Ivan Foster on Ian Paisley

Amid the general eulogies and accolades being given to Dr. Paisley now he is standing down there have been dissenting voices; Jim Allister has decried Paisley’s legacy. In the Impartial Reporter (you need to register but it is free) Ivan Foster gives an interview about Dr. Paisley. Whilst personally, despite my religious views, I come at anti agreement unionism from a secular position and would not share all of Rev. Foster’s other views either; I find his analysis of how Paisley’s religious views led him into politics interesting:“In the early days of political activity, others were putting spiritual activities into the political realm. We were being forced by Terence O’Neill and others who were putting ecumenism into practice by promoting better relations with Republicanism. They wanted to forget the past in the spiritual realm; forgetting the past teaching of reformers. We rejected this new unity based on old falsehood,”

Foster notes: “It was Ian Paisley who constantly quoted Luke chapter six: ‘Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.’ For those of us who lived through the O’Neill must go days all this is like a déjà vu in reverse.”

And the final comment seems spoken more in sorrow than anger: “the days of conversions, of God’s people separating from the apostasy of the ecumenical churches.”

Although I would not agree with all of what Ivan Foster says and I suspect many of you will be much less supportive; I think it is worth a read if people want a further understanding of some of the views present amongst some fundamentalists in Northern Ireland. It also illustrates that there are significantly divergent views amongst such people and within their organisations. Alternatively you may wish to denounce me as a bigoted idiot; it will be neither the first nor I deem the last time.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Idiot perhaps . bigotted never!

  • Bretagne

    Turgon. My first vist for a wee while..

    Indeed worth the read – my own take (and more in
    bewilderment than anger) is – are there really that many free prebyterians who directly and squarely equate what T O’Neill was trying to do with ecumenism?.

    That being so, I wonder why Free Presbyterians’s don’t look to set up more of their own schools as surely they see themselves as seaperatist from (all) other faiths..and I am wondering how Free Pesbyterians in ROI square faith with living with their neigbours of various faiths and none…

  • Turgon

    Pancho’s Horse,
    Thank you I think

    Bretagne,
    Again I am handicapped in answering by the fact that I am not a Free Presbyterian. My assorted in laws who are are purely religious and disinterested in politics. I think it is fair to say that in both Free Presbyterian and fundamentalist circles in general Foster would be regarded as on the more extreme end. He tends to be respected yet felt to be a bit over the top.

    People are, in general unwilling to speak ill of the harder line religious elements. On an unrelated topic which may give some light into fundamentalists: I can remember people teaching things to us as children which were clearly nonsense and at times anti scriptural nonsense but people were unwilling to publicly challenge them. In general there is a tendency the more extreme the comment the less willing people are to oppose it. Things seen as liberalism or ecumenism are denounced frequently. Things which are at times patent nonsense but are hard line fundamentalism are less often challenged.

    Coming back to Free Presbyterians; most I know (and I know quite a few) are in general very non political. I appreciate this is hard to believe but it is actually the case. As such I suspect they have little enough problem living in the RoI. The concept of separating yourself as a body of believers is frequently mentioned by Free Ps and that may also help explain it.

  • joeCanuck

    That struck me as bizarre, Bretagne.
    Perhaps Father Jack was right and everything is an ecumenical matter.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    you share with Fundamentalist Presbos the basic principle that those who kill are morally wrong and therfore unfit for government in Non Iron.

    Yet, those wearing a uniform who kill in your name in Iraq and were supported by the 2 main parties in Britain are however exempt from the commandment “thou shall not kill”. There is nothing but praise for the British armed forces who kill even though they now know they went to war on the back of a dodgy dossier. The scale of the moral irresponsibility of this British and American action is staggering.

    It is quite clear therefore, that moral objections to killers in governement tells you something about a person’s ideology and very little about their religion.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ I can remember people teaching things to us as children which were clearly nonsense and at times anti scriptural nonsense but people were unwilling to publicly challenge them.’

    Many Roman Catholics and other denominations and faiths could say the very same . FP and other fundies are no exception to this general rule . In rural Ireland standing up to the local Catholic clergy meant being socially ostracised -considered a crank or even worse a ‘communist or socialist’! I’m sure similar social pressures operate amidst FP communities and because of the relatively small numbers involved those pressures may be e ven more intense.

    Fear of the priest/pastor/druid/ witchdoctor / etc etc is a common theme in the history of religion . We can all be grateful that in this more secular age those who hold positions of authority in the Churches no longer have the power to torture or condemn to death non believers . Paisley ironically may yet have the distinction of being the last powerful priest politician on this island . One would hope so.

    I’d suggest that what is upsetting for many FP’s is they believed all too much in Paisley the politician . While it’s fine for fundamentalists to believe in the tenets of their faith and place their trust in their God, it has always struck me as naive that they would place the same degree of faith in a preacher politician . Any politician in Northern Ireland regardless of his/her faith cannot ignore or pretend into non existence the political realities and demographics which are local to that environment . Thus it was inevitable given the pressure from the UK for a political settlement- that power sharing was the only solution on offer which would forestall NI being ‘trundled ‘ into a UI.

    I remain intrigued at what brought about Paisley’s attitude change in the end . I wonder if he encountered a crisis of personal faith ? It is known to happen among the elderly as they start looking into the abyss at the end . He was /is an intelligent man and has read widely throughout his life. Perhaps he just kowtowed to the political realities and tried to put a brave face on it ? Some day we may know the real truth behind the conversion of Dr No to Dr Yes.

    In the meantime people in NI just have to hope that Paisley’s successors in their new found zeal for ‘biblical ‘ rectitude don’t bring Paisley’s temple down upon their own heads .

  • Greenflag

    ‘The scale of the moral irresponsibility of this British and American action is staggering.’

    That it is . But a lot less staggering than the moral irresponsibility of the European powers in World War 1. For four years the leaders of these powers sat idly by and watched millions of young Europeans go to their deaths for basically nothing -not even oil. I often wonder would that war have lasted 4 years if people back in the UK , Germany, France , Russia and Italy could have looked at the number of casualties being reported on a daily basis on their TV’s had they had them . The dead were conveniently buried in mass graves out of sight if not out of mind of their families .

    Excerpt

    From our ’embedded’ reporter at Ypres . ” British forces today Dec 20th 1917 launched a ground offensive against German positions and penetrated 500 yards behind enemy lines . 40,000 British soldiers died in the offensive nevertheless moral among the troops is still very high . Corporal Atkins of the Durhams said he’s looking forward to kicking the Kaiser out of his palace next week ‘ What a bunch of heroes are our lads ‘

    And yet for 4 years the Headquarters Commands of the European powers refused to admit the truth of desertions , suicides and abysmal moral among the troops .

    As we now hear the reports of the success of the surge amidst the bombings it should give us all pause to consider that this has happened before and given the human condition will no doubt happen again !

  • Dewi

    An evil, wicked man. Thank God he is out of it.

