FOR SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCE TRAINING AND RESOURCES, CLICK THE LINK ABOVE
COMING SOON!! My new book, 'The Apostate's Creed: Rethinking Christianity for the C21st'. A radical humanist reworking of statements from the Apostles' Creed and a series of personal reflections on living in the Way of Jesus. Details of how to order will appear here shortly.
All beliefs and values, including mine, reflect their context. The Creeds were defined centuries ago. So are they still true in our very different times? We know things now that they didn't know then. What have we learned about ourselves since? So how might we need to change the content of 'Christianity', not just its presentation?
Thinking people have been voicing logical objections to Christianity, its doctrines and its God for at least 200 years, but the Church seems to have taken virtually no notice. The questions are just ignored; the theology doesn't change. So of course there has been an inevitable decline in belief as a result. Why not try something new? Otherwise Christianity will virtually die out in our culture. Is that what the believers actually want? Just to be a faithful remnant slowly disappearing into oblivion?
Does following Jesus even have to be about a 'God' at all? It may sound a stupid question, but things have moved on. It's time to tell a different story; one that's about being human, not about a future 'salvation'. Maybe that is even far closer to what Jesus himself intended.
I would not call myself a 'Christian' as usually defined. But that's not to say there is no room in my life for any kind of 'spirituality' with the memory of Jesus of Nazareth as its focus. We still have to decide how to live and what it means to be fully human, individually and together. Maybe his example, as a real person like us, can still help us.
A MORE RADICAL 'FAITH'?
In the C1st, life was 'nasty, brutish and short'. Average life expectancy was about 30. The hope of 'salvation' or a better life to come was attractive; the Roman and Greek gods didn't offer that. In our C21st culture it's almost 80. Science has replaced so many things that used to be attributed to a God. We are not the centre of the Universe after all or subject to the whims of gods. This life offers endless possibilities that were undreamed of before - good and bad - but we can make a difference. The goalposts have moved. So what can we still believe in? It's not about a theoretical life after death but about what matters in this one. Does Christianity have anything to say worth hearing about that?
A MORE RATIONAL APPROACH?
In all conscience, I cannot affirm many of the required beliefs of conventional Christianity: A 3-person God-Being who existed before everything else, (so for at least 14,000,000,000 years then), but who has chosen to intervene in this tiny obscure planet in the last few thousand. That Jesus was crucified because of my 'sin', and I had better be grateful, when it was the Romans who did it, not me. Or his supposed impossible birth and unique physical resurrrection from the dead. Or the final authority of the Bible forever, as if it bears no relation to those who actually wrote it. None of this makes sense once you start to think about it. It is all frankly unbelievable. I and others cannot deny what else we know to be true in order to make Christianity fit.
A MORE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY?
Someone once said that Jesus talked of the coming of the KIngdom, but only the Church arrived instead! It's a human community like any other, with faults and strengths But it needs to listen a lot more - and speak a lot less - if it wants to engage with the C21st and beyond. And it needs to listen most to those who are not part of it. The boundaries have to be blurred, not an inpenetrable barrier designed to keep people out unless they become like us first. So that's where I sit. On the edge. Neither wholly in nor wholly out. Why not join me in a re-think? It may all go nowhere but let's see.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS IT ALL OR NOTHING WITH GOD AND CHRISTIANITY? TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT?
OR IS THERE ANOTHER WAY?
The poet Virgil asked this question over 2000 years ago: '‘Is it the gods who put this desire into our minds, or does every person’s irresistible passion become their god’?
Now ask yourself some questions:
Did human minds create all our religious beliefs or were they 'revealed' from elsewhere? Did actual people write the Bible and the Creeds or were they dictated by a 'God'? Is there any 'evidence' that a God intervenes when we ask 'Him' to? Or is that just our interpretation of what happens anyway?
The answers are obvious when you think about them or read any Church history. Every 'religious' experience or insight is a human activity like any other. It cannot be anything else. We create our religions to express our own hopes and values. They are not given to us from somewhere or Someone else. They are ours. We decide what 'God' is like. And the old ideas no longer work so we can let them go and create new ones.
So what's left? An exciting journey towards discovering our full humanity, individually and together. But we have to be honest. Is Christianity 'good news'? Or just more 'fake news'?
'And a young child shall lead them' said the prophet Isaiah. Not the same context of course, but I recently visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The centrepiece is a massive circular war memorial with two group sculptures. Each of them shows muddied and frightened figures gently bearing away a dead and naked man from the battlefield. A school party was there and one of the children asked her teacher, 'Is that Jesus'? The answer, of course, is 'Yes'. That's how Jesus still lives, as we find that his human story echoes our own. That's the Way I try to follow.
'NOT YOUR USUAL SERMON' BACK NUMBERS
Make a loan. Change a life.
Support small businesses in developing countries with microloans. Then, when the loan is repaid, you can lend the same money again!
But my website also reflects my other main interest. Can Christianity and its central figure mean anything to those who are not convinced that conventional ideas of 'God' and religion take us where we need to go as modern, thoughtful human beings?
Friendly FEEDBACK is always very welcome. Please let me know if you have found my ideas interesting and helpful.
ALL INFORMATION AND ADVICE PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE, AND IN RELATED RESOURCES, IS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH AND IS TRUE AND ACCURATE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF. HOWEVER NO LIABILTY IS ACCEPTED FOR ANY ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES ARISING THEREFROM OR FOR ANY IMPLICATIONS OF UNINTENDED ERRORS. I HAVE BOTH PUBLIC LIABILITY AND PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE.