Saturday, 12 November 2022

The Christian Bigots Are Revolting

Bishops openly repudiate the teaching of the Church of England - Christian Concern
Bishop Stephen Croft and Andrea Williams COE of Christian Concern
Bishop of Oxford, Stephen Croft (left) and Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern (right)

Like the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, or Church of England (CofE) in Britain is struggling to come to terms with the fact that society has moved on and no longer accepts the primitive Bronze Age moral code in the Bible. In order to stem the haemorrhage of members which has now left Anglicanism a minority cult in the UK with empty pews and derelict churches and not enough vicars to fill all the vacancies, reformers such as the Bishop of Oxford, Stephen Crofts, are trying to distance the church from that primitive barbarism, division, exclusion and hate that the Bible encourages. They are trying to make the CofE become more inclusive, embracing the humanist ethics that now form the basis of UK society, with same-sex marriages, sexual freedom, contraception and a woman's right to chose.

The problem for the CofE, like the Catholic church ,is that to catch up with modern society it has to abandon the fundamentals of the Early Medieval religion, yet, as its membership dwindles, the fanatical fundamentalists become proportionately more powerful within it. To those fundamentalists who are used to using the Bible to justify their smug bigotry and persecution of those who don't agree with them, to abandon the fundamentals is to abandon the faith altogether.

To these bigots the 'faith' is how they define it and they are not easily going to give up the basis for their entitled demand for the right to dictate to the rest of us.

This can be seen in a response by arch bigot, Andrea Williams, of Christian Concern, which represents the fundamentalist wing of Anglicanism, to proposed reforms in the CofE's attitude to same-sex marriage, with is dripping with condescension and the dogmatic assumption that their interpretation of their Bible is the definitive word of a god who empowered them to dictate to the rest of us.

It's clear from their Statement of Faith that Christian Concern is an extremist fundamentalist group which feels entitled to dictate to the rest of the Church and to society in general, deriving that assumed privilege from nothing more substantial that 'faith', i.e., the arrogant assumption that what they believe to be true, must be true because they believe it, so no evidence is required.
Here is their response to the mooted proposal:
The Church’s official position matches the clear teaching of scripture by saying that sex belongs within one man, one woman marriage. Nevertheless, bishops and clergy have been allowed to sow endless doubt about what Christians throughout history and around the world have recognised is God’s pattern for sexuality.
Note there the entitled assumption that they have a God-given right to tell others what form marriage should take and how sex should be restricted to a married couple, and that we should subscribe to their interpretation. There is also the dogmatic assumption that 'scripture' is their god's definitive word on the subject and that word somehow mandates the rest of us, because they say so.

Incidentally, note the use of the word 'scripture' which simply means writing'. We are expected to believe that because they use the word 'scripture' it somehow magically turns writing into indisputable truth. Imagine a scientist or anyone else in another discipline, trying to get away with an evidence-free claim because he/she has written it down and called it 'scripture'. These are the kinds of intellectually dishonest tactics Christian apologetics had come to depend on.

Their theological arguments have been debunked time after time by genuine scholars; Jesus himself clearly upheld the sexual ethics of the Old Testament while demonstrating grace and offering forgiveness to all who sought it.
What 'Jesus' did or didn't say was written many years later by people who never met him, if indeed he ever existed, but nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever mention sexual ethics. The only passing reference to the Old Testament Mosaic Laws is:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:17-19
Although there is that passage in 'scripture' where Jesus fails to cast the first stone, implying the he himself wasn't 'without sin' (John 8:5-7), and simply tells the woman taken in adultery to 'go, and sin no more'(John 8:10-11) instead of insisting the OT law be applied and she be stoned to death with him casting the first stone.

Nowadays, the Anglican fundamentalists of Christian Concern would probably condemn that as apostacy and 'obscuring God's beautiful design for marriage and family'.

Tapestry depicting Rachel, Dan and Bilhah. Jacob was Rachel's husband, and Bilhah was Rachel's handmaid; Rachel "gives" Bilhah to her husband and he has two sons by Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.

Source: Metrololitn Mueum of Art via Wikipedia
But these OT laws that they claim Jesus upheld, also include laws concerning ownership of slaves and when a slave may be beaten, as well as setting the price for selling daughters as sex slaves to their rapist, killing rape victims and stoning unruly children to death. I wonder how many of those Old Testament laws which Jesus supposedly upheld according to 'scripture', Christian Concern thinks the church should still advocate and which should still be mandatory in society. I wonder if they think a girl who is not a virgin on her wedding night should be publicly stoned, or whether genocide is a moral act.

