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The Middle East’s 30 Years’ War just took a turn for the worse

3 January 2016

9:37 PM

3 January 2016

9:37 PM

In January 2014, Douglas Murray explained in The Spectator how relations in the Middle East were becoming increasingly tense. With Saudi Arabia having now cut diplomatic relations with Iran, Douglas’s insight seems prescient.

Syria has fallen apart. Major cities in Iraq have fallen to al-Qa’eda. Egypt may have stabilised slightly after a counter-coup. But Lebanon is starting once again to fragment. Beneath all these facts — beneath all the explosions, exhortations and blood — certain themes are emerging.

Some years ago, before the Arab ‘Spring’ ever sprung, I remember asking one top security official about the region. What, I wondered, was their single biggest fear? The answer was striking and precise: ‘That the region will clarify.’ That is a fear which now appears to be coming true.

The Middle East is not simply falling apart. It is taking a different shape, along very clear lines — far older ones than those the western powers rudely imposed on the region nearly a century ago. Across the whole continent those borders are in the process of cracking and breaking. But while that happens the region’s two most ambitious centres of power — the house of Saud and the Ayatollahs in Iran — find themselves fighting each other not just for influence but even, perhaps, for survival.

The way in which what is going on in the Middle East has become a religious war has long been obvious. Just take this radio exchange, caught at the ground level earlier this month, between two foreign fighters in Syria, the first from al-Qa’eda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS], the second from the Free Syrian army [FSA]. ‘You apostate infidels,’ says the first. ‘We’ve declared you to be “apostates”, you heretics. You don’t know Allah or His Prophet, you creature. What kind of Islam do you follow?’ To which the FSA fighter responds, ‘Why did you come here? Go fight Israel, brother.’ Only to be told, ‘Fighting apostates like you people takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.’

The religious propulsion of many of the fighters who have flooded into Syria in the three years of its civil war — 400 or more from Britain alone — is beyond doubt. From the outset this has been a confrontation inflamed by religious sectarianism. In the first stages of the Syrian conflict the Shia militia of Hezbollah were sent by their masters in Iran to fight on the side of Iran’s ally Bashar al-Assad. But those of a different political and religious orientation made their own moves against this. Across Britain and Europe, not to mention the wider Middle East, many thousands of young men listened to the call of religious leaders like the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz al-Asheik and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who last year declared that Hezbollah is in fact not the ‘army of God’, as its name almost suggests, but rather the ‘army of Satan.’ Sheikh Qaradawi declared that ‘every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that [must] make himself available’ for jihad in Syria.

It is perhaps inevitable that with the amount of regional influence at stake, and the quantity of natural resources, there would be numerous powers involved in trying to dictate the Syrian endgame. But as the country’s civil war has ground on and the region as a whole has started to fall into a maelstrom, there is not a party or country that has not been shocked by one particular new reality. That is the fact that what has hitherto been the most important global player has decided to take a back seat. When two major Iraqi cities fell to al-Qa’eda forces last week, the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, expressed concern but stressed that for the Iraqi government this was now ‘their fight’.

One of the cities was Fallujah, the site of the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war, where 10,000 British and American troops fought to depose the Islamists. It is now back under jihadi control, with the black flag of al-Qa’eda proudly flying — and the West does not want to know. Although there are Syrian cities also now under al-Qa’eda control, the US and its allies remain unmoved over acting in that country either.

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To an extent, what is happening in the Middle East is what happens when America and the West suddenly lose interest. But for the US, the reasons for that new lack of interest are obvious. With America soon predicted to attain energy independence, why should the country continue to involve itself deeply in a region which has cost it so much in blood, treasure and international reputation? Why should the US 5th Fleet continue to attempt to maintain regional security in a continent whose regional resources are increasingly rewarding nobody so much as the Communist Party of China?

For the UK and other lesser western powers, declining involvement in the region is neither a moral nor an interest-based decision. It is simply a decision based on the fact — as the last decade has proved — that we no longer have either the cash or the commitment to effect any decent outcome in the region.

If this remains a reality which is too rarely admitted here at home, it was long ago scented in the winds of the region. And as the new reality dawned, it was inevitable that the various factions in Syria’s civil war would reach out to anybody in the region who shared their broadest goals. Vice versa, the regional powers ended up looking for anybody who could plausibly assist them with the means and methods to reach their own ends. And so it is that a Middle Eastern proxy-war which had already reached as far as Washington DC has found its way right back to the very doorsteps of the countries that were propelling it. And how a war of religion also become a war of good old-fashioned statecraft.

From the outset of the Syrian uprising, it was inevitable that Iran would weigh in on the side of its client in Damascus. Indeed, so desperate were the mullahs in Tehran to do everything they could to protect their own interests that they even put up with protests at home from people starved of basic supplies complaining about their own government pouring millions into Syria’s civil war.

But the next step was just as predictable. Saudi Arabia, which fears Iranian influence spreading any further than it has already throughout the region, began to back the opposition. Starting cautiously, in recent months that caution has retreated and Saudi is now supporting groups as close to al-Qa’eda-linked forces as to make little difference. Desperate measures, certainly. But for the Saudi leadership these are desperate times. Though it is a battle that has been brewing for decades.

 

There has always been the ongoing tension of Bahrain, which is under Saudi domination but which Iran seeks for itself. But then there is the quieter battle for influence in the Gulf states, which, while interventionist at times, quiver before the clashing of these bigger beasts. It was only as Syria fell apart and the regional powers were pulled inexorably into a more open battle, that the cold war between Iran and Saudi found its hot battleground.

There are those who think that the region as a whole may be starting to go through something similar to what Europe went through in the early 17th century during the Thirty Years’ War, when Protestant and Catholic states battled it out. This is a conflict which is not only bigger than al-Qa’eda and similar groups, but far bigger than any of us. It is one which will re-align not only the Middle East, but the religion of Islam.

There is a significant likelihood — as intra-Muslim sectarian tension has had fallout even in Britain and Europe — that this could be the case. Or perhaps the region is going to descend into a complex miasma of slaughter as surely as Europe did a century ago. Either way there will be a need for a Treaty of Westphalia-style solution — a redrawing of boundaries in a region where boundaries have been bursting for decades.

But for the time being, a distinct and timeless stand-off between two regional powers, with religious excuses and religiously affiliated proxies will in all probability remain the main driver of this conflict. Certainly the sides remain fundamentally irreconcilable. As one of Saudi Arabia’s most important figures, Prince Turki al-Faisal, said on a recent visit to London, ‘Saudi Arabia is the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the birthplace of Islam. As such, it is the eminent leader of the wider Muslim world. Iran portrays itself as the leader of not just the minority Shiite world, but of all Muslim revolutionaries interested in standing up to the West.’

Prince Turki decried Iran’s ‘meddling’ and its ‘destabilising efforts in the countries with Shia majorities — Iraq and Bahrain — as well as in those countries with significant minority Shia communities such as Kuwait, Lebanon and Yemen.’ As he said, ‘Saudi Arabia will oppose any and all of Iran’s actions in other countries, because it is Saudi Arabia’s position that Iran has no right to meddle in other nations’ internal affairs, especially those of Arab states.’

Saudi officials more recently called for the Iranian leadership to be summoned to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes. Then, just the month before last, as the P5+1 countries eased sanctions on Iran after arriving at an interim deal in Geneva, Saudi saw its greatest fear — a nuclear Iran — grow more likely. And in the immediate aftermath of the Geneva deal, Saudi sources darkly warned of the country now taking Iranian matters ‘into their own hands’. There are rumours that the Saudis would buy nuclear bombs ‘off the shelf’ from their friends in Pakistan if Iran ever reaches anything like the nuclear threshold. In that  case, this Westphalian solution could be prefaced with a mushroom cloud.

An unlikely scenario, perhaps. But this stand-off between Iran and Saudi has been full of unlikely scenarios. It is only two years ago that the Iranians attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. The plan was thwarted only because the two suspects — an Iranian-American and an officer from Iran’s Quds Force — unwittingly connected with an informant from US Drug Enforcement Administration. Of course Iranian officials denied the assassination plot, but America’s attorney general, Eric Holder, announced at a press conference in Washington that the plot had been ‘directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government and, specifically, senior members of the Quds force which is an integral part of the Iranian government.’

The war between Saudi and Iran has already reached America’s shores. It has been devastatingly fought out across Syria’s wasted land. In fact the only place where it has yet to strike meaningfully is on the soil of the main protagonists. If what has been happening so far looks bloody, it is the work of an Armageddon-ist to consider what will happen when those gloves come off. In a region replete with bitter rivalries and irreconcilable ambitions, that will be perhaps the ultimate clarification.

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Show comments
  • mark conley

    Love it, “Prince Turki decried … because it is Saudi Arabia’s position that Iran has no right to meddle in other nations’ internal affairs, especially those of Arab states.’ !! a tad ironic

  • crazydave789

    the lines probably need to be redrawn back almost to ottoman and persian lines. sunnistan, turkistan, kurdistan and shiastan but even then they will still fight each other like pakistan and bangladesh.

    much better though the mullahs and princes need to be downgraded to allow moderate secularism back into the forefront. the ayatollahs are at least less corrupt than the house of saud or the US congress. the extremism iran is labelled with is mostly western propaganda and its people are pretty much free to do as they please just like iraq, syria and libya used to be.

    Baathist regimes might have had their roots in national socialism and be oppressive but they produced healthy educated employed populations. iraq was properous until they were suckered into war with iran by a vengance seeking USA

  • The_greyhound

    Meanwhile, back in the home of free speech (I jest) Pastor James McConnell was prosecuted for having described Islam as ‘heathen’ and ‘Satanic’ in a sermon. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/01/05/northern-irish-preacher-cleared-of-making-grossly-offensive-remarks-about-islam/

    The Religion of Peace is protected by a blasphemy law most people don’t know about – the Communications Act 2003: “If a message sent is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing or false it is irrelevant whether it was received. The offence is one of sending, so it is committed when
    the sending takes place. The test for “grossly offensive” was stated by the House of Lords in DPP v Collins [2006] 1 WLR 2223 to be whether the message would cause gross offence to those to whom it relates (in that case ethnic minorities), who need not be the recipients.” (courtesy of a well-informed poster on G Fawkes’s website)

    Another rotten legacy of the Blair years, and one that, of course, Cameron has done, and will do, nothing about. So be very careful what you say about the Religion of Peace. Our public prosecutors are corrupt, incompetent, and highly politicized.

  • Hard Little Machine

    The 30 Year’s War wiped out a third of the German population. Perhaps having that happen in the mideast isn’t such a bad thing.

  • Maureen Fisher

    Isn’t this new “Jihadi John” Siddhartha Dhar, someone who appeared on the BBC with Douglas in the studio and allowed a lot more air time than Douglas who referred to him as an extremist and was rudely interrupted by the BBC reporter?

  • Toy Pupanbai

    ‘And so it is that a Middle Eastern proxy-war which had already reached as far as Washington DC’?

    I thought it started in D.C.!

  • Guilttripjunkie

    I wonder if its worth having a punt on oil stocks rising as Iran V Saudi could kick off.

  • Beauceron

    “Either way there will be a need for a Treaty of Westphalia-style solution — a redrawing of boundaries in a region where boundaries have been bursting for decades.”

    At the rate things are going, you do realize that will include portions of European states by the time this is all over, don’t you? I think the sunnis so far outnumber the shia that, assuming Iran does not use nukes, the sunni will win. And then, battle hardened, flush with victory over the apostates, they are going to turn their hungry eyes to you. I wonder if they’ll pause and think “But the Europeans have been so good to muslims, taking in tens of millions over the years and accepting them.” I wonder if your muslim citizens will stand up and demand European atheists and what’s left of their Christian population be treated well, or that your nations be left alone? Or will they turn on their neighbors?

  • Eddie

    Crazy mussies kiling other crazy mussies….wait, I’ll do my concerned face….any minute now…..

  • Noa

    ‘Fighting apostates like you people takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.’

    Good, let us hope they destroy each other utterly.

    • Guilttripjunkie

      Amen to that! Alas they are literally taking over Europe day by day.

  • Liberanos

    Would a war between these ghastly primitives lessen their threat to our civilisation?

    • Cyril Sneer

      No for that to lessen we would first have to stop inviting them here along with removing many of those who are already here.

      But we live in a world of nuttery where our supposed democratically elected leader wants Turkey to join the EU.

      • sidor

        And other democratically elected leaders consider KSA and Pakistan as “allies against Islamic terrorism”.

      • trobrianders

        Repatriation, though necessary, is unbelievably difficult to do. It requires a legal basis and would cost the UK dear. That’s the Muslim’s trump card. We may have to bite that bullet though.

    • Augustus

      No. You can take the Muslim out of a war, but you can’t take war out of the Muslim.

    • Guilttripjunkie

      ‘Primitives’ heaven no, I believe the correct term is ‘enrichers’.

  • sidor

    For public education, here is the map of the Persian Empire 500 BC:
    http://www.worldmapsonline.com/persian_empire.htm

    One can clearly see that the current war in the ME runs exactly along its Southern border. That is a 2500-years old division line of the two civilisations.

    • JabbaPapa

      I’d advise a visit to your optician’s.

  • Trojan

    This time the conflict could involve nuclear weapons. Iran probably has the nukes already, thanks to Kerry, and the Saudis ought to be able to purchase a few.

    • sidor

      Iran can occupy the Eastern part of KSA, with all its oil, within a week without any nukes.

    • Mongo

      majority Sunni Pakistan can supply SA with nukes

  • Q46

    War between Iran and Saudi will be hugely destructive… after which reconstruction will take place either with a clear winner or both sides will exhaust themselves to a standstill where compromise is all they have left. (See Europe)

    The survivors will then have to build their survival and thus economy on something other than oil. Prosperity will bring peace and stability.

    The main problem will be whether the US and West can keep its stupid, ugly nose out and let events take their course.

    My money is on they won’t, because we have a narrowly educated, rather stupid, group-thinking ruling elite.

    • sidor

      The war between KSA and Iran is already going on in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

      • trobrianders

        That’s not war, that’s warplay.

        • sidor

          That’s the only kind of war KSA is capable of. By proxies. Their most important proxy is the US.

    • JabbaPapa

      War between Iran and Saudi will be hugely destructive

      What — Battlefield : Iraq ? Are you the L. Ron Hubbard of geopolitics ?

  • Richard Baranov

    Put your money on Iran, it has survived for thousands of years. The Saudi’s in their first taste of adventurism in Yemen have proven themselves to be incompetents. Besides, in the worst of all possible choices, Shia Islam is far more (don’t laugh) liberal than Sunni Islam and the Ayatollahs wont last, the young are totally disaffected from them. Iran sacrificed a million people to fight their war with Iraq, I don’t think the decedent Saudi’s can rely on their population for such sacrifices.

    • sidor

      2000 years ago the Persians had a great civilisation, whereas the Arabs were illiterate.

      • Caviar luvvie

        Persians B.I. (before Islam).

    • http://britishawakening.com British Awakening

      The Persians have been around for a long, long time, a thorn in the side of the Romans even when Rome was at its height.

    • ennis

      As opposed to the stand-up job Iran has been doing in Syria?

    • trobrianders

      Their populations are Sunni and don’t need those Royal fools. They’d prefer to be led by the Wahabi clerics.

  • Badger

    Dictators or islam?
    From where I’m sitting it’s an easy choice.

    • JabbaPapa

      The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.

      You sleep easy only because your political masters have taught you so.

      I’ve not slept easily for years, except on Pilgrimage.

      • Badger

        You don’t know me so telling me how I sleep or what I know is a tad presumtuous.
        Apart from that, I have no idea what you’re on about.

      • Cyril Sneer

        You make a lot of assumptions for someone who doesn’t have a clue about anything.

        • trobrianders

          He makes a lot of assumptions because he’s someone who doesn’t have a clue about anything.

          • JabbaPapa

            Que sais-je ?

    • Mongo

      both nations are dictatorships and Islamic

      so not much of a choice

      that’s why we should stay well clear of this coming clusterfukk and ignore the ‘we must do something’ hand-wringers

      • trobrianders

        We should elect a government that will ‘disappear’ those retarded hand-wringers.

  • sidor

    Another interesting parallel between the current religious war within Islam and the 30-years war. In the latter war, the main Moslem power, the Ottoman Empire, wasn’t entirely neutral: it clearly took the side of Reformation. Respectively, the West (if it can be regarded as a single political actor) should take side. It is quite clear which one it should be.

    • JabbaPapa

      Your notion that Islam is the ally of Christ is positively satanic.

      • sidor

        During the 30-years war Hungarian Calvinists asked Sultan for protection against the Catholic aggression. The term “satanic” is common for the Islamic texts. Are you a Moslem?

        • JabbaPapa

          You are an idiot.

          • trobrianders

            And a Muslim idiot is a tautology.

  • Alison Houston

    Well done Douglas, you accurately predicted the future. Now tell us what will be happening by the end of 2016. Will we have had a referendum? Will the middle East be wiped out by a nuclear holocaust and the war be continuing on European soil between the different Muslim factions who came over here in 2015?

    • trobrianders

      Our useless liberal politicians can keep going for years like this without doing what’s screaming to get done. And we’re sleepy enough to keep electing them. Get used to anti-climax for end of 2016.

  • johnb1945

    The depressing thing about this is that the 30 years war, which levelled destruction on Europe unseen until WWII, was the prelude to 3 centuries of constant European conflict which only ended with WWII.

    Could this happen in the ME?

    I hope not.

    Things are a bit different now. We have the internet. We can share ideas and rally supporters from our smartphones. We can tweet our oppressors and send our supporters movie clips of their oppressiveness from our smartphones.

    Hopefully this will aid the dissemination of more peaceable ideals in the region.

    • sidor

      The butchery of the religious wars in the 17th century Europe resulted in 3 centuries of Progress, Enlightenment, Education and Science, unprecedented in history, that brought the enormous prosperity that we are enjoying now. It was definitely worth fighting for.

      • JabbaPapa

        The Endarkenment was the ideology of religious oppression, colonialist Imperialism, Statist totalitarianism, and paternalistic institutionalised racism.

      • johnb1945

        Yes, but the people of the Middle East don’t need to go through all that to have the benefits of progress, enlightenment, education and science precisely because it IS precedented in history. They can decide to down their guns and adopt it… all of it.

        Or they can adopt bits of it and mix it up with a moderated Islam or Arabic culture and probably still make it work.

        It would be absolutely tragic if they decided not to and continued fighting over some cultish, literalistic interpretations of a religion.

        • sidor

          Your mistake is: “the people of the Middle East”. It is like saying “the people of Europe” in the 17th century. The line dividing two civilisations goes across the Middle East, and it is more than 2000 years old. The war is going on along that line.

    • JabbaPapa

      Your notion that technology will save us is infantile in the way you express it, though it’s quite clear that the intellect and Will that God has Graced us with can and should provide us with comforts in the flesh.

      Truth however is not found in tweets, but only in the Eternal Word of the Christ in Revelation.

      • johnb1945

        This kind of technology is a gift from God, JabbaPappa.
        The inspiration, the flash of genius behind it came from one place, and God expects us to use it for a Godly purpose.

        Like all gifts it can be abused.

        • Cyril Sneer

          And here’s me thinking it was a gift from science.

          • johnb1945

            No, “science” doesn’t have new ideas.

            People do.

            You could consider the beneficial black swan event if you seek evidence of God.

            History is littered with them. And Tim Berners-Lee is a Christian.

            • Cyril Sneer

              “No, “science” doesn’t have new ideas.

              People do.”

              Scientists are not people?

              So what you’re saying is that technology is a gift from god and that scientists and engineers didn’t create this technology through their own hard work but it was god that gave it to them? Can I ask then, what is the point in doing anything as a species when we can just pray to heavens and get technology sent straight to us from heaven.

              In summary what you’re saying is that religion is for lazy people who expect handouts from god. 😉

              And now this brings me on to nuclear weapons….

              • johnb1945

                Yes they are people. Science is not. It is a method for falsifying material theories.

                Sometimes technology moves in a seismic shift. A black swan.

                This requires inspiration, original and creative thought although existing scientific opinion may provide a background.

                The same thing happens in other fields such as art.

                I do believe God plays a role in such inspiration.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Yes of course he only plays a role in the good stuff just not the bad.

                • johnb1945

                  The bad stuff exists for a reason. Read some theology.

      • Cyril Sneer

        Ah another religious nutter, the last thing this world needs.

        • JabbaPapa

          What, you think an atheist nutter such as yourself is some kind of acme of perfection ?

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Gosh, you’re insulting to everyone! It’s said John Clees came across a truly awful hotelier who was to form the basis for Basil Fawlty. Perhaps if he’d encountered you instead, we’d have had a TV sitcom about nastily defensive religious maniacs.

            • JabbaPapa

              Gosh, you’re insulting to everyone!

              A particularly feeble remark — did you even bother to take notice of the gross insult I was responding to before adding in your own hypocritical plea ?

              • Cyril Sneer

                Alas it would seem that you’re happy to dish it out…

              • Malcolm Stevas

                “Gross insult”? For someone so critical and intolerant you are remarkably thin-skinned.

          • Cyril Sneer

            So what you’re saying is that the Middle East needs a little less secularism.

            • JabbaPapa

              Dunno, I don’t live there. Do you ?

              • Cyril Sneer

                It needs more, that’s my point.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Well go there and bring them some then.

          • trobrianders

            We’re all atheists or in denial of that fact. That includes you godfu**er!

  • Gilbert White

    Seems the Iraqis tortured and pillaged in Kuwait, in 1991. It also seems the UN and lawyers and the usual parade of suspects only seem interested in British Soldiers known for their fairness. Even Daesh did not torture hun style like the Iraqis?

  • geo

    The only thing that held the region together were the ‘socialist’ hard men. The dictators who with backing from the Soviets held a lid on. Once the west started imposing their liberal lovey dovey idiocy on the region by removing the hardmen and the Russians could no longer play the modern ‘great game’ … it was never going to end well for the middle east. Now you have Israel (SO hated by the left) as the only beacon of sanity in an increasingly unstable region. Jordan holds together but the rest of the nations are one sneeze away from imploding if they already havent. Islam simply is too unstable to be applied to nationhood.

    • johnb1945

      This post ignores that fact that the Syrian civil war started under the rule of…… BECAUSE of the rule of…….. a socialist hard man.

      Dictators are not the answer.

      The people of the region likely need to found new majority countries or autonamous regions.

      Then they either need democracy or some workable model of Islamic rule which does not involve constant conflict with the non-Islamic world, such as the Islamic emirate/ monarchy of Jordan or the UAE.

      • Cyril Sneer

        “This post ignores that fact that the Syrian civil war started under the
        rule of…… BECAUSE of the rule of…….. a socialist hard man.”

        I completely agree, Obama should never have been allowed to take the Presidency.

        The Syrian conflict was started and is supported by the USA and Obama’s Sunni friends. The USA has allowed the free movement of jihadist headchoppers to invade another country with the purpose of eradicating entire swathes of the populace and turning it into a wahabbi pool of p!ss much like Saudi Arabia.

        I don’t recall Syria being all that bad prior to the war in fact it was one of the most stable and attractive countries in the ME where minorities have existed for centuries.

        And this is the same Assad who the Queen entertained not so long ago. Amazing how quickly things change when you have a Sunni muslim scumbag heading the whitehouse. Look he’s obtained a caliphate for his Sunni friends in crime – only under Obama’s watch.

        • johnb1945

          Honestly, I do not think Obama wants a Salafi-Jihadi terror caliphate in the Middle East any more than I believe its existence is part of an Israeli Zionist plan overseen by Mossad.

          Sometimes there is a smidgen of truth in conspiracies, but often they are just a little wild….

          • Cyril Sneer

            So you don’t believe that the US and their Sunni muslim friends are not colluding and funding jihadist terror groups in Syria? That Turkey a NATO member has not for the past 2-3 years been stealing Syria’s oil by buying it from ISIS, allowing arms and reinforcements to jihadist groups across the Turkish border and that the USA has no idea that this has been going on for the past 3 years until the Russians pulled back the curtains to show the world?

            • johnb1945

              Not the US, no.

              Some Sunni Muslim states, yes, but this is an immensely complex situation where Sunni powers such as KSA and Turkey are simply trying to oust Assad.

              I don’t believe for they want a terror caliphate which ultimately threatens them in the neighbourhood, but they adopt the pragmatic, probably cynical attitude that they will deal with one problem at a time and Assad is higher up the list than ISIS.

              • Cyril Sneer

                The US instigated this whole thing, it has a track record on this sort of stuff.

                KSA and Turkey don’t get to do what they want unless the US wants them to do it. This is key.

                “and Assad is higher up the list than ISIS.”

                Not for the rest of the world it isn’t.

  • sebastian2

    “Saudi Arabia is the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the birthplace of Islam. As such, it is the eminent leader of the wider Muslim world.”
    And, by powerful implication, the exemplar of authentic mohammedism – the “real islam” we’re so often told about but are seldom allowed to see when it reveals itself; as in Saudi Arabia. As in IS which follows wahabbist puritanism and acts in doctrinal accordance with the quran and the so-called prophet. As in Aceh province, Indonesia which has become unpleasantly strict; and as in Brunei where Christmas (among other things) has been banned. All of these are places where the “real islam” – eminently led and funded by KSA – is invisible to the liberal wishful thinker. It reveals itself, shows us what it is, but we’re compulsorily blind to it as unfitting to the RoP narrative many comfort themselves with instead. Not the “real islam”, as many might insist. An islamophobic invention instead.
    But it is. It’s as real as it gets.
    If the Saudis believe – as they clearly do – that the wahabbist creed they follow and disseminate and the sharia their laws accord with, is virtuous and admirable, we must take them at their word. They are the “leaders of the wider muslim world.” This is the “real” stuff after all. They should know. It’s direct from the birthplace. It governs their constitution. It orders their entire lives. It runs many of the mosques in Europe. It may school and provide for many of their imams. It is utterly jihadist. It has centuries of such behaviour behind it.
    And it is neither peaceful nor tolerant.

    • Augustus

      All true, ‘pure Islam’ is the official ideology of the Saudi regime, the Saudi imams, the establishment of the mosques and the interpretation of the Koran and hadiths are all based on teachings of ‘pure Islam’. But in reality Saudi rulers are hypocrites, and their hypocrisy won’t be swept under the carpet for ever, because plainly, ‘pure Islam’ applies only to the common people and not to royalty.

      • sebastian2

        Correct. I’ve had personal experience of this and can therefore vouch for it. They deny themselves nothing. But it is these indulgent rascals who insinuate this dreadful creed into other countries. Poison peddled as cordial.

  • Thaddeus lovelock

    The Iranian, theocracy has always sought to be seen as a leader of the Arab, and even the wider Muslim word. However it has always been compromised by the fact that Iranians are Shiite, and non-Arab.

  • EUSSR-Dissident

    How much of it is OUR problem? Yes, they can be backward, let them be so.

  • sidor

    There is a fundamental point to be understood in order to define the Western position:

    1. There is no difference between Islam and Arab nationalism (if we discuss real Arabs).

    2. Islam and Persian nationalism are two absolutely different things.

    • JabbaPapa

      ISIS and Al Qaeda are enemies to each other — which of these two is our friend, you dimwit ?

      • sidor

        Bolsheviks against Communists? Thanks for your entertaining comment.

        • JabbaPapa

          “thanks” for editing out your “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” gibberish

  • Cyril Sneer

    2016 and here they all are fighting over their invisible friends.

    Isn’t religion wonderful eh? I wonder how many it will kill this year for absolutely no real reason at all.

    • Mow_the_Grass

      Religion is just a mask – somthing that can be fed to the masses – be they sunni or shia.
      This is all about control of the arab/persian ME.

      • Cyril Sneer

        When you have a cult that controls every single aspect of a persons life, government, finances, what you eat, what you wear, who you marry, who you support politically etc etc then it really isn’t so easy to say ‘oh they’re just using religion as a recruiting tool’. Religion runs deeper than family in that part of the world so you cannot rule out its influence.

  • Fraser Bailey

    Whatever…let them get on with killing each other. The problem is, of course, that our cretinous leaders have allowed millions of these people into Europe. (This after our cretinous leaders spend a century or to intervening in the ME to no useful purpose whatsoever). Thus the killing will spread to Europe.

  • AtilaTheHen

    There is the great difference between the two religions. There was a bit of bovver at the start, but Christians eventually accepted the outcome of the Reformation and different denominations learned to live peacefully side by side. Islam on the other hand ………….

    • ohforheavensake

      Except in Northern Ireland.

      • AtilaTheHen

        The stuff in Ulster was nerver about religion. It’s much more complicated.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Again, the first thing that comes to mind is successive UK governments’ feckless lack of concern for future energy security. Our continuing to depend to some extent on ME oil, and on natural gas piped from Russia close to the Muslim hinterland, is utter folly. Give us energy security – from serious energy-generating sources that is, nuclear + fossil fuels – and I don’t think there’s much else we want from the ME. Dates? Sunshine holidays with free added diarrhoea? We can probably live without those. And the idea of Iran and the Saudis nuking each other has a certain appeal…

  • Steve Ness

    ‘Fighting apostates like you people takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.’

    Why bite the hand that feeds them……………………yet

  • Caviar luvvie

    It’s like choosing to side with either the plague or cholera.
    The only decent thing Islam contributes to humanity, is how they slaughter their own in higher numbers, than anybody else ever could.
    I will have my popcorn now.

  • starfish

    It is not a 30 years war

    It is a 1400 years war started in the Islamic schism

    Despite brief interludes caused by more powerful occupying empires it has been going along fine, and is now fuelled by oil

    It will not be stopped until saner leaders prevail in Iran and Saudi Arabia

    Luckily we have had a succession of wise governments who have ensured our energy security and reduced our reliance on the Middle East (and Putin)….

    • Cyril Sneer

      “Luckily we have had a succession of wise governments”

      I can’t think of any.

  • Patrick

    30 years’ war? been going on a lot longer than that (1400 years) Supposedly the black stone at Mecca is held together with metal strips, because the shitte tried to steal it and broke it the numpties(some time during the 14th century). Strange how Allah, his prophet or some angels didn’t stop this happening. Maybe Muslims shouldn’t pray towards a stone, as the ancient arabs did, when anyone was allowed to pray at Mecca, not just the Muslims.

  • WTF

    The safest & best option is to let them kill each other as neither side holds western values or culture. Build a Trump style wall to keep the combatants out and perhaps in 250 years they will have killed enough of their own on both sides to come to their senses. It took Europe centuries to come to its senses so why should it be any different with Islam. Its their problem their war and their fight, not ours !

  • Sue Smith

    Thank heaven people who write on these pages aren’t in the position of having to solve this crisis!!

    • AtMyDeskToday

      No change then, as every blog in the DT and Speccy seems to carry this burden.

    • Cyril Sneer

      No instead we got Dave Cameron who wants Turkey to join the EU.

  • Sue Smith

    More and more people destined for Europe. I’m sure glad I don’t live there!!

    • Cyril Sneer

      Come and join us and you can see the destruction that liberal nuttery brings.

  • FedUpIndian

    When lions and hyenas fight to the death, elephants should watch and eat popcorn.
    Old Indian saying (not really, but it could be)

    • Firbolg13

      Ha ha! I like it 🙂

    • London Calling

      One basket Two snakes….

  • flydlbee

    We should shut up and sell them more weapons with which to kill each other.

  • Augustus

    Now that Ayatollah Khamenei has promised divine revenge on the Saudis for putting to death Sheikh al-Nimr, who was a popular leader of the Shiite minority in the Sunni kingdom, it remains to be seen how that revenge will play out. And there’s plenty of sectarian fuel in the region to stoke it up. The civil war in Syria includes Alawites, a branch of Shia Islam, both against each other as well as against Sunnis. The violence in Yemen has been mainly due to sectarian divisions. In Bahrain Shiite discontent is brewing. In Iraq, the Shia dominated government has failed to include the Sunnis in a shared sense of citizenship, which led to the advancement of ISIS in Northern Iraq. And in addition to all that there’s the hotting up cold war between the two regional powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran. A centuries-old religious feud which has now become the main catalyst for supremacy in the region.

    • Mongo

      indeed, ISIS who thrive on chaos and disorder will be relishing this as further evidence of the imminent End Times and the return of the Mahdi

    • Sue Smith

      Yes, it’s very reminiscent of Sarajevo in 1914 and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand isn’t it!!!

    • Cyril Sneer

      “The civil war in Syria includes Alawites, a branch of Shia Islam, both against each other as well as against Sunnis”

      This is not accurate. There are many sunnis both in the Syrian government and fighting for the SAA.

  • Rob74

    A wise man would see the opportunity to sit back and watch his enemies tear themselves apart. The ultimate betrayal of Hassan al-Banna and his wish to reignite the Muslim faith brought about by Islam’s power brokers themselves.

    Unfortunately we are not led by wise men, so I fully expect that we will meddle until we are defeated too. Such is the calibre of our leadership.

    • Mongo

      indeed, the Siamese Fighting Fish approach

      • Rob74

        Good analogy.

    • JabbaPapa

      A wise man would see the opportunity to sit back and watch his enemies tear themselves apart

      Sounds like your “wise man” condones ongoing genocide.

      • Rob74

        Realpolitik, or endless entanglement in an ages old dispute because we need to prove our humanity?

        Neither are great options.

        • JabbaPapa

          because we need to prove our humanity?

          Obviously, some of us do indeed need to … 🙁

          • Caviar luvvie

            especially muslims

            • JabbaPapa

              **including** muslims, certainly, but is there much practical difference between genocide perpetrated for reasons of ideological extremism, and genocide not acted against for reasons of ideological extremism ?

              Do not think that secularist consumerism is any less ideologically extremist than apocalyptic islamism. Both ideologies are entirely lacking in ordinary decency and morals.

              • Caviar luvvie

                Islam is currently involved in nearly 98% of all armed conflicts and wars worldwide.
                Take away Islam, and you’re left with very little genocide.

                • Sue Smith

                  Have you heard about the Third Reich at all?

                • Caviar luvvie

                  Yes, not current though is it?
                  And ironically allied with Muslims: the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a fan.

                • red2black

                  A far greater number of Muslims fought on the Allied side.

                • Caviar luvvie

                  You must be talking about the famous Muslim Waffen SS divisions…

                • red2black

                  No. The Muslims that were part of Soviet forces. Below is an extract from https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t727873/
                  ‘The truth is that no more than 150,000 Muslims fought in the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS. At least 4 million Muslims fought on the Allied side. 3 million of them in the Red Army, and 1 million in the British army. More than 12,000 White civilians were killed, robbed or raped by Moroccan Muslims in the French army. The vast majority of Muslims supported the Allies, and it’s irrelevant what some Mufti said about the war.’

                • Caviar luvvie

                  I’m afraid you have it the wrong way round:

                  The grand Mufti of Jerusalem being a personal friend and strong ally of Hitler, is the opposite of irrelevant. What he said about Lebensraum, the Holocaust, the Judenlosung, and National Socialism, is the exact opposite of irrelevant. It’s very very, extremely relevant, to understand Islamic psyche and ideology, their need for expansion and jihad.

                  What’s irrelevant are the barely coherent ramblings of a guy who posts from an obviously propagandist website called ‘Stormfront’.

                • red2black

                  A far greater number of Muslims fought on the Allied side.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  And the Christian apologists of the era?
                  You’re being selective.

                • JabbaPapa

                  The vast majority of Muslims supported the Allies

                  Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that, though I was aware that the racialist hatred of the whites by some muslims is a direct and sadly lasting consequence of N@zi rabble-rousing racialist propaganda.

                  Something else I’ve just looked up, and wasn’t aware of — the Muslim populations of French Algeria collectively defied the N@zi/Vichy demands to hand over the Jews, and protected their children in particular with false identities as young muslim children much as Catholics did in Italy and France and elsewhere.

                • red2black

                  I would have worded it ‘fought on the Allied side’. Plenty of people, including Muslims, were more than happy to take part in ‘handing over’ Jews. It remains the case that far more Muslims fought on the Allied side, and Cyril Sneer (see below) is right; as Soviet forces, they had no option.

                • sebastian2

                  As has been said before here, we need to discriminate between “muslims” and mohammedism. The ideology is very unattractive indeed. Its claim to perfection is utterly absurd. Many muslims, however, act when given the chance, like most ordinary decent people driven by common humanity. Things go wrong when the “real islam” gets a grip on them.

                • JabbaPapa

                  yes, there’s wisdom in your words

                • Jim Allen

                  Which divisions would these be ?

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Islam is still a fascist religion though.

                  And… so what? Anyone fighting for the Soviet Union or should I say being made to fight for the Soviet Union in WW2 are going to be large in number.

                • red2black

                  I agree with you. Stalin would have made short work of IS.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Islam is still a fascist religion though

                  Not historically, no.

                  It’s a religion based on some neo-platonicist idealism, whereby only souls matter and not the flesh, which is directly contrary to the fascistic ideals of family, work, and nation as the foundations of ideology. The intrinsic materialism of fascism is in fact directly contrary to the intrinsic asceticism of the islamic ideal.

                  Only certain sects of Islam, viewed as heretical by others, would view worldly practice and totalitarian morality as core teachings of their absurdly incoherent religion.

                • red2black

                  Check out Julius Evola and Miguel Serrano for the asceticism of the Fascist ideal.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Fair enough, but generally it’s the “asceticism” of utter surrender of morals to transient immanent desire — “do as thou wilt” elevated to a prime directive.

                • Marvin

                  We have to use every weapon we can to stop Islam engulfing the planet.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Genocidal maniac evil idiot fool.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  “Not historically, no.”

                  I agree to some extent yes although it was spread by the sword.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  “It’s a religion based on some neo-platonicist idealism, whereby only souls matter and not the flesh,”

                  Hmm… how is that different historically to Catholicism?
                  I’m thinking of the 30 years war here.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It’s different historically to Catholicism for an obvious multiplicity of reasons, but as to the detail in point, Catholicism does not claim that flesh or matter are evil or corrupt or anything, but the Catholic Virtue and duty of Charity instead teaches the opposite, that the flesh is to be cared for and nurtured (as the temple of the spirit).

                  For parallels between the Muslim beliefs on these questions and the 30 years war, I’m afraid you’ll have to look at Protestant sectarianism instead, which is where you might find some aspects of neo-platonicist idealism in the more extremist sects such as Calvinism. The more extremist Protestant sects have many of the same ghastly flaws that we can see in certain Islamic sects today.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  “Catholicism does not claim that flesh or matter are evil or corrupt or anything”

                  Really? Original Sin, Transubstantiation etc.

                  I’m not a Christian and that stuff never made sense to me (which is why I’m asking).

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Yeah it ceased to exist after 1945.

                  it’s good that you have equated Islam to the Third Reich. Islam is fascism I agree.

                • BritishPatriot

                  Have you heard of Communism at all? Responsible for more deaths in the 20th century than Islam and the Third Reich put together. And it isn’t dead!

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Ah, fake figures again.

              • jeffersonian

                ‘Do not think that secularist consumerism is any less ideologically extremist than apocalyptic islamism.’

                I think it’s your curfew right about now – time to head back to the ward.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Case in point.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Do that at home, among your own people – plenty of potential. Humanitarian enterprises in the Middle East are like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice brushing away floods.

        • Jim Allen

          Keeping in mind, it is us (US) that “entangled ourselves, and in exactly that way.
          This is not a religious war.
          This is a war against US foreign policy worldwide.
          US humanitarianism is the biggest lie of them all.
          It was our humanity that had us terror bombing in Germany, and Japan. Fire bombing cities killing millions of civilians in days for weeks on end.
          Then topping it off with the biggest act of terror in world history. Two atomic bombs dropped where ?
          On two Japanese cities. These were not military targets. These killed a few hundred thousand more civilians instantly, more in days, leaving unknown at the time effects of nuclear explosions on the environment at the site, and worldwide. Terror.
          This wasn’t done to achieve surrender. This was done to achieve unconditional surrender. The only surrender the allies would accecpt. The problems in the ME, are our own doing.

      • Mongo

        so if a war does erupt between these two powers, which side do you think we should support?

        • Rob74

          Western civilisation would be nice. I mean it’s not like it’s rubbish and needs killing off just because it was built by white europeans is it?

          • evad666

            Many Communists would see this as a great opportunity to seize power as they have done in “support of” Jeremy.
            They would then let anyone in hoping to profit from the ensuing bedlam.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Really, what communist branch are you talking about?

        • Sue Smith

          In the 1980s Ronald Reagan made the comment that the next world conflict would take place in the Middle East.

          And people said Reagan had no clue!!! He’s certainly got many more than Obama.

          • Caviar luvvie

            doesn’t everybody?

            • Sue Smith

              LOL

              • Beauceron

                I don’t think so.

                Don’t get me wrong, I am decidedly not an Obama fan. But the demographics of the US are changing far more rapidly than Europe’s. The US will be minority white by 2030-2035 or so, and so the majority of the US population will adore Obama’s legacy.

          • JabbaPapa

            The old 1970s/1980s “Third World War” book said the same, as far as I can remember it anyway so caveat, and IIRC it got many details uncannily right (drone warfare, islamic war against the West, western policies driven by multinational corporations, etc), but it did get its dates wrong by about 25 years.

            • Sue Smith

              A drover’s dog could have predicted what’s unfolding now in the ME. They’re a BAAAAD lot.

        • Caractacus

          War has already erupted.

        • No Man’s Land

          And answer came there none.

        • alabenn

          The German chemical companies sold precursor chemicals and expertise to both sides in the Iran Iraq war, maybe their new Syrian chemical engineers were imported for a reason.

        • BritishPatriot

          Both.

      • FedUpIndian

        When rabid dogs fight, smart people stay out of the way.

        • Sue Smith

          …or travel to Europe as refugees.

        • Malcolm Marchesi

          Well said indeed !

        • BritishPatriot

          …or put down the rabid dogs before they bite someone.

      • Nockian

        Religion is genocidal. It is the philosophy of sacrifice. Christianity-though flawed, has at least been through decades of introspection and has become a fairly benign anachronism. Muslims have never been through those same guilt loops and remain committed to violent jihad. Unlike Christians they don’t apologise for anything and continue to wish to spread and conquer by faith. Think of it like communists and fascists. Awful ideologies that will eventually fight a battle and come to the same conclusion as we did in the West.

        All that is required is containment. We cannot help the innocents, and we must begin to accept the Muslim religion for what it is and not how we wish to see it. Europe fought horrendous battles with these religious fanatics and they have not yet given up their claim on it. We should oversee our own protection and do what we can for any refugees.

        • JabbaPapa

          Religion is genocidal. It is the philosophy of sacrifice

          You are a religious illiterate if you believe that sort of complete bollocks.

          • Nockian

            It is implicit in it philosophical groundings. They are indisputable despite the glaze. It is the philosophy of sacrifice. Luckily in the West we realised the problem and separated state and church. This isn’t the case in the Middle East. They are stuck where we were several centuries ago and refuse to eradicate the link.

            That communism and facism are equally sacrificial is not accidental, both religion and collectivism spring forth from the same well Spring. They preach the primacy of consciousness, that man cannot know reality directly and must be steered by an external force. His Liberty is secondary to the need to have his thinking corrected by an authority. On one side it’s a deity and authority, the other it is the state.

            • JabbaPapa

              It is implicit in it philosophical groundings

              Which part of “complete bollocks” did you fail to comprehend ?

              Your talking complete and utterly unmitigated rubbish, and simply re-typing “philosophy of sacrifice” like some sort of soundbite does not detract from the fact that it is completely devoid of anything resembling meaning.

              The foundation of the sacrificial act is self-sacrifice — the foundation of genocide is the discriminate or indiscriminate eradication of others for reasons of ethnicity or ideology via hatred and violence.

              Meanwhile thousands upon thosands are dying in the Middle East and being persecuted, tortured, raped, because we’re too busy praying to the altar of our own self-satisfied smugness to notice that self-centred secularist consumerism is complicit by default with these ongoing atrocities.

              • Nockian

                You feel strongly. I understand. It is not easy to watch it. You are wrong to think here is self satisfied ‘smugness’, but there is reality. We are not individually responsible, we cannot take the unearned value of guilt. If you wish to help in some way then you should, but do not try and force an action through your collective ideology.

                • JabbaPapa

                  do not try and force an action through your collective ideology

                  You hypocritically warn me of what you seek to achieve yourself. We ARE individually responsible.

                • Nockian

                  I seek it only for myself and no other.

                • JabbaPapa

                  If that were true, you would not seek to dictate any rules upon others.

                  Of course, though, you do exactly that — so you’re either a hypocrite, or irredeemably naïve. In either case, hardly a poster boy for a moral society.

                • Nockian

                  I don’t seek to dictate any rules. I’m minded here that the argument was about ‘what we must do’ as a collective to sort out the Middle East. That we were Guilty of the moral decay of secular consumerism and ignoring the problem.

                  Didn’t I offer that argument that we are not guilty of anything collectively. These people have a violent religious dogma and are involved in a power struggle to wrest control from each other. I don’t adopt that guilt and neither should anyone else, we have zero responsibility as individuals.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I don’t seek to dictate any rules <> do not try and force an action through your collective ideology ; don’t impose your beliefs ; What is required is a delimited government that operates like an impartial judge ; do not look left and right in the belief that some great wisdom will come from those around you. The wisdom must come from you, to know what is moral and virtuous, to think, to apply reason and logic, to be your own council, it’s judge and jury

                  yeah, right

                  frankly mate, it’s part of the human condition to try and impose normative behaviour on others, and no matter how good you obviously are with the whole passive-aggressive angle, not that I’m not myself or anything, your claim that you “don’t seek to dictate any rules” is quite obviously and blatantly preposterous.

                • Nockian

                  Its just a trade in ideas. It’s only when you seek to back it up by force that things get out of hand.

                  The operative word is ‘impose’ or coerce. In other words the initiation of force. I certainly do not seek that in any way. It is in direct opposition to my philosophy.

                  Aren’t we clear that the initiation of force for gain is wrong ? We don’t have to check with God, Christianity of anyone else to know this is true.

                  We usually got that lesson early on. Bullying, hurting, beating, stealing, cheating and lying to make ourselves feel better just doesn’t work. At best it gives a temporary hold on something we always fear losing, at worst it provokes a violent retaliatory response and a complete loss of respect and trust from everyone.

                • Ruben Ramalho

                  Oh please, will you stop? Never have I heard such ridiculous obfuscation and solipsism outside of Ken Ham. You might as well say “reality is whatever I say it is”. Do me a favour, if you say that a particular God is real, then just demonstrate Him to the rest of us. But if you really expect us to take your word for it, because you “feel” that he’s real, and have really nothing to substantiate your claims other than axiomatic syllogisms, then I’m sorry but I really won’t take you seriously; especially when you’re advocating magic and invoking the supernatural. You might as well in your reasoning,substitute the word “God” for Gandalf or Dumbledore, and say that that is proof of their existence. And Why a Christian? Why not a Hindu?Why is your religion right and theirs wrong? You’re telling me of out of all the Gods that were and are; out of thousands of religions, and its denominations, that you just happened to find the right/true God, the right religion and its rightful denomination? And I would wager that it also just happens to be the one you were brought up in. I mean, what are the chances.

                  You are making claims, scientific claims, about the nature of the World, that you have no way of proving, and go against current scientific evidence. And yet, all you can do is rely on your Ego and claim that you know there is a Deity, that he created us and not only that, you know what he thinks and what he wants from us; you even know what his Diet plan for all of us is. That is what religion is, and that is what narcissism is.

                  Again, you claim to know that there is a God, and a specific one to boot. An extraordinary allegation that requires extraordinary proof. So please, demonstrate it to us uneducated heathens, otherwise it’s just an assertion without facts. And what can be asserted without facts can be dismissed without facts. Something that the one who wrote this article, Douglas Murray, also agrees, seeing that he’s an open Atheist…and a gay man, which unfortunately, your religion does not take too kindly.

                • JabbaPapa

                  You might as well say “reality is whatever I say it is”

                  That’s actually Nockian’s claim, not mine.

                  You are making claims, scientific claims, about the nature of the World, that you have no way of proving, and go against current scientific evidence.

                  An entirely false statement, and I can see that you are among the legion of those who have replaced their critical faculty with a photocopy of the ideas of Dawkins.

                  I cannot help it if you are so foolish, naïve, and ill-educated as to believe that the question of God might somehow belong to the material sciences, instead of to the Metaphysics.

                  Your caricature of my religious views, and my Faith and my spirituality, is entirely divorced from reality, as it is simply the rancid expression of your ghastly atheist dogmatic closed-mindedness.

                • Ruben Ramalho

                  I’m the one who is”dogmatic”? The amount of hypocrisy and doublethink that you employ is staggering. “Metaphysics”, okay, tell me just tell me, how can we put your hypothesis to the test? What method can we use to ascertain and to demonstrate whether or not they are in fact true? If you say that that doesn’t matter; that it’s a question of faith, then that is the very definition of pure ideology and dogmatism (that you have accused me of). It’s just a way of you never changing your mind, no matter the evidence, or lack of it, to either support or dismiss, your beliefs. And really,would you apply this line of thinking to anything else? If one is accused of terrorism and asks whether or not the accusers have evidence that he’s in fact guilty, and they reply “No, we have something better, faith. We have faith that you are guilty” would it not be a monstrous reversal on the burden of proof? The onus is on you to prove that something IS, not on me to prove that something ISN’T.

                  And somehow, when it comes to the most important question, the origins of the Cosmos and whether or not it has a purpose for us, it’s seen as a virtue to go on Faith; the deliberate suspension of critical thinking. Think about it, you’re the one claiming knowledge of something, not I. And how did you come by this knowledge? Well, by being raised on a book taught in a specific geographic location. And how do you know that book is true? Well, it says so on the book. It’s a tautology, plain and simple, not to mention an appeal to dismiss evidence and critical thinking on the basis of what gives you comfort. And we all know that there are some uncomfortable truths out there and comfort food is not good for you on the long run.

                  So please, don’t hide behind terms like “Metaphysical claim”, you might as well say “Magical claim”. And employing Theology should be seen in the same light as as using Astrology, or better yet, Unicornology. These are just excuses to validate one’s own beliefs and make them unfalsifiable; they’re only tools of obfuscation. I was raised a Christian, but I changed my mind because I put this one thing, religion, to the same scrutiny and rigor as I put everything else. So pardon me if I employ and defend the scientific method over superstitious nonsense. And given your posts here, you seem to think it nonsense as well, but only when it comes to other religions such as Islam. Theirs is wrong, yours is right.

                  And even if you were right, somehow, worshiping someone, groveling and prostrating myself over an unelected Being who expects complete compliance and no dissent (as is described the God of the Bible), and even condemns you for thought-crime, is something that I would never do, seeing as I believe in Democracy. No, if God existed, it would be our duty to kill him. We shouldn’t suffer tyrants, no matter what form they take, even if they claim, or in fact do, love us. Basically, we shouldn’t behave and believe as the Islamists do…as you do.

                  But hey, cheer up, for there is the same probability of Santa Claus existing as there is God’s.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I’m the one who is”dogmatic”?

                  And quite blatantly.

                  “Metaphysics”, okay, tell me just tell me, how can we put your hypothesis to the test? What method can we use to ascertain and to demonstrate whether or not they are in fact true?

                  I see that you have ZERO comprehension of Metaphysics, and that you also have NO understanding of the STRICT limitations that are germane to the scientific methodology.

                  You are, in essence, asking me to demonstrate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

                • Ruben Ramalho

                  Why do people like you always assume others don’t understand, or just don’t get, the concepts that you embrace, and they refute? It’s not that I have no understanding of Metaphysics, it’s just that I reject them, plain and simple. The same way I reject Astrology and Homeopathy. It’s not that I don’t understand them, I even worked briefly in a homeopathic store (and my mother owns one) that also had astrological sessions, it’s simply that they have been demonstrated not to work.

                  I don’t have to read up on Hegel’s metaphysics, or indeed Kierkergaad’s refutation of it, to dismiss metaphysics as an outdated field of philosophy. The same way as Alchemy is an outdated field of science, that now uses the field of Chemistry instead. Like Phrenology is now seen as a terribly outdated field of medicine and psychology. They were attempts at understanding the world that simply failed, or became inadequate over time. Such as Metaphysics, or more specifically,Religion. It was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy. Now, outdated and irrelevant, not to mention, given this article we’re commenting on, very harmful.

                  And I’m not asking you to, as you say “demonstrate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”, I’m saying that you should at least present ONE angel, but you’re not even willing to show the pin. Your appeal to metaphysics is basically trying to ascertain what unicorns dream of. It puts me in mind of what Oscar Wilde said: “Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn’t there, and finding it.”

                  So please, no more metaphysical hogwash, which methods can be employed to justify basically anything. If you’re not interested in finding whether or not your claims are true or false; if you’re not willing to be proven wrong, then discussion with you is pointless. As is topics such as economics and politics, for once you take something on faith, you’ll likely apply it to different subjects; faith is pernicious like that, it seeps into other matters. So, keep your Dogma and your Bronze Age superstition, and get back to me when you have an honest answer on why is it that you believe the things you do; how you know them to be true, and how you can test them to know they are in fact true. Any failure or unwillingness to tackle any of these steps just shows bias, and fundamentalist uncritical adherence, to a specific ideology. Much like the fundamentalist Muslims this topic was originally addressing.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It’s not that I have no understanding of Metaphysics, it’s just that I reject them, plain and simple. The same way I reject Astrology and Homeopathy. It’s not that I don’t understand them, I even worked briefly in a homeopathic store (and my mother owns one) that also had astrological sessions, it’s simply that they have been demonstrated not to work.

                  It wasn’t necessary to type out more proof that you do not understand Metaphysics.

                  The sort of Scientism that you appear to embrace is directly founded on a particular theory of metaphysics ; the claim “God does not exist” is also a metaphysical claim.

                  When your entire position is based on Metaphysics, and you claim to explicitly reject them, then it is extremely clear that you have understood not even the basics of the discipline.

                  The extremely lengthy and detailed rants that you have aimed at me are rather uninteresting in terms of their contents, but it is rather strange that you should lose your temper for my having pointed out the fact that your views are clearly and blatantly predicated upon a highly dogmatist view of reality, whereby anything or anyone who disagrees even a smidgeon with your highly reductionist views on the contents of reality is worthy of being subjected to what seems like hatred on your part, to be described by you without even a **shred** of supporting evidence to be “nutters” or various other colourful insults against their intellect and/or rationality, and so on and so forth in tedious monotone.

                  if you’re not willing to be proven wrong, then discussion with you is pointless

                  What “discussion” ?

                  What on EARTH makes you think that the string of non-stop invective that you produce, accompanied by some extremely hostile “questions”, that it is blatantly self-evident to have been already decided upon by you, within the narrowly blinkered boundaries of your atheist prejudice, might somehow deserve … discussion in response ????!!!

                  At least Nockian has at least made some sort of attempt at an actual discussion, even though he too is having a very hard time considering his own views with anything resembling objectivity (ironically enough).

                  Come back when you’ve retrieved the attempt to educate you from down the toilet where you appear to flushed it.

              • Malcolm Stevas

                Take off that hair shirt! It might be “secularist consumerism” but it’s OUR secularist consumerism. If people in the ME prefer fratricidal religious mania, it’s their prerogative, and we should keep well out of it.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Take off that hair shirt!

                  I do not own one, despite the fantasy life of your dimwitted atheist bigotry.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  I see those Christian teachings about loving one’s enemy, charity, forgiveness, meekness etc, have found a home in your breast.

                • JabbaPapa

                  These teachings do not include public agreement with complete fools.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  I dare say JC had something to say about that – and about conceit, arrogance, smugness, opinionated puffery…

              • Caviar luvvie

                I’d rather be part of some ‘self-centred secularist consumerism’, than of those who spend billions slaughtering their own.
                Look at Dubai, Abu Dhabi, royal palaces all over the Middle East, African warlord lifestyles, they are not consumers?

                There are the worst consumers: at least WE innovate, invent, manufacture, develop, they do nothing of that sort, all they do is buy buy buy, and kill kill kill.

                Islam contributes NOTHING to humanity! Nada!
                As bad as we are, we do, the West does, Israel does, China does, US does, etc.

            • johnb1945

              Did you know that separation of church and state was developed and then implemented by Christians who took Jesus’s preaching to “render unto caesar” and that “my kingdom is not of this world” seriously?

              And that it is rare, if not unique, in human history?

              Most human beliefs, including atheist ones, have not had a separation of powers.

              Please don’t assume separation of powers is natural, or a product of atheism. I think a separation of powers is less likely in an atheist worldview, for example. In an atheist worldview, where it is difficult to argue that moral absolutes have any intrinsic value, why should those who hold power not decide what our morals, beliefs or constitution should be, free of influence from anyone else?

              • Nockian

                Because man has reason, he can know reality, from that he can take and hold values by virtue. Man is not a black hearted brute as religion or collectivism thinks, he needs neither intrincisist or subjectivist philosophies. Our morals are reasoned from experience and experience from reality. They do not require to be imposed, neither are they intrinsicly derived.

                We don’t need anyone to ‘hold power’. What is required is a delimited government that operates like an impartial judge. Its role only as first line protector, to prevent the initiation of force and impose justice.

                • johnb1945

                  Yes, this is standard atheist belief – that man is fundamentally good (and only religion has corrupted him).

                  This view doesn’t really accord with the abundant historical evidence provided by Godless, reason based philosophies. The murderous civic religions of post revolutionary France, ideologies such as communism, eugenics or paganistic secular beliefs such as Nazism are examples.

                  I believe that while man may have virtue, he also has capacity for evil and capacity to misjudge. The idea that reason should be absolute when determining moral values is a bad one. We don’t have enough foresight and we are too corruptible for that.

                  Christianity is a theologically and philosophically complex religion, but has a simple, eternal moral message. This is why I value it.

                • Nockian

                  No, man is not ‘fundamentally good’, that is complete rubbish and a subjectivist philosophical belief. Man Has the choice of being moral without any spiritual/state guidance. If he gains/keeps values he has earned in accordance with reality he can be happy. If he takes unearned values he feels unsatisfied. Reality discriminates. Mans survival is through reason. He has to learn these things or live in a perpetual state of chaos.

                  I do not believe religion has corrupted anyone. It’s everyone’s choice to employ reason and logic in the pursuit of their own happiness. That they choose to become religious is valid for them, as long as they don’t try and impose their beliefs on others, or imply that it is the only true way for man.

                  Godless philosophies are, in general, subjectivist philosophies. Both are likely derived from Plato’s forms and republic. Both are the philosophies of the primacy of consciousness. Both are sacrificial ideologies steeped in altruism. One sacrifices to God the other to state. Neither are correct, you are trying to pick the cleanest dirty shirt in the basket. This is simply the fallacy of the false alternative. Theist vs Atheist.

                  We have to have foresight, without future, long range independent planning we die. We aren’t like animals, we cannot operate automatically. Of course man has the capacity for evil and to misjudge, but his reward is misery, pain, suffering and to perish. We need laws and justice for certain, that is a given. However we should not give others authority over us, only to deliver justice in the case of the initiation of force. This is simple. The US founding fathers understood this perfectly well.

                  If you take your morality as intrinsically derived I do not care, it is not my business. Leave me alone, don’t impose your beliefs and we will get along just fine. I mean, look here, an atheist with a moral code, virtues and honestly earned values-can you believe it? I need neither God nor state to impose anything. I do not take what I do not earn and I’m a productive, independent person. Can you explain how that is possible ?

                • johnb1945

                  I don’t seek to impose my beliefs on anyone.

                  Man does have the choice to be good or bad, but can never be all good. This is as impossible as growing wings and flying.

                  You should also place less value in logical proofs and fallacies – logic is not an absolute route to truth.

                  Finally, it is secular humanists who assert that their beliefs should be the de facto public belief, and they go to great lengths to create a public space where expression of a Christian viewpoint, in particular, is difficult.

                  The primary beneficiary of this has been Islam, which has assumed the role of a classical utility monster.

                • Nockian

                  Logic and reason are the processes of conceptual integration. Without them we are lost. This is why I place emphasis on them. There is no requirement for an external God or King to determine what I must determine for myself. I can only verify reality by this method as there is no other.

                  By accepting the premises of one religion you accept the premesis of ALL religion. You cannot then say which is good or bad because you have dispensed with logic and reason and hence rely on pure dogma. My philosophy is consistent. I neither accept intrincisist nor subjectivist as they are wholly alien to my reasoning.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Logic and reason are the processes of conceptual integration. Without them we are lost. This is why I place emphasis on them. There is no requirement for an external God or King to determine what I must determine for myself. I can only verify reality by this method as there is no other.

                  An extraordinary confession of utter limitless egocentricity.

                • Nockian

                  I find no insult with your claim. I’m a rational egoist and I don’t claim to be an altruistic sacrificial lamb claiming pathetic humility over pride.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I can at least thank you for your honesty in this detail, but then at least do us the courtesy of sparing us your pseudo-moral dictates.

                • Nockian

                  ‘You’ the courtesy you mean ? Or is this the Royal ‘we’ of your collectivist ideology ?

                • JabbaPapa

                  Pedantry and non sequitur bollocks about “collectivism”.

                  /roll-eyes/

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Christianity’s message is far from “eternal” and has proved remarkably flexible across the centuries. The “message” used to coexist with a powerful, tyrannical, corrupt Church that burned & tortured people for heresy, and a Christian ruling class that was just as bad or worse. The “message” is somewhat different these days, and coexists – apparently – with the soggy relativist readiness of the CofE’s leaders to accommodate large numbers of those who prefer Islam…
                  Christianity a thousand years ago resembled Darth Vader: now, it’s more like Mickey Mouse in a dog collar.

                • johnb1945

                  I think you refer to so called Churchianity.

                  Things like indulgences, confession, the Pope, the inquisition or even going to church on a Sunday cannot be found in the teachings of either Jesus or Paul.

                  Yes, Christianity certainly is flexible but all of its varieties, save possibly the Westboro Baptist Church, share certain outlooks on life and views about morality and salvation, and these would be shared with historic Churches going back to the apostolic age….and beyond…… ethically and in many philosophical aspects Christianity still has much in common with Judaism……

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  If you’re arguing for Christianity in pure form, or something, I suggest it’s not terribly useful: belief systems are the products of their time and cannot exist independently from wider political/cultural reality. It’s one reason why I don’t think Christianity has a credible message.

                • johnb1945

                  I disagree.

                  It has a foundation of eternal moral values, which, if observed, have a profound effect on society.

                  I very much doubt we could have had arrived at the secular nation state, human rights or notions of egalitarianism without Christianity. Has the secular nation state evolved elsewhere in the world where other religious or philosophical viewpoints predominate?

                  Or we could look at political philosophies such as Nazism and Communism which could only exist by eroding the influence of Christianity and Christian morals.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  You have a point. The key is that our “secular nation state” evolved, as did Christianity itself under compulsion – very fortunately for us. An unevolved Christianity would be just as scary as Islam, since those “eternal moral values” allowed for lots of brutal stuff one or two millennia ago.

                • johnb1945

                  Under compulsion from what?

                  Both were invented by Christians inspired by Christianity.

                  What eternal moral values preached by Jesus or the apostles “allowed for lots of brutal stuff one or two millennia ago”?

                  Quotes please.

                  Show me the eternal moral value preached by Jesus that says “thou shallt set up an inquisition and torture Jews, Muslims and heretical Christians” or “Thou shallt go on crusade and slay the heretic and Muslim” or “The absolute monarch shall be appointed by God”?

                  When the European laity eventually learned to read and printing made the bible available in local languages people realised this kind of thing was not preached by Jesus or the apostles at all. We had a reformation as a result… 2 if you include the Catholic counter reformation. These, in turn, laid the foundation of today’s secular nation state.

                  What am I missing?

                • JabbaPapa

                  What am I missing?

                  The fact that Lay access to Scripture was a complete non-problem until Latin started to be incomprehensible to the Laity from the 14th century onwards.

                  You are also making quite the fool of yourself in your irrational expectation that anybody was “deprived” of access to the Bible during periods prior to the 19th century invention of the industrial printing press.

                  Furthermore, your notion that various extra-Biblical Protestant doctrines that were either inserted into translations by Protestants or have no Biblical origin whatsoever might somehow be deduced from the contents of Scripture is risible, particularly after hundreds of pages of it have been ripped out by your dogmatists.

                • johnb1945

                  The gutenberg and caxton press. Google them.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I have no idea why you seem to imagine me as being devoid of general knowledge.

                  Would you like me to patronise you in return, or do you consider it to be a one-way activity ?

                • johnb1945

                  No.

                  Let’s call a truce. This feels like blue on blue fire.

                  OK?

                • JabbaPapa

                  sure

                • johnb1945

                  With the exception of a clerical elite, the European laity was illiterate in their own languages, let alone Latin, long before the 14th century. Even the nobility was often illiterate.

                • JabbaPapa

                  That is at the same time an extremely inaccurate presentation of mediaeval reality (FYI literalism does NOT require ownership of written works, and it most certainly was NOT reserved to an “elite” among the “clergy” alone), and an utterly anachronistic and irrational protest against the inability of Mediaeval Church to provide all Christians with Bibles thanks to 19th and 20th century technology.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Communists will argue that the theory is fine, it’s just nasty people like Stalin & Mao who gave it a bad name. Don’t tax me with theology! All that angels balancing on a pin stuff… The theory of Christianity is neither here nor there, it’s the practical interpretation & application which count – and which brought a great deal of misery to many people in former times. The European Enlightenment was a rationalist revolt against the superstitious prescription and tyranny of the Church, mate.
                  But as with that other bloke here, I’m wasting my time: I learned long ago that argument with religious folk is futile, since it’s about belief – not rational argument, evidence, that sort of boring logical stuff.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Communists will argue that the theory is fine, it’s just nasty people like Stalin & Mao who gave it a bad name

                  Catholics on the other hand teach that theory is of little value.

                  All that angels balancing on a pin stuff

                  Catholics are not responsible for your extremely foolish decision to take an intentionally absurd abstract mediaeval debating game question at face value.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Your unpleasing readiness to fling around epithets such as “foolish” tends to detract from your pretensions to theological certitude.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Are you seriously claiming that your angels on pins comment was anything other than deliberately snide ?

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Mildly satirical, if that. You take yourself too seriously, not surprisingly. Get out more, talk to women, have a drink or two.

                • johnb1945

                  You haven’t read the history of the European enlightenment then.

                  Christianity is still the basis or our egalitarian, secular values today. No matter how much we deny it.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Christianity – or our particular experience and interpretation of it – most certainly formed much of the essential nature of our national character, our civilisation. No-one would deny that. But we’ve grown out of the superstition and the burning people alive stuff.

                • JabbaPapa

                  But we’ve grown out of the superstition and the burning people alive stuff

                  You’ve clearly not grown out of substituting your adolescent sniggering for thought.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Since you imagine (no doubt) that St Peter will greet you at those heavenly gates, I wonder how you’ll answer his reproving questions about the lofty, humourless, arrogant manner in which you attempt to defend your faith.

                • johnb1945

                  Yes, you are right.

                  Jesus never wanted anyone to be burned alive on his behalf – he who hath not sinned and all that – and in recognition of this, modern churches have grown out of the burning people alive stuff.

                  Nowadays many churches oppose capital punishment of all forms for all reasons, a viewpoint they justify scripturally.

                  Take away an absolute prohibition against killing and it is quite difficult to conclusively reason against capital punishment by the way.

                  I mean, why shouldn’t we just knock murderers off? It makes us feel avenged, deters would be murderers and saves money if you do it quick enough? In fact, if we know they’re guilty why not just go straight from courthouse to gallows? Why even bother with a court, if they admit it?

                  Richard Dawkins thought we should keep Saddam Hussein alive so we could study him. I wonder if that applies to all murderers and do we have the resource to study them all, or should we just limit this to the first few generations of murderers then start knocking them off once we’ve got the information we need?

                • JabbaPapa

                  even going to church on a Sunday cannot be found in the teachings of either Jesus or Paul

                  Ten Commandments : Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

                  FYI there is only one Covenant between God and mankind, and the ongoing failure of the Jews to love the Christ as the Son of God, except one hopes in their souls, does not magically cancel out the teachings of the Old Testament.

                • johnb1945

                  Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

                • JabbaPapa

                  That’s right, the Sabbath was made for man.

                  I do not understand why you want to reject what He made for us.

                • johnb1945

                  I don’t, but there is nothing in the bible which compels church attendance.

                  We’re getting caught up in detail here.

                  My original post was to counter a claim that (specifically medieval) church doctrine represented the eternal moral teachings of Christ.

                  Some of it did not.

                • JabbaPapa

                  a claim that (specifically medieval) church doctrine represented the eternal moral teachings of Christ

                  Mediaeval Church Doctrine never made any such claim of itself to start with.

                  It declared, quite rightly, that the Revelation resides Eternally in God in His Heaven.

                  Church doctrine more simply seeks to teach others of the Truth that is given to us in that Revelation.

                  These truths provide no permission to make it up for ourselves as we go along, although we obviously can should we foolishly decide to do so.

                • johnb1945

                  Great, but why are you pointing this out to me?

                  Malcolm Stevas said something along the lines of “Christianity is so flexible it is effectively nothing” and then that “the teachings of Jesus have justified brutality”.

                  I said that this was false and that all (mainstream) Churches around the world, protestant, catholic or orthodox shared certain eternal values with each other which were based in the teachings of Jesus and shared with every church back to the apostolic age. These values define them as Christian churches, and not, say, synagogues or sects of Islam.

                  I pointed out that Christian doctrine used to justify brutality in the medieval and early modern eras had either no basis in the teachings of Jesus, or had, at best, a highly debatable basis.

                  This is a matter of fact.

                  I also pointed out that this was slowly ironed out in the reformation, counter reformation and is ongoing.

                  At no point did I claim that protestant churches purified church doctrine to the scriptural. They may have attempted to, but we all know that protestant churches, particularly in the early modern era, had some interesting and unfortunate doctrines and dogmas of their own.

                  This is important because the average atheist typically sees the reformation (although they may not call it that) as rationalists or atheists or secularists gradually reasoning the church into irrelevance – a process which needs to be seen through to completion.

                  Please would you point your gun elsewhere? There are other worthy targets on this forum and you write with a certain eloquence which is handy.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Great, but why are you pointing this out to me?

                  Just aiming for some form of discussion with somebody other than an extremist atheist bigot.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Christianity’s message is far from “eternal” and has proved remarkably flexible across the centuries.

                  The existence of heresies cannot affect the Living Revelation, for He resides in the Heaven of the Lord and none of our transient opinions on this or that can change even a jot in the Nature of this Creation.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Ah, well, to be sure, we’re not going to agree very far once things get all theological. My opinion on God’s (probable) non-existence was established when I was 12 and has become more settled since then. But good luck with it.

                • JabbaPapa

                  When I was 9, I realised that non-answer to a prayer proved nothing one way or the other. I chose agnosticism, as a pis-aller.

                  The notion that the question of God could be definitively “established” by a 12-year-old’s mind is frankly ludicrous.

                  Or anyone’s mind in solitary, to be frank.

                  Very aggressive continual Divine Interventions into my life from 1994 onwards changed my mind. The weirdest one of all was, 3 years ago or so, a direct and explicit violation of the Laws of Physics (no details sorry, it’s a story I can only ever tell in person, and only to those I want to — not to this anonymous crowd of strangers).

                  God is real — and this simple fact is nothing compared with His Beauty.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Pitiful straw-man stuff! Who said anything about “definitively”? I say again – in simpler terms to avoid misconstruction – aged 12 I decided I did not believe in God, and subsequent mature reflection confirmed my early opinion. You decided differently, so good luck to you. I’d add only that religious belief is necessarily founded on just that – belief – and not on the availability of anything remotely resembling proof, evidence & argument, or other aspects of rationality. So I’d give up trying to argue the case for God, because in the end you can’t. It’s impossible.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I’d add only that religious belief is necessarily founded on just that – belief – and not on the availability of anything remotely resembling proof, evidence & argument, or other aspects of rationality

                  I know from direct personal experience that your allegations are false.

                  You would also be utterly incapable of providing any evidence whatsoever to support your claims.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Oh dear, proving a negative… Perhaps your “direct personal experience” was a divine revelation.

                • JabbaPapa

                  proving a negative

                  Not so, I’m asking you to demonstrate your positive assertion that “religious belief is necessarily founded on just that – belief – and not on the availability of anything remotely resembling proof, evidence & argument, or other aspects of rationality

                  I mean, just for starters, can you please demonstrate that rationality is strictly limited to the elements herein described ?

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  You want philosophy? You presume to demand rational explanations of anything at all when you cling to transparently irrational superstition? Get down to the pub, and try that one on the assembled throng.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Unsurprised at your failure.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Predictable response, since you are reluctant to recognise that as the believer in fundamentally irrational, superstitious ideas, the onus is upon you to offer credible arguments for your beliefs. It is very far from being my responsibility to show that they’re wrong! OK? Remember, it’s you who believes in the Sky Fairy. Remember too that blessed are the meek, apparently…

                • JabbaPapa

                  You make a VERY specific statement, I very reasonably ask you to support it, and your response is to refuse to do so, and then to fantastically claim that it’s somehow my job to provide the relevant examination.

                  If someone were to accuse you of this or that in a Court of Law, would it be his job to demonstrate his claims, or yours ?

                  It’s not my job to provide a detailed examination of the contents of your statements. If you don’t understand that, then you’re not worth talking to in the first place.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  It’s your job to support outrageously improbable claims that you have personal proof of divine intervention – or whatever it was you referred to. As the holder of improbable beliefs with virtually nothing in the way of historical corroboration the onus is on you, chum, to attempt a credible defence of what is – to borrow your “court of law” reference – prima facie fantastical nonsense. As an individual going about his business, I make judgements about deals & propositions every day on the basis of factual evidence: mere superstitious belief doesn’t cut much ice.
                  As for that “talking to” it’s a waste of others’ time your contributing comments on a necessarily factual, real-world political forum, when ultimately you attempt to justify this or that position by reference not to facts but to your quaint inner beliefs.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It’s your job to support

                  It is not my job to agree with your utter crap.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  Ungodly language.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Man is, in fact, intrinsically good. Deny this, and you defy God.

                • johnb1945

                  Yes. I said in my post that man has capacity for virtue. Man is created in God’s image.

                  Man also has original sin. Without God’s grace we drift, because our nature is to sin.

                  It’s true – look at the fruits of philosophies which deny God for evidence.

                  Why should we assume a virulent secular humanism would be any different?

                  I am not talking theology with an atheist. The secular atheist elevates man to the position of God, I’m pointing out how ridiculous this is.

                  Please remember you are not the target of my posts!

                • JabbaPapa

                  The very FACT that you’re addressing an atheist should impel you to affirm the intrinsic goodness of all God’s creatures, and of man.

                • johnb1945

                  In an earlier post you said “We can’t try to substitute our minds for the Gift itself.”

                  It is a fundamental secular humanist belief that we can.

                  The only antidote to this is to point out our flaws.

                  The evidence for our flaws is compelling – even an atheist struggles to deny them, and atheists like evidence.

                  Yes, humans are good. No, they are not, and can never be, perfect. The secular humanist believe that either we are the closest to perfect that exists, or that “perfect” is irrelevant.

                  This is seductive belief, and initially compelling, but its dangers are evident in the failures of all godless philosophies in history.

                  No, I will not affirm the humanist viewpoint that people are all good. I will not affirm it, because it is not true. Only by the grace of God can we become good.

                • JabbaPapa

                  No, I will not affirm the humanist viewpoint that people are all good. I will not affirm it, because it is not true. Only by the grace of God can we become good.

                  It is not “humanist”.

                  Your claim is blasphemous, because you near explicitly say that God has created what is not good.

                  Sin is not intrinsic to our nature, but it is the burden and the temptation of our condition.

                  We are created intrinsically good, and the purpose of our lives is to return to the Good of that Origin. For our Sins, this is not a guaranteed outcome.

                  The notion that we might be born evil, and must strive to conquer a salvation that is reserved only to a minority of elect is a Calvinist Heresy and Blasphemy against our Creator.

                  You confuse the salvific Grace of God with the heretical claims of some extremist Bible-thumpers.

                • johnb1945

                  We all succumb to the temptation of sin.

                  Only one man has existed who did not, and we know who he was.

                  To a humanist sin is, firstly, an overtly religious concept, and secondly, relativised.

                  Enough, however.

                  There are bigger fish to fry.

                • JabbaPapa

                  We all succumb to the temptation of sin.

                  Only one man has existed who did not, and we know who he was.

                  erm, Catholicism teaches that He was free of sin, and that the only one to never succumb to it is St Mary

                  Just a quibble, pacem

                • johnb1945

                  I was born into the Calvinist tradition of the Kirk.

                  I don’t agree with everything in it, it can be very austere, rather negative even, but it also inspires some very committed missionaries and charity who’ll go places even other churches fear to tread.

                  Nowadays I consider myself non-denominational but Christian.

                  I can see beauty in Catholicism. If you want to be a wee free fundie and bang on about it being an unreconstructed religion of deeds then be my guest but it has a spirituality about it which the hard edged and practical protestantism of my tradition lacks.

                  And the last 3 popes have all just been very, very good Christians in my opinion.

                  I’m not blind to this.

                • JabbaPapa

                  That is a very fine expression (with some minor exception) of the Christian political ideal.

                  Mark : {12:17} Respondens autem Iesus dixit illis: Reddite igitur quæ sunt Cæsaris, Cæsari: et quæ sunt Dei, Deo.

                  Catholic Christianity does not consider man as “a black hearted brute”, and it is neither intrinsicist nor subjectivist.

                  I would advise you to think more deeply on the Catholic Dogma of Free Will, as it is the very heart of all individual Catholic identity.

                • Nockian

                  I already know. I have studied Aquinus and Augustine.

                  Both are very talented philosophers, particularly Aquinus. The problem he faced was one of combining scientific/logical reasoning with religious mysticism. He attempted to square the circle. No doubt you believe he succeeded, but his syllogistic proof is an invalid one. Good try but no prize.

                  Catholic dogma accepts free will as opposed to determinism, but this does not mean it is not intrincisic knowledge. Otherwise, where did it come from if not from the omniscient being that you perceive ?

                  If it wasn’t intrinsic knowledge then what would be the point of an omniscient Deity? What would be its function ?

                  We aren’t going to get any further. I was really making a point that has taken us off into theistic discussion. It’s pointless arguing with me, the fight you must undertake is a battle between two religious beliefs-both having the same philosophy at heart. I have no doubt that the Christian church has been immensely more beneficial to the West than Islam, I also know that atheistic subjectivity has been harmful. I don’t promote either. If one has to win then I would pick Christianity any day of the week, but as a choice I would have neither.

                • JabbaPapa

                  his syllogistic proof is an invalid one

                  What “syllogistic proof” ? Quite apart from the fact that your understanding of his writing appears to be quite significantly divorced from the standards of Pro et Contra argumentation that define them, whereby contrary opinions are presented to the rationality of the reader, certainly not imposed as if they constituted some kind of Marxist Dialectic avant l’heure, if all that you’ve taken from Aquinas is some silly little matter of true/false binary microscopy, then I pity you.

                  He attempted to square the circle

                  a) This is not true.

                  b) Nor was he a mathematician either, among those who have quite legitimately attempted exactly that.

                • Nockian

                  There is no case known (neither is it indeed possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself ; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.

                  Aquinas. Summa Theologica.

                  Aquinas was never as gross as Marx.

                  I don’t wish to disprove your religious convictions by the way, but it would be really great if you could stop accusing people of immorality and lack of ethics because they are atheists. Accept that we can be totally ethical, rational and moral sans Christianity and that you feel the need of it.

                • JabbaPapa

                  That is an extremely reductionist presentation of Aquinas’ arguments on the subject.

                  He wrote :

                  Whether God exists?

                  Objection 1: It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word “God” means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.

                  Objection 2: Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God’s existence.

                  On the contrary, It is said in the person of God: “I am Who am.” (Ex. 3:14)

                  I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways.

                  The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

                  The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

                  The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence—which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

                  The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But “more” and “less” are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

                  The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

                  Reply to Objection 1: As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.” This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

                  Reply to Objection 2: Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.

                  Of course in the Latin, he writes “Respondeo dicendum quod Deum esse quinque viis probari potest” — and probari does NOT mean “to prove” in the sense that you intend, it means “to examine the question of”.

                  So : “I answer by saying that [the question of] God can be examined in five ways.”

                  Therefore his second way — Secunda via est ex ratione causae efficientis. Invenimus enim in istis sensibilibus esse ordinem causarum efficientium, nec tamen invenitur, nec est possibile, quod aliquid sit causa efficiens sui ipsius; quia sic esset prius seipso, quod est impossibile. Non autem est possibile quod in causis efficientibus procedatur in infinitum. Quia in omnibus causis efficientibus ordinatis, primum est causa medii, et medium est causa ultimi, sive media sint plura sive unum tantum, remota autem causa, removetur effectus, ergo, si non fuerit primum in causis efficientibus, non erit ultimum nec medium. Sed si procedatur in infinitum in causis efficientibus, non erit prima causa efficiens, et sic non erit nec effectus ultimus, nec causae efficientes mediae, quod patet esse falsum. Ergo est necesse ponere aliquam causam efficientem primam, quam omnes Deum nominant.

                  … is simply to say that rationality, by which he means the investigation of causality within the structures of logic, in which it is claimed that something cannot be so simply by cause of itself — which rather ironically you claim as being an “invalid syllogism” despite your overt request for “proofs” that deny its contents !!!

                  Aquinas suggests that as a means to examine the existence of God, logic, rationality, and causality are of no direct use because as the Prime Mover God must necessarily be the very Source of all those things ; but if you claim that this is false, you’re basically claiming that God **could** be demonstrated thereby, and so therefore my request that you ahead and demonstrate your claim that He does not is perfectly legitimate.

                  Or it is not, in which case you must withdraw your suggestion that Aquinas’ syllogism is “false”.

                  You simply cannot have it both ways ; it’s the one or the other, but not both at the same time.

                • Nockian

                  It’s the same argument repeated in several ways. The prime mover.

                  The problem here is that if there need be a prime mover for the universe, then what is the prime mover for the prime mover. In the end it is an infinite regression. If a creator was necessary for the universe, then there must be a creator for the creator. If the creator required no creator, then the universe did not require one either.

                  Aquinas used equivocation. His argument was logically valid but contained a fallacy. The universe is the universe of all things. It contains all that ever was and will ever be. That causality is at work within the universe, does not apply to the universe itself. It was always and will be always no matter how the things inside it change. It is therefore finite. Containing no more than there is and never less than there is.

                  Aquinas was minded to include God from the start. He was blinded by that necessity. This is always the case with arguments. If you begin with fixed premesis then you make mistakes and find it difficult to see that you made them. It happens to the best of us. We make errors, we can only try to minimise them.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It’s the same argument repeated in several ways. The prime mover.

                  It really isn’t, you know — in fact Aquinas is describing the five ways in which the Philosophers of his time examined the question of God.

                  Aquinas is routinely misunderstood and therefore misrepresented, and particularly by those who only ever read him in translation, as they try and contrive some sort of internal coherence out of his representations of the multiple opinions of others, and his diverse reactions to that multiplicity.

                  The universe is the universe of all things. It contains all that ever was and will ever be

                  That is a metaphysical claim that you would be completely unable to demonstrate — it’s also a core dogma of atheism.

                  Your error is to assume that philosophies that you disagree with are based on false logic if they do not agree with the dogma of your own belief system.

                  You cannot, as Aquinas points out, assume that God must be contingent on causality, because the First Cause cannot be a consequence of other causes.

                  Aquinas was minded to include God from the start. He was blinded by that necessity

                  You clearly have an extremely biased interpretation of his writing, given that he explicitly addresses the fact that some say that God does not exist.

                  Or what — am I to say that you are minded to dismiss God from the start ? That you are blinded by that necessity ?

                  Clearly, your reaction to opinions that disagree with yours is exactly as dogmatic as what you accuse the religious faithful of.

                • Nockian

                  Of course it can be deduced logically. Either the universe is as it is conceptuallydefined, or we better get constructing a whole new set of concepts for everything. That’s a valid thing to do if some new information comes to be known, but for now we have what we have.

                  I don’t really follow what atheists argue. I find their arguments unconvincing and pretty shallow. I have watched several debates with little enthusiasm.

                  I do not believe they are based on false logic at all. I already said the Aquinas argument (reductio) was a valid syllogism in all respects. It’s a mixed hypothetical denying the consequent. Where it gets interesting is that the universe must by its conceptual definition must encompass all causality. Once we get around to saying that this is not so, then we no longer have a universe. The universe has to encompass God, if God is to exist, he cannot be outside the universe as that is an entirely contradictory premise to the conceptual universe.

                  Aquinas already knew his audience, just like any good salesman he handled the objections first. He did so convincingly.

                  I’m not looking for someone to agree or disagree I’ve already told you that. If we have a discussion and we gain something by it, then it was worth the effort. It doesn’t mean to say you should adopt my philosophy or me yours.

                  I say again that you began by criticising the secular consumerism as relating to a lack of ethics. You cannot seem to accept that a man can have ethics without a deity. I’m more than happy to accept that Christians can have an ethical code despite the affliction of a religious dogma. You can apply reason and have virtues same as me. Being religious doesn’t prevent that. I would say you have simply made an error in believing in the need for a deity to maintain moral values. If you lost your faith tomorrow they wouldn’t vanish I assure you.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Of course it can be deduced logically. Either the universe is as it is conceptually defined

                  That is a material impossibility. Logic is therefore insufficient in and of itself.

                  Where it gets interesting is that the universe must by its conceptual definition must encompass all causality. Once we get around to saying that this is not so, then we no longer have a universe.

                  That’s obviously untrue, given the self-evident existence thereof.

                  Existence is not dependent on the coherence of any strictly human rationalities.

                  Anything that occurred or existed outside of causality would not thereby cause causality to simply disintegrate.

                  The universe has to encompass God, if God is to exist, he cannot be outside the universe as that is an entirely contradictory premise to the conceptual universe.

                  No — that’s a metaphysical claim that is produced by YOUR conceptions of the Universe.

                  You seek to reduce God to just another being within reality, which is to directly contradict our definition of God.

                  Furthermore, you ask for demonstrations of a “god” that has been determined and limited and defined by the production of your own philosophies, and therefore has exactly nothing to do with God as He is worshipped by Christians.

                  The entire question in the manner that you are framing it is, very ironically, a figment of your own imagination.

                  I say again that you began by criticising the secular consumerism as relating to a lack of ethics. You cannot seem to accept that a man can have ethics without a deity

                  I can’t help it if you decide to take more out from that than was put there in the first place.

                  My point instead was that extremist individualism is destructive of collective morality. Secularist consumerism is therefore immediately and intrinsically destructive of ethics.

                • Nockian

                  What is your definition of the universe ?

                  Of course existence exists independent entry from human rationality-a subjectivist wouldn’t agree, but I do so whole heartedly. This has nothing at all to do with the conceptual universe.

                  Don’t you get it? If something was outside the universe then the universe is no longer what we conceptualise as the defined universe. If your definition is different then I need to know, or we are arguing on completely different definitions. There isn’t any point in conversing further until we agree the definition.

                  Define ‘extremist individualism’ while you are at it. I have no idea what that is, or why you think there is a collective morality ? You seem to be somewhat strung between two differing philosophies. I don’t think the church stresses the collective, it’s the philosophy of the individuals relationship with God.

                  Secularist consumerism I take to mean consumption sans God ?

                • JabbaPapa

                  Don’t you get it? If something was outside the universe then the universe is no longer what we conceptualise as the defined universe.

                  Of course I get it — you fail to realise what it is that I’m actually disagreeing with.

                  Possibly there are two definitions at war, but for the sake of the argument I was using the materialist one that was so obviously implicit in your statements.

                  Arguing about whether or not an immaterial Order of Reality were in or out of “the universe” would just lead to some fruitless squabbles about semantics and metaphysical imponderables, whereas it is extremely clear that causality as such, as it is standardly defined, pertains to the material order of things that is coherent with the materialist definition of “the universe”.

                  Regardless of the ontological question, whatever is not a part of that material Order of things is neither the object or the subject of the causality that pertains thereto — but if we posit the existence of God as the Creator, or as the Zero Cause of the First Causes of the Material Order, then He must by very necessity be free of subjection to the causality of this material Creation.

                  All of which should have been very clear to you if you had read Aquinas with greater attention to detail, and in reference to his original Latin, where you would have understand that his 5 ways to consider the question of God were never intended as five ways of “proving” His existence.

                  I don’t think the church stresses the collective, it’s the philosophy of the individuals relationship with God

                  You keep on typing these howlers — the individual Faith and the individual spirituality are turned to God ; the Church however is intrinsically collective, because it is the shared practice in Worship of each individual Catholic, in a normative social manner.

                  It is similar to the relationship between the Universities and Science — for whilst it is the individual scientist or student who pursues his individual relationship with it, collectively they are a University.

                  Individual relationships do not cancel out collective ones nor vice-versa as if there were some kind of ludicrous “conflict” between them.

                • Nockian

                  You didn’t answer the question. What is your definition of the universe ?

                  Unless I know what it is then I cannot continue the discussion.

                  I don’t have a materialists view of the universe because I happen to include conscious awareness as something that is materially derived, but not material in itself.

                  You are making the mistake of thinking of me as a subjectivist which fits into your current world view and experience.

                • JabbaPapa

                  You didn’t answer the question. What is your definition of the universe ?

                  Yes I jolly well did. I answered that “for the sake of the argument I was using the materialist one that was so obviously implicit in your statements”.

                  I don’t have a materialists view of the universe because I happen to include conscious awareness as something that is materially derived, but not material in itself.

                  Unless you can convince me otherwise, it sounds liike a simple exercise in semantics to suggest that.

                  Or you’re just twisting everything around back-to-front — if what you’re actually saying that the immaterial Order of Reality is a product of the material. But then it would behove you to give some extremely precise answer to the question “why is there something rather than nothing ?” — as what you’d be attempting is some kind of quasi-deification of reality itself.

                  It also sounds suspiciously Mormon.

                  You are making the mistake of thinking of me as a subjectivist

                  Given that I have overtly pointed out that objectivity is materially impossible to achieve, it would not be surprising to discover that I think that your philosophy is exactly as subjective (or in your idiosyncratic parlance “subjectivist”) as the next man’s, so that unless and until you can demonstrate to me that objectivity is humanly feasible (it isn’t), I would ask you to refrain from characterising my disbelief in your claim as a “mistake”.

                  Tell me you disagree with me all you like, but please stop typing such fact-free claims as suggesting that I believe you to think in a manner that I might a priori presume to be coherent with my “current world view and experience” given that it is self-evident that it is not the case, particularly in view of the fact that I have characterised your philosophical doctrines as being “nonsensical” on more than one occasion. I would be highly unlikely to suggest this if I imagined them to be somehow just a variant of my own.

                • Nockian

                  Something doesn’t come from nothing within the universe. I’m not privy to the make up of the universe, but I can say that consciousness is not a composition of parts. It resides in the whole body as part and parcel of it. I don’t need to go further than to say that gravity exhibits a similar kind of action, as does light and magnetism. I cannot say what consciousness is, it is axiomatic that it is. It does not exist independently of matter, but neither is it matter. That’s the primacy of existence. Existence prior to consciousness. There must be something existing for me to be conscious of.

                  If God doesn’t require a creator, then neither does the universe. If the universe requires a creator then so does God. It’s very clear.

                  I don’t know where your going with the rest. It sounds like circular reasoning but I haven’t time to pull it apart.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Something doesn’t come from nothing within the universe

                  That’s just to say “it is because it is”.

                  That’s the primacy of existence. Existence prior to consciousness. There must be something existing for me to be conscious of.

                  Quite apart from being a metaphysical claim that is not demonstrated, not even as an internally consistent theory that could be understood on its own merits, regardless of ontology or (dis-)agreement with it : it is also an a posteriori view that tells us little of interest about its justification ; and your suggestion that material causes might have immaterial consequences seems to be rather suspect, and it looks like a get-out-of-religious-questions-free card.

                  OK, historically it can be linked to emanatist theory, which also posited the soul as being immaterial, and truth to be be derived from the individual truths of each material thing taken separately, except that emanatism classically posits both the soul that perceives and the individual truths of its perceptions to be created by God, as a precondition of the soul and the “light” of perception being themselves immaterial.

                  Keeping that structure and removing God from the equation is workable up to a point, except that you then run into the problem of language — because if each immaterial contingency is the consequence of some particular material structures, how then do you expect them to be capable of discourse with each other, why should these immaterial contingencies be in a state of independent relationships with each other instead of forming some sort of collective “overmind”, why should God be necessarily barred from this variant of yours, and why does abstract ratiocination not exist in any other species instead of it being found in progressively diminishing form in other animal species ?

                  You simply cannot demonstrate that existence is prior to consciousness, any more than God’s existence can be demonstrated either. It is simply a doctrinal claim of your own philosophical system, just as, up to a point, God’s existence is a doctrinal claim of Catholicism. So that from the strictly philosophical point of view, your posit has no manner of superiority over mine.

                  If God doesn’t require a creator, then neither does the universe. If the universe requires a creator then so does God. It’s very clear.

                  Actually, it’s a fine example of a directly false syllogism.

                  Compare with : If Mount Everest doesn’t require an artist, then neither does the Mona Lisa. If the Mona Lisa requires an artist, then so does Mount Everest.

                  It sounds like circular reasoning but I haven’t time to pull it apart.

                  Circular reasoning is usually very easy to pull apart — and hey look, that’s exactly what I did with your false syllogism above. Funny how that works, eh ?

                • Nockian

                  That comparison is invalid. Mona Lisa and Everest are very clearly indentified objects in reality.

                  We have the same argument here in which I’m forced into trying to disprove your assertion that there is a creator. You only have to sit there and conduct a kangaroo court.

                  You are equally unable to answer as to why the universe cannot simply be and have always been. I already know you won’t be putting yourself in the position of proving this not to be true. We will spend hours handing the poisoned chalice of proving the unprovable backwards and forwards. I cannot prove that the universe was always and you cannot prove God exists.

                  Let’s call it quits and retire gracefully. 🙂

                • JabbaPapa

                  That comparison is invalid. Mona Lisa and Everest are very clearly indentified objects in reality.

                  It is not a “comparison”.

                  I am pointing out that your syllogism is formally dysfunctional to such an extent as to invalidate its meaning.

                • Nockian

                  Its not a syllogism. Its a non sensical argument based on a nonsensical premise.

                  “As I was going to the fair I met a man who wasn’t there, he wasn’t there again today, I wish that man would go away”.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Its a non sensical argument based on a nonsensical premise

                  You mean your “If God doesn’t require a creator, then neither does the universe. If the universe requires a creator then so does God.” ?

                  It’s certainly nonsensical, but then why did you describe it as being “very clear” ?

                  (also you may be operating under some flawed understanding of what a syllogism is — it’s any grammatically correct statement that uses the structures of a logical argument, regardless of whether the logic of the statement is sound or not. “Shakespeare and Chaucer are both authors, therefore all written stories are fictional.” is a syllogism, despite being quite patently absurd.)

                  Substituting different words than “God”, “creator”, and “universe” should have been enough to demonstrate the absurdity of your claim, which is fundamentally a category error, as well as being an example of bad logic.

                  If A needs B it does not systematically follow that C needs B as well.

                  Furthermore, the Universe is material in nature, whereas God’s own Nature is transcendental of material contingency in the manner that we would define Him as Christians. (though your argument would be valid towards the Mormon belief system specifically, as they do indeed believe God to be a discrete being inside the universe)

                • Nockian

                  You can call it an invalid syllogism if you wish, I don’t regard it as such. It’s the same kind of syllogism as the line from the poem, or if God exists then so do fairies. If God is omniscient then we don’t have free will. There is no God, never was, never will be, if your sense of what God is -omniscient, omnipotent creator of everything. We are on our own, we have one unique independent life that last a few decades and then we cease to exist as conscious entities. If we accept that to be true it might help to concentrate our minds on getting busy getting better.

                  That’s my conviction by the way, based on the reason/logic of my fallible mind. It’s my best guess to date if you like.

                  It isn’t a category error if there is no God. You have produced no evidence for the existence of a deity and I don’t expect you to ever do so. It is a creation of the minds of men in the same way as every other mysticism. It is just more complex, has attempted to integrate all detractors including logic and has global appeal. It’s you that says this creator exists and it is you that must justify it to yourself. You certainly don’t need to justify it to me.

                  I don’t believe God to be inside, outside, upside down, hidden in a flower pot, submerged in parallel dimensions, inside my head to any other of the numerous places that appeal to religious people. If you want to believe it, I’m happy for you to believe it. I’m not going to waste time to discuss further something that does not exist.

                  My point was always that religion is a cause of conflict and not a cure for it. That you cannot say that Muslim fundamentalists are wrong for perpetrating horrors, or Christian republicans from dropping bombs on anything that doesn’t conform to the US ideal. We don’t require a Christian God to oppose himself in the form of a Muslim Allah or a a Jewish Jahweh. We need to apply reason and cultivate our own internal virtues to accord with reality as closely as possible and take/hold the values we can earn from being virtuous. We can then stop killing and stealing from each other and pretending reality is flexible, or controlled by some omniscient being.

        • johnb1945

          So where did Jesus compel his apostles to commit genocide?

          You fail to understand that, far from introspection rendering it irrelevant, our current freedoms are a product of his philosophy and it would be unwise to sever the root.

          You fail to understand that these freedoms are also fragile. Throughout most of human history, given half a chance, men have imposed themselves upon and slaughtered each other.

          As JabbaPappa pointed out, secular and outright atheist ideologies have been prominent inspirations in this enterprise.

          • Nockian

            What is the purpose of religion ?
            From where did the authority arise ?

            You are using a straw man argument as I’m sure you know. Christians are certainly not the most violent religious movement, but they most certainly aren’t entirely peaceful. I should not need to mention Pope Paul X or the inquisition. However Christianity isn’t the only religion is it ?

            • johnb1945

              Religion has many purposes from the societal to the personal. Where would you like me to begin?

              I’m not using a straw man argument. You said “religion is genocidal”, you didn’t differentiate between any religions or even between varieties of the same religion.

              So this statement would include the model of religion preached by Jesus Christ, which was secular and spiritual and compelled believers to love others unconditionally and which said we are all created in God’s image. It would include various protestant sects such s the Quakers who tried to live by these simple rules. It would include some pacifist Muslim sects such as the Ahmediyyas.

              And where did religion arise from and who gives it authority? That depends what you believe, and we could have a long and probably boring discussion about it.

              Would you like to do that?

              • Nockian

                What is its prime purpose ? It’s fundamental assertion ?

                Let’s get that out of the way before moving on to any further discussion. I implied that any religion is one of self sacrifice which is anti-life and therefore potentially genocidal at its outset. We should not forget that the pope once lead an army to victory against the Muslims and the inquisition was putting heretics to death during the dark ages. Christians have not always ‘turned the other cheek’ and therefore soundly IMO ignored Jesus teachings.

                • johnb1945

                  I don’t really understand why such a complex question has to be reduced to a simple answer, but as you demand an answer I would say the purpose of most religions is to bring people closer to God.

                  They are not anti-life or anti-human, they are primarily about love of God, and about hope.

                  And yes, religions are followed, preached and developed by men. It is unrealistic to expect all followers to be perfect all of the time. Are you going to judge the teachings of Jesus on the actions of people who lived lives of medieval hardship and purported to follow him?

                  Would you suggest medieval europeans would have been more moral had they been following some atheist moral code(s) thought up by the scholars and philosophers of the time?

                • Nockian

                  It has to be reduced to a primary or it is impossible to know why you have chosen it.

                  What is the purpose of bringing man closer to God ?

                  We don’t need an imposed morality, we need only laws and justice allowing people to fathom things out for themselves. They can and do.

                  Good, level discussion by the way. I thank you for that.

                • johnb1945

                  The trouble is that the experience of religion is ultimately personal, so it has as many purposes as there are religious people in the world.

                  Even atheists have a God (their own reason, themselves etc.) and religious beliefs of a sort (selfish genes, secular humanism etc.). So you could get really complex here.

                  If you try to distil the purpose of a religion down into a sentence you will hit problems.

                  What is the purpose of Apple inc? To make money for shareholders? To innovate in the world of computers? To create a world where everyone is connected? To do a bit of everything?

                  I don’t think people CAN fathom things out for themselves – not entirely, anyway.

                  In Christianity your reason and free will are God given, but one should endeavour to observe a few absolute morals against which you can benchmark your reason and will.

                  It’s a vision, a philosophy, and it claims to be absolute and eternal.

                  I see value in it. I think purely secular ethics are vulnerable to drift. You can never answer the question “why bother?”.

                  This does not mean secular ethical codes are all bad or reason has no place in determining right and wrong….. far from it…… just that a few things should be absolute.

                  etc. etc.

                • JabbaPapa

                  the experience of religion is ultimately personal

                  False.

                  Religion is by its very nature a collective and social phenomenon.

                  You are confusing it with both Faith and Spirituality.

                  Religion is the organisation of a shared spirituality — unless it becomes denatured for worldly political reasons, and is degraded into whichever manner of politicised parochialism.

                  Faith and Spirituality are the purposes and the centre of all true religiosity, but religion itself is the social element of those Virtues, and it can in its most extremely denatured forms become purely social, and deprived of either.

                  It’s a vision, a philosophy, and it claims to be absolute and eternal

                  No vision except for the Beatific Vision is Eternal, and no philosophy at all.

                  Even the purest Catholic Christian philosophy is but the worldly shadow of the Truth from the Living Revelation in Christ.

                  Philosophy is mankind’s efforts, in the midst of our intrinsic ignorance, to make use of our God-given Graces of discernment, Will, and intellect towards the betterment of our mortal lives and the joy of our minds and our bodies. But philosophy is as a handmaiden to Truth and to the Spirit, where the true Beatitude of our eternal contentment is to be found.

                  These matters are entirely alien to the satanic purposes of genocide.

                • johnb1945

                  Faith and Spirituality are the purposes and the centre of all true religiosity, but religion itself is the social element of those Virtues, and it can in its most extremely denatured forms become purely social, and deprived of either.

                  When debating atheists I try to make simple points using language they understand. From experience, most do not differentiate between faith and religion. They do not even differentiate between belief in God (“Theism”) and religion. Or faith.

                  Often they do not differentiate between religions. Islam? Christianity? Much the same shtick. They’re all genocidal, right?

                  It necessitates a certain approach IMO.

                  Maybe it is wrong, but in the hundred or so characters you can write on disqus that your interlocutor might trouble himself to read you have to get to the point simply.

                  It’s silly to reduce a religion, which is invariably a complex mix of faith, philosophy, rite and cultural affectation, to a simple purpose, but that is the reductionist mindset.

                  Don’t forget Nokian was asking me to define the purpose of ALL religions – from Islam to Christianity to animism, in a simple soundbite.

                • JabbaPapa

                  sure

                  But one does need to realise when meeting people half-way is a negative

                  When debating atheists I try to make simple points using language they understand

                  You’re simply not paying enough attention to the fact that your responses to any random atheist will be read by a great number of people — you cannot treat an online atheist the same way as you would deal with one individually.

                  Anyway it’s **quite** patronising to assume that they “can’t understand” even if and WHEN they demonstrate signs of exactly such inability.

                  Any Conversion to the Faith is an Act of God — and whilst I would certainly never expect such an Act to be so materially and explicitly blatant as the several that He gave to me towards my own, for whatever strange design of His, the simple declaration of Christian Truth, even in the face of hostility, will serve infinitely better than any paraphrases out of our own rationalisations.

                  Only God can convert men, so only the doctrines that He has given us can do so.

                • johnb1945

                  That’s an interesting approach, but honestly, the other day I debated a close friend, Oxford graduate, exceptionally bright, and it was like debating someone who had not even opened the bible……. because they had not.

                  All their knowledge of Christianity came from Dawkins God delusion and anti-theist blogs. Quoting Christian truths would not have worked, I also had to explain why I personally saw value in them.

                  I don’t disagree with your approach, but the level of religious illiteracy and historical knowledge among some people borders on the shocking.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I bemoan the religious illiteracy as much as you do, but expressions of Truth need not be focused on the arcana of the Faith !!!

                  OK — in some ways, I do have a handicap that others don’t, because my conversion was from overt Acts of God, not from evangelisation. Still though, He taught me nothing other nor anything extra except for the contents of the Catechism.

                  But still — Faith is a Gift, not some random production of the mind.

                  We can’t try to substitute our minds for the Gift itself.

                • johnb1945

                  But your mind can be inspired by God. If you are a Christian you believe the holy spirit can work through you.

                  God made each of us individually, and interacts with us as individuals. The logic and truthfulness of scripture is not self evident to many people, it needs to be pointed out carefully.

                  There’s no point delivering the same pitch to Muslims who already believe in God as to an agnostic who does one day but not the next as to a militant anti-theist.

                  If you faithfully pitch your argument to your audience and earnestly ask assistance in this endeavour, God will provide.

                  Otherwise there is no point in theology.

                • Nockian

                  Within your answer lies the answer. You know it, but you seek to skirt the edges and resolve into subjectivism ‘what is Apple’? Is pragmatism. We know that Apple is a company that makes a product that it sells to those that desire it. Unless you are suggesting that religion is equivalent to a product then that is not a good analogy.

                  “I don’t think people can fathom things out for themselves” suggests you can and should give a clear answer to the question. If you require a religious philosophy as a guide because you cannot adequately provide your own moral and ethical framework, then, that is what you must do. However, there are those of us who can do this without it.

                  Some Atheists are Atheists because they believe in the State or some other form of collectivism. This is their God, but that isn’t me. I have only myself, my senses and my mind to guide me. I have all I need and will ever need.

                • johnb1945

                  This sounds very relativistic and a touch self centred.

                  “If you need religion, great, go for it, I don’t and I’m still moral because my ability to reason is perfectly adequate.”

                  Such relativism does not work, because people do not exist in a bubble where their personal moral code affects only themselves. Instead we exist in societies, where our actions have consequences for others, some of whom are yet to be born.

                  Collectivist or consequential moral philosophies may attempt to deal with this, but I don’t know of a single one which is not complex, difficult to understand and problematic.

                  Western secular humanist morality is currently viable as an outgrowth of Christian morality, but it places total faith in humans and none in God. This means it is prone to drift from the absolute values which have served us well, and I simply see no reason to believe that humans have the all encompassing foresight, judgement and fairness to replace absolute values with better ones when there is no reason “why”.

                  Sorry!

                • Nockian

                  I did not say ‘all encompassing foresight’ we are not omniscient beings. We have to plan long range, we aren’t like animals which do not consider ethical considerations. Animals don’t have reason and therefore their choices do not include self sacrifice.

                  Where did ‘Christian morality’ come from ? You believe intrinsic knowledge comes from an omniscient deity, that man is free to act against it, but the fact remains that you believe in a source which cannot be proven.

                  We are born tabla rasa with the cognitive and emotional capacity. We have to learn by experience and integrate every concept in order to learn about reality and survive. We are not born with innate Christian knowledge that is just waiting to fruit. It is reality that is the guiding star of human action. It is thought which must accord with that reality if man is not to perish.

                  Put a man on an Island by himself. He cannot abandon ethics just because he is alone. He cannot steal from himself, he cannot cheat reality, he must correspond entirely with existent reality in order to survive. He does not wait for the Christian church to appear on the horizon to realise what is already obvious to him. He must have virtues and earn values honestly. This is what he learns, no one tells him how, he learns how because he must.

                • JabbaPapa

                  You claim (falsely) that God is a mere moral abstraction, and then try and claim that it is better to replace Him with a mere moral abstraction ?

                  LOL

                  It is reality that is the guiding star of human action

                  Please demonstrate the absence of God from reality.

                • Nockian

                  Replace ?

                  Look, see, no God.

                  You make an arbitrary assertion based on nothing and then ask me to disprove it. Get a life. It’s a clearly Ad ignoratium.

                  X is true because you can’t disprove it.

                  Come on you can do better than that.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It’s an atheist cliché to always revert to the simplistic ontological “argument” just as soon as their own belief system is described as such.

                  You cannot demonstrate that God is a “mere moral abstraction” (I do realise that’s a paraphrase) even though such moral abstractions can be demonstrated to exist.

                  Can you point to any existing one among them, and show that this is the one that God pertains to ?

                  If it were materially impossible to demonstrate the existence of Mount Everest, this would not magically cancel out its existence ; we can in fact demonstrate only a microscopically minute number of things existing within material reality alone.

                  Your caricature of an “argument” X is true because you can’t disprove it” is a ludicrous defense against my legitimate requests that you should demonstrate YOUR claims.

                  I am not the one making any ontological argument here — YOU are.

                  I’ve limited myself to making witness reports, and posting some deductions that I’ve come to pursuant to those events.

                  You’re free to believe me or not in these matters — that’s your business and none of mine — but if you want to start making ontological claims, then go ahead and demonstrate them.

                  You cannot honestly expect me to dismiss my real-life experiences in favour of unsubstantiated claims by yourself, can you ?

                • Nockian

                  I don’t need to. You have reverted to subjectivist argumentation. This is typical of intrincisists. The moment they are under pressure to provide proof they pop off to the land of the sophist/sceptic.

                  I don’t make the claim there is a God, or that it’s necessary for there to be a God. I can point to Mount Everest. I don’t even need to go there and prove it, because I have sufficient proof from photos, films, literature to know it’s real and if I really remain unconvinced I can book a flight and climb up it.

                  I can make all kinds of assertions which I cannot back up and they aren’t true just because I say they are and you are unable to prove otherwise.

                  I can accuse you of murdering my wife and you could not prove otherwise. This is why innocent until proven guilty requires first of all, evidence of a crime. I cannot just accuse you of stealing my car without proving I owned a car, it is no longer where I left it, there is evidence of your stealing it -eye witness, modus operandi, physical evidence. Where would we be if the world was like that ?

                  Here’s what is true. I don’t expect you to prove it because you can’t. I don’t worry that you believe these things unless it threatens me, or my property. It’s harmless, it might help you, that’s not my call.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I don’t need to. You have reverted to subjectivist argumentation. This is typical of intrincisists. The moment they are under pressure to provide proof they pop off to the land of the sophist/sceptic.

                  crikey, and then you accuse ME of sophistry LOL …

                  I can point to Mount Everest. I don’t even need to go there and prove it, because I have sufficient proof from photos, films, literature to know it’s real

                  You’ve just demonstrated that you’ve completely missed my point.

                  “I have sufficient proof” quite spectacularly fails to cohere with the deliberately false hypothetical “If it were materially impossible to demonstrate the existence of Mount Everest”.

                  I can make all kinds of assertions which I cannot back up and they aren’t true just because I say they are

                  Which BTW is EXACTLY the nature of your claim that “any religion is one of self sacrifice which is anti-life and therefore potentially genocidal at its outset”.

                  You cannot have your cake and eat it — either stop asking for ludicrous material proof of transcendental realities, or stop making metaphysical claims of your own that are materially undemonstrable.

                  Otherwise, please demonstrate that God must necessarily be a material phenomenon within physical reality and that He must necessarily be detectable using scientific paraphernalia.

                  Or please just demonstrate that ANY of your claims about God are even scientifically examinable in the first place.

                  I can accuse you of murdering my wife and you could not prove otherwise

                  You seem to be good at understanding things backwards.

                  Your claim, your burden of proof.

                  Similarly, you claimed that “any religion is one of self sacrifice which is anti-life and therefore potentially genocidal at its outset”.

                  Again, your burden of proof.

                  You simply do not get a free pass at making sweeping metaphysical statements and then get to hand down the burden of proof to those that disagree with them.

                • Nockian

                  what does intrincisist philosophy claim ?
                  That man is sown with intrinsic knowledge. He only needs to accept God as his guide and the church as his authority to receive the divine.
                  In other words man must subjugate himself to the authority of the church to receive these blessings.
                  It says that man is incapable of knowing this for himself, thus he cannot know reality but through Gods grace.
                  He can of course choose not to accept this, but what does the church say about those who do not accept it ?

                  The philosophy is sacrifice. Sacrifice mind to God and church.
                  Even Jesus teachings tell of turning the other cheek, loving thy neighbour/enemy. Does that sound like a sensible approach to survival ? It sounds like sacrifice to me. Someone comes at you with a knife, then just let them stick it in your neck and for good measure bare your chest and accept the knife in your heart. If someone is plotting to machine gun you to death in the local nightclub, well, just go make friends with them. Give ’em a warm hug.

                  This is why it has the potential of being genocidal. It takes away mans reason. It subjugated his thought to an invisible, unknowable deity and the whims of the clerics which write the rules. It is why Jihadhists are blowing themselves apart. They think they are doing Gods work and will be rewarded in heaven. If they began to use logic and reason they would see their error clearly and stop listening to whim worshipping religious leaders. They would know they weren’t going to heaven. They would be dead and then nothing.

                • JabbaPapa

                  what does intrincisist philosophy claim ? That man is sown with intrinsic knowledge

                  I have no idea why you keep on throwing these philosophical labels around like so much confetti at an atheist wedding.

                  Otherwise, your narrative about religious Faith is as paranoid as it is laughable.

                  It takes away mans reason

                  I’ve never read such preposterous claims in my life.

                  You confuse the fantastical contents of your philosophizing with truth.

                • Nockian

                  Confetti at an atheist wedding ? Strange choice of words.

                  It denies man can be ethical without God. If it doesn’t, then show me.
                  It calls God the ultimate arbiter of values to be independent of human knowledge or judgement.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It denies man can be ethical without God. If it doesn’t, then show me. It calls God the ultimate arbiter of values to be independent of human knowledge or judgement.

                  No, no, no.

                  YOU claim all of these things about religion. They have absolutely nothing to do on the other hand with my own religiosity, nor with the Catholicity as such, nor with any manner of personal religiosity, Catholic, Christian, or other that I have ever come across in real life.

                  Aren’t you just falsely assuming that religious forms must resemble the internally formalist determinism of your own clearly very deeply dogmatised atheist philosophy ?

                • Nockian

                  Its completely ridiculous for you to argue what is obviously inherent and explicit within religion. If you say it’s not, then you deny God. It’s not possible to hold two entirely conflicting premesis.

                  Either you believe in intrinsicly derived knowledge as revelation from God, or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways. If you believe it, then you deny man is independently capable of ethical thought. That he must surrender to a God or remain ignorant.

                  Is that not the case ?

                • JabbaPapa

                  Is that not the case ?

                  How many times must I write : no, it’s nonsense ; before you realise that I do not accept your reductionist claims ?

                  Its completely ridiculous for you to argue what is obviously inherent and explicit within religion. If you say it’s not, then you deny God. It’s not possible to hold two entirely conflicting premesis.

                  Either you believe in intrinsicly derived knowledge as revelation from God, or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways. If you believe it, then you deny man is independently capable of ethical thought. That he must surrender to a God or remain ignorant.

                  But the Revelation is from God, and so is of an origin external to mankind, and certainly external to each individual who accepts it. Each has an individual understanding of it too, it’s not like all have been “brainwashed” into some kind of tedious and BTW utterly unfeasible monotone conformity.

                  Your tedious notion of “intrinsically derived knowledge” is YOUR invention, and it is foreign to the spiritual religiosity of actual, real, living people.

                  And BTW :

                  It’s not possible to hold two entirely conflicting [premises]

                  It is in fact entirely possible to do so, because it is a perfectly normal psychological function. Our brains are complex enough that they can, and no meltdown occurs when such conflicts may arise.

                  It’s something that theoretical scientists do as a matter of course.

                  YOU insist that all must be logically coherent with itself — that is a doctrine of an intrinsically dogmatist nature.

                • Nockian

                  Yes you can hold two conflicting premises but you cannot integrate them successfully. A thing is a thing, it is what it is.

                  The rest of what you have said is semantics. If there is no consistently to the knowledge because it can be interpreted completely differently then it is no kind of knowledge at all. As it really is, just made up junk.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Yes you can hold two conflicting premises but you cannot integrate them successfully

                  That is an a priori prejudice, and it is itself based on a false premise — it is not necessarily the case that if there are two conflicting premises inside an argument, that one of them must necessarily be true, and the other necessarily false.

                  That will sometimes be the case, but at other times both will be false, and in others both will be true and the apparent conflict could be resolved at a later date.

                  The rest of what you have said is semantics

                  Well duh !!! Repeating something I pointed out myself concerning a fallacy in your expectations of me teaches me nothing new.

                  If there is no consistently to the knowledge because it can be interpreted completely differently then it is no kind of knowledge at all

                  Sorry, this is meaningless — but at least you demonstrate quite conclusively that you never had any real intention of engaging in any actual discussion at all, but you just wanted to type a lengthy disagreement with me on the basis of your dogmatic philosophy.

                  As it really is, just made up junk

                  That’s actually a pretty good description of your pseudo-“objectivist” philosophy, and your utterly nonsensical, incoherent, and completely evidence-free claims about the nature of religion in general.

                • Nockian

                  Try holding the concept of a square and a circle simultaneously about the exact same object. You can hold different opinions, but not concepts.

                  I’m beginning to suspect you are actually a religious subjectivist. You don’t hold that Gods knowledge, moral law are external realities ? It’s as if you think of them as residing in mans consciousness only ?

                  I’m asking here because there seems to be something subjective about your approach to religion that I can’t quite put a finger against.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Try holding the concept of a square and a circle simultaneously about the exact same object. You can hold different opinions, but not concepts.

                  One example of two mutually incompatible notions does not ruin the actuality that it is possible to hold two conflicting premises simultaneously, given that I never claimed that it is possible to do so in every imaginable circumstance in the first place.

                  You’ve just used some trick to get out of discussing my objection in anything even resembling seriousness.

                  I’m beginning to suspect you are actually a religious subjectivist

                  That is because of your seeming inability to conceive of any philosophical systems that might be completely disobedient or alien to the premises of your own.

                  It’s even getting to the point where I cannot even trust that you are using the subjective/objective dichotomy in any sort of normative manner whatsoever.

                  In ordinary language, the dichotomy refers to “subjective”, whereby a person considers a thing on the basis of what is contained within his own perceptions, mind, and worldview exclusive of input from elsewhere, and “objective” whereby a person considers a thing on the basis of overt attempts to include information derived from elsewhere and to diminish to the minimum that is feasible or achievable the impressions that are derived only from himself.

                  In philosophical language, on the other hand, to put it somewhat roughly, “subjective” refers to what pertains to a subject of a discourse, and “objective” to what pertains to an object in a discourse. So that in a discourse on the senses for example which sought to determine their role in the formation of understanding, a development on the sub-topic of sight in its nature would be “subjective”, whereas a theoretical development on how variations in sight might affect understanding as it is philosophically to be defined would be “objective”.

                  Given that you have defined your “objectivism” as a “rational selfishness”, it would appear that you are using the words “objective” and “subjective” in an idiolectic manner, whereby they would be in strict disagreement with either form of ordinary and normative usage.

                  You don’t hold that Gods knowledge, moral law are external realities ? It’s as if you think of them as residing in mans consciousness only ?

                  I have no idea why you should come to such silly conclusions.

                  Matthew 22:21 : Tunc ait illis: Reddite ergo quæ sunt Cæsaris, Cæsari: et quæ sunt Dei, Deo.

                  It is becoming clearer and clearer that you mistakenly believe that religious teachings might be as totalitarian in its nature as your own philosophy, whereas the Catholic teachings in fact strictly delineate the areas of their competence, and deliberately keep right out of what they do not directly pertain to, except in certain secondary manners that belong only to the individuals that might engage in such things.

                  Actually religious people, including philosophers who are religious, simply do NOT centre their beliefs on “the god of the philosophers”, for this is a mere mental construct that is used for theoretical purposes mainly, as well as being a tool to engage in philosophical discourse on the topic outside of any specific doctrinal contingencies that belong to any of the actual religions.

                  But it follows therefore that philosophical discourse on the topic of “God” is only partially pertinent as a means to determine any particular religious conceptions of God ; and just as soon as you start expecting that any actual religious beliefs must be in conformity with your own subjective understanding of this philosophical abstraction, then you have just completely lost the plot, by substituting your own theory for the reality of what real people really believe. (although I am myself, VERY strangely indeed, a direct counterexample of what I am pointing out here as a generality — for complex and private reasons that I refuse to explain in public to anyone, given that they pertain to the privacy of my more personal spiritual life)

                  I’ll put you out of your misery somewhat, , though I’m very apprehensive that you might misinterpret the following as drastically as you seem to have misinterpreted everything else, but I am a student of Saussurian general linguistics, and of Foucauldian general philosophy, as well as being an orthodox Catholic. The problem that you’re having with me is as follows :

                  a) Saussurian linguistics are strictly incompatible with the absolutist notions of your philosophy, insofar as you have explained it up to this point — the location of truth in discourse is conceived as a function of lmanguage whereby it is perceived to be coherent with reality as it is accepted during discourse. Take that, Aristotle !!!

                  b) Foucaldian philosophy is the exact opposite of being deterministic, given that it is a theory of conceptual shift within a series of understandings of truth, as they are provided within a stable structuring of philosophical, social, economic, religious, scientific, etc.conception as it pertains to both shared and individual, normative and divergent, philosophical beliefs.

                  c) Catholic orthodox philosophy deliberately restricts its concerns to that which is centred upon God and His Church, the salvation of souls, the specific and finite contents of the Moral teachings of the Catholicity, and to these concerns and these concerns only. It is simply NOT a totalitarian system seeking to rule on every little detail of every imaginable topic of discourse.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Yep that was really pathetic from Jabba. Standard religious nuttery.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  “Please demonstrate the absence of God from reality.”

                  Sorry what? We have to demonstrate the absence of something that doesn’t exist?

                  Laughable.

                • JabbaPapa

                  He claimed that “reality that is the guiding star of human action” in opposition to God, so it’s perfectly reasonable to ask him to demonstrate the absence of God therefrom.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  No it’s far more pertinent to get to prove the existence of something that you say exists.

                • JabbaPapa

                  He’s the one making claims about God.

                  Do you expect a anyone to agree with him just on his say-so ? LOL

                • johnb1945

                  I don’t know what you believe in personally, whether it could even be described by a single philosophy, but secular humanists I encounter have beliefs which are best described as varying forms of relativistic, utilitarian consequentialism with (an ironic and vehemently denied) grounding in Christianity.

                  There’s no evidence pure;y secular ethical philosophies work, and good reason to believe they don’t or won’t – and I think in time frames of generations, not merely our own, situated here in our wealthy consumerist bubble where being decent and thoughtful is an occasionally affordable commodity.

                  There is some evidence Christianity works – it dragged us out of the dark ages, inspiring and informing some kind of moral and institutional framework (no matter how flawed) at a time when people who were not killed by violence, cold or starvation died of minor ailments like the flu.

                  And it continued to influence us into the modern age, providing a basis for separation of powers and the birth of the nation state. The prototype secular, religiously free nation state – the USA – founded by Christians under God, no less.

                  And now we wish to sideline it? For what reason? We think we can do better? This has not worked well when we’ve tried it before. Perhaps some humility would be well placed?

                • Nockian

                  I’m objectivist. The philosophies you mention are subjectivist. Be it the Mills Utilitarianism, Hulmes empiricism.

                  Don’t let’s get into the fallacy of composition. Christianity retains lots of good parts of logic and reason. Aquinas was a very enlightened philosopher who objectively believed in God. My assertion isn’t that Christianity is invalid, therefore all its components are equally invalid. That would be a crazy claim.

                  You will perhaps note it is the neocon Christian fundamentalists republicans that bang the war drums in the USA. They use God as the reason. Furthermore I’m sure you know that ‘God’ wasn’t added until over 100 years after the war of independence. It was added to the pledge in 1892.

                • johnb1945

                  Vaguely objectivist outlooks are very common although few would declare “I am an objectivist”. I don’t believe any philosophy which regards human reason as an absolute. Two human beings can hold two entirely differing yet well reasoned opinions, for example.

                  This may not cause a problem day to day, but in a field like ethics can produce some whoppers.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I don’t believe that “objectivism” is anything other than a subjectivism in denial of itself, so crikey …

                • johnb1945

                  Well, that is exactly what it is, but you’re opening up a whole new can of worms if you go there….

                  Anything relying on reason as an absolute has some kind of consequentialist determinism involved.

                  I’m living by my maxim of keeping things simple….

                • JabbaPapa

                  Anything relying on reason as an absolute has some kind of consequentialist determinism involved

                  Only according to the dictates of your philosophy.

                  Quite apart from the fact that it is blatantly and self-evidently absurd to posit reason as an absolute.

                  But you refer to one of the most common philosophical errors of the tedious online atheists in all their dogmatised naïveté — the notion that the question of God should somehow be determined solely by the products of their own individual human reason, as if this reason could somehow encompass all things, no matter the strikingly unrealistic nature of such a project.

                  Knowledge of God must by very necessity come from without, and it therefore follows that perception rather than brute reason is where we might find Him ; and not perception insofar as if it were made to be entirely subjected to reason, as in a laboratory experiment, but outside the very boundaries and limitations of our present thoughts insofar as they can imprison our understanding in their subtle chains of sheer dogmatism, including the atheist creed, because any man who has already accepted the intrinsic limitations of his own thinking is a man who has forever imprisoned himself out from the discovery of anything unexpected.

                • johnb1945

                  Correction. Only according to secular philosophies, not mine. I don’t believe reason is any kind of absolute, it is a God given gift which should be used faithfully.

                  Atheists have many errors, but one of their greatest is laying claim to reality, or more correctly and in accordance with your post, perception of reality.

                  It is usually very difficult to convince an atheist that their thought patterns are constrained by narrow, purist dogmas as they view themselves freed from the constraints of religion and conversely view the religious believer as constrained.

                  When an atheist says “there is no reason to believe in God” they should more correctly say “There are reasons to believe in God, but I don’t believe them”, but that is the way of the atheist – convinced.

                • Nockian

                  Im an objectivist, so there you have it. 🙂

                  Of course two humans can hold two different and valid conclusions. It does however mean that at least one, if not both are in error. The use of logic and reason does not remove fallibility, it only minimises error.

                  Not sure why you think it would create ethical problems ? Give me an example if you can.

                • johnb1945

                  Well as I understand it objectivists believe rational people never conflict, something you allude to by saying ‘one is in error’. This does not accord with my perception of human behaviour, where rational people conflict all the time and two positions can be rational because an outcome is probabilistic rather than clear. Who decides if someone is in error once all routes available to settle the argument are exhausted? This could apply in a simple situation where one person has something another also wants and, unable to decide who should have it, one party simply takes it. Is there some kind of adjudication to objectively decide the rationality of a claim? Do you really put that much faith in human reason when you still cannot answer ‘why’? And isn’t good inherently subjective? Is it good to drink excessively because I enjoy being drunk even though it makes me ill and shortens my life? Or am I acting irrationally and unproductively so can therefore be subject to some prohibition?

                  It also seems to me a philosophy which sacralises self interest. It seems to have no room for charity, everything has to be a calculation about self benefit.

                  It is also, like most secular moral philosophies, complex.

                  I simply don’t believe that a universally true morality can be something that only a relative small intellectual elite can easily understand and apply. It doesn’t work. Such a code will become a tool for the elite, which is what happened with communism. Christian theology may be complex buy read the sermon on the mount and you will have a reasonable idea of Christian morality within 10 minutes.

                  I don’t think objectivism could be a basis for a sound societal morality.

                • Nockian

                  Either one or both must be in error if there is disagreement. No different to anybody else.

                  If there is a dispute over property rights then it is referred to law. Objectivist philosophy isn’t anarchic.

                  Someones drinking habits are no concern of objectivism. It isn’t psychology.

                  Of course it has room for charity. It is rational selfishness, there is no lack of compassion. It simply rules out altruism and duty as the determinates. Instead it is selfishness that inspires giving and the pleasure obtained from helping others. It was encouraged by Ayn Rand herself.

                  It’s not complex at all. The arguments and axioms that underlying it take some understanding, but, like a car, one does not need to know how the engine works to drive it. That isn’t any different to those of the church or collectivists. The difficulty is that you are required to think and apply reason-something that appears to have fallen out of fashion in the last century in part or whole due to the state education system.

                  It isn’t for an intellectual elite. The problem for objectivism is the sheer weight of Kantian/Hegelian philosophy that now saturates the world. It isn’t intricisist religious dogma that has taken root, it is pragmatic subjectivism. In many respects religious intrincisism is preferable it recognised existence existed, A is A and a thing is a thing. When you introduce a philosophy that believes consequences are whatever I claim they are, then we are tumbling down a snake pit.

                  I know full well what religion teaches. The problem is that it denies men the opportunity to take responsibility and think for themselves. This thinking need only be introduced into education to promote critical thinking. Indeed Sister Miriam Joseph-The trivium and the Dorothy Sayers Essay-the lost tools of learning do this without ever a mention of objectivism. This must be something you are familiar with ? Instead of simply pushing men to adopt a philosophy, give them the tools by which they can apply reason and then decide.

                  Objectivism is one philosophy for people to explore once they have critical reasoning under their belt. Objectivism isn’t dogma. Rand created wrote several fiction books as an introduction to objectivism for those who wish to dive in. Just like the Church it offers that option for those who won’t take the time to read and consider if it’s really something they should do. Personally I don’t suggest anyone just accept any philosophy however well meaning. They should apply reasoning and logic to discriminate properly and not just accept words.

                • johnb1945

                  My understanding of objectivism is that the objectivist must only do that which promotes one’s own life and pleasure and which is productive and rational and individual rights are subject to these. Drinking is pleasurable (for some) but detrimental to life and unproductive.

                  Like all secular philosophies, the idea of what is valuable/ moral/ good/ evil is ultimately subjective.

                  And the reality is that consequence is always subject to some uncertainty so it is perfectly possible for two rational people to conflict. If you have a majority objectivist society with laws and courts and judges primarily influenced by objectivism then they will try to apply those principles to conflict, and I simply do not believe we have the capacity to objectively, all the time, fairly and justly.

                  Criticism of objectivism, however, has been done to death and is not my primary concern.

                  My concern is whether a philosophy can be the foundation of a coherent, peaceful, productive society. One of its primary features must be simplicity, and a philosophy which asserts one can be both unrelentingly selfish and self interestedly altruistic gets off to a bad start in that regard.

                  I don’t know why you would choose it over “Love thy neighbour”.

                • Nockian

                  It doesn’t concern an objectivist what someone else chooses to do from that perspective.
                  You are thinking prescriptively. An objectivist might wonder what had driven someone to alcoholism and might offer some insights on a life lived badly, but beyond that it isn’t a medical, psychiatric authority.

                  No, it isn’t subjective. This is because you equate objectivism with subjectivism. Men must live by their minds-their ability to think. All actions and therefore the thoughts that precede them must accord with reality as it is, not as they wish reality to be. This imposes its own limits on those actions. The rational pursuit of happiness is undermined when one has little virtue and so takes/holds values that are unearned. The result is misery at best and death at worst. This is his personal code that he must live by if he wishes to be happy.

                  Outside of his personal code is the law and an impartial government to administer it. People make bad decisions, they ignore their moral code and so there needs to be a mechanism to administer justice for those who have initiated force for gain.

                  I’m not sure why you think objectivism would cause any more issues with law than religion, or state ? objectivism simply accords with reality. It requires facts, proof, honesty, integrity, independence and justice. There is no conflict there, that is precisely what a court seeks to discover and provide.

                  Usually the criticism of objectivism is by hose who have absolutely no idea what it is, or are misunderstood it. However there are many ‘so called’ objectivists who are equally ignorant. That leads to the criticism that no one can understand it. Except it’s so simple a child can get it easily. It isn’t unrelentingly selfish/or self interestedly altruistic, it is rational selfishness. People don’t require some formal code to help other people. They do it because they enjoy doing it. Jesus said that you shouldn’t perform charity in expectation of some reward in heaven. So why not do it because you enjoy it for the pleasure it gives and not because you have a duty/law or demand you perform it ?

                  ‘Love thy neighbour’ is sacrificial altruism. It’s the ideology of anti-life. I don’t love anyone who does not hold values I respect. It means that you accept evil men and actively support them. No one in their right mind should support evil. With no hesitation at all I would first seperate myself from them, or apply justice if they proved to be a threat to the peace and productivity of others.

                • JabbaPapa

                  ‘Love thy neighbour’ is … anti-life

                  /face-palm/

                • Nockian

                  im not entirely certain what you actually believe that phrase to mean. I think you are a pragmatist. In other words religion is a good way of living a better life and it can be manipulated to mean whatever you want it to mean as long as it does good.

                • JabbaPapa

                  im not entirely certain what you actually believe that phrase to mean. I think you are a pragmatist. In other words religion is a good way of living a better life and it can be manipulated to mean whatever you want it to mean as long as it does good.

                  I have no idea why you should imagine anything of the sort — I do however find it rather ironic that you should, in this manner, seek to ascribe motivations to me out of your own imagination after having falsely accused me of attempting the same with you.

                  No — I am neither a Modernist nor a Relativist ; it is abundantly clear, of course, that you are both, given that you have explicitly declared your views to be centred upon a “rational selfishness” (whatever the **heck** that’s supposed to be).

                • Nockian

                  Right, I think I understand now. That’s made it clearer. I will still study your philosophical roots, but you a clearly not ‘classical’ Catholic in the accepted sense.

                  We will never agree, our philosophies are diametrically opposed. So far apart that effectively you are what I would describe as pure evil and most certainly anti-life. I don’t mean that as an insult, it’s purely an observation. Your philosophy is such that you simply cannot conceive of that being so-and therefore it must appear preposterous. Objectivism will seem exactly the same from your viewpoint.

                  It is now completely clear why you would regard ‘rational selfishness’ as unintelligible. We are as far apart as complete aliens. I find it fascinating. Its the proverbial rock meeting a hard place.

                  We can give it a rest now. I’m completely ill equipped to even challenge your argument at this stage. It would probably require a very in depth discussion on the concept formation and even then I’m not sure we would get anywhere.

                  Thank you for the discussion.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I am an ex-agnostic, so the “alien-ness” is likely less radical than you might imagine, but even though you do seem to have a very hard time with philosophical notions that are foreign to yours, I do nevertheless very much appreciate that you are willing to at least make the attempt to deal with them in a not totally-confrontational manner.

                  Improvable certainly, but it’s FAR better than what most in here provide.

                • Nockian

                  I don’t come close to understanding your philosophy, but I have spent some years with a combination of Eastern philosophies combined with a non religious worship of God. That background gives me a bit of an insight; along with the more formal philosophic learnings of recent years I get the gist of it, but I don’t profess to be an academic expert.

                • johnb1945

                  Objectivism asserts that there is an objective reality which exists outside of the human mind.

                  Presumably this applies to everything?

                  So person X likes the music of Lou Reed, Person Y does not.

                  Both are rational.

                  Is Lou Reed’s music objectively good or bad?

                  If you can’t convincingly answer that question then there are certain areas where there is no objective truth, or, at the very least, areas where human’s cannot rationalise an objective truth. There is only a subjective opinion.

                  As I understand it (and you may correct me if I am wrong) Objectivism gets around this by saying anything which promotes the survival of a rational being is objectively true.

                  Even if we accepted this, there is still scope for conflict between rational beings.
                  People cannot perceive everything objectively.

                • Nockian

                  You are confusing opinion with objective reality.

                  That person A likes Lou read is absolutely true for that person and is equally true for everybody else.

                  It’s one reason I argue that to be objectivist is to make subjective a redundant word. That’s not part of objectivist philosophy-that’s my own.

                  What is true is what is true. Reality does not allow anything else. It cannot be cheated by twisting thoughts and intellectualising. It can’t be bargained with or bribed. The pursuit of rational selfishness is the pursuit of happiness within the frame of reality. That Man is a seperate, existent, independent identity and that his mind is his only method of survival and the promotion of his own happiness. This is not ‘selfishness’ as you have come to understand it.

                  No. Not ‘anything that promotes the survival’. Completely and utterly wrong and a particularly horrible interpretation I might add. An objectivist could happily give his own life to save/protect another person-but you must understand that this isn’t an altruistic act, an objectivist does not have a duty of self sacrifice, he makes the decision rationally and completely selfishly. An objectivist could also commit suicide in the same manner if it came to it.

                  I have never denied that there can be conflict between two rational beings. That is why objectivism insists on a Government/law in the case that the conflict goes beyond a simple legal exchange. A dispute over ownership is always a possibility and would require settlement by a competent arbitrator. Man is fallible, he makes errors-logic and reason do not end that error, they only minimise the possibility of error not eradicate it altogether.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Well said sir!

                • JabbaPapa

                  you cannot adequately provide your own moral and ethical framework

                  You are an extremely deluded individual if you imagine such things to be produced by individual choices.

                • Nockian

                  How could it be other ? The choice is yours and no one else’s. If it does not accord with reality, then you will suffer the consequences of a poor decision.

                • JabbaPapa

                  How could it be other ?

                  erm, hallo ? Because none of us exist in any radically egotistic self-instructed microcosmes de mouches but we are individuals defined by our relationships with others and by their teaching and advice ?

                • Nockian

                  I am not defined by my relationships with others. If I choose to associate, trade, learn, get instruction, then I do so volitionally and independently.

                  It is true that as children we require the instruction/protection of adults for we are not yet independent. We have not sufficiently developed our mental or physical faculties. The average age for this completed development is around puberty. However, we don’t evolve as clones believing exactly the same as our parents. We are independent of them and we can step out into the world and take full responsibility for our actions.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I am not defined by my relationships with others

                  You are a fool if you believe that, and every response that you post in this thread is crystal clear evidence that you are deeply mistaken.

                • Nockian

                  Then I’m a fool, but a happy and independent one 🙂

                • Cyril Sneer

                  No we don’t have a god. There is no god.

                • johnb1945

                  Wonderful.

                  Humility not a strong point, then?

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Excuse me? It was in response to “Even atheists have a God (their own reason, themselves etc.)”

                  How nice of you to speak on behalf of us Atheists but I’m afraid you’re wrong. You keep trying to find an excuse for belief, everyone has to have some sort of pseudo religious belief to you guys even us atheists apparently, it says more about your mentality than anything.

                • johnb1945

                  Of course you have beliefs. We all do.

                • JabbaPapa

                  There is no god

                  … cue 4832⅓rd atheists hollering “noooooooo, that’s not what we belieeeeeeeve !!!!”

                • johnb1945

                  Yeah, thanks for the conversation.

                  I interact with atheists quite a lot.

                  It’s very difficult to turn a deep believing atheist into a Christian on disqus, but I always try to point out the value in the philosophy.

                  I think humility is the key. It’s natural for some people to be atheist, it is how they perceive the world, and I accept that, and accept their reasons.

                  I was an atheist once myself.

                  I sometimes feel reciprocation is lacking. That’s all. It’s all “sky fairies, god botherers and delusions”.

                  None of us have all the answers.

                • Nockian

                  You talk about ‘deep believing’. I throw ‘belief’ out of the park. I do not indulge in Atheistic whim. I do not wish to convince you of my beliefs-Atheistic or otherwise. If you come to know, then it must be reasoned or one dogma is replaced by another. I have no interest in spreading dogma.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I do not indulge in Atheistic whim

                  That is a blatantly false statement.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  But apparently the Bible is all truth and all those other man made religions are all false blah blah blah.

                  You wouldn’t know what is true or false, remember you don’t deal in reality.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  I think it speaks volumes how John talks about converting atheists. Us atheists just want to get on with our lives and these ‘christians’ don’t seem to like the fact that we exist.

                • JabbaPapa

                  these ‘christians’ don’t seem to like the fact that we exist

                  cripes you’re a hypocrite — what, has anyone in here deliberately started insulting your atheism before you showed up to show us exactly why you attract such hostility to your person ?

                  If you career about the interwebs insulting people, as you do, then you’re lying to claim that anybody started this but yourself

                • Cyril Sneer

                  I think I’m making some valid points and observations here of the negative role of religion in the world. I don’t see religious people as lesser or more than I but I don’t think you share that view of Atheists.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I don’t think you share that view of Atheists

                  Nonsense — unless you meant only the first three of these words ?

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Actually it’s about living in a world tearing itself apart over whos invisible friend is real.

                • johnb1945

                  Actually it’s about living in a world tearing itself apart over whos invisible friend is real.

                  This is why you should be specific about the religion you are referring to.

                  The troubles are more or less exclusive to one religion only. Adherents of other religions may be involved, as are atheists, but mostly as passive victims rather than aggressors.

                  Second, this particular religion has no notion of an “invisible friend”. Oh no, in Islam God is quite unknowable and completely disinterested in being your friend. He’s given strict and eternal instructions on how to worship him (5 times daily) and he’s given a strict method for men to create, govern and expand his kingdom on earth.

                  It is the latter creating, governing and expanding part which is causing most of the issues.

                  You’ll find these ideas don’t exist in other religions, particularly Christianity.

                  It’s one reason why, if you really want to understand the issues, you should at least do some reading and take comparative religion moderately seriously.

                • GoJebus

                  Unfortunately for you, despite the froth and the humility, it is all sky fairies and delusions and the invention of gods, all built on dodgy scripture, all stemming from either deep personal trauma (how piety can strike the vulnerable man when he’s down!) or because your parents and priests took your brain in its formative years and dunked it in something truly vile.

                  Everything I can tell you about evolution is based on constantly updated scientific analysis, based on fossil evidence, on genetic evidence, on experimentation and peer reviewed studies. Everything you can tell me about religion is either promulgated by fictitious literature posing as the word of a deity, or is the product of your own imagination.

                  There are no grounds for reciprocation with the scales so heavily tipped against you.

                • johnb1945

                  Okay well tell me why we evolve adaptations which help us survive but cannot evolve to live forever.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Aquinas : God works sufficiently in things as First Agent, but it does not follow from this that the operation of secondary agents is superfluous.

                  ibid. : For nature seems to differ from art only because nature is an intrinsic principle and art is an extrinsic principle. For if the art of ship building were intrinsic to wood, a ship would have been made by nature in the same way as it is made by art. And this is most obvious in the art which is in that which is moved, although per accidens, such as in the doctor who cures himself. For nature is very similar to this art.

                  Hence, it is clear that nature is nothing but a certain kind of art, i.e., the divine art, impressed upon things, by which these things are moved to a determinate end. It is as if the shipbuilder were able to give to timbers that by which they would move themselves to take the form of a ship.

                • GoJebus

                  Rather than make something up or get you to believe something that has clearly been made up (like the pious do), I would point you at any library or bookshop where you might find information, studies, peer-reviewed papers and other texts on the subject from esteemed scientists in the field who have been methodically working to answer questions like that one.

                  You on the other hand are going to tell me that, because science may not yet have the answer, then you can claim it for god, or that it is part of a god’s plan, with no evidence for that assertion except to point at the discredited tomes referred to earlier or the voices in your own head. This is called ‘god of the gaps’ thinking, which as a former atheist you may be familiar with.

                  Or perhaps you are not a creationist but believe that one of the many competing gods, or who knows, a gang of them, has fine tuned the universe and sat there while we morphed from chemical soup to humans, again, more in hope than understanding.

                • JabbaPapa

                  peer-reviewed papers

                  You seem to be suffering from the extremely disordered fantasy that philosophical proposals and analyses might be divorced from the processes of peer review.

                  You on the other hand are going to tell me that, because science may not yet have the answer, then you can claim it for god, or that it is part of a god’s plan, with no evidence for that assertion except to point at the discredited tomes referred to earlier or the voices in your own head

                  Your claim about what I am “going to tell you” is completely false.

                  This is called ‘god of the gaps’ thinking, which as a former atheist you may be familiar with

                  1) I am not a former atheist.

                  2) The 19th century “god of gaps” theory was the deluded gibberish of a certain form of indoctrinated atheist pedants, and it was predicated on the basis of the now massively discredited “clockwork universe” theory which quite falsely imagined that all things could be explained by Science. Modern linguistics **alone** has destroyed that theory, let alone quantum mechanics.

                • GoJebus

                  I never said you were a former atheist, but John is, and it was to him that I had replied.

                  I’m still waiting for evidence. All I see is a lot of shouting and theological obfuscation.

                • johnb1945

                  You made a claim you could tell me anything about evolution on the basis of scientific evidence.

                  So please go ahead and answer my question.

                • GoJebus

                  Nope, I didn’t. I am not an evolutionary scientist. I was simply drawing a comparison between two approaches to explaining things, one rational and reasonable, the other slightly demented.

                • johnb1945

                  You’re right. You did not make that claim. You said everything you could tell me about evolution was based on evidence.

                  The question I gave you is a philosophical question which science cannot answer.

                  Science does not have all the answers, and your post suggests that you think it does.

                  It also suggests that the conventional atheist belief that only man can determine his destiny by reason alone is wrong.

                  We are, to at least some extent, predestined. We are predestined to die.

                  If we did not die, evolution as we understand it could not occur.

                  It is philosophically troubling that an apparently random process which is completely unconscious like evolution adapts us to our environment yet kills us off, without which its continuance would not be possible.

                  It suggests design. There may be other explanation too, but I don’t see why they would be more satisfactory.

                  It also suggests science does not and cannot answer all questions to do with evolution.

                • GoJebus

                  Nope, I do not believe science has all the answers. But inserting a designer/goblin into the ever-shrinking gap is preposterous.

                • johnb1945

                  Your use of the term “ever shrinking gap” suggests you believe it does have all the answers?

                  Who said anything about goblins?

                  Why is the idea that evolution is designed preposterous?

                • GoJebus
                • johnb1945

                  How about personally answering my post instead of sending me a link you’ve already sent me before?

                  Do you want to have a conversation?

                • GoJebus

                  No. I want you to read and digest the contents of the link.

                • johnb1945

                  There is literally nothing original in that link.

                  The God of the Gaps argument – simply does not disprove the existence of God.

                  The article also asserts that the intelligent designer is the Christian God. Who said God has a religion? Why is’t God just God? It may be that Christianity is the most accurate conception of God (I believe so), but that’s a question outside of science, of philosophy, theology and comparative religion.

                  The canard – who created the creator? Anything eternal (like God) cannot be created by definition, why assume something which is claimed to be a spirit existing outside of time and space is created, subject to evolution, to probability etc. etc.

                  Until the universe can definitively explain a Godless origin for itself, then God remains a valid, reasonable belief.

                  I could go on.

                  What you are left with is two positions – the atheist and the theist, both a matter of belief.

                  I acknowledge I have a belief.

                  You do not. You think you know the truth.

                  That’s the difference.

                • GoJebus

                  Fetch me another shovel…

                • JabbaPapa

                  Please demonstrate the existence of this “shovel”.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Everything I can tell you about evolution is based on constantly updated scientific analysis, based on fossil evidence, on genetic evidence, on experimentation and peer reviewed studies.

                  I doubt that’s actually true, given the current state of that theory and the likely flaws in your understanding of it, but more importantly —

                  So what ?

                  Whatever one might say of this or any other topic under the sun, whether it be French 1st division soccer, Microsoft operating systems, musicology, the planet Mars, or anything would be a completely different topic to religions and the question of God.

                  Everything you can tell me about religion is either promulgated by fictitious literature posing as the word of a deity, or is the product of your own imagination.

                  You cannot possibly know any of that, simply by virtue that you are intrinsically and utterly and inevitably ignorant of the contents of johnb1945’s mind and memory.

                  No — your sentence is just the product of your personal bigotry and prejudice and of your extremely dogmatic atheist opinions.

                • GoJebus

                  The point I was making about evolution (it could have been the big bang theory, plate tectonics or anything else in science) is that the current level of understanding is arrived at via a reasoned approach, whereas the theory of God is peddled by apparent morons who cannot produce a single proof, experimental result, piece of evidence, bit of bone, mathematical equation, or any other trace that the theory is true.

                  It is correct to say, and I will concede it, that I am ignorant of the content of John’s mind and memory, but I am contending that all he believes is contained within his mind and memory, was generated there and will die there. I say that because if someone asserts that he has seen a flying spaghetti monster on his way to Asda, I would expect him to produce the evidence, or at least I suggest that the evidence for the beast would build up over the next two thousand years such that it’s existence was proven incontrovertibly by the end of that period.

                  If you have been storing that evidence away somewhere Jabba, now might be a good time to produce it.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Nobody in here is responsible for your idiotic insistence that the question of God might be contingent on your own personal expectations but yourself.

                  You make some entirely unreasonable requests, and then blame others for refusing to comply with them.

                  flying spaghetti monster

                  Oh grow up, you tedious and juvenile bore.

                • GoJebus

                  Ah, no evidence. OK. Disappointing.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It has to be reduced to a primary or it is impossible to know why you have chosen it

                  For my part, I didn’t choose it, God for some unfathomable reasons of His own decided to choose me.

                  But the central nature of religious spirituality is the spirit of God, and quite simply NOT these purely transient political concerns that you seem to be so obsessed with.

                  What is the purpose of bringing man closer to God ?

                  The salvation of his soul towards eternal Bliss in Heaven.

                  We don’t need an imposed morality, we need only laws and justice allowing people to fathom things out for themselves. They can and do.

                  It’s hardly the fault of the Faithful if you insist on confusing religion with your extremely crass utilitarian political ideology of secularist expediency.

                • Nockian

                  Your first sentence is sufficient. Pure mysticism and you have thrown reason to the dogs. Essentially it’s true because you feel it is true. You had a divine revelation etc etc.

                  It’s sometimes a struggle to get this across because it appears I’m attacking you on a personal level, but I’m not.

                  If you accept that proof requires reason/logic and that ‘feelings’ are not proofs, then divine revelations, intuitions or feelings cannot be accepted. I am in no doubt that you feel these things to be true, but without a shred of proof they remain what they are.

                • JabbaPapa

                  you have thrown reason to the dogs

                  That is a false statement.

                  Your atheistic bigotry is not “evidence” otherwise.

                  Essentially it’s true because you feel it is true

                  No, I was able to test it. Frankly, you’re just assuming a bunch of crap about me on the basis of prejudice and ZERO evidence. Your opinion on this matter is worthless.

                  If you accept that … ‘feelings’ are not proofs

                  You haven’t the faintest idea of anything that I’ve experienced. Your atheist bigotry simply creates feelings in your mind that lead you to falsely assume whatever unreal allegations from your fantasy.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  I love how you ended you post with the word ‘fantasy’.

                  It’s so apt for you.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  Most of them are born into religious nuttery and brainwashed from childhood by the parents and peers.

                  This is how this BS has managed to maintain itself all this time – get them young.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  “For my part, I didn’t choose it, God for some unfathomable reasons of His own decided to choose me”

                  Did you become religious through your own choice or was it brainwashed into you from childhood?

                  For the vast majority it’s the latter.

                  And, that guy over there in that far off country disagrees with you about your god, he says your god is a false god. He like many of your ilk are the same – born into religion through family and their society around them and brainwashed throughout childhood.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Did you become religious through your own choice

                  That’s the one.

                  And BTW your “brainwash” claim is UTTERLY PREPOSTEROUS.

                • Cyril Sneer

                  How can a child brought up into religion, a religious upbringing have any choice now or later in life? See Islamic socieities as such an example of this taken to the extreme. Society itself dictates to them what their beliefs are or are you telling me they all chose Islam after considering all the alternatives?

                • JabbaPapa

                  Ask any number of apostates in here who can’t seem to shut up about how much they hate Catholicism.

                • JabbaPapa

                  I implied that any religion is one of self sacrifice which is anti-life and therefore potentially genocidal at its outset

                  As pointed out earlier, you are a complete religious illiterate.

                  Your opinions on religion have just about the same validity as those of Wayne Rooney on the topic of multi-platform computer operating systems.

                • Nockian

                  Ad hominems aside, present an argument or I will ignore you.

                • JabbaPapa

                  **I** need to present an “argument” ???

                  Sorry mate, I carry no burden of proof for your extraordinary claims.

                  Your “philosophy of sacrifice ” gibberish is utter nonsense, and there is no reason at all why anyone should accept it unless and until you could convincingly demonstrate it.

                  Your notion of “religion is genocidal” is OTOH based clearly on nothing more “solid” than your own prejudice, which I do not accept as “evidence”.

                • Nockian

                  You can’t or won’t provide proof then we have nothing left to say.

                • JabbaPapa

                  WHY on EARTH should it be up to ME to prove or disprove YOUR extremely dubious statement that “any religion is one of self sacrifice which is anti-life and therefore potentially genocidal at its outset” ??????

              • JabbaPapa

                Yep. Love Thy Enemy.

                What a “genocidal” teaching, eh ? … Not.

              • GoJebus

                Everything Christians believe about Jebus comes from the Bible, a work of fiction fabricated from other works of fiction riven with more contradictions than there are cells in the human body, plus that troublesome – well, evil and genocidal – Old Testament that we don’t talk about any more, much like we don’t talk about Zeus and the other extinct baloney gods on which the (frankly lunatic) prophets and gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are based.

                All roads lead back to scripture once you boil off the psychic drivel, and there you have a house made of cardboard and bits of tape.

                Atheists, I will remind you do not have scripture, and please don’t embarrass yourself by drawing any equivalence between well known Atheist refutations and the Bible/Koran/Torah. We won’t use them as a pretext for war, we promise.

                Luckily, people are getting the message in this country, little by little, that religion is dangerous horse shi* (almost 50% of us and growing don’t have a religion) and in a few hundred years I dare say humans will look back at 21st century religion like we look back at Inca sacrifice and the Inquisition – with horror at the retarded nature of it all. Reason will eventually triumph over child-like dreams.

                In the meantime the separation of Church and State will guarantee that no religion will have influence over government, leaving the pious to carry on being pious, safe in the knowledge that they are a protected minority.
                Ramen.

                • johnb1945

                  Atheism doesn’t seem to have made you into a very nice, tolerant person judging by your posts.

                • GoJebus

                  Who said I had to be John? But it would suit you nicely if I were, would it not?

                  When dealing with purveyors of gibberish I find a robust approach is best. The pious like people to be humble and to argue in that vein, because they like to believe there is a moral and intellectual equivalence then to the two sides of the debate.

                  As Christopher Hitchens said about the pious “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence”. I do not have to prove the non-existence of gods, or the non-existence of Santa or the Loch Ness monster, or any other figment of someone’s imagination, and I reserve the inalienable right to mock and offend you for postulating their existence without evidence.

                  I’m sure we would get along like a house on fire in lots of other arenas.

                • johnb1945

                  You don’t have to be nice, it’s a free country.

                  But atheists argue that atheism will make you nicer, more open minded and tolerant, whereas theism of any description will constrain you within potentially genocidal bonds of zealous dogma.

                  I’d like to see evidence of this open mindedness and tolerance among atheists, instead of the lack of humility you have just admitted to.

                • GoJebus

                  All atheists? I don’t make that claim. All I say is it will make you more rational. I am otherwise red in tooth and claw. I would also remind you of the intolerance that prevails wherever the pious have their claws on the levers of power.

                  I refer you to my previous reply re the lack of humility.

                • johnb1945

                  It will make you more rational“.

                  No. I think you will still be fundamentally the same person, with the same capacity for reason and unreason, you just won’t believe in God.

                  And by what objective standard of rationality will you measure this arrant belief?

                  If you don’t think atheism will make us more tolerant and nicer then why bother reminding me of the “intolerance that prevails wherever the pious have their claws on the lever of power”?

                  Presumably you don’t think atheism will make any difference to this, as you do not claim it affects our capacity to tolerate?

                  The assertion that atheists are nicer than theists is a central component of the atheist argument. If you don’t believe it, >half the argument for atheism goes up the swanny.

                  BTW – it’s also why we should have separation of powers, a Christian belief.

                  I don’t foresee separating powers being easy in a society where there is no church or other independent arbiter of moral values, i.e. an atheist society.

                  This accords with the reality of atheist or purely secular societies to date, where the polity have not only made political decisions, but moral and spiritual ones also, communism being a prime example.

                • GoJebus

                  Ah, the old ones are the best John. Atheist society = communism and a lack of morals. No. In a rational society we carry on as is (democracy, human rights, laws of protection for minorities etc.), we just don’t have a pretend goblin whispering in our ear.

                • johnb1945

                  Apart from the fact that atheist/ secular ideologies have hardly been utopian, how is that more of a canard than banging on about pious intolerance?

                  And your notions of human rights and egalitarianism were born out of something – a rational appraisal of Christian morality.

                  There are very rational arguments that little things like egalitarianism – the foundation of human rights and protecting minorities – are irrational.

                  So you should not assume rationality leads to the kind of society we have, or will improve it or even preserve it in its current state forever.

                  Rationality can also lead to the kind of societies envisaged by the Nazis. Or the Communists. Or the kind of philosophy developed by Nietzsche.

                  On the other hand, an absolute belief in, e.g., loving thy neighbour, cannot

                  .

                • GoJebus

                  You are a grave digger. All the corpses you are shovelling out of the ground have been dug up and re-interred many times. It’s time we gave them a decent burial.

                • johnb1945

                  Yes, it suits the atheist mentality not to discuss things which sit uncomfortably with their world view.

                • GoJebus

                  Fetch my shovel…

                • JabbaPapa

                  All I say is it will make you more rational.

                  You’re not exactly a poster boy for this (BTW idiotic) doctrine.

                • GoJebus

                  Bet you wish you could still tie us to stakes and roast us alive don’t you monkey boy.

                • JabbaPapa

                  When dealing with purveyors of gibberish I find a robust approach is best

                  Exactly why your ranting gibberish, juvenile, clod-headed version of atheism needs to be treated with scorn and derision.

                • GoJebus

                  Does John know that his monkey has escaped? I’ll chalk that up as a win for me.

                • JabbaPapa

                  We won’t use them as a pretext for war, we promise

                  Atheists have in fact done exactly that on very many occasions.

                • GoJebus

                  Which refutations, under which circumstances , when and by whom?

            • JabbaPapa

              You are using a straw man argument as I’m sure you know

              No he isn’t, though you yourself have demonstrated that you don’t know what “strawman” actually means.

              Counterexamples to your ludicrously bigoted statement “religion is genocidal” are contrary evidence, not a “strawman”.

              Just FYI neither Paul X nor the Inquisitions committed any genocides. Your mentioning them actually IS a strawman.

              • Nockian

                They killed nobody ? Despite the teachings of Christ they killed people. What is a small number today, represents a far higher number several centuries ago. The murder of supposed ‘witches’ is a self evident example of hypocrisy.

              • Cyril Sneer

                What is it with religious nutters and lies. Seems to go hand in hand… which figures considering it’s all based on a big fat lie.

                • JabbaPapa

                  There are few such religious nutjobs as the atheist bigots of your ilk.

          • GoJebus

            There you go again John – frustratingly clinging to the ‘atheism as ideology’ argument. A bogus and fully refuted pile of horse turds that you and team Christian seem intent on propagating at every turn, despite all contrary evidence.

            Let’s get something straight, the pious religionist and the Nazi/Communist have dogma in common (Communist dogma or National Socialist dogma or scriptural dogma – all the same thing). Atheism merely says ‘there are no gods’, a reasonable position to take when you consider the lamentable evidence in favour of a Christian god (or one of the many thousands of extinct and parallel gods). Secularism protects the rights of believers and non-believers alike while guarding the state against undue influence and is not synonymous with Atheism.

            How many times does this need pointing out to you people before you get it?

            Reason, will save this planet, not dogma.

            • Cyril Sneer

              “Atheism merely says ‘there are no gods'”

              This. A thousand times and you know what they still won’t get it.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              And yet you only have dogma, trying to whitewash your ideology from the picture. And you *are* following it an ideology, as you ignore i.e. France’s “secularism”, which has caused the community divides… or America’s “secularism”, which lets religious law sneak and not be properly discussed…

              • GoJebus

                No. We have no dogma, no scripture, no lies, no dreamy heaven, no baby Jebus, no virgin mums. And stop mixing up Atheism and Secularism.

                • JabbaPapa

                  We have no dogma

                  Then why are you so fanatical about coming to preach it in here ?

                • GoJebus

                  Merely to refute the mooncalf beliefs of the pious. That does not mean that I refuse their right to go on believing. I certainly want to promote reason above the cack that passes as mature thought in their world, but not to banish it, except from power.

                • JabbaPapa

                  crikey, you online atheist bores are tedious …

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Your dogma rolls on, clearly, liar.

                • GoJebus

                  Hey, hey. I’m getting to you Wolfie, I can tell.

                  I may have told the odd lie from time to time (never on this forum though). However, if you want to see big fat porkies, read the Bible – its jam-packed with them.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So you claim to have done something to me.

                  As you read what, The Little Red Book?

          • Cyril Sneer

            “secular and outright atheist ideologies have been prominent inspirations in this enterprise.”

            Second to religion John.

            • johnb1945

              Whoa, that was enlightened. Really made me think.

              First, when you talk about religion, you should be specific. There are different religions with different values which compel different behaviours. Some say communism and nazism were religion, or quasi-religion. The atheist civic religions of post-revolutionary France even earned the title.

              Which kind of raises the questions…. is it possible to have a coherent society without some set of shared beliefs? Some form of religion?……..

              You know what? No such society has existed, so I tend to think not.

              So maybe we should compare the moral and social benefit bestowed by different religions, and in that regard the atheist and secular ones fare badly.

              Secular humanism cannot be consensually defined as a force for bad at this moment, but that’s mainly because it is Christian values without God. I still think it is subject to ethical drift, its moral relativism weakens our culture and we see flashes of its self righteous intolerance emanating from the NSS every so often. Give it time and it will tie itself in knots of hypocrisy!

              • Cyril Sneer

                “First, when you talk about religion, you should be specific.”

                Oh please it’s pretty damn clear what we’re talking about here.

                “There are different religions with different values which compel
                different behaviours. Some say communism and nazism were religion, or
                quasi-religion.”

                Yes of course we were talking about the religion of commuism…. stop muddying the waters, it’s pathetic.

                “So maybe we should compare the moral and social benefit bestowed by
                different religions, and in that regard the atheist and secular ones
                fare badly.”

                ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION.

                Let me repeat…

                ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION.

                • johnb1945

                  Theism is not a religion either. Your point?

                • johnb1945

                  When you say “Religion” you tar all religion with the same brush.

                  This is why you should be specific.

                  There are no Quakers, Roman Catholics, Buddhists, Anglicans, Jews or even subscribers to pacifist sects of Islam waging an expansionist sectarian war in Syria, only Sunni Salafi Jihadis and revolutionary Shias.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Oh rot. Any faith – religious or not – can be used as an excuse.

      • sidor

        You have to discriminate between genocide and deratisation (pest control). The latter refers to ISIS and its supporters.

      • Marvin

        Genocide applies to the human race.

      • Cyril Sneer

        You just keep brainwashing your kids.

      • jeremyjanson

        When the Newark Police Department refuses to patrol the streets of New York City for rapists and killers, are they condoning rape and murder?

    • AtilaTheHen

      A wise man would take a different approach to the incessant flood of ‘refugees’ currently washing up on Europe’s shores. All the fit young men of fighting age (the majority of the horde) should be given one of two choices. They should either go back where they f*****g came from, or they will be interned without appeal until they agree to go.
      Europe is currently ruled by mad men..

      • Fraser Bailey

        And one particularly mad woman.

      • Marvin

        Utopian thinking cannot exist with the lefty liberal cowards running Europe and Britain. But I’m on your side.

        • JabbaPapa

          Sieg Heil, Marvin !!

          • Cyril Sneer

            Ah the default retort for any liberal mong – just refer to the N a zis, argument won in liberal lala land.

          • Noa

            Ah Godwin’s law, you lose I’m afraid.
            As do we all with the open borders mantra.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Ah, the evils of your personalities losing because of trade.

              • Noa

                Rubbish, migrants don’t trade, try thinking, if you can.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  So you don’t think, just blame the other and decry trade, right.

                • Noa

                  Trade up, try thinking, right.

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  Yes, you should, as you cry about trade being…oh, right, never mind you’re not following the trends.

                • Noa

                  Trying thinking, not following ‘trends.’

                • Leon Wolfeson

                  I do. Hence your issues.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          So you think well to the right of Thatcher is “lefty” And “liberal”.

          Hmm, what’s your view of the National Front?

          • Toy Pupanbai

            Patriots!

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Like the BUF were?

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Ah. So, either they’re safe or armed.

        Hmm. Sounds reasonable.

    • frank davidson

      Indeed but the biggest problem for us in the UK,will be when both factions start fighting each other here.

    • sidor

      A wise man should be able to realise that it is strategically idiotic to assume to have so many enemies who fight with each other. A simple principle is: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The point of decision is to recognise the real enemy. This is what is missing in the current US policy.

      • Marvin

        The last man standing will be our last enemy we need to deal with. Think! no Islam.

        • sidor

          And what are you suggesting to do with 1 billion Moslems? Baptise them all?

          • Autolocus

            no-just reform their corrupt religion

            • sidor

              Reform what into what? sunni to shia? Or wahhabi to ismaili?

              • Marvin

                Mutant to Human.

                • sidor

                  Speaking about mutations. Omar Khayyam, a Persian poet and mathematician who lived 1000 years ago, was able to solve cubic equations. Can you?

                • JabbaPapa

                  1000 years ago, Conrad the Elder was able to issue decrees to be obeyed throughout Italy, Germany, and Burgundy. Can you ?

                • Marvin

                  The only way he could keep count of his litter. So what he’s dead. Besides 1000years the world was free of
                  death, tyranny, terrorism and just look at the world now, only one reason for that.

                • sidor

                  I understand your answer is no. Accept my condolences.

            • jeremyjanson

              How?

          • rptrpt.rpt

            there is no god . it is all in the mind.

            • sidor

              Visit KSA and try to explain them your point. Don’t waste money on return ticket.

            • Noa

              As of course is your atheism.

          • jeremyjanson

            We did it in 4th century France.

            • JabbaPapa

              Neither France nor Islam existed in the 4th century, hate to be the one to break it to you.

              • jeremyjanson

                “Neither France nor Islam existed in the 4th century”

                Actually the region populated by the Franks was already known as France starting in the 3rd Century and CLOVIS (the first Christian monarch of the region) referred to himself as KING OF FRANCE.They were pagans rather than muslims, but the principle is the same.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Do you think that History is make-it-up-as-you-go-along ?

                  /face-palm /

                  /roll-eyes/

          • Marvin

            No waste of time, the billion Moslems will do the only thing they were evolved to do, join in and exterminate each other. All we need to do is watch and enjoy!

      • jeffersonian

        ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ isn’t just short-sighted as a tactic, it’s strategic idiocy on a colossal scale.

        • sidor

          Strategically (in a large scale) it is reformulated as follows: a strategic enemy of my strategic enemy is my strategic friend. So, the problem again is to recognise your strategic enemy. If you cannot, you are in a strategic loser.

          • Jim Allen

            Oh, I think those there can explain why “we” are there just fine.
            It’s all about the willingness to do so. The truth isn’t so palatable to the public, which is in part the reason Gov’t. lied at the start, and continuing.
            Bringing us to the obvious, to state the truth about our involvement at this point is to admit everything stated to date is a lie. What liar, or group of liars would willingly state they are liars ? So, more lies are necessary to cover the existing lies.
            This has gone so long now, no one can remember the lies told in the first place, but never mind that. Just make it a religious war, using more lies, and everyone will forget the first set of lies, and focus on these new lies.
            The reason we went there, (ME) was/is to exploit the resources, and to beat our enemies to those resources, therefore denying them essential means to wage war against us should they choose. Or, greed.
            Afghanistan. Rare earth metals, and of course opium, hashish, (cannabis indica) all valuable, and sought after commodities worldwide. Rare earth metals have recently come to the forefront as highly desirable, due to their use in electronic technology.
            Or, same old reasons for taking over other countries.
            Economics.

            • Leon Wolfeson

              Rare Earth Elements?

              The major supplier at present is China.

              Thanks to protectionist actions they’re taking, suppliers in America and Vietnam are starting up again, though. And France is getting into recycling them in a big way, with some major new plants. Oh, and let’s not forget Estonia, where they’re starting to mine tailings….

              So…Not sure what that has to do with Afghanistan.

              Oh, and let’s be “dependent” on places like Canada and Australia for Uranium, thanks. Not the Middle East for Oil.

            • sidor

              I am afraid you didn’t get the question. I didn’t ask why “we” are there. I asked what the war that was going on in Afghanistan well before the US came there is about. Afghanistan is a desert. What is Taliban fighting for? Do you think Pakistan and KSA spend billions to support and arm Taliban for “rare earth metals”?

              • Jim Allen

                I think I answered that. Did you read the entire rant ?

        • jeremyjanson

          ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is indeed short-sighted, but does work as a short term tactic. Truthfully, though, we have no need for a short-term tactic, as this war is in the Middle East and the better response in the short-run to any attempts at terrorism here is a law enforcement one.

        • Matt Bowyer

          Worked OK in WWII.

          Well, except for Poland.

          • jeffersonian

            ..it also led to half a century of cold war and letting Communism spread like a plague over half the world. Somehow I don’t think the populations under that yoke thought ‘it worked’.

            • Matt Bowyer

              That was basically what I meant by Poland, I used it as a sort of short-hand for all of the iron curtain.

      • Toy Pupanbai

        I seem to see a 5th column!

      • jeremyjanson

        The real enemy is the world as it stands now.

    • The_Missing_Think

      Such is the calibre of our leadership… sob… sob… boo hoo hoo… voting skills.

      Funny how the top comment on this site, is always, but always, a truly pathetic victim sob, that ignores the fact that – very dishonestly – there is choice in the the ballot box, and there is the choice of an anti-EU, anti-desert war, and pro-impenetrable borders extremist party, and it ain’t you flip, more Victor Geert Trump le Penn, if you know what I mean.

      If you want ham and tomatoe, don’t order cheese and onion and whinge… got it?

      Grow a pair.

      • Cyril Sneer

        So you know who Rob voted for in the last election?

        • The_Missing_Think

          “Unfortunately we are not led by wise men, so I fully expect that we will meddle until we are defeated too”
          _____

          Yes I do, the quote of Rob above, and the well established up-tick culture and ballot box results, make it quite clear, that Rob and 99.96% of English voters, will never ever vote honestly, they much, much, prefer the quoted “defeat”. Same as the French have just demonstrated, with the rejection of the FN.

          C’est la vive.

          • Cyril Sneer

            I do agree with you re. voting for more of the same idiocy but we have to take into account the role of the media in all this. It would seem that anyone who is not of the pro US pro EU establishment is ripe for attack by the establishment and the media. i.e. Farage and Corbyn.

            • The_Missing_Think

              Blaming the media, at this very late stage, is no longer a valid excuse. I see dozens have got their hankies out, and, as always, are having a good old victim sob bleat, it’s truly and utterly pathetic, for so called ‘adults’.

              I doubt they could be more cowardly and dishonest, even if they tried.

    • Marvin

      Donald Trump might have. I stopped my comment as you have stolen my thunder. What a perfect time for the West to pull out and let them get on with it, as it would solve almost all of our problems, just to watch the Moslems of Britain and Europe rushing to fight for their chosen brothers. We could kill so many birds with one stone. Fire the starting gun!

      • JabbaPapa

        We could kill so many

        Your murderous desires are unspeakably evil.

        • Cyril Sneer

          You can count me in as unspeakably evil then because the world would be a much better place if all you religious nutwads would just fall down and die whilst sparing your children of further brainwashing, aka child abuse.

          • JabbaPapa

            You seem to have replaced your mind with a photocopy of the idiot opinions of Richard Dawkins.

            • rptrpt.rpt

              think.! there is no god. only been brainwashed. it is just a club you join because that has been your upbringing.( my dad is bigger than your dad ) grow up.

            • Cyril Sneer

              OK check out the Middle East, suicide bombers, children suicide bombers… no of course it’s not religion they just don’t have enough iphones.

              • Leon Wolfeson

                So, your friend Mr. Stalin…

                For instance.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Ah, to follow IS’s dogma of segregation of regions. Right.

        Who gets shot with that starting gun, incidentally?

    • Noa

      One of the fears that American geo-politicians harbour is the formation of an ‘anti-hegemonic’ alliance of Russia, Iran and China, which would form a strong challenge to the US dominance of Eurasia.
      America’s current abstention from involvement may result in the evolution of such an alliance.

    • M P Jones

      Paradoxically enough the wisest voice in the West at the moment seems to be that of Donald Trump. We should listen to what he says and consider following his lead in this particular matter.

    • Matt Bowyer

      An idea which does however rather conveniently ignore the millions of innocent civilians caught in the middle.

  • Zhang Wei

    Whatever happens the West is too weak now to make a difference and China will get all the oil.

    • colchar

      We in North America have our own oil so they are welcome to it. We’ll be fine.

      • Sue Smith

        Hilarious! Famous last words.

    • Mongo

      you keep your hands off that oil, it’s ours.

      it’s compensation for the migrant disaster

      • Zhang Wei

        You are getting billions in aid from China anyway so stop complaining.

        • alabenn

          What billions, we do not need Mickey Mouse Chinese money, MM money another silly idea you stole from the West, we can keep printing our own,

          • Zhang Wei

            We are building and funding your HS2 and nuclear power stations so stop biting the hand that feeds you UK aid receiver.

            • alabenn

              I see irony and self deprecation has yet to seep into the closed Chinese mind, shows why you cannot innovate and invent nowadays, like the Japanese you will get so far, them hit a wall, Europeans minds are now heading for the closet as well, so live for today, for you have reached the limits of your abilities, by the way, we have actually abandoned more advanced nuclear capabilities, than the current Chinese system, that is because the West has lost its way, China is following down this blind alley.

    • Sue Smith

      Have to agree with this. Meanwhile, other energy sources apart from oil will turn up in the ensuing decades and the Middle East will be getting out the begging bowl.

      In the energy crisis of the 1970s when the Saudis were blackmailing the west my late father used to say, “they want wheat; let ’em eat oil”. It will come to this.

      • mohdanga

        It’s funny, I have been saying for years what your late father said. Not sure why we in the West don’t get tougher when it comes to issues like this.

      • mohdanga

        Britain had no issue in WWI putting a blockade around German ports, not sure why it is a big deal not to supply your enemies with food!

  • alabenn

    Please let this be true, the more they kill each other the less to fight later, pity the Russians forced Assad to give up his WMDs, he will be the only one without them.
    I wonder how long Obamas so called 10 year delay to Iran`s nuclear weapons programme will last, could be over very shortly.

    • Mongo

      kind of wish Iran and Saudi had nukes now – it would be over a lot quicker

      • red2black

        Hasn’t the fear always been that if countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia had nuclear weapons, the first country they’d attack would be Israel?

        • Mongo

          Israel has nukes, and a sophisticated military – they would be able to launch a preemptive strike

          • red2black

            I don’t think a pre-emptive nuclear strike would prevent a nuclear response.

            • Caviar luvvie

              That’s not what Egypt, Iraq and Syria said, when they were building nukes to be used against Israel once…

              • red2black

                Nukes? I don’t think so.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Of course they jolly well were trying their hardest to do so.

                • red2black

                  That’s right.

                • Caviar luvvie

                  Israel has previously destroyed NUCLEAR FACILITIES in all 3 of those countries, you ignoramus.
                  Just imagine if they hadn’t, and those arms had gotten into the hands of the MB, ISIS, Al Nusra and Al Qaeda today!

                  Not only does Israel understand the Arab psyche and can foresee their virulent insanity, they actually, inadvertently saved millions of lives – mainly muslim lives – with those pre-emptive strikes.

                  Don’t you just hate them?

                • red2black

                  They’ve destroyed nuclear research facilities. Pakistan is the only Muslim country with a nuclear capability. For what it’s worth, I’m sure IS and similar groups would use nuclear weapons if they could acquire them. No need for the name-calling.

                • Caviar luvvie

                  So if you agree, why are you being so antagonistic?

                • red2black

                  ‘I don’t think a pre-emptive nuclear strike would prevent a nuclear response.’ There’s a big difference between conventional pre-emptive strikes and a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The latter will most likely lead to what used to be called ‘mutually assured destruction’.

        • Caviar luvvie

          Let them try LOL

      • Micke

        Huge primitive versions needing a ship to move them so they barely can reach each other.

  • grimm

    It could develop into a war similar to the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980’s. In that is the case it will drag on for years with much loss of life (there is no shortage of young Muslim men ready to give their lives for Allah) reaching no real conclusion.

    We kind hearted dupes in Western Europe, burdened as we are with the Christian virtue of charity (transposed by atheists into indiscriminate humanitarian compassion), will be expected to provide a safe haven for the casualties of this war.

    • alabenn

      You can bet Germanys new benefit junkies will not be part of it.

      • Sue Smith

        You mean the craven cowards brigade?

        • alabenn

          Yes.

      • thomasaikenhead

        Are you reffering to the ‘gimmigrants’?

    • http://www.bradleyfarless.com/ Brad F.

      Nah. Per your example, we’ll feel compelled to sell to both sides to turn a buck. Capitalism, yeah?

      • Rob74

        Have we been selling to Iran, Syria or Russia?

        • red2black
          • Rob74

            I’ll let you name the arms we are sending to Iran, Russia and Syria. Seeing as you have read the article.

            • red2black

              Only read the first twelve or so lines, then the text faded out.
              If the countries you mention haven’t bought arms from us, then I apologise unreservedly.

        • http://www.bradleyfarless.com/ Brad F.

          My comment was in reference to your example of the Iran-Iraq war, when we were selling to both sides. I can’t comment on whether or not we are currently selling to both sides in a war that hasn’t yet started. I can only speculate.

    • Rob74

      Germany and its puppet the EU will expect it. While the British will tell them to f**k off, the French will say yes we will have no more and the eastern europeans will wonder if the cost benefit analysis beats being in the USSR.

      Ultimately the EU won’t survive.

      • WTF

        The seeds are already sewn for the disintegration of the EU and Cameron would do well to prepare for this rather than trying to find solutions to our current position. The UK has a natural barrier and could go it alone as they did during WWII.

      • thomasaikenhead

        The demise of the EU has been predicted for decades but the facts are that it goes from strength to strength!

    • Ambientereal

      Every entity carries in itself, the seeds of its own destruction. Ours is the humanitarian compassion, that will destroy the western civilization.

      • thomasaikenhead

        People have been predicting that ever since the west emerged as a predominant power over five hundred years ago.

        It is the western rejection of the theocracy that plagues the Middle East that led to its success and long may that continue.

      • johnb1945

        I think our humanitarian compassion is what makes us strong. ISIS may try to exploit the flood of refugees crossing the Med by planting terrorists among them, but it’s a kick in the teeth for them that all those Muslims want to come to Europe and not their Caliphate.

        What makes us weak is the growth of beliefs which are relativistic, utilitarian etc.

    • Kasperlos

      Hah, the casualties will include the Europeans. With Mutti’s infamous invitation to every single third worlder squatting in some mud hut to ‘please come to Germany, we need you now more than ever,’ the sheer numbers of migrants, if there is a mid-east conglaration, i.e. Saud vs. Iran, will number in the tens of millions, possibly upwards to 30 or 40 million. Persians won’t settle for refugee status in Turkey or Pakistan. These are the young Iranians who see Los Angeles as their birthright. The Sauds though will have first shot at it as the wealthy Al Sauds have long snapped up overseas properties globally to ensure the house’s long-term survival.

    • Michael Bailie

      I would expect Atheists to be like myself and find anything religious dangerous and stay as far away from it as possible.

  • jim

    Mine the Med. Escort migrant boats back to port of departure by gunship. Start reducing europes moslem population dramatically before they replicate Syrian carnage on our own doorstep To do this we must junk human rights legislation and the welfare state .That means leaving the EU..

    • colchar

      Oh please, like any British government would do that whether part of the EU or not.

      • Caractacus

        If we don’t, we sow the seeds of our own destruction.

        • alabenn

          Those seeds took root 20 years ago, they are now saplings and growing fast.

    • telemachus

      A ridiculous proposition devoid of morality
      You are talking about human beings
      *
      Better to show basic human loving kindness
      And embrace and integrate the Muslims here

      • Caviar luvvie

        when are you gonna wear your “embrace a muslim” t-shirt?

      • Hayekian

        Nothing moral about encouraging millions to risk their lives in the med, Australia has shown us the way to protect them (and particularly their kids) from themselves.

        • telemachus

          These folks are fleeing torture rape and death
          For them there is no choice
          It would be a monstrous abdication of our duty as human beings to do other than take them in

          • Hayekian

            No they are not, they are safe in Turkey. There are many muslim countries in the world that could take them in that would be culturally more appropriate. Let them do their bit, and if we have to, we can look at taking a proportion of the non-muslims although even this is really enabling ethnic cleansing.

            • telemachus

              Not the ones doing the dangerous journey from Libya

              • Hayekian

                They are mainly transiting through Lybia and most are economic migrants from outside the region.
                It’s criminal to see heartless lefties like you entice people to their deaths at sea when they could have been safe in their home countries. How do you sleeep at night?

                • Sue Smith

                  I submit it’s the sleep of the stupefied conformist.

            • JabbaPapa

              No they are not, they are safe in Turkey

              You **honestly** think that turning an entire country that’s already in a state of war into a vast concentration camp is some kind of good idea ????

              All your really doing is pushing for a combination of insensitivity to genocide and crass xenophobia as if this foetid combination constituted anything other than the worst manner of utter immorality.

              • Malcolm Stevas

                You’re being pompous & precious – and take care with terminology: it is not xenophobic to favour one’s own people, and to wish to keep at arm’s length a flood of people from alien countries who like our money but care nothing for our culture or our values.

                • JabbaPapa

                  it is not xenophobic to favour one’s own people

                  I certainly don’t disagree with this in principle, and I’m sure you’ve noticed by now the ongoing disintegration of the Schengen open borders policy — but Hayekian’s notion of distinguishing between refugees on the basis of their religion is quite blatantly foetid.

                • Malcolm Stevas

                  “Foetid” is OTT: pragmatically, Christian Syrians (say) or even some of the very few remaining Jewish Syrians (I’ve known one or two) might reasonably be supposed to integrate better into English society than Muslims. Though frankly I always believed that mass immigration from outside Europe, by people whose lack of specialist skills and frequent lack even of English fluency aggravates their profound cutlural difference – a difference they seem not to want to diminish at all – is insane, destructive, the politics of the madhouse.
                  Discrimination is good and wholly necessary: if religious discrimination helps us preserve our culture, that’s fine by me.

                • Hayekian

                  The refugees are already being discriminated against on the basis of their religion by the surrounding countries. Christians are much less welcome than muslims and suffer real institutional discrimination in almost every country.
                  Apparently to JabbaPapa’s twisted mind prioritising the most discriminated groups is foetid.

              • Hayekian

                Turkey is not in a state of war, Saudi Arabia has tents that could hold 1 million people. Your racist islamophobia is discounting regional solutions as you don’t think Arabs and muslims could execute them. You should be ashamed of yourself.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Turkey is not in a state of war

                  … suuuuuuuure …

                  https://www.google.com/search?q=turkey+war

                  Your racist islamophobia

                  Oh don’t be ridiculous.

                • Hayekian

                  So some of the richest countries in the world are incapable of handling a refugee crisis as far as you are concerned. Is it because they are arabs or because they are muslims?
                  In you eyes it’s the 1860’s again and you’re taking up the white man’s burden because the inferior arabs can’t manage it. Your racism sickens all civilised people.
                  Turkey is not at war with anyone (there is no formal declaration and not formal state) although they are trying very hard to drag us into a war with Russia.

      • jim

        May as well just hand us a cigarette and a blindfold……Islam cannot be housebroken….and even if it could….Your compassion cannot be allowed to outweigh history,the survival instinct,the territorial imperative,basic common sense….

    • thomasaikenhead

      Way too late!

      You should have spoken out before Cameron helped topple the Gadhaffi regime?

      • telemachus

        You illustrate well the baying mob
        The same trumpets that lauded the Sarkozi/Cameron debacle now lambast the same

        • thomasaikenhead

          David CAmeron needs a great deal more scrutiny over his role in the regime change in Libya?

          His foreign policy is an utter disaster, a few years ago he wanted to ally with IS and bomb Assad, now the UK allies with Hezbollah to bomb IS!

          At the same time British troops return to Afghanistan in a futile attempt to conceal the fact that all the blood and treasure spent in Helmand Province was squandered in vain!

          • telemachus

            This is the problem with weather vane politics
            But then which leader in recent times has not applied this to foreign policy-except perhaps Blair whose actions swum against the tide of the narrative
            On the other hand we have a colonial history which mandates some response to events in regions where we were part of the genesis of the problem

            • thomasaikenhead

              The colonial history of England/Great Britain/the UK is unique.

              Nobody else ever had an empire that has covered a quarter of the surface of the world?

              No other state has the distinction of having invaded more countries?

              The UK cannot take responsibility for them all!

  • Mongo

    if this does blow up into a full scale war, I trust the West will stay out of it

    • alabenn

      That is highly unlikely, considering the low quality of todays politicians.

      • red2black

        Perhaps if we didn’t have a Conservative government it would be much more likely?

        • Mongo

          politicians of all political colours are of low quality

          • Micke

            That is because it is mandatory to sell ones soul to reach the top.

          • Sue Smith

            They can be, yes, but there are other very good ones. Just like society itself.

        • JabbaPapa

          Yeah, that Neville Chamberlain person was such a hero … /roll-eyes/

          Never mind the genocide, eh ?

          • red2black

            I think there’s more chance that we’d become embroiled in a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia under the government we currently have. Please see Mongo’s original point, which alabenn replied to.

            • Mongo

              if “pacifist” Corbyn was PM he’d certainly face a dilemma: ie. which brutal terrorist regime should we support

              • Rob74

                Pacifist Corbyn has the luxury of being without power.

              • red2black

                Ironically, his policy sounds similar, in effect, to the BNP on this matter. Keep out of it and don’t take sides.

    • Micke

      Stay out of huge weapon markets? That’s insanity! Never going to happen.

    • Michael Bailie

      Fuel the fire.

    • Caviar luvvie

      we wish!
      our traitors can’t wait to get involved

  • davidofkent

    How history repeats itself! Europe had four or five hundred years of contest between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant branches of Christianity with a lot of bloodletting. At the same time, the Western and Eastern versions were also at each other’s throats. So instead of learning from history, the muslims set about repeating it. Well done. If it proves one thing, it must be that religion has been a very bad thing for mankind. At least most of the indigenous people of Europe have learnt that.

    • Ronke

      What religion were the nazis or communists? How many people did they manage to kill?

      • red2black

        Hitler was no Atheist. Churches remained open throughout the Third Reich years. German soldiers’ belt buckles bore the legend ‘Gott Mit Uns’, and clergy were allocated to the Panzer divisions. Why someone would wish to destroy people whose religious texts were the basis of their own beliefs remains a mystery.

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