Great Uncle Dr Lord Indarjit Singh JP, CBE, Baron Wimbledon, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations
There's a big Sikh festival this week. Happy Bandi Chhorh everyone! Bandi Chhorh celebrates the 6th Guru's release from prison by the evil Mogul Emperor (who belonged to another well known religion).
This is exactly what is happening today in the Eurozone crisis. I think Sikh history has got much to teach us on how to restore confidence in Greek and Italian government bonds without imposing a politically unpopular cost on the people of Germany. All Angela Merkel needs is a cloak with 52 trillion tassels attached.
You know, as I was elevated to the Lords, some of my fellow lords, suggested to me that, when I spoke in the House of Lords, I might want to address their lordships on matters pertaining to Sikh interests. Nothing could be farther from the teachings of being a Sikh. I intend to poke my nose into absolutely everything, bringing the wisdom of the Gurus to everything from economics to constitutional reform.
As a Lord, it is my intention to speak for all you non-Lords out there, the ordinary, lordless people, except the ones of you who go rioting and are probably very bad people who don't have a respectable faith like Sikhism.
Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 08:38 AM - WinkettRating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)
Gaddafi has been buried in an unmarked grave because he was bad. Other brutal dictators have suffered similar fates. It prevents fans of brutal dictators turning it into a shrine.
Other people get buried in unmarked graves because they are the victims of brutal dictators. Many of these people had a faith of one sort or another, although many didn't. The connection between having a faith, or not having a faith, and being the victim of a brutal dictator, is not one that I'm going to go into in any detail. It's just something that I thought I would mention: that many of the victims of brutal dictators had a faith, although many didn't.
Jesus was buried in an unmarked grave. Well, no, actually he wasn't. All his fans knew where it was. So when the Empress Helena said, "I'll give a bag of gold to whoever shows me Jesus' tomb," there was no shortage of offers, and they built a great big church on the site. But apart from having a huge basilica on the site, it's pretty much the same as an unmarked grave, and thus relevant to the unmarked graves of many people who had a faith, and some who didn't.
There's a big Hindu festival today. Happy Doolally everyone!
I'm not going to talk much about Doolally this year. Four years ago it was all about burning your wife. Three years ago it was all about homecoming. Two years ago it was all about credible leadership, and last year it was all about discovering the spiritual light of the soul. I'm not sure what it's about this year.
Let's talk about overpopulation. The world's 7 billionth person will be born in the next few days. Obviously all 7 billion people can't live in the same luxurious lifestyle as we do here in Cardiff. As one of our Big Books of Magic Stuff says: 7 billion people is an awful lot of people. We probably could feed them all if we really tried. As Gandhi famously remarked, "Do you like this sheet I've got wrapped around me? It's really white."
I think we should be nice to the 7 billionth human being. Don't treat them in any way different from the other 6,999,999,999. As it says in yet another Hindu Big Book of Magic Stuff, "Treat others the way you would like to be treated." I'll bet you've never heard that expression before.
As you prepare for your next reincarnation, just remember that you'll be the unpteenth billionth person one day.
Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, Council Member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation
There's been another earthquake, this time in Turkey. There have been some other earthquakes before. Some of them have been really big.
Earthquakes are really scary. No, honestly, they are. I mean really scary. If you've never experienced an earthquake then you really don't know just how scary they are. The ground, like, moves, and you can't get away. If you try to go left a bit, you find that it's moving over there as well. It's horrific, unnerving. You feel so vulnerable. It's just really, really, really scary.
It's at times like this that we want to recite a Psalm. Psalm 46 is a really good Psalm. Not, that the other Psalms aren't really good Psalms. All the Psalms are really good Psalms, which means Psalm 46 is a really good Psalm. Quite near the start of Psalm 46 it talks about the earth moving, which makes it a really good Psalm for earthquake victims.
200 prisoners escaped from their prison as a result of the earthquake. What's really amazing is that 50 went back to prison. Isn't that really, really amazing! OK 3/4 of the prisoners haven't returned and some of those that did probably realised they'd be caught anyway, but still, doesn't it just fill you with hope and joy and wonder at the core morality of the human spirit that some of the prisoners went back? I think they're probably the ones who have been reading Psalm 46.
From Norwich, it's the bishop of the week, Stupefyingly Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich
Saint Paul's Cathedral remains closed. This is a direct consequence of the land disputes in the Middle East. Libya, on the other hand has got lots of land, but will they have peaceful elections? Which brings me to the money changers in the Temple, where Jesus got angry and quoted Isaiah.
The clergy in Saint Paul's are united in their support for the protesters that have caused it to close. They just rather wish they'd go and protest somewhere else. There are arguments between neighbours about fences. Which brings me straight back to Libya. United by their hatred of Gaddafi, will they remain united now? Or will they not be united but still remain loyal to Libya?
From this we see that bankers and traders are not gentiles, which means that health and safety is not the issue. We need to make more space.
I trust I make myself clear.
Sunday, 23 October, 2011, 06:02 AM - Not TFTDI hereby publicly challenge William Lane Craig, the world famous philosopher who never seems to get beyond Christian apologetics, to a debate in my living room last night. I kept an armchair sitting empty for him all night but of the cowardly Craig there was not a sign.
Now some may object that issuing such a challenge the day after the debate is being just a little bit unfair. I would remind you that William Craig has an Invisible Magic Friend who is all knowing and all powerful and could therefore have been expected to pass my challenge onto Billy Craig well in advance of me thinking of it. Billy's failure to show can therefore only be explained by one of two reasons: either Bill was terrified of the devastating arguments he would face, or Bill's Invisible Magic Friend does not exist.
The debate commenced at 7.30 pm, in front of a packed audience consisting of myself, my other half, our pet labrador Molly, and the goldfish. As the visitor, Dr Craig went first. We listened attentively as he didn't explain how the universe needs a creator and that, after many years of study and thought, he had concluded that the creator was none other than his very own Invisible Magic Friend. Five minutes into his address, he didn't point out how the universe is fine tuned to create Christian apologists and therefore had to have a designer. In his final argument, he didn't bring up the subject of how understanding morality as an evolutionary necessity makes morality complete rubbish and therefore his Invisible Magic Friend must have created it instead.
Prof Craig's silence was met with polite applause. He didn't sit down and was immediately followed by his opponent in the debate: our goldfish. Goldy swan around in her tank for half an our, eloquently opening and shutting her mouth and, I have to say, utterly crushing Craig's theories. As she nibbled a fish flake, we were reminded that the arguments that Billy Boy didn't expound were all based on logical fallacies that anyone who thought about it for more than ten seconds would see the holes in. In common with all debates in which Craig actually did appear, he presented not a single piece of observable evidence to back up his claims.
Goldy received an enthusiastic ovation. With his tail firmly between his legs, the humiliated Craig was not sent packing back to Oxford, where he faces his next big challenge of facing a chair which will not be occupied by Richard Dawkins. We can only hope that, having been so thoroughly vanquished by our goldfish, Dr Craig will find a more fitting opponent debating an empty chair. The tension, wondering whether he will survive this encounter, should make for a highly entertaining evening.
I'm a vicar in Sheffield. Sheffield has two universities you know? As a vicar in Sheffield, I do Sunday services. It's one of the things a vicar in Sheffield does - Sunday services.
Sunday services in Sheffield, where I am a vicar, are attended by a huge and diverse range of Anglican Christians. The young Anglicans who attend the services in Sheffield, which has two universities and where I am the vicar, come from all over the world. This is largely because the young people born in Sheffield, where I am the vicar and which has two universities, don't generally attend Sunday services.
Many of these young people who attend Sunday services in Sheffield, where I am the vicar and which has two universities, come from places like Syria and Libya, where great political turmoil is taking place. I ask them how they have had the courage to take part in their respective revolutions. To which they reply that they are actually in Sheffield, attending one of its two universities and speaking to me after Sunday services where I am the vicar.
However, had they not been in Sheffield, attending one of its two universities and speaking to me after Sunday services where I am the vicar, they say they would be inspired by the words of Jesus, who is the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, and who famously said, "Don't accept military dictatorship. Be a revolutionary. Fight for Democracy and liberal values," shortly before being carted off by the Roman military dictatorship and being executed.
It turns out that the revolutions in the Arab world are being led exclusively by people inspired by these inspirational words of Jesus. Where else could these young Arabs have got their inspiration from?
I am inspired by the words of these young Anglicans, attending one of the two universities in Sheffield and speaking to me after Sunday services where I am the vicar, as they recall the inspirational words of Jesus as he calls for violent revolution against dictatorships. It shows just how relevant the Anglican faith is today, even in the Arab world.
Sumptuously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...
Gaddafi is dead - somewhat muted hurrah!
In an ideal world he would have been tried for his crimes and given an opportunity to defend himself, but toppling a tyrant isn't easy and we can understand if he somehow accidentally got shot in the process.
We humans have an inherent sense of justice and fairness that no other animal has. It clearly couldn't have evolved so it must be because we are made in the image of the Invisible Magic Friend. Of course the Invisible Magic Friend is perfect and everything he does is just brilliant. We're not quite that good. We're frail and weak and flawed and imperfect and just hopelessly useless and drab and awful. When he was making us in his image he obviously made a few mistakes. No, that can't be right, forget that bit.
The Big Book of Magic Stuff is just full of cries for the Invisible Magic Friend to provide justice. As a Sumptuously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron, let me just assure you that he fully intends to do that some day. Don't let the fact that he hasn't done it in the last two and half thousand years in any way put you off. Jews, Christians, and I'll even include Muslims, all believe that the Invisible Magic Friend is going to bring perfect justice into the world any day now - a year or two tops.
In the meantime, we confused, mistaken, utterly rubbishy humans will just have get by as best we can. Even though we don't live in that ideal world where tyrants are brought to trial, I'm sure those who have suffered under Gaddafi's ruthless regime, those who have needlessly lost loved ones as he desperately made everyone fight to the bitter end, will probably feel a small sense of justice this morning.
Human egg donors are to get more money. Hurrah! The more egg donors we can get the better. At the moment, donating eggs to create a new life is done mainly for altruistic reasons. Financial considerations don't really come into it. We don't want women selling their eggs on eBay do we?
The creation of a new life via IVF is something to be celebrated. If generosity and selflessness are part of this then so much the better. This is fully in line with the philosophy of Honey Nut Cornflakes Buddhism. Honey Nut Cornflakes Buddhism says that you should be sweet, crunchy and ever so yummy. You should be loving and generous and give all your possessions to the poor. This will make you very happy. The poor however will be very unhappy as they will now have all your possessions and won't be happy and destitute any more.
That's all great and fine and stuff, but given the happiness that a baby can bring let's encourage even more egg donations. So what's the big deal if someone makes money out of it? Sell them on eBay after all!
Tomorrow on Thought For the Day, Catherine Pepinster and Clifford Longley on why IVF is evil, sinful and a barbaric product of the Culture of Death so typical of the godless West. If only the Catholic Church were in charge to prevent this vile holocaust of murdered embryonic babies.
Wednesday, 19 October, 2011, 08:15 AM - Winkett
No Platitude of the Day today. If you Google for the grim video of the Chinese toddler Yue Yue, referred to by Rev Winkett, you'll see why. There are some things you just don't joke about.
Yue Yue is reported as dead by some news organisations, others report that she remains stable. Let's hope it is the latter that have got it right.