Preposterously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord…

What is truth? This isn’t just an abstract question. Truth has a spiritual reality.

5 thoughts on “Preposterously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord…

  1. How many people have been tortured to death for believing the wrong truth? “If god said it then it must be true”, has caused some considerable squirming over the centuries, but the books of magic stuff are so vague that anything can be made to fit one’s personal ‘truth’. I say, if you seek truth, be a mathematician, not a theologian.


  2. Richard Harries (a friend of Richard Dawkins) comes across as a nice guy, but his position on ‘Truth’ is extraordinarily conceited.

    About an hour after his TftD, he was interviewed about his autobiography; he acknowledged that Christianity held substantially less influence over the general population than in years gone by, especially amongst the young. But this has come about, according to Harries, because increasing numbers of people can’t or won’t grasp the ‘Truth’ like he has.

    Harries might want to reflect that the arrogance and presumptuousness of humblebragging clerics like him is exactly what’s contributing to the things he complains about.


  3. Many ancient and medieval cultures believed the stars and the planets rotated around a fixed Earth. That was their “truth” and many stories were made up to explain that “truth” to their populations who all accepted it because they had no other option. But it was never the real truth. As Harries says, their judgements needed to stand up to scrutiny, and they didn’t. Once the real truth of the solar system was discovered by scientific scrutiny, the checking and rechecking of measured observations, anyone who didn’t have an ideological or religiously warped mentality accepted it and fitted their lives around it. All those religions that had killed people for their blasphemous ideas in the past pretended that nothing had changed and God could still exist.
    As a believer in the supernatural, Harries has to maintain his “truth” is a real “truth” and not something made up hundreds of years ago before scientific scrutiny could test it, otherwise he would have to accept he has wasted much of his life studying theology. Increasing numbers of people at a very early age won’t accept his “truth” because it is so obviously wrong. They are provided with enough evidence to realise that all religions are supernatural clap-trap, so it is no wonder they are not influenced by Christianity and other religions. It doesn’t mean that they are not moral or ethical, just that they don’t have to worry about a pretend god any more.
    A good example of people making their own minds up given enough evidence is Fiona Bruce asking the QT audience last night to put up their hand if they believed the sworn-on-the-bible Boris “truth”. Not one did.


  4. Excellent comments above: all very true!

    There are lots of objective truths out there. The trouble is, we only have access to them via our senses, which are error-prone and easy to fool. We have invented all sorts of devices to get round this problem, notably science; but even when we manage to get hold of reliable data, we still have to interpret it. This in turn requires a skill set all of its own.

    Armchair philosophy, including theology, doesn’t work as a means of finding out the truth, because it is not based on real information about the world. This is why, to scientists, Aristotle was a greater philosopher than Plato, because he tried to base his hypotheses on what he actually observed. It is significant that most Christian thinkers much prefer Plato.


    1. Truth?

      In 1909 EM Forster wrote an excellent short story called “The Machine Stops” which (amongst other things) predicted a sort of Internet based society, with increasing isolation and remote communication.

      One passage (below) seems to fit to quite an uncanny extent the evolution of theology through numerous rewrites and interpretations and again, somewhat presciently, our ‘post truth’ world of politics and news media.

      There’s also some commentary about religion, seeing the all providing machine as a god [a literal deus ex machina ].

      In my opinion, [for what that’s worth] it’s worth a read – link to public domain copy below.

      quote —-

      And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. ‘Beware of first- hand ideas!’ exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. ‘First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element – direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine – the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought Lafcadio Hearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. Through the medium of these ten great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time’ – his voice rose – ‘there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation seraphically free from taint of personality,which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine.’

      — end quote


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s