms there!

Hugh said...

Someone above said this:

'If you say that people should only be offered views that are based on scientific fact (and I think you are right to want to believe in something that is factualy true) then as an atheist you are under the same obligation as everyone else. You have to scientifically prove that there is no God. Can you do this?'

That's very poor reasoning indeed. The atheist/non-believer doesn't believe in God for the same reason we don't believe pigs could fly, or that Beckham will live to 500, or that the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle, namely, there is no good reason to believe such things.

The principle that one shouldn't believe what there is no good reason to believe isn't just a wise rule; it's something we all in fact generally adhere to, whether Christian or not. To take a random example, does anyone believe George Bush built the Pyramids?

When it comes to God, however, believers tend to invent a new principle or rather, an exception to the one above, namely: I'm going to believe this unless you can prove I shouldn't.

It is this unargued-for inconsistency that infuriates rational people. The Christians I've discussed God with struggle to see the inconsistency, let alone bothering to try to justify it. But for genuine intelligence I tend to look elsewhere.

Brockley Christian said...

I really object to the abusive tone of this entire post. In fact it sums why I think its time this brockley site, and the issues that are covered should be opened up to everyone rather than dictated by one person deciding what does and doesn't get talked about. I'm sure Brockley Nick is a nice bloke but I'ves seen other community forums like East Dulwich and Blackheath forums which are really good examples of open discussions. Surely that's a more democratic solution.

max said...

I think that in this thread atheists are trying to apply rationale where it really doesn't enter and on the other opposite Christians try to compete on the scientific ground and that's not their thing really.

I am probably agnostic as I'd love to find some more life after this one but I really find the whole religious construct rather baffling.
Nevertheless I am quite glad for those that do because I do understand what belief in God offers and it's the defeat of the fear of death and the only requisite is to believe in it.
Anything you believe in is by definition true for you. So if you start believing in eternal life, you just got yourself eternal life.
After all, if there's no life after death you'll never know it, you can't loose.

In these terms there is a true advantage in believing and rationality would spoil it.

Maggie said...

Back to Brockley: it would be good if there were a site, whether this one or another, where all users could post new threads for discussion...

I'd like to know, for instance, if anyone has pictures they could post of the Midsummer Fayre. I really regretted not taking my camera.

Nick said...

I am looking at trying to add other features to the site to make it more interactive. Jon, a regular contributor to this site, is kindly helping.

As I have always said, this site would benefit from a pluarility of voices and if anyone wants to contribute an article, they'd be welcome, as long as it's coherent and relevant - I don't have to agree with it. Another reader is currently working on an article about the PFI deal for social housing in Lewisham. Anyone else out there who wants to contribute something, please feel free.

In the mean time, all posts have open discussion threads, which means anyone can make whatever points they like.

leenewham said...

There are other forums which are open. This is Nicks blog, which everyone is able to comment on. It's mostly about Brockley. Whether or not you agree with Nicks views on religion is neither here nor there. If someone wants to believe in god, to have faith, thats good. If someone doesnt believe in god there is nothing wrong with that either. I have nothing against the church hosting community events, I think its to be engcouraged as long as they dont ram god down everyone throats in a 'wanna buy a copy of watchtower' way. To call Nick a fundamentalist is just stupid.

Bottom line is, if you dont like this blog, dont read it. If you want a more open blog/forum, go to the other ones which are OR start your own. As far as I'm concerned, the more we discuss and make our feelings known on the area the better. God knows it needs some help!

Anonymous said...

Bet Brockley Nick didnt expect to be called a dictator when he set up this useful and lively blog site. As I understand it, blogs are different from community forums so if Brockley Christian wants a forum then s/he is more than welcome to set one up. All this religious stuff is making my blood boil - lets not get sidetracked here guys. Brockley Central is a great site lets not ruin it!

leenewham said...

I agree with the above, keep up the good work Nick.

Brockley Nick said...

Thank you for your nice comments.

A forum is something that I am looking at. In the mean time, please rest assured that I am not exactly turning away people who send through stories, ideas and photography - if anyone wants to submit photos of the Summer Fayre I am not going to say no!

Jon said...

I've got some Summer Fayre photos that will be going on Flickr soon!

And yes, as Nick says, we are considering a forum for the site, but they are difficult to get right, and can easily turn into a spam board.

The reason why this blog is so successful is that Nick leads the conversation with relevant articles, and people respond, whether they share the view or not.

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