Monday, February 19, 2007


I was a great fan of Inspector Morse, the morose but cerebral Oxford police inspector whose long running TV advantures ended with a heart attack (and the sad death of John Thaw who played him), a few years back. ITV have resurrected the franchise by giving Morse's batman, Lewis, a series of his own after a successful pilot last year.

Last night's first episode of Lewis was, I thought, excellent. The old ingredients of college politics, wronged women and nasty posh murderers were all in place. While nothing could replace Thaw's masterclass in understated acting, I thought that Kevin Whately as Lewis was as excellent as ever.

The reason for the note on this blog is that Lewis's sidekick is one of the very few (the first I can remember for years) unremittingly positive portrayals of a Christian on British television. Hathaway, the police sargent who helps Lewis, is an ex-theology student. He is clever, young, good-looking and morally upright. The writers of the series do not roll out the cliche of his becoming a policeman because he lost his faith. Rather, he simply wanted a career where he could right wrongs and make a good living. Lewis himself lost his faith when his wife was killed by a hit and run driver. His inability to forgive and move on is shown to eat him up and warp his moral judgement. Never before have I seen the loss of faith portrayed as a damaging event on British TV.

Compared to the BBC's Waking the Dead, which bashes the Church every week and treats the faith of the Catholic policewoman as an object of scorn, Lewis is a breath of fresh air.

Comments or questions? Post them at Bede's dedicated yahoo group.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tis but a Flesh Wound Part 2

There is a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where King Arthur comes across a knight guarding a path. The knight refuses to allow anyone to pass unless they first defeat him in single combat. Arthur accepts the challenge and cuts off the knight's arm. "Tis but a flesh wound!" the knight cries and insists that the battle continues. He refuses to accept defeat even after all his limbs have been hacked off. Arthur wonders off bemused as the knight slithers behind him trying to bite his ankles.

Arguing on the internet is often like this, especially when dealing with Jesus Mythers and other conspiracy theorists. One of the prime exponents on the Internet Infidels' board even claims to have a PhD in philosophy. No matter how often you point out his enormous errors, he keeps coming declaring that anything he doesn't like is a fraud or an interpolation added by Eusebius.

I should not be surprised that A.C. Grayling is behaving in the same way. Despite being shot down countless times, he continues to insist that he is right that Christianity has made not a single contribution to science. The Guardian wisely closes all threads after three days, but Grayling has promptly opened a new one where people can pile on his agony. I cannot understand why a well known and respected academic is trying to besmirch his own reputation like this.

Comments or questions? Post them at Bede's dedicated yahoo group.