Feedback and opportunities to take part in friendly discussions always welcome. Can religious believers and non-believers share in the human journey together and even learn from each other? We're all just trying to do our best with the one life we have.
I don't believe in 'God'. There, I've said it. Of course you don't have to agree with me but most people in our culture now think the same. The story we need to hear is not about how we are doomed sinners. That our only hope is vested in the whims of some supernatural deity who might forgive us in the end if we jump through whatever hoops matter in our chosen faith. What we need to know is how to be fully human - how to live well now, while it lasts. Religions are all a product of our history, sociology and psychology; these then determine our theology. We create our gods, not the other way round. That doesn't mean they are entirely worthless; possibly quite the reverse. But our systems of belief have to be understood for what they are first. They're ours - so we can change them.
I can only talk about the Christian tradition into which I was born and which I have studied to postgraduate degree level and thought about for over 40 years. Neither the Bible nor the Church can have the last word on everything. They are 'only' human too! Some claims about the authority of the Bible go way beyond anything it claims for itself. It's still worth something of course, but not to be put on such a pedestal. Same journey, but now we need an updated map.
All claims about a 'God' are based on human concepts; they are all we have. A 'religious' experience is still an entirely human experience. It cannot be anything else. All our statements are metaphors and similes. 'God' is a bit like us! Beyond that we have to be atheists, or highly cautious agnostics, and be content with the images and ideas that we have created and the truths that we have devised. It's those who seem to think they are exempt from this human process who worry me or who claim to know all about God. Then religions can become dangerous, authoritarian and oppressive; the very opposite of what is good for us.
But I do still find some elements of the Christian story intriguing and challenging. Not least the idea that its 'God' was a real human being who was unjustly killed - like so many others - and that the things Jesus seems to have said and done about social justice, love and care for others are surely central to how to live well - what he called 'seeking the Kingdom'. A 'Godlike' way to live. These remain points of entry for me, if in a limited way. I also find the theatre of what goes on in my local Cathedral aesthetically uplifting, often giving me food for thought and offering an inclusive welcome - unlike what happens in many churches where I'm simply expected to toe the party line!
So let's concentrate on exploring our common humanity and leave the rest as mere speculation. Above all I am trying to stimulate a dialogue, break down barriers and encourage a spirit of creative enquiry. Is there any value in Christianity if you strip away all the outdated supernatural and doctrinal assumptions about the way the world is? Are believers willing to listen to the rest of us, not just tell us we are wrong and they are right? Is there anything left if you approach it all in a different way? Maybe; maybe not. You decide.
The two FREE books below are my original thoughts on a humanist spirituality from a few years back. They are brief essays or sermons on two themes: The Psalms and the Parables. These parts of the Bible take us into human individual experience and our community life together so they still have plenty to say, even for those for whom there is no God.
For me 'spirituality' is not about some mystical feeling or 'other worldly' experience. It's much more about how we think about life and give it a rational meaning than about anything necessarily 'religious'. It's a deeper dimension to our humanity, not a wish to escape from it. Conventional faith may sometimes help - I can't entirely forget my Christian heritage - but it may also get in the way. There are new places to go and so we need to travel in new directions to get there.
MY CHOSEN CHARITY
Make a loan. Change a life.
I am committed to a welfare-based strategic approach to managing attendance and absence. I may not always tell you exactly what you think you want to hear or repeat what you always thought was true. But I will offer you an informed and independent voice that gives you real practical help in carrying out your statutory duties and seeks to promote more effective solutions for those children and young people who most need them. I don't do twitter but I do 'whitter' about education welfare issues. Currently: Our C21st population needs a C21st approach.
But there is more to life than work so you'll also find a page about my humanist approach to spirituality where I write about the dialogue between faith and life for those who are not convinced that conventional religions take us where we need to go as modern, thoughtful human beings. I'm not 'religious' but I am human. It's life before death that matters, so how do we decide how to live it?
Feedback and comment are always very welcome.
ALL INFORMATION AND ADVICE PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE, AND IN RELATED RESOURCES AND EVENTS, 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.