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    Man has learned to cope with all questions of importance without recourse to God as a working hypothesis.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Letters and papers from Prison, 8 th June 1944


    Here we will look at some traditional arguments for Christianity. These are arguments that theologians have now generally disowned. They are nevertheless still popular. They may be refuted in various ways: by identifying an unwarranted premise or a faulty mode of argument, or by reductio ad absurdam: showing that a premise must be wrong if, using logical arguments, the implications of that premise are contradictory or absurd.



    The Point of Existence Argument

    Argument: If God did not exist there would be no point in our existence. Therefore he must exist.

    Refutation: There are two implicit assumptions here. One is that there can be a point to our existence only if there is a God; the other is that there is indeed a point to our existence. Neither is self-evident. The weaknesses of the assumptions can be shown up by using the same argument on something else: for example: if God did not exist there would be no point in the existence of sea slugs. But is there a point in the existence of sea slugs? And if there is, would there be less point to their lives if God did not exist? Unless one assumes the required conclusion (that there is a point to the existence of humans/sea slugs) then the argument simply falls down.

    What the argument boils down to is this: I do not want to believe that there is no God because the consequences do not suit me; therefore I will believe that there is one. Many believers will happily accept the argument, even when it is phrased like this.


    The Better than Animals Argument

    Argument: This argument was well put by Francis Bacon ".... certainly man is kin to the beasts by his body; and, if he be not kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature".

    Refutation: This is really just a variation of the preceding "Point of Existence" argument. We have to believe that we are somehow better than animals, because we do not like the idea that we are essentially the same as they are.

    We want to hold a special place in the Universe, so we have to believe something that confirms our uniqueness. The argument can be refined by pointing to abilities and aspects of behaviour that seem to be peculiarly human, and God-given. This is the next argument to be considered.


    The Human Uniqueness Argument

    Argument: Human beings are different from other animals, and the source of this difference can only be divine.

    Refutation: This is a substantial argument, which is worth considering in detail. It once appeared to be promising territory to hopeful Christians. Humankind did indeed seem to be vastly superior to animals in many ways. Humans had material souls that would, eventually, be scientifically proved to exist. Humans used tools and medicines, animals didn"t; humans were altruistic, animals were selfish; humans experienced emotions, animals didn"t; humans were self-aware, animals had no concept of self; human beings used language, animals did not; human beings were moral beings, animals were not. All manner of differences could be cited as evidence of human uniqueness: only humans fall in love, only humans cry, only humans farm other creatures; only humans decorate themselves with artificial ornaments, and so on. One by one these examples have been picked off.

    The claim that humans had material souls that could be scientifically proved to exist was never vindicated and has now been abandoned. It is not true that only humans use tools or medicines. Lowly butcher birds use thorns to butcher their prey, sea otters use stones to dislodge and break open shellfish, and many other animals use tools for other purposes. Animals use medicines too. A number of primates change their diet according to their health, and some animals even use recreational drugs such as the loco-plant. It is not true that only humans are altruistic. Many animals that live in communities are altruistic, baby-sitting, food sharing, taking risks to warn others of danger, and so on. By any standards, bees, wasps and termites are far more altruistic than human beings. It is not true that only humans experience emotions. Darwin himself wrote a book, first published in 1871, on the expression of emotions in man and animals, that shows how similar the expression of emotion is between species *.

    It is not true that all animals lack self-awareness. For example, chimpanzees and a few other higher primates soon learn to recognise themselves in mirrors. That they truly recognise themselves is demonstrated by the uses to which they put their mirrors, for example checking their teeth *. It is not true that animals do not use language. Octopuses and other cephalopods have a sophisticated visual language that to date has proved too complex for us to understand. Bees have a complex visual language too, communicating sophisticated information such as directions and distances. Dolphins have a sophisticated sound language, and so do many primates. Chimpanzees can understand human speech, but lacking suitable vocal cords they cannot articulate it well themselves, though they can generate it well enough using visual symbols. Neither is Christian morality much of a guide. If we use faithfulness as a moral criterion, we find that a number of species are more moral than human beings.

    Elephants demonstrate intelligence and empathy, and appear to mourn their dead.
    Like many other mammals they form strong family bonds.

