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Return of the Christonerds!

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  • Return of the Christonerds!

    Wow! They're back. This is great stuff for those unfamiliar with the kind of response the book got when it first appeared here (along with death threats from the same Christonerds). I feel strangely nostalgic. What is it about American Low Church Christians which just doesn't seem replicated anywhere else in the world ? This is a christiansf website.

    Behold the Man
    Behold the Man
    by Michael Moorcock
    Published by Avon Science Fiction, 1968 hardcover, paperback paperback paperback
    Reviewed by: Greg Slade
    This book has been in my "to-be-read" list for years, just one of the titles which has been suggested to me as having something to do with both science fiction and Christianity. Normally, I try to avoid giving away too much of the plot, but since Moorcock himself gives the whole game away on the first page, there's not much suspense to keep you in. The protagonist goes back in time to find the historical Jesus, and ends up going to the cross himself, and becoming the historical basis upon which all kinds of legends build up over time. In that way, this work is sort of the 60s equivalent of The Da Vinci Code: a fictional work without a shred of credibility for anyone who has any sort of familiarity with the historical and cultural setting, but a work which provides people with an excuse for believing that the Biblical accounts of the life and ministry of Christ are inaccurate. (And, consequently, that His moral teachings can thus safely be ignored.)

    The problems begin with the protagonist himself. Karl Glogauer is a miserable excuse of a man, with an overwhelming death wish, and a fetish for crosses. His girlfriend treats him like dirt, he can't be left alone with another man for five minutes without being propositioned, and he babbles bad pop psychology. For some reason, he teaches himself ancient languages like Latin and Aramaic, but not so well that he can even make himself understood. He manages to crash the time machine and barely survives the trip. And yet this is supposed to be the man who so impresses everyone he meets that they decide that he is the Son of God, the Lord of Life, and the Saviour of Israel, instead of the village idiot.

    Then, there is the setting of first-century Judea. Moorcock portrays the Jews as looking for new gods under every rock, when the reality is that post-exilic Judaism was finally, at long last, soundly monotheistic, and the Jews were not prepared to accept theological innovation of any kind, as witness the treatment which was given to the real historical Jesus. The sheer will to self-delusion which Moorcock portrays is comforting to those who wish to deny the accuracy of the Biblical record, but simply doesn't accord with the historical or cultural reality.

    I won't even go into how Moorcock deals with the Holy Family. Suffice it to say that those who accuse Moorcock of blasphemy have solid grounds for doing so. However, the big disappointment for me was not the Moorcock strays from orthodox Christianity. (After all, the majority of SF authors reject Christian teaching anyway.) What disappointed me was that such slop is hailed as being bold, or daring, or groundbreaking, or significant. Simply going against Christian teaching might be "daring" if the literary establishment were Christian (not that being "daring" is the same as being good), but the literati haven't cared about Christian doctrine for generations now. In short, there are no redeeming values in this work, whether as a study in character, psychology, sociology, history, or even religion, which make up for the mean-spirited portrayal of Christianity as a completely false and pointless belief system.

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

  • #2
    Mentioning the da vinci code thingy, Channel 4 flashed up a trailer eazrlier for forthcoming prog that reputedly suggests a blood lineage to good old JC.

    Not of course your JC. It seems these cretins haven't been able to distinguish fact from fantasy, hung over from Darwin and rev. Ussher. Did they ever criticise PJ Farmer for his JC on Mars?

    Anyhow, "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
    Victor Hugo (1802-1885); French novelist.
    cheer up, you fat old bugger.

    \'You know my destiny?\' said Elric eagerly. \'Tell me what it is, Niun Who Knew All.\'
    Niun opened his mouth as if to speak but then firmly shut it again. \'No,\' he said. \'I have forgotten.\'


    • #3
      What sort of a 'review' is this? It makes me grin to think of him sitting there gritting his teeth reading it. Watch out for the fatwa, though...
      \" ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell


      • #4
        Maybe you should review what he wrote, mr M?

        Christian fans do more than read, listen to, or watch works created by others. In fact, it is only to be expected that people who are passionate about art, literature, or music will create their own works as well as enjoying those created by others. This section showcases works created by members of Christian Fandom.

        More Information
        Art Gallery of images created by Christian fans
        Essays by Christian fans
        Stories written by Christian fans
        Marking Time
        by Greg Slade

        Oliver leaned back in his seat and turned to me one more time. "Are you sure you want to go through with this?"

        "Why?" I asked him, "Are you worried you might get caught?"

        "Caught? Not a chance. I could do this with one keyboard tied behind my back. Besides," he grinned, "This appeals to my larcenous side. What I don't understand is why you want to do this. I've known you for years, and this just doesn't fit in with any of the things you've devoted your life to! This society is what you've spent your whole life looking for, and now you're about to flush it down the tubes. I just don't understand it."

        I smiled and told him what I had heard under so many suns in so many tongues, "Everything I have done before is useless compared to this one thing. Up until now, I've only been marking time."

        He looked at me strangely, then turned to face his terminal. "Well," he said, "it's on to plunder. Once this program reaches their central exchange, their whole communications net will be disrupted and their tracking program will be a permanent shambles in 24 hours. After that, you can broadcast anything you like and no one will know where it came from or who's picking it up. Here's to the end of civilisation as they know it." He tapped up an access code and transmitted the program, then sat back. "There. It's done now. I hope to God you know what you're doing."

        "I don't." I replied, "but He does."


        It was a little disconcerting having the entry control officer examine my credentials with two eyes while checking me out so closely with the other two. Having somebody look down your back while sitting across a desk from you can give you the willies. It didn't help that people in uniform make me feel guilty even when I haven't done anything, and here I was being questioned by the long eye of the law. "Rudolf Dewey?" he asked.

        "That's me," I replied, as evenly as I could.

        "You are from Earth?" It was phrased as a question, although the bright blue U.N. passport in his hands made it a little redundant.

        "Yes, that's right." I was waiting for the usual grilling about occupation. That was especially tricky when the officials I dealt with happened to be afflicted with religion. Sure enough, he settled back a little and crossed a couple of legs.

        "Tell me, Mr. Dewey. Just why is it you are visiting this planet? We don't get many humans this far from Earth."

        I drew a deep breath and started in. "I'm doing research into a phenomenon which seems to be fairly widespread amongst sentient species." That was a small lie it wasn't widespread, it was epidemic. I wasn't really looking for one more instance of it, I was trying to find just one planet that wasn't riddled with it. "You see, on many planets, there are people who believe in beings who cannot be seen, who brought the material universe into being, but are not part of it. These beings go by a lot of names: gods, daemons, deities, spirits..." I trailed off, looking for some indication that I was being understood.

        The officer looked me over appraisingly with two or three eyes I never could get used to dealing with a polyocular species before bursting out. "Oh, you mean ignorance!"

        "Excuse me?" I was puzzled. "What I was looking for were beings who claim to have knowledge of reality other than the material universe."

        "Oh, I don't know about all that beyond the material universe stuff. How something can exist that doesn't exist doesn't make any sense to me at all. All I know is that there used to be a bunch of people who believed in things that don't exist. We called them ignorant, because they believed such ignorant things."

        My heart fell. Despite my preliminary research, I had hoped to be wrong in this case. This planet had seemed too logical and orderly to be a breeding ground for superstitions. "What kinds of things?"

        "Oh, I don't know. Ignorant things, that's all. Believing in things that aren't so. Well, they're all gone now. We're a totally enlightened planet. No ignorance left here at all."

        This was bad news. I had gathered from my preliminary research on this planet that there had been religion actively festering just a few years previously. But now it had been wiped out, so there were no specimens left to classify. This may seem a little strange to you, that I was disappointed at the loss of something that I was desperately hoping not to find, but I am a scientist, after all. Even something I found personally repugnant was, after all, data. It's something like a specialist in diseases who, while hoping that no new strains will be found to bring harm to people, is nevertheless determined to obtain and classify as many samples of diseasecausing organisms as possible.

        "Well, have you any records of the beliefs of these ignorant people? Something that says what they believed? Perhaps their sacred writings?"

        "Oh, no." He laughed, "all that stuff was melted down. There's not a scrap anywhere on the planet. If there was, we'd know." At that, he pointed to a faint scar on his forehead. I knew what that meant. Each Diocletan was implanted with two biochips at birth. One, in the wrist, monitored physiological functions, reporting the presence of pain, injury, or stress to a central data bank for instant dispatch of medical or other emergency personnel when needed. The benefits to the society were incalculable. No one could be killed, injured, or even lost anywhere on Diocleta without the authorities knowing about it. The other chip, implanted in the forehead, served a less benign function. Totalitarian governments need a totality of knowledge to prevent revolt. No eavesdropping could be more effective than listening in on someone's thoughts. I suspected it would only be a matter of time before the government learned how to control minds as well as read them.

        Of course, the system had its weaknesses. The bioelectric cells which powered the chips needed the presence of zinc, if only in trace amounts, to work efficiently, and Diocleta, through some planetological quirk, was entirely lacking in that one element. Therefore, the government provided free food carefully fortified with zinc so as to ensure sound bodies and minds. Armed with this knowledge, I had prepared my supplies for the time I would be on the planet all hydroponics and synthetics, quite fresh, quite anonymous, and quite free of zinc. I knew that zinc was not toxic to my system, and I had no biochips to worry about, but some stubborn streak in me insisted that I would give no chance to this government of working on this visitor. "Of course, even where the transport system isn't as reliable as it could be, and people rely on food they grow themselves, we have no reports of Ignorance! Why, did you know that in the Norenian Highlands, the level of zinc is so low, we don't even have accurate population statistics? But no sign of Ignorance, even there!" The officer was blathering on proudly.

        "I'm sorry, where did you say that was?" Here, at least, was a possibility. Anywhere the chips were functioning intermittently was bound to be the last refuge of religious dissidents.

        "What? Oh, the Norenian Highlands, just over the mountains from us here. Incredibly backward area. They don't even dye their hair purple there." He looked over my blond locks.

        "Oh, yeah, I'm trying for the primitive look so I'll fit in with a place like that." I temporised.

        "Nice try," he said, "But I don't know if they'll accept a biped in the highlands. They're not as cosmopolitan as we are here in the capital, you know. Well anyway, good luck. And if you need supplies or anything, don't hesitate to check out anything you like at a victualist."

        I smiled and patted my bulging satchel. "Thanks, but I've got everything I need right here."


        As it turned out, the Highlands proved considerably more difficult to get to than the officer's remarks had led me to believe. I finally arrived at the central village of the district, after a journey on six different modes of transport including two days aboard a leather hulled craft that looked like the result of crossbreeding a kayak and a Greek Trireme aboard an octopedal substitute for a mule. When I finally alighted, it was with a mixture of relief at standing on my own legs for a change, and disappointment at the wornout looking cluster of hovels which greeted me.

        I found out from the owner of the local hostelry that the Village Hall was once a Hall of Ignorance, at least that's what he called it, he didn't know what it had been called originally. He did tell me that the last Hall of Ignorance to be closed was only another days' trip up the river. Dreading the thought of riding that water borne hybrid again, I put off following that lead until I had exhausted the leads within the village to no result, and my dwindling supplies forced me to choose between going on or turning back altogether.

        The trip was even rougher than I expected. We followed the river upstream to a lake fronted by the village where the last Hall of Ignorance was situated. All during the second day of the journey, I was admiring a line of yellowish cliffs which stood on the upriver horizon. I asked one of the crew what they were called, but he only muttered something about wind and roused his shipmates to increase their already prodigious efforts at the oars. As we came out of the river and onto the lake, instead of hauling in the oars and resting during a leisurely sail, now that they no longer had to battle the current, the crew lashed the sail even tighter in its furl, and redoubled their efforts on the oars. Suddenly, that immovable line of cliffs, which had shown no change as I had been watching it for hours, burst upon us in a swirl of lashing sand and drumming rain. I realised then that the crew had been racing to get to port before the storm arrived, and had failed.

        With the wind and the rain came steadily increasing waves, and over the shriek of the wind and the bawling of the coxswain, I began to hear the groaning of the timbers as the entire craft protested at this unfriendly treatment. All at once, the mast splintered, and the top portion came down right on top of the steering station, sweeping the unfortunate helmsbeing into the raging turbulence. Before the rest of the crew could react, the craft was beam on to the rapidly piling waves, and the pounding began to tear the skin from the ribs. Within minutes, we were driven before the wind onto a rocky lee shore. The craft broke up like a dropped clay pot. As I struggled in the swirl of shredded leather, splintered wood, and frothing water, I began to lose the sense of detachment which had come over me with the first squall, and I realised that there was a very good chance I wouldn't see the next sunrise. As I struggled desperately to free myself from the wreckage, I came the closest I have ever come to praying. Not out loud, but within myself, I cried out to the Universe in general, "Help!" I don't recall much from that point until I woke up the next day. I have a dim recollection of crawling out of the storm whipped lake, clutching my satchel, and collapsing on the shore; and then later strong, gentle hands picking me up, wrapping me in a blanket, and placing me on one of those eight legged mules.


        The fire was going in the hut, even though it was daylight outside. I was glad for it, since even under the blankets, I was chilled to the bone from the drenching I had been through. On the other side of the fire, my clothes were drying on a rack. My satchel lay unopened beside it. I felt hands laid gently on my head, and a muttered voice talking to someone I could not see. I turned my head, and saw an ancient Diocletan, far older than I had ever seen before, with his eyes closed, bending over me. He was talking desperately under his breath, addressing his remarks to one he called "Great Father."

        Suddenly I recognised what was going on. "You... you're praying!" I gasped through chattering teeth.

        His eyes snapped open, then narrowed. "Do you know the meaning of prayer, stranger?"

        "Oh, certainly." I began, "People pray all over the galaxy. That's how they speak to God. You must be a believer!"

        He sat back. "Believer! I haven't been called that in a long time! Nowadays, belief is called ignorance." He shook his head sadly.

        "I've been looking all over the planet for you. I thought they'd killed your kind off!" I said.

        He looked at me more closely. "You have been looking for me? Why? Are you a believer?" he asked slowly.

        I swallowed and replied, "I believe in the truth."

        "Many people claim to have the truth, including the monitors. To them, truth matches the belief of him who holds the gun. Where does your truth come from?" He asked.

        "I believe in what I see." I said. "I believe in what is real, and I believe in standing up for the truth, even when it is unpopular."

        "Ah! You go to the heart of the matter, stranger. But you are right, I have been hiding too long. I should not be trying to hide the truth at the time when this poor world needs it most. My faith is yet too small." I looked at him in bewilderment. Suddenly I had gone from being on trial to passing judgment. "You are right, it is time to share the truth, whatever the cost. Do you have the words of truth?" He asked.

        "Not for this planet. That is why I have been searching for you." That much I could say with confidence.

        "I do have a copy." He said, "It has not been easy to keep from the Monitors. It is getting more difficult to keep zinc out of my garden."

        "Do you need food?" I asked. "I have some with no zinc."

        He examined my wrists and forehead. "You have not been through the Marking Time." He said. "Why do you avoid zinc?"

        "Just on general principles," I replied. "I don't like people trying to get into my mind. I need to be in control all the time. I always have."

        He gave me another strange look. "It is a strange servant who does not distinguish between the control of false masters and the guidance of his real master. I wonder how much of a believer you are?" He eyed me a minute longer, and I concentrated on not tensing up, but suddenly he turned away. "But that is not for me to judge."

        To change the subject, I asked, "Do you have the words of truth with you?" He put one finger to his lips, then pried up a board from the floor of the hut. Reverently, he lifted out and unwrapped a large book. Gently, I took it, and read through a few passages. Every one rang familiar bells. No matter how many religions a planet had, there was always one that taught the same things. I shook my head. Here it was again, even on a planet with only one believer, that one believed in the One God.

        "You read so quickly," he said. "It is as if you already know what to look for."

        "Everywhere I go." I said. He looked at me inquiringly. "On every planet I have visited, there is a story of the Great Father visiting the planet in the form of the local inhabitants, teaching them, and then dying to free them from the evil they had done. The story is just the same here, just as the things he taught are the same."

        "Ah," he said. "I have often wondered if the Great Father has dealt with other worlds as He has dealt with ours. It is good to learn this. But as for the teaching," he reached for the book. "That should not surprise you." And then he said what I had heard in so many tongues under so many suns, "All truth is God's truth."


        I didn't see him die. He had gone outside to gather some firewood. I was crouching over the fire, trying to stop shivering. Suddenly, I heard the throbbing roar of helicopters, accompanied by the piercing whine of an air car. I jumped up to see what was going on, but before I reached the window, there was a burst of automatic fire. By the time I looked out, there was a formation of aircraft in Monitor markings settling in a wide circle around the hut, and in front of the hut lay a crumpled heap.

        A minute later, I poked my head out the door. Standing over the crumpled heap, poking at it with one foot, was a familiar figure. It was the entry control officer, now wearing the uniform of a Monitor. He looked up, saw me, and started towards the hut. "You did an excellent job, Dr. Dewey. You are to be congratulated. None of our operatives have been able to catch up with this one, especially in such a short time."

        "You used me as a Judas goat!" I growled at him. He gave me a blank look, so I rephrased it. "You used me to set him up!"

        "But of course, Dr. Dewey. He would have spotted one of our operators miles away." He eased me back into the hut as the rest of the Monitors crowded in to search the place. "In fact, he has many times. We have been looking for him for years."

        "If you could never find him, how did you know he was there?" I asked, and then, "That's mine," as I took my satchel from a Monitor who was about to open it. She glared at me for a minute, then, at a glance from the officer, carried on her search. I turned back to him.

        "Little things mostly." He said, "Unobtrusive repairs on the hall of ignorance, an injured child, close to death, who is standing whole and well to greet the medical team as they arrive, people fed through a blizzard when the boats cannot make it up the river. All these clues add up."

        "Are they so bad?" I asked. "He saved my life. Was that worth killing him for?"

        "It's not what he did, it's what he is. He is the last vestige of a disease which we have now wiped from the planet. If we had let him go free, who knows how quickly it would have spread again? Besides, we could not control him." At my sudden look, he laughed. "No, we cannot control minds directly, but knowledge is a form of power. When we know who is where and thinking what, we can take steps to lessen their impact. With him we could not."

        "No zinc." I said.

        "Ah, I thought you might have realised that." He smiled. "Most Diocletans have enough zinc in their systems by now that we can at least read their physiological functions at close range. When we spotted him, with no readings at all, we knew he had to be avoiding zinc deliberately."

        "And that's why you shot him before you even landed." Just then there was a splintering crash and a whoop of triumph. The Monitor who had been examining my satchel stood over the spot where the hastily replaced floorboard had been torn up again. She reached into the hiding place, removed a fruit bar, and dropped it into the hopper of a portable tester. Not a thing showed on the scanner.

        "Hmmph. Not a trace of zinc." Murmured the officer. "He must have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep it out of his diet. But no matter. There is very little left. We probably would have picked up some readings from him soon in any case." He turned to me. "Tell me, Dr. Dewey, did he have any of those records you were looking for?"

        I looked him in the eye closest to me. "He has no records."

        "Well, don't be too disappointed. If he had, we would have had to destroy them anyway." As he said this, the Monitor aimed her gun down the hole and fired, reducing the food to charred cinders. "Now, we can give you a ride back to civilisation. Is there anything else you need to bring with you?"

        I smiled and patted my bulging satchel. "Thanks, but I've got everything I need right here."

        \'You know my destiny?\' said Elric eagerly. \'Tell me what it is, Niun Who Knew All.\'
        Niun opened his mouth as if to speak but then firmly shut it again. \'No,\' he said. \'I have forgotten.\'


        • #5
          Weird isn't it!... Some people don't understand the 'fiction' part.
          That book was essential for me to understand the Christ within which is more important than being "saved", and what i understand it to be mostly about. I just think the historical reference was a tongue-in-cheek gesture. And not to be taken as fact or as a theory. :lol:


          • #6
            >Yawn< Sorry, dropped off for a minute there.

            Hmm. If you mix him up, Greg Slade becomes-

            Eagles Dare

            If he takes an 'E' :D

            Bit sus, if you ask me.


            • #7
              Funny thing is, of course, that the book has picked up great reviews in the Christian press (though not, of course, the evangelical press). One of its best reviews was in The Tablet. It also got a good review in The Jewish Chronicle and The Jewish Herald. A nun in Pittsburgh wrote to congratulate me on my sympathetic dealing with the Problem of Doubt. Several Christian scholars wrote to congratulate me on my research (which was pretty extensive -- I also read the New Testament through a few times). I think we're dealing, as always, with those frightened souls who use Christianity as a crutch and an escape (and become aggressive in the process, the way any addict does)and those who use it as for moral guidance. Someone sent me his website.
              He says he really wants to work abroad. I can't help wondering if abroad wants or needs him... Still, he seems a decent enough bloke. Just a little threatened. Probably doesn't get out enough. Good wholesome exercise usually works a treat in these cases.

              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds

              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


              • #8
                Well, as I see it, you made money off of something involving Christ, and you didn't cut this guy in, so naturally he's pissed off!

                " . . .portrayal of Christianity as a completely false and pointless belief system." 8O

                Ya mean it ain't??!!??
                Madness is always the best armor against Reality


                • #9
                  I don't understand his viewpoint. He seems to think that by making Glogeur into Jesus instead of Jesus becoming the messiah, you've rendered the idea that Christianity is irrelevent.

                  But Glogeur in effect becomes the Messiah and takes Jesus' role for himself and thus allowing Christianity to be born. He had the choice to not do this and thus ensure Christianity is never created, but he realises that if Jesus will not be capable of his destiny, then he assumes it himself. He becomes a quintesential martyr by sacrificing himself to allow what he knows will be will be.


                  • #10
                    Yep. Imitation of Christ. Which is why most Christian theologians don't think the book threatens Christianity.
                    I'm not trying to attack other peoples' belief systems (unless they are Nazis or something. I'm trying to write examples which adhere to my own belief system. The whole point of the Cornelius stories, for instance, is that people should make up their own story, their own view of the material the stories present. Indeed, much the same theme runs through my Eternal Champion stories.
                    But if people aren't very smart -- and that poor guy isn't very smart -- they are going to feel threatened. You can be a Communist and feel just as threatened, if you're clinging to the belief system like a spar in a shipwreck. Dumb people learn this stuff by rote and don't know what to do when their rules are apparently threatened.
                    Not, as I've said in the other thread, that I ever set out to threaten anyone's belief systems. I happen to have a fairly strong conviction in the existentialism in the mantra I wasn't. I am. I won't be. I also happen to believe that you might as well do your best to make the world a better place than you found it. And, given that I was raised in a predominantly Christian culture, I know that I am essentially a Christian, though I can't accept the supernatural element in that belief. Which is about all Behold the Man says, I guess.
                    That poor bugger hasn't so much received an education as read a lot of stuff to shore up his need to believe, which, of course, isn't quite the same thing as studying theology. He's a sad example of a lot of people who turn to happy clappy evangelicanism, substituting sentimentality for moral rigour. It's really why I'm so fed-up with living in the US. Not that the whole US is like that -- indeed I'd say a minority is like that. Unfortunately it's a minority capable of swinging important elections.
                    At the moment, at any rate, that minority doesn't swing elections in the parts of Europe in which I want to make my home again.
                    Not that I'm turning my back on the US. I have too much affection for the place, too many friends and relatives, too much admiration for the best this country can turn out. I'm sure that guy and his pals will be glad to see the back of me. They, after all, are the reasons I'm leaving.

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


                    • #11
                      America's loss is Europe's gain. I'm sad to see you go. But a man's gotta do, and all that stuff. ;)

                      The novel should be read with an open mind. It should tempt questions and thought and discussion--debate. It's perfect for evangelicals to freak out over, certainly they passed over Python's Life of Brian, too... but anyway. It's just something to think about.

                      i'm always fascinated by the "translations" of the bible, slightly off topic? i was in the book store hoping to find a translation of old/new testaments, and y'know? i could find NOTHING that used "YHWH" (the Tetragrammaton) but only used God or Lord. No thanks... you can keep it, you superstitious people! :roll:


                      • #12
                        I love the Tyndale version (as far as he got with it before they burned him) on which the King James is clearly based. The poetic quality works the way the modernised versions don't. It's what made the Koran work, for that matter. You could get an online version and tell your change function to alter the word God etc. wherever it was found... :)
                        My ex-wife knew Greek (from which our New Testament, of course, comes) and was able to go back to the 'original' in order to argue with fundamentalist missionaries who would turn up on the doorstep. The Greek elements in the New Testament suggest (as I suggest in Behold the Man) that it was a continuation of that humanist tradition. Of course, if fundamentalists wish to think that it was the word of God, rather than some sort of adapted Platonism, say, I suppose it's an improvement.
                        I used to attend Choral Evensong about once a week when I lived near Oxford (or at St Martin's when in London) and I still tune in to at least two religious programmes (including the BBC's Choral Evensong). I have no problems with the services, in general. All that I can't agree with is the supernatural element, as I said. Otherwise, there's nothing to disagree with! I would hate to be deprived of Choral Evensong. And my own taste runs to High Church services rather than Low, which in the US seem to be like business meetings with God. There was one great preacher in my mother-in-law's Baptist church, whom I liked a lot. He preached real Christian tolerance, quoted from black writers and so on and supported loving unions between same-sex couples. The deacons broke him. Drove him out of the church by telling lies about him. A
                        few months before he would have got his pension from the church. I've never witness personally such vicious behaviour. Since then I've witnessed stuff that was pretty bad, but not quite as terrible. Our local Catholic priest is pretty rotten, for instance. I've been shocked by his failure to give his parisioners what is their right to expect from a priest. Yes, I have contempt for those people. I can't see their God thinking a whole lot of them, either.

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                        • #13
                          At this stage in my life, i'm not sure if i can ever enjoy mass again. There were few priests (if any?) that made me feel joy in the faith.. their voices were droning and the sermons pretty boring. :( And the crucifix in it's painted bloody "glory" was pretty scary to an impressionable child like myself.

                          I'm really not sure what you mean by "high" and "low" church services, i can only guess. Can you expand on that, please?

                          Yes...Tyndale had the "audacity" to translate the bible and sow it among the people, and burned for it. Brilliant! :roll:

                          I wonder, was learning the Greek difficult, or was she a natural at languages? As mentioned before, I've considered learning it so I can read it for myself. Hmm...


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                            In my experience the best feeling is gained from doing some kind of good deed. That's "holding mass" in a pretty pure form!
                            I agree!
                            But that makes me think of the difference between "natural kindness" and "contrived kindness". If there are such a things.
                            Which i believe do in a way. Even though i've never held mass...


                            • #15
                              Probably the difference betwen the US and UK is exemplified in the current debate in the Lords about Creationism where Bishops express worries about it being taught in schools and the general tone of the debate is one of agreement that it would be primitive and reactionary for such ideas to be taught in British schools. Can be heard via BBC Radio 4.
                              Fundamentalists of course would see this as proof of the godlessness of the Church of England... I actually enjoy the general tone of Anglicanism (Episcopalianism) in the UK, which is largely concerned with one's deeds rather than with one's wearing one's faith on one's sleeve, as it were.
                              Of course, it used to be said that 'God was an Englishman'. Is it now true that God is an American ? Would go well with the imperialist push.
                              It's considered poor taste in the US to distinguish between the high and low churches, but it's the old term in England (still used by some) to distinguish between the Anglicanism of the Established Church and the
                              protestantism of the dissenting churches (such as Baptists). It suits me to use the phrase since I think those fundamentalists should get used to being thought of as a lower form of Christian. :D

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