Rev Dr Giles Fraser, St Mary’s Newington

Has anyone mentioned Pentecost? The Holy Spirit is the breath of god (guaranteed virus free). The theological distinction between the holy spirit and the breath of god is incredibly important. It’s so very, very relevant that I’m basically going to ignore the news and just go on about creation (excluding the virus), god, Jesus, the holy ghost/spirit/breath, and how fantastic they all are. All in a completely non proselytising way as demanded by the remit and strict editorial standards of TFTD.

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

  1. I think it may be the case that if you thought you were following this, you weren’t paying attention.

    ” Everyone is worried about what gets passed on by breathing. Jesus talked of passing on the holy spirit by breathing on people. There’s even a prayer which has to be said in rhythm with breathing. Therefore Jesus and the Pentecost are oh so relevant.”

    That was my attempt at understanding it. I fear I might have had to leave some evidence out to get something even that coherent.

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  2. En passant, I’ll happily redefine terms (ghost == spirit == breath….) and claim some parts are metaphors as and when it suits me.

    Rhythmic breathing can itself help to induce calm or anxiety (depending on how it’s done) – the cynic in me feels that it would be possible to craft a ‘prayer’ (or mantra or political slogan or…) to trigger mild hyperventilation ans a sense of euphoria and mislead the gullible into believing it’s spiritual. — Surely not !!

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    1. Surely yes, yes and yes. Singing hymns is just that. Singing causes mild anoxia giving a feeling of light headed euphoria which is misinterpreted as the touch of the holy spirit … and the repetion of religious phrases which rhyme and scan ensures that the messages get ear wormed into the brains of the worshipers. Powerful organ music adds to the overall effect of the mind altering activity.

      So next time you hear hymn singing remember how sinister and controlling the practice is. I am surprised that the priests and clerics have not resorted to adding intoxicants or hallucinogens to the sacremental crackers and grape juice to highten the so called spiritual experience. Oh wait … there is alcohol in the bloody wine.

      And praying especially on masse in church is not intended by the clerics and priests to be communication with god as everyone beleives. No, it is actually just a nasty way of getting gullible folk to self indoctrinate. The clerics know god is not listening and know equally well that praying reinforces in the minds of the prayees exactly the indoctrination the clerics desire, in fact need, to keep the congregants coming back for more and with more tythes with which to enrich the church.

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      1. “I am surprised that the priests and clerics have not resorted to adding intoxicants or hallucinogens ”

        Incense might be a mild intoxicant.

        “The clerics know god is not listening and know equally well that praying reinforces in the minds of the prayees exactly the indoctrination the clerics desire”

        That implies a level of intelligence that I seriously doubt. Successful religions prosper through a process of social evolution. Those that get the combination of factors right, thrive. Those that get it wrong, wither.

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  3. In the current climate, the thought of an IMF, or any other supernatural entity, breathing into my mouth and lungs is deeply creepy and alarming. Completely the opposite to what Giles no doubt thought he was conveying to us. But then, like all his fellow Christians, he is incapable of understanding what ‘being alive’ actually means. He cannot move beyond the pre-scientific idea that there are such things as ‘spirits’; and that these are somehow inserted by the IMF into…into what? Our brains, I suppose. (So how does the divine breath fit in, hey?) Really, the whole thing is beyond rational discourse.

    And the members of those Eastern Churches must have remarkable breath control if they can recite the first part of a prayer while breathing in. Try it.

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  4. Crikey Giles, this was way out there. Using a reference to Scooby Doo is a bit daft from a religious point of view as any viewer of the show knows that each episode always starts with some kind of unexplained ghostly mystery before the denouement where no ghosts are ever involved and the mystery is explained using real facts. That is a bit like all the bible stories, such as the one you reference in Genesis where you assert god breathed life into creation (like that really happened!!). Once you understand a bit of how the world really works all those holy breath stories are exposed as just that – made up stories that can be explained. Thanks Scooby!
    And in this Covid crisis discussing Jesus breathing on people sounds almost as bad an idea as his views on hand washing discussed not that long ago.

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    1. Forgot to add that Giles and his fellow believers in an IMF should have a new catchphrase – “And I’d have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling scientists!”

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    2. I bet Jesus had halitosis. I mean, there was no Colgate ring of confidence, Signal with its stripy hexaflouricine or Listerene. No, I bet his dentition was like a handful of dried nuts lodged in a malodorous maw.

      Hat tip to Hitchens.

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  5. @ peterhearty8361
    “That implies a level of intelligence that I seriously doubt. Successful religions prosper through a process of social evolution. Those that get the combination of factors right, thrive. Those that get it wrong, wither”.

    I think its wrong to complain that clerics and priests dont have the intelligence to work out that prayer is an effective way of conditioning / grooming / indoctrinating folk into religious belief. No doubt some clerics are a bit dim but clerics inhabit the full spectrum of intelligence. Gullibility and intelligence are not mutually exclusive.

    However, the act of organised praying probably evolved from basic fearful mutterings of primitive people millenia ago. That praying is a actually a useless process for conveying ones wishes to a god is I think well known to many clerics and equally well known to them is that praying does have two useful (to clerics) effects:-
    1) The person praying feels good after say praying for the victims of a disaster or some similar misfortune. And if something makes you feel good you will do it again regardless of the outcome.
    2) And in praying again and again the notion of god is further reinforced. And if you do something often enough you come to consider it as perfectly natural.

    And hence the process of indoctrination continues.
    Same with singing hymns. Praying and singing hymns are calculated to indoctrinate. Dont underestimate the scheming cunning of the clerics.

    And if there is a god do you really think he would want to listen to the discordant caterwauling of the average church congregation.

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    1. Although, having said that, I do think you’re being a bit cynical in attributing Machiavellian motives to all clerics. In my experience, many of them genuinely believe themselves what they’re telling their flock to believe. And they get just as high on the endorphins produced by rhetoric and music as their sheep do. (Although a surprising number of them seem to have no musical understanding or taste at all).

      So what’s worse: self-delusion or cynical exploitation? Both are good reasons to give religion a wide berth!

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      1. All. Who said all?

        And how can you give religion a wide berth when it impinges so heavily on everyday life?
        Assisted suicide.
        Anti Vax.
        Pro Life
        Homophobia.
        Indoctrination of children in faith schools.

        Just think about the devastating effect on everyone when the godly open their churches illegally and against scientific evidence for tranmission of the current pandemic.
        And in the USA Trump says to open the churches because they are an essential service.

        Religion really does poison everything.

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