DON CUPITT

 

Is it possible for people, and even for a whole society, to lose faith in God? ... [If] it happens, [it is] not primarily because something they used to think existed does not after all exist, but because the available language about God has been allowed to become too narrow, stale and spiritually obsolete ... the work of creative religious personalities is continually to enrich, to enlarge and sometimes to purge the available stock of religious symbols and idioms ... (The Sea of Faith, 1984)


DENNIS NINEHAM

 

... people of different periods and cultures differ very widely; in some cases so widely that accounts of the nature and relations of God, men and the world put forward in one culture may be unacceptable, as they stand, in a different culture ... a situation of this sort has arisen ... at about the end of the eighteenth century a cultural revolution of such proportions broke out that it separates our age sharply from all ages that went before (The Use and Abuse of the Bible, 1976)


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A split has opened up within the body of Christianity over the past two or three centuries. Some say that there exists a reality or world other than the universe of which our planet is part. Others maintain that while this was once a useful construct, it no longer holds water. Which paradigm is preferable? In similar vein, all essential Church doctrines depend on the idea that God from time-to-time gives us information we can get from no other source. But is the concept of revelation viable in the world as it is today? Or does faith trump all our speculations?

Richard DeRemee proposes that it is possible to stand with one foot in each camp. In Before and After the Big Bang he argues that the realm of science serves one part of us, while the realm of religion serves another. He lives in both the sacred and the profane worlds - the former for the meaning of life, the latter when science is required. The Force of Faith relates how faith provides the strength we need to overcome life's trials. Whatever the theories of the erudite, faith remains the bedrock of Christianity. And in The Interface he suggests that people of faith should nevertheless seek rational explanations for difficult questions. To Rise Again suggests how we can make sense of the vital Church teaching about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. 

Michael Maasdorp holds that the idea of traffic between the natural and the supernatural destroys the foundations of modern knowledge. In On Our Own But Not Alone he suggests that to attain maturity we must also gain autonomy. Neither survives in a world invaded by the supernatural. In similar vein his essay Revelation Revisited proposes that a new paradigm may invalidate the traditional doctrine that God reveals knowledge to us.