The Absence of God
In this Lenten Talk written for
the BBC, Richard Holloway highlights the difficulties of using words to
give meaning to the world around us. When he tries to use words to get to
the divine behind the things of the world, he finds himself waiting in "The
Absence of God" as faithfully as he can.
The Danger of Sincere Religion
We think we know what the Parable of the Good
Samaritan means. But familiarity sometimes obscures the truth. In "The
Danger of Sincere Religion", first preached at St Mark's,
Broomhill, UK, Richard Holloway turns the accepted meaning of the parable
on its head to good effect.
The Sixth Paradigm
Hans Kung developed five paradigms to
describe the main forms which Christianity has taken over the ages.
Richard Holloway proposes a Sixth Paradigm
which is in the process of emerging. The Christian faith is presently
exploring the borders of entirely new territory.
The Burning Mystery
We tend to insist on knowing
"what really happened". When this modern paradigm is applied to the Bible,
problems arise. Richard Holloway's sermon to the 1999 Anglican
Consultative Council helps us understand The Burning
Religion on the Level
by Richard Holloway
What's the use of God?
Claims to absolute truth result in exclusivity. The better route to
truth is passionate questing - that's what "God-botherers" do!
What's the use
of the Bible?
How can those who haven't found ultimate answers use the Bible? What
happens when we question the underlying
assumptions of fundamentalism?
What's the use of Jesus?
Unlike ecclesiastical powers, Jesus spoke with an intrinsic
authority which touches us deeply. He calls us to forgive even enemies and to
harness power for justice.
What's the use of the Church?
An ancient human response to anxiety is to create barriers
against uncertainty. Thus the Church is both anti-life as it
protects its power, and also the body which witnesses to the
staggering unconditional acceptance of Jesus.
What's the use of Hell?
The insecure use the terrors of hell to control others. In fact,
Hell exists in the history of mankind and in the "blackmail
of the ideal" of perfectability.
What's the use of Heaven?
Theologies of anxiety need a Heaven in the hereafter as an
"image of longing" for the perfect. Another, life-affirming
tradition works through repentance to transform the world.
The Myths of Christianity
The Broken Myth
Why is it that some need to preserve certain religious images? They
give it a reality which is fundamentally different from the past and yet cling
to their myths tenaciously.
The Myth of Original Sin
Theologians tend to blithely dismiss the Old Testament story of
Adam and Eve as a "myth" - that is, as essentially untrue. But is it? Or,
despite Augustine's sick distortions, does it still eloquently describe a
permanent human reality?
The Myth of Justification by
Paul began the long process of turning his liberating experience of
Jesus into a so-called objective fact of Christian dogma. Paul experienced
slavery to the Jewish law and found joyful freedom through Jesus.
The Myth of the Incarnation
As a myth, the Incarnation can convey powerful truths about the
young Jesus. Used as an absolute truth, as a power-play to cajole or force
others to conform, it's transformed into a false teaching.
The Myth of the Resurrection
The Christian belief - indeed any religious belief - can be
merely a device for containing obsolete interpretations of truth. What
really matters is the "cash value" of our convictions.
The End of Religion
We are creatures who, by nature, seek the meaning of life and the
of the universe. A majority of our Western culture now perceive meaning in
terms very different from ages past. A few still cling to constructs from
ancient times - even though they mean little to the contemporary mind.