Thinking Anglicans

opinion for mid-January

Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 5: Genesis and the imagination. “In Genesis’s surface narrative of reality, it is important to remember that God is a player in this drama, too.”

Also at Comment is free belief in The Guardian this week are:
Theo Hobson: Putting the fun in US fundamentalism. “The rise of Christian theme parks in America should be seen in a positive light – it encourages a lighter-hearted view of religion.”
Holly Welker: Why people abandon religion. “Tension between religious dictates and personal wants is forcing people to follow their desires – and reject religion’s decrees.”
Richard Phelps: The new vocal, visible religiosity. “Olivier Roy’s book presents globalisation and secularisation as contributing to the divorce of religion from culture.”
Mark Vernon: Death and loss belong to us all. “A vicar who removed silk flowers from a child’s grave was right to do so – graveyards and mourning are part of the public sphere.”
Savitri Hensman: The best path to peace. “Are there fatal flaws in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s approach to reconciliation?”

Mark Meynell writes on his quaerentia blog about The King James and the possibility of upward desecration.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Why life can begin at 46.

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Pat O'NeillMurdochChristopher (P.)Laurence CCynthia Gilliatt Recent comment authors
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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Once again, I am amazed by the tenor of the comments on Jane Williams’ piece. Doesn’t anyone with an understanding of how myths reflect reality (which is really what Jane is discussing in all this) read that newspaper or its online version? Is its readership really restricted to cranky atheists?

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Re Theo Hobson’s piece about the fundy theme parks: do you have such things in England? If not, and someone built one, would it flourish or flop? Or is biblical literalism and anti-evolutionary idiocy confined to my side of the Pond? I live near a commercially run cavern that attracts tourists, who take a guided tour. Luray Caverns have been ‘groomed’ in a way that would not be done now. The tour is none the less fun on a hot day. I was with visiting friends taking the tour when the guide pointed out a huge fallen stalagtite? stalagmite? [I… Read more »

Murdoch
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Murdoch

I have found the first column-foot or so of the comments on Jane Williams’s articles to be more thoughtful and reality-based than her Sunday school pleasantries. Yes, some cranky atheists do weigh in, but there is something about orthodox smugness that engenders crank.

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

“One is inclined to sneer at this sort of thing as absurdly showy propaganda for fundamentalism.” – Oops, I’m busted. On another article, I agree whole-heartedly with the author who said that too many religions, at least in actual practice, put more emphasis on women’s “purity” (yech!!!!) than men’s. When was the last time a religion had men physically punished, or decreed the ultimate punishment, who were adulterous? But, let a woman stray, and it’s burial, beheading, stoning, shunning, etc. I recall the Gospel story of the adulterous woman being prepared to be stoned, not the adulterous couple … Oh,… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Pat O’Neill – your comment prompted me to read the comments you refer to, and I agree. Why do anti-religious people so often insist on setting up a cardboard fundamentalist, non-scholarly version of the Bible and then knocking it over? Have they never had a conversation with an intelligent Christian? They seem to be as innocent of scholarly knowledge of the biblical text as any local American fundamentalist.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

FTR: stalagmite=grows from the ground; stalactite=grows from the ceiling.

The mnemonic is g=ground, c=ceiling.

Laurence C
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Laurence C

“The mnemonic is g=ground, c=ceiling”

Or “mites grow up and tites come down” 🙂

Christopher (P.)
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Christopher (P.)

Or as I was told, the stalagmites “might” make it to the top, and the stalactites have to hold on “tight” so they don’t come down.

Murdoch
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Murdoch

Cynthia, who is setting up a “cardboard fundamentalist, non-scholarly version of the Bible”? Jane Williams wrote: “This is not to say that the story of Joseph is without historical roots, though they have proved hard to pinpoint precisely.” Hard to pinpoint? Like, totally lacking archaeological or historical evidence? “There are profound insights in the Joseph story for a people looking back over their history and trying to make sense of what has happened . . .” Like, looking back over the legends and fictions codified by scribes in sixth-century Babylon? Williams constantly does this, shifting between awareness of critical problems… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“If you’re not into drawing morals from Sunday school stories, there’s not much to discuss with her.”

But that is the whole point of Williams’ pieces…that these stories are not MEANT to be historical or scientific; they are intended for drawing morals. If you’re not going to approach the material on the same level as she is, why comment at all? After all, I don’t write into the newspaper every day to complain that the horoscope column is bull.