Archive for the 'Opinion' Category

Mar 07 2010

My Journey With Richard Dawkins

Published by under Opinion,The New Atheism,Themes

Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion” hit the headlines a long time ago now and many more books aiming to show religion to be intellectually untenable have since arrived on the market. With tortoise-like slowness, I have been reflecting on the new atheism. I’d like to share my journey, indicating how various people have helped me on the way.

The God Delusion is of course a passionate attack on religion. Although I knew that the kind of religion he mainly had in mind was US Christian fundamentalism, I was wary, even rejecting, of the book. Continue Reading »

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May 31 2009

75th Anniversary of the Barmen Declaration

Published by under Opinion

In May 29-31 1934, during the Nazi ascendency in Germany, a synod of Protestant clergy and laity met together and agreed what is now known as the Barmen Declaration. In what sounds to us rather traditional language, they stood firm against the Nazification of the church. Confessing churches were formed, breakaway minorities that stood out against the Nazi-dominated state churches (the German Protestant church is a federation of a number of provincial churches, and some but not all had a pro-Nazi hierarchy).

While most churches have the Apostles Creed and perhaps the Nicene Creed written into their constitutions, very few make mention of anything more recent than the Reformation. The Barmen Declaration is distinguished as a modern creed through having been adopted by a number of German churches. The firm and unambiguous stand against Nazism also helped to give the church credibility in the post-war period. Albert Einstein commented:

Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.

You can find the text of the declaration here

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Nov 29 2008

Reflections on “God, Gaia, and Us”

Published by under Opinion

Laurie Chisholm talked recently to the group about Lloyd Geering’s and Juliet Batten’s talks at Conference. The following is a tidied up and abbreviated version of his comments on Lloyd Geering.

For many years, I have had mixed feelings about Lloyd Geering’s message. He is, of course, a towering intellect, and has single-handedly done much to make New Zealand aware of modern thinking about religion. I well remember standing in a queue at a Presbyterian General Assembly, to record my dissent from the Assembly’s decision to distance itself from his views.  So while I have little sympathy for the position of those who have been critical of him, I generally find his views unsatisfying. The following is an attempt to articulate that dissatisfaction by focussing on Lloyd’s talk to the Sea of Faith’s national conference in 2008. Continue Reading »

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Nov 28 2008

Rationality and the New Mysticism

Published by under Opinion

Laurie Chisholm imagines a parallel universe, in which another Lloyd Geering gives a speech that critiques the conclusions of our Lloyd Geering. Instead of telling us how God is disappearing and a new mysticism is emerging, this other Lloyd Geering tells us how old-fashioned notions of a mystical union with earth are disappearing. Continue Reading »

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Nov 27 2008

The Last Western Heretic

Published by under Opinion

Recently, TVNZ showed a programme with the above title, featuring Lloyd Geering. The following deliberately tries to provide provocative counter-theses to the title and the nine ideas that the programme presented. They were intended as a discussion starter for our meeting but were not used. Continue Reading »

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