The Pope’s Westminster Hall Speech: 17th Sept,2010

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Pope’s Westminster Hall Speech

First Published 22.09.10. Will edit later.


17 September 2010


Pope Benedict XVI warned that religion – and Christianity in particular – was “being marginalised” around the world in his keynote

Pope Benedict XVI gives his speech in Westminster Hall,

The Pope warned that some people wanted to see “the voice of religion be silenced”

speech at Westminster Hall in central London.

He addressed UK MPs, senior members of British society and religious leaders on 17 September 2010.

Below is the full transcript of his speech.

Pope Benedict XVI

“Mr Speaker, Thank you for your words of welcome on behalf of this distinguished gathering.

As I address you, I am conscious of the privilege afforded me to speak to the British people and their representatives in Westminster Hall, a building of unique significance in the civil and political history of the people of these islands.

Allow me also to express my esteem for the Parliament which has existed on this site for centuries and which has had such a profound influence on the development of participative government among the nations, especially in the Commonwealth and the English-speaking world at large.

Your common law tradition serves as the basis of legal systems in many parts of the world and your particular vision of the respective rights and duties of the state and the individual, and of the separation of powers, remains an inspiration to many across the globe.

As I speak to you in this historic setting, I think of the countless men and women down the centuries who have played their part in the momentous events that have taken place within these walls and have shaped the lives of many generations of Britons, and others besides.

In particular, I recall the figure of Saint Thomas More, the great English scholar and statesman, who is admired by believers and non-believers alike for the integrity with which he followed his conscience, even at the cost of displeasing the sovereign whose ‘good servant’ he was, because he chose to serve God first.

The dilemma which faced More in those difficult times, the perennial question of the relationship between what is owed to Caesar and what is owed to God, allows me the opportunity to reflect with you briefly on the proper place of religious belief within the political process.

This country’s Parliamentary tradition owes much to the national instinct for moderation, to the desire to achieve a genuine balance between the legitimate claims of government and the rights of those subject to it.

While decisive steps have been taken at several points in your history to place limits on the exercise of power, the nation’s political institutions have been able to evolve with a remarkable degree of stability.

In the process, Britain has emerged as a pluralist democracy which places great value on freedom of speech, freedom of political affiliation and respect for the rule of law, with a strong sense of the individual’s rights and duties, and of the equality of all citizens before the law.

While couched in different language, Catholic social teaching has much in common with this approach, in its overriding concern to safeguard the unique dignity of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, and in its emphasis on the duty of civil authority to foster the common good.

And yet the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge.

Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: What are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved?

These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse.

If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

The inadequacy of pragmatic, short-term solutions to complex social and ethical problems has been illustrated all too clearly by the recent global financial crisis.

There is widespread agreement that the lack of a solid ethical foundation for economic activity has contributed to the grave difficulties now being experienced by millions of people throughout the world.

Just as “every economic decision has a moral consequence” (Caritas in Veritate, 37), so too in the political field, the ethical dimension of policy has far-reaching consequences that no government can afford to ignore.

A positive illustration of this is found in one of the British Parliament’s particularly notable achievements – the abolition of the slave trade.

The campaign that led to this landmark legislation was built upon firm ethical principles, rooted in the natural law, and it has made a contribution to civilisation of which this nation may be justly proud.

The central question at issue, then, is this: Where is the ethical foundation for political choices to be found?

The Catholic tradition maintains that the objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation.

According to this understanding, the role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers – still less to propose concrete political solutions, which would lie altogether outside the competence of religion – but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles.

This ‘corrective’ role of religion vis-a-vis reason is not always welcomed, though, partly because distorted forms of religion, such as sectarianism and fundamentalism, can be seen to create serious social problems themselves.

And in their turn, these distortions of religion arise when insufficient attention is given to the purifying and structuring role of reason within religion. It is a two-way process.

Without the corrective supplied by religion, though, reason too can fall prey to distortions, as when it is manipulated by ideology, or applied in a partial way that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person.

Such misuse of reason, after all, was what gave rise to the slave trade in the first place and to many other social evils, not least the totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century.

This is why I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilisation.

Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation.

In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance.

There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere.

There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.

And there are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience.

These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square.

I would invite all of you, therefore, within your respective spheres of influence, to seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason at every level of national life.

Your readiness to do so is already implied in the unprecedented invitation extended to me today. And it finds expression in the fields of concern in which your government has been engaged with the Holy See.

In the area of peace, there have been exchanges regarding the elaboration of an international arms trade treaty; regarding human rights, the Holy See and the United Kingdom have welcomed the spread of democracy, especially in the last 65 years; in the field of development, there has been collaboration on debt relief, fair trade and financing for development, particularly through the International Finance Facility, the International Immunization Bond, and the Advanced Market Commitment.

The Holy See also looks forward to exploring with the United Kingdom new ways to promote environmental responsibility, to the benefit of all.

I also note that the present government has committed the United Kingdom to devoting 0.7% of national income to development aid by 2013.

In recent years it has been encouraging to witness the positive signs of a worldwide growth in solidarity towards the poor.

But to turn this solidarity into effective action calls for fresh thinking that will improve life conditions in many important areas, such as food production, clean water, job creation, education, support to families, especially migrants, and basic healthcare.

Where human lives are concerned, time is always short: yet the world has witnessed the vast resources that governments can draw upon to rescue financial institutions deemed ‘too big to fail’.

Surely the integral human development of the world’s peoples is no less important: Here is an enterprise, worthy of the world’s attention, that is truly ‘too big to fail’.

This overview of recent cooperation between the United Kingdom and the Holy See illustrates well how much progress has been made, in the years that have passed since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations, in promoting throughout the world the many core values that we share.

I hope and pray that this relationship will continue to bear fruit, and that it will be mirrored in a growing acceptance of the need for dialogue and respect at every level of society between the world of reason and the world of faith.

I am convinced that, within this country too, there are many areas in which the Church and the public authorities can work together for the good of citizens, in harmony with this Parliament’s historic practice of invoking the Spirit’s guidance upon those who seek to improve the conditions of all mankind.

For such cooperation to be possible, religious bodies – including institutions linked to the Catholic Church – need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles and specific convictions based upon the faith and the official teaching of the Church.

In this way, such basic rights as religious freedom, freedom of conscience and freedom of association are guaranteed.

The angels looking down on us from the magnificent ceiling of this ancient Hall remind us of the long tradition from which British Parliamentary democracy has evolved.

They remind us that God is constantly watching over us to guide and protect us. And they summon us to acknowledge the vital contribution that religious belief has made and can continue to make to the life of the nation.

Mr Speaker, I thank you once again for this opportunity briefly to address this distinguished audience.

Let me assure you and the Lord Speaker of my continued good wishes and prayers for you and for the fruitful work of both Houses of this ancient Parliament. Thank you and God bless you all.”

amuhd:
I will begin by picking up a few sentences the Pope has pronounced that should have a great significance for the future of Europe and the world. This is. imho, the essence of his delivery:

“Britain has emerged as a pluralist democracy which places great value on freedom of speech, freedom of political affiliation and respect for the rule of law, with a strong sense of the individual’s rights and duties, and of the equality of all citizens before the law. ….
that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilisation. ….

In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance.
There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere.
There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.
And there are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience.

These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square.
I would invite all of you, therefore, within your respective spheres of influence, to seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason at every level of national life.”
Badger:
Sat Sept 18th 2010 12:28 BST

Important stuff. As an atheist I see Christianity as a vital element in Western civilisation and without it we would all be the poorer. In fact, I am not sure we could survive without it.

The Pope is absolutely right.

amuhd:
2 days ago
Badger, the roots of our civilisation have been derived from our Christianity. That is the basis of our culture. This culture is no threat to your desire to believe in something else. Your beliefs are no threat to the Christian culture either except for people like Peter Thatchel, who is an exhibitionist and opportunist attempting to steal the limelight.

There is also no reason why evolutionists cannot exist side by side with creationists.

amuhd:
2 days ago
We should apply a time scale perspective to human knowledge and perception in the concept of religion. Before, Moses, the whole of the Arabian peninsular, the then known early civilisations of Africa-Europe, were pagans, polytheists, and worshipped many gods, including the Sun God and the Moon God/Goddess. Before Moses, the Pharaoh’s ruled and they worshipped many gods. Then came Moses, 3760 BC and he introduced the concept a monotheist god and that started the Abrahamic Faiths, but around the world there were many other gods or religions like Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, that predates Moses by thousands of years. The boundaries of human knowledge prevented man to appreciate that anything could have existed before Adam and Eve in the West. But were they short sighted?

“According to the Torah, the Bible, and the Qur’an, the first man, represented by Adam was created by God, and according to Biblical text, he was created in 3760 BC (Genesis 5:2) [2]

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And then God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” Then God said, Let us make man in our image….in the image of God. And he created him, male and female. And on the seventh day god rested having created Heaven and Earth. “So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.”

Then came scientific evidence that the cosmos is much older than Adam and Eve, throwing into jeopardy some of the Biblical hypothesis:

“Furthermore, other modern scientists like Charles Darwin (“The Origin of the Species,”) Albert Einstein (Theory of Relativity,) Stephen Hawking (Singularity Theorem,) or Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) with his “Hubble Laws” in 1929 when he postulated that the Universe was once compact, and that it had been expanding ever since the “Big Bang” have introduced dimensions that could not even have been visualised by our early philosophers. The adjustments to these new dimensions are so great that even our greatest theologians, philosophers, and modern scientific thinkers cannot come up with an acceptable consensus.[15]

The Age of the Universe: 15 Billion Years
The equation generally used to show the age of the Universe is shown here:

(distance of a particular galaxy)/(that Galaxy’s velocity) = (time) or

4.6 x 10^26 cm/1×10^9 cm/sec = 4.6 x 10^ 17 sec

This equation, equalling 4.6 x 10^ 17 seconds =

“approximately fifteen billion years.”

This calculation is almost exactly the same for every galaxy that can be studied. However, because of the uncertainties of the measurements produced by these equations, only a rough estimate of the true age of the universe can be fashioned. While finding the age of the universe is a complicated process, the achievements of this knowledge represents a critical step in our understanding. [16]”

Yet there is no evidence to conclude that creativity and evolution cannot run on parallel tracks in man’s lives.

Veteran09:
2 days ago
Dear amuhd,

In the Pope’s Speech to British M.P.’s at Westminster yesterday, he, not wittingly, alluded to British Government being regularly guided and watched over by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who is seriously interested in what is happening in British Government, day by day.

This is a small part of what the Pope said : –

” … GOD is constantly watching over us TO GUIDE US(British Prime Ministers) to GUIDE and PROTECTS US … that( HM’S ) religious belief has made and can continue to make to The Life of The Nation … “

GOD is incarnate in Her Majesty with GOD’S WISDOM. Hence we Brits have the blessing of GOD’S VERY PRESENCE IN OUR MONARCH and Our Prime Ministers have the opportunity to take heed of Divine Guidance from Our Gracious Queen.

Thanks be to GOD for caring so much for the care of Us British Subects !!!

GOD SAVE OUR GLORIOUS, GRACIOUS, BRITISH, GOD-QUEEN.

Sincerely,

Veteran09.

Amuhd:
2 days ago
Veteran09, I am sure that Queen Elisabeth II, with her years of experience as Monarch and Head of the Commonwealth has gained considerable wisdom during her rule. I am sure too that she has great influence during her weekly meetings with the PM.

But I feel that she has accepted her non-interfering role too seriously. In fact, her inertia soon after the death of the Princess has caused me wonderment and concern. It was the PM who guided her through those troubled days. What use was her personal secretaries and other Royal advisors? Even her role as head of Church and her influence over the Archbishop does raise many questions. And as far as her influence over her successor, needs no further comment. However, she has undertaken her role with dignity.

Goaway:
2 days ago
“Then came scientific evidence that the cosmos is much older than Adam and Eve, throwing into jeopardy some of the Biblical hypothesis:”

I don’t see it that way Amuhd.
Many people claim that science disproves the Bible’s account of creation. But the real contradiction is between science and, not the Bible, but the opinions of so-called Christian Fundamentalists. Some of these groups falsely assert that according to the Bible, all physical creation was produced in six 24-hour days some 10,000 years ago.

The Bible, however, does not support such a conclusion. If it did, then many scientific discoveries over the past hundred years would indeed discredit the Bible. A careful study of the Bible text reveals no conflict with established scientific facts.
The Genesis account opens with the simple, powerful statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Bible scholars agree that this verse describes an action separate from the creative days recounted from verse 3 onward. The implication is profound. According to the Bible’s opening statement, the universe, including our planet Earth, was in existence for an indefinite time before the creative days began.

Geologists estimate that the earth is approximately 4 billion years old, and astronomers calculate that the universe may be as much as 15 billion years old. Do these findings…or their potential future refinements…contradict Genesis 1:1? No. The Bible does not specify the actual age of “the heavens and the earth.” Science does not disprove the Biblical text.
What about the length of the creative days? Were they literally 24 hours long? Some claim that because Moses…the writer of Genesis…later referred to the day that followed the six creative days as a model for the weekly Sabbath, each of the creative days must be literally 24 hours long. (Exodus 20:11) Does the wording of Genesis support this conclusion? C

It seems not, when we consider the fact that the Hebrew word translated “day” can mean various lengths of time, not just a 24-hour period. For example, when summarizing God’s creative work, Moses refers to all six creative days as one day. (Genesis 2:4) In addition, on the first creative day, “God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night.” Think about it. (Genesis 1:5) Here, only a portion of a 24-hour period is defined by the term “day.” Certainly, there is no basis in Scripture for arbitrarily stating that each creative day was 24 hours long. Incidently, Darwin cannot be a modern day scientist,
science has whizzed past his theories.

Cartimandua:
2 days ago
I’m always puzzled by what people mean by “spiritual”. It has no meaning.An awareness in some atavistic part of the brain of “another” perhaps. An infant awareness of Mother before verbal memory. Religion helps people to be optimistic which is a good thing. There is no reason for religion to claim superior morality but we should all the same keep ethics in the public and individual mind.
I wanted to like the Popes speech but it just sounded like special pleading and we know how it translates. Huge families, no protection from HIV,kids languishing because no one will adopt them and gay couples are not allowed to,women dying because they are denied treatment. Aid that just makes the problem larger…

We do need that other dimension to counter materialism but I dont think Catholicism has anything to offer society although the rituals are beautiful and for individuals the certainty is lovely.

Amuhd:
2 days ago
goaway, Thank you for your views. All religions attempt to justify views formulated in ancient times to modern scientific discoveries.

