Vatican newspaper denounces ‘woeful’ Charlie Hebdo cover

A man takes a copy of the latest edition of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo with the title "One year on, The assassin still on the run" displayed at a kiosk in Nice, France, January 6, 2016. France this week commemorates the victims of last year's Islamist militant attacks on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket with eulogies, memorial plaques and another cartoon lampooning religion.      REUTERS/Eric Gaillard  - RTX218G7

The Vatican’s newspaper has criticized French weekly Charlie Hebdo for manipulating faith in the magazine’s latest front page, which depicts a blood-soaked God armed with a Kalashnikov.

The controversial cover commemorates a year since the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters, which left 12 people dead and led to a global debate on religious extremism and freedom of speech.

“One year later, the assassin is still on the run,” reads the black and white front page, with a cartoon depicting a violent God.

The Vatican turned to its daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, to blast Charlie Hebdo’s decision with an  editorial titled “Manipulated faith.”



 

“The French weekly once again forgets what religious leaders of every affinity have been repeating for some time, to reject violence in the name of religion,” it said, describing the move as blasphemous.

“The choice of Charlie Hebdo shows the sad paradox of a world increasingly more careful of being ‘politically correct,’ to the point of being almost ridiculous … But that doesn’t want to recognize and respect the faith in God of every believer, whichever religion they practice,” L’Osservatore Romano added.

The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo stands in stark contrast to the edition published in the aftermath of the attack, featuring a crying Muhammad under a headline reading “All is fogiven.”



 

Two gunmen stormed the magazine’s offices on Jan. 7, 2015, shooting staff in an attack that was later claimed by Yemen’s al-Qaida branch.

After that attack, Pope Francis said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” and stressed that killing in the name of God was an unacceptable “aberration.”

But he also took issue with Charlie Hebdo’s anti-religious stance.

“You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters during an Asian tour.

 

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64 thoughts on “Vatican newspaper denounces ‘woeful’ Charlie Hebdo cover

  1. “After that attack, Pope Francis said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” and stressed that killing in the name of God was an unacceptable “aberration.”

    “You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,”
    ????
    You can’t have it both ways, if you open the first door then expect the latter to walk through it. It is just the way some people express themselves. I’m not saying that I agree with all forms of human expression, i.e. I find internet trolls disgusting bullies, but there they are, practicing their “freedom of expression” – albeit in a somewhat cowardly way.

    I agree that political correctness has been hitting points of such ridiculousness, not just in religion either, that it is causing an ‘expression frustration’ and when we get too frustrated we are prone to rebel.

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    • Agree Michael

      I do not like the cover but I agree they have every right to do so if they wish.

      “You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,”

      Obvious an insult or a provocation can be disgusting but as long as its not criminal in any way. Although changing the law to have any insult or making fun of faith a criminal act is not good as it would seriously curtail freedom of expression.

      Dictators stem all types of expression to keep power and will crash down on people very hard. The slide towards that type of country starts with reducing freedom of expression, one step at a time.

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      • “You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,”

        Of course you can, but that doesn’t mean it’s right to do so. It isn’t! It’s like having your heart ripped out. There are other ways to express disagreement and perceived faults, without trampling underfoot Who and what believers hold dear.

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    • “killing in the name of God was an unacceptable “aberration.”

      Not sure it is an aberration. There has been a long tradition of killing in the name of God since Mohommod for Islam.
      Christians tried it during the crusades too.

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      • Killing in the name of God is an unacceptable aberration Alexie. Surely it goes against God’s nature?

        I am the LORD thy God
        Thou shalt have no other gods
        No graven images or likenesses
        Not take the LORD’s name in vain
        Remember the sabbath day
        Honour thy father and thy mother
        THOU SHALT NOT KILL
        Thou shalt not commit adultery
        Thou shalt not steal
        Thou shalt not bear false witness
        Thou shalt not covet

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      • Thou shalt not kill. Unless I say to.

        ……………………The Canaanites under Moses and Joshua (Numbers 21:2-3; Deuteronomy 20:17; Joshua 6:17, 21)

        ………………….. The Amalekites annihilated by Saul (1 Samuel 15)

        But I can, of course –

        …………The Flood (Genesis 6-8)

        …………..The cities of the plain, including Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19)

        …………..The Egyptian firstborn sons during the Passover (Exodus 11-12)

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      • Yes, Monica it is. But I have only stated what humans have done in the past.

        When God states Do not kill it is better to say do not murder.

        He does not give individuals to take the law into their own hands as it were.

        As for Strewth and his examples, Yes, God as a sovereign God can order killing just as a nation state can.

        But I believe the nations were so bad, that they were sacrificing children, raping women, destroying the cultures around them. There was no choice but to to be defensive with an attack first.

        The holier than though skeptics would use God’s morality to judge God with this too. But at he end of the day if someone tried to come into my house to kill my family I would not hesitate in protecting my family by killing the assailant first. God too protects His family. But Jesus also said that those who,live by the sword shall die by the sword. It is not a path He wants for us and if we do then there are consequences.

        I would not like to kill, I would struggle with it for ever, feel guilty and so on. But I would protect my children and wife.

