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Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

Thursday, 16 May 2013

"Honest to God" book is 50 years old

Back in spring 1963, a book on theology by John A. T. Robinson , the then Bishop of Woolwich, called "Honest to God" became an instant best seller selling millions and millions of copies around the world.  It was reprinted many times within just a few months.  At the time, everyone, it seemed,  was talking about it. It was endlessly discussed on the TV and in the newspapers. Many within the Church of England were deeply troubled by it.

In the book, Robinson challenged the conventional understanding of God "up there or out there" and instead looked for a demythologised understanding of God as the "ground of being" as Tillich termed it.

Today, few young people will be aware of this book, but if you can find a copy then I can recommend reading it. Unless you are a convinced and total atheist, you are likely to find the book thought provoking. This was no evangelical religious book: in fact it was quite the opposite.  For the first time it seemed a man in the Church of England was vocalising what many had felt: the old portrayal of God as a kindly old man on a cloud was dead, irrelevant. And yet, deep within us there is that sense of something transcendent with a deeper meaning than the atoms and genes from which we are formed.

I see that Amazon is selling a 50th anniversary edition.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

In God We Doubt - a book I've just read and recommend

In God We Doubt: Confessions of a Failed Atheist is a book by the BBC Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys in which he explores why people do, or do not, believe in God. As an agnostic myself, full of doubt and confused about what to believe, I found this a very honest and open book that asks the right questions, although I am still little further forward on my spiritual journey.

This is the description from Amazon:
"Throughout the ages believers have been persecuted – usually for believing in the “wrong” God. So have non-believers who have denied the existence of God as superstitious rubbish.

Today it is the agnostics who are given a hard time. They are scorned by believers for their failure to find faith and by atheists for being hopelessly wishy-washy and weak-minded. But John Humphrys is proud to count himself among their ranks. In this book he takes us along the spiritual road he himself has travelled. He was brought up a Christian and prayed every day of his life until his growing doubts finally began to overwhelm his faith.

As one of the nation’s most popular and respected broadcasters, he had the rare opportunity in 2006 of challenging leaders of our three main religions to prove to him that God does exist. The Radio Four interviews – Humphrys In Search of God – provoked the biggest response to anything he has done in half a century of journalism. The interviews and the massive reaction from listeners had a profound effect on him – but not in the way he expected.

Doubt is not the easy option. But for the millions who can find no easy answers to the most profound questions it is the only possible one."

Monday, 17 October 2011

Death in a Multiverse

My religious views oscillate from being a theist to total atheist and back again. Of late, my views have been changing partly as a result of reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, which I found an absorbing and honest book.

Nonetheless, I am still basically open minded when it comes to thinking what happens when we die. I am not a believer in Father Christmas, tooth fairies or heaven as such, but I do think that the universe(s?) we inhabit are barely understood and our place in time puzzling. In a multiple universe all things in all time may be possible so who can be sure that this one life of ours is "it"?  The very existence of each one of us is a miracle of coincidences and chances over a period of billions of years: just one sexual coupling missed, or one chance meeting of two people missed, in all that time and you or I would not be here at all. Can we even be sure that we are not living some kind of dream?

So, when we finally drop down dead will we just cease to be? Or will we find ourselves in another universe as someone or something else, even perhaps reliving the very same lives but choosing different paths at the critical moments when we went in one direction and wondered what would have happened had we chosen differently?