Sunday, 13 September 2009

Archbishop all at sea

A jaw-dropping moment watching the BBC Andrew Marr Show this morning when the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, bemoaned what he called the politically correct prejudice which makes it difficult to obtain grants for his Youth Trust and other Christian organisations because many people believed, wrongly, that their purpose was to make converts.

“These youth groups that are actually helping a lot of their friends, they are not doing it in order to make them Christian. They’re doing it out of compassion and out of care. So when a charge project for example applies for a grant to a local council, questions are going to be asked and most of the time those grants are turned down because they think they are proselytising, WHICH ACTUALLY IS NOT PART OF THE HEART OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH."

Does this make the Archbishop some sort of heretic?

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

- Mark 16.15


Bodwyn Wook said...

What I have read and heard of the Archbishop makes me think he is a very sweet and good character who, moreover, out-Englishes the English themselves. I cannot honestly think of anything, not even in Vansittart, that speaks to the case of so very fine a person, therefore I can only think he must have misspoke himself. Ah, me, as you can see from the following, I gather that these other religions are having their troubles, too!

anticant said...

Sweet, perhaps - but also rather silly and sometimes out of his depth.

Jose said...

You'll let me be cynic and say that money makes people's minds turn the wrong way.

Bodwyn Wook said...

That's the sticking point to me, Jose, I think that very often in spirituality and religion people want to take Heaven by storm and make a sort of chipboard-and-plastic plumbing "paradise" here-and-now, social programs and all of that. Then they back right into the same sort of basically hopeless "acting out" that we see with, oh, the socialisms and the NeoCons, the Zionists and, for that matter, MY mad mullahs.

anticant said...

Religion is the problem, not the answer.

Bodwyn Wook said...

Religion? Or impatience?
I think it's the later that so often ruins everything, including all the other sciences too, and turns it into something nasty there in the pavement. The 'God-almightiness' of the waHabiyya and the technologist is pretty much on all-fours a lot of the time....

anticant said...

No, I do mean religion. It is irrational; it encourages 'believers' to adopt a holier-than-thou stance towards those who don't share their particular brand of faith; and militates against human progress based upon logic and common sense.

Jose said...

I still think that religion is not the problem. The problem is to use it. The problem is to think that those who don't profess the same religion are wrong and fight them to death, or simply hate them.

We, the human beings, are the most important part of the problem.

To believe is not a problem. To make others believe is.

anticant said...

Human beings are the whole of the problem. Religion is a man-made fantasy. While all religions teach - as they do - that theirs is the only TRUE religion, and that everyone who doesn't accept their doctrines is damned and will go to Hell, how can there possibly be peace and harmony between them?

We are all free to believe whatever we like, but those who adhere to an organised religion submit themselves to the preachers and teachers who sow discord and conflict around the globe.

Jose said...

Well, we're all free to fantasise, or not fantasise. In a way I agree with you, Anticant, because I am against all those lamb-led-by-wolf religions, but people may believe, or not believe, whatever they wish without submitting to irrationality. After all we are thinking, sentient persons.

Bodwyn Wook said...

To be truthful, Aunty, I personally find 'irrational' is to-day become one of these shibboleths; however unintentionally it is taken, now, not only to imply, but positively to denote, 'inferiority'.

It would be helpful, please allow me to suggest, that we consent to use /non-rational/ when we mean modes of perception that necessarily stand outside of the linear rehearsals that are a necessity of any communication between physically separate organisms. Of course these all are mis-used by the wicked, or the lazy anyway. We are as it is forced to use signs to /try/ to refer to this circumstance, too, as well as any other aspect of reality. I mean the whole problem of words or speech. There is no need to make of this dreadful hamstringing some sort of a compensatory phantasy of our own, namely of a factitious superiority, for what is really a grievious state of virtually universal moral isolation between physically separate persons.

It is to overcome this molecular crude condition, I think, that is the motive if not the goal itself of all our strivings, in all of the religious efforts of men, not least the new sciences of these past four cartesian centuries now at an end. The great tragedy is how many in every one of the arduous fields of human striving throw up their hands -- perhaps it /is/ all just laziness! -- and fall back into solipsism, content with a professional or hierachical credential, content in despair, content to make do with the manipulation of others, all through the lazy abuse of the natural phenomena of symbols. And if 'they' be no more than figments, these miserable objects of cozening and beguilement and propaganda, then why ever not?

The Sufi reply would be approximately that these figmentary others silhouetted on the inside of our skulls, and who get on our nerves everyday so badly, nonetheless are also ours to love and care for. Again, the blessed solipsism, 'they' are indeed part of /us/. Not to protect and dandle politically, I mean, nor even particularly publicly, but rather, and first and foremost, in our thoughts and imagination -- this the indispensable magical stuff of all wizardry of course -- in which we see (NB) them all home safe to speak. Not in some heaven to be either, but rather right here and 'now'.

anticant said...

Lots of food for thought in the above comment from Emmett (Bodwyn Wook), and much that I agree with - especially the distinction between "irrational" and "non-rational".

Irrationality is argument which defies logic (itself a man-made formula for consistent reasoning); the "non-rational" is the intuitive, empathetic faculty possessed by every human being - whether or not they profess to believe in a god. Love, for instance, is a non-rational emotion (often it is irrational as well!).

There's a fascinating discussion going on at the moment over on Stephen Law's Philosophy Blog, and I do urge you to read both his post and all the comments:

Bodwyn Wook said...

Howdy, I read Mr Law's current posting and the commentors with great interest, and indeed 'tis all true, too, every bit of it. Nonetheless, I am not joining in as that catholic sentiment of mine would at least annoy some commentors and it is not worth while pissing people off, we all will get there in the end,...wherever 'there' is, I reckon.

Here, for /our/ amusement, is what I might have said, 'there':



commentor Tony Lloyd writes: '....If nothing can be said about X then any counter arguments the chap disagreeing with you can come up with can be dismissed. The apophatic is then free to make things up without being criticised.'

This is, as far as it goes, a fair statement of the Sufi position as far as I, a minor dervish, now understand it, namely on the interaction between circumstance and perception; it is the essence of the sort of 'wizardry' that in time to come, now that the operations of the cartesian centuries have been brought to a successful conclusion, will see the renewal of science and, I daresay, philosophy.

On the face of it, naturally, some meanwhile can be seen to be getting away with being too playful!

Of course they are -- they getting away every time, everytime -- but /escape/ indeed may be the essence of all human succcess after all. The longterm value of any present system of narration about phenomena freely to be chosen by the operator, imaginally certainly, is firstly its function as a doorway to wider vistas.

What may be missing from Mr Lloyd's formulation of course is the counterbalancing position which anyway is simultaneously implicit and also in play, that anything and everything at all that comes up in thought about 'it' may (can, eg) be stated about X; this historical ensemble of acquired statements represents merely the accumulating truth (sic) about X.

This perception in turn is valuable because it can be used to open the door of understanding to at least one useful conclusion of the resulting statement that all phenomena [including 'opinion'] are physically real, and that corollary at least might be stated as the Final Epistomological Principle (FEP):

All phenomena and all statements about them are phenomenally coincident.

The equation here is of reality [phenomena] with 'truth' [coincidence], that becomes the working up of more phenomena.

When chosen freely if only by one meditative operator in private, this axiom as a working tool is the active fact naturally, namely facere, that saves us all from the Final Petrification* that is the great slumbering bugbear of so much of philosophy and science today, as the tide recedes from western shores for a time.

In short, the quotidien imagination works up new relationships between things endlessly, and neither man nor the divinity man perhaps is becoming can trump it**. This imaginal basis, as in psychology, is the most immediate new foundation now at hand in some quarters, for the renewal of the orthodoxies mentioned above. It is all a glorious show and well worth the sitting back a la Epicurus to enjoy!

* -- Obviously in terms of the foregoing Final Petrifications are 'allowed', for certainly as habitations of not a few forms of thought they exist...only they are dreadfully boring. As many a philosophical dreamer has seen at night for himself, often to be sure with no little annoyance, it is a matter of following the (usually naked and somewhat red-faced and excited) figure of The Lover into the next room, and the next, and so on, out at last onto the patio under the stars....

** -- Some workers there are of course whose jobs are to strive at this, this is more of 'the accumulating truth (sic) about X', after all.

Bodwyn Wook said...

I wrote above:

'The equation here is of reality [phenomena] with 'truth' [coincidence], that becomes the working up of more phenomena.'

Sorry, as I am proposing a dynamic model of truth, I should have written:

The /convergence/ [emphasis added] here is of reality [phenomena] with 'truth' [coincidence], that becomes the working up of more phenomena.

anticant said...

"It is not worth while pissing people off, we all will get there in the end,...wherever 'there' is, I reckon."

Oh, I do so agree! One major stumbling block to fruitful discussion - and to world peace - is the compulsive need of so many folk to be 'right' and to stigmatise (and sometimes persecute) the Other as 'wrong'. (Berne's "I'm OK - You're not OK" life position.)

I suffered more than somewhat from this during my recent Italian holiday!