Archive | March 2015

Islamic State Part Two

The Driving Philosophy/Theology of Islamic State

 The Story so far: Islamic State is very Islamic. To disregard the religious aspect of Islamic State is a recipe for disaster.

Driving home the other day I heard on the radio some breaking news that five people had been stabbed to death and that (and I quote) “Up to this point no motive has been established”. The phrase “up to this point no motive has been established” is an accurate description of our approach to Islamic State. The ridiculous description of it as “a death cult” by our Prime Minister is indicative of this, as was his statement that Islamic State was “tempting young people to do silly things”. Janet Albrechtson, who is so far to the right that she meets herself coming in on the left, at least states the problem ”Unless we identify the source of this evil, we cannot hope to confront it and defeat it.” The same is echoed by General Michael Negata, the US Special Operations Commander for the Middle East, who said of Islamic State “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”

In her book published this week Ayaan Hirsi Ali seeks to analyse the situation. Her book is entitled “Heretic” with the sub title being “Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now.” The first part of the title is how she sees herself. The second is how she sees Islam today. It is by far the best book she has written. She has lived through the personal anger and horror, and now seeks to deliberately consider the situation and ameliorate the problem.

Before I try and do the same, let me try and summarise Ali’s analysis of the situation. Her thesis is that Islam needs a reformation, “similar to what took place in Judaism and Christianity over the centuries as both traditions gradually consigned the violent passages of their own sacred texts to the past”. She then goes on to state four precepts of Islam that need to be reformed

(1) Mohammad’s semi divine status along with a literalist reading of the Koran.

(2) The supremacy of life after death.

(3) Sharia law and its enforcement

(4) The imperative of holy war.

In addition to this, Ali identifies three groups of Muslims

(a) Medina Muslims. These are the ones who argue for an Islam unchanged from its seventh century beginnings. They see conversion and the imposition of Sharia as their religious duty and do not hesitate to use violence to further this end – as did Mohammad when he moved to Medina.

(b) Mecca Muslims. These are the ones who focus on religious observance and the practice of their faith. Their problem is modernity which challenges their religion and their values and results in them disengaging from contemporary society and isolating themselves.

(c) Heretics. These are the ones “who have been forced to conclude that we could not continue to be believers yet remain deeply engaged in the debate about Islam’s future. With this group Ayaan Hirsi Ali identifies herself. “For me there seemed no way to reconcile my faith with the freedoms I came to the west to embrace. I left the faith despite the death penalty prescribed by Sharia for apostates”

Ali maintains that “the biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world is the suppression of critical thinking I am attempting here”.

 

How do I see all of this? I see it as a significant contribution to the debate but differ with her analysis in quite a few respects.

Firstly, her understanding of “heretic” is different to mine. She sees heretics as people “who have been forced by experience to conclude that they could not continue to be believers”. For me a heretic is one who strongly believes notwithstanding his/her stance being different to that of the Establishment.

Secondly, the use of the word reformation is confusing in the light of “The Reformation” in Christian history. Granted their common preoccupation with life after death, the Reformation had little to do with the reformation required within Islamic State. Ali in effect concedes this when she says “The only real certainty about the Muslim Reformation is that it will not look much like the Christian one.” Where she sees the relevance is in “the liberation from hierarchical and priestly authority”.

Thirdly, she maintains that her book “is not a work of theology. It is more in the nature of a public intervention in the debate about the future of Islam”. I think I preferred her approach of previous days which was far more direct: “We are not dealing here with a handful of murderous thugs…We have to acknowledge that they are drivers of an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam”.

Fourthly, the issue of violence/non violence in our society and its relationship to religion is neglected – as is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was non violent.

 

Islamic Fundamentalism

With all this in mind let me then look at what I describe as Islamic Fundamentalism. I will do this by looking at the question of Fundamentalism in relation to the Christian faith. The word “fundamentalism” is after all a specifically Christian word and makes little sense to Muslims.

(a) There are today a growing number of Christians who recognize that our understanding of the faith has changed enormously over the past two thousand years and particularly the last two centuries. I, for example, belong to a small group who go by the name “Progressive”, a name that I consider unfortunate as it has an element of status about it. Such is certainly not the intent. The name is intended to denote a recognition of the need to “rethink Christian belief in the light of insights and understandings not available to earlier generations.” Post Galileo and Darwin, God is no longer a guy in the sky pulling the levers but the “ground of our being”, the dynamic energy inviting us to fullness of life. I resist the temptation to explain further our theological stance and will append a reference to an address I gave in 2014. There is, of course, no guarantee that I still think the same as I did then!

(b) Strange as it may seem, not all Christians think the same as I do and many are locked into a mindset and experience of an earlier time. The name they go by is “Fundamentalists”. It is a recent name dating back to the early late nineteenth and early twentieth century where the inexorable march of time had philosophers like Nietzsche asserting that God as we understood “him” had died. There was a strong reaction against this so called “Modernism” and a group emerged to “battle royal for the fundamentals”. They were known as “Fundamentalists” and asserted the inerrancy of the Bible, and substitutionary atonement where after death the faithful are transferred to another world where God sits “with his saints to reign”.

(c) The net result is that within the Christian faith there is now a huge range of understanding of its significance and practice.

It goes almost without saying I hope that the same goes for Islam, and herein lies what I consider to be the base point of any discussion of Islamic State. To argue whether Islamic State is or is not Islamic is to miss the point completely. It is the fundamentalist aspect of Islam, in which the Koran is inerrant and heavenly reward is the name of the game. Islamic State is Islamic Fundamentalism in action and needs to be recognized as such. It is the starting point to the understanding of the problem.

In Part Three, I will look at what might be done in the light of this understanding

Neville

Reference: “Progressing to Where?” Email: nhwatson@iinet.net.au

 

 

 

Advertisements

What we would like to tell our neighbours….

I went to a neighbour’s house the other night for dinner with Matt, my husband.  They are some of our new neighbours as we have moved house recently, and are now starting the tentative steps of getting to know the people living near us.  They are lovely, welcoming people, parents and grandparents and grandchildren all living in a large house with a granny flat attached.

The evening was really enjoyable, good food and conversation, and of course a glass or two of red wine.  We had to leave early as we had a commitment at our local Uniting Church, one we had organised and so could not be late.  We were to hear Emeritus Professor Bill Loader, a world renowned New Testament scholar talk about the Book of Revelations.  Now before you screw up your nose, this was the second of 4 talks looking at the history and background of Revelations, who wrote it and why and whether it, in fact, has anything to say to us in the 21st.  A little different from the view that the bible is solely the inspired word of God sent down from on high that cannot be questioned.

The challenge for us, Matt and I, was how to convey that approach to our hosts, who, once they heard we belonged to a church and were going to hear someone speak on a book of the bible, were already calculating what we believed.  They in fact had probably already put us into a religious box, believers of outlandish, ridiculous and farfetched things, and out of touch with life as we know it.

This is a constant dilemma for anyone who takes the bible seriously but not literally, who has a good understanding of science, but that science does not explain everything, and who’s view of Jesus is as a wisdom teacher, sage, prophet, reformer, social activist and the most complete revelation of God in this world.  But still a man.

The church has given us a written legacy that is, on the one hand, beautiful, poetic, and life giving, and those that follow it have been leading reformers in changing the world for the better, courageously and persistently.  But on the other hand the church has also used this legacy to be narrow minded, judgemental, and life denying, refusing to see that God is revealed in the whole of life and not just in one book.

How can we explain to our neighbours that the God we believe in is more universal?  That we see the God of the universe is also the God of every single person and creature on earth, from the beginning of time until now.  That this energy or spirit, is part of the created order and pulls us in the direction of love and forgiveness, justice and peace.  That we believe all people share in this divine presence whether it is acknowledged or not and whether they call themselves and commune with it as a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Jew.  As the mystics have revealed down the centuries, we are one with God.

How can we tell our neighbours that we don’t pray to get some magical response, so that we can have a carpark or rain, or a job or money.  We pray to somehow sense that presence deep within us, that small quiet voice that helps guide our actions and stills our own desires.  That praying or meditating provides a window into a mystical world where God resides and in which we can truly find who we really are and who we belong to.

How can share with our neighbours the desire we have to engage with others in bringing some hope to those in our society without hope.  Whether it is visiting refugees, supporting programs that help aboriginal communities, campaigning for better rights and protections for those less well off, or providing better aid to counties devastated overseas by war or famine.

How can we tell our neighbours that we go and listen to Bill to hear and honour our tradition, to listen to the voices of those people of faith who shared the journey with Jesus and his followers all those years ago.  To discern how we can be Christians in the 21st century, in situations that are eerily similar to those in these earlier communities.

How can we tell our neighbours about the joy our faith brings, but also the responsibility, the overwhelming need to reach out to others in whatever way we can, and the deep unrest it gives us when we succumb to our culture’s comforts instead of following the way of Jesus.  God’s presence is like an itch that never goes away.  An itch when scratched fills our life with meaning and purpose.

…..

Needless to say we did not mention any of this to our beautiful, friendly neighbours.  Perhaps in time they will come to see that not all religious people are literalists, or worse still  fundamentalists, who judge and exclude, who deny the world in which we live and the suffering of those marginalised and without power.

Hopefully they will come to see that the call of God in our lives is to love one another, and we do the best we can.    That this is the main game, and it has very uncomplicated rules.  All are loved and all are included.  It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

 

Anything else is just spin….

 

Karen

Islamic State Part One: The Problem

People have been saying it for ages: before you can solve a problem you have to understand it. John Dewey said it: “A problem well put is half solved”. Albert Einstein said it : “The foundation of the problem is often more essential than its solution…. If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend fifty five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the solutions.” An accurate formulation of the problem is crucial to finding the right answer or answers.

And never has this been clearer than in the case of Islamic State. Confusion reigns supreme! The very fact that we refer to it as “IS”, ISS, Isil and Daesh is not only confusing. It may well be indicative of our reluctance to name the nature of the beast. Defining the problem is paramount in finding an answer.

So let’s look at the problem of “Islamic State”, beginning at the beginning.

Point 1. “Nature is red in tooth and claw”. Charles Darwin highlighted this. Life is essentially the survival of the fittest. This is what Karen Armstrong refers to as “our reptilian brain”. It is programmed to feed, fight or flee. It is programmed to survive. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. But it need not be this way. Even Richard Dawkins concedes this. In an interview with PBS Dawkins said “I am very comfortable with the idea that we can override biology with free will. Indeed, I encourage people all the time to do it. Much of the message of my first book, “The Selfish Gene,” was that we must understand what it means to be a gene machine, what it means to be programmed by genes, so that we are better equipped to escape, so that we are better equipped to use our big brains, use our conscience intelligence, to depart from the dictates of the selfish genes and to build for ourselves a new kind of life which as far as I am concerned the more un-Darwinian it is the better, because the Darwinian world in which our ancestors were selected is a very unpleasant world. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. And when we sit down together to argue out and discuss and decide upon how we want to run our societies, I think we should hold up Darwinism as an awful warning for how we should not organize our societies.”

Point 2. Some time in the last five hundred million years, there arose a phenomenon called “Religion” which is dictionary defined as “a set of beliefs concerning the cause nature and future of the universe usually involving ritual observance and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” The importance of religion should not be underestimated. It was an attempt to think about life and make sense of it. It was “cutting edge” in that it looked at life beyond the boundary of nature red in tooth and claw. It was (and is?) an attempt to make sense of life.

Point 3. In the last few hundred years a secular approach to life has been adopted based on Descartes’ dictum “I think therefore I am”. This is usually seen as “anti-religious”. The etymology of the word, however, points up its significance – a concern for this world rather than some other world postulated by many religions. This is not just a matter of semantics. Suicide bombing, for example, would be far less popular if it were recognized that that there is no other world to which we proceed when we die. We would do well to consider the words we use in this debate. The way many use the word “radicalize” for example is most odd. It means “to go back to the roots” but is used as a pejorative for those joining the enemy. To use language loosely simply confuses the issue

But I proceed too quickly! The point I am trying to make at this stage is that there are three basic ingredients in the situation we face – violence, religion and rationality. Take these three ingredients, mix thoroughly and bake in a hot oven and you have the problem we face in Islamic State.

Many, of course, do not agree. President Obama does not. He has on numerous occasions described Islamic State as “not Islamic” and wants an open ended war on terrorism. He sees Islamic State as “grievance based “and says its leaders are not religious leaders. “They are terrorists!” Jim Wallis, a well known Christian in the US, takes a similar line. “A religious component is a necessary part of defeating IS but … terrorism is always built on grievances….so addressing those grievances and correcting course along the way is essential to defeating terrorism.”

