Off with their heads…
I like a nice Royal wedding, me. To be honest, I quite like weddings per se. But I’m the father of daughters, and I think I’d worry a lot if one of my girls had not lived with a partner before taking the plunge, so, as if it were any of my business, it looks like a major step forward that William and Kate have co-habited for a good few years before getting married. Would have been unthinkable a few years back. Strikes me as a good thing. Good luck to ’em. Gawd bless yer ma’am.
But for lots of Christians, sex outside marriage is fornication. I’ve always had a weak spot for Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a slight tendency to let them in. I certainly let them leave me a Watchtower, which I generally read. It’s good to have the views of Bible Christians tucked under your belt, so you can see how bonkers it is. In the last issue, there was a Q’n’A on the subject of homosexuality. Jehovah’s Witnesses, you will not be surprised to hear, are against, very much so. It’s a shame they didn’t learn tolerance when they were incarcerated together in the Nazi’s concentration camps. But their line is quite simple, and as you can largely trust the JW’s for a straight ahead reading of the Bible, I”d say their views are those of most Bible Christians… which is to say, that you tolerate homosexuals, but not homosexual acts; because ALL sex outside of marriage is a sin. Gay people can’t have sex, but that’s OK, because neither can anybody, unless they are married. Simple, no?
There will therefore be plenty of people within the Church of England, mostly on the High and Evangelical wings, who will be disgusted that Wills and Kate have clearly done thingy together. He’s put his willy in her front bottom, and God hates them for it. They might as well have bummed one another; God could not hate them more if they had.
I’ve advocated this before, but is this not yet another reason for the Disestablishment of The Church of England? Why should Bible Christians have a young man at the head of their Church who has committed the sin of fornication? Until Disestablishment, the UK can never be a secular society, but will always be mired in the individual sensitivities of faith.
A relative of mine once put the case that religions all seemed to boil down to controlling a) what people ate, and b) how they reproduced / tried to reproduce. That seemed pretty persuasive to me. It did this in both good and bad ways (ie it made sense in some cutlures in some times – not excluding now – to attempt to ‘control’ these things). Not sure if he thougth all the rest (that religions do) was just ‘added extras’.
I offer this for consideration….
Yes, you do have a lot of balls, to juggle.
That’s Professor Alison to you, Ian…
I hear you Alison, and thank you very much for your comments. As you may have noticed, I have a bee in my bonnet about Christianity and Sex; and that I am no theologian. So I shouldn’t have used mocking language; thingy, willy, front bottom, bumming, etc.
I’m sorry if this detracts from arguments about what seem to me important issues; mostly that the disestablishment of the CofE would be a very good thing for everybody.
I do occasionally present for Radio Four, but I’m also a writer, a teacher, a low comedian, a singer, and husband, father, and friend. I like it that my wife and my best friends feel free to come on here and argue with me, but I like it that you feel free too. The mysterious figure of Hilary Marchant is, in fact, my wife, and I haven’t come near to answering her comments…
One criticism that I should make of myself is that I’ve never managed to make this a focussed blog; it’s just an old fart writer with his mug of tea and trusty pipe going on about shit; which is, in my view, the sort of thing the interweb was invented for.
Religion and it’s fair discussion is necessary. You’re a Radio 4 presenter, and could exercise your vocabulary and thinking to better end. Please save your easy chat (it would appear, with you friends, and relatives) for off-line. Demonstrate the quality of mind you presumably can, and make the difference. Communication, nay booksales and further commc’n or celebrity Mr M.?
Ian, is it a hobby of yours, throwing pussycats into flocks of feral urban winged tumour carriers?
For my part, I think God’s great. I much prefer the Old Testament one mind you, he’s got some pretty impressive anger management flaws and obsessive narcissistic qualities which I greatly admire. I’d go for Him anytime, not that dreary old handwringers like R. Williams esq. would approve, but who gives a damn what he thinks?
As for the prophets, I’ve always favoured Elijah. Angry as hell and a mountaineer to boot.
Joshua’s another favourite. Good tactical manoeuvres and with a thorough grounding in the history of the region, you could take a Bloodbath Tour of the Middle East using that one as a guidebook.
I’m currently reading the book of Job, as it happens; I like his take on the brevity of man and his insights on sin and weariness.
And yes, Dawkins IS a twat.
More tea, Vicar?
Do you know, I might try laying off the religion stuff…
All I is trying to say is that disestablishment would be a good thing for all parties; and I do think it would make more difference to people’s lives than grape crushing.
May be intelligent readers of this blog but hardly writers/contributors, sadly.
If I was to believe that there is a God I would never be so vulgar as to go about the place broadcasting my puny human speculations on His purpose…
Ian, this is ridiculous. I expect, & hope, he’s been up up both bottoms by now &, as a pastafarian (Google it) the entire construct of the argument rests in the Middle ages – I’m waiting for Time Team to pop up any moment
As for Jo-jos, hated as much in the Bible belt as in Nazi Germany – I lost my respect when my blonde, green eyed wife told them we were Jewish when living on Watermelon Road, Alabama & they believed her.
Disestablishment would make sooo much difference to my & my children’s’ lives, I may have to crush a grape.
No, fair point. I describe myself as Christian, even if I choose to be so for cultural reasons; and you are right, Christianity is an easy target. And the CofE is as good as it gets, I guess.
I’ll choose a slightly more difficult target, then; I don’t think anybody (in our society of course it is largely Muslim women)should have the right to keep their faces covered during a jury trial. But I don’t see how we can stop that from happening unless we become a secular society, like France or the US. All the time that we privilege one faith constitutionally, there is no way that we could ask Muslim women to remove their veils in court.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses reading of the Bible is not all that radical or wacky, really. They just take it literally, word for word. They, and all literalist followers of Book Faiths (I’ll include Islam and Judaism)claim truth for their books because their books say they are true, which therefore makes their books true, because they say they are. The Book of Mormon claims objective truth for itself, too.
In my view, literalism (such as extreme protestantism, or Wahibist Islam)is a nonsense which has largely grown in the wake of science and 19th Century German Biblical scholarship. It makes an easy taget for critics. That twat Richard Dawkins avoids criticising pre-scientific Christian beliefs (such as Quakerism, or the author of The Cloud of Unknowing)which had no real interest in objective ideas of God, and celebrated His/Her Divine Subjectivity.
Much of the Bible was written by Paul, a man who clearly didn’t like sex. Other faiths, most especially Hinduism, embrace human sexuality as an expression of a Divine Love. We are ill served by Paul.
My initial point is a fair, one, however; that there will be those in the CofE, already struggling to see that the Church is taking a firm moral line, who will be deeply hurt by what they will see as moral failure in the Royal Family. Why divide the Church further? Take the Royals, and the State, out of the Church, and hopefully it would be just as invigorating for the Church as it would be for a secularised State. The Church might no longer feel bound to take ‘trendy’ moral views into account; might well find an independant moral voice. I, of course, hope that it would welcome such abberations as women bishops, gay clergy, and liberal interpretations of Scripture. But, unbound from the State, it might feel liberated to take a more conservative line.
I think most members of the Church of England, even those on the High and Evangelical wings (which are far from identical in their attitude to the Bible, incidentally) would be less than happy to be conflated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is what is being implied by saying that the contents of the Watchtower are any sort of guide to the feelings of the church of which William may some day be official head.
His Dad has hinted at a version of disestablishment, having talked about being “defender of faiths”, but I think you’d be hard put to find many mainstream faiths who advocate liberal attitudes to sex, not just Christianity; but then, Christianity is always the easy target for people for whom it’s their culture’s traditional religion.
Most Christians of my acquaintance talk about the New Testament having brought in ideas of forgiveness and transformation – hence the readiness of most churches to accept the remarriage of divorcees (and the more “reformed” ones, including the much-derided Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland were, inconveniently for conventional liberal agnostic opinion, in the lead on this). So I suspect that most members of the C of E would be very happy to see that William and Kate are planning to transform their relationship into the one recognised by the Church as being something very special and beautiful. The current version of the C of E’s marriage service includes this:
“The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union and joyful commitment to the end of their lives.”
To my mind, that phrase hardly indicates that the C of E views “having done thingy together” as something unspeakable.
I do think there are strong arguments for disestablishment; I just don’t think that implying “all Christians are basically anti-sex” is particularly helpful, and could well imply to those ill-informed on Christianity that the whole thing is a lot of outdated nonsense. Luckily, the readers of this blog are very intelligent, and well-informed on a whole range of topics, but it might have been a bit of a risk otherwise.
Don’t be silly! Civil partnership isn’t marriage! No, it’s cold showers or nowt.
Are they cool with ‘homosexual acts’ as long as it’s heterosexual married people what are doing them?
Do you realise you’ve ended one paragraph talking about bumming, and then started the next with “I’ve advocated this before…”? Maybe you have, of course. I was just wondering.
Two comments in a few days. I ought to be careful I don’t get mistaken for a fan.