Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 09:14 AM - Not TFTDIt's estimated that some 200 people fell to their deaths from the twin towers. Some were blinded by smoke and were simply unaware that they were staggering towards walls that were no longer there. Others, crushed against the windows as they gasped for air, were pushed out. At least one man tried to climb from the 92nd to the 93d floor, only to lose his grip at the last moment.
Then there were those who faced the desperate choice: die in the choking heat, or leap from the building into oblivion. The horror of that situation can scarcely be imagined. A few, bravely, tried to improvise parachutes from towels or drapes, but they were ripped from their hands by the terrific force of the air rushing past them.
The fall took about 10 seconds. Most were conscious all the way down. They hit the ground at over 150mph. Their bodies were torn apart by the force of the impact, leaving blood and human limbs scattered around the buildings. Evacuees from the towers had to walk through this carnage.
And what of this poor couple, trying to hold hands, seeking one last human touch to make those final seconds bearable. What thoughts were in their minds, or in their hearts, as they resolved to plummet 1000 ft to their deaths?
All in the name of a figment of people's imagination.
Nearly all of those who fell, or jumped, remain unidentified. Many families fiercely resist the idea that their loved ones might have jumped from the twin towers. To take your own life, no matter how extreme the circumstances, is against their religion.
Saturday, 10 September, 2011, 09:19 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
I was with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Trinity Office Tower when the twin towers were attacked. We had to quickly carry children and infants away when the south tower collapsed and we began to suffocate in the dust.
We looked into the face of the Invisible Magic Friend that day, which oddly enough is roughly what the terrorists themselves rather had in mind.
The archbishop quoted from Ephesians, which really helped.
The world would be a much better place if there was more love and fewer religious nutters flying planes into buildings.
Friday, 9 September, 2011, 09:28 AMRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Has anyone mentioned 911 yet? It's the anniversary you know.
I remember 911. I watched it on the telly with the senior members of the parole board. Everyone was shocked, but I was the only American in the room, so I was even more shocked. This was the most shocking thing that had happened on the American mainland since 1814, when you British burned down Washington DC. That wasn't shown on the telly, so I wasn't quite as shocked by that.
What is the spiritual lesson of 911? Well, let me see, a bunch of guys, who thought they were going straight to heaven, arranged to strike a blow against the great Satan. No, no, I don't think that's the spiritual lesson of 911.
Two of the holiest Christian leaders that the US and UK have ever had decided to murder hundreds of thousands of people in retaliation? Maybe that's the spiritual lesson of 911? No, No, I don't think it could be that either.
As a Christian, I think the spiritual lesson of 911 is best exemplified by a Muslim in Britain, who asked for calm and forgiveness after the death of his son.
Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies and Public Understanding and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Glasgow
Thursday, 8 September, 2011, 08:44 AM - SiddiquiRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
I went to New York once. I got my picture taken at the top of the twin towers, but the twin towers aren't there any more. A bunch of religious nutters flew some planes into them and knocked them down. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against religious nutters in general, some of my best friends are religious nutters, but they have to be the right kind of religious nutter.
Now it just so happened that this particular bunch of religious nutters turned out to be Muslim. Of course they weren't proper Muslims, real Muslims, like me. No true Muslim goes around flying planes into skyscrapers.
On a brighter note, as a result of 911, there's been a tremendous increase in demand for Professors of Islamic Studies, so that people can find out what real Islam, proper Islam, is all about. Thankfully, we've managed to explain to people that Islam, which is after all the world's second largest religion, is in fact the Religion of Peace. All over the world, from Pakistan to Iran, from Saudi Arabia to Somalia, people now recognise that Islam is fully supportive of liberal, democratic values.
However, we must never forget, how a small minority of extremists, can warp and distort the message of a loving Invisible Magic Friend.
From Norwich, it's the bishop of the week, Bewilderingly Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich
Dictators are toppling all over North Africa. They're not toppling in Zimbabwe however. Robert Mugabe, a member of a totally different branch of Christianity, and therefore nothing to do with us, recently lost one of his political rivals in an "accident" - this tends to happen to his political rivals rather a lot.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is going to Zimbabwe next month, so that should sort things out. As well as sorting out Mugabe, he'll also want to deal with the renegade Anglican bishop, and full time Mugabe supporter, Nolbert Kunonga who likes to beat up Anglican priests for a hobby.
People seem to understand the concept of "justice" even when there is very little of it in their society. Anyone would think it was instinctive.
It says as much in the Old Tasty mint. Right there in the Psalms it says, "Oh your mighty incredibleness, could we have some justice please? It's just there hasn't been a lot of it about lately and if you could give us just a little bit, we'd praise you even more - not that we weren't going to praise you an awful lot anyway."
So there you have it, it says in the Big Book of Magic Stuff that people yearn for law and order, so it must be true.
Tuesday, 6 September, 2011, 08:21 AM - TilbyRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
British security services aided in the rendition and torture of one of the Libyan rebels, despite always denying any such involvement. That MI5 should be so duplicitous comes as a great shock.
This damages us politically, but also because it challenges our values. Baroness Elizabeth Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, stated that torture was against the law, but was also immoral and wrong. She maintained this even when it was suggested that torture might save lives.
Many of us claim to support free speech, human rights and the rule of law, but when our own self interests, or our lives are under threat, we, and by "we" I do of course mean "you", are quick to make exceptions.
It isn't easy being a Christian you know, which I expect is why so many less dedicated people give it up. For example, Christians like me must follow Jesus' words, that anyone who saves their life will lose it, but anyone who loses it will gain it, but only if they lose it while gaining it for him, i.e. Jesus. If they lose it for any other reason, i.e. other than Jesus, then they've lost it and they don't get to gain it after all. Saving it for him, i.e. Jesus, doesn't count as saving it and you still lose it, even though you saved it for him, i.e. Jesus, and not for yourself.
So, as you can see, Jesus was all in favour of standing by our values.
Monday, 5 September, 2011, 08:41 AM - WilkinsonRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
It's coming up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It's important to hear the individual stories of all the thousands who died on that day and in the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, although it's very unlikely you'll hear many personal stories from the victims of the wars.
There are also personal stories from the people affected by the recent riots. Their personal stories are important too.
This is where the Judeo-Christian Invisible Magic Friend is so important. You see the Judeo-Christian Invisible Magic Friend really cares. He listens to everybody's problems and them mostly ignores them.
As the psalmist said, "Oh Invisible Magic Friend, hear what a rotten time I'm having." And then in another psalm, "I'm sure you were listening before, but I still seem to be having a rather rotten time. You really are just fantastic you know." Then in yet another psalm, "OK, I know you're really busy, but if you could just help a little bit with the really rotten time I'm having. Praise be to you, you're wonderful, you really are, I'm not just saying that."
Jesus, the visible bit of the Judeo-Christian Invisible Magic Friend, spent lots and lots of time listening. It just so happens that the New Tasty mint mostly describes the time that he spent talking.
The personal stories of the victims of apartheid are really important. Lots of Christian South Africans listened to their really important stories, just like Jesus.
So if you get the chance this week, listen to the personal stories of the 9/11 victims.
Sunday, 4 September, 2011, 07:33 AM - Clemmies
Not a lot to choose from this month. Must be the holiday season
Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad went on about Ramadan and how holy it made Muslims.
Rev Rob Marshall managed to squeeze in three separate points.
1. Young people wouldn't go rioting if they were Christian.
2. Isn't Pope Benedict just fantastic?
3. Russell Brand thinks things should be more spiritual.
Any one of these would normally rate a 5 out of 5. To include all three really is a special work of genius.
Rev Roy Jenkins told us how dangerously delusional Anders Breivik was, before explaining the importance of the Invisible Magic Friend.
Respectable efforts by Murad and Jenkins, but Marshall was in a class of his own this month. He walks nonchalantly away with this month's Clemmie.
There aren't enough houses in Britain. Last year we built the fewest houses since the 1920s. Some people own their homes. Others would like to to own a home, but they haven't got the money. Some are trying to save the money but aren't quite there yet. Some of the people who've managed to get themselves a nice home in a nice area, don't want any more homes built there, spoiling the nice area.
Where your home is is important to people. It was important to people in the past, whether they lived in an isolated dwelling, a hamlet, a village, a small town, a slightly larger town, a small city, a big city, or a vast metropolis. It's important to people today too.
You'll recall that Jesus of Nazareth came from somewhere. It was a place called Nazareth. That's why we call him Jesus of Nazareth, owing to him coming from Nazareth. Many other famous religious people came from places too.
In a place like Britain, I think everyone should have a right to a home. Otherwise they won't have anywhere to come from. Some people are just getting married and moving into their new homes. I do weddings you know. Other people die. They usually move out of their home when they die, making it available for somebody else who has saved long enough to get the deposit. Their invisible magic bits then move into their new, eternal, home, where they'll be happy forever, or possibly not. I do funerals as well you know.
With all the public sector cuts, in the health service, the police and the armed forces, we naturally think of the Big Book of Magic Stuff: for everything there is a season. The government really ought to wait for the proper season to make people redundant.
It's all the fault of the banks. The government wants to split the steady, level headed, retail aspects of banking away from the risky, reckless, casino aspects of investment banking. Some bankers have threatened to take their casinos elsewhere and let some other government insure them against collapse.
The Big Book of Magic Stuff is quite clear on this: thou shalt not use capital from retail savings to invest in futures, derivatives or exotic financial instruments devised by rocket scientists and that no one really understands. If only the banks had followed this simple advice from the Invisible Magic Friend, we wouldn't be in this mess now. Yes, the Big Book of Magic Stuff remains as relevant as ever.