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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

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”. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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Many people over a period of time compiled the New Testament.  This I knew, of course, but I have rarely seen it so clearly explained as it is by Diarmaid MacCulloch in his recent review of Reza Aslan’s new book Zealot, in the London Review of Books, 10 October 2013, pp9-10:

“Aslan says what all scholars not in thrall to blinkered religious conservatism say: when reading the New Testament, we have to fight through several filters of authorship to get any idea of how these sacred texts relate to a life lived in first-century Palestine.  All the works included in the New Testament canon were written in a language different from Jesus’ native tongue, and even the earliest among them were written by someone who never met him in his earthly life; the latest may postdate his death on the cross by about a century.  They are coloured by preoccupations which were not those of Jesus himself, and they fuelled the development of a church which became radically different from anything Jesus or the first generation of his followers could have envisaged.”

None of which invalidates the NT: it just means we have to be careful when reading it and quoting from it.

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Durer’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Let fundamentalists believe what they want.  They must allow the rest of us to exercise our rights, too, and not be adversely affected by their convictions which, it looks evident, are mainly based on fear. (more…)

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The Church of England is under attack for being allegedly lukewarm to the Gospel and concerned only with ‘social betterment.’  Once again Evangelicalism’s calls for ‘old-time religion’ disclose its aversion to change. (more…)

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I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This observation reminds me of St Benedict’s dictum: to work is to pray.  If we have finally realised how infinitely, categorically impossible it is for us to explain ‘who’ or ‘what’ God is, we can be attentive again to all those messages in scripture and tradition which point us to our own truth:  that if “God” is indeed impossible to comprehend, well then, it is up to us to enact the divine in the world, by our acts of living and giving. We have to ‘walk the talk’.

Come to think of it, wasn’t that Jesus’ Great Commandment: that being the best that we can be as humans, and being for others, is the central duty we have – both the opportunity and need for us to demonstrate by our words and actions that humankind is redeemable from itself?

“Go forth and show his glory in the world” (Psalm 96:2).

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I want to continue thinking through the God Paradox and its implications for religious systems and the life of the spirit.  But  I also want to break into the exploration with relevant evidence, ideas and stories such as this one.  What does it mean to put your hand where Jesus once did? (more…)

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