        I am also of the opinion that there “were giants” in the land, born of the fallen angels. That these angels fornicated with “human” women thus hybridising the human race. Why would Satan want to do this? For pure evil? I think more to wipe out humanity and to cancel out the line of Jesus. That is why Moses had to be saved, the passover scenario and many other areas of the Bible. It may be that the killings were not against humanity at all.

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      • I have said enough on this subject over the years. You have taken your position. I am happy now to wait for the truth to come out in the end.

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      • Well Strewth,

        Do you think God is like you?

        ATTRIBUTE #1–GOD IS SOVEREIGN

        God is Sovereign, that is, He is THE BOSS, period. God is subject to no one–no one can tell God what to do or judge His actions. (Rom 9:1-25; Psa 115:3; 135:6) The concept of a sovereign, that is, a ruler with absolute authority who answers to no one, is unfamiliar to most. We may hear of a dictator or “strongman” who has sovereign-like powers, but that is a far cry from the classic definition of a sovereign. In history, a sovereign was a ruler who had absolute authority and who had the right to that authority, usually by heredity or conquest, but even the true sovereigns of history were only a pale reflection of the Sovereign Lord God.

        Omnipotence talks about God’s Power and Ability–Sovereignty expresses His authority by right. If we study in detail passages such as Isaiah 40 and Job 38-42, we find that God claims the right to rule based on His creatorship, His eternality, and His solitariness–there is no one like Him.

        God defines what is right. If we do not like an action by God, or if we think God is not “fair,” that is irrelevant–whatever God says is right, is right–”Let God be true and every man a liar . . .” (Rom 3:4). Whatever God does, is, by definition, right. We do not have any basis upon which to challenge any action of His, because His is the only viewpoint that counts (Rom 9:11-21; Dan. 4:34-35).

        God’s rulership is universal. It is not confined by time or place. God sovereignly rules the affairs of nations. He is not waiting to see what the latest political developments are going to be–he is arranging the circumstances of the universe to fit His purposes. He does not cause the sinful actions of men and nations in this, nor does He make people act like robots. Just how He rules is mysterious, but we know that He does it by intervention in history (Acts 17:26-27; Isa 46:9-11).

        Psalm 115:3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. (NIV)

        ATTRIBUTE #2–GOD IS HOLY

        Holy is a Bible term that means “set apart.” God is separate from all other things, and is 100% pure in everything. He is set apart because of who He is. His very nature and attributes set Him apart as unique from all else, and Holiness is, in a sense, His central attribute. Like the hub of a giant wheel, His Holiness defines the infinite degree of His other perfections. Is God sovereign? Yes, and He is perfectly so, infinitely so–He is set apart in the perfection of His sovereignty. Is God loving? Yes, and His love is perfect and completely surpasses any other love by any other creature. Is God omnipotent and omniscient? Yes, and His power and knowledge are infinite, again, setting Him apart from all His creatures. Revelation 15:4 says of God “. . . You alone are Holy.” Moses, in his song says “. . . Who among the ‘gods’ is like you, O LORD. . . majestic in Holiness.”

        ATTRIBUTE #3–GOD IS OMNIPOTENT

        God is all-powerful. The wags and lovers of arguments have much fun with this one, asking ridiculous questions like “If God is Omnipotent, can he make a mountain so big that He can’t lift it? If He can, then He isn’t all powerful, because He can’t lift it, and if He can’t, then He isn’t all-powerful because He can’t make the mountain so big He can’t lift it.” Of course, the answer is that the all-powerful God is infinite, and there is no limit to His infinity! The armchair “philosopher’s” question tries to impose on God a set of circumstances based on human logic and reason, like the false human standard of “fairness.” The fact is, whatever God wants to accomplish, He can accomplish! There is no limit to His might! Divine Sovereignty expresses God’s RIGHT to do whatever He pleases, Omnipotence expresses His ABILITY.

        Isaiah 43:13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” (NIV)

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      • – 2 –
        ATTRIBUTE #4–GOD IS OMNISCIENT

        God knows everything. Again, our little minds have difficulty even fathoming the breadth and depth of that statement. God knows things that we cannot even conceive–He knows our thoughts, our sins, our innermost desires (Heb 4:13), and He knows our destiny. God is, says the Psalmist, of “infinite understanding” (Psalm 147:4-5) Nothing can be hidden from Him (Job 34:21-23).

        God also has foreknowledge, which is a concept with two aspects, prescience and preaquaintanceship. Prescience refers to God’s knowledge of events, situations, and persons in general, before they happen or come into being.

        Isaiah 42:9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. (NIV)

        Daniel 2:19-23, 27-28 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

        Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. (NIV)

        Preacquaintanceship refers to God’s personal foreknowledge of His People. He knows them in an intimate, personal sense–He does not just know about them He knows them.

        Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. (NIV)

        ATTRIBUTE #5–GOD IS IMMUTABLE

        It is a constant with life–things change, people change. A man leaves the woman who has been his companion for many years–”people change,” he says. An executive who has worked faithfully for a company for 20 years is let go for no apparent reason, “times have changed,” says the person who fires her. Fashion changes, music changes, politics change–everything and everyone changes, except God. God does not change. He may differentiate His manifestations to men; He may reveal mysteries previously concealed (Eph 3:7-11); He may even speak anthropomorphically (that $100-dollar word means, “as if He were human,” when He speaks anthropomorphically, God uses human terms in order to be understood), but God does not change in His essence–He is eternally the same.

        This also applies to the Son of God, the God-man Christ Jesus, and to the Spirit as well. But what about Christ becoming a man? Is this not a change? Not in the way that God defines a change (and His definition is the only one that counts). He did not change in His essence, only in the way He manifested Himself to mankind–He was the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Job called God “my Redeemer,” many years before His incarnation (coming in the flesh).

        Malachi 3:6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. (NIV)

        James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (NIV)

        Hebrews 1:10-12 He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” (NIV)

        Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NIV)

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      • – 3 –
        ATTRIBUTE #6–GOD IS WRATHFUL

        This is a solemn topic for discussion, but one which we cannot avoid. The idea of an all-powerful Being Who gets mad is scary. We know that we are fallible; we know that we do things that are contrary to righteousness. The notion that we may have to answer for those faults, and worse, for specific sins, to a God Who possesses wrath is the stuff of which nightmares are made. On this topic, the author can think of no better commentary on the Wrath of God than that written by A. W. Pink:

        “. . . that the wrath of God is a Divine perfection is plainly demonstrated by what we read in Psa 95:11 ‘unto whom I swear in My wrath.’ There are two occasions of God’s ‘swearing’: in making promises (Gen 22:16); and in pronouncing judgments (Deut 1:34 ff.) In the former, He swears in mercy to His children; in the latter, He swears to deprive a wicked generation of its murmuring and unbelief. An oath is for solemn confirmation (Heb 6:16). In Gen 22:16, God says, ‘By myself have I sworn. . . .’ In Psa 89:35, He declares, ‘Once have I sworn by my holiness.’ While in Psa 95:11, He affirms ‘I swear in my wrath.” Thus the great Jehovah Himself appeals to His ‘wrath’ as a perfection equal to His ‘holiness’; He swears by the one as much as by the other! Again, as in Christ ‘dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily’ (Col. 2:9), and as all the Divine perfections are illustriously displayed by Him (John 1:18), therefore do we read of ‘the wrath of the Lamb.’ (Rev 6:19).” (The Attributes of God)

        The people who populate Modern Western civilization hate the concept of a God who possesses wrath. All people want to know about God (if, indeed they want to know anything at all) is about His love. Men create in their minds the concept of a God who is all love and nothing else–they make an idol in their heads. The Bible, however, is absolute about the fact that God is a God of wrath. As we will see in chapters 4 and 6, God’s wrath is the reason for the necessity of the Gospel (Rom 1:16-18)–atonement and salvation by grace are required because of God’s righteous wrath against sin. For the believer, deliverance from wrath is our great hope (1 Thess. 1:10), and God’s wrath is turned aside (propitiated) for believers by the Blood of Christ (Rom 3:25-26; 5:8-9). God’s wrath against sin and sinners is so great that He sent His Son to die in the place of those who were to be redeemed–no lesser sacrifice would do. If we deny wrath, we essentially deny the gospel.

        ATTRIBUTE #7–GOD IS LOVE

        Having just written that God is a God of wrath, we turn to the other side of the coin, and speak of His love. For many, it is contradictory to speak of God being wrathful and yet being a God of love, but the Bible is full of both concepts about Him. Again, A.W. Pink:

        There are many today who talk about the love of God, who are total strangers to the God of love. The Divine love is commonly regarded as a species of amiable weakness, a sort of good-natured indulgence; it is reduced to a mere sickly sentiment, patterned after human emotion. Now the truth is that on this, as on everything else, our thoughts need to be formed and regulated by what is revealed thereon in Holy Scripture. ( The Attributes of God )

        The love of God is really more than just an attribute; it is part of His essence. In a general sense, God loves everyone (and everything) He has created. In John 3:16 “for God so loved the world,” the word for “world” is the Greek word, kosmos, which in a general sense, refers to the whole universe. For instance, God sends His rain upon the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45). Some measure of caring and protection extends to the race, except where God chooses not to mollify and restrain the natural effects of our sin and rebellion. But there is a distinction between His universal care for all creation and His special love for His People.

        I cannot conceive of One so loving that He would leave the glories of heaven, walk in my shoes for 30 years, and then die for me. I cannot imagine a Being so merciful that He would as the song says, “look beyond my fault and see my need.” The love of God is not some sickly sentimental thing that is like the cotton-candy love humans express to one another–it is not here today and gone tomorrow. If you grasp the scope and power of God’s Love, and know the eternal significance of His grace and mercy through the Cross, there is no force on earth, no tragedy of human life, and no sin in your own past that can take away the sweetness of His love or the joy of His fellowship. The love of God is a treasure beyond price for those who know Him.

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      • – 4 –

        Summary

        This is the Absolute God of the Bible–He does as He pleases, he accomplishes what He sets out to do, no plan of His is thwarted by the whims and decisions of mankind. He is wrathful against our rebellion, yet loving beyond our imagination. In one of the most concise and profound statements ever written on the subject of The Absolute God, A W. Pink said:

        “The ‘god’ of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The ‘god’ who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences, is the figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form ‘gods’ out of wood and stone, while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a ‘god’ out of their own carnal mind. In reality, they are but atheists, for there is no other possible alternative between an absolutely supreme God, and no God at all. A ‘god’ whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits naught but contempt.” ( Attributes of God )

        Bible org – 4 The Nature of God

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    • Mocking faith and inciting hate can differ. I do not approved of Charlie Hebdo’s lampooning of what others hold sacred, but yes, they must have the right to do so. My views on inciting hate are not so lenient, but still it should be left to the law to deal with.

      “The first thing to note is that unlike many countries that have criminalised serious forms of hate speech (for example United Kingdom and Canada) Australia has taken a different path. The Australian model involves the creation of a civil wrong. This approach was adopted because criminal punishment is regarded as disproportionate to the nature of the harms and risk associated with hate speech, and incompatible with our commitment to freedom of expression.

      “This means that it falls to individuals from a targeted community to initiate complaints about allegations of hate speech. There is no equivalent of the police or DPP to enforce the law. Not even agencies like the Australian Human Rights Commission have the power to take carriage of a matter.”
      http://theconversation.com/explainer-how-do-australias-laws-on-hate-speech-work-in-practice-26105

      Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania have outlawed religious vilification in the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act (Vic), Anti-Discrimination Act (Qld) and Anti-Discrimination Act (Tas), respectively.

      “Similar to the Racial Discrimination Act (Cth) in regards to racial vilification, the relevant legislation in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania make an exception for religious vilification in the course of ‘artistic work’ that is distributed ‘reasonably’ (except Tasmania) and in ‘good faith’.

      ” Although this exception has not been tested in the respective courts, the State courts will likely follow the jurisprudence set by the Federal Court with regard to racist newspaper cartoons. If this is the case, it is unlikely Charlie Hebdo would be censored in these jurisdictions.”
      http://www.hhg.com.au/announcements/charlie-hebdo-and-religious-vilification-laws

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      • On December 17, 2004, VCAT Judge Michael Higgins, ruled that Catch the Fire Ministries, Pastor Danny Nalliah and speaker Daniel Scot vilified Muslims at a seminar in 2002, in a newsletter and an article on a website.

        Racial and Religious Tolerance Act:
        “prohibits conduct that incites hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule of a person or group of people based on religious belief. “

        The court case at the VCAT tribunal went on for forty days over a period of two years.
        Eventually this went the supreme court who deleted the previous verdict and it went back to VCAT.
        After five years there was an agreement between the two parties. There was a public and joint media release. One of the points was that:

        the rights of each other, their communities and all persons, within the limits provided for by law, to robustly debate religion, including the right to criticise the religious belief of another, in a free, open and democratic society

        Freedom of expression won out

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      • Of course in this circumstance the Catch the Fire Ministry could be prosecuted for vilifying Muslims by ridiculing Islam as they did it as part of a religious seminar, but Charlie Hebdo couldn’t be:

        11. Exceptions—public conduct

        A person does not contravene section 7 or 8 if the
        person establishes that the person’s conduct was
        engaged in reasonably and in good faith—
        (a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution
        of an artistic work;
        (Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 Act No. 47/2001)

        Further reading of the exceptions leaves questions how this case went so far:

        (b) in the course of any statement, publication,
        discussion or debate made or held, or any
        other conduct engaged in, for—
        (i) any genuine academic, artistic,
        religious or scientific purpose; or
        (ii) any purpose that is in the public
        interest; or
        (c) in making or publishing a fair and accurate
        report of any event or matter of public
        interest.

        I wonder if The Islamic Council of Victoria decided to test the Act instead of offering counter debate to Nilliah and Scots comments. I recall some of the commentary in the media at the time made ISV look somewhat thin skinned over this case.

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      • The Islamic lawyer for the ICV said that truth is not a defensive position, or something like that.

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      • Monica on January 8, 2016 at 13:50 said:
        Well Strewth,
        Do you think God is like you?
        ………………………………………………..
        How could I possibly think that? I cannot imagine God’s being, I can only know the Presence is there.

        But “Be ye therefore perfect – as your Father – God himself is the grand law, sole giver, and only pattern of the perfection which he recommends to his children. The words are very emphatic, εσεσθε ουν υμεις τελειοι, Ye shall be therefore perfect – ye shall be filled with the spirit of that God whose name is Mercy, and whose nature is love. God has many imitators of his power, independence, justice, etc., but few of his love, condescension, and kindness. He calls himself Love, to teach us that in this consists that perfection, the attainment of which he has made both our duty and privilege: for these words of our Lord include both a command and a promise.”

        So as a pattern of perfection for us to follow, I would have thought a “God whose name is Mercy, and whose nature is love” would demonstrate more of those than the O.T. gives him credit for.

        Granted there are such incidents in the O.T. demonstrating mercy and love.

        No, the argument is not with God, it’s just that the writers were giving their own inspiration or interpretation of what was happening. Perhaps man’s free will was responsible for much that was attributed to God. The forces of nature are of course different, and were once called ‘acts of God.’ But I’m not convinced the writers knew God’s mind there either.

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      • Cheers Strewth.

        Our faith journeys are very different, and that’s okay. From my perspective:

        “We are sometimes told that the final authority for us as Christians should be Christ, and not the Scriptures. It is suggested that Christ would have us accept only the portions of Scripture that comport with his life and teaching; that certain aspects of biblical history, chronology, and cosmology need not bother us because Christ would not have us be bothered by them. The idea put forward by many liberal Christians and by not a few self-proclaimed evangelicals is that we are to worship Christ and not the Scriptures; we must let Christ stand apart from Scripture and above it.

        “But who is this Christ, the Judge of Scripture?” Packer asks.

        “Not the Christ of the New Testament and of history. That Christ does not judge Scripture; He obeys it and fulfills it. By word and deed He endorses the authority of the whole of it.”6

        Those with a high view of Scripture are often charged with idolatry for so deeply reverencing the word of God. But the accusation is laid at the wrong feet.

        “A Christ who permits His followers to set Him up as the Judge of Scripture, One by whom its authority must be confirmed before it becomes binding and by whose adverse sentence it is in places annulled, is a Christ of human imagination, made in the theologian’s own image, One whose attitude to Scripture is the opposite of that of the Christ of history. If the construction of such a Christ is not a breach of the second commandment, it is hard to see what is.”7

        Jesus may have seen himself as the focal point of Scripture, but never as a judge of it. The only Jesus who stands above Scripture is the Jesus of our own invention.”

        ― Kevin DeYoung, Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me

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      • I understand what you are saying, Mon, and while I don’t want to convince you away from the path you’re on, I think it’s good to be aware of other paths.

        Jesus seldom contradicted scripture, except the notable examples of not an eye for an eye, turning the other cheek, a new commandment, etc. But there was a great deal of scripture which he did NOT quote.

        He also referred to the Bible as ‘Scripture’, not as ‘The Word of God’. He said that the Truth would be found in listening to him, rather than in scripture. He gave us priorities.

        First, He said to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness as our highest priority in life. Mat 6:33
        Then He told us how to seek him, himself. “There is only one thing needed.
        Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” —
        to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear his word. Luke 10:39-42.
        The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63.
        As our life’s highest priority, attending to his words we see Christ bring salvation and eternal life.

        He criticized the Bible teachers and students of his time, when he said: (to the Pharisees)

        You do not have his word abiding in you; for you do not believe him whom he has sent.
        You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and they are those that testify of me.
        But you will not come to me, that you might have life. John 5:38-40
        Jesus clearly states a difference between the word and scriptures, The new covenant is not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.2 Corinthians 3:6

        But Scripture to him was our Old Testament. The most we can know of him apart from the teachings of the Holy Spirit (which we have been promised) is contained in our New Testament. So it stands as a much greater guidance for us than the Old.

        Please Mon ignore this if it’s not right for you. Trust in the Lord for right guidance.

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      • Oh, Strewth,

        I had come across this (‘THE MASTER IS ALIVE’, on the current ‘Richard Dawkins praises Christianity’ thread) at Christmas whilst on holidays and it really touched my heart, so much so that I purposed to share it on the blog sometime. But of course, I had forgotten all about it until just now, when I believe the Lord, after prayer, jogged my memory and directed me to put it on the blog today in regards to our discussion here.

        No, dear lady, the day I start to doubt the veracity of the ‘WHOLE’ Bible (OT & NT) and devalue its worth by not seeing it as The Inspired Revelation of God for all times and seasons, is the day I lose my faith in Jesus Christ.

        “The strongest defense for the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures is the testimony of Jesus Christ. He testified to the inspiration of the entire Scriptures, the various books of the Old Testament and the actual words of Scripture as they were originally recorded. The fact that He based His arguments on the precise wording of Scripture testifies to His exalted view of the Scriptures.”

        Different paths, Strewth.
        Love, Mon

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      • …..And that loud bang we just heard was of a mind snapped shut. UH UH, no new knowledge or modern thinking for me thank you very much, my beliefs reside happily in a very small ancient box.

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      • Michael, sometimes it’s best to close a door with a bang, if one feels safer inside. It is a scary thing, to think if you lose some of your beliefs you will lose them all. Or worse, if you fear that evil will allow false beliefs to develop.

        Those aren’t my experiences, but we just don’t know where another person stands

        Like

      • The wisest and most contented people I know are not afraid to have their faith and beliefs challenged, they even know that in some way this will change them, it’s the way to spiritual growth. How are we ever to be rid of prejudice unless we are prepared to listen to the point of view of another with a truly open mind. I myself have been challenged over the past years and know the bitterness that first comes when a belief or a way of thinking has not stood up to it and I have had to let it go, but through this I have found that I can now love and tolerate people that I once thought I never would. It seems when we learn to embrace the differences of others we lose the fear of them. I use to get horrible panic attacks and anxiety attacks but now they’re gone – the only thing I take these day is a multi-vitamin and omega-3. I see so many people suffer the same problems over and over again throughout their life for fear of change.

        Like

      • Yes, Michael. I have often heard (and from clergy too) that you have to lose your faith before you find it. But who knows when the time is right, for ourselves or for another?

        Like

      • Strewth,

        To suggest that I am somehow a fearful and deficient human being for standing on the ‘Word of God’ and not entertaining your view of Scripture and faith, is not only a low blow, but extremely judgmental. Clearly, you do not read or take any notice of my replies, nor do you know me personally, or my faith journey. Please, dear woman, you are not the resident expert on all things spiritual! You may not like that I am a Bible believing Christian, but that’s your problem, not mine.

        THE WORD OF GOD
        Jack W. Hayford

        God’s Word has been unscrolled in both the Scriptures and in His incarnate Son—Jesus Christ. Jesus, in describing the importance of the eternal Scriptures said, “Man shall not lie by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). He also commended the steadfast inquiry into the Word of God: “Search the Scriptures….they….testify of Me” (John 5:39). There is no such thing as health or growth in Christian living apart from a clear priority on the place of the Bible in the life of the individual or the group. The Scriptures are the conclusive standard for our faith, morals, and practical living and are the nourishment for our rising to strength in faith, holiness in living, and effectiveness in service. The Holy Spirit who comes to fill us is the same Person who has given us the Book to guide and sustain us. The writer of this study has demonstrated the balance the Bible brings to living in his life, in his teaching ministry, and in his leadership.

        THE SOURCE AND NATURE OF GOD’S WORD

        1. The Divine Inspiration of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16)
        The Bible is “God-breathed” and the words planned by God’s creative design.

        2. The Complete Trustworthiness of the Bible (Ps. 19:7)
        The Word of God is “perfect” in its accuracy and “sure” in its dependability.

        3. The Content of God’s Word is Completed (Prov. 30:5, 6)
        The Bible is complete, completely trustworthy, and sufficient to completely answer anything we need to know about eternal salvation or practical wisdom concerning relationships, morality, character, and conduct.

        4. Jesus and the Holy Scriptures (Luke 16:17)
        Jesus confirms that every word of Scripture is given by God, every truth is to be held inviolable, that the Scriptures are indissoluble and credible.

        5. The Way God’s Word is to Be Ministered (2 Cor. 3:5-8)
        The Word of God is to be ministered literally and life-givingly in the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Life.

        THE ESSENTIAL PLACE AND POWER OF GOD’S WORD

        6. The Regenerating Power of God’s Word (1 Pet. 1:23)
        The Word of God regenerates new spiritual life where man has, by nature, died spiritually.

        7. The Authority of God’s Word over Our Lives (Ps. 119:89-91)
        As “spiritual” people we are to refuse the “natural” inclinations of fallen man, giving place to hearing and yielding to the authority of God’s own Word.

        8. God’s Word and Our Soul’s Nourishment (Deut. 8:3)
        Spiritual survival is not possible for long without feeding upon the Word of God.

        9. God’s Word and Practical, Fruitful Living (Ps. 119:105)
        The regular application of the Word of God is the pathway to success and prosperity in living

        10. True Spiritual Growth Requires God’s Word (1 Cor. 3:1-5)
        True spiritual growth requires the Word of God, which makes spiritual maturity genuine.

        11. Loving God’s Word As Jesus’ Follower (John 14:21)
        To follow Jesus and to know God a continuing requirement of steadfast commitment to hearing, heeding, and studying the Bible is necessary.

        12. God’s Word: Purifier unto Holy Living (James 1:23-25)
        The Bible shows us Christ’s likeness so that we can be ordered and shaped into that image.

        13. God’s Word, Evangelism, and Expansion (Is. 55:10, 11)
        The spreading of God’s Word and the fulfillment of our personal potential come by the Word of God.

        14. God’s Word: Read It! Study It! Memorize It! (2 Tim. 2:15)
        God’s Word is the only conclusive source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding concerning ultimate realities waiting to liberate and enrich those who will pursue its wealth.

        Like

  2. Well it must be fantastic were there is almost no Muslims .
    Even better where their are but a few major languages .
    The vast majority speaking the same and the same belief & faith & religion.
    Even better the RELIGION this blog claims is the “”REAL” truth.
    It must be as close as possible to heaven on Earth .
    How is Central & South America going ???

    Like

  3. Everyone applauds Charlie for their freedom of speech but there was one person who was sacked from Charlie because of the cartoons he drew.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/4351672/French-cartoonist-Sine-on-trial-on-charges-of-anti-Semitism-over-Sarkozy-jibe.html

    I remember Bolt being charged with freedom of speech. I would have made some mild comments on his blog about freedom of speech but my comments were not published.

    Seems some who asks for freedom of speech do not practice it themselves.

    Like

  4. There is a saying, I may not agree with what you say but I will defend the right to say it. Couldn”t it also be said I may not agree with what you wear but I defend the right for you to wear it ?

    Like

    • Absolutely, Dom. And I would uphold that even if nudity were legal and some wished to wear birthday suits, although clothing is so much more appealing to me.

      I do think though that where identification is necessary, clothing must not hide faces.

      Like

  5. by Morgan Begg on December 10, 2015 in Education, Freedom of speech
    Benno C. Schmidt Jr
    Benno C. Schmidt Jr
    The Wall Street Journal‘s “Notable & Quotable” section republished this great piece ($) by Benno Schmidt this week, on attitudes towards freedom of expression on campus. Despite being published almost 15 years ago, every word of it still applies today:

    On many campuses, perhaps most, there is little resistance to growing pressure to suppress and to punish, rather than to answer, speech that offends notions of civility and community. These campuses are heedless of the oldest lesson in the history of freedom, which is that offensive, erroneous and obnoxious speech is the price of liberty. Values of civility, mutual respect and harmony are rightly prized within the university. But these values must be fostered by teaching and by example, and defended by expression. When the goals of harmony collide with freedom of expression, freedom must be the paramount obligation of an academic community.

    Much expression that is free may deserve our contempt. We may well be moved to exercise our own freedom to counter it or to ignore it. But universities cannot censor or suppress speech, no matter how obnoxious in content, without violating their justification for existence. Liberal education presupposes that a liberated mind will strive for the courage and composure to face ideas that are fraught with evil, and to answer them. To stifle expression because it is obnoxious, erroneous, embarrassing, not instrumental to some political or ideological end is—quite apart from the invasion of the rights of others—a disastrous reflection on the idea of the university.

    Like

  6. It is deeply disturbing that a Catholic archbishop is being dragged to an anti-discrimination authority for simply expressing a traditional view on the subject that until quite recently was shared by both the major political parties as well as a large segment of the population. This exposes religious organisations to attack from outsiders and leaves their practices and beliefs unguarded.

    If religious organisations can be punished for simply expressing their traditional views on marriage, family and a child’s right to a father and mother, then I wonder what else they and their followers might be punished for once same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia.

    Before a plebiscite on same-sex marriage can even take place in this country, it is necessary to address the intolerable impact that anti-discrimination laws are having on free speech. As a society we really need to ask ourselves if we should undermine the rights of one group in order to protect or promote the interests of another.

    A real democracy – and we must never forget this – requires that controversial issues will be resolved by the people only after a truly open and robust debate has taken place.
    http://freedomwatch.ipa.org.au/category/freedom-of-speech/

    Like

    • Hi Stu and Dom

      Hopefully I am not posting too much information for you. Would not want to be targeted as some tactic. By the way you do not have to reply to everything I post or try to keep up.

      Like

      • Alexie:

        No one is questioning your right to cut and paste as much misinformation as you wish. Gish Gallop away to your hearts content. And I will decide when to respond and the circumstances in which I choose to do so.

        Like

      • “I will decide when to respond and the circumstances in which I choose to do so.”

        Exactly, me too!

        Like

      • Stu

        You cannot even get gish gallop correct.

        You should call your technique a fallacy, false premise or just wrong.

        The Gish Gallop:

        is a debating technique (well it is only debating if you begin to reply. I have said you do not have to reply.)

        torrent of small arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer or address each one in real time. (this is not real time)

        straw-man arguments (that is you with the gish gallop)

        frequently used in timed debates to overwhelm one’s opponent. (no timed debates here)

        dozens upon dozens of minor arguments, each individual point on the list may only be a single sentence or two, and many may be a repeat or vague re-wording of a previous one.
        (my cut and pastes as you call them are not repeated sentences. Just information)

        the galloper will attempt to claim victory. ( I only cut and paste as you say, no claim. In fact you are making claims)

        But I am sure you will continue in your gish gallop comments. That is you are making repeated comments, to debate, to try to overwhelm. Ironic is it not?

        You do not have to reply if you do not wish to.

        Like

      • Alexie:

        Well done on selectively cutting and pasting from the Rational Wiki site, except you missed the bit under “Written Form”. You know, the bit which refers to the Gish Gallop outside of formal, timed debates.

        “I only cut and paste as you say, no claim.”

        So you don’t actually support the claims of the misinformation you paste?

        “You do not have to reply if you do not wish to.”

        I knew that before you told me the first time.

        Like

      • Wrong again Stu.
        Not from that site at all.
        Trying to divert again with the cut and paste thing.
        Not sure what you are trying to say about that! Do you?
        You are still wrong about Gish Mish mash though.
        Well, that is what it ended up being for you, a mish mash of wrongness.
        Any misinformation comes from you, Gish Gallop Indeed.
        As you and CB believe all must be proven in a world of illusion. Nothing is real, now that is true misinformation. Or is it as nothing is real?
        You must live a confused life.
        I look forward to some constructive posting soon. Not sure the last time you did actually.

        Like

      • Alexie.

        “Not from that site at all.”

        Except that the words you use come verbatim from that site.

        “You are still wrong about Gish Mish mash though.”

        The evidence says otherwise. Happy to provide it for you to ignore or quote mine.

        “As you and CB believe all must be proven in a world of illusion.”

        Clearly, I’ve never said nothing of the sort. I don’t even know what you are trying to say here.

        Like

  7. “For those of us lucky enough to live in relatively liberal countries, freedom of speech seems a natural part of life; it’s a fundamental human right as opposed to a luxury or a privilege, and rightfully so. Despite the fact that freedom of speech is a very basic human right, many countries struggle with the oppression of this right on a daily basis.

    One such country is Eritrea, the Horn of Africa nation, recorded in 2012 by the Committee to Protect Journalists as being the world’s most censored country, into which no foreign reporters are allowed and the media of which is entirely controlled by the government. Only mildly less restricted in terms of freedom of expression is North Korea – according to the same study the second most censored country in the world – while due to recent rates of political unrest the rates of censorship have increased dramatically in Syria and Iran, which take places three and four on the list respectively in the study.

    The issue of free speech has come to light in America recently, with a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider if a New Mexico photography company should be able to refuse to record a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony on the grounds of freedom of speech. The case has been in discussion since 2006. It showcases the consternation that still surrounds the issue of freedom of speech, even in mainly emancipated countries, and the too-often conflated ideals of free expression and hateful bigotry. This list numbers ten countries worldwide with the highest rates of freedom of speech, and looks at the various specific regulations pertaining to their media.”

    Apparently Australia and New Zealand top the list. I wonder how they worked it out?

    http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/10-countries-with-the-most-freedom-of-speech/

    Like

  8. Fascinating list and data

    “Top of the list, as so often, are three Scandinavian countries: Finland, which has been in first place for five years in succession, followed by Norway and Denmark. At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were the worst performers. France is ranked 38th (up one place), the United States 49th (down three places), Japan 61st (down two places), Brazil 99 (up 12 places), Russia 152 (down four places), Iran 173rd (unchanged) and China 176th (down one place).

    The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat on all five continents.

    The indicators compiled by Reporters Without Borders are incontestable. There was a drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the previous year. The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year, has risen to 3,719, an 8 percent increase over 2014 and almost 10 percent compared with 2013. The decline affected all continents.”

    https://index.rsf.org/#!/index-details

    Like

  9. Australian Broadcasting Corporation
    Broadcast: 13/01/2015
    Reporter: Louise Milligan

    “TIM WILSON: I actually don’t think a publication like Charlie Hebdo in Australia would necessarily be that successful or survive commercially. But what I do know is that I would rather see a publication fall over because people don’t want to buy it rather than because it’s censored by law.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4161766.htm

    Like

  10. The famous Voltaire dictum about freedom of speech (although some say English writer Beatrice Evelyn Hall came up with it not Voltaire)

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

    But should we ban “hate” speech. What is hate speech in practical terms? Who should decide what is hate speech.
    Is it too messy to ban hate speech?
    Some people use the term “haters”.
    The “haters” truly believe that the people opposed to them are the “haters”, therefore, everyone is a “hater” by default.
    This can quickly quagmire a government, stifle debate and hide truth.
    Along with freedom of expression is truth.

    Like

  11. “I have said enough on this subject over the years. You have taken your position. I am happy now to wait for the truth to come out in the end.”

    Obviously you have not said enough! You continue to repeat yourself, maybe you are finally becoming mad Dom. Do you talk to yourself? Some say its getting expert advice.

    Like

    • I don’t think I am repeating myself. I will no longer debate subjects that I have wrote a great deal about in the past. I just thought I would let you know as each subject arises.I hope this is not the ministry of having an argument where we argue over whether I am repeating myself or not. I have not done that subject before. (face with tongue sticking out)

      Like

  12. Todays Zaman: One of my favourite news outlets.
    Turkish News outlet.

    Would the Muslim Professor be able to say this in Australia without being targeted? Would anyone?

    My guess is no as the left would jump on it. But in Turkey the media seems to be able to be free to say so much more, and this is with an overly “strict” Islamic party in charge.

    There is the widespread belief that Muslim societies are more likely to embrace authoritarian leaders. Do you concur?

    Yes. The everyday Islam that we hear in mosques has a marginal view of democracy or free media. The de facto version of Islam today asks people to be more obedient. Today’s Islam depends on a simple formula: The state and God are used almost interchangeably. In such a doctrine, Muslim societies failed to generate a supportive culture for democracy.

    Is that why most Muslim societies are ruled by dictatorships rather than democracies?

    There are 1 million reasons to explain this. It is both a result of material and non-material factors. It is both about actors and structures. I do not want to be very pessimistic, but Muslim nations have everything in place to generate authoritarian regimes. The whole Muslim world is becoming a perfect laboratory for authoritarian regimes.

    http://www.todayszaman.com/interviews_professor-bacik-muslim-societies-failed-to-generate-supportive-culture-for-democracy_408466.html

    Like

      • If anyone is interested the Arabic on the door states Ya Allah. It is a statement used in times of disaster, hardship or stress.

        Like

    • Islam does not condone Monarchy. Muslims should use Shura (consultation) to choose leaders.

      Shura is to seek the opinion of knowledgeable people. In other words, it is to poll the opinion of the nation or its representatives over its issues. Therefore, Muslims took Shura as one of the principles and bases of governance. Mature Muslims elect those who they deem worthy of power and governance.

      Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation among themselves; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance” [are praised] 42:39

      Decisions of the leaders should be done via consultation as well.

      Like

  13. “You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters during an Asian tour.
    “”But hold om a moment”
    How are you going to stop people like myself looking at all religions as a joke and laughing .
    Aaah all the entities across all religions have such tissue thin skin .
    When you can not be laughed at and brush it off you should see someone about your temper and anger management issue .
    When you claim this world is here to test you and you can not even take others laughing what does that say about your ability in passing any test.
    LOL LOL LOL

    Like

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