Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 10 October 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Institutional Narcissism and response to abuse survivors

Harriet Sherwood The Observer Church and state – an unhappy union?

Rosie Harper ViaMedia.News Toxic Masculinity & Our Use of Pronouns
… and in response …
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The myth of the masculine God

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Roderick GillisSimon KershawJanet FifeFrDavidHSusannah Clark Recent comment authors
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FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

I agree with Fr Colin Coward’s assertion that the Church is hung up on facts and doesn’t convey the concept of ‘myths’ in Church preaching and teaching. However, I’m sure that many in today’s management-speak Church would have apoplexy if it were thought the virgin birth, resurrection and ascension were myths. You can’t ‘plant’ a church and talk about myths. Far better to keep it simple. Even if it is unbelievable.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

Unbelievable to some, perhaps. But to others, not only believable but reasonable – and many great minds are in that number.

Kate
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Kate

It isn’t unbelievable.

Spend some time on YouTube. History in the history books isn’t accurate. And people walk out of situations they have no right to survive. The world is far, far richer than is often credited. There is ample space to believe in things like the virgin birth – and I do.

Stanley Monkhouse
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It’s not just the church where facts and myths overlap. Consider some the birth narratives of the Kim leaders. Heavenly sounds; miraculous changes in flora and fauna; rainbows; stars. Sound familiar? Kim Il-sung is regarded as a god. Though dead, he is risen. He is still head of state. He is worshipped. It is held in North Korea that their digestive systems are so well tuned that they don’t to excrete urine or faeces (a bit like ladies who don’t sweat, I suppose, but much better). We know nothing about Jesus’ excretory processes, so the Kims are one up there.… Read more »

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

Fr Monkhouse rightly points out how flowery religious language can be used to justify the most evil dictators. Richard Holloway suggests that much of religion should be categorised as ‘poetry’. When attempts are made to translate poetry into prose all sorts of unbelievable beliefs emerge – often to justify terrible inequality. The poetic idea of a ‘male’ God is inoffensive. But in prose it is preposterous. Strangulated attempts to translate the poetry of the virgin birth into gynaecological fact is a further attempt to look silly.

Stanley Monkhouse
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Actually, what I was doing was pointing out that just as the Kims (and others) are ‘bigged up’ by their propaganda machines, so a wandering charismatic Jew was ‘bigged up’ by his. This is common enough in human history. The birth narratives are, as others have pointed out in this thread, are fiction.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

The birth narratives and other gospel narratives are not written as fiction, but as fact. An expert police interviewer once told me he found them credible as evidence, because they are written in the just the way of eyewitness accounts – complete with differences in detail. As for the creation of Adam, that is written as myth – two myths, in fact. But there is a core of truth in them. How, so early in prehistory, did the writer/s accurately guess the order of creation? There is also a preserved memory of a time when there were several races of… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
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The order in which things appear in Genesis 1 is fairly logical, land and sea before living things, plants before animals, humans last. Pretty reasonable. But we need to be aware that we might be reading our own thoughts and science into the story when it’s not really there. It’s easy to gloss over the creation of vegetation on Tuesday, whereas the stars, the sun and moon are only created on Wednesday. Of course, the order of events in Genesis 2 is different again. Quite likely the account in Genesis 2 is the earlier. It would be astonishing if this… Read more »

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

Now if we could only get some biblical scholars on Scotland Yard’s cold case squad, it would be ‘case closed’. ( :

Susannah Clark
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On the masculine myth of God, I commend Elizabeth Johnson’s very well-argued book “She Who Is”, for a thorough study of the ways in which exclusively masculine portrayal of God has shored up patriarchy and contributed to the subordination of women. I also offer a few brief thoughts of my own here: http://www.Godde.com On Colin’s more general comments on myth: if we try to literalise stories which are expressed as myth, we end up diminishing their power. It’s a bit like looking down the wrong end of a telescope: instead of making things bigger and clearer, you make them look… Read more »

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

Beautifully put.

Roderick Gillis
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Roderick Gillis

ditto