In Biblical history, if you accept the chronology of Biblical history, before the visions of Moses in 1314 BC (Flaming Bushes), the world was pagan, polytheistic, and shamanistic. There was NO GOD OF MOSES OR THE JEWS BEFORE THAT TIME. Also Moses cognisance could only visualise that man (Adam&Eve) was created (by Biblical chronology) in 3760 BC.

It is my contention that Moses vision was limited by the knowledge of his day. Because if there really was a God of Moses who created Adam & Eve, and the Universe, he would have been capable of transmitting a wiser message to Moses.

All the Gods of the Abrahamic faiths were visualised by Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad in their limited wisdom.

However I do not reject that faith overcomes all doubts or physical discrepancies. But the two dimensions need not run in conflict but along parallel paths to meet at infinity. Thus creativity and evolution may exist along side one another without serious conflict except in the minds of men.

Many will reject what I have said, including most theologians. But unless I can see scientific evidence that this cannot be so, it is how I see faith working with people. The dots in the Biblical chronology do not add up to my satisfaction.

Most of us have a limited vision because we limit our views of the Abrahamic faiths. But long, long before the Abrahamic faiths were successful religions that extend much beyond the time scale of the Abrahamic theologies. There were the Pharaohs, the Hindus, the Taoists, the Buddhists, the Sharmanists, the Naturalists, and surely the demographics indicate that a larger percentage of the human race believe in gods that have no similarity to that of the Abrahamic faiths. Does that mean that only a select people are blessed of god and the others will burn for eternity in Hell? Is there such a merciless god that we worship? If so have we chosen the right god?
Goaway:
1 day ago
Thank you for your response amuhd. You said…
“In Biblical history, if you accept the chronology of Biblical history, before the visions of Moses in 1314 BC (Flaming Bushes), the world was pagan, polytheistic, and shamanistic. There was NO GOD OF MOSES OR THE JEWS BEFORE THAT TIME.”

Absolutely correct amuhd, apart from the last line above, you neglect the fact that God was known to man prior to Moses. If the Genesis account is accepted, the most notable were Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah, Lot and Abraham. So according to the Biblical account God was known. Now if we move on to Moses who is credited with the early accounts in the Bible we find that the descendants of some of the people mentioned above were known as Israelites and became slaves of Egypt, Moses included.

You said…
“It is my contention that Moses vision was limited by the knowledge of his day. Because if there really was a God of Moses who created Adam & Eve, and the Universe, he would have been capable of transmitting a wiser message to Moses”

We are all limited by the knowledge of our particular time amuhd, but it is accepted by those who believe in the Bible that it was inspired by God, how else could Moses have got the sequence of creation correct? Of course the science involved was not described in detail to Moses, how could it be understood by him or following generations? The terminology needed, did not exist in their language. Man did not have the words or knowledge to even express the scientific complexities involved. Even our most prominent scientists can only give theories concerning the “singularity” or the bringing into existence of the Universe and these theories do not contradict the Genesis account.

You also said in another reply…”Yet there is no evidence to conclude that creativity and evolution cannot run on parallel tracks in man’s lives“.

Of course many others think so and it is a compromise to link what they consider to be “science” with creation. Most people don’t understand the difference between operational science – the kind that gives us computers, mobile phones, modern medicine etc., based on the established laws of physics, chemistry and biology, discovered by empirical research, and origins ‘science’, which is speculation about how ‘life, the universe and everything as we know them came to be. Since those origins are in the unobservable and unrepeatable past, they can never be the subject of empirical research, so whatever ideas scientists may have about what might have happened, those ideas can never be more than a belief.

Accepting the theory of Evolution cannot be consistent with Scripture. The idea that a Creator used such an evolutionary method of populating the Earth negates the complete theme which runs throughout the Bible.
According to the Bible, Jehovah/Yahweh made the first man perfect. It is impossible for God to make things any other way. The creation account says: “God proceeded to create the man in his image . . . After that God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27, 31) However, Evolution presents modern man as an improving animal. The Bible presents modern man as the degenerating descendant of a perfect man.
The idea that God directed evolution in order to produce man is also incompatible with what the Bible says about God’s personality. If God guided the process of evolution, it would mean that he guided mankind into its present diseased and distressed state.
I suggest you read Deuteronomy 32:4, 5 in support of this. Jesus also believed in Adam Matthew 19: 3-5 and Luke gives the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3: 23-38 see also Acts 17: 24-26. So as you can see, to a Christian, evolution is not compatible with Scripture.
Amuhd, there is much more which could be said, but I fear it would try your patience.
I fully realise that you make a particular study of Islam and have often read your blogs and replies with interest, indeed I have put some on file, but to be totally honest, I must inform you that your grasp of the Bible leaves a lot to be desired. And as one friend to another I would encourage you to give the Bible some more attention, you will derive much more benefit than you ever will from the Qu’ran.

In conclusion, I will just add that proponents of evolution are often motivated, not by the facts, but by “their own desires”…perhaps a desire to be accepted by a scientific community in which evolution is orthodox doctrine.
Professor of biochemistry Michael Behe, who has spent most of his life studying the complex internal functions of living cells, explained that those who teach the evolution of cell structure have no basis for their claims. Could evolution occur at this tiny, molecular level? “Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority,” he wrote. “There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. . . . The assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.”

I also invite you to click on the link and consider why Behe believes as he does. Consider the complexity of what you will see, then consider how something so complex could have started life in a primordial soup merely by chance.

http://www.centreofthecell.org/interactives/exploreacell/index.php

Amuhd:
2 days ago
veteran09, “GOD is incarnate in Her Majesty with GOD’S WISDOM. Hence we Brits have the blessing of GOD’S VERY PRESENCE IN OUR MONARCH and Our Prime Ministers have the opportunity to take heed of Divine Guidance from Our Gracious Queen. ”

As our Queen is the Head of the Anglican Faith, one would hope that,
“GOD is incarnate in Her Majesty with GOD’S WISDOM. ”

However, we will never know what transpires between the Queen and the PM in their weekly discussions. But unfortunately as the mood of Britain is favouring secularism in a big way, the Queen must be divided between her loyalties to God and to the minority members of her Commonwealth. It must be a very difficult road to walk. But as Head of Church, and Queen, she should perhaps assert her feelings more firmly especially with her Archbishop and her Prime Minister and also perhaps have more of a say in the grooming of her successor.

I have a strong suspicion that her advisors have influenced her to tread gently because of the mood of the nation, favouring secularism and multiculturalism.

That is why I found great comfort when the Pope suggested to the Queen and her ministers that in promoting secularism and multiculturalism that Christianity is not marginalised. This is the jewel in the Pope’s speech. I hope the message sinks in.

Amuhd:
2 days ago
cartimandau: “I’m always puzzled by what people mean by “spiritual”. ”

It, imho, is a magical word in religion because it passes the buck to the ethereal, the spiritual, the celestial. It the same as saying, “that is the realm of god- so just accept it with no further discussions.” This is the “opt-out” for Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammadism and other religions. Because some of the Holy Scriptures are beyond explanation but is based on faith.

“Religion helps people to be optimistic which is a good thing. There is no reason for religion to claim superior morality but we should all the same keep ethics in the public and individual mind. ”

Religion was meant to be the magic balm that healed all ills. But there is no question that the philosophies of various religious doctrines were based on the problems of that community. And it is based on some of these philosophies that we have developed our judicial system. And thus we have formed our criteria for “law and Order” and “fairness and compassion.” So we cannot condemn all of what religion has brought us.

However you say,
“Huge families, no protection from HIV,kids languishing because no one will adopt them and gay couples are not allowed to,women dying because they are denied treatment.”

You are right, these are some of the shortcomings of religion mired in custom and ritual that they cannot find an escape from. Those philosophies applied in the time of Moses, or Jesus, or Mohammad, but that was some 2000 years ago. Times have moved on and science has exposed data that was not even conceived 2000 years ago. That is the fallacy of religion, that they find it difficult to adapt and change even when scientific facts have shown that their earlier decisions were based on unfounded facts. Because by admitting that the Holy Text got one thing wrong, proves that the whole house was built on sand. This cannot be rationalised nor accepted by the religious hierarchy hence the inability to modernise.

Goaway:
14 hours ago
Thank you again Amuhd for your temperate reply. I only have time to respond to only a few points which you made. You replied…

“abdullah: I never questioned the fact that there was the concept of god before the event of Moses seeing the flaming bushes. But the god or gods were not the God of Moses (God of the Christians.) They were pagan gods. It would have been impossible to have a vision of the God of Moses before the pronouncement revealed by Moses.”
(who’s Abdullah?)

In Reply: We seem to agree that God (Jehovah/Yahweh) had contact with man from the time of Adam. In Exodus 3: 15 He tells Moses his name (“Jehovah is the God of your forefathers“) If you accept that Adam was the first man then he would be Moses’ forefather. But if you do not believe that Adam was not the first man but the result of evolution then of course you cannot accept my account in its entirety.
I like to think that I am Christian in my beliefs so therefore I accept that Jesus believed in the existence of Adam (Matthew 19:4-6) That belief, as you will agree, cannot be consistent with the theory of evolution.

Goaway:
In believing that Adam was the first of the human race, by default I also accept the history of Adam and his progeny precede those who later worshipped other gods. Indeed Jehovah was also aware of these false gods when He informed and warned the Israelites frequently against Idol worship and polytheism, as is clear in the following verses…
Deuteronomy 4:35 , Deuteronomy 4:39 , Deuteronomy 6:4 , Deuteronomy 32:39 ,
Isaiah 46: 5,6 also Isaiah 40: 18. And the following which I also give to save you the time of looking them up…Isaiah 43:10 I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
Isaiah 44:8
Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Isaiah 45:5-6
I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.
Isaiah 46:9
I am God, and there is none else: I am God, and there is none like me.

