Narnia, no thanks

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19 Responses

  1. louis says:

    David – to say that the producers (of which i am an associate) didn’t want to disturb the “fairy tale world they inhabit” by “apparently not asking (Dawkins) to contribute”, is totally incorrect.

    Dawkins WAS invited but turned down the challenge. why? it would be interesting to know. i thought he was robust enough to take on all comers….i also believe that Pullman was to be invited to contribute – but cannot verify that one at this point in time.

    so, Christians are the intellectual dummies & atheists are the intellectual heroes? thousands of Christians are raped, persecuted, arrested, fined & murdered for following the “fairy tale” of Christ, by every ideology, creed & religion under the sun, moon & stars. if Christianity is such a “fairy tale” why such historical, hounding hatred?

    how many atheists have laid down their lives for their beliefs, even in modern times? i’d appreciate even a few names from Nero down through history to Stalin.

    in closing, i appreciate the time you took to watch something that you disagree with. we will both follow the media debate with much interest.

    all the best

    – louis hemmings

    ps. at the end of the day its all about forgivesness, hope & love (1st Corinthians: 13)….

  2. David Mitchell says:

    Thank you Louis Hemmings

    I rest my case

  3. Margaret Nelson says:

    Louis, I’ll confine myself to answering your query –

    How many atheists have laid down their lives for their beliefs, even in modern times? I’d appreciate even a few names from Nero down through history to Stalin.

    Atheism, in itself, isn’t a belief; it’s a rejection of belief. It simply means “without God” or “without a deity”. An atheist, per se, may not have any principles or values to speak of. I get rather tired of being linked with people like Nero or Stalin, as their atheism was only part of the story; megalomania isn’t typical of atheists. At least you didn’t throw Hitler in with the others; he was a Christian, which many people don’t realise. You might also say I’m an “a-goblinist”, since I don’t believe in goblins or gods – but that doesn’t tell you anything else about me.

    There are many people who’ve been persecuted or killed for their rejection of religious orthodoxy or their outspoken dissent; it’s still happening today. The penalty for apostasy in politically Islamic states is death; it takes a very brave atheist to openly declare his or her atheism.

    Many thousands of people have been tortured and/or killed by the church or by deluded Christians over the last 2100 years – heretics, church splinter groups, dissenters, atheists, agnostics, deists, pagans, infidels and unbelievers. One notable heretic who was burned at the stake was the 16th century philosopher, Giordano Bruno, but there have been many, many others since then. The Inquisition killed about 350,000 people. Thousands of women were killed as “witches”. It’s nonsense to suggest that hatred is alien to Christians, or that they have a monopoly of suffering. The early Christians may have been persecuted, but as soon as the sect became an organised religion, they set about persecuting non-believers. Ignorant people have been slaughtering one another in the name of all manner of religions or ideologies for centuries, and freethinkers, who’ve refused to identify themselves with those religions or ideologies, have always been persecuted. Serb and Rwandan Christians raped, tortured and killed thousands of their fellow countrymen and women in the late 20th century, for being different.

    Warren Mitchell, the actor most well known for his role as Alf Garnett, is from Russian Jewish stock, but isn’t a religious Jew; he’s a Humanist, like me. Once, when visiting Northern Ireland, he was asked, “Are you Protestant or Catholic?” Garnett replied, “I’m a Jew.” “Yes, but are you a Protestant Jew or a Catholic Jew?” That, to me, illustrates the ignorance of those who can’t grasp that other people don’t necessarily conform to their limited view of how we should live or what we ought to believe.

    I started to watch the TV programme (on i-player, since I hadn’t watched it at the scheduled time), but I was soon bored. The choice of music, the reverential tone of the narration, turned me off. All that quasi-mystical tosh makes me nauseous, sorry.

    It’s interesting that you should quote St Paul, since his views, being typical of the misogyny of the patriarchal monotheistic religions, were sexist. “Forgiveness, hope and love” didn’t extend to women who were judged to have sinned, or to have led their poor, weak menfolk into sin – hence the later witch-burnings. St Paul has a lot to answer for.

    • louis says:

      i wasn’t trying to link atheists to Nero, Stalin etc. my apologies for the misunderstanding. i was using from Nero…..to Stalin, as a timeline reference.

      also i should have said atheist convictions, rather than beliefs.

      as regards the apostacy laws in Islamic states, that is usually (but not exclusively) used against Muslims who convert to Christianity.

      https://www.barnabasfund.org/index.php?p=6&a=773&m=7%238_items136&startno=1&Limit=20&Orderby=Country%3BASC

      please give links / press stories to atheists prosecuted under apostacy laws. i’m genuinely interested.

      i wasn’t suggesting that hatred was exclusive to Christians. i was asking if Christianity is a fairy-tale, why are so many Christians being persecuted, imprisoned, raped etc.

      “The early Christians may have been persecuted, but as soon as the sect became an organised religion, they set about persecuting non-believers.” please give references in context for this statement. i’m sure you are absolutely correct but i need some facts also.

      “It’s interesting that you should quote St Paul, since his views, being typical of the misogyny of the patriarchal monotheistic religions, were sexist.” – again i ask for specific references for you to back up this claim.

      people love taking Paul out of context. read the New Testament with an open mind & in context but please don’t blame Paul for all the Christians (and atheists) who have misquoted him.

      people always quote the first verse below but never seem to remember the follow on.

      Colossians 3: 18 says: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is appropriate for those who belong to the Lord.” and then Colossians 3: 19 says: “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”

  4. Margaret Nelson says:

    Oh, just in case anyone imagines there are no good atheists, here are a few people who’ve lived without religion (and without murdering anyone), and who’ve benefited humankind:

    The Greek philosophers Protagoras, Democritis and Epicurus.
    John Stuart Mill.
    Mary Wollstonecraft.
    Sir Julian Huxley.
    Thomas Hardy.
    Dr Brock Chisholm.
    Richard Leakey.
    Marie Curie.
    Albert Einstein.
    Charles Bradlaugh MP.
    Jawaharlal Nehru.
    Marian Evans (aka “George Eliot”)
    Francis Crick.
    Charles Darwin.
    Gene Roddenberry.
    Claire Rayner.
    Linda Smith (comedian).
    Prof. A C Grayling.

    You can google all of the above, but there are very many more people who live productive, fulfilling lives without religion; they just go around their business without making a thing of it, unlike those Christians who explain their altruism by saying it’s because of their beliefs. Which is better? To be good because God tells you to be good, or to be good because you know it’s how we should live, regardless of what we may or may not believe?

    • louis says:

      nor was i implying that there are no good atheists. how did you get that impression from my comment?

      nor am i implying that “Christians” are necessarily better people. we are not.

      even Jesus said in Luke 18: 19
      “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good except for God.

  5. Margaret Nelson says:

    Louis, I will respond, but not now. Too much to do, too little time. The garden beckons.

  6. John Stretch says:

    Louis,

    If you click on the blue bits of Margaret’s post “Dangerous dissent” you will find many examples of Christian persecution of non-believers, just as soon as they had the power to do so – a practice encouraged by the sainted Thomas Aquinas.

    • Margaret Nelson says:

      To make it easier to spot the links, I’ve underlined them. It doesn’t happen automatically in comments.

    • louis says:

      do people on SH&S read what people attempt to say before rushing to reply?

      originally, i was _trying_ to get across the concept of if “Christianity is just a fairytale”- why are so many Christians being murdered, imprisoned & raped under Islamic, Hindu, Communist & Buddhist ruled countries.

      have any of you a reasonable answer to that question?

      i also originally asked: can anyone at SH&S list _ordinary_ names (not famous iconic names) of Atheists murdered, imprisoned & raped etc., under Islam, Hindu, Communist & Buddhist ruled countries for their convictions.

      why has “Christian persecution of non-believers” come into the thread?

      do any of you have anything good to say about the Christian faith?

      “come let us reason together”….says the Lord….

  7. Margaret Nelson says:

    Just a quickie to say that a number of complaints have been made to the BBC about this programme, including one from Andrew Copson, the BHA’s Director of Education & Public Affairs. The BHA’s e-bulletin says,

    On the 16th April, a programme was aired on BBC 1 about the work of C.S. Lewis. The programme was sold a new interpretation of the meaning behind his Narnia books and include scholars of his life and work to explore this issue. However, we have had complaints from many members who saw this programme that the final 20 minutes (at least) of the 60 minute programme amounted to what one member described as ‘Christian propaganda.’ Certainly, in its later parts, the programme narrator and the talking heads made many assertions about god and Christianity which were unsubstantiated and there was no attempt to offer any balance of these views, all of which were portrayed as coming from objective scholars, and not from (for example) only scientists who are religious. As a public service broadcaster, we don’t think that this is acceptable from the BBC.

    If you saw the programme (or watch it again by following the link in the post) and would like to make a complaint to the BBC you can do so here.

  8. Margaret Nelson says:

    Louis, you wrote, “originally, i was _trying_ to get across the concept of if ‘Christianity is just a fairytale’- why are so many Christians being murdered, imprisoned & raped under Islamic, Hindu, Communist & Buddhist ruled countries.”

    I’ve already answered you, when I wrote, “Ignorant people have been slaughtering one another in the name of all manner of religions or ideologies for centuries…” The “fairy tale” reference is irrelevant; the adherents of different belief systems seek to eliminate those who won’t accept their beliefs, as this rejection threatens them. If I say, I don’t believe in God – not just your god, but any god, it provokes a variety of reactions, all equally irrational. Some simply abuse me; I’ve been called all sorts of names. Some try to persuade me of the error of my ways, and convince me I’m wrong. Some insist of praying for me. Some tell me that God loves me anyway, whether I accept that he exists or not. I’m glad I live in a country where I don’t risk death by asserting my disbelief, or asserting that my beliefs differ from the orthodox.

    David didn’t write that “Christianity is just a fairytale”, he wrote, “Small wonder the makers of The Narnia Code didn’t want to disturb the fairy tale world they inhabit.” In other words, an imaginary world. You suggest others haven’t read what’s been written – motes and beams, Louis!

    It was disingenuous of you to write, “i wasn’t trying to link atheists to Nero, Stalin etc. my apologies for the misunderstanding. i was using from Nero…..to Stalin, as a timeline reference.” Oh really? If that was the case, why pick two disreputable characters as examples?

    You asked, “please give links / press stories to atheists prosecuted under apostacy laws. i’m genuinely interested.” If you’re so interested, why not explore the Internet? You might start here or here. However, “prosecution” under apostasy laws isn’t how to describe what happens, as the “law” in question is Sharia, or religious law. It is administered with prejudice, without the benefit of a fair trial, and often brutally, as happens in countries like Saudi Arabia.

    As John pointed out, I’ve already given a link to a site where there is plenty of evidence of the Christian Church’s persecution of non-Christians.

    As for St Paul, and reading the Bible with an “open mind”; you’d have to have a very “open” mind to conveniently overlook all the contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible. How about, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (Corinthians 14:34-35) In other words, shut up women!

    You quoted Colossians (though the verses you give aren’t the same as my King James version), “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is appropriate for those who belong to the Lord,” and “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” Submit? Why the heck should any woman “submit? And why would any decent, reasonable man have to be told not to be “harsh” with his wife? It would take too long to go into it here, and I have more important things to do, but anyone who seriously studies the development of the monotheistic world religions, in particular Christianity and Islam, will find a change from the pre-Judeo-Christian era, when matriarchal, naturalistic beliefs systems predominated, to the politically patriarchal systems that reflected an increasing interest in the paternity of children and in inheritance. In other words, it was all about a power shift, away from matriarchal family groups to patriarchal political systems where wealth and power were passed down the male line. There’s never been anything mystical or divine about it; it’s been a huge con, to keep people in line.

    I gave a list of good people who’ve lived without a god or gods for the benefit of those (and there are many) who like to associate atheism with bad people – like Nero and Stalin! Another quote from you – Jesus, in St Luke: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good except for God.” I’d reject that; there are millions of good people who live with or without God. God is your imaginary friend, and there’s no evidence of his “goodness”; if he’s all-seeing and all-knowing, he’s also totally ineffectual. But don’t get me started…

    Do we have anything good to say about the Christian faith? I can’t speak for the others, but personally, no, I don’t. I know and like lots of Christians – some of my best friends, and all that. I find that those who assert that Christianity is all about love and stuff, as you suggest, tend to ignore all the unpleasant parts of the Bible, just as moderate Muslims are highly selective about which bits of the Qur’an they quote. Most people who’ll say they’re “Christian” haven’t a clue about the churches’ teachings, or what it says in the Bible. They know little or nothing about the history of religion, as it’s not covered in RE lessons. They have no idea that Christmas and Easter were both pagan festivals that pre-date Christianity, and were hijacked by the early church. What I especially dislike about religion, and Christianity in particular, is that it discourages rational thought. “Faith” doesn’t require thought. However, what people choose to believe is up to them, just as long as they don’t try to impose it on everyone else. If Christianity were confined to the private sphere, and didn’t encroach on education and public life, I’d be perfectly happy to leave it alone. Trouble is, that as the various religious hierarchies sense that fewer people are interested any more (young people being the least interested), they’re making more and more demands of woolly-minded politicians who’re reluctant to say no; no more public money; no more faith schools; no more bias in the BBC.

    Anyhow, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Thanks for dropping by.

  9. louis says:

    “Most people who’ll say they’re “Christian” haven’t a clue about the churches’ teachings, or what it says in the Bible.”

    it’s very hard to generalise about “most people”. many atheists misrepresent the bible & take verses out of context. many Christians do too!

    i myself have been trying to learn what it says in the bible for over 30 years & i’m still learning. basically all of humanity are hypocrites. i am, you are too. (oops! that wasn’t very PC, was it? but it is the truth, spoken in love.)

    faith doesn’t require thought, initially, you are right. you just have to open your heart. Jesus dying for our sins requires a response though. we have to _think_ of the implications of that. why would anyone bother dying for me? how do i respond to such a sacrifice of love? do i engage with pagans, atheists, Christians, fascists etc? do i obey the 10 commandments? etc.

    the role of women: that’s an old chestnut. when looking at women in the bible, the role of women in the society of that period should be taken into account. did the bible & the church treat women better or worse than the contemporary society of the day?

    “If Christianity were confined to the private sphere, and didn’t encroach on education and public life, I’d be perfectly happy to leave it alone.” a vain hope, Margaret……if only Jesus had _not_ told 11 disciples, 2,000 years ago: “I have been given all authority in heaven & earth. Therefore go & make disciples in all nations….and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands i have given you…..” Matthew 28: 19 (abridged). it was that message that got Paul beheaded in Rome.

    i haven’t just “dropped by”. is your shutting door trapping my foot? you aren’t trying to turf out a guest of SH&S, are you? i’m an evangelist! i don’t go quietly….you should know by now.

  10. Margaret Nelson says:

    So, you’re an evangelist! Evangelism is one of the things we especially dislike. Anyway, you’re boring me now.

  11. David Mitchell says:

    Louis, there’s an old saying and I think it applies to believers and non believers alike. “When you’re in a hole, stop digging!!”

  12. quedula says:

    Louis
    Do you realise that using expressions such as “you just have to open your heart” makes some people, including me, squirm with embarrassment for you? Do you stop to think exactly what you mean by it? OK I realise “heart” can be used in a wider sense than that of the anatomical organ but does this add any more sense to the expression? What part of ourselves are you asking us to ‘open’ and what do you mean by ‘open’ in this particular context.

    If you were to say “open your mind” it would make more sense as I presume it is through your mind that you personally experience the various manifestations of your ‘faith’. But to me, opening one’s mind means taking in all available evidence, analysing it objectively to the best of my ability and coming to a provisional conclusion which i am willing to revise if the evidence changes.

  13. louis says:

    Margaret – boring you?? that’s a rather impolite comment.

    when i said that i was an evangelist, i was speaking generically. all Christians are called to be evangelists! i am merely one of millions of evangelists in the world, down through time…. from Herod to Honecker.

    even David is trying to get me to give up. it’s a pity SH & S don’t want to engage with Christians…

    Acts 17: 30 – 32 …..God now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.”

    in closing, in case you don’t know, I am Irish. do you know any Irish language?

    the common greeting in Irish is “Dhia agat” and the reply is “Dhia is Mhuire agat”. literally “God be with you” & “God & Mary be with you”.

    may God bless you in your atheism

    • Nathan says:

      Louis,

      Quoting bible passages on this site is not so useful, as these have little relevance to atheists or Humanists – though Humanists will often refer to the words of philosophers. A natural response might be to ask what the relevance of these bible passages is:

      My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
      Song of Solomon 5:4

      There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
      Ezekiel 23:20

      If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death.
      Leviticus 20:10

      … and how they fit in to your philosophy.

      Your tone suggests that you wish to either prosletyse, antagonise, or both – perhaps this is what you understand ‘engagement’ to be. I admire your persistence but you’re not really managing to do either – respectfully, you’re providing a sideshow. Imagine I enter your church and attempt to tell people of the wonders of nature, the miracle of human evolution and the joy of love and compassion between communities, families and individuals, and suggest that in order to appreciate these things you have no need for a God, and that He was not responsible for any of them. I respectfully suggest you’d think me presumptuous, insolent, mad, or all of the above.

      We can agree to disagree with each other, and acknowledge that while our positions are diametrically opposed that, in fact, Humanists and Christians share many of the same values and (I hope you agree) share a desire for decency, tolerance and compassion. Humanists engage with Christians and other faith groups, this group has been doing so successfully for many years, but this engagement works when it is about our shared aims and interests, how we can work together. You’re seeking a conversation that will never end as it is about the fundamentals of faith and the atheist rejection of faith. That’s an argument that has been going on for centuries and we’re not going to sort it out here.

      Bertrand Russell said:

      And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.

      Live and let live.

      Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat. Ádh mór ort.

  14. Nathan says:

    Comments are now closed on this thread.

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