  • PaddyReilly

    I once knew a man whose hobby of a Sunday afternoon was asking difficult questions of Lord Soper (now sadly deceased) who declaimed his somewhat socialist version of religion from a stand in Speaker’s Corner, London. Being of working class origin and having little time for reading he was largely ignorant of the background of his prey and so I felt it incumbent on me to fill him in a little. Now the fact is many of the histories date the beginning of the troubles to Ian Paisley’s attack on Donald Soper at Ballymena:-

    http://republican-news.org/archive/2001/April05/05ianp.html

    Sure enough, the next Sunday your man started his onslaught on the Good Lord with the words “You started World War II and you started the Northern Ireland troubles!” The World War II gibe was due to Lord S’s pacifism in 1939. The troubles accusation was based on the logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    Lord S was somewhat surprised and asked him what he was talking about. On being told of his role in the history books, he remembered his visit to Ballymena. A very strange person in a clerical collar, almost frothing at the mouth, had attempted to interrupt the proceedings. Lord S, being long used to being heckled by the rabble of Speakers Corner and Tower Hill (such as your man supra), came out with the appropriate reposte:-

    Be careful, there are woodpeckers about!

    This infuriated the strange man all the more and it was then that he threw the bible mentioned in the hyperlink

  • Billy

    Turgon

    I would disagree with a lot of your views but I certainly don’t think you’re a bigot (or idiot).

    I would describe myself as a moderate Nationalist.

    I have nothing against Free Presbyterians. However, personally I find it difficult (and I think many Catholics would agree) to see Ivan Foster as a genuinely religious person.

    I judge people by their actions and, while Foster may be able to quote the Bible, his involvement with the 3rd Force/Ulster Resistance doesn’t seem very religious to me.

    Likewise, his selective condemnation of “Loyalist” terrorism as opposed to Republican terrorism.

    If people are against ecumenicism on truly theological grounds and oppose all violence on moral grounds then I respect that.

    However, I don’t respect anyone who quotes the Bible freely to condemn Catholicism, Republicanism and Republican violence but seems to be, shall we say, somewhat less strident when it comes to “Loyalist” terrorism.

    The word hypocrisy springs to mind.

  • Greenflag

    ‘An evil, wicked man.’

    Hmmm. In some ways yes . Sadly given the human condition it can take an ‘evil’ to forestall even greater evil. Perhaps if Paisley had not been around then many more fearful ‘unionists’ would have joined the ranks of Unionist/Loyalist paramilitaries ? Whatever else can be said about him he did perform a 40 year long circus act of persuading enough Unionists that only he could protect them from SF / Roman Catholicism / the Inquisition / Vatican /CIA / KGB /Foreign Office and a United Ireland . Only he could stop them from being sold down the river by Wilson/Heath/Thatcher/Major/Blair etc .

    The fact that he was able to resign in his own time with some dignity while leaving his Unionist supporters with a Sinn Fein DFM ,as well as a much improved relationship with the Republic speaks volumes for the man He’s either the greatest con man that NI ever produced or else the ultimate political pragmatist within Unionism ! To be honest I’m not sure which !

    ‘Thank God he is out of it. ‘

    God is somewhat lackadaisical in the manner in which he/she/it monitors the comings and goings of the Paisley’s of this world. The Deities have always tolerated all manner of evil dictators , tyrants etc etc around the world so much so that I suspect the Deity if there is one of being amoral ! However if there is a God and he/she/it gets to hear of Paisley’s imminent arrival at the pearly gates I’d not be surprised to see a quick note left stuck to the throne.

    ‘Dear Ian,

    I’m off to Hell as I’d rather not share power with ye ,and frankly I’ve heard more than enough oul guff from you for the past 40 years, so much so that the thought of having to listen to it for eternity suddenly makes an eternity in hell not such a bad option after all :)! You know Beelzebub was not so bad as he was made out to be !And besides the Fenians have much better music and know how to enjoy themselves with the craic and all that – the devils !

    PS – I had to partition off one section of heaven 2 light years east of the pearly gates for the good people of the unionist and protestant persuasion who predeceased ye . Had to . The rest of the heaveners found them a perverse lot , always cantankerous , bitchy , dour as a grey day on Ben Nevis and never happy, no not even in heaven ! Besides they were beastly to the RC’s .Feckers never stopped demanding flags and bunting and wanting to parade up and down the heavenly aisles driving even our angels to seek compensation for damage to their eardrums ! If I was you I’d leave them out there by themselves ! Believe you me it’s better that way !

    Cheers

    I am who am

    I is who was ?

    I’m outta here !

  • ben

    Bible believers in general have a great time fantasizing about rape and slaughter, the killing of Midianites, Sodomites, Canaanites, children who insult baldy old men, Babylonian babies, etc. etc. ad infinitum. Every day they wallow in the blood and filth and brutality of their barbaric stories and dream about the day when all their numerous enemies — everyone in the world who doesn’t belong to their Sunday meeting club, that is — will be suffering unimaginably for all eternity while they glory in paradise. They get off on that idea. They fantasize about people they work with, know socially — even their family members — burning in hell while they enjoy perpetual bliss. Fundamentalist belief occupies a level of hateful sickness and depravity I can’t fathom.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Fundamentalist belief occupies a level of hateful sickness and depravity I can’t fathom.’

    Not all fundamentalists are the same . Some of the crazier ones no doubt fit your picture but most are ordinary people who are within their limitations are being told what to believe or are having the ‘book’ interpreted for them .
    Many particularly in the States are being suckered out of hard earned money by the promise of eternal bliss. Some of these Churches are money makers and make huge amounts of cash i.e God’s bounty from the believers 🙁

    I can’t fathom it either but then I guess ‘faith’ is not for everyone . Anyway I’ve always asked questions which were never satisfactorily answered by the ‘clergy’ or ‘teachers’ . It’s sort of difficult to believe a head brother pontificating on chastity when you know that the pervert has been rogering one of the poorer bum boys in your class . And nobody says a word to anybody and if they did it ‘never happened ‘ and the bugger is transferred !

    Shower of hypocrites indeed . Tough on the genuine ones though !

  • Rory

    Ivan Foster gives us his critique of the impact of Paisley’s theology upon his political development. How illuminating.

    Perhaps it could herald the beginning of a series of such like critiques. Next week we could focus on the world of literature and have Jordan’s thoughts on Jeffrey Archer.

  • willowfield

    SAMMY McNALLY

    you share with Fundamentalist Presbos the basic principle that those who kill are morally wrong and therfore unfit for government in Non Iron.

    Yet, those wearing a uniform who kill in your name in Iraq and were supported by the 2 main parties in Britain are however exempt from the commandment “thou shall not kill”.

    Presumably you can discern the distinction, though, between those who kill lawfully as members of legitimate armed forces, and those who murder as members of illegal terror gangs?

    I agree that the Iraq war was an illegal war (in terms of jus ad bellum), but responsibility for that lies with Bush, Blair and the politicians who supported them – not with the servicemen whom they sent to Iraq. Of course, it is possible that those servicemen may have committed war crimes (jus in bello), in which case they are guilty like the terrorists – but I think the Iraq war was largely conducted lawfully.

    GREENFLAG

    I’d suggest that what is upsetting for many FP’s is they believed all too much in Paisley the politician. … it has always struck me as naive that they would place the same degree of faith in a preacher politician . Any politician in Northern Ireland regardless of his/her faith cannot ignore or pretend into non existence the political realities and demographics which are local to that environment.

    Very true. Watching the clip of the two loopers protesting in Ballymena about Paisley meeting’s recent meeting with Ahern, I thought it was interesting that the woman expressed anger that everything she had been “taught” was being overturned. Do these people have no minds of their own that they have to have their political beliefs “taught” to them?

