Reverend Dr Michael Banner, Dean at Trinity College, Cambridge 
Monday, 28 December, 2009, 09:39 AM - Gibberish, Science
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Two famous philosophers met after the war: Russell, a silly atheist who didn't understand mysticism, and Wittgenstein, a genius and former pupil of Russell, who understood mysticism and could therefore think of things that the more limited Russell could not. Thinking mystically allows you to think about things like ethics and morality. People who don't think mystically can't really think about ethics and morality. That's why Russell was so terrible at ethics and morality.

Tolstoy was almost as clever as Wittgenstein and he thought being mystical was a good idea too. So that's two clever people on the side of thinking mystically and only one second rate philosopher against it. Don't you want to be right and think mystically like we clever people do?

Thinking mystically allows you to understand things like "sin". Sin is something that is wrong because my Big Book of Magic Stuff says so. This does not mean we abandon reason. It just means we have to invent tortuous arguments to either twist the words of the Big Book of Magic Stuff or find ways to make its copious list of sins seem reasonable. This is what it means to be ethical.

This is why the so called argument between science and religion is so wearisome. Science is not mystical at all, which is why science is so useless. There is no conflict between science and religion as we can see from areas like family planning, stem cell research and the extent to which we should go forth and multiply. Religion has never interfered with science and it really would be nice if science stopped poking it's nose into mystical things like morality.

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Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet 
Saturday, 26 December, 2009, 08:24 AM - Pepinster
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Yes, yes, yes Bethlehem's important. Whatever. But Rome's really exciting too, because that's where the Pope is. To understand just how incredibly important the Pope is, you have to understand that all Roman Catholic priests have magic powers. Bishops have even more magic powers, because they can make priests and other bishops with magic powers. The Pope has even more magic powers than bishops though because he was picked by the Invisible Magic Friend and he's infallible and he can commit the Invisible Magic Friend to do things and he's the holiest and the goodest person in the whole wide world. Yet some deranged woman went and lept on him. Phew what a loony!

It's important that the Pope remains visible, because as well as being the top Catholic, he's also the world's top Christian, even for all you heretics that say he isn't. We know this for certain because somebody wrote down that somebody told them that Jesus said that the Pope was left in charge. And Jesus was the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend and that's in the same book so it's the Gospel truth.

Hundreds of years ago (this was before people who aren't as wise and holy as the pope invented the Internet and You-Tube and jet engines) the pope was much less visible. This made him much less important. No, that's not right. I'm sure popes who didn't appear on telly were just as important as modern popes. But it's absolutely vital that the Pope remains visible. How else is he going to capitalise on his image as top Christian? We certainly can't have over-enthusiastic, crazy admirers coming into contact with the holiest, wisest, goodest, most infallible man in the whole wide world.

Isn't the Pope just brilliant!

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Ding Dong merrily on high 
Friday, 25 December, 2009, 07:12 AM - Not TFTD
Ding Dong merrily on high
In Rome Ratzinger's singing
Ding Dong you must now apply
My image to be bringing

Glo-o-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oria!
The Christmas tills are ringing

Nichols warns it's blow on blow
By gangs be not distracted
Blindly do not follow
To my gang be attracted

Glo-o-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oria!
The Christmas tills are ringing

Williams warns it's nearly time
The C of E is dying
Toddlers we must surely prime
With lots of lovely lying

Glo-o-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oria!
The Christmas tills are ringing

Glo-o-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oh O-o-o-o-o-oria!
The Christmas tills are ringing

Merry Christmas to one and all!
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Padre Mark Christian, senior chaplain of 11 Light Brigade 
Thursday, 24 December, 2009, 08:15 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I love children. I love to hear them giggling and playing. I love to see the orphans well looked after. I love seeing children rush to get sweets. I love their generosity when they offer to share those sweets. I love their hope for the future. I love the innocent twinkle in a young girl's eye. I love teddy bears and toys and the excitement in little children's hearts on Christmas morn.

Coincidentally, Jesus was a child once. At midnight tonight, we celebrate the end of his nine month's gestation after being magically conceived, thus bringing hope to all mankind. All mankind hadn't had any hope before that. His birth was accompanied by the sound of choirs of angels announcing the arrival of peace on Earth and goodwill to all mankind - except the Taliban, who are a bunch of religious nutters.

So from the 11th light brigade, specialists in bringing death and destruction to crackpots who think they're instructed by their Invisible Magic Friend, a very Happy Christmas to everyone.

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Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, the international director of Micah Challenge 
Wednesday, 23 December, 2009, 10:37 AM - Edwards
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Should Christmas be banned? No.

And now onto the historic accuracy of the Gospel Nativity stories. Although they completely contradict each other, they are both true.

Some so called "intellectuals" like to snear at stories of virgin births, angelic messengers and wise men following a star. In addition to these historical facts, they also pour scorn upon some of the attendant myths associated with Jesus' birth. But now the sandal is on the other foot. The discovery of a house in Nazareth proves that it was all true. We've been telling you all this for years. The bible mentions Augustus, and he existed, so everything else that it says happened must be true as well.

Joseph himself had a difficult time believing it, until Mary explained that an angel visited her and told her that the ghost of the Invisible Magic Friend had made her pregnant, at which point Joseph sighed with relief.

Yet astonishingly, despite all this evidence, there are still some people who think this story is bizarre. But they're just a bunch of cynics. What these people fail to understand is the true meaning of Christmas. The ghost of the Invisible Magic Friend supplied Mary with some extra chromosomes so that Jesus could bring peace on earth. And just look how peaceful everything has been for the last 2,000 years.

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The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 
Tuesday, 22 December, 2009, 05:02 PM - Not TFTD
For those, like me, who look forward every year to the RI Christmas Lectures, I thought I'd warn everyone that they've moved (again) this year. They're now on More-4 and they're running before Christmas rather than after (i.e. they're on this week). I missed the first one but fortunately caught it on Virgin TV's On demand service.

Even better though, they now have archives of many of the old series, including a fantastic set by the mathematician Christopher Zeeman which I'm going to start watching straight away. IIRC, he does a proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra - that all polynomials of degree n have n complex roots - using a pinboard and some bits of string - it's dazzling stuff.
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Right Awful Anne Atkins - Agonising Aunt and Vicar's Wife  
Tuesday, 22 December, 2009, 09:14 AM - Atkins
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

A friend of mine awoke to find a burglar in the house. She chased him, stark naked, down the street with a poker. It was only when the burglar was gone that she realised she was standing in the street the way my Invisible Magic Friend made her. Admirable as her instinctive reaction to protect her family was, she would nevertheless have been quite wrong to use the poker as Munir Hussain did.

You see our law exists to prevent you acting on your instinct to eliminate any threat to your loved ones. Being one of the more civilised nations, we have law that is based on Judeo-Christian law and therefore the law of my Invisible Magic Friend. That's why we still stone adulterers for example. Less civilised nations, which don't have the benefit of Judeo-Christian law and therefore don't know the difference between right and wrong, send serial criminals to prison. In many of these anarchy stricken countries it isn't even safe to go around burgling people's houses any more.

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Rev Dr Colin Morris, a Methodist Minister and (coincidentally) former head of religious broadcasting and BBC controller in Northern Ireland  
Monday, 21 December, 2009, 08:13 AM - Environment, Morris
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Well, the Copenhagen meeting was a bit of a mess. Some say the rich countries have stitched up the poorer nations. But getting 193 countries to agree on anything, much less save the planet, was always a tall order. This is where faith groups come in. We're already responsible for tackling poverty and injustice in the world. There used to be loads of poverty and injustice in the world, but now that people of faith have arrived, poverty and injustice have been eliminated. Naturally, once people of faith realise that the world is heading for catastrophe we'll be able to stop it. Soon, Christians will be abandoning their Range Rovers, cycling through the snow, becoming vegetarians and only eating 100% organic foodstuffs. Christians are already famous for it, especially in the United States. The great Muslim nations of the Middle East will stop trying to maximise oil profits and will encourage us all to switch to renewables instead. Of course atheist countries, like communist China will try and spoil it all. They'll just be selfish and keep polluting the planet because they don't realise that the planet was made by my Invisible Magic Friend. They'll keep on making things and forcing us to buy them.

Forget about preserving your children's inheritance and saving the planet for them. The reason we need to avoid climate change is because the Invisible Magic Friend says so.

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Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican priest 
Saturday, 19 December, 2009, 08:33 AM - Materialism, Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Don't Panic! Don't Panic! It's the last Saturday before Christmas, there's snow and ice everywhere, but the important thing if you haven't done your Christmas shopping yet is Don't Panic! There's always the internet but even that's getting too late. One internet shop has even sold 100,000 virtual gifts - gifts that don't actually exist!

But what does it all mean? All this shopping, all this running around, all this wrapping presents, all this giving? You see, none of your possessions will be of any use to you in the Invisible Magic Life. Your iPod, your SatNav, you new sweater, even your invisible gift from your virtual internet store, none of these things have any spiritual value when you get to your Invisible Magic Life.

The true meaning of Christmas, isn't the celebration with family, or the remembrance of friends. It isn't giving and receiving gifts to bring some cheer in the depths of Winter. It isn't looking forward to a new year, with the promise of Spring and the warmth of Summer. That's all a load of secular rubbish that is. No, the true meaning of Christmas is that the Invisible Magic Friend sent his visible bit to come and save you. Aren't you feeling a lot better now that you've been saved? We saw that the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus and so, every year, millions of shoppers say to themselves, "I know! I'll follow the example of the wise men and buy some gifts. They were wise after all, so it must be a good idea."

Jesus saw a lot of people blatantly trading with one another - buying things they needed and selling stuff they didn't need. He stood around a lot, wagging his finger and saying "Tut, tut, this is all very unspiritual and it won't do you any good at all in the Invisible Magic Life." So we executed him and carried on trading, safe in the knowledge that we'd all been saved.

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Shaikh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Cambridge  
Friday, 18 December, 2009, 08:58 AM - Environment, Murad
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Climate Change Conference everyone! This is really, really, really important. As Gordon Brown said, "Please let me have a sound-bite that doesn't make me sound like a dour Scottish Presbyterian." But some things don't change. Wealthy nations won't be giving up their gas guzzlers or opening their doors to global warming refugees. The haves and the have nots will remain as they are.

For once, you can't go around blaming religion for this. I'm not even going to blame atheists for it. The division now is between we humble people, going around being humble and being nice to the planet, and nasty arrogant people, going around being nasty to the planet. Thankfully, all religions are full of humble people. People really don't come much more humble than us. With all the authority of a Muslim Shaikh, let me just assure you that in the global humbleness stakes, we're the humblest you can possibly be. Not only are we outstandingly humble, we're also 100% correct because we have the literal words of the Invisible Magic Friend written down in the Koran. One of the nice bits of the Koran says, "We humble believers really are brilliant!"

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