Coffee House

Never mind women bishops — why is the C of E now pretending the Devil doesn’t exist?

16 July 2014

16 July 2014

Once again, a feeble desire to be democratic and appeal to potential church-goers has led the C of E into muddy waters. No, I’m not talking about women bishops, but the Church of England’s much more significant — and damaging – decision, rubber stamped last Sunday, to remove the Devil from the liturgy of Baptism. Instead of being asked to reject ‘the devil and all rebellion against God’, parents at a Christening will now blandly be asked to ‘turn away from sin’.

The change of language means the liturgy is now so removed from the original Book of Common Prayer as to be unrecognisable, but members of the Synod were told that a pilot scheme of the new version in selected churches had ‘proved extremely popular’. And a report for the C of E’s Liturgical Commission said that vicars now often conduct ‘baptisms for un-churched families’ who may find traditional language impenetrable.

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Instead of ‘renouncing’ evil, parents will now reject it, and there will on no account be any ‘repenting’. Like most language from the King James Bible, such words are deemed too difficult.

It is tricky to argue for the retention of what the C of E might call ‘exclusive language’ without sounding like a ranting fundamentalist or a fogey. However, my own disenchantment with Anglicanism began when I was presented during Sunday service with a can of dried fava beans to use as an improvised percussion instrument to accompany a ‘song’ (hymns are also out of fashion). I find such innovations as distasteful and anti-spiritual as congregants attending church in sweatshirts, hiking boots or fashionably ripped jeans. (And, as the old joke goes, that was just the vicar.)

The devil is quite simply the embodiment of evil. Ann Widdecombe, who famously converted to Catholicism out of frustration with the modernising tendencies of the Church of England, has resolutely dismissed the changes to the baptism service as ‘a load of nonsense’. And she points out that parents who experience the new cosy Christening may get a shock if they then open a Bible – since the devil features prominently.

The Devil may in some senses be symbolic, and as hard to depict as God himself. But as a child, the notion of God’s wisdom and power, and the sublime comfort of believing He existed would have been far less convincing without a simultaneous belief in Satan. Melville wrote something in Moby Dick that encapsulates the dilemma. As Ishmael and Queequeg share a bed in a freezing inn, he describes the comfort of feeling warm being greatly enhanced if the exposed tip of your nose remains cold. A bedroom warmed by fire is, says Melville ‘one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich.’ Christianity without the devil is similarly, needlessly, cosy.


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Show comments
  • John Hancock

    I’m so glad I’m an atheist. The title “pretending the devil doesn’t exist” says it all!!!!!!!!!!

  • reed1v

    The devil is in the details; but evidently Satan, assuming there is one, has won this round; and thus starts the long, weary 21st century as western civilization exits in disarray.

  • Bonkim

    You are assuming the organised Church and its rituals have anything to do with the Christianity of the Bible. That has ceased for well over three centuries.

  • Pat Conway

    It’s difficult to understand how grown ups can believe in gods, demons, angels, spirits, etc.

    • Bonkim

      and how can grown ups believe in a Christian Church either!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    The best trick the Devil ever pulled …

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Check the 10 Commandments, King James version and compare with the Catholic BS version. You’ll notice that Commandment 2, the one about not having graven images … is AWOL. So to make up the numbers, the “Thou shalt not covert” Commandment at the end is split into two. Covert is clearly thought crime, and this/these Commandments places women at the same level as domestic animals. But that side, centuries ago Mother Church obviously took the decision that the violent superstition it was peddling would have nothing like the same appeal if Commandment 2 was taken literally and all that religious art was verboten. Keep in mind the vast majority of Catholics are poor, ignorant, illiterate, superstitions, with low IQ from backward third-world countries. In other words the thickos of this world without the intelligence to notice far less challenge any contradiction. Top brass bead mumblers correctly believed that they can get away with a blatantly re-writing of the Bible when it suited them, so just imagine the liberties they would take when their deception was less obvious. Smell up and wake the coffee, gullible Muppets, organised religion is power politics, namely deception on a massive scale.
    There’s only one justification for Christianity in advanced capitalist countries today, and that’s as a bulwark against fast encroaching Islamisation.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • terence patrick hewett

    They don’t belive in the Devil because they don’t belive in God. Except of course the African Anglicans who do believe in both.

  • red2black

    Why is the C of E now pretending the Devil doesn’t exist? Because he’s not an Old Etonian; or maybe because he is?

  • John Smith

    The CofE is unprincipled & all about leftie populism
    There are some churchgoers that do go works but many are investing in an insurance policy

  • Ricky Strong

    Looking around the world today I’m starting to think the Devil does exist.

    • Liz

      No, you’re confusing him with men.

      • red2black

        At least the female wardens in places like Auschwitz gave us all a run for our money.

        • Liz

          Not really.

          • red2black

            Most definitely.

      • red2black

        At least the female wardens in places like Auschwitz gave us all a run for our money.

      • Ricky Strong

        Every man born on this Earth is born innocent, it takes religion and ideology to corrupt them.

      • allymax bruce

        Liz, it is ‘incumbent’ upon you to explain why you cite the Devil as a man.

        • red2black

          The author of the article mentions ‘God himself’ (?)

          • allymax bruce

            Quote me where Tim ‘cites the devil as man’?

            All I can see from reading Tim’s article is, “The devil is quite simply the embodiment of evil.” Seems to be sexless; not at all like the accusation from Liz, that all men are evil!

            • Liz

              My accusation wasn’t that all men are evil, it was that all evil in the world is done by men (or let’s be generous and say 99%).

              • allymax bruce

                Ok, again, I’ll have to take your word for it; I don’t have access to the same data you have, Liz, but I know my ex-wife would certainly account for the resulting 1% !

      • allymax bruce

        Still waiting, Liz, for your primary evidence that all men are evil.
        Don’t ignore this; you always degrade men, but never show how/why. You must show why you cite ‘all men are the devil’.

  • Liz

    “a load of nonsense”

    I think that ship sailed a couple of millennia ago.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “why is the C of E now pretending the Devil doesn’t exist?”. Love and hate, positive and negative, hot and cold there must always be two. Alphabetically the C of E the 3 of 5.

    • Chris Morriss

      Good grief, I thought all the Manicheans had died out years ago.

  • gram64

    This latest wheeze by the C of E must be terribly popular with the Devil, too.

    No such change in Islam, where the Devil (‘Iblis’) is pointed out as much as ever, and where the concept of repentance is as strong as ever, too.

    The language of the Koran is considerably more archaic than that of the King James Bible. The Arabic in the Koran dates back to the 7th century, whilst that of the Bible to the 16th century. Yet Muslims hold to that old Arabic as strongly as ever.

    Tells you something about the comparative strength of each belief system, doesn’t it.

    • Shenandoah

      It also shows you the sharp limitations of ‘belief’.

    • Damaris Tighe

      And that will be our downfall

  • Roger Hudson

    Ok as long as you explain that the ‘devil’ is only a device to embody evil, an abstract moral concept.
    You might try telling US TV producers as well, they seem to believe it’s real.
    You show a silly painting that doesn’t help, only a few insects have six limbs, in all real creatures the forelimb is either a foreleg, an arm or a wing , you can’t have arms and wings, look at a bat.

  • Gizzard Puke

    I’d forgotten that the C of E had anything to do with Christianity these days! It’s even to the left of the Tories now!

    • chesters

      quite right Mr Puke. What with the dreadful ‘wall’ set up outside St James Piccadilly last year, the previous Arch Bish giving approval to Sharia law, the procrastination and ‘whataboutery’ in dealing with the ‘Occupy’ protesters (ie squatters) outside St Paul’s cathedral, the Bish of Oxford saying schools should no longer provide Christian worship, and the fact that my local Vicar didn’t even mention, let alone say a prayer for, poor Drummer Rigby – all told, the C of E has totally lost it for me.

  • john

    I thought he’d been transferred to Barcelona.

  • scott_east_anglia

    The time for thunder from the pulpit was the 1960s. The church should have been a bastion of tradition – a reliable anchor that people knew in their hearts would still be there to return to after they had experimented with letting it all hang out, man. But it let us all down.

    Pusillanimity reigned. Rather than leading, the church followed.

    Because generations ago the state schools stopped indoctrinating schoolchildren into the faith, new blood stopped joining church congregations a long time ago (except for parents blackmailed into attending church in order to bypass state education and have their child(ren) enrolled into a church school – where such schools exist).

    As a result the C of E congregation is about to die of old age – my guess is it will be all over in about ten years tops, to judge by our local parish church. It’s now too late to turn things round, even with inspired leadership.

