Deontology is what happens when you stop being a Catholic and think morality comes from a book of rules. Catholics' very limited set of rules, based on the catechism, centuries of canon law and the pope being infallible, is why Catholicism is so flexible on changing ethical perceptions.
MPs have mostly stopped being Catholics. That is why they don't understand that being allowed to fiddle your expenses is not the same as actually doing it. You would understand this if you had read Plato, Aristotle, the Old Testament, the New Testament and Thomas Aquinas, but as you probably haven't read Plato, Aristotle, the Old Testament, the New Testament and Thomas Aquinas, you probably haven't realised that just because something is allowed doesn't mean you can do it.
Ever since people stopped being Catholic it has become very unfashionable to talk about virtue, but virtue ethics is making a comeback. In his famous book After Virtue, the famous philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre argued that it's about time virtue ethics made a comeback. He did this after reading Plato, Aristotle, the Old Testament, the New Testament and Thomas Aquinas.
If you want to become a good, moral, person, like Catholics, then all you have to do is practise. However, this presupposes that you have some moral character in the first place. It presupposes that some external agent has imposed our morality upon us, because it's quite impossible that it evolved naturally as it did in all other social animals. And this is my clinching argument. The only other possible source for our morality is my Invisible Magic Friend. This is the kind of incisive, conclusive argument that comes from a life of reading Plato, Aristotle, the Old Testament, the New Testament and Thomas Aquinas.
Monday, 8 February, 2010, 06:47 AM - Not TFTDRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
As Britain's first Sikh judge, I'd like to speak out in favour of Sikhs wearing their ceremonial bangles to school. You see, Sikhs are special and should not be bound by the same rules and laws as ordinary people. You should change your regulations, where appropriate, to do things our way, for ours is the only true, right way. This principle was acknowledged when Sikhs were permitted to wear turbans as part of their police uniform. It is now accepted that being a Sikh constitutes a valid exception to any restriction, regardless of the grounds on which it was devised.
Similarly, although we fully understand and appreciate the reasons for banning knives in schools, such trifling considerations should not apply to us. As everyone knows, Sikhs are religious people and religious people know right from wrong. We're better than the rest of you and can be trusted to carry our knives, which are after all religious knives, without threat to anyone else. Banning our knives is very wrong of you. This is probably due to your lack of education and failure to realise that your rules do not apply to Sikhs. Has no one explained to you that a Sikh will drop dead of an incurable illness if not allowed to carry our traditional weapons?
Unlike so many other, wrong, religions, Sikhism is a religion that doesn't burden itself with unnecessary symbolic clutter. You are not required to accommodate the bizarre traditions of all those other religions, just ours.
Brian here, in Southampton, an associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity where we envision and equip Christians, and the leaders, churches and organisations that serve them, with the biblical framework, practical resources and models to engage biblically, relevantly and vigorously with the issues they face in today’s world. Hi.
Gerry Adams is a transcendent inspirational leader. MPs are not transcendent inspirational leaders. The England football captain is also not a transcendent inspirational leader.
Clint Eastwood, a transcendent inspirational actor and director, has got a new film out: Invictus. This tells the story of a transcendent inspirational sporting captain: François Pienaar. He was inspired by the second most transcendent inspirational leader of them all: Nelson Mandela.
The most transcendent inspirational leader of them all was of course Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend. He brought the good news, "I've arrived, I've arrived! I'm finally here. Everything's just gonna be hunky-dory from now on." And everything has indeed been hunky-dory from then on.
You all thought you could continue with infinite consumption. You maxed out on credit cards, car loans and huge mortgages on dream homes. You stopped going to church and went to Homebase instead, ignoring the commandment to keep the Sabbath. You thought the market and materialism was all there was to life. You'd forgotten about the really important things in life: family, friends, religion. Typical Radio 4 listeners.
Well now you're stuck aren't you? Overloaded with debt, unemployed, struggling on benefits. I don't like to say I told you so, but I did tell you so. Over and over and over again I warned you about the false god of unrestrained materialism, but you didn't pay any attention to me. As a Rev Canon Dr and an Anglican priest, let me just assure you that I'm doing alright in the recession. Vicars are never unemployed, which just goes to show the benefits of all those spiritual values of mine. I even got a new car out of the car scrappage scheme, thus ensuring gainful employment for car makers in Germany.
And Bankers? Don't talk to me about bankers. They should run their businesses the way Jesus would. He said to give loans to small businesses and then not ask for the money back. That's the way to run a bank.
Friday, 5 February, 2010, 07:41 AMA Number 10 petition:
It's the end of civilisation as we know it. America can no longer afford to return to the moon. The money is needed to sustain bankers' bonuses instead. Nobody can afford to go to the moon any longer (except China).
When the Roman Empire fell 1600 years ago, it was Christianity that held Europe together, thus giving the world music, architecture, literature, religion, philosophy, politics and science, that would otherwise have been lost everywhere (except China). All civilisations eventually fall (except China), so the West must eventually fall too. Saint Augustine the Hippo, who was living in Algeria, which together with modern day Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Croatia, was one of the few remaining remnants of that shattered empire, knew that all civilisations eventually fall (except China).
"All civilisations fall," he said (except China). But never fear, not all things are as transient and fleeting as human civilisation (except China). The Kingdom of the Invisible Magic Friend (everyone knows that the only proper form of government is an absolute monarchy) will last even longer than China and all you have to do to get in is believe in it. Yes, that's it! Just click your heels three times and say "I believe Invisible Magic Friend, I believe!" This is called being knowledgeable and wise.
Of course, if you don't believe what I'm telling you, if you don't have faith that the Kingdom of the Invisible Magic Friend will last longer than China, then that makes you a rotter, an atheist, probably some sort of communist sympathiser and you'll have to go to the other place.
Terry Pratchett's Dimbleby lecture sets out a reasoned and articulate case for assisted dying. He is of course wrong.
Many people assume that just because religious texts go on and on and on about how the body is a temple holding your invisible magic bit and it is immensely sinful and evil and wrong to kill yourself, that this somehow puts us at odds with the case for assisted dying. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many sages and saints have prepared for death by starving themselves and have thus departed this world in an agonisingly spiritual way. This is not sinful and evil and wrong because they are not using western medicines to alleviate pain or hasten the process of death. They have simply decided not to go on living, which is a different thing entirely.
Wednesday, 3 February, 2010, 07:22 AM - Not TFTDMajor kudos to this guy:
I haven't laughed so much since the Coldstream Guards accidentally played the Emperor's Theme for the state visit of the King of Saudi Arabia.
Tuesday, 2 February, 2010, 09:32 AM - ClemmiesIt's been a bumper month for platitudinousness. I really can't express how delighted I've been by the efforts of our presenters in starting off the year in such fine form. It all bodes very well for the months ahead. I offer my heartiest congratulations to the BBC's Holy Department of Religion and More Religion and trust that these very high standards will now be maintained.
Rev Dr Dr Joel Edwards put in a strong showing by pointing out that only fools think religious division causes fear, hatred, suspicion and inter-religious warfare.
Rev Dr Giles Fraser, in one of his many outstanding contributions this month, told us that people don't want a merciful God. Mercy is for wimps. They want a vengeful, pitiless God that'll smite sinners properly.
In his second nominated entry this month, Rev Dr Giles Fraser castigated people who think rationally. Thinking rationally in circumstances such as the Haiti earthquake, is in such bad taste.
Dom Antony Sutch also gave us his thoughts on sin and evil and natural disaster and evil and sin.
There have been so many other high scorers this month that I won't list them all, but special mentions go to Rev Dr Giles Fraser (yet again!) for his thought that all the best scientists were Christians, Catherine Pepinster for telling us that human altruism must come from God because we're all so nice, Clifford Longley for reminding us how liberal the Catholic Church is about sex, and Brian Draper, for pointing out that a fall in the crime statistics is exactly what you would expect from humanity being saved.
And many, many more, but even among these many fine contributions, the runaway winner this month, with a thought that delicately combined the most superb platitudinousness with intricate threads of being alternatively insulting and patronising goes to Rev Angela Tilby for suggesting that people don't vote because they don't go to church any more and have consequently become immoral and selfish and don't care about justice and stuff like we Christians do.
Very well done indeed Rev Angela.
Happy Candlemash day everyone! (Hic!) 'Sh time o' hope 'nd joy 'n shtuff. I mean Jeshush (hic!) Jeshush shacrificed himshelf to make the world a better place 'n jusht look (hic!), jusht look how mush better 'tis. And it'sh Groundhog Day too, when liddle critters do shum weather forecashting.
Now I know what you're all (hic!) all thinking. You're thinking, "that global warming shtuff's a load a rubbish", that'sh what your (hic!) thinking, what wiv glashiers not meltin and ush getting all shnowed in. But no. No, no, no, no (hic!) no. You've got to shacrifise like Jeshush did. Don't throw out all the cuddly toysh 'cause 've Climategate.
I'm gonna keep on shacrifishing 'fings (hic!). I'm the Bishop of Shufrock. It'sh what I do.