    Unromantic as it is, the fact is that human love is indistinguishable from the pair bonding in many other animal species. Again, it is not true that only human beings cry tears: most sea mammals cry in the same way. Even the most peculiarly human activities turn out to be practised by other animals. Human beings are not the only ones to farm. Other animals keep other creatures for their own use: for example certain ants farm aphids for the honeydew they provide. Humans are also not the only animals to decorate themselves with artificial ornaments: primates do it, dolphins do it, and so do killer whales *.

    In short, there is no clear reason to believe that human beings are superior to other animals. Their intelligence is easily accounted for by evolution. In any case the putative argument falls down on other grounds. First, there are human beings who lack the facilities proposed as criteria. Babies do not use tools, medicines, or language; nor do they practise altruism; neither do they appear to possess self-awareness, nor knowledge of mortality and their emotions are indistinguishable from those of other primates; yet they are still human. So too for those rare children raised in isolation from human kind, and so too for many people born with various kinds of severe disability, yet they too are still human.

    Second, even if it was true that human beings are somehow different from other animals, there is still a long way to go to in order to establish the argument. Let us grant for the moment that only humans use fire, or blush, or understand negative numbers, or possess a sense of humour, or a conscience, or a concept of morality, or believe in sociology, or experience sexual orgasms. What then? What if we do have opposable thumbs, a slightly different bone structure in the upper jaw, and a unique larynx? Is this evidence of divine favour? Why? And why is the bat's radar not evidence of divine favour? Or the snake's infrared sensor? Or the chameleon's ability to change colour? Or an elephant's "fingers" on the end of its trunk? We see our own peculiarities as evidence of divine favour, but this proclivity is evidence only of our human egocentricity.

    If we look at other animals we are likely to discover, not that we are special, but on the contrary that we are remarkably similar to all other mammals. All mammal mothers suckle their young. We share much the same senses, if not always as well developed. We share the same basic anatomical structures: bones, muscles, nerves, blood, and so on. We eat, drink, breathe, excrete and reproduce like them. We even sleep like other animals, down to details like yawning when ready to sleep, experiencing REM sleep, snoring, and stretching our muscles upon waking up. We share the same instincts and reflexes. If we look at chimpanzees and other primates, resemblances are even closer. We move like them. We recognise their emotions, as they seem to recognise ours. When they are young, chimpanzees and children share many characteristics: they have the same grasping reflex; they complain about being weaned, they learn through play, they share an instinctive fear of snakes; they seem naturally to like climbing trees. Both human and chimp infants will go into temper tantrums in order to get their own way. The infants will tease each other and adults, and the adults will generally tolerate this, even doing some teasing of their own. Like all hominids, chimpanzees have tickle spots that correspond to those of human beings. When playing, chimpanzees make hoarse laughing noises that are recognisable to humans. Chimpanzees greet each other, slap each other on the back, embrace each other and even kiss each other. Golden monkeys are given to holding hands with each other.

    The closer we look, the closer primate societies resemble ours. Their social hierarchies are similar. Sexual activity is used for non-sexual purposes, for example to establish dominance. Even social patterns are similar. For example, in all human societies, as in all other primate societies it turns out that aggression is most commonly exhibited by young males. Chimpanzee mothers, like gorilla mothers and human mothers, tend to cradle their infants with babies" heads held to the left-hand side. We share conventions about showing respect. Both chimpanzees and humans will bow and even prostrate themselves in the presence of a superior *. Chimpanzees regard flesh as a special food, and they adopt different social conventions when they eat it. In human societies the most common eating taboos and eating rules surround the eating of meat and fish *.

    From a purely rational point of view there is nothing of importance that clearly sets humans apart from the rest of the animal world. And if there were, those who wish to use the human uniqueness argument would still need to demonstrate that such a characteristic could not be accounted for by some other mechanism, such as evolution.

    There are other difficulties with human uniqueness arguments, which first came to light when Christians started colonising the world. Were Native Americans human? Were black Africans human? Were chimpanzees and gorillas human? The answers seem patently obvious now, but they were not all obvious then, either to Christians or to anybody else. These difficulties were overcome by scientific taxonomies that are now universally accepted — so well accepted that to most people it now seems bizarre and insulting that such questions could ever have arisen. As so often, Christian teaching has followed science: all human beings (as classified by biologists) are credited with souls, and all non-humans (again classified by biologists) are denied souls. The problem seemed to have gone away, but it has not really. For example, what would be the status of a creature that is half-human and half-ape? For a Christian it opens up the same old problem about souls. If a mad scientist created such an animal would it have a soul? If not, what about a 3:1 cross, or a 15:1 cross? The problem simply will not go away.

