Oh. Jesus.


Blake: You see this watch? You see this watch?
Dave Moss: Yeah.
Blake: That watch costs more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don't like it, leave.
- Glengarry Glen Ross


There's a new church in Brockley and this one's sure to solve all your problems and turn you in to one of life's winners.

St Cyprian's Hall turns out not to have been bought to convert to residential use, but to house the Redeemed Christian Church of God, which is great news, because these guys "heal the sick free of charge." Not only that, but it turns out that:

As we moved into the Year, 2009, our great Father will watch over you, support you and enrich your life with Joy Unspeakable . Your time of promotion has come. The Lord from whom promotion comes will give you wisdom to work with your Divine Partner that will result into Joy Unspeakable for you and your family.

This particular church was described by the New York Times as "one of [Africa's] most vigorously expansionary religious movements, a homegrown Pentecostal denomination that is crusading to become a global faith." This vigorous expansion has obviously helped them outgrow their home on Thurston Road, Lewisham. Brockley is the logical base for any movement hoping to conquer the world, as Brockley Central has proven.

Thanks to Fintan for the shot.


322 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 322   Newer›   Newest»
Matt-Z said...

I'm not at all religious and they are probably all mad, but I'm glad in a way as it means the nice old building stays. I presume they'll tidy it up a bit too.

Pete said...

Oh dear. More god botherers. Will they be knocking on doors?

I'm not sure I need any more Joy Unspeakable either...

Anonymous said...

Why do they always have to be "of" something...?

BrockleyBiker said...

Oh no, not more bloody loonys. Too many in South london as it is.

Brockley Nick said...

Unfortunate that an "Abundant Life" centre is sandwiched between two undertakers...

love detective said...

I nearly got it right when I predicted on the previous thread about st cyprians that it:-

looks like the kind of thing that the UCKG would snap up with their petty cash

the word made flesh indeed..

love detective said...

take a dim view of seeing cock sucker so publicly attached to your esteemed organ nick

Brockley Kate said...

Oh good, I could definitely do with a bit of Joy Unspeakable.

Hugh said...

These churches are just turf accountants by another name and operate on the same model. Move into a poor area where people lack the intelligence to work their way out of the ghetto but are willing to blow their Giros on the faint hope of a huge windfall.

Anyone noticed how it's London's poor that dress up to attend mass on Sundays?

Great choice of quote. One of my favourite film scenes, and I don't usually bore passers by with details of favourite anythings.

love detective said...

not with details of favourite anythings no

drakefell debaser said...

Glenngary Glen Ross is one of my favourites, particularly love the out burst when he gets given a lead called Patel.

Glad to hear we now have free healers in Brockley. Can we have this added to the map?

Sue said...

I popped in and spoke to the Pastor the day before they opened and he said that at some point they are thinking of restoring the entrance at the front, which I think would be an improvement to the streetscape. It would also be good if the hall was reopened for community hire.

Some of the Braxfield Road residents I've spoken to are concerned that there might be a parking problem on Sundays - but I haven't had a flurry of complaints yet, which I'm taking as a good sign . . .

mb said...

where's tom cruise when you need him. Hugh, you also see prospective pm's attending church and parents hoping to get the kids into a c of e school! They do a nice leaflet though, i'll give them that.

mb said...

actually i've also had a leaflet for a local witch doctor. Offers much the same service but with less singing and more spells.

mb said...

where's tom cruise when you need him. Hugh, you also see prospective pm's attending church and parents hoping to get the kids into a c of e school! They do a nice leaflet though, i'll give them that.

maxink said...

Is this the Glengarry Glen Ross appreciation society, can I join in?

Brockley Nick said...

Max, if you've got a set of brass balls, you can join.

Rachel said...

I'm a Christian but I'm afraid it's true that some fundamentalist churches act in the way Hugh describes. I don't know about this particular church, but I sincerely hope it's not one that cynically seeks to exploit its members financially (which most churches DO NOT, before anyone suggests otherwise!)

maxink said...

I'm Italian!

Matt-Z said...

@mb - I've had the witch doctor leaflet too. Have kept the card in case it comes in handy.

I was in Deptford walking through the market last weekend when I was pounced upon by an evangelist woman. She was literally screaming at everyone who passed by that god was a vengeful god, we were all sinners, repent or perish in eternal damnation, etc etc. It was almost intimidating. I dodged her but coming back about 20 minutes later she made a beeline straight for me. Fortunately salvation was at hand in the form of the Deptford Arms which welcomed me into its congregation with open arms and a pint of lager in a grubby glass.

mb said...

matt, think i say her. Was she explaining why certain bedroom antics would make baby jesus cry?

b. said...

saw them having their service the other day. was hoping it was just a once off.
religious folk at the bottom of my road. bummer.

Matt-Z said...

@mb - that's the one. She's fierce yet strangely knowledgeable of such sins.

Phil Dearson said...

What is it with all the churches and bookies massing (pardon the pun) in that area? Are they drawing battles lines for the End Days? Is Megiddo in SE4?

Headhunter said...

Yeah there'll probably be heavy parking probs there on Sundays, I sometimes bike past a church on Old Kent Rd on Sunday and the traffic seems to completely block the carriageway sometimes. However I suppose better here than set up illegally along a residential road. A colleague of mine at work's neighbours seemed to suddenly take to having mid week church services at about 9pm on weekdays for about 50 odd people which seemed to invlolve a lot of foot stamping and shouting. Understandably the neighbours weren't happy.

love detective said...

"Are they drawing battles lines for the End Days? Is Megiddo in SE4?"

apparently the messiah in the form of the lamb returned to earth/SE4 midweek but before he got a chance to cast satan into the abyss for a thousand years was caught and slow roasted at the orchard

Bob said...

Why so little respect for the beliefs of others? Why do people feel the need to ridicule those who believe something different?

Sadly, it seems that tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others is in short supply in SE4. So much for being a liberal heartland.

The abuse I expect this post to receive will only go to prove my point!

Osh said...

Tolerance and respect are different. It's important to tolerate those with different beliefs, but not necessarily important to respect them.

I don't respect the views of any religious people. But I respect their right to hold them.

graeme said...

Who cares what people believe in to satisfy their need to belong to something? That's largely all churches/religions are imo, and most of it is culturally defined.

my big worry along with others is the parking. I suspect that most of the congestion will happen around Braxfield and Comerford, but I'll be somewhat peeved if the relatively peaceful Ivy Road is filled with the racket of revving engines and slamming doors on a Sunday.

Slight side issue - that end of Adelaide Ave has just been resurfaced in bus-lane maroon, and I have a suspicion that cameras might be appearing soon to catch errant motorists. Anybody have the skinny on this?

Oh yes. Glengarry Glen Ross was considered an almost instructional film on sales technique at the city chop-shop I worked at in the 90's! Churn'em and burn'em!

Pete said...

"Why so little respect for the beliefs of others? Why do people feel the need to ridicule those who believe something different?"

Well given the serious lack of tolerance shown by so many people of a relgious bent I don't particularly see why they should be given a free ride for believing in the great sky pixie.

I agree with what Osh has said though in that I wouldn't want to stop anyone from being a churchgoer but it doesn't mean I have to respect them for it.

Obie said...

Welcome to the Church and looking forward to you renovating and reenergising a dilapidated old building and adding to the diversity and quirkiness of Brockley.

Westsider said...

Admirable sentiment, although I'll wait and see if they do renovate the building.

Anonymous said...

The gospel church in Telegraph Hill causes horrific problems for its neighbours.

It's really noisy, parking is a major issue - sometimes people double or triple park. The number of church goers who just sit outside honking their horn is ridiculous.

I feel for anyone if this new church is as awful a neighbour as that one.

Anonymous said...

When Is the opening night ?

Hugh said...

Are they sending a quiz team to The Talbot?

Anonymous said...

Do they do food ? or Is It just singing and praying.

Monkeyboy said...

Well apparently they do something rather special with loaves and fish.

Transpontine said...

It was a church before and it's one now, nothing to get very excited about.

Not a believer myself, but really Hugh "poor people are too thick to be atheists"? (I summarise!). I think if you actually knew or spoke to any of the mainly African people who attend these churches, you'd find that they were working day and night to get 'out of the ghetto'. As for the Church in Kitto Road, the music emanating from it is the best in Telegraph Hill.

greggs said...

Transpontine, you're right about people working to improve their lives (not the ghetto, let's get real) but the pity of these places is they misdirect people's energies. Instead of learning a useful skill, or joining a sports team and getting fit, their attempts at self-improvement are focused on praying and waiting for the Lord to sort them out. All churches are snake oil shops to an extent, but these ones take it to a higher level.

Transpontine said...

I agree some of these churches, e.g Gilbert Deya et al, have very dubious practices. My point is that to characterise the people who attend them as poor thickoes who just pray and hope is a tad patronising. Most of them are also doing many other things, like working, making music, joining sports teams etc. Yes I agree Brockley isn't really a ghetto (Da Brocx?), I was quoting Hugh's term.

Anonymous said...

Judging by the size of the colourfully dressed women who attend these chuches and the lightning speed with which they extricate themselves from their cars, I doubt many of them have joined sports clubs.

A from Braxfield Road said...

Apparently these God - fearers have an off - shore bank account so I guess that's tax - free paradise. But whatever happened to render to Ceasar...

Anonymous said...

I doubt many have joined sports clubs

I doubt many have joined our legal system.

Transpontine said...

OK just to recapitulate a cross section of BCers think that people who go to black churches (nobody is saying it but everybody knows that's what we are talking about) are a. stupid b. fat. c.criminals. Racist much?

greggs said...

Transpontine - only if you think all black people go to evangelical churches. I think most bnp voters are white, fat, stupid and criminal. Doesn't mean I'm a racist. Maybe I'm judgemental, maybe there's a strong element of truth in my beliefs about bnp supporters.

Anonymous said...

Transpontine the general response to anything religious however benign is predictable on this site.

The consensus values here are secular, materialistic and selfish.

The people of Brockley who have lived here for a bit longer who do tangible things for 'the community' thankfully are not like this and that's what makes Brockley a good place to live.

welcome to 2009 said...

Anon - "a bit longer" than who. How do you know how long people have lived here. Talk about prejudice...

Brockley Nick said...

1000 visitors a day use this site, of all sorts, and there is no consensus view, as this thread has amply demonstrated. There's probably even one of you who doesn't like Glengarry Glen Ross.

Anonymous said...

The music coming from the Telegraph Hill church might be great if you just walk past it occasionally. If you live nearby then it's a major noise nuisance.

Anonymous said...

I happen to know a good few people who go to these types of churches (and BTW they are not gospel) and in the main they are hard working - usually two jobs/both partners - and low paid.

what disturbs me is the churches themselves - who work on a tithe system thus collecting large sums of money very quickly. They nearly always set up in 'poor' areas and spread the message of hope whilst filling their coffers. This is one of the fastest growing churches in the world and it has its fair share of corruption/fraud charges floating at the top of the org in Nigeria who are buying jets etc. Google them!

I have no problem with worship/worshipers per se (recovering catholic meself) but i do worry about the people who are running these orgs. Funny how they grow the most when people are worried about recession etc.

Hugh said...

PS That scene made me think Alec Baldwin a great actor. I don't think it could have been done more entertainingly.

Tamsin said...

One must wait to see what they do with restoring the buildings and opening them to "the community" with few or no strings attached. But, with notable exceptions - there is one church group that is doing good work open to all in the Honor Oak Centre and attending Ward Assemblies etc. - most such Churches do not seem to engage with the community in the immediate locality where they are situated. (They draw people in from a wider area, hence the parking problems.) The Telegraph Hill Festival has in the past made approaches to the church in Kitto Road and the church that uses the Telegraph Hill Centre after 12 on Sundays but to no avail. Charming and cheerful people, but just not interested in making any use of the vehicle the Festival offers them.

Anonymous said...

Engagement in the locale should be made part of the planning criteria for allowing the sale to go ahead.

Monkeyboy said...

Here we go again, equating belief in some kind of supernatural deity equates to goodness. In doesn't.

Have you ever walked around the Vatican? Materialistic? Well perhaps a little.

People are just people. Going to church is mainly a social thing, personally I can't suspend my disbelif enough to get involved. I grew out of religion about a week after being confirmed - sorry mum.

Monkeyboy said...

Here we go again, equating belief in some kind of supernatural deity equates to goodness. In doesn't.

Have you ever walked around the Vatican? Materialistic? Well perhaps a little.

People are just people. Going to church is mainly a social thing, personally I can't suspend my disbelif enough to get involved. I grew out of religion about a week after being confirmed - sorry mum.

Hugh said...

Ditto on confirmation. Since then I haven't met anyone religious I can take seriously on an intellectual level. You might as well try arguing with a straight face that Gordon Brown should play for Arsenal.

Anonymous said...

Well you don't go out much.

Murk said...

I'll carry on with my subscription to St Andrews Church then shall I?

Anonymous said...

The Vatican is a world heritage site as defined by UNESCO. As such its treasures and percieved riches are preserved because of the cultural importance to humanity.

Nevertheless if the Catholic church did nothing for the poor and those in need around the world and just sat there preserving these treasures you'd have a point, but actually the church and does a vast amount.

mb said...

my point was that the church is no stranger to material wealth so it's a bit rich for others to carp about others values. The church has done good stuff and bad stuff. That's because it's an organisation created by people, and people are like that, not by some benign being. Hope that's clear.

Anonymous said...

Did you actually think that point through before you posted? Muddled or what.

B L Zebub said...

So anyway, I'm an atheiest. I can no more disprove the existance of god then I can disprove the existance of thor, shiva, zeus or pixies at the end of my garden.... blah, blah, blah... there is no more futile an argument then with those with 'faith'

It's sweet really....if you're six.

We've been on earth a while now, different peoples have developed their own creation myths - most do not involve Jesus. That's all they are, move on.

Anonymous said...

@Tasmin

The ones in Kitto Rd are not charming and cheerful at all. They're arrogant and selfish. I live very near to that church and I am sick of the negative impact it has on the area. Not just on Sundays.

There's band practice until 1am on Saturday mornings, there are groups of kids catching coaches at 4am. It is far more anti-social than the pub down the road.

Tamsin said...

OK - it was Pastor Bolton and her acolytes in the Centre who were charming and cheerful when I wanted to borrow half the chairs for another event but I was not wanting to get too complicated. I have not, actually, had any dealings with the Church of God of Prophesy (or is it House of Bread?) on Kitto Road.

You have my every sympathy - is there anything that the Lewisham Anti-social Noise control can do? Or the Councillors (they hold regular Saturday morning surgeries in the Centre, so you could go and make enquiries. Regualr band practice in the small hours is well beyond what is reasonable.

Hugh said...

Churches who preach the emptiness of material weath are well borin. Material wealth is ace.

Anonymous said...

B L Zebub,I bet you take religious holidays off though.

B L Zebub said...

Yes I do, therefore god exists. You got me there sunshine.

Anonymous said...

I trawled through 15 pages of manipulated, page-ranked Google-fluff to find this.

http://www.elifeonline.net/elife7-july-august/richest-pastors.htm

Not really the sort of thing I want around here thanks, especially as it will be drawing in people from outside the area who are unlikely to be adding to the 'community'. Their views on homosexuality aren't exactly 'Brockley' either, but as they're Nigerian (read black if you're an inverted racist), I guess they're beyond criticism.

As a Jewish man said about 2000 years ago,

'Be a light unto yourself'.

Or as Brian exhorted in the film of his life a few centuries later,

'You're all individuals'.

Pete said...

"Nevertheless if the Catholic church did nothing for the poor and those in need around the world and just sat there preserving these treasures you'd have a point, but actually the church and does a vast amount."

What like telling them that condoms spread HIV?

Anonymous said...

The Catholics ain't too hot on Homosexuality either.

mb said...

Prodestants just cough, blush, hold a jumble sale and hope someone changes the subject.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

Absolutely love GGGR. Bad news about the church though; knowing the manner of evangelist movements it will be trussed up like a luminous c*ck at a children's' birthday party (i.e. incongruous, inappropriate, garish and just plain wrong)...

Anonymous said...

Be prepared to have your doors knocked on.

the sinful and patronised masses said... said...

A friend of mine invites the knockers in and delivers an agressive diatribe on his own atheist views and wastes their time; nice approach I've always thought.

Anonymous said...

That used to be my approach too, especially with the Jehovah botherers. Having read a great deal of stuff by mystics, sages and prophets, I used to delight in tying them up in knots (metaphorically) and effectively out-boring them.

Worked for a bit - they stopped knocking. They've made a return recently though, but always knock at 11am on a Monday, so I know not to answer the door then!

I said...

@the sinful and patronised.. Stupidly not clickling that GGGR stood for Glen Garry Glen Ross, I googled the abbr, and it transpires that it also stands for God's Guys and Gals Regenerated Ministries

http://www.gggrministries.r8.org/

another Evangelical looking outfit. Spooky or what!

Anonymous said...

Anti-religious ranters with glib prejudice statements.

Continue being, nasty, spiteful and cynical, because it's such a badge of your intellect and metropolitan trendiness.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

Save me or forgive me!

Anonymous said...

poser

Brockley Nick said...

"metropolitan" is an odd choice of insult on an inner-city blog.

Anonymous said...

It's not a insult it's a description of behaviour and attitudes.

Anonymous said...

It's not an insult, it's a description of attitudes and values shown by the majority of comments.

Brockley Nick said...

What are metropolitan values and attitudes, do you think?

the sinful and patronised masses said...

Any interest in clubbing tigether and hiring one of the Brockley Cross billboards for an atheist agenda address? Something like that bus that carried the slogan 'There probably is no god'? We could even nick a few ideas and have an 0898 number and Scientology style membership scheme to generate money for more billboards to save people from their beliefs...

Tom said...

I'd always seen these churches as purely capitalistic - ie businessmen using people's beliefs to generate cash. if someone could show me the 'good works' these churches do I'd be happy to change my views.

The one nearest me (I have moved to SE12) is an old church painted a hideous custard yellow. For that they should be damned.

Tamsin said...

I tend to agree. Whatever their faults of dogma - and the harm it does (the RC and AIDS in Africa, being the prime example) most of the churches established before the turn of the 19th/20th century do have mission outlets in the slums and villages of the third world serving the poor irrespective of their faith. I am prepared to be convinced, but have yet to see anything about the African/American based pentecostalists doing the same.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

I'm taking bets on the church having luminous signage/cheap banners/agressive flyering b3fore the New Year...

the sinful and patronised masses said...

Oh and because everyone drives to these churches it will be a roadblock around service time. Nick - you'll love the pavement parking! Hope I am wrong but see this as a bad thing for Brockers (in case that wasn't obvious).

Brockley Nick said...

I'm aware of the parking problems some of these places cause, but no-one here has actually mentioned parking problems specific to this church yet, so perhaps there is hope.

Tamsin said...

No, among all the religious intolerance debate three or four people have expressed worries about parking and a couple about noise.

Big issues, both of them. Just look at Lee High Road and the New Cross Road on a Sunday morning. One of the anonomii complained about the Kitto Road church with band practice every Saturday and coach departures at 4am and I work next to a 7th Day Adventist church in Catford - every evening I've worked late the drum kits start up at around 6 or 6.30 - a sign to go home to relative peace and quiet.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - no. People have expressed concerns about the possibility of parking problems - but no actual evidence of parking problems yet.

All the complaints so far relate to other churches, not this one. Can't lump em all in together.

Of course, if parking problems do emerge, the Council should come down on them like a ton of bricks. But that's a different issue.

B L Zebub said...

Depends on the noise. Personally I find the awful droning on Songs of Praise a bit trying. I just turn it off, slaughter a goat*, slather myself in it's blood and worship the Dark Lord in my special cellar.

*free range, organic

Tressillian James said...

Can't people put up with parking problems to let people worship on a Sunday? Live and let live - it's not anti-social activity.

If you are not a churchgoer then you probably, as a local resident, don't have to worry about the parking as your car will have been parked up the night before, and you'll be at home on a Sunday morning reading the papers.

As for the noise - I regret that St Peters stopped ringing the hours as they used to. I don't understand how people get pset at Church bells or people singing hymns. Once a week. Get over it. I have ragga booming through my walls from my neighbour.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

I can't wait to nail my egg to a cross this Yule.

Brockley Nick said...

@TJ - by "parking problems" we're not talking about it being hard to find a parking space - which I agree is just tough.

The parking problems people are talking about are people double and triple parking and sticking their cars on the pavement. If that happens, it's not acceptable, whatever the nature of the business causing it. You wouldn't put up with a pub's customers doing that, a church's congregation should be no different.

However, we're talking hypoethetically at this stage.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

If you promise to save them on the cheap they will come...

Headhunter said...

Yeah I find it a shame that they silenced the hourly bells at St Peters on Wickham Rd. They have even lost interest in keeping the clock running now. I used to love hearing the bells ring every hour across the gardens of Manor Ave in summer. I assume that nearer neighbours must've complained about it ringing through the night.

I read somewhere that it's reckoned in the 21st century people are less, not more tolerant of noise than they were in the 19th century/early 20th. I assume that church had its bells ringing on the hour, every hour back in the 19th century without problem, it was clearly built in close proximity to people's homes without any concern that it would bother them.

Tressillian James said...

Nick - you're right that a church congregation shouldn't be above the parking laws - but this is, as you say, hypothetical. St Mary Magadelene's around the corner doesn't seem to have this problem - nor do any of the other local churches - why should this church? I think people kick out at an easy target.

HH - I could hear the bells quite clearly - and found them reasssuring whenever I noticed them ringing at night. It is a shame they have stopped. Again, you'd think if you moved next to a church you would expect some music fomr the bells.

HH -

Tamsin said...

Of course there aren't any parking problems yet. But it is reasonable to extrapolate from other Pentecostal type churches in Lewisham - specifically on similar through roads, the New Cross Road by the bus garage and Lee High Road - and anticipate a similar pattern. Such churches have large congretations drawn from a wide geographic area almost all arriving by car.

To say that Lewisham should come down hard on parking infringements - how many traffic wardens work on a Sunday? You have had enough difficulties with all the issues at Brockley Cross on a working day.

And on the noise side we are not talking about five at most four-line-creepers from Hymns A&M during a morning service, hardly audible outside the building, but possibly hours of an amplified beat.

It is an issue for the neighbours as, despite the assurances given to Sue, looking at the general tenor of their own website I do not see them giving a great deal back to the community.

Anonymous said...

Who knows what the church will bring to this community and the streets of Brockley. It might provide inspiration for some of the local youth, show them that there are other dimensions to life, beyond the ones that lead to the lifestyle that produce this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-MghZBMuQ or the Samantha Joseph's of the world... cos no one else seems to be helping.

Transpontine said...

@Tamsin Just look at Lee High Road and the New Cross Road on a Sunday morning

..er just look at New Cross Road every day of the week. I don't think the traffic disaster can be laid solely at the door of Churches!

@Tressilian James - agree with the live and let live sentiments. Urban life would grind to a halt if all the moaners had their way - no churches because of the noise on Sunday, no schools/nurseries because of the noise and the parking, no pubs or clubs for the same reason, no football matches because of the inconvenience. Really if people want to live in a sleepy village they should move there.

Before you know it they'll be joining hands with the Swiss racists, voting to ban minarets while claiming they're only doing it because Islamic architecture doesn't comply with the conservation area guidelines.

greggs said...

Transpontine, are you saying that you think complaining about double and triple parking outside some churches is somehow racist? Because that's really low, if you are.

I'm all for the variety and excitement of urban life, I just want to be able to walk on the pavement and avoid getting run over. That makes me a racist?

You need to learn that there are some objective truths in the world. People who park in the middle of the roads are twats. That's one of the rules. Easy.

Transpontine said...

Ok that was a slightly intemperate late night post-drink post! No I don't think objecting to parking is racist, sometimes there may be valid objections, but my general point is that people need to have a bit higher tolerance threshold to other people's activities in a city. We all participate in activities at some time that inconvenience other people, guess I would rather put up with a bit of noise and double parking than live in a dead city. Obviously there are limits...

The Switzerland example is an extreme case of where a certain kind of intolerance leads.

Tamsin said...

I would hope I am adequately tolerant. However, although I am prepared to be convinced otherwise by youth workers and the like who are involved in outreach etc., the impression I get is that the highly organised evangelising international churches who have the funds to buy up buildings such as this out of their petty cash do not, by and large, engage with the local communities except very much on their own terms.

If your family turns up every Sunday and pays the tithes you are in - and can you, too, can find something else in life and go off on the trips with the 4am start that disturb the poster from Kitto Road. But you don't get support without accepting the dogma. Very different from the more laid-back, open, sharing and failing Church of England.

greggs said...

"Many of the drivers don't even indicate as they come round the corner, the way the roads are laid out makes people think it is just one continuous road. Just sharpening the corner so it was more of a right angle would make a big difference to the speed."
Transpontine, on the Transpontine blog, 17 March 2008 21:22

So you agree that it's important stop people doing bad things with cars. Why do evangelical churches get a free pass? Why can't we just let people zoom around corners without new traffic measures? Live and let live!

the sinful and patronised masses said...

Sick of some of this faux liberalism; tolerance for respectful behaviour is great but to suggest that intolerance is never appropriate is just PC guff. I am intolerant of antisocial and disrespectful beahviour and there's is plenty to go around...

Tressillian James said...

I don't think Transpontine was suggesting that double triple parking is acceptable. I know I wasn't. But does anyone really think that double/triple parking is going to happen on Brockley Road or the streets around. I think we should wai and see if it is a problem.

Is the real issue here that we don't like the type of evangelical church that requests tithes from its members and appears to be part of a larger 'business'? I'm not too keen on that either - but I'm not going to stop people making their choice to worship there or look for problems that don't exist right now.

Tressillian James said...

...but perhaps I'm being short - sighted? (climbing back on to the wall)

Brockley Nick said...

@TJ - you're quite right, these kinds of parking problems haven't happened at this church and we shouldn't assume that they will. However, it is a valid concern to raise - there are a number of churches around SE London where that is precisely what happens.

That is a different issue from whether the church is exploitative.

Anonymous said...

Who knows what this church will be but it's good fairminded people like TJ and Tamsin post here.

xyz said...

There does seem to be an assumption by a lot of people that you have to be intellectually challenged to have a belief in Christianity - or anything, for that matter.

There are plenty of academics, including eminent scientists, who are also Christians - if anyone wants a few examples I'd be happy to post them.

the sinful and partonsied masses said...

Most famous perhaps was Darwin who struggled terribly to reconcile what he believed and the self evident truths he uncovered...

Anonymous said...

I'd like some examples

xyz said...

Here are some scientists who are also Christians, with some examples of their qualifications, and posts held currently or recently:
Andrew Briggs, Professor of Nanomaterials, University of Oxford
Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change, University of East Anglia, Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2007.
Joan Centrella, Head of the Gravitational Astrophysics Lab at NASA
RJ Berry, Professor of Genetics at UCL
Alister McGrath – Dphil in Biochemistry from Oxford, Principal of Wycliffe Hall at the University of Oxford
Denis Alexander – Phd in Neurochemistry, Chairman of the Molecular Immunology Dept at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, also a psychiatrist.
Derek Burke – President of Society of General Microbiology, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, adviser to the House of Commons on genetically modified crops and various other topics
Wilson Poon, Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Edinburgh
These and a dozen other scientists write about their scientific and religious beliefs, and the impact each has on the other, in a book called “Real Scientists, Real Faith”, edited by RJ Berry.

mb said...

so that proves that you can be brilliant in your field and christian. So what. Where does that leave scientists who follow another religion. I suppose we can both agree that they are wrong. Unity at last.

xyz said...

mb, I was responding to comments such as Hugh's - he said that since being confirmed he hadn't "met anyone religious I can take seriously on an intellectual level". I just wanted to demonstrate that such people exist. The 'so what' is that it challenges the position that belief systems don't have to be considered seriously because only idiots adhere to them.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to religion MB is troll, don't bother to respond to him. He's loss his faith and wants spread misery amongst those who have it.

Monkeyboy said...

I prefer to see it as emerging from a twilight world of superstition into the sun kissed savannahs of rationality...or something.

I didn't loose my faith, I examined it and found it a profoundly unsatifactory, unconvincing and frankly a little dull.

Anonymous said...

You are tedious anti-religious bore.

drakefell debaser said...

anon, you remind me of Magda from Lead Balloon

xyz said...

Monkeyboy, that's just how I would describe my conversion to Christianity :-)

I'm none too keen on superstition either. The only thing I'm interested in is finding objective truth - same as all those scientists I mentioned earlier.

Hugh said...

Sorry, why would anyone interested in truth convert to Christianity, which is a collection of assertions any intelligent child can expose as groundless?

xyz said...

Such as?

Bill Hicks said...

One word: Dinosaurs.

xyz said...

All those scientists I mentioned earlier - they all accept evolution, and so do I.

Hugh said...

xyz, evolutionary theory is the best explanation we have of its subject matter. If you're prepared to accept that then why not go further and accept science more generally? If you do, God becomes redundant as an explanation of the world. Let him draw his Giros.

xyz said...

Hugh, science explains the natural world (and is far from complete in doing so - many scientists say that the more discoveries there are, the more we realise we don't know). It doesn't preclude the existence of the supernatural - it can neither prove it nor disprove it. The notion of a creator God who set the universe in motion is not in conflict with anything science can tell us.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

I find the main difference between a scientic view of the world and a religious one is that those who take the former are willing to update their position based on evidence but those who take a religious view are not.

I am proud to say I failed the dinosaur test!

Anonymous said...

Oh I don't know. The Catholic church is continually updating it's position when the evidence is so overwhelming it would be embarising not to. Sun revolving around the earth, earth created in 7 days (Don't start with the 'symbolic' argument, it was FACT as far as the church were concerned for thousands of years, evolution obviously....

xyz said...

Well, quite. If the theology is dodgy, it has to be ditched.

SAPM - you're assuming that the two world views are incompatible. They're not - if they were there wouldn't be scientists who also believe in God.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

I wonder how many of said scientists would have found faith independantly had they not been indoctrinated as babies by their parents and community?

Hugh said...

xyz said this:

'Hugh, science explains the natural world (and is far from complete in doing so - many scientists say that the more discoveries there are, the more we realise we don't know). It doesn't preclude the existence of the supernatural - it can neither prove it nor disprove it. The notion of a creator God who set the universe in motion is not in conflict with anything science can tell us.'

Some comments:

1. Science explains the world. Your use of 'natural' is question-begging.

2. The fact that science is incomplete is irrelevant to whether there's a God.

3. Does science preclude God? No, but you clearly don't understand how science works. Its theories are offered as explanations of various phenomena. An overarching principle in theorising is not to invoke entities that play no explanatory role. Science doesn't invoke God, which suggests He isn't needed to understand the world.

4. How do you know science can't prove or disprove God exists? Or do you offer that assertion in place of argument?

5. Is God in conflict with science? See above. The notion that God is a poodle presumably isn't in conflict with science either. Does that make it worth believing?

xyz said...

SAPM - quite a lot of them came from non-church backgrounds, and were scientists before they became Christians. Of the ones I mentioned previously, Alister McGrath, Derek Burke and Wilson Poon fall into that category - possibly others; I haven't checked them all.

They all adopt the same rigorous, examining approach to both types of belief - scientific and religious, believing that it's ultimately self-defeating to 'try to temper scientific knowledge because of theological or philosophical doctrine'. In other words, no point fudging. If they had been brainwashed that integrity would soon break down.

Brockley Nick said...

There are two types of religion, as far as I can see:

The doctrinal, literal, hard-line, unquestioning sort, represented by evangelical movements and fundamentalists.

And the cosy, comforting sort, whose adherents are happy to concede that pretty much every fantastical claim in the central texts of their faith are either hogwash or metaphor, but that there could well be some higher power that designed the physical laws of the universe and has an unknowable plan for us all.

This second sort is fairly benign and completely compatible with science (which is a study of those physical laws) but it's ultimately still an act of blind faith. A comfort blanket, not a search for "ultimate truth".

xyz said...

Hugh, I use the term 'natural world' to distinguish it from the spiritual. If in deciding whether there is a God you assume only the physical world exists then you are begging the question.

I haven't said that God is "necessary" to explain any observable phenomena in the world. I believe God exists. I can't prove it, just as you can't prove that he doesn't. One of us is right, the other is wrong. Until God chooses to show himself to the world in a way which irrefutably proves his existence (at which point we lose the opportunity to exercise free will in choosing what to believe) the world will split into these two camps (plus the 'don't knows' and agnostics).

How could science ever disprove the existence of an entity which exists outside its domain (i.e. in a spiritual rather than physical realm)? Even if we could go to the edge of the observable, knowable universe, we would still be inside a closed system (which is what I mean by nature). We can't get out of that system by our own powers any more than the characters in a book can escape it and find the author.

Anonymous said...

God is showing 'himself' in the world. It (God) is the world, and all that's in it and outside it, including the thing (you) that's observing it all. Like all religious types, you've made the fundamental error of defining 'God' in your own image, i.e., a sort of person (which some like to project all sorts of needs and properties in and on to), because you've made the fundamental error of identifying who you are with your illusory personality or intellect. Your true self (your Christ/Krsna-consciousness, Buddha-nature, call it what you will) -who you really are - lies behind this and is God in you.

Don't believe this though, or follow anybody. Find out whether it's true.

Hugh said...

Deary me, more responses to xyz below, this time in brackets:

xyz said...
Hugh, I use the term 'natural world' to distinguish it from the spiritual. If in deciding whether there is a God you assume only the physical world exists then you are begging the question.

[Until you explain the distinction between natural/physical and spiritual your statement is meaningless. You will note I didn't assume only the physical world exists. The physical/spiritual distinction is your distinction, not mine. So it's you who is begging the question. Do keep up.]

I haven't said that God is "necessary" to explain any observable phenomena in the world. I believe God exists. I can't prove it, just as you can't prove that he doesn't.

[I believe God is a poodle. Who is winning?]


One of us is right, the other is wrong. Until God chooses to show himself to the world in a way which irrefutably proves his existence (at which point we lose the opportunity to exercise free will in choosing what to believe) the world will split into these two camps (plus the 'don't knows' and agnostics).

[So my poodle theory is as good as any, I guess, since it can't be disproved that He's a poodle.]

How could science ever disprove the existence of an entity which exists outside its domain (i.e. in a spiritual rather than physical realm)?

[What is science's domain? To say 'physical' just invites the question, what does 'physical' mean? If the answer is 'the non-spiritual', you have proved science can't explain God, but only because you defined the terms that way. Sum progress: nil yards.

To repeat, you just don't understand science. It isn't interested in disproving idle imaginings (like holy poodles). it's interested in testing the idea that a certain posit is needed to explain the world.]

Even if we could go to the edge of the observable, knowable universe, we would still be inside a closed system (which is what I mean by nature). We can't get out of that system by our own powers any more than the characters in a book can escape it and find the author.

[Using phrases like 'closed system' sounds big and clever but is really just further evidence of sloppy thinking. The phrase as you use it is either empty or question-begging.]

Next.

drakefell debaser said...

Until God chooses to show himself to the world in a way which irrefutably proves his existence

Quick question, any idea when God will decide to show up? There has been a lot of blood shed caused by religion, both past and present, and it would be great if he or she could give us a sign so that people could stop bickering over who's belief is best.

The deafening silence so far doesn't bode well IMO.

Anonymous said...

I can't disprove the existance of Zeus, Osiris, Pacha Mama, do they therefore exist? Or to paraphrase Richard Dawkins badly (sure to infuriate someone) I'm sure xyz does not believe in those entities either, I just don't believe in one more deity so our positions are really not that disimilar.

Can I suggest you read "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" It explains rather beautifully how religion is very much our creation and why it endures. It'll let you down more gently then being smacked over the head with cold hard logic from Richard D.

xyz said...

Hugh,

Physical = stuff made of atoms/matter, on which scientific procedures can be carried out.

Spiritual = everything else. Includes things like thoughts and emotions, which can only be observed and measured by translating them into their physical effects. I may believe that my mother loves me, but I can never prove it categorically through scientific means. That doesn't make it either untrue, or an unreasonable belief. Similarly, I firmly believe I have encountered God, but I can only offer circumstantial evidence.

I think we may be talking at cross-purposes to some extent. I understand that science is about observation and deduction. I also understand that science isn’t ‘interested’ in proving or disproving the existence of God (though Richard Dawkins appears to think otherwise). What have I said about science that you disagree with? Don’t we agree that the question of God’s existence is not a scientific one?

On what basis you use the term ‘idle imaginings’? Do you mean that you think it is impossible that God exists, or are you agnostic, accepting that God may exist, but denying the possibility of knowing what he is like?

The only God I am concerned about the existence of is the God of Christianity: eternal (existing outside time) and infinitely powerful, and only operative in the material world through specific acts (miracles) and through the coming to Earth of Jesus (God in human form). If you find something different from that through scientific processes and call it God we are simply talking about different things and giving them the same name. You can find a poodle and call it God, but I am no closer to establishing whether what I call God exists. An all-powerful, infinite God who exists (largely) outside the realm of atoms/physical matter is not discoverable through observation and deduction. But that also means that a belief in God and a belief in science are entirely compatible, which is the point I was making in the first place.

Anonymous said...

OK...science isn't a 'belief' it's a method by which....

I'm bored of this. Of to the pub to worship the hop.

Hugh said...

xyz, I suggest you try replying to my points as they are numbered. And assume you're dealing with someone with a brain.

Zen said...

For anyone who has seen someone they love die, where does their spirit, that life force go?

For me, that human- the consciousness, goes back to god, god exists, god is energy.

When it comes down to it, after all the back and forth regarding whether God exists all the arguments about first cause or comfort delusions, the actual philosophical question is not whether God exists or not but whether you choose or have the ability to believe or not, whether you are capable of faith.

Anonymous said...

They go nowhere. They die, the end. Obviously they live in our memories etc. It's sad but not depressing, enjoy your life. You only have one.

Oh, and grow up. We tell kids that little fluffy bunny is with the angels when actually it's a dead rabbit. Get over it.

zen said...

I will not be dictated into what I should believe by someone who believes in nothing.
That is your nothing, you keep it.

xyz said...

The possibility of a constructive debate goes down the plug-hole when one of the participants is just looking to score points and is becoming increasingly aggressive and rude. So I'll say no thank you, Hugh.

Anonymous said...

I believe we are quiet literaly made of star dust. We, smart apes, discovered that using our own ingenuity. That makes me happy. Wooly, lazy, half baked ideas do not.

Anonymous said...

I love God.

Hugh said...

xyz, you could have tried answering my points in turn, but if you prefer to hide behind accusations of uncivility, go ahead. I'll take that as capitulation.

maxink said...

I've always been fascinated by the idea that believing in life after death saves you from the fear of death and that is an evolutionary advantage. Squares it all up doesn't it?

xyz said...

Yes, I thought you might. I've answered all your points.

Hugh said...

Answered but not dealt with. Your standard of reasoning seems to have its roots in beery blag sessions at your local or else modern state education where no one is allowed to be wrong. But there's no helping some people. Either you have the IQ or you don't.

My responses to your posts were precise, begged no questions and invoked no flowery language. Your own posts, in contrast, remind me of a blind man boxing a ghost. I don't expect you to have experienced intellectual rigour at church but you're dealing with people who think for themselves here. I suppose that may be unfamiliar.

To repeat, the way to have a 'constructive debate' is to stick to the points made and deal with them one by one. Coming out with more meaningless bilge about being at cross purposes is just evidence of a refusal to go another round. Don't worry, I've been exposing crap thinkers like this since I was a child.

Hugh said...

And just to make it easy for you, I believe God - your God - is a poodle. That is what my intensely personal revelatory experiences etc. have shown me is The Truth.

Are you prepared to accept that? If not, what's the case against?

We're not at cross purposes here. My poodle is the same guy as your God.

To put it another way, the entirety of your 'reasoning' automatically collapses into farce since it provides no grounds for preferring one set of fantasies from any other. God works at Burger King - disprove that. God is a malevolent demon who put the idea of a just God into our heads. I could go on.

At root, your view is this: 'I believe X and don't need reasons. You can't prove my belief is wrong.'

Well done for stating the obvious. Einstein and co aimed higher. Probably why they discovered so much more.

xyz said...

Hugh, I start off with my definition of God as a premise, not as something I am trying to prove. You are seeking to debate the definition of God, and so we are talking at cross-purposes.
If you call a poodle 'God' then are merely attaching a label to something else. If the thing you find is malevolent then he is by (my) definition not God.

If you read my posts again you will see that I'm not trying to prove anything about the nature of God. I'm simply saying that science and its findings can never ben incompatible with the existence of the Christian God because, as you rightly point out in response to a point I didn't make in the first place, science is not concerned with proving or disproving the existence of God.

Is your position that the God I believe in could not possibly exist? If yes, you haven't explained why. If no, then I think we've found as much common ground as I was looking for.

I AM WHO I AM said...

"Don’t we agree that the question of God’s existence is not a scientific one?"

Beg to differ. If you asked is the existence of a tiny planet revolvong around the moon with a a fairy sitting on it that could read are thoughts and answer all are expectations you might like to set about testing this.

A trip top the moon, perhaps, few scientists carrying out the maths, the possibilty that any such creature may be nuked by th sun, etc. With the God delusion one faces odds (?) that cannot be tested, which is why it's endured so long. One might simply ask why certain individuals lower the barrier of doubt on this one unprovable hypothesis (because the believer keeps shifting the goalpost). Fact (until siproven by you): YOU have made your 'god' in your image. Such vanity.

Anonymous said...

Hugh: My faith > your 'reason'.

Because when in comes to the existence I can say one thing for certain you don't KNOW what you are talking about. You CANNOT prove the existence of God either way. Unless you wanna top yourself and reincarnate and tell us what's going on in the afterlife...like some ubermensch Jesus.
But in absence of that unlikely scenario, myself and many, many others choose to believe in God and practice our faith.

2000 years, perscution, reformations, postmodern deconstructions and Christianity is still here baby!

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVe God!

Hugh said...

xyz, you continue to miss the point. We are not arguing about what 'God' means. I told you I believe God is a poodle. Not a particular poodle (e.g. my neighbour's). He is a poodle - that is the type of being He is.

You've yet to show why my belief ranks below yours in the credibility stakes.

Stop trying to wriggle out of the debate and answer the question: Which of us is right? If it's a draw because nothing can be proved or disproved (or whatever your slogan is), that only shows the worth of your position.

Anonymous said...

no one's stopping you from worshiping whatever you like. But please don't expect every one to show exagerated respect, I think your belief is misguided and a waste of intelectual energy. Crack on though, just don't expect to be given any special treatment - like bishops in the house of lords? or the 'daily act of worship' and blasphemy enshrined in law. Religion is an idea like any other and should expect and deal with critisism. By the way most people on earth either do not believe in a christian god or have no religious affiliation, dosn't make you right or wrong of course but shows that it is just another human creation. Like pot noodle.

Diablo De-vil said...

Economic collapse, eden violated by mans greed, godless masses. Time I made by periodic play for the souls of mankind.

Hugh, see you at The Talbot about 9:00? Bring an alter, you'll need it.

Whoo, haa, haaa HAAAAA... [manic laugh]

The Oracle said...

I'm afraid, Hugh, you failed the God/Poodle test... at last as far as Wikipedia is concerned.

The Poodle originated in Germany, where it was known as the Pudel. The English word "poodle" therefore comes from the German pudel or puddeln, meaning to splash in the water.

It is highly unlikely that God was a poodle as he had not, at that time, created water in which to splash. QED: HE MUST EXIST

xyz said...

Hugh - in that case you have changed the nature of the debate entirely from the one I originally introduced.

In terms of evidence for the truth of the Bible, the support for the historical accuracy of the Gospels, including the resurrection, etc. I would refer you to Josh McDowell's excellent book 'Evidence that demands a verdict'. He was an atheist who set out to prove Christianity wrong and instead was converted.

To assess the merits of Christianity you need to look it in the way a jury looks at the evidence in a trial - looking at the balance of probability rather than observation and deduction - which is after all the way we all live our lives on a day to day basis. You don't refuse to leave the house because you can't prove that a train will turn up at Brockley station to take you up to London Bridge. You base your actions on prior experience and take a leap of faith (quite a big one where the trains are concerned). Whatever you believe in (including the non-existence of God) takes faith.

However, as I said above, this is a different argument from the science vs religion one I started with.

Hugh said...

LOL! I prove God exists by referring you to a book available on Amazon!

You haven't answered my question. Which of us is right? I believe all you believe about God, but in addition I believe He is a poodle.

I ask again, to make it easy for you. Who is right, you or me?

Anonymous said...

Hugh's taking you apart, xyz.

Anonymous said...

No one's taking anyone apart here.

xyz said...

Hugh, you are falling woefully short of your own standards for intellectual debate. You continue to talk about 'proving' God's existence, something I'm not trying to do.

As for referring you to a book - what's wrong with that? It's a complex subject that can't be dealt with in a few lines.

Finally, inherent in the concept of a poodle is that it is material and mortal, with finite abilities. God is a spiritual being, and is infinite and immortal. Therefore God cannot be a poodle, because these and other properties of God and a poodle are mutually exclusive of each other an therefore cannot exist in the same being.

Anonymous said...

unlike the father, the son and the holy ghost of course...

Hugh said...

xyz, Jesus was a man. Inherent in the concept of a man is that he is material and mortal, with finite abilities. Are you saying the Holy Trinity is a fiction?

The Oracle said...

The Holy Trinity is a fiction.

And of a 'Jesus' the Messiah we can be assured of but one thing - there is absolutely no evidence of his existence. (I exclude that august collection of manmade works known as the Bible.)

And who put pen to paper that manipulated such fiction?

Why, Paul who was Saul.

Monkeyboy said...

My RC Primary School had a detachment of nuns associated with it. One one teachers, Sister John (not making that up), used to let us see their holy relic once a year. It was two splinters from the cross caried with them for centuries- proof surley. I even kissed it, the relic not Sister John.

Didn't work on me though, I was more into The Six Million Dollar Man. That had a much more profound effect on my life.

Bully for you. said...

So what, you old bore.

Monkeyboy said...

Sister John will be very disapointed.

Hugh said...

xyz has gone rather quiet.

Anonymous said...

It's not surprising XYZ's gone quiet or all the other religious people don't bother to engage with you, because your hostility to Christianity and religion is such that you don't even seem capable of understanding much less accepting the premises upon religious teaching is based. So the discussing the matter rapidly degenerates into abuse from you, borne from your frustration.

The part when you jeer at XYZ for referring to a book, regarding God's existence, we believe in God, because we have faith, that faith is built up through the passing down of scripture, from 'a book' the bible. The whole nature of belief is that it not based on logical proof or material evidence.

So you trying to pin God down in what you think is a logical argument on the internet is quite redundant.

To have a relationshp with God you have to engage in religious practice if you don't, you won't. It doesn't mean if you don't have a relationship or belief in God that you a bad person. But you miss out on that spiritual dimension of life, which for many, many people provides joy, strength in the face of adversity and so much more, which is why people continue to practice their despite being perceived as 'loonys', 'god botherers' 'misguided' etc etc.

Peace be with you all this sunday.

xyz said...

I have been doing other things, and this may be the only time I'll be on the computer today.

I realised as soon as I sent my last post that we would shortly be getting into a discussion of the Trinity. Jesus was God but he was not 'all' of God. Therefore, not analogous to your poodle suggestion.

Again, we're a long way from my original point, and I notice you continue to be evasive on that.

PS well said, anon @ 12.05

Anonymous said...

Tell me, what arguments would you deploy to refute Scientology? I hope we can both agree that they are at least wrong and possibly dangerous.

Scientology follows theories from a 'book' Blind faith, just because it makes you feel nice, is fairly lame.

graeme said...

a straightforward question to the Christians posting here - were your parents Christians also? (I'd ask the same question to anybody of any religion.)

xyz said...

Graeme - no, my parents aren't Christians.

graeme said...

so what led you to join the Church? Was (is) there an awareness of such timeless (eternal) joy, or such ineffability, and you perceived that the universe could not possibly be any other way (in which case there's no longer any need to believe in anything - you just know), or did you feel that something was missing in your life?

xyz said...

Graeme,

Not sure I can do your question justice in the time I have available, but I'll give it a go.

It was certainly not an action based on a process of rational argument. I don't think many people come to faith through intellectual means (though some do, such as CS Lewis). I had Christian friends, and whenever they were all together I saw something different in the quality of the relationship between them all, and in the way they responded to me, than I had seen anywhere else - I believe now that it was the presence of God (Jesus said 'where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst'). I basically said to myself 'I want what they've got' and prayed the prayer (at home, alone) to ask God into my life. There were no fireworks, but certainly a sense of peace. I wasn't sure it had 'worked' so I kept praying it for several weeks, until finally realising it had happened the first time I had prayed it.

I certainly think something was missing from my life - to become a Christian you have to acknowledge that something is horribly wrong with your life - that you don't even live up to your own standards, let alone God's. I continue to fall massively short of both those sets of standards, but I now believe that God has forgiven me my shortcomings, and that with his help I can change, however slowly.

I have no way of 'proving' that my experience was real. I have been consistently amazed, however, at how much sense Christianity makes of the world around us, and the sense of recognition and one-ness I have with others who believe the same thing. It all 'rings true', both emotionally and intellectually.

I realise I am opening the door to a multitude of scoffers, but as I've said many times already on this thread, I'm not seeking to prove what I believe, and it's not possible to do so. I do firmly believe that anyone who sincerely seeks God will find him, and will find peace, joy - and truth.

This is a bit rambling, for which I apologise. I've had to write it quickly...

Anonymous said...

great http://bit.ly/6lmsIF

Hugh said...

xyz, your pathetic attempts at cogency are causing a great deal of merriment here.

On the Holy Trinity, you say Jesus wasn't 'all' of God, as if that somehow lends the beginnings of intelligibility to your IQ-lite ramblings.

Let me help you. Even if Jesus is just part of God, and Jesus was a man, and a man is by definition mortal and limited etc., then by your lights he and God must belong to mutually exclusive categories. Hence the Holy Trinity is false.

If your response is that Jesus is the 'mortal, material' aspect of God, then my response is that the poodle aspect of God is his mortal and material side, so that you haven't after all succceeded in showing that God isn't a poodle.

Taking stock: you haven't shown why my belief that God is a poodle is any less credible than any of your beliefs about God. I suggest you look up reductio.

Next please. Done with this one.

Anonymous said...

Hugh you aren't really doing yourself any favours here, you are coming across as a bit childish here. XYZ is discussing their faith, their process of religious understanding which is a generous thing to do because it opens oneself up to ridicule especially in a context like this, and you are treating it as if is a parlour. "There I win, in your face" come on, act a bit more intelligently.

Hugh said...

Anon I don't need to do myself any favours. My arguments do the job alone. At least try to keep up.

Anonymous said...

Hugh, you're coming across as a wannabe barrister.

Hugh said...

That's all it takes to embarrass xyz.

Anonymous said...

I think you're embarrassing yourself, is what I'm trying to say.

Hugh said...

My arguments stand unanswered, you mean.

I'm sorry you struggle to express yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hugh, I think I love you.

hguh! said...

Not as much as much as I love myself.

B L Zebub said...

That bitch is mine

Hugh said...

Anon, you're making me blush.

the sinful and patronised masses said...

I would like to join the church of the poodle.

dave said...

best thing i have read since the arms for iraq enquiry! great watching a forensic lawyer in action

xyz said...

This is all getting a bit undignified, but I'll go with it for the moment.

I could have put my points about mutual exclusivity better - let me say the following instead: You said you were talking about 'my guy' (my definition of God) but you said that he was ALSO a poodle. Intrinsic in 'my guy' is the notion of the Trinity, which doesn't leave room for a poodle. As I've said before, we're putting the same label on different things. A God made up of a whole, entire, self-sufficient Trinity (my premise in all my arguments) cannot logically include anything else. If you're talking about a poodle as a member of the Trinity INSTEAD of Jesus (which seems to be the thrust of your last post on the subject), then (a) you're no longer talking about 'my guy' and (b) what's your evidence? I have the evidence of the Bible, but I put it forward like supporting evidence in a court case, not as proof.

I've never denied the role of faith in what I believe. You also have faith in whatever you believe - which I assume doesn't actually involve poodles. Whatever you DO believe (including in the non-existence of God), what is your basis for doing so? Does it meet the criteria you've laid down for my beliefs? Saying that we don't 'need' God to explain the world around us simply doesn't cut it (especially since we have nothing approaching a complete understanding of the world around us).

I can see quite clearly that nothing I write will persuade you that I'm anything other than an intellectual minnow. If you are genuinely interested in a more robust defense of Christianity than I am capable of putting forward, then I can't do better than suggest Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis. It has the advantage of being about a tenth of the length of the Josh McDowell book. You're a lawyer, so you may take more note of what Charles Colson said about it. You may know Colson was a lawyer, a key adviser to Richard Nixon, who was imprisoned after the Watergate scandal. He became a Christian in part through reading Mere Christianity. He was given the book to read by a friend and was expecting it to be fairly wishy-washy, and that Lewis would approach God on an 'intuitive, emotional level'. He writes 'I opened Mere Christianity and instead found myself face-to-face with an intellect so disciplined, so lucid, so relentlessly logical that I could only be grateful I had never faced him in a court of law'.

If you are genuinely interested in understanding whether there's a rational basis for belief, Hugh, it would be well worth your reading it - if you're motivated by something else, then probably not.

Hugh said...

xyz, you're still not getting anywhere and I might as well bury you. My responses below in brackets:

I could have put my points about mutual exclusivity better - let me say the following instead: You said you were talking about 'my guy' (my definition of God) but you said that he was ALSO a poodle.

[We are both saying there is one God. I believe everything that you believe about Him, with the additional item that He is a poodle. So far, that is the only difference between us. The issue is who is right.]


Intrinsic in 'my guy' is the notion of the Trinity, which doesn't leave room for a poodle.

[Your 'notion of the Trinity' is just another phrase for what you believe about God. What you and I believe about God differs, hence this debate. To remind you, we are trying to work out who is right, since my beliefs contradict yours.]

As I've said before, we're putting the same label on different things.

[Oh dear. That simply hasn't been shown. So far, we have established that we believe different things. It doesn't follow that those beliefs concern different entities. For instance, it might be that we are both talking about the same God, only that you are wrong is thinking He isn't a poodle.]

A God made up of a whole, entire, self-sufficient Trinity (my premise in all my arguments) cannot logically include anything else.

[This is a new and separate argument. Previously you relied on the Bible etc. as evidencing His existence. Here, which is completely different, you're saying God is simply that thing which corresponds to a certain definition of 'God' (just as red things are simply those things picked out by the phrase 'red things'). Then you conclude that God can't be a poodle because the definition doesn't contain any reference to poodles. Fine. The yawning gap is that you haven't shown that your definition corresponds to anything that actually exists. All you've done is to point out that if it does correspond to anything, that thing won't be a poodle. Congratulations for stating the obvious. You haven't given any reason to believe your definition of 'God' picks anything out in the world, or that my poodle-based definition doesn't.

And just to help you, if you now want to fall back on evidence like books on Amazon and personal faith, then we are still evens. My faith says God is a poodle.
]

If you're talking about a poodle as a member of the Trinity INSTEAD of Jesus (which seems to be the thrust of your last post on the subject), then (a) you're no longer talking about 'my guy' and (b) what's your evidence? I have the evidence of the Bible, but I put it forward like supporting evidence in a court case, not as proof.

[To repeat, you said God couldn't be a poodle because poodles are material and mortal, which God isn't. I replied by noting that in this respect, Jesus was a bit like poodles, so by your lights the Holy Trinity was false. You went quiet. We all tittered.]

xyz said...

Hugh,

Either you are being deliberately obtuse or you are a lot less intelligent than you think you are.

You continue to maintain that I am seeking to prove the existence of God. I'm not. I'm saying a belief in God is not incompatible with a scientific world view. Therefore the 'yawning gap' is one I'm simply not looking to fill. How clever a debater are you if the arguments you try to knock down aren't even ones that have been made by your opponent?

Yes, I am stating the obvious! Your poodle-based definition is not meaningful because it conflicts with my definition of God. You said 'I believe ALL YOU BELIEVE about God, but in addition I believe He is a poodle.' (my emphasis). You were therefore quite explicit in your acceptance of MY definition of God. I have pointed out the absurdity of your statement and now you're telling me I'm stating the obvious. Am I allowed to titter?

Hugh said...

Are you going to deal with my points or just wave your hands?

Anonymous said...

Hugh book yourself onto an Alpha course. This isn't the forum for an online cathecism.

The points you make are reductive and show little understanding of the premises upon which theology is based.

It's like trying to discuss the function of the market with someone who disputes or doesn't understand concepts of supply and demand.

Having said that God doesn't have to be complex.
God is love, care, kindness, generosity, he is the father, the son, the holy spirit, follow those prinicples and you'll not be far from Him.

love detective said...

"Either you are being deliberately obtuse or you are a lot less intelligent than you think you are. "

the latter

love detective said...

personally i'd trump both the try hard's who have been arguing against each other in this thread, and agree with the poster who said that no one has taken anyone apart on this thread

both parties have displayed a vulgar understanding of the situation and indeed shows the intellectual deficit we face in both the pro xian and the low rent dawkins lite atheist counter as exemplified by tits like hugh

have a look at kant's 'religion within the limits of reason alone' for an idea of some critical enagament with the topic - not that i'd expect xyz or hugh to be able to muster up the ability to do so

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