Oxford University has earned its place amongst the top educational establishments. Some of our greatest thinkers and scientists have studied there. Like all good universities, it expects high standards of critical thinking and creative application of learning.
Yet it hides a dirty little secret, a department dedicated to preserving medieval lies, moral absolutes and the damnation of 95% of us heathens.
This sweaty little embarrassment is Wycliffe Hall, a permanent private hall of the University. Established in 1877 along with its counterpart Ridley Hall at Cambridge University they're Anglican theological colleges with an expressly evangelical ethos. They train our vicars and priests to go out and "take the life-giving good news of Jesus to the world".
Now, I appreciate the academic value of theology. Our scriptures have rich seams of insights into the human condition, flawed as it is. However, if this research strays beyond anthropological study and into the realm of absolute truth then I'm afraid this is no longer academia. It has no place in a university.
The Guardian got its knickers in a twist about Wycliffe's new principal Rev Richard Turnbull (pictured above).
From the article;
"One of the Church of England's most distinguished theological training colleges has been placed on notice that it must improve its academic standards and not succumb to narrow conservative evangelicalism if it is to remain part of Oxford University."
"Complaints of homophobia and misogyny have been levelled at Wycliffe's leadership."
"An internal report, drawn up by senior Oxford academics and accepted by the university's governing council, will warn the 130-year-old college of concern about the narrowness of its theological teaching and doubts about whether it is offering students full intellectual development."
"Dr Turnbull is heard suggesting that 95% per cent of the population were going to hell unless they converted to conservative evangelicalism."
In the spirit of balance the Guardian published Mr Richardson's retort. In it he dealt with the 'outrageous' claim that he condemned 95% of people to hell. So I'll quote him directly. Now hold on to your chair, because I laughed out loud when I read this idiocy;
"For Giles to say that I believe 95% of people will 'burn in hell' is a misrepresentation when the rest of my sentence, 'unless the message of the gospel is brought to them', is excluded."
Jesus, this man is insane. Not only does he believe in a fiery damnation, he thinks that if we don't subscribe to his version of truth, we'll all burn in his invention. Does he not know that even the Catholics can give up on this shite sometimes, like when they gave up limbo.
Mind, this gimp doesn't much like the Catholics either. So's I don't misrepresent him, perhaps you'd like to see his speech in full where he condemns 95% of us whilst having go at the Catholics?
Here you are then. The juicy stuff is about 4 minutes in;
So, this is what he had to say about the Catholic church;
"...we must be very wary about embracing a Catholic understanding of the Church. There is enormous temptation for evangelicals to embace an Anglo-Catholic understanding of the Church, its nature and its ministry. And I think we need to be very careful indeed that we do not betray - you have been debating the historical nature of Anglicanism, my book on the subject comes out in March, by the way [audience laughter]; and we need to be very careful indeed that we do not betray our evangelical identity by embracing an understanding of the Church that is not historic Anglicanism."
He does know that Anglicanism was borne of a King desperate for a divorce, doesn't he?
I guess all this stems from that John 14:6 quote "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' "
So, not only does Turnbull believe 95% of us are going to hell unless we embrace the lord, but we must also subscribe to his own particular flavour of bolloxs, created for a misogynistic monarch some 460 years ago.
Perhaps the Oxford Physics department had discovered time travel and inadvertently transported this goon back from 1540.
No wonder they're keeping schtum about it.