"Is there a Preece in the house?! Get me a Preece now!"

 ...Is what Catholic Voices should be saying. But they won't and why? Because he speaks up for Christ and speaks up for Truth, since there is no distinction between the two.

Unfortunately, in the Catholic Church in England and Wales, speaking up for Truth and being on the side of Truth in the 21st Century can get you into trouble, or, perhaps worse, leave you on the 'sidelines'.

It's a bit like the England team deciding to leave out Wayne Rooney because during training he decided to tell John Terry that when he paid that money to have his love-child aborted, he had literally hired an assassin to kill someone.

That is kind of what is happening with the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The CES sell the Faith and the sanctity of life down the river, the Bishops play pooh-sticks. Catholic hospitals are sold down the river and begin providing abortiofacients and start murdering unborn babies, the Bishops have a picnic. The Holy Father asks very politely for the liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass to remind the Faithful of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the Bishops put headphones on and listen to 'The Best of Paul Inwood'. Meanwhile, one young man, (and more than a few other men and women) remind the Bishops consistently of their duties for which they will answer to Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Last Day.

Finally, when the Holy Father is set to set foot on our own soil and real 'Catholic voices' are required to represent the Faithful and to speak in defense of the One True Faith, real Catholic voices are found to be too 'challenging' or 'difficult' or 'dangerous'.

The problem with James, you see, is that he is just 'too Catholic'. The reason that I am mentioning all of this is because he has written a very good article on The Tablet's penning of an article in defense of abortion in those 'difficult circumstances', when all of a sudden an unborn child's life is deemed to be less than sacred, less than human and less worthy of being sustained than that of a mother which really is against Catholic Teaching, that all life is sacred from conception to death and we really shouldn't be killing at all. I think it was all summed up quite nicely by the commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill', but that is terribly unfashionable nowadays.

If you really want to know the reason why James Preece was not chosen for 'Catholic Voices' as a core member of their team and got dropped, you will realise after reading his article and others penned by him that he is deemed 'too hot to handle'. He is too loyal to the Magisterium, too loyal too the Holy Father and too loyal to the Truth and when it comes to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales nowadays, that is just not welcome. Have they decided to postpone the visit until the Glastonbury Festival, yet?


Philharmonium said…
Sorry to be contrary but I would imagine they didn't publish it because the article consists of three philosophical passages taken out of context to which he adds a rather obvious/banal commentary which repeats three times that abortion is wrong. Presumably the Catholic Voices thing want to make the religion look good, like any institutional PR campaign, and you can't do that by publishing all and sundry's sloppy journalism can you?

He is also a bit sloppy in his distinctions. For instance, when it comes to his discussion of direct and indirect actions, his example doesn't hold up. Accidentally killing a person in a road accident is in no way the same thing as lancing a cancer knowing that it will kill a baby. The latter is indirect but intentional (since the doctor, knowing the baby would die, must have intended its death in valuing the life of the mother over the life of the child).

His concluding remarks ['You haven't met your mother so you are not a person'] are also a little fatuous. Let's just say, even a magazine that was against abortion with all its conscience would not want to print such a piece. It's not a bad effort for the blogsphere mind, I'm not knocking it - but it in no way deserves a place in a national publication. Ask yourself - is there anything at all in this piece which challenged you, or which an average intellect could no have concluded?
This is not concerning publication. JP has his own blog on which to publish his opinions of The Tablet and all news Catholic. He doesn't need The Tablet.

When i said it was a very good article I meant it was a very good article. I wasn't praising his journalistic talents. I meant he spoke the truth.

This is part of the problem with Catholic Voices you see. They want everything to be pristine and polished and to the letter, but when it comes to the crunch, they'd rather not include those who feel nothing for 'spin' and everything for Christ.

If the Tablet were truly Catholic, there is no way that their piece of 'philosophy' would have been the cover story.

You sound like one of those people who just didn't 'get' Our Lord's parables, because they were too simple for you.
Philharmonium said…
No I just wondered why he bothered to speak in obscure parables in the first place. Anyway, sorry for the misunderstanding, I thought you were having a go at the Tablet for not publishing his article. It is, as I say, a reasonable blog effort, but not the type of thing one would expect to see in a glossy publication. Also, how could a weekly magazine get by publishing simple affirmations of the orthodox position each edition?? Surely there would be no point. NEXT WEEK, In the Tablet: Laurence England on why Priests are great and why atheists are bad - sneak preview: 'atheists don;t believe in God and that's bad'. Simplicity itself - you should have a go at publishing there
No. You misunderstand. 'Catholic Voices' is the team, comprised of lay representatives who will offer their services to the media to speak in defense of the Holy Father and the Church during the Papal Visit.

James Preece is a well-known Catholic blogger, sincere, honest, living the Faith, in good standing with the Church and has even appeared on daytime TV to defend the Pope already.

Yet he has been overlooked. I have surmised that this is because he speaks Truth and sometimes criticises the hierachy of England and Wales for not doing what they should be doing a hundred times better than what laymen do.

It is also well known that Austen Ivereigh is heavily involved with Catholic Voices and that he has been heavily involved with The Tablet. If you are not a Catholic then I expect that you are not aware of the issues related to this subject. Nonetheless your contribution has been published.

I don't hate atheists. It is not their fault that they do not believe in God. It is only their fault that they do not seek to believe in Him and yet, even seeking Him, is this nothing but Grace?
Philharmonium said…
I am Jewish actually, but I have heard of Mr. Ivereigh. Look, fair enough and all, but the way I see it, it's like getting a critic of REM's later work to promote their forthcoming UK tour by writing a piece condemning their crappy recent efforts and the listless promotional efforts that have thus far gone into the campaign. The Papal visit is probably not intended as a reward to existing Catholics, but a 'hook' with which to snare Anglicans in these troubled times. why do you think il papiro recently allowed Anglicans to join his club eh my boy? Simplicity itself
Philharmonium said…
Sorry to waffle on here old bean, can I just make another quickie? Something peculiar is disturbing me here - you say (and said in an earlier post) that this is a specifically Catholic debate/forum. Of course, it's your site and you can do as you please, but you're not exactly addressing only the Catholic population of the UK here are you? I mean, you're not just saying Catholics shouldn't be gay or have an abortion. What would be the point - they already know that much. You are saying these things should be removed from the grasp of secular civil authorities and handed over to theocracy. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but that means this is NOT a debate to be had by Catholics alone, and it is not a debate in which only Catholic perspectives are to be welcomed. If you are trying to change the general form of UK law, you have to engage with the people who it will affect [stock England response: 'I suppose you'll be engaging with the millions of babies slaughtered by loose-knickered advocated of MURDER will you?']. None the less - I appeal tot he fact that you can't expect to have a debate about me and my family behind closed doors
You are right, this is not just a Catholic Blog.

Nonetheless, the Catholic community would be scandalised greatly by some of the insults of those who by their own words make it very apparent they are enemies of the Church.

People say things about the Catholic Faith which they would never say about the Hindu Faith or the Muslim faith, one out of respect, the other out of fear I guess.

Also the Name of Jesus, Our Saviour, and His Blessed Mother Mary should be defended against those who do not understand what they are saying.

I'm not saying Catholics shouldn't be gay. How could I? All I am saying is that Catholics should be Catholic - whether their sexual orientation be gay/straight and believe me that is not a popular message.

All I endeavour to do is point towards Christ and His Church. I try to point towards Christ and His Church in every post, but regularly, I miss the mark.
'I appeal tot he fact that you can't expect to have a debate about me and my family behind closed doors.'

Have you never heard of Social Services? I believe it is they you should take up such issues with. They are far more intrusive than I will ever be. What you do, or do not do is up to your Conscience. Social Services, however, now they are a different kettle of fish.
Philharmonium said…
"People say things about the Catholic Faith which they would never say about the Hindu Faith or the Muslim faith, one out of respect, the other out of fear I guess."

This is a perennial whinge that Christians in general have. It usually emerges from the mouths of irate callers to talk radio stations who want us to start having a go at the Muslims. Firstly, it's not as if there isn't a wave of anti-Muslim populism in this country. Don;t delude yourself by claiming the Muslims are treated well while Christians are persecuted. Secondly, the best response I can think of was one I heard on a talk radio station as a child. The compare had been slagging off the archaic enforced Christian education his kids had to endure at comprehensive school, prompting an irate caller to say, as you say, 'you wouldn't say that about Muslims would you'. His first response was; 'what do you want me to say bad about the Muslims - say it yourself and make it your own shame to have such thoughts about another people'. His second was to observe that, all citizens of the UK, even atheists, have a pretty good second-hand knowledge of Christianity. I mean, even by watching films etc you will get some notion of the main metaphysics of it. Of Islam, on the other hand, I know nothing what so ever. I couldn't even tell you its main tenets, its basic chronology, the structure of its holy book. As such, I would be well advised to keep my mouth shut. As would you. Islam is not a problem for me - it is a problem for you. There is another even more vociferous and traditionalist monotheism lurking on the horizon, and you know very little about it. You adhere to family structure, sexual modesty, belief in authority and a monotheistic God. Well so do they. But they LIVE their beliefs. That is why you are so keen for people to insult Islam, you want them to do your dirty work! well count me out. Come up with your own bloody refutation of the Prophet if you want to slag him off
Read: "Christians are fair game to be ridiculed, mocked, derided, persecuted."

Personally, I'm still awaiting the hounding of the Atheists. Given the spirit of the age I could be waiting some time.
Philharmonium said…
Sorry, I know this will sound like a lie, but I am in absolute earnest: my wife works for the social services (yes, a Jewess working for the SS! How we laugh). Confidentiality forbids me supplying you with details, but if you think these people have an easy job, or take their duties lightly, then you are truly deluded. I cannot tell you how many nights I have stayed up with her until dawn comforting her after she has spoken to children who have experienced things no child should ever experience. It is a sad duty to place such children with carers - no one wants for children to have a happy home life more than these workers. But if you only knew how appalling some children's lives were, you would not speak ill of the Social Services. If I became insane, took to drink, or was simply an evil person and did those things to my two sons or daughter, then I assure you, I would pray to God with all my heart that my children would be taken from me and placed with a loving foster family. I'm sorry - earlier joking aside, I really think you have swung a bit too wildly here and simply have no idea of the gravity of the problem you are addressing
Philharmonium said…
No, don't read that. Don't imagine you are being persecuted - this isn't the 2nd century any more, you don't have to paint fish on the walls of the catacombs to worship. I know enough about Christianity and Catholicism to have a productive debate concerning their main suppositions. I could not do this with a Muslim, still less a Hindu (whose metaphysics are so recondite to me that I would have no idea where to begin). A Jew and a Catholic can perfectly well understand one another. It is indeed 'fair game' for the UK to have a debate about faiths which it understands. Why not? What are you afraid of?
I am only too happy to publish your last comment!

When it comes to Social Services, mate, you should be like David Cameron and tell the country to stop defending the indefensible.

I know LOADS of families have been ****ed up by Social Services, so who are you and your family wrecking wife, to bang on about confidentiality and all that bullshit?

Philharmonium said…
If you strike me I will turn the other cheek. But don't call my wife a family wrecker please. I am sure some families have been broken up by Social Services. Should we therefore get rid of these services? Sorry, if a teacher reports that a child comes to school with a bruise on her face, and on investigation the mother and father are drug users who have neglected their duty of care and physically harmed the child, do you seriously advise taking no action???

Do you have a family? One you produced I mean (everyone has a family of course)? I really can't believe you do, because when you have children, you will know the gratitude and peace you carry with you every day safe in the knowledge that, if the worst happens, your children will be cared for. I bet you live a selfish individual life alone and don't understand these things
Sorry, I genuinely needed to go to sleep last night. It was getting late. Also, I don't really think you are a hypocrite for being husband to someone who works for social services. I was tired and stuff.

I hate social services, I know they have 'difficult jobs', unpopular jobs but then, I suppose, so do abortionists. Next few days I'll do a post on why I hate social services. I didn't mean to take it out on your wife...
Oliver said…
The problem with making fun of The Tablet is that it is literally beyond parody.
Malvenu said…
Interesting debate last night, chaps!

But i must object to the notion that because the UK is nominally Christian the population in general has a good idea of what Christianity is about. It may be that a religious person (albeit following a different religion) would be more aware than the majority of the population who are utterly clueless regarding ALL religions, including our so-called national faith.

The biggest problem, in fact, is that most of the population *think* they know about Christianity, when actually they have just been conditioned with the parodies that are trotted out seasonally that bear no resemblance to true faith.

