Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 08:37 AMRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
The British government assures us that they have never taken part in torture. Since we have no reason to disbelieve the current British government, it must be true and there is no need to hold an inquiry. Even the man who assured us that Iraq was choc full of WMDs says we never use torture and if we can't believe him then who can we believe?
But what's actually wrong with torture? Who hasn't, from time to time, been tempted to chain someone to the wall of one's dungeon and whip them with one of those nice Roman style whips like they had in The Passion of the Christ? Or, in an idle fantasy, which one of us hasn't dreamed of tying someone to a chair and slowly pulling out their fingernails with pliers or connecting electrodes to their genitals? I know I have. In a particularly pleasant reverie one day, I even recall flaying someone alive with razor blades while listening to a Lehar Operetta.
What actually is the ethical difference between personally inflicting protracted pain and injury on someone and dropping bombs on their villages? They both result in untold human suffering and death. There is in fact a world of difference. When we drop bombs from 30,000 feet we are doing so in a properly authorised, hi tech, civilised fashion. It's supervised by politicians of the very highest integrity whose moral compass we can trust absolutely. Inflicting torture on someone is just giving in to our base, natural urges, where we take such immense pleasure from making another individual suffer. This is something that we Christians simply don't do. If we Christians were to use torture then we'd be just as bad as all those non-Christian terrorists who don't seem to realise that things like waterboarding are just plain wrong. Do we want to be like the Taliban, who blindly follow the deranged rantings of some ancient prophet and think ethics is about scrupulously following an increasingly irrelevant book of rules?
And to the soldiers on the ground whose lives might be saved if we did employ torture? To them I say, fear not, you have our full moral support.
Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, the international director of Micah Challenge
Monday, 10 August, 2009, 08:39 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Justice demands that Ronnie Biggs serves punishment for his crimes, but mercy allows him to go free so that he can die surrounded by his loved ones.
The Invisible Magic Friend is really big on mercy, but He's no softy when it comes to sinners. Adulterers, polycotton shirt wearers, pork eaters and abominations all get what they deserve when the IMF's around: a quick visit to the executioner, followed by eternal damnation in the burning fires of hell. But the great thing about insisting on ruthless death penalties for trivial personal choices is that it offers such vast opportunities for Him to be merciful. Jesus was merciful to the adulteress. "I'm God you know," he said. "I can arbitrarily suspend my own brutal, inflexible, unjust and unreasonable regime of punishment any time I like, so let the adulteress go. You, harlot, go and stop being such a hussy, 'cos I might not be around to be so divinely merciful next time."
As a council member of His Hollowness St. Tony of Bliars' Faith Foundation, with its modest aims of eliminating poverty, ending war, and bringing all religions together in peace and harmony under St. Tony's benevolent leadership, let me just assure you that the Invisible Magic Friend is tough on personal freedom, tough on the causes of personal freedom, but he's a lovely bloke really.
Sunday, 9 August, 2009, 08:21 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Our Creation Museum was visited on Friday by the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), a small group of sad, godless individuals who were curious about our ministry. They did a great deal of mocking. Many of them could be heard, audibly mocking. We spent all day telling them that if they must mock then to do so silently.
One of the mockers, an anonymous, third rate professor from some backwater university, climbed on our famous triceratops photo opportunity. We do of course fervently believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed before The Fall, as the true scientific community unanimously agrees, but we will not have secular scientists mocking us by pointing this out.
As if this riotous behaviour were not sufficient, one young man was spotted wearing the most mocking, disgusting, perverse, mocking, objectionable, mocking and offensive T-shirt possible. It had words on it and those words were... brace yourself... "There is no God". Several of our guests notably wilted at the knees on seeing this. Fearing not the Devil's works, I shielding my eyes, braved permanent faith damage and pounced on the young mocker. With great manly strength, and not a hint of gayness, I ripped the foul article of clothing from his smooth, lightly tanned and perfectly toned young torso, consigned it to a conveniently located incinerator (kept at hand for just such purposes), before accompanying the young man to the toilet. The same young man was later heard indulging in more mocking and to say that he wasn't going to give me any more money. Such provocation stretched my kind, loving, open minded, Christian nature beyond all human tolerance and I had no choice but to ask him to leave the premises.
Unfortunately some of our guests had their visit marred by all the mocking that was going on. One couple were busy explaining to their children that the Big Bang theory (a secular alternative to the Bible) was in fact all lies cooked up by a conspiracy of evil, atheist "scientists" directly employed by Satan and the Federal Government. Right in the middle of this a couple of mockers started audibly mocking again, confusing the children with alternatives, and totally ruining our visitors' biblical indoctrination of their children.
Outside, some of the mockers mocked the Christian sacrament of communion by handing out some bread and cheese. For such depravity they will one day answer to their maker. Everyone knows that Christian communion is a bread and wine party, not cheese and wine.
The mockers seemed to think they could overrun our car park. Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. It was I who allowed them to know the location of the car park. It was quite safe from their pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best parking attendants awaited them. Oh, I'm afraid the car park was quite operational when their friends arrived. Their threat was further diminished as many of the mockers indulged in some very un-American car pooling, doubtless encouraged by lies about global warming.
Many of the mockers attended Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D.'s excellent lecture which proves that Christianity alone is rational and scientific. (You can learn more of this proof in Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D.'s book and DVD pack, available from the AIG bookshop). The mockers were easily spotted due to all the mocking they were doing. As Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D. is a real scientist with a proper doctorate in astrophysics, the mockers were unable to counter his irrefutable arguments and razor sharp logic. Dr. Jason Lisle, with a proper Ph.D. in astrophysics, pointed out that secular atheists have no explanation for the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics, or even the laws of Aristotelian logic. Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D. concluded that, as with all unanswered questions, the only possible explanation is that they were created by the Christian God (and not by any of the other gods, who're just made up) 6,000 years ago to keep the universe neat and tidy and therefore Genesis is true.
We welcome guests who are sceptical about the Christian faith, we just wish they wouldn't be so mocking, laughing at our evidence and confusing our faithful guests. We are glad that we were able to open so many eyes and bring the message of the LORD into their empty, dark hearts.
Saturday, 8 August, 2009, 11:48 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Those of you who don't have both a BBC and a Church of England Pension may be finding business tough in the recession. Indeed if you're not a vicar, you may even find yourself unemployed. You have to make cutbacks. Out goes the foreign holiday, home improvements have to wait, eating at nice restaurants are a thing of the past, but one thing it seems people are not prepared to cut back on are the latest gadgets. Some of my less trendy colleagues may not like social networking sites, but I'm a much more cool and hip sort of Reverend Canon. I'm in there, frantically fingering all my friends texts, getting fashion tips on Facebook and catching up on all the really wicked celebrity gossip. I'm no different from all those kids, alone in their rooms, doing things on the internet.
Human beings like to communicate. You may think this is explained by our evolution as a highly social species who needed complex communication in order to cooperate with one another. A better explanation is that we were designed to communicate by the Invisible Magic Friend. We are created in the image of the Invisible Magic Friend who communicates to us constantly in a clear, unambiguous and consistently non-contradictory way, which is why there is only one religion in the world and we are all in total agreement about the nature and wishes of the Invisible Magic Friend. The existence of the rest of the universe is just the Invisible Magic Friend saying "Hi there, I really exist you know." We know that the Invisible Magic Friend spoke through the prophets because they said so. And it's not just the prophets, loads of other books in the Big Book of Magic Stories assure us that the Invisible Magic Friend communicates through their authors. I think you'll agree, it's a pretty convincing case.
I know a lot of people were very worried after the archbishop declared Facebook sinful. You have wrestled with your conscience, wondering how such innocent pastimes can be against the Invisible Magic Friend's wishes. You may now rest assured. The archbishop is really a false prophet who will burn in hell for all eternity for casting aspersions on the Holy Internet.
Friday, 7 August, 2009, 08:58 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
I want to start today with Thought For The Day's favourite, evil, godless, totalitarian regime, North Korea. Thanks to Bill Clinton, two American journalists have just been freed. Other's are not so lucky and find themselves either murdered or imprisoned by evil, godless, totalitarian regimes.
Another evil, godless, totalitarian regime is Burma. There, brave, religious, Buddhist Monks (a kind of Burmese equivalent of Baptist Ministers, except they dress funny and don't have an Invisible Magic Friend) have led protests against the evil, godless, military rulers. I know all about this 'cos I saw it on the telly the other night after a hard day's brave, fearless, Baptist ministering.
"Let us pray to reduce the fear of death," they said. Which is very odd since, although very brave and religious, and in many ways very similar to a Baptist minister such as myself, they don't actually have an IMF to pray to. I think they must have turned into Christians, or at the very least Jews (we don't mention the other Abrahamic religion, who some feel take this religion thing just a bit too seriously). There's an IMF worth praying to. His Big Book of Magic Stories is just full of exhortations for justice and truth.
Biblical prophets were the news reporters of their day, except they were a bit more concerned with future events than current ones.
John Humphrys to Deputy Under Secretary of something or other: "Repent! Repent thine evil ways and return thee to the way of the LORD, or thou shalt surely wither and die!"
Thursday, 6 August, 2009, 08:54 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
My father is a banker, my brother is a banker, my cousins are bankers, my uncles are all a bunch of bankers. They deal with numbers I can scarcely comprehend, which is why they thought it would be a very good idea if I became a Benedictine monk. Coming from such a large family of bankers, I therefore wish to plea for some sympathy and understanding for bankers. Yes, they sit around banking all day, but in their spare time many of them do good! They do good! It is simply not true that these people are a universal bunch of parasitic, greedy, arrogant, selfish, flash, self absorbed, bonus obsessed bankers whose short term, rapacious avarice brought the western financial system to the brink of collapse, whose debts we'll be collectively paying off for decades to come, who'd run over your granny if they thought it would increase margins by a fraction of a percent, whose executives have retired on lavish pensions, pay offs and benefits paid for by us, their customers, whose morality is set at about the same level as the local loan shark, who seem to have no intention of changing their ways as they get back to business as usual, betting our pension money in the worldwide market casino using financial instruments that scarcely anyone understands, taking all the winnings and leaving us to pick up the tab when they mess up, screwing every last penny out of every debt laden business and household in the country. Have you no pity for bankers? Look at all the fantastic work they do for widows and orphans.
As Jesus parabled, there's really nothing wrong with being immensely rich. To all my wealthy relations, friends and parishioners, the important thing is that you are generous with your enormous wealth, giving to good causes - any Benedictine monasteries that you happen to come across, for example. Thus will you earn riches in the next life and have a bloody good laugh in this one as well.
Wednesday, 5 August, 2009, 08:34 AM - KlausnerRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
The government wants to introduce a points system for citizenship. You loose points for bad things, like having an opinion and being so foolish as to express it publicly. Conversely, you gain points for doing something useful, like helping one of Britain's great political parties - the governing one might be quite a good one.
This is an outrage. The Invisible Magic Friend's Big Book of Stories is quite clear about how to treat visitors. How dare the government introduce laws that contradict the Big Book of Stories. It's their lack of godliness that has led to the moral degeneracy of this country: people wantonly eating shellfish and pork, dressing in polycotton shirts and of course, you-know-whos going around enjoying themselves and being an abomination.
The worst case of government suppression of the right to demonstrate happened at the G20 summit in April, where vast crowds of media representatives, reporters and cameramen were kettled into a tiny area around the Bank of England. Even worse than the worst case is the Danish company Vestas, who isn't even the government, denying logistic support to workers occupying their premises.
Someone as nice, and noble, and mild as the prophet Amos wouldn't get points in the new system. He'd probably be characterised as some frothing at the mouth, stark raving loony, religious zealot whose sole aim was to stir up hatred. That's the kind of bizarre, topsy-turvy world this new system would introduce.
Tuesday, 4 August, 2009, 08:30 AMRating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)
Harriet Harman thinks wimmin should be guaranteed positions in the Labour Party and in the financial sector because men have made such a hash of it all. This is, of course, a silly idea. Wimmin are very good at some things, like picking dresses and sorting out holy underwear, men are better at others. That's not to say that some men aren't very good at picking dresses too. I wouldn't wish to disparage, in any way, the dress picking ability of some men, I'm just not that way inclined, that's all, but it would be most unfair to set 50% quotas for male dress pickers.
Guru Nanak pointed out that wimmin were people too. Thanks to this astonishing revelation we Sikhs have treated wimmin as our equals. We even allow some wimmin to occasionally lead us in prayer, that's how important we think wimmin are. The only Sikh chaplain in the army is a wimmin, not because of her gender but because she's the best man for the job. Positive discrimination in favour of wimmin is just the start of a slippery slope that will soon lead to positive discrimination for all sorts of other fringe, minority groups. Before you know it, they'll be wanting disabled people to be allowed to do things as well.
The Invisible Magic Friend says "No" to positive discrimination in favour of wimmin and my wife, who just happens to be a wimmin, agrees. So don't do it.
Reverend Dr. Giles Fraser, not just Vicar of Putney, but Canon Chancellor Designate of St Paul's Cathedral - so there!
Monday, 3 August, 2009, 08:29 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
[ Ed - Today's TFTD was preceded by an item about Skateboarding for Jesus. Unfortunately this is beyond parody. Even in my silliest imagination, I couldn't possibly make this any sillier. ]
The Mostly Irrelevant and Imminently Eminent Vincent Nichols, Archbigot of Westminster, has condemned the sinfulness of Facebook. As evidence for this, we have his Irrelevance's opinion, which is of course a very holy opinion and must be taken very seriously indeed. The internet provides many opportunities for sinning. People who are socialising on the internet are people who are not on their knees before a priest, as they should be. The archbigot even worries that spending too much time on Facebook will drive people to suicide.
This issue is of particular importance to Christianity which depends so much on "thick" communities. By this, I don't mean communities that are overweight, or groups of people who are just stupid (perish the thought), I mean people who are "thick" in that they have a strong group identity. Christianity relies on thick people. It's thick people who fill our pews. Thick people clean the church and provide much needed housekeepers. We need thick people to proclaim the word of the Invisible Magic Friend (whose metaphysical existence as an abstract concept we all have complete faith in). Without thick people I would have no one to preach to. I need thick people to pay my wages. I love thick people.
On the other hand, while social networking sites may indeed be causing the downfall of civilisation as we know it, my daughter quite likes to chat with her mates on them. I say "mates" rather than "friends", because I'm such a down to earth, easy going Rev. Canon Dr. and Chancellor Designate. It's of particular importance here in the City of London, with its wide diversity of anonymous bankers, where there are so few thick people to fill our congregations. Maybe I could find some thick people on Facebook?
Saturday, 1 August, 2009, 10:56 AMRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
Angela Tilby didn't do her regular TV critics spot last time. But never fear my Today Programme flock of sheep, I did a telly programme last time I was on, and can do the same today. It certainly beats having to read up on current affairs and trying to draw some tenuous connection with Jesus.
Do any of you watch "Who Do You Think You Are?", the programme that investigates famous personalities' ancestry? It unearthes some real heroes, and quite a few rotters. This week someone famous found an ancestor that suffered a tragedy and was really upset. It's brilliant! "Who am I?" is the most profound question anyone can ask about themselves. It's a question that lots of really clever people have asked. Is our personality just the combination of our experiences and environment superimposed on our genes? There must be more to us than this. Why? Because I say so, that's why.
It's simply not enough that we have a conscious mind capable of abstract reasoning and artistic creativity. I refuse to accept that I'm simply a clever monkey with a TV remote control. The Invisible Magic Friend, who created everything (I know this because the IMF's Big Book of Stories says so), also gave you, me and everybody else an invisible magic bit, all of our own! You can't see it, or hear it or touch it, or perform any kind of test to verify it, but it's definitely there - the Big Book of Stories confirms this too. That's what makes you who you are, that makes you you and gives you the ability to ask such deep and moving questions like "What's on the telly tonight?".