Ex-Rev Canon Angela Tilby, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford

And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, St Francis loved fluffy animals and invented science. Science, which was invented by us, has discovered that the environment is in danger. Religion agrees with this, therefore it is correct. That’s the scientific method.

Isn’t the pope, and various other religious leaders, just fantastic?


9 thoughts on “Ex-Rev Canon Angela Tilby, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford

  1. The Ex-Rev tells us that her St Francis’ enthusiasm “motivated some to study nature” which is the basis of science. Too bad, though, that “in time a more detached approach” was developed aka less gullible and without any IMF-related assumptions.
    Her ending “Faith and science in agreement” belongs to a pre-Enlightenment age where religions could freely claim all they liked without having to fight their corner. It’s too bad that IMFs shrink as unbiased scientific inquiry grows.

    As for ‘isn’t poverty fantastic’, personal wealth may be distasteful to a monk but what are families supposed to do? If they have any spare wealth, should they give it to the filthy rich RCC?


    1. Reminds me of a comment made by Rick Wakeman [about Jon Anderson]

      “He’s trying to save the planet … by living on a completely different one”

      Good comments by all here (as usual). I’ve settled into a sort of anger fatigue where I still notice, but react less to the usual spiel of:

      1) BBoMS / IMF says “Don’t do this – because I say so – do that instead”

      2) Science / society / cultural evolution arrives at “Doing this is a good idea, because X,Y,Z ; doing that is ineffective / pointless / bad because …”

      3a) Religious extremists stick to (1) and actively persecute others
      3b) Religious moderates grudgingly and slowly accept (2) – often with resistance along the way

      4) A TFTD talking head says “Doing this is fine, science says so – but our BBoMS / interpretation of IMF knew it all along, so science is just agreeing with religion’s innate wisdom”

      5) Occasionally (and Jonathan Sacks was the prime example) we get the “Science was wrong in this one tiny part, therefore it’s all wrong and religion is right”


  2. Piggyback (verb) : To use something that someone else has made or done in order to get an advantage.

    Once again Angela’s church, in all its various denominations is shamelessly riding the achievements of others, to which it has contributed nothing – rather the opposite – in a desperate attempt to appear not only relevant but that it’s right up there in the centre of the action.

    ‘Religion is in agreement with science’ is a meaningless claim if one takes seriously the teachings of Angela’s BBoMS. According to her scriptures this world is of no importance; believers are urged to focus on the Kingdom, the coming of which is imminent (not my interpretation, but the church’s own understanding of its apocalyptic fate). For Popey and all his religious mates to express concern for the long-term well-being of this world suggests that they are in it for the long haul, and have given up on any hope of the second coming, coming; and after 2k years of disappointed loitering, who could blame them, but it certainly looks like a collapse.

    But Rev Peter’s summary expresses Angela’s deluded outlook perfectly; the rest of the piece was like Sister Wendy contemplates the deepities of Margaret Tarrant, squirrels and all.

    BTW – Francis of Assisi lived a life of (self-chosen) poverty. Nice to see this so faithfully reflected in today’s Pope and his Vatican hierarchy.


  3. “Science and religion are in agreement about climate change”. But religion has no means of its own of judging what the effects of climate change might be, or even whether it exists at all. Indeed, many religious people still deny outright that it does exist. Religion is entirely dependent on the efforts and insight of real scientists before it is able to say anything at all about how the universe works. As Liverpudlian points out, this is piggy-backing with a vengeance.

    And Angela Tilby’s hubris about the role of the church in the development of science is shameless. The Greeks and Romans knew far more about science and technology than anyone in the Christian world. The Greek scientist Democritus wrote over a hundred books on scientific subjects, all of which are now lost, thanks largely to active neglect or worse on the part of Christians. Roman technology in many areas was not equalled, let alone surpassed, until the 18th century. The Dark Ages are so-called for good reason.

    Finally, note how Tilby’s account of Francis of Assisi morphed from “led some to study nature” to “the devotion to science which Francis generated”. Did she think we wouldn’t notice? We’re not like your average pious Catholic pew-warmer, you know.


    1. Sorry, delete “Catholic” in the last sentence. So fulsome was Tilby’s devotion to the two Francises that I forgot for a moment where her allegiance is supposed to lie.


      1. Likewise! I was also lulled into wrongly* associating the Ex-Rev with Teamus Vaticanus.

        subject to change, obvs.


  4. The two things that struck me from this were that St Francis’s love of nature was the basis of science, and the stuff about the life of poverty.

    In the first case, his love of nature, St Francis “saw God reflected in nature.” This is the exact opposite of science. St Francis was the antithesis of the questioning, examining forces that created science. Had Francis been in charge, the extent of biology today would be, “Aw look, a lovely rabbit.”

    In the second case, Tilby forgets to mention that contemporarily (and for centuries afterwards) the doctrine of poverty was on the verge of being an outright heresy to the church. Considerable numbers of Minorites were burned at the stake for refusing to recant their vow of poverty. Various excuses were given for this, but the central core was that it was difficult to justify the wealth of the church against a doctrine of poverty. That is, the Minorites made the Pope look bad.

    She also fails to mention the more modern view that is based on Franciscan teaching – that poverty is not just a good thing for an individual, it is a good thing for everyone. This was the basis of the refusal of certain monks and nuns to assist with lifting people out of poverty – “I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”


  5. “Ooh,” said Brother Francis, “I’m sure I just saw God reflected in nature. It was over there, a pretty butterfly that looked like an angel sent from heaven.”
    “Nah”, said Brother John, “All I saw was the sun reflecting off the dew on that flower.”
    “And look at that incredible unicorn on the hillside with shining coat. Only God could have created such a beautiful animal,”, continued Francis.
    “How much wine did you take at the Eucharist this morning Franny?” asked John. “I know you are renowned for your love of the liquid part of the sacrament, but everyone knows it is a scientific fact that unicorns didn’t make it onto the Ark. That looks more like a goat to me.”
    “Well look at this land of Italy, surely only a perfect God could have created in a single week the geological beauty we see around us, John”.
    “Well I would agree it is a very pleasant scene, but it is only a few hundred years since the massive eruption at Vesuvius that killed thousands of people in Pompeii. Surely a perfect God wouldn’t allow such a thing.”
    “But look at my hands, John, here is proof of a miraculous God. See the stigmata that appeared as a reflection of Jesus’ death”.
    “Well Franny, when I reflect back, I recall that was another case of too much wine and falling into the briars and you coming up with another brilliant cover story.”
    And so the two Brothers in God continued on their way, only stopping at 1236 when they were appointed by the Pope as Inquisitors and reflected the nature of God through the torture and trials of heretics, atheists and alleged witches…


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