8 thoughts on “Staggeringly Revd Nicholas Baines, Bishop of Leeds, West Yorkshire, the Dales and any other bits that can’t afford their own bishop any more

  1. And in the Big News today, Hans Kung has died…. who knew?

    Well, Baines evidently knew, but seems to have mixed up TFtD with Radio 4’s Great Lives. He forgets that seemingly household names from within one’s own profession may not be that well known outside it. Kung sounds a strong character, however, and to have been barred from his teaching post within the RCC is a commendable achievement (if ultimately futile). I was struck by Baines’s final quote from Kung – who evidently thought theology and dogma could not be discussed other than by those who truly lived the faith. He said that “Believing meant commitment; not just intellectual assent to a set of ideas.” Applying this view to the recent census and its section on ‘Religion,’ might have produced more significant statistics. Just ticking a box because you’re nominally from a faith tradition is otherwise a pretty useless (and misleading) bit of information. I certainly know that I am a practicing, fully committed and evangelical atheist – but could only tick a box saying ‘no religion.’


  2. Man who had humanist views but remained a Catholic dies.
    If “our common humanity is the starting point” then why even worry about different faiths at all. What a waste of an obviously intellectual mind to spend so much time delving into the possibilities of the supernatural rather than the real.
    On the subject of “What I Believe”, the Humanist UK What I Believe podcasts of the past year have been very good.


  3. Thanks Paul, and thanks for the link, Rev Dr Peter. I look forward to giving it a go.

    Hans Kung acquired his reputation as a bit of a maverick because of his support for women priests, gay rights and other nasty modern inventions that his RCC didn’t care for, not to mention his taste for fast cars and smart suits. But he clearly thought that only people of faith could have any opinions on religion worth engaging with. So he was really just as trapped and blinkered as those he quarrelled with.

    The obituary of Kung in The Times mentioned that in his early years at the University of Tubingen he was bosom buddies with Joseph Ratzinger, who became scandalised by the liberation movements of the 1960s and brought his own brand of intolerance through into the years of his papacy. Perhaps in the end they were a lot closer together than either of them might have imagined.


    1. But he clearly thought that only people of faith could have any opinions on religion worth engaging with.

      It’s an interesting one this. There is a way in which this is correct, which is that if the club that is a religion keeps itself within itself, doesn’t try to interfere with anything outside of itself, and of course doesn’t harm any of its members, then why shouldn’t they have the right to determine their own dogma? Like the various concepts of the Trinity. It’s all made up anyway, so one made-up version seems equivalent to another to me.

      Harry Potter fans might consider the unpublished details of the rules of Quidditch to be this or that, I’m not sure why anyone who isn’t into Harry Potter should be involved. Unless they start applying those rules to Rugby, in which case they can get ready for a fight.


  4. Maybe not Quidditch rules but there are several Harry Potter spells that would work in rugby.
    Ascendio – Propels someone into the air.
    Brackium Emendo – Heals broken bones.
    Engorgio – Causes rapid growth in the targeted object. This already seems to have occurred in many players.
    Expelliarmus – Forces an opponent to drop whatever’s in their possession.
    Ferula – A healing charm that conjures wraps and bandages for wounds. Useful for the sponge man.
    Locomotor Mortis – The Leg-Locker curse bounds the target’s legs. Good for tacklers.
    Wingardium Leviosa – Causes an object to levitate. Useful for the kicker.
    Riddikulus – Used to defeat a Boggart in Potter but used in rugby to describe the ears of those who have played in the scrum for several years.


  5. @Steve, that’s true, but not quite what I was thinking of. The whole of the Christian religion depends on very shaky – indeed, largely non-existent – historical foundations, and there are an increasing number of non-believing scholars who are prepared to point this out. Kung showed no sign of being interested in engaging with any such arguments.

    @Paul, that’s an interesting thought. I’m not that familiar with the full range of Potteresque imprecations, but there must surely be one to use against the many incompetent officials who are unaccountably biased against one’s own team.


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