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A recent school news item done by my primary-age daughter:

Swishy

This is a description of my families cat: Swishy. She had green eyes, brown and white fur, cute, little, white paws and an innocent face expression.

One day when I was 18 months old, my sister was 2 years old and my brother was 5 years old, our family were playing a game of UNO. In the middle of my sister’s turn my dad heard a meowing sound and saw……….

A CAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once everyone had seen the big suprize we started to think what to name this mysterious cat. We ended up calling her………… SWISHY!!!!!!

A few years later the Council instructed some builders to build a unit-block RIGHT NEXT TO OUR UNIT!!!!!!! Since the Council said for all this to happen mice and rats came, and since mice and rats came. For my family and our next door neighbours it was like rats were taking over the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The same year but later when we were still on holidays ………………………………………………………………………………..

Swishy DISAPPERD

My family and I were really sad.

THE END

Somewhat of the same genre:

This Is A Complaint About Bed Time

Five Things To Know About Me

I Feel Like Having You As A Pet

My Literary Genius Six-Year Old Retells Goldilocks And The Three Bears

i like to know a story about you – your feeling your mouth your heart your way of looking at it

The Intolerable Ubiquity Of Pencil Sharpenings

My primary-aged daughter wrote my wife and I this letter which she left on our pillow to be discovered and read. All punctuation and spelling is as per the original.

To Mum and Dad:

this is a complaint about bed time. Me and Milly can’t go to bed in your room because it’s got dirty underwear and smelly clothse on it. pluse Me and Milly are sisters and we hate seaperating from each other. My second complaint is that you and you talk to each other and also READ in bed befor bed time and evern AT bed time. So now I have a complaint for each of you    Mum; you’re first: me and Milly see EVERY thing and we KNOW that you go on the computer when “ALMOST” everyone is asleep

BUSTERED !

and dad; STOP BEING SO SERIOUS ABOUT IT !

from Sue and Milly.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:

Five Things To Know About Me

I Feel Like Having You As A Pet

My Literary Genius Six-Year Old Retells Goldilocks And The Three Bears

i like to know a story about you – your feeling your mouth your heart your way of looking at it

Keep It Light

A controversy recently erupted over Coopers Brewery cancelling a limited edition release of their Coopers Premium Light Beer. Coopers had planned to release 10,000 cases of beer cans emblazoned with different Bible verses to commemorate the 200th birthday of The Bible Society. In conjunction with the release, The Bible Society produced a video of Liberal Party MPs politely discussing the issue of Same-Sex Marriage, taking different sides without hostility. The video exhorts Australians to ‘Keep It Light’.

Coopers cancelled the release following a boycott by pubs with a LGBT clientele. Coopers also promised it would join Marriage Equality Australia, issued an apology by video and press release, affirmed Coopers support for its valued Coopers drinkers and extended family, as well as saying that Coopers encouraged individualism and diversity.

Bully Is Spelt ‘L-G-B-T’

Many Christians then expressed shock, outrage and disgust over Cooper’s decision to cancel the release of Bible Society cans saying that the Gay Lobby had bullied Coopers into their decision by use of a boycott, that this was typical of the bullying tactics of the Gay Lobby, that Christianity itself was under attack, and that free speech in Australia was dead. Examples are here, here and here.

Especially galling to Marriage Conservatives is Coopers decision to join the Marriage Equality Association. Marriage Conservatives see this as proof that the Gay Lobby uses force and intimidation to compel compliance to their agenda.

In my view Coopers got what they deserved by way of the product boycott.  Coopers are not neutral on the Marriage Equality question. They were just pretending to be. The LGBT community saw through the charade instantly and called Coopers out for being anti-Same Sex marriage, which they are.

I think Coopers got what they deserved.

Imagine This

The following is a fictional scenario designed to illustrate how Christian groups have over-reacted to the Coopers decision:

Officeworks decide to assist The Australian Federation Of Islamic Councils celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of the first English language Qu’ran.

So Officeworks release a special edition of Copy Paper emblazoned with quotes from the Qu’ran on them such as

‘And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say).”

AFIC release a video with Liberal and Conservative Christians debating whether or not Jesus is God, while referring to special edition Officeworks Qu’ranic Copy Paper.

The video participants all agree that a discussion about whether or not Jesus Is God is of vital importance to Australia.

Subsequently it emerges that Officeworks are long-time donors to Islamic Charities and to AFIC and most of the Officeworks board are Muslims.

1. Are Officeworks neutral on the Jesus issue ?
2. What are Officeworks trying to achieve by releasing Qu’ranic copy paper ?
3. Some churches boycott Officeworks. Are they justified in doing so ?
4. Are these churches enemies of free speech ?
5. Have the churches bullied Officeworks ?
6. Can we now say that free speech is dead as a result of the church boycott ?

Language Markers

Initially Coopers defended The Bible Society video, saying that the video debate was light-hearted, balanced and mature and that ‘its a debate we need to have’.  This essentially endorsed The Bible Society’s line that the “national conversation” on Same-Sex marriage had become “fraught with shallowness and contempt for those who have a differing opinion”.

These different phrasings of the same sentiment are exactly how anti-Same Sex Marriage organisations voice their opinion that the Gay Lobby uses bullying and intimidation to achieve its goals. When anti-Same Sex organisations speak to each other or to their members they typically characterise  LGBT advocates as intolerant, shouty bullies, as the three articles here, here and here demonstrate.

But when anti-Same Sex Marriage organisations or persons wish to talk with the general community they emphasise the need for balance, mutual respect and good manners as Coopers initially did, mirroring the language of Dr. Peter Jensen of the Anglican Church when he appeared on Q&A (See and Ye Shall Submit, 10 Sep, 2012) to discuss Gender and Marriage issues a couple of years ago.

PETER JENSEN: You’re speaking to me as though you respect me and I respect you, well I hope you do. Let’s have a respectful discussion on these matters not (AUDIENCE MEMBER SHOWN SNEERING). OK, I’m sorry.

The audience member sneered at Jensen because Jensen’s appeal to respect was transparently insincere and reeked of condescension as a perusal of the video will show, the segment quoted above occurring about 90% of the way into the episode.

Condescension

The Gay community see the repeated calls for mature, balanced debate on Same-Sex Marriage as arrogant, unbelievable condescension. Why is it that Marriage Conservatives think they need to instruct others on what constitutes morality, ethics and human rights when such matters are well understood by everybody ? Do Marriage Conservatives that it is only straight people that have a moral conscience or manners ?

Jensen’s comments, while superficially conveying a commitment to respectful discussion actually mean this:

You and the Gay Lobby generally are fraught with shallowness and contempt for those who have a differing opinion. You are a bunch of shouty, intolerant bullies who systematically intimidate and victimise those with opinions different to yours. You force Marriage and Gender Conservatives to adopt Politically Correct positions by way of such intimidation. The behaviour of your lobby is reprehensible. Let me now demonstrate the manner in which mature, balanced, mutually respectful civil discourse on this topic should occur as I now explain it in the condescending manner of a parent instructing a child.

In short, the LGBT community recognised the language markers of their opponents in The Bible Society video and in Coopers defence of it. They saw through the charade and reacted to it. The entire campaign of Coopers was a pretence at impartiality by an organisation that was already committed to an anti-Same Sex Marriage position.

History

The long history of Coopers with The Bible Society, their long history of donating to Christian charities and to the Liberal Party is the behaviour which confirms the correct instincts of the LGBT community to the true attitude of Coopers to Same-Sex Marriage which is to reject it.

Which of course Coopers are entitled to do.

But Coopers should not be pretending that they are impartial on the issue.

And Christians should re-evaluate their over-reaction to Coopers decision.

Show Me The Bullying

The boycott by LGBT-friendly pubs is not a bullying of Coopers, though anti-Same Sex Marriage advocates portray it that way. Quite simply, people are permitted to boycott products for ideological reasons if they choose to. Why not ? How the companies react to the boycott is up to them. Boycott is not of itself bullying.