    There is clearly a large mass of people with insufficient critical faculties to understand political reality in Northern Ireland. These people are in shock by what has happened.

    The DUP’s crime is that they exploited this mass of people by reinforcing their unrealistic political understanding – in the full knowledge that it was unrealistic – in order to demonise Trimble and to win power for themselves.

    I find it curious as to why DUP/fundamentalists are so clear in their condemnation of some “sins” (e.g. homosexuality), but are happy to countenance deceit and dishonesty.

  • Mark Farlighter

    Political Islam and Zionism are pretty high up on my hate lists but the thing that puts me off religons more than anytjing is the (ok, some Christians) christian evalation of the ‘sin’ of ‘sodomy’ to the status of ultimate sin.

    In their bible theres like 20,000 references railing agin poverty, greed etc, and there is perhaps one or two againist ‘sodomy’ but you dont see them foaming at the mouth over bad housing.

    I think it is all horse shit. Read the Bible once I say, put up the positive jist and dont spend the rest of your life studying it to try and find ways out of doing / thinking the things you are susposed to.

    I felt sorry for yer woman by the way, all simple certainties wiped away. The intwining of politics and religion leading the religon to be damaged in itself.

    So sayeth the Fart Lighter

  • RepublicanStones

    so we have one poster who thinks you have a licence to kill just because you wear a uniform. An illegal war means anything that happens in that war is by extension illegal also. but he won’t ask any Iraqis their opinion, as his beloved ‘noble’ british army can never do any wrong.

  • Rory

    Willowfield,

    I find your argument that “the Iraq war was largely conducted lawfully” despite your acknowledgment that”the Iraq war was an illegal war” somewhat puzzling.

    Quite apart from the aerial bombardment of civilian targets, the torture centre at Abu Ghraib, the Falujah massacre and the many well documented cases of the abduction, torture and murder of individuals by British and US troops (and God knows what else we have not yet learned of)which in themselves give the lie to your contention, it must surely follow that every act in pursuit or support of an illegal war is in itself illegal.

    Your “belief” that in the main the occupying troops behaved “properly” or “decently” or “humanely” in the prosecution of the war, even if not confounded by the evidence, has no basis in logic.

  • willowfield

    REPUBLICANSTONES

    so we have one poster who thinks you have a licence to kill just because you wear a uniform.

    On the contrary, I explicitly stated that any soldier who committed a war crime was as guilty as a terrorist. By resorting to lies you merely expose your own intellectual shortcomings.

    An illegal war means anything that happens in that war is by extension illegal also.

    It doesn’t. Again, note the distinction between just ad bellum and jus in bello. You expose your ignorance.

    RORY

    Quite apart from the aerial bombardment of civilian targets, the torture centre at Abu Ghraib, the Falujah massacre and the many well documented cases of the abduction, torture and murder of individuals by British and US troops (and God knows what else we have not yet learned of)which in themselves give the lie to your contention, it must surely follow that every act in pursuit or support of an illegal war is in itself illegal.

    That doesn’t follow at all. Again you miss the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello. It is perfectly possible to fight a war within the bounds of the law of war, even if the war itself is illegal.

    You refer to certain events which may, indeed, have been war crimes, but that does not mean that, largely, the war was fought lawfully.

    Your “belief” that in the main the occupying troops behaved “properly” or “decently” or “humanely” in the prosecution of the war, even if not confounded by the evidence, has no basis in logic.

    On the contrary, it is entirely logical. You, on the other hand, are employing a logical fallacy [If A is illegal, then so must B … yet the legality of A and B are separate matters].

  • Greenflag

    ‘Do these people have no minds of their own that they have to have their political beliefs “taught” to them? ‘

    You could be forgiven for thinking that .The truth as usual is more complex. Political beliefs even in ‘normal’ democracies are largely inherited. People tend to vote the same as their parents did. Often it is economic class , educational standards, religious denomination or strength of belief, or whose side your grandfather fought on in the Civil War /Revolution that will determine who one votes for and who against. In most normal democracies it does’nt matter that much as there is usually a large number of independent or swing voters who base their vote on which party or leader will be best for the country.

    In Northern Ireland it matters a lot . Normal democratic concepts have been stood on their head in order to allow for the volatile mix of constitutional divide/sectarianism between the political parties that is part of the legacy of the present NI State .

    ‘The DUP’s crime is that they exploited this mass of people by reinforcing their unrealistic political understanding – in the full knowledge that it was unrealistic – in order to demonise Trimble and to win power for themselves. ‘

    Well yes and no . Can you be exploited without your consent ? Do people have ‘free will’ ? Millions are exploited some would say even killed or have their lives shortened significantly by the tobacco companies yet people continue to cough (literally) up their hard earned money to pay their ‘killers’? Even the ‘people’s’ government cashes in on the act by raking of tens of millions in taxes . Would it be any less immoral for the State say to establish government run brothels and rake off taxes in that manner ?

    Paisley ousted Trimble simply because he was a better politician – Trimble may have been the more honourable , decent , etc etc etc etc .

    ‘I find it curious as to why DUP/fundamentalists are so clear in their condemnation of some “sins” (e.g. homosexuality), but are happy to countenance deceit and dishonesty. ‘

    Nothing curious here that can’t be applied to all religious fundamentalists including the catholic variety . Who recalls now how the former Bishop of Galway removed 70,000 pounds from his parishioners offerings ? More people will recall his illicit relationship with Annie his American girlfriend and mother of his child .

    Many people are still deeply saddened at the revelations re paedophile priests etc etc . But in comparison how many people take issue with the fact that their Govt did a dirty deal with the Church to help relieve the latter of it’s financial obligations to the victims ?

    Americans professed horror -outrage and shame over former President Clintons -Monica Lewinsky no sex affair . Calls for impeachment etc etc . Yet Americans hardly bat an eyelid in the face of 300,000 dead in Iraq (including 4,000 US soldiers) . Of course a majority now oppose the war but they’re not screaming for Bush’s impeachment because of the deceit and dishonesty on the parts of Bush & Cheney in starting the war ?

    You may find it ‘curious’ . I find it all just part of the ‘human ‘ condition

  • Greenflag

    ‘but you dont see them foaming at the mouth over bad housing.’

    Never did see a poorly housed priest or minister and I’ve never been invited to a Bishop’s palace. Would’nt go anyway 🙂

    ‘I felt sorry for yer woman by the way, all simple certainties wiped away. ‘

    Indeed .

    ‘The intwining of politics and religion leading the religon to be damaged in itself.’

    True. When the two mix- religion always ends up getting the worst of it . Reason being politics can deliver financial benefits among others in the world which people see in the here and now . Religion promises eternal benefits on the never never plan i.e only when you die do you reap the ‘reward’. SFAIK the benefit appears to be mostly singing praises/hymns in adoration for an eternity.Meanwhile in the here and now some ‘religions’ provide a very high standard of living including private jets, palaces , radio stations, luxurious homes etc etc all paid for by the masses whose hope is to sing hymns for eternity ! There’s something wrong with this picture IMO.

    If by any chance you are uneasy with this ‘reward’ or feel that it’s somewhat lacking in munificence, then the alternate is proferred by the priest /pastors -usually in the form of gnashing of teeth and being roasted forever on a revolving spit . Ye can’t beat it that old time religion eh ? Keeps the troops in line and the revenue stream coming 🙁

  • RepublicnaStones

    ‘By resorting to lies you merely expose your own intellectual shortcomings.’

    ‘Presumably you can discern the distinction, though, between those who kill lawfully as members of legitimate armed forces, and those who murder as members of illegal terror gangs?’

    So the war has been fought according to jus in bello, have you asked many Iraqis that willow? no didn’t thinks so. You just keep toeing the western media line like a good sheep. Swish !

  • willowfield

    Greenflag

    Political beliefs even in ‘normal’ democracies are largely inherited. People tend to vote the same as their parents did. Often it is economic class , educational standards, religious denomination or strength of belief, or whose side your grandfather fought on in the Civil War /Revolution that will determine who one votes for and who against.

    Yes, indeed, this is true – but I’d say many such people are still able to rationalise their beliefs to some degree and wouldn’t attribute them purely to “inheriting” them. People with similar social, economic and cultural backgrounds are likely to share experiences and attitudes which result in certain political views, and people from within the same family usually have similar social, economic and cultural backgrounds.

    What struck me about the protestor woman was the starkness of actually admitting that her political views had been “taught” to her by Ian Paisley. This was like a conscious admission that she could not think for herself.

    “The DUP’s crime is that they exploited this mass of people by reinforcing their unrealistic political understanding – in the full knowledge that it was unrealistic – in order to demonise Trimble and to win power for themselves.”
    Well yes and no . Can you be exploited without your consent ? Do people have ‘free will’ ? Millions are exploited some would say even killed or have their lives shortened significantly by the tobacco companies yet people continue to cough (literally) up their hard earned money to pay their ‘killers’? Even the ‘people’s’ government cashes in on the act by raking of tens of millions in taxes . Would it be any less immoral for the State say to establish government run brothels and rake off taxes in that manner ?

    Not sure what point you’re making, but my point is that the DUP’s private assessment and understanding of political realities in NI did not coincide with their public utterances; that those public utterances were deliberately conceived to appeal to the constituency of people that had been “taught” to oppose power-sharing, etc.; that the DUP, rather than educating this constituency as to the futility of their political views, deliberately reinforced those views even though they knew they were unrealistic; and that this strategy served the purpose of putting the DUP into power.

    Paisley ousted Trimble simply because he was a better politician – Trimble may have been the more honourable , decent , etc etc etc etc .

    And the reason he was “better” is because he did what I have described above. Trimble was honest and realistic with the electorate: Paisley was dishonest and unrealistic. Dishonesty and unrealism turned out to be the way to go: the electorate preferred it.

    RepublicanStones

    So the war has been fought according to jus in bello, have you asked many Iraqis that willow? no didn’t thinks so. You just keep toeing the western media line like a good sheep. Swish !

    If you believe otherwise, you are at liberty to put forward a supporting argument. It is noted, however, that you have elected not to do so.

    It would also be nice if you retracted your lies.

  • Greenflag

    ‘that the DUP, rather than educating this constituency as to the futility of their political views, deliberately reinforced those views even though they knew they were unrealistic; and that this strategy served the purpose of putting the DUP into power. ‘

    That was my point . It served to put the DUP in power . Getting into power is the objective of all political parties . What they do when they get there is another matter .

    Given the NI context would any other strategy have worked in the DUP’s favour ? I don’t believe so . Paisley had seen and experienced and was largely instrumental in the stategies which drove O’Neill, Clark and Faulkner and Trimble from power . It was a no brainer .

    ‘Dishonesty and unrealism turned out to be the way to go: the electorate preferred it. ‘

    No surprise there . It has to one degree or another always been the case as regards electoral politics in NI . When one looks ‘honestly’ and ‘realistically’ at the politics of NI since the State’s foundation it should not be a surprise that the electorate would prefer ‘dishonesty and unrealism’. The alternative would be just too painful to contemplate ? Imagine having to face up to the truth ?

  • I’m sure the Iraq invasion and occupation was conducted very lawfully, like bombing villages from 30,000 feet with no care for who’s down there. How about the media silence on Fallujah ?

    http://www.democracynow.org/2005/11/8/u_s_broadcast_exclusive_fallujah_the

    Hell the Yanks are so freaked out and trigger happy they’ll shoot a few of your beloved Brits and think nothing of it.

    Open thine eyes and stop believing every kind of crap trotted out by governments, state murderers are no better than an armed gang, they just have better weapons and technology.

    Incidentally this is from the NY Times, not the most radical of newspapers.

    http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/58101/

    http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/atrocitindex.htm

    Open thine eyes and move away from that little 6 county thinking box.

  • willowfield

    That was my point . It served to put the DUP in power .

    That was my point, too.

    Getting into power is the objective of all political parties . What they do when they get there is another matter .

    On this I disagree. The objective of a political party is to achieve certain political goals: obtaining power is merely the means to achieving those goals.

    Given the NI context would any other strategy have worked in the DUP’s favour ? I don’t believe so . Paisley had seen and experienced and was largely instrumental in the stategies which drove O’Neill, Clark and Faulkner and Trimble from power . It was a no brainer .

    Exactly – and had Paisley not been instrumental in those strategies – had those strategies not existed – NI would have been saved some considerable strife and instability.

    No surprise there . It has to one degree or another always been the case as regards electoral politics in NI . When one looks ‘honestly’ and ‘realistically’ at the politics of NI since the State’s foundation it should not be a surprise that the electorate would prefer ‘dishonesty and unrealism’.

    That does not absolve the responsibility of political leaders to be honest and realistic. That is has always been so – as you claim – does not mena that it must always be so.

    The alternative would be just too painful to contemplate ? Imagine having to face up to the truth ?

    That is what people are doing now. They should have been encouraged to do so much earlier.

  • willowfield

    I’m sure the Iraq invasion and occupation was conducted very lawfully, like bombing villages from 30,000 feet with no care for who’s down there. How about the media silence on Fallujah ?

    AFAIK, Fallujah took place after the war had ended.

    And I did acknowledge that war crimes may well have taken place during the war – nonetheless, I believe largely that it was conducted lawfully.

    Open thine eyes and stop believing every kind of crap trotted out by governments, state murderers are no better than an armed gang, they just have better weapons and technology.

    I don’t believe every kind of crap trotted out by governments, therefore it is not possible for me to stop.

    And [yawn] I already acknowledged that “state murderers” were no better than terrorists.

    Open thine eyes and move away from that little 6 county thinking box.

    My eyes are open and I am already outside the “little 6 county thinking box”.

  • Reader

    RepublicanStones: An illegal war means anything that happens in that war is by extension illegal also.
    Not so, or the Nuremburg Trials would still be running today, with the remaining defendants dying of old age faster than they could be tried.

  • Inspector Cleauso

    I heard an audio recording of a recent sermon by Ivan Foster. In it he lambasted Paisley for keeping company and shaking hands with “scum”. He said he would only shake hands with them if he was “wearing rubber gloves”. The message that this man preaches is not the Goodnews of Jesus Christ.

  • Greenflag

    ‘On this I disagree. The objective of a political party is to achieve certain political goals: obtaining power is merely the means to achieving those goals.’

    In the context of the mandatory power sharing which all the NI parties have agreed to it seems to me that there is a disjoint between achieving a party’s political objective and obtaining power which would not be the case in a more ‘normal’ democracy.

    ‘had those strategies not existed – NI would have been saved some considerable strife and instability.’

