tisdag 22 februari 2011

Should scripture be believed literally?

Reaching Catholics for Christ is a website that is not what it appears at first sight to be, but actually aims to "disprove" the teachings of the Catholic Church. The giveaway is the text on the front page "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Romans 4 : 5.

It is interesting that this style of protestant usually quotes the King James translation. But of more interest is that they promote a literal interpretation of scripture, but then stop short of interpreting chapter 6 of St John's gospel literally. Here is the (Douai-Rheims) text...

48 I am the bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the desert: and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven: that if any man eat of it, he may not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven.
52 If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
54 He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.
58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live for ever.
59 These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.
60 Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard; and who can hear it?
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you?
62 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

It is clear from this, bearing in mind the abhorrence felt by Jews at the idea of drinking blood and eating human flesh, that the notion of eating My flesh and drinking My blood is intended to be interpreted literally. The reference would not have been made were it not for the express purpose of emphasising that the words should be taken literally.

Then of course there is Matthew 16
18 And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed, even in heaven.

måndag 7 februari 2011

The dismantling of the state

UK government policies are best understood as a manifestation of the beast named ANARCHO-CAPITALISM (A-C).

Its prophets are Ayn Rand, and its high priests are Murray Rothbard, Bruce L. Benson. The economic theory comes from the Austrian School via Chicago, and it is founded on the fallacious theory of property rights put forward by John Locke. This leads them, paradoxically, into the same trap that Marxists fall into - that land and natural resources is a form of capital or nothing other than capital. That particular error makes it impossible to analyse contemporary economic and social problems.

A-C was the guiding principle behind Thatcherism, probably having entered the political bloodstream via academics at St Andrew's University. Early UK advocates included Keith Joseph. The principles of A-C underly the utterances of such as John Redwood. In a diluted form it was and remains a strong influence on both Labour and the LibDems. With Marxism discredited, there is nothing much else to draw on at the moment as a source for ideas in political economy. In the UK, the Taxpayers' Alliance is a front for this movement.

Although it is unlikely that more than a minority of MPs will be conscious of A-C, the young bloods who are responsible for shaping policy at Conservative Central Office are fully aware of what it is about, know exactly what they are doing and are committed to putting their ideology into practice.

It is a dog-eat-dog view of humanity. It will destroy society if left unchecked. In the meantime, much misery will be inflicted, people will start to get very angry and there is no knowing where it will end. With the left lacking any alternative body of thought, the opposition will lack coherence. We can expect the disease to run rampant.

It is not a prospect to look forward to with equanimity.

söndag 6 februari 2011

Get rid of the City of London Corporation

There are rumblings about getting rid of the City of London Corporation. The City of London certainly makes no sense in administrative and planning terms as a separate entity.

A new borough of Central London should be created, taking in the City of London, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Islington, Camden and parts of Kensington and Chelsea, and Southwark. The boundary would be almost the same as the congestion zone, which would be logical for a local authority.

Map of London Congestion Charge zone

This is primarily about the planning and organisation of public services by rational administrative units so that they can do their job efficiently and democratically.

From time to time, boundaries need to be reviewed to take account of changes in patterns of settlement, demographics and land use. The last time this was done in London was almost fifty years ago when the present London boroughs and the Greater London Council were set up. At that time the City of London remained unchanged. The previous arrangements had dated from the 1880s. With Greater London effectively a city region now 50 miles across, it is time for a review.

The death of civilised debate

The Guardian has been steadily reducing the number of articles on which comments are allowed. On the newspaper’s web site, which used to ap...