The pubs were not forcing Coopers to support any agenda. Rather, the pubs chose not to support a company they felt held a stance in opposition to their own values. Isn’t that a basic right in a democracy ?

The Newtown Hotel, which decided to discontinue stocking Coopers products,  said

“Dr Tim Cooper and the Coopers Brewery are entitled to spend their money however they wish — as are we”

In my counter-example above churches are permitted to boycott anti-Christian products if they so chose. Isn’t that self-evident ? Should churches really be expected to support anti-Christian organisations by buying their products regardless of what ideologies that company supports ?

But Coopers Support Marriage Equality !

Some defenders of Coopers see the decision of Coopers to join Marriage Equality Australia as proof that Coopers are honest brokers in the debate, promoting civil debate even while supporting the ideals of Same-Sex Marriage.

In my view, this view is mistaken. Coopers are anti-Same Sex Marriage.

Coopers have, for decades, been donors to The Bible Society, Christian Charities and the Liberal Party. These organisations are Marriage Conservatives. Then one day, faced with a damaging boycott to their $240 million dollar a year Beer business, Coopers decides to join Marriage Equality Australia.

Coopers is one of the biggest sellers in the inner-west of Sydney, amongst the many boutique pubs there and enjoys a 5% share of the national beer market. The boycott was taking effect in its retail heartland.

I think this plainly shows that Coopers decision to join Marriage Equality Australia is predicated on the profit motive. In my view Coopers’ pattern of behaviour established over decades for conventional Christian beliefs is much more of an indication of their true ideology than a sudden decision taken in the face of threats to profitability.

In my opinion, Coopers decision to join Marriage Equality Australia is simply PR and does not indicate any heart belief except a desire to protect market share.

But Coopers Didn’t Even Support The Video !

Coopers tried to distance themselves from The Bible Society video, which precipitated the boycott, saying

We want you to know that Coopers did not give permission for our Premium Light beer to feature in, or ‘sponsor’ the Bible Society’s ‘Keeping it Light’ video featuring Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson.

In my view, this distancing is disingenuous and while probably correct on the bare facts, does not account for the approval of the video expressed by Coopers in its first press release on the controversy, nor does any public comment by Coopers over the boycott reflect its own  mission statement given in its annual report last year, which Coopers says includes fostering family and community support based on Christian values. If those values do not include support for Marriage Conservatism then I will be highly surprised.

Finally, the distancing of Coopers from The Bible Society video does not square with its long-term support for The Bible Society. The press conference announcing the release of the commemorative cans featuring Bible verses and celebrating the work of The Bible Society was jointly hosted by Tim Cooper, the managing director of Coopers,and Greg Clarke, the chief executive of the Bible Society Australia. The Guardian noted that joint press conference was  laden with bonhomie.

The distance between Coopers Brewery and The Bible Society was not reflected in any language prior to the boycott and in fact is contradicted by the long-term support for The Bible Society by Coopers over decades. Press releases by The Bible Society reflect this sense of common purpose.

Bible Society Australia has teamed up with Coopers Brewery for the launch of a commemorative Coopers Premium Light beer.

Andrew Hastie, the Marriage Conservative Liberal MP in the video told the ABC  it was “a bit disingenuous [for Coopers] to suddenly distance themselves” from the video.

I fully agree.

Grandma, Ranji And The Politically Correct Bullies

My Grandma was a flat-out racist. Everyone in her generation was. Racism was normal in her generation. Nowadays its not.

One day my Grandma told my sisters You can marry anyone you like providing he is Australian, English, American or a New Zealander. What is the common factor amongst these nationalities ?

When The Olympics were on Grandma would cheer exclusively for the white athletes. She felt the muscular superiority of black athletes gave them an unfair advantage, particularly the black female athletes. Look at the size of them ! She would say, implying there was something not quite normal, not quite natural with black people.

Grandma grew up at a time when India was still a colony of England. She enjoyed cricket. England’s premier batsman for a period from 1896 was an Indian Prince named Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, popularly known as K.S. Ranjitsinhji or Ranji.

 As Wikipedia says  Ranji has widely been regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. The famous cricket writer Neville Cardus described him as “the Midsummer night’s dream of cricket”. Unorthodox in technique and with fast reactions, Ranjiitsinhji brought a new style to batting and revolutionised the game, amongst other things inventing the Leg Glance.

When Grandma saw something that was very black she would say ‘That’s as black as Ranji’s bum’. One day I pointed out to Grandma that it was vulgar to draw attention to a person’s skin colour. She nodded and said sadly ‘Yes, it is nowadays’.

Grandma’s voice carried a  defiance that indicated that modern social norms regarding racial equality had unfairly constrained her right to free comment on Ranji’s bum and its blackness. She was put out by my demand for manners in regard to dark-skinned people and if the term had existed at the time of our conversation she would have no doubt considered me Politically Correct. 

Grandma, like all racists, thought it perfectly acceptable to be mildly insulting to black people. Unfortunately for her, social norms had moved on. It was no longer OK to be a racist. She felt bullied by those who told her that racism was vulgar. She felt attacked and a bit vulnerable.

Loss Of Privilege

Grandma’s sense of vulnerability was a result of her losing her privilege of assumed racial superiority. Her loss of privilege to vulgarity made her feel like she was being judged and found wanting by the transient social fad of racial equality.

Advocates of an anti-Same Sex Marriage position are feeling that same sense of bullying, judgement, vulnerability and attack that Grandma did. Social Conservatives have lost the privilege of the assumed right to be able to state who should and should not be able to get married. Modern social norms consider the assumed privilege to reject Same-Sex Marriage to be Homophobic and Social Conservatives therefore to be ignorant of what constitutes basic human respect and decency.

Seen from the perspective of Same-Sex Marriage proponents, Marriage Conservatives thus find themselves in possession of a Homophobic ethic as vulgar and as self-evidently disgusting as Racism. Explaining his decision to discontinue stocking Coopers products,

Union Hotel general manager Luke Hiscox said he found the video condescending and could not continue to support the brand, especially as many of his staff identified as LGBTI. “The idea that we need to have a discussion about basic human rights is probably why people are so upset,” he said.

When told that their views on Same-Sex Marriage are vulgar and passe, Marriage Conservatives feel shouted at and bullied, same as my Grandma did when being corrected for her casual and unconscious Racism. Just as my Grandma was shocked to be called a Racist, Marriage Conservatives are shocked to be called Homophobic and reject that labelling.

Marriage Conservatives are feeling what its like, for a change, to be the ones considered to be holding degenerate views, to be told to reform their degenerate thinking and learn what is basic human decency.

The claim to be suffering bullying and persecution is the pained and confused cry of those having privilege stripped from hem.

After a considerable number of centuries where Marriage Conservatives have held privileged and uncriticised views, the shoe is now on the other foot.

So, personally I don’t think Marriage Conservatives are being bullied by the so-called Gay Lobby. Marriage Conservatives are merely suffering a loss of privilege. Naturally, we don’t like it.

I should know. I’m a Marriage Conservative.

Some Final Words On Ranji

Ranji had to crash through barriers of Racism in order to take his warranted place in the English cricket team. The ingrained Racism of authority figures in the England of the 1890’s gives a great background to my Grandma’s epithet ‘As Black As Ranji’s bum’.

Though popular amongst many in England, both in the upper-class and in the general cricket watching public, many resented that a dark-skinned man could be better than an Englishman at cricket.

Surely that bipolar attitude toward Ranjitsinhji must have been mirrored in Australia: admiration for his ability and disdain for his colour. Like my Grandma said ‘No-one could get him out’

Again from Wikipedia,  in 1896, although his form merited selection, Ranji was not chosen by the MCC committee which chose the team.

Lord Harris was primarily responsible for the decision, possibly under influence from the British Government; Simon Wilde believed they may have feared establishing a precedent that made races interchangeable or wished to curtail the involvement of Indians in British political life.[78]

Bateman’s assessment is less sympathetic to Harris: “the high-minded imperialist Lord Harris, who had just returned from a spell of colonial duty in India, opposed his qualification for England on the grounds of race.”[79]

Ranjitsinhji made his Test debut on 16 July 1896. After a cautious 62 in his first innings, his final score in the second innings was 154 not out,[84] and the next highest score for England on the last day was 19.

He was given an enthusiastic reception by the crowd and the report in Wisden stated: “[The] famous young Indian fairly rose to the occasion, playing an innings that could, without exaggeration, be fairly described as marvellous. He … punished the Australian bowlers in a style that, up to that period of the season, no other English batsman had approached. He repeatedly brought off his wonderful strokes on the leg side, and for a while had the Australian bowlers quite at his mercy.”[85]

Although Australia won the match, the players were astonished by the way Ranjitsinhji batted.[86]

Not everyone was pleased at his success. Home Gordon, a journalist, praised Ranjitsinhji in a conversation with an MCC member; the man angrily threatened to have Gordon expelled from the MCC for “having the disgusting degeneracy to praise a dirty black.” Gordon also heard other MCC members complaining about “a nigger showing us how to play the game of cricket”.[87]

More on Liberal Party preferencing strategy towards One Nation here.

The Liberal Party has decided to preference One Nation in the upcoming Western Australian State Election. This decision has endorsement from the national executive of the Liberal Party including the Prime Minister and is also endorsed by former Prime Minister John Howard whose regard within the Liberal Party is hagiographic, kind of like living royalty, a saint, the effulgence of an idealised Philosopher/Statesman.

John Howard, campaigning for the WA Liberals, wholeheartedly approved of the One Nation preference deal calling it very sensible and pragmatic.  Since John Howard is formally campaigning, and he is in his very person a living extension of the Liberal Party secretariat, his comments tell you that the Liberal Party at the highest levels endorse and approve preferencing One Nation in the WA Election. This is despite Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressing the formal autonomy of the State-level Liberals and distancing himself from any opinion or input into the decision.

WA Liberal Premier, Colin Barnett, has made no secrets about the rationale for the One Nation Preference deal – its a simple matter of maximizing his chances for re-election. There is no consideration of ethics or policy. His decision is completely unprincipled and designed simply on tactical considerations of how to retain power.

As Barnett said:

 (It’s) just a mathematical equation, the Liberals best chance of winning. (We) can’t sit back and let it all happen.”

As straight-forwardly stated by WA Today, The WA Liberals want to avoid a repeat of the 2001 election when Richard Court lost power after putting One Nation last.

Barnett, trying to avoid being tarnished by association with One Nation viewpoints, has claimed he doesn’t even know what their policies are. This is absurd and Barnett can not expect anyone to believe what he says. In fact, just like Labor and the Greens, One Nation is opposed to one of the Liberals’ signature economic policies. That is the privatisation of Western Power, mainly in order to reduce the state’s extremely high and worsening debt levels.

So Barnett’s central Budgetary policy will be likely scuppered by the outcome of the preference deal he has made with One Nation as a  probable result of that deal is that One Nation will hold Balance of Power in the Upper House.

Apart from this, of course, all of Australia, including Colin Barnett, knows what One Nation stand for. Barnett is trying to avoid guilt-by-association while forming a partnership with persons he knows both reject his major Budgetary policies and hold a range of reactionary, xenophobic, irrational and homophobic viewpoints and in fact are an entirely erratic, idiosyncratic collection of individuals loosely bound by broad agreement on certain themes.  Consigning Balance of Power to such a group is unbelievably irresponsible on the part of Barnett, Howard, Turnbull and the entirety of the Liberal Party executive and leadership.

Sophisticated And Nuanced

The Liberal Party have attempted to justify their preference deal with One Nation by claiming that One Nation is no longer reactionary, xenophobic or racist and that Pauline Hanson and One Nation themselves have become more nuanced and sophisticated.

This is simply untrue. One Nation is the same entity as it ever was. As the Western Australian newspaper WA Today reported, WA One Nation candidate Richard Eldridge once advocated killing Indonesian journalists and attacked “poofters”, Muslims and black people on his then-deactivated Twitter account.

Mr Eldridge, a real estate agent contesting an upper house seat in the South Metropolitan region of Perth, called Muslims “little sheet heads”, derided gay relationships as “poo games” and advocated taking up arms against “extreme Muslims”.

He recently revived his Twitter account, saying his 2014 comments did not represent his views today.

A second WA One Nation candidate, Michelle Myers, nominated for the newly-created seat of Bateman, said that the gay community uses Nazi-style mind control techniques in order to brainwash ordinary citizens into supporting policies of the alternative sexuality movement. WA Today quoted Myers as follows:

Are you wondering why even some Christians are being swayed by the gender industry’s pitch and push 4 same sex ‘marriage’ and acceptance of fake families?”, the One Nation candidate asked. It’s not by accident; it’s by a carefully contrived but disingenuous mind control program, melded together by two Norwegian homosexuals who graduated from Harvard – one of whom has since prematurely passed away.

Whatever one thinks of the statements of Myers and Eldridge, it is obvious that One Nation has not changed one iota. They remain the same beast they were in 1998, utterly unnuanced and unsophisticated, as  when John Howard instructed the electorate to put One Nation last in every seat.

As the Australian Financial Review puts it

The suggestion Hanson has changed in some fundamental way is actually an indication of how much the rest of politics has changed

Consistently Unprincipled

The decision by The Liberal Party to preference One Nation continues its historical policy of dealing with One Nation purely on the basis of Unprincipled Self-Interest. This is the way that The Liberals have always dealt with One Nation and what they are doing now in the WA Election.

Here are the major milestones of the consistently unprincipled Liberal Party / One Nation preference deal journey:

March 1997 – One Nation Formed.

One Nation immediately commandeers 9% of the national vote, measured by polls, most of which came from the Liberal/National coalition. George Megalogenis states that the LNP vote fell from 49% in March 1997 when One Nation was formed, to 40% one month later ‘and all of it went over to the One Nation column’.

Howard could not afford to antagonize One Nation as their support base was comprised mainly of disaffected Coalition voters. Howard needed to ensure that One Nation voters would preference him, so he played softly-softly with them.

Howard is not fundamentally opposed to the One Nation agenda and tells his party room that he would prefer to work with them rather than the Australian Democrats. Peter Costello and Amanda Vanstone disagree. Both of these made public comments that the Liberal Party should put One Nation last in the preference order on ethical grounds i.e. that One Nation were racist. Both received long and emphatic phone calls from John Howard they should retract their opinions, Vanstone commenting that Howard was so loud she was forced to hold the receiver away from her ear (‘The Howard Years’, Episode 1, ABC Television, broadcast 17 Nov. 2008)

Howard decides to preference One Nation above Labor. This, Howard hoped, would send a message to One Nation voters that he was not displeased with the One Nation message, particularly in the climate of general social condemnation of One Nation, and maximize the One Nation preference flow to the Coalition.

June 1998 – Queensland State Election

One Nation won an astonishing 23% of the primary vote and, aided by Coalition preferences won 11 seats, while the Coalition itself lost 5 seats in Brisbane as inner-city voters expressed their disgust at Howard’s preferencing of One Nation above Labor.

If these results were to be repeated at the upcoming Federal Election, Howard and the Coalition would be soundly defeated.

Immediately after Queensland election Howard flies to Queensland to meet with One Nation supporters and try to convince them that the Coalition understood their issues and would help them. In the meantime he commissions Tony Abbott to find a way to destroy One Nation. Abbott creates a slush fund to fund legal action against Hanson and One Nation. Abbott and Howard lie about their knowledge of and existence of the Fund. Abbott and Howard eventually get Hanson thrown in jail.

The strategy of the National and Liberal parties to preference One Nation paid off outside Brisbane, where it won five seats from Labor and failed only narrowly to secure the re-election of the Borbidge Government (Ward and Rae 2000, 114), in Brisbane the strategy badly back-fired: urban voters ‘punished’ the Liberals for directing preferences to One Nation (Reynolds 2001, 156).

So the overall effect of Coalition preferences was to assist One Nation to win seats, to win some seats for the LNP in rural and outer-metro areas, but to experience significant punishment in urban seats as relatively educated and progressive voters express disgust against associating with One Nation

1998 – Federal Election

Howard decides to put One Nation last to protect urban seats  (of which there are many) from backlash against inner-city voters, foregoes assistance in rural seats (of which there are few) and avoid loss of outer-metro seats to One Nation.

2001 – WA State Election

LNP again put One Nation last. LNP lose power to ALP.

2002-2015 One Nation Ceases To Exist as a significant political force

2017 – WA State Election

Barnett, Turnbull and Howard fine-tune the preference strategy, swapping One Nation preferences in Lower House for Lib preferences in the Upper House. The deal is limited to selected seats. The Libs are trying to sandbag Lower House seats and so retain government whilst conceding Balance of Power in the Upper House. They are also avoiding assisting One Nation to win seats in the Lower House.

Like Howard did, Barnett and other Liberals are trying to mollify One Nation voters by saying they are good people, sophisticated and nuanced, and that their concerns are seriously addressed by the Libs.

Also, noting a reactionary shift in the political landscape toward populism, nationalism and anti-Immigration, the Libs judge that urban voters are less likely to punish them by association with One Nation

The Libs, including Malcolm Turnbull, are also trying to distance themselves from One Nation even while cuddling up to them, hence Barnett feigning ignorance of their policies. This is to mollify urban voters intended to reduce backlash.

I go into more detail about the early LNP / One Nation history here, drawing heavily on research by Margo Kingston.

 

My son sat a Scholarship Test today. Afterwards I wrote the following letter to the Principal of the school that provided the test.

Dear Dr. Principal,

Thanks to yourself and International Academy for providing the scholarship test today, 25 Feb.

I thoroughly  enjoyed the presentations by yourself and your staff and came away convinced that IA provides a world-class Secondary Education.

My son sat today’s test. I would describe him as a mid-range student with relative strengths in Humanities and Creative Writing. Mathematics he finds sometimes inscrutable.

We sat him for the test not because we think he has a high chance of achieving a scholarship, but to give him the opportunity to challenge himself at a high-level task and also because his very best friend will be attending IA next year. So we wanted to give him a chance to qualify and, who knows, pull off a stunner.

After listening to your remarks about the severity of the examination I was quite concerned that we had inadvertently put our son into something really beyond his capacity. I thought he might come out of the exam deeply frustrated, enraged or maybe catatonic.

Imagine my surprise when he bounded out of the exam at Midday with the good cheer and vigour of a Border Collie pup.

‘That was a cinch’, he said ‘Easier than NAPLAN ! Can we have McDonalds ?’

I found his assessment simultaneously both highly improbable and immensely encouraging 🙂

Off we scooted to McDonald’s where he devoured a Triple Cheeseburger, a Large Fries and six Chicken Nuggets in the manner of an Anaconda swallowing a Wildebeest, or maybe vice-versa.

Who knows what he would have eaten after a NAPLAN ?

Thanks again for your excellent talks and hospitality today.

May I wish you and IA all the very best into the future.

Best Regards,

Jesus Has A God, Therefore He Cannot Be God

My material for this post is largely drawn from John Gill’s exposition of John 20:17

In order to prove that Jesus cannot be God, Muslims draw attention to John 20:17 in which Jesus clearly says He has a God.  How, they ask, can God have a God ? Here is John 20:17

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

The answer to how Jesus can have a God lies in recognising that Jesus is God in Human form. Jesus was truly human. Being human, Jesus can have a God.

Can God come to Earth if He wants to ? Of course He can.

If God came to Earth could he have flesh and bones and choose to eat and sleep ? Of course He could. Therefore God can come to Earth in human form.

But God would not stop being divine just because He came to Earth in human form. He would still be God. But He would also be a Human who can eat and sleep and do all the things that Humans do.

So if God came to Earth as a human he would retain his divine nature but also have a human nature. He would have two natures during the time He was on Earth: A Divine nature and a Human nature.

Can God Limit Himself ?

God can control Himself in much the same way that I control myself, for example, when I play with my children I choose to limit my strength so that I do not hurt them when I play with them. In a similar way, when Jesus came to Earth he decided to temporarily limit Himself in certain ways. Jesus still had divine attributes but he chose not to use some of them during His time on Earth while He walked with us as a truly human being.

The self-limitation of Jesus does not diminish God because all the Divine Attributes remain fully active in The Father and The Holy Spirit, the other two Divine Persons who share the single Divine Life.

Identification and Dependence

During the period of His earthly life Jesus chose to make Himself dependent on The Father just as all of humanity is dependent on Father God. In this way, Jesus identified with humanity. He became one of us and shared our limitations and dependence on God while yet retaining His divine nature. For this reason of dependence it is possible for Jesus to say that He has a God. Jesus made Himself dependent on The Father, and so like all with a human nature Jesus was dependent on The Father.

Jesus had two natures: a divine nature and a human nature. He retained possession of His divine nature, but chose not to use most of his divine attributes. He lived His life on Earth constrained by the limits of human nature which he took on Himself when he entered His earthly existence.

This does not mean that Jesus never exercised His Divine Attributes or power while on Earth. For example, Jesus healed people and did other miracles by His own power. (See John 5:19, Matthew 8:26-27, Matthew 14:25-32).

The passage in question, John 20:17, thus contains a second reason why it is possible for Jesus to talk about ‘My God and Your God’ and this reason relates to the truth of Jesus’ identification with humanity.

The reality of identification works two ways. Because Jesus shared our humanity, He identifies with us, but humanity also identifies with Jesus. This means that however The Father chooses to treat Jesus in relation to His humanity then you and I obtain the privilege of being treated by The Father in the same way that The Father treats Jesus.

This identification means that since the Father has declared Jesus Not Guilty of sin, then we also can be declared Not Guilty of sin if we identify with Jesus, i.e. choose in faith to accept Jesus as our representative before The Father. Furthermore, because Jesus was resurrected from the grave and from death by The Father, then we also can be, and will be, resurrected from death and the grave (Barzakh) if we choose to identify with Jesus. Again furthermore because Jesus ascends to The Father, those who identify with Jesus and become part of the Umma of Jesus will also obtain the privilege of ascending to heaven with Jesus to be in the presence of The Father.

This truth of humanity’s identification with Jesus, how The Father rewards the Umma of Jesus with the same privileges as Jesus is reported in a truncated form In The Qu’ran Surah Al-Imran:3:55.

“O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.

It was this third aspect of identification, that of Ascension, that  Jesus was specifically referring to in this passage of scripture including John 20:17. Jesus had been declared Not Guilty by The Father after His ordeal on The Cross, consequently had been resurrected from death and the grave and was just about to ascend to The Father.

The woman wanted Jesus to stay behind on earth with them and clung on to Him but Jesus told them something greater was in store for humanity, namely His ascension, which all believers in Him, all His Umma would have the privilege of doing also. But He, Jesus, had to ascend first to make the way for them.

The statement of Jesus ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” teaches His Umma that His ascension makes our ascension possible because of His identification with humanity and our identification with Him.

Amen! Thanks to be to God an Our Lord Jesus Christ !

So, Jesus statement I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God is indeed, as Muslims state, a clear indication of Jesus’ humanity. This humanity came about because Jesus voluntarily chose to make Himself dependent on The Father (see Phillipians 2:5-8).

The statement my Father and your Father…my God and your God is also a powerful statement of truth regarding Jesus’ identification with humanity, by which humanity can be declared Not Guilty before God and obtain resurrection and ascension, which is entry to Paradise.

The Nature Of God

God exists as three persons who share a single divine life or essence. Since God exists as three persons, one (Jesus) may choose to come to Earth while the others remain in heaven. Additionally, the One who comes to Earth can choose to make Himself dependent on the One(s) who remains in Heaven. In this way, Jesus can truly call The Father His God whilst yet retaining His own divine nature.

The self-limitation of Jesus does not diminish God because all the Divine Attributes remain fully active in The Father and The Holy Spirit, the other two Divine Persons who share the single Divine Life.

Because there is only one Divine Life, God is One.

Today I picked up a book sitting on my friend’s kitchen table. It was a biography of Mohammed entitled ‘The Life Of Mohammed’ by Abdul Ahmed Siddique. You can read the publisher’s note on the book here

Flicking through the pages I chanced upon a bold-face heading on the section devoted to Mohammed’s triumphal military entrance into Mecca. The heading read:

Magnanimity Unparalleled In The Annals Of Mankind

A few lines below was the sub-heading:

Only Four People Were Executed

The people of Mecca must have been glad that they were invaded on a day when Mohammed felt especially and uniquely magnanimous and hence only executed four of them.

Of course, Mohammed’s behaviour in executing ‘only’ four people was not magnanimous but barbarous: especially when one considers that one of those executed was a servant girl named Fartana, executed merely for name-calling and singing satirical songs  directed against Mohammed (see Ibn Hisham, Ibn Ishaq, Alfred Guillaume (translator), The life of Muhammad: a translation of Isḥāq’s Sīrat rasūl Allāh, p. 550)

In executing a mere slave-girl for mere name-calling Mohammed displays not magnanimity, as characterised by the severely deluded Mr. Siddique but psychopathic narcissism.

A Better Example Of Magnanimity

As an example of a person who did indeed display magnanimity at severe personal cost, please consider the example of  Maria Nice  who forgave Alisson Lima dos Santos who murdered her son Rafael da Silva. You can watch the video here

Maria Nice is a Christian who, like uncounted millions of Christians before her, has followed the example of Jesus who forgave those who persecuted, tormented, tortured and killed Him. This is what Maria Nice said to the young man who killed her son.

“You are forgiven in Jesus’ name. I am a Christian, and I am forgiving you, and I will keep praying, Alisson. […] And you are going to discover that God that I serve. […] I don’t have a drop of hate for you, Alisson.

Not Quite So Magnanimous

Once Mohammed’s daughters Fatima and Umm Kulthum were riding on a camel. An enemy of Mohammed named Al-Huwayrith intentionally goaded the camel, causing Mohammed’s daughters to be dangerously thrown to the ground. Mohammed had him killed. (see Ibn Hisham, Ibn Ishaq, Alfred Guillaume (translator), The life of Muhammad: a translation of Isḥāq’s Sīrat rasūl Allāh, p. 551)

You can read here about the young  Saudi Arabian woman, Fatima Al-Mutairi, killed by her Muslim family for simply being a Christian. Like Jesus and Maria Nice, this young woman forgave her enemies in the face of personal suffering and did not execute any one at all.

Dozens more examples of  Christians forgiving enemies who have killed their family members can be found just by Googling Christian forgives murderer’

In this Christians emulate the example of Jesus, the unparalleled magnanimous and mericiful example to humanity who prayed  Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing, even as his enemies were torturing and killing Him on the cross, and who did not order any of them to be executed.

Last year I spent some time discussing The Trinity with my Muslim friend. These are some notes I made from our discussion.

  1. Christians Worship Three Gods

Christians do not believe in three Gods. Christians believe God is One

As Jesus said:

“The most important one (i.e commandment),” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a]

The idea that Christians worship Three Gods is a misconception contained in the Qu’ran in Surah An-Nisa 4:171

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion… do not say, “Three”;… Indeed, Allah is but one God.

The Qu’ran incorrectly describes Christian belief. This means that The Qu’ran is in error and hence does not come from God.

2. Jesus Was Born By God Having A Sexual Relationship With Mary

Christians do not believe that Jesus was born by God having a sexual relationship with Mary. Christians believe that Jesus was born by God’s Power acting through The Holy Spirit, in other words by a miracle of God. See Luke 1:31-35 where Gabriel converses with Mary.

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus…

 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…

The idea that Jesus was born by God having a sexual relationship with Mary is a misconception found in The Qu’ran which also states that Christians believe that Mary is a God (see Qu’ran 5:116; 5:75; 6:101) Christians do not believe that Mary is a God.

Once again, The Qu’ran incorrectly describes Christian belief. This means that The Qu’ran is in error and hence does not come from God.

3. Son Of God Is Not a Divine Title

Muslims correctly state that Son Of God is used of several people in the Bible. As well as Jesus the term Son Of God is applied to Adam, Angels and the nation of Israel. Therefore, say Muslims, the Title Son Of God has no special significance and does not mean that Jesus is Divine.

In fact, the Bible teaches that Jesus has a unique kind of Sonship with the Father, which is Divine. In John 3:16 the Bible says;

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The Greek word translated one and only is monogenes which means ‘unique kind’. Jesus said that He had a unique kind of Sonship with God (Matt. 11:27) and the Jews stoned Jesus for Blasphemy when He said he was the Son Of God as he was claiming equality with God. As John 5:18 says:

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

For a modern-day equivalent of ‘Son’ being used in different ways between different people, consider a man with two sons, one adopted and one family-born. Both are properly and correctly called Son but they are different kinds of sons.

The Bible uses monogenes to differentiate in a similar way between the Sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac is a family-born, natural son, born by Abraham with his wife Sarah, whereas Ishmael is born to Abraham in a different and fractionally more distant family relationship, via Sarah’s maidservant  The Bible calls therefore Isaac monogenes, Abraham’s only son via Sarah, whom Abraham especially loves and who was born through a direct promise by God and conceived miraculously when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 years old, well past the normal years of child-bearing or conception.

 Ishmael, born through Sarah’s maidservant Hagar, and neither promised by God, nor conceived miraculously, has a different status in the family. See Hebrews 11:17

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son.

Isaac is called the one and only son (monogenes) even though Abraham had two sons because Isaac is the one and only son born through his wife Sarah.

So, Son Of God is applied to Jesus in a unique way in the Bible, indicating the Divinity of Jesus. Indeed this is the way that the Qu’ran understands the meaning of Son Of God, as a Divine Title (see Qu’ran 5:116)

4. Jesus Did What Only Humans Need To Do

Muslims correctly state that Jesus did what only humans need to do such as eat and sleep. Therefore, Muslims say, Jesus must be human and cannot be Divine.

In fact, the Bible presents two sets of proofs about Jesus:

  1. Jesus is a Human Being
  2. Jesus is Divine

The proofs that Jesus is Divine are many. Among them are these: Jesus forgave sins (Luke 7:48), answers prayer (John 14:13-14), accepts worship (John 9:38-39, John 20:28-29), claims eternal existence (Rev. 1:17-18), claimed to do miracles by His own power (Luke 8:40-46), claims to have ownership and command of God’s Angels (Matt. 25:31), claims to cause resurrection (John 11:25), claims to be Lord of The Holy Day (Luke 6:5), used God’s name as His own name (John 8:58, Exodus 3;14) and directly claimed to be Father God Himself (John 14:6-9).

All these attributes and powers belong to God alone. Since Jesus claimed the rights, name, power and attributes of God, then Jesus has claimed to be God.

5. Three Cannot be One, Therefore The Trinity is Illogical

Muslims correctly state that Three cannot be One. Therefore, Muslims state, the Trinity is illogical as The Father, The Son and The Holy spirit are Three and not One.

Christians do not believe that three can be one. Christians believe that three ones can be one. Expressed mathematically this is:

1 x 1 x 1 = 1

How many ones on the left hand side ? Three

How many ones on the right hand side ? One

Are these expressions equal ? Yes.

So three ones can be one.

Therefore the Trinity is logical.

6. One Thing Cannot be Three Things At Once, Therefore The Trinity Is Illogical

Muslims incorrectly believe that Christians think that one thing can be three things at once. Specifically Muslims state that Christians believe that Jesus is the same as the Father who is the same as The Holy Spirit, since they are all God. Since it is obvious that one thing cannot be three things at once, they say, therefore that the Trinity is illogical.

In fact, Christians believe that Jesus and The Father and The Holy Spirit are NOT the same as each other.

So, in this case the Muslim objection to the Trinity is based on a misunderstanding of what Christians believe about the Trinity.

Christians believe that the Trinity is three distinct persons that share the same Divine Life. This sharing of the Divine Life or Essence is what makes God One. There is only one Divine Life in the Universe. Hence God is One.

When Christians say that Jesus or the Holy Spirit is a person, we don’t mean that they are persons in exactly the same way that Human Beings are, though it is accurate to say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Divine Persons. The theological term for person is the Greek work Hypostasis which has the basic meaning of ‘individual reality’ or ‘particular instance of a general type’.

The theological definition of The Trinity is ‘three hypostases in one essence’.

The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are One because they share the same Life or Essence.

Muslims will typically assert that this formulation is ridiculous and self-contradictory. How can three distinct things have a shared existence ?

There are many useful analogies of The Trinity in the Universe which can assist us to see that the Trinity is a reasonable and non-contradictory concept.

Molecular Resonance

A strong analogy of The Trinity is provided by the phenonemon of Molecular Resonance.

The basic idea is that Resonating Molecules exist in multiple forms simultaneously, each form having the same Chemical Composition. In other words resonating molecules exists in multiple simultaneous hypostases of the same essence. This is identical in concept to The Trinity.

For example, Nitrate, NO3 has three resonance structures. It exists in all of these forms simultaneously.

As Wikipedia puts it, It is a common misconception that resonance structures are transient states of the molecule, with the molecule oscillating between them or existing as an equilibrium between them. However these individual contributors cannot be observed in the actual resonance-stabilized molecule. The molecule exists in only one form – the resonance hybrid.

In other words, resonating molecules exist in all three forms simultaneously and have exactly the same shared essence.

Here is how Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity describes how Molecular Resonance overcame his objections to reasonableness of The Trinity. This experience is also described in his book, ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’

Essentially, the building block of every physical object is an atom, a positively charged nucleus orbited by tiny, negatively charged electrons.  Atoms bond to one another by sharing their electrons, forming a molecule.  Different arrangements of the electrons in certain molecules are called ‘resonance structures.’  Some molecules, like water, have no resonance while others have three resonance structures or more, like the nitrate on the board.

Although the concept was easy enough to grasp, the reality proved to be baffling.  Mrs. Adamski concluded her lesson by commenting, ‘These drawings are just the best way to respresent resonance structures on paper, but it’s actually much more complicated.  Technically, a molecule with resonance is every one of its structures at every point in time, yet no single one of its structures at any point in time…

How could something be many things at once?  Many different things?  We were not talking about the attributes of something like a steak, which can be hot, juicy, thick, and tender all at once.  We were talking about separate spatial and electrical arrangements.  What the professor said would be akin to saying that Nabeel is eating steak in Texas while simultaneously napping in a hammock in the Caribbean.  As wonderful as each would be individually, it made no sense to say I might be doing both at once.

I was perplexed, and what made it even worse was that no one around me seemed bothered in the least.  I looked around the room, agape at their blind acceptance.

But was it really blind?  The professor was teaching rarefied science, describing the subatomic world.  At that level, things happen that make no sense to those of us who conceptualize the world at only a human level.  Even the apparently simply idea of atoms is baffling when we think about it.  It means that the chair I am sitting on is not actually a solid object, innocently supporting my weight.  It is almost entirely empty space, occupied only in small particles moving at incomprehensible speeds.  When we think about it, it seems wrong, but it’s just the way things are in our universe.  There’s no use arguing about it.

I turned my glance away from the other students, concluding they had not blindly accepted a nonsensical concept.  They had just realized before I did that there are truths about our universe that do not fit easily into our minds.

My eyes rested on the three seperate structures of nitrate on the wall, my mind assembling the pieces.  One molecule of nitrate is all three resonance structures all the time and never just one of them.  The three are separate but all the same, and they are one.  They are three in one.

Water

Liquid Water has the chemical  composition H2O.

Solid Water (Ice) also has the chemical composition H2O. In other  words Ice and Water share  the same essence.

Water is a hypostasis of the general essence H2O. Ice is a second hypostasis of the same essence. Gaseous Water (steam) is a third hypostasis of the same essence.

Water, Ice and Steam are not identical, but they have the same essence. They are three hypostases of the identical essence and may be composed of exactly the same identical molecules as anyone who has observed the melting, boiling and condensation of H2O starting from a block of ice can attest.

The analogy of the three Hypostases of Water is not a perfect anology of The Trinity but it demonstrates the basic reasonableness of The Trinity, that there can be three individual and distinct realities that have a shared existence.

Triple Point Of Water

The analogy is improved still further by the phenonemon of The  Triple Point Of Water.

The triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium.[1] For example, the triple point of Mercury occurs at a temperature of −38.83440 °C and a pressure of 0.2 mPa.

Very strong points of analogy between The Trinity and The Triple Point Of Water are described as follows. You can read more at this link.

1. Both the Triple Point and the Trinity possess a singular nature with three coequal but distinct hypostases.

The triple point and the trinity both have a singular essence and possess three hypostases which have real distinctions among them.

For example, the three states of water at the triple point are conjoined by a common molecular structure, yet ice, steam, and water are quite different in their physical properties such as density, compressibility, electrical conductivity, et cetera. Because the coexisting phases at the triple point possess a distinctive set of physical properties, the union of one into three occurs without loss of identity of the hypostases 

The Trinity is also a single essence containing three hypostases which are able to merge without loss of identity. There is an infusion of three-into-one in both models.

2. Interdependence Between The Hypostases At The Triple Point Are Closely Analogous To Interdependence In Relationships in the Trinity.

The interdependence of hypostases at the triple point are analogous to the sense of relationship found between members of the trinity. Each hypostasis at triple point derives and sustains its character by mutual collaboration with the other two hypostases.

In other words, thermodynamic hypostases at the triple point cannot exist independently of one another, but are interlocked in a state thermodynamic equilibrium. This symphonic blending is similar to the relations between the persons of the Trinity.

The Trinity is defined by a self-contained mutuality of relations, and no one person of the trinity is or can be without the others. There is a coequal sharing of the singular divine essence without intrinsic subordination of any person.

The undivided essence belongs equally to each of the persons and each possesses all the substance and all the attributes of deity. The same could be said for the triple point phases, as no state of matter is more fundamental than another, nor is water any less itself because it exists in three coincident forms.

Molecular Resonance, The Triple Point and The State Phases Of Water all provide useful analogies of The Trinity which demonstrate that the Trinity is reasonable and without self-contradiction.

7. Jesus Has A God, Therefore He Cannot Be God

My material for this section is largely drawn from John Gill’s exposition of John 20:17

Muslims fairly draw attention to John 20:17 in which Jesus clearly says He has a God in order to prove that Jesus cannot be God. How, they ask, can God have a God ? Here is John 20:17

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

The answer lies in recognising that Jesus is God in Human form. Jesus was truly human. Therefore He can have a God.

Can God come to Earth if He wants to ? Of course He can.

If God came to Earth could he have flesh and bones and choose to eat and sleep ? Of course He could.

But God would not stop being divine just because He came to Earth. He would still be God. But he would also be a Human who can eat and sleep and do all the things that Humans do.

God can control Himself in much the same way that I control myself, for example, when I play with my children. When I play with my children I choose to limit my strength so that I do not hurt them when I play with them. In a similar way, when Jesus came to Earth he decided to temporarily limit Himself in certain ways. Jesus still had divine attributes but he chose not to use most of them during His time on Earth while He walked with us as a truly human being.

During the period of His earthly life Jesus chose to make Himself dependent on The Father just as all of humanity is dependent on Father God. In this way, Jesus identified with humanity. He became one of us and shared our limitations and dependence on God while yet retaining His divine nature. For this reason it is possible for Jesus to say that He has a God. Jesus made Himself dependent on The Father.

The passage in question, John 20:17, contains a second reason why it is possible for Jesus to talk about ‘My God and Your God’ and this reason relates to the truth of Jesus’ identification with humanity which we mentioned above.

The reality of identification works two ways. Because Jesus shared our humanity, He identifies with us, but humanity also identifies with Jesus. This means that however The Father chooses to treat Jesus in relation to His humanity then you and I obtain the privilege of being treated by The Father in the same way and The Father treats Jesus.

This identification means that since the Father has declared Jesus Not Guilty of sin, then we also can be declared Not Guilty of sin if we identify with Jesus, i.e. choose in faith to accept Jesus as our representative before The Father. Furthermore, because Jesus was resurrected from the grave and from death by The Father, then we also can be, and will be, resurrected from death and the grave (Barzakh) if we choose to identify with Jesus. Again furthermore because Jesus ascends to The Father, those who identify with Jesus and become part of the Umma of Jesus will also obtain the privilege of ascending to heaven with Jesus to be in the presence of The Father.

This truth of how The Father rewards the Umma of Jesus with the same privileges as Jesus is reported in a truncated form In The Qu’ran Surah Al-Imran:3:55.

“O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.

It was this third aspect of identification, that of Ascension, that  Jesus was specifically referring to in this passage of scripture around John 20:17. Jesus had been declared Not Guilty by The Father after His ordeal on The Cross, consequently had been resurrected from death and the grave and was just about to ascend to The Father.

The woman wanted Jesus to stay behind on earth with them and clung on to Him but Jesus told them something greater was in store, namely His ascension, which all believers in Him, all His Umma would have the privilege of doing also. But He, Jesus, had to ascend first to make the way for them.

The statement of Jesus ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” teaches His Umma that His ascension makes our ascension possible because of His identification with humanity and our identification with Him.

Amen! Thanks to be to God an Our Lord Jesus Christ !

So, Jesus statement I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God is indeed, as Muslims state, a clear indication of Jesus’ humanity. This humanity came about because Jesus voluntarily chose to make Himself dependent on The Father (see Phillipians 2:5-8).

The statement my Father and your Father…my God and your God is also a powerful statement of truth regarding Jesus’ identification with humanity, by which humanity can be declared Not Guilty before God and obtain resurrection and ascension, which is entry to Paradise.

There is nothing illogical or contradictory about this because God exists as three persons who share a single divine life or essence. Since God exists as three persons, one (Jesus) may choose to go to Earth while the others remain in heaven. Additionally, the One who comes to Earth can choose to make Himself dependent on the One who remains in Heaven. In this way, Jesus can truly call The Father His God whilst yet retaining His own divine nature.

The self-limitation of Jesus does not diminish God because all the Divine Attributes remain fully active in The Father and The Holy Spirit, the other two Divine Persons who share the single Divine Life.

Because there is only one Divine Life, God is One.

Dear Sir,

We met recently while I was visiting friends and talking about Jesus. You said that it would be OK if I left you a short note. You said that there are about 4,200 religions in the world and Google basically agrees with you, though there is significant double-counting with each Christian denomination being counted as a separate religion even though their beliefs are fundamentally identical. You indicated that you had studied a representative number of these religions.

You said that you believe in the Ten Commandments.

Excuse me if I am incorrect, but I understand your basic belief is that all worthwhile religions have a system of moral law and that the core of the moral law of all worthwhile religions is the same. This consistency in the core of the moral law is what validates the moral core as true. In other words we can know what is true by seeing what is common across the worthwhile religions. The moral core of all worthwhile religions is represented by The Ten Commandments.

Hence your basic belief is that all that is required of mankind is that we follow the Ten Commandments, which you do.  Hence you have no further need of any instruction.

Question:  Is something true just because a lot of religions say it is true ? On what basis can a religion be known to be good and worthwhile ? Who decides what is a worthwhile religion ? Is mankind capable of discerning what is true and good ? Does mankind possess a functioning moral consciousness which is able to discern spiritual truth ?

You imply that you have the ability to be able to discern between worthwhile religions and those which are not worthwhile and also to completely or at least satisfactorily follow the teachings of worthwhile religion.

The corollary of the above is that you believe you have a functioning moral consciousness that enables you to both discern and do good, at least to a satisfactory level.

Question: Who decides what is a satisfactory moral performance ? Me ? You ? The local Mullah ? The Pope ? God ? Which God ? A jury of our peers ? Some African people we have never met ? Even allowing for a common moral law, why do people disagree on what is satisfactory  moral performance ? Since people disagree on what is a satatifactory moral performance, how can I know that my own moral performance is acceptable? Are multiple different personal moral standards person-by-person acceptable ? Shouldn’t there be a single objective moral  standard ? How can we know that God will be satisfied with our moral performance ?  Am I qualified to judge myself ? Am I my own God ?

Many people think that a satisfactory moral standard is covered by some subset of the Ten Commandments  –  usually : Don’t lie, Don’t Steal, Don’t Kill and Don’t hurt anyone. Sometimes someone will add Don’t Commit Adultery.

Most Australians seem unaware that we routinely break several of the commandments, namely Don’t worship anyone except Yahweh, the God of The Bible, Don’t misuse the name of God, Don’t work on The Sabbath, Don’t be jealous of someone else’s material possessions, Honour your father and mother.

 Many Australians I speak to think they have basically kept the Ten Commandments, or at least the subset they nominate, though they will also agree that are not perfect and have made some mistakes. They mostly think that their mistakes are small and unimportant and that God will forgive them and that they will still go to Heaven. If pressed they will say ‘ I haven’t killed anyone’, reducing the Ten Commandments to One.

Are the ‘forgotten commandments’ important ? Is it only required to keep One Commandment? If so, which one ? Can we pick and choose which Commandments we follow ?

I agree that the Ten Commandments provide a basis for ethics and moral law. But I often fail to keep the Ten Commandments.

Should there be any consequences for moral failure ? If so, what should those consequences be ?

The Ten Commandments appear in The Bible in Exodus Chapter 20. Exodus Chapter 20 also spells out the consequences for moral failure: to atone for failure to keep the moral law, Israel was required to bring sheep and other animals and sacrifice them to God.

So The Ten Commandments say that the consequences for moral failure is Death. Not your own death, but someone else’s. Of course if the animal was not bought for sacrifice, the guilt would remain on the law-breaker and his own death would be required by God on Judgement Day.

Question: Can we believe the Ten Commandments and the moral law without believing the consequences for our failure to keep the moral law ? Can we accept the first half of Exodus 20 but reject the second half ? Can we pick and choose from The Ten Commandments ? Can we pick and choose which parts of The Bible to believe ?

Jesus also believed the Ten Commandments. In Mark 10:17-30, Jesus instructed a Rich Young Man to follow the Ten Commandments. The Rich Young Man claimed to have followed all the Commandments, but was still spiritually empty. Jesus questioned The Rich Young Man on his attitude and actions in regard to wealth.

What question would Jesus ask you ? What question would he ask me ?

In the end Jesus told His disciples that it was impossible for a Man to go to Heaven by adherence to the Moral Law.

Jesus said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:25-27)

Question: Jesus says it is impossible for man to satisfy God with our Moral Performance.  Is Jesus correct ?

Why is it impossible for you and me to satisfy God with our moral performance ? Because the standard of God is perfection. Read Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve were expelled from Heaven for committing just one sin. Have you committed one sin ? I have. We all have.

In fact,  Jesus interpereted the Ten Commandments very strictly. Jesus taught that wrong thoughts and attitudes were the same as committing sins physically. One specific example Jesus gave was men looking at women lustfully. I have done this. Jesus says that makes me guilty of adultery. I suspect every man on the planet is thus guilty of adultery. Maybe even you.  By Jesus’s standards (see Matthew 5:28).

Jesus also taught that any man who calls another man ‘A fool’ has committed a sin and is therefore liable for moral consequences, this penalty being death and hell. (Matthew 5:22)  So,  Jesus teaches us that there is not even one person has lived a satisfactory moral life

Question: Should we accept Jesus standard of morality or our own ? Why ?

Jesus also believed in the second half of Exodus 20, the consequences of moral failure i.e. the Death of the One who fails morally. John The Baptist said Jesus is The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). In other words, John taught that Jesus is the ransom required for mankind to receive forgiveness from God.  Jesus taught the reason for his life was to give his life as a ransom for many.(Matthew 20:28). Jesus taught that all mankind including you and me are guilty of moral failure and face the most extreme consequences.

And that’s where Christmas comes in. God Himself decided to come to Earth as Jesus to live as a man, to overcome all temptations and to completely fulfil the moral law of God.  In this way, Jesus becomes a representative of mankind before God. He suffered death and hell  on our behalf so that we don’t have to.

Jesus has paid your ransom. You now have the choice before God of accepting Jesus as your ransom or choosing to pay the penalty of death and hell yourself.

Its up to you.

You indicated that you do not believe that the death of Jesus on the Cross is a payment for your sins because you do not believe in Human Sacrifice.

Jesus did not teach us to practice Human Sacrifice. Jesus did teach us that the Judicial Penalty for sin is death. He has paid that penalty so that you don’t have to. There is a fallacy believed that Christianity teaches Human Sacrifice. It does not.  But Jesus, Moses, David and Abraham did teach that the Judicial Penalty of death can be paid for by God on behalf of mankind.

Sir, not all religions are the same, even though all of them have some kind of moral law. Let’s examine the four largest religions on Earth:

Hindus say: The Truth is One, but the teachers speak of it in many different ways.

Buddha said: Follow my eight-fold path and you will discover The Truth.

Mohammed said: The Truth has been revealed to me.

Jesus said: I am The Truth

Of the four largest religions on earth, there is only one that says that you can get to the truth by multiple different essentially equal ways. That religion in Hinduism.If someone says that there are many ways to God they are contradicting Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus. Do we really have any right to contradict these teachers ? In particular, who are we to say that we understand their religions better than they themselves do ? Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus all said that there is only one way to heaven, not many.

If we align ourselves with Hinduism saying all religions are basically the same,  do we then do as the Hindus do and worship Ganesh, Shiva and Vishnu ? If not, why not ?

Of these four religions, three say the way to heaven is by works, or our own efforts in adherence to the moral law. Only one says that our own efforts in adherence to the moral law will never take us to Heaven. And that one is Jesus.

Jesus stands alone.

Is Jesus correct ? Is He alone The Way to Heaven ?

I am the way and the truth and the life. 

No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jesus, John 14:6)

 Sir, Thank You so much for allowing me to leave you this short note. I would love to discuss these ideas with you in further detail. Please contact me any time.

Merry Christmas !

 

Islam teaches that 99.6% of the Earth’s population lives in an undiscovered icy wasteland, the exact location of which is presently unknown. This proposition is patently false thus showing that Islam is obviously in error and is not the religion of God.

The people that populate this icy wilderness, according to the Qu’ran and Hadith, are the tribes of Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj. These tribes are apparently trapped behind a huge wall made of iron and molten lead erected between two mountains which Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj perpetually attempt to tunnel through. This wall was supposedly built by a person called Zul-Qarnain who is a legendary figure known only to the Qu’ran,  but who appears to be based on Alexander The Great.

Islam teaches that Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj will ultimately burst through the huge iron wall which restrains them and make war on all mankind.

It is forbidden for any community we had annihilated to return. Until when [the dam of] Gog and Magog has been opened and they, from every elevation, descend  (Qu’ran Al’Anbiya 21:95-96)

The Qu’ran describes the wall supposedly erected to contain them like so:

When he reached the valley between two palisades, he found people whose language was barely understandable.

They said, “O Zul-Qarnain, Gog and Magog are corruptors of the earth. Can we pay you to create a barrier between us and them?”

He said, “My Lord has given me great bounties. If you cooperate with me, I will build a dam between you and them.”Bring to me masses of iron.” Once he filled the gap between the two palisades, he said, “Blow.” Once it was red hot, he said, “Help me pour tar on top of it.” Thus, they could not climb it, nor could they bore holes in it.

He said, “This is mercy from my Lord. When the prophecy of my Lord comes to pass, He will cause the dam to crumble. The prophecy of my Lord is truth.”
At that time, we will let them invade with one another, then the horn will be blown, and we will summon them all together. (Qu’ran Al-Kahf 18:93-99)

The Hadith which states that Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj comprise 99.6% of the world’s population is the following from Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 567 :
Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri

The Prophet said, “Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection), ‘O Adam.’ Adam will reply, ‘Labbaik wa Sa’daik’, and all the good is in Your Hand.’ Allah will say: ‘Bring out the people of the fire.’ Adam will say: ‘O Allah! How many are the people of the Fire?’ Allah will reply: ‘From every one thousand, take out nine-hundred-and ninety-nine.‘ At that time children will become hoary headed, every pregnant female will have a miscarriage, and one will see mankind as drunken, yet they will not be drunken, but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah.”

The companions of the Prophet asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is that (excepted) one?” He said, “Rejoice with glad tidings; one person will be from you and one-thousand will be from Gog and Magog.” …”

Bukhari, whose Hadith constitute obligatory belief for Sunni Muslims, therefore states that Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj comprise either 999 or 1,000 times the number of Muslims, depending on whether the ratio given by Allah or Mohammed is the correct one in the two differing statements in the same Hadith.

On present populations Muslims number approximately 2 Billion which would mean Yajooj and Majooj presently number roughly 2 Trillion persons. This is 267 times the population of Planet Earth, meaning that Yajooj and Majooj are currently 99.62% of the World’s population, the remainder of the planet numbering of 7.5 Billion at the time of writing.

Ridiculous

It is, of course, ridiculous to believe that there is an undiscovered icy wilderness on Earth in which 2 Trillion people live unknown to the outside world. Every inch of the Earth’s surface is mapped and in any case icy wastes do not support vast populations.

Undoubtedly the Qu’ranic and Hadith data on Yajooj and Majooj are complete nonsense, fabrications from the mind of Mohammed and disconnected with reality.

The Gate Of Alexander

It is plain that Mohammed obtained his information about The Giant Wall which holds back Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj from myths about Alexander The Great which emerged many centuries after his death.The myths associated with Alexander The Great go by the collective title of Alexander Romance and exist in many languages. The Greek versions of these myths go back to at least the 3rd Century.

The particular legend of The Gates of Alexander that Mohammed used in The Qu’ran was closely based on a Syriac version of the legends written in approximately 500 AD. This version was in active readership across the Middle East at the time Mohammed composed the Qu’ran. You can read it yourself by  Googling “A Discource Composed by Mar Jacob upon Alexander, the Believing King, and upon the Gate which he made against Gog and Magog”

Alexander’s Gate is entirely fictitious. It has been placed in many locations containing impressive enough fortifications all over the world. As P. Newton says in his Internet article, The Gate,

Since people began exploring the world they have looked for Alexander’s gate. Professor Andrew Runni Anderson had this to say about Alexander’s gate:

“The gate itself had wandered from the Caspian Gates to the pass of Dariel, from the pass of Dariel to the pass of Derbend, as well as to the far north; nay, it had travelled even as far as remote eastern or north-eastern Asia, gathering in strength and increasing in size as it went, and actually carrying the mountains of Caspia with it. Then, as the full light of modern day come on, the Alexander Romance ceased to be regarded as history, and with it Alexander’s Gate passed into the realm of fairyland.”

There is more information about the Gates Of Alexander here.

Since the Qu’ran regards the fictitious Alexander’s Gate as real, the Qu’ran itself cannot be regarded as the true revelation of God.