I should like to thank Jessica for her invitation, which I’ll not abuse by writing too often. She’s explained the background, and I have nowt to add, save that if you live by the sword, you’d be best advised not to whine when you die by the same.
My one regret is simple enough. The one sensible atheist there had been willing to enter into a discussion about God, and why the use of derogatory terms such as ‘sky fairy’ were neither clever nor helpful. One of the regulars there, ‘Lanfranc’, had posted a linked to Father Longenecker’s site here where he has a good account of what Christians mean. Lanfranc also gave a good account which supported that one.
The response was that while this was very interesting, it was way beyond what most Christians understood by God. I’m not inclined to dissent, but am to wonder why that should be. All answers to this are complex: part of it is poor communication; another is our desire to know what God knows. It did for Adam and Eve and it’ll do for us.
God is Infinite; we aren’t. Jessica and I have had this one out in a number of emails, and we agree – we can’t know Infinity; stands to reason. But we can know what God has revealed. That is why a good knowledge of Scripture matters; in there the Living God, the Triune God, has revealed what we need to know for salvation.
When all’s said and done, no Book has been subject to more criticism and study than our Bible. For me, as for many, the New Testament stands up to critical examination. That’s not why I believe in God, but it is why it reasonable of me to do so.
I am not going to disfigure Jessica’s blog or abuse her kindness by getting into polemic about churches. When I were younger I was a red-hot anti-Catholic – that was the way I was raised; and more’s the shame of it. Well, through a long life and knowing some good Christians from everywhere, I’ve long ago given up that game. It does no good to anyone, and I’d advise anyone still playing it to chuck it.
I was born into English nonconformity and shall die in it. It’s my tradition, and at my time of life, I’m not going elsewhere. I believe in the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed and that tradition is a rich source of help when it comes to understanding God’s revelation to us. I’ve little time for Bishops and the like, met a few who seemed men of God, met more who seemed middle managers working for the Corporation, so to say. But I’ve met many priests in all churches who more than made up for them.
‘Credo’ is ‘I believe’. I believe because God has come in the flesh to redeem my flesh. He has loved me, sinner as I am; I can do no less back.