And wasn't it the hapless Joseph, husband of 'virgin' Mary who, before he had been told of the divine impregnation in a dream, 'being a just man' decided not to expose pregnant Mary and let the law take its course (Matthew 1: 18-19). Strange how those writing the 'scriptures' believed the OT law calling for the death penalty for adultery was unjust! Perhaps they were writing about a different Jesus.

In fact, of course, those more barbaric aspects of the Bible's ethical code were abandoned years ago, albeit with the howls and scream of the fundamentalists, especially over abolition of the slave trade. What the fundamentalist bigots are doing is cherry-picking those laws they want to retain to maintain their self-abrogated right to victimise and demonise minorities of their choice.

This isn't about humans rights or social ethics; this is about using the Bible as a source of excuses by people who need excuses.

And what of the supposed 'New Covenant'?
For many years it has been clear that the driving force behind these revisionists is the not study [sic] of scripture, nor listening to the Holy Spirit but a relentless desire to mirror society’s values.
And there we have it. The acknowledgement that the CofE, like the Catholic Church, is struggling to keep up with changing social values, because social values are not God-given as the bigots insist but come from society itself as society evolves and adapts. What Christian Concern are doing is trying to keep society anchored in the past and retain the right to control the development of our cultural ethics. They have a moral compass that points unerringly backwards. What they don't seem to realise is that it is precisely because the primitive, inhumane ethics espoused in the Bible are being increasingly rejected by decent people that decent people are leaving the church and religion altogether.

The Bronze Age tribal ethics of the Bible are being rightly seen as repugnant and abusive and not at all fit for a decent, caring, inclusive society where all human life is considered of equal worth and deserving of equal treatment and equality before the law.

But of course, because they say so, Christian Concern have the 'Holy Spirit' which permits them to oppose moves towards a decent society where bigots no longer have a God-given right to victimise minorities and their holy book is no longer a sacred source of excuses for their antisocial behaviour.
This is no less than apostasy. The apostolic gospel calls all people, everywhere, to repent – to turn away from their sins and towards Christ. Such a radical change to the nature of repentance, to the doctrine of marriage, alters the gospel itself.
When all else fails, use the fall-back threats - unless you do what we tell you, your 'sins' won't be forgiven, and you'll burn in Hell for ever! The old trick of telling us we need to be saved and only they can save us, if we do what they say. Almost Munchausen by Proxy, where they make us sick then sell us the cure and expect us to admire them for it.

The Church of England’s drift towards approving same-sex relations has been disastrous for Christians across the country. Faithful Christians who have upheld God’s true teaching have been labelled as safeguarding risks and lost their jobs with employers and highly paid lawyers quoting revisionist teaching from Church of England figures against them.
Ah! Again, the whinge from Christian bigots that they aren't being allowed to victimise, using "God's true teaching" as their excuse. Of course, the 'teaching' is God's and true, because they say so, and they have a book to wave.

Changing the Church’s teaching by approving of same-sex relations will be devastating for faithful Christians in similar situations. Those holding to the Bible’s clear teaching will be even easier to label as hateful extremists.
How awful! Labelling hateful extremists as hateful extremists! It's not fair! Why can't Christians be allowed to be hateful extremists without people calling them out for it? After all they have a book which gives them an excuse!

Our society is reeling from the damage caused by the sexual revolution: sexual licence, divorce, pornography, abuse and gender ideology have caused untold harm. Obscuring God’s beautiful design for marriage and family by submitting to the sexual revolution’s demands leaves hurting people with no hope, no opportunity for redemption and transformation.
Their society might be reeling from its loss of privilege and the right to dictate to the rest of us, using their holy book as an excuse. The rest of us are liberating ourselves from the strictures and constraints imposed on us by their bigoted forebears. There is, of course, no reason at all that they can't have their traditional marriages with a subservient wife who only ever had sex within marriage and who dutifully spreads her legs for her husband whenever he demands it, but most of us would prefer to live honest, carefree lives, free from the fears and superstitions that these bigots would prefer to control us with.
Any move by the Church of England to revise the doctrine of marriage will cause open rupture in the Anglican communion, not only in the UK but all over the world. Faithful bishops the world over now need to stand up and defend the historic and Biblical doctrine of marriage as between one woman and one man for life.
Because we say so, and we have a book we can use as an excuse!

But the Fundamentalist have a point!

That the CofE is struggling with the age-old dilemma of being true to the ancient texts and dogmata upon which it is based and so becoming increasingly irrelevant and eventually going the way of all ancient religions, or abandoning its faith and keeping up with society as society progresses. In effect, like the Catholic Church, the choice is between ceasing to be Christian or ceasing to be relevant.

The problem lies with the church’s insistence on the right to take ownership of cultural ethics – something they purloined in the Early Middle Ages if not before.

Religion provides excuses for people who need excuses.


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