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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

What’s it all about?

The earliest Christians had certain assumptions which underpinned the whole theological construct for them but which we do not share.  This is because assumptions are contingent: things and ideas, even religious ones, change under pressure from external realities.  (more…)

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If we understand God to be, not a Thing but rather a dimension of our humanness, the ultimate meaning, a dynamic of the universe, a force revealed in various ways, we need not be afraid to reimagine the givens of our faith, test the truths and structures of our beliefs and invigorate the familiar tropes and practices of our religious life. (more…)

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Religion explains.  That is its function.  All the great belief systems have their own responses – explanations for the perplexed – to humanity’s great eternal questions, developed and embellished over centuries of exposition. (more…)

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The hand of God

The hand of God

Exploring my freedom to visualise God in various ways, I come up against an obvious difficulty.  If we, in western Europe at least, have lost faith in the kind of personality-deity so masterfully portrayed in the Abrahamic tradition, so dominant in its religions, what is there left to interact with, let alone worship? (more…)

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Maurice Wiles, who died not long ago, was a much-respected theologian with a reputation for clear thinking and writing.  So it was gratifying to find, the day before yesterday, in the Bookbarn near Bristol, a copy of his book The remaking of Christian doctrine (London, 1974).  I bought it, noticing that its previous home was Downside Abbey.

I’m finding it somewhat difficult to read, so dense is his argument, but at least one passage stands out, so far: “The two millenia of Christian history bear witness to men’s failure in discernment [of the truth of Jesus’ death on the cross].  The history books are littered with doctrinal accounts of the atonement which strike us as absurd or immoral or both.” (p62).

What are these accounts?  I think I can guess.  I’m reading on with interest.

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For some people, even believers, Easter is far from being an unalloyed occasion for joy.  Despite its premier place in Christian belief, it seems to be slipping further and further down the mainstream Anglo national consciousness.  One obvious reason is that nowadays we think about death, and the risk of eternal damnation, somewhat differently from our forbears.  That affects our views about the credibility, desirability, let alone possibility, of life after death. (more…)

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Concentration camp inmate

Bergen-Belsen, 1945

Now, at the beginning of Holy Week, it is difficult to imagine science fiction shedding any light on what Christians believe is about to happen.  The Passion and the Crucifixion are in a different category, full of various layers of meaning, none of which seems to have any direct relevance to what science writers might depict.  But I remember reading a short story, years ago, that makes such a connection, and powerfully, and opens the door to an uncomfortable truth, about who is crucified and by whom. (more…)

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