Friday, 26 July 2013

Getting away with Murder?

Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment[i] features Raskolnikov - a highly intelligent man who begins to question morality and wonders why he should do as society dictates.  He longs to become a ‘superman’ character with the power to break free and rise above the moral restraints that bind all of humanity. Raskolnikov begins by callously committing two murders, he kills an old woman and her half sister, but interestingly, almost immediately, he begins to wrestle with something he had not accounted for… his conscience:

“The old woman was a mistake perhaps, but she’s not the point! The old woman was merely a sickness . . . I was in a hurry to step over . . . it wasn’t a human being I killed, it was a principle! So I killed the principle, but I didn’t step over, I stayed on this side . . . All I managed to do was kill. And I didn’t even manage that, as it turns out . . .”  (Part III, chapter VI)

Raskolnikov proves that even when the natural moral law is violated the principle stating that it is wrong to kill remains firmly in tact. With his conscience raging within him he begins to drown in guilt and quickly realises that his efforts to silence his conscience are futile. He has risen up against an opponent much stronger than himself.

Frances Shaeffer said in one of his lectures that we can do away with morality, and many people do, but we can’t do away with damnation – meaning that we can intellectually reject morality, we can rebel against it, we can violate the natural moral law, but we can’t escape the consequences of doing this or the accusations of our own conscience.

The natural moral law that Raskolnikov has violated is so powerful that Petrovich, the local magistrate investigating the murders, knows he can’t escape and says:

What is it, to run away! A mere formality; that’s not the main thing; no, he won’t run away on me by a law of nature, even if he has somewhere to run to. Have you ever seen a moth near a candle? Well, so he’ll keep circling around me, circling around me, as around a candle; freedom will no longer be dear to him, he’ll fall to thinking, get entangled, he’ll tangle himself all up as in a net, he’ll worry himself to death!”  (Part IV chapter V)

I recently read a fascinating essay by Steve L. Porter[ii] that contrasts Dostoevsky’s original mid nineteenth century Crime and Punishment with Woody Allen’s retelling of the story in his late twentieth century movie, Crimes and Misdemeanours. I’ve never seen the movie, but Porter observes how much the cultural context has changed over the years. The film insists that protagonist, Dr. Rosenthal, who commits a murder, can get away with it and avoid punishment – he even enjoys peace of mind over his crime. Rosenthal is perhaps the ‘superman’ of Raskolnikov’s dreams, but perhaps, like the man that came from the planet Krypton, he too is just a fantasy figure.

In the 1960’s, before I was born, the now notorious ‘Moors Murderers’, Myra Hindley and Ian Brady murdered a number of children and buried them on the Moors. Throughout my lifetime the media has intermittently referred to these murders via news items and documentaries. I wondered if Petrovich’s words about the working of the conscience bore out in the lives of these child murderers…after all it had been more than 40 years now. I already knew that Myra Hindley had allegedly become a practicing catholic whilst in prison, and regardless of whether or not her faith was genuine it is clear that she, like Raskolnikov, couldn’t shake off her conscience and vehemently wished she had been hung for her crimes saying:

“…I would have made a total confession to the priest before I hanged and would not still be half crippled by the burden of guilt that will not go away. But I didn't hang."[iii]

Hindley died in 2002 at the age of 60, after 36 years in prison, but what about Brady? Did he feel remorse?

As I began to research Ian Brady I was fascinated to discover that a hero of his, and a person he modelled himself on, was none other than Raskolnikov! Brady believed he had "reached the stage where, whatever came to mind, [he could] get out and do it” and insisted that he “led the life that other people could only think about.” [iv] Fiona Steele, author of Murder on the Moors, writes: “Dostoevsky's novel had become for Brady, not an exploration of the destructiveness of unrestrained ego, but a justification for, and ennobling of his own degraded fantasies.”[v]

From everything I had read it appeared that Brady was without remorse for his crimes, although interestingly in 1978, during his first public statement, he stated that he would not be asking for parole because he accepted  ‘the weight of the crimes both Myra and I were convicted of justifies permanent imprisonment, regardless of expressed personal remorse and verifiable change."[vi]

Whilst Brady did not appear to have any guilt over his crimes he 
clearly had a conscience. He knew he deserved permanent imprisonment. Professor J. Budziszewski claims that people often mistake guilt for conscience. Conscience is knowledge.  There is a big difference between guilty feelings and guilty knowledge. Guilty feelings can be repressed, they can be rationalized away and, in the case of psychopaths, may not even exist at all, but guilty knowledge remains. Budziszewski cites a local newspaper article he remembered reading once when a murderer claimed to have no guilty feelings whatsoever over his crime and remarked, ‘there must be something wrong with me, don’t you think?’[vii]

It is also interesting to note that since October 1999 Ian Brady has been on hunger strike and has been in court pleading for the right to die. I was particularly struck by his comments when his plea was eventually denied,

“Myra gets the potentially fatal brain condition, whilst I have to fight simply to die. I have had enough. I want nothing, my objective is to die and release myself from this once and for all.”[viii]

It is my belief that God has designed and created us to have 
knowledge of the natural moral law. ‘Natural’ because we come with it ‘built in’ as an integral part of our biological programming, and ‘law’ because it is binding and has authority.

Very few would argue that Ian Brady has done nothing wrong. 
Most people refer to him as ‘evil’ – but is this because morality is a social construct and Brady has broken the rules of our game of life? If an overwhelming majority of people suddenly decided that they too wanted to throw off the ‘petty restraints’ that control our behaviour – would Brady suddenly become a national hero rather than a reviled child killer? Well, if morality was indeed a social construct then logically the answer should be yes, but this is unthinkable. Realistically we know that even if the whole world were filled with men like Brady who rebelled against established morality and even went as far as to make murder legal, murder would still be wrong. Our opinion, no matter how loudly voiced, does not change what we instinctively know to be true. Budziszewski says, “Everyone knows certain principles. There is no land where murder is virtue and gratitude vice.’[ix]

The apostle Paul claimed that whether people believe in God or not, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them …” (Romans 2: 15 - 16)

 I have often heard atheists insist that you can be moral without 
believing in God. Ironically this argument, although true,
unwittingly makes a stronger argument for the existence of a 
creator God. Human beings are made in God’s image, which means belief in God is not a pre-requisite for morality. Many atheists are able to achieve moral excellence without believing in God simply because the natural moral law is embedded, by default, by God, into their very being.  Humans are, however, free to violate the natural moral law and they frequently do, but as both Raskolnikov and his admirer Ian Brady discovered, this doesn’t mean the moral law doesn’t exist, nor does it make it go away or silence our conscience.

[i] Dostoyevsky, F (1998) Crime and Punishment, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[ii] Porter, S.L . (2009). Dostoevsky, Woody Allen, and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution. In: Copan, P. and Craig, W. L Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors. Nashville: B & H Academic. 233 - 248.

[iii] Steel, F. (2013). Murder on the Moors: The Ian Brady and Myra Hindley Story. Available: Last accessed 13th July 2013.

[iv] Wikia. (2013). Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Available: Last accessed 8th July 2013.

[v] Steel, F. (2013). Murder on the Moors: The Ian Brady and Myra Hindley Story. Available: Last accessed 25th July 2013.
[vi] Unknown. (2013). Ian Brady: The real natural born killers. Available: Last accessed 25th July 2013.

[vii]  Is Morality Natural? J. Budziszewski at the University of Idaho, video, Veritas Forum, 17 October 2012, viewed 3rd July 2013,

[viii] Tran, M. (2000). Brady loses bid to die. Available: Last accessed 25th July 2013.

[ix] Budziszewski, J. (1997) Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law, Grove, Ill, Inter Varsity Press. pp 208 - 209

image of Ian Brady as featured on the front cover of  Face To Face With Evil: Conversations With Ian Brady by Dr Chris Cowley (John Blake Publishing).

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Meaningless! Meaningless!

Today I listened to a debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Andrew Bernstein.[1] I don’t think it was one of Bernstein’s better days, because he actually said this:

“Life is not a dress rehearsal. It’s not preparation for beyond. This is it. We need to fulfil ourselves here and now. So, I urge all of you to think about what you want out of life. Do you want an education in a given field? Do you want romantic love? Do you want children? Do you want a career in a certain field? And then work your hardest and best using your mind to create those values in your life and then live a happy and fulfilled life.” (Bernstein: 1:09.16 – 1:09:45)

This however, begs the question…what about the suicidal student who fails their exams and can’t get an education in a given field? What about the woman who is always the bridesmaid and never the bride? What about the couple who can’t have children and then are told they are too old to adopt? What about people who can’t get a job in their chosen career…what do we say to these people? “Tough. You should have tried harder. You clearly didn’t use your mind properly to create those values in your life.”

Whilst Berstein tries to dodge the existentialist bullet of despair and claim that this is really a motivational speech to rally the human race to greater things, it is actually starting to sound depressing. What do we say to those people who fail to achieve their goals in life, and even more puzzling, what do we say to those who do achieve them?

As Bernstein was speaking about all the grand possibilities that I could pursue in my life I wondered what it would be like if someone opened up the most wonderful store in the world and gave me a gold credit card at the door saying I could buy whatever my heart desired… because I was about to die. Do you think there would be much point to the shopping trip? It would immediately become meaningless to me! What would I want the exquisitely tailored outfit for? Why would I want a new sofa? What use would I have for the latest high tech gadget? Would my purchases bring me true fulfilment? In the same way what does it matter if I a manage to make a success of myself, if my book becomes a best seller, if I star in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, or am featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone. If Bernstein is right and we can be fulfilled through our achievements, why is it that we see so much unrest and unhappiness in the people who appear to ‘have it all.’?

In a lecture given in 1962, Frances Schaeffer said that man is afraid of the annihilation of life, NOT because he fears death, but because it makes his present without meaning.[2] 

Whilst there is nothing wrong with having ambition, hopes and dreams for your life Mark’s gospel asks this question: ‘What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?’ (Mark 8 : 36). He’s right!

Berstein, for all his ‘wise advise’ would do well to read the words of Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes – the book that cries ‘Meaningless, meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’ (Ecclesiastes 1 : 2) over and over again. Here are some of Solomon’s observations…

‘Laughter,’ I said, ‘is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?’ I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly – my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.  I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.  I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.  I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well – the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. 
My heart took delight in all my labour,
and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
 and what I had toiled to achieve,
 everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2 : 2 – 11)
After achieving every possible pleasure for himself he then makes a sobering discovery, one that Bernstein would do well to note for it is Bernstein who suggests that we can use our minds to create a fulfilled life now.
“I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.
The wise have eyes in their heads,
 while the fool walks in the darkness; 
but I came to realise
that the same fate overtakes them both. Then I said to myself,
‘The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?’
 I said to myself, ‘This too is meaningless.’ For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
the days have already come when both have been forgotten. 
Like the fool, the wise too must die!  (Ecclesiastes 2 : 13 – 16).

However, unlike Bernstein, who sticks to his philosophy of meaninglessness, the writer of Ecclesiastes comes to this conclusion:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: 
fear God and keep his commandments, 
for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12 : 13 – 14)

Life is a gift from God and we are to enjoy it as such. We should make the most of every opportunity that is given to us and make use of the gifts we are given, but we should do this with reverence to God and with an awareness that this life is not all there is. There is something far, far greater to come.
Therefore we do not lose heart.
though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:16,17

For what is seen is temporary, but what is not seen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

[1]   The Objective Standard,2013. Christianity: Good or Bad for Mankind, [video online] Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2013].

[2] Dr. Francis Shaeffer, Christianity and Science, audio recording, L’Abri Ideas Library, Catalogue number 303, 13 November 1962.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Enemies of Evolution

Having previously studied for an honours degree in English Literature, and being a lover of books, I had come across Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, and his ideas, but until recently I had never heard of his brother Julian Huxley. It turns out that Julian was quite the academic. He was the grandson of Thomas Huxley, who was nicknamed "Darwin's Bulldog" for his ferocious support of the theory of evolution and I imagine it was at his grandfather's knee that Julian first began to absorb evolutionary ideas. Julian shone brightly. He was educated at Eton College, received his degree from Oxford University, lectured at Kings College London and became president of the British Humanist Association... amongst a long list of other achievements!

Julian Huxley fascinated me for a while and I started reading some of his work. Initially I was quite impressed by his thought processes - albeit that he often sounded quite arrogant. You see, when an atheist denies God, he also denies a moral absolute and consequently a moral lawgiver. If there is no moral lawgiver and no moral absolutes then who can say what is right and what is wrong? Why should we even care about such things? I've seen people try for some wriggle room on this one, but it’s a major sticking point in the atheist's argument and often they find themselves 'borrowing' from Christianity when they defend their personal ideas of morality.

The crux of evolutionary ideology is the survival of the fittest, so if you are going to follow this thought through to its logical conclusion then how can rape, murder, theft, adultery, lying and a host of other ‘crimes’ be wrong when a person is just doing whatever he needs to do to survive or get ahead? Trampling over other people in order to get what we want should be the first law of evolution and be essential to our make up. For example, if I want to be selected for a particular job promotion, what is to stop me from killing off all the others short-listed for the position? 

When I was debating this very point recently I was told that since we no longer live in the cave-man days we no longer have to kill or be killed. We have a measure of stability in our society and this allows us to to develop a pack mentality, so that it is no longer about what is good for the individual, but is now about what is good for the pack - or for society I presume. This apparently gives us room to care for people, to have compassion for our fellow human beings and even to show sympathy and empathy. I genuinely think it is a clever argument, but there is no denying that sympathy and empathy are enemies to evolution and could potentially destroy the 'pack' if we lose sight of the 'survival of the fittest' mentality. What would Huxley have to say about this?

Well, Huxley stood his evolutionary ground whilst promoting his humanist ideology. He claimed that humanism was a replacement for religion, but he made no bones about how we should further advance our society and didn’t shy away from the uglier side of evolution. In 1926 he published a collection of articles in a book entitled The Stream of Life. The articles had formerly been broadcast by Huxley over the radio - this surprises me, because I think it takes some gall to express his ideology publicly. Huxley told his audience exactly how we could improve the human race.

"But what are we to think when pity for suffering individuals leads us not only to preserve them, but to allow them to reproduce and so not only to lower the quality of the race, but to produce more suffering in individuals yet unborn? What is one to think of the misplaced kindness which, to give an actual recent case, takes an epileptic woman to hospital to be operated on to remedy sterility; or the sentimentality which rejoices at the 'happiness', so called, generated by the marriage of two deaf mutes?"[i]

Here, I think, would be an appropriate time to bring up the actual joy generated by 'the marriage of two deaf mutes' (although I would never choose to use the phrase 'deaf mute'). In the 1960’s a London Newspaper ran an article entitled: ‘Deaf Couple Marry’ which detailed the marriage of my own parents.

My parents met at a London deaf school where sign language was forbidden and deaf children who persisted in this deviant language were shunned by society, because apparently the ‘waving around’ of their hands made them appear mentally ill.

The education my parents received focused mainly on manual skills and speech therapy and therefore they left school with barely any education. My father had a qualification in woodwork and my mother a qualification in cake decorating. When they married my parents were not allowed to make their marriage vows to one another in sign language, but instead had to struggle to speak their vows orally to each other.

Despite their disadvantages they were hard workers and determined to build a good life together. Some years later my parents 'reproduced' two very healthy hearing children who went on to marry and have hearing children of their own. Their first grandson, Benjamin grew up adoring his grandparents and communicating with them in sign language. He was inspired by the determination and courage with which they faced life. Today he is in his 4th year as a medical student at Imperial College London - one of the top medical schools not only in the UK, but also in the world. Their second grandson, Joseph 17 is currently gathering work experience so that he too can study medicine - if this is what God wills, and guess what their 11 year-old grand-daughter wants to do? I am not saying that this means our family has more value than anyone elses, I am merely pointing out that doing away with the ‘undesirables’ is not progressive!

I'd like to put this real life example to Julian Huxley and ask him how the marriage and reproduction of my parents actually weakened the human race and how, in the face of what they have achieved, he can justify his comments recommending that society should be 'segregating defectives in special institutions' and forcibly sterilising them.’[ii]

Growing up and studying World War II at school I realised that had my parents lived in Germany at that time they most likely would have ended up in the gas chambers since the ‘cleansing’ that Hitler and Nazi Germany practiced was in alignment with Huxley's eugenic ideas. Joe Boot, author of A Time to Search cites historical philosopher John Koster who wrote:

"Darwin and Huxley's picture of man's place in the universe prepared the way for the Holocaust...Darwin the scientist directly inspired Nietzsche’s superman theory and the Nazi corollary that some people were subhuman...People have to learn to stop thinking of other people as machines and learn to think of them as men and women possessed of souls...History doesn't need another one hundred million deaths to prove that scientific atheism is a form of mental illness.”[iii]

Eugenics is the logical outworking of evolution. I can see why on paper the ideas make sense and might sound like ‘progress’. I can also see why people who argue against this sort of ideology might be considered to be ‘feeble minded’ – something Huxley and the early proponents of evolution despised but what you see in the Nazi concentration camps is eugenics in action. The devaluing of human life flows from the atheist position of rejecting the teaching of the Bible that tells us that people are made in the image of God and therefore all life is precious. Instead life is expendable and killing of the defectives, undesirables and weak is to be applauded. The Nazi concentration camps brought these ideas into sharp focus and taught us that such ideas have consequences and these consequences would frequently come back to haunt us.

My grandmother, who was not a believer, told me that she was glad she didn't know that my mother was going to be deaf because if she had she would have made a terrible mistake and would have aborted her baby as an 'act of kindness'. My grandmother had no time for God, but she had unwittingly absorbed Darwinian ideas, which she didn’t fully understand but believed that they gave her license for her atheism. Millions of other people have hung their atheism on the same ‘respectable peg’ for as Richard Dawkins said, ‘Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.’[iv]

The teaching of Christianity is in direct contrast to the harsh demands of evolution leading to eugenic ideologies and it is no wonder that Hitler himself rose up to declare:

"I regard Christianity as the most fatal, seductive lie that ever existed.’[v]

I find it hard to believe that anyone would claim that Adolf Hitler was a Christian. I do not deny that he was born a catholic, but it is clear that Hilter’s intention was to wipe out Christianity.

"Altogether Hitler’s killing machine murdered 5 million Jews, and 7 million Christians — a little published fact that caused Jewish historian Max Dimont to declare that “the world blinded itself to the murder of Christians” by Nazi Germany.”[vi]


I have no doubt that many supporters of evolution do not hold to the extreme eugenic ideas of the likes of Huxley, or Hitler for that matter, but I truly believe that for the evolutionist there is not a lot of ‘wriggle room’ here. As Edward Simon said (1983), “I cannot deny that the theory of evolution, and the atheism it engendered, led to the moral climate that made a holocaust possible.”[vii].

I believe that the grace of God covered my family and that we are living proof that Huxley couldn’t have been more wrong – I absolutely do rejoice over the happiness brought about by the marriage of my wonderful deaf parents.

© Kim Sandy 2013

[i] Julian Huxley (1926). The Stream of Life, cited by Boot, J. (2002). A Time to Search: Discovering meaning and purpose in life, Eastborne, Kingsway Publications, p.106.

[ii] Ibid., p.106

[iii] John P. Koster, Jr,.The Atheist Syndrome (1989), cited by Boot, J. (2002). A Time to Search: Discovering meaning and purpose in life, Eastborne, Kingsway Publications, p.111

[iv] Dawkins, R. (1989) The Blind Watchmaker, London, Penguin Books (this edition 2006), p.6

[v] Alolf Hitler, cited by Larry Azar, Twentieth Century in Crisis (1990), Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, p.155.

[vi] Dimont, Max I (1994) cited by Bergman (2006) in ‘Was Adolf Hitler a Christian: A common objection to creationism.’ [online] available at  (last accessed 22nd June 2013).

[vii] Edward Simon, "Another Side to the Evolution Problem," Jewish Press, January 7, 1983, p. 248

Picture of Juilian Huxley: The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: his image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Slippery Slope of Progress

Recently I got into a debate with a sharp minded student who claimed that sexually, anything between two consenting adults was okay....anything. Sex before marriage, sex with multiple partners, sex between same sex couples...he was adamant. What goes on in private between consenting adults is their business and nobody elses. This statement fascinated me, 'surely you don't believe that?' I said, but he firmly stood his ground - he believed that ANYTHING between consenting adults was fine. Eventually, in an effort to make him reconsider his position the I asked, 'so, if a consenting mother wanted to have sex with her consenting adult son, you would say that was fine?'  His face dropped a little, and he immediately looked uneasy, but he held his position and looked me square in the eye while he  rather slowly and   unconvincingly answered, 'yes'.

You see, this is where moral relativism gets us. If we truly believe that there are no moral absolutes, and what's right for me is right for me and what's right for you is right for you, we end up with very vague guidelines for morality. We assume that as part of our social contract we are all on the same page and that we can all rub along nicely...but beliefs like this open the door for all sorts of craziness! How can you possibly say that incest is wrong if you truly believe that anything between two consenting adults is fine.

I thought about this for a while and decided that perhaps the student could have argued that incest was wrong because it is against the law. That would at least give him legal ground for repelling this act? But then I thought was not so long ago that Homosexuality was illegal...what happened there? The law is not a long suffering or  loving parent - when its children flout the boundaries, the law just changes the boundaries. So by that token it would appear (call me a prophet if you like!) that on the basis of our society's belief that there are no moral absolutes, we would have to change our law to make incest between consenting adults fully acceptable. Anyone with anything to say against this would be shut down as sexually repressed, backward thinking, and biophobic - or whatever the phrase is that we will come to use to describe those against incest.

So again, society will be brainwashed into believing that maybe we were a bunch of sexually repressed fuddy duddies at the beginning of the 21st Century. Those of us who don't like being portrayed as the village idiot will have to toe the line.  So get ready people - you think it will never happen, you think intelligent moral people won't stand for it, but incest is making its way into your life and into head. Trust me.

The student I was debating with listened to me and then tried to wriggle out of his own argument by saying that perhaps incest would not be acceptable between family members because sex might be used as a controlling force, but I insisted that in this mother and son scenario sex was only  expression of love and so he had no choice but to concede - 'well in that case, yes' he said 'sex between a mother and son is okay then.' He left me utterly flabberghasted when he added, 'it's progress.'

So not even two weeks later I am stunned to find an article on the net where a father has been sent to prison for having an incestuous sexual relationship with his consenting adult daughter, but rather than skulk away in shame the pair are furious - this is their buisness and nothing to do with anyone else. In the same article twin brothers talk about their sexual relationship with each other as 'not harming anyone'...

Personally I believe that every single human being has a sense of what is right and wrong because God has written his moral law on our hearts, but Satan who is the God of this age, is true to form - getting people to question God. Is God right, why shouldn't you accept incest? Society - who says there is no God - can claim to be moralistic, but without a moral law giver you are left with moral relativism and this, as we can see, leads us into utter depravity. More brainwashing going on here?

"Although they claimed to be wise, they became utter fools." Romans 1 : 22

Getting off on the wrong foot

Love them or Leave them?

Sometimes I wonder why it takes ‘experts’ so long to see the nose on the end of their faces. I don’t wish to be rude but this week I have heard that a study has discovered that children who are happy at home do better at school. Well that stands to reason doesn’t it? Come on people.

Now the news tells us that the riots in England during 2011 are actually our fault…there are 500,000 ‘forgotten families’ out there.[1]

Issues such a poor parenting, difficulties with reading and writing, unemployment, and what to do with young offenders were all named as elements of the ‘complex causes’ for the rebellion and hopelessness we saw on our streets last year.

I then hear Christians nobly wanting to take up some of the blame – it's our fault for not impacting our communities. The solution? They want us to offer more to the less educated and poorer families. Let’s give them education, lets give them debt advice, literacy classes, job interview skills and help with their CV’s…

Please don’t get me wrong – my heart aches for the desperately miserable and futile lives that some people have but what we really have to ask ourselves is do they care?  This week I read an article about a man who sawed off his own foot because he didn’t want to go to work![2] Rather extreme? You haven’t heard the full story yet! He then takes his foot and cooks it in the oven just in case anyone tries to sew it back on again. When the medical team reach him they rush for the foot and find it too burnt to do anything with.

Now, who’s fault was that?

Christian’s have got to realise that no amount of job club help will change the heart of this man. No amount of counselling can turn a bad parent into a good parent. No amount of ‘hand holding’ can stop an ex-offender from returning to his or her old ways. So what do we do?

Well it seems that Christians (in general) do two things:

  1.  They do nothing. They retreat into their churches and moan about the state of the world and how wicked it has become. They think up strategies to keep the lead on their roofs and the lead in their hearts! They ‘preach the gospel’ in the good old fashioned style that they were brought up with. Thee’s and Thou’s and then they worry about the wrong sort coming into their church (Personally I don't think they have much to worry about!). While we were on holiday we attended a church in the UK only to find all the doors locked – despite the fact that the notice board announced a 10.30am service every Sunday. We left, but my husband returned again that evening at 6.30pm for the evening service. The same thing happened but this time as he tugged away at the door handle the door opened and a gentleman asked him what he wanted. After a short discussion the man at the door allowed my husband (a pastor!) to come in saying, ‘we have to be careful, you can’t be too sure who you’re letting in these days.’ THAT my friends should make you weep. 

  1. But we’re not all like that. Some of us are so desperate to shrug off the stuffy middle-class respectable Christianity that is so off-putting that we go the other way entirely. They did ‘services’ and ‘bible rallies’ – we do ‘projects’ and ‘community action.’ Reading classes, parenting classes, counselling, housing, homelessness….we have a finger in every pie and we feel soooo  much better for it.

Do you know what, its not about us feeling good! It’s about us feeling UNCOMFORTABLE. This world is not our home – why do we expect it to be such a polite and nice society when it has rejected God and rejected the only real Hope it has? Should this world be better off because we’re here being salt and light? Sprinkling our fairy dust over everything we touch? Making everything better?

Doesn’t  your heart bleed for the mess we are in?

THINK ABOUT THIS. If a woman rejects Christ what will she teach her children? If those children grow up with no regard for their creator or for their souls then what will that do to their characters? What will become of their moral values? If those children grow up to have children of their own then what will they teach their children?

Do you not understand that … “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3 : 1 – 5).

I’m not saying do not help them – its obvious they need help – but how do you help them?

I recently heard of two Christian brothers who took clothes to the very poor and needy of society. This was meant to be a gift of great love and compassion – instead it turned into a brawl where the men themselves were pushed aside as people 'helped themselves' to the clothes. (Lovers of themselves…ungrateful…without self control).

I recently heard of a church who set up a centre to help the homeless in our society but was ripped off so many times that they have been forced to stop giving out money or gifts. The help that they now offer (non-financial) is scorned and rejected ( brutal, proud, without love slanderous).

A young drug addict asks a pastor to borrow £20 so that he can get to his job interview and when the pastor refuses he is abusive. When another young man asks to borrow £20 to go to a job interview the Pastor gives him the money and the young man spends the next six months avoiding him so that he doesn’t have to pay the money back…

A woman stands outside the church complaining that she has no food to feed her kids. She asks for money but the church take five bags of shopping to her house. She is disappointed. There are no children in the house – they have apparently been removed by social services – but she’ll keep the food anyway and come to church next week. She is never seen again.

You see – there are lots of projects and groups set up by society to provide social action. What makes Christians think they can do it better than anyone else?  It’s not really ‘help’ that most people need. In fact if you give them ‘help’ they get annoyed…unless it’s help getting a flat (can you pay the first months rent?) or in keeping a flat (can you pay the arrears?) or in getting a car (can you find me a brilliant car for next to nothing….and erm, could you pay for it to?) or in entertaining their kids (I love this bible club, can’t you run it every day for the whole of the summer holidays) they will take all that you give provided you don't give them Christ (how dare you shove your religion down my daughter’s throat. She’s praying and talking about Jesus now – you’ve got a cheek!). They are happy for you to help with their children’s education, (You’re a maths teacher aren’t you – can you help my son pass his 11+?) and they would be so grateful if you would 'bend the rules' and help them with their children's education (I know I haven’t been coming to church that regularly  but I promise to come from now on, can you sign my daughter’s form so she can go to that nice church school around the corner?)

As a Pastor’s wife I have been used and abused and kicked myself many times. I've been caught out more times than I can tell you. My heart wants to help but I have come to realize that people are like slot machines….they promise you a big jackpot, but all you end up doing is feeding the machine and losing all your money!

So what do we do?


Jesus looked at Jerusalem and wept. He didn’t set up a project…well no, actually he did in a way….’Go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and the Holy Spirit.’ This is what our society needs! They need the Saviour!

Do you not understand that if a man finds Christ he finds purpose?

Do you not understand that if a woman finds Christ she becomes a new creation?

Do you not understand that it is Christ who changes the heart and mind of a person?

Do you not understand that the Holy Spirit convicts and changes people so that they turn their backs on their old ways and embrace the values of Jesus?

I say this with conviction because I come from a family that was radically changed by Jesus Christ. My parents found Jesus when I was 3 years old. My parents are both deaf and left school with a certificate in cake decorating and a certificate in woodwork. My father used to sit me on his knee and tell me bible stories from a big green book. He made them exciting and wonderful. Whenever he learned a new story from the bible he would tell it to me. I can remember sitting down one day at about 5 years of age when my dad decided we should start thanking God for our food. That Christmas my mother packed up all my old toys and we gave them to a charity raising money for children in Africa who had no food. Christ changed our thinking and our attitudes. When we went on holiday Dad said we had to leave our caravan spotlessly clean when we left – so that people would see that Christians are thoughtful people. When I accidentally came home with a packet of crisps that I hadn’t been charged for, Dad walked back to the shop with me so that we could tell the shop-keeper and pay for them. When I grew up and had my own son he one day came home from Tesco on the day that they introduced scary self-service tills. Keen to have a go he scanned all his items and came home – without paying. He had forgotten that bit! When he went to give us the change he realized he still had the £20 that we had given him so we went back to the store to pay. The manager said ‘are you mad? You could have gotten away with that….but erm….well done for your honesty.’ That manager had a job, he clearly had intelligence and had done well to become a manager but his values were not Christ’s values. Scratch the service of every 'decent' person and you’ll find you don’t have to go very deep before you find a deceitful rebellious heart.

CHRIST can change a society – if you want proof of that you only have to look at what happened in the Welsh revivals….pubs closed down, crime went down, churches were fit to burst…

Please Christians – don’t try to patch up society – however well-meaning you may be. It’s like putting a plaster on the stump where the guy just cut his foot off! People need Christ. Love them by all means – but love them enough to tell them about the Saviour.

Do you mind if people rush out of your church at the end of the morning service so they can have a quick smoke? Do you go out of your way to welcome the ex-offender who has found Christ in prison. Will you welcome him into your fellowship without telling everyone to watch their handbag? What about that nice young couple who tell you so cheerfully that today is the anniversary of the first day that they moved in together? That 18 year old pregnant girl – do we really want our teens mixing with her? What will you do with that young man who tells you he couldn’t get to church last Sunday because he stayed up too late sniffing cocaine and was in not fit state that morning?

 LET THEM IN….You CAN be sure of who you let in these days, they will be broken, damaged, people who have lived lives without Christ. Do not expect them to be squeaky clean and respectable… When they tell you things about themselves that would make your grandmother’s hair curl, understand that this is what a life without Christ looks like. Your challenge my friend, and your ultimate privalege will be to see what a life transformed by Christ looks like. Have you seen it happen yet?

[1] BBC news, 27th March 2012,
[2] Sky News, 26th March 2012,