Now if you do not accept that the Scriptures are inspired of God then you may view those words with scepticism.

But there is much more which convinces me that the Bible is the only true Book which is superior to all others and that is the consistent theme which runs through it. But that is another story. But it is amazingly scientifically accurate, just read Job 38: 4-6 “4 Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth?

Tell [me], if you do know understanding.
5 Who set its measurements, in case you know,
Or who stretched out upon it the measuring line?
6 Into what have its socket pedestals been sunk down,
Or who laid its cornerstone,
Job 38: 4-6 (How could Job living all those years ago know than the Earth was suspended in space?)
But if we leave the Bible and go on to proven science which discredit’s the theory of evolution, (by the way Amuhd, I had hoped you would have mentioned the link which I posted in my last reply and given your opinion, so here it is again)
http://www.centreofthecell.org/interactives/exploreacell/index.php

To enlarge further in the interests of proving creation I give the following information and I hope you find the time to read it and give your honest unbiased opinion….
Scientists have found that within the cell, there are thousands of what can be called ‘biochemical machines.’ All of their parts have to be in place simultaneously or the cell can’t function. Things which were once thought to be simple mechanisms, such as being able to sense light and turn it into electrical impulses, are in fact highly complicated.
Since life is built on these ‘machines,’ the idea that natural processes could have made a living system is untenable. Biochemist Dr Michael Behe uses the term ‘irreducible complexity’ in describing such biochemical ‘machines.’

‘… systems of horrendous, irreducible complexity inhabit the cell. The resulting realization that life was designed by an intelligence is a shock to us in the twentieth century who have gotten used to thinking of life as the result of simple natural laws. But other centuries have had their shocks, and there is no reason to suppose that we should escape them.’

Some still try to insist that the machinery of the first cell could have arisen by pure chance. For instance, they say, by randomly drawing alphabet letters in sequence from a hat, sometimes you will get a simple word like ‘BAT.’ So given long time periods, why couldn’t even more complex information arise by chance?
However, what would the word ‘BAT’ mean to a German or Chinese speaker? The point is that an order of letters is meaningless unless there is a LANGUAGE CONVENTION and a TRANSLATION SYSTEM in place which makes it meaningful!
In a cell, there is such a system (other molecules) that makes the order on the DNA meaningful. DNA without the language/translation system is meaningless, and these systems without the DNA wouldn’t work either. The other complication is that the translation machinery which reads the order of the ‘letters’ in the DNA is itself specified by the DNA! This is another one of those ‘machines’ that needs to be fully-formed or life won’t work.

So Amuhd, we have to seriously consider if cells can arise spontaneously from a microscopic dot of slime in a primordial swamp?

Consider further…We know that even a primitive cell like an E. coli bacteria — one of the simplest life forms in existence today — is amazingly complex. Following the E. coli model, a cell would have to contain at an absolute minimum:
A cell wall of some sort to contain the cell
A genetic blueprint for the cell (in the form of DNA)
An enzyme capable of copying information out of the genetic blueprint to manufacture new proteins and enzymes
An enzyme capable of manufacturing new enzymes, along with all of the building blocks for those enzymes
An enzyme that can build cell walls
An enzyme able to copy the genetic material in preparation for cell splitting (reproduction)
An enzyme or enzymes able to take care of all of the other operations of splitting one cell into two to implement reproduction (For example, something has to get the second copy of the genetic material separated from the first, and then the cell wall has to split and seal over in the two new cells.)
Enzymes able to manufacture energy molecules to power all of the previously mentioned enzymes, and all this Evolutionists claim all this order possibly happened when a bolt of lightening energised a dot of slime. Can you wonder why I believe in Creation by an omnipotent being ?
So what are the chances of atoms collecting together to form the simplest self-reproducing cell? In his book A Guided Tour of the Living Cell, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Christian de Duve admits: “If you equate the probability of the birth of a bacterial cell to that of the chance assembly of its component atoms, even eternity will not suffice to produce one for you.”

Dr Werner Gitt, Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology, makes it clear that one of the things we know absolutely for sure from science, is that information cannot arise from disorder by chance. It always takes (greater) information to produce information, and ultimately information is the result of intelligence:
“A code system is always the result of a mental process (it requires an intelligent origin or inventor) … It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required.
‘There is no known natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this“.

I think I’d better conclude at this point Amuhd or you will think I am writing a book. If you have time to reply, I will revisit your blog. Keep well.

Amuhd:
10 minutes ago
goaway, amuhd is short for a.muhd aka abdullah muhammad aka abdullah, aka Muhammad. That is my nom de plume in myT
Amuhd:
23 hours ago
goaway, thank you for your insight into your beliefs, if that is what they are. Both of us, I assume, are Christians, at least with a Christian background, have a belief in God, but we see Biblical text through different lenses. I suspect that you have taken an ecclesiastical viewpoint while most of my hypothesis has been based on unbiased scientific or evolutionary viewpoint. But in essence I do not see any real conflict in perception. However, I will, for the sake of discussion, place my views against your statements.

goaway:
“Absolutely correct amuhd, apart from the last line above, you neglect the fact that God was known to man prior to Moses. If the Genesis account is accepted, the most notable were Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah, Lot and Abraham. So according to the Biblical account God was known. Now if we move on to Moses who is credited with the early accounts in the Bible we find that the descendants of some of the people mentioned above were known as Israelites and became slaves of Egypt, Moses included. ”

abdullah: I never questioned the fact that there was the concept of god before the event of Moses seeing the flaming bushes. But the god or gods were not the God of Moses (God of the Christians.) They were pagan gods. It would have been impossible to have a vision of the God of Moses before the pronouncement revealed by Moses.

Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah, Lot and Abraham never knew the God of Moses, but they worshipped the gods of the Pharaohs. This is clear from the study of biblical history as well as ancient Egyptian history. In addition you have confirmed that those mentioned above were slaves of Egypt. They were therefore slaves of the Pharaohs who worshipped the Sun god. The Pharaohs were not conscious of the God of Moses. The Bible, not unlike the Quran, have attempted to establish their antiquity of their faith by extrapolation of their ideology as far back as their human perception allowed them and that was acceptable to the people of that period. Hence they extrapolated to the creation of the world and the creation of Adam&Eve.

goaway: “We are all limited by the knowledge of our particular time amuhd, but it is accepted by those who believe in the Bible that it was inspired by God, how else could Moses have got the sequence of creation correct?”

Abdullah: Here you accept that man’s cognisance is limited by his own limited vision relative to his earthly life, and that is the limit of his perception. But surely, God, the creator of the Universe and who knows all is not limited in his visions, but so why does he choose only to limit his insight to Moses? God should have provided Moses the wisdom of God. As he did not, then the indisputable supposition is that Moses’ vision’s were totally human and earth bound and not a revelation of an angel of God.

I cannot find sufficient corroboration in Genesis to support evidence that Genesis somehow explained the Theory of the Big Bang and was aware of it.

goaway: “We are all limited by the knowledge of our particular time amuhd, but it is accepted by those who believe in the Bible that it was inspired by God, how else could Moses have got the sequence of creation correct?”
“You also said in another reply…”Yet there is no evidence to conclude that creativity and evolution cannot run on parallel tracks in man’s lives“.

Abdullah: Yes, I agree, Judaism/Christianity may have been inspired by god. I will not dispute that, but it was inspired by Man’s concept of God, and not an inspiration of God as such. It was the wisdom of Moses who created the inspiration that he has attributed to the inspiration of God, but Moses’ god was also limited by the limitations of the cognisance of Moses. And that says What I think!

This is why I added the hypothesis that Creativity and Evolution can live side by side and run on parallel lines because this allows man of faith to confirm his faith without having to make a choice. This allows men of faith to cling on to their beliefs without contradictions., i.e. “an escape rationalisation.” It is like what you have said, “Of course many others think so and it is a compromise to link what they consider to be “science” with creation.”

Goaway: “Of course many others think so and it is a compromise to link what they consider to be “science” with creation.”……
“Consider the complexity of what you will see, then consider how something so complex could have started life in a primordial soup merely by chance. “

Abdullah: Goaway, each of us will, perhaps, always see Creativity and Evolution in a different light. I doubt if it will ever be resolved in our lifetimes. It could be due to the way our brains were wired. My concepts are in no way connected with Islam or any specific religion, but based on my understanding of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoist, ancient history, anthropology, and my scientific education and my life’s experiences. And I can assure you that the last is by far the guiding factor having experienced more than 4 score years of life. This puts me in the same league as Ratzinger, and Elizabeth II, and Lao Tze.
Goaway:
11 hours ago
Hi amuhd, just a quick reply…

Almost as long as humans have existed, they have had many gods. There have been so many that it is difficult to put an accurate figure on the number of gods and goddesses worshiped throughout the earth—but it runs into the millions. You see Amuhd, if the account of Adam’s creation is accepted and the belief that he was the first human and all mankind came from him, then we must also accept that the God who created him is the true God. To my mind therefore, it then follows, that as the human race increased many began worshipping Gods of their own invention and not the God of Adam. However the Bible gives accounts of those who still worshipped Him. The accounts of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and others are given in Genesis and continues into the New Testament.

However the Canaanites, the Egyptians and others are also mentioned, and these did not worship Yahweh the God of Adam. The Egyptians were Polytheists and the Canaanites who burned their children as sacrifices to honour their gods (Lev. 18:21), practiced sodomy, bestiality, and all sorts of loathsome vice (Lev. 18:23, 24, 20:3), & (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

So I am sure you will agree Amuhd that a falling away from true worship and the rise of false gods became a reality of many nations. God was indeed aware of these vile worshippers, as given in another example in Genesis 15:16. So it is clear to me that none of these so-called gods existed before the God of the Bible.

Having established that there is a God, we now ask, Which of all the gods worshiped throughout the earth, now and in the past, is the true God?
I believe I have answered that question.

In your reply you said…”But this god who blessed this dot of slime and made it into a cell is not the the same god who created Adam out of clay. Perhaps he was the god of the Aryans, the Hindus who created that fist cell.”

Amuhd, which of the Aryan gods or which of the many Hindu gods?
So it seems that you insist in believing that man came from a cell which was created.
Such a statement suggests that once God created this first cell He then guided its evolution through the ages. I repeat my words to you…”Evolution presents modern man as an improving animal. The Bible presents modern man as the degenerating descendant of a perfect man.

The idea that God directed evolution in order to produce man is also incompatible with what the Bible says about God’s personality. If God guided the process of evolution, it would mean that he guided mankind into its present diseased and distressed state“.

You also said…
“Adam, Cain and Abel, Noah, Lot and Abraham never knew the God of Moses, but they worshipped the gods of the Pharaohs. This is clear from the study of biblical history as well as ancient Egyptian history. In addition you have confirmed that those mentioned above were slaves of Egypt. They were therefore slaves of the Pharaohs who worshipped the Sun god.”

Amuhd, Adam was never a slave of the Egyptians, how could he be? He was the first man. Neither were any of the others mentioned. Egypt comes into the picture during the time of Jacob and one of his sons Joseph, who was sold by his stepbrothers to some Ish´ma·el·ite men’ and ended up being sold into slavery in Egypt. Eventually we come to Moses who was born in Egypt but Moses knew that he was not an Egyptian, but that his real parents were Israelite slaves. Moses was given the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt.

So Adam, Cain, Abel, Noah, Lot and Abraham were never slaves in Egypt, and never worshipped the gods of the Pharaoh’s. However during the time that Israelites lived in Egypt they no doubt did worship Egyptian gods and even built an idol when travelling through the wilderness under the leadership of Moses for 40 years. Exodus 32: 1-8
If you go to Exodus Chapter 1 you will see why and how the Hebrews became slaves.
The King feared their growing numbers, much as we do today with the growing numbers of Muslims. Strange how history repeats itself!

Amuhd, it is getting late so I must finish, but it has been an interesting debate.
Keep well.

Amuhd:
0 minutes ago
I will attempt to discuss some of the recent points you have raised.

Goaway said:
“You see Amuhd, You see Amuhd, if the account of Adam’s creation is accepted and the belief that he was the first human and all mankind came from him, then we must also accept that the God who created him is the true God. To my mind therefore, it then follows, that as the human race increased many began worshipping Gods of their own invention and not the God of Adam. However the Bible gives accounts of those who still worshipped Him. The accounts of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and others are given in Genesis and continues into the New Testament. To my mind therefore, it then follows, that as the human race increased many began worshipping Gods of their own invention and not the God of Adam. However the Bible gives accounts of those who still worshipped Him. The accounts of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and others are given in Genesis and continues into the New Testament. ”

Amuhd: Most Christians would accept the Account of Adam in Genesis as the literal word of God. Perhaps a very small minority will accept it as allegorical if we remain within the confines of the Holy Texts. Tracing Jewish genealogy, God created the Heavens and the Earth then, Adam was created 3760-2831 BC, and the following descendants resulted – Abraham (1813-1638 BC), Moses (1393-1272 BC) to provide perspective.

So as you have “conditionally” stated, “if the account of Adam’s creation(in 3760 BC) is accepted and the belief that he was the first human and all mankind came from him, then we must also accept that the God who created him is the true God.”

Goaway, for thousands of years, no one had any basis to doubt that condition, “IF.” But what troubles me is that in the recent discovery of the science of Cosmology, it has been calculated that our Cosmos is in fact 15 Billion Years Old.

Also that our ancestors have not begun with Adam (3760 BC) but can today be traced by anthropologists to 2 million years ago. I quote:

“Today, many scientists and others have accepted the evidence produced by anthropologists that “modern man” can be traced back to 200,000 years to 250,000 years ago. However, such researchers as Milford Wolpoff considers that the human species can be traced back as far as about 2 Million years ago, subsuming H.erectus, H. ergasterm and H. hiedelbergensis. ”

Because of these elementary discrepancies, Goaway, it is very difficult for a scientific inquiring mind to accept the rationality of “creation.” Discoveries through “astro-science” and “anthropology-archeology” does not support the scriptures no matter how we attempt to mitigate errors of ancient science and their philosophies.

However, I bow to your knowledge of the scriptures and respect your views and assumptions and above all your faith. It was never my intention to prove that my views are right or infallible. My intention is only to introduce these various aspects of modern discoveries that does not support Biblical text altogether. We may rationalise or assign the inexplicable to the realms of allegory but it is for each of us to see and interpret the evidence as they feel comfortable with.

Thank you for putting my views to the test. I have learned a lot and enjoyed this discussion immensely.


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