This reluctance to identify Islam with terrorism and vice versa was evidenced on the occasion of the Charlie Hebdo massacre when President Hollande declared “Those who did these acts have nothing to do with Islam”” The massacre morphed into the issue of freedom of expression. The crowds hit the streets with placards and within days dozens of people (including a comedian) were arrested for hate speech under Article 24 of the The Press Law. France has some of the strongest defamation laws in Europe – laws that criminalise speech that defames or incites hatred on the basis of religion, race and ethnicity. France’s laws make Australia’s 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act look puny. Advocacy of freedom of expression has a hollow ring to it when it even extends to what a woman shall wear! In the Charlie Hebdo massacre the cry of freedom of expression reverberated around the world with some of our journos being amongst the worst offenders. It was left, however, to one of our cartoonists to point out that we were being “right proper charlies”. Like every other freedom, freedom of expression is not an absolute freedom. As has been pointed out on so many occasions, for a person to shout “Fire” in a crowded cinema is not in the public interest. The debate around the Charlie Hebdo massacre raged for several weeks with the central issue being avoided, namely, that as the killers opened fire they were shouting “Allahu akbar” ( God is Great). This to me would seem rather compelling evidence that they were doing it for religious reasons, and that President Hollande was wrong.

How about our own great and glorious leader? Tony Abbot’s understanding is that what we face in Islamic State is a “death cult” (whatever that might mean!), that “the Muslims should lighten up a little”, and that the answer is to equip and train the Iraq army to confront the problem. The fact that this is precisely what we did in the last years of the Iraq occupation to no avail seems to have escaped his notice. The army that collapsed at Mosul and Tikrit was the army that had been trained by the occupying forces over a period of years. Our Prime Minister’s present approach reminds me of the old saying “Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again”. As Einstein pointed out, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is not exactly the essence of wisdom. Tony Abbot would do well to listen to himself talking to Leigh Sales “We have to be very careful dealing in a powder keg like the Middle East that we don’t take well intentioned action which could end up making a bad situation worse”. He has no idea of issues involved and the Sunni/Shia divide that runs through the country and the conflict. Both his walk and his talk remind me of the Sheriff walking down the main street with hands at the ready for a quick draw to dispatch the baddie. If it were only that simple!

The central question facing us today is “Is Islamic State Islamic?” The answer is “It depends on what you mean by Islamic.” But there is no doubt that it is religious in nature and that it is religious fervor that drives them in their brutal actions. They see themselves acting in accord with the Islamic faith.

Graeme Wood, in a wide ranging article in the Atlantic Monthly, asks the question whether Islamic State is Islamic and comes to the conclusion that “It is very Islamic” and pretending it isn’t is being dishonest. It may differ with other people’s understanding of Islam but it is deeply infused with Islamic vigour. The very name “Islamic State” makes this quite clear. Their aim is to establish an Islamic Caliphate and it is this that drives them in doing what they do.

All too few people identify the problem as religious. An exception is the historian Tom Holland. “There are psychopaths aplenty loose in Iraq but not every head hunter ranks as a madman. The truth is altogether more disturbing. Victory cannot be secured militarily. This battle has to be fought and won by the theologians”.

It looks as if it’s going to be a very busy year for theologians! Islamic State Part 2 is in course of preparation.

Neville

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice!

Movies can be such a wonderful way of showing us what is important.    Sometimes of course they are just fun or a bit of escapism but the movie I am about to mention is not one of those.

I went to see “Selma” the other night, and was completely engaged in the movie from beginning to end and by what it depicts.  An example of how ordinary people can change things.

If you don’t know the story, it focuses on voting rights, an issue that was a part of the civil rights landscape in the 60’s. While all people technically had voting rights in America by 1965 under the constitution many African Americans were denied them. Partly this was because of unreasonable rules related to registration but mostly it was because they were actively and violently barred from participating, particularly in the South.

