Dispatches: In God's Name (and a proper response)

Just watched this and I think I've got a little sick in my mouth.

As Christianity becomes smaller and more marginalised in the UK a certain core of it becomes more and more extreme to in an attempt to preserve itself. We have to hope that the mainstream, reasonable UK Christians will fight strongly against this ridiculous shit and kick up a fuss. And if they don't then shame on them. Seriously, we've creationism in UK schools, homophobes and pro-life lobbyists manipulating Judges and bills and all the while they are hiding the fact they think the world is "about 4000" years old. That and Jerry Springer the Opera haters Christian voice were in the show, holding meetings where they ask God to push back the floods of evil (aka Islam). And their leader saying that "Allah is Satan." 


This is 'the-shit-we-laugh-at-America-for' on our doorstep.

Half the time I think the proper response is to carefully and politely deconstruct their arguments and promote reality, but I'm starting to think that we need to talk to them on their level. For example when a Creationist disproved evolution by demonstrating that you never find new life when you open a jar of peanut butter, I wrote a response about statistics and the Urey Miller experiment

But maybe I should have done this:



I wonder, if this was the only kind of response Creationists could get would they be doing better or worse?

25 comments:

Claire said...

Hello,

I'm a new Skeptobot reader- I came here via B3ta but it's always nice to read skeptical UK blogs rather than just the US stuff.

When I was 16 I fell in with this lot (the Pentacostal Christians to be precise) and despite now having been a happy little atheist for quite some time I always find people react in wonder when I tell them these people, these schools, these opinions exist in this country- not only that but they're building quite a following for themselves. I think you're right when you talk about polarisation, ie as religion is more and more discredited more people move to the religious extremes. I follow what the xian right do in the US and I keep hoping it could never happen here to the same degree, but you can't be complacent about it as this programme proves.

I read what fundy eejits write on the Internet all the time, and yet watching these people talking nonsense still made me feel nauseous.

I actually rang Channel 4 and told them how good I thought the programme was- not the sort of thing I'd normally do but I thought giving them some encouragement for airing stuff that isn't Big Brother couldn't be a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, I want to make it clear that I am a Christian. Secondly, I am undecided as to whether the world is only 4000 or 6000-odd-years as some have suggested. However, I tend to err on the side of this not being the case as modern day science seem to point to a much older universe.

I just want to make two points, both of which I consider are extremely important for Christian today to understand:

1) Christians must hold grace and truth in equal proportion to each other.

Truth, because without stating what is real we fall away from what is best, both for every individual person and on a corporate level across society. Truth, because without it what is the point of believing or trusting anything said or done by a man that said: "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life." Without a knowledge and a proclamation of the truth, the Christian faith is finished.

Part of proclaiming the truth is stating what is wrong, stating what is bad - therefore is against and hurts God - and standing up for justice. This means standing up for unborn children in the womb. The pictures that we have seen of "fetuses" at 22 weeks show that there is a life there. Everyone must stand up for that life and Christians, who understand the truth that life is sacred, must stand up for the life too!

Grace, however, is equally important. Grace is about being the person of love the God was in the person of Jesus. God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for all the wrong things, sin, that each and every one of us has done. Christians must also show that same love because of what Jesus did. To live in light of God's love and sacrifice means to show grace and mercy to those who, like ourselves are far, far from perfect and thus far, far from God's perfect standard of goodness. This means that we are not to shout hell, fire and brimstone to those who are, at present, away from God.
We must state the truth that we have come to know but to do it is love is the greatest thing.
Truth and grace in EQUAL proportion. Neither can be more important or else Christians will have nothing to say or they'll say it in a way that no one wants to listen to understand.

In the documentary there was, no doubt, error. The main one being what it means to be a "fundamentalist". It should mean that the bible and its passages are understood within their context, literary form and purpose. For example, Christians do not follow many of the Old Testament laws because they purpose, to point people to God, is now fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is not about semantics. It is not about the actual words, but about the purpose, and the context into which, those words were written. Hence, there is a strong case to argue the description of creation was, in fact, more about addressing some of the key lies of the day. The sun and moon, instead of being objects of worship, were actually created all God according to the creation story described in the Bible. They are not to be worshiped but are meant to point to their Creator.

To summarize, the two key things I would like to draw up are:
- The understanding of fundamentalist is incorrect (both by Christians in the episode e.g. Camel School, and the producers).
-There was far too much truth, in appropriately, and sometimes inaccurately, expressed and no way near enough grace. In short, if Jesus was walking on earth today he would certainly be asking the school, Steven etc, "What are you doing? Do you understand the grace that I have shown you? Now show that grace to others too!"

mattvaughan said...

Despite the fact that I'm a Christian, I couldn't agree more. Watching Steven Green lambast gay people and call Allah Satan made me feel sick.
For what it's worth, I, as a reasonable Christian (well, I like to think so...) want to disassociate myself from this hateful nonsense. Your criticisms are all valid, but please don't think that all Christians are like this. Not all Christians think that the earth is "about 4,000 years old"!
The kind of hatred and anger in the programme is totally unrepresentative of the teachings of Jesus. We are called to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. Please don't think that the crackpots on Dispatches represent all Christians!

jdc325 said...

Was Ms Williams QC the woman who asked for the camera to be turned off when she was asked about the age of the earth and the interviewer contradicted her vague guess of 4,000 years, making reference to carbon dating etc? She also turned her mic off when she was asked about the Islamophobia and 'Allah is satan' comments of her fellow travellers. Her total inability to answer Modell's questions was staggering (she didn't seem top know what she believed) and her childish and whiny pleas to turn the cameras off hilarious.

I was heartened by the public response to the homophobic Islamophobe though - good to see his leaflets being binned and people challenging his bigotry.

Lave said...

Hi Claire, it's nice to see you! Interesting to see you have first hand experience of this kind of thing, looking in from the outside you always wonder how accurate the documentary is. Good idea on ringing Channel 4. I think I'll send them an email too.

Anonymous: thanks for your email, I think the biggest stumbling block between religion and myself is it's talk of "truth." The world is a flexible, confusing thing - with new things changing the world every day. Our ideas change every day, and we need to hope our "Truths" slowly get better and better. Rather than try and mold a book to constantly represent our current morals.


Matt: Of course I don't! But it does bring an important issue up. These extreme viewpoints are often propped up (unwittingly) by reasonable Christians. Especially (like jdc325 mentions) when people like Ms Williams are so insidious with their beliefs - carefully hiding, obscuring and literally censoring themselves depending on who they are talking too. For example If she met you she would hide all her ridiculous beliefs, but bring them back out if she was talking to the Christian Voice.

Writing this site for 2 years now has made me notice that a lot of publc religious figures do it.

Or it's like Catholicism, a huge proportion of Catholics in the Western world don't agree with the Pope's stance of Birth Control or Homosexuality. So they just ignore him and carry on with their lives. But their support backs up the Vatican telling developing countries that HIV can pass through small holes in condoms - so they are useless.

Thats why I think it's so important that UK Christians fight these ridiculous people along side the atheists, humanists and scientists.

Lave said...

jdc35: "I was heartened by the public response to the homophobic Islamophobe though - good to see his leaflets being binned and people challenging his bigotry."

Damn straight, it gives you hope that all is not lost yet.

mattvaughan said...

Yeah, I agree. She didn't do herself any favours by ducking questions and not preparing herself adequately. And perhaps sensible Christians should stand up more and disassociate ourselves from people who make up all that crap about condoms, or who say that dead US soldiers are God's punishment on the US for their acceptance of homosexuality (see Fred Phelps). Attitudes like that are appalling enough on their own, but when contrasted with the teachings of Jesus and the early church, which I think are utterly beautiful, they're even worse. Trust me, it wasn't fun watching Dispatches last night. I didn't know whether to cringe or cry.
I personally don't believe in a 7 day creation of the world, or that the world is 4,000 years old, or that evolution is disproved by a jar of peanut butter (seriously, that guy makes me cringe). I don't believe that Christianity and science are mutually exclusive - far from it. But I do believe that truth, as a concept, is not entirely relative. I believe that Jesus' teachings are valid for today, and that a society based upon them would be perfect. That doesn't mean that I understand everything in the Bible - bits of it really stick in my throat, I confess - but I believe and trust that it is the word of God.
Was it Bertrand Russell who said that the problem with the world is that idiots are cocksure, and intelligent people are full of doubt? I think it applies to Christians too. Steven Green may be sure of everything he says, but I'm unwilling to join him in handing out leaflets saying that gay people are going to hell. I really want to ask your forgiveness for that, because it's painful to watch.

Lave said...

"I really want to ask your forgiveness for that, because it's painful to watch."

You can't have my forgiveness 'cos you didn't do anything wrong! That's like me apologising because Steven Green is white. I'm glad that Atheists, Humanists and the Religious *all* think he's a idiot.

"I believe that Jesus' teachings are valid for today, and that a society based upon them would be perfect. "

It's important to note that these people doing crazy things are trying to make a society just like that. Thats the important divide I think, using Jesus' teachings to influence your life and pushing Jesus' teachings on everyone. One is helpful - one is incredibly harmful.

Glad to have you posting Matt!

Claire said...

Lave- re accuracy of the documentary, from what I remember it is quite the understatement! It's important that the programme made the links between this movement and lobbying the govt- I think a lot of people are quick to dismiss people like that as "just a bunch of nutters" and don't see how they can have an influence.

I'm glad on a personal level to see the results of the parliamentary votes yesterday and today though.

Mattvaughan- You don't need to ask forgiveness for people like Stephen Green and I am sure most people are aware that the vast majority of people describing themselves as Christian do not agree with his views or anything like them. It is great that you are speaking out against those people though- moderate and liberal Christians really need to do that, because when it comes to the political arguments of the extremists, they are keen to use all Christians in their statistics and imply that you all agree when they're trying to get their way.

The more obvious it is that they represent a tiny minority with little support, the less likely they are to affect anything and pretend they are speaking for you.

Anonymous said...

I found this programme Not only distribing but sorry in away for the "real" Christain's who dont force it down peoples throats

mattvaughan said...

The thing is, all absolutist religions believe that their truth is valid for everyone in the world. Christians believe that everyone should have the opportunity to respond to Jesus. I certainly wouldn't want to force it onto anyone - that's patently not the point, and entirely contradicts what Jesus commanded - but I would want people to hear the good news, because I really believe that it IS good news. For me, it's a matter of doing that in the way Jesus would want - peacefully, lovingly, and sacrificially, if need be.
I wouldn't want to take up any more of your time, but it has been nice debating things with intelligent people. As long as you're aware that not all Christians are bigoted, hate-filled creeps like Steven Green, I'm happy!
If anyone wants to continue the discussion, mattjvaughan at googlemail.com is where you'll find me.

Lin Huang said...

caihuanglin20150603
timberland boots
louis vuitton outlet
nike air max
prada shoes
timberland boots
christian louboutin
jordan retro
abercrombie
ralph lauren polo shirts
abercrombie
michael kors handbags
mont blanc pens
oakley sunglasses
coach outlet store online
louis vuitton
toms outlet
cheap jerseys
jordan 11s
abercrombie kids
christian louboutin sale
chanel handbags
jordan 13
michael kors handbags
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin sale
fitflop shoes
hogan shoes
hollister clothing store
michael kors outlet
jordan 11 gamma blue
hollister clothing
lebron james shoes
coach outlet store online
ralph lauren sale
michael kors
christian louboutin shoes
louis vuitton outlet
fitflops
oakley sunglasses
hollister

chenlina said...

chenlina20151126
gucci outlet
louis vuitton
oakley sunglasses cheap
louis vuitton outlet
ugg boots outlet
louis vuitton handbags
cheap ray ban sunglasses
the north face uk
ugg outlet
cheap toms
oakley outlet
hollister co
pandora outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
michael kors bag
nike huarache shoes
coach outlet
coach outlet store online
p90x
oakley sunglasses
oakley sunglasses
abercrombie & fitch
louis vuitton handbags
ralph lauren outlet
cheap jordans
michael kors outlet online
cheap oakley sunglasses
michael kors handbags
jordan concords
louis vuitton outlet
north face jackets
louis vuitton outlet
oakley outlet
michael kors outlet
kobe 9
jordan concords
michael kors handbags
abercrombie fitch
louis vuitton purses
michael kors outlet
as

Pnane Weg said...

nike clearance
ferragamo belts
jordan 11
converse shoes
michael kors store
michael kors sale
gucci shoes
north face clearance
jordan outlet
columbia outlet stores
coach factory outlet online
Coach Factory Outlet Online
supra for sale
coach outlet
supras shoes
fitflops sale
fitflop clearance
jordan 12
Michael Kors Handbags
kevin durant shoes
christian louboutin outlet
cheap toms shoes
celine outlet
michael kors outlet online sale
coach handbags
jordan 12
north face
nike outlet
kd basketball shoes
christian louboutin outlet
louboutin shoes
michael kors purses sale
jordans for women
michael kors outlet
fake jordans
timberland boots for women
michael kors bags
MK Bags
joes new balance outlet
qwe1.20

Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160601
louis vuitton handbags
cheap toms
cheap air jordans
tory burch boots
hollister clothing store
polo ralph lauren
pandora charms
nike store uk
coach factory outlet
discount jordans
louis vuitton
coach outlet
true religion outlet
oakley outlet
louis vuitton outlet stores
christian louboutin sale
cheap jordans
ray bans
toms outlet
coach outlet
adidas factory outlet
adidas outlet store
hollister jeans
ray bans
jordan 6s
toms wedges
nike outlet store
lebron 12
air force 1 trainers
louis vuitton handbags
nfl jerseys
gucci bags
oakley sunglasses
nike blazers uk
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors
coach outlet store online
hollister clearance
nike free 5.0
michael kors handbags

Gege Dai said...

chrome hearts
ugg outlet online
fitflops outlet sale
tiffany and co jewelry
louis vuitton handbags outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
kate spade uk
nike tn pas cher
louis vuitton pas cher
ralph lauren uk
ray ban sunglasses
asics,asics israel,asics shoes,asics running shoes,asics israel,asics gel,asics running,asics gel nimbus,asics gel kayano
pandora outlet
tory burch outlet online
hollister clothing store
replica watches
ray-ban sunglasses
ferragamo shoes
abercrombie outlet
air max 90
coach outlet online
mlb jerseys
ralph lauren uk
hermes outlet
michael kors outlet online
fitflops shoes
hollister clothing
ralph lauren femme
true religion canada
louis vuitton handbags
coach outlet online
louis vuitton bags
michael kors outlet store
chrome hearts sunglasses
michael kors handbags
czq20160728

chenlina said...

louis vuitton outlet
adidas originals
nba jerseys
michael kors outlet clearance
polo ralph lauren
coach outlet
timberland boots
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton borse
toms shoes sale
coach outlet
polo ralph lauren
louis vuitton handbags
cheap uggs
coach outlet online
the north face
air jordan 13
jordan retro 3
designer handbags
mont blanc
ugg canada
adidas originals shoes
michael kors outlet
ralph lauren outlet
san antonio spurs jerseys
moncler paris
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton handbags
curry 3
pandora jewelry
true religion jeans
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
gucci handbags
adidas yeezy
tods shoes
hollister outlet
louis vuitton outlet
nfl jerseys wholesale
coach factory outlet
chenlina20160903

LCc 03 said...

adidas stan smith women
michael kors outlet store
cheap nfl jerseys
links of london
adidas tubular
adidas nmd runner
cheap air jordan
chrome hearts outlet
http://www.cheapairjordan.us
timberland outlet

龙大猫 said...

patriots jersey
adidas ultra
tiffany and co uk
true religion jeans
ultra boost
nike zoom
ralph lauren online
adidas tubular runner
air jordan shoes
air jordan retro
achang

chenmeinv0 said...

cheap mlb jerseys
polo ralph lauren
coach outlet store online
christian louboutin heels
michael kors outlet online
michael kors outlet clearance
adidas yeezy 350 v2
gucci outlet online
ecco shoes outlet
pandora rings
2017.2.27xukaimin

LCc 03 said...

links of london outlet store
adidas tubular
af1
roshe shoes
kobe shoes
kobe bryant shoes
patriots jersey
jordan shoes
kobe shoes
michael kors handbags

caiyan said...

rangers jerseys
true religion outlet online
nike uk
birkenstock outlet
coach outlet online
cheap jordan shoes
yeezy shoes
christian louboutin shoes
polo ralph lauren
kate spade handbags
0328shizhong

Unknown said...

bengals jersey
ed hardy uk
michael kors handbags wholesale
cheap jordan shoes
new england patriots jerseys
nike air huarache
michael kors outlet
hugo boss
coach outlet
ralph lauren outlet
20170401

chenmeinv0 said...

gucci outlet
abercrombie and fitch
ugg boots
adidas soccer shoes
vibram fivefingers
san antonio spurs jerseys
michael kors handbags
chelsea jersey
minnesota vikings jerseys
red bottoms
20174.8chenjinyan

dong dong23 said...

hermes birkin bag
lebron 11 shoes
coach outlet store online clearances
adidas outlet
adidas outlet
coach outlet
air jordan
coach factory online
adidas nmd
true religion jeans
2017.5.17chenlixiang