Dr Elizabeth Harris, Honorary Research Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham

Petnapping is to become a crime. The Big Book of Magic Stuff says we should control animals, but just ignore that. Christians love fluffy animals. They are sentient, although not made in the image of the Invisible Magic Friend and they won’t go to heaven, so you can forget about spending eternity with your favourite pet.


7 thoughts on “Dr Elizabeth Harris, Honorary Research Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham

  1. ‘…Christianity has been accused of playing into the exploitation of animals, because there are several Biblical verses that stress human control over the animal world. Yet this is not the whole story; there is the dove that brings a sprig of vegetation to Noah, and… er…. well, that’s it. Oh, wait, animals are often seen surrounding St Francis, as in my lovely Margaret Tarrant pictures (even though he existed over a millennium after my BBOMS was written… but I think I got away with that one!).’

    So… no mention of the incalculably vast number of birds, goats, lambs and other animals slaughtered on the altars of Dr Harris’ IMF, which are recounted in grim and grizzly detail in her BBOMS, with entrails being cast about, and blood everywhere, and certain organs burned in one fire and other organs immolated in a different fashion. Even gentle Jesus’ mum and dad took sacrificial animal offerings to the temple in the New Tastymint, but Dr Harris strangely doesn’t mention them either.

    I’m afraid I don’t accept Dr Harris’ ‘news’ story as of sufficient value for TFTD, especially as one of her stated roles as a professional religious person is about ‘Public Understanding of Religion.’ It would have been enlightening to hear how Dr Harris understands her faith’s cover-up and prevarication over child-abuse; and even a thought or two about the damning report of child-abuse in all the other god-bothering institutions. But I expect there’s no point in holding our breath on that one; there’s no TFTD contributor that’s going to pick up that hot potato.

    Nul points for this effort.


  2. Yes, see above ^^^^^

    This was LITERALLY, “Look, a squirrel!!”

    Harris joins Pepinster in the roll of shame. And I suspect they’ll need to make room for others.


  3. I sent an email to the Today programme on Thursday asking that they make a direct suggestion to their regular TFTD presenters to comment from a religious perspective on the sex scandals in the news as this would fit perfectly to the premise of the slot. No reply of course.
    That the TFTD regulars never seem to address anything to do with negative stories about their religion, such as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, is what we have come to expect over the years. They all love to talk about trees, loneliness, Covid, the history of Sikhism, what a thoughtful chap the Pope is etc, but never face up to disturbing news that shows many in religious roles are no better than the rest of the human population when it come to moral worthiness. That they don’t i, I believe, a good reason to scrap the 2 minutes and forty five seconds wasted on the TFTD slot each day.
    If they want to leave a slot that explores morality each day but not from a religious position then I would be happy to see a mixture of religious and non-religious people really challenging us each day.


  4. Not only do they shy away from embarrassing stories about their own religion (with the occasional exception of Mona), they almost never diss anyone else’s religion either. Historically, both Catholics and Protestants have fervently believed that the other lot were going to hell; and we have just had the spectacle of the RCC agreeing to marry the Prime Minister and his latest paramour on the grounds that, in their eyes, his previous Anglican marriages were invalid. But one never hears a word about this historical schism from anyone on TftD. Clearly, any religion is better than none as far as most of this lot are concerned.

    As for our dumb friends, Dr Harris is of course correct that we shouldn’t anthropomorphise them; but like most people of religion, she appears to think that there is a clear distinction to be drawn between them and us. There isn’t; there is a continuum; and Darwin’s insight into the ways in which all living things are interrelated has done more to undermine religious dogma than any other single scientific development.


    1. A very good point, StephenJP. The RCC doesn’t recognise Anglican orders, and that made for a very uncomfy situation a few years back when Popie visited the UK and was due to meet the Queen – since, logically, she wasn’t a legitimate monarch. The old AB of C couldn’t anoint her as head of the church in 1953, and as Queen by divine right because he wasn’t a ‘real’ priest! I think it escaped most people’s attention that Her Majesty met the pontiff in Scotland; a very clever piece of diplomatic sleight of hand, as it significantly reduced the underlying but real insult to our Queen by the representative of a Christian sect that has declared her very office invalid. You couldn’t make it up.


      1. Only just caught up with this comment, Liverpudlian; many thanks for pointing out that bit of diplomatic sleight of hand, as you put it. I hadn’t clocked that before, and I will try to remember it!


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