Brian Draper, associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity 
Saturday, 24 October, 2009, 07:54 AM - Gibberish, Draper
Rating ? out of 5 (Don't know - absolutely no idea what his point was)

Brian here, in Southampton, an associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity where we envision and equip Christians, and the leaders, churches and organisations that serve them, with the biblical framework, practical resources and models to engage biblically, relevantly and vigorously with the issues they face in today’s world. Hi.


Getting dark, isn't it? Don't forget to turn your clocks back.

Invisible Magic Friend, Jesus, Dylan Thomas, a famous theologian and another poet.

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Dauntingly Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...  
Friday, 23 October, 2009, 09:40 AM - Money, Harries
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

We Christians invented equality. Everybody should be equal, even slaves. So, Today Programme slave owners, you just remember that. We should all be equal regardless of race, gender or... you know, thingy... people of a certain, er... disposition.

Of course we don't mean equality in an evil, communist sense. That's bad equality. We mean equality in the sense that some people are free to be a little bit richer than other people, just not as much as they are now. Free to be slightly better off, in a sort of retired Bishop of Oxford, Gresham Professor of Divinity sort of way. We don't want people to be free to become like American billionaires. That's just being tasteless and vulgar.

This is not the view of Lord Griffiths. Speaking in a totally non partisan fashion, Lord Griffiths informed an audience at Saint Paul's,

"Heaping vast amounts of your money on a few selected individuals, such as oneself, is good for the economy. I can then spend that money as you wait on me in a fine City restaurant, or wash dishes, or are employed as a doorstop. Why change a system that has made Britain the industrial and financial power that she is today? Besides, if you don't let us take all your money then we'll just go abroad and take somebody else's money. Then how stupid are you going to look? Who you going to be a doorstop for then?"

This is a utilitarian argument and therefore bad. All utilitarian arguments are bad because they don't rely on the Invisible Magic Friend. It's the same sort of Invisible Magic Friendless argument that lead to that dreadful cry of "Liberty, equality, fraternity". They thought that simply abolishing the French hierarchy would solve all their problems. As a Dauntingly Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron, I think I should point out that we want to keep a certain amount of hierarchy. We don't want that much equality.

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Unbelievable 
Friday, 23 October, 2009, 05:27 AM - Not TFTD
Apparently, even though it took place years ago, my radio debate on Intelligent Design with Dr. Tom Woodward is still one of the top ten downloads on the Unbelievable website (at number 10, I just scrape in). I'm still a long way behind the P.Z.Myers and Richard Dawkins shows, but I'm just chuffed to appear on the same list.

I enjoyed that chat. Dr Woodward is a thoughtful man who would often pause to listen and think.
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Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, from Alyth Gardens Synagogue 
Thursday, 22 October, 2009, 08:44 AM - Democracy, Lessons of history, Torah, Klauser
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Well now's your chance to do something. Nick Griffin is on Question Time tonight. Don't just sit there and take this. Remember to look after your own. "Love your neighbour" means "get in there with knuckle dusters and crowbars, beat him to within an inch of his life". Don't worry if he insults you, that'll stop as you keep beating him up. As it says in the Book of Proverbs, "representative democracy is the ideal form of government." Or as Moses famously said, "Say 'No' to fascist, authoritarian, hierarchical, institutional violence, and stone to death anyone who says otherwise." Jewish sacred texts are a big fan of open discussion, everything's open for debate, except the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings and the Talmud. Don't forget that Moses stood up to nasty Pharaoh (and those silly Egyptians, notorious for not keeping records, forgot to mention it). Don't stand up to thugs and bullies because it's the right thing to do, do it because the Invisible Magic Friend, who never bullies anyone, commands it.

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Akhandadhi Das, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian  
Wednesday, 21 October, 2009, 08:46 AM - Democracy, Akhandadhi Das, Afghanistan
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

There's a big Hindu festival just finished. Happy week-after-Diwali everyone! Diwali isn't about homecoming, like I told you last year. That was wrong, wrong, wrong. Vaishnav Hindu theology has advanced in leaps and bounds since that old fashioned, and wrong, theory. No, Diwali is actually about credible leadership. And it just so happens there's a story about credible leadership in the news right now. If there hadn't been a story about credible leadership then I suppose I would have to talk about something other than Diwali.

Poor President Karzai has to have another election. While we're on the subject of Afghanistan, I just want to point out that I'm not going to express any opinion about the western troops there. Instead, I will simply "wonder" if it is a good thing. I won't even go so far as to "wonder" whether military force alone can ever defeat a bunch of Muslim fanatics ('cos we all know what they can be like).

What President Karzai needs to do in his Muslim country, is to institute a system of government derived from ancient Hindu fables. He needs to become a benevolent dictator like Lord Rama. Everyone knows that a benevolent dictator, ruling over people who know their place in the caste system, is the best possible form of government. Provided he listens to criticism, there'll be no danger of corruption, nepotism or the temptation to wield untrammelled power.

And it's not just in politics. Anywhere where you're in charge and your underlings have to do what you tell them to because you could sack them or send them to bed early, it's important that they all know who's boss.

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Imperially Reverend James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons 
Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 08:33 AM - James Jones
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

It'll be such a shame to see the demise of the postman and the milkman. Their jolly grin, as they greet their sad, lonely customers in the morning, bringing a little cheer into their lives, a ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak and isolated landscape, replaced by email and bulk buying at ASDA (even though this is the holiest of the major supermarket chains).

There's no community any more. Streets are empty, people don't talk or have friends. There are no clubs where people share a mutual interest or voluntary groups where those with spare time help those in need. Everything is just so awful.

We know that people need community because even the Invisible Magic Friend needs one. As an Imperially Reverend Lord Bishop and Bishop of Prisons, I am able to assure you that there are in fact three little gods in the Invisible Magic Friend, making one big god. A little community of gods. Well, not gods exactly, more three Invisible Magic Friends. No that's not quite right, it's really three Hypostases in one Ousia. It's all very theologically complex and it's a mystery and that's really all you need to know. One of them's the postman, one of them's the milkman and one's the customer that stands at the door and says "Good morning, and how are you today?"

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Clifford Longley, a distinguished person who talks a lot about religion 
Monday, 19 October, 2009, 08:24 AM - Dont do bad things, Bible, Longley
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Slavery and torture - what's actually wrong with them? Since I didn't listen to Rev Canon Dr Alan Billings asking exactly the same question, I'll have to turn to my Big Book of right and wrong things to find out. Let me see now, ah yes, slavery's OK. That's that one out of the way. What about torture? Well it doesn't actually mention torture, so I'll just have to infer the answer from some other bit where it talks about something else.

We could of course consider the Enlightenment, but the Enlightenment was rubbish. It produced things like the United States. The United States allowed both slavery and torture, just like the bible says, or in the latter case, doesn't say.

As a member of the Catholic Church, I can speak with the authority of an institution that has a long tradition of torturing its opponents. Thanks to this I can tell you categorically that torture is wrong, it is a bad thing. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Got that Today Programme listeners? I want you all to put your thumbscrews down and stop torturing people at once.

I will now explain to you why torturing people is a bad thing. Is it because we instinctively empathise with the pain, suffering and helplessness of other human beings? Don't be silly. It is because the Invisible Magic Friend's Big Book of right and wrong says you must love your enemies. We may therefore implicitly deduce from this that the most you can do is enslave them. Torture is right out I'm afraid.

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Brian Draper, associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity 
Saturday, 17 October, 2009, 08:05 AM - Draper
Rating 2 out of 5 (A littler platitudinous)

Brian here, in Southampton, an associate lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity where we envision and equip Christians, and the leaders, churches and organisations that serve them, with the biblical framework, practical resources and models to engage biblically, relevantly and vigorously with the issues they face in today’s world. Hi.

Should we delay the start of formal education for an extra year? Maybe we should. When my five year old complains that school is boring, I have some sympathy with this idea. Not that there's anything wrong with his school mind you. I'd just like to make it clear that I'm perfectly happy with his school. Fine teachers, fine reputation, so can we please keep our place there? He's just so bored. Not that the teachers are boring I hasten to add. Just another 13 years of dreary, dull bookish exercises, doing homework, sitting exams, not being picked for the football team. Not that the school is dreary or dull or anything like that.

People will have different opinions about this. I'm lucky in that I get to tell everyone on national radio what my opinion is. Of course I have to do it from a faith perspective. So what does a faith perspective have to say about the Cambridge Primary Review? Well, Jesus said we should be like little children. So I think that means we should delay formal education forever.

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Excruciatingly Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...  
Friday, 16 October, 2009, 09:17 AM - Dont do bad things, Harries
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

There's an aspect of the MPs' expenses scandal that I don't think anyone has spotted yet. They keep saying that what they do is "within the rules". I now want you to listen very carefully because I'm going to explain something to you that is very important. Just because something is "within the rules" doesn't mean you can do it. Got that?

I know that in our libertarian, me, me, me society, this is a difficult concept to get across, but "Today Programme" listeners really do need to realise that there are certain things that are just not done. This is why nobody sends cards to their mums on mother's day any more, or helps a blind person cross the road, or holds the door open for someone in a wheelchair - because the rules don't say they have to. It's thanks to this terrible attitude that we live in the hell-hole we do today. Things were so much better in the good old days when people believed in the Invisible Magic Friend and paid due respect to Reverend Professor Lord Bishops (retired).

I'd like to trot out a few philosophers. Aristotle said something similar just the other day. I remember it distinctly. And Michael Sandel said we have to reason together about the meaning of the good life. By which he clearly means "do what the bible says", because all our values come from the Invisible Magic Friend. That's why other social species that don't have invisible magic bits have evolved them too.

As T.S. Eliot memorably said, "anyone who doesn't believe in the Invisible Magic Friend is a blind, deluded fool".

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6 comments ( 441 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 129 )

Reverend Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Benet's, Cambridge  
Thursday, 15 October, 2009, 08:38 AM - Tilby
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

I know what you're like. You're all sitting out their getting ready to blog or twitter, criticising the doers and thinkers of this world. You just can't wait for us to trip up, or make some silly little mistake so that you can have a good laugh at us or express your cynicism about our motives. I know, I worked at the BBC for 22 years.

(Incidentally, it's just a coincidence that I worked for the BBC for so long and now get to do the God slot. I really am one of the best religious thinkers in the country today.)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to run St Benet's, Cambridge? The weight of responsibility that it entails? How many times have I had to tell you about collapsing into the sofa in front of the telly, shagged out after a hard day's vicarring? It's oh-so-easy to sneer isn't it? Especially when you've never done anything in your pathetic little lives, never made anything, never invented anything, never achieved anything, never had a single original thought worth hearing. It's pure envy, that's what it is. You're just jealous of my success. Jealous because you're not a famous Reverend, running St Benet's, Cambridge. You're impotent so you lash out on your obscure, irrelevant little blogs.

I can really appreciate what it's like now to run the country or be a great captain of industry. I can sympathise with politicians and bankers, selflessly sacrificing their lives for the common good. Have you any idea of the terror that those poor cabinet members feel, when at any moment they could be forced to retire to lucrative non-executive board positions on the companies they used to regulate?

Well you can mock all you like. We high rolling achievers don't need your approval. People like me, who do really useful things, like being a vicar, just go about, silently and modestly, doing our bit to build a better world for the likes of you. As the founder of the Jesuits put it, "I'm in charge because it's the will of the Invisible Magic Friend, so you just have a bit of respect."

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