    True.

    ‘That does not absolve the responsibility of political leaders to be honest and realistic.’

    True enough but when they get away with dishonesty and ‘unrealism ‘ for decades standards inevitably decline . For 50 years Stormont wielded power without any significant or just token opposition . We know what absolute power induces . Had Paisley been absolutely honest and realistic in the 1960’s he would never have gotten into ‘politics’ . Instead he was like the little boy who kept shouting ‘fire’ in the cinema when there was no fire. Eventually shouting fire long enough produced enough fire to burn down the cinema. Paisley’s power was built on the ashes of a lie . Some would say that Stormont itself was built on a lie ! On top of all of that NI has had another 40 years of basically ‘no real politics’ since 1972?

    ‘ That is what people are doing now.’

    Or appear to be doing ? You have more confidence than I in that respect.

    ‘ They should have been encouraged to do so much earlier.’

    In theory yes . In practice the political skills were lacking -and still are from an outside perspective anyway. Given the ‘system’ as it was the ‘encouragement’ you refer to would have led to many ‘shortened’ political careers in Northern Ireland from the time the State was established . Politicians good , bad or indifferent , honest or dishonest are not renowned for impaling their political careers on the often unpopular stick of ‘honesty’

  • Pete

    “I heard an audio recording of a recent sermon by Ivan Foster. In it he lambasted Paisley for keeping company and shaking hands with “scum”. He said he would only shake hands with them if he was “wearing rubber gloves”. The message that this man preaches is not the Goodnews of Jesus Christ.”

    This is what the Bible says about Christ:

    Heb 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

    I have never heard so much trash as set out on this blog. Bible Christianity/Fundamentalism is predicated on an absolute source of authority that cannot be broken. Yes it is dogmatic because it is from a dogmatic infallible source!

    What have all the critics got to draw from here? Basically, their own moral reasoning that adds up to diddly squat!! Every man throws in their two cents here about “what I think” and we believe that no absolute truth is something to be commended and rejoiced over.

    Ian Paisley is a fool as he turned away from the Absolute Truth of Scripture in favour of political pragmatism – he has lost his Church, his Party, his family’s future, and his reputation. What a great idea powersharing with an unrepentant mass-murderer was!

    I realise what I say will not be popular here with the intolerant liberal avant garde who spout their existential drivel, but at least I have certainty in my beliefs. Most here think killing soldiers in Iraq is evil, ripping to death by injecting in the heart unborn babies is fine, putting a mass murderer in Government is “sensible” for “law and order,” and rampant sodomy is an asset to the social fabric of society. Welcome to the “civilization” of the 21st century…….

  • Greenflag

    ‘Not so, or the Nuremburg Trials would still be running today, with the remaining defendants dying of old age faster than they could be tried.’

    True .

    Soldiers follow orders in war . If they don’t they are court martialed and shot . In war bad things can and do happen despite the ‘rules of war’.
    Have a read of Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ .
    Once ‘war’ starts – truth is always the first casualty. The Iraqi War is just another example.
    Beats me how Pres Bush can sleep at night . But then he’s a born again Christian and he’s read the bible !

  • Rory

    Willowfield’s continued insistence on a jus in bello justification for the actions of those prosecuting an unjust and illegal war grow ever more preposterous.

    Let us apply it to the case of a man who applies a knife to a woman’s throat the proceeds to have sexual intercourse with her, but as tenderly as he is able given her understandable reluctance, perhaps even resistance and making sure to use a condom for her protection – a considerate, caring rapist. As Willowfield would have it although the act of rape itself was illegal the method of inflicting it might not be. Welcome to The Black is White Minstrel Show!

    Oh and I loved the “Falujah happened after the war” cop-out in order to distinguish it from other acts of war. The dead of Falujah will be most consoled by this nicety.

  • willis

    “Ian Paisley is a fool as he turned away from the Absolute Truth of Scripture in favour of political pragmatism – he has lost his Church, his Party, his family’s future, and his reputation.”

    Speaking as a fully signed up member of the liberal avant-garde –

    Pete

    Where is your source of authority? Your own interpretation of the Bible? And how does that make you more right than anyone else?

    What makes you able to pronounce judgement on Ian Paisley? Is that not God’s job? Perhaps you know the heart of a man as well as God? Good luck to you.

  • willowfield

    RORY

    Willowfield’s continued insistence on a jus in bello justification for the actions of those prosecuting an unjust and illegal war grow ever more preposterous.

    Really? In what way are they preposterous, and in what way have they grown more preposterous?

    You appear to be arguing that the Iraq war is characterised by actions outside the law of war. If that is your contention, please feel free to offer an argument. Otherwise, go away: this is a forum for discussion and debate, and if you are unwilling to argue your case there is little point in you being here.

    Let us apply it to the case of a man who applies a knife to a woman’s throat the proceeds to have sexual intercourse with her, but as tenderly as he is able given her understandable reluctance, perhaps even resistance and making sure to use a condom for her protection – a considerate, caring rapist. As Willowfield would have it although the act of rape itself was illegal the method of inflicting it might not be. Welcome to The Black is White Minstrel Show!

    A completely ludicrous analogy.

    Oh and I loved the “Falujah happened after the war” cop-out in order to distinguish it from other acts of war. The dead of Falujah will be most consoled by this nicety.

    I had no intention of consoling the dead of Fallujah. I merely stated a fact. Do you have a problem with facts?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I think willowfield is correct, not only in this post but in all previous posts …. ever.He can be patronising and arrogant at times but this seems to be the trademark of all omniscient beings. Opponents beware!

  • Greenflag

    ‘Bible Christianity/Fundamentalism is predicated on an absolute source of authority that cannot be broken.’

    Which source would that be ? Has anybody directly contacted this source ? Where is this source ?

    ‘Yes it is dogmatic because it is from a dogmatic infallible source! ‘

    Dogmatism in our common human experience has always proved fallible . It’s the history of the ages .

    ‘Basically, their own moral reasoning that adds up to diddly squat!!’

    As opposed to the amoral reasoning of the nuttier fundies whose mindless followers end up with diddly squat in their bank accounts while the fat pastors/priests and ministers get rich on the back of ignorance and superstition !

    ‘but at least I have certainty in my beliefs.’

    So do I . It’s just that they are not your certainties. I believe gravity is not intelligent falling and that evolution is a fact of life . Perhaps you meant to say you have faith in your beliefs . The vast majority of mankind have other faiths and their ‘certainty’ matches yours ‘ My late mother got it right when she said that only fools and small children were absolutely certain at all times and always told the truth !

    ‘Welcome to the “civilization” of the 21st century…….’

    I agree . It certainly beats the ‘civilization ‘ of the 16th and 17th century when witch burnings. inquisitons , religious massacres and indentured slavery etc etc were all testimony to man’s civilisation !


    ‘What a great idea powersharing with an unrepentant mass-murderer was!

    That was a British idea not Paisley’s . Paisley never wanted power sharing . He wanted Unionist (DUP) majority rule . The British Govt would not allow him to have that . And in any event Unionism no longer has the numbers or the balls to try to impose simple majority rule !

    You sound like a sad case:( . What is it that you really really want ?

  • Pete

    Greenflag

    I hope you are intelligent enough to see the inherent stupidity in your remarks. Let us look at a sample:

    “Which source would that be ? Has anybody directly contacted this source ? Where is this source ?”

    Err… I thought I mentioned that it was the Bible – what other source did you think I was referring to?

    “Dogmatism in our common human experience has always proved fallible . It’s the history of the ages.”

    Have you not just made a dogmatic statement here or have I missed something. What should we listen or give any credence to your views as they are not based on any absolutes?

    “So do I . It’s just that they are not your certainties. I believe gravity is not intelligent falling and that evolution is a fact of life . Perhaps you meant to say you have faith in your beliefs . The vast majority of mankind have other faiths and their ‘certainty’ matches yours ‘My late mother got it right when she said that only fools and small children were absolutely certain at all times and always told the truth!”

    So there we have it – the source of Greenflag’s collective wisdom is an old wives’ saying perpetuated by his mother!!Did it ever occur to you Greenflag the concept of logic that competing positions cannot all logically be true? Has it not slipped your limited mind that someone has to be right?

    As for your straw men about gravity (whatever that is?)and evolution (the greatest tautological trick of faith around), perhaps you could tell us who designed and maintains the gravitational constant?

    “I agree . It certainly beats the ‘civilization ‘ of the 16th and 17th century when witch burnings. inquisitons , religious massacres and indentured slavery etc etc were all testimony to man’s civilisation!”

    Of course, abortion on demand, children murdering children and giving birth to children, family break up at record highs, crime and murder at record highs, no streets safe to walk in for fear of being robbed, murderd or raped – we have truly come a long way. I am sure Queen Victoria looks down in envious glances at the “evolved” society we have created with our amoral existential logic!!

  • willowfield

    Pete

    Err… I thought I mentioned that it was the Bible

    The Bible requires interpretation.

    Did it ever occur to you Greenflag the concept of logic that competing positions cannot all logically be true? Has it not slipped your limited mind that someone has to be right?

    Actually, that’s bad logic. While it is true that two logically-competing positions cannot both be true, it does not follow that one must be right: it is also possible that neither is right.

  • Dr Yes

    As Mr Paisley has only an honorary PhD, he is not entitled to be titled. Call it Mr Paisley, not Dr Paisley.

  • Inspector Cleauso

    Pete,
    You have taken Hebrews 7:26 totally out of context.
    What about Jesus (Son of Man and Son of God) touching a leper to heal him?

  • Inspector Cleauso

    Also Pete,

    Do you think the comments of Foster in the recording I heard are in line with someone who preaches the Gospel (Goodnews)

    Why did you qoute Hebrews 7:26 as a rebuttal to what I said about Foster’s comments? Are you saying that Ivan Foster is the same as Christ in that he too is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens”

  • Inspector Cleauso

    What I don’t get about fundementalist protestant evangelicals is that hey preach seperation from sinners yet gladly participate in band parades and marches with people who they themselves would define as “unbelievers”

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    re illegal war. My remarks were directed at the religious beliefs of Turgon – I dont think the quare fellah upstairs ( should he exist ) will be too interested in the niceities of international law. If individual servicemen know they were sent to war on a false premise and continue to kill simply because they are following orders then they will surely fall foul of fundamentalist religious beliefs. The fact that it does not appear to be an issue for fundamentalist presbos points to ideological nature of most of their statements.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I thought I mentioned that it was the Bible – what other source did you think I was referring to? ‘

    The Bible is a book and is open to various interpretations yours included . What makes you so sure that your ‘interpretation’ is approved by your God ? Have you spoken to him/her or it directly on the matter ? There are millions of people all over the world reading the bible and interpreting it to suit their own particular political and very often financial agendas ! Now if you were an infidel sorry Moslem you would have a different book as your source likewise if you were a Jew . Have you logically considered that all three ‘books’ can’t be right ? Perhaps none of them are ?

    “Dogmatism in our common human experience has always proved fallible . It’s the history of the ages.”

    ‘Have you not just made a dogmatic statement here or have I missed something. ‘

    Yes you are missing a lot . Formerly in ancient times people bowed down before totems- trees , men wearing large feathered hats – even cats were worshipped in ancient Egypt . Those beliefs were ‘dogma’ in those times . Most people on the planet have moved beyond that stage . I’m sorry to hear you haven’t !

    ‘What should we listen or give any credence to your views as they are not based on any absolutes? ‘

    Whether you listen or no is your business . If you are looking for ‘absolutes’ to base your views on why not perhaps try Mein Kampf ? . Now yer man Adolf was very certain about his beliefs. If that doesn’t appeal you could try Ron Hubbards ‘ Dianetics and indulge in the prospect of intergalactic soul travel and lots of other absolute certainties ! Mind you I have heard that the only certainty about Scientology is the rapid vacuuming of your bank account at an even faster rate than the nuttiest televangelist conman can manage 🙁

    ‘Has it not slipped your limited mind that someone has to be right? ‘

    For quite a while I must admit it did . But this was because all the ‘someones’ who were adamant that they were right were in my humble opinion very much in the ‘wrong’.

    ‘perhaps you could tell us who designed and maintains the gravitational constant? ‘

    That happens to be a particular physical property of this universe . I’m certain it was’nt the Flying Spaghetti Monster .

    ‘Of course, abortion on demand, children murdering children and giving birth to children, family break up at record highs, crime and murder at record highs, no streets safe to walk in for fear of being robbed, murderd or raped – we have truly come a long way’

    You did’nt say where you were living ? But my sympathies if it’s that bad . I don’t happen to fear walking the streets . Are you American perhaps ? I believe that God fearing nation has had to lock up 1% of it’s population some 3 million people . Don’t know what the comparable figure is for Ireland or the UK or any of the other EU countries is but I’m sure that the God loving USA tops the list in terms of murders, abortions, prison population . Perhaps they pray too much or believe in God too much ? Maybe it’s time they got up off their knees and had a good hard look at the world they have created for themselves ? Those atheistic amoral Swedes, Germans and French don’t seem to have but a fraction of the societal problems of the USA?
    Your God must look down in favour on atheists it would appear !

    ‘I am sure Queen Victoria looks down in envious glances at the “evolved” society we have created with our amoral existential logic!!’

    Oul Vicky is long dead and is not looking down anywhere . But if you are certain she does perhaps you might ask her what she thinks of the ‘morals’ of the present British Royal Family ?

    I’ll understand if you are somewhat reluctant to impart her answers re the above on this thread :)!

  • Bretagne

    Turgon – Thanks for the earlier post…and I agree with Billys’ earlier comments re your good self, and
    dificulty in seeing Ivan Foster as a wholly religious
    figure…

  • Pete

    Greenflag,

    It would be helpful if you did a bit of true research instead of plagarising the thoughts of men like Richard Dawkins. Let me answer some of your questions:

    “The Bible is a book and is open to various interpretations yours included . What makes you so sure that your ‘interpretation’ is approved by your God ? Have you spoken to him/her or it directly on the matter ? There are millions of people all over the world reading the bible and interpreting it to suit their own particular political and very often financial agendas ! Now if you were an infidel sorry Moslem you would have a different book as your source likewise if you were a Jew . Have you logically considered that all three ‘books’ can’t be right ? Perhaps none of them are?”

    Oddly enough until the 18th century no one questioned the fundamental inerrancy of Scripture or of the fundamentals of the Faith derived from it which delineates that “interpretation” is not the problem but the “pre-supposition” of the reader. It is true that there are passages that are unclear such as the apocalyptic ones because the Bible states these will only be unfolded in light of events in the end time. You would do yourself a service by taking a basic theology course from a reputable college in hermeneutics as you clearly have not grasped the basics. One thing you have grasped is that Isalam and Judaism is in contradistinction from true Christianity.

    “Yes you are missing a lot . Formerly in ancient times people bowed down before totems- trees , men wearing large feathered hats – even cats were worshipped in ancient Egypt . Those beliefs were ‘dogma’ in those times . Most people on the planet have moved beyond that stage. I’m sorry to hear you haven’t !”

    I am glad you have now accepted that you also believe in dogmatism. We just need to decide which is correct. So stop throwing around your straw men examples to blacken Bible Christians.

    “Whether you listen or no is your business . If you are looking for ‘absolutes’ to base your views on why not perhaps try Mein Kampf ? . Now yer man Adolf was very certain about his beliefs. If that doesn’t appeal you could try Ron Hubbards ‘ Dianetics and indulge in the prospect of intergalactic soul travel and lots of other absolute certainties ! Mind you I have heard that the only certainty about Scientology is the rapid vacuuming of your bank account at an even faster rate than the nuttiest televangelist conman can manage”

    Not sure what your point is here .. we both clearly believe in dogmatism so lets test our dogamtic beliefs. What is the source of your dogmatism save for your late mum’s homespun philosophy?

    “That happens to be a particular physical property of this universe. I’m certain it was’nt the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

    So you have not answered my question who designed this natural “law” and who maintains it?

    “You did’nt say where you were living ? But my sympathies if it’s that bad . I don’t happen to fear walking the streets . Are you American perhaps ? I believe that God fearing nation has had to lock up 1% of it’s population some 3 million people . Don’t know what the comparable figure is for Ireland or the UK or any of the other EU countries is but I’m sure that the God loving USA tops the list in terms of murders, abortions, prison population . Perhaps they pray too much or believe in God too much ? Maybe it’s time they got up off their knees and had a good hard look at the world they have created for themselves ? Those atheistic amoral Swedes, Germans and French don’t seem to have but a fraction of the societal problems of the USA?
    Your God must look down in favour on atheists it would appear!”

    America is not a “God fearing” country as you mistakenly assume – it elected a pervert like Bill Clinton twice in case you had not noticed. If you want to broaden it, then show me statistical evidence for any of the countries you have stated that has shown a decrease in crime, murder, rape over the last 2 centuries as their societies have “evolved.” I used Queen Victoria as a simple example but use her reign as a point of reference to prove your argument then if you wish. Incidentally, you may also be surprised when you do your research that all major social innovations to better the lot of the poor and abused such as the ending of child labour, abolition of slavery, war on prostitution, setting up of orphanages was championed and funded by the Bible “Fundamentalist” Christians that you purport to hate – you will not find any atheist, agnostic, communist who can say that!

  • Pete

    “What I don’t get about fundementalist protestant evangelicals is that hey preach seperation from sinners yet gladly participate in band parades and marches with people who they themselves would define as “unbelievers””

    Just to clarify for the religiously illiterate here – Fundamentalists believe in eccleisatical separation from religious fellowship in the form of worshipping God with those who deny the faith that Christianity is based on. That is not to say that this prevents Christians from working in the workplace or sharing common political views with those who we share this planet on but are not Christians. Incidentally, many Fundmentalists including myself would go further and separate from the Orange Order and “Band Parades” that purport to share religious beliefs in common but clearly do not do so by their lifestyles. Rev Ivan Foster, to my knowledge, is also of this belief – the downfall for Ian Paisley was that he was not and this became an increasingly big problem for him.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Hermeneutics’ a brief definition (1)

    The most important law of biblical hermeneutics is that the Bible should be interpreted literally. Literal Bible interpretation means you understand the Bible in its normal/plain meaning. The Bible says what it means and means what it says. Many make the mistake of trying to read between the lines and come up with meanings for Scriptures that are not truly in the text. Yes, of course, there are some spiritual truths behind the plain meanings of Scripture. That does not mean that every Scripture has a hidden spiritual truth, or that it should be our goal to find all such spiritual truths. Biblical hermeneutics keeps us faithful to the intended meaning of Scripture and away from allegorizing and symbolizing Bible verses and passages that should be understood literally.’ (end of)

    GF comment :

    If I was a fully qualified ‘hermeneuticist’ would the above understanding oblige me to believe the world/universe was created in 6 days , and that Methuselah did live 900 years and that the Noah’s Ark did take on board two of every creature that dwelt on the planet?

    (definition continued 2)
    A second crucial law of biblical hermeneutics is that a verse or passage must be interpreted historically, grammatically, and contextually. Historical interpretation refers to understanding the culture, background, and situation which prompted the text. Grammatical interpretation is recognizing the rules of grammar and nuances of the Hebrew and Greek languages and applying those principles to the understanding of a passage. Contextual interpretation involves always taking the surrounding context of a verse/passage into consideration when trying to determine the meaning.(end of)

    GF comment :
    I did actually come across a poor chap in a public library who was poring through several tomes looking for the original meaning of a biblical term which in his opinion had been incorrectly translated from the original Greek/Hebrew into the Latin/vernacular and then misinterpreted . He then proceeded to show me the couple of hundred places in the bible where the term had been used and how from correcting the ‘mistake’ the meanings in many of the excerpts became completely different .’

    For the first time in my life this above experience awakened a certain respect for biblical scholars in me but I remained then and still remain a skeptic as to presupposition of all Biblical scholars in the ‘divine’ origin of the Bible . I do not doubt that those who wrote the bible were ‘inspired’ -so too was Shakespeare , Milton , Joyce , Shaw , Twain etc etc .

    (definition 3)

    Some mistakenly view biblical hermeneutics as limiting our ability to learn new truths from God’s Word or stifling the Holy Spirit’s ability to reveal to us the meaning of God’s Word. This is not the case. The goal of biblical hermeneutics is to point us to the correct interpretation which the Holy Spirit has already inspired into the text. The purpose of biblical hermeneutics is to protect us from improperly applying a Scripture to a particular situation. Biblical hermeneutics points us to the true meaning and application of Scripture. Hebrews 4:12 declares, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (end of)

    GF comment : Fair enough if you believe that a God or Holy Spirit hovered over each word of the various books of the bible when they were written . But if you don’t share/believe the initial premise then you have to look at the bible as one culture’s ‘creation ‘ myth and it’s prescription of a moral code as a guide for living a ‘good ‘life!

    Finally and I like this one

    ‘Biblical hermeneutics is keeping the sword sharp!

    From the earliest days of the barbaria conversions to the medieval Papacy to the Crusades , to the Spanish Inquisition to Reformation times to Colonial empire building the Catholic and Protestant Churches did not need ‘hermeneutics’ to keep their swords sharp !

    ‘It is true that there are passages that are unclear such as the apocalyptic ones because the Bible states these will only be unfolded in light of events in the end time.

    This is of course the ultimate ‘get out of jail card’ of all ‘End of Day’s ‘ merchants . In the year 1000 AD there was an outbreak of endofworlditis – similarly in 2000 AD . There have been thousands of charlatans , gangsters, crooks , con men and scammers preaching the end /rapture/ etc etc to the poor weak minded saps who are suckered out of their money in the hope of being favoured by the imminent arrival of Michael and his Archangels or some such nonsense !

    (more later)

  • Greenflag

    ‘I am glad you have now accepted that you also believe in dogmatism.’

    I’m a secular skeptic and even more of a skeptic on religion – all religion. That said I’m not unappreciative of the good which some religions have brought to mankind. I’m equally aware of the ‘dark ‘ side . I’m not intending to ‘blacken all Bible Christians . I am tolerant of their choice of belief . I just don’t share it .

    The source of my ‘skepticism’ is my experience , education , observation, and having lived in many different ‘cultures’ all across the christian and non christian world . I believe I may also have inherited some of my skepticism on matters religious and otherwise.

    ‘So you have not answered my question who designed this natural “law” and who maintains it?’

    The natural law you refer to did not have a ‘designer’ . It came into being with what is called the Big Bang . After the Big Bang (13.5 billion years ago) the Earth was formed (4.5 billion years ago ) followed by the Big Birth ( latest scientific research indicates about 3.9 billion years ago )i.e the first primordial twitch which set life on the path which it has continued ever since.

    Until the 1970’s the assumption was that man was/is the ultimate ‘designer’ purpose of evolution . This is no longer assumed by most evolutionary biologists and scientists.

    We humans are the sole surviving species of several hominidiae who became extinct during the past 2 million years ( Neanderthal man being the most recent ‘competitor’ circa 30,000 years ago ).

    The universe as we know it is just right given it’s natural laws for us ( i.e life) . Our particular life form is fortunate in having evolved on a planet with a moon which is just the right distance from our Sun . Someday probably in the not too distant future it will be seen that life has probably also found a niche on other planets around other stars.

    Whereas mankind has made huge progress in understanding the macro universe it appears that the search for a general theory of everything is being frustrated by the findings of researchers into the micro universe i.e matter which exists below the level of the atom / neutrinos/ quarks etc .

    Its a fascinating subject and almost at times verges on the ‘religious’ in terms of belief .

    ‘America elected a pervert like Bill Clinton twice in case you had not noticed.’

    No I did’nt notice that Bill Clinton was a pervert . His behaviour with the intern was inappropriate . The current morally righteous imcumbent has given the world 300,000 deaths in Iraq, an impending economic recession in the USA and across the world – wasted 3 trillion dollars , destroyed America’s reputation in the world and at this point I’ll just stop. Seems to me that a soiled blue dress could be sent to the cleaners for 10 dollars ? No lives were lost and apart from Clinton’s reputation nobody suffered except of course the nutty uber moralists of sexual propriety who well and truly got their collective knickers in a twist . I suspect 99.99% of them would now in retrospect gladly have taken Clinton for a third and fourth term if they could turn back the clock and it were legal !

    ‘you may also be surprised when you do your research that all major social innovations to better the lot of the poor and abused such as the ending of child labour, abolition of slavery, war on prostitution, setting up of orphanages was championed and funded by the Bible “Fundamentalist” Christians that you purport to hate ‘

    Actually I would not be surprised for I was aware of the fact . BTW where have I stated I hate ‘biblical fundamentalist christians . ? I disagree with them . I’d prefer to see their pastors, ministers etc keep out of politics and I believe the same should apply to all priests/ministers of all religions .

    Prior to the biblical christian inspired social innovations of the 18th and 19th centuries in earlier historical periods the Church (RC) was also to the forefront in developing education , providing health care , almshouses , monasteries etc etc which were often the only protection which the population had against often tyrannical local warlords /chieftains /kings .

    ‘you will not find any atheist, agnostic, communist who can say that!’

    I would not agree . The Russian Communist regime did succeed in freeing many Russians from hundreds of years of serfdom -educational standards for the ordinary Russians were a vast improvement on what had been in tsarist Russia . Same in China post 1949. The fact that Communism llater to proved a failure does not detract from their earlier achievements . In retrospect it was Communism’s achievements post 1920 which triggered western countries to move forward with improved social , health and labour policies for their citizens . American Dean Acheson’s pushing of the Marshall Plan was the main reason why Western Europe did not succumb to Communism in the post 1945 period !

  • Greenflag

    ‘Incidentally, many Fundmentalists including myself would go further and separate from the Orange Order and “Band Parades” that purport to share religious beliefs in common but clearly do not do so by their lifestyles. Rev Ivan Foster, to my knowledge, is also of this belief – the downfall for Ian Paisley was that he was not and this became an increasingly big problem for him.’

    So are we to believe from the above that as long as Paisley was preaching ‘hate’ against Catholics he was’nt a problem as this particular ‘lifestyle’ choice did not upset ‘fundamentalists’ ? But as soon as he Paisley started to adopt what some would call a more Christian and open approach to his Catholic fellow countrymen and their political representatives then he Paisley had erred from the ‘true ‘ faith and had to be cast out ?

    As for Paisley’s lifestyle ? Surely the Rev Foster must have had a doubt or two during the past 40 years ? Or was it just since Paisley had a chuckle with the Great Satan McGuinness ?

    You may perchance have come across the term GUBU.

    It stands for

    Grotesque, Unbelievable , Bizarre, Unprecedented .

    and it surely applies to those who at this late hour now only find Paisley in ‘error’

    I would have thought Paisley was in error from about the time he went into politics ! Still he’s made a pile of money from both !

  • Greenflag

    ‘If you want to broaden it, then show me statistical evidence for any of the countries you have stated that has shown a decrease in crime, murder, rape over the last 2 centuries as their societies have “evolved.” ‘

    As it’s off topic I don’t want to broaden it but would like to make just a few points in this area.

    Firstly statistical evidence is not available for most of the past two centuries . It is assumed by some commentators that modern secularism is in some way reponsible for increasing crime rates in western countries and the breakdown of family life, much higher divorse rates , abortion etc etc in recent decades . I’m not denying there may be some truth in that assumption.

    Certainly when we contrast Irish society in 2008 say with that of 1950 we see higher murder and crime rates . But go back to Victorian times and murder rates were much higher and so too were crime rates . So full were the prisons of the UK and Ireland that penal colonies were established in Georgia (USA) and later in Australia / Van Diemens land to draw off the surplus ‘criminal ‘ population . Any social history of Britain during the Industrial Revolution will show a country of vast differences in wealth between the few aristocrats and an emerging middle class and the vast majority of industrial workers and driven from the land ex cottiers . The prison population was of course drawn mostly from the poorest sections of society . No different from now.

    What I’m saying here is that there is a relationship between poverty / relative poverty and crime rates and this applies all over the western world . Recent anthropological evidence indicates that the formerly so called ‘peaceful’ societies of stone age hunter gatherers were in fact a lot less peaceful and had much higher murder rates than the worst inner city areas in major American cities .

    There may be a perception that ‘secularism ‘ and the growing absence of the
    ‘fear of God’ among the younger generation is behind the recent rise in crime rates . I’m suggesting it’s a lot more complex than that .

    BTW – I consider myself a social conservative and am not a proponent of abortion on demand. I also happen to believe in marriage complete with marriage license for both parties and any future children’s protection . While we differ very much as regards both our attitudes to religion I’d say we are not very far apart in our attitude to social and economic issues .

  • willowfield

    As Mr Paisley has only an honorary PhD, he is not entitled to be titled. Call it Mr Paisley, not Dr Paisley.

    I don’t think it’s an honorary one.