There is a good article in Friday’s Church Times by Nick Spencer and Angus Ritchie, describing a new Theos report, The Case for Christian Humanism.
Apparently it was not till the middle of the 20th century that the word ‘humanism’ came to refer to the non-religious.
This is my sermon for Advent Sunday.
I was brought up in a vicarage. My father was the vicar of a Somerset village, and life revolved around church activities. Advent Sunday was the beginning of the church year. We look forward to the birth of Christ at Christmas, and then go through the annual cycle with Holy Week, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. Along with all the saints’ days the whole system added up to a regular annual cycle, beginning each year with Advent.
A theological overview of hell is not something we would normally expect to see in a midweek edition of the Guardian, and Anthony is right to say that Meghan O’Gieblyn’s ‘My Life in Hell’ (Guardian Review 26th November, 2014) deserves recognition in the pages of our blog.
O’Gieblyn’s thoughts derive from personal experience, not of hell itself, despite the title, but of the way it is presented in certain American evangelical circles. In this respect, she touches on two significant areas when it comes to the nature of God and the nature of eternal damnation. I think, that for the purpose of this discussion, and to be fair to the Guardian, we need to start from a given premise (whether or not we personally agree with it) that such a thing as hell exists. But here we already run into difficulties, because the very idea of existence begs a host of other questions and musings concerning space dimension, time and being, as well as the nature of the afterlife and of God himself.
The Guardian newspaper is not known for its religious sympathies, and a number of its columnists are noted and outspoken secular humanists.
It was surprising therefore to read in the 26 November edition a long article on theology. Written by a former Conservative Evangelical from the USA, it considered the apparent disappearance of Hell from Christian discourse, even in some evangelical circles. And it came to some rather surprising conclusions.