Rev John Bell of the Iona Community 
Wednesday, 14 September, 2011, 08:27 AM - Bell
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

We all enjoy a good sing song. It's such an innocent pastime.

Or is it?

Only last Saturday we had the Last Night of the Proms, where people waved Union Jacks and sang patriotic songs. Well, call me mister picky, but it may interest you to know that there is no theological justification whatsoever for Britain to rule the waves. Remarkable, isn't it? Someone just completely made it up!

Then there are the sectarian songs that Catholics and Protestants like to sing to annoy one another. Anyone would think that the two beliefs, that the Pope is the Invisible Magic Friend's top boss man on earth, and that the Pope isn't the Invisible Magic Friend's top boss man on earth, are in some way mutually exclusive.

And now we have Julius Malema's jolly little ditty Shoot the Boer, which invites poor black South Africans to cheer themselves up by getting a gun and go shoot a white South African.

At this point, for no obvious reason, I'd just like to mention Satan, the Invisible Magic Baddy, and Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend.

South Africa doesn't need this. It introduces division between black and white South Africans to a generation that never knew apartheid, and does so for the most cynical of reasons, to disguise the failure of political leadership in South Africa.

2 comments ( 1184 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 349 )

Rev Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Bene't's Church, Cambridge 
Tuesday, 13 September, 2011, 08:16 AM - Materialism, Tilby
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

The vicars' report has recommended splitting retail from investment banks and raising the level of capital they maintain.

This brings me neatly onto why the Chinese government is so keen on Protestantism. China, the up and coming place to be in the modern world, wants to encourage thrift, hard work and the making of as many material goods as possible that people shouldn't want. That's why China, a fine upstanding, hard working, moral country favours Protestantism.

The West, a lazy, decadent, materialistic society, has turned its back on Protestantism. You only have to look at the very worst debt laden countries: Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece - not a Protestant country among them. We, and by "we" I do of course mean "you", have abandoned the sensible path of prudence and frugality, we have lusted after immediate material gratification, purchasing all those clever gadgets manufactured by those noble, industrious, Protestant Chinese.

We won't see a return to the glory days of the West until we return to the one true faith: Protestantism, whether it be in the form of Anglicanism, Lutherism, Calvinism, Baptist, Anabaptist, Methodist - all of which are the one true faith.

Protestantism, the only belief in an Invisible Magic Friend endorsed by the Chinese government.

And that's why the vicars' report is so important.

6 comments ( 1172 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 316 )

Clifford Longley, a distinguished Catholic gentleman who talks a lot about religion, Platitude of the Year Winner 2010 
Monday, 12 September, 2011, 09:13 AM - Longley
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Has anyone mentioned 911 yet? Yesterday was the anniversary you know? The people who did 911 had got religion all wrong. True religion, real religion, my religion is there to comfort people, after people who completely misunderstood religion had massacred their loved ones.

That's why yesterday's New York remembrance ceremony was so good. The mayor may have excluded clergy from their rightful place, leading the memorial, but the president still managed to get a few references to the Invisible Magic Friend in. Without the Invisible Magic Friend, it would just have been a hollow, pointless charade, grieving for the lost and honouring the brave.

At times of great sorrow, people need religion to get them back on their feet again. Oh, I'm sure psychologists and councillors do their best, in their limited secular way, but everyone knows you need some religion to do it properly. A few nice psalms and some prayers and the Invisible Magic Friend will make you better again.

14 comments ( 1120 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 345 )

Never Forget where the Insanity of Religion Leads 
Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 09:14 AM - Not TFTD
It'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.
2 comments ( 607 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 346 )

Dr Courtney Cowart, a survivor of 9/11, who served at Trinity Wall Street Church, New York 
Saturday, 10 September, 2011, 09:19 AM
Rating 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.

4 comments ( 510 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 365 )

Dr Ann Barker, Magistrate, Ex-Parole Board Member (Oh, and a Christian) 
Friday, 9 September, 2011, 09:28 AM
Rating 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.

8 comments ( 1247 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 328 )

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 - Siddiqui
Rating 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.

10 comments ( 1166 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 313 )

From Norwich, it's the bishop of the week, Bewilderingly Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich 
Wednesday, 7 September, 2011, 09:15 AM - Justice and mercy, James
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

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.

9 comments ( 1164 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 358 )

Rev Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Bene't's Church, Cambridge 
Tuesday, 6 September, 2011, 08:21 AM - Tilby
Rating 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.

1 comment ( 491 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 270 )

Rev Dr Dr Prof David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College Durham 
Monday, 5 September, 2011, 08:41 AM - Wilkinson
Rating 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.

9 comments ( 1111 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 325 )

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