Can Christians vote for UKIP with a clear conscience? – UKIP responds

UKIP Logo rosettesIn yesterday’s blog post I considered whether as a Christian I should or even could vote for UKIP. The gist of the piece was along the lines of ‘it’s possible, but probably not advisable’. In the evening I was put in touch with the General Secretary of UKIP, Jonathan Arnott who asked me if he could write a response. In the interests of balance, fairness and clarification, I have published it below. Jonathan is a Christian himself. He has been a member of UKIP since 2001 and became General Secretary in 2008. In this week’s European elections he is standing as his party’s lead candidate for the North East England.

————

Last night I was asked (presumably because I’m known to be both a Christian and the General Secretary of UKIP / lead North East candidate) what my thoughts are about Christianity and UKIP. Is it even possible, some have asked, for a Christian to support UKIP? If the polls are correct, as a Christian I won’t just be a UKIP member a week from now but a Member of the European Parliament for UKIP. So how can this be?

Given some of the negatives written about the Party in recent weeks, I’m aware that some Christians struggle to understand the UKIP perspective. Others warmly embrace it. In my own personal experience, in many evangelical churches there is strong support for UKIP.

Perhaps I can’t change people’s opinions, but I’m writing this for those who don’t agree – or who maybe can’t fathom the UKIP mindset at all. Agrippa asked Paul “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Even though it wouldn’t succeed immediately, Paul still tried. Likewise, even if I can’t persuade those who have seen a media onslaught in recent weeks to support UKIP, I would rather spend time talking to those who don’t already agree with me than those who do.

I’ll look at some of the various objections to UKIP which I’ve heard raised by Christians so far in this campaign and explain how I see things from a Christian perspective.

Objection #1: UKIP supports a cut in the foreign aid budget, which is hardly charitable or Christian

The problem is that the foreign aid budget is so often mis-spent. Foreign aid currently goes to countries which have nuclear and space programmes, to countries in the G20, and – in the case of Argentina – countries which have forcibly attempted to capture British territory. Foreign aid should be used to assist with natural disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis. It can be used to assist with a one-off famine (though extreme caution is needed to avoid accidentally doing more harm than good by putting local farmers out of business and precipitating an even greater famine the following year). These limited forms of foreign aid are what I think the general public sees as ‘helping our neighbours’. We should be doing much more than that – but it’s about developing those economies, not about handing over aid packages.

The European Union imposes a tariff of 1% on the import of cocoa from Africa, but a tariff of 30% on the import of processed chocolate. Result? A disincentive for African countries to turn cocoa into chocolate before export. Remove the trade barrier, and we would genuinely help cocoa-producing countries’ economies in the long term.

My brother spent 6 months as an aid worker in Malawi, in an area where some people were quite literally starving. The ‘Traditional Authorities’, as they were known, owned large chunks of farmable land and there were many people unemployed. For the sum of roughly £5,000 he could have purchased a piece of land and farming equipment, and paid the wages of local workers to farm maize until the first couple of crops had come through. The local people, most of whom lacked even a rudimentary education and any money to set up such an organisation, could not do so. The project would have saved lives and the £5,000 could even have been repaid within less than a year if that were the intention. An interest-free loan, and a bit of vision, would have made a massive difference but sadly the project went outside the objectives of the charity he was working for and they had to pursue other projects instead. I use this example merely to illustrate a point: helping people to grow things, or to trade, is far better than spending money on foreign aid which all too often ends up in the hands of the wrong people.

Objection #2: Christians are called to welcome strangers, even if it were to hurt us financially. That doesn’t fit with UKIP’s immigration policy.

Christians are indeed called to welcome strangers and help those in need. Many times, I’ve invited people to stay at my house who were short of money, had nowhere to live or were in need of support for a period of time to deal with other problems.

But I don’t think it follows from that, that the country should pursue a policy of open borders. In my view there’s a big difference between the role of the individual, and the role of society. In general, the Old Testament deals with society and the New Testament with the individual. Much of what is written in the Old Testament does not apply legalistically today (Christians can eat pork for example, and do not have to follow the religious requirements which Orthodox Jews do for example from the same text), but it provides a context for the understanding of the New Testament. So whilst we are (as individuals) called to welcome strangers, we (as a society) need to balance the needs of the stranger with the needs of society.

This concept of individual and society is easier to see in another context. Suppose that someone were to murder my brother. It would be my duty as an individual to forgive that sin, but it is the role of society to punish the crime. I don’t think any Christians would seriously suggest that a murderer should walk free because we choose to forgive.

In the same way, of course we – as individual citizens – should share our wealth with others. Society has a role to play. In Biblical times there was the concept of a ‘tithe’ which was used to help the poor. In modern times, a much higher percentage of our wages is already used in taxation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. On the other hand, overly high taxation acts as a disincentive to work: there is also a principle in the Bible that the worker is worthy of their hire. Policy designed to share wealth with the best of intentions can lead to disaster; the devastation caused by Communism across the world is evidence of that.

There are of course many immigration cases where this country should be compassionate. For example, a few years ago I helped a lady from Uganda, who had become a Christian in the UK and had been threatened with death if she were deported (the issues relating to her husband, who was fighting against the government at the time). When I got involved with the case, she was being moved to an immigration deportation centre. She was eventually given indefinite leave to remain in the UK, and I hope that the work I did on that case played a part in that decision.

What I oppose (and UKIP opposes) is the uncontrolled immigration which comes as a part of our EU membership. In Bulgaria for example, the minimum wage is in the order of 80 pence an hour. People with even a high level of education from Bulgaria can make more money working in the UK at minimum wage. This has two effects: firstly, it impacts upon UK unemployment. At a time when almost a million young people in this country are unemployed, it deprives young people of their first career step. Secondly, it doesn’t help Bulgaria – they are losing many of their talented people.

Visiting, and working in, other countries is not something which is exclusive to the European Union. Indeed, more British citizens live in Australia and the USA than in the 27 other EU countries combined! But this should not be an automatic right: if I had a serious criminal record for example, I would expect other countries to have the right to refuse me entry to live and work in those countries. I wouldn’t expect to be allowed to compete for jobs in sectors where those countries already have a massive oversupply of labour.

UKIP seeks to regain control of our borders, and to have a fair points-based immigration system where those from India or China are not discriminated against, in favour of people from France or Spain. All should be treated equally.

Objection #3: Christians should be good neighbours, and therefore we should work together with other countries within the European Union

This raises the question: what does being ‘good neighbours’ mean? Who is our neighbour in this context? Is France our neighbour because it’s separated from us by the English Channel, or does that apply to every country in the world? I think every country worldwide is our neighbour. Being part of the European Union makes it harder for us to be good neighbours to countries outside it – for example, we’ve neglected the Commonwealth since joining the EU.

Leaving the European Union would have many practical benefits. It isn’t truly democratic (the unelected Commission proposes the laws, and the elected Parliament – which lacks many of the features of a Parliamentary democracy – amends, accepts or rejects them).

The idea of one-size-fits-all laws for 28 different countries does not work, leading to bad legislation for all. There is a substantial cost saving, and we would regain the freedom to negotiate our own trade deals once more. We’d regain the right to legislate for ourselves in many areas (UKIP would like to ban the live export of animals for example, but can’t do it inside the EU). I’m currently being lobbied by Christians, and have received dozens of emails from those who fear that under proposed amendments to the Equal Treatment Directive they will be unable to vocalise their support for traditional marriage. Whether you agree or disagree, there’s a fundamental freedom of speech issue.

I believe that being good neighbours is about trading freely and fairly. Tiny Iceland, which has a similar population to Newcastle, has a free trade deal with China. The UK is powerless to negotiate deals for ourselves; the EU Trade Commissioner negotiates them on our behalf. As a result negotiations often stall, or do not actually represent British interests.

There are very few genuine disadvantages to leaving the European Union. We could, if we wished, retain any EU legislation which has been beneficial. Outside the European Union, we’d still trade with them (we’re guaranteed by Treaty to be allowed to do so). We would be able to develop trade globally, and would also be in a position to develop genuinely fair trade with the world’s poorest countries rather than imposing tariff barriers on them. 40 years of attempted reform of the EU has failed; it’s time to leave the EU but remain good neighbours and trading partners with them.

Objection #4: UKIP candidates have said some bad (nasty/racist) things

I’ve never understood this objection, except in the context of those who accept everything they see in the media at face value. If you don’t vote UKIP for that reason, then you have ample reason to not vote for each of the other parties as well. The problem here is that UKIP has over 2,000 people standing for us as candidates this year. In any large group of people, there will some ‘bad eggs’.

The same is true of all the other parties, but it just doesn’t make front page headlines. I could choose many examples; I’ll use just a few from the Liberal Democrats but could easily do likewise for Labour, Conservatives and Greens.

Have you heard anyone suggest that they can’t vote Liberal Democrat because one of their councillors was sentenced to 18 years in prison for bombing his own constituency? Or because of the sex scandals surrounding Cyril Smith, or because of Chris Huhne’s jail sentence for perverting the course of justice, or because a councillor was convicted of racially aggravated assault?

These aren’t just ‘saying’ bad things, or writing an inappropriate post on social media. These are convictions for serious criminal offences! So why are UKIP’s the ones which make front page headlines? It goes against the grain for me to even mention these examples – politics shouldn’t be about this kind of mudslinging – but the attacks on UKIP are so ferocious that it’s important to point out that there is a certain double standard at play.

The test for UKIP is whether we deal with those people. The candidate who made the remarks about Lenny Henry? Gone. Any UKIP member found to be a former member of a racist organisation like the BNP or National Front? Kicked out immediately (Conservatives and Labour have ex-BNP members as candidates and councillors). We don’t tolerate racism or racists in our party. I’m often asked about UKIP expelling the person who claimed recent floods were a consequence of gay marriage. Some deride us for allowing him in our party (though he’d said similar things for decades when he was a Conservative and nobody batted an eyelid). His opinion was ridiculous, but that shouldn’t stop him from being a member of the Party. He was expelled because he associated UKIP with those beliefs.

The average UKIP member or candidate couldn’t be further from this media stereotype. We have more candidates in winnable positions from ethnic minority backgrounds elected than the Lib Dems or Greens at the European elections – and perhaps more than the Conservatives and Labour too. That’s why the accusations of ‘racism’ are so hurtful to us personally. The word ‘racism’ is a serious one and it should not be thrown around like confetti.

Objection #5: We can’t support a single-issue Party

UKIP is not by any means a Party of only one policy. The elections on Thursday are to the European Parliament, and therefore they are a single-issue election. At this election we aren’t talking about our policy of ‘no tax on minimum wage’ which would help struggling families, because it isn’t relevant to the European elections.

One of the policies which attracts me as a Christian to UKIP is the policy of allowing the public to force a binding referendum on moral issues through a petition of 5% of the electorate. In such circumstances, gay marriage could not have been introduced without the consent of the British people – and there would exist a democratic mechanism for change to the law on abortion, for example. UKIP was the only Party to oppose the introduction of gay marriage, and for precisely that reason: because the people of this country were not consulted on the matter. We were also concerned about the protection of churches’ rights not to conduct such ceremonies.

Objection #6: UKIP now supports gay marriage, which is anti-Christian

This just isn’t true. The objection stems from a draft statement which was accidentally put out, by individuals in the Press Office, without having authorisation to do so. Nigel Farage issued the following statement:

“UKIP’s objection to same-sex marriage was two-fold. First, we did not think it should have been made a political priority at a time of many other pressing issues and pointed out that the measure had no mandate from the electorate. Secondly we were concerned that because of the role of the European Court of Human Rights in British law that faith communities which had strong objections were at risk of being forced to conduct gay marriages.

“The statement attributed to me was not made by me and not approved by me. It was a draft by a staff member that should never have been sent out. There is an ongoing debate within UKIP about how we can protect faith communities from ultimately being compelled to conduct same-sex marriages against their beliefs and their will. We note that some gay rights activists are already talking about taking legal action in Strasbourg to force this issue.”

————

This post has also been published today on Jonathan’s personal website.

Advertisements


Categories: Elections, Party politics

45 replies

  1. Hi Gillian,

    The real question is how any of us can vote with for any party in this country and not repent of the 520 babies killed every day through abortion.Over 190,000 babies killed every year. As Christians we must prayerfully participate in brining greater awareness of this evil and do all in our power to stop this murdering of our children.

    • If you’re concerned about abortion, you should take it with the Emperor of Abortion: Your God. Every minute of every day, probably throughout human history, fetuses die in the womb or children are born dead. In the vast majority of these cases, this is through no fault of any human agency. They are (rightly) regarded as natural deaths. So who is responsible? Simply, it must be God’s will (if you live in your fantasy world). Your God would be personally responsible for untold billions of deaths of unborn babies. When it comes to abortion, mere humans simply cannot compete against the baby murderer you worship.

      • Hi Dave,

        My wife and I lost a child through miscarriage and we believe we will see this child in heaven. So many unanswered questions why miscarriage happens in the developmental process of a child. Sin entered the world and since then it is truly broken and miscarriage is only one sign of our situation where no one is to blame. With the conscious choice of abortion in our country, I feel for the women who fell there is no other way out of their present situation. I once drive my girlfriend to an abortion clinic to see if she was pregnant and to get an abortion if she was. She was not pregnant.

        I believe that the conscious taking of another life no matter how small is a grievous sin that affects all parties involved, some now, some eternally. I want us to value the smallest child to the loneliest immigrant. People are precious. I wish you well Dave, Bless You.

        Tim

      • Oh, please. The double standards of you people is truly astonishing.

        The heartbreaking decision to terminate a pregnancy is grievous sin, yet your god commits the same act thousands of times a second every second for hundreds of thousands of years, yet you love and worship him? Sorry, but in my eyes, that is warped beyond measure.

        The vast majority of women who have abortions don’t really see that they have a choice. Your god does. Most people in this world do value life. It’s a shame your all-powerful god does not share that sentiment. But then, I guess, when you are so all powerful, why should the taking of a life be such a big deal?

        And for the record, I’ve read Genesis. Sin did not enter the world, it was clearly god’s intention all along.

