8 thoughts on “Tim Stanley, blogger, journalist, historian and Catholic

  1. Stanley ends with “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
    A completely secular thought, and nothing that went before gave any hint that his belief in his particular god gave any hint that religion can help in a war.
    My main worry about his final sentence though is, what if your friend is Vladimir Putin?


    1. Well, not completely secular : John 15:13 “ Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”


      1. When I said secular I meant that anyone, religious or non-religious, could have said it. Whether that particular quote comes from a particular BBoMS it still doesn’t make it a thought from a religious perspective.
        This is the whole point of complaining about TFTD being only available to the religious.
        I expect the religious to tell me that unless I follow their particular IMF then I am going to spend eternity in hell suffering excruciating pain for every second. That type of thought could only come from someone religious.


  2. I’ve always had a problem with “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” in the context of wars.

    I’d agree with the sentiment 100% in the case of someone endangering themselves to help rescue another (e.g. firemen entering a burning building, lifeboatmen, mountain rescue…).

    However, in wars, I suspect very few willingly chose to die or be horribly injured** – it just happened, whether they were noble or not (and certainly irrespective of belief systems followed). That was really up to luck [or a capricious IMF if you prefer].

    Sanctimonious post event justifications really are abhorrent (to me at least).

    ** and , I suspect, few actually choose to kill or injure others (at first – they may become dehumanised by events and/or indoctrination [religious or political] later). Modern weapons, with strike at a distance without actually seeing the consequences can add to the dehumanisation; at least in mediaeval times you had to face your opponent from a metre or so away and see the effects.


    1. I’ve always had a problem with “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” in the context of wars.

      Me too, not least because for almost all our history, people were laying down their lives for the continued wealth and power of a tiny elite.

      In Ukraine right now, obviously there is just cause for fighting. But who are the Russians laying down their lives for? Their friends? Does anyone seriously think that if they got together and decided, the Russian squaddies would be in Ukraine? No, they are, like most soldiers in history, laying down their lives for nothing of importance. The quotation is just another convenient lie, perpetuated by those in power because it serves their interests.


  3. Like Rob Marshall the other day, Tim Stanley has no idea what to do or think about the crisis in Ukraine, except to reach for his handy copy of BBoMS Quotations and try to find something vaguely relevant. The character of Jesus was made to say “Turn the other cheek”; he was also made to say “I come not to bring peace but a sword”. As the Rev Dr says, take your pick.

    Like Birch, I cannot easily envisage myself setting out deliberately to kill another human being. But there comes a point at which there may be no other option. “Thoughts and prayers” don’t work; neither does the principled non-violence of the pacifist. As Orwell wrote about 80 years ago, “Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force”. Putin may be finding out the truth of this the hard way.


  4. Slightly O/T: Grumpy Giles had a piece in Unherd the other day about Putin’s Christian convictions and his messianic view of Kyiv and Russian Orthodoxy: https://unherd.com/2022/02/putins-spiritual-destiny/ Giles describes Putin’s desire to impose his worldview on Ukraine as ‘terrifying’. It’s not clear how he distinguishes this vision from that of other Christian authorities throughout the world, and throughout history.


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