John Cooper Clarke - Punk poet 
Thursday, 27 December, 2007, 09:10 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

[Ed - as a special Christmas treat we get two Thoughts For The Day today. The guest editor managed to pick someone who's even more incoherent than normal - quite an achievement really.]

Christmas is terrible: bad jokes, indigestible food, unfashionable clothes and cheap after shave. This is why we need Christianity, so that we can keep smiling through something as awful as Christmas. Through the miracle of Jesus' birth we have all learned to be civilised and to be polite to our rotten relatives. There is no evidence of any civilisation before Jesus, so it's a good job he came. People who aren't Christians won't know how to be civilised at Christmas.
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Rabbi Julia Neuberger 
Wednesday, 26 December, 2007, 10:28 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Well, despite the best efforts of every single elected council to ban Christmas, we had Christmas anyway. How do Jews, Muslims, and people with a different invisible magic friend, join in at Christmas? Obviously being with your family, giving and receiving gifts, taking the day off and over indulging isn't enough. There has to be a spiritual aspect to it, otherwise it's just a midwinter celebration with everyone having a good time. Think how awful that would be!

You could volunteer to help those less fortunate or you could spend some time studying. By "studying" I don't mean reading a physics textbook, I mean something far more important and profound. Studying to become a better Jew for example, sounds like an excellent idea and certainly beats being sociable and enjoying yourself.

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Rt. Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Leader of the Anglican Communion, and Primate of all England 
Monday, 24 December, 2007, 10:28 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

I was recently visited by a Jew and a Muslim who were united in their grief over loved ones killed in the Holy Land. As with people in Northern Ireland before them, they have shown just how wonderful, uniting and uplifting religion can be. Religion is what has made the Middle East the place that it is today.

As Primate of all England, I pointed out to this Jew and this Muslim that they came from the land where Christ was born and that this was the single most important event ever. Before Christ was born, nobody could see the humanity in others. Before Christ it would've been impossible for a Jew and a Muslim to get along. Since Christ's birth we have all become free, as I'm sure the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank would all agree. Things have got so much better in the last 2,000 years thanks to Jesus being born.

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His Holiness, Rt. Rev. Tony Blair 
Sunday, 23 December, 2007, 05:31 PM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

We have become a Catholic.

Being the straight sorta guy that I am, I decided to remain an Anglican while I was your beloved Prime Minister. Gays, Northern Ireland, stem cells and abortion would all've been a bit tricky for a Catholic PM. Now that I'm a Catholic my conscience dictates that these are evil policies which must be reversed by any morally upright government.

There was one policy that I know was right though. I prayed long and hard before going to war in Iraq and y'know what God said to me? He said, "Go for it Tony. I'm omniscient and I can tell you that there are definitely weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You will be fully vindicated and universally praised for your bravery and fortitude." I think subsequent events show that government by divine inspiration is the way to go for the British constitution.

Before I was officially welcomed into the bosom of the one true, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, I paid a short trip to the confessional. I say a short trip because, as I have said many times, I have done nothing wrong. A lesser person with a troubled conscience may have been perturbed by this ordeal. An "Our Father" and three "Hail Marys", mainly for those magazines I bought while at Oxford 30 years ago, is a pretty light penance for a lifetime's sinning. Thanks to the sacrament of the confessional, I am now even whiter and purer than I was on the day I left office.

I feel at home in the Catholic Church. It seems I've finally discovered the true meaning of the words of Jesus, but I have to go now as I have an important speaking engagement. You don't make nigh-on a million quid a month by commenting on blogs you know!

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A special Christmas platitude from The Most Reverend Dr. Barry C. Morgan, Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Llandaff 
Saturday, 22 December, 2007, 01:22 PM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

All over the world, fundamentalist atheists are oppressing poor Christians. The Schools are full of them, indoctrinating children with atheist propaganda. Nativity plays, which in any rational, tolerant society would be compulsory, have been completely banned.

Every time we explain to anybody that Jesus was definitely the invisible magic friend, they militantly point out that maybe he wasn't. Some even suggest that religion has no substance and is a load of superstitious nonsense. As if. They should show some proper respect for belief in the invisible magic friend by not questioning it. How dare they resist our imposition of our religion. They're so intolerant!

Week after week, in churches and schools all over the country, Christians are denied the opportunity to put their point of view. We're never heard on the radio or TV. Airlines even prevent their workers from wearing dangling crosses near conveyor belts. Don't they know that expressing our beliefs is more important than silly health and safety laws?

Atheists believe that God is on their side. Well let me just tell you he isn't. Jesus was God. That's the unarguable truth, and no amount of atheistic fundamentalism is going to change it.

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Canon David Winter 
Saturday, 22 December, 2007, 11:35 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Economics is a mystery. Which brings me neatly to Jesus. Jesus being born on Christmas day is also a mystery. You can be sure that Jesus' birth was very mysterious because I'm telling you that it was. Don't bother trying to understand how virgin births, wandering stars and choirs of angels could've appeared. They're all far too mysterious and beyond human understanding. Just take my word for it that it definitely happened. If he was just an ordinary baby being born in a stable then it wouldn't be mysterious at all. It's because he's the invisible magic friend that his birth is so mysterious and profound and meaningful and things. The whole things is so deeply...well.. mysterious, isn't it?

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The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham 
Friday, 21 December, 2007, 08:22 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Barbed wires and walls have stopped all trade
The merchants wander by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
No light of any kind
Borders and tears enhance thy fears
No light bulbs will you find

While Christians flee
And Muslims grieve, all Israel lives in dread
The Holy Land is drenched in blood
Good men lament the dead
For God we fight and kill and hate
Our faith with strength empowers
And praises sing to God the King
Until this land is ours

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Reverend Angela Tilby - Vicar of St. Benets Cambridge  
Thursday, 20 December, 2007, 08:00 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

My surgery treats me like an anonymous patient, moved from one waiting room to the next - a number on a form with some boxes ticked. That's what our society is like now, impersonal and cold. It's why hardly anyone believes in the invisible magic friend any more. The very definition of a person comes from Theology (a discipline which has given so much to mankind). How on earth could you possibly define a person who doesn't have an invisible magic friend? They can't dream about the infinite or the eternal. They just treat everyone else like robots.

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Reverend Dr Giles Fraser - Vicar of Putney 
Wednesday, 19 December, 2007, 09:03 AM
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Christmas is coming! Some theologians liken the birth of Christ to the invisible magic friend giving up all his power, a bit like Castro giving up the presidency in Cuba, or Prospero in "The Tempest". In each case there is a dictator who controls everything and knows everything but decides to permanently and irrevocably give up his power. Jesus being born in a lowly stable is exactly the same thing, except for the bit about permanently and irrevocably give up his power.

As a reverend doctor, let me just assure you that God doesn't have an insecurity complex. He doesn't need everyone to constantly worship him and praise him just to reassure himself that he's still the best god there is. Nor does he need the protection of the nation state. We should disestablish the Church of England, revoke the blasphemy laws, get rid of the bishops in the Lords and give all the schools back to people who actually want to widen the horizons of young minds rather than close them.

And in the New Year I'm going to become a humanist and invest in some flying pigs.

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Reverend Canon Doctor Alan Billings 
Tuesday, 18 December, 2007, 08:08 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Charles Wesley wrote loads of good tunes, including "Hark, the Herald" and "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling". Many people think Christianity is all about dogma, but most Christians get embarrassed when you ask them to say what they believe, even when they recite the Nicene Creed every week. Mostly they just like singing all those nice tunes.

Christians like getting getting emotional. They're all "under the influence" of the Jesus story, where the invisible magic friend became a man. This proves that humans are worthwhile. As a Reverend Canon Doctor and Director of the Centre for Ethics and Religion, Lancaster University, let me just assure you that once you become a Christian you too will learn that humans are worthwhile. You'll start to become a person of good character. You'll develop morally and spiritually, and most important of all, you'll start to sing nice Methodist hymns.

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