  2. Abortion isn’t a ‘party politics’ issue in this country; it’s not subject to government whips and MPs vote according to their consciences. If you want to change the law on abortion, you have no democratic recourse at present. UKIP’s referendum policy would bring accountability back to the public on such issues. We would have a mechanism for changing the law.

  3. Hi,

    I think Parliment voted for abortion and Parliment can vote against abortion. We need to spiritually turn the temperature on abortion. When you hear this thought, the worst ways of doing this may come to your mind. I am for many ways in bringing about awareness. But I think one of the most important ways is to provide women who have had abortions is to have Christian services where women have an opportunity to grieve and remember the child they aborted. There need to be retreats for women and men to come and become healed because of their involvement in abortion. But we need to become more publicly active in this area and not hide from the fact that our own taxes and people in our community are killing 520 babies everyday.

    I am also voting for UKIP!

  4. Why is there “a big difference between the role of the individual, and the role of society” only when it comes to immigration?

    • Jonathan, I need to ask you a fairly esoteric question. What is the UKIP position on Bible prophecy? If Britain is destined to be amalgamated within the EU (which seems to be the case according to the books of Daniel and Revelation), what is the point in fighting against that? No country has left the EU yet – how, in practice, would UKIP bring about a withdrawal?

  5. On that aid point, Jonathan, thank you for clarifying that you want to cut the aid budget because you don’t think it works very well rather than because you don’t like loving our neighbours if our neighbours are overseas. I was relieved to hear that. And your point about EU protectionism damaging developing countries’ trade is spot on.

    But I don’t agree that ‘helping people to grow things, or to trade, is far better than spending money on foreign aid which all too often ends up in the hands of the wrong people’ – because if you do it right aid does help people grow things and trade, you don’t have to choose aid v trade! In the long term aid can fund building schools, training teachers, and helping families afford books and uniforms so children can go to school, so they get more opportunities and more ways to make a living than their parents had. In the short term, helping communities with safe sanitation and clean water so they’re healthier, don’t have to spend hours walking to get water, and can irrigate crops; or helping poor farmers get mobile phones to check market prices and get better deals; or providing microloans for small businesses are all very effective ways to spend the government’s aid budget and charities’ money too.

    Yes, you absolutely have to make sure aid money doesn’t get into the wrong hands, but there’s far more ways to do it than just hand it over to a government – civil society, including churches, often do a great job with aid money. And governments can spend it well too, specially when it’s transparent and subject to scrutiny.

  6. What a load of twaddle. The whole theme of the NT is the dangers of wealth, i.e. Capitalism. The first Christians lived by holding everything in common and caring for the poor and alien. Which resonates with modern economic thought- c.p.Thomas Piketty Capital in the Twentieth Century, which outlines how capitalism inherently creates inequality. The UKIP policies of, privatisation of the Health Service, rich paying the same tax as the poor, demonisation of the poor, alien and outsider, reduction of public spending, support for the Asbestos industry (see voting in Euro elections), attack on European policies of equal pay, equal services are fundamentally the contradiction of the Christian Gospel.

    The Christian faith is about community, not individualism, as your UKIP bloke would have us believe. To vote UKIP you have to be a fascist (see their allies inEurope) and have a complete mismatch between your faith and life.

    I note your UKIP apologist is standing in the N.E. The first Labour candidate in the NE is a Quaker (Jude Kirton- Darling) and the second, Paul Brannen, has had a distinguished career working for Christian Aid seeking to expose the tax avoidance which is such a blight on modern life and the poor countries of the world. If you are serious about Christian Values and politics there is only one choice in the North East, vote Labour.

  7. This excellent article helps confirm my decision to vote for UKIP in the European elections.

    With regard to the EU specifically, there is a Biblical principle concerning the status and nature of the nation state. However much trouble there has been, and continues to be, amongst and between nation states, it seems that all human efforts to build political empires or superstructures which undermine the nation state end in even deeper trouble. This is why a clear distinction must be made between the EU and Europe. It is perfectly consistent to claim love and respect for the peoples, cultures and countries of Europe, yet also believe firmly that the EU project will prove to be disastrous for Europe (ie, if unchecked the EU will ultimately be the direct cause of a worse catastrophe even than either or both of the world wars). Indeed, it is a truly pro-European as well as pro-British position (and a thoroughly Biblical and Christian one) to make a stand against the EU and all its political pretensions.

    To enter into discussion with Nick above, it must surely be correct to make a stand for what is right, like the OT prophets did, even when the wrong direction of the nation(s) around them seemed to be clearly established. If one or more countries can be brought out of the clutches of the current EU, or if its ends are to be postponed because its full time has not yet come, then so much the better. Otherwise, even if just a few individuals are brought to see the importance and relevance of the Word of God, good will have been achieved.

    I agree with most of the other points as well, and believe many of the arguments are indeed consistent with seeking to stay true to genuine Christian principles. Having been a non-voter or reluctant Conservative voter for most of my life since being eligible to vote, it is encouraging that a party appears to be emerging that is, in the main, worthy of a rather more positive level of support.

    • Hi Andrew, I completely agree with your view on the EU here. You also make some great points about reasons to withdraw.

      I’m not persuaded to vote UKIP only because of their immigration policy. I think that people from other countries enhance the nation. In fact we wouldn’t have had a boost in Christian numbers in the UK recently if it hadn’t been for an influx of Christians from Eastern European countries. But Christian or not, I think most immigrants make the country better (often culturally rather than economically).

      I think it is fine to vote UKIP, but I’m not convinced that it is effective. Farage has been speaking in the EU for a long time and he has a very limited lobbying power. The only way I can see what is left of the UK leaving the EU is through the proposed 2017 referendum.

      I would also like to see our country out of the EU and as you show, it isn’t impossible.

      I’d half hoped that Jonathan would reply to my questions. I’m still interested to know what Jonathan’s position is on the EU being identified my many as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Or perhaps they don’t have a position on it…

  8. Hi all,

    A useful post and some encouraging answers. UKIP have been slated recently in the press, I guess the politically aligned media will try any tactic to malign UKIP’s strong run in the lead up to the elections. As the author commented above, they never tell you about the other parties shadier sides…

    I was also encouraged to read last year the statement released by UKIP (restated above) stating their supporting for existing marriage laws. They were the only major political party to do so. The opportunity for a referendum with a petition of 5% of the electorate sounds like a good idea. Speaking of the example of Abortion used in the article, I wrote a blog on Abortion just yesterday…

    Did you know that since the Abortion law came into force in 1968 and to the year 2012, 7,470,251 babies in England and Wales alone were aborted. Please read here for the full story: http://manmadeblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/7470251-reasons-why-the-abortion-law-should-change/

    With UKIP’s proposed 5% petition, the abortion law could change…
    #EveryLifeMatters
    #EveryVoteCounts

  9. 7 1/2 million babies aborted? A tiny fraction of the many billions that could be credited to your god.e

    • Ok Dave, let’s have a look at your accusation.
      Before I start, might I be so bold as to suggest that you are both an atheist and pro-abortion? Because this is the position I am assuming as I respond to you. If I am wrong do say and I will change my thinking accordingly.

      Right, so first off let’s have a look at who you are saying we believe in. Because your comment about miscarriages being God aborting the babies suggests a few things. It suggests that you think that we believe in a God who is the sole being in control and that God is a micro-management kind of guy. It suggests that you think that God is uncaring and acts on whim, rather than acting with compassion and with positive intention towards us. And it suggests that you think that humans mean nothing to God, other than as playthings.
      And I’ll explain each conclusion I have drawn:
      In control – because you say that God kills babies
      Micro-management – because you say God is responsible for every single miscarriage that has ever happened
      Uncaring – because you say that God is a “baby murderer”
      Acts on whim – because you draw the comparison of those that die with those that don’t
      Playthings – because you say that it must be God’s will and yet attribute no reason, therefore suggesting that it is just something for God to do with His time.

      Can I just say that the God you seem to think we worship does not exist.

      Who is this God that we worship? Let me try and deal with what I believe to be your misconceptions:
      In control & micro-management – yes, God is in control. Indeed He could, if He wanted, control our every action and do whatever He wanted to us. But God isn’t like that. God let’s us make up our own minds and do what we want to do. Unfortunately that led to the Fall and the corruption of the world, hence sickness, suffering and death. We messed the world up, God simply gave us the choice of whether we did it or not, because to not give that choice would be to not give free will and self-determination.
      Uncaring & playthings – in the Bible, which is where Christians get their understanding of who God is, it says “God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not due but have eternal life”. That 1 verse tells us that if we believe in the God of the Bible then we believe in a God who doesn’t just care about the world and all the people in it, but that He loves all of us. And, as I am sure you can appreciate, a loving God would not act in an uncaring fashion towards those that He loves.
      Acts on whim – the Bible says that God has a plan, that in the end He will come and judge everyone who has ever lived. It also says that He wants us to have life in all it’s fullness and that He works for the good of those who love Him. That shows that the God of the Bible, the God who Christians believe in, acts not out of whim but out of a divine plan.

      Now, you may decide to scoff at all that I have just written. And that is your right in a free society where free will and freedom of expression are open to everyone. But that doesn’t take away the fact that Chrustians believe in the God who is spoken of in the Bible and that if you are going to criticise God, even if you don’t believe in Him you could at least criticise Him for who He is, not how you would like Him to be.

      • Hi Phil

        Yes, I am glad to say that I am an atheist. As for pro-abortion, I would prefer to say that people should have the choice whether or not they terminate a pregnancy. In cases where natural child death occurs, that choice is denied. Furthermore, it is usually denied to people who would not choose a termination.

        If a child dies before it is born and the cause does not involve a deliberate act by the mother, then how do we explain that? We could say that it is an unfortunate, but entirely random accident of nature. Or we could say it is part of God’s plan, and therefore entirely deliberate. If you accept the latter, then God is indeed a murderer on a grand scale.

        I’m sorry to have to break this to you, but the story of the Fall is nothing more than a story. But even if it were in any way true, why should a couple suffer the grief of losing an unborn child (and I personally know of several who have suffered in this way) simply because an innocent woman ate a piece of fruit a long, long time ago?

        I don’t criticize God. I don’t believe in God. Similarly, I don’t criticize Santa Claus for not giving me a Ferrari for Christmas. I don’t believe in Santa Clause. I do, however, criticize people who criticize people for making extremely difficult choices, while at the same time worshiping an all powerful being that can choose to do anything he wants, and chooses to kill unborn children as part of his plan.

        As an atheist, I’m glad that I don’t believe God exists. Me and your God simply would not get on.

      • Dave, I need to know if you are talking out of personal grief rather than just trying to provoke a debate? A lot of women have had terminations (including Christian women) and it is a very delicate subject. Also a lot of men are involved one way or the other.

        God allows people to die and we blame him for it. You obviously don’t blame God because you don’t believe he exists. But for those of us who do sometimes believe, we know that God has allowed a negative event to happen. Some of us blame God for our own mistakes too. And everyone makes mistakes.

        God therefore has a responsibility. He has a responsibility as the existing creator of us to make things better.

        If you are not grieving, if you have not made a huge mistake in your life then well done, and this answer will probably be lost on you. The point is this – God loves both the baby and the woman who has the termination (and everyone knows there are almost always mitigating factors for women who have terminations). God also distinguishes between murder and between abortion – he doesn’t look down and see it as murder. He is aware of everything because he exists.

        But if you do want to get the ‘fantasy world’ of Christian belief right then at least think about the belief we have. When one of us loses someone, however that happens then it isn’t a case of God murdering that person. The usual belief is that God has allowed that person to die. He hasn’t literally killed the person (except perhaps for King Herod in Bible times who died of a horrible testicular disease which God ‘allowed’ because he had massacred the innocents of Bethlehem).

  10. Yes, I am trying to provoke debate. I’m trying to understand why people still persist in religious faith, and why they insist that absurd fantasies should be accepted as real.

    Yes, I have suffered grief. I watched my Mother die a long, slow, horrible death from ovarian cancer. But at least she died knowing that I loved her: My Father died suddenly from a massive heart attack and I had no chance to tell him the same. I myself face an uncertain, but certainly unpleasant future with Parkinson’s. I could rage at God about these things, but I don’t. As an atheist, I accept these things as part of the natural order of things, and learn to come to terms with them.

    Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. You seem to be saying that if it carried out by humans, it is murder. But if God is responsible, then it is an expression of God’s love and is perfectly acceptable.That’s just crazy. (You may not believe this, but Timothy Wright, who prompted my comments, certainly does).

    The God of the Bible deliberately drowned 99.99% of all life on Earth (according to Genesis). King Herod (who actually died either four or ten years before Christ was supposed to have been born, depending on which of the Gospels you happen to be reading) is far from the only death God would be responsible for.

    • My mum has Parkinson’s. I also know what it’s like to suffer grief and have a longstanding illness and to see no meaning in that.

      Sometimes I blame God but I’m aware that God allows it and doesn’t cause it.

      I don’t think abortion is murder. I think it is abortion. There are mitigating factors.

      Personally I think the pro-life stance is too idealistic – in effect I want to see the 24 week limit for abortions reduced. It is a more pragmatic solution which could happen one day.

      But whatever my opinion on the subject I don’t hold the power necessary to change things. Dave, you are fighting the wrong people. Christians don’t have as much influence in politics as we like to think. We are not the Government. There are a few Christian MPs and there are two Christian political parties with a tiny share of votes.

      i know you will call me a sycophant for defending God (and God knows there is little reward for it), but he allows deaths – he doesn’t cause them and his character is that of Christ – i.e. gentle and loving.

      • Hi,

        I have heard guys say that rape really isn’t rape, there are too may variables involved, very difficult to draw a clear line in what many men find ambiguous circumstances.

        So it’s really not a person or a baby they are terminating, just a medical procedure, I don’t think so, if it is not a life,what is it?

        Tim

      • Hi Timothy,

        I think that the abortion laws should be changed to reduce the age at which a foetus, a life, can be terminated so that there are less abortions in the future. I also think that many women (including many Christian women) have huge pressures to have abortions.

        I don’t think it is the same as murder. If that is a problem and if that makes me somehow complicit in then I am sorry. That is the last thing that I want.

        Pragmatically, the idealistic position of abolishing abortion is unlikely to happen. In practice the possibility is in changing the law to reduce the age at which an abortion can take place in this country.

        Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights allow me to hold these opinions.

      • Hi Nick,

        Fortunately we will stand before our heavenly Father and not the European Court when we die. Please understand that I am disagreeing with you, not judging you. If you are a brother in Christ, we need and depend on His mercy. I think the challenge is, is it a person or not. If it is a person, then as the word said, God knew us as He shaped us in our Mother’s womb. If it is not a person when a person get’s pregnant the celebration should be on par with a new iPad, but it’s not. We are rightly concerned about making sure that no more animals should become extinct, but they are not created in the image of God. We have made sex as something transactional, it is two bodies becoming one and the true mean is pointing to Christ and the church.

        I have heard someone say that they wouldn’t own a slave but if somebody else wants to that’s up to them. Your thoughts on abortion remind me of this comment.

        Peace

        Tim

      • But the pro-life ‘party line’ on calling abortion ‘murder’ alienates moderates like me. How can pro-lifers gain further support from those on the fence when the language used is that absolute and that emotive?

        I am anti-war. I support anti-war organisations and I could say that everyone in the country who is not anti-war is complicit in the death of innocents in war. But I don’t do that. It isn’t pragmatic – it alienates the people whose minds I want to change.

        I also notice that our political UKIP friend who started this thread has fled the scene. No doubt he is busy. Those with the power and responsibility always are.

      • Hi Nick,

        I agree with you that my language here is intemperate and it is good to be challenged by you, thanks. I would choose my language more carefully in a one to one conversation or in a public session where I am able to see the face of the people I am interacting with.

        I do believe the way forward in this country is to use something that the Americans have used for years and is really making an impact. It is holding church services for women and men who have been involved with abortion and in doing so it creates a space for people to grieve in a safe place and repent of this sin. It is done in a very sensitive and healing way that brings about closure and hope in peoples lives.

        There is also a ministry called, Silent no more where women publicly confess having an abortion, say in a park or a city centre to create awareness and that there are other ways to address an unwanted pregnancy.

        Political Correctness has created spineless people afraid of what people think, and we ridicule the German’s during the time of the Third Reich. People must be free, pro life or pro choice to publicly say what they believe.

        Peace, thanks for the chat, and helping me.

        Tim

      • Likewise. Thanks for giving me a lot to think about Timothy.

      • You may be interested in this post- questioning how we as a society and as church view, and empower women who have had, or are considering abortion:
        http://the-body-politic.org/2013/02/17/does-the-right-to-choose-automatically-empower-women-by-alison-davis/

  11. Dave, you say that you don’t criticise God and yet you do, in that you criticise people’s belief in Him. And the problem, as I pointed out, is that you criticise a God who doesn’t exist, at least not in the minds of Christians. You do not need to believe in God to criticise Him.
    Also, you offer 2 options on how to take miscarriage, but this is again based on a complete misconception of who Christians believe God is.
    And finally, just to respond to your comment about the Fall being “nothing more than a story” but that is simply your opinion (yes, I know others, including some Christians, also hold this view. But there are many Christians who do believe it to be true, like me) and has no impact on what I was saying, because I was explaining what Christians believe (and regardless of whether they believe the Fall to be factual or allegorical it still ends up in the same place in the end) about God and the world and how He interacts with it.
    So I say again, if you are going to criticise our belief in God then please at least get the information you take to task accurate. Otherwise it ends up getting very silly very quickly.

  12. Objection #7 Nigel Farage’s support for the legalisation of drugs.

  13. I may have misconceived what Christians believe God is, but that is because God seems to be a horse of many colours. I’m told he is infinitely loving, yet thinks nothing of snuffing out lives and allowing or forcing people to suffer. I’m told that God is in control, has everything planned, but then I’m told in a preceding paragraph that we have free-will because God chooses not to control us. I’m told that God is forgiving, and then I read Genesis and I see not the barest hint of him showing any signs of forgiveness. Christianity, like all religion, is a roiling soup of absurdities and contradictions.

    My ‘opinion’ that the Fall is nothing more than a story is based on the fact that to me it’s nonsense. Your belief in the story being true is also simply your opinion, but you seem to fail to see that it is nonsense. I think you and I would both agree that The Lord of the Rings is nothing more than a story, i.e. in the real world because Hobbits, Wizards and Elves are nonsense. There is nothing to distinguish the story of the Fall from the story of the Lord of the Rings.

    To quote two eminent atheists:

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan

    “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

    • Not really the place, or the thread in which to do this, so I will keep it short.
      Literary evidence standards hold the New Testament, Mark’s gospel in particular, to be far more reliable than many other pieces of literature that we hold to be “gospel” in how it describes history.
      In the gospels we read that Jesus says that the story of creation was factual (not in those specific words, but the implication of Jesus’ words in the setting He used them is very clear).
      If Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God then it follows that they believe what He says, so there is evidence there, depending upon what you believe about Jesus.
      Of course this should be a much longer description of how Christians can believe through evidence, as the above is very simplistic in it’s content, but you do Christians a huge disservice if you believe that we base our faith on something which lacks evidence.
      If you want further proof that Christians base their faith on evidence, go to the Oxford Christian Centre for Apologetics website and check out their content.

      • Sorry but you can’t use the bible as evidence, thats like saying Homers Odyssey is real because it also contains historically accurate descriptions!!!

      • Mark’s gospel has more literary reliability than Caesar’s stuff on the Gallic wars, which are taken as fact. And that is just 1 of many from an equivalent era in history.

      • Misery’s Child is a novel by Paul Sheldon. Paul Sheldon is a fictional character in a novel by Stephen King. To say that the Bible is evidence of truth because Jesus said it was is the same as saying the events of Misery’s Child actually happened. Like Paul Sheldon, Jesus is a fictional character (possibly based on one more me real people) in a book written by somebody who, himself, may never had existed.

      • Dave, did you really mean it when you said that Jesus, a man who secular historians of his era attest to being a real person, didn’t exist?
        If so there is no point in continuing this conversation as you have clearly closed your mind to reasoned thought!

  14. Just a point, but imagine if the 7.5 million children had not being aborted, that’s 7.5 million more unwanted children in the world!! It’s a sad fact that the majority of unwanted childen end up in care as we just dont have enough people willing to adopt or foster. Its also a sad fact that the majority of these children end up as drug users and/or criminals. The pro-life argument is all very well but its just not very realistic is it????

  15. Youthpasta – There are no secular historians of the Jesus era attesting that he was a real person. Josephus is often cited, but his book ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ was written some sixty years after Jesus supposedly died and mentions him twice. It also refers to him as a teacher who was crucified by Pilate.

    The four gospels were written some time after Jesus supposedly died, are not eyewitness accounts, differ in their details, and describe a man who’s actions defy what we know about how the universe works.

    I am entirely open to reasoned thought, and that is why I reject the Biblical Jesus as a real person. My reasoning leads me to believe that men cannot walk on water, instantly transform water into wine, exorcise demons and cast them into the bodies pigs, or die a gruesome, painful death and then magically return to life a couple of days later.

    http://www.bandoli.no/whyjesus.htm

    • So Dave, is this your way of imprisoning God like Annie Wilkes imprisoned Paul Sheldon and then swinging at his ankles with a hammer because you don’t like the story he writes? Because it has been done before…

      The gospel writers claim to be eyewitnesses. You could say you don’t believe they were and that you don’t believe the gospel stories. That is your right. But you can’t really say that Christ never existed.

  16. Nick – I don’t think the writers of the gospels do claim to be eyewitnesses. Are you really suggesting any of them were actually there when the Angel told Mary she was carrying God’s child? That any of them accompanied Jesus when he was tempted by the Devil? None of them can even agree when or where Jesus was born, which suggests that at least one of them wasn’t a witness to his birth.

    No, I can’t really say that Jesus never existed. But then, you can’t really say that he did, and I think the weight of evidence is on my side.

  17. Sorry, my bad, Dave, Luke claims to have documented his story from other eyewitnesses. But John says: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Not sure about Matthew and Mark.

    The point is that God doesn’t want to be proved yet.

    Saying Christ never existed is like saying Stephen King is a bad writer. Because everyone agrees that King is a master storyteller.

  18. Saying Christ never existed is like saying King Arthur never existed. Stephen King does exist and has written some terrible stuff.

    • Yes, once again you win Dave, particularly bad is his portrayal of Christians in Carrie, The Shawshank Redemption and Salem’s Lot.

    • I was thinking more about Lisey’s Story, undoubtedly his worst ever novel, and the last of the Gunslinger series which just drags on and on and has a very disappointing ending. As to his portrayal of Christians, they are there to drive the stories along. I doubt that Steve intended to suggest that Father Callahan or Margaret White are typical Christians.

      But on the other hand, Mother Abigail in The Stand, and Coffey in the Green Mile show Christians in a very positive light. We’ll see what his new novel Revival brings.

  19. I’ve never been impressed with the big 3 parties, but when they forced through sodomite marraige I can’t see how any Christian can have anything to do with them. UKIP is the only party I can even consider voting for.

    The media and the lib lab con are part of the pc brigade and are not happy campers as they watch UKIP going from strength to strength.

%d bloggers like this: