The enemy without

We have read in the newspapers today that a High Court judgment has decided that humanism should be included in religious studies in our schools. At first sight, this looks like cloud-cuckoo land. Humanists are adamant that they are not a religion and directly deny the truths of faith.

What do we think about this?

First we have to make a distinction. Orthodox Christianity is of course humanist to the core. The creation of human nature, the Incarnation, the promise of a redeemed world to come are fundamental to all of us. Our moral teachings are largely based on human nature and focused on enabling it to flourish. So what we are talking about here is secular or atheistic humanism which is based on a denial of faith and the supernatural. It is the declared enemy of religion.

We should not be surprised because we often hear believers pointing out that secular humanism actually requires more faith than religious belief since it asks us to hold that the Universe appeared without a cause, that human life has no meaning beyond itself, that moral choice is no more than utilitarianism. Moreover the proselytisation of secular humanism (See the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association) carries overtones which we associate with the intolerant attitudes that were present in medieval religion. Instead of promoting the diversity of our society, and protecting human rights, it works to quench these.

However it is possible to argue that the outcome may not be all bad. Young people will already have come into contact with humanist values. And they will be surrounded by them in their adult life. It could be an advantage to understand the ungodly, and to have grasped their inadequacies. Know your enemy is often the best first step. Remember that Montgomery hung a picture of Rommel in his caravan. Whose picture would you put up?

However, although this is not clear in the newspaper reports I have seen, this does not affect faith schools which, in this respect, have different provisions.

Tell us what you think. You may find that looking up humanism on Wikipedia is five minutes well spent.

About Quentin

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60 Responses to The enemy without

  1. As long as the Truth about Jesus is taught they can present it all and NOTHING can compare to the lived experience of Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:26-27)! Happy Thanksgiving or as I call every day Merry Eternal Christ Day!!!!

  2. Galerimo says:

    I think we lost this argument about teaching religion in schools a long time ago when Catholicism became aligned with philosophy, ideology and value systems.

    In my opinion this decision by your High Court does as your suggest, seek to establish a more vigorous secular humanism in society. I still believe it is the society in which God expects us to live and serve in the same way as the Chosen people from whom we are sprung and the first Christian Disciples in whose footsteps we follow. Their societies and cultures were just as hostile and in some ways even more so. I am not saying that the assertion of Christian Truth should not also be vigorous.

    The mysteries of Incarnation, Redemption and Renewal of Creation will extend to this generation too. While taking up any of the challenges in contemporary living – and sometimes failing to do so – I take heart in Jesus’ words of not being afraid on account of the fact that he has overcome the world.

    My belief is that the beauty of this wonderful gift of Faith will stand purely on its own merits, always when it is humbly presented and honestly lived in any forum. The bus waits for the secular humanists too.

  3. Vincent says:

    Humanism has a neat trick. Effectively it defines itself as a negative. That is, it’s main thrust is to deny faith and the supernatural. The position is easy to defend if you only accept empirical evidence. So it becomes self-proving. From behind this position it is able to snipe at faith values. Take their energetic work towards excluding the rights of parents and faith schools, or their insistence that no one should disapprove of homosexuality, or the attack on Catholic adoption societies, or their support of abortion. Plenty of intolerant victories there. Don’t think that they’ll stop at this point. They will continue until religious people are seen as an eccentric and dangerous minority — if they are not seen as that already..

  4. G.D. says:

    Quentin, I prefer to call it ‘antitheist humanity’, not ‘atheistic humanism’.
    (Nitpicking maybe …? But …

    An antitheist isn’t humanitarian at all. The lack of compassion altruism and charity for anyone who has a spiritual belief belies the name.

    No, it’s too close a label to the ‘atheist humanist’, who does have those qualities, for me. Often seen as a synonymous group in the eyes of press and public opinion.

    To put them in so ‘close’ a label does a disservice to both i think. It gives the anti-theist a humanistic credence they don’t have, and takes away the credence an atheist humanist does.
    I’ve met plenty of both, am sure we all have, they are very different.

    The continuous efforts to rid society of ‘God’ is against true humanism, according to some humanists I have spoken to.

    Name the devil and relate to it accordingly. The anti-theist is a fanatic disguised as beneficent towards humanity. Unfortunately, as all fanatical groups fueled by hatred, they have big mouths and lots of energy; they will always need an enemy, where there is none will create one, when in fact the enemy is within! (I’m fanatical about fanatics mea culpa!).

    They don’t speak for humanism. No matter what they call their societies.

    Humanitarians are not against people having disparate beliefs. They may think we are deluded, but are not against us.

    If the religious community confuse the two it will give fuel to the anti-theistic stance. And distance a valuable ally.

  5. Nektarios says:

    I thought that it was Parliament that made the laws of the land and not High Court Judges. So therefore the High Court Judges judgement is just an arbitrary law and not therefore enforceable.

    As Galerimo has pointed out the way things have been adopted over the last 150 years or so by the RCC, they are not the only ones doing the same things.
    Why did they proceed down the road of philosophy, humanism, liberalism and secularism – even among the most conservative Church leaders? One of the reasons is they do not believe in the supernatural and spiritual realms anymore.

    Many have trusted in their own reasoning. Anthropology does not explain man at all.

    The answer to Humanists is simply this: you cannot understand the history of this world and ourselves apart from Jesus.
    Humanists cannot explain Jesus in terms of evolution or history for Jesus Christ breaks all the rules,
    coming from the realms of the Spirit and Light to be born as a human being in a manger in Bethlehem.
    We cannot understand anything of ourselves or God apart from the Bible OT and NT and other documents. They are the history of mankind in microcosm. The Jews wrote down their History.
    Humanists have got nothing to say about the Inspiration of Holy Scriptures.
    The writers were inspired to write it; inspired to speak it; and inspired to record it.

    Then these Humanists have got nothing to say about the workings of the Holy Spirit, with the movement of history in us, this world and the cosmos, all under His power and actions.

    These Humanists have got nothing to say about Prophecy either. Concerning Jesus for example, 800 years before He came. How He would be born, where He would be born, What He would do, say and teach, His death by crucifixion, His resurrection and His return all given, written down long before He came.
    These are not mere facts to the Jew, this is not simply religious thinking, this is their history, their journey, their prophecy, their Christ and Saviour.
    As they are part of human nature, which we all have, what was true concerning them before God, is also true of we Gentiles too.

    What has the humanists to say about the Church? The Church would not be here apart from happened on the Day of Pentecost and The Holy spirit remaining with us. Humanists cannot explain it.

    So what I have said above is proof positive not only of a supernatural realm but also of God working in this realm.

    • Quentin says:

      The High Court does not alter the law, which has been decided by Parliament. What it (and other Appeal courts) does is to decide how the law is to be correctly interpreted in particular cases of disagreement. This feature of British law is of great antiquity, and has been adopted in various forms by many other countries.

  6. Hock says:

    Whilst this blog is not about the roles of the High Court in making its judgements it does indeed decide on the law and not about how it should be interpreted. This is why parliament occasionally rushes a Bill through in a matter of days because the High Court has made a decision contrary to what the law intended or for which there was no prior precedent.

  7. Nektarios says:

    My last posting on the 27th was to encourage believers in the faith of the Son of God.

    This posting, I am writing for those who are humanists out there, along with all the liberal and secular leaders and people. Listen up.

    Bear with me for a moment. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by their disobedience, when God came down in the cool of the day, they were fearful and hid themselves.
    Of course God knew they had disobeyed Him and the consequences that would follow. Yet, He still came down. One cannot sin and not be fearful. How else does one explain the fear in the world today – it is not the politician’s views so much as this issue of sin, yours and mine. It is far deeper than we imagine, even in our nature.

    In the OT we read about Moses and the burning bush, his confrontation with God, God had come down. Why? It was because he had seen and heard all the suffering and sorrows and enslavement of His people. I know humanists think this is a myth, but listen this concerns you personally.
    Here we all are in the 21st century, which one of you are not suffering, got sorrows, fears, anxieties, not to mention enslavement of one type or another. As God spoke to Moses on the day he met with God at the burning bush, telling him He had come down because He had seen all that
    and was going to deliver them.

    Moses was a type of Christ Jesus. At the appointed time Jesus/ God the Son Himself came down from heaven, laying aside all the trappings of His glory and was born a babe in Bethlehem. Why? Because He saw all of you and me that would reject, ( so were we all at one time) Him, spit on Him, and want to kill Him. Even so, He still came down to not only forgive us, but deliver us from our deep-seated enslavement to sin, to set us free and give us life eternal and be with us always.
    Now my humanist, liberal, intellectual, secularist fellow human beings, Think, don’t just follow the propaganda that enslaves people, but realise your need and realise, God has come down to save you, and who if they are honest does not saving?

  8. Iona says:

    Trouble is, Nektarios, secularists simply deny all that. Some don’t even accept that Jesus lived historically. So they would see no case to answer.
    I discovered yesterday that GKC wrote an article called “Is humanism a religion?” – I haven’t read it, but it sounds relevant. Does anyone know it?

    • Nektarios says:

      The trouble is, Iona, the whole world lies in ignorance about themselves. That is one of the effects of sin in man.
      There are a lots of documents some of the Roman Empire which spoke of Jesus of Nazareth and they had crucified Him.
      There was the testimony of one Saul of Tarsus, so full of hatred and bile against Him until he man Christ on the Damascus Road intent in not only stamping out Christianity and ordering the killing of them too. He was a changed man after that.

      Secularism, humanism, liberalism are ignorant of themselves. What their views and philosophy are does not answer their need or the need of mankind.

      If God can arrest such a hate-filled character like Saul of Tarsus, he can arrest on their journey, the secularists, humanists and liberals.

      I wonder if you have looked into their philosophies and what it really amounts to?
      It essentially amounts to this, ‘ we will not have Him rule over us’.
      Here their ignorance lies in this, they are already ruled by sin in their lives, ruled by the passions of the body and the mind.
      Yet, as I wrote in my earlier posting, God came down. He who is almighty, and if He desires to save some among the secularists, humanists and liberals, as He has and continues to do so. Let us not give up on them as God has not, Such souls can be real trophies of His grace.

  9. ignatius says:

    In prison chaplaincy we are pleased when pagans, humanists, atheists, buddhists etc, come to our services. We have pretty much all of the above at mass quite regularly.

    One chap I knew who was an atheist spent several minutes after Mass yesterday telling me about the ‘central nucleus’ of things…. which I found quite interesting and when I finally managed to get a word in, I was happy and able to speak about the ‘divine nucleus’ we had just encountered at Mass. If you are talking to one of the ‘ists’ then it is most likely you are talking to someone who knows, deep inside, that there is something missing in their jigsaw because they have probably tried their sovereign best with whatever scheme they have tried to make work for them; I was the same with Daoism once.

    Personally speaking I like ‘humanists’ though, like most ‘ists’ they are often highly defensive. But at least there is a sense among them that man is capable of higher things, which rubs along well with the Catholic sense that though Man is fallen he is not completely lost and is able to do some things well still. I don’t think a move towards humanism in schools present a problem at all.

  10. Nektarios says:


    I liked your posting apart from one thing you said, ” Man is fallen he is not completely lost and is able to do some things well still.”

    When man fell, on that day he died. He died not physically at that point, but spiritually, cut off being alienated from the source of life. His mind became darkened. The Fall also produced effects on him physically, he suffered from heat and cold. He could only live by the sweat of his brow. Where once he was a lord of creation, now subject to it and was afraid of wild animals and so on.
    Worse was going to effect him as the ravishes of sin worked in him. He experienced fear, anger, hatred, and lately he aged and died.

    There was nothing Godward man could do at all. He was not only a sinner, a rebel against God, hopelessly lost and there was nothing he could do about it.

    If on the other hand you mean man is clever, inventive and adaptable being, yes, he is. But Godward part from Christ finished work and life applied to him, the modern man, just like Adam
    became hopelessly and completely lost.

    • ignatius says:

      Go to the online catechism or, better still new Advent Catholic encyclopedia online…put ‘The Fall’ into the search engine then spend the next hour patiently reading.

      • Nektarios says:


        I have just read the arguments, viz the Fall. The Catholic understanding of the Fall, along with the Catholic understanding of the Protestant view are both lets say, deficient.
        Deficient in this: The Fall impacted on Adam’s nature. This is much deeper than these arguments show. Nature that Adam had and why the Fall was so catastrophic for him and us, was the fact that that nature was spiritual.

        When the act of disobedience happened, the effect on Adam and all men of the nature of Adam consequently, were born spiritually dead.

        Secondly, there is a lack of understanding about the transmission. It is not a transmission of sin, per se, but a transmission of a spiritually dead nature.
        After that nature in Adam had died, he was left with what every human being has which Scripture elaborates on. a rebellious nature, a sinful nature active proceeding from a spiritually dead only nature, but active in his flesh. The Adamic nature is only dead to God and the spiritual realm.

        The main point here, there is nothing in the old fallen nature that responds to God.
        When man became fearful in his rebellion and sins committed in the flesh and being the clever descendants they are, they invented gods which are no gods, but invent them they did, and they worship such so-called deities all over the world.
        In the West the so-called sophisticated children of Adam, now worship at the shrines of
        money, pleasure and consumerism.

        God’s plan of Salvation in Christ, does not patch up the old Adamic nature, it is spiritually dead is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be. It’s dead.
        What Christ has done is to give us a new nature, we are a new creation altogether. He has given us a new Nature that is spiritually alive to God and will never die.This brings forth fruits of Righteousness, holiness, Godly fear and so on.
        We will never reach perfection in this life as we battle against the old nature, but one day, we will be free on this old nature and we shall then appear before God without spot or wrinkle and forever be with Him.

      • Vincent says:

        Spiritually dead? By no means. Absence of sanctifying grace? Yes. Subject to concupiscence? Yes. Were he to lose his spiritual nature he would no longer be a human being. But, because he is made in the image and likeness of God, he retains reason which allows him to distinguish between good and evil, and has the freedom to choose.

      • Nektarios says:


        Your view however flies in the face of Holy Scriptures.

  11. Alan says:

    Bleak, no more than utilitarian, lacking purpose, unable to answer all the questions, doomed!

    On the other hand, don the spectacles the oxford professor recommends, transcend the limitations of reason and evidence, and all these disappointments go away. And those are far from the only benefits.

    But I’m critical of Pascal’s Wager for the same reason. It’s not the belief that has the most to offer me that I’m interested in.

    Could someone explain to me, where there is no conflict with reason or evidence, what limitation is there on faith or any faith based claim?

    • Quentin says:

      What limitation on faith? That’s a very searching question. and I think — rather than answering now — I will think about it for a day or two, with a view to posting something towards the end of the week.

    • Alan says:

      Humanism taught in religious education classes might not be strictly appropriate because of the nature of the beast, but it might be really interesting!

  12. Nektarios says:

    You wrote,Alan, “Could someone explain to me, where there is no conflict with reason or evidence, what limitation is there on faith or any faith based claim?”

    I can give you answer, which you may agree or disagree with and it is this: A soul that has believed in Christ, made peace with God, and know the love of God and His unreachable riches, for that soul, there is no conflict with reason or evidence. But also such have a reason from the new nature all are given who truly believe.

    Your second question you ask, ” what limitation is there on faith or any faith based claim?

    There are two main limitations on the Christian faith and these are: Our own spiritual state
    at any time – even so Jesus could say, ‘blessed are those who having not seen, yet have believed your testimony.’ In other words through our human limitation many have come to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. There is in all that, the limitation of words to describe, but sufficient, that by God’s grace they come to believe.

    The second limitation of the Christian faith, is the day it will be finally done away with altogether and be surplus to requirements. Faith shall be swallowed up by sight and victory on that day and such shall stand before God as His children, the sons of God.
    Here, faith gives a Christian a foretaste of the spiritual life, but it is not as though we have already arrived into the fulness of our Salvation, for we see through a glass darkly, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can see our steps one at a time. ‘For it has not yet entered into the heart of man all the things God has prepared for them that love Him.’

    Just one last thing, Alan, trying to climb up to heaven intellectually, is not possible, but faith is not without reason and understanding.

  13. ignatius says:


    You have already many answers but I would like you to flesh this question of yours out a little. Are you asking about the limits of which things may occur in a persons life because they have ‘faith’? Are you asking what things a person may believe? A little more detail with perhaps an example would help a lot in accurately dealing with your question.

    • Alan says:


      By way of example I might take Quentin’s point that believers often feel that a Universe without cause, or “something from nothing” as I have heard it described, requires more faith than the idea of supernatural Creator. I suspect that behind this assessment of the “amount” of faith required to believe either view is some degree of reasoning. Indeed I have listened to constructed arguments on the shortcomings of a materialistic view of the origin/cause of everything.
      Similarly, besides reasoning, evidence too can place constraints on faith. Few now would argue that the Earth is the centre of everything and that all else moves around us. It isn’t faith that modified our views on that I don’t think.
      So I was wondering what limit or measure there is of faith where reason and evidence aren’t a factor. Are there any constraints at all? Do two faith based claims that are beyond the scope of reason or evidence have equal merit? What if they conflicted?
      I hope that helps a bit. I’m not sure if it does!

  14. Iona says:

    Thank you Horace, – off to read it now.

  15. ignatius says:

    Your view however flies in the face of Holy Scriptures.”

    Hmmm, does it now?

    Genesis ch 6 v9:

    This is the story of Noah: Noah was a good man, a man of integrity among his contemporaries, and he walked with God’

    Genesis ch 14 v 17-18
    Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and water; he was a priest of God the most High. He pronounced this blessing: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, creator of heaven and earth and blessed be God Most High for handing over your enemies to you’
    Job Ch 1 v8-10

    “So Yahweh asked him (satan) ‘Did you notice my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth: a sound and honest man who fears God and shuns evil..”

    Exodus ch33 v10
    And Yahweh would speak with Moses. When they saw the pillar of cloud stationed at the entrance to the Tent , all the people would rise and bow low, each at the door of his tent. Yahweh would speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks with his friend.

  16. ignatius says:

    Quite clear I would have thought, if you follow your own drift that is. However if I must spell it out here it is again:
    Here is Vincent once more:

    “Spiritually dead? By no means. Absence of sanctifying grace? Yes. Subject to concupiscence? Yes. Were he to lose his spiritual nature he would no longer be a human being. But, because he is made in the image and likeness of God, he retains reason which allows him to distinguish between good and evil, and has the freedom to choose…”

    You tell Vincent his view flies in the face of what you call ” Holy scripture” Seeing this as partial I give a few examples of where scripture does indeed note that man is capable of good. Can’t really see why that is so difficult for you but here is another which tells us our nature is wounded but not unable to choose good and that this is the basic catholic position regarding the fall and its effects on Mankind.

    Here’s another for you:

    Deuteronomy ch30 v11
    “Now what I am commanding you today s not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”

    • Nektarios says:

      I am surprised at you, Ignatius, You cannot just take Holy Scripture as a plaything and fire texts at me without any context or wrestling from its meaning as it relates in other parts of Holy Writ to supposedly back up an erroneous idea of Vincent’s. It is also very dangerous.

      Since the Fall Scripture has this to say, “There is no righteous, no not one”.

      Without making this an extremely long posting incurring the wrath of Quentin on my head,
      I will only say this: In OT times and until Christ came the effects of sin, rebellion against God in the world was self- evident.
      I did not say, man was totally spiritually dead, but towards God man was, and still is apart from those who believe on Christ and are to be found in Him.

      You have to see in the texts you selected who is talking. It is God talking. He declares who is or who is not righteous. We don’t go around seeking to add to that or establish our own.

      In OT times, the people that looked forward to the coming Messiah were deemed righteous by God, having believed His promises to them not because they were righteous in themselves, but had it imputed to them as righteousness by God.

  17. ignatius says:

    I see, so in fact, when you say ‘Holy scriptures’ you mean your theological understanding of “Holy scriptures”…its not just possible to accept that when the bible says Job was a good man, that it means what it says and that he was in fact one? Equally that when God spoke to the Hebrews in Deuteronomy he was lying, in fact it wasn’t possible for them to understand him at all, perhaps he was just joshing around?

    • ignatius says:

      PS I have read Romans by the way.

    • Nektarios says:

      My theological understanding of Holy Scriptures, yes I have that, but that was not what I was referring to. I was referring to the common enough practice these days of quoting Scripture(s) to back up an argument without due care to the context; the Apostolic teaching as presented to us in the Bibles a whole.
      As a preacher of the Gospel, semi-retired, I am not at liberty to play such wild dangerous games.

      No, God does not lie, but our understanding can sometimes be deficient, having not reached spiritual maturity, which has nothing to do with one physical age.
      I don’t quite understand what you are getting at in your last sentence, but I am not spoiling for an argument.
      Since you mention dear Job, consider what Job did when God spoke to him and asked him, “Where were you when I hung the earth on nothing….” it might be wise to take a leaf out of his book, and do likewise?

  18. Vincent says:

    Forgive the quote — Rom 2.13-15 from New International Version (NIV)

    “13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) ”

    If the unredeemed nevertheless recognise God’s law in their hearts, and can respond through their consciences, how can they be spiritually dead to God?

    • Nektarios says:

      The old fallen nature cannot respond to God’s Law. What you quote of the Apostle Paul’s
      in Romans is if you continue to read, is an argument against the old nature, fallen can be declared righteous.
      In the natural man in his fallen state, he may see how right it is but he has no desire to keep it. That situation is all of us in our natural state.
      Man may be dead to the one true God, but God is not dead to man. He is not content to leave man in the terrible state sin has wrought in man spiritually. Hence God came down in the Person of the Son of God, the only Saviour of the World.

      • Vincent says:

        Nektarios, I am not trying to give a theological seminar, merely asking how St Paul’s words square with your claim that (fallen) natural man is ipso facto dead to God. Have you never met good people yet who are not believers? Or never met religious people, punctilious in their observances, who have missed the whole point of loving God and neighbour?

  19. Brendan says:

    ‘ Positive humanism ‘ so called by atheists , along with subjective humanism ( which could be included in religion ; but not congruent with religion , thus giving a false impression ) is merely a construct of human nature without reference to God. As an ideology of life then , it is purely an academic subject. Because of this , it has no place in religious education/ studies , the aim of which is to answer the fundamental question of ‘ why ‘ we are here with complete reference to a Prime Mover – God.
    In our world of moral relativism and religious syncretism ; to include it with religion is tantamount to scoring a home goal against relgious faith/ belief in favour of its adversaries.

  20. ignatius says:

    “As a preacher of the Gospel, semi-retired, I am not at liberty to play such wild dangerous games.”

    Then stop doing so and stop trying to lay down the law about what is written in “Holy Scripture”

    You should know that there are several themes in scripture as to the value of deeds. I have above simply opened up a tiny thread of the trail of scripture from Genesis to Revelation via the psalms which talks of the value of our acts in terms of the way we live being pleasing or displeasing to God:
    Psalm 119 for example:
    Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.
    Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
    James Ch 2:
    “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did?

    As you know one could also add about half of Isaiah and Jeremiah before even mentioning Annias and Sapphira or most of the parables. So the point of all this is that since most of the bible is interested in how a man chooses to act it is fairly safe to assume that God sees man as still responsible for his actions and still able to please God by his deeds and the attitudes of his heart even though he is undoubtedly fallen in his nature. Hence the Catholic view which does not fly in the face of Holy Scripture at all but tries to balance it against itself.I strongly suggest you make your way through the catechism again but this time check all the scripture references as you go, they are at the bottom of the page.

  21. Nektarios says:


    Then stop doing so and stop trying to lay down the law about what is written in “Holy Scripture”

    I am wondering why it is you think I am laying down the law about what is written in Holy Scriptures.
    I am sorry you get that impression, totally unintended. However I am qualified and have my vocation so can help others discover what the Scriptures teach.

  22. ignatius says:


    ” Your view however flies in the face of Holy Scriptures..”

    This rather implies, does it not that you know what the holy scriptures do and do not say and that you are qualified to judge as to correct and incorrect interpretations of scripture?

    Perhaps you might try adding a small caveat such as: ‘as far as I can see’
    or: ‘according to my understanding’ or, maybe even closer to the truth: “According to the doctrine I have been taught” Caveats are good things.

  23. Nektarios says:


    I don’t know all that Holy Scriptures means.There are heights and depths and widths I have yet to plummet.
    As for social caveats, point taken.

  24. Brendan says:

    Following on from the incongruence of teaching ideological humanism/ atheistic humanism ; ” Young people will have already come into contact with humanist values……….It could be an advantage to understand the ungodly , and to have grasped their inadequacies.” Indeed , ‘ forewarned is forearmed .’
    On the question of accentuating/praising ‘ diversity ‘ as being the best way to realising harmony in British society today : I was in conversation last week with a Muslim British-Asian of Bangladeshi origin ( currently working towards a Ph.D in Religious Education ) . Our shared interest of course was in promoting a set of values in common – given our differing religious beliefs – in the social context . In a multicultural society with many religions and none ; the proposition of promoting a set of ‘ British Values ‘ ( David Cameron style ) on first sight seems an impossible task ,in finding agreement across the board.
    In the interests of acknowledging diversity inclusive of humanistic/ atheistic ideology ; all parties ( religious/non-religious ) could arrive at a set of basic coherent moral values representative of British life today . This could be taught in our secondary schools curriculum under ‘ citizenship .’ The great value of this , is to leave religion/ religious studies the sole preserve of those committed to promoting religion in an educative context.
    Thus harmony would be preserved in society , by the ‘ religious ‘ and the ‘ humanist ‘ having a ‘ peak ‘ at each others contrary perspective on life , while not feeling themselves threatened in anyway and finding recourse to intolerant behaviour towards each other.
    My fellow ‘ Brit ‘ seemed very taken with this idea.

    • Brendan says:

      P.s. After … ” contrary perspective on life ”….. insert …” being conditioned by an agreed set of ‘ British values ‘…….”

      • G.D. says:

        Brendan, wish you hadn’t included ‘ ( David Cameron style ) ‘ & the P.S. Both of which makes me think of ‘1984’ social conditioning and abolition of free will according to the ‘leaders’ whims.
        It ruined a very excellent post for me.

    • Quentin says:

      I don’t disagree. The Marby judgment on this does not insist that humanism should be part of the GCSE religious studies, but that the law requires that pupils should be also be aware of the humanist and other secular views which are held in society.

  25. Brendan says:

    G.D. I’ve never thought of the term ‘ anti-theist ‘ humanitarian or in its application to individuals. I sense by your own words a bit of ‘ nitpicking ‘ on my part. I don’t see that ” all ” antitheists are necessary non-humanitarian. The feelings – compassion, altruism etc. are shared by all humanity ;
    unless there is a sociopathic tendency prevalent in some individuals.
    I have to go out now. So I’ll pick this up a little later, G.D.

    • G.D. says:

      The ANTI-theist (as in against theists) who work to destroy religion, who have no compassion for religious beliefs in others. Is what i meant by not humanitarian.
      Atheists I know are very humanitarian. They have no objection (are not ‘anti’) to others having belief.
      And maybe i should have said ‘it marred your excellent post for me’. Ruined my ‘jest’ using too strong a word.

    • St.Joseph says:

      I have had a quick peek into the posts here and noticed that there are a few disputes on Scripture..reading.
      I have always been a bit puzzled by the comparison between two-individuall sayings of Jesus
      So I often wonder- and as there seems to be a few different thoughts on Scripture perhaps someone can explain what Jesus meant when He said ‘Unless you eat my Body and drink my Blood you can not have Life in you’.Then again He asks His Father,when on the Cross, ‘Father forgive them for they not not what they do.’Luke 23-34.

      I expect some will say ‘every one will be given the opportunity to know God’.
      But are they? If we are still searching for Him as Christians!

      • Martha says:

        I wonder of Our Lord was speaking specifically to His apostles and followers about eating His Body and Blood, but not meaning it for those who would not have the opportunity?
        Good to see you back making comments!

      • overload says:

        St J, some thoughts and opinions to your question…

        1) The Lord lives “over all and through all and in all” things—including, with faith, all foods and drinks!

        2) “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word from the mouth of God”. Jesus is The Word. And every word from His mouth is also of His body & blood (living food & drink). Everything created is, in it’s inherent truth and goodness, the spoken Word of God; and in the light of the cross (whether occurring before or after our Lord came): the body & blood of Christ.

        3) Jesus said “my food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to complete his work”. And we in turn are nourished of Jesus by doing His will unto completing His work; which we cannot do lest—in one way or another—He be living in and through us. So to eat of Christ’s body in one way or another is to do His will. This is just as if we eat food: if it is effectively absorbed & utilised by our bodies, it will naturally be translated into bodily substance & energy (comes to fruition).

        4) To do His will (free grace) we must first have faith (gift of grace) to believe in Him. In the consecrated active sense, this means to hear the gospel and to believe in the Name of Jesus: my God and Saviour! (which is to drink His blood.) And henceforth to thus confess, which at default is to respond to the call to water-Baptism (which is to eat of his body). The CCC says that Baptism alone—whether of water or desire or blood—is sufficient for Salvation.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Thank you for your thoughts.

  26. Brendan says:

    Good to hear from you St. Joseph! Quentin, thank you for that clarification ( Marby Judgement ).
    G.D. – I use the word ‘ conditioned ‘ not in the sense of indoctrination , but in the purely educational sense to present an atmosphere for points for discussion. In this respect I trust in the end ; that the long tradition of British common sense will produce balance in this area of educating our children. Of course the will to change must be uppermost in our politicians minds.

    • G.D. says:

      Ah! Apologies; that changes the whole flavour. And would produce fair minded generations for the future!
      Politicians that think that way are few and far between I’m sad to say.
      But if your idea(ology?) takes off there is hope yet. Thank you.

  27. Brendan says:

    St. Joseph – your question would be paradoxical to all Christians if it we not for the presence of workings of the Seven Sacraments ,solely held by The Catholic Church , and to my understanding validly held by Orthodox Christianity.
    My understanding following The CCC and lived experience , is that by the Sacraments of Initiation ( Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist ) we are made anew and brought into the living body of Christ – His Church; receiving the supernatural graces necessary to effect/secure our presence. We still find ourselves ” searching for Him ” because this ‘initiation ‘ does not stop our propensity towards sin. Only the acquisition of actual ( habitual ) graces towarsd/through continual repentance ( Sacrament of Reconciliation ) and near death ( Sacrament of the Sick/Extreme Unction ) can lead us to the supernatural graces necessary for Holiness ( Divine life in Christ ) . The Sacraments of Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders are the means by which we are given the supernatural graces to live in that state and the means to give of ourselves Christlike , to others. Thus , every second of every day Christs Church ( in the fullness of our Faith ) plots out and encourages us to complete salvation ( salve-action ) in Christ towards that eternal reward.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Brendan. Thank you for you comment
      You speak from your heart and from the belief of Christianity that we as Catholics believe,and to which we have known all our life thank the Lord.
      That seems a long haul for those who do not seem to appreciate the value of the saving power of the Church to which we should never stop thanking God for..and what He left us.

      The good theif was taken up with Jesus when He died on the Cross .a sinner and the other wasn’t .Why?

      Yes it is good to be able to post again when I am able to, It keeps my mind active ,only another 8 chemos and counting down!
      Thank you all for your prayers.

      • Brendan says:

        Well put St.Joseph . This is the church we know , built on solid rock not shifting sand. Christ told us to pray continually ….and we will. God Bless you !

  28. Iona says:

    St. Joseph, you ask why? (the two thieves crucified with Jesus). – Because he acknowledged his sins and made a direct appeal: remember me when you come into your kingdom.
    As for the other thief, we’re not actually told what became of him.
    Indeed yeds, it’s good to see you back!

  29. St.Joseph says:

    Thank you for your reply.I wouuld like to explain to you why the question Why?
    My son is taking me to Holy Mas now and a little shopping, but I will go into more detail later.

  30. St.Joseph says:

    The point I was making i on the 2nd December at 11.21 am, with regards to Jesus’ two comments from Scripture. One having Life in us if we do not eat or drink His Body and Blood.-

    The second thief jeered Jesus and asked Him to prove Himself-could others but could not save Himself.
    Jesus asked His Father to forgive them as they know not what they do.

    Jesus spoke in Scripture about Hell, Our Lady showed the children of Fatima Hell and Holy Mothetr Church teaches that it exists.

    Perhaps Christians are now too complacent regarding Eternal damnation
    It is not up to us to judge who goes there but perhaps if more was spoken about it especially in terms of abortion and therefore placing those who do not fear God at the risk of losing their soul.
    it would be appropriate. especially as Jesus did.
    He did not mind upsetting people because of Truth.

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