It's clemmie time! 
Thursday, 1 October, 2009, 01:03 PM - Clemmies
The competition from our contributors has been truly superb this month, with a an excellent level of platitudinousness from many of them. It's been slightly spoiled by one or two who have produced moderately sensible thoughts that have been scarcely platitudinous at all. To them I can only say this, you're letting your listeners down, you're letting the side down but most of all, you're letting yourselves down.

As is traditional I will announce the top three in reverse order. However, such was the standard this month that I really do feel that honorary mentions are due to the following.

Chief Rabbit Sir Jonathan Sacks for his The one thing the Jewish faith doesn't do is dwell on the past.

Reverend Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral, for her Wearing clothes is evil, no it isn't, well possibly, or maybe not.

Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College Durham for his A remembrance service in a Cathedral? Who'd have thought it?

Congratulations to the above, all of whom scored a highly respectable 3.9, and to those who didn't make it into the top three, better luck next time. And now, with all due solemnity, let us move to the important business of this month's prestigious Clemmie award.

In third place, with 56 votes from the Academy and a top notch score of 4, is Wallopingly Reverend Tom Butler, Lord Bishop of Southwark with his How to choose an Aposhle? (Hic!)

In second place, with 107 votes and what would normally qualify as a winning score of 4.3, we have Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Cambridge and his Some people will believe any old rubbish.

But with a truly astonishing 172 votes and a record breaking score of 4.9, it is my honour to present this month's Clemmie to:

Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College Durham and his God provides no evidence that He exists, thus proving that He exists.

Well done Rev Dr Dr Wilkinson. His achievement is all the more remarkable for being a new boy on TFTD. I think this demonstrates beyond all doubt, the value of having two PhDs.
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Reverend Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Benet's, Cambridge  
Thursday, 1 October, 2009, 08:23 AM - Tilby
Rating 0 out of 5 (Not platitudinous)

Adjectives are just a bunch of show offs. They flaunt themselves shamelessly in political speeches, business and town hall mission statements and on government web sites. Speaking of which, I have to link this to recent events somehow. Let me see, the nearly Supreme Court starts work today, with the same judges, with the same powers, presiding over the same cases as they did before, but now in a completely different building across the road. They're run by the Ministry of Justice which has a web site and the web site has adjectives on it. The hussies, they get everywhere.

That's why, in really important documents, like scientific papers and the Bible, you don't get endless lists of meaningless buzzword bingo adjectives. You get good, proper, decent, hard working words, like nouns and verbs, doing their best to uphold meaning in sentences. OK, you might get the occasional "Holy, Holy, Holy" in the bible, but you can never get too many holies.

As we listen to politicians making their speeches in party conference season, try cutting out all the adjectives and see what's left.

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Rhidian Brook, writer, celebrity and Christian  
Wednesday, 30 September, 2009, 10:45 AM - Dont do bad things, Brook
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

The story of Fiona and Frankie Pilkington is a harrowing one. Literally hounded to death by yobs, the details of their ordeal is almost too difficult to listen to. It is too easy to say that this is just another example of Broken Britain and to blame the police and social services for neglect, but I blame the police and social services for neglect. Naturally we feel uncomfortable about such stories. After all, which of us hasn't nearly hounded someone to death at some point? I know I have, you must have too. This, of course was before I became a famous writer, celebrity and Christian and thus qualified to lecture you all on morality.

I'm now a respectable chap
And shine with a virtue resplendent.


Although I still can't be bothered with that weirdo neighbour of mine who gets you into long conversations about all his problems. Everybody in the street knows who I'm talking about. They'll be nodding their heads as they hear this on the radio this morning. I may be a famous writer, celebrity and Christian, but I'm not that Christian. All of you on the other hand, who've got nothing much to do with your lives, ought to take a bit more interest in your local community and look out for vulnerable neighbours.

Saint Paul says so, so I guess it must be a good idea.

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Something amazing 
Wednesday, 30 September, 2009, 07:29 AM - Science, Not TFTD
I've been working my way through Leonard Susskind's wonderful lectures on theoretical physics. I just want to publicly thank Prof. Susskind. It takes a tremendous amount of work to put those lectures together. He'll never know the joy that all that work is bringing to people like me. I'd like to try and explain some of it in a relatively non-mathematical way.

[More...]
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Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, the international director of Micah Challenge  
Tuesday, 29 September, 2009, 08:40 AM - Democracy, Edwards
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I'm here today to tell the people of the UK that it's OK to vote Democrat. Don't be embarrassed about it. Come out of the closet. Some of my best friends are Democrats. If you're into gay "rights", or a woman's right to choose, or scientists experimenting on babies, or providing healthcare to lazy, poor people, then please, please don't worry. I'm sure Jesus will eventually forgive you.

I flew to the States recently, as we busy, jet setting International Directors of Micah Challenge do, to speak to another evangelical Christian. He whispered to me in confidence that even he had voted Democrat once - a confidence that I am happy to share with you all. It is simply not true that because the Republican party is the only party of morality that it is sinful to vote Democrat.

As a Reverend Doctor (Hon) Doctor (Hon), let me just assure you that the Invisible Magic Friend is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. The Invisible Magic Friend can find ways to work, even through a Democrat administration. We people of faith, and remember, faith is so important, can still insinuate our beliefs into every corner of public policy. And if you have remained true to the good, upright, moral teachings of the Republican party, I feel I must wag my finger at you and point out that you should not, I repeat not, attempt to assassinate the President of the United States. That would be a very naughty thing indeed.

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Blasphemy Day 
Tuesday, 29 September, 2009, 07:37 AM - Not TFTD
There's a big atheist festival coming up. Tomorrow is Blasphemy Day International. As a Reverend Doctor I couldn't possibly give my blessing to such a ridiculous celebration. So I don't want any of you coming on here denying the Holy Spirit, or posting links to blasphemous pictures of a well known prophet, or making any jokes about "the disciple that Jesus loved", or pointing out that the well known prophet had a predilection for young girls that made Roman Polanski look respectable. Got that?

(OK - I might be prepared to say "I deny the Holy Spirit", but there's absolutely no way you're ever going to get me to look in a mirror and say "Candyman" five times.)
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Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College Durham 
Monday, 28 September, 2009, 08:45 AM - Science, Wilkinson
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Atheists are like teenagers: unschooled, spotty little ungrateful brats, made in the image of their divine parent, yet ignoring His existence. Why does the Invisible Magic Friend allow them such freedom? Why doesn't He just provide some testable evidence of His existence? The obvious explanation, that the Invisible Magic Friend doesn't exist, is clearly nonsense. So how are we to proceed?

I've just seen Creation. In the film, the local clergyman sees the Invisible Magic Friend controlling everything. Darwin's theory creates a purposeless world, full of suffering, that works without an Invisible Magic Friend. Thankfully, having two Ph.D.s, one in astrophysics and one in theology, I am able to see beyond the simplistic explanations of these two rather limited people. Theologians such as myself can discern the hand of the Invisible Magic Friend even in apparently random purposelessness, in a way that you less scholarly types cannot. It is the very purposelessness of it that reveals the Invisible Magic Friend's purpose.

The Invisible Magic Friend must balance constant intervention against our freedom to grow as individuals, which is why He compromises by never intervening at all. This explains why He doesn't prevent friends of mine dying too young. He lovingly provides a universe that looks exactly the way you would expect it to look if He didn't exist, thus proving His existence. Several evolutionists, whose faith was stronger than the rather feeble faith of Darwin, were similarly convinced by these arguments. If you are not convinced then that's probably because of your own weak mindedness or lack of theological training.

I think this tells us all we need to know about Iran.

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A creepy crawly video 
Monday, 28 September, 2009, 06:53 AM - Not TFTD
But which one's the creepiest?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgTtjJ6u ... tube_gdata
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The Church of England 
Sunday, 27 September, 2009, 09:02 AM - Money, Not TFTD
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Welcome to Back to Church Sunday! Yes, today is the highlight of the established Church's Christian calendar when we invite you to come Back to Church.

Are you one of the many millions of people who have discovered that skipping church made absolutely no difference whatsoever to your life? Perhaps you realised that, despite its many promises, the Church doesn't actually know the answer to anything? Maybe you discovered that shopping at B&Q was a more productive use of your time, or maybe you're just a lazy sod who can't be arsed to get out of bed on a Sunday morning. Whatever the nature of your sinfulness we want you to know that we don't bear you any grudge. So why not come back to our rapidly dwindling community? Come and see the rows of tiny children being happily indoctrinated into believing that the Invisible Magic Friend is real. Come and see the brightly coloured vestments and shiny chalices. Savour the smell of incense, the happy clappy tunes and the twinkle of stained glass on marble. We're hip, we're cool and we're relevant.

We've asked every member of our congregation to ask one, close, personal friend and sinner, to join them this Sunday in their local Church. That's right, no tactic, including emotional blackmail is too low for us. We'll bribe you with glitzy welcome packs and chocolate bars every bit as good as you could get in top high street shops. We even guarantee that the Invisible Magic Friend Himself will be there to greet you at the door.* We'll do anything to cover up the fact that we don't have any unique, coherent, philosophy and don't actually stand for anything. All we ask in return is that you give us loads of money and continue to pester politicians to give us more tax breaks and control of more schools.

The Church of England - because we're desperate.

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* By "guarantee" the Church of England means "not guarantee". The Church of England disclaims all liability for the non-appearance, or indeed existence, of the Invisible Magic Friend, whatever the causes of said non-appearances, including acts of God.

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The Reverend Bob Marshall, an Anglican priest 
Saturday, 26 September, 2009, 08:53 AM - Environment, Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Weren't the Anglo-Saxons just fantastic? OK, they weren't Christians, but nobody's perfect. We can surely learn lessons from the multi-cultural society of the Anglo-Saxons, with their constant playful warfare between rival kingdoms. The co-existence of the Celtic Church together with pagan and Roman rites is a tribute to the tolerance of those enlightened times. They may disagree about such vital details as the shape of the tonsure, but eventually they settled their differences by wiping out all allegiances other than to the See of Rome.

We know lots about the Anglo-Saxons thanks to the Venerable Bede whose left over dead bits are held in Durham Cathedral. Durham Cathedral's a proper church with lots of left over dead bits. As well as the dead bits of the Venerable Bede it's got bits of Saint Cuthbert and the head of St Oswald of Northumbria. Of course I don't bother going to venerate their dead bits. They're all very English and parochial and nowhere near as exciting as the dead bits of Sant Tayrez of Lizyew that are currently on tour.

Bede described Britain as a place of great natural resources, which we should proceed to plunder, thus proving that the church has always been at the forefront of conservation and environmentalism, just like we're always claiming here on TFTD.

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