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

Oh, come on. We ALL had secret parties during lockdown. We, and by we I do of course mean you, need some moral code.

Happy Candle-mass everybody!

4 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. It’s the oldest trick in the religious book: pretend that ‘morals’ are things that have been made up by a supernatural entity whose precepts we must obey, or else. The evidence is pretty overwhelming that ‘morals’ are codes of behaviour that are evolved, inherited or copied by societies in order to maintain good order and keep themselves together.

    Take the Ten Commandments. If we ignore the three that are all about the IMF, we are left with a set that could have originated in any fairly primitive tribe wanting to preserve their own cohesion – and indeed are, up to this day: some of the tribes of hunter-gatherers in New Guinea or the Amazon have been found to have codes of ethics that are very like the Ten. And even the Ten are meant to apply only to fellow-members of the tribe: the IMF tells the Israelites not to kill, commit adultery or covet their neighbours’ wives and property, and a few chapters later is instructing them to destroy the Ammonites, Canaanites and others, drive off their cattle, and take their wives and daughters as concubines.

    An organisation that regularly covers up wrongdoing among its members is hardly in a position to lecture the rest of us on ‘morals’ and ethics. Mote and beam, Bishop, mote and beam!


    1. But, which Ten Commandments? I have asked and not been answered.
      The Commandments in Exodus 20? They were destroyed and lost but seem to have been remembered by somebody. They have an eleventh tacked on, not to build a raised altar lest the congregation look up the minister’s skirt.
      The Commandments in Exodus 34? The text says they are a reissue of Exodus 20 but they are not. These are the only set actually labelled as Ten Commandments and have the famous ban on boiling a kid in its mother’s milk
      The Commandments in Leviticus 19? These are mingled with lots of other instructions so numbering is especially difficult. They do seen to have a definite agricultural bias with a bit of Health and Safety advice and some Weights and Measures regulations.
      The Commandments in Deuteronomy 5? These are almost the same as Exodus 20 but they were destroyed before they could be promulgated, weren’t they? So whence did they come?
      You would really think the scribes would make some effort to keep their story straight.


      1. All I can suggest is that the confusion illustrates the piecemeal way in which the Pentateuch was put together. Nobody – least of all Moses – sat down and tried to write a coherent narrative. What we seem to have is a mishmash of ancient myths and legends drawn from both Israel and Judah, together with influences from the aftermath of the Assyrian destruction of the former and the exile in Babylon of the elite of the latter.

        I guess the Judaeans of the 5th century BCE, once they got back to Jerusalem, weren’t that bothered about editorial consistency. After all, the proles couldn’t read or write, and wouldn’t be allowed to come to their own judgements about the sacred texts even if they could.


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