Monday, March 02, 2009

Cherie Blair hasn't a clue about Christianity's decline

Cherie Blair tried to explain why Catholicism/Christianity is on the wane in Channel 4's Christianity: A History – The Future of Christianity last night. She managed not to mention the religion of science once as a major cause, so the programme was a waste of time. Feminism, old churches, the Holocaust, old men in frocks - she tackled these. But science - not a peep.

Nor was her forensic skill in evidence. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, conceded that women should be allowed to "excel" in the Catholic Church "in their own way". In other words, he was politely saying women should continue to know their place which is not the men's place. At this point she should have ululated in fury - as a feminist. Instead she smiled and nodded (as you do on TV). So middle class.


Anonymous said...

Continuing in my series of "celebrities I once passed in the street" I attended a function in Sydney to honour Cherie Blair when she was promoting her book (while hubby was still PM). It was organised by Australia's version of Max Clifford, Max Markson who came to these shores from Hackney via a saucepan stall at Shepherd's Bush and has since made $squillions. Apart from some disquiet about how much the designated charity was receiving from the sale of tickets to hear Cherie talk-emboldened by several glasses of wine I approached the author and enquired whether she had considered donating profits from the sale of her book to the Iraqi children left homeless by her husband's invasion of their land. I was bustled away by security and never got an answer.

(former Old Labour member)

Anonymous said...

“Instead she smiled and nodded (as you do on TV). So middle class.” He, he. Is that what it is, darling?

This makes me compare two of you recent posts:
1) You were discussing Diana Mitford and someone quoted an interview where she was confronted with the number of deaths during the Holocaust. Her answer: Oh, I don’t think it was that many (as if a dozen deaths would be reasonable). Instead of pushing forward, the interviewer made a long silence (of disapproval? Wimp!) and moved on to another subject (clearly afraid that she would walk out in the middle of the interview).

2) That hideous interview to the Cardinal that got me so upset. The reporter never lost his composure, but continued pressing, asking him if that was not being Anti-Semitic what was? The man was so calm and cordial in his approach that it was only at one point that the Cardinal hearing his own words was faced with his own hideousness and quickly asked the guy if all of what he was saying would be published.

Two clear examples of bad vs. good journalism.

Madame Arcati said...

Very good examples poppet.

Anonymous said...

Madame Arcati the episode before Cherie's was all about the 'religion of science' - in fact its title was 'God and the Scientists'.

Cherie's was only the last installment of an eight part series.

So your comment / criticism is poorly researched and effectively invalid.

Madame Arcati said...

Please don't be thick, there's a duck. I am aware the show is part of a series. However each show is a self-contained argument. So if Cherie seeks to explain why her Catholic Church is drooping, she can't very well not talk about the religion of science just because science was addressed in another show. Doesn't make sense does it, chuck? No, she overlooked science in her eagerness to bang on about trivia such as old churches and old men.

In any case the other show you're thnking of was just some idiot scientist lifting a few phrases from Madame Arcati (eg The Large Hadron Collider is the "cathedral of science") and contending that science had disproved God. His argument was naive from start to finish - up there with Dawkins, Hitchens and other moron schoolboys.

Now run along dearie - I'm sure Mr Men repeats must be on.

Anonymous said...

now that's what a call a bollocking !

Thank God (for now) I remain (I think ) on Madame's good side.

your's (most) respectfully


Anonymous said...

Ok, see what you’ve done? The two of you arguing over this… Now I’m curious!
Regretfully (not really) I hardly watch TV anymore, other than ½ hour of daily news; or at least programmed TV (I’ve lost all patience for sitting to watch stories that are interrupted by adverts every… what? 12 minutes? – Now I just wait until I can download or rent, etc.) So now I’m sorry I missed that piece (not so much – EIGHT episodes of why religion is not doing well? Snore!) because, as one brought up catholic, NONE of those reasons (including science) seem the most relevant to me.

I am surrounded with people that have walked away from their faith/religion (Christian/catholic) and nobody would mention “Feminism, old churches, the Holocaust, old men in frocks…” or scientific knowledge. They turned to Buddhism/Hinduism, Rosicrucianism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Eckankar and other, mostly because they didn’t get from their church the solace you seek when you are in need of spiritual comfort or enlightenment.

Was it mentioned AT ALL that the tendency of the church is to threaten to excommunicate you for every little thing you fail to do and that “means” eternal damnation? Who can have a pure spirit and good feelings/intentions, hear that Our Maker would not forgive us if we don’t play to “the club’s” rules and still believe?

Mind you, I think I’ve made it clear before, I still accept the Catholic rubber stamp on my forehead. I DO because I was not brought up with all these fears (but my parents, their siblings and contemporaries were). I grew up believing that GOD is all love and forgiveness and although I am interested in other religions and enjoy reading/studying/comparing them, I always come back to the words of Jesus, because I truly believe He left us all the important messages to keep in mind for a fulfilled existence; So yes, I’m grateful and I call myself a catholic, because that is how I learned the Lord’s Gospel. Still, I’m sure that any catholic priest that would hear what I believe in (not always in line with catholic beliefs) would reply to me: oh, no; you don’t belong to our club.

The people that have walked away, have been CHASED away with a “my way or the highway” attitude from the church excommunicating parishioners that could not live in constant fear, listening every week that they were sinners, specially when they were doing the best they could to cope with their daily “crosses” (i.e. staying in abusive, dysfunctional marriages or dealing with many other personal “demons”).

What does ME not wanting to be treated like a second class citizen (feminism) , other people being hypocrites (Holocaust), old priests (to a small child everyone over 25 is old) in frocks (huh? Everyone wears pants now…) or scientists stating theories they cannot prove affect MY faith?

Darling, I want to know!

Madame Arcati said...

I'm sure there are many reasons why Catholicism may be on the slide (or is it? Cherie seemed unsure), but my interest is in tidal action. So that while the Church may have lost followers to other God religions, the primary religion of our time is Science and its many misunderstood precepts. Science has enabled us to do so many things which make a nonsense of Church rules - Cherie senses that the Church is redundant, stuck in resisting change, but she targeted influences that are not in themselves tidal - feminism has won its battles, what's left is just the cultural rout. Cherie after all is a Catholic feminist. Talk to most "atheists" and what has drawn them away from religion is its absence of fact: they have adopted the approach of science and its methodology, thinking that spiritual connection has failed to prove itself in a laboratory.

Anonymous said...

Is there ever such a thing as a lapsed Catholic ?.I've seen far too many who claim to be but in times of great stress will call upon the Blessed Mary and such. It could just be an automatic childhood response though. I recommend Spritualism. No-one ever leaves that church !

I'll pray for you,

Anonymous said...

I gave up religion because I do not believe in god. Since I don't feel a void, I needn't turn to science to fill any void up. (No doubt there is a better way to phrase that, but that's the best I can do just now.)

Despite all insistence to the contrary, atheism is not a belief system, it is the absence of one. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

“Cherie senses that the Church is redundant, stuck in resisting change, but she targeted influences that are not in themselves tidal”

My point exactly! If she conveyed that thought, I certainly agree, although I won’t call it stuck in resisting change as much as blind intolerance from the heads of the church (so un-Christian) because, as far as I have experienced, many in the lower stratums of the church have been trying at least since the 70’s to have a kinder approach to those in their parishes. Also, for certain, if she only mentioned the reasons you numbered, I agree it was a waste of time for the reasons I stated.

On the other hand, you say “Science has enabled us to do so many things which make a nonsense of Church rules” and “Talk to most ‘atheists’ and what has drawn them away from religion is its absence of fact”.

Ooh baby, I’m sorry I can’t speak my mind if you state it that way. You are approaching the subject in a way that is much too general and so, it can’t even be discussed in a blog page. If I try to state my argument all at once, it would be so long it would shut your page down! LOL! I have no other choice than to wait until you break it down and first discuss which church rules you think are nonsense, then scientists, some other day atheists and so on.

I will only ask you for now to please don’t throw them all in the same sac. Scientists do not equal to atheists and atheists are most frequently not scientists. If you look up for lists of renowned atheists (and converts, please) you will find that both, scientists and philosophers are today as much at odds as they have ever been on deciding if there is a Creator.

Scientists that study the laws of physics and the creation of matter, from the first proponent of the Big Bang (Georges Lemaître, a Catholic priest) to those that have worked in the Human Genome (Francis Crick, acerbic atheist; Francis Collins, converted Christian) to the odd cosmologist (Allan Sandage) have a range of opinions as varied as there are stars in the Universe.

Darling, the absence of fact is not what has drawn any atheist from religion, because if there is one thing that science’s brilliant minds have learned is that (paraphrasing Socrates) all we know is we know nothing. What has drawn atheists (like poor Hitchens – I warn you, don’t get me started with him) is their disenchantment with humanity and so they claim and hang on to scientific theories without even stopping to think that it is all they are: theories that have not been proven.

Since it seems that nobody tackled the Church’s lack of Christian empathy and I don’t quite agree with you that science is shifting the tide any more than the new(er) religions, can you tell me if anyone brought up the era of information (as in TV and Internet) as a cause for people to have been influenced in thinking they are way to sophisticated to believe in Santa, ghosts, witches or God?

Anonymous said...

What a fascinaing thread this has been. What I want to know is-do people asscociate the church (Catholic or otherwise) with the 'teachings' of that rogue rabbi, Jesus Christ ?.

The influence of churches has declined-but can anyone point to one word that Jesus ever said that wasn't spot on ?

Madame Arcati said...

Science is the tidal shift because it has altered the test of truth. Religion is predicated on faith, which in practice usually means faith in the Church and the acceptance of its rules. Science is predicated on empiricism: it tests its ideas about physical laws. But Science (the religion) is just as likely to turn theory (or faith) into fact by general acceptance - such as the Big Bang theory (ie In the beginning there was a void ...). In an age when our material lives work so well, a materialistic view of things is increasingly irresistible. People seek demonstrative causal results, not things which cannot be demonstrated.

As to Jesus, he was always incidental to the teachings of the Churches. The history of all the Christian Churches is one of ignominy and criminality, of breaches of Jesus' word - of the ignoring of the spirit and word of his teachings. Yet why bother with frocked pretenders in their palaces when you can freely go to the source?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,
I hope they do; at least I have, and that is why I said above I am grateful and give that much to the Catholic Church (and still consider myself a catholic). I owe it to the fact that my parents sent me to a catholic school to have learned the word of Jesus and, although I respect my elders resentment towards the Church’s hypocrisy and I can feel their angst when they speak of the constant fear the endured (isn’t it terrible to be taught SPIRITUALITY of all things in that way?), I feel fortunate for I was raised in His teachings (without the bullying part) and, yes, I enjoy learning about other forms of believing in our Maker, but as you said, (to me) any good spiritual rule I have read elsewhere was taught by Jesus in a simpler way that was just spot on!

As for your comments MA darling, I’ve had a rough, busy week. Your have mixed up too many arguments in your last post and I don’t want to respond hastily, so I ask for your patience: I’ll see about giving you my thoughts properly over the weekend.
Much love to you.

p.s. I promise I’ll be brief… (oops! I wonder how many Hail Marys I have to pray to erase that lie?)

forgotten ones fund/stephmastini said...

'As to Jesus, he was always incidental to the teachings of the Churches. The history of all the Christian Churches is one of ignominy and criminality, of breaches of Jesus' word - of the ignoring of the spirit and word of his teachings. Yet why bother with frocked pretenders in their palaces when you can freely go to the source?"

Amen MA...I guess you finally shut her up...the truth rings this case "actions speak louder than words, (oh, that was the point wasn't it) and she damn well knows what God is telling her "go till your garden sweetie"..halleluah!
we can only wish she has disappeared for not only the weekend....attending Catholic school does not automatically create a true "spiritually whole being"...

Anonymous said...

Shep, Darling! So you CAN distinct one anon from the other, then … You are not all that stupid after all, just a big liar. Don’t worry, honey; I have no interest in coming back at you. You just need to be rattled a little now and again when you get too out of control.

Just like you, I am not going away… (insert Stephen King movie sound effects here)…

It is too bad you only bother to read my posts concentrating in what you can pick out to use for some nasty remark, rather than to offer something valuable and positive to the discussion; but then again, I wonder if you are capable of such thing… Show us, dear: make an effort to discuss the fun and interesting topics MA brings up instead of discussing me; or, here is a concept: skip my posts!

MA darling, I will make the time, I just don’t want to make you dizzy, because I will have to brake down what you said last… and I want to make it short (Oh, dear!). :-)

p.s. What do you know! my verification word is saints! Eerie...

Anonymous said...

Ok Darling, here I go, just for you – I don’t care if you don’t post it. The Science vs. Religion race, you have your point of view, which I respect, and I think I made mine clear enough. Let’s leave it at that for now.

MA: “Religion is predicated on faith, which in practice usually means faith in the Church and the acceptance of its rules”

Me: “Usually” must be the key word in this assertion… Don’t get me wrong, darling; I am the first to tell my friends you can’t go to mass, know that in the Church’s eyes you have done wrong and then be offended because you are not supposed to take communion; You either play by the rules or search for a better game.

But, a lot of the rules the Church has been stuck on are moral values (as in rules agreed by man/society, not determined or geared towards spiritual enhancement) rather than on the original teachings we are supposed or encouraged to follow. Rules made up along the last 2000 years by the capricious minds of a few that have been given too much power and, as usual, have made terrible use of it. I know you agree on this one.

My point is: the Church is not just the Pope and his Cardinals and I want to think that the ones like Bishop Williamson (who I didn’t even know existed until you brought up the matter) are just a handful of bad apples; the Church is made up of millions of good willed people at all levels. What is wrong with shaking the roots of the Church to make those bad apples fall and keep the healthy ones? The church serves a good purpose just like the doctor, the plumber and the baker (I will say why at the end).

Anonymous said...

MA: “Science (the religion) is just as likely to turn theory (or faith) into fact by general acceptance”

Me: I agree. I guess it’s just human nature. If you repeat something as “the truth” enough times, it becomes “common knowledge” and people (the general public) stop questioning it. Atheists may argue that is exactly what has happened with the concept of God.

It is funny though, how we grew up believing all those theories about say, the dinosaurs and now they realize how much of what they were certain had happened wasn’t so much the truth. The common man should be more aware that the true scientists are never resting in their search for “the truth”, but that doesn’t mean that the fact they have not figured out where “we come from” means those that believe in a higher being are mistaken. No true science man should be that arrogant.


On the matter of material lives and materialism, it sure is appealing to all of us, but do you have friends like I do that the more money they make the more they don’t have? And have you noticed how the more some are set in having comfort and luxuries the sooner they tire of them or take them for granted? (I was just recently watching again a very funny comedian telling a story about internet access on planes that illustrates that so well, it was hysterical).

Most of the bestseller books today are “New Age” type books and authors like James Redfield have become wealthy out of that trend (I love the Celestine Prophesy – the story is so cute). If most people are in search of answers within the material world and palpable fact, the numbers sure don’t show it.

Anonymous said...

As to Jesus teachings being incidental, if it really is, it doesn’t mater. They are so amazing, they get where they have to get. His actual parables and responses to those who tried to bring him down with “smartness” and had to end up using violence to stop him have survived times like The inquisition, the Dark Ages and even the King James version of the Bible, in which they decided what parts of the scriptures are “more prudent” for the masses to have access to, claiming that some scriptures cannot be confirmed, and so on.

His thoughts are so simple yet brilliant that they seem harmless to the eye of those that seek to control the masses (as in corrupted heads of the Church), but for those who are seeking for answers they are right there: hiding in plain view for anyone to find.

MA: “Yet why bother with frocked pretenders in their palaces when you can freely go to the source?”

Well, one good thing about having the option to go to a place of worship when you are in emotional and spiritual distress is that you momentarily remove yourself from the surroundings that are causing it and with a bit of luck you find comfort in a place that provides hope and optimistic thoughts to remove the ones that are troubling you.

Also, like I said at the beginning, we all have our role in society and we have our jobs and things to do. Not many people feel they can do their job and then come home and teach their children properly about spiritual values and so, we trust our little ones to the Church, the same way we send them to school to learn to read and learn all those scientific facts.

Anonymous said...

Ta-da! How did I do? Oh, c’mon I had to cheat and put it in several posts; you threw in all those concepts at once like ingredients in a blender for making margaritas! I can’t respond to them all at once… can I?

Now, to make you smile, how about giving you another secular parable (well, sort of). Have you seen it? Warning: it is in Español with subtitles… so, be prepared to expand the image to read then.

I don’t know what is the lesson in this one…

forgotten ones fund/stephmastini said...

"I don’t know what is the lesson in this one…", tell me, what was the lesson in all your mental masturabation?

Anonymous said...

Masturbation, eh? Interesting choice of words. Humm... and you read it all… I take it you like to watch, you little stinker… creepy. Boy, am I glad I don’t have to touch your keyboard.

Why don’t you tell us what’s your take on it? It may prove fascinating to delve into your dark, twisted mind. But I’m glad that if your ideas are too strong for some to stomach, a blog administrator will delete them before it harms the minds of innocent bystanders.

I must say though, it’s just out of a bit curiosity that I ask you to tell us, because I can’t help you. Even if I were professionally trained to do so, you need to sit face to face with someone that can, and I am over 1000 miles away from you (thank you God for every day’s little blessings).

Here is a list that may help you: