Devil

This is the second in a series of four posts on the question ‘Did Jesus die for our sins?’ The first, introductory one, is here .

The Christian tradition has produced three main theories about this, and this post looks at the theory that says we won. Jesus, by dying, paid a ransom, and in that way achieved a victory. Mark 10:45:

the Son of Man came not to served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

'It's a sad, sad situation, and it's getting more and more absurd.'

So sang Elton John 40 years ago - his lament for a lost relationship could have been written for the Church of England this past month.

At the first full meeting of its newly elected governing body, the General Synod met last week to respond, among other things, to last month's meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, and calls for the church to apologise for its treatment of LGBTI Christians around the world. I wrote a personal response to the Primates' meeting before it began, not knowing that the truth of what would happen was stranger than any prediction I could make.

Most people these days understand the meaning of the word 'God' as follows:

God is a supernatural being who knows everything, can do anything, and is perfectly good.

We can call belief in “God” according to this definition “classical theism.”

I want to propose a quite different way of defining “God”, as follows:

God is the thing that is known in true mystical experiences (if there are any).

Ethiopian picture of the Crucifixion

Jesus died to take away our sins. What does that mean? If you are not used to it, it sounds odd. If you are, you may well have been introduced to a cruel and punitive God.

This is the first of four posts on the Atonement. The series is based on talks and discussions at St Brides Liverpool, and aims to give people the means to make their own judgements without tears. The Christian tradition has produced three main theories. This post introduces them. The next three focus on each in turn.

EU map

The debate is hotting up. Or at least, the Prime Minister is. Will Britain vote to leave the European Union at the forthcoming referendum? Are we choosing between two lousy options, as Yanis Varoufakis argues?

I for one am much less enthusiastic about the EU since it has turned itself into an agency of neo-liberal economics, squeezing its poorer countries into ever deeper poverty. However if that’s a reason for Britain leaving the EU, it is an even stronger reason for Liverpool leaving Britain. But – oh, we’re British, aren’t we?