Following the publication of Amoris Laetitia, the Roman Catholic Church is still it seems divided over the matter of divorced persons receiving Communion, something that was being discussed by Anglican theologians fifty years ago. So it’s heartening to see a different, positive take on it in, of all places, the letters page of the Catholic Herald (31 March 2017) and from a nun at that. A Sister Mairead Murphy writes: “Holy Communion is not a reward for the good and faithful, it is food for our journey. Food and nourishment for all God’s people. So if Pope Francis wants to do some more ‘loosing'[in the spirit of Matt 18:18], to demonstrate God’s love, tenderness and mercy for his people, I say ‘bring it on.'” Amen to that, Sister.
If, like all scripture, the New Testament is soaked in allegory and metaphor, we are entitled to question a number of propositions, including the atonement theory, and their dependence on an anthropomorphic view of “God”. Continue Reading »
Posted in God, Modern theology, Scriptures | Tagged allegory, atonement, Auschwitz, Christ, crucifixion, Elie Wiesel, George MacLeod, God, Jesus, Richard Holloway, St Paul, Suffering Servant | Leave a Comment »
Who was Jesus? That question, put by friend and foe, has been discussed, sometimes violently, for two millennia. Despite Catholic doctrine, there is no easy answer. The question comes up again and again. Its difficulty lies in how we should regard the person at the central reference point of our faith. Continue Reading »
My personal search for “God” inevitably involves going over ground long since tilled by others. Some of them and their findings I am aware of; many others, not. That’s not a problem. This is not an academic paper. It is merely an opportunity for me to track my own ideas about this mystery, feeding on others’ work where it seems right to do so. Continue Reading »
At this point in my personal search for a “God” to believe in, I need to stop and review briefly where I have got to. It’s the equivalent of ‘the story so far’; an opportunity to pause, take stock and look ahead. What is becoming increasingly evident is that whatever I think I have discovered up till now has implications. Some of these are bound to be trivial; others, not so.
This is the moment when the law of unintended consequences kicks in. It is all very well coming to the provisional assessment that the “God concept” is too ineffable, too far beyond all our frames of reference to aver even that “God exists.” If we couple this finding with the other one arising from this series of posts – that religion and faith need copious infusions of metaphor, allegory and symbolism in order to work properly – then we have to ask how far this can be taken before it poses a threat to core principles which we assume (if we are religious in any way) are essential components of our belief system. To look at how this works in Christianity for example, we have only to compare the essentiality of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception with that of the central tenet of the Christian faith, that Jesus Christ died for our sins. The one of these is, in my view, something we can take or leave; the other is very different indeed (to be continued).