And as for Catholicism... even other Christians don't understand it. I, as a Protestant looking into Catholicism with a view to 'going to Rome', know just how deep the suspicions of Catholicism run in Protestantism. It seems to me that the misunderstandings are perpetuated as a means of self-preservation. And if even the Protestants are doing it then just think how out of touch the population as a whole must be with what Catholicism actually believes!

(As well as what a load of old rubbish gets printed about Catholicism that is supposedly authoritative)
I think a lot of Protestants see Catholicism as 'foreign'. It shouldn't be seen as such. Long prior to the 'National Church' being established by Henry VIII, this country was as Catholic as Malta.
Malvenu said…
I'm sure its just an oversight on your part or a sort of shorthand but by saying "the 'National Church' being established by Henry VIII" it sounds like you are describing quite a legitimate process.

I've recently read a book called 'The King with a Pope in his Belly' by Bella d'Abrera which describes the 'process' of the English reformation rather differently. A great read and refreshingly Catholic in its bias - to make a change!

If i may plug my own fledgling blog you can read my short review of the book here: http://quamangustaporta.blogspot.com/2010/05/king-with-pope-in-his-belly.html

Will link to your blog. Looks interesting already!
Philharmonium said…

I explicitly confined my discussion to Christian 'metaphysics', which is an admittedly vague term, but it is clear what I was getting at. I do not mean to say that the average citizen of the UK is aware of the minutiae of doctrine or the exact notion that were settled on at Vatican II which henceforth are to dictate Catholic orientation (though I suspect Laurence would like VII repealed). But most of the basic ideas of Christianity not only pervade Western Europe, but continue to do so in a secular form. For instance, why do we have such a focus on charity in our society? Whether or not we 'do enough' the very fact that we feel collectively guilty (another Christian notion) and give alms to the poor shows we know the vague ball park. similarly, we are inveterate monotheists. I simply do not believe Western born converts to Buddhism are 'really' Buddhist: they would not intuitively grasp its metaphysics. Let me put it this way: when X Catholic makes Y proclamation [abortion is murder/monogamy is good/ the family is good/ God is all powerful etc], they are NOT articulating a piece of arcane theology, but expressing an idea that we all have and claiming it as a part of God. That is why you do not see trad bloggers like Laurence engaging in heated debates about the correct order of practice during an exorcism or the best formula for calculating tithes to your local church. Firstly, most Catholics do not know about these things, which are 'institutional' details and not a central part of the general moral outlook of the religion. Secondly, you know full well they only apply to Catholics, and if you posted about them you would elicit very little interest. It is simply a matter of apathy to a non-Catholic (and most Catholics) what the orthodox position is with regard to such recondite problems. But when you make sweeping moral pronouncements that draw upon our shared Judeo-Christian monotheistic culture, I feel a non-catholic can comment.
A non-Catholic can comment and will be published so long his comment is aimed at a dialogue, rather than an insulting monologue.
Philharmonium said…
Hi Laurence: Sorry - I wasn't intending to say 'should be able to comment on your blog' - I was just picking up the earlier theme of our discussion. You can't play this game of making sweeping condemnations targeted at changing the lives of people in this country then say 'it's only a debate amongst Catholics'. It is manifestly not a debate amongst Catholics, since you never debate anything, you just repeat your moral claims that everyone who is reading you already agrees with.
Sorry, I've forgotten what we were debating.

Was it abortion?
Malvenu said…

I have to agree that we are probably talking about slightly different things. I stand by what i said about the ignorance of Christianity (and all religions) in our society but i don't just mean the minutiae. It is true that concepts brought to our culture by Christianity still inform popular opinion but standards of morals and decency in popular society are now virtually unrecognisable from their Christian roots.

Re. your comment about Buddhist-monotheists i entirely agree. I had a terrible job understanding Jean-Paul Sartre's 'Nausea' until i managed to think outside of my monotheistic box. But, if we are all conditioned alike why are there so many people nowadays who are apparently ignorant of God?

I must admit i find it curious that non-Catholics would want to follow a Catholic blog - particularly the vociferous gay lobby that seem to jump on anything that they find even mildly not to their liking, but that's another story.

As for the way in which some Catholic bloggers spell out Catholic doctrine and condemn society for its shortcomings i think the very nature of the content invites comment. I suppose the most offensive thing about it for most people would be that it is dealing with absolutes and we don't seem to be allowed to have absolutes in our culture. Absolutes represent a challenge and invite reaction. Absolutes also highlight just how depraved our society is. If abortion is seen to be murder, absolutely, no exceptions, then it is extremely offensive to today's laissez-faire attitudes that pervade society and asserting such viewpoints will necessarily draw reaction, whether it is from people utterly opposed to your view or those who reject the judgement of society by the standards of any given set of morals (which i believe to be your position in this thread).

But without absolutes where would we be? If my truth is my truth and what you believe is true for you, where does that leave us? I would suggest it leaves us exactly where we are, heading fast towards Sh*t Creak while some desperately try to paddle us back to safety.

I hope you understand that I'm not directing this at you, but simply giving my commentary on where we are in this country at the moment and why i think it is necessary to have people trying to promote morality.
Philharmonium said…
I don't know, it will have been that or homosexuality, the two staples of any Catholic blogger.

In your first post, I'm afraid that you may have fallen victim of the confusion around terminology used in moral philosophy these days.

"Accidentally killing a person in a road accident is in no way the same thing as lancing a cancer knowing that it will kill a baby. The latter is indirect but intentional (since the doctor, knowing the baby would die, must have intended its death in valuing the life of the mother over the life of the child)."

From the point of view of Catholic moral theology, built on the Aristotelian tradition, the Doctor's indirect killing is unintentional but foreseen (and permitted). Indeed, one of the clauses of the principle of double effect (which might be argued to apply here) demands that the evil action must not be intended but merely permitted.

A good modern reference (not set in a religious context) is Oderberg's "Moral Theory"

Okay, thanks, just checking.
Philharmonium said…
Right, so following the principle of double speak, sorry, double effect - if I intend to drive to work but foresee it will result in the death of a pedestrian (let's say as a result of clairvoyance) then I am not committing an immoral act in the eyes of the Catholic Church if I drive to work and kill them? I foresaw the death but did not intend it as a direct consequence of my actions? Now call me picky, but that doesn't seem like a satisfactory moral position to uphold... Little bit Jesuitical, no?
Philharmonium said…
Also, I do not see these Absolutes as unproblematic. After all, a Muslim will tell you of his Absolutes, and he will be just as convinced as you are. How do you argue with him? You both uphold Absolute Law, but you uphold different Absolute Law. He will say 'don't drink alcohol. Ever. Under any circumstances'. That is an absolute you do not follow. I am curious to know why you think your idea of absolutes is better for society and how it would work unless we all had the same absolutes.

But then.... If we all had the same absolutes, which would be the only solution, we would all believe in the same things. But then it wouldn't matter whether or not they were absolutes, since we would have complete cohesion!

Finally, I really don't know what you mean by 'we're up sh*t creek' - how are we? When/where would you rather your children grew up; 21st century Britain, or 19th century Britain? Universal education and child welfare vs no education, child labour, and widespread sexual abuse of minors (see Charles Booth's shock Victorian expose 'London Life and London Poor')

Surely we have 'got better'; at least measuring 'better' by becoming more tolerant, less prepared to put up with misery and abuse etc etc. If by 'better' you mean 'in conformity with an abstract absolute that exists in your head' then I'm afraid I don;t know whether we have or not (since I don;t know what this absolute is that lies in your head).

Sorry, very finally: you close by saying 'we have to invoke absolutes to defend morality' - but this is absurd, it is just begging the question. How do you know you're defending morality? what even is morality on this definition? surely it is just obeying the absolute? Well then you don't need to say absolutes defend morality - they ARE morality. But then you have to explain what the absolutes are, how you know about them, why I should know about them, and why they have a stronger moral claim than someone else's absolutes

Sorry to waffle on your blog Laurence, but this could be a good debate!
Philharmonium said…

Interesting observations. I will paste in the bits I think are most germane to productive debate:

"Absolutes represent a challenge and invite reaction. Absolutes also highlight just how depraved our society is."

"without absolutes where would we be? If my truth is my truth and what you believe is true for you, where does that leave us? I would suggest it leaves us exactly where we are, heading fast towards Sh*t Creak while some desperately try to paddle us back to safety [therefore] i think it is necessary to have people trying to promote morality."

I have never understood this view. Honestly, never in my life. I think it's a Jewish thing. Judaic Law is not an absolute, but a 'schematic' presentation of ideas to incite deep reflection (hence the tradition of Talmudic commentary). But anyway, I won't bore you with my religious background (this is not a Jewish blog, at least not directly; I mean you DID 'borrow' our God and all)

Ok, so with regard to your first point, I disagree. Moral Laws do invite reflection. That is an unqualified good to humanity. Absolutes do not, by definition, invite reflection. If I tell my daughter 'don't play on the road AND I MEAN IT', I do not want her to experiment or reflect - I want her not to do it. I set the absolute command for her own good, whether she understands it or not it is in her interests to obey. I would imagine any plausible definition of an absolute would look like this. Unless God arbitrarily sets us laws for His own amusement, he sets them for our own good, as a loving father. We may not understand why He sets them, but we can be sure they are beneficent.

OK, but then I would want to know what actually ARE these absolutes, and how do you KNOW about them? Judaism sort of has a cop-out here; we follow the Law as a custom of our people. You are under no command to do so unless you want to join the line of Abraham, which you are more than welcome to do. I therefore do no need to worry about how I know of Jewish Law; I know it because it is the documented Law of my people, and we have been reflecting on it and debating it since God sent Abraham and Moses to Earth. So how do you know about your Absolutes?

Well, God sent Christ, but he didn't say a whole lot about abortion. He said he was there to uphold the Old Testament, but that contains a lot of wacky stuff you never discuss (see Leviticus & Laws)
Dear Philharmonium,

Why the mocking (“principle of double speak”) response? The western ethical tradition considered such principles as foundational for around two millennia – and those of us who are aware of the gaping holes in modern ethical theories such as proportionalism still consider them to be superior means of analysing human actions.

May I suggest that you look up a formal statement of the principle of double effect (in the reference that I proposed, for example)? Then you will be able to see why the example you propose would be considered an immoral act (and why it does not stand as a parallel to the usual examples of cases of indirect abortion).
Philharmonium said…
Gregory the Eremite: I just finished the section of that book (with a few missing pages - it was on Google books). I am not at all convinced by the argument (big surprise eh)?

Firstly, his list of rather terse examples all appeal to some 'communal' standard of good and evil that is not arrived at by DE reasoning. For instance, he says a 'corrupt' politician giving money to the poor so they vote for a corrupt candidate is not doing a good deed since he does not intend to bring about good, only his own election.

Fair enough, I can see this as an argument that the politician is not 'intending' the outcome of the poor having money in and of itself, but we are only convinced by it because he opposes, as outcomes, the election of a corrupt politician to feeding the poor. Firstly, he doesn't give any details as to why the politician is corrupt. One man's corruption is another man's virtue. To the Lutheran the Vatican and Curiate are corrupt tools of Satan, to the Holy Father the modern secular politician can be an aimless self-aggrandiser. By simply saying 'corrupt' we must assume the example is devoid of all substance.

So, we can strip it down to a basic formulae: 'Unless you intend X when doing Y your deed is morally neutral'. Fine, I don't see any logical problem with this, but it requires me to equate 'moral' here with no particular content. 'Moral' is simply intending a predefined action. It does not tell us what we ought to do, just that if we can all agree on it we can only be said to be aiming at that end when we intend it. Which is simply a banal truism that offers us no compass
Philharmonium said…
Furthermore, surely you can see SOME sense in contextualist moral reasoning? I don't say consequentialist, because that's a different matter. But let's take his statement:
"A person who defrauds her boss for $10,000 is surely worse than a person who defrauds her boss for $1000)" - ok, so he wants to ultimately say this is immaterial since intent counts. But even as a set-up, surely we would have to say 'I can neither agree nor disagree unless I know the context'. Even if we confine ourself to thinking about pure theft (the intention and motive is purely selfish - a desire to have money) I would still say a man who takes $10,000 out of the desk-drawer of a billionaire is more pardonable than a man who takes $1000 - if it be the life savings - of a frail and elderly woman who placed her trust in him

Surely you cannot deny here that context is a salient factor when assessing the degree of evil in a person's mind. Surely the man who wilfully violates a pensioner's trust and destroys her ability to interact with strangers has done a far greater evil - an evil he SHOULD have foreseen.
Philharmonium said…
Hi, OK finally finally:

Also, I am confused how this notion of 'intent' (even if we take it at its simplest level) can be used for anything other than a personal orientation towards the world. Take sex within the Catholic tradition. I am not guilty of concupiscence if my 'intent' is to produce a child, the pleasure of making love to my wife is merely a welcomed unintended consequence. But then how can you even impose this as a system of laws which are aimed at controlling the masses? You might make it law to only ever copulate under such circumstances, but a wanton man would still not 'intend' the outcome you think he ought to. So people would still be immoral. Since you can only control your own intentions, you can only apply this ethics to yourself.

This becomes problematic if we take a public campaign like Maria stops Abortion. Thomist philosophy is not going to work here, because you only know that you are preventing certain acts, but not in any way affecting the intentions that lead to them. Invoking double effect we could say that immorality is still as rampant as before, there are just 'better' (for the catholic) consequences. But then that is a consequentialist point of view. So, I would say YOU might find DE helpful in understanding whether or not YOU are doing moral acts, but you can never use it to understand whether or not I am (since you don't know my intentions), and can never invoke it as a necessary public moral view point. It is even slightly solipsistic
Hi Philharmonium,

No, I’m not in the least surprised that you’re not convinced! But remember the challenge that I gave you: inspect a formal statement of the principle of double effect to see how your example does not have the properties that you claim it has under the classical ethical system. This was a very limited challenge. You now appear to be widening the argument, attacking other parts of this system, but without having studied how those parts work or fit together!

For example, let’s take your claim that “One man's corruption is another man's virtue”. This is a statement about opinions (and might be taken as a typical statement from a relativist moral system); but what are relevant in the classical system are statements about substance. Classical ethics is a “realist” system; it posits that moral states of affairs are real entities that have substantial properties (defining what they are) and accidental properties (that modify their moral qualities). How does one arrive at a conclusion about what actually is in a particular moral state of affairs? Well, that’s what the system gives to you: a set of tools and methods for inquiring into actual states of affairs. The principle of double effect is simply one amongst that set of tools. (If you want some guide as to where to start when enquiring into whether a particular act was corrupt, enquire into whether it was an act perfective of the being of the agent).

Of course there is some sense in contextual moral reasoning; it’s built into the system! A brief statement is that the moral substance of an act (i.e. what that act actually is) is defined by the object of the act and accidental qualities of the act are determined by the circumstances and intentions. Yes, when evaluating the moral status of the act, one has to know the facts-of-the-matter; one of the most oft-made mistakes in discussing hypothetical examples of moral acts lays in under-specifying the act.

I’m afraid that I find your description of “sex within the Catholic tradition” thoroughly puzzling, but if I understand you correctly, you’re simply using this as an example to illustrate the question of how we pass from the personal to the global. Again, this is where you have to remember that classical ethics sees moral states-of-affairs as real entities. Your question “how can you even impose this as a system of laws...” suggests a confusion over this point. We’re not imposing anything; we are simply recognising how the world really is. It is simply a matter of fact that the conjugal act is simultaneously ordered towards the procreation of children and towards to unity of the couple. Using the conjugal act in any other way is to objectively misuse it.

Your example of “Maria stops Abortion” simultaneously illustrates the problem of under-specifying the act and the accidental fallacy. Of course the classical ethical system “works” here; but you need to specify a particular act or a set of acts or you need to analyse the whole situation by making the appropriate distinctions and analysing cases and classes of cases appropriately. For example, if a child is conceived by true use of the conjugal act but the life circumstances of the couple change after the conjugal act such that they consider killing the child, then the prevention of this latter act would be good in itself. In addition, the intervention may result in a re-evaluation by the couple of why they ever considered an abortion, leading to an increase in their habits of virtue.
Malvenu said…

[I have to preface this by saying that, having read more of this thread I can’t help thinking that I’m a bit out of my depth (it’s a very long time since I did any meaningful study of ethics), but here goes…]

My initial point was (and I didn’t explain myself properly) that appealing to absolutes will invite reaction rather than it being the absolutes themselves that invite reaction.

I never said: 'we have to invoke absolutes to defend morality'.

I believe that the opposite of an absolute is relativism and I was equating relativism with the slippery slope (that is sh!t creak) because without an absolute to build upon or reference to we must base any value on the relativism of whoever shouts loudest. And human nature being what it is we are not about to slide up the slippery slope based on the personalistic relativism that currently pervades our society.

I agree that absolutes are problematic inasmuch as there is not one single universally acknowledged set of them. But I believe an ethical system needs absolutes. If I don’t believe Christianity is objectively true then I don’t believe it at all. Without absolutes everything becomes subjective and ultimately doesn’t mean anything. This is what I was getting at when I said we are not allowed absolutes, they are dangerous. My absolutes and a Muslims will be different but without them neither of us believes in anything. This is obviously contrary to what you said about Jewish belief but I can’t understand how, for example, ‘thou shalt have no other gods before me’ is not an absolute.

As for society, I agree that in many ways we live in a much ‘better’ world than, say, the Victorians. But our society has totally lost its moral grounding (becoming increasingly relativistic). How can it be right that young children have sex and sexual imagery rammed own their throats as soon as they become aware of our consumerist culture? I recently heard of a six-year-old girl who told her mum that she wanted big boobs when she grew up so she was going to have a boob job. A girl that age should not even be aware of herself in that way and it is the society we live in that has denied this little girl the innocence she deserves. How can it be right that abortion (murder) is not only commonplace or unexceptional but also advertised on TV as if it is a legitimate ‘lifestyle choice’? Then, when you consider that these people are killing their own flesh and blood for ‘convenience’ it has to be viewed as barbaric. And if you believe all life is God-given you must see it for the evil it is. This may be one of a Catholic blogger’s staples but I use it as an example as it was the subject of the original post but also because it is a very good yardstick of how relativism in our culture (and the implicit lack of absolutes) leads us further towards immorality.

[There are cases where the reason for seeking an abortion is not frivolous, where perhaps a utilitarian view would support abortion but I don’t want to get into that debate – just to say that not every abortion is borne out of the same level of selfishness and utter disregard for the value of human life.]
Philharmonium said…
Thus, your statement that; “Without absolutes everything becomes subjective and ultimately doesn’t mean anything” can be discounted. Anyway, meaning is not dependent on absolutism is it? Think of art. What is the meaning of a Picasso? A Caravaggio? A Warhol? Do they all have the same meaning? Presumably not – an artist of Caravaggio’s day would sneeze at a Warhol, but someone from our own day can recognise its meaning. We can do so because meaning is a relationship between thought and context, as such, it is essentially relative (different ages have different ways of thinking, and use that thought to reflect on different contexts).

A quick point on Jewish theology; you say:
“This is obviously contrary to what you said about Jewish belief but I can’t understand how, for example, ‘thou shalt have no other gods before me’ is not an absolute.” – well, learned Rabbinical scholars will say that the metaphysics of monotheism is so inextricably linked with the Western mode of subjectivity that the prohibition on other gods is a command to understand values in reference to the metaphysical system of oneness (thus precluding Bhuddistic reflections within the lineage of Jewish thought). Reflection on the One has led to profound changes in theological orientation – the point is that for this tradition (and that’s all it is) to continue, we cannot abandon the One as a communal standard; if we do that we are no longer contributing to the same conversation. A similar argument was made during the 60s in regard to postmodernism: conservative commentators pointed out that, if it departed so much from traditional Western metaphysics, in what sense was post-modern philosophy even part of the same ‘conversation’. We can accept this challenge, but note that it is itself essentially relativistic. There are types of conversation (philosophical, monotheistic, spiritual, scientific, poetic), and you have to obey by the rules of the game to engage in them. That means, all of thse are relative to accepting those rules!

“How can it be right that young children have sex and sexual imagery rammed own their throats as soon as they become aware of our consumerist culture?”
I agree – it’s disgusting. Do I need to believe in an absolute to think that? Obviously not, since I don’t and am disgusted by it! Having said all of this, I know from what my mother in law tells me that the 1950s, the supposedly ‘good old days’, were for many a grim age of child abuse, uncomfortable sexual liaison, and a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy to child sexuality. At least now we live in an age where (paradoxical though it undoubtedly is), children are offered some protection from sexual predators.

The problem with your abortion example is, as with so many absolutist’s examples, it requires me to already agree with it in order that I find it convincing. If you say ‘look what happens without absolutes – abortion is permitted’, then either I don’t think abortion is murder, in which case the example doesn’t convince me, or I do think it is murder, in which case you have just demonstrated that I do not need to be an absolutist to understand the same moral ideas you understand.
Philharmonium said…
A second problem is your insistence on “personalistic relativism” as the enemy. This, as far as I can see, could not be a serious moral system defended by anyone. Part of the problem with the absolutist argument against relativism is that it takes a ‘straw man’ that no serious moral relativist wishes to defend. It is like me assuming you are defending Biblical absolutism (and then pointing out that this commits you to stoning to death any man who cuts the hair of his temples). Relativism is NOT the doctrine that might makes right, or that what I like is right. It is the logical acceptance that values are relative to a community’s defence of them, rather than some independent absolute. Put this way it rather makes absolutism look like the fool’s doctrine. What, after all, would be the point of an absolute that was not felt to be good by the community? Suppose you met an alien race whose culture, genetics, history etc made breeding between brothers and sisters necessary to the perpetuation of the race. Only family lines producing a brother and sister are able to reproduce further. Well, it would make no sense for you to tell this alien race ‘incest is wrong’ would it? The absolute condemnation of incest is only really absolute to a society (or, if you like, entire species) for which the prohibition makes sense. Ok, this is a flippant example, but you can see my point. I can still hold incest is wrong for all humans without having to say this is an absolute value, because I can acknowledge that the value remains contingent on common facts of our humanity.
Philharmonium said…
Sorry for imputing a position to you that you were not arguing for (that absolutes are necessary to think morally) – I was collapsing your two final paragraphs into one, the key statements of which were: “without absolutes where would we be? . . .[I] think it is necessary to have people trying to promote morality.” – I read this as one continuous argument; I can see now that they were in fact two separate claims (though presumably you can see why I made the leap I did)

Logically, the opposite of absolute is relative, yes. But this does not mean we can map any content onto these logical opposites; i.e., you can’t oppose ‘moral order’ and ‘doing good’ to ‘slipper slope moralistic chaos’ as the corresponding difference. Firstly, take physics. What was Galileo’s principle of relativity about? Well, he was contending that, what ever we can and cannot say about a system in motion, we certainly cannot say that it is in absolute motion, since we require some frame of reference to detect motion with in the first place. That is to say, any claim will require an unexamined frame of reference (if you are calculating the speed at which a comet appears to move between two distant stars, you assume you are a static observer, though of course you know you are not). Ok, so put like this, I think we can see that relativism (in physics) isn’t the defence of anarchy, but the simply recognition that all statements discuss something in relation to something else. Now, can we not say that this is all the moral relativist claims?

While I do not want to make too much of the parallels between physics and ethics (I am readily aware that these are two entirely separate fields), I am merely trying to indicate that relativistic statements are manifestly NOT slippery slop statements. Galileo did NOT say there was no such thing as Truth did he? In fact, he vehemently opposed incorrect Church dogma on matters of natural philosophy in the name of Truth. Can one not imagine the same thing happening between a moral absolutist and a moral relativist? I can well imagine a politically engaged relativist being prepared to face imprisonment or death in order to repudiate the supposed absolutes of a leader. In fact, this is happening today, I Iran, in Syria, and even in my very own Israel; opponents of the mad-cap absolutists defend what they deem to be a BETETR system of morality without having to assume it is the BEST. What is ‘the best’ system of morality anyway? Surely it is entirely dependent on the desires and ambitions of a particular community. That is why colonialism has rarely worked – you cannot assume your notion of morality (even if you dress it up as ‘the absolute’) will appeal to another group.
Philharmonium said…
Gregory the eremite:

Sorry – I just noticed your post. I’m afraid I do not have the requisite moral-philosophical and theological training to keep up with you. I must confess my mind draws a blank at the statement that classical ethics postulates that: “moral states of affairs are real entities that have substantial properties.” What is the real entity corresponding to, say, treating my elderly mother with respect and dignity? What is its substantial property? I’m honestly lost here – perhaps you can enlighten me.
I note toward the end that you say, in regard to Catholic attitudes to sex, that you are merely describing how the world is. Again, fine, if that is how YOU hold the world to be then it makes sense of the world. But I do not hold the world to be like this. Do we have a problem here? Beyond pitying me, do you wish to impose some form of coercion which will make me moral in spite of my will? I can only conclude that, in certain cases (abortion) this must be true. But I ask again, how does this make the agent a moral agent – it does not alter their intentions. You say at the end, forcibly preventing people from committing acts which you personally consider to be immoral “may result in a re-evaluation by the couple of why they ever considered an abortion, leading to an increase in their habits of virtue.” – but this is spurious indeed. You are simply assuming that if you impose your will on others, they will come to regard it as their will in time. I doubt very much this would happen (it was, after all, Stalin’s theory of moral guidance), and I therefore doubt that the society you are describing could be considered to be a ‘more moral’ one than the society we currently inhabit. It would be a society with less explicit fornication, but probably not much more ethical intent. Put simply, if I don’t believe in God, I won’t suddenly become convinced if you prohibit the sale of condoms and make extra-marital sex a criminal offence.

Similarly I am unable to understand why I should ever wish to enquire whether an act was “perfective of the being of the agent” who performed it; surely I do not know what the perfection of an agent’s being is, I am not God.

Can I offer a counter example I once encountered (I am no longer sure where, but it was a defence of virtue ethics): suppose in two parallel worlds two boys, returning home on the bus, see an old lady drop her pension. One boy takes the pension book home with him, puts the money in his piggy bank, then after a night of reflection decides to take it back to her. The other boy calls out instantly ‘you’ve dropped your pension’. Which boy is more morally perfect? Surely the second, whose instinct is virtuous, and who does not need to reflect on the rights and wrongs of his act. Here it looks like the notion of ‘intent’ clouds a good act; since by having to form a good intent in the first place (as the first boy did) you demonstrate that good deeds are not in your nature.
Malvenu said…
This has all got a bit more theoretical than I had expected…

So, agreed, absolutes are problematic for a number of reasons including the problem of knowing what the absolutes are but more importantly because no matter how tenuous or contrived the example given an exception can usually be found. Also, because meaning is always relative so for anything to have any meaning it must be contingent on the construct of that meaning, therefore everything is relative.

So, I can see that absolute values are a lot easier to shoot down than they are to uphold.

One statement of yours quite surprised me, though. Before I go off on a tangent could you clarify what you meant by : ‘…Reflection on the One has led to profound changes in theological orientation – the point is that for this tradition (and that’s all it is)…’ On re-reading this I wonder if the tradition you are talking about is the Reflecting on the oneness rather than Judaism itself.

If the latter, I would ask whether this implies that if Jewish culture and tradition completely vanished would this not imply that the Jewish God would also be no more? I would then argue that God is an objective reality outside of this human/religious tradition [though not suggesting you wouldn’t agree] and therefore an absolute – i.e. that his existence is not contingent of the survival of Jewish culture.
Is there not an absolute at ground zero?
philharmonium said…
Ah but the Jews will never vanish! That is our faith!!! I think you hit the nail on the head by saying "if the Jews vanish, will the Jewish God vanish?" It is pretty much the central 'dogma' of Judaeism to assert that yes, God would vanish, but no, it will never happen because 'we' are His chosen people! See, if we vanish, God vanishes, and God cannot choose to disappear, it is the one restriction on his lberty - he simpy Is.

But of course this can also be interpreted as meaning 'for a Jew, the only absolute duty is the duty to reflect on the culture that makes you a Jew, and by turning your back on this reflection (theology) you cease to be a Jew' - we reflect on the nature of God, as our learned scholars have done for generations, and enter into a conversation with Tradition.

By the by, I quite accept the absolute you close with (as I say, God simply Is), but this is another problem with absolutes: any plausible definition is so limited that the value of the absolute vanishes! Afterall, Socrates had hit upon 'the one' before Christ appeared. And zoroastrianism had it before even the Jews. But we're not Socratic or zoroastrians are we? So that definition will not suffice...

Human beings are dependent, totally and utterly, upon God, for life and salvation.

God's Life/Existence is not dependent upon us. You can say that God requires, or by virtue of His being God, deserves all of our love and our worship, but His Being does not depend upon us. He is Eternal and Unchanging.

His Life was once, of course, in our hands, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who deigned to condescend to us, a fallen human race and be born of the Virgin Mary, but we, mankind that is, showed Him no mercy, crucifying Him with our sins.

God came to the Jews, His chosen people. Our Lord said, 'Salvation comes from the Jews.' He came as a Baby. He came as True God and True Man. He made Himself totally dependent upon His own Creation and His own Creation mocked Him, judged Him, scourged Him brutally and nailed His Hands fast to a Cross.

Yet how could His Creation, in the darkness of our sin, accept Him, since the Light came into the World and while the Darkness could not comprehend it, neither could the Darkness overcome it!

For Death could not hold Him and the Eternal Father raised Him up to Glory.

There is, as far as the Church is concerned, absolutely no restriction on God's liberty. He is Life, He is Truth, He is Freedom. With one word He could destroy all that He has made. With one word, He could restore it.

God is Infinitely Good. His mercy endures forever and for this we revere Him.
Yosip said…

Nice one Loz, nip free discussion int he bud in case you have to reflect on why you hold your beliefs. Phew! We nearly had to question an arbitrary set of dogmas there- well saved!
I haven't excluded debate. I'm allowed to take part as well aren't I?
Yosip said…
Yeah but you didn't debate - debate is not just asserting a few arbitrary propositions and mumbling an incantation. It is supporting those propositions with evidence.
Evidence for what, Bro?
If you mean the Miraculous Conception, Birth, Life, Ministry, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into Glory of Our Lord, evidence is not going to be provided other than in the lives, witness, writings and testimony of those who were either there at the time, which the World has in the Gospels, or the lives, witness, writings and testimony of those who were not there at the time, but who, though they did not see, yet did they believe, which the World also has.

If you do not believe the testimony of countless of the Cloud of Witnesses down the ages, to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, then what more evidence could be possibly offered to you?
Yosip said…
You said:

"He [God] is Eternal and Unchanging."

No. The Old Testament is quite explicity about this. God has a will, and that will is subject to change. God can enter into debates (with the Devil no less) and can have his opinion changed by those debates (with the Devil). I want to be clear about this - the bible is the WORD OF GOD, and if God's WORD is that he can change his mind and enter into debates, I don't want some upstart coming along and saying he is unchanging. You are wrong, and I KNOW you are wrong because I have the WORD of God to prove it

"God came to the Jews, His chosen people. Our Lord said, 'Salvation comes from the Jews.' He came as a Baby."