A protest group was already in Selma, a city in Alabama, agitating for voting rights for its African American citizens when it also became a point of demonstration for Martin Luther King and his group, the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

What ensured was a bloody and violent confrontation with the authorities over a protest march organised to go from Selma to the capital, Montgomery on the 7th March, 1965. It was not violent on behalf of the group of approx. 600 marchers who walked.  It was violent because of the troopers and police who used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowd as they passed over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.  The shocking events, televised around the world were called Bloody Sunday and galvanised the movement.

Ordinary people said enough was enough!  When Martin Luther King called for anyone from anywhere to come and repeat the march, thousands came, from all over the country. While they were there to walk, not fight, this was still not enough for the State authorities.  A second march a few days later started and stopped at the bridge again because state troopers and police were placed in position to violently respond.  King, who was leading, turned back, unable to risk further injuries to his followers.  It actually took another few weeks for a third and final march to be completed, after the courts legally allowed it to take place and Lyndon Johnson agreed to protect those who participated.   Finally over 2,000 people marched, joyously and peacefully on the 25th March, 1965.

When the people gathered in Montgomery at the end of the march 3 days later, Martin Luther King gave a speech.  He is heard to say, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice”.  He had just seen the arc bend! And he was overcome with hope for a new future.

What happened was a pivotal moment in the history of the civil rights movement, and in America’s history.  But it was not just the march. After the march a federal bill was presented to congress called the Voting Rights Act, enshrining in law the freedom to vote for all people, regardless of colour or race or religion.  The speech and subsequent Act, one of the most powerful pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed, means Lyndon Johnson should and is seen as a central figure in the civil rights movement.  For it was his leadership that completed it.

Phew, a very powerful movie

The most profound thing for me about the movie, however, was the depiction of those who came to march.  Those who stood up when others held back. They were black and white, housewife and student, minister, priest, Jew and Christian, all knowing in their hearts that the injustice experienced by the African Americans could not and should not continue.  And they followed a nonviolent way to achieve what seemed at times unachievable.

And it was costly.  Two of the people who came from outside the South, a minister form Boston and a woman from Detroit were killed by members of the Klu Klux Clan, together with a black teenager, shot at point blank range by a trooper. It is never easy to go against the status quo.

I have attached some footage of the real march, and of Martin Luther’s speech.  And also of the song written for the movie, which is utterly fantastic.

But does this movie and the event it depicts speak to us and our situation?

The problem we have is that movies like this are seen as history and not our history.  That was then and this is now.  That was America and this is Australia.  Yet I think it speaks to us as any universal call for justice does in any age.  What about the refugees in this country locked away, and ignored regardless of the overwhelming evidence that there are better more humane ways of treating people who are seeking asylum?  What about the aboriginal people who make up over 60% of incarcerations and still suffer after all this time from reduced health and education rates?  What about the poor of the world who suffer at the whims of the richer countries, one minute we are generous, the next we withdrawal our support because of political pressures at home? What about those in our own society, our own communities, who suffer from a mental illness and are isolated and alone?  The list can go on….

The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.

But it requires ordinary people to stand and walk those miles. And to make the sacrifices required to speak up and act on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Whether we are in America or Australia, in 1960 or in 2015!

When I think of Martin Luther King, I think of his overwhelming faith that God was calling him to speak up and act.

 

Is this the way of Jesus, it most certainly is!

 

Karen

Dreaming the Dream

I laughed aloud when I read it! It was in an article by Val Webb, the story of the absent minded professor who gave the final exam paper to his secretary to type and she reminded him that they were the same questions he set the year before. “Ah yes” he replied “but this time I have changed the answers.”

I thought of the story again when I picked up Don Cupitt’s latest book “Creative Faith – Religion as a way to World Making”. It is his fiftieth book . I confess to having read none of them. My reading of Cupitt is limited to reading articles asserting that the doctrinal and supernatural Church has taken us on a two thousand year detour and at long last we are rejoining the main road. It is a stance with which I largely agree. As Alfred Loisy pointed out, Jesus came preaching the Kingdom and what we got was the Church – a huge salvation machine preparing the faithful for eternal blessedness after death. In his latest book, written in a simple and clear style, Cupitt comes up with different answers to age old questions.

One of them is with respect to the increasing abandonment of belief in personal life after death. We are at the moment in a state of flux as far as life after death is concerned. Read the death notices in the newspaper and you will find the most weird and wonderful assumptions as far as life after death is concerned. On the other hand many people today talk in terms of “When I’m gone” rather than “where I’ll be”. As Cupitt puts it “Increasingly we see ourselves as woven into nature ….life after death has ceased to be a live issue”. It remains true that many people try and cheat death (Cryogenics is now old hat. Downloading the brain on to a computer is the new possibility) but everyone knows you cannot really cheat death. Cupitt’s point is that the removal of belief in any personal life after death should have the effect of precipitating us into life right now.

It is the same point that Etty Hillesum made in the nineteen forties “ I can sense a new confidence growing stronger inside me day to day, for I know now that life and death make a meaningful whole. I have come to terms with life. By coming to terms with life I mean the reality of death has become a definite part of my life. My life so to speak has been extended by death – by looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting death as a part of my life and no longer wasting my energies on the fear of death or refusing to acknowledge its inevitability. It sounds paradoxical but by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich it…I have looked death straight in the eye, accepted it into my life, and my love of life has not been diminished.” The fact that Etty died aged 29 in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp makes her words all the more relevant.

There is nothing new in what Cupitt is suggesting. Simone Weil said something the same “Salvation is consenting to die”. Life is a demand upon us to which we are called to consent. The same is true of death. Death is not a tragedy. Death is generative. It leads to new creation. As Keith Rowe says “The continuing creative work of God is far more significant than the continuation of me as an individual”.

My problem with the “life after death” type of salvation (be it “Hillsong” or “Hellsong”) is that in the end it is glorified self centredness. To do something for the sake of a heavenly reward makes the Christian Faith very selfish – and I don’t see it that way at all. I agree with my learned friend Cupitt. “No reward! Definitely no reward …. I am going to be extinct for all eternity rather soon now… I am only a passer by. And so are you!” The fact that he is eighty one years of age and I am four years older makes the statement all the more poignant.

There is much that I differ with in Cupitt’s book. He narrows the gospel down to a matter of ethics and stands in awe of Pope Francis. “I am startled and shocked to see how little Francis differs from me”. Cupitt sees Francis

as being “entirely ethical” and one who has dropped the “traditional metaphorical and dogmatic realism of the past “.

There is much in what he says but the Christian Faith is far more than a matter of ethics. It is about living at the edge of time – a subject which Augustine confessed is not an easy one to get one’s head around. “ What is time?’ Augustine asked. “If no one asks me, I know. If I am asked to explain it, I know not.” Centuries earlier the Greeks experienced the same problem and spoke in terms of Chronos and Kairos, Chronos being quantative and Kairos being qualitative. Martin Heidegger picked up the idea last century and maintained that we are not stuck in sequential time but can remember the past and anticipate the future. He then blotted his copybook and joined the Nazis in their oppression of the Jews.

Be all this as it may, all of us know what time is because we live in it and through it. We are also aware of the disconnect between what has been, what is, and what could be.

Indeed I would be bold enough to suggest that this is what the Christian faith is all about. We should be more concerned about what could be in the light of what has been, and what is now. We need what might be described as “an arrow approach to time”. Einstein has considered the measurement of time. Stephen Hawking has given us a history of time. “The weird thing about the arrow of time” says Sean Carroll, “is that it is not to be found in the laws of physics.” Whether he is right or not, I am not qualified to say but it seems pretty obvious to me that the arrow of time has to be a matter of consciousness and that this is evidenced by the “nihilism” which abounds both philosophically and evidentially in our “pointless” society where we are going nowhere, and where sensual pleasure is the criteria and methamphetamine the method.

In this context, there are those of us who have a dream, a dream based on the life and death of a guy who both lived and spoke of what human life might become.

In fairness to Cupitt, he does have a chapter on this theme where he says that “too many people’s aspirations are set too low. We need the dream to give us and perpetually to raise, our expectations and our hopes”. Sounds as if he has been reading our humble little blog!

Neville

 

Post Script

I commenced this blog by referring to me laughing aloud. Let me conclude by saying that I almost cried when I read Don Cupitt’s words ”Not even the most assured Islamist really supposes that we could go back to an early medieval world view”.   Notwithstanding all the statements of President Obama and others this is precisely what Islamic State is all about!

This needs to be said and said loudly. I have started a blog on it and hope to share it with you in the near future in a series of installments. So far it is 10 pages and counting!

%d bloggers like this: