Comment, comments, comments

I’ve turned moderation on for my comments for a couple of weeks. That means that if you post a comment, then I have to approve it before it gets posted.

It is probably worth saying right now what kinds of comments that will get deleted without question. (And I’ve received more than my fair share of these in the last week).

  • Comments which appear to be legitimate but whose posters’ details point to porn sites.
  • Comments which contain homophobic epithets. I’m open to intelligent discussion but I’m not running a site which allows people to get away with silly name calling.
  • Comments which claim to prove something by quoting a single verse taken out of context from the Bible. Scripture is too precious to me to allow that. This is a place where the Bible is loved and honoured and treasured. Comments which use it as a weapon are unwelcome.
  • Comments promoting one Bible translation because all the rest are flawed. Like quite a few people who comment here, my Greek and Hebrew are a bit rusty. However, it was worth learning them as I can now make up my own mind about such matters. Go thou and study likewise.
  • Comments promoting or trying to raise money for particular missionary societies.
  • Comments disparaging women and in particular comments which undermine my female colleagues. I learn about God from them.
  • Comments trying to explain Penal Substution as a theory of Atonement. I know what it means. I know how it works. We’ve already established that like most Christian people I don’t believe in it. It gets boring if you try to explain it to me again.

I think that those who have been reading for a while know that I quite like an argument and of all people, I’m unafraid of robust discussion. However, there are limits, which are mostly set by what I think those who like the sanity and the sanctuary of this corner of the web expect.

Unlike God, I have a button to click when I don’t like someone, which sends them straight to the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. If you post in any of the terms listed above, don’t be surprised if I use it. Don’t be surprised if I murmur a gentle blessing whilst doing so.

Comments on this post?

Most welcome.


  1. Rosemary says

    It is an extraordinarily difficult balancing act to get the mix or robust debate and safe debate correct. God bless you as you try to walk that tightrope.

    I do hove one particular bug bear. It is the word ‘sodomite’ for homosexual. I’ll tell you why dislike it. For a start, it assumes one particular sexual act is the driving motivation for homosexual men – which it is not. It assumes that all homosexual men enjoy it, which they don’t. It assumes that it is not a common practise in heterosexual relationships, which it is. It assumes it is always a detestable practise, whereas it seems to me to be a wholly neutral one – something sexually active couples may do, with love or with hatred, just as they may kiss with love or with hatred. Thus it is utterly unhelpful as a label.

  2. Hmmm. Obviously I would not perpetrate any of the above. Nor have I seen too many such comments here (presumably coming after any offences have been deleted). That said, there have been one or two comments left that, er, represent different viewpoints, and I have vague memories of a blessing kind of a response at one stage. So there is scope for discussion, and should remain so.

    I find list of logical fallacies amusing – talk about setting a high standard for debate 🙂

  3. Kelvin, I applaud you. Again.
    Rosemary, thank you for scripting what I have been thinking.
    And Tim, thank you for linking to this most diverting list…..

  4. Kelvin:

    I think a lot of the comments you’ve had in the past, and your gracious response to them, have certainly done little for the evangelical/homophobic cause. It’s laudable for you to give up gaining points in this “let all the poison hatch out” way for a more mature discourse.


    Not to be vulgar, but there are obvious anatomical reasons why said act may be more enjoyable for homo as opposed to hetero couples. But you did remind me of Stephen Fry’s comments, in Moab is My Washpot, that the “do you know what these people do?” homopobic rhetoric is in reality a cover for the real objection to same-sex romantic love.

  5. David |daveed| says

    Thank you Rosemary. May I add that this false word has permeated many of our modern languages, it is sodomia in Spanish. The scriptures speak of the sin of Sodom as being inhospitality in all of its repugnant forms, not a particular sex act.

    The only way to remove this falsehood perpetrated in a word, is to stop its use, when possible.

  6. serena says

    Good luck and God bless seems to sum it up for me.