God did not come to his creation, he sent a messiah. The messiah was one of many and did not claim to be God.

"Yet how could His Creation, in the darkness of our sin, accept Him, since the Light came into the World and while the Darkness could not comprehend it, neither could the Darkness overcome it!"

So if I make a robot and it can't speak Spanish it is the robots fault for being an imperfect creation?? Whacko!!

"For Death could not hold Him and the Eternal Father raised Him up to Glory."

Note how now it is 'the Eternal Father' raising 'him' up - surely if you are consistent he raised HIMSELF up, since you think Christ was God. W

"With one word He could destroy all that He has made. With one word, He could restore it."

We would never know whether he had or not idiot!! We would be destroyed, then exist again the next minute. Perhaps in between you writing and me writing we were destroyed for a billion years. Who knows. Your position makes no sense - you are just sucking up to God so you can try to worm your way into heaven. Unlike me, you're not a TRUE believer

"God is Infinitely Good. His mercy endures forever and for this we revere Him."

Well you have just put a restriction on his liberty!!! If he is free he doesn't have to be merciful. Indeed, if you ACTUALLY READ the OT, rather than just guessing, you will see that God is NOT merciful, he is a punisher.

Please can you try to read the Bible before discussing it. The Bible is the word of God, you must try to LISTEN to Him
The Old Testament can only be fully understood in the light of the New.

What we know of God's nature is incomplete without acknowledging the incarnation of the Eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
God becoming Man is certainly a game changer, don't you think?
Malvenu said…

"Yet how could His Creation, in the darkness of our sin, accept Him, since the Light came into the World and while the Darkness could not comprehend it, neither could the Darkness overcome it!"

So if I make a robot and it can't speak Spanish it is the robots fault for being an imperfect creation?? Whacko!! "

Faith is a gift of grace from God given us through the Holy Spirit without which we cannot come to God or even recognize our need for Him, because of our fallen nature. In your analogy the grace would be the gift of speaking Spanish freely given by a loving creator. Speaking Spanish would give the robot eternal salvation and without the freely given gift the robot could never learn to speak Spanish.

‘God is NOT merciful’

This is a lie that is not biblical. This is a most pernicious lie and someone who believes that the Bible is the Word of God really ought not to believe it. Did not God have mercy on Noah and his family and through him all of humanity, declaring (having spared Noah) ‘Never again will I turn my hand against humanity’? And what about the promises to Eve and the serpent that, having banished the man and the woman from the garden he promises that redemption will come to the now fallen creation through the offspring of the woman? And what part of God’s covenant with Israel, their Exodus from bondage and gift of the promised land was deserved by this people who constantly turned from God to do their own thing? It is through God’s grace and mercy that His chosen people were treated thus.

‘For the Lord your God is a merciful God’ Deuteronomy 4:16
‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us’ Romans 5:8
‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us’ 1 John 3:16
‘The Lord if full of compassion and mercy’ James 5:11
Malvenu said…
Dear Yosip:

“Your position makes no sense - you are just sucking up to God so you can try to worm your way into heaven. Unlike me, you're not a TRUE believer
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘a TRUE believer’ but your tone is quite disrespectful and, unfortunately, your arguments seem to rely more on insults than knowledge or sound reasoning.

“We nearly had to question an arbitrary set of dogmas there”
“debate is not just asserting a few arbitrary propositions and mumbling an incantation. It is supporting those propositions with evidence.”
I wonder if, in making these statements, you may have mistaken Laurence for a Protestant! ;-) (I can get away with saying this because I currently still am one!) Laurence’s earlier post expressed a brief summary of a number of Catholic doctrines, using scriptural references – these were brief statements and were not meant to be complete or explain Catholicism in any great detail. Catholic doctrine is complex, thorough, and has withstood 2000 years of heretical attacks, cf. a quotation from the Venerable John Henry Newman used in the recently issued Papal visit booklet, “Catholicism is a deep matter – you cannot take it up in a teacup”. One thing it most certainly isn’t is ‘arbitrary’

"He [God] is Eternal and Unchanging." No. The Old Testament is quite explicity (sic) about this… God can enter into debates … and can have his opinion changed by those debates … if God's WORD is that he can change his mind and enter into debates, I don't want some upstart coming along and saying he is unchanging.’

You have misunderstood the meaning here. ‘God is eternal and unchanging’ refers to his character, his nature, for example the fact that he is loving, that he does not lie, that he is merciful*, etc. Also, that he can “change his mind”, that he will enter into conversation. What it precludes, however, is that in such a discussion with people he could “change his mind” to do anything that is against his nature like, for example, lie.

*Incidentally, instances of God changing his mind or entering into discussion (e.g. Abraham pleading with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of the righteous people living there, Genesis 18) provide very good examples of God showing mercy.

“God did not come to his creation, he sent a messiah. The messiah was one of many and did not claim to be God.”

‘The messiah was one of many’ what, messiahs? Now, I’m not claiming to be a great authority on the Old Testament but I’m sure there is only one Anointed One prophesied. I’m assuming that the ‘one of many’ you are referring to is Jesus? If so, he in fact did claim to be God. The gospels do not report him saying, ‘I am God’ (this is, after all, what you would expect a nutter to say – like David Icke or David Koresh) but there are many examples where this is clearly implied as well as statements in other New Testament books, other than Jesus’ own words, that are clear. John 1:1, 14: ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… and the Word (i.e. God) became flesh’. In the rest of Chapter 1 of John’s gospel the Word become flesh is identified, through the testimony of John the Baptist as the man, Jesus – John Chapter 1 says, (in abbreviation): The Messiah is God, he became a man and this man is called Jesus.

Mark 2:3 – 11 recounts the time when a paralytic was brought to Jesus and Jesus pronounced that his sins were forgiven. The Pharisees present complained amongst themselves saying that only God can forgiven sins so what on earth was he talking about. So Jesus then said to them, ‘So that you know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins [to the paralytic] ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’, which he did.’ Yes, this isn’t Jesus saying, ‘Hello everyone, I’m God, you’ve got to believe me because I’ve come to save you all, yes it’s true I’m God. Honestly…’ but if you believe the Bible is the Word of God the fact that Jesus is God is undeniable. These are two of very many examples.

I thought I was doing my best St Stephen impression, but alas I didn't get stoned. Not even an online stoning! I'm too sinful for an online martyrdom.