Reverend Dr Giles Fraser - Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral 
Friday, 8 January, 2010, 08:22 AM - Science, Fraser
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

I've been enjoying the programmes about the Royal Society this year. One of the founders of the Royal Society, Christopher Wren, believed in the Invisible Magic Friend. Those were the good old days. Scientists may not have wanted to discuss politics or religion at the Royal Society but as this great age of discovery unfolded, it's leading lights, geniuses like Wren, were all believers.

Geniuses like Wren, who built St. Paul's Cathedral, of which I just happen to be Canon Chancellor, appreciated that the new Christianity, true Christianity, my Christianity, was united with them in casting aside dogma and questioning absolutely everything (everything except parthenogenesis, resurrection from the dead, the need to be saved and the apostolic succession of course). This was a new church that had swept away all the dusty old dogma and superstition of the past, looked out into the universe in wonder and amazement and then hurried back into church for a quick prayer.

Today, when we no longer have geniuses like Wren around, the relationship between science and religion is again becoming strained. Certain well known but rather mediocre scientists, who shall remain nameless but who certainly aren't geniuses like Wren, insist on shrilly pointing out that religion has nothing to back up its claims. I'd like to make a special plea today to people like you-know-who to just shut up and stop being mean to us. It's all so unnecessary. Religion has so much to say, so much to add, so much to contribute about... about... er... well, lots of things. I mean we come on here every day don't we? And nobody could accuse us of being dull, repetitive, contradictory, vapid or vacuous.

Let's not return to the time of Galileo when the scientific method just happened to be right. I mean it's not as if the modern church goes around interfering in matters beyond its competence, is it?

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Congratulations to Rev Canon Dr Alan Billings 
Friday, 8 January, 2010, 04:40 AM - Democracy, Environment, Money, Not TFTD, Billings
I would just like to offer my warmest congratulations to my fellow Rev Dr, Canon Alan Billings. Canon Dr Rev Billings has just been appointed as one of the Communities Secretary John Denham's faith advisors, where he will be advising on the big issues facing society such as the economy, parenting, achieving social justice and tackling climate change. It's clearly important that, on the big issues facing society such as the economy, parenting, achieving social justice and tackling climate change, we hear from as many faith leaders as possible. It's only by listening to different views from their Invisible Magic Friend that we can hope to tackle the big issues facing society such as the economy, parenting, achieving social justice and tackling climate change

Dr Canon Rev Billings is the former director of the Centre for Ethics and Religion at the University of Lancaster and is a well known expert on the economy, parenting, achieving social justice and tackling climate change.

With the likes of Rev Canon Dr Alan Billings advising the government of our green and pleasant land, we can be assured that our country is in good hands. It's advisers like him that have made Britain what it is today. What could possibly go wrong?
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Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican priest  
Thursday, 7 January, 2010, 08:24 AM - Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

You may have noticed some snow recently. This just goes to show that the Invisible Magic Friend likes to provide a variety of weather. He particularly likes to provide a lot of weather in Britain, which gets a great deal of weather indeed. The Venerable Bede said in the 8th century that Britain got a great deal of weather even then. So it seems that we've been having a great deal of weather for some time now.

What does Christianity have to say about snow? Well the bible tells us, in several places, that snow is white. In Kings it says that snow is white. This is confirmed in Psalms, in Isaiah, in Daniel, in Mathew and in Revelation. Indeed, this would appear to be one of those rare instances where all mentions in the bible seem to agree, namely that snow is indeed white. One of the things I myself have noticed about snow is that it is generally of a white disposition, confirming once again the reliability and usefulness of holy scripture.

But it isn't just the Bible and the Venerable Bede who mentioned snow. A poet mentioned snow as well. Robert Bridge's poem London Snow makes considerable reference to snow. He says it falls at night and covers everything. It covers roads and roofs and railings and trees and St. Paul's Cathedral. He too is in agreement that snow is white.

I will now end on a line of great mystical significance, that will leave you to ponder if there may not be some hidden meaning, some profound metaphor that goes beyond frozen precipitation, that fair invigorates the mind with most wondrous imaginings, for the snow does fall on all, "making unevenness even".

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Reverend Roy Jenkins, a Baptist minister 
Wednesday, 6 January, 2010, 08:16 AM - Humility, Jenkins
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Happy feast of Epiphany everyone! The true meaning of Epiphany is that it's all about humility. You all need to be a bit more humble. I'm going to be humble now by showing that I don't know all the answers. We don't know where the wise men came from or even if there were three of them, but they most definitely, definitely came and were certainly very wise indeed and I say that in all humility.

The three wise men were astrologers. That's not the kind of astrologers that you get in tabloid newspapers - that would be silly, no they were the kind of astrologers that studied the heavens. Being so very wise, the three wise men definitely followed a star in the sky. Rather than take them round in a circle as you might expect, it led them to where the baby Jesus, who just definitely happens to definitely be the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, was definitely being born.

What, you might be wondering, is the relevance of all this to today's news? We're at the start of several months of electioneering, where one of three wise men will be elected to run the country. They need a bit of humility too, like me. They need to be wise, like the three wise men were. They should do this, not by consulting widely, acting carefully and weighing up the needs of the country as a whole, but by studying the stars, kneeling before Jesus the prince of the universe and asking him what to do.

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Reverend Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral  
Tuesday, 5 January, 2010, 08:03 AM - Materialism, Money, Winkett
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Children are to be taught all about money and debt. In the high spending, high credit, high debt world of modern Canon Precentors, I can understand the need. If we're to create a future generation of responsible, solvent Canon Precentors, then it's vital that we teach them good money management at the earliest possible age.

But there is a serious problem with modern money management. Too many of today's transactions are performed by computer, online or by plastic. We no longer get the warm loving touch of feeling a ten pound note, with it's ruddy brown colour and delicate silvery security strip. Fewer and fewer people are taking their twenty pound notes out of their bank accounts to caress them gently, to flick a large pile of cash through their fingers and think "this is mine". This lack of tactile experience with hard dosh is making us forget about the dangers of love of money.

So why not withdraw large dollops of dough from the bank so that you can remember just what it's like to love money and just how sinful that can be.


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December 2009 Clemmie 
Monday, 4 January, 2010, 09:52 AM - Clemmies
The final Clemmie of 2009 goes to Rev Roy Jenkins. Well done Rev Roy and good luck to you in the New Year - may you win many, many more platitude polls in 2010.

And now, to summarise the whole of December, the true meaning of Christmas is:

It's about won't someone please, please, think of the children
It's about watching out for demons tempting you
It's about not enjoying yourself
It's about sport
I told you before, it's about not enjoying yourself
It's all about justice
It's best to make the right decisions
You've been saved
Christ is born

It's about any random thought that flies through a vicar's head.
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Rabbi Lionel Blue 
Monday, 4 January, 2010, 08:47 AM - Rabbi Lionel Blue
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a Hopeful New Year to you all. Well it's been a miserable 2009 and 2010 doesn't look much better, but I got some nice woolly socks for Christmas. The best gifts aren't these wonderful material goods though, they're the things that come from the the Invisible Magic Friend.

I didn't find that Marxism or Zionism made me happy. It's difficult to find joy in a political philosophy. However, sitting in empty chapels I'd talk to the Invisible Magic Friend and, after a while, he'd begin to talk back.

"Hello, Invisible Magic Friend," I'd say.
"HELLO LIONEL," He'd say in return.

Then I started to like people and I started collecting jokes because jokes are no joking matter. So here are two jokes from Rabbi Lionel's big book of funny stories.

A flasher opens his coat wide in front of a Jewish woman who looks down at what he has to show.
"You call that a lining?" she says.
So if your idea of sex is exposing yourself to women, at least make sure you have a well tailored overcoat.

Then there's the tail of the Artic ice melting and Golders Green is under water. Standing before the Ark the rabbi says to God.
"It's going to be difficult living under water."

Well that's enough fun and frolics for one day. Just remember the Holocaust - there's always hope.

Time for bed. Good night Justin, good night Evan, good night Invisible Magic Friend.


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A reminder to all 
Sunday, 3 January, 2010, 07:31 AM - Not TFTD
Just a quick reminder to everyone, under no circumstances whatsoever should the cartoon below appear on any of your social networking pages or blogs. It gives the impression that Islam drives some people to become fanatical, violent and intolerant, and it makes some Muslims very unhappy. We all know that in real Islam, proper Islam, which is after all the Religion of Peace, Jihad is about an inner spiritual journey. Islam didn't spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Asia by attacking it's neighbours (anyone who says this is clearly ignorant of history). Islam spread because of its internal beauty, consistency and logic. No one, anywhere on Earth, is forced to be a Muslim because, as everyone knows, there is no compulsion in religion. Even today, where Islam lives in peaceful coexistence with its Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist neighbours throughout the world, Islam is admired by all.

So in the interests of respect, human rights and freedom of speech, I implore you all not to show this cartoon or give it any publicity.

Or else...
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Farhan Nizami CBE, Prince of Wales Fellow in the study of the Islamic World, Director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.  
Saturday, 2 January, 2010, 08:34 AM - Environment, Materialism
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Happy new decade everyone! It's a time to look at the world afresh, to resolve to make changes, to make life better. We approach the new decade with hope and gladness in our hearts, full of optimism and joy, looking forward to the Spring and Summer of a new life.

Except, we all know that this enthusiasm will soon dissipate. As we're locked into the daily grind once more, our good intentions will waver and finally fail. The cost is simply too high. And when I say "we", I do of course mean "you". You're all so predictable and depressing. Oh gawwwd I'm so depressed. Except we muslims aren't allowed to be depressed, but if we were allowed then I would be. Nothing ever changes, it all just keeps getting worse and worse. Don't you just find the whole thing, life, so utterly pointless? Everything's just so miserable and unremittingly awful.

Look at Copenhagen, while we Muslims tried desperately to take the long term view and save the planet, you lot couldn't think beyond the next change in fashion or the next upgrade to your iPhone. You just don't get that sort of narrow, self interested, short termism in Islam.

A couple of weeks ago we had the real new year, the anniversary of the flight of The One And Only Prophet from Mecca to Medina. Now there's a proper piece of long term thinking. You don't get to found a major new world religion by being self centered and getting everyone to do what you want them to do. You can't deny that starting Islam changed the world. Just imagine what the world might be like if that hadn't happened.

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AND NOW!!! (Fanfare and drumroll...) The final nominations for the...  
Friday, 1 January, 2010, 09:33 AM - Clemmies, TFTD
Platitude of the Year Award 2009

TA! DA!!!

The award will take place at a star studded, glittering ceremony, as part of the Secularist of the Year 2010 event.

There have been over 300 TFTDs in 2009. As you might imagine, competition for this prestigious and much sought after prize has been stiff. Nominating a select handful has been no easy task, but after much thought and deliberation the Holy Spirit has inspired me to choose the following candidates.

Akhandadhi Das for showing that the work of the primatologist Frans de Waal proves that Hinduism is the correct religion.

Lord Jonathon Sacks for explaining that the Invisible Magic Friend allows suffering in the world so that we can feel sorry for the victims.

Anne Atkins who revealed that there is more historical evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar.

Anne Atkins for pointing out that people who believe in UFOs are a bunch of loonies.

Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad for the example of conspiracy theorists, which shows that some people will believe any old rubbish.

Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson for the work of Galileo and how it demonstrates the lack of conflict between science and religion.

Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson for his thesis that lack of proof of God's existence is exactly what you would expect, thus proving that he does in fact exist.

Reverend Canon Doctor Alan Billings for showing that the war in Afghanistan is a just war. It is a just war because the enemy are a bunch of religious nutters.

Reverend Canon Doctor Alan Billings for giving us moral comfort in bombing the hell out of Afghanistan, because it is sanctioned by people in authority, moral people, like politicians.

Right Rev James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons for revealing how it was religion that solved the problems of Northern Ireland.

All of the above candidates are now invited to purchase tickets for the Secularist of the Year gala dinner. There is a real prize (paid for by a member of my congregation, Roger Scotford - thank you Roger). I'm not going to reveal what the prize is but it is genuinely worth winning.

I will be attending the ceremony myself, dressed in appropriate garb for a Rev Dr. After a short sermon, I will present the prize to the most platitudinous person of 2009. In the unlikely event that the winner doesn't turn up, the prize will go to the NSS to be sold or raffled at their discretion.

Even I don't know who the winner is yet, but I am willing to be further moved by the Spirit should He choose to add any comments below in favour of one candidate or another.

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