Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican Priest 
Thursday, 10 June, 2010, 07:15 AM - Sport, Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Has anyone mentioned the World Cup yet?

Yes, it's (nearly) time. It's finally (nearly) arrived. The moment we've all been waiting for is finally (nearly) here. After four years since England last didn't win the World Cup, it's finally (nearly) time for essentially the same players to have another go.

But what of South Africa? Yes Nelson Mandela got released, yes they dismantled apartheid, but all that pales into insignificance, this is THE WORLD CUP!!! It's just so, so, so.... it's THE WORLD CUP!!! And ENGLAND'S playing in it!

Of course Jesus Christ was a big England fan. It says so in Mark's Gospel, "The Kingdom of God is (nearly) here." What else can that mean other than that England will win the 2010 World Cup? There were doubters in Jesus' time. There are doubters even today, but it says it in the Old Testament too:

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

"a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

"a time for England to win the World Cup and that'll be in 2010 CE."

Ohmygawd, I can hardly contain my excitement. It's the World Cup - THE WORLD CUP. IT'S THE WORLD CUP!!!! Oh, oh, oh, oh...

11 comments ( 1075 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 288 )

Akhandadhi Das, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian 
Wednesday, 9 June, 2010, 07:18 AM - Invisible magic stuff, Science, Akhandadhi Das
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

20 million of lottery money is being used to set up a new voluntary organisation in Wales. It will attempt to combat loneliness among the elderly. As Mother Theresa said "Loneliness can be a terrible form of suffering, but then suffering's really good for you!"

But why do people feel lonely? Can it be because we evolved as social creatures who rely on interaction with other human beings to define part of our identity? Could it be that we instinctively seek out companionship because humans have always lived in groups? Does the added security and wide diversity within groups provide humans with a strong competitive advantage? Even if there is any evidence to support this theory, and I don't know because I couldn't be bothered to look, it would only be a scientific explanation. Understanding something in scientific terms diminishes it, makes it less real, valueless, silly and just completely rubbish and horrible. Therefore the only possible alternative explanation, the Hindu one, must be correct.

Unlike the unsatisfactory and just plain stupid scientific theory, there's just loads of evidence that our desire for company is based on our invisible magic bits. Your invisible magic bit has existed for all eternity even though you don't remember any of it. It was created by the Invisible Magic Friend (obviously not at any particular point in time, because then it wouldn't be eternal, but nevertheless "created" in a sort of mystical, woo-woo, non-temporal fashion by non-temporally saying "let there be invisible magic stuff that'll just hang around not really doing anything for a few billion years" ). As you can see, this is a much more sensible and intellectually fulfilling, spiritual, explanation of why humans seek the company of others.

As with all other problems, the solution to loneliness among the elderly is meditation. This needn't be a lonely activity since you can meditate with others, singing and chanting. For full effect, the singing and chanting is best done in a language you don't understand. This'll really get you in touch with your invisible magic bit.

A Bangladeshi poet said something very wise about this, so I must be right.

17 comments ( 1256 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 290 )

Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral 
Tuesday, 8 June, 2010, 07:17 AM - Materialism, Money, Fraser
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Many of you will know the famous tune:


But no, this is not my rendition of Copland's Appalachian Spring or indeed of any recognisable tune known to man. This was originally a tune written by religious folk with the opening line, "It's just great to be poor."

David Cameron has promised us all lots of lovely poverty and I think that's just fantastic. There's going to be job losses, evictions, marriage break ups, longer waiting lists, larger class sizes. It's going to be back to the good times for those of us in the suffering and poverty industry. You see you've all become too materialistic, buying loads of stuff that you don't need, thinking that consumption buys happiness, maxing out on multiple credit cards, purchasing banks. It's a common mistake among Radio 4 listeners with their fast cars and their new phones and all the latest digital gadgets, who have no regard for the finer things in life. And has it made you happy? As a Reverend Dr Canon Chancellor, let me just tell you, no it hasn't.

Less stuff means less things to do and that means you will have more time to be spiritual. You'll have more time to explore the simple pleasures of life, like talking to the Invisible Magic Friend. And with all that extra money burning holes in your pockets you'll be able to devote more of it to something genuinely useful, like church for example.

Although there are many, many undoubted benefits to you becoming poorer, and thus more spiritual, we don't won't you to become too poor. We wouldn't want you to become so poor that you became dependent on church handouts for example or couldn't afford to contribute to the great work of the church. We need to keep your spare money for important things, like the upkeep of our many historic buildings, the hard working clergy that inhabit them and their somewhat underfunded pension fund.

So please, take this opportunity to become a little poorer but not very poor.

13 comments ( 1018 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 284 )

Right Awful Anne Atkins - Agonising Aunt and Vicar's Wife  
Monday, 7 June, 2010, 07:07 AM - Invisible magic stuff, Life after death, Science, Atkins
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Why, why, why, why, why? I mean why? Why? Whose fault is it? As it says in the Big Book of Magic Stuff, it's all your fault. Why? That is the question, as Shakespeare said. Or alternatively, as Coleridge said, The motive-hunting of motiveless Malignity. Or alternatively, as just about everyone asks, why?

People don't ask why good things happen, only why bad things happen. This proves that everyone understands that the Invisible Magic Friend made all the good things but is not responsible for any of the bad things, even the ones he inflicted on Job as part of a bet with the Invisible Magic Baddy. But don't take my word for it, or even Shakespeare and Coleridge's (which I'm able to quote thanks to my excellent classical education). Proper physicists like my brother also think the universe has laws because the Invisible Magic Friend made it that way (did I mention that my brother was a physicist?).

I believe that when we die we go to heaven (obviously all friends of mine do). Shakespeare, Coleridge and all proper physicists all agree that I'm right, so it must be true.

11 comments ( 1153 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 250 )

Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet 
Saturday, 5 June, 2010, 07:20 AM - Materialism, Pepinster
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Happy nearly World Cup everyone! Pubs and clubs all over London, and possibly some other parts of England, are getting ready to welcome hundreds of fans to share in the communal atmosphere of England surging to glory and another historic victory.

This urge to be part of a community (which you will know from a certain Rev Canon Dr does not exist) shows that we are not all selfish materialists. This is a truth that is often repeated on TFTD. Just go to a certain blog, click on "Categories" and select "Materialism". You won't get any entries at all!

So now that we know that people want to be together, why is it that they don't want to be together in Christian Churches? Could it be that people think it's boring and a lot of bollocks? Surely not! There must be some other, deep, as yet undiscovered reason for this lack of enthusiasm for church, this malaise that effects our once proud Christian land.

The Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral has written to those who attend his church, complaining about them not going to church enough.

"Can't people see how much fun it is to come to church? Why would anyone not wish to hear my wise and entertaining sermons? You've seen how good TFTD is, you could have even more of that!

"I'm fed up with people saying they're 'spiritual but not religious'. Nonsense, you can't possibly be spiritual without coming to hear me on a Sunday morning. It's pure selfishness, not putting money in my collection tin. Anyone would think I am completely useless, have nothing to contribute and was not worth the salary that I'm paid. I mean just how wrong can you get?"

Isn't the indiscriminate massacre of people in Cumbria just terrible? Why not come to a Christian church, perhaps make a few pounds donation, buy a candle or two?

4 comments ( 991 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 249 )

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, Baron Aldgate  
Friday, 4 June, 2010, 07:05 AM - Science, Sacks
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Isn't the indiscriminate massacre of people in Cumbria just terrible?

How? How could this happen? How could someone, that friends describe as a "nice bloke" just snap like that? Well, let me explain. You see, long ago, a bunch of so called intellectuals (often humanist and secular and ugly - not at all the sort of people you'd like to spend the night with) had something called "the Enlightenment". They thought that thinking rationally was a good thing and that everyone should give it a try. But now we know differently. Neuro-scientists, whose efforts clearly owe nothing to Enlightenment thought and whose discoveries I will now use to lend authority to what I say, tell us that there are different bits of the brain.

The bit that's emotional reacts faster than the bit that's rational. There's a very good reason for this, and it's nothing to do with the emotional bit evolving earlier and needing to react quickly to perceived threats, it's because the Invisible Magic Friend made us that way. A really good Jewish prophet prophesied that people would snap and go on a murderous rampage just like Derrick Bird did. So you see, science has now proved what my religion predicted millennia ago. This just goes to show how brilliant religion is and what a load of rubbish the Enlightenment and all its scientific thinking was.

So, now that you know how really, really useful religion is and what a load of rubbish secular, rational enlightenment thinking is, let's turn our thoughts to the poor people of Cumbria.

16 comments ( 1259 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 276 )

Rev Canon Dr Alan Billings, an Anglican priest  
Thursday, 3 June, 2010, 07:22 AM - Billings
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Isn't the indiscriminate massacre of people in Cumbria just terrible? And so soon after other terrible things too? Fortunately the people of Cumbria have two things that can help: community and Faith. "Community" is a wishy-washy, indefinable, not very useful thing. It's the kind of word that frauds and charlatans and people with nothing really useful to say use. In fact, when I said it could help, I was in fact lying.

Faith, on the other hand is totally different. Faith is actually useful, unlike "community" which is just a lot of airy-fairy useless nonsense. Far be it from me to use the grief and tragedy of dozens of people to push my own beliefs but this is precisely the sort of time that Christianity is really, really useful. You'll find us all over the county right now, chasing ambulances, lighting candles, offering to bury people. Christianity does of course have a fully consistent and impressively intellectual foundation but now's not the time to go into all that.

All the friends and relatives of victims can take comfort from the undoubted fact that the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend suffered much worse than they did. There, doesn't that make you feel much better?

Community? Bah! Humbug! At such a time of tragedy, let's hear it for Faith! Hip, hip, hooray!

15 comments ( 1667 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 318 )

Dr Indarjit Singh CBE, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations  
Wednesday, 2 June, 2010, 07:47 AM - Lessons of history, War, Singh
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Jassa Singh (no relation) Ramgarhia birthday everyone!

Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was a brave, noble, fair Sikh leader. He fought against the ruthless, bad, evil Mughal Emperors and their dastardly minions, who were from another religion that I'm not going to name but that's not as nice as Sikhism. He also fought against the evil, ruthless, bad Afghan invaders, who were also from a religion that's not as nice as Sikhism.

It was because the people loved the Sikhs that Sikhs rose from being a tiny, persecuted but good minority, to eventually becoming sovereign rulers of the Punjab. Indeed, even the Afghan warlords admitted that Sikhs were brave, noble and fair and deserved a bit of Afghanistan, until the Taliban took it off them by getting more love from the people than Sikhs got.

As American commanders take charge of British troops (in a move that in no way reflects on British leadership and is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about), Afghan leaders are meeting to discuss how to involve the Taliban (in a move that in no way implies surrender or that we just can't be bothered any more).

Coalition forces need to gain the love of the people the way Sikhs did in Punjab. Otherwise the Taliban will gain the love of the people instead and they'll end up back in charge.

3 comments ( 1057 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 272 )

May Clemmy 
Tuesday, 1 June, 2010, 02:33 PM - Clemmies
There are really only two contenders this month. The first is Rhidian Brook with his truly awful, irritating prose.

The other one can only be, with what must be a very strong contender for Platitude Of The Year 2010, Clifford Longley and his assertion that the Roman Catholic Church really isn't that bad when it comes to its treatment of homosexuals. There are several documented cases of it actually treating homosexuals with a modicum of respect. It's really quite nice to homosexuals if you look carefully. Indeed, it's quite fair to say that the RCC is at the very forefront of seeking to liberalise and equalise gay rights and always has been.

Well done Clifford! Show them how it's done!

2 comments ( 988 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 301 )

Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Tuesday, 1 June, 2010, 07:49 AM - Lessons of history, War, Butler
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Isn't the violence against the Gaza aid convoy just terrible? We don't know exactly what happened yet, but we do know that ten people are dead and many more, including Israeli soldiers are injured.

When is violence acceptable? Some say, only as a last resort. Others say, only as a first resort, before all other diplomatic channels have been explored.

Jesus was a pacifist, or possibly not. It rather depends which bit you read and which policy you would like to justify.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King were definitely both pacifists, just like Jesus, except when he wasn't. Sometimes pacifists deliberately provoke violence, like when Gandhi's supporters volunteered to be clubbed to death by the British Empire to show what uncivilised brutes they were. Maybe that's what the Gaza aid convoy had in mind?

It's enough to make you want to have a small glass of sherry.

6 comments ( 1158 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 221 )

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