    Looking forward to all the discussion that comes out of this.

  7. Everything in moderation 🙂

    Sorry to hear that it’s gotten abusive Kelvin. There’s a lot of eedjits out there (and it takes one to know one…)

    I did feel a note of irony of your third bullet point “comments which use [the bible] as a weapon are unwelcome” when I thought of this verse from the letter to the Hebrews:

    “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    (full chapter is here:;%20Revelations%201:16;2:12;&version=31😉

    I think the word of God should humble and elicit respect from Christians even when it is spoken with ignorant intentions. (I think of David refusing to strike the Lord’s anointed, or putting up with the humiliation of someone who might be cursing him and his men prophetically!)

    If the words of Scripture are painful to us we must take seriously the possibility that it is the pain of conviction of sin. It may be the misuse of scripture which is painful, and we should counter it as Jesus did when being tempted in the desert: that is, with a correct representation of Scripture.

    And if God is using his double-edged sword to “prune” us, we should welcome that, despite the pain, because we trust that he promises even greater fruit as a result of this pain.

    It got me thinking about how God’s word is indeed a weapon, and how the rhetoric of war is so prevalent in the bible. It resonates with me that Jesus came to wage war on sin: to tie up the “strong man” and carry off his possessions.

    There is a conflict between the holiness of God and the fallenness of mankind which still plays out today, either within us our in external circumstances. Jesus came that we might experience the peace of God, but understood that in order to have that ultimate peace, a war must first be waged. I believe he dealt the master-stroke on the cross, against which there is no effective comeback, but still God allows us to take part in the final stages of that conflict in order to understand the value of what he has done for us through Christ Jesus.

    The discerning Christian should identify on which front the daily battle should be fought, (prayerfully following the guidance of his Captain) and not balk at the unpleasant necessity of conflict: Jesus didn’t.

    We ought to take hope from the knowledge that it is God’s intention that we should be engaged in battle, actively seeking to protect ourselves with his armour and being prepared for going on the offensive with his weapons.

    Do you agree with these sentiments, or would you put a different interpretation on the above?

  8. Barbara says

    On looking down your list of unpleasantries I can well understand you having to resort to the vetting procedure. One which distressed me even more than the others was the sixth item – disparaging comments about women and in particular your female colleagues. Women who have been called to the Ministry have suffered deplorably.

    This may be an opportunity to say that it was a delight, when all the debating about women bishops was going on, to read your article English Episcopate July 7th. The article, and one comment in particular from Kenny, were music to the ears. Thank goodness the Scottish Episcopal Church can be forward enough to give this kind of encouragement.

  9. Actually Beat, I think that people flinging Bible verses at one another out of context as though they prove a point, is silly and boring rather than something which has any cosmic significance.

    I’m very suspicious of military metaphors being used in a religious context. This might have something to do with my growing up in the Salvation Army. It might also have something to do with the tabloid hysteria about Jihad – Holy War in the Muslim tradition. It might be all kinds of things. Of the many complex and fascinating images that are in the bible, those which use violence to advance any religious cause are pretty far down the list of those I would meditate on.

    Clearly, St Paul and/or the writer to the Hebrews thought that the Christian task was to be enaged in fighting battles and in waging wars.

    Equally clearly, those are not metaphors which motivate me.

  10. Beat Attitude: observe that the first word in your quote of Heb.4:12 is not “sword” but “For”. Therefore you cannot dissociate that verse with those preceding it. Indeed the idea to which “for” refers might be the entering of God’s rest back in v1.

    “It resonates with me that Jesus came to wage war on sin”

    Not with all of us, though. I have my concerns about the language of “Jesus came” there; I dispute that “sin” was the target of his mission (least of all whatever we choose to label as sin *today*) so much as institutionalized corruption (look at who he hung out with and who he slagged-off, after all!); therefore there is no need of the term “war” in the middle either.

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