Rabbi Lionel Blue 
Monday, 27 February, 2012, 08:54 AM - Be nice, Science, Rabbi Lionel Blue
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Good morning Justin, good morning John and good morning to you all.

I am a poor old man. My sight is poor, my legs are old and bent. The fresh faced youngsters at my college tell me science is the only tested form of knowledge. So I've read the popular science books by Dawkins and Hawking and watched every TV programme with Brian Cox in it.

My eyes are dim, I cannot see and all this science was very interesting but it didn't help me with my bus pass application. It told me about the what and the how but not the why? What's it all for? Why are we here? Why am I telling you this? Why are you listening to me telling you this? Why am I asking you why you are listening to me telling you this? It's very important that there be some external reference to define why, otherwise we might just make up our own why and think how terrible that would be.

I am just a poor old man. My legs are grey, my ears are nulled, my eyes are old, and bent. That's why Jewish mysticism helps. In the beginning there was Nothing. It likes to spell itself with a capital N due to it being the only nothing around at the time. Then, out of nothing, came the spark of divine thingness, which explains how we came about and why.

My legs are old and bend, my ears are grizzled. Jewish mysticism may be a myth but it's a true myth and is much more useful when filling in my bus pass application. And so we see that helping the poor, spreading laughter and just generally being nice puts Humpty Dumpty together again.

I'm just a poor old man, my eyes are poor, my nose is knackered.

Listen/Read
10 comments ( 816 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 173 )

Equality Law Extended to cover Ku Klux Klan 
Monday, 27 February, 2012, 05:37 AM - Christian persecution, Not TFTD
A cross party committee of Ku Klux Klan parliamentarians has demanded that equality legislation be extended to cover the KKK.

"In recent years there have been a long string of cases where the beliefs and wishes of KKK people have been relegated below the rights of certain other groups," said Baroness "Stonewall" Jackson. "We believe it is high time the balance was redressed and that employers are required to make reasonable accommodation for ordinary KKK members. After all, they do it for disabled people, we think we should be treated as disabled too."

The move follows reports of a British Airlines check-in desk attendant who was sacked for wearing a large pointy white hat while on duty.

"It's an utter disgrace," said the utterly disgruntled ex-employee. "Sikhs and Muslims are allowed exceptions from the uniform rules but as soon as an indigenous white racist asks for the same treatment, equality goes out the window. It's blatant double standards. We're loosing what it means to be British."

Similar stories of bias against the KKK have come from other parts of the country. A council in the north of England transferred one of it's drivers from delivery duties simply because of KKK symbols in his van.

"I've never had any problems," said the van driver. "I've had this very discreet golliwog hanging from a noose on my rear view mirror for years. The only people who complained were those who are prejudiced against the KKK. It just seems that no one cares about our rights any more."

One of the most famous cases of KKK beliefs being marginalised, was the Hackney registrar, Robert E. Lee, who refused to marry black people.

"I'm not bigoted," said Mr. Lee, "but it's against my deepest and most sincerely held beliefs to assist in the procreation of inferior races. The council could easily have accommodated my beliefs. They could have adjusted the rota so that I only had to preside over white weddings. Doctors get a conscience clause to opt out of abortions, this is no different."

There is a growing feeling among extreme right wing, hate campaigners that they are being persecuted for their beliefs. The owners of a Devon guest house, who turned away a black couple, have had their rights repeatedly undermined by the courts. As a result, many feel that they cannot even be loyal KKK members in the privacy of their own homes.

"Judges, council officials and managers just don't seem to understand Ku Klux Klan feelings on a whole range of issues," said Baroness Jackson. "There should be no hierarchy of rights. Those who hold to traditional beliefs deserve the same respect as inferior people."

Comparisons with Christians demanding similar exceptional treatment and the right to openly discriminate against gay people were denied by the former Archbigot of Canterbury, Lord Notcarey.

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Rev Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest 
Saturday, 25 February, 2012, 08:26 AM - Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

You will soon be able to buy the Sun on Sunday. The Sun is a newspaper. No, honestly, it is. So now you'll be able to read page three, seven days a week, including Sunday.

Noam Chomsky was seriously cynical about newspapers. As he famously remarked, "I was reading the Sun newspaper and I just had to ask, WOW! just take a look at today's page three!"

Newspapers like The Sun are now facing serious challenges from the internet and especially from social media. Page three must now compete with more diverse news stories such as, "Eric from Clapton is currently washing his car, although he may be reading page three".

The Middle Earth word, οβιτνευσιον or hobbitnewsion, was first used by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has a variety of translations but one of its more literal forms can be read as "hobbit news". This was the interpretation that J.R.R. Tolkien and some of the first film makers intended. So we see that news is not new and there has in fact been news for a very long time.

The launch of the Sun on Sunday, reminds us of the great tradition of war correspondents, who risk and often give their lives in places such as Syria and other trouble spots around the world.

With the internet, the Sun on Sunday, Lord of the Rings and the Big Book of Magic Stuff, it has never been more important to distinguish what is real from what is just utter fantasy.

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3 comments ( 542 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 154 )

Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Friday, 24 February, 2012, 08:39 AM - Old age, Butler
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I think a dignity code for the elderly ish a jolly good idea. (hic!)

Long, long ago, when I wash a young curate, I worked in a parish. No, honeshtly I (hic!) did. Then I went to Africa. Then I came back from Africa. It'sh all very intereshting and exciting really. Anyway, after I'd left my parish to go to Africa (hic!) and then come back from Africa, I vishited the parish that I'd left to go to Africa and then come back from. This shtory isn't really about Africa. I'm only menshinning Africa so that I can tell you I came back from Africa after leaving to go to it. (hic!)

Did I ever tell you the shtory how I vishited an elderly lady in the parish that I'd left to go to Africa and then (hic!) came back from to vishit? No? Well there was thish elderly lady. I wash telling her all about how I'd left to go to Africa (hic!) and had now come back from Africa and how intereshting it all wash. Do you know what she shaid to me? I'll tell you what she shaid to me. She shaid she'd rather watch the (hic!) racing.

Everyone's different you see. It never occurred to me that she'd rather watch the rashing than lishten to me telling her how I'd left to go to Africa and then (hic!) came back from Africa. Each to their own I shuppose?

William Shakespeare shaid their were sheven ages of man, but that'sh rubbish. What did Shakespeare know? The only reason I mention him (hic!) him wash to shay how rubbish he ish. I'm not going to talk about Shakespeare any more. Thish shtory ishn't about Shakespeare any more than it'sh about Africa but if I didn't pad things out with these little irrelevant detailsh it might shound as if I'm not really shaying very much. (hic!)

Hindus got it right. Hindush shay there are four ages of man: stewing, louseholder, rage and ashcerbic, where you throw out all the cuddly toysh. And you know what? I'll tell you what, they're all equally important, espeshially the elderly, retired bit.

And that'sh what Chrishtianity'sh all about. (hic!)

Lishten/Read
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Muslim Attacks Atheist - Judge Blames Atheist 
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 11:36 AM - Not TFTD
I know three posts in one day is pushing it a bit, but I had to point people in the direction of this latest piece of religious idiocy.

An atheist dresses up as Mohammed on a Halloween parade. A Muslim takes offence at this and attacks the atheist. The attack is witnessed by a police officer, the attack is filmed and the attacker admits the offence. The attacker claims he didn't realise it was against the law to assault someone.

It comes before a judge, who just happens to be Muslim. He refuses to admit the video evidence, dismisses the police officer's testimony and then proceeds to lecture the victim on how offensive he's been. The judge points out that in some countries he'd be facing the death penalty for having provoked the attack.

Oh, and he calls the victim some names just to finish things off. The case is then dismissed.

Thankfully this didn't happen in Britain. It happened in Pennsylvania.
8 comments ( 578 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 135 )

Theories about Faster than Light Neutrinos 
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 10:10 AM - Science, Not TFTD
There was a rash of papers offering explanations for the faster than light neutrinos coming from CERN a few months back: variations on relativity, particles tunnelling through extra dimensions, multiple time dimensions, were just a few.

It isn't confirmed, but it looks like the solution to the mystery may have been found. The timing discrepancy was due to... a loose cable.

When they tightened the cable properly, the faster than light neutrinos disappeared.

The nice thing about science is that it fixes its mistakes. Now if this was theology...
7 comments ( 436 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 149 )

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies, Assistant Principal for Religion and Society, New College on the Mound, University of Edinburgh  
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 08:15 AM - Interfaith, Siddiqui
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Racism is bad. It's not as bad now as it used to be. It used to be very bad, now it's just bad.

We all have prejudices. Now that I think about it, even non-white people can have prejudices. There's a tribalism in us that we all have to overcome. This innate tribalism isn't the result of evolution. That's such a silly argument that I'm not even going to mention it. Our tribalism is the result of the Invisible Magic Friend. He decided to make us different colours with different faiths, languages and cultures because he thought history would be more entertaining that way, as we "got to know one another".

I know a Protestant theologian whose daughter is marrying a Hindu. Now I know what you're thinking. How can a good Protestant girl, who quite properly believes in the only true Invisible Magic Friend, marry someone who not only has a different Invisible Magic Friend, but has lots of Invisible Magic Friends? It's unbelievable, isn't it? After the theologian had recovered from the shock and got up off the couch, he decided to permit the marriage on the grounds that his daughter's happiness might be more important.

As a Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies, I find myself troubled and challenged by this bizarre behaviour. Could I allow one of my children to marry someone with the wrong Invisible Magic Friend, or even worse, a Hindu? I'm really not sure. This is the kind of complex and difficult question that shows just how important my Inter-Religious Studies courses are. I might even raise the question at the next inter-faith buffet.

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Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge 
Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 08:17 AM - War, Banner
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Ash Wednesday everyone! Yes, it's that jolly time of year when we all get to spend six wonderful weeks contemplating the suffering of Christ.

But it's not only the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend who suffers, lot's of people suffer. Whether it's war, famine, pestilence or natural disaster, all over the world there are lots of people suffering, just like Christ did. You don't even have to take my word for it, you can get all that suffering transmitted into the comfort of your own home.

Now, with the arrival of Lent, you can join in too. You can do your little bit of suffering to show that you really care. Just by giving up your favourite legally available addictive drug for a few weeks, you can show solidarity with Christ and everyone who suffers as Christ did.

Of course, you won't suffer the way a starving child in sub-Saharan Africa does. They suffer the way Christ did, which you won't, but at least as you forgo your evening glass of wine, you'll be able to say, I have given up my evening glass of wine, I know what it is to suffer.

But aren't we all enjoying all this suffering a bit too much? How many of us rush home from work to see the latest Famine in Ethiopia, or Somalia's got Pirates? I know I am. That's why I'll be giving up something for Lent, to show that I'm not just treating others' pain as a form of entertainment.

Lent is about recognising other people's suffering. It's got nothing to do with me showing how holy I am.

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14 comments ( 626 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 156 )

Iain Duncan Smith 
Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 09:26 AM - Politics, Not TFTD
I wish to comment on some comments by the elite, who seem to think that shelf stacking at Tesco, for about a fifth of the minimum wage, is not a worthy career for an ambitious young person. I will use my own example to inspire those young people who are not too proud to start at the bottom rung of the ladder.

My university education took place in a town with an ancient and distinguished university that awarded degrees. After attending a nearby language college I realised that I had learned all that I needed to learn and saw no need to sit any exams or obtain any formal qualifications.

My working life started out in the Guards, where I served as a humble aide-de-camp to Major-General Sir John Acland. On leaving the guards, I married the daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe and spent some time considering my future career. It was at this point that I joined GEC-Marconi, where various official biographies used to state that I was a director. This turned out to be mis-remembered and my actual position at GEC-Marconi is now not mentioned by anyone, even on the internet.

With successful careers in the army and the defence industry behind me, I thought it appropriate to turn my talents eleswhere. I founded my very own property company which subsequently collapsed, whereupon I found myself once again contemplating where I could next be of service. I decided to serve on the board of Jane’s Information Group, a directorship that was real and not actually mis-remembered at all.

Having had no previous interest in politics, it was at this point that I decided to become a Conservative MP. My wealth of education, talent, experience and connections, was such that I rapidly rose to become leader of the Conservative Party, where I served with distinction before returning to the backbenches again.

My career proves that, provided one is willing to work hard and stick with it, anyone can overcome an underprivileged background and rise to become a government minister. So just ignore what the elite are telling you and don't be too proud to work 40 hours a week for £53.
4 comments ( 825 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 193 )

Rhidian Brook, writer, celebrity and Christian 
Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 08:39 AM - Art, Gibberish, Brook
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I was In Bruges admiring a painting of Jesus when my daughter said, "Oh no, not another painting of Jesus. Didn't they paint anything else then?" I had to smile at the simple boredom of a child. The answer is, no, they didn't.

Anyone who could paint in those days painted who they were told to, and they were told to paint pictures of Jesus: Jesus being born, Jesus being killed and occasionally Jesus doing other things apart from being born or being killed. Of course they were painted in a huge variety of slightly different ways but I have to admit, even I found it all incredibly boring.

Then it hit me. A lot of art and public works were done for money or prestige. How much of it was really done to glorify the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend? The more I looked around In Bruge, the more I came to realise that motives of adoration and praise become confused with motives of self aggrandisement. What an original thought this was. As a celebrity, Christian writer I thought to myself, is it possible that anyone has ever questioned religious motives before?

A retired bishop has got so confused about all of this that he's written in his book that he's confused.

Everyone's favourite earliest Christian author, Saint Paul, famously said that Jesus was the invisible image of the Invisible Magic Friend. Even by Saint Paul's standards that seems obscure. Fortunately it all makes sense when you realise that I haven't actually read the Big Book of Magic Stuff and the few bits that I have read I don't remember very well.

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5 comments ( 727 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 184 )


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