Rev Dr Giles Fraser, St Mary’s Newington

And in the Big News Today from a Faith Perspective, Watership Down was on the telly. This tells us about upcoming environmental disaster. I know another story, can you guess? (There are no other stories that help to bind a society together: Watership Down and Jesus, that’s it.)

Listen/Read

8 thoughts on “Rev Dr Giles Fraser, St Mary’s Newington

  1. Yes. The logical leap was glaring. Humans are storytellers,stories bind people together, therefore my favoured stories are important and relevant. Some evidence for the last claim might have been useful. Maybe it was edited out.

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  2. “I believe in a story written so long ago that today, instead of claiming that it was all fact, and really REALLY happened (which, officially of course it is, and did) we don’t want to appear complete fools so we Christians talk about much of it as allegory – which also has the benefit of being malleable, so we can change the allegory as often as the wind (of social change, geddit?) changes.

    ‘Right, then. What better way to explain an allegory than with another allegory?

    ‘Sooooo…. there were these rabbits….’

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  3. “My Invisible Magic Friend made the entire universe for us humans.
    “There exist (though I can barely admit it without a little bit of sick gathering at the back of my throat) unbelievers in my magical world who think we’re a mere gathering of atoms, a meaningless collection of slime.
    “I know better, though – and proclaim so in all modesty – because it was all created for me. Still, that won’t stop me from chiding you for being self-important & self-centred.”
    Imagine the smug look on Giles’ face after this spewing of self-serving tripe.

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  4. Spot on, DeviousDave.

    Only believers can think and act compassionately and altruistically, whereas everyone else acts in self-interest.

    Giles is so up his own militantly pious arse he cannot see how self-contradictory and how clanging his us-and-them false dichotomies are.

    An utter fool. Still, his livelihood depends on peddling fuzzy fables and demonising atheists – no self-interest there, then.

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  5. This came across as no more and no less than a free advert, giving primacy for what Fraser admitted was no more than just one of many ways of looking at the world.

    Incidentally, from Wikipedia: “When asked in a 2007 BBC Radio interview about the religious symbolism in the novel, Adams stated that the story was “nothing like that at all.” Adams said that the rabbits in Watership Down did not worship, however, “they believed passionately in El-ahrairah”. Adams explained that he meant the book to be, “only a made-up story… in no sense an allegory or parable or any kind of political myth. I simply wrote down a story I told to my little girls”. Instead, he explained, the “let-in” religious stories of El-ahrairah were meant more as legendary tales, similar to a rabbit Robin Hood, and that these stories were interspersed throughout the book as humorous interjections to the often “grim” tales of the “real story”.”

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  6. Giles ran out of time before he could remind us that the main character of his fable also told his followers to “take no thought for the morrow”, and added that he had “not come to bring peace, but a sword…to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law”. And so on. There are plenty of Christians around who take this stuff literally, and indeed might well have used it as a pretext for digging up Watership Down in the first place.

    The close interconnection between all humans, and indeed all living things, is something that has been revealed by the science that Giles is so keen to put in its place, and not by his religion or any other. And it will be science that finds the solutions, if there are any, to the world’s problems, not the ever-finer “study” of ancient religious tales.

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  7. The problem again is one highlighted by secularism. Fraser is free to live his life by whatever myths he likes. What he isn’t entitled to do is to impose those myths on anyone else.

    A couple of days ago, I heard a Blue Peter presenter on Radio 5 say he didn’t consider himself religious because he saw his Catholicism as a way of life not a religion. He highlighted the absurdity when he volunteered that it was ” a distinction without a difference.” He really used that exact phrase.

    He’s free to classify his world view however he wants. What neither he nor his church are entitled to is to be taken seriously when he/they make such ridiculous statements, or expect that such a narrative should have any influence on the how the rest of us live.

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  8. Agree with all the observations above. It struck me that, if the “old stories” are to be told, they should be the accounts of groups like the Levellers, the Diggers (to some extent), the Chartists and the Trades Union Movement. All these were ‘people’s’ revolutions, and all were fiercely opposed by the Established Church. Yet their bid for common land, a wider franchise, improved working conditions and decent wages are far more akin to Giles’s scriptural ‘values’ than the landowning, property-managing, rentier institution of which he remains a faithful part.

    Ecological concerns are represented today largely by similar populist groups – their efforts are thwarted by big corporations; the sort that provide Giles’s wages.

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