Professor Mona Siddiqui, University of Glasgow 
Thursday, 4 December, 2008, 08:29 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I'm not one to comment on how other people choose to spend their time. If a bunch of boring, dysfunctional, misfits want to idle away the wee small hours tapping away on a computer keyboard, why should I care? It's no skin off my nose if these useless, idle, basket cases prefer the virtual world of Second Life to the complex, gritty, world of reality. I'll just settle for pointing you to the story of Mandy Appleyard. She met a man on Second Life. They had a real world relationship that eventually went sour. This reveals the perils of meeting someone online and should be a warning to you all.

I'm sure if The Prophet (PBUH) were alive today he would ban Second Life. Unfortunately the Koran, being the perfect word of my Invisible Magic Friend and the source of all knowledge and morality, doesn't mention the subject, so I'll have to give it a go. As Professor of Islamic Studies and Public Understanding and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Glasgow, let me just assure you that the Invisible Magic Friend doesn't take kindly to people wasting the time He's given them. You should be using your time constructively, like me, not frittering it away frivolously on a whole bunch of made up stories.

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Open Thread 
Saturday, 29 November, 2008, 04:51 AM
Due to family commitments I have to go to Scotland for a few days and am unlikely to be listening to TFTD. I'll expect to see some good summaries of the daily wisdom of it's presenters here when I get back.
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Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield) 
Friday, 28 November, 2008, 08:32 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

I've been to Mumbai railway station. I have friends there, in Mumbai that is, not in the railway station. I've seen the huge crowds of people milling around chaotically. Two days ago, terrorists opened fire indiscriminately on those crowds. Now it's no use getting all emotional about this. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Therein lies the path to the Dark Side. Nor must we jump to conclusions about who's responsible. (Although we've all got a pretty good idea who did it, eh? Bloody Methodists!)

It's so easy to condemn these people as a bunch of evil, delusional fanatics, that will stop at nothing to vent their anger and impose their ways by force on others, but let's look at this from the terrorists' point of view. They undoubtedly see themselves as holy warriors in a just cause. What could possibly have given them that idea? We just don't know. A holy book that tells them to kill the unbelievers and promises them eternal salvation in return is just too simplistic an explanation. As we all know, jihad is a spiritual journey, and Abrahamism Mk. III spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia purely on the strength of its arguments. So the eternal question: "Why?" remains unanswered and a mystery that we must meditate upon.

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Elaine Storkey, sacked Senior Research Fellow in Social Philosophy at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford 
Thursday, 27 November, 2008, 09:59 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Apples' iphone advert has been banned. It's claims were too great a distortion of the truth, even for the advertising industry. We're all very streetwise these days when it comes to the exaggerated claims of product manufacturers. We don't really believe we'll whizz along an idyllic country road in our new car on the way home. It'll be the same boring old congested road that we've always used.

Fortunately there is no need to apply similar scepticism to the message of Jesus. While some other, wrong, religions might promise you happiness or wealth in this life, Christianity offers you interminably dreary sermons and a life of good, honest, misery - not that anything I have to say is interminably dreary. It's only in the next life that you get to spend eternity with the Invisible Magic Friend and countless billions of happy, smiling Christians. So no extraordinary claims there then. Two billion people out of a population of 6 billion currently believe this, so it must be true. In fact you'd have to be pretty stupid not to believe what two billion other people believe, wouldn't you?

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Oppressed by poetry 
Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 04:39 PM
Stephen Green has performed another great service to the god fearing believers of this country, this time by starting an online petition against Patrick Jones' poetry reading to the Welsh Assembly. The comments express the deep pain felt by so many Christians.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/wels ... res-1.html

There appears to be no end to the suffering that Christians must endure. First we had people refusing to enjoy Dec 25th the way they're told to, then the Catholics had to close all their orphanages to protect the children from godless homosexuals. Now this - a poetry reading! Can it get any worse than this? No wonder the world is in crisis.

[Update]. There's a counter petition here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Patr ... index.html

Please spread the word. (Tip - ignore the attempt to make you contribute to ipetitions if you don't want to. It doesn't stop you signing.)
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Reverend Dr Giles Fraser - Vicar of Putney 
Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 08:27 AM
Rating 2 out of 5 (a little platitudinous)

Tomorrow's my birthday. Tomorrow is also Thanksgiving, which we don't celebrate. If we did celebrate it, we could count our blessings, like all the awful news recently, and my bank account being empty, and me having a cold. Religion, if you celebrate religion, is all about gratitude for life's blessings. But many people don't celebrate religion and they're grateful for life's blessings too. The astronaut James Irwin spotted the Invisible Magic Friend in space and celebrated life's blessings, but He was hiding when Yuri Gagarin looked for Him, so he celebrated life's blessings anyway. The lilies of the field don't worry, but then they don't really celebrate life's blessings either. That's because they're just plants and don't spend a lot of time consciously planning for the future. So you can celebrate the IMF and thank Him for life's blessings - or you can just celebrate anyway.

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Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson, principal of St John's College Durham 
Tuesday, 25 November, 2008, 08:21 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

The BBC is showing a remake of the classic sci-fi series Survivors. This is a series where 95% of humanity are wiped out by a virus and the survivors must start again. This is a common occurrence. Time and again when 95% of humanity is wiped out, the survivors must start again. In many ways this is not dissimilar to the current financial crisis where many former financial experts must start again. I hope my constant repetition of the phrase start again isn't irritating you. As a Rev Dr Dr with PhDs in theoretical astrophysics and theology, I just want to emphasise this one, simple phrase for any Today listeners who only have one PhD. Priorities for those who have to start again will include such mundane tasks as finding food and securing fuel, but more important still will be their need to spiritually start again. They can start again by raising themselves above the materialism and selfishness of the modern, godless, world. They will need to be born again.

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Canon David Winter 
Monday, 24 November, 2008, 08:28 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

What's the BBC all about, eh? Well it's really all about my Invisible Magic Friend, because that's who the original governors dedicated it to. You can see this in the inscription in Broadcasting House. It's in Latin of course, so no one ever reads it, but it's about sowing your oats. This message of purity and truth seems to be forgotten nowadays by the so-called governors of the BBC.

Respectable Radio 4 listeners probably don't know this, but the Ross and Brand affair is rather typical of late night TV these days. You wouldn't believe the language used when decent people like you have gone to bed. Oh and the smut! Hour after hour of pure filth! I've sat through one obscenity after another. Believe me, you really don't want to see the kind of tasteless, vulgar indecency that I see every night. No perversion is beyond the bounds any more. Whatever you do, don't stay up late and watch all that disgusting, naked, writhing, flesh.

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2 comments ( 403 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 282 )

Brian Draper, London Institute for Contemporary Christianity  
Saturday, 22 November, 2008, 10:37 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

They don't pay us much at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. We do our best to get by, to make Christianity relevant to the modern world on a shoestring but times are 'ard and I'm only a poor associate lecturer. There are bills to pay and what with Tiny Tim's doctors fees there's just no money left for presents this year. Still, we'll struggle on somehow. Let's not forget the true meaning of Christmas. Look on the bright side. After all, you've got me to cheer you up, so things can't be that bad. I've got limitless entertaining similes comparing consumer spending with deep inner spirituality. And when the kids bounce down the stairs on Christmas Day, with their bright eyes full of excitement, you can point to the eaten mice pies that shows Santa's been. There won't actually be any toys of course, but Santa will've left behind a great big helping of Jesus' love. Cough, cough, 'scuse me, it's the draft from that cold north wind ye see. Maybe if I just throw a few more bibles on the fire. Mustn't grumble, mustn't grumble.

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Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield) 
Friday, 21 November, 2008, 10:22 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I'd like to return to my favourite subject of things causing other things. Many things cause other things. Bad things cause bad things. Good things cause good things. This is what we buddhists call karma. Sometimes bad things cause good things and good things cause bad things. This is not called karma. Take paving over front gardens to create car parking spaces. This was intended to be a good thing, getting rid of all those unsightly gardens and replacing them with nice tidy concrete. Unfortunately you all ended up murdering sparrows as a result. Here we have an example of a good thing causing a bad thing. We can't always anticipate all the things that will be caused by other things, although we can try. As Shakespeare famously said "Oh saucy Worcester!"

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4 comments ( 714 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 293 )


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