    So-called ‘modernisation’ will not attract the happy clappies to the C of E. They are happy where they are. It will merely drive way the remnants of the existing congregation, hastening the demise of the established church.

    Devil or no devil, once the church expires what will these glossy new lady (ex?)bishops do? Rome won’t have them.

    • Damaris Tighe

      The happy-clappies aren’t a strong alternative to Islam either. The young male converts to Islam are looking for something severe & austere – ‘masculine & muscular’ if you like. I should imagine they turn their noses up at touchy-feely services that are conducted like parties.

  • Terry Field

    If the C of E accepts the Devil, then it accepts absolute evil, must take an absolute stand against things that are foul and devil-inspired, and will have to ditch its touchy-feely lefty-wefty tambourine-thumping soft-left social interventionist garbage for something that used to be known as BELIEF – like what other religions have in spades – as also has the Roman Church which is deeply Christian and clear about values.
    The parable of the talents would also require the lefty-controlled priests to dump their degenerate Labour mindset in favour of something that values work, effort, skill, success over sloth and unjustifiable subsidy of ill behaviour.
    That would be a new world for the dreadful and nearly dead-as-a-doornail C of E.

    • scott_east_anglia

      Don’t mince words, Terry – tell it like it is!

      • Terry Field

        I know.
        I am naturally reticent and hate the idea of offending anyone.
        I just am compelled to sugar the message and try to seek consensus and harmony.
        I will leave to others to be direct.

  • Tim

    To suggest that the decision made on Sunday by the Church of England’s General Synod, that the “C of E [is] now pretending the Devil doesn’t exist” as stated is plain wrong.

    The church has not expunged the Devil.

    Both The Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship liturgies remain approved services and will continue to be used across the country each week complete with a full mentions of “the crafts and assaults of the devil”, baptisms and all.

    The recent synod debates on baptism texts have focused on proposing additional text to parts of the service.

    The original debate that has resulted in these additional texts arose in Liverpool, after a recognition that supplementary liturgy with accessible language would better allow those who found the symbols and actions of a christening more memorable than that some found “wordy”.

    As the Bishop of Sodor and Man, Robert Paterson, explained in his speech to Synod:

    “We have no quarrel with standing up to the Devil: the problem is helping people with little doctrinal appreciation to understand what we mean by affirming that the Devil is a defeated power.”

    This vote is the first step towards an even broader variety of liturgy in the church. The additional texts will go through all of the standard processes of revision and further votes in order to hone into something that makes the powerful decision at baptism more and more real.

  • Des Demona

    The Abrahamic religions in particular have always used the carrot and stick approach to indoctrination, especially with children. ”believe what I say and it’s paradise for you, don’t believe and the devil’s gonna get you”
    However, as education levels increase and people are less prone to superstitious intimidation I suspect that the C of E has found that approach outdated, if not ridiculous, hence the change.

    • mandelson

      I suspect that your implication of past generations gullibility is way off the mark as is your faith in progress in “education”. It is in these times that people appear to be more naive and lacking in common sense than any previous.

  • William_Brown

    “Never mind women bishops — why is the C of E now pretending the Devil doesn’t exist?”
    …But it doesn’t – and never did.

  • swatnan

    Always knew that God was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character.
    The fact is that the Devil is jus a manifestation of one aspect of a human being.

  • William_Brown

    tch…all this argument over one of many such fairy stories designed to bring the population to heel and mop up the weak of will and mind. Gosh, they’ll be killing each other next…..

  • I_love_monday_mornings

    Next they’ll be telling us there’s no Santa Claus

    • Shenandoah

      Oh you ARE naughty!

  • ohforheavensake

    Tim. They’re not pretending. He’s not real.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    The CofE has been following the voters for the last 30-40 years. The faster it follows them the faster they run away? Why?

    The point of religion, if you believe in it, is to give people a fixed moral by which they to live their lives. This code has to be presented as ‘sacred’ and held in trust by a spiritual being to prevent us tampering with it. This is not to say the religion cannot evolve over time, but it has to do so slowly enough as to be imperceptible.

    What the CofE has done is to ‘evolve’ so rapidly and with such expediency that it has actually shown to everyone that the moral code can be changed on a whim and that if that’s the case, it is no code at all.

    Western civilization is crumbling and sooner or later people will start to realize why we as humans need the concept of God to save us from our own intellectual arrogance and moral expediency. However, they won’t go knocking on the CofE’s door.

    • ohforheavensake

      Rubbish.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        Would you care to expand on your razor sharp analysis?

        • ohforheavensake

          OK. One: There is no provable link between religious practice and morality (for example, the Romans had a moral code, and a pantheon of immoral gods).

          Two: according to the crime statistics, as we’ve got less religious, we’ve also become more law abiding- crime rates have been in decline for decades.

          Three: You have absolutely no evidence for the statement that Western civilisation is crumbling (because there isn’t any evidence for that). What you mean is that it’s changing in a way you don’t like. Which is tough: but it happens.

          So, as I said: Rubbish.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            1. I never said there was, I merely said that the purpose of religion was to “is to give people A fixed moral code”. I never said that religion had a monopoly on it.

            2. Yes since 1995, yet people have been getting less religious as you put it since the beginning of the 19th century. Some people think the drop in crime is due the the banning of lead in petrol, some on the police fiddling the figures (the evidence is well reported) and some on the collapsing faith in the justice system which means that many crimes now go unreported. In any case don’t confuse causation with correlation.

            3. The evidence for the West losing its influence around the world is their for all to see. Our civilization is no longer seen in the positive way it once was which is why many people around the world are looking for alternatives, be it Islamism, or China, or Russia.

            Many people around the world clearly and fundamentally resent Western hegemony and what’s it’s shoving down their throats. If you can’t see that your just not paying attention.

            • doctorseraphicus

              One of the points of Christianity is to give people a moral code, but not the principal point. Certainly, I am not arguing for immorality, but if all there was to it was sitting still and behaving yourself I am could manage without divine assistance. Mostly.

              • Damaris Tighe

                Not sure that’s true. For two thousand years we’ve so internalised the judeo-christian ethic that it’s become our default morality whether or not we still believe in the judeo-christian God. The whole idea of protecting the weak, the widowed, the orphaned, was foreign to paganism.

                • doctorseraphicus

                  Your comment puts me in mind of James’ letter: “Religion that is pure and
                  undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows
                  in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). Which absolutely has the air of moral (i.e. behavioural) imperative. And has been remarked, many people selflessly help others with or withour a religious purpose.

                  But let’s not lose sight of the greater transforming purpose of the Christian message:

                  “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” (Joh 6:53-55)

                  or

                  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor 5:17)

                  “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” (Gal 6:15)

                  What a Christian *ought* to look like is what was revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  You’re preaching to the converted (literally!).

                • doctorseraphicus

                  Blessings!

                • Chris Morriss

                  What a very bad translation you’ve been reading there!

                • doctorseraphicus

                  Quotation from James is RSV. The others are ESV, by accident.

                  θρησκεία καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὕτη ἐστίν, ἐπισκέπτεσθαι ὀρφανοὺς καὶ χήρας ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν, ἄσπιλον ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ κόσμου.

                • Jackthesmilingblack

                  Isn’t cannibalism the word I’m reaching for? Or would it simply be life-sucking drivel?

                • doctorseraphicus

                  Well, the statement caused offence at the time, at least according to the narrative. As for life-sucking drivel, well, YMMV.

              • Diggery Whiggery

                What is the principal point in that case?

                Having a moral code, wherever it comes from is not about sitting still and without divine assistance (i.e. keeping the rules out of our meddlesome hands) we can change the definition of ‘behaving ourselves’ to allow for what we want to do in any case.

                Surely that is why man needs saving from himself.

          • Chingford Man

            Since you reject the presuppositions of Christianity I don’t think you have anything useful to say on this thread, so maybe you can troll elsewhere.

          • Colonel Mustard

            “Two: according to the crime statistics, as we’ve got less religious, we’ve also become more law abiding- crime rates have been in decline for decades.”

            Pff! What you actually mean is that reported crime has declined. How many people who have had money stolen from their bank accounts (and replaced by the banks) in card scams have bothered reported those incidents to police?

            “What you mean is that it’s changing in a way you don’t like.”

            No, it is BEING changed in a way that I (and many others) don’t like. And as we exist too and you believe in DIVERSITY suck that up. We’ll carry on disliking it and you can carry on behaving as if you have some Divine Right to be right about the change. Which is quite ironic given your rant about religion.

            • Diggery Whiggery

              “No, it is BEING changed in a way that I (and many others) don’t like.”

              i.e. profound change is being inflicted on society despite it never having been in any election manifesto.

              Enough proponents with access to the media, enough political stooges in the Lords, enough special interest pressure groups payed for with public money and enough mendacious polls to tell what we’re thinking are all that are needed to short-cut democracy and destroy civilization.

          • Damaris Tighe

            This is only true if you think one moral code is as good as another.

          • Gregory Mason

            ‘Two: according to the crime statistics, as we’ve got less religious, we’ve also become more law abiding- crime rates have been in decline for decades.’

            Actually the exact opposite has happened. In 1898 there was only 4,221 violent crimes in England and Wales whereas a century later in 1998/9 there was 331,843. That’s an increase of 77 times over and even adjusting for population changes it’s a 47 fold rise in violent crime.

          • Paddy S

            One: Why is that ultimate act of being good be it secular or religious is charity, and that so much of it is done by religious.

            Two: First as Peter Hitchens rightly points out crime stats are bogus. Secondly many immoral acts themselves are not illegal: abortion, adultery, many acts of stealing, degenerate behaviour, bad manners, high rate of depression uses, drug misuse and high suicides (very high in secular countries) are not measured in such stats.

            Three: Western civilisation is crumbling. Welfare state is unafforable, there is a crisis of demography, breakdown in morality, high illegitimacy which causes and is a factor in many of above problems, rise in divorce unprecendented, lack of truth, culture of relativism which misuses and abuses truth, and no real leadership in West. All of these are signs of decline but your not looking hard.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Unfortunately they’re likely to be knocking at uncompromising, self-confident Islam’s door instead. It’s already happening.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        Quite. The past greatness of the CofE was in knowing how to hold the moderate consensus and marginalizing the extremes. Now they’re floating all over the place, the moderate consensus (which I don’t believe has changed all that much in terms of religious beliefs) doesn’t know where to go. In fact I would even say that the CofE has broken the religious consensus by introducing concepts that are not religious.

        • Damaris Tighe

          It’s difficult for the elites of all our institutions to understand the attraction for people at the bottom (especially young men) of an uncompromising system of boundaries. Unfortunately Islam’s boundaries are in all the wrong places. But our underclass males don’t know any better because they live in Christianity-free zones. No one has ever told them you can pray five times a day in Christianity (the office) if you want to. Not to mention the strong masculine ethos (if you can call it that) of Islam – made all the more compelling by the fast increasing feminisation of the C of E.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            I think we also need to recognize that Christianity has had immense cynicism and ridicule poured over it over the last 50 years at the hands of a sneering intelligentsia. These same people are now turning a blind eye to Islam.

            People at the bottom may well be attracted to an uncompromising system of boundaries but they don’t want to be laughed at either. If they choose Islam they go from being without power to being part of a powerful group that no-one in the media dares to laugh at. If they choose the CofE they go from being anonymous and marginalized to joining a group that is more and more anonymous and marginalized.

            As things stand they’re making a logical if unwise choice.

            • Damaris Tighe

              Couldn’t agree more. Good point

            • Shenandoah

              Only trouble is, they have no power within that group. And might, whether you’re in the power group or not, does not make right.

              • Diggery Whiggery

                Absolutely, which is why I said they were making a logical (from there perspective) if unwise decision. I’m not sure they’d have power within the group if they chose the CofE either. The fact remains though that when considering the ‘left-behind’ population, they feel themselves to be trampled upon and so they are looking for might more than right and that’s a problem clearly.

          • Chris Morriss

            True. Such people are looking for certainties, and sadly Islam is a religion of certainties. Everyone in Islam (apart from the Sufis) see things in black and white.
            My own view, being basically a gnostic christian, is that any god who requires to be worshipped is a god lacking in self confidence. Any god worthy of the capital G should be simply acknowledged and silently thanked every now and again. Allah (and WHWH) are throwbacks to the days when a petulant god could attract followers.
            But I’ve no idea what to do about it. People of low intellect will always be attracted to any demagogue who states that he has the answer to everything.

            • Damaris Tighe

              And linked to that I’ve often thought that any god who needs the assistance of his worshippers to kill his so-called enemies (eg the muslim belief that Allah needs them to kill jews) must be lacking in omnipotence.

              ‘Any god worthy of the capital G should be simply acknowledged & silently thanked evey now & again’. I like it. I must be a gnostic christian.

    • Stephen

      Is religion, in your view, a human construct? Or, to put it another way, is there a spiritual being or is there only a fixed moral code which is presented as ‘sacred’?

    • mattghg

      If “The point of religion, if you believe in it, is to give people a fixed moral code by which to live their lives”, then Christianity is not a religion. The point of Christianity is Christ and his death and resurrection in order to save those who repent and trust in him. No amount of moral living can do that.

      • Shenandoah

        Save them from what? And who made those rules in the first place? God did. God manages to be rule-maker, umpire, game participant, and victim, all in the same set-up. And you fail to see the gross manipulation going on there?

    • Des Demona

      ”Western civilization is crumbling and sooner or later people will start to realize why we as humans need the concept of God to save us from our own intellectual arrogance”

      Not a trace of irony there!

  • Frank

    Devil = difficult concept, women bishops = easy concept.

    • allymax bruce

      Frank, I may be a stretching this, but isn’t the word ‘devil’ from the French D’Evil; =The Evil? I mean, over time, has it, the word, from social folklore usage, been shaped to mean what was inherently meant, that has many ‘signatures’/words to describe it?

      • doctorseraphicus

        No it isn’t. It’s from the Anglo-Saxon deofol, which in turn is related to the Latin diabolus and the Greek diabolos; roughly, this means an opponent or accuser and I assume is how the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translation of the Old Testament) translated the Hebrew word Satan.

        • allymax bruce

          I’ll take your word for it; all 3 of them!
          Anymore, for anymore??????
          Like I said, “the word, from social folklore usage, been shaped to mean what was inherently meant, that has many ‘signatures’/words to describe it?” (allymax).

          • doctorseraphicus

            Agree – sorry didn’t want to sound like an old pedant…

            • allymax bruce

              It’s ok; thanks for your forgiveness.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Even if ‘devil’ doesn’t come from d’evil, allymax, I think the word evil has more resonance with people nowadays than the comic horned figure with a forked tail that most people think of when you say devil. So I don’t think it’s a dumbing down, quite the opposite. Pity about the repentance bit though.

        • allymax bruce

          Thanks, Damaris Tighe, a bit of ‘common’ sensiblity at last.
          When I was Homeless in Atlanta Georgia, I stayed at a hostel; I was, like, spot the white man! I kept hearing a phrase I’d never heard before; it went, “The devil is a liar”. All the black guys used it against each other; I figured it out though. Basically, they used it as a social folklore ‘common’, to externalise the devil/evil as something not of ‘one-self’. That way, they never had to accept responsibility for their ‘sins’, d’evil, diabolos; whatever! The point is, ‘repentance’ can be avoided by ‘utilising’ a social folklore ‘common’. In other words, making God in the image of Man.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Here in England most people are too sophisticated for their own good! I don’t think the idea of the devil works for them any more. But I don’t think we should underestimate the power of the idea of evil – even the un-churched understand it.

            • red2black

              The only source of evil in the world is people.

              • Damaris Tighe

                In fact that’s a respectable & ancient Christian position – that evil is the absence of good but not a force in itself. I think St Augustine held to the ‘privation of good’ doctrine.

                • red2black

                  Not a force in itself, even when the evil is intentional? The analogy of light, object and shadow is very neat, but it seems a bit abstract.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  I’m not a theologian but my understanding is that it was a doctrine seeking to avoid the pitfalls of manicheanism (ie, equal superatural forces of good & evil). Thus even intentional evil is held to occur when the person turns away from God/good – human evil fills the vacuum as it were. But it has no supernatural existence, aka, the devil, satan etc.

                  But I feel very unqualified to write about the doctrine.

                • red2black

                  Same here, but interesting all the same.

      • BlingBlingsCollar

        You are stretching. The French for ‘evil’ is Le Mal…

        • allymax bruce

          Yeah-man; what’s with the hair?
          Have you been stretching it?
          Your translation is as crude as mine; my point was to show the word has been abused & used over many centuries of social folklore. Just like you have done.

  • Bert3000

    Maybe Christianity should be about religion and not about making self-satisfied fogeys feel good about themselves?

    • Ben Waymark

      Exactly! Christianity if a religion and the church a living community; you cannot “list” liturgy as you would a building and except to keep it alive.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Why should Christianity be any different from the religion of socialism (rapidly usurping it anyway) which is about making self-satisfied prigs feel good about themselves?

      • red2black

        Probably why they’re both not worth bothering about.

      • Damaris Tighe

        The religion of self-indulgence.

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