    This difficulty can be dismissed as hypothetical. But other difficulties can not be. For example, for a long time fossil bones kept turning up that were classified as either human or animal — a fairly arbitrary and artificial distinction to scientists. During the latter part of the 20 th century it was established from the fossil record that a group of large-brained hominids, called Neanderthals, coexisted with Homo sapiens (modern humans) in Europe between about 40,000 and 30,000 years ago. Most anthropologists now consider that the Neanderthals were biologically distinct from modern humans, forming a separate human species, Homo naeanderthalensis (both Neanderthals and modern humans are thought to have evolved from common ancestors who lived more than 300,000 years ago). The discoveries about Neanderthals finally finished the old argument that God had created a unique immutable humanity to live on Earth.

    Furthermore, the uniqueness of Earth as the only planet with life on it is also in doubt. Life on Earth is much more common and pervasive than previously suspected. For example living organisms have been discovered to flourish without oxygen and in extreme conditions of temperature, acidity, pressure, and so on. Analyses of how commonly the types of conditions necessary for the development of life are likely to arise in the Universe — along with current knowledge of the age of the Universe and estimates of the length of time that any life-forms that develop might persist — suggest at least a moderate probability for the current existence of extraterrestrial life.

    All Christian attempts to place humanity at the pinnacle of God's creation have failed. Our planet is not the centre of the Universe: as far as we can tell, it is an insignificant backwater. It existed long before humanity appeared on its surface. It is very probably not the only place capable of supporting life. Humankind is in no way special, even on Earth. We have evolved like all other animals, but we do not sit at the top of an evolutionary tree, nor do we represent any type of evolutionary “end point”. There is nothing to suggest that, in the distant future, Homo sapiens (in common with other animal species, present and extinct, including Neanderthals) will be regarded as anything more than a temporary phenomenon that occupied a short "slot" within the continuing evolutionary timeline.


    The Numbers Argument

    Argument: Hundreds of millions of people are Christians. They cannot all be wrong. Therefore Christianity must be right.

    Refutation: The premise that large numbers of people cannot all be wrong is simply invalid. Vast numbers of people can believe the most obvious falsehoods. A few examples of things that many people have believed but most of us now regard as obvious falsehoods are: that God will give judgement through trials by ordeal, that illness is caused by sin or evil spirits, that comets are sent as divine warnings, that women are inherently inferior to men, and that Earth is flat. Further confutation may be found in the fact that hundreds of millions of people reject Christianity in favour of other religions. Indeed, more people reject Christianity than accept it. Whoever is right, it is clear that hundreds of millions of people can be wrong. The argument therefore fails.


    The Concept of God Argument

    Argument: The fact that we have a concept of God (and a name for the concept) shows that the concept has reality.

    Refutation: This is obvious nonsense, unless we are prepared to accept the reality of concepts such as elves, mermaids, unicorns, tooth fairies, non-Christian gods, and Father Christmas.

    There is a more refined version of the argument, which asserts that knowledge of God is inherent in humankind. Over the centuries theologians have tried to test this conjecture, but the only way to do so is to find whether people have any sort of knowledge of a divinity when they have never had the opportunity to hear about any gods. Occasionally, abandoned babies are adopted and raised by wild animals. If, as sometimes happens, they are subsequently captured, they can be taught a human language and then asked whether they have a concept of God*. The process is more problematic than it sounds because human language acquisition is difficult after early childhood. Even allowing for this, there has been a notable absence of any evidence of innate belief in any sort of divinity.


    Pascal's Wager*

    Argument: Either there is a God or there isn"t. If there is and we accept that there is then we are bound for Paradise, but if we fail to accept the fact, we are doomed to eternal damnation. If there isn"t a God we have nothing to gain or lose by acting as though there is. Therefore the safe and rational option is to believe there is.

    Refutation: This is an interesting argument, although the premises are questionable, and the implications are not all that Christian advocates might like. The first premise is that if there is a God we shall suffer for failing to believe in him. This is an extraordinary proposition, but it has been part of Christian teaching for centuries, so we will accept it for present purposes. The second premise is that there is no penalty for believing in God if God does not exist. This is clearly not true. Many people regard the intellectual dishonesty penalty enough, while others consider that belief in conventional gods, and especially the Christian God, to be empirically harmful in many ways, as we will see later.

    The question may be seen as one of probabilities. If the chances were say 50:50 that God existed (and that eternal salvation depended on belief in him) then Pascal's wager would be worth accepting. Indeed if the chances were only 1 in a 100, it would be worth taking. If the chances were only 1 in 1,000,000 it might still be worth taking. The difficulty arises because of the need for a subjective assessment of the probabilities, which determines the result. If one believes that the probability of the Christian God (or anything remotely like him) existing is smaller than the probability of some other (more extreme) God existing, then the rational option is to believe in the more extreme God, who would reward you more for believing in him, and punish you more for not believing in him. Of course, if the subjective assessment of the probability of any conventional god existing is nil, then the whole argument collapses completely. Once again the flaws in the argument are most clearly seen by applying it to something else, for example to the gods of most other religions. We could also apply it to any gods we like, however fanciful. For example, consider the Moon. We have nothing to lose by worshipping the Moon. On the other hand we have everything to gain by it, on the off-chance that the Moon is divine, suffers from a taste for earthly worship, and possesses a disposition to reward those who provide such worship and to punish those who do not. The argument inherent in Pascal's wager works as well for the Moon, or a thousand other putative divinities, as it does for the Christian God.


    The Steadfastness Argument

    Argument: Christian martyrs have shown such superhuman bravery and endurance in meeting their deaths, that their fortitude can only be attributed to divine assistance.

    Refutation: The premise here is that at least one Christian martyr has behaved in a superhuman way. Unfortunately not a single such death has ever been reliably reported. Even if we accept the most liberal estimates for orthodox Christian martyrs, then we find that heretics have died just as bravely and horribly, and in much greater numbers. Gnostic sects provide an example. The earliest Church historian mentioned the immense numbers of martyrs claimed by the Marcionite sect, a group who opposed the line now considered orthodox*. Other religions have many more (and better-attested) martyrs than Christians. Amongst them are pre-Christian Saxons, Cathars, Jews, and Shi"ite Muslims. Numerous modern fringe sects (like early Christianity and Shi"ite Islam) have clearly appealed to people who have actively sought martyrdom, a predisposition more indicative of their personalities than of divine favour.

    It is also worth noting that the reason we do not hear about putative Christian martyrs who changed their minds at the last minute is not that they did not exist. Many Christians renounced their faith under pressure, or avoided trouble in other ways, but later Christians conveniently forgot about their existence*. Tertullian tells us that whole communities of Christians avoided problems by the simple expedient of bribery. Whenever Christians have been put under real pressure they have apostasised (abandoned their beliefs) en masse. Cyprian for example reported mass apostasy, led by bishops, during early persecutions. Later, millions abandoned Christianity for Islam. Even monks, when put under pressure by their own Church, went off to join the Saracens*. Again, when the French Church came under pressure during the French Revolution some 20,000 priests agreed to be de-Christianised, along with 23 bishops.


    The Superhuman Sacrifice Argument

    Argument: Jesus" sacrifice was so much greater than any other human sacrifice that it must have been divine.

    Refutation: For this argument to be valid, its initial premise would have to assume the argument's conclusion (that Jesus was divine), because the only thing remarkable in Jesus" crucifixion was that he was (or was later alleged to be) God incarnate. By contemporary standards crucifixion was unremarkable. Numerous peoples practised it, including Persians, Scythians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Macedonians. Alexander the Great had crucified about 2,000 inhabitants of Tyre. The Romans generally reserved crucifixion for the dregs of society, and used it against those found guilty of all manner of treachery, including rebellion, desertion, spying, and even forgery. Crucified corpses were a normal decoration of city gateways and roads. Before a slave revolt in 71 BC, Spartacus crucified a prisoner in front of his troops to show them what they could expect if they lost. Spartacus and his slave-troops did lose and the survivors were subsequently crucified on some 4,000 crosses set up between Capua and Rome along the Appian Way. In 4 BC, some 2,000 Jews were crucified by Varus after disturbances in Galilee following the death of Herod the Great.

    Another argument sometimes voiced is that there was a uniquely special aspect to Jesus" death in that he deliberately and voluntarily subjected himself to the agony of crucifixion. But this is not convincing since many people have sacrificed themselves to similar prolonged painful deaths. For example some allied prisoners of war during World War II acted in a way that they knew would cause them to be crucified by their Japanese captors. Again, each year voluntary crucifixions are carried out on Good Friday in Manila, in the Philippines. For a long time people have volunteered to have themselves nailed to crosses there, to emulate their saviour. Most are taken down before they die, but not all.

    That the founder of the religion should die for his ideas is also commonplace. Religious leaders from Zoroaster to Joseph Smith and David Koresh have paid the ultimate price for their unconventional beliefs. Socrates, who denied the Athenian gods, chose death rather than exile as a punishment for his teachings.


    The Success Argument

    Argument: The success of Christianity over the centuries is evidence of divine favour.

    Refutation: There is no reason to suppose that any religion's success is attributable to divine favour. If it were then we would have to concede that God once favoured, amongst others, animism, then Zoroastrianism, then Buddhism, then Christianity, and now Islam. One might also wonder why, if Christianity enjoyed divine favour, it has been so badly fragmented for so long, and is becoming ever more fragmented, and why factions find it necessary to use violence against each other.

    Incidentally, this argument was popular in the early days when the Church was still growing fast. When Celsus accused Jesus of having been one of many frauds around at the time, Origen's only reply was that his movement was flourishing while others were reduced to a mere 30 faithful or fewer*. Muslims later used the same argument to prove the divine provenance of Islam, and millions of Christians seem to have accepted this proof. Within a generation of Mohammed's death in 632, Islam had superseded Christianity in Arabia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Within another generation it had taken most of Asia Minor. Within a century Islamic hegemony stretched from the Indus to Spain, leaving Rome and Constantinople isolated. Its spread was at least as impressive as that of Christianity a few hundred years earlier, yet Christians who apply the argument to Christian success are rarely willing to apply it to Muslim success.


    The Wonderful World Argument

    Argument: The beauty of the world is evidence of a benign creator.

    Refutation: In order to accept this argument it is necessary to be selective about what one considers. For example, compare a traditional Christian view with an equally selective one* :

    All things bright and beautiful,
    All creatures great and small,
    All things wise and wonderful,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each little flower that opens,
    Each little bird that sings,
    He made their glowing colours,
    He made their tiny wings.

    The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    God made them, high or lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

    The purple-headed mountain,
    The river running by,
    The sunset and the morning
    That brightens up the sky;

    The cold wind in the winter,
    The pleasant summer sun
    The ripe fruits in the garden,
    He made them every one;

    All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.

    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom,
    He made their horrid wings.

    All things sick and cancerous,
    All evil great and small,
    All things foul and dangerous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each nasty little hornet,
    Each beastly little squid,
    Who made the spiky urchin,
    Who made the sharks? He did.

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all.


    The point is a serious one. If we want to use nature as an indicator of God's disposition, then we need to consider cats torturing their prey, parasitic wasps like the ichneumonidae feeding inside living animals, jackals eating their prey alive, unborn sharks eating their siblings alive, viruses, progressive terminal diseases, innocent animals dying long painful deaths through gangrene leaving their young to starve, and so on. Those who know most about nature tend to agree that it is thoroughly amoral*. It therefore provides no evidence of a benign god of any sort.


    ... the Lord God made them every one


    The Best of all Possible Worlds Argument

    Argument: According to this argument, this world is the best of all possible worlds, even if there is suffering and evil in it.

    Refutation: This is not really a different argument; it is more like a defence to the refutation of the previous (Wonderful World) argument. In order to accept it we have to accept that this is the best of all conceivable worlds, even though it may not be apparent to us. A simple way to confute the argument is to imagine a world that is identical in every way, except that one small example of suffering was omitted. Here we have a better world, which an all-powerful God could have arranged for us instead of the one that currently exists.

    The argument is linked to a major philosophical problem (the problem of evil) that we will consider in more detail later on. Historically, the best of all possible worlds argument was once quite popular, and was espoused by Leibnitz in his Theodicée (1710).


    The Inspiration Argument

    Argument: Without belief in the Christian God it is not possible to lead a full or productive life.

    Refutation: Even if true this would not prove that God exists, only that there was some advantage to believing in such a being. In fact, there is no evidence that Christians lead more productive, successful or fulfilled lives than any other believers or than freethinkers*. On the contrary, a disproportionate percentage of freethinkers have excelled in many areas of life, and do not seem to have been any less contented than their Christian neighbours.


    The Need for Creation Argument

    Argument: The Universe cannot have existed forever, so it must have been created, and its creator must have been God.

    Refutation: There are several problems with this argument, which we shall discuss when we revisit it as a traditional philosophical argument. For the moment we note only that the argument suffers from a flaw common in the ancient world and identified by Aristotle. The problem is that the argument does not really answer the fundamental difficulty. It only moves it one stage back. Thus, if we are unwilling to accept that the Universe has existed from eternity, and that it must have come into existence at some time, and if we conclude that God must have been responsible, then we might ask the same question of God. Has God existed from eternity? If so, then why could the Universe not have existed from eternity as well? And if God has not existed from eternity, then we need to ask what existed before God came into existence, and we have an infinite series of such questions. We are in the same position of the ancients who wondered what kept Earth in place, and deduced that it was carried on the back of a gigantic tortoise. And what supported the tortoise? Four elephants. And what supported the elephants? Other animals, perhaps. Pushing back but never solving the problem is called regression of the explandrum. It is a hallmark of an unsatisfactory explanation.


    The No Disproof Argument

    Argument: No one has proved that God does not exist, and this must count as good evidence that he does exists.

    Refutation: It is indeed true that there can be no way to prove that God does not exist, but this does not in any way help to show that he does. To see why, we need only consider comparable statements. There is no way to prove the non-existence of any of thousands of other gods, or of fairies at the bottom of my garden: no way to prove that human affairs are not directed by extraterrestrial beings, no way to prove that the Sun is not an intelligent deity, and no way to prove that Father Christmas does not exist. The fact that we cannot disprove a statement provides no grounds in itself for believing it.



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    § ???????????????

    §. Charles Darwin, The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, C. A Watts and Co. ( London, 1934).

    §. For evidence of self awareness in chimpanzees and orang-utans see de Waal, Good Natured, pp 66-71.

    §. See de Waal, Good Natured, pp 70-1 and note 36 on p 230 for self-decorating animals. Other surprising animal practices are discussed in the same book.

    §. de Waal, Good Natured, p 99, see also pp 114, 126, 175, 176, 188 and 232.

    §. de Waal, Good Natured, p 138.

    §. For examples of so-called wild children, see Anselm von Feuerbach, Kaspar Hauser (1832, English translation Simpkin and Marshal, 1834); Jean Marc Itard, The Wild Boy of Aveyron, Appleton-Century-Crofts (1962); Harlan Lane, The Wild Boy of Aveyron, Harvard University (1976); Jonathan Miller, The Call of the Wild, New York Review of Books, 16 th September 1976. Babies could also of course be deliberately isolated for such purposes. A number of rulers had new-born babies raised without ever hearing human speech in order to see which language the child would speak naturally. Examples are King Psammetichos of Egypt (seventh century BC), the Moghul Emperor Akhbar Khan, Frederick the Great, Charles IV of France and James IV of Scotland.

    §. "Let us weigh the gain and the loss, in wagering that God is. Consider these alternatives: if you win, you win all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Do not hesitate, then, to wager that he is". Pascal, Pensées.

    §. Eusebius, The History of the Church, 5:16.

    §. Eusebius, The History of the Church, 6:41 and elsewhere, mentions a number who failed when their faith was tested.

    §. For example many Templar Knights in Spain went over to the Saracen camp after seeing what had happened to their French colleagues under Philippe-le-Bel. See Barber, The Trial of the Templars, pp 92 and 239.

    §. Origen, Contra Celsum, 1:57 and 6:11.

    §. The first is the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful, by Mrs Alexander, taken from Hymns Ancient and Modern. The second is from Monty Python's Life of Brian, Eyre Methuen, Python Productions Ltd (1979), ©Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.

    §. As Darwin himself put it “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice”. Francis Darwin (ed) 1888, Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, 3 vols (New York, Johnson Reprint Corp). 